UAVs

The X-47B drone plugs into an aerial refueling tanker for the first time.

PENTAGON: After more than a year of intense debate over whether the Navy’s future UCLASS drone should be a long-range stealth bomber or a lightly armed scout, the Defense Department has chosen — neither. Instead, the 2017 budget proposes a program that is less ambitious than either version of UCLASS but, to their mind, more… Keep reading →

army-ah-64e-apache-guardian-helicopters

UPDATED: Retired Gen. Ham Adds Apache Cost Info At Friday breakfast WASHINGTON: The congressionally chartered National Commission on the Future of the Army recommends splitting the difference between the regular Army and the National Guard in a bitterly polarizing dispute over AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. That’s the most politically high-profile recommendation out of dozens, many of them… Keep reading →

Panoramic image of the Financial districts of London

One of today’s toughest defense problems is drones. But not what the Air Force likes to call Remotely Piloted Aircraft that carry missiles and bombs. The bigger threat – one that worries law enforcement and the Secret Service as much as the Pentagon – is drones like the hundreds of thousands Santa brought to kids… Keep reading →

The amphibious ship USS San Antonio, LPD-17.

LOS ANGELES: We can’t show you a photo but Northrop Grumman is developing an intriguing bird for a DARPA program called the TERN. (The company showed us a model but no photos were allowed.) The company showed a small group of reporters a model of the aircraft, which is designed to land and take off… Keep reading →

Air Force photo

WASHINGTON: Lt. Gen. Brad Heithold, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, wants to make the AC-130 a kind of flying aircraft carrier, launching mini-drones mid-flight to scope out threats and targets. Oh, and he wants the AC-130 to have a laser cannon as well. Speaking to the Association of Old Crows’ annual conference on electronic… Keep reading →

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff.

WASHINGTON: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh made clear today that, while his service will make its arguments for modernization programs such as the JSTARS replacement, F-35 and Long Range Strike Bomber, the Defense Secretary and the combatant commanders will make the final decisions. The military’s latest and highest profile program, the Long Range Strike… 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.

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 →

Chinese J-31 stealth fighter

CAPITOL HILL: The head of Air Force acquisition, just back from the Dubai Air Show, said the United States must act fast to make it easier and quicker for allies to buy US weapons through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. If we don’t, Bill LaPLante said at an event put by on the Lexington Institute,… Keep reading →

Wikimedia Commons

[UPDATED with TRADOC & additional Work comment] We’ve talked a lot in these pages about drones and robots, networks and swarms. But there’s new way of looking at these weapons that Bob Work made clear is at the heart of the Defense Department’s high-tech “Third Offset Strategy.” It’s an approach that relies not just on technology… Keep reading →

Orion in hangar

MANASSAS, Va.: Defense contractors often grouse when the military hesitates to buy their products, but usually sotto voce. As John Langford sits in his office at Manassas Regional Airport and contemplates his company’s world-record-setting Orion drone, now sitting disassembled in a nearby hangar, the Aurora Flight Sciences chief executive officer can’t help speaking up. “When… Keep reading →

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