The announcement of Russia’s newest fifth-generation fighter, the Sukhoi PAK FA, stunned the world. To put it succinctly, the “Future Frontline Aircraft System” is a game-changer. Its closest rival is the F-22 Raptor, and yet production on the United States’ premier air-superiority fighter has been scrapped in favor of the F-35. Are we repeating the mistakes of the past?
Lockheed Martin has successfully tested a tri-mode seeker for its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile (JAGM) system. The advent of “Fourth Generation Warfare” has put renewed emphasis on reducing collateral damage. Thus, precision weapons systems have taken on prime importance.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is developing a system that will assist helicopter crews in pinpointing the source of small arms fire. HALTT uses advanced acoustic detection and data processing to “exploit the supersonic shock wave produced by a bullet in flight.” In other words, it would detect the “snap,” “hiss,” or “crack” of a bullet.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has purchased Virtual Reality Parachute Trainers (VRPT) for the Parachute Training School at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire. The contract with Gloucestershire-based Pennant Training Systems Limited is for the design, manufacture, and installation of eight Virtual Trainers.
Fort Sam Houston received 20 Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) in January as part of a larger plan to replace petroleum-based DoD vehicles with more “energy-efficient” transportation. The Army plans on replacing up to 28,000 gas-powered ground support vehicles with electric vehicles at more than 155 Army installations worldwide.
The French Special Forces Command is now equipped with an unspecified number of Skylark 1 and Wasp Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The French Armament Procurement Agency (Direction générale de l'armement, DGA) made the handoff on March 8th...
Now here’s some news tailor-made for a Friday: the Indian Army is developing a “chili grenade.” Packed with bhut jolokia peppers (aka the world’s hottest chili pepper), these special grenades will be used as non-lethal munition. Check your calendars, folks. It isn’t April 1st yet.
Findings by the Office of Naval Research indicate that video games improve overall perceptual and cognitive abilities. While nothing new—the claim is nearly as old as Pac-Man, the irregular warfare we face today makes it more relevant than ever. Since Pong, video games have been castigated for everything from school truancy, to school shootings, to even global warming.
Traditionally pegged as a ground force, the Army is approaching an historic milestone: one million flight hours for its Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). According to COL Christopher Carlile, director, U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence, the Army will hit one million UAS flight hours some time next month.
For good or ill, the military is often indistinguishable from a large corporation. While “employees” must conform to the company’s modus operandi, the company must engage its employees on their terms. In this day and age, that means technology. Thus, the military increasingly relies on video games and computers to recruit and train its “employees.”
The revelation that insurgents had hacked US drones came as shocking news. What’s more, they did so using $26 off-the-shelf software (SkyGrabber). Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that senior officers knew about the security risk five years ago. According to a report in the Journal, senior officers warned in 2004 of the drones’ vulnerabilities.
Space Micro Inc. has been awarded $100,000 by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to develop a software-defined radio system for military satellites. The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract is to develop space communications hardware that is resistant to radiation.
The proposed 2011 NASA Budget takes human spaceflight in a bold new direction. Along with scuttling the Constellation Program, and investing in heavy-lift rocket systems, the proposal leans heavily on the private sector. The International Space Station received clemency through at least 2020, and with the Space Shuttle retiring in 2010, the US will need reliable means of orbital transportation.
Two years ago, DOD banned all “flash media” devices in an effort to contain the “Agent.btz” computer virus. In 2009, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “I do not see the thumb drives going back here in the immediate future.” Yet a year later (nearly to the day), the ban has been lifted.
The military is constantly seeking the right balance between preparedness and maneuverability. Theoretically, we could turn foot soldiers into walking arsenals with nearly-impenetrable armor, but they wouldn’t be very mobile. Boston Dynamics may have a solution...
The Air Force has enlisted “Big Blue” itself, IBM, to develop a worldwide cloud computing infrastructure. The architecture would encompass nine major commands, nearly 100 bases, and 700,000 active military personnel around the world. Essentially, “cloud computing” refers to software applications and other functions that are “rented” online rather than hosted on company servers.
The Army is mulling the possibility of operating its largest UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) remotely. They’re considering “split-based” operations--part of the company would deploy in-theater, while the other would communicate remotely via satellite. The situation exposes a cultural rift between the Air Force and the Army.
It can morph from a liquid to a solid state, but can’t form “knives and stabbing weapons.” It can squeeze through tight spaces, join with others, and expand in size. No, it’s not the T-1000, but a new “chemical robot” created by the Pentagon. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Association (DARPA) sought to create a “ChemBot” that could perform the following functions...
They say truth is stranger than fiction. Since 2008, Iraq’s military and police have utilized a divining rod (err, a “bomb detection device”) known as the ADE 651 to detect explosives. The ADE 651 has undoubtedly cost countless lives. Thus, justice was served when its creator, Jim McCormick, was arrested on suspicion of fraud.
A gun owner’s worst nightmare is his own weapon being turned against him. The Armatix “Smartgun” concept presents a novel solution—fingerprint identification, combined with biometric authentication (paired with a wristwatch) makes the weapon useless in the wrong hands.
Since 2007, the MQ-9 Reaper RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle) has been on the front lines of the war on terror. It scored its first kill in October ’07, and has served a crucial role ever since. On Monday, the National Museum of the Air Force officially unveiled its new MQ-9 Reaper exhibit.
The new blockbuster movie "Avatar" seems total fantasy, yet Keesler Air Force Base already is using avatar technology in a pilot cyberspace program.
The Russian Space Agency is considering a plan that evokes the 1998 disaster flick, Armageddon. The head of the agency, Anatoly Perminov, mentioned that Russia is assessing a mission to Apophis, a 270-meter (885-foot) asteroid. The difference between Hollywood and real life is that Apophis stands minimal chance of hitting Earth...
Here’s another example of life imitating art—SPELCO (Special Parachute Equipment and Logistics Consortium) is working on a personal glider that looks straight outta Science Fiction. With its glide ratio of 5:1 and self-propulsion system, the “Gryphon” could become an invaluable tool in the future warfighter’s arsenal.
40 years ago, Neil Armstrong emerged from the Lunar Module Eagle, and stepped into history. He became the first human being to step foot on the moon, forever changing the scientific and engineering communities. And yet, 40 years later, the space program is a shell of its former self. Public enthusiasm is at an all-time low. How did we get to this point?