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US Navy


— Aircraft

DARPA gives Northrop Grumman nod to develop unmanned VTOL flying wing for small US Navy ships

DARPA has revealed more details of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (Tern) program that aims to turn smaller US Navy ships into miniature aircraft carriers for Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV). Phase 3 of program to develop a tail-sitting flying wing designed to take off and land vertically from destroyers and other small ships was awarded to Northrop Grumman, which will build a full-scale demonstrator for sea trials.

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— Robotics

Robot uses heat to strip rubber off nuclear submarines

In 2007, International Climbing Machines (ICM) unveiled its Climber robot, which can scale walls and rounded surfaces using a patented seal system. Now, it's trying to interest the US Navy in using robots to take over the nasty job of stripping away the rubber anti-sonar cladding from the nuclear submarine fleet using a method that is both cheaper and safer than current procedures.

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— Aircraft

Northrop Grumman set to develop tail-down UAV for DARPA's Tern program

The competition to fulfill DARPA's plan to turn US Navy destroyers and frigates into drone-launching aircraft carriers seems to be over as Northrop Grumman has unveiled its version of the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (Tern) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Based on the flying wing design, the Tern UAV lifts off vertically in a tail-down configuration and is designed to operate from the decks of smaller surface ships in the US Navy without the need for aircraft carrier-type runways.

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— Military

TALONS effectively gives ships of all sizes skyscraper-tall masts

Warships are only as effective as far as they can see, so DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift Of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort is aiming to extend their horizons by giving them a crow's nest 1,500 ft (457 m) tall by way of a towed parafoil. A TALONS prototype recently completed sea trials off the US East Coast as part of a project to provide ships of every size with better long-distance communications and situational awareness.

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— Military

Raytheon tests new self-defense missile protection for shallow-water combat ships

In naval circles, littoral areas are the hotspots for future conflict, but sending ships close to shore is like steaming into a shooting gallery. To provide more protection, the US Navy recently conducted tests off the coast of California of Raytheon's SeaRAM defensive missile system, which fires supersonic, self-guided interceptors against in-coming close-range threats. The tests were carried out by the littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) on August 14 as part of a live-fire exercise at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division sea range. During these exercises, Raytheon says that the Coronado detected, tracked, and engaged an inbound target using SeaRAM.

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— Aircraft

First installed electromagnetic aircraft launch system demonstrated

The age of steam is over – at least, as far as US aircraft carriers are concerned. At Newport News, Virginia, the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) successfully test fired a revolutionary Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), which replaces the steam catapults that have been standard carrier equipment since the 1950s. The test made a literal splash because it involved an unmanned dead-weight sled rather than an aircraft, which landed about a hundred yards off the bow of the still under construction vessel.

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— Military

X-47B completes first ever unmanned refueling exercise

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
— Military

US Navy shows off helium-saving deep-dive suit

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
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