April 16, 2021
Britain calls out Russia for ‘malign’ cyber attacks, Exoskeleton technology closer than ever to hitting the market, With new CH-47 variant back in flight tests, Boeing hopes for production contract, Martin UAV wins US Navy’s Mi2 Technology Demonstration competition.
HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES
Britain calls out Russia for ‘malign’ cyber attacks (Telegraph)
• Britain has accused the Kremlin of being behind cyber attacks on UK soil and summoned the Russian ambassador to the Foreign Office.
• It came as Joe Biden imposed tough new economic sanctions on Moscow, and expelled 10 Russian diplomats, over the same SolarWinds hack that caused chaos to US government computer systems last year.
• For the first time, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the defensive branch of GCHQ, confirmed that a “low single-digit number” of public sector organisations had been hit, although it said the impact had been “low”.
• It refused to confirm reports that NHS trusts were among the infiltrated targets, but a Government source said the “objective was espionage, aiming to obtain information”.
• At the Foreign Office, Sir Philip Barton, the Permanent Under Secretary, expressed Britain’s “deep concern” to Andrei Kelin, the Russian ambassador, over a “pattern of malign activity” including cyber attacks, interference in democratic processes, and the build-up of military forces near Ukraine.
• The ambassador was told the Kremlin “needs to cease its provocations”.
Exoskeleton technology closer than ever to hitting the market (Shephard News)
• Sarcos Defence, a subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics, could be ready to deliver the Guardian DX defence robot as early as Q3 next year.
• Sarcos Robotics is developing a Teleoperated Dexterous Robot for the US armed forces, under a contract awarded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in 2020.
• The Guardian DX defence robot leverages technologies already developed through its Guardian XO robotic exoskeleton.
• In the same year (2019) that the US Army terminated its Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) programme, USSOCOM awarded Sarcos Robotics a contract to deliver a pre-production version of its Guardian XO full-body, autonomously powered robotic exoskeleton.
• The 2019 contract was followed in 2020 by another for USMC use of the Guardian XO exoskeleton Alpha Unit, with delivery initially expected by the end of 2020.
• After Sarcos Robotics announced a merger with Rotor Acquisition Corporation, in this video Shephard speaks to Ben Wolff, Chairman and CEO of Sarcos, to discuss upcoming deliveries of the Guardian DX and developments with Guardian XO, plus future investment plans.
With new CH-47 variant back in flight tests, Boeing hopes for production contract (Defense News)
• The U.S. Army has yet to schedule a limited-user test for the latest variant of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, instead ordering its return to flight testing to gather more data. But despite issues cropping up in previous testing, Boeing is confident it will win a first production contract in fiscal 2021, two company executives told Defense News.
• Boeing believes the program is still on track to deliver CH-47F Block II Chinook cargo helicopters to the first Army unit in 2025. The company is already delivering the first of the special operations version of the helicopter — the MH-47G — with two in hand and another to be delivered in a few weeks, Andy Builta, company vice president and H-47 program manager, said in an April 14 interview. There are 24 on order.
• The F-model Block II variant has already flown a total of 450 flight test hours to date, he said. Last month, Boeing proved the new variant’s rotor blades can handle an additional 2,500 pounds of lift, and the firm will continue to run ground tests on the new blades this fiscal year.
• F-model Block IIs in the engineering and manufacturing development phase returned to testing last week, with one more aircraft left to instrument next week, Builta said.
Martin UAV wins US Navy’s Mi2 Technology Demonstration competition (Janes)
• Martin UAV and its V-Bat 128 vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) tail-sitting fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) beat L3Harris and its FVR-90 VTOL hybrid quadcopter in the US Navy’s (USN’s) Mi2 Technology Demonstration unmanned aircraft effort.
• USN spokesperson Brittany Dickerson said on 15 April that the service intends to award a non-federal acquisition regulation (FAR)-based prototyping contract to Martin UAV in July and that contract negotiations are ongoing. This award is based on the results of a Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD)-sponsored Phase 2 live demonstration event that ended in December 2020 at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, the US Navy’s Innovation and Modernization Patuxent River (IMPAX) division announced on 12 April.
• Dickerson said that Martin UAV will initially provide three complete systems, including the air vehicle and control system, as part of this OT prototype project. Ongoing negotiations, she said, will determine the final number of aircraft for delivery supporting command prototyping efforts.
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WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Coronavirus latest news: Previous infection does not protect young people from Covid reinfection (Telegraph)
• Previous coronavirus infection does not fully protect young people against reinfection, research suggests.
• Researchers said that despite previous infection and the presence of antibodies, vaccination is still necessary to boost immune responses, prevent reinfection and reduce transmission.
• They added that young people should take up the vaccine whenever possible.
• Although the study was in young, fit, mostly male recruits, the researchers believe the risk of reinfection will apply to many young people.
• Professor Stuart Sealfon, of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and senior author of the study, said: “As vaccine rollouts continue to gain momentum it is important to remember that, despite a prior Covid-19 infection, young people can catch the virus again and may still transmit it to others.
• “Immunity is not guaranteed by past infection, and vaccinations that provide additional protection are still needed for those who have had Covid-19.”
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
William and Harry to be kept apart at Prince Philip’s funeral (Telegraph)
• The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex will walk behind their grandfather’s coffin at his funeral on Saturday. They will, however, be separated by the diplomatic presence of their cousin.
• The brothers, whose fractured relationship has not recovered since their last awkward encounter at Westminster Abbey a year ago, will be among the nine members of the royal family who will process on foot as the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin is driven on a Land Rover to St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
• The procession will evoke memories of how the brothers, aged 15 and 12, walked behind their mother’s coffin at her funeral in 1997. They will not, however, be side by side. Instead, in either a quirk of planning or a deliberate attempt to keep them apart, they will be separated by their cousin Peter Phillips. Inside the chapel, when the procession is reformed, they will once again be close — but not next — to each other.
• As details of Prince Philip’s funeral were released by Buckingham Palace it was confirmed that the Queen — like all 30 guests invited to the service — will wear a facemask. She will sit by herself in the quire of St George’s Chapel, with all mourners following coronavirus guidelines and remaining socially distanced. Buckingham Palace has confirmed that they will sit two metres apart.
• Philip was the guiding force behind his funeral arrangements. The end of the service will include a powerful reminder of his wartime service, when buglers of the Royal Marines will sound Action Stations, which would be used on warships to announce to all hands that they must go to battle stations. The bugle call was included on the specific instructions of Prince Philip, who also chose all the music, which is expected to include the sailors’ hymn Eternal Father, Strong to Save.
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