Military technology

  • Young scientists to tackle DoD’s most demanding technological challenges

    A group of twenty-five early-career scientists at research universities have received grants totaling more than $12 million for basic research to address some of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) most challenging technological hurdles. The long-term goal of the DARPA Young Faculty Award (YFA) program is to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers who will focus their careers and research on DoD and national security issues.

  • U.S., allies prepare military strikes against Syria

    Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday said that the use by the Assad regime of chemical weapons in attacks on civilians last Wednesday was undeniable. He said the Obama administration would hold the Syrian government accountable for this “cowardly crime” and “moral obscenity.” U.S. political and military leaders have been holding around-the-clock discussions with allies about a coordinated military attack on Syrian regime facilities. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Turkey said there was no need to seek a UN Security Council approval of military action against Syria, and that none will be sought. Administration lawyers have been crafting legal justifications for an intervention without UN approval that could be based on findings that Assad used chemical weapons and created a major humanitarian crisis. The U.S. Navy has moved more ships to the eastern Mediterranean, and activity has been stepped up in Britain’s air base in Cyprus.

  • Israel offers proof of Assad regime’s responsibility for chemical weapons attack

    Israeli sources said that the IDF’s sigint unit, Unit 8200 – which, among other intelligence operations, routinely eavesdrops on communications among military and political leaders in Syria — has recordings of senior Syrian political and military officials discussing the timing and scope of the chemical attack last Wednesday against civilians in rebel-held areas. Israeli intelligence sources have also identified the Syrian military unit which fired the chemical weapons: the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, a division under the command of the Syrian president’s brother, Maher Assad.

  • A flying car is developed for the U.S. military

    Flying cars would enhance the mobility of soldiers. Transportation will no longer be restricted to trafficable terrain that makes movement predictable and easy to track, and a flying car will enhance capabilities for resupply operations, fire-team insertion and extraction, and medical evacuation — reducing timelines and increasing the probability of survival.

  • As many as 1,400 killed in a suspected chemical attack in Syria (updated)

    Rebel sources say the number of dead in a Syrian army chemical weapons attack, which targeted a dozen villages in a rebel-held area east of Damascus, has reached 1,400. The Syrian government admitted launching a major military offensive against rebels in the area – both rebels and government sources say it is the largest military operation since the beginning of the war — but strongly rejected the allegations about chemical weapons use by the Syrian army. The Israeli defense minister, in the first official Israeli reaction, confirms the Syrian military used chemical weapons. Chemical weapons experts say there are two other possibilities: the Syrian regime may have used crowd-dispersal chemicals in higher-than-usual concentration, causing death among people trapped in bunkers and shelters; or the army may have used fuel-air bombs in bombing Sunny residential areas. Such bombs, also called thermobaric explosives, rely on oxygen from the surrounding air, unlike most conventional explosives which consist of a fuel-oxidizer premix.

  • Secure, private Internet and cloud to soldiers, marines at the tactical edge

    Squads of soldiers or marines on patrol in remote forward locations often do not have the luxury of quickly sharing current intelligence information and imagery on their mobile devices, because they cannot access a central server. Troops frequently have to wait until they are back at camp to download the latest updates. In the meantime, mission opportunities may erode because the information needed at the tactical edge isn’t immediately available. DARPA’s Content-Based Mobile Edge Networking (CBMEN) program aims to provide an alternative approach to the top down focus of most military networks by starting the content sharing at the individual soldier or marine level.

  • Conflicting readings of possible chemical weapons use in Syria

    Rebel sources say the number of dead in a Syrian army chemical weapons attack, which targeted a dozen villages in a rebel-held area east of Damascus, is between 750 and 1,300. They say it is not possible to offer precise numbers because some areas are not yet accessible. The Syrian government strongly rejected the allegations about chemical weapons use by the Syrian army. The Israeli defense minister, in the first official Israeli reaction, confirms the Syrian military used chemical weapons. Chemical weapons experts say there are two other possibilities: the Syrian regime may have used crowd-dispersal chemicals in higher-than-usual concentration, causing death among people trapped in bunkers and shelters; or the army may have used fuel-air bombs in bombing Sunny residential areas. Such bombs, also called thermobaric explosives, rely on oxygen from the surrounding air, unlike most conventional explosives which consist of a fuel-oxidizer premix.

  • Reports: hundreds killed in chemical weapons attack east of Damascus

    Syrian rebels say at least 750 people were killed in attacks on villages in rebel-held areas in the Ghouta region east of Damascus. News agencies quote medical personnel who confirmed that hundreds of victims treated in hospitals and make-shift first-aid stations were suffering from symptoms associated with chemical weapons attack. Syrian government officials deny that regime forces used chemical weapons. The Arab League called for immediate investigation, and the U.K. said it would bring the reports to the UN Security Council today.

  • Gen. Dempsey: U.S. military options against Iran “better” than last year

    General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who is on an official visit to Israel and Jordan this week, said that in his meeting with Israeli leaders he told them that “since I was here last year [October 2012], [the United States has] better military options than we did a year ago” to deal with Iran’s nuclear weapons program. “That’s because we’ve continued to refine them,” he said. “We’ve continued to develop technology, we’ve continued to train and plan.”

  • New camouflage makeup shields soldiers, firefighters from heat of bomb blasts, fire

    Camouflage face makeup for warfare is undergoing one of the most fundamental changes in thousands of years, as scientists today described a new face paint that both hides soldiers from the enemy and shields their faces from the searing heat of bomb blasts. Firefighters also could benefit from the new heat-resistant makeup.

  • Top 6 hottest new weapons

    Competition spurs innovation and there is nothing more competitive than countries battling in the trenches of war. With billions upon billions in defense budget to spend, research into developing the best and most efficient weapons is on the forefront of investment.

  • Teams compete in challenging robotic helicopter competition

    A U Michigan student team took part in an autonomous aerial vehicle competition. Their task: build a 3-pound flying machine that can, under its own control, take off, fly through a window into a model building, avoid security lasers, navigate the halls, recognize signs, enter the correct room, find a flash drive in a box on a desk, pick it up, leave a decoy, exit, and land in under ten minutes. Beyond military uses, autonomous vehicle they built could one day be used to survey collapsed buildings or inspect hard-to-get-to parts of bridges and other infrastructure. An offshoot group from a previous U-M team is working to commercialize the U-M technology through a startup called SkySpecs, which inspects windmills.

  • Israel, Egypt escalate attacks on militants in Sinai Peninsula (updated)

    The growing intelligence cooperation between Egypt and Israel was in evidence early Friday when the Israel Air Force (IAF), in coordination with the Egyptian military, used drone strikes to destroy ready-to-launch rockets and rocket launchers on Egyptian territory, killing five Egyptian militants in the process. The rockets were deployed on Thursday in a desert area near the town of Rafah, and were discovered by an Egyptian surveillance fly-over. On Saturday, the Egyptian air force attacked militant positions in the area, killing twelve Islamists.

  • Deteriorating Sinai Peninsula security situation poses problems for Israel, Egypt

    The attacks on Islamist targets in northern Sinai — by Israel on Friday and by Egypt on Saturday — are but the latest evidence of a growing problem of militancy and terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, a vast, hard-to-control, lightly populated area consisting of steep mountain ranges and a forbidding desert. The growing al Qaeda presence in the area, the continuing influence of Iranian arms smuggling networks, and the influx of foreign Jihadists make the deteriorating security situation in the peninsula a threat both to Israel and to Egypt. The stipulations of the 1982 Egypt-Israel peace treaty complicate to fight against the militants.

  • Israeli drone strike, in coordination with Egypt, destroys militants’ rockets deployed on Egyptian territory

    The growing intelligence cooperation between Egypt and Israel was in evidence earlier today (Friday) when the Israel Air Force (IAF), in coordination with the Egyptian military, used drone strikes to destroy ready-to-launch rockets and rocket launchers on Egyptian territory, killing five Egyptian militants in the process. The rockets were deployed on Thursday in a desert area near the town  of Rafah, and were discovered by an Egyptian surveillance fly-over.