In cooperation with the U.S. Army, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., successfully flew an unmanned Black Hawk helicopter recently in an effort to provide autonomous cargo delivery to soldiers on the battlefield.
The Optionally Piloted Black Hawk Demonstrator, known as Sikorsky’s Manned/Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter program, conducted the first flight demonstration on March 11 at Sikorsky’s Development Flight Center. The demonstration was conducted through the use of Sikorsky’s Matrix Technologies and advanced Ground Control Station Technologies.
“The autonomous Black Hawk helicopter provides the commander with the flexibility to determine crewed or un-crewed operations, increasing sorties while maintaining crew rest requirements,” Mark Miller, Sikorsky Vice President of Research & Engineering, said in a recent press release. “This allows the crew to focus on the more ‘sensitive’ operations, and leaves the critical resupply missions for autonomous operations without increasing fleet size or mix.”
Australia announced Tuesday it will buy 58 more F-35s at a cost of $12.4 billion to build their fleet of fifth generation fighters to 72.
The purchase agreement offered a boost to the Joint Strike Fighter program a week after it was announced the costs increased by $7.4 billion at a time the U.S. expect costs to drop.
Australia’s decision to stick to the plan and increase their planned buy beyond the 14 F-35s the Australians agreed to buy in 2009 offers hope to the Joint Strike Fighter. Earlier this year and in 2013, rumors have circled that countries like Denmark and Canada are looking at other options and possibly leaving the F-35 program. [Continue reading…]
Forget frigates or destroyers, the next show of force between the U.S. and Russia in the Black Sea could be the fleet of military dolphins trained by the two navies.
The U.S. Navy had planned to include dolphins in the upcoming training exercises planned for the Black Sea. Tom LaPuzza, spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s marine mammals program, confirmed those plans for the Mail Online.
Ukraine had its own fleet of military dolphins that were located in Crimea. When Russia annexed Crimea, they also got the dolphins. The Russian newspaper Izvestia went as far to suggest the Russian and U.S. dolphins could meet meet in the Black Sea this summer.
The Pentagon wants to set up a network of seafloor-bedded “nodes” that would include anything from supplies to weaponry to be called to the surface for military action when needed.
The Defense Department could begin field testing its “Upward Falling Payloads” anytime after October, according to the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency.
The system will be made up of a payload – a surveillance or communications system, for example – that goes into action once it reaches the surface in its “riser,” an ocean-resting pod and launch system, and the communications link that will trigger the “riser” to launch, according to DARPA. [Continue reading…]
One of the most advance undersea drones contracted by the U.S. Navy is getting the workout of its robotic life this week as it plunges ever deeper into the Indian Ocean in search of missing Malaysian Airline’s flight MH370’s locator.
The Bluevin-21 has been on the scene in the Indian Ocean for about two weeks as searchers from more than two dozen countries have been listening for and attempting to triangulate faint signals from the plane’s flight recorder, the so-called “black box.”
“The Navy has hired Phoenix (under our contract with NAVSEA) to bring our AUV to Australia in support of the search,” Phoenix International spokesman Pete LeHardy said.
On Friday, the 16-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle dove beyond its depth rating of 14,765 feet in search of the box, putting its sophisticated technology at risk of damage. [Continue reading…]