Innovation

Joint MultiRole Bell Valor

Somebody’s finally doing something tangible about the future of Army aviation. Bell Helicopter subcontractor Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kan., has started assembling the composite fuselage for the first prototype V-280 Valor, Bell’s new military tiltrotor. The Valor is sleeker, smaller, and, by design, more Army-friendly than the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey, which was built to fit… Keep reading →

Army photo

WASHINGTON: Sometimes small is beautiful. Sometimes small is lethal. While China and Russia are researching stealthy and armed drones, the drunk intelligence analyst who landed a Chinese-made mini-drone on the White House lawn in last month may be the more worrying sign of things to come. Afghan and Iraqi guerrillas kludged together murderous roadside bombs… Keep reading →

Elon Musk

WASHINGTON: While few doubted it would happen, the news that Elon Musk’s scrappy, pushy and — yes — disruptive launch company SpaceX won certification from Space and Missile Systems Center carries enormous import for the international launch industry, for the Pentagon, the Air Force and the Intelligence Community. It’s not that Musk’s SpaceX is going… Keep reading →

Arati Prabhakar (left) and Wes Bush (right)

WASHINGTON: With the Pentagon opening an outreach office in Silicon Valley, traditional defense firms may be feeling left behind. But the much-maligned prime contractors play a vital role in innovation, said Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush this morning. In fact, he argued, the Defense Department often needs the traditional firms to act as a “translator,”… Keep reading →

A Vyper Adamas offorad vehicle

UPDATE: Lockheed Martin won’t compete Want a pink truck?  “If a colonel says, ‘I want to paint it pink,’ it’ll get painted pink in about five minutes,” boasts Shane Sterling, president of Vyper Adamas. That’s the kind of speed with which smaller companies can move, he says: “We don’t have the levels of bureaucracy that a… Keep reading →

Soldiers use a Harris PRC-117G radio in Afghanistan

[UPDATED 8:00 with Loren Thompson comment] This afternoon, the Army announced it had chosen Harris and Thales to make its Rifleman Radio, the 21st century walkie-talkie that links foot troops into the Army’s command network. General Dynamics and Thales had split production of the first 21,379 radios under a Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) contract, but GD… Keep reading →

The Navy's UCAS demonstrator made history as the first drone to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Its proposed successor is called UCLASS.

UPDATED: Sen. McCain & Rep. Forbes Comment NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today that he’s reorganizing his department to increase emphasis on unmanned systems, from aerial drones to robotic mini-subs — a move which met with rapid approbation from Congress. “I’m going to appoint a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Unmanned… Keep reading →

Tomahawk cruise missile launch against the Khorasan group in Syria

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: Amidst unabated budget gloom, Navy and Marine leaders aren’t looking for salvation in big new programs. They’re “repurposing and reusing existing capabilities” to get the maximum out of existing hardware for minimum cost. It’s a vision of the future in which a junior Marine Corps officer might call for fire support from a… Keep reading →

Northrop Grumman Long Range Strike Bomber concept LRSB

PENTAGON: Threats are back in Pentagon acquisition. During the Cold War, the calculus was pretty simple. Russians do X. America responds with Y. Add Offset Strategy to boost US advantage overall. Frank Kendall, defense undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, has publicly worried about America losing its technological edge for several years. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob… Keep reading →

armynietouchpad

UPDATED 10:55 with Deputy Assistant Secretary Miller comments HUNTSVILLE, ALA: After 20 years of costly and cancelled programs, the US Army wants to break its weapons-buying system wide open. This time, service leaders swear, will be different from previous, failed reforms. The pinnacle of the new process will be something called the Army Warfighting Assessment,… Keep reading →

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