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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…]

SDB IIAir Force F-15 Eagle recently destroyed a moving –model T-72 tank during a live-fire test of the Small Diameter Bomb II at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., service leaders said.

“Just this month we had a successful live fire mission. It was an F-15E that targeted a moving T-72 tank surrogate. We’re still analyzing the data to get the details of it but the visual indicated it was a direct hit,” Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, military deputy for Air Force acquisition, told Military​.com in an interview.

The test earlier this month was the final live fire mission required for the developmental weapons program to move toward what’s called a “Milestone C” full rate production decision, she added.

Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall is expected to approve full-rate production of the weapon by May of this year — a move which would clear the path for large-scale manufacturing and delivery of the Small Diameter Bomb II, or SDB II, later this year.  [Continue reading…]

Liaoning Chinese New YearLining up 1,400 Chinese sailors and aircrew members on the country’s first aircraft carrier offers a bit of perspective on the carrier’s massive scale.

The sailors and air crew lined up on the ski jump of the Liaoning for a video celebrating the Chinese New Year, the year of the goat. Photos from the video offer the latest shots of the aircraft carrier first published in the U.S. by Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer in Popular Science.

China is using the Liaoning to test its J-15 fighter fleet as it continues to improve the aircraft’s ability to operate off a carrier deck.  [Continue reading…]