• Unmanned copter to deliver supplies to troops in forward positions

    The U.S. military will award Lockheed Martin a contract to build an unmanned helicopter which will deliver supplies to forward-positioned troops; in trials earlier this year, a prototype has shown that it can shift 3,000lb of cargo across 150 nautical miles in two flights within six hours — all without any input from ground operators other than specifying the destination and route

  • Unmanned helicopter enters restricted airspace after losing communication

    An MQ-8 Fire Scout lost communication with its operators and flew into restricted airspace around Washington, D.C.; typically during a lost communications event, an autonomous vehicle is preprogrammed based on its last waypoint to conduct certain activities, take a holding pattern, and wait for operators to reconnect; the Pentagon says: “We found a software anomaly that allowed aircraft not to follow its preprogrammed flight procedures”

  • Testing rayguns

    Technologies for using laser energy to destroy threats at a distance — these weapons known as directed energy weapons — have been in development for many years; before these weapons can be used in the field, the lasers must be tested and evaluated at test ranges, and the power and energy distribution of the high-energy laser beam must be accurately measured on a target board, with high spatial and temporal resolution

  • Tracking algorithms for multiple targets win Australia's prestigious Eureka Prize

    A University of Western Australia team — including two borthers who are professors at the school — have won the Eureka Prizes, Australia’s “science Oscars,” for a tracking system that has revolutionized the surveillance and monitoring of potential threats in the vast air, sea, and land space of Australia — and of other countries

  • DARPA looking for VTOL UAV to plant covert spy devices

    The Pentagon is looking for a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) UAV/UASs - or V-Bat - which will autonomously plant such surveillance devices as remote cameras/bugs, communications relays, marker beacons, small battery powered ground-crawler, or inside-buildings flying robots

  • Second test of U.S. jumbo-mounted raygun delayed by technical problem

    The current chemical laser technology uses hazardous fuels to generate the beam (and generates equally hazardous exhausts) and is nowadays seen as unacceptably cumbersome, but it remains the only way right now to generate a truly powerful ray; the likely operational war rayguns of the future will use new electrically powered solid-state technologies which have been going from strength to strength in recent times

  • U.S. swarm satellites will scatter to avoid space-war strikes

    Many aspects of active space warfare — including attack on another nation’s spacecraft — is strictly forbidden by international law and treaty, but the United States intends to be ready for it anyway; new “fractionated” swarm satellites will see groups of small wirelessly linked modules in orbit replacing today’s large spacecraft; the swarm will be able to scatter to avoid enemy attacks and then reform into operational clusters

  • Detecting fertilizer-based IEDs

    Since 2008, IEDs have accounted for more than half of all fatalities incurred by NATO forces in Afghanistan; last year, 275 NATO soldiers died in IED attacks, and that number will likely be surpassed this year; already 228 NATO soldiers have died due to homemade bombs this year; the U.S. military continues to search for IED countermeasures

  • Distinguishing friend from foe: Afghani biometrics database expanded

    In 2009 there were more than 200,000 biometric enrollments put into the biometric identification system operated by Coalition forces in Afghanistan — a system aiming to determine whether members of the Afghan population are insurgents or innocent; 210,000 have been added already in 2010; the military’s goal is to get to 1.65 million enrollments; the Coalition is currently in the process of contracting out an Afghan company to provide Afghan enrollers to go around the country and work at border crossing points, international airports, district headquarters and district jails

  • Evidence shows Turkish use of chemical weapons against Kurdish fighters

    German medical experts have confirmed the authenticity of photographs showing eight dead Kurdish PKK fighters — and that the photos prove that they were killed by “chemical substances”; Turkey has been suspected for a while now of using chemical weapons against Kurdish militants, and German politicians across the political spectrum, as well as human rights organizations, have called on Turkey to explain the findings; Turkey denies the charges, calling them “PKK propaganda”

  • Surge in counterfeit items in Pentagon's supplies

    The U.S. Defense Department’s supply chain is vulnerable to the infiltration of counterfeit parts, potentially jeopardizing the lives of American soldiers; government investigators examined 387 companies and organizations which supply the U.S. Department of Defense, and found 39 percent of these companies and organizations encountered counterfeit electronics during the four-year period 2005-8; the number of counterfeit incidents grew from 3,868 in 2005 to 9,356 in 2008

  • B-2 Stealth bomber engineer convicted of selling stealth technology to China

    A federal jury convicted a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer of helping China design a stealth cruise missile; the case is one of a series of major prosecutions targeting Chinese spying on the United States; in March, Chinese-born engineer Dongfan “Greg” Chung was sentenced to more than fifteen years in prison after he was convicted of six counts of economic espionage; investigators learned about Chung while probing Chi Mak, a defense contractor engineer convicted in 2007 of conspiracy to export U.S. defense technology to China; Mak was sentenced to twenty-four years in prison in 2008

  • Russian researcher: Moscow's heat wave the result of secret U.S. "climate weapon"

    It has been unusually hot in Russia this summer, and a Russian researcher asks whether this heat wave is the result of a secret U.S.“climate weapon”; the author writes that “climate weapons may be reaching their target capacity and may be used to provoke droughts, erase crops, and induce various anomalous phenomena in certain countries”

  • Huge jump in IED attacks in Afghanistan

    Monthly IED “incidents” in Afghanistan — incidents are defined as IEDs placed by insurgents and either found or detonated — from January 2004 to April 2010 has risen dramatically; data shows that an astounding jump in IED incidents occurred beginning summer 2009 — coinciding with the Marine offensive in the Helmand River Valley — and IED attacks have steadily mounted; there were more than 1,000 IED incidents during March, April, and May of this year; one expert says: data shows “that IEDs have become the equivalent of the Stinger [during the mujahedin war against the USSR in the 1980s] in allowing irregular forces to pose a major threat even to the most advanced military forces in the world”

  • UAVs fail to penetrate India's dense forests to track Maoist militants

    Indian security forces, battling the militants of the Naxals Maoist group, say that UAVs which perform well in the deserts of Iraq and the barren mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, are useless in the densely forested areas of eastern India; Indian security experts say that issues concerning internal security in the country have now reached the board room of Indian business companies and that the new technology these companies produce should be able to meet the specific needs of Indian security forces rather than offer something which is not applicable to Indian conditions