How to Make a Vertical-Takeoff Plane That Doesn’t Suck
In early March, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced it was awarding a contract to Virginia-based Aurora Flight Sciences to develop a small robotic demonstrator aircraft as part of phase two of DARPA’s Vertical Takeoff and Landing X-Plane initiative. “For decades, aircraft designers seeking to improve vertical... Read more
Belgian Counterterror Cop Warned of Terrorists on the Loose
Suicide bombers struck an airport and a subway train in Brussels on March 22, killing no fewer than 30 people and wounding potentially hundreds. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated assault, which came just four days after police in Brussels arrested the surviving suspected planner behind Islamic State’s... Read more
The Navy’s First Carrier Drone Will Be a Flying Gas Tank
Beginning in 2007, the U.S. Navy spent billions of dollars experimenting with a fighter-size, jet-powered, aircraft carrier-launched robotic demonstrator aircraft that, in concept, could have formed the basis of a stealthy, long-range attack drone for future carrier air wings. Nine years later in its 2017 budge proposal, the American... Read more
A Lonely Elephant Cautiously Explores Post-War Somalia
Decades ago, tens of thousands of elephants roamed the shores of East Africa. A wave of poaching in the 1970s and ’80s wiped out many of the gentle creatures. And in 1991 Somalia collapsed into a bloody civil war that would grind on for 20 years. The elephants that... Read more
U.S. General Admits F-35 Is Actually Three Separate Airplanes
The whole idea behind the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was for it to be, you know, joint. That is to say, the same basic plane would work for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps and foreign countries. Lockheed Martin is designing the F-35 to meet all the... Read more
Imagine F-16s Deploying Swarms of Tiny Drones
In the middle of June 2015, a U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter took off from an air base in Alaska and flew over a military training range at 430 miles per hour. On command, something burst from the fighter’s flare dispenser — a drone roughly the size of a... Read more
The U.S. Air Force’s New Stealth Bomber Looks Awfully Familiar
The U.S. Air Force’s new stealth bomber looks a lot like its old stealth bomber. That’s no accident. The B-21 — the outline and designation of which Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James revealed in February — is being designed by Northrop Grumman, manufacturer of the B-21... Read more
A-10 Warthogs Battle ISIS … And Fight for Their Future
The U.S. Air Force has been trying to retire its 300 A-10 Warthog attack jets for several years now, arguing that the 1980s-vintage tank-killlers are out of date and too vulnerable — and that new F-35 stealth fighters are adequate replacements. But Congress isn’t having it. Lawmakers keep adding... Read more
For Sale Soon, an Anti-Drone Bazooka
Drones got you down? British company is offering a new way to ensnare and bring down robotics planes operating illegally in your airspace — the SkyWall 100, a net-firing bazooka. “The proliferation of cheap and easy to fly drones has triggered a rise in the number of incidents where... Read more
History’s Most Software-Dependent Warplane Hasn’t Been Properly Cyber-Tested
Prominent members of the Australian military establishment are worried — to say the least — about their country’s plan to acquire 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from the United States. That’s the subject of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s latest Background Briefing program: The man who until a year ago... Read more
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