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Star Wars on the high seas: Navy plans to deploy shipboard laser by 2014

April 9, 2013 3:35 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some bad news for Sci-Fi fans: The Navy’s new shipboard laser system, Laser Weapon System (LaWS), won't shoot spiffy beams of light of the sort used to kill stormtroopers, Cylons, and Klingons. But it will fire a focused infrared laser that can down drones, disable small boats, and — in the future — engage missiles and enemy jets.

The first high-tech war

March 27, 2013 2:54 pm | by Tom Ligon, Technical Contributor, with contributions by the SIGMA Think Tank | Blogs | Comments

Ironclad warships. A steam-powered warship defending New York’s harbor. Submarines. Rifled cannon firing elongated explosive shells. The first use of steam power for logistical support of a battle. Industrial automation. Obviously, I’m talking about the U.S. Civil War, right? Nope.

Drone pilots don’t need a “participation trophy”

March 12, 2013 4:31 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sometimes — and I stress sometimes — the government does work for the people. Case in point: The new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, has halted production of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal — awarded to drone operators — in response to veterans' complaints that the "participation trophy" ranks above combat medals like the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

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Do drone pilots deserve higher medal than combat vets?

February 20, 2013 3:32 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Since when did waggling a joystick become more valorous than pulling a trigger? It hasn’t, you say? The newly-minted Distinguished Warfare Medal — created to honor cyberwarriors and drone pilots — would rank above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, and the military community is incensed.

Iranian clown car flies ... with the help of Photoshop

February 14, 2013 11:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Take that, free world! For all you naysayers out there who thought Iran’s clown car, er ... stealth fighter ... smelled a bit fishy, the Islamic Republic has the ultimate retort: a badly-Photoshopped image of the Qaher-313 set against stock photo #3.

Iranian "stealth fighter" looks like a clown car

February 7, 2013 11:09 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

So it turns out that the new Iranian stealth fighter may be as genuine as the Islamic Republic’s concern for human rights. The regime unveiled the jet, 'Qaher 313', on Saturday, and the blogosphere immediately went to work debunking what could be one of the laziest forgeries of all time.

Enfeebled F-35 could impede military readiness

January 31, 2013 3:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Picture a Swiss Army Knife with a blunted knife, rusty screwdriver, and a broken can opener. That’s what the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has become — a jack of all trades and master of none. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has — over the course of a highly tumultuous development period that personifies the phrase "requirements creep" — become the poster child for bloated government programs.

ECN’s Veteran’s Day tribute: Remembering those who’ve served

November 9, 2012 2:50 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

On the cusp of Veteran’s Day, I’m reminded that a disproportionate number of our friends and colleagues served in the military. And that makes me proud to work in this industry. ECN — and her parent company, Advantage Business Media — is no exception. You can’t swing a dead cat (or give a resounding Hoooah!) without hitting a veteran.

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Declassified documents describe real-life flying saucer

October 23, 2012 11:32 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

X-Files fans, conspiracy theorists, and the tinfoil hat crowd were right all along! Sorta… In the 1950s, the US government really was building a flying saucer. But it didn’t involve little green men, human-alien hybrids, or David Duchovny; this isn’t what you’d call a "smoking gun."

F-35 to make Hollywood debut in Superman flick

October 16, 2012 5:32 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

According to Wired, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — the oft-delayed, oft-maligned, “backbone of America’s tactical aviation fleet” — is set to make its big-screen debut in the Superman reboot, Man of Steel. To be sure, this won’t be the first time the JSF has appeared onscreen. A computer-generated F-35 battled The Hulk in this summer’s blockbuster hit, The Avengers.

Not for green technology, but for country

August 3, 2012 3:16 pm | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

When building better weapons, a focus on green technology is untenable; rather, weapons need to be accurate, cost effective, and pose the least harm to US soldiers. How “green” a weapon is can be an unintended, positive consequence. Enter the Navy’s Electromagnetic Rail Gun (EMRG) with guided munitions.

Full steam ahead for the Navy’s controversial “Great Green Fleet”

July 30, 2012 4:43 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The Navy has embarked on an ambitious green energy program, which could cost upwards of $2 billion per year. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus must convince a skeptical Congress, Senate, and public that investing in pricey alternative fuels — in the midst of the worst recession in decades — will reap dividends. 

The first “Code of Conduct” for UAVs

July 3, 2012 11:50 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

A trade group has written the first "Code of Conduct" related to unmanned aerial vehicles. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), which boasts more than 7,000 members across 60 countries, released its treatise in response to growing privacy concerns toward domestic UAV usage.

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Losing the space race ex post facto

April 26, 2012 11:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The United States is conceding the space race...43 years after winning it. The Space Shuttle's ignominious retirement closes the door on an engineering marvel and an American institution. And the public didn’t bat an eyelash. How did we get to this point? How did space travel become blasé? When Neil Armstrong took one small step for (a) man, half a billion people tuned in around the world.  

Congress Opens Market for Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Systems

February 22, 2012 11:52 am | by Paul Dempsey, Senior Correspondent, Footwasher Media | Articles | Comments

Buried deep in this month’s controversial Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding bill, passed by the Senate in an unusually bipartisan 75-20 vote were provisions to boost commercial potential for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Assuming President Obama’s signature, the four-year $63B budget bill mandates the FAA to

Army developing self-aware, decision-making network

November 18, 2011 8:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. Army is developing a “self-aware, decision-making network” that will ultimately reduce human decision-making requirements and increase network performance. The Cognitive Algorithm & Network Design Experiment (CANDE) was designed to enable easier network maintenance, reduce human decision-making requirements, increase network lifetime, transfer data with less delay, and reduce energy consumption.

Soldiers test network, shape future of Army

November 17, 2011 5:07 am | by Lt. Col. Deanna Bague, Fort Bliss Public Affairs Office | Blogs | Comments

The Army has committed 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, to evaluate new technologies and network capabilities that are shaping the Army's evolving tactical network.

ECN’s Tale of Two Veterans

November 10, 2011 12:27 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The military deserves our eternal gratitude, and this Veterans Day, we extend our heartfelt appreciation for their immeasurable sacrifices...for their blood, sweat, and tears shed in defense of this great nation of ours. You may not know this, but Electronic Component News has two veterans in its midst. Your humble author, formerly 2nd Lieutenant Lomberg, served three years in the Army Reserve.

In The Beginning: Sealevel Celebrates 25 Years

August 26, 2011 6:13 am | by Susan O'Hanlan, Sealevel Systems, Inc., www.sealevel.com | Blogs | Comments

Sealevel Systems, Inc., proudly celebrated 25 years of innovative, reliable hardware and software products to enable computer connectivity and control.

3-D Holographic Technology Provides Detailed Human Intelligence

July 26, 2011 9:56 am | by By T'Jae Gibson, US Army (www.army.mil) | News | Comments

Imagine going from looking at the outside of a building, to seeing the internal workings of its electrical system simply by walking around a display case. The sophistication of 3-D holographic technology allows just that.

Retirement of Shuttle leaves void in manned space program

July 7, 2011 11:20 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

After Atlantis’ two-week mission, NASA will retire the Space Shuttle. Between the Shuttle’s retirement and the completion of the International Space Station in 2020, the U.S. faces a nine-year gap during which we’ll lack the ability to independently ferry astronauts into space. The Space Shuttle fit the textbook definition of government mismanagement. Envisioned as “routine and economical”, the finished product was neither.

Fake parts in U.S. military

June 21, 2011 12:44 pm | Videos | Comments

A new study shows nearly 40% of the U.S. military's supply chain is made up of counterfeit parts.

Japan announces domestic stealth fighter

March 8, 2011 12:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Responding to regional threats and the United States’ refusal to share F-22 technology, Japan is developing its own stealth fighter. The “land of the rising sun” intends to fly its first stealth fighter prototype by 2014. Japan and Israel have both expressed interest in the “air supremacy weapon”, the F-22 Raptor.

Unmanned Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS-D First Flight

February 7, 2011 3:23 am | Videos | Comments

A Northrop Grumman video of the Feb 4 first flight of the US Navy's X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator from Edwrads AFB, Calif.

Army to deploy “revolutionary” smart weapon

February 3, 2011 9:23 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. Army is set to deploy a “revolutionary” airburst grenade launcher, said to be the first small arms “smart” weapon. Described as a “game changer,” the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System (CDTE) could fundamentally transform squad and platoon tactics. Most firefights in Afghanistan take place beyond 300 meters (often up to 500 meters).

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