At the Navy League's Sea Air Space Exposition this year in National Harbor, Maryland, there was an unusual craft on display next to Boeing's usual display of aircraft. It was a jeep-like thing, both narrower and longer than expected. Dubbed the "Phantom Badger," it solves a very specific problem: it fits (just barely) inside Boeing's tiltrotor V-22 Ospreys used by Marines and Special Forces. Now when those troops deploy far ahead and into tricky places, they can finally bring a working vehicle with them.
In 2016, the U.S. Navy is going to test a railgun—a weapon that can repeatedly launch a projectile at more than 5,000 MPH—from a boat. In 2018, they're going to do it again. And in the 2020s, the Navy is going to figure out just what to do with a gun that seemed like science fiction decades ago.
The Obama administration is considering what sort of military action to take, if any, against the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, which stands accused of using chemical weapons against its own people. The most likely option: a cruise missile strike against assorted military and government sites, like the presidential palace and chemical munitions facilities. Here's a primer on cruise missiles.
The cover story for the Atlantic's September issue reveals a surprising truth: drone warfare is more like The Truman Show than Terminator. In the future, autonomous robots might fight our battles for us, but for now, war is all too human; we rely on human pilots and human decision-making (plus a ton of cameras).
It might not make headlines any more, but violence in Iraq rages on, as evidenced by this image snapped from space. This picture, taken with a NASA satellite and published by the nonprofit human and environmental rights group SkyTruth, shows smoke plumes from two fires set to an oil pipeline in northern Iraq. The bombed pipeline goes north through Turkey and then out to the Mediterranean.