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The government of Iraq plans to buy several thousand more Hellfire missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp. in what would be its largest-ever purchase of the weapon.

The Defense Department’s notification of the sale to Congress this week comes as the Shiite-led government in Baghdad is trying desperately to thwart advances made by the Sunni-led Islamic extremist group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL (also known as ISIS), which now controls vast swaths of the northern and western part of the country and areas in Syria.

The State Department has approved the sale, would include 5,000 AGM-114K/N/R Hellfire missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $700 million, according to a Pentagon press release. Congress has a month to block the deal. [Continue reading…]

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Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system isn’t the only high-tech hardware the country’s military is deploying in its latest fight against the Islamist militant group Hamas in Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces have for the first time deployed an unmanned ground vehicle known as the Micro Tactical Ground Robot made by Tel Aviv-based Roboteam to scour underground tunnels for Hamas-controlled weapons caches and command posts, according to an article by Barbara Opall-Rome of Defense News.

The portable, remote-controlled system weighs about 20 pounds and has a maximum speed of 2 miles per hour, range of about 1,600 feet and battery life of four hours. Outfitted with five cameras, an internal microphone and infrared laser pointers, the machine can collect and relay encrypted information. [Continue reading…]

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Def-tech-expl-detectorA Vanderbilt University professor has come up with a faster and less expensive way to test for explosives residue on surfaces.

Prof. Sharon Weiss has modified white gold leaf paper so that its surface provides signal amplification of 100 million times – so that a laser and detector to identify the chemical molecules of whatever it has been applied to.

“We start with a very thin, white gold film and use a simple chemical soak and one-step direct imprinting process to create what is essentially a fancy gold sponge,” said Weiss, an associate professor of electrical engineering and physics who also serves on the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s Research and Technology Directorate at Aberdeen, Md.

[Continue reading…]

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U.S. Army researchers are developing a pocket-sized aerial surveillance drone for soldiers and small units operating on unfamiliar ground.

“The Cargo Pocket Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance program, or CP-ISR, seeks to develop a mobile soldier sensor to increase the situational awareness of dismounted soldiers by providing real-time video surveillance of threat areas within their immediate operational environment,” officials at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center maintain.

Larger systems have been used to provide over-the-hill ISR capabilities on the battlefield for almost a decade, but none of those have delivered it directly to the squad level, where soldiers need the ability to see around the corner or into the next room during combat missions.

“The Cargo Pocket ISR is a true example of an applied systems approach for developing new soldier capabilities,” said Dr. Laurel Allender, acting NSRDEC technical director. “It provides an integrated capability for the soldier and small unit for increased situational awareness and understanding with negligible impact on soldier load and agility.”

[Continue reading…]

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malaysia-417-600x400Europe is in a hurry to pick up an unarmed drone for use over Ukraine, where a separatist group this month shot down a commercial airliner, killing everyone on board.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has posted on its website a solicitation for a “turnkey” solution to monitoring the area. The UAV would be deployed under the authority of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine at the request of the Ukrainian government.

“The (OSCE) monitors are to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security,” according to the group’s website.

[Continue reading…]

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