Tuesday, August 7, 2007

NGA:GeoEye-1, FCS, DARPA Watch, + Drills


Special Features: The Next-Generation Datacenter
It's All About Scale, Scale, Scale

"One of the factors that prompts many organizations to explore grid-based application platforms is the need to accommodate ever-increasing data volumes. GeoEye is no different in this regard. As the result of a public-private partnership between the company and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), GeoEye plans to launch its next-generation satellite in early 2008, and is working to prepare for the dramatic increase in image sizes that will result.
The new satellite, known as GeoEye-1, will provide unprecedented levels of image resolution. From an orbit of 423 miles above Earth, GeoEye-1 will have a ground resolution of 0.41-meters, or about 16 inches. It will be the world’s highest resolution commercial Earth-imaging satellite and be able to collect some 700,000 square kilometers of imagery each day in panchromatic mode. That is equivalent to an area the size of Texas. The images that the satellite returns are five times larger than those returned by its current satellite, and as a result the company must process many terabytes of data per day.
With Appistry EAF, GeoEye is able to easily process this increased volume of real-time data while simultaneously reducing hardware and software acquisition and recurring costs by an estimated 77 percent."

Fact Sheet on the Army’s Future Combat Systems

Future Combat Systems (FCS)
The Future Combat Systems (FCS) is a family of systems currently being developed to include manned vehicles, unmanned aerial and ground vehicles, unattended sensors, new munitions, launchers and a network for communication and data-sharing between all FCS elements. This "system-of-systems" is the centerpiece of the Army’s attempt to transform itself into what it describes as a lighter, more agile and more capable force.
FCS vehicles will be incorporated into the Army’s brigade-sized modular force structure, and are expected to replace such current systems as the M-1 Abrams tank and the M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.
Current plans call for 18 individual systems, including the following:
unattended ground sensors (UGS);
Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS) and Intelligent Munitions System (IMS);
four classes of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which will be organic to platoon, company, battalion and other echelons;
three classes of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs): the Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV), the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) and the Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment Vehicle (MULE);
eight types of manned ground vehicles;
the network;
and the individual soldier and his personal equipment and weapons with additional gear to link him to these systems.
The program was initiated as an attempt to find the means for the Army to rapidly deploy overwhelming combat power in response to overseas crises. FCS vehicles were intended to weigh less and require less logistical support than current heavy weapons while retaining the same, or better, levels of lethality and survivability.
The Army’s goals for FCS networking architecture are: to augment connectivity inside Army units and with other services, to increase situational awareness and understanding on the battlefield and to further synchronize operations. The idea is that superior information will allow soldiers to hit their enemy first instead of relying on heavy armor to withstand a hit. Put another way, the concept assumes lighter armor is an acceptable trade off for more communications and computers because the network will routinely permit soldiers to find, identify and kill enemy anti-armor systems before they have a chance to attack. Based on the deployment of prototypical systems in Iraq since the beginning of the war there, analysts at CDI are unaware that this concept has achieved even rudimentary feasibility. Indeed, the devastating success of enemy IEDs and EFPs in Iraq has led to the deployment of heavier armor, not lighter, and an acknowledgement that the enemy rarely permits itself to be found and identified by sensor hardware.
Reconciliation of requirements with technical feasibility and at least some appreciation of events in the real world have necessitated some FCS modifications, such as significant increases in manned ground vehicle weight to meet survivability requirements. One effect has been to compromise original transportability requirements. The feasibility of other FCS requirements depends on key assumptions about immature technologies, costs and other performance characteristics, most notably the feasibility and reliability of the network.
According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the FCS program office has reported that 35 of 46 FCS technologies have met or surpassed Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6, which means that a system model or prototype has been demonstrated in a relevant environment. This assessment exceeded predictions made in 2006 by an independent review team that only 22 of the program’s 49 critical technologies would reach TRL 6 in 2007. However, some remaining key FCS technologies, including lightweight armor and active protection, have yet to reach TRL 6, and much of the program’s unprecedented software development effort still lies ahead, leaving a fundamental challenge unresolved.
In March 2002, the Army designated both Boeing and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as lead systems integrators for the program. Boeing is the main contractor and SAIC is being subcontracted by Boeing. Both companies are acting as program managers and select other subcontractors to supply the program’s technologies and systems.
The employment of a Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) to manage the program reflects the Army’s limited willingness, if not ability, to undertake such an ambitious undertaking itself. While some argue that the LSI approach allows flexibility in responding to shifting priorities, others point out potential risks to the Army’s ability to oversee the program and the failure of the LSI approach in other programs.
Originally administered under an Other Transactions Authority (OTA) arrangement, under the leadership of Senator John McCain, R – Ariz., the Army was encouraged to restructure the FCS program and to put it under a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)-based contract. Other objectives of the restructured program include:
Fielding FCS technologies to the current force in discrete "spirals" starting in FY 2008
Addressing congressional language requiring the Army to field the Non Line of Sight Cannon (NLOS-C ) and its resupply vehicle by 2010 as well as deliver eight combat operational preproduction NLOS-C systems by the end of CY 2008
Fielding all 18 systems instead of the 14 which were funded under the previous program
Designating an evaluation brigade to test spiraled FCS capabilities

"Kill Proof," Animal-Esque Soldiers: DARPA Goal

DARPA Chief says: failure key to its far side strategy

Gigantic, Robotic Spy Blimp Creeps Forward


Knox County practices chemical attack drill

GALESBURG - Knox County is testing emergency procedures for getting medication to first responders and their families after a chemical attack in a drill that started Monday and ends today.
The drill is being coordinated by the Knox County Health Department, said department public information officer Carrie Andrews.
About 30 county agencies are being paged to respond to an anthrax attack in the drill. The agencies must send in a list of how many police officers, firefighters or ambulance services workers they have and how many adults and children are in their immediate families. (cont..)
Airpower key to Exercise Valiant Shield (update)

2007 - HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii (AFPN) -- Members of the 613th Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam Air Force Base will provide command and control of flying operations above and around Guam during Exercise Valiant Shield Aug. 6 to 13. (cont..)

President Musharraf inaugurates Navy’s exercise

KARACHI, Aug 7 (APP): A strong and viable Navy is indispensable for obtaining a conducive maritime environment. This was stated by President General Pervez Musharraf while attending the opening session of Pakistan Navy’s war game exercise ‘Shamsheer-e-Behr III at PNS Jauhar here on Tuesday. (cont..)

Exeter officials host drill for avian flu

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