091010-N-8273J-169SAN DIEGO — The Navy’s USS Wayne E Meyer guided missile destroyer is preparing for a series of extensive upgrades to make the ship stealthier or less detectable to traditional enemy radar.

Having recently returned from a seven-month deployment to the Pacific theater, the Wayne E Meyer will go through what’s called a “maintenance availability” before entering  a larger, longer upgrade period which examines the software, hardware  and various designs on board the ship.

“We’ll get upgrades to multiple systems on board including everything from combat systems to engineering maintenance and management, electrical and thermal systems, ammunition upgrades, weapons systems upgrades and radar upgrades,” said Cmdr. Adam Flemming, executive officer, USS Wayne E Meyer.

Ship design and ship structure will also be a central focus of the upgrades in order to determine if there are ways to reduce the vessel’s radar signature and make the large vessel appear more like a small fishing boat to enemy radar, he said.

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FC-31-1China unveiled its version of the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — the Shenyang FC-31 — at the biennial Zhuhai Air Show in a surprise to the rest of the world’s aviation community.

The military aviation display comes ahead of President Obama’s visit to Beijing for the APEC summit. It also comes right before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had planned to visit U.S. allies in the Pacific. Hagel has since delayed that trip.

Many have speculated that China’s display of the FC-31 was meant as a show of force as the U.S. makes strides on its own F-35 program. [Continue reading…]

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Fort-Worth-600x400SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship will deploy with an unmanned aircraft system on board for the first time when the USS Fort Worth leaves here next week on deployment to the Pacific region, service officials said.

The Fort Worth, or LCS 3, will soon deploy with what’s called a surface warfare mission-equipment package – a collection of integrated on-board technologies including 11-meter rigid inflatable boats, 30mm machine guns, MH-60R helicopters and the MQ-8B Fire Scout, a helicopter-like vertical take-off-and-landing drone.

“This first time we’re bringing Fire Scout into the equation and matching it up with a manned helicopter squadron. The same pilots that fly an MH-60 helicopter can fly a mission, land on deck, come inside the ship and launch the Fire Scout and do another mission. It brings us a lot more flexibility,” said Capt. Ken Bridgewater, commanding officer of the USS Fort Worth. [Continue reading…]

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Aircraft-Carrier-Sky-600x400The Pentagon’s main research arm wants to find out what a flying “aircraft carrier” carrying a fleet of small aerial drones might look like and how much it would cost the military.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced Sunday it would open a competition for proposals to build a large aircraft — similar to a C-130 — that could carry and distribute aerial drones across a large area. DARPA officials said they wanted to see proposals for a system that could both launch the drones, but also recover them mid-flight. [Continue reading…]

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141020-F-VN235-023Air Force doctors at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia have a germ-killing robot ready to help keep rooms clean should any returning service member show symptoms of Ebola.

The 366th Medical Group at Langley is responsible for housing and monitoring troops returning from Ebola aid missions to West Africa during a mandatory 21-day quarantine period.

The 5’2”-inch robot, named Saul, is essentially a germ terminator whose pulses of high-intensity, high-energy ultraviolet rays can destroy viruses lurking in areas where hazmat-suited humans using traditional cleansers cannot reach, according to the Air Force. [Continue reading…]

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