The head of Air Force Special Operations Command says he is in the market for a directed energy beam weapon and plans to look at acquisitions possibilities as part of the 2017 defense budget.
Such a weapon could be used to knock out communications and power stations without the devastation and loss of life caused by bombs, rockets and missiles — something Air Force Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold said was on the mind of many who lived through Operation Just Cause in Panama in 1989.
The operation to grab one-time U.S. ally and Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega resulted in hundreds of civilian casualties. [Continue reading…]
The Air Force plans to award a contract to build its new bomber to a single vendor by next spring or summer as part of its ongoing effort to engineer a stealthy long range bomber that can evade advanced air defenses, service leaders said Sept. 15 at the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference at National Harbor, Maryland.
“We’re about ready to enter into the next phase of the bomber. We’ve spent the last couple of years refining the requirements and maturing the technology. Within the next year we will down-select to one contractor and then start the heavy lifting of building the first bomber and testing,” Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, military deputy for Air Force acquisition, told Military.com in an interview.
The new Long-Range Strike Bomber program, or LRS-B, plans to have new planes in the fleet by the mid-2020s. The Air Force ultimately plans to acquire as many as 80 to 100 new bombers for a price of roughly $550 million per plane, she added. [Continue reading…]
An Israeli company that spent a decade developing an autonomous, unmanned vertical takeoff and landing craft utilizing internal lift rotors says its first prototype is now going through flight tests and it’s at work on a second prototype.
Called the AirMule, the rotorcraft is envisioned for use as an unmanned transport – ferrying supplies into a combat zone or taking out wounded – operating in areas where helicopters and fixed-wing planes cannot.
Defense Tech first came across this work-in progress in 2009, when Urban Aeronautics Ltd. of Israel was preparing to demonstrate flight tests using a smaller, electrically-driven model to validate the basic technology. It now has a full-scale version being put through its paces. [Continue reading…]
A key architect of the air bombardment strategy in the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom said the U.S. military must have significant success with its efforts to destroy the Islamic State from the air.
On Wednesday night, President Obama’s announced that the U.S. will lead a coalition to step up targeted airstrikes against ISIL. As the mission shifts from humanitarian support and protecting U.S. personnel to more aggressive strikes aimed at a much wider set of targets, some analysts have questioned if the U.S. will need ground combat troops or if air power will suffice.
The U.S. has utilized air bombing strategies to support friendly forces, such as the Iraqi Security Forces, hoping to advance on the ground.
Attacking ISIL is not similar to dismantling a country’s military such as the initial bombing campaigns in the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom. It’s more similar to the airstrikes the U.S. and allied forces have executed against insurgent and Taliban leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. [Continue reading…]
Ahead of President Obama’s address to the nation on combating ISIL, the Pentagon said Wednesday that U.S. warplanes had conducted 154 airstrikes to date in Iraq that hit a total of 212 targets, including 162 vehicles.
The Pentagon also said that U.S. troops in Iraq now numbered about 1,043, plus about 100 others in the Baghdad Office of Security and Cooperation for weapons sales, for a total of about 1,143 to guard against the extremists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The total number included 754 troops providing security for U.S. personnel and facilities at the U.S. Embassy in Baghad and at the Baghdad airport, and 289 manning Joint Operations Centers in Baghdad and the Kurdish capital of Irbil and also advising the Iraqi security forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces. [Continue reading…]