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Variety of Technologies Are Showcased

Thursday, October 20, 2016

An app for emergency communications, an upgraded helicopter engine and enhanced night vision goggles were among the technologies on display at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Qnexis Inc., a Reston, Va.-based communications company, showcased an emergency communications app that provides mass notifications to mobile phones.

Company president and CEO Kurt Nguyen  said the mobile app is useful for routine communications between administrators and employees, providing company-wide or site-specific communications.

It’s even more useful, he said, for alerts such as fires, storms or active-shooter events. Under the RUOK—“are you OK?”—feature, companies can contact all employees at once with an alert message and get an immediate status report on whether anyone needs assistance.

Because the feature is tied to a cellphone, RUOK also can provide the location of each employee.

Nguyen said the cost depends on the number of employees but is about $5 per month for each one.

Toward the other end of the spectrum, Honeywell is planning a major upgrade to the venerable T55 engine that has powered the Army’s CH-47 Chinook helicopters for more than 50 years.

The upgraded engine, designated the T55 IPE, “will meet expected life needs well into the 2030s,” said Tom Hart, vice president for defense and space in Honeywell Aerospace.

The upgraded engine is expected to increase power efficiency by about 25 percent while cutting fuel usage by about 8 percent. It will “successfully showcase efficiency and power improvements in the most demanding environments,” Hart said.

Honeywell also is working on improvements in high-speed satellite communications, precision navigation systems and unmanned aerial vehicle systems improvements, among other military-related initiatives.

Northrup Grumman displayed a variety of systems and capabilities including digital helicopter cockpit and integrated avionics solutions as well as the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, “a revolutionary command-and-control system developed to deliver a single, unambiguous view of the battlespace.”

DRS Technologies had a similarly diverse portfolio of products on display, including its new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III, designed to provide rapid target acquisition and then wirelessly send the soldier’s weapon imagery from the sight to the NVG eyepiece.

The result: Soldiers can “rapidly engage targets even when protected behind an obstacle.”

DRS Technologies also highlighted its Joint Assault Bridge, a track/wheeled vehicle designed to carry and deploy a heavy “scissor” bridge that “allows mobility over wet or dry chasms.”