What's the best way to shoot down a drone? For many in the defense industry, the solution to flying robots is as futuristic as the threat itself: lasers. Yesterday Boeing released video of its “Compact Laser Weapons System” destroying a drone. Like other directed energy weapons, the laser focuses light to burn a hole through its target. Here, watch it burn through the tail of a drone at “a tactical range”:
This side of a tank, there is no more iconic U.S. Army vehicle that the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMVV), or as it's better known, the Humvee. Design on them started in the late 1970s, with the Jeep-like vehicles first delivered in the mid-1980s. Humvees invaded Iraq twice, carrying soldiers and marines rapidly over desert. A wide range of equipment configurations made the HMMVV at times a troop carrier, an ambulance, and anti-tank tool, and an artillery pack mule. As useful as the vehicle was fighting against Saddam Hussein's Iraqi military during the Iraq War, it suffered on counterinsurgency patrols, as its light weight left it vulnerable to powerful roadside bombs. Yesterday, the Army announced the contract for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program: Oshkosh's Light Combat Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle, or L-ATV.
In July, the U.S. and other nations drew up an agreement with Iran to limit the country's nuclear program, with a goal of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. As a Congressional vote on the deal draws near, the White House is using science to sell the accord. In a video released today, Ernest Moniz—the Secretary of Energy and a bona fide nuclear physicist—explains the agreement's limits on uranium and centrifuges, and how they would restrict Iran's ability to build a bomb.
On April 15th, 2015, a strange vehicle came from the sky and landed outside the Capitol of the United States in the heart of Washington, DC. Pilot Doug Hughes, who drove his gyrocopter up from Florida before flying it onto the Capitol lawn, wanted to call attention to corruption in politics. The stunning flight and arrival of the novel ultralight helicopter-like plane also caught the attention of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the people tasked with guarding the skies of America from hostile threats. Their challenge: can radar accurately detect a plane as small and slow as the gyrocopter flown by Hughes?
For the last two weeks, 2,000 soldiers from 17 countries have competed in the inaugural, two week International Army Games finished in Russia at the Alabino Army Base. The most prestigious event was of course the infamous "Tank Biathlon," which this year expanded into fourteen event categories, ranging from artillery fire, to reconnaissance and combat engineering (though many competitors grumbled about irregularities with equipment). The each of the Tank Biathlon's three rounds consists of a 6-10km route, with a route each dedicated to firing the main cannon, coaxial machine gun, and turret top heavy machine gun at different target sets (as well as dodging obstacles).
Like expectant parents eagerly picking out names for their firstborn children, no Pentagon project is really real until it gets a terrible acronym. Earlier this year, the Navy posted a solicitation for a “Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV) System.” Last week, they posted even more details about what they're looking for in their brand new robot submarine.
If lasers are the future of war, the Army wants to make sure it gets them right. The dirt-stopping branch of America's armed forces already has the HEL-MD laser-armed truck in development. Made by Boeing, the HEL-MD successfully destroyed mortar rounds and drones in flight in 2013. Now, to hedge their bets and make sure they get a working laser weapon, the Army is looking to Lockheed to create another laser, in case the HEL-MD doesn't work.