lab modernization and innovation

Lab Modernization and Innovation

During October of last year, the Army set up a PNT modernization lab at Aberdeen Proving ground to see to the pursuit of futuristic and forward-thinking technologies that would allow US soldiers to maintain an advantage over any adversaries they may encounter in theaters of war.
The Army has historically relied on GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to guide soldiers and inform tactics in battle. However, the armed forces have also been interested in developing robust PNT (Positioning, Navigation and Timing) solutions that can facilitate soldiers in areas where GPS signals have been spoofed, degraded or denied.

The USAF’s Need For Speed

This initiative comes as part of a wider move towards more agile solutions, as well as a more agile approach to solutions, for military use. Historically, military technologies have spent years in the development and testing phase, and been released for use after they’ve already become obsolete (at least as far as the army defines obsolescence, due to the critical nature of having access to bleeding edge tech in battlefields). Often, the development of systems themselves would be complete long before they could potentially see field use, since installing these systems onto military equipment has proved difficult.
Now, the military aims to prime its vehicles and soldiers with technologies that are developed with a rapid rollout in mind, as well as an aim to continuously upgrade these technologies. The nature of warfare has changed to where it is critical to outpace threats, and this has spawned the IEW&S’ PNT Modernization Office and Open Innovations Lab.
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The Role of Civilian Innovators in realizing military prospects

The PNT Modernization Office intends to look into technologies like chip-scale atomic clocks, celestial navigation, Alt-Nav, and others that solve timing and positioning problems. The Open Innovations Lab that was set up late last year intends to seek the aid of industry professionals with the relevant know-how, to allow the military to cherry pick the private contractors it wishes to work with, while also allowing contractors to come to them to pitch their services.
PNT is only one of six focus areas where the military seeks to speed up development, as well as make it more fruitful. Other than PNT, the military is also making similar strides towards more fluid collaboration in other key areas of importance. The Army Research Lab’s project to achieve autonomous driving vehicles, for example, recently achieved breakthroughs as part of it’s SARA (Scalable, Adaptable, and Resilient Autonomy) program, which kicked off a new initiative last year. To this end, the ARL enlisted the aid of eight collaborators from around the country, and from a variety of backgrounds, to work independently towards deriving solutions for unique problems. This divide and conquer approach is a notable break from the military’s usual approach to private sector collaboration, and hints towards a more flexible alternative. The results are there; The ARL’s own ‘autonomy stack’ will purportedly revolutionize the way robots and AI drive vehicles.
Other innovations include recent developments in the C5ISR/EW Modular Open Suite of Standards (CMOSS) which we’ll take a look at next.

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CMOSS | Plug and Play hardware for networked-vehicle capabilities

What had started last year as the pursuit of C4ISR systems for plug-and-play use in military vehicles has now progressed to C5ISR systems. C4ISR, which stands for “Command, Control, Communications Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Recon” refers to systems that support the actions of ground and air vehicles in hostile areas. C5ISR systems add an extra “C” for cyber-defense, which constitutes technologies and protocols for data protection, system hardening, and fault prevention along with C4ISR capabilities.
With the development of CMOSS, the military intends to fit pre-existing vehicles with a common, ruggedized chassis with the capability to support the swapping out and in of capability cards to suit the needs of operators in an area. This allows for flexible and rapid alteration of a vehicle’s capabilities without the need for extensive tune-up procedures, reducing the amount of lag between decision and action. Just recently, a CMOSS chassis was implemented on a Stryker vehicle as part of a Network Modernization Experiment (NetModX), and standards shone through, allowing the application of a PNT application, the Mounted Mission Command Application, and a communications solutions. The experiment leaves engineers hopeful for the future of CMOSS, and plug-and-play technologies for military use in general.

The Role of Cloud Computing with Lab Modernization and Innovation towards the future

As the military reaches towards open-systems and agile development, the role of cloud computing technologies in this pursuit cannot be ignored in Lab Modernization and Innovation. With regards especially to interfacing with remote mobile systems, the Internet of Battle Things (IOBT), and legacy IT modernization, hybrid cloud solutions will undoubtedly play a critical role.

We at CCT have years of experience engineering, designing, and deploying cloud based solutions and functionality suites. But cloud technologies are a burgeoning field, and that’s a claim many could make. What sets us apart for this endeavor is the fact that we are a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) firm, and that means we’re a seasoned and experienced government contractor.

If you think your business can potentially have a role in assisting the military in the pursuit of its forward thinking goals, let us help strengthen your case for that contract. Give us a call today!

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