• U.S. Navy tests the second of two railgun prototypes

    The EM Railgun launcher is a long-range naval weapon that fires projectiles using electricity instead of traditional gun propellants such as explosive chemicals; magnetic fields created by high electrical currents accelerate a sliding metal conductor, or armature, between two rails to launch projectiles at 4,500-5,600 mph; the Office of Naval Research’s Electromagnetic (EM) Railgun program is evaluating the second of two industry railgun prototype launchers at a facility in Dahlgren, Virginia

  • New launch and recovery system for the Scan Eagle UAV

    A shipboard-capable system designed to support both the launch and recovery of the Scan Eagle UAV successfully completed final demonstration flight testing on 27 September at a testing range in eastern Oregon

  • Defense firms growing anxious about sequestration-related defense cuts

    Defense contractors are growing anxious as they still do not know whether $500 billion in defense cuts will take place on 1 January 2013 as a result of sequestration; many firms are hoping that the administration and Congress will come to a budget agreement once the election is over, but at the same time, it is something contractors cannot rely on; what complicates the issue is the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), which requires employers with more than 100 employees to give employees a 60-day notice before mass lay-offs or plant closure

  • Fueling UAVs in flight

    DARPA completes close-proximity flight tests of two modified RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles, demonstrating technology enabling autonomous aerial refueling

  • Hezbollah drone shot down over Israel

    The Israel Air Force (IAF) planes shot down a UAV over the north Negev; the UAV entered Israeli air space from the west, but Israeli intelligence says the drone was launched by Hezbollah in Lebanon, then made its way south over the Mediterranean, then turned east when it reached the water off the Gaza Strip

  • Oshkosh Defense unveils new light vehicle for unconventional missions

    Using the occasion of the Modern Day Marine 2012 exposition, held 25-27 September in Quantico, Virginia, Oshkosh Defense unveiled its new Special Purpose All-Terrain Vehicle (S-ATV) designed for unconventional and reconnaissance missions, and also showed its Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (L-ATV), which was selected for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Engineering, Manufacturing and Development (EMD) phase; the joint services are expected to replace tens of thousands of HMMWVs with the JLTV

  • U.K. military’s drone spending keep rising

    In an effort to boost its military, the United Kingdom, over the past five years, has spent more than two billion euros buying and developing unmanned drones; the U.K. has no intention of slowing down, as it is committed to spending another two billion euros on new unmanned aircraft

  • Former L-3 employee guilty of selling weapon secrets to China

    A federal court judge in Newark, New Jersey convicted Sixing Liu on six counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act as well as possessing stolen trade secrets, transporting stolen property, and lying to federal agents; Liu is was convicted of stealing thousands of electronic files detailing performance and design of guidance systems for missiles, rockets, target locators, and unmanned aerial vehicles in 2010

  • Explosives dumped into Gulf of Mexico pose big problems

    Millions of pounds of unexploded bombs and other military ordnance that were dumped decades ago in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the coasts of both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, could now pose serious threats to shipping lanes and the 4,000 oil and gas rigs in the Gulf, warns two oceanographers

  • Technology soon to make drones deadlier, more autonomous

    Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become America’s main weapon in the campaign against terrorists  — at the forefront are the Predator and the Reaper — and technological changes would soon make them even deadlier; in the next decade drones will be faster and carry more weapons than today’s versions; they will also have better sensors and more sophisticated computers, allowing them to plan and execute attacks with little human participation

  • Why common explosive sometimes fails

    The explosive PETN has been around for a century and is used by everyone from miners to the military, but it took new research by Sandia National Laboratories to begin to discover key mechanisms behind what causes it to fail at small scales

  • Harvesting fuel for the fleet from seawater

    Refueling U.S. Navy vessels, at sea and underway, is a costly endeavor in terms of logistics, time, fiscal constraints, and threats to national security and sailors at sea; in Fiscal Year 2011, the U.S. Navy Military Sea Lift Command, the primary supplier of fuel and oil to the U.S. Navy fleet, delivered nearly 600 million gallons of fuel to Navy vessels underway, operating fifteen fleet replenishment oilers around the globe; the Naval Research Laboratory believes there is a better way: extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) and producing hydrogen gas (H2) from seawater and then catalytically converting the CO2 and H2 into jet fuel

  • Raytheon Aerostat, SM-6 missile work together to protect ships

    As tensions continue to rise over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the likelihood of military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons increases – military action which would place U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean at risk — there is good news from Raytheon: soon the seas may be a little safer

  • Precision agriculture using military technology: drones

    Drones are military aircraft currently being repurposed for everyday use, especially within the growing field of precision agriculture; these flying robots allow farmers to detect changes in water content, plant health, and pesticide dispersal in their fields

  • Threat-recognition technology incorporates mind, machine

    For soldiers operating in the field, the ability to detect threats from standoff distances can be life-saving; when advanced radar and drone coverage is not available, soldiers typically rely on their own vision to scan their surroundings; DARPA links human brainwaves, improved sensors, and cognitive algorithms to improve target detection