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Military

The B-52 gets upgraded weapons bay

For a plane that's now being flown by the original crews' grandchildren, the B-52 is still going strong. For its latest upgrade, Boeing has installed a new weapons bay launcher that will allow the venerable bomber to carry smart weapons inside and reduce fuel consumption. Read More

KC-46A tanker program makes first test flight

Boeing and the US Air force have announced the successful first test flight of the KC-46A tanker program. Set to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, the KC-46A is designed to act primarily as an airborne refueling tanker, but can also carry passengers and cargo, or act as a medivac airplane. Read More

Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout makes first destroyer flight

A helicopter landing on the flightdeck of a destroyer is hardly news – unless it's the US Navy's latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Northrop Grumman's MQ-8C Fire Scout became the first unmanned helicopter to operate from a US destroyer on December 16. Under guidance of the ship's ground control station, the MQ-8C made 22 takeoffs and 22 precision landings on the guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) off the coast of Virginia. Read More

DARPA puts out call for super-agile UAVs

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are the eyes in the skies for soldiers and disaster relief crews, but despite over a century of aviation progress, they still leave a lot to be desired and close quarters are very difficult for them to navigate on their own. To make UAVs more practical in debris-strewn areas, DARPA's Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program aims to develop algorithms that will allow autonomous fliers to negotiate obstacles as easily as a bird of prey.Read More

US Navy introducing system to help commanders plot the best course

One thing that is guaranteed to put a naval ship commander in front of a court martial is running aground. Unfortunately, despite all the advances in satellite technology and other aids, navigation is still as much an art as a science – and a very time-consuming one at that, with it taking days and sometimes weeks to chart out a mission. To free up captains and reduce their chances of having to answer awkward questions, the US Navy is introducing a new automated navigation planning system into its surface fleet that speeds up course planning and reduces the chance of human error. Read More

US Navy successfully deploys laser weapon

The laser goes from the weapon of tomorrow to the weapon of today as the US Navy announces the completion of its successful deployment of the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) Laser Weapon System (LaWS). The deployment is the first on a US Naval vessel and took place on the USS Ponce (LPD-15) in the Arabian Gulf from September to November of this year.Read More

Graphene could find use in lightweight ballistic body armor

While graphene is already known for being the world's strongest material, most studies have focused on its tensile strength – that's the maximum stress that it can withstand while being pulled or stretched, before failing. According to studies conducted at Houston's Rice University, however, its ability to absorb sudden impacts hadn't previously been thoroughly explored. As it turns out, the material is 10 times better than steel at dissipating kinetic energy. That could make it an excellent choice for lightweight ballistic body armor. Read More

BAE Systems develops advanced radar for Eurofighter Typhoon

BAE Systems is in the process of developing and testing a next-generation radar system for the Eurofighter Typhoon. The Captor E-Scan, fitted in the nose-cone of the fighter, boasts a number of improvements over other Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESAs), including a wider field of regard and the provision of advanced electronic warfare protection. Read More

Nuclear weapons write their own security codes

Nuclear weapons are a paradox. No one in their right mind wants to use one, but if they're to act as a deterrent, they need to be accessible. The trick is to make sure that access is only available to those with the proper authority. To prevent a real life General Jack D Ripper from starting World War III, Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Defense Technologies Division is developing a system that uses a nuclear weapon's own radiation to protect itself from tampering.Read More

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