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Military

The X-47B receives fuel from an Omega K-707 tanker April 22 while operating over the Chesa...

The US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft has gone out on a high note (and added yet another acronym to the military lexicon) by conducting the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) exercise. The autonomous aircraft rendezvoused with an Omega K-707 tanker plane off the coast of Maryland and Virginia, successfully taking on 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) of jet fuel as it completed the project's final test objective.  Read More

ONR has been conducting demonstrations of the LOCUST project for swarming UAVs

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has revealed that it has been conducting demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at various locations over the past month. The demonstrations were part of the Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) program, which is developing quick launching UAV swarm technology to overwhelm adversaries.  Read More

Artist’s concept of software system components dynamically adapting to resource changes wi...

One unfortunate fact of modern life is that functional new software becomes non-functional old software with depressing regularity. For most people, this means predictable episodes of frustration, but for the US military, it's a more serious problem. DARPA's new Building Resource Adaptive Software Systems (BRASS) project aims to take a major shot at avoiding this obsolescence by developing software systems that can still operate properly a hundred years from now.  Read More

X-ray rendering of the WIAMan

For something commonly called a "dummy," the mannequins used in crash tests are surprisingly sophisticated and so specialized that they're not much use out of automotive safety labs. When the US Army went looking for a dummy of its own, it had to go back to square one by awarding a contract to California-based Diversified Technical Systems (DTS) to help develop the first instrumented dummy designed for military vehicle blast testing.  Read More

Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) enables ground forces and combat aircrews to jointly s...

Since the First World War, airplanes have acted as Close Air Support (CAS) for infantry, though it's been a rocky marriage marked by poor communications and difficult teamwork. DARPA's Persistent Close Air Support (PCAS) project aims to improve coordination between air and ground forces by means of a digital system that works up to seven times faster than regular paper maps and voice radio instructions, and with greater accuracy.  Read More

Thales sees mine hunting in the future as using fleets of robotic vessels

If you hunt unexploded sea mines for a living, then you might not mind losing your job to a robot. That seems to be the reasoning of the British and French governments, as they embark on a joint venture to develop a prototype autonomous system for detecting and neutralizing sea mines and UnderWater Improvised Explosive Devices (UWIED).  Read More

Drones gather target data about a missile radar station while also jamming it, as part of ...

Modern warfare is a constant arms race of measures and countermeasures, but with development cycles taking decades and costing billions of dollars, it's not uncommon for military technology to become obsolete by the time it's deployed. To address this dilemma, DARPA's System of Systems (SoS) Integration Technology and Experimentation (SoSITE) program aims at replacing monolithic weapon systems with a more flexible cross-platform approach.  Read More

The prototype deep-diving system (Photo: US Navy/Anthony Powers)

Deep sea diving is more than just slapping on an air tank and jumping in the water. It's a complex operation where the diver is the sharp end of a long, complex logistical train. It's also incredibly wasteful when it comes to the helium/oxygen gas mixture that the divers breathe, so US Navy scientists at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City have developed a new prototype deep-diving system that goes easy on the helium.  Read More

The new MOH material could be used to make better gas masks and suits for soldiers and eme...

While the Iran-Iraq war of 1981-1988 saw the only large-scale use of chemical weapons since WWII, in a world beset by rogue states, civil wars, and terrorism, protecting against nerve agents and disposing of them remains a major problem. One bright spot is a team from Northwestern University, which has developed a new material capable of neutralizing nerve gases. The zirconium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) called NU-1000 is not only useful for disposing of stockpiles of such toxins, but also for use in gas masks and protective suits for soldiers and rescue workers.  Read More

The Savior MTS can withstand a .44 Magnum round

You know you're having a bad day when you wish you had a bulletproof laptop bag – as in proof against actual bullets. The Savior Multi-Threat Shield laptop bag unfolds into a shield that can stop a .44 Magnum round.  Read More

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