research and development

Marines use off-the-shelf Samsung tablets to coordinate operations from the back of a V-22 Osprey in an Infantry Officer Course experiment.

WASHINGTON: High-ranking officials and blue-ribbon commissions have spent decades trying to reform how the Defense Department develops new technologies, buys them, sustains them, and controls their export abroad. Almost everyone has failed. Why? Ben Fitzgerald says they’re thinking too small. “Hey guys, this is actually a strategic issue. It’s not just an acquisition issue or… Keep reading →

Joint MultiRole Bell Valor

WASHINGTON: What is Future Vertical Lift? There is no one answer, but rather a range of possibilities. At one extreme is a single mega-program, building four variants for the four services to replace a host of existing helicopters, a vision in some ways even more ambitious than the long-troubled tri-service Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). At the… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

The U.S. defense industry, being reshaped by declining post-war budgets, globalization, and the increased pace of technological change, must work with the Pentagon and take proactive steps to maintain our historic preeminence on the battlefield. Our industry does not easily embrace change. In fact, history demonstrates that shifts in the defense industry have largely been… Keep reading →

A B-52 prepares to launch the X-51 "hypersonic" test vehicle.

WASHINGTON: “I believe, today, we could build a Mach 5 cruise missile [with] off-the-shelf materials,” said Charles Brink of the Air Force Research Laboratory. “We could go 500 nautical miles in 10 minutes.” Brink should know: He ran AFRL’s record-breaking X-51 program. Now AFRL and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are co-funding a… Keep reading →

An unmanned TerraMax mine-clearing vehicle, followed by equally unmanned TerraMax cargo trucks.

The future of military robotics may not look much like a robot. It may just be a truck that drives itself. That’s the simple, pragmatic approach pursued by Oshkosh — a company better known for trucks than Terminators — with its TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle. But after eight years of experiments for three different military… Keep reading →

A Marine Captain and a BAE contractor with DARPA's prototype ULTRA-Vis helmet display.

PENTAGON: After 20 years of unsuccessful efforts to produce a wearable display to provide foot troops digital data without blocking their view of the real world around them, DARPA has invented one called ULTRA-Vis. “The prototype was completed within the past several months. The breakthrough [was] the holographic wave guide” program manager Yiftach Eisenberg told me as he… Keep reading →

chinesecyberguys

COLORADO SPRINGS: The United States invented the Internet, but we may not rule it any more. “We are certainly behind right now. We are chasing our adversary, for sure,” one of the Air Force’s top cyber warriors, Col. Dean Hullings, told an audience of about 350 here at the National Space Symposium‘s one-day cyber event. Hullings,… Keep reading →

The Navy's "Laser Weapon System" (LaWS) prototype aboard ship.

CAPITOL HILL: Lasers that can shoot down incoming missiles have been a work in progress since Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” days. Now, the Army and Navy not only have working demonstration models but ambitions to field real-world weapons circa 2021. This time, insisted Pentagon science advisor Howard Meyer this morning, it’s really going to happen.… Keep reading →

The USS Essex (pictured) is the first Navy warship with a 3D printer.

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Navy has put a 3D printer on a warship for the first time. That’s a small revolution but don’t expect world-changing results any time soon. Just ask Lt. Benjamin Kohlmann, a fighter pilot and member of the Chief of Naval Operation’s Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC), a handpicked handful of junior officers and… Keep reading →

US and Korean Marines staged traditional amphibious assaults like this in the Ssang Yong 2014 wargames -- but such massed attacks may be a thing of the past.

NATIONAL HARBOR: Cheap grey-market missiles and commercially available radar kits are forcing the Marines to reinvent amphibious warfare for the 21st century. The new Corps concept, Expeditionary Force 21, predicts long-range threats will force the fleet to stay at least 65 nautical miles offshore, a dozen times the distance that existing Marine amphibious vehicles are… Keep reading →

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations.

[UPDATED April 8 with more rail gun & laser detail from Rear Adm. Klunder] NATIONAL HARBOUR: 23 pounds ain’t heavy. But it sure hurts when it hits you going at seven times the speed of sound. That’s what a prototype Navy weapon called a “rail gun” can do, and it does it without a single… Keep reading →

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