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By Debbie Gregory.

In tests conducted with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command in August, the Army’s Advanced Test High Energy Asset (ATHENA) laser weapon brought down five 10.8′ wingspan Outlaw unmanned aerial systems.

Once ATHENA took aim at the back rudders of the Outlaw drones , they burst into flame, spiraling into a tailspin, falling to the ground.

“The system defeated airborne targets in flight by causing loss of control and structural failure,” Lockheed Martin said in press release. “Lockheed Martin and the Army will conduct post mission reviews, and data collected will be used to further refine the system, improve model predictions and inform development of future laser systems.”

Knocking drones out of the sky is just one of the uses that Lockheed envisions for its new laser technology. Lockheed Martin is hoping to expand the utility of its laser weapons systems to aircraft, ground vehicles, and ships.

“As we mature the technology behind laser weapon systems, we’re making the entire system more effective and moving closer to a laser weapon that will provide greater protection to our warfighters by taking on more sophisticated threats from a longer range,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin’s Chief Technology Officer.

“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems,” said Jackson. “We are investing in every component of the system – from the optics and beam control to the laser itself – to drive size, weight and power efficiencies.

ATHENA is a transportable, ground-based system that serves as a low-cost test bed for demonstrating technologies required for military use of laser weapon systems. Lockheed Martin is positioning laser weapon systems for success on the battlefield because of their speed, flexibility, precision and low cost per engagement.

 

The University of West Florida’s Military & Veterans Resource Center, in Partnership

with Veterans Florida, is conducting no-cost Entrepreneurial Workshops for Honorably

Discharged Veterans — Workshops that can lead to participating in a Business Plan

Competition where the three top Winners share $40,000 in Cash and In-Kind Services.

If you are interested in launching a Startup or growing your existing business, the next

Workshop is Saturday, October 28, from 9 a.m. until Noon at the Pensacola UWF Conference

Center.  Breakfast and snacks will be served, and participants have the opportunity to win Door Prizes as well.

The Topic is “Veterans – Don’t Be a Bean Counter — Learn the Secrets of Painless Accounting!”

For MORE INFORMATION please see:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/veterans-dont-bean-counter-learn-secrets-painless-robert-l-foster/

For REGISTRATION AND MORE INFORMATION please see:

http://www.veteransflorida.org/veterans/veterans-florida-entrepreneurship-program/

By Debbie Gregory.

It appears that the Army’s Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) program has been cancelled as part of a massive review of Army small arms programs.

The program was officially announced on August 4th, and lasted just over a month before its cancellation. The ICSR was proposed as a means of countering the new generation of cheap, highly effective body armors likely to be worn by America’s enemies. Experts both inside and outside the Army believed that the Army’s current issue 5.56-millimeter bullet would not be able to penetrate new armor, and that a larger, heavier bullet that transfers more energy to the target is necessary.

The cancellation was a direct result of the three-month, continuing resolution passed by Congress on Sept. 14, which Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned lawmakers would kill the ICSR effort along with 17 other Army start-up programs.

But that does not does not necessarily mean the end of the Army’s M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) program.

Debi Dawson , spokesperson for the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier) office confirmed that the new standard-issue 7.62mm caliber rifle system is currently in the production qualification testing.

Asked if the new sniper rifle program has encountered any political or budgetary problems, Dawson stated that the CSASS “has encountered no such obstacles.”

Army Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings, who is charge of the programs that provide most of a soldier’s gear and weapons — said that the Army was still weighing a short-term stand-in for the M4/M16 rifle platform while a new one is developed.

“Right now, many are focused on the ICSR or SDMR,” Cummings said. “But that’s not the long-term way ahead. The long-term way ahead is a brand new rifle for all of the Department of Defense called the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW.)”

The NGSW would be “one end-all solution,” he added, with a carbine model replacing the M4 and a rifle version replacing the M249 squad automatic weapon. Both would likely fire a round larger than the current 5.56 mm.

By Debbie Gregory.

To replace its aging fleet of Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM-8) “Mike Boats”, the U.S. Army has awarded a massive contract to Oregon-based shipbuilder Vigor Works.

The Vigor Maneuver Support Vessel (Light) (Vigor MSV [L])  was designed and developed in partnership with BMT following a detailed study of the Army’s unique needs.

The contract represents the largest award in Vigor’s history, with a total value of $979,390,000 over a ten year period. The contract will provide sustained full time employment for roughly 200 skilled artisans.

The draft production schedule would have a prototype built for testing in FY2019,  four will be built during Low Rate Initial Production between FY 21 and FY 22; and, should the program reach full scale production, 32 will be produced during a four-year period between FY23 through FY27.

“This award is the culmination of a five year process of research and development that first began with Kvichak prior to its merger with Vigor,” said Vigor CEO Frank Foti. “We are honored to have been selected to serve the Army in this important project.”

The landing craft’s tribow monohull is an innovative design that provides superior maneuverability and stability in high sea states.

The 100-foot long beach landing boat is capable of hauling one M1A2 Abrams tank, a pair of Stryker armored transports, or four Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, and their trailers.

The new boats boast a top speed of 18 knots and will replace the slower 74-foot long Landing Craft Mechanized 8, which tops out at eight knots — and has been in service since the 1950’s.

The introduction of the MSV(L) into the fleet, says the Army, “will enable the agency to meet its movement, maneuver, and integrated expeditionary sustainment requirements with a more agile, versatile; and capable platform. The MSV(L) will conduct movement and maneuver of tactical force elements as well as traditional Army Watercraft System sustainment operations.”

By Debbie Gregory.

Equifax is set to receive $7.25 million to help the IRS identify taxpayers and prevent fraud under a no-bid contract. Equifax is currently embroiled in a massive security breach that exposed the personal information of some 145 million Americans.

The IRS needed to outsource this work because it’s handling a dispute on a different contract that affects its ability to fulfill these duties.

According to the Federal Business Opportunities database, the contract is a “sole source order,” meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service.

The partnership between the IRS and Equifax has received bipartisan flak from both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers feel that it is irresponsible for the IRS to turn over millions in taxpayer dollars to a company that in the midst of one of the most massive data breaches in a decade.

“The Finance Committee will be looking into why Equifax was the only company to apply for and be rewarded with this,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR.) “I will continue to take every measure possible to prevent taxpayer data from being compromised as this arrangement moves forward.”

The IRS took a defensive position, saying that Equifax told the agency that none of its data was involved in the breach.

Equifax already provides similar services to the IRS under a previous contract.

While Equifax’s September data breach has mostly subsided, but the actual damage will play out for years. Attackers initially got into the affected customer-dispute portal through a vulnerability in the Apache Struts platform, an open-source web application service popular with corporate clients. Apache disclosed and patched the relevant vulnerability some six months earlier.

Additionally, Equifax stored sensitive consumer information in plain text rather than encrypting it.

Equifax is one of three major credit reporting bureaus whose data determine consumer credit. This includes those trying to qualify for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, etc.

Do you think the IRS made the right decision?

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