drones

Flanker drone. For Sunday PostScript story on drones.

Most of what was learned at this year’s Black Dart counter-drone exercise will remain classified, but it proved that one of the oldest and deadliest weapons in the U.S. arsenal works against the 21st Century threat of drones, too. “The Marine sniper shot from a UH-1Y Huey,” Lt. Cdr. Ryan Leary, a Black Dart project… Keep reading →

MDA Photo

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: Three years after the Missile Defense Agency mothballed its massive Airborne Laser, MDA is planning to reboot the concept for a new era. The old ABL was Boeing 747 with a human crew and tanks of toxic chemicals to generate power. The new idea a high-altitude, long-endurance drone armed with a more compact… Keep reading →

An Army Grey Eagle testing a NERO jammer.

PENTAGON:  The US Army is struggling to fund the increasingly crucial capabilities it fields for electronic warfare, which it largely abandoned after the Soviet Union fell. The Army has over 32,000 short-range defensive jammers to stop roadside bombs, but on current plans, it won’t have an offensive jammer until 2023. “Can that be accelerated? Yes,” said… Keep reading →

Deborah Lee James

WASHINGTON: Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James warned Congress today that its effort to stop the retirement of the A-10 Warthog and other aircraft could hurt the service’s modernization plans. In a speech before the National Aeronautic Association, James noted the service wants “to transfer and divest some older aircraft in order to free up… Keep reading →

frank-kendall-7422576862ae9b101354b

WASHINGTON: Two major defense industry players have a suggestion for Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, whose Better Buying Power 3.0 plan includes a new requirement that companies get the Pentagon’s blessing for internal research and development (IRAD) spending. Back off. “I’m not sure there’s a lot of upside to a lot of DoD oversight of where… Keep reading →

UCLASS Boeing

PARIS: The Pentagon’s decision to pause as it reconsiders what path to pursue with the drone fighter known as UCLASS prompted Boeing to send a warning note today that the US military had better keep its commitments if it wants companies to invest their own money in new technologies. Pressed by Rep. Randy Forbes and Sen. John McCain… Keep reading →

Lockheed Martin's UCLASS concept.

WASHINGTON: Overstretched as they are, the Navy’s 10 aircraft carriers remain unequalled icons of American might. But the ugly truth is they’re not as mighty as they might be. The maximum range of carrier-borne strike aircraft has eroded over the last quarter century. Even the Navy’s future fighter, the F-35C, will have an unrefueled range of about 600… 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 →

Ray Mabus

[UPDATED with Congressional reaction] ROSLYN, VA: Ray Mabus likes robots. The Navy Secretary has declared the F-35 will be “the last manned strike fighter” the service ever buys and invested heavily in unmanned aircraft, boats, and submersibles. But Mabus has frustrated drone advocates on one major program: the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft. This morning, Mabus defended… Keep reading →

Chinese UAV image

WASHINGTON: How many drones is Beijing building? Relying on unidentified “estimates,” the Pentagon’s latest Chinese Military Power report says “China plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023,” including armed and stealthy unmanned aircraft. (More on the report here). That sentence gave rise to… Keep reading →

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