UAVs

Courtesy Northrop Grumman

Fire Scout makes it look easy to take off from a destroyer. It’s not. In video released today (above), the MQ-8C helicopter takes off from the destroyer Jason Dunham with its eyes closed — or rather with its cockpit windows painted over, because there’s nobody inside. Though derived from the widespread Bell 407, the Northrop… Keep reading →

USS Washington

Smooth sailing is not in the Navy’s forecast for the next year.The service faces big decisions on major programs, and we can expect clashes between Navy plans, congressional politics and budgetary realities on three of the biggest: the upgunned Littoral Combat Ship, the UCLASS armed drone, and the jewel in the Navy’s crown, the nuclear aircraft carrier. The… Keep reading →

Navy graphic

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: They get so big, so fast. Once a child-sized helicopter that could just collect reconnaissance imagery, the Navy’s MQ-8 Fire Scout has graduated to a bigger airframe that will also carry a maritime search radar and laser-guided rockets. The tentative plan is to kick off the competition for the new radar with… Keep reading →

DARPA KQ-X Global Hawk refueling

PENTAGON: Ellen Pawlikowski helps decide what weapons the Air Force buys and manages the buying process, so when the lieutenant general says she likes autonomy and 3-D printing as the most promising capabilities for her service to develop as part of the new offset strategy, it’s worth listening. “This is Ellen Pawlikowski speaking,” she says in… Keep reading →

US Navy photo

PENTAGON: The age of laser weapons has officially begun. Since September, the Navy has had a $40 million, 30-kilowatt Laser Weapons System (LaWS) aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf. “They’re using it every single day,” said the Chief of Naval Research, Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder. Sailors — not contractors or engineers — perform basic… Keep reading →

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[UPDDATED with Hagel memo & expert comment] REAGAN LIBRARY: After months of build-up, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel formally launched the military’s quest for a combination of new technologies to maintain America’s military supremacy over the next 20 years in the face of Russian and Chinese challenges. In a speech before the second Reagan National Defense Forum here, Hagel divulged… Keep reading →

Bob Work deputy defense secretary

WASHINGTON: Offset strategy. Doesn’t exactly make your hair stand on end or make you go wow. Does it have to do with international arms deals and tradeoffs companies and countries make to win business? No. In fact, the offset strategy Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel should unveil in the next few days may be one of… Keep reading →

Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

NORFOLK: The famed “eyes of the fleet” are getting sharper. The Navy has declared the latest variant, the E-2D radar plane, ready for real-world operations just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original E-2 Hawkeye. The first five-plane squadron will deploy on the USS Theodore Roosevelt next year. Meanwhile, the current E-2C models are… Keep reading →

SwitchBlade Block10 Launches

AUSA: For years, Predator drones have been able to fly unopposed through most of their missions. If we can do that, you can be sure other countries are working hard to deploy drones to do to us as we have done to them. Taking the classic dance of measure and countermeasure, strike and counterstrike, the Army and other… Keep reading →

Guardrail tactical SIGINT plane

WASHINGTON: Imagine reconnaissance teams operating in enemy territory being able to hump in their own tiny  signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors, able to gather intel on both electronic emissions (ELINT) and communications (COMINT). Ok, they don’t have to hump them in because each one weighs roughly two-and-half pounds. Sound like science fiction? Well, DRS, the American… Keep reading →

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