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The Lead

Astronaut pee could help get us to Mars

April 21, 2014 8:16 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Urine, made up of more than 95% water, is one of the cleanest fluids in the human body. And on a protracted space mission lasting more than a year (one-way) — to Mars, for example — that fact becomes critically important....

Solar-powered plane can "fly forever"

April 16, 2014 8:25 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Aviation pioneers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg — who previously had...

Photos of the Day: The amazing, foldable V-22 Osprey

April 15, 2014 8:18 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

Consider this an “oldie but goodie.” The V-22 Osprey is the world’s first production tiltrotor...

Watch a V-22 Osprey fold itself for storage

April 14, 2014 3:07 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

 It’s pretty crazy to think that a huge aircraft with an 85’ foot wingspan is possible of...

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Military plans to use drones as flying Wi-Fi hotspots

April 11, 2014 10:38 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

For civilians, a dearth of Wi-Fi is a minor inconvenience. First-world problems. But for our troops in the field, a lack of connectivity can kill you. No connection means no close-air support and no reinforcements. Hence the military’s push to turn drones into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots....

How Russia ended up with Ukraine’s dolphin army

April 2, 2014 7:22 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There have been many interesting political and social ramifications to the Soviet Union’s — I mean, Russia’s — attempted annexation of Crimea, but let’s talk about what everyone is really concerned with: Who will get custody of the Ukraine’s dolphin army? (For the record, this is not an April Fool’s joke.)

TSA deploys drones to watch you from space

April 1, 2014 8:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Citing the ongoing domestic terrorist threat (aka, the “most dire threat to national security since Grandma Betty at the airport”), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed a fleet of drones with the ability to destroy dangerous contraband like baby formula and remotely monitor “shady individuals” like 10-year-olds and grandparents....

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Photos of the Day: The half-drone, half-satellite StratoBus

March 31, 2014 8:22 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

A project known as StratoBus has emerged from Thales in France. StratoBus totes the potential of precise, autonomous observation and communications assistance, and the first prototype from Thales is expected in the next five years. The autonomous airship operating at an altitude of about 20 km....

Airships are making a comeback

March 17, 2014 9:25 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

Hopefully this comeback is a little less explosive than the Hindenburg’s reputation. A UK design firm recently unveiled the Airlander, a football field-sized airship that they hope will become the new standard for transportation — not of passengers, but of supplies.

New jet-powered UAV is the future of asymmetrical warfare

March 5, 2014 8:09 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

While politicians and privacy advocates squabble over regulations for domestic drones, General Atomics has been hard at work developing the next unmanned terror of the skies for America’s foreign adversaries. Meet the Predator C Avenger, the future of asymmetrical warfare.

Photos of the Day: The AirMule UAV flying donkey

March 3, 2014 9:09 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

Proving that looks aren’t everything, the AirMule UAV, developed by Israel’s Urban Aeronautics, is designed for cargo transport, medical evac, and troop supply missions. The vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV was unveiled in 2008, completed its maiden flight in 2010, and is scheduled for deployment this year.

Photos of the Day: The Taranis Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle demonstrator

February 14, 2014 8:01 am | by ECN Staff | News | Comments

The BAE Systems Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, is being billed as the most advanced British aircraft ever built. The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator will be a semi-autonomous stealth vehicle capable of striking intercontinental targets.

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3D-printed drones: The future of warfare?

February 13, 2014 9:46 am | by Allegra Sparta, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

It’s like learning about the newest celebrity couple. The only difference is that you won’t read about this development in the tabloids. The United States didn’t really need any more incentive to outdo other countries in military technology, but 3D printing is an attractive avenue to further enhance our growing preference for drone warfare.

Chemical weapons: Then and now

February 4, 2014 1:47 pm | by Steven Pike, Managing Director of Argon Electronics | Blogs | Comments

Sadly, human history offers all too many examples of how chemical weapons can be used to devastating effect. The employment of chemical warfare agents (CWAs) dates back to at least as far as 1000 BC, when the Chinese used arsenical smokes as weapons.

The F-35 is "a failure waiting to happen"

February 4, 2014 1:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s an oldie but goodie. Last year, Four Corners — an Australian current affairs program — did an expose on the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and their conclusions were ... none-too complimentary. Like their American counterparts, Australia is pursuing a one-size-fits all solution....

How Boeing converted F-16s into unmanned aerial targets

January 17, 2014 4:45 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Boeing test pilot Jason Clements goes through final flight checks in the cockpit of an F-16. He makes sure all his switches are set, the throttle is free and clear, and the lights are on. Clements does a final radio check, and the jet is ready for takeoff. He then steps out of the cockpit and closes the canopy via remote switch. The F-16 takes off with no human occupant. What in the world just happened?

From General to CEO: One man’s journey from the battlefield to the boardroom

December 23, 2013 12:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

I’m proud to work in an industry with such a disproportionately high number of military veterans. Many of our colleagues previously served the nation with honor and distinction, trading ACUs for business suits and M4s for fountain pens. Case in point: Steve Sargeant, CEO of Marvin Test Solutions, formerly a Major General with the United States Air Force.

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We finally have drones with "frickin’ laser beams"

November 5, 2013 4:43 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Dr. Evil would be proud. Lasers have always been the next frontier (some would say pipe dream) of weapons development. But recent developments have brought Sci-Fi closer to reality. And now this — the Pentagon has awarded a total of $26 million to defense contractors to develop a laser countermeasures system for manned and unmanned aircraft.

This hypersonic Blackbird can launch weapons from space

November 4, 2013 3:43 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In aviation, it doesn’t get more chic than the SR-71 Blackbird, the Rolls Royce of the sky. From 1964 till its retirement in 1998, this supersonic, Mach 3+ reconnaissance aircraft played a crucial role in the Cold War (and afterward) for over three decades. But ever since the Blackbird went to the Boca Raton of the skies, aviation buffs have been pining for a successor. And now they have one. And it’s glorious.

F-35 successfully targets aerial drone (is still a moneypit)

November 1, 2013 11:28 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The F-35 Lightning II program, which surpassed 10,000 flight hours in September, has another reason to celebrate today. On October 31, the F-35A, a 5th generation fighter, successfully launched an AIM-120 radar-seeking missile from the internal weapons bay. 

WWII vet screws with the TSA

October 25, 2013 4:49 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you haven’t met the TSA – meaning you somehow haven’t flown anywhere in the last 12 years – know that they’re the crotch-grabbing, nude-scanning, senior-citizen harassing government agency in charge of airport security. And they really hate shoes. But the mighty TSA has apparently met its match in an 87-year-old, half-deaf World War II vet.

Watch these DARPA-funded robots run through their frightening paces

October 16, 2013 3:46 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Boston Dynamics recently posted more video eye candy (but not necessarily ear candy) for those who can’t get enough of their amazing, creature-like robotics. The two new videos are its quadroped called the WildCat and the bipedal Atlas. The all-terrain Wildcat can run at 16 mph on a flat surface and can either gallop or “bound.” Atlas is intended to walk upright and keep its balance even on rough terrain.

Here is the military-issued rifle for every country in the world

October 16, 2013 10:15 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It's always pretty interesting to see what other military forces are working with, so Maps on the Web has graced us with this baby, which takes a look at the military rifles of all the countries. Each color signifies a particular "family" of guns with variations signified by shading of the same color.

Is the F-35 a “great national scandal”?

October 15, 2013 1:16 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In government, the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing. Case in point: Days after the DoD got all warm-and-fuzzy over its working relationship with Lockheed Martin and the F-35, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called the Joint Strike Fighter “one of the great national scandals.”

Will the QF-16 be the next step in drone warfare?

October 14, 2013 11:03 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

What happens when a fighter jet is too old to be used in combat by the Air Force, but too expensive to totally dump? It becomes a drone, at least sometimes it does. The F-16 Fighting Falcon was acquired by Boeing after being retired by the Air Force. In turn the aerospace company turned the old school jet into a brand new drone to be used for military training.

This drone will make sure you’re never lost again

September 27, 2013 12:10 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

You know that moment when you’re walking around say, a college campus, and suddenly realize you’re horribly lost and all the buildings of ivy-covered bricks look exactly the same? Yeah, me neither, but apparently it happens a lot at MIT because they’ve developed a drone to make sure you’re always on the right path.

The evolution of miniaturization within UAV connector technology

August 29, 2013 12:04 pm | by Derek Hunt, Omnetics Connector Corporation | Omnetics Connector Corporation | Blogs | Comments

Throughout the world, military and aerospace engineers are focused on new design efforts to not only modernize existing operations, but at the same time, miniaturize these efforts and electronics to improve flexibility and portability as well as overall survivability in the field.

This is what a 550-ton hovercraft landing on a Russian beach looks like

August 21, 2013 3:53 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Alright, so technically the beach is a military zone and, technically, it's not a beach that people should be swimming from or sunbathing on, but that is one scary-looking piece of military equipment. According to a Russian defense ministry spokesperson, it's actually a government-owned beach and the landing was part of some military practice maneuvers.

First drone landing on carrier forecasts the future of aerial warfare

July 30, 2013 10:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Forget fancy, 5th-generation manned stealth jets. The future of aerial warfare is unmanned, with fighter jockeys shelved in favor of cold, robotic precision. Look no further than the X-47B: Last month, the autonomous drone became the first unmanned jet to land aboard a moving aircraft carrier.

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