In key moments during the U.S. Army’s latest war game for advanced communications gear, the troops’ high-tech new radios failed them.
Archived posts from category ‘Testing’
The Army’s football-field-size robot spy blimp finally took to the air for the first time Tuesday at a military base in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The 90-minute first flight of the Long-Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle, manufactured by aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, is only the beginning of a months-long test program, but it’s still good news. For years the Pentagon had tried and failed to get next-generation airships off the ground.
Flashback to MIT’s ‘Flip Drone’
A reminder from reader Mike Pearson that MIT tested a “flipping” vertical-takeoff drone five years before the Navy’s and Aerovel’s Flexrotor.
Photos posted to the Internet in China last week seem to confirm that the Chinese Navy has installed arrestor gear and other vital equipment on its refurbished Soviet-made aircraft carrier, the ex-Varyag. If genuine, the installations could represent a big step forward for the first-ever seaborne, fixed-wing aviation capability for the People’s Liberation Army Navy.
It was sold as a demonstration of Taiwan’s high-tech defenses against a rapidly rising China. But Tuesday’s firing of 19 air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles before an audience of top government officials and reporters might end up having another equally important effect for Taiwan: scoring pity points with China hawks in Washington.
The U.S. Department of Defense “continues to layer unnecessary costs onto next-generation weapons programs to satisfy bureaucratic constituencies,” The Lexington Institute’s resident arms-industry booster Loren Thompson writes in his latest screed for Defpro, “as in the decision to delay development of the F-35 fighter so that thousands of redundant test flights can be conducted.”
Robo-Cannon’s Manpower Problem
Two weeks ago the Army’s semi-robotic Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C) prototype, the first major weapon in the $160-billion Future Combat Systems program, fired its first round. NLOS-C reduces the current four-man howitzer crew to just two. While that will mean savings in manpower costs, there are potentially huge (and negative) implications on the battlefield, according to [...]
A couple months back, the Coast Guard contested my assertion in The Washington Times that problems with unsecured communications systems aboard the new flagship cutter Bertholf (pictured) would delay that ship’s entry into service. Three months later, the Coast Guard proudly announced that Bertholf had passed a rigorous Navy inspection … and would be accepted. [...]
A van full of insurgents speeds through the desert. They do not notice a series of networked ground sensors that have begun tracking their every move. Hovering somewhere overhead, a tiny robot points its camera at the van and takes note of its color scheme and markings. An even bigger drone, thousands of feet above [...]
World Politics Review: U.S. Military Fumbles Requests for Nonlethal Weapons in Iraq, Afghanistan
On Oct. 19, NATO troops on patrol in Afghanistan’s Helmand province fired a warning shot to stop a civilian vehicle that had come too close to the soldiers’ convoy. The round ricocheted, killing a two-year-old girl outside her home, according to Agence France-Presse. It’s an old problem in Iraq and Afghanistan, where occupying troops find [...]
Robot Racers Spur Fuel Efficiency
My dad, a General Motors engineer based in Detroit, called this morning to tell me he was standing in front of the company’s “Boss” robot — a modified Tahoe — that won the $2-million first prize in the Nov. 3 Urban Challenge race sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The automaker has hailed Boss as a [...]
Darpa: [Carnegie Mellon] Tartan Racing’s “Boss” of Pittsburgh, Penn., turned in the top performance in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Urban Challenge and won the $2 million cash prize as the competition’s first-place winner, DARPA announced today. Stanford Racing’s “Junior” of Stanford, Calif., won the $1 million second place prize, while Victor Tango’s [...]