drones

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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 →

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 →

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