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Retired Marine Four-Star Patents Jet-Killing Drone Boat

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By Debbie Gregory.

There may be a big game changer in naval warfare because of two patents that were recently awarded to a retired Marine Corps four-star.

John Allen and SparkCognition CEO Amir Husain have been granted a patent for a seagoing mothership for quadcopters designed to fake out enemy fighter pilots, and another patent for a drone boat equipped to spot and shoot down enemy aircraft.

The patent for the drone boat reads: “A plurality of submersible vessels can cooperatively engage threats.”  “For example, the plurality of submersible vessels can coordinate with each other to observe, confirm, track, and engage threats by efficiently allocating resources, such as ordnance, among themselves. As one example, the plurality of submersible vessels can create a ‘dome’ of protection around assets, such as naval vessels or civilian vessels.”

For the most part, the U.S. military has been more willing to employ autonomous weapons in the maritime environment, where they’re less likely to cause unintended civilian casualties than on land.

“The design of the system certainly makes it capable” of firing autonomously, Husain said. “But the way in which a proposed system such as this is operationalized in the battlefield depends on many factors, and ultimately, international law and the policies of the United States Government as manifested in the oversight of the DoD and decision-making of the relevant commanders.”

“We see autonomous systems as platforms that can potentially deliver smaller kinetic effects with far greater precision, thus reducing the unintended damage. Autonomous systems should present a superior and more humane option than pulling the lanyard on a loaded artillery piece,”  said Husain.

In 2016, the first crewless warship, the Sea Hunter, launched as part of the DARPA Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. Christened in Portland, Oregon, the vessel continues the line of experimental “Sea” ships, including the Sea Shadow, Sea Fighter, and Sea Slice.The Sea Hunter is classified as a Class III USV and designated the Medium Displacement Unmanned Surface Vehicle (MDUSV).

Following his 37-year military career,  Allen was appointed by former President Barack Obama as Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, where he led the complex assignment of building, from conception, a robust international coalition that would undertake a wide range of political, diplomatic, military, economic, and other efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.

Boeing to Acquire Millennium Space Systems

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By Debbie Gregory.

In a bid to expand Boeing’s satellite and space portfolio, talent and capabilities, the company announced it plans to acquire military contractor Millennium Space Systems. Both companies are based in El Segundo, California.

Boeing is already well known for its work in assembling school bus-sized satellites. Once the deal closes, Millennium Space Systems will report to the general manager of Boeing’s Phantom Works research division.

The privately-owned company, whose main customer is the U.S. Air Force, develops and manufactures military satellites with expertise in complex systems engineering.

One of Millennium Space Systems’ satellites developed for the Air Force is expected to launch next year. It will host an experimental missile-warning sensor as part of a larger Air Force effort to develop next-generation overhead persistent infrared technologies.

“I am proud of the talented and dedicated team we’ve built at Millennium Space Systems over the past 17 years,” said Stan Dubyn, CEO of Millennium Space Systems. “By combining our tools, talent, technologies and culture, we’ll be able to do even more incredible things as part of Boeing.”

Millennium Space Systems was founded in 2001 and has approximately 260 employees. It has developed satellites ranging from 50 kg to more than 6,000 kg.

Small satellites, which are cheaper to make and launch, are increasingly being used for commercial purposes, such as capturing Earth imagery and providing broadband internet.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a challenge that would reward commercial companies that can launch smaller rockets, at a moment’s notice, that give tiny satellites a dedicated ride to space.

Once finalized, Millennium Space Systems will become a Boeing subsidiary, operating under its current business model and reporting to Mark Cherry, vice president and general manager of Phantom Works.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of third quarter 2018.

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a $4.2 million contract to BAE Systems to develop specialized software that will aid military planners in understanding and addressing the dynamics that drive conflicts around the world.

The idea is to use technologies to “model different political, territorial and economic tensions that often lead to conflicts” and will help “planners to avoid unexpected outcomes,” according to the BAE website.

BAE is developing software called Causal Modeling for Knowledge Transfer, Exploration, and Temporal Simulation (CONTEXTS). The CONTEXTS software , the first-of-its-kind, is intended to create an interactive model of an operational environment, allowing planners to explore the causes of a conflict and assess potential approaches.

“Military planners often conduct manual research and use limited modelling tools to generate models and evaluate conflict situations, which are extremely time consuming and labor intensive,” said Chris Eisenbies, product line director of the Autonomy, Controls, and Estimation group at BAE Systems. “To break down these barriers, CONTEXTS will use reasoning algorithms and simulations with the goal to give planners a quicker and deeper understanding of conflicts to help avoid unexpected and counter-intuitive outcomes.”

BAE Systems, Inc. is the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems plc, an international defense, aerospace and security company.

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, BAE Systems, Inc. provides support and service solutions for current and future defense, intelligence, and civilian systems; designs, develops and manufactures a wide range of electronic systems and subsystems for both military and commercial applications; produces specialized security and protection products; and designs, develops, produces, and provides service support of armored combat vehicles, artillery systems, and munitions.

DARPA’s mission is to invest in breakthrough technologies. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming concepts into reality. Besides game-changing military capabilities, the results have included the Internet, automated voice recognition and language translation, and consumer-friendly Global Positioning System receivers.