drones

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 →

Lt. Gen. Stephen Hoog

ROSSLYN, VA: Surprise! The pilots who run the Air Force don’t share Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’s view of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which Mabus two weeks ago said “should be, and almost certainly will be, the last manned strike fighter aircraft the Department of the Navy will ever buy or fly.” “I would disagree… Keep reading →

Navy image

NATIONAL HARBOR: Navy Secretary Ray Mabus may want to move drones to the top of his priorities, but what kind of unmanned systems do the Navy and Marine Corps want to buy? Don’t think Predator or even the Navy’s new 131-foot-wingspan Triton. Imagine a swarm of buzzing, scuttling or swimming robots that are smaller but smarter. While a… 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 →

The X-47B drone plugs into an aerial refueling tanker for the first time.

UPDATED Thursday with test results NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: “Tomorrow, actually, the weather looks good,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s head of carrier-launched drone programs — at least, he added cautiously, as of “right now.” If the weather holds, the Navy’s experimental X-47B drone will refuel in mid-air — the first time an unmanned aircraft has… Keep reading →

CSBA graphic

WASHINGTON: The seas are shrinking. As missiles grow longer-ranged and more precise, as sensors grow ever sharper, there are ever fewer places for a ship to hide. “A ship’s a fool to fight a fort,” goes an old naval adage, because a land base can carry more ammunition and armor than anything that floats. Admirals… Keep reading →

An Avenger-class minesweeper at work

This is the third in our exclusive series on the crucial but neglected question of sea mines and how well — or not — the United States manages this global and very real threat. Here we’re looking at the most promising technologies, ships and aircraft that can give the United States the edge in this crucial and complex battle.… 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.

WASHINGTON: Former Navy pilot Sen. John McCain wants the Navy to build its first carrier-based drone with the ability to carry two tons of weapons in a stealthy platform able to fly into harm’s way and not primarily as a reconnaissance aircraft. And McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Serves Committee, went straight to Defense… Keep reading →

A second MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter flew for the first time at Naval Base Ventura County, Pt. Mugu, Calif., on Feb. 12. Current flight tests are focused on validating the flight capabilities of the system before ship-based flights take place this summer. Northrop Grumman photo by Alan Radecki

The military is drowning in video. Figuring out what’s worth watching can literally be a matter of life and death. The standard technique today is to sit young servicemembers down at screens to stare at live feeds or archived video — from drones, from satellites, from static cameras — until their eyes glaze over. But that’s… Keep reading →

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