General Atomics Li-Ion Battery System Tapped for Dry Combat Submersible

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that it has signed a contract with Lockheed Martin to provide Lithium-ion Fault Tolerant (LiFT) battery systems for use on U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) new Dry Combat Submersible (DCS), a long endurance delivery vehicle capable of transporting divers in a dry environment (Figure 1). The GA-EMS LiFT battery system will power the DCS propulsion and internal support systems.

Figure 1 Lockheed’s Dry Combat Submersible houses up eight individuals and keeps them dryer on critical underwater missions.

LiFT battery systems are high energy density solutions for both manned and unmanned underwater vehicles.  LiFT’s single cell fault tolerance prevents uncontrolled and catastrophic cascading cell failure. This not only ensures the safety of any on-board personnel, but also ensures systems continue to operate through faults to enable mission completion. In April of this year, the LiFT battery system successfully underwent at-sea on-hull demonstration testing on a USSOCOM undersea vehicle.

General Atomics
San Diego, CA.
(858) 455-3000


Microsemi Space Solutions Fly on Juno Spacecraft
Microsemi has extended its congratulations to NASA for the Juno spacecraft’s successful mission to date, including its orbit insertion at Jupiter, as its mission turns towards the data collection phase. After an almost five-year journey the spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit (Figure 2). A wide variety of Microsemi’s radiation-tolerant products were used in mission critical applications during Juno’s launch and journey across the solar system.

Figure 2 A wide variety of Microsemi’s radiation-tolerant products were used in mission critical applications during Juno’s launch and journey across the solar system.

Over the next few months, Juno’s mission and science teams will complete the transition to the final 14-day science orbit and initiate formal collection of scientific data. Microsemi’s radiation-tolerant field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from the RTSX-SU and RTAX-S product families are in use within the space vehicle’s command and control systems, and in various instruments which have now been deployed and are returning scientific data. Microsemi’s high and low voltage radiation-hardened power supply modules support guidance and controls systems on board the Juno spacecraft.

Aliso Viejo CA
(949) 380-6100


US Navy Links SM-6 with F-35 Aircraft in Flight Test
In a first-of-its-kind engagement, a Raytheon Standard Missile-6 linked with an F-35 fighter destroyed a medium-range, medium-altitude, subsonic target. The USS Desert Ship (LLS 1), a land-based U.S. Navy Combat System equipped with the latest AEGIS Baseline, fired the SM-6, which intercepted the over-the-horizon target, out of sight of its operators.

The mission was the latest in a test series for Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air, or NIFC-CA, a program designed to link U.S. Navy ships and various airborne sensors, such as the F-35, into a single integrated sensor network. During this capability demonstration, the SM-6 received continuous updates from the network, including the fighter aircraft, leading to the successful intercept of the target.

Waltham, MA
(781) 522-3000


EXCLUSIVE: Four Security Principles for an Interconnected World-an Op-Ed

Scott Orton, VP, Secure Processing Solutions

Mercury Systems


The issue of security in support of critical defense platforms and missions has never been more important. Several years ago the conversation around building security into the elements and subsystems that make up defense platforms was a “nice to have” consideration. This was weighed against other crucial demands as our acquisition professionals sought to field the most capable systems for our warfighters within the limits of their budgets. Today it is a “need to have” as the very effectiveness of the defense platform becomes dependent on the level of security afforded it.

Systems have been and will continue to become interconnected at an astonishing rate. Sometimes the connections are by design and sometimes they happen in an ad hoc manner. From a security perspective, these interconnections pose a significant risk due to data aggregation/linking, threat/vulnerability mismatches (or “seams”), and a lack of defensive countermeasure interoperability and integration. Due to this, even the best designed and scrutinized secure defense platform may become vulnerable because of an interconnection created outside of the parameters of the original design.

For this reason, we would urge that all electronic systems deployed for use by our warfighters employ some basic principles of “built-in” security. We recommend that as these principles become standards that they be worked out by a deliberative and knowledgeable independent body. The subsequent standards and guidelines may include requirements such as encrypted data-at-rest, secure start-up, user authentication, tamper monitoring and reporting, and secure run-time operation.

While security practitioners have been working diligently over the past couple of decades we feel it’s time to put in place some guiding principles. These principles allow us to start from a solid footing while also constraining our problem space in a way that allows for innovation while providing a framework from which to assess new ideas and approaches. We have put a good deal of time into developing and now executing against these principles with what we believe to be an industry leading approach to more secure defense platforms. More importantly we have a pragmatic plan of attack to put these principles into practice.

We embarked on our journey to develop and build secure building block solutions over eight years ago. Today we offer secure solutions that are complementary to our customers’ secure architectures. There are four principles to our secure solution thesis:

  • Secure Solutions Must Be Designed In: First and foremost, for defense platforms to be secure against today’s advanced threats, the security must be built-in, not bolted-on. This is necessary to address the seams in security implementations that form within a single platform due to the interplay between legacy and contemporary security policies as well as between the various security disciplines. An enabler of this principle is to provide secure building blocks that can be stitched together based on the threat even as they are integrated and customized during subsequent stages of integration. Done well, a building block approach promotes competition and innovation without large cost overlays or over-reliance on custom solutions. We are now entering into our fourth generation of building secure solutions that can then be integrated into a customer’s solution and ultimately the platform’s secure architecture.
  • Secure Solutions Must Be Domestic: The principle here is not about being xenophobic or unwelcoming of our more complex inter-connected world. The advantage of a domestic supply chain comes from the enforceable regulation and oversight of the suppliers and the consequence of US law should participants in that supply chain misbehave. Much of the broader IT industry, which the DoD has become dependent on, is now manufactured and sourced outside of the US, either in places where supply chains are hard to track, or even worse, in countries where there is the risk of a highly compromised solution. The potential for bad actors is significantly reduced when the supply chain has motivation to police itself at a high standard as it does in the US. We engineer, develop and manufacture all of our secure solutions domestically.
  • Secure Solutions Must Be Extensible: While the security community can attempt to “future proof” architectures through rigor and expertise, the unpredictable nature and deployment speed of threats against defense platforms require that we design in ways to quickly update and improve security capability. We provide secure building blocks that are standardized and can be used, in a repeatable way, by our customers who then include them in their secure architectures. This approach allows the customer to be in control as they build their secure processing platforms using and re-using our technologies as needed. It also allows for the replacement of building blocks as new security methods become preferred and/or new building blocks to be added as threats emerge.
  • Secure Solutions Must Be Interoperable and Integrated: The challenge with the maturing security disciplines of information assurance, anti-tamper, cyber-defense, and supply chain risk management is that adversaries will seek to attack the seams in these disciplines. This seems to only become more pronounced as policies in these disciplines are tailored across user communities and implemented to varying degrees across defense platforms. The attack vectors are uninhibited by the siloed walls of any particular security discipline and hence our security practices will need to also overcome these confines to be successful. Thankfully, there has been a growing convergence in the language, cross-training, and processes of these disciplines. Our next challenge will be to recognize the elements that form inter-platform solutions and to start requiring that the security of defense platforms be integrated before these technologies are exploited. Again, this challenge will be eased by incorporating “built-in” building blocks but also adding standardized interfaces. As multiple technologies are integrated into a single interconnected platform it is essential that standard interfaces are developed to allow interoperability in areas of encrypted data-at-rest, secure start-up, user authentication, tamper monitoring and reporting, and secure run-time operation.
Systems and networks in support of key defense platforms continue to become more complex. Interconnections and the technologies that stitch together complex systems have been challenged to accommodate the broad and asynchronous set of security requirements that span a set of interconnected platforms. For this reason we believe the time has come for a thoughtful and rigorous approach to security. We recommend a set of core principles that ensure technologies in support of a secure architecture: are built-in not bolted-on, utilize a domestic supply chain, are extensible and upgradeable, and are integrated and interoperable. These principles should be the founding basis for a set of standards, worked by an independent body, to ensure that the defense platforms our warfighters depend upon are not undermined in their mission due to seams caused by security boundaries in discipline or implementation. We believe that today security is a “must have” to the effectiveness of defense platforms and must be prioritized as such to meet the increasingly challenging demands of the warfighter.    Figure 3

Figure 3 Scott Orton, Vice President of Secure Processing Solutions for Mercury Defense Systems (see full bio below)

Scott Orton is Vice President of Secure Processing Solutions for Mercury Defense Systems. He brings in-depth technology industry experience spanning a wide variety of markets including communications, networking, security, and defense. Mr. Orton has an extensive background in Anti-Tamper (AT), including establishing the AT Executive Agent and authoring original Department of Defense (DoD) AT guidance. He also has deep expertise in program management within government and industry specializing in advanced technologies supporting Foreign Military Sale (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) exports. He was involved in the development, production and fielding of export-compliant military- critical systems for FMS and DCS.

Prior to joining Mercury Systems, Mr. Orton worked for Raytheon for 12 years, where he held positions of increasing responsibility, most recently Program Director, F-16 RACR. In addition, he supported SAF/AQ Special Programs and Space & Nuclear Deterrence, and he was also the program manager for multiple advanced technology developments and FMS programs. Mr. Orton served as Chairman, Revolution in Military Affairs for the Military Operations Research Society and was a member of the Scientific Advisory Board Study for the United States Air Force.

Mr. Orton has a Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. He received the Business Development Excellence Award from Raytheon as well as the Joseph B. Platt Award and the Outstanding Industry Partner awards from ANSER.


Mercury Systems
Chelmsford, MA
(978) 967-1401