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RailgunBAE Systems officials said an electromagnetic rail gun firing a kinetic energy warhead could be a real option for the Army’s next generation Future Fighting Vehicle, which the service hopes to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Following the cancellation of the Ground Combat Vehicle, Army officials said they want the defense industry to offer a wide range of technologies before the Army decides whether to pursue the Future Fighting Vehicle, or an additional Bradley upgrade.

BAE Systems presented a host of possible technologies at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference last week. Among those was a model of the electromagnetic rail gun the company is developing for the Navy.

The rail gun, which can hit ranges of 100 miles or more, uses electricity stored on the ship to generate a high-speed electromagnetic pulse sufficient to propel a kinetic energy warhead. The result is an inexpensive, high-impact and long-range offensive weapon, service officials said.

The Navy, which has been testing the rail gun at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va., plans to integrate it aboard a ship by 2016, service officials said.

The 23-pound hyper-velocity projectile can be fired from a rail gun as well as from Navy 5-inch guns and even 155mm artillery weapons, Klunder added. The round currently has what’s called command guidance but may be engineered for self-guidance in the future.

BAE Systems officials said the rail gun would have to be scaled down if it were to be mounted on top of the turret of a Future Fighting Vehicle. However, the officials on the AUSA show floor were confident it was possible.

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Operations Specialist Seaman Anthony Johnson monitors surface contacts using surface detection traffic computer in the combat information center onboard the multi purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7).(Navy photo)The Navy has established a special new unit designed to protect computer networks and improve cyber security across the service called Task Force Cyber Awakening, or TFCA, service officials said.

Created in August of this year, TFCA is a 100-person force dedicated to establishing protocols, identifying vulnerabilities, increasing cyber awareness and shoring up security and access with the Navy’s computer networks, service leaders explained.

“The genesis of this started several years ago when we started to see that the risk calculus associated with cyber was changing. If you look at risk and how we characterize risk with things like vulnerabilities, the consequences of exploiting those vulnerabilities and the actors, you’ll see that consequences are continuing to grow in cyber,” Matt Swartz, lead for Task Force Cyber Awakening, told Military​.com.

The consequences associated with cyber-attacks are growing in part because weapons systems are increasingly relying on networks, creating a much larger cyber component to platforms and operations, he added.

[Continue reading…]

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Marine Corps' new MH-53K prepares for its first flight.The Marine Corps is conducting ground, humidity and endurance testing on its new CH-53K Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter slated to fly next year.

The new helicopter, designed as an upgrade to the existing CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, is engineered to carry 27,000 pounds of cargo out to distances of 110 nautical miles, stay 30 minutes on station and then return — all while performing in high hot conditions.

The new helicopter is being developed, in part, to support special Marine Air Ground Task Force, or MAGTF, units with improved stand-off range, endurance, and cargo-carrying capacity, Marine Corps officials said.

The CH-53K is being engineered for the full range of military operations to include humanitarian and non-combat missions along with joint forcible entry missions, said Maj. Eric Purcell, a Marine heavy helicopter requirements officer. [Continue reading…]

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George H.W. Bush is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The Navy is preparing to deploy its new carrier-launched E2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning radar aircraft designed to protect ships from enemy ships, aircraft, missiles and other threats over long distances.

Slated to deploy on board the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sometime next year, the E2D Advanced Hawkeye is an upgraded version of the Cold War-era E2C Hawkeye aircraft which has been around for 50-years. [Continue reading…]

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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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