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The Lead

NASA’s morphing-wing technology could make flying more ... tolerable

May 6, 2015 1:09 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

While NASA experiments with tiltrotor drones capable of switching from aircraft to helicopter mid-air, it’s also testing a shape-changing wing that could save millions in fuel costs and improve the passenger experience. NASA has partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Ann Arbor-based FlexSys ...

House bill could save the A-10 (for selfish reasons)

April 30, 2015 10:41 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The House officially introduced a version of the annual defense budget that would save the A-10...

3D printing isn't rocket science. Or is it?

April 29, 2015 9:10 am | by Stratasys | Blogs | Comments

Do you think 3D printers are just a new fad for hobbyists or making knickknacks? Or limited to...

X-47B completes world’s first autonomous aerial refueling

April 27, 2015 11:52 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

You might remember the X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator as the first drone...

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4 ways Mars One can attract women to its mission

April 22, 2015 1:27 pm | by Vincent Hyman, Mars One Volunteer | Blogs | Comments

As a world-wide, nongovernmental venture, Mars One seeks to involve people from around the world in the settlement of Mars. But since women are usually underrepresented in space activities, Mars One may need to make extra efforts to involve women and gain ...

DoD official: The F-35 won’t outperform the A-10

April 16, 2015 10:58 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The F-35’s critics have denounced the Joint Strike Fighter for years, but this is one of the first concessions from a high-level government official that this flying Swiss Army Knife won’t live up to its lofty billing. The F-35’s battlefield capabilities won’t surpass the A-10....

Training Tomahawk missiles to hit moving targets

April 15, 2015 12:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

While the Navy ponders whether to replace the Tomahawk missile or just update it, Raytheon is preparing a multi-mode seeker test that could allow the Tomahawk Block IV to hit moving targets. The captive flight test would utilize a modified Tomahawk Block IV missile nose cone....

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This is why arming domestic drones is a very bad idea

April 9, 2015 12:56 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

UAVs represent a potential goldmine, with commercial and scientific functions and a treasure trove of DIY applications on the docket. But for every hobbyist tinkering in their lab, there’s a police force planning surveillance activities and untold privacy concerns....

Japan’s first indigenous stealth fighter could take flight this summer

April 8, 2015 1:44 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. has been overly protective of the F-22 Raptor — and rightfully so. The air-superiority weapon is our ace in the hole against 5th-gen fighters like China’s Chengdu J-20 & Shenyang J-31 and Russia’s PAK-FA, and to that end, we’ve banned the F-22 from export....

Taking aim with precision-guided firearms

April 8, 2015 8:54 am | by Meaghan Ziemba, Editor, WDD, @MZiembaWDD | Blogs | Comments

Hunting requires a lot of patience and skill, and nothing can be more frustrating than a missed shot on a target a few hundred yards away. Austin-based TrackingPoint has developed a fully integrated, precision-guided firearm system that ...

Should we train vets for renewable energy jobs?

April 7, 2015 12:55 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Barack Obama has made renewable energy a keystone of his presidency, and part of his efforts include training an estimated 75,000 workers for the renewable energy industry by 2020. Last week, Obama announced a "Solar Ready Vets" program....

Marine Corps’ robotic war balls could aid amphibious landings

April 1, 2015 12:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Since 1775, the United States Marines Corps has been the foremost authority on amphibious warfare, and they’ve perfected the art of establishing beachheads on hostile shores. An amphibious drone from Guardbot Inc. could aid these complex military maneuvers....

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This drone can do your taxes for you

April 1, 2015 10:31 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Tax preparation might seem like an odd task for a 5,000 lb soulless automaton, but then, the Taxbot is a joint venture of the IRS....

Facebook's Internet drones won’t have us all singing Kumbaya

March 31, 2015 8:30 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Facebook recently trialed the solar-powered drones which aim to fulfill the social network giant’s ambitious goal of connecting the entire world to the internet. The Internet.org initiative is an impressive engineering feat, relying on solar-powered UAVs to “beam” the Internet down to billions of people.

This is what a Moon settlement could look like

March 30, 2015 3:23 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Editor, @kcpanetta | Blogs | Comments

Picture this. It's several (decades/centuries) in the future. All food is organically harvested in BioDomes, no one has driven a car in 20 years and Robot Madonna is still cranking out the tunes.

Latest F-35 software glitch mucks with the jet's sensors

March 25, 2015 12:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

A seemingly endless string of hardware and software errors have plagued the F-35, and ... here’s another one. A brand new software glitch is causing the JSF’s sensors to malfunction when detecting targets whilst in formation....

A firsthand glimpse at the Navy’s Blue Angels

March 23, 2015 8:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

They’re the rock stars of the military, the glamorous face of the Navy’s recruitment efforts, and arguably the most celebrated flight demonstration team in the world. They’re the Blue Angels — more elite than the Navy SEALs, more precise than a brain surgeon, and as close-knit as any Special Forces unit....

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The future of government and military space

March 19, 2015 11:04 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Earlier this week, I took a ride down to the nation’s capital for the Satellite 2015 expo and was fortunate enough to attend the panel “The Future of Government and Military Space: Safe Bets and Bold Predictions.” Moderated by Vice Admiral Lyle Bien (Ret.) and sporting an esteemed panel ...

Inflatable satellite antennas reduce the military’s burden

March 18, 2015 12:31 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

GATR Technologies’ portable satellite antennas aren’t hot off the presses, but seeing them in person at the Satellite 2015 Expo in Washington DC was mesmerizing. The inflatable communications hubs are amongst ...

Pakistan unveils first armed domestic drone

March 16, 2015 1:20 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

As we’ve all adjusted to the new paradigm of “asymmetrical” warfare, militaries have embraced drones as the premier tool against worldwide insurgencies. And with its “Buraq” indigenous armed drone, Pakistan is the latest member of the UAV club....

F-35 won’t provide sufficient close-air support until 2022

March 13, 2015 8:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Officials with the Joint Strike Fighter program recently announced that the F-35 won’t be able to utilize the military’s top close-air support bomb, the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), until 2022, five years after the SDB II enters service in 2017....

Virtual reality helps soldiers cope with PTSD

March 11, 2015 12:55 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

We’ve come a long way in our treatment (and understanding) of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During WWI, a soldier exhibiting signs of PTSD — be it mental or physical trauma — was “shell-shocked.” If he was lucky, he was pulled off ...

Solar plane takes off for historic round-the-world flight

March 9, 2015 12:33 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The achievement will be as much human ingenuity as a technical wonder, but the Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft that took off early Monday morning will make history. Harnessing the power of the sun ...

Photos of the Day: The F-35's helmet-mounted display system

March 6, 2015 10:15 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

The F-35's helmet-mounted display system (HMDS), from Rockwell Collins, offers a 360-degree view that allows for unparalleled situational awareness. The 2.25kg carbon fibre-shelled helmet uses a form of x-ray technology to render the floor of the cockpit transparent....

This Star Wars drone might be the coolest thing ever

March 4, 2015 12:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Forget military UAVs. For my money, there’s nothing cooler than sweet DIY projects like a chocolate drone or a custom-built quadcopter that looks like a TIE Interceptor from Star Wars. The intrepid creator — who goes by the social media handle “Olivier C” ...

Could Iran achieve human spaceflight by 2016?

March 4, 2015 9:20 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

From the same country that brought us the smallest “stealth fighter” of all time, a “time machine”, and a “drone” held together with duct tape comes an (overly) ambitious plan to send humans into space by 2016. Iran loves to tout its “indigenous” quasi-realistic military technology....

F-35B can’t fit full weapons load because of design flaw

March 3, 2015 12:58 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The hits just keep on coming for the Joint Strike Fighter, the problematic 5th-gen personification of “requirements creep.” The latest blow — the most flawed version of a thoroughly flawed program can’t fit all its weapons because of a design flaw....

F-35's helmet-mounted display system will cost a small fortune

March 2, 2015 7:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

You’ve probably heard that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will cost a few shekels. But we don’t usually talk about the other money pit sucking up taxpayer dollars — the F-35’s helmet-mounted display system (HMDS), pegged at an absurd $770,000 apiece....

Could pilots fly aircraft using their minds?

February 27, 2015 8:12 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The BRAINFLIGHT project has an ambitious goal – complete control over aircraft (or a significantly reduced workload) using nothing but your mind. The team from Tekever and a collection of European researchers recently demonstrated their brain-computer interface (BCI) ...

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