Military technology

  • Al Qaeda increases efforts to defeat U.S. drones

    Drone attacks have been an important part of America’s war against terrorism. These airstrikes have considerably limited the movements and operational freedom of al Qaeda operatives and other militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Al Qaeda has been exploring strategies and experts to allow it to counter America’s drone campaign.

  • Compact aerostat offers affordable, portable surveillance solution

    Columbia, Maryland-based TCOM last week unveiled its newest aerostat platform, the 12M Tactical Aerostat. The system is designed to meet the needs of soldiers and first responders who require a compact, affordable, persistent surveillance solution which can be transported anywhere, rapidly deployed, and easily retrieved.

  • Iran indicates willingness to rethink nuclear program in exchange for sanction relief

    As part of a series of steps designed to present post-election Iran as more pragmatic, President Hassan Rouhani and his advisers indicated they would be willing to consider curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Iran. Some Western experts say that all these steps are more than mere cosmetic changes, while skeptics note that Obama has reached out to Iran before, with no results. Veterans of past nuclear negotiations with Iran also noted that it is likely that Rouhani’s team may not yet fully understand the kinds of concessions that the Islamic republic would be required to make to have the most painful economic sanctions lifted.

  • UN inspectors' repot on gas attack points to Assad’s elite military units

    Russia may say publicly that it does not know who launched the deadly 21 August gas attack on two Damascus neighborhoods, but the Russians must have had an inkling: Russia’s UN ambassador agreed to have an international team of weapon inspectors sent to Syria to investigate the 21 August attack on one condition: the inspectors’ mandate was narrowed to verifying that chemical weapons were used, but specifically prohibited the inspectors from assigning responsibility to the attack. Russia’s effort to shield Assad has resulted in a report, submitted Monday to the UN Security Council, which does not explicitly name the Syrian regime as the party launching the attack, but details buried in the report point directly at elite military formations loyal to Assad.

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  • U.S. still has 3,100 tons of chemical weapons to be destroyed

    Last weekend’s U.S.-Russia agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons has put on hold a U.S. strike on Syria. The pause may allow a reflection on the fact that the United States possesses one of the world’s largest chemical arsenals. Sixteen years after a treaty banning of chemical weapons went into effect, the Unites States has 3,100 tons stored in Colorado and Kentucky.

  • History of explosives highlighted in museum exhibit

    For more than seventy years, Los Alamos National Laboratory has been a frontrunner in explosives research, development, and applications. To highlight the Laboratory’s work in the field of explosives, the Bradbury Science Museum is opening a new exhibit, titled “The Science of Explosives.”

  • Experts question ambitious Syria chemical weapons agreement

    The announcements in Geneva by Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were bold: President Bashar al-Assad has a week to provide detailed, accurate, and comprehensive information about Syria’s entire chemical weapons program: research labs, production facilities, test sites, chemical storage depots, and munitions kept by every military unit. Experts say that the tight timetable the agreement requires for disclosure of stockpile, destruction of production facilities, and the destruction of the chemical weapons themselves, would not only set a speed record, but that that it cannot be accomplished even with Syria’s full cooperation.

  • Syria’s chemical program, inventory

    The Syrian chemical weapons program began in the 1970s when the Hafez al-Assad regime purchased chemical munitions from the Soviet Union. In the 1980s, Syria launched a broad program of acquiring the materials, products, and knowledge necessary to set up an autonomous chemical weapons production capacity. In the nearly four decades of acquisition, research, development, and production, Syria has amassed what experts consider to be the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpile, consisting of about 1,000 tons of chemical agents and precursor chemicals.

  • UN inspectors’ report points strongly to Syrian government’s culpability in 8/21 chemical attack

    UN chemical weapons inspectors will on Monday submit their report to UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon, in which they will say that they have collected a “wealth” of evidence which points to the Syrian government as being responsible for using chemical weapons against its own people.

  • Syrian conflict renews focus on chemical weapons

    Chemical weapons have been used several times in modern history, with Germany recognized as the first country to use such weapons on a mass scale in the 22 April 1915 attack on 6,000 British and French troops at Ypres, Belgium. Since the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which banned the use of chemical and biological weapons, chemical weapons have been used in five conflicts, with Syria being the sixth.

  • Unified military intelligence picture dispels the fog of war

    Military operations depend upon the unimpeded flow of accurate and relevant information to support timely decisions related to battle planning and execution. To address these needs, numerous intelligence systems and technologies have been developed over the past twenty years, but each of these typically provides only a partial picture of the battlefield, and integrating the information has proven to be burdensome and inefficient. DARPA’s Insight program aims to bring real-time, integrated, multi-source intelligence to the battlefield.

  • Anti-ship missile prototype in successful first solo test flight

    Adversaries’ sophisticated air defense systems can make it difficult for current air- and surface-launched anti-ship missiles to hit their targets at long range. To engage specific enemy warships from beyond the reach of counter-fire systems, soldirs may require launching multiple missiles or employing overhead targeting assets such as radar-equipped planes or Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites — resources that may not always be available. To address these challenges, DARPA and ONR are collaborating on the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) program, which successfully launched its first prototype on 27 August.

  • Disarming Syria of chemical weapons exceedingly difficult, lengthy, uncertain process: experts

    The Russian proposal concerning Syria’s chemical weapons is attractive: international inspectors will make a detailed account of Syria’s vast chemical stocks and take control of them; the weapons will be destroyed; and Syria will join the Chemical Weapons Convention. Experts say, however, that it may well be a deceiving attraction because it will be exceedingly difficult to implement and reliably monitor. “After more than 20 years in Iraq, the job still isn’t finished. Syria could be worse,” one expert says.

  • Chemical munitions used in 8/21 attack carried larger payload than previously estimated

    A new study of the 21 August chemical attack on rebel-controlled areas on the outskirts Damascus found that that the rockets used in the attack carried larger toxic payloads than had previously been estimated. Weapons experts say that the fact that the rockets carried up to fifty times more sarin nerve agent than previously thought helps explain why there were so many more victims than in previous chemical attacks by regime forces.

  • Cyberweapons likely to be an integral part of any U.S.-Syria clash

    A U.S.-led military attack on Syria may have been averted, at least for a while, by the Russian proposal to negotiate the transfer of Syria’s chemical weapons stocks to international control, but had the United States gone ahead with a strike, there is little doubt that cyberattacks would have been used by both sides. If the United States decides to attack Syria in the future, we should expect cyberweapons to be used.