UAVs

Navy E-2D Advanced Hawkeye

NORFOLK: The famed “eyes of the fleet” are getting sharper. The Navy has declared the latest variant, the E-2D radar plane, ready for real-world operations just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original E-2 Hawkeye. The first five-plane squadron will deploy on the USS Theodore Roosevelt next year. Meanwhile, the current E-2C models are… Keep reading →

SwitchBlade Block10 Launches

AUSA: For years, Predator drones have been able to fly unopposed through most of their missions. If we can do that, you can be sure other countries are working hard to deploy drones to do to us as we have done to them. Taking the classic dance of measure and countermeasure, strike and counterstrike, the Army and other… Keep reading →

Guardrail tactical SIGINT plane

WASHINGTON: Imagine reconnaissance teams operating in enemy territory being able to hump in their own tiny  signals intelligence (SIGINT) sensors, able to gather intel on both electronic emissions (ELINT) and communications (COMINT). Ok, they don’t have to hump them in because each one weighs roughly two-and-half pounds. Sound like science fiction? Well, DRS, the American… Keep reading →

The first MQ-4C Triton drone to arrive at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

PATUXENT RIVER NAVAL AIR STATION: The future of Navy long-range reconnaissance, the recently arrived MQ-4C Triton drone, sprawls across its hangar here, with a wingspan 13 feet wider than a Boeing 737 but a body that’s 80 percent lighter. Designed for 24-hour-plus patrols at 50,000 feet, Triton still can’t do the job by itself, say both the program manager and… Keep reading →

The Navy's new EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft during sea trials.

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB: “We have lost the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Alan Shaffer, the Pentagon’s research and engineering chief, this morning. “That’s a huge deal when you think about fielding advanced systems that can be [countered] by a very, very cheap digital jammer.” We’ve heard senior Pentagon officials fret about electronic warfare before, most prominently the Chief of… Keep reading →

Lockheed Martin's UCLASS concept.

It’s crunch time for UCLASS. On September 10th — after multiple delays — the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer and his Defense Acquisition Board will sit in judgment on the proposed combat drone. The question: how best to bring the robot revolution to the deck of the 90-year-old aircraft carrier. The “Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and… Keep reading →

The U.S. Navy's unmanned X-47B conducts flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). The aircraft completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft. Operating alongside an F/A-18, the X-47B demonstrated two successful launch and recovery sequences. The Theodore Roosevelt is currently underway preparing for future deployments. Photo by Alan Radecki.

[UPDATED: Key test goal met] Robots may be the future of war, but for now they’re going to have to share the battlefield with humans and human-operated vehicles. That’s especially tricky in the tight confines of a Navy carrier’s flight deck, where one miscalculation could drive a drone into a manned aircraft, the bridge island, 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.

WASHINGTON: August is the month of decision for UCLASS, the Navy’s controversial program to build armed drones that fly off aircraft carriers. At stake: whether the “Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance & Strike” aircraft will be primarily a scout (surveillance) or a bomber (strike). The new Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bob Work, delayed the Navy’s release of… Keep reading →

lockheed boeing long range strike bomber

PENTAGON: The grander the title, the blander the content. That’s normally a safe rule in Washington. But if analyzed closely, this afternoon’s “State of the Air Force” briefing by service Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, plus the accompanying pamphlet A Call To the Future, actually do articulate a remarkably clear… Keep reading →

k-max-in-afghanistan-5894571-636x408

A robot helicopter that can carry three tons of cargo, the Marine Corps K-MAX certainly has the cool factor. But does it have a future? After a six-month pilot project in Afghanistan got extended into a 33-month deployment that made 2,250 tons of deliveries, the two experimental aircraft have come home. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin… Keep reading →

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