Black metal faintly lit against a dark backdrop gives just the slightest hint of an airplane. The glimpses are parts of a teaser trailer for the Boeing and Saab designed T-X, their entry into a trainer jet competition for the Air Force. If the video is slowed down just enough, it's possible to see just the tip of the plane:
Soldier are preparing for war with robots. Let me rephrase. Soldiers are preparing for war, alongside robots. As part of the Pacific Manned-Unmanned Initiative, soldiers with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Division tested prototypes of robots, to see if they might be useful in future battles.
Helmets may not be as old as war itself, but it's no coincidence that less than 25 years after the first recorded war, we have historical evidence of soldiers wearing helmets. Humans are nothing without their brains, and the protective bone of the skull isn't enough to withstand weapons made for, well, splattering bones. Humanity has at least 4,500 years of experience building helmets, and while weapons changed innumerable times in those millennia, helmet technology was always just a step behind.
Lockheed Martin's U-2 is an anomaly of an airplane. Delivered on time and under budget, the spy plane had a starring role in much of the early Cold War, with one shot down in Russia and another taking the pictures that sparked the Cuban Missile Crisis. And then, quietly, the plane disappeared back into the shadows, a workhorse of American intelligence-gathering for decades.
There are just three siblings left in the American family of bombers. There's venerable Boomer B-52, which first flew when Truman was in office and entered service before Ike had finished his first term. Generation X gets the B-1, a fast and powerful craft designed to fly under the radar. And then there's the millennial of the group, the too-advanced-for-its-time stealth B-2 spirit, a technological marvel with a production run cut short by the end of the Cold War. This week, for the first time ever, all three bombers had a family reunion of sorts at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.