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The upgrade allows the B-52 to carry 50 percent more smart weapons (Image: USAF)

The B-52 heavy bomber is a bit like the Queen of England – sometimes it seems as though both of them are going to go on forever. Last week, Boeing announced a new program to extend the life of the US Air Force B-52 fleet by expanding its capacity to carry smart weapons by 50 percent as part of a new US$24.6 million contract.  Read More

Unmanned F-16 fighter jet going through combat maneuvers in the Gulf of Mexico

Boeing has announced that it has retrofitted a number of retired Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets with equipment enabling them to be flown remotely without a pilot. In conjunction with the US Air Force, the company recently flew one of these unmanned jets, performing combat maneuvers and a perfect center line landing.  Read More

HAARP operational site on the edge of Denali State Park northeast of Anchorage, Alaska (Ph...

Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Let's take a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future.  Read More

Boeing B-52 Stratofortress (Image: USAF)

Last week, the United States Air Force’s 2nd Bomb Wing made its first live run with a new Lockheed Martin Sniper pod installed on the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress. Taking off from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, the practice run introduces new combat abilities that will give the aging bomber better integration with ground forces and laser-guided bombs for precision strikes.  Read More

The Locata system installed at the White Sands Missile range

As anyone who's tried to use GPS indoors can tell you, global positioning systems have their limitations. For them to work properly, you have to be outdoors and you need a clear view of the sky. If you’re in the military, you also have to be sure that the enemy isn't jamming the satellite signal. For this reason, the US Air Force has awarded Canberra-based firm Locata a “sole source” contract to install a ground-based version of GPS over 2,500 square miles (6,475 sq/km) of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico as part of a program to develop a practical supplement to GPS.  Read More

The X-37B OTV-1 launching from Cape Canaveral

A US Air Force X-37B unmanned space plane was launched on its second mission today. The mission,designated OTV-3, was sent into low-earth orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Launch Complex 41 atop an Atlas V rocket at 1:03 p.m. EST (1803 GMT). This is the first time an X-37B has returned to orbit.  Read More

The first shore-based trials of the Control Display Unit (CDU) that wirelessly controls th...

While impressive, unmanned flight is just one of the capabilities required of the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) if it is to enter service with the U.S. Navy. Prior to and after any flights, the aircraft also needs to be safely maneuvered around the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have taken the first step towards this with the demonstration of a wireless, handheld device that will allow deck operators to remotely control the aircraft on a carrier deck.  Read More

The Garvey Prospector P-15, powered by an ORBITEC vortex liquid fuel rocket engine, climbs...

Orbital Technologies Corporation (ORBITEC) successfully flight tested its patented vortex liquid fuel rocket engine on October 25. The engine was installed in a Prospector-class Garvey Spacecraft Corporation launch vehicle, and the resulting rocket was launched at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry facility near Edwards Air Force Base in California. The flight established substantial progress toward ORBITEC's development of a 30,000-lb (13,600-kg) thrust vortex engine for the US Air Force Advanced Upper Stage Engine Program and for NASA's Space Launch System.  Read More

Artists concept of the X-51A (Image: US Air Force)

The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the results of last August’s third test of the X-51a Waverider, which resulted in the crash of the unmanned scramjet demonstrator. At a press teleconference featuring the Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, Charles Brink, it was confirmed that a malfunctioning fin was the cause of the crash. However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight scheduled for (Northern Hemisphere) late spring or early summer of next year.  Read More

Airplane creating vortices made visible by colored smoke (Image: NASA Langley Research Cen...

The United States Air Force is taking flying lessons from geese and spiny lobsters. This may seem like the mother of all bureaucratic errors, but there’s actually some pretty solid science behind it. In exploiting a phenomenon known as “vortex surfing,” the USAF has found that by having C-17 cargo planes flying in formation, it can reduce fuel consumption by up to ten percent.  Read More

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