NEWS NOTES

By Dale Atkinson and Eric Edwards

AJEM 4.21.2 AND 4.21.2.1 (PATCH) RELEASED

The Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Data & Analysis Center (DEVCOM DAC) recently announced that it has released version 4.21.2 and 4.21.2.1 (patch) of the Advanced Joint Effectiveness Model (AJEM). Accredited by the Department of Defense (DoD) and tri-Service-approved for ballistic survivability, vulnerability, and lethality analyses, AJEM is currently used by more than 600 registered DoD and contractor users to support a wide range of damage assessment, test and evalua­tion, and weapon system acquisition efforts. The new capabilities featured in version 4.21.2 include improved support for assessing cumulative damage and time/event-based analysis, as well as improved efficiency in the verification and accreditation process. Likewise, the version 4.21.2.1 patch contains notable corrections for analyses using ProjPen 3.0 and/or FATEPEN fragment threats.

For more information about the model or version details, readers are encouraged to contact the AJEM Model Manager, Ms. Marianne Kunkel, at marianne.kunkel.civ@mail.mil. To obtain the latest version of AJEM, users should contact DSIAC at https://www.dsiac. org/?models=ajem.

STINGRAY CONDUCTS FIRST UNMANNED AERIAL REFUELING

U.S. Navy Photo

In June, the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) announced the first ever successful aerial refueling operation between a manned receiver aircraft and an unmanned tanker. The operation was part of flight testing conducted near Mascoutah, IL; and an unmanned MQ-25 Stingray was used to transfer fuel to a piloted F/A-18 Super Hornet using the Navy’s standard probe-and-drogue method.

The MQ-25A Stingray is expected to be the world’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft, providing critical aerial refueling and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. As such, it will greatly expand the operational reach and flexibility of the carrier air wing and carrier strike group, as well as its overall lethality. Ongoing testing of the MQ-25, which is part of the Navy’s Unmanned Campaign Framework, will include flight envelope expansion, engine testing, and deck handling testing aboard aircraft carriers.

PFLEDDERER NAMED 704 TG FLIGHT CHIEF

Ms. Lynne Pfledderer

Ms. Lynne Pfledderer joined the Survivability Assessment Flight, 704th Test Group, Aerospace Survivability and Safety Office (704 TG/OL-AC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH, as the Flight Chief in April 2020, taking over the reins after Alex Kurtz’s retirement. The 704 TG/OL-AC is the Air Force’s test organization responsible for U.S.C. Title 10 Live Fire Testing & Evaluation (LFT&E), supporting various Air Force program offices, as well as LFT&E modeling and simulation and vulnerability reduction research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E).

Ms. Pfledderer comes with a wealth of experience in aircraft RDT&E. Prior to joining 704 TG/OL-AC, she was the Chief of the Structural Validation Branch in the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Aerospace Systems Directorate, overseeing experimental structures R&D involving thermal, mechanical, acoustic, and vibration conditions. Ms. Pfledderer also served in a variety of technical and leadership positions in the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. She expanded the Air Force’s suite of erosion RDT&E experi­mental capabilities, forming the DoD Rotor Blade Working Group, and served as the AFRL representative on the Joint Turbine Engine Sand Ingestions Working Group.

Ms. Pfledderer holds a B.S. in materials science and engineering from Wright State University and an M.S. in materials engineering from the University of Dayton.

DARPA’S MFP PROGRAM SETS ITS SIGHTS ON DRONE THREATS

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently demonstrated at Eglin Air Force, FL, a counter-unmanned air system (C-UAS) that can automatically detect, intercept, and defeat small enemy drone threats flying over U.S. military installations and operations. The low-cost, reusable system is part of the Mobile Force Protection (MFP) program, which is a collaborative effort between DARPA, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard, Dynetics, Saab Defense and Security, and SRC.

The MFP C-UAS was primarily designed to provide protection for U.S. troop convoys and other personnel moving through densely populated or sensitive areas where explosive defense weap­ons cannot be safely employed. As shown in Figure 1, the system works by employing a newly developed X band radar to automatically sense and identify enemy drones and then launch and guide the appropriate rotary- or fixed-wing interceptor to disable the drone using one of several types of available countermeasures. These countermeasures reportedly include a stringy streamer, which the interceptor launches into the drone’s propeller to foul it, as well as a high-power micro­wave.

Figure 1. MFP Drone Interceptor Launch (Photo Courtesy of DARPA).