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August 29, 2015

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Pentagon, private sector in tech tie-up

THE Pentagon is teaming up with Apple, Boeing, Harvard and others to develop high-tech sensory gear flexible enough to be worn by people or molded onto the outside of a jet.

The rapid development of new technologies is forcing the Pentagon to seek partnerships with the private sector rather than developing the technology itself, defense officials say.

“I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in prepared remarks yesterday.

“Now we’re taking another step forward.”

The new technology aims to use high-end printing technologies to create stretchable electronics that could be embedded with sensors and worn by soldiers, a defense official said, and could ultimately be used on ships or warplanes for real-time monitoring of their structural integrity.

The US government is contributing US$75 million over five years, he said, and companies, managed by the US Air Force Research Laboratory, will add US$90 million, with local governments chipping in more to take the total to US$171 million.

Carter said the FlexTech Alliance has 162 firms, universities and other groups.


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