A lengthened, more streamlined hull for faster, more efficient sailing. Better windows for improved visibility. Simpler wiring. Superior rust-resistant paint. A more reliable system for landing helicopters and drones on her flight deck. And most importantly, an extra 20 beds in case the Navy decides she needs a bigger crew. That’s a good thing: the ship’s original crew size of 75 has been deemed too few in number for basic ship repair and maintenance.
Archived posts with tag ‘Navy’
Sometime in the next few years the world’s most sophisticated drone prototypes will likely face off in what could be a multi-billion-dollar competition to shape the future of air warfare. And now we finally know what all four contestants look like.
Lockheed’s New Killer Drone
Via The DEW Line blog, here’s Lockheed Martin art depicting the company’s newest killer drone, the Sea Ghost. The flying-wing, jet-powered robot is Lockheed’s entry into the Navy’s competition for a carrier-launched strike and surveillance drone. Northrop Grumman’s X-47B, Boeing’s X-45C and the General Atomics Sea Avenger are all contenders.
In January the U.S. Navy announced a crash program to convert the USS Ponce, a 41-year-old amphibious transport, into a floating base for helicopters, minehunters and Navy SEALs in the Persian Gulf. Adm. John Harvey called the ship’s three-month conversion a “remarkable feat.”
U.S. Navy SEAL commandos deployed to the Horn of Africa have refined hostage rescue to a lethal art. But their recent success in retrieving kidnapped Westerners comes at a cost. Every rescue forces Somali criminals and terrorists to change their own tactics. The result is an arms race of sorts as SEALs and kidnappers try to stay ahead of the other. Aid workers, journalists and ship’s crews — the usual targets of Somali ransom plots — are caught in the middle.
The U.S. Navy just dropped another $2.4 billion on a class of new light aircraft carriers specifically designed to carry the U.S. Marines’ F-35B stealth jump jet. Just one small problem: the F-35B is still plagued by design problems — and there’s no guarantee if or when they’ll be resolved.
The U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers flight decks are some of the most chaotic and deadly real estate in the world. Teeming with scores of high-performance aircraft, wheeled vehicles and up to a thousand sailors generating up to several hundred sorties per day, flight decks “are fraught with danger,” the Naval Safety Center warned in a 2003 publication. “You can get blown down by prop wash, blown over-board by jet exhaust, run over by taxiing aircraft or sucked up and spit out by a turning engine.”
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.
The U.S. military is already investing tens of billions of dollars to make its jet fighters less visible to radars and infrared sensors. Now the Pentagon wants the defense industry to come up with a system that can cloak fighters from another telltale type of radiation: ultra-violet energy from the sun.
The U.S. Navy has doubled down on an effort to build a hybrid flying robot that takes off like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane. The Flexrotor, under development by the Office of Naval Research and the Aerovel Corporation in Washington State, represents at least the fourth attempt to duplicate the skills of the crash-prone V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, but without the Osprey’s design flaws.
The past decade has seen an unlikely revival of a long-grounded technology. Military airships, last operational with the U.S. Navy in the 1960s, took back to the skies, propelled by soaring demand for long-endurance, low-cost aerial surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan. Per flight hour, an airship costs a fraction of what a helicopter or a fixed-wing plane costs.
The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives is trying to reverse cuts announced by President Barack Obama earlier this year. The House’s proposed defense bill would reverse some of Obama’s planned cuts to ships, drones and warplanes. “The proposal is designed to put real combat power behind the President’s proposed pivot to Asia,” the House Armed Services Committee stated.