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The Lead

The thrill and challenge of aerial photography

October 23, 2014 3:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

They’re the unsung heroes of the sky — the men and women flying alongside the studs piloting some of the most advanced aerial systems in the world. Their purpose? To take stunning aerial photography  ... though that meager description does them a disservice....

4 ways businesses can learn from U.S. Army safety practices

October 20, 2014 12:26 pm | by Chad Storlie, Author, Combat Leader to Corporate Leader & Battlefield to Business Success | Blogs | Comments

Safety processes and procedures is a seemingly highly contradictory concept when initially...

New cargo plane design takes off, lands vertically

October 16, 2014 12:01 pm | by Melissa Fassbender, Editor, PD&D, @melfass | Blogs | Comments

Historically, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles have been relegated to helicopters...

Navy’s new missile features autonomous targeting

October 15, 2014 11:45 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) doesn’t have the sexiest name, but it more than makes up for it...

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Watch a hawk attack a quadcopter ... and win

October 13, 2014 8:58 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The US military may roam the skies with impunity in foreign lands, but in domestic airspace, an altogether different Predator enjoys aerial superiority. A hobbyist discovered that first-hand when his quadcopter came under attack by a hawk....

DARPA’s tank of the future won’t need armor

October 9, 2014 1:35 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The tanks of the future will reinvent (and simultaneously minimize) the very concept of “armor”. DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program will swap armor for technology and brute strength for maneuverability. Forget the slow, lumbering behemoths....

Does California drone ban violate the 1st Amendment?

October 6, 2014 3:09 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

California took the first step toward substantially regulating the drones when it passed a bill banning their use by paparazzi. And I think many of us would applaud the decision – the bill prevents UAVs from capturing images of people without their consent....

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UK’s Watchkeeper UAV becomes operational

October 2, 2014 3:11 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve previously discussed the Thales Watchkeeper WK450, a rotary-engine Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) UAV for use by the British Army. Four years ago marked the Watchkeeper’s UK maiden flight, and it recently became operational....

China developing subsonic stealth bomber

September 24, 2014 12:00 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

According to early reports, China is developing a new stealth bomber to counter American influence in the Far East and firm up its own leadership and force-projection ability. We’ve previously discussed America’s plans to replace the illustrious SR-71 Blackbird ...

Should we retire the A-10 Warthog?

September 17, 2014 2:44 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The short answer is "no," we shouldn’t. But the ongoing efforts to scuttle the A-10 in favor of the F-35 expose a sick culture in Washington that’s divorced from fiscal and military realities. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will form, to quote Lt. General ...

Why "killer robots" are nothing to worry about

September 3, 2014 1:32 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems like every new development in artificial intelligence and autonomous systems dredges up the same tired (and slightly paranoid) fears of “killer robots” run amok — the product of a steady diet of dystopian literature and Hollywood blockbusters starring a certain Austrian bodybuilder....

Fly in the cockpit of the Blue Angels

September 2, 2014 8:35 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Blue Angels are basically the cream of the crop of stunt pilots from the US Navy and Marine Corps. They are an exhibition team that participate in airshows all over the place and showcase the intense skills required to fly a jet. There are a total of 16 officers on the team at any time with three tactical jet pilots...

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Lockheed Martin designs the superhuman workers of tomorrow

August 28, 2014 8:35 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Blogs | Comments

In the latest news of life imitating art, it seems that an exoskeleton suit similar to ones used in Tom Cruise’s summer movie Edge of Tomorrow may be here today.A press release from Lockheed Martin indicates that the U.S. Navy will begin testing and evaluating two FORTIS industrial exoskeletons....

When blinding someone with a laser is better than killing them

August 27, 2014 2:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sometimes, it’s better to shine a bright light in someone’s face than riddle them with bullets (shocking, I know). And for troops in a warzone following very specific Escalation of Force (EOF) procedures, not killing someone is always the best possible outcome....

This is what it's like to be in the cockpit of an F-16

August 27, 2014 8:29 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The title says it all here, but this is ridiculous. The video was taken from the cockpit of a Royal Danish Air Force F-16 as it was flying, quite low, over an ice sheet in Greenland.  There isn't too much information available, but after take off (hold on to your stomach) you'll first see the ice rim (located east of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland)....

Photos of the Day: Your new home on Mars

August 22, 2014 12:12 pm | by Melissa Fassbender, Managing Editor, PD&D, @melfass | Blogs | Comments

Mars One is looking to send humans to Mars in 2025. Next year, the first batch of applicants (yes, willing applicants) will be selected to begin their training, which will continue up until the 2024 launch date. Nearly a decade of training is hardly the commitment....

Building the universe pixel by pixel

August 20, 2014 1:37 pm | by Kelen Tuttle, The Kavli Foundation | Blogs | Comments

Recently, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics unveiled an unprecedented simulation of the universe’s development. Called the Illustris project, the simulation depicts more than 13 billion years of cosmic evolution across a cube of the universe that’s 350-million-light-years on each side....

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UAV and F/A-18 land on carrier together

August 20, 2014 12:01 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

While unmanned aerial vehicles won’t replace the manned variety anytime soon, UAVs could operate alongside conventional air power in the very near future. Case in point: The Navy recently executed a carrier landing with the F/A-18 and the X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle....

Navy to deploy vehicle-based laser weapon

August 14, 2014 11:45 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. Navy recently awarded an $11 million contract to Raytheon to develop a vehicle-based, short-range laser weapon capable of defeating low-flying threats like enemy drones. Raytheon’s directed-energy weapon will comply with the Office of Naval Research (ONR)....

Israel's Iron Dome & the ethics of war

August 8, 2014 11:39 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

By many reports, the damage done by the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel would be much worse if it were not for Israel's air-defense system called Iron Dome. According to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), Iron Dome succeeds in intercepting about 80% of rockets that come within its zone of protection....

Developing smart tools for the Airbus factory of the future

August 7, 2014 8:40 am | by Sébastien Boria, Airbus | Blogs | Comments

Today’s aerospace factory floor is nothing like the hectic, noisy production facility of the past. The latest techniques, designs, and equipment make modern manufacturing efficient, organized, and structured. And what about tomorrow? The future of the aircraft factory is a research and technology project....

The F-35 will cost a fortune

August 4, 2014 8:02 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Captain Obvious? Is that you? I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is expensive. Very expensive. So expensive that, according to one estimate, the money spent on the program could buy every ...   

This helmet lets fighter pilots ditch their night vision goggles

July 28, 2014 9:41 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Military jobs are synonymous with stress, but one of the most stressful jobs even by military standards is that of the jet fighter pilot. Not only are they required to process a lot of operational information very quickly, they must do it while wearing headgear that can strain the head and neck the faster the plane flies....

This Army helicopter can fit in your pocket

July 25, 2014 8:36 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

It weighs 16 g, can fly for up to 20 minutes, and fits in the palm of your hand. It’s the Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet, a mini helicopter which uses embedded cameras and a digital data link to provide real-time video for ground troops. Information is king on the battlefield....

The first guided .50-caliber bullets

July 14, 2014 2:46 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Snipers have to take numerous factors into account, including the terrain, weather, wind-resistance, and over long distances, even the curvature of the Earth — at 1,000 yards, the Coreolis Effect will alter a bullet’s trajectory by about .5 moa (Minute of angle). But until now, we haven’t been able to intentionally alter the course of a bullet....

The Grim Reaper flies ... with help from a drone

July 7, 2014 10:54 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

You may have seen the viral video making its rounds — the mythical entity otherwise known as the Grim Reaper, the personification of Death, flies around, scaring the s*** out of unwitting bystanders. Is the Apocalypse nigh at hand? Is the Angel of Death here to claim human souls? Well, not quite....

July 2014: Opto & Displays

July 1, 2014 5:01 pm | Digital Editions | Comments

While Hollywood often focuses on technology that’s not quite available in the real world, sometimes what’s depicted on-screen eventually makes its way into the market or even into a military convoy. Displays from the big screen: Motion sensor systems from Hollywood follows the evolution of the display technology seen in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report as it moves from just an idea on a screen to a real-life communication tool.

Watch these drones fight to the death

June 30, 2014 8:04 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In the world of drones, there exists an underground fight club where different UAVs go head to head trying to destroy each other. Alright, that’s a little dramatized, but the drones really do battle each other in a BattleBot-style arena. Marque Cornblatt, co-founder of the group Game of Drones, says it’s all about aerial combat and going drono a drono for victory....

Russians beat us to Holy Grail of drone pizza delivery

June 27, 2014 9:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

We won the Cold War and Space Race for this? We’ve discussed drones, the attendant privacy issues, and their commercial potential exhaustively, but a recent event serves as a cruel mockery of the freedoms we cherish. While the Federal Aviation Administration, politicians, and privacy advocates continue to squabble over domestic drone regulations ...

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