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Phantom SwiftBoeing received a $9 million contract from DARPA to continue developing its Phantom Swift X-Plane, an experimental future vertical lift platform.

 The Phantom Swift has two downward facing fans that allow for vertical take-offs and landings. The forward propulsion for the aircraft comes from wingtip thrusters that propel the Phantom Swift after the lift fans are shutdown.

The Phantom Swift is Boeing’s submission for DARPA’s VTOL X-Plane competition that also includes Aurora Flight Sciences, Karem and Sikorsky. The competition started last year. The four competitors received Phase 1 contracts. The contract Boeing received is a Phase 1B contract. It’s unclear if the other three companies have also received Phase 1B contracts to continue developing their aircraft. [Continue reading…]

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USS America 2The Navy’s new big-deck America-class amphibious assault ship is making its way around South America as part of a mission to connect with allies in the southern hemisphere and prepare the ship for the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

The USS America, the first in a series of 11 planned America class amphibs for the Navy, is configured with more deck space than previous ships of its kind in order to accommodate a range of aircraft — including MV-22 Ospreys and the F-35B Short-Take-Off-and-Landing Joint Strike Fighter.

“The Navy and the Marine Corps will have to work out the conops (concepts of operation) of how we are going to use the Joint Strike Fighter. The ship will not only be able to deliver the capability of the Joint Strike Fighter but will also be able to provide a response capability. This ship is going to surprise a lot of people with its ability to bring forward aviation assets,” Capt. Robert Hall, USS America’s Commanding Officer, told Military​.com in an interview while aboard the ship. [Continue reading…]

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MRAPThe Pentagon wants next-generation armored vehicles that are more mobile, maneuverable and survivable, but without more armor.

In September, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will host a proposer’s day to give potential contractors a more clear idea of what the Defense Department wants in its Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program.

“GXV-T’s goal is not just to improve or replace one particular vehicle— it’s about breaking the ‘more armor’ paradigm and revolutionizing protection for all armored fighting vehicles,” Kevin Massey, DARPA program manager, said in an Aug. 18 press release.

Historically, militaries and industry have responded to improved or more lethal attacks on its armored vehicles by adding more armor. But armor piercing weapons technology has pretty much taken the day in that competition, advancing faster than industry’s ability to come up with armor to withstand penetration, Massey said. [Continue reading…]

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SpaceX_F9R

An experimental reusable rocket made by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. exploded over Texas on Friday, the company announced.

The test booster, known as the F9R and a successor to the Grasshopper rocket, self-destructed several hundred feet over the company’s facility in McGregor after a problem was detected. There were no injuries.

[Continue reading…]

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Navy ExoskeletonThe Pentagon has acquired two high-tech exoskeletons designed to make it much easier for Navy shipyard workers to suspend and hold heavy hand-held tools such as riveters, grinders and sanders.

The so-called FORTIS exoskeleton is an unpowered, lightweight exoskeleton that increases an operator’s strength and endurance by transferring the weight of heavy loads from the user’s body directly to the ground, said Adam Miller, director of new initiatives at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

“We’ve been working on exoskeleton technology for over five years. There is interest in enhancing productivity and reducing the time a ship might need to be maintained,” he said. [Continue reading…]

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