The Air Force released pictures this week of the new guided tail kit installed on the B61-12 nuclear bomb that improves the bomb’s accuracy. Along with upgrades that allow the U.S. military to lower the warhead’s yield, one analyst said the U.S. is breaking a key nuclear treaty.
Carried by U.S. and NATO nuclear-capable bombers and fighter jets, the B61-12 is an upgraded version of the B61, which was designed in 1963. The thermonuclear bomb is guided by an Internal Guidance System and can glide to its target. The B61-12 version has four selectable yields — 0.3, 5, 10 and 50 kilotons — according to the Federation of American Scientists.
The U.S. has started an expensive program to upgrade the B61 that Air Force leaders have been spent years requesting from Congress. The upgrades will cost about $10 billion for 400–500 bombs. [Continue reading…]
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the start-up rocket-maker headed by billionaire Elon Musk, moved a step closer to launching military and spy satellites this week.
The U.S. Air Force said the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company known as SpaceX has completed the first of three missions needed to qualify for carrying military and intelligence satellites, which are generally bigger and more expensive than their commercial counterparts. [Continue reading…]
Air Force leaders say the service is preparing to launch a $1 billion new-start next-generation jet engine development program to be detailed in the upcoming fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.
“What we’re looking at is adaptive engine technology. We think this is a big area for us to move into,” Ricky Peters, executive director, Air Force Research Laboratory told an audience Feb. 26 at the Bloomberg Government Defense Summit, Washington D.C. [Continue reading…]
U.S. Army leaders hope to one day resupply troops with unmanned, ground convoys and pilotless, cargo-carrying drone aircraft.
The Pentagon is continuing to build on the experience it has gained with unmanned technology over in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. military forces have enjoyed success using small unmanned ground vehicles to search enemy caves and suspected enemy bombs. Large, armed drone aircraft have also proven effective at destroying high-value enemy leaders in remote areas.
Now, Army scientists are working to use this unmanned technology for large-scale, resupply operations. [Continue reading…]
The head of the U.S. Defense Department’s F-35 fighter jet program said he will probably allow pilots and maintainers to manually override the aircraft’s automatic logistics system in some situations.
The Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS (pronounced “Alice”), determines whether the plane is safe to fly. The system has notoriously recommended grounding functioning aircraft — against the recommendations of pilots and maintainers — due in part to faulty parts numbers listed in its database, officials said in a recent segment on the CBS News program, “60 Minutes.” [Continue reading…]