tagged w/ MilTech
The Army is moving head with plans to mount a laser cannon on a massive, 35-ton-plus truck.
The service just handed Boeing a $36 million contract to "continue developing a truck-mounted, high-energy laser weapon system that will destroy rockets, artillery shells and mortar rounds," according to a company statement.
Low power demonstrations are scheduled for 2010, with battlefield-strength laser tests to follow in 2013.
About a year ago, the Army asked Boeing and Northrop Grumman to work up preliminary designs for the HEL beam control system -- and promised to choose a winning model by 2009. So the program appears to be on track. And it's one of a number of energy weapon projects that have been picking up steam, after deacdes of unfulfilled promise. Relatively easy-to-deploy electric lasers have just about worked their way up to weapons-grade. Boeing recently test-fired the real-life ray gun on its Advanced Tactical Laser -- a blaster-equipped gunship. Raytheon has worked up a prototype of its Phalanx mortar-shooter, already deployed in Iraq, that uses fiber lasers, instead of traditional ammo, to knock down targets. Even the eternally-delayed Airborne Laser -- a modified 747, designed to zap ballistic missiles -- may finally get a long-awaited flight test.
The Army is moving head with plans to mount a laser cannon on a massive, 35-ton-plus... more
4 years ago
A development team at the TU Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands introduced the minute DelFly Micro air vehicle, a variant of an Unmanned Aerial vehicle (UAV). This successor to the DelFly I and II weighs barely 3 grams, and with its flapping wings is very similar to a dragonfly. The DelFly II drew huge attention in 2006 because it could fly horizontally (21 km/hr) as well as hover, just like a hummingbird, and could also fly backwards. The DelFly Micro, incidentally, cannot do this just yet.
Ultra-small, remote-controlled micro-aircraft with cameras, such as this DelFly, may well be used in the future for observation flights in difficult-to-reach or dangerous areas. The DelFly Micro is a 'Micro Air Vehicle' (MAV), an exceptionally small remote-controlled aircraft, with camera and image recognition software. The Micro, measuring 10 cm (wingtip-to-wingtip), is the considerably smaller successor to the successful DelFly I (2005) and DelFly II (2006). The DelFly Micro, with its minuscule battery weighing just 1 gram, can fly for approximately three minutes and has a maximum speed of 5 meters per second.
Ultra-small remote-controlled, camera-equipped aircraft are potentially of great interest because they could eventually be used for observation flights in difficult-to-reach or dangerous areas. The basic principle of the DelFly is derived from nature. The 'dragonfly' has a tiny camera (about 0.5 gram) on board that transmits its signals to a ground station. With software developed by TU Delft, objects can then be recognized independently. The camera transmits TV quality images, and therefore allows the DelFly II to be operated from a computer. It can be maneuvered using a joystick as if the operator was actually in the cockpit of the aircraft. The aim is to be able to do this with the DelFly Micro, also.
In a few years time, the new objective of the project, the DelFly NaNo (5 cm, 1 gram) will have been developed. The Micro is an important intermediate step in this development process. A second objective for the future is for the DelFly to be able to fly entirely independently, thanks to image-recognition software. A development team at the TU Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands... more
Videos of unmanned underwater vehicles taking advantage of advanced sensors and processors for navigation and artificial intelligence.
Navy experts and industry leaders are looking into the latest generation of unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) for maritime applications ranging from training and mission rehearsal, undersea surveys and surveillance, locating and destroying enemy mines, and potentially even covertly deploying weapons.
For the past three decades U.S. Navy experts have relied on unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs), first as programmable targets to train anti-submarine warfare (ASW) crews on surface ships, and later as remote sensing platforms. Today the Navy is increasing its use of UUVs for counter-mine warfare, and is beginning to use autonomous undersea vehicles to map the ocean floors, locate submerged wrecks and obstacles, and occasionally to find and photograph underwater archeological sites.
In the future, advances in machine intelligence, closed-system propulsion, long-life rechargeable batteries, digital data storage, through-water communications, and rugged-environment embedded digital signal processing promise a era in UUV applications, which are expected to include surveillance and reconnaissance; relocatable covert communications and networking nodes; electronic warfare; anti-submarine tracking; and perhaps even weapons delivery.
The world's oceans continue to be increasingly dangerous places, so military and commercial maritime interests will keep looking to autonomous watercraft to keep humans out of harm's way in the unforgiving environment of the sea.
Videos of unmanned underwater vehicles taking advantage of advanced sensors and... more
Bigger, better, faster, more are the driving themes behind the advanced network monitoring technology BBN Technologies is building for the military.
The high-tech firm got a $.4.4 million contract today from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop novel, scalable attack detection algorithms; a flexible and expandable architecture for implementing and deploying the algorithms; and an execution environment for traffic inspection and algorithm execution.
"April the 4th, 1984. To the past, or to the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man... greetings. " Winston Smith, 1984Bigger, better, faster, more are the driving themes behind the advanced network... more
While conflict continues between Russia and Georgia, there is also something of interest that could be a precursor to a new style of warfare – or at least a new front to be exploited by those looking to start wars. It really stated last year with a massive web attack against Estonia by what are assumed to be Russian based hackers. That attack was due to Estonia moving a WWII monument but resulted in many of the Estonian government sites being taken offline.
Now as things escalate between Georgia and Russia there appears to be a concentrate attack against Georgian sites by hackers located in Russia and in parallel with troop movements. This has resulted with many of the Georgian government sites being re-located to other countries. Currently the Georgia Foreign Affairs is being hosted on servers in Estonia and Civil.ge the Georgian news site has moved its online operations to Google Blogspot domains. Along with this for the first time ever Estonia is sending cyberdefense advisors into Georgia to help battle the cyber attacks.
It is easy to see that warfare is changing but this increasing use of attacks over the Internet against your enemies is a whole new arena we are only beginning to see being exploited. This should be seen as a really worrisome trend and one that should be talked about much more than it is. After all as we move forward in our increasing use of the Internet in our everyday lives one has to wonder just how safe we would be if our own countries became the newest target in a war that is fought online.
While the importance of security against computer attacks as they relate to our real world social infrastructure in crucially important one has to wonder what is being done to protect our online lives. As we move increasingly towards a cyber lifestyle with things like our social networks and data storage on cloud computing platforms is anyone asking how safe these will be from concentrated attacks. After all there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t hear about some sort of data breach or some new vulnerability is how we use the web being found. Then there are the ones that we don’t hear about until months later.
Where is the assurance from all these startups that are trying desperately to get us to make them a part of our daily online life that they have safety measure implemented that can withstand concentrated attacks? Can we feel safe knowing that these web services have been developed with security in mind (and I don’t mean just the superficial send me my password by email type of security)?
There is no doubt that with our ever increasing reliance on the internet as a part of our daily lives that a country’s Internet infrastructure is going to become a prime target – especially in times of war. What worries me is that none of this is being discussed with the tech blogosphere. No one seems to be concerned with any possible repercussions should concentrated attacks from hackers backed by foreign powers. Just how safe will our online lives and data be in such a case of a cyber world war? Will we find ourselves just as bloodied and damaged there as we would on the streets of our real world?While conflict continues between Russia and Georgia, there is also something of... more
The US military is being taken over by robots. Clearing buildings, recovering unexploded munitions and searching for bombs are some of the deadliest tasks a soldier can face in Iraq, and most of them can be done by robots. Plus, the Pentagon has plans to introduce even more robotic troops into military ranks in the coming decade. But will there be a human finger on the button, or are we talking about fully-autonomous weapons systems?
Today's military robots don't walk on two legs or look remotely human - they mostly look like miniature radio-controlled tanks. There's always a human somewhere with a laptop and a joystick controlling all of the robot's action. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are experimenting with the use of a controller from a Nintendo Wii to manipulate the bots. This gives the soldiers more freedom of movement and situational awareness than if they're staring into a laptop computer. While advances in robot technology will probably result in more radical robot designs and allow for the military's goal of a 30-percent robotic force, there will always be human involvement in the control process. The US military is being taken over by robots. Clearing buildings, recovering... more
As anyone who has seen the Matrix will tell you, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) can wreak havoc on electronics. You may also know that an EMP is a byproduct of a nuclear blast—which is why the Navy has handed over $7.5 million to L-3 Services, Inc. to build an EMP generator. The device is not going to be used as a weapon, instead it will be used to test the resistance of military systems to specific EMP levels as a preventative measure in the event that a nuclear weapon is detonated in US airspace.
The fear is that a king-sized EMP generated from a nuclear blast detonated in the sky could send this country back to the stone age. Even if the possibility of such a scenario occurring is remote, the Navy doesn't want to take chances. If all goes well, the generator is expected to be completed sometime in 2010.As anyone who has seen the Matrix will tell you, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) can... more
Imagine you're a terrorist with a single nuclear weapon. You could wipe out the U.S. city of your choice, or you could decide to destroy the infrastructure of the entire U.S. economy and leave millions of Americans to die of starvation or want of medical care.
The latter scenario is the one envisioned by a long-running commission to assess the threat from electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. The subject of its latest, and little discussed, report to Congress is the effect an EMP attack could have on civilian infrastructure. If you're prone to nightmares, don't read it before bedtime.
An EMP attack occurs when a nuclear bomb explodes high in the Earth's atmosphere. The electromagnetic pulse generated by the blast destroys all the electronics in its line of sight. For a bomb detonated over the Midwest, that includes most of the continental U.S. Few, if any, people die in the blast. It's what comes next that has the potential to be catastrophic. Since an EMP surge wipes out electronics, virtually every aspect of modern American life would come to a standstill.
The commission's list of horribles is 181 pages long. The chapter on food, for instance, catalogs the disruptions up and down the production chain as food spoils or has no way to get to market. Many families have food supplies of several days or more. But after that, and without refrigeration, what? The U.S. also has 75,000 dams and reservoirs, 168,000 drinking water-treatment facilities, and 19,000 wastewater treatment centers -- all with pumps, valves and filters run by electricity.
Getting everything up and running again is not merely a matter of flipping a switch, and the commission estimates that many systems could be out of service for months or a year or more -- far longer than emergency stockpiles or batteries could cover. The large transformers used in electrical transmission are no longer built in the U.S. and delivery time is typically three years. "Lack of high voltage equipment manufacturing capacity represents a glaring weakness in our survival and recovery," the commission notes.
Many industries rely on automated control systems maintained by small work forces. In emergencies -- say, during a blackout -- companies often have arrangements in place to borrow workers from outside the affected area to augment the locals and help with manual repairs. After an EMP attack, those workers would be busy in their home regions -- or foraging for food and water for their families.
The commission offers extensive recommendations for how industry and government can protect against the effects of an EMP attack and ensure a quicker recovery. They include "hardening" more equipment to withstand an electromagnetic pulse; making sure replacement equipment is on hand; training recovery personnel; increasing federal food stockpiles; and many others.
If not, our vulnerability "can both invite and reward attack," the commission's chairman, William Graham, told Congress last month. Iran's military writings "explicitly discuss a nuclear EMP attack that would gravely harm the United States," he said. James Shinn, an assistant secretary of defense, has said that China is developing EMP weapons. The commission calls an EMP attack "one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences." The threat is real. It's past time to address it.Imagine you're a terrorist with a single nuclear weapon. You could wipe out the... more