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The Lead

Replacing mailmen with drones

November 25, 2014 8:58 am | by Kaylie Duffy, Associate Editor, PD&D, @kaylieannduffy | Blogs | Comments

When Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos announced his company’s plans in late 2013 to start offering 30 minute drone deliveries for packages weighing less than five pounds, many news outlets criticized his idea. In spite of this criticism, Amazon is now ...

This is what it's like to fly in the cockpit of an F-15E Strike Eagle

November 25, 2014 8:19 am | by Kasey Panetta, Editor | Blogs | Comments

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly in the cockpit of an F-15E Strike Eagle?...

Why a federal ruling could stymie the drone industry

November 19, 2014 1:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

A new ruling from the National Transportation Safety Board is rocking the commercial drone...

Chinese stealth fighter could displace the F-35 on world stage

November 17, 2014 8:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

By the time the US military rolls out the F-35 in full, it’ll face ample 5th-gen...

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Iran clones American UAV, completes test flight (maybe)

November 12, 2014 1:00 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Back in 2011, Iranian forces captured a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel UAV near Kashmar before parading the drone for the world to see on Iranian TV. While the U.S. initially denied foul play, stating that it had “lost control” of a drone (not an RQ-170 ...

Windowless planes could be the future of air travel

November 5, 2014 8:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Those who hate flying or have any sort of general anxiety need not apply. A Paris-based design company, Technicon Design, has been touting its idea of a windowless airplane, and a UK tech innovation firm wants to bring it to life within 10 years....

Army "smartsuit" would augment strength and reduce injuries

November 3, 2014 8:18 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

DARPA is busy developing a smart undersuit to provide troops with a host of pertinent data and create a literal Army of super-soldiers. Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is taking the lead on the biologically inspired smartsuit....

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What it’s like to fly the "world’s worst airline"

October 27, 2014 8:30 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

I hate flying. I’m not scared, mind you. I hate the hassle — arriving early, checking in, and trudging through the security checkpoints. So the prospect of riding the “world’s worst airline” — Air Koryo from North Korea — sounds as appealing as a hole in the head....

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 applied to the US Army in ground combat operations. After all, combat and training for combat is inherently dangerous, risking, and fraught with peril....

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 and expensive military aircraft. Yet the design, as applied to commercial aircraft, has not been successful without significant sacrifices in flight capabilities....

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 with its range, maneuverability, and automated targeting capabilities — the NSM can autonomously target specific sections of a ship based on its silhouette....

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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....

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 ...

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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...

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....

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....

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