robotics

UUV with USS PONCE 130514-N-PX130-142

Think it’s hard to find a place to charge your smartphone at the airport? Try finding a power outlet in the ocean. Imagine you’re a robotic Navy mini-sub whose batteries are running low after a long mission monitoring, say, traffic around Chinese artificial islands in the South Pacific. Currently, you’d have to recharge at a land… 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 →

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 →

An Avenger-class minesweeper at work

This is the third in our exclusive series on the crucial but neglected question of sea mines and how well — or not — the United States manages this global and very real threat. Here we’re looking at the most promising technologies, ships and aircraft that can give the United States the edge in this crucial and complex battle.… Keep reading →

A second MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter flew for the first time at Naval Base Ventura County, Pt. Mugu, Calif., on Feb. 12. Current flight tests are focused on validating the flight capabilities of the system before ship-based flights take place this summer. Northrop Grumman photo by Alan Radecki

The military is drowning in video. Figuring out what’s worth watching can literally be a matter of life and death. The standard technique today is to sit young servicemembers down at screens to stare at live feeds or archived video — from drones, from satellites, from static cameras — until their eyes glaze over. But that’s… Keep reading →

A US Navy attack submarine enters Apra Harbor in Guam.

THE FUTURE: Imagine you’re a Chinese high commander, taking stock at the outbreak of the next great war. All your aides and computer displays tell you the same thing: For hundreds of miles out into the Western Pacific, the sea and sky are yours. They are covered by the overlapping threat zones of your long-range land-based missiles, your… Keep reading →

Courtesy Northrop Grumman

Fire Scout makes it look easy to take off from a destroyer. It’s not. In video released today (above), the MQ-8C helicopter takes off from the destroyer Jason Dunham with its eyes closed — or rather with its cockpit windows painted over, because there’s nobody inside. Though derived from the widespread Bell 407, the Northrop… Keep reading →

DARPA KQ-X Global Hawk refueling

PENTAGON: Ellen Pawlikowski helps decide what weapons the Air Force buys and manages the buying process, so when the lieutenant general says she likes autonomy and 3-D printing as the most promising capabilities for her service to develop as part of the new offset strategy, it’s worth listening. “This is Ellen Pawlikowski speaking,” she says in… Keep reading →

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