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Drone-Swarm-1200x800The Air Force is in the early phases of developing swarms of mini-drones designed to overwhelm and confuse enemy radar systems or blanket an area with multiple sensors at the same time, service officials said.

While still primarily in the laboratory stage, the concept is gaining traction with Air Force scientists who are making progress developing algorithms for swarms of small unmanned aircraft vehicles, or UAVs, said Mica Endsley, Air Force Chief Scientist.

“It is built on the biological concept of say a swarm of bees, for example, where you can see a lot of them fly as a group but they do not run into each other. They manage some type of coordinated activity between them in order to be able to navigate successfully,” Endsley told Military​.com. “In the laboratory – we have developed algorithms that allow small UAVs to be able to operate that way so that they can work in conjunction without running into each other.” [Continue reading…]

141210-N-CU914-014The Navy is preparing to build its new LXR amphibious assault ship in order to meet the fast-rising need for amphibs across the globe, Congressional sources said.

Efforts to begin the process of production and delivery of the new ship come as the service is finalizing its plans to start a competition to build the vessel — a new platform designed to replace the services’ existing fleet of LSD 41/49 dock landing ships.

The existing Navy plan calls for the service to award the detail design and construction contract for the lead ship by 2020 with delivery planned for 2026, Maj. Gen. Robert Walsh, director of Navy Expeditionary Warfare, told Military​.com. [Continue reading…]

Air Force laserThe Air Force plans to be able to incinerate targets such as incoming missiles with laser weapons mounted on C-17s by 2023 as part of a directed energy developmental effort, service official said.

The High Energy Laser, or HEL, is being tested by the Air Force Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. Ground tests are slated for later this year as part of a plan to precede air-launched laser weapons firing evaluations, Mica Endsley, Air Force Chief Scientist, told Military​.com in an interview.

The first ever ground test of the weapon is slated to take place at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., said Othana Zuch, an Air Force spokeswoman. [Continue reading…]

Big DogDid you know the Germans used ground robots to protect the beaches of Normandy during the World War II? Clearly, they were not too effective, but unmanned ground vehicles have taken quite a few steps forward in recent years.

The Air Force drones in the sky typically get most of the attention but here’s a quick video (click here for mobile users) by Military.com’s film team on the UGV highlighting the developments made by the Army and Marine Corps. [Continue reading…]

FireFly_Army_photo

The U.S. Army is experimenting with acoustic threat detection systems to help soldiers in combat zones pinpoint the location of incoming fire, from automatic weapons to rocket-propelled grenades, officials said.

The service is testing products including FireFLY, which was used in Afghanistan for a two-year period through 2013, and a newer and bigger system called Serenity, which is works with infrared cameras to produce more precise geolocation data.

“It’s not an official program of record, but it’s based off of 10 years of research and it’s in the late prototyping stage,” David Anderson, president of Invariant Corp., said last week during an exhibition at the Pentagon to showcase various military research projects. [Continue reading…]