Posts tagged Lockheed Martin
Obama is not working
The Obama administration issued new guidance intended for defense contractors Friday afternoon, reiterating the administration’s position that the companies should not be issuing layoff notices over sequestration.
The Labor Department issued guidance in July saying it would be “inappropriate” for contractors to issue notices of potential layoffs tied to sequestration cuts. But a few contractors, most notably Lockheed Martin, said they still were considering whether to issue the notices — which would be sent out just days before the November election.
But the Friday guidance from the Office of Management and Budget raised the stakes in the dispute, telling contractors that they would be compensated for legal costs if layoffs occur due to contract cancellations under sequestration — but only if the contractors follow the Labor guidance.
The guidance said that if plant closings or mass layoffs occur under sequestration, then “employee compensation costs for [Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification] WARN act liability as determined by a court” would be paid for covered by the contracting federal agency.
Senate Republicans, who accused the White House of trying to hide job losses after the first guidance, said Friday that the new OMB statement “puts politics ahead of American workers.”
“The Obama Administration is cynically trying to skirt the WARN Act to keep the American people in the dark about this looming national security and fiscal crisis,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said in a statement.
“The president should insist that companies act in accordance with the clearly stated law and move forward with the layoff notices.” The fight over WARN Act notices began in June when Lockheed Martin CEO Bob Stevens said his company might send the notices to all 123,000 of its employees.
Some companies were hesitant to follow Lockheed, but several others told McCain in letters earlier this month they might send the notices, too, despite the Labor Department guidance.
But the new guidance would appear to address one of the chief concerns from the companies — that they could be liable to compensate employees who were laid off if the companies don’t issue the notices.
The GOP senators complained, however, that this tactic would push the cost of the layoffs onto taxpayers. A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman told The Hill that the company is still reviewing the documents. source- The Hill
Related Social: The 666 Surveillance System
Imagine a cheap, tiny, hovering aerial drone capable of being launched with the flick of a person’s wrist and able to provide manipulable 360-degree surveillance views.
It’s real, it’s inspired by maple seeds, and the company behind it, Lockheed Martin, envisions a future in which swarms of the new drones can be deployed at a fraction of the cost and with greater capabilities than drones being used today by the military and other agencies.
“Think about dropping a thousand of these out of an aircraft,” said Bill Borgia, head of Lockheed Martin’s Intelligent Robotics Lab, in a phone interview with TPM, “Think about the wide area over which one collect imagery. Instead of sending one or two expensive, highly valuable aircraft like we do today, you could send thousands of these inexpensive aircraft, and they are almost expendable.”
The new drone which looks like very similar to a maple seed, with a small pod-like body attached a single whirring blade, is called the Samarai. The name is derived from the Latin word“samara,” which means a winged seed, just like the one that inspired its physical design, flight pattern and construction.
In June, Lockheed Martin released a video demo of the drone’s capabilities, and it is clearly impressive, launched by hand and piloted using a tablet computer, which also displays the drone’s live surveillance feed.
“You can literally pull this out of your pocket, throw it into the air, and it can start flying,” Borgia told TPM. “It can take off and land vertically indoors.”
Borgia said that the drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), was designed to be deployed in confined settings, such as urban environments or even inside buildings, where it could be piloted into different rooms and hover outside of windows, collecting surveillance footage with ease.
The technology behind the drone is even more sophisticated than it looks. There are only two moving mechanical parts in the entire tiny 30-cm aircraft: The piece that makes the propeller rotate and a flap on the large wing that comprises most of the drone’s form.
Then there’s the Samarai’s realtime video feed, which an operator can pan and tilt in a full 360 degrees, a capability not found on any other drone of its class, this despite the fact that the drone only contains one camera which is constantly being whipped around by the rotating motion of the aircraft itself.
In order to obtain a steady video feed with the ability to virtually pan and tilt, Lockheed relies on a series of image processing algorithms, Borgia told TPM.
“The algorithms sort of de-rotate the video and turn it back into a frame-by-frame view, similar to what you would see on any basic TV,” Borgia said. “All of the image processing is done onboard.”
That means that even if disconnected from the cloud or a control server, the Samarai would still be able to provide its operators with constant surveillance capabilities.
Borgia declined to specify the drone’s range or endurance, that is, the time it’s able to stay aloft in the air.
However, he did note that the Lockheed researchers behind Samarai had experimented with battery-powered and carbon-based fuel versions (the battery powered version is the one demonstrated in the video). Borgia further said that the researchers had “developed simulation tools that allow us to scale the vehicle to meet specific applications,” asked for by customers.
Lockheed Martin has not revealed any of its customers or potential partners on the Samarai yet, but Borgia said the company would make announcements “when the customers were ready.”
Besides the 30-cm version shown in the June demo video, Lockheed also has field-tested a 17-cm version and is working now to scale down the Samarai even further, to the size of an actual maple seed.
Asked about any potential privacy concerns presented by the Samarai, especially in light of the recent release of a voluntary industry “code of conduct” from drone manufacturers, Borgia said that “customers will have to work through the hurdles.” Lockheed Martin began work on the Samarai in 2007 under a Defense Department program called “nano air,” designed to produce “an extremely small, ultra lightweight air vehicle system.” source – TPM