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Military

Northrop Grumman has delivered two X-47B Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems (UCAS) to the US Navy, which has begun three weeks of tests aboard the USS Truman – the first aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. The X-47B is based on the Pegasus X-47A (originally designed in 2001) but features improved landing gear and folding wings for work aboard carriers. Read More
While there are already protective cover-all suits that offer protection against chemical and biological agents, it’s unrealistic to suggest that soldiers should carry such suits with them at all times, and hurriedly pull them on in the event of an attack. Instead, research teams from several institutions are developing something a little more practical – uniform fabric that automatically becomes impermeable to toxic substances, when it detects them in the area. Read More

Internet security specialist SANS is building what it calls CyberCity, a model city to help train U.S. Military personnel – Federal hackers, in effect – in defending cities from cyberwarfare attacks. Read More

TrackingPoint, Inc., a new precision guided rifle development company operating out of Austin, Texas, has developed breakthrough technology that claims to put jet fighter lock-and-launch technology onto a combat rifle, making sniper-level accuracy available to the average shooter. Read More
Most people have experienced the sonic boom of a skillfully wielded whip, or the closely related crack of a nearby bolt of lightning. Such sounds have a character that attracts a good deal of attention, which is why the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is trying to silence them. The crack of a rifle shot is the sonic boom of a supersonic bullet, making stealthy ground missions difficult to accomplish. To address this need, SOCOM has issued a Small Business Innovation Research request for proposal (SBIR-RFP) for a feasibility study of suitable subsonic rounds. Read More
BAE Systems has released an infographic outlining the features of its hybrid Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV). A joint venture between BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman with other partners, the GCV proposal is part of a US Army competition to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, which entered service in 1981. Read More
With around 430 gas-turbine engines on 129 of its ships burning about US$2 billion worth of fuel every year, the U.S. Navy is examining the potential of using Rotating Detonation Engines (RDEs) to improve fuel consumption and cut costs. Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) estimate that retrofitting RDEs to its fleet could save the Navy approximately 300 to 400 million dollars a year. Read More
An Afghan designer has come up with a novel tumbleweed-esque device to find and detonate mines, a device that has evolved from the wind-powered toys he made as a child. Massoud Hassani's Mine Kafon is made mainly from bamboo and biodegradable plastics, but the simple addition of a GPS chip means the wind-swept spheres can be monitored to reveal the location of mines. Read More
This week, science fiction became science fact as a Boeing CHAMP missile knocked out a building full of electronics in the Utah desert at Hill Air Force Base. There was no explosion and no flying shrapnel. There was only the sound of the missile’s engine as it flew overhead and the sputtering of sophisticated computers crashing as they were hit by a beam of high-energy microwaves. Read More
Laser pointers may be great fun to tease the cat with, but for pilots they are a major hazard. The United States FAA reports over 2,000 incidents every year of planes having lasers pointed at them - some of them powerful enough to pop a balloon. To combat the danger that lasers pose to aviation, the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing new eye wear that can filter out a wide range of laser wavelengths. Read More
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