Pentagon & beyond - view of DC over river - 032113-Pentagon-full

WASHINGTON: Costs of the Pentagon’s major weapons programs — which make up a relatively small percentage of the military’s overall spending but attract enormous political and strategic attention — continue to improve. But a big question mark hovers over them. Are costs coming down only because the Pentagon has started very few programs in recent years and isn’t… Keep reading →

lockheed boeing long range strike bomber

ST. LOUIS: It was the question of the day: Mr. Secretary, can you elaborate on the Long Range Strike Bomber? The Pentagon plans to buy  80 to 100  of the $550 million-a-copy bomber — most details of which remain classified. A Boeing employee asked the question after a short speech by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, here to… Keep reading →

A flight of Aggressor F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons fly in formation over the Nevada Test and Training Ranges on 5 June, 2008. The jets are assigned to the 64th and 65th Aggressor squadrons at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The Aggressor mission is to prepare the combat air forces, joint and allied aircrews for tomorrowÕs victories with challenging and realistic threat replication, training, academics and feedback.
(U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald) released

Many observers of the US military would agree that the best ideas are often not to be found among its generals and admirals. If you want to find good and disruptive ideas in the military, you get to know the majors and colonels. One of the standard comments you’ll hear about smart colonels is that they… Keep reading →

Bell V-280 Valor Joint Multi-Role Demonstrator

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 →

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