Only six years after the film "Stealth," Northrop Grumman has demonstrated its much ballyhooed X-47B robot stealth plane, successfully completing a 29-minute test flight to 5,000 feet at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Developed under a $635 million Navy contract, the unmanned, tailless jet provides greater range and power by taking off from aircraft carriers, delivering laser-guided bombs and refueling in the air.
The test flight, which had been expected to take place over a year ago, is a first step to demonstrating the plane on a carrier. Northrop Grumman now says that will happen in … Read more
If you want to creep past this new security bot, you'd better be good at holding your breath.
TiaLinx's new Cougar20-H is a lightweight, remote-controlled surveillance robot that can detect human breathing and scan through concrete walls with its ultra-wideband radio frequency sensor array.
The Cougar20-H moves around on tracks and can roll up to a building, extend its arm, and start scanning through the wall with its RF array, developed with funding from the U.S. Army.
Operated from a laptop that can be more than 300 feet away, the robot can scan through reinforced concrete by detecting reflected radio waves. It can find people who are moving or even keeping still, so the operator can see them in real time. … Read more
The Marine 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Forward Operating Base Jackson, and its Afghan national army counterparts, have been using portable solar blankets to continuously charge radio batteries while on long … Read more
Maxwell Technologies has won a $1.7 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop an ultracapacity energy-storage device for powering portable electronics for the military, the company announced today.
Under the DARPA contract, Maxwell will work with researchers from the University of Massachusetts and the U.S. Navy to create a hybrid ultracap, a device that can act as a "capacity module, advanced battery pack and power management electronics" tool yet be light and small enough to be easily transported by soldiers in the field.
The device also must be extremely long-lasting, … Read more
For the U.S. Navy, the age of steam may finally be almost over.
Over the weekend, the Navy made its first-ever launch of an aircraft, an F/A-18E Super Hornet, using a cutting-edge electromagnetic apparatus. The test operation of the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a significant, though still preliminary, achievement in the Navy's planned shift away from the steam catapults that have been in use on aircraft carriers for more than a half-century.
"Saturday's EMALS launch demonstrates an evolution in carrier flight deck operations using advanced computer control, system monitoring, and automation for tomorrow'… Read more
IBM has been tapped by NATO to build a new cloud-based computing system designed to help the 28 member nations better use and share data.
Selected for the project by NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT), Big Blue will be called upon to design and demonstrate a cloud-computing environment that would help the North Atlantic Treaty Organization plan and implement critical tasks, such as intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
The goal is to see if NATO members can use a collaborative cloud to access data faster and make decisions more quickly.
Though NATO's 28 countries share common goals, they … Read more
Imagine administering first aid to a crash-test dummy that breathes, blinks, bleeds and even urinates.
That's what medics are doing these days as increasingly lifelike mannequins are being used by the U.S. military and other forces for training.
Military personnel are practicing on patient simulators including the SimMan 3G, manufactured by medical equipment maker Laerdal.
The mannequins are wireless, battery-operated and remote-controlled, allowing for a range of realistic combat medicine scenarios. Their eyes dilate, they secrete liquid from the eyes, nose and mouth, they bleed from severed limbs, and cough and moan.
If medics don't stop the bleeding, the mannequin will "die" just like a real patient. Sometimes simulations involve human actors whose lower limbs are concealed, covered by mannequin legs that are severed and bleeding profusely. (Check out the vid below featuring an injured SimMan Essential mannequin in Norway.)
Such grisly scenes are being played out at U.S. military training centers at home and abroad in an attempt to improve the effectiveness of first responders. Computers monitor how medics react to simulations and the debriefing data helps them improve their performance. … Read more
Imagine the many ways smartphones have integrated into most people's daily lives: talking, texting, e-mailing, video watching, game playing, researching, shopping, and so on.
Now imagine the possible ways in which having an iPhone or an Android on hand might make a soldier's life in combat easier. Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, said the military is testing the deployment of smartphones to soldiers in the field, the Army Times reports.
"One of the options potentially is to make it a piece of equipment in a soldier's clothing bag," Vane said.
Army-issued smartphones are already in the schoolhouse and garrison, in the hands of some students at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Fort Lee, Va., and at Fort Sill, Okla., under an Army program called Connecting Soldiers to Digital Applications, the paper reports. CSDA's next step, already underway at Fort Bliss, Texas, is testing for the war zone.
With smartphones, soldiers could communicate with one another in multiple ways, watch airplane drone video live in the field, quickly go through maps, and share intelligence reports, just to name a few possible uses. … Read more
PlayStations have seen plenty of army action with games like Call of Duty: Black Ops. Now they're doing real-life military duty as part of the Condor Cluster, a U.S. Air Force supercomputer whose off-the-shelf components include more than 1,700 Sony PS3 processors.
The computer--which will undertake a range of tasks including synthetic aperture radar enhancement, image enhancement, and pattern recognition research--also incorporates 168 separate graphical processing units. It's capable of computing about 500 trillion calculations per second, which makes it some 50,000 times faster than the average laptop.
As such, the Condor can read a whopping 20 pages of information per second. Even when 20 percent to 30 percent of the characters on a page are removed, the computer can recover all of the sentences and words with about 99.9 percent accuracy, according to the official Web site of the U.S. Air Force.
Affordability was a key motivator in the decision to use PS3 processors.
"The total cost of the Condor system was approximately $2 million, which is a cost savings of between 10 and 20 times for the equivalent capability," said Mark Barnell, director of the Air Force Research Laboratory's high-power computing division.
He said the Condor isn't made to compete with the world's largest general-purpose supercomputers, but is meant for highly specific military tasks. "The biggest thing for us was [that] the particular applications and the hardware we chose to build this computer with purposely match those applications well," he said.
Initial projects scheduled for the Department of Defense mega-machine, housed in Rome, N.Y., will include neuromorphic artificial intelligence research, in which programmers will "teach" the computer to read symbols, letters, words, and sentences so it can fill in human gaps and correct human errors. … Read more
The Phantom Ray UAV got some air time today, with a little help from a jumbo jet.
Boeing's futuristic unmanned aerial vehicle took a 50-minute flight today riding piggyback on a NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, a modified 747 designed to ferry space shuttles from one terrestrial site to another. The aerospace giant had said earlier in the year that the Phantom Ray was on track to make its first flight, but this may not be exactly what it had in mind.
The first flight of the Phantom Ray, which is designed to fly autonomously, is now scheduled for "… Read more