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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Army Injury Assessment Tool Receives Stamp of Accreditation

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Underbody blasts from improvised explosive devices were the largest cause of injury for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan This signaled a vital need for an anthropomorphic test device, or ATD, to replicate the response of an underbody blast environment on Soldiers.

The Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin, coined WIAMan, filled that need. WIAMan is an ATD for military use in underbody blast testing of ground vehicles. Developed by the Instrumentation Management Office at the Program Executive Office Simulation, Training and Instrumentation, WIAMan represents the most human-like surrogate yet to provide insight on improving military ground vehicle systems and identify protection mechanisms that reduce the likelihood and severity of warfighter injuries.

Analytical experts from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM, ensure that WIAMan output is processed to provide reliable injury assessment and analysis. The DEVCOM Analysis Center, known as DAC, processes this immense amount of data via a software analysis tool known as the Analysis of Manikin Data, or AMANDA. On Feb. 2, AMANDA was accredited by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command for use in live fire test and evaluation — a final stamp of trust in quality and accuracy.

According to Kate Sandora, AMANDA model manager, AMANDA’s most recent release and accreditation is a culmination of a large effort by DAC and its partners, encompassing all WIAMan injury criteria developed over ten years of biomechanics research. The accreditation provides more confidence for the live fire testing community and current users, including DAC, DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center.

AMANDA is not a single injury model, but an analytic framework composed of multiple types of injury criteria and reference values integrated together. AMANDA processes accelerations, forces and moments recorded by WIAMan and other ATDs as input, comparing the ATD data with associated injury criteria to make predictions of injuries and determine the injury type, location and severity. AMANDA can also read in and process simulated data in lieu of physical testing.

While WIAMan is the hardware subjected to the blast event to record data, AMANDA is the software allowing the collected data to be processed for analysts’ use, pre-loaded with accredited criterion for injury. The resulting analysis has significant impact on Army vehicle design to improve survivability when Soldiers are subjected to an underbody blast environment. Simply put, insight from AMANDA saves lives.

“The WIAMan data acquisition system takes samples from an event at a rate of approximately 200,000 samples a second, and the typical event takes a couple seconds, so we’re talking around 400,000 data samples — an incredible amount of data,” said Jacob Ehlenberger, AMANDA software developer. “When you load that into AMANDA, all subject matter experts have to worry about is looking at the results. AMANDA automates the entire process, bringing complex analysis to the hands of experts so they can focus on their domain of excellence.”

AMANDA also integrates filtering methodology, developed by Aaron Alai, a DAC signal processing scientist, to ensure sensor data does not reflect extraneous noise that could lead to incorrect injury prediction.

“A common misconception is that sensors and data acquisition systems measure only what one intends for them to measure, but in reality, they respond to anything that can influence the measurement pipeline: a litany of sources from electromagnetic noise to mechanical linkage vibrations. So, data must be filtered to glean accurate information,” Alai said. Alai leveraged frequency analysis to come up with a new method of inferring appropriate filters, working with Ehlenberger and other DAC teammates to ensure they are implemented and contextualized properly.

DAC analysts can then more reliably provide injury assessments that inform vehicle evaluation, design and requirements to better protect Soldiers, bypassing time-consuming manual data manipulation.

Sandora and Ehlenberger, who have worked closely with both analysts and developers of the design and standards for WIAMan, commend the experts’ diverse perspectives to make appropriate injury assessment possible. “You have subject matter experts in the field of human vulnerability working in close contact with engineers of high caliber discussing the ATD experience and mechanical response,” Ehlenberger said. “It is such an impressive marriage of distinctly different and invaluable expertise.”

It is through extensive testing and problem-solving from these experts that WIAMan can produce data to feed AMANDA analysis, ultimately enabling the Army to better quantify risk to the warfighter and identify trade-offs during vehicle design. This analysis ensures growing Army knowledge in human vulnerability and automotive design — and soon, even more, as AMANDA will be integrating more WIAMan injury criterion this fiscal year.

By Kaylan Hutchison, DAC Strategic Communications

SOFWERX – Science and Technology Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 22.2

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

The USSOCOM Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs will soon be accepting submissions for the technology areas of interest below.

Special Areas of Interest

PHASE I:

SOCOM222-001: Solid-State High-Energy Density Batteries

SOCOM222-002: Utilizing ML Algorithms to track and identify UAS threats

SOCOM222-003: CO2 Scrubber Material

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program stimulates a partnership of ideas and technologies between innovative SBCs and non-profit Research Institutions. By providing awards to SBCs for cooperative R/R&D efforts with Research Institutions, the SBIR and STTR programs assist the U.S. small business and research communities by supporting the commercialization of innovative technologies.

On 27 April, SOFWERX will host virtual Q&A sessions for each of the areas of interest. RSVP to the Q&A session(s) that interest you on the event webpage.

SOFWERX – Security at the Edge Cyber Challenge

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

SOFWERX, in collaboration with SOF Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Network and Data Management Capability Focus Area (NDM CFA), will host a Cyber Challenge on 13 July 2022 to identify technologies with automated capabilities that provide edge device endpoint security, cloud security to protect data at the edge, and network edge security within SOF operational environments.

In austere environments, edge computing devices provide the ability to handle processing on the device or local server and transmit only the relevant data by eliminating latency, which is essential for SOF Operators. Unfortunately, edge computing devices are designed to prioritize functionality and connectivity over security. This makes SOF Operators’ edge computing devices extremely vulnerable to sophisticated nation state threat actors’ cyber attacks. Edge computing devices can take essentially any form and endpoints are everywhere due to the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The SOF Operator needs to ensure they are making decisions based on trusted data and have protections against zero day attacks. The need for protection against advanced persistent threats (APTs), nation state sponsored cyber attacks, data integrity capabilities, and overall zero trust solutions for the main three components of edge computing devices are critical for the current and future SOF operational environments.

Submit NLT 06 May 2022 11:59 PM ET.

U.S. Citizens Only

More info here.

NDIA Joins in Letter to Congress Seeking Relief on R&D Tax Amortization

Friday, April 1st, 2022

ARLINGTON, VA — The National Defense Industrial Association is among seven associations requesting congressional leadership consider relief and a four-year delay for the research and development (R&D) tax amortization that went into effect January 1, the Arlington, Virginia-based defense association announces.

A March 31 letter from the associations to Congress highlights the negative impact the amortization will have on American technological advances and the ability to compete globally. Stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the bill requires qualifying R&D expenses to be amortized over five years rather than allowing 100% of deductions in the year of the R&D spend.

The letter notes the negative impact this will have on innovative competition as companies can only write off 20% of their expenses per year, particularly as China extended a super deduction for R&D expenses to an additional 100% of actual expenses incurred. This will have a detrimental impact on companies, our warfighters and, ultimately, our national security. Additionally, estimates from an Ernst and Young study show it will also cause job losses, as cited in the letter.

The multi-association letter, available here, requests the delay be included in the final Bipartisan Innovation Act or the next moving piece of legislation. Signing the letter with NDIA were the Aerospace Industries Association, the Center for Procurement Advocacy, the Computing Technology Industry Association, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Small-Business Association and the Professional Services Council.

SOFWERX – Special Reconnaissance Virtual Assessment Event Series

Friday, March 18th, 2022

SOFWERX, in collaboration with SOF Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) Special Reconnaissance (PEO-SR), will host a series of Virtual Assessment Events (AEs) 31 May – 03 June 2022, to identify technologies and techniques to aid two (2) Program Management (PM) Offices with four (4) Technology Focus Areas (TFAs).

1 PM Integrated Sensor Systems (ISS): Tactical data exfiltration (SR-FY22-01)

2 PM Remote Capabilities (RC): Articulating small-UAS legs and motors paired with obstacle avoidance capabilities (SR-FY22-02)

3 PM Remote Capabilities (RC): Rucksack-portable small-UAS charging hive (SR-FY22-03)

4 PM Remote Capabilities (RC): UAS Signature Reduction Techniques (SR-FY22-04)

Submit NLT 15 April 11:59 PM ET

Learn more at events.sofwerx.org/srae.

Army Special Operations Forces Use Project Origin Systems in Latest Soldier Experiment

Friday, March 11th, 2022

DUGWAY, Utah — Army Green Berets from the 1st Special Forces Group conducted two weeks of hands-on experimentation with Project Origin Unmanned Systems at Dugway Proving Ground. Engineers from the U.S. Army DEVCOM Ground Vehicle Systems Center were on site to collect data on how these elite Soldiers utilized the systems and what technology and behaviors are desired.

Project Origin vehicles are the evolution of multiple Soldier Operational Experiments. This GVSC-led rapid prototyping effort allows the Army to conduct technology and autonomous behavior integration for follow-on assessments with Soldiers in order to better understand what Soldiers need from unmanned systems.

For the two-week experiment, Soldiers with the 1st Special Forces Group attended familiarization and new equipment training in order to develop Standard Operating Procedures for Robotic Combat Vehicles. The unit utilized these SOPs to conduct numerous mission-oriented exercises including multiple live-fire missions during the day and night.

The live-fire operations employed the M240 and M2 machine guns and the MK19 automatic grenade launcher.

“These live fire operations were critical to determining the military utility of the Robotic Combat Vehicle unmanned technology,” said Todd Willert, GVSC’s project manager for Project Origin. “The unit was successful with integrating the systems into their formation for both offensive and defensive operations.”

The Green Berets incorporated numerous Origin modular mission payloads to assist with long-range reconnaissance, concealment, electronic warfare and autonomous resupply operations.

A senior medical sergeant with the 1st Special Forces Group said the modularity of payloads provides flexibility for use in a variety of mission sets: “The upscaling of capabilities for a direct heavy-weapon system gives us the advantage we’ve never had before in typical dismounted roles.”

Willert stated the inclusion of Special Operations Forces into technology assessments provides more depth in understanding what is needed to mature unmanned systems for the Army’s Operating Force.

In addition, this experiment supports the continual development of the Army’s Robotic Technology Kernel — the Modular Open System Architecture-based library of software that can be used for ground autonomy — along with the Warfighter Machine Interface, the Army’s library of modular software used by Soldiers to control robotic vehicles. This open systems architecture approach will enable common unmanned maneuver capabilities across the ground vehicle fleet.

“We are in the process of tailoring software packages to meet the needs of end users,” Willert said. “Autonomy — at various levels — offers great opportunities for different mission sets that improve Soldier safety and reduce cognitive burden. The professional and thoughtful comments from these Soldiers will greatly assist us with developing behaviors for future unmanned systems.”

1st Special Forces Group Detachment Commander added, “The robots are best employed to maximize the standoff between Soldiers and enemy threats.” He went on to say, “The Project Origin system, for any type of dismounted operations we conduct, would provide us increased capabilities to recognize and identify individuals on target from a much greater standoff while decreasing the risk to the force as our Soldiers accomplish their mission.”

Maj. Cory Wallace, the RCV Requirements Lead with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team, said: “Working with an Operational Detachment Alpha enabled us to understand new use cases and consider new approaches to integrating robotic and autonomous systems into future experiments.”

“The feedback from the operators gave us a completely new perspective as to how we need to shape our future development efforts in order to provide the most effective unmanned systems possible to Army formations, Wallace said.

A senior weapons sergeant summed up the event by saying, “The Project Origin system allows us an ability to operate the system outside of enemy fire. This allows an ability to focus on advanced tasks such as terrain analysis, developing enemy courses of action, and thinking ahead of the now, rather than seeking cover and returning fire.”

By Jerome Aliotta

SOFWERX – Security at the Edge Virtual Collaboration Event

Thursday, March 10th, 2022

SOFWERX, in collaboration with SOF Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (SOF AT&L) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate Network and Data Management Capability Focus Area (NDM CFA), will host a series of events starting 5 April 2022, to identify technologies with automated capabilities that provide edge device endpoint security, cloud security to protect data at the edge, and network edge security within SOF operational environments.

In austere environments, edge computing devices provide the ability to handle processing on the device or local server and transmit only the relevant data by eliminating latency, which is essential for SOF Operators. Unfortunately, edge computing devices are designed to prioritize functionality and connectivity over security. This makes SOF Operators’ edge computing devices extremely vulnerable to sophisticated nation state threat actors’ cyber attacks. Edge computing devices can take essentially any form and endpoints are everywhere due to the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The SOF Operator needs to ensure they are making decisions based on trusted data and have protections against zero day attacks. The need for protection against advanced persistent threats (APTs), nation state sponsored cyber attacks, data integrity capabilities, and overall zero trust solutions for the main three components of edge computing devices are critical for the current and future SOF operational environments.

RSVP NLT 29 March 11:59 PM ET.

Find further details at events.sofwerx.org/security

Rheinmetall Italia Signs Memorandum of Understanding with MBDA Italia to Cooperate in Air Defence

Wednesday, March 9th, 2022

MBDA Italia and Rheinmetall Italia have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore possibilities for collaborating in the area of air defence including disruptive technologies and in the national and European defence funds domain.


During a two-year timeframe, the two companies will study ways of working together with the ultimate aim of developing joint business opportunities in Italy and the international marketplace. MBDA Italia and Rheinmetall Italia will create joint working groups tasked with identifying possibilities for joint technological development and business opportunities.

MBDA Italia is part of MBDA, the only European defence group capable of designing and producing missiles and missile systems that correspond to the full range of current and future operational needs of the three armed forces (land, sea and air).

Rheinmetall Italia is one of Europe’s foremost suppliers of air defence and radar technology. Rheinmetall’s centre of excellence in this high-tech domain, the company has over fifty years’ experience in the design, development and manufacture of air surveillance and tracking radars. Production focuses on short- and very short-range air defence systems.