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Northrop Grumman

 Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV)

Not so long ago it seemed that the golden age of giant lumbering airships had gone down with the Hindenberg, consigned to less spectacular roles in research, advertising and as a great camera platform above sporting events... but they're making a comeback. Lighter-than-air aircraft are returning to passenger carrying roles in tourism and in recent years we've seen a new-generation of airships put forward as a cargo-lifting solution (DARPA's Walrus Project) and even as a corporate air yacht (Aeroscraft ML866). Now the U.S. Army is moving quickly to build a hybrid airship weapons system that will act as a long-duration UAV – a very big UAV. The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) will be longer than a football field and stay aloft at altitudes of 20,000 feet for more than three weeks at a time providing an "unblinking eye" for surveillance and reconnaissance.  Read More

The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant has broken the sound barrier for ...

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program continues to rack up the milestones with the F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant breaking the sound barrier for the first time. The F-35B, which completed its first vertical landing in March, hit Mach 1.07 (727 miles per hour) in an off-shore test on June 10 and will be put through a series of supersonic flights that will gradually take the aircraft towards its top speed of Mach 1.6. The F-35B STOVL marks the first time in 100 years of military aviation that a plane has combined radar-evading stealth, VTOL and supersonic speed and may go some way towards justifying the program's other milestone achievement of being the most expensive weapons program in military history.  Read More

The D double bubble aircraft design promises a 70 percent improvement in fuel economy (Ima...

The contribution of aircraft to greenhouse gas emissions has been well documented and while biofuels are being trialled in an effort to combat the issue, an expected doubling in air traffic by 2035 suggests that a fundamental shift in technology is needed to make real progress. That's the starting point for the D “double bubble” – a design concept presented to NASA by an MIT led research team which promises a 70 percent improvement in fuel economy, reduced noise, lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and the ability to use shorter runways.  Read More

New Fire-X UAS boasts greater hauling, payload and endurance capabilities

Northrop Grumman Corporation and Bell Helicopter have teamed up to develop Fire-X, a medium-range vertical unmanned aerial system (VUAS) that is designed to stay airborne for longer periods of time, communicate more easily with their commanders, and deliver more cargo to more remote locations. The new rugged, high-capacity UAS is based on the four-blade, single-engine Bell 407 helicopter that’s been in commercial use since 1996 and takes advantage of Northrop Grumman’s experience in developing the smaller Fire Scout UAV.  Read More

The Panoptes platform will support tiny cave cameras and iris recognition technology suita...

Researchers at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas are developing new miniature camera technology and an iris recognition application built on a high-resolution, light and compact platform known as Panoptes. The technology is designed to help the military and border patrol to track combatants in dark caves or alleys and airport security personnel to quickly and unobtrusively identify a subject from an iris scan.  Read More

The Lockheed Martin F-35B begins descending to its first vertical landing March 18, 2010. ...

The F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter has completed its first vertical landing. The Short Take-Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) demonstration saw Lead Pilot Graham Tomlinson perform an 80-knot (93 miles per hour) short takeoff, a one minute hover and a vertical descent onto a 95-foot square pad riding more than 41,000 pounds of thrust provided by the Rolls-Royce LiftFan system.  Read More

The Airborne laser has succeeded in its first lethal intercept experiment

Laser guns have been a staple of science fiction for decades, but in reality their use is generally restricted to sighting, ranging and targeting applications. But that is all set to change. For the first time an airborne laser (ABL) weapon mounted aboard a modified Boeing 747 has shot down a ballistic missile launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform off the central California coast.  Read More

The first flight of the Block 40 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft, which will help warfighter...

The first of the next generation of Northrop Grumman’s Block 40 configuration RQ-4 Global Hawk has successfully completed its first flight. The two hour flight took the aircraft from Northrop Grumman’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale, California to Edwards Air Force Base, California. Designated AF-18, the Block 40 configuration of the high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) will carry the Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) active electronically scanned array radar that will help warfighters detect, track and identify stationary and moving targets.  Read More

The humble lotus leaf continues to inspire the scientific world 
 [Images: Flickr Creative...

Finding inspiration from nature in order to refine and advance modern technologies is nothing new; Mercedes’ bionic car was an interesting example and we’ve also seen a new ‘smart fabric’ based on the design of pine cones. Perhaps one of the most inspiring species, certainly in the plant world, is the lotus, which has already contributed to the development of fog-free windscreens and other surfaces along with improving the efficiency of solar cells. Now NASA is looking to the Lotus Leaf to develop a non-stick surface for use on spaceflight equipment.  Read More

Armadillo Aerospace will be competing at level 2 following success with its PIXEL lander

The X-Prize foundation, who teamed up with Google in 2007 to create the USD$30 million Google Lunar X Prize competition, has recorded plenty of interest. Since Odyssey Moon’s registration, a further ten parties moved swiftly to take up the gauntlet last year.  Read More

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