140619-N-ZZ999-167The Navy and Raytheon recently test-fired a Standard Missile-6 against a low-flying subsonic cruise missile target over land Aug. 14, at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

“The test was the Navy’s attempt to demonstrate an intercept of a subsonic, low-altitude target over land, and it did just that,” said CMDR. Sidney Hodgson, deputy program manager for standard missiles.

The test-firing was the second in a series of ten planned tests for the SM-6 during what’s called the Follow-On Test and Evaluation, or FOT&E phase, which is slated to finish in 2016, Raytheon and Navy officials said.

In development for seven years, the SM-6 achieved initial operating capability in 2013. The weapon is designed to provide defensive intercept capability and offensive fire power against anti-ship cruise missiles, fixed and rotary wing aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The weapon is also slated to perform terminal phase ballistic missile defense.

“It offers the commander extended range capability over the existing SM-2. It offers air defense against fixed and rotary wing targets and anti-ship missiles operating at altitudes ranging from very high to sea-skimming,” Hodgson said.

A key element of the test was to assess the weapon’s ability to discern a target that is slow-moving and among clutter, Raytheon officials said.

“At this speed, among clutter, you are looking for discrimination and how well the missile is able to discriminate when something is flying low. The success of the test was wrapped around the fact that it involved a subsonic target at a very low altitude,” said Mike Campisi, program manager for standard missiles, Raytheon.

The SM-6 is able to discriminate targets by using a dual-mode seeker using both active and semi-active modes. While using the semi-active seeker technology, the missile relies on a ship-based illuminator to highlight the target, whereas using active-mode the missile itself sends out an electromagnetic signal, or ping, Campisi explained.

Being able to successfully discern a slow-moving target such as a land-launched cruise missile has the potential to provide significant tactical advantage. For instance, the active seeker could help the SM-6 find a cruise missile launched from behind a mountain.

In June of this year, Raytheon received a $275 million contract modification for SM-6 production. Overall, the Navy’s program of record calls for delivery of 1,800 missiles, 250 of which are already on contract.

The SM-6 could prove a strategically vital asset in light of the rapid technological progress of potential adversaries developing anti-ship missiles, such as China, Iran and North Korea.

Campisi explained that the multi-mission SM-6 is engineered with the aerodynamics of an SM-2 and the propulsion booster stack of an SM-3. On the front end, it’s configured like an Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, AMRAAM.

The Navy plans to put the SM-6 onto cruisers and destroyers, Hodgson said.

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140817-N-SB299-087The Navy launched and landed a carrier-based drone in rapid succession with an F/A-18 fighter jet as part of a series of joint manned and unmanned flight tests aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt Aug. 17 off the coast of Norfolk, Va., service officials said.

The Navy’s carrier-based drone demonstrator, the X-47B, flew from a carrier in May and November of last year and is now working on streamlining carrier deck operations and maneuvers with manned aircraft.

“Today we showed that the X-47B could take off, land and fly in the carrier pattern with manned aircraft while maintaining normal flight deck operations,” Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager for the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation office, said in a written statement. “This is key for the future Carrier Air Wing.”

After an eight minute flight, the X-47B executed an arrested landing, folded its wings and taxied out of the landing area before moving out of the way for an F/A-18 to land, Navy officials said. [Continue reading…]

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TabletThe Navy has begun a new pilot program to put tablets on board a destroyer in order to reduce paperwork and more efficiently streamline maintenance procedures, service officials said.

Roughly 20 wireless tablets will soon arrive on board the USS Laboon, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer currently pier side in Norfolk, Va., Rear Adm. Herman Shelanski, director, assessment division, told Military​.com in an interview.

The idea is to automate a wide range of what Shelanski called “maintenance and material management” functions by using wireless digital technology to replace time-consuming paperwork.

“Sailors have said ‘we like the warfighting first but we can’t seem to get there. Our daily activities are filled with all this administrative stuff. There’s all this training we got to do, recording of the training and paperwork we need to do,’” Shelanski explained. “We’ve fallen behind in our ability to modernize and digitize certain processes.” [Continue reading…]

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The use of tactical weapons and gear by cops in Ferguson, Missouri, in a show of force against crowds protesting the shooting of an unarmed black teen by an officer has sparked a debate about police militarization and cast a spotlight on the Pentagon’s equipment transfer program.

Police departments across the country increasingly participate in the Defense Logistics Agency’s so-called Excess Property Program. The effort, also known as the 1033 program, dates to the early 1990s and authorizes the Pentagon to transfer to local law enforcement agencies hand-me-down weapons and equipment, from clothing and sleeping bags to computers and digital cameras to guns and armored trucks.

[Continue reading…]

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World BrewOskar Blues Brewery, one of the top craft beer makers in the U.S., took part in a military tradition this summer as it brewed a specialty beer for the launch of a high resolution commercial satellite that entered Earth’s atmosphere Wednesday.

DigitalGlobe is the satellite company that commissioned the specialty beer to commemorate the launch of WorldView 3, a super-spectral, high-resolution commercial satellite that was launched aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The satellite will be able to map the floor of coastal waters and identify specific minerals and types of plants based on their spectral signature. It will be the first commercial satellite “to offer multiple shortwave infrared (SWIR) bands that allow for accurate imaging through haze, fog, dust, smoke and other air-born particulates,” according to the company.

But enough about the satellite, back to the beer. [Continue reading…]

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