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000222-N-5221P-001Marines fired a small airborne drone capable of carrying explosives from the back of an MV-22 Osprey in a test that could offer the tilt-rotor aircraft a new weapons potential.

Called the Switchblade, the drone was initially developed as a small intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. Marines at Twentynine Palms, Calif., attached one of the tube-launched drones atop an Osprey for a test attack-launch.

The system is small enough to be carried by a single soldier or Marine, according to the company, AeroVironment of Monrovia, California. Marines have been using the drone in Afghanistan since 2011. At Twentynine Palms Marines demonstrated the company’s claim that it could be launched from the air, as well.

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The company behind much of the satellite imagery found on Google Maps and Microsoft Bing is now offering analytical services that can help track human activity, from African elephant poachers to Islamic terrorists.

DigitalGlobe Inc. recently became the first commercial supplier of satellite imagery to offer images in 30-centimeter resolution — high enough to identify manhole covers, fire hydrants and other objects on the ground from a constellation of satellites orbiting hundreds of miles above Earth.

The Longmont, Colo.-based company also offers a product that looks for patterns in human activity and can help predict where it might occur next. [Continue reading…]

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Huntington Ingalls’ Undersea Solutions Group showed off its Proteus mini submarine at the Navy League’s 2015 Sea-Air-Space Exposition.

The potent-looking vessel can serve as a unmanned underwater vehicle or a manned swimmer-delivery system.
The battery-powered Proteus can carry six combat swimmers 350 to 700 nautical miles, depending on the type of battery used, according to USG officials. [Continue reading…]

DDG1000The Navy is evaluating whether to mount its new Electromagnetic Rail Gun weapon aboard the high-tech DDG 1000 destroyer by the mid-2020s, service officials said.

The DDG 1000’s Integrated Power System provides a large amount of on board electricity sufficient to accommodate the weapon, Capt. Mike Ziv, Program Manager for Directed Energy and Electric Weapon Systems, told reporters at the Navy League’s 2015 Sea Air Space symposium at National Harbor, Md.

The first of three planned DDG 1000 destroyers was christened in April of last year.

Ziv said Navy leaders believe the DDG 1000 is the right ship to house the rail gun but that additional study was necessary to examine the risks. A rigorous study on the issue should be finished by the end of this year, Ziv said. [Continue reading…]

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — U.S. rocket-makers are pushing to develop reusable engines and other components that will help to reduce the cost of launch.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX and headed by billionaire Elon Musk, on Tuesday failed in its second attempt to land a rocket back on Earth. The company, however, came close — the booster hit a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean, but tipped over and was destroyed.

“Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival,” Musk tweeted. He added later, “Looks like Falcon landed fine, but excess lateral velocity caused it to tip over post landing.” [Continue reading…]