research and development

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.

PENTAGON: The Navy’s new offices for unmanned systems — that’s drones or robots to you and me — are a long-overdue reform, two top experts tell us. But, as emphasized by both our outside sources and the new Navy officials themselves, it’s equally important to understand the initiative’s limits. This is not an overhaul of the… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

WASHINGTON: Running weapons programs is a grueling job. Running Army programs, with their history of spectacular failures and cancellations, can be worse. That means Heidi Shyu‘s first achievement is endurance: in one senior position or another, the outgoing Army acquisition chief lasted five years amidst steeply declining budgets. Perhaps her biggest achievement was to keep her sense… Keep reading →

A target truck disabled by Lockheed's ATHENA laser

CRYSTAL CITY: The world’s largest defense company is taking a big step towards battlefield laser weapons. In a few weeks, Lockheed Martin will start production of high-efficiency fiber-optic modules that can be wired together into a wide variety of different weapons. Production will start with a prototype 60-kilowatt rocket-killer for the Army, they said, but… Keep reading →

Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. photo

NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, MD: Pax River is a robot zoo today, showcasing unmanned vehicles from micro-mini-submarines — so small you can throw one like a football — to what appears to be a solar-powered canoe. More than 40 systems here from 30 projects and six nations were gathered by the US Office of… 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 →

Russian-made RD-180 engines propel an Atlas V rocket heavenward.

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: American ingenuity can absolutely build a rocket engine to replace the Russian-made RD-180, the Pentagon’s top buyer said today. The wide-open questions are: how soon can they do it; and how much will the Pentagon have to pay. “The big problem isn’t the technology, it’s the time,” Frank Kendall told reporters at the… Keep reading →

US Army photo

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: The Army is entering a new Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) for a laser weapon with defense titan Lockheed Martin, the head of Space & Missile Defense Command said today. The service’s ultimate goal is lasers light, compact, and capable enough to protect advancing troops. The Lockheed agreement, not yet formally announced, will lead… Keep reading →

An artist's depiction of a Lockheed Martin LRASM (Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile) hurtling towards its target.

WASHINGTON: For all the US Navy’s worldwide might, it’s painfully short on ship-killing firepower. The Pacific fleet in particular risks being “out-sticked” by longer-ranged Chinese missiles. Today, the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations outlined a plan to fill that gap. The two competing options: an update of the old, reliable Tomahawk or the new Long-Range… Keep reading →

Army photo

UPDATED: Russia is No. 1 threat, Milley tells Senate; give “defensive” arms to Ukraine CAPITOL HILL: The world has changed, and not for the better. That’s the message Gen. Mark Milley brings to the Senate this morning. The current Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond Odierno, has often said the Army cannot execute the national… Keep reading →


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 →

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