The Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) collaborative continues the development of future technology in order to help bring the warfighter home safely. (Photo: BAE Systems)
BAE Systems has been awarded a $43 million cooperative agreement extension to lead the Army Research Laboratory’s (ARL) Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) Collaborative Technology Alliance for an additional five years. Defense-Update reports. As a result, the company will have a significant role working with the MAST Alliance’s team of scientists from the U.S. Army, academia, and industry as it advances bio-inspired micro-robotics technology to extend the remote sensing capability of U.S. ground forces. The goal of the research is to enable small robotic platforms – that would be used by individual soldiers – to remotely perform surveillance within complex urban environments and terrain.
One of the experimental micro-bots evaluated by the MAST group is this OctoRoach.
The second phase of the MAST program continues the research, development and integration of several key areas including micro-scale aeromechanics and ambulation; propulsion; sensing, autonomy, communications, navigation, and control; and microscale integration, among others, enabling several different mission-capable robotic platforms.
“Our recent review by the MAST Research Management Board received high marks for the quality and success of the research conducted over the past five years contributing greatly to the decision to award the five year option to extend the program,” said Dr. Brett Piekarski, ARL MAST Consortium manager.
BAE Systems, in cooperation with primary research labs from the University of Maryland, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, will lead the effort for the ARL into 2017.
AgustaWestland today unveiled its ‘Project Zero’, an electrically-powered tilt rotor technology demonstrator, giving an insight into what advanced rotorcraft of the future may look like. The company funded technology demonstrator was designed and built in less than 6 months and has already secretly flown several times in 2011 and 2012.
An electric powered vehicle, ‘Project Zero’ can hover like a helicopter and convert to a fixed wing aircraft in forward flight thanks to its two integrated rotors, which can be tilted through more than 90 degrees. The demonstrator performed its first unmanned tethered flight in June 2011 at AgustaWestland’s Cascina Costa facility in Italy and has since performed untethered hovering flights inside a secured area.
Daniele Romiti, AgustaWestland’s CEO, said “The ‘Project Zero’ technology demonstrator program brings together many of the advanced technologies AgustaWestland has been researching in recent years and demonstrates our strong technological base from which we will develop new products to meet the needs of our customers in the future. We strongly believe in the tilt rotor concept as the future of high speed rotorcraft flight as it offers much greater speed and range than compound helicopter technology.”
The demonstrator’s rotors are driven by advanced electric motors powered by rechargeable batteries; future hybrid solutions have also been investigated using a diesel engine to drive a generator. All of the aircraft control systems, flight control and landing gear actuators are electrically powered, removing the need for any hydraulic system.
During cruise, the wings will provide most of the lift, with the blended fuselage and shroud also making a contribution. ‘Project Zero’ has been designed with detachable outer wings for missions that will be performed primarily in helicopter mode. Elevons provide pitch and roll control in forward flight while the V-tail provides longitudinal stability. The aircraft has very low noise and thermal signature in flight and does not require oxygen, thereby permitting it to fly at altitude or in heavily polluted conditions, such as volcanic eruptions.
When parked on the ground the rotors can be tilted forward, with the the aircraft pointed into wind, to allow the rotors to windmill and recharge the aircraft’s electrical storage device. The electrical drive system also has the advantage that it does away with the complex and heavy transmission system required by conventional rotorcraft.
HMS Ambush Insignia
The Royal Navy’s latest, most advanced attack submarine was commissioned into the Royal Navy on Friday, 1 March 2013, during a ceremony at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde. HMS Ambush is expected to complete sea trials and be formally handed over to the operational control of the Royal Navy later this year.Ambush is the second Astute Class submarine to enter service with the Royal Navy.
As the home of the UK submarine service, all 7 Astute Class vessels will eventually be ported at HM Naval Base Clyde. The first of class, HMS Astute, entered service with the Royal Navy in August 2010. The other 5 vessels, Artful, Audacious, Anson, and the as yet unnamed boats 6 and 7, are currently at different stages of build and development.
Launched on 5 January 2011 at the BAE Systems shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness, Ambush arrived at her home port of HM Naval Base Clyde on 19 September 2012. Since then, Ambush has undergone extensive sea trials to ensure she is ready to become part of the fleet, with the White Ensign being raised for the first time on 18 January after the signing of the ‘certificate of acceptance’, transferring the submarine from her builders to the Ministry of Defence.
Astute class submarine HMS Ambush is pictured during sea trials near Scotland. Ambush, second of the nuclear powered attack submarines, was named in Barrow on 16 December 2010 and launched on 5 January 2011. Photo: UK MOD Crown Copyright