research and development

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 →

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 →

Afzal Rob LMCO laser fellow

CRYSTAL CITY: In three years the US military could have a prototype laser weapon blasting out 300 kilowatts of energy, a jump that could ignite a revolution in missile defense, a Lockheed Martin engineer told me today, A 300-kw laser could kill cruise missiles. For comparison, that’s 10 times the power output of the Laser Weapons System… Keep reading →

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh

ORLANDO: More than half-way into his tenure as Air Force Chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh has shifted focus from the service’s airmen to its weapons, declaring today that “we must modernize the Air Force. This isn’t optional. We must do it. And It will be painful because we will have to make hard choices.” Welsh’s speech… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant concept for the Joint Multi-Role demonstrator, a predecessor to the Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

ARLINGTON: And then there were five. There were already going to be four different aircraft in the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family, from light to medium to heavy to “ultra.” Now it’s almost certain that the medium FVL will be split into two separate versions: a smaller attack/reconnaissance aircraft and a larger troop-carrying assault craft.… Keep reading →

Army concepts for future armor.

WASHINGTON: Despite the hype, the US Special Operations Command won’t issue Iron Man-style armor to its troops any time soon. But that’s not the standard by which to assess the success or failure of SOCOM’s much vaunted Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit initiative, the command’s chief weapons buyer says. The value of TALOS lies at least… Keep reading →

Frank Kendall

CAPITOL HILL: The United States will begin serious development of prototypes for so-called sixth generation fighters — successors to the F-35 and F-22 — for the Navy and the Air Force in the 2016 budget, says the head of Pentagon acquisition, Frank Kendall. The Aviation Innovation Initiative is a new effort, not an agglomeration of existing DARPA… Keep reading →

Deborah Lee James Atlantic Council acquisition

WASHINGTON: Citing “horrifying” times to let contracts even when their isn’t any competition — 17 months — Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the service will try several approaches to cut costs and speed cycle times. As Breaking D readers know, the Air Force has actually driven overall acquisition costs down in the last two years,… Keep reading →

UCLASS General Atomics

PENTAGON:  For decades the tech gurus of Silicon Valley have pretty much left Pentagon business alone, letting the military stumble along and try to buy their wares within five years of their coming out. Take the story of former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, hungry for an iPad that could handle classified information. Couldn’t be… Keep reading →

Robert Work

WASHINGTON: The “third offset strategy” is officially just four days old, but the man in charge is already lowering expectations for what it will produce. Yes, the Pentagon is absolutely seeking “the key technologies we think will give us a particular operational advantage,” said Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work. Yes, the quest is inspired by… Keep reading →

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