F-35B-STOVL-modeJoint Strike Fighter engineers will have to make adjustments to the weapons bay of the Marine Corps variant of the F-35 so the aircraft can carry a pin point glide bomb by 2022, JSF program officials said.

The Small Diameter Bomb II, or SDB II, can acquire and track moving targets from distances up to 40 miles and is slated to enter service by 2017. However, while the weapon can be integrated into the Air Force’s F-35A variant, the new weapon cannot fit into the current configuration of the Corps’ F-35B short-take-off-and-landing variant of the JSF, F-35 program officials acknowledged.

JSF officials said the SDB II was not intended to integrate onto the Marine Corps variant before 2022 and therefore “not an issue or problem.” However, the changes will require modifications to the internal weapons bay before it can be integrated.

The JSF program says the program is waiting to make these modifications because the SDB II is a developmental weapon and there may be other adjustments needed to the internal weapons bay to accommodate other future weapons, JSF officials explained.

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Jan Scheuermann, a quadriplegic and pioneering patient for an experimental Pentagon robotics program, continues to break ground in freeing the mind from the body.

The 55-year-old mother of two in 2012 agreed to let surgeons implant electrodes on her brain to control a robotic arm. More recently, she flew an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter simulator using nothing but her thoughts, an official said.

Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, cited the breakthrough last week at the first annual Future of War conference. The event was organized by the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research group in Washington, D.C. [Continue reading…]

ALASAThe Pentagon wants to launch satellites from a fighter jet as it seeks to lower the costs of sending Defense Department satellites into space.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is leading the project called Airborne Launch Assist Space Access, or ALASA. Bradford Tousley, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office, said earlier this month the agency plans to  execute the program’s first flight demonstration by the end of the year and then 12 orbital tests in 2016.

Engineers have designed a launch vehicle that can be carried under an F-15. The F-15 would carry the launch vehicle to a high enough altitude before the launch vehicle would separate from the aircraft. The vehicle would then use its own rocket boosters to leave the Earth’s atmosphere before delivering the satellite into orbit. [Continue reading…]

ISIS Humvee

An experimental Pentagon tool to search the deep web is now being used in the hunt for Islamic militants, an official said.

The research project, known as Memex and developed by the Pentagon’s research and development arm, was discussed this week at the first annual Future of War conference. The event was organized by the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research organization in Washington, D.C.

Arati Prabhakar, a physicist and director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, said the program has already been used to help police in Dallas trace sex trafficking networks to North Korea by searching the so-called deep web, or websites not crawled by popular search engines such as Google or Bing. [Continue reading…]

Airpower summary for Sept. 18, 2007Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove said Wednesday that the addition of A-10 Thunderbolts to his forces in Europe provided added deterrent as NATO and the U.S. European Command face new threats from Russia.

“It is clear that the capabilities these aircraft bring is needed” in the current environment, Breedlove, the supreme allied  commander of NATO, said of the A-10s at a hearing of  the House Armed Services Committee.

In response to questions from Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Breedlove singled out the anti-armor role of the A-10, dubbed the Warthog by ground troops, in close air support missions. [Continue reading…]