Porton ManThe British are using a sensor-covered, robotic mannequin to mimic the movements of soldiers.

Porton Man – named for Porton Down in Wiltshire, home of Britain’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, or DSTL – is designed to test the effectiveness of protective gear and equipment against chemical and biological attacks. From head to toe, more than 100 absorbent sensors are built into him.

He’s then dressed in whatever uniform or gear Britain’s Ministry of Defense is testing and exposed to various chem-bio agents, according to i-Bodi, the technology company in Buckingham, England, who designed and built him.

Unlike Atlas, a human-shaped robot being developed for the Pentagon by Boston Dynamics as a futuristic first responder, Porton Man is not designed to operate and move free from supports. He is, instead, designed to run in place, as well as squat, sit, kneel and move its arms in a multitude of ways. [Continue reading…]

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Experts were skeptical of Lockheed Martin Corp.‘s claims this week that it plans to build a fusion reactor small enough to fit on the back of a truck over the next decade.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company — the world’s largest defense contractor, known for its stealth fighter jets and guided missiles — on Wednesday announced that it would test a compact fusion reactor in less than a year, build a prototype in five years and deploy the system in 10 years.

Thomas McGuire, the man behind the project at Lockheed’s famously secretive Skunk Works laboratory in Palmdale, California, was bullish on his team’s approach to the nuclear technology, on which the company holds several patents. [Continue reading…]

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Honeywell AntennaHoneywell is working with the Army to have helicopters transmit more data faster through a helicopter’s rotor wash allowing pilots to send videos faster and better communicate with headquarters.

Army leaders keep asking more from their helicopter pilots to include having some control nearby drones. Ground commanders are also turning most helicopters into intelligence collection aircraft by mounting a wide array of sensors on board.

The rotor wash above the helicopter makes it tougher to transmit data to satellites. Honeywell has since worked with the Army to develop a host of systems to improve the data transmit rate, which the company displayed at the 2014 Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference this week. [Continue reading…]

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General Dynamics Corp. is poised to begin delivering the first batch of new trucks for U.S. Special Operations Command, an official said.

The Falls Church, Virginia-based tank-maker plans to deliver in December nine of its ultra-light-duty, four-wheeled vehicles called the Flyer 72 (for its 72-inch width). The truck was on display this week at an Army conference in Washington, D.C., and resembles a super-sized dune buggy armed with machine guns. [Continue reading…]

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Bell's V280 next generation VTOL variantBell Helicopter is beginning to manufacture parts for its new V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft, a next-generation helicopter being developed as part of the Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator, or JMR TD program.

The program is an Army-led joint program designed to replace the Army’s current fleet of helicopters.

Bell unveiled a full-scale mock-up of the V-280 Valor on the floor at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., in order to showcase the configuration and design of its new high-speed platform. [Continue reading…]

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