research and development

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 →

Bob Work2

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 →

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

WASHINGTON: The first Future Vertical Lift Aircraft won’t fly until the 2030s but the Army, Navy, and industry are already at work on software standards. Those include a new “model-based” approach to software architectures that will require a culture change among programmers and defense bureaucrats alike. Why take on so much so early? Because FVL will… Keep reading →

140224-M-EV637-410

[UPDDATED with Hagel memo & expert comment] REAGAN LIBRARY: After months of build-up, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel formally launched the military’s quest for a combination of new technologies to maintain America’s military supremacy over the next 20 years in the face of Russian and Chinese challenges. In a speech before the second Reagan National Defense Forum here, Hagel divulged… Keep reading →

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