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Military vehicle seating: Keeping American soldiers safe

June 6, 2013 3:07 pm | News | Comments

Transportation crashes have accounted for two-thirds of U.S. noncombat military deaths since 2000—a trend Univ. of Michigan researchers are hoping to help reverse. Research Prof. Matthew Reed and colleagues at the U-M Transportation Research Institute and U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) aim to make seating in military vehicles safer, more effective and more comfortable for soldiers.

German defense chief under fire over drone program

June 5, 2013 11:13 am | by JUERGEN BAETZ - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Germany's defense minister on Wednesday admitted mistakes were made in the handling of a program to develop unmanned surveillance drones and announced tougher oversight procedures for all armament projects. Opposition parties say Thomas de Maiziere wasted public funds by canceling the botched 600 million euro ($800 million) program too late, but he rejected calls for his resignation.

Navy ships form first line of missile defense

May 30, 2013 12:13 am | by Associated PressAssociated Press | News | Comments

The U.S., in response to advances in missile threats from Iran and North Korea in recent years, has become more invested in Navy cruisers and destroyers that carry a high-tech radar system and dozens of missile interceptors. As a result, the ballistic missile defense destroyers and cruisers that carry the high-tech Aegis system are a growing capability that is in hot demand by military commanders.

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U.S. defense programs target of China cyber threat

May 29, 2013 1:20 pm | by Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press | News | Comments

While officials have been warning for years about China's cyber espionage efforts aimed at U.S. military and high-tech programs, the breadth of new revelations about the extent of cyberattacks will increase pressure on American leaders to take more strident action against Beijing to stem the persistent breaches.

Navy's unmanned ocean recon craft makes 1st flight

May 22, 2013 5:32 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An unmanned jet built for U.S. Navy high-altitude maritime surveillance missions has made its first flight. Northrop Grumman Corp. says the MQ-4C Triton took off from Palmdale, Calif., Wednesday and completed a 90-minute flight. The aircraft is designed to fly missions lasting up to 24 hours at altitudes greater than 10 miles, allowing coverage out 2,000 nautical miles.

Army Ground Combat Systems adopts Sandia tool

May 21, 2013 11:35 am | News | Comments

Sandia National Laboratories has developed key components of a software tool to help the Army's PEO GCS analyze countless what-if scenarios that can be manipulated as technology advances and the global environment, the federal budget, or other factors change. Sandia calls this advanced combination of modeling, simulation, and optimization decision support software the Capability Portfolio Analysis Tool (CPAT).

Navy to launch unmanned aircraft from carrier

May 14, 2013 11:38 am | by BROCK VERGAKIS - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The Navy will make its first attempt to launch an unmanned aircraft the size of a fighter jet from an aircraft carrier on Tuesday, marking a significant step toward the possibility of expanded drone use in future conflicts. The X-47B can reach an altitude of more than 40,000 feet, has a range of more than 2,100 nautical miles and can reach high subsonic speeds.

Navy unveils squadron of manned, unmanned craft

May 2, 2013 4:59 pm | by JULIE WATSON - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The Navy on Thursday inaugurated its first squadron with both manned and unmanned aircraft. Military officials launched the effort by reactivating the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 35, known as the "Magicians" or HSL-35, which served for 19 years before being deactivated in 1992.

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Unmanned aircraft system proposal takes flight

April 26, 2013 8:59 am | News | Comments

A consortium of Washington-based organizations will soon submit the final section of a proposal to site an unmanned aircraft system research and testing facility in central Washington. If successful, the proposal to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will result in the FAA naming the Pacific Northwest Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Center as one of six U.S. testing facilities later this year.

Fertilizer that fizzles in a homemade bomb could save lives around the world

April 23, 2013 8:24 am | News | Comments

A Sandia engineer who trained U.S. soldiers to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has developed a fertilizer that helps plants grow but can’t detonate a bomb. It’s an alternative to ammonium nitrate, an agricultural staple that is also the raw ingredient in most of the IEDs in Afghanistan. Sandia has decided not to patent or license the formula, but to make it freely available in hopes of saving lives.

Israeli official says drones could replace planes

April 21, 2013 1:57 pm | by DANIEL ESTRIN - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Israel's air force is on track to developing drones that within four to five decades would carry out nearly every battlefield operation executed today by piloted aircraft, a high-ranking Israeli officer told The Associated Press Sunday. The officer, who works in the field of unmanned aerial vehicle intelligence, said Israel is speeding up research and development of such unmanned technologies for air, ground, and naval forces.

Drone industry worries about privacy backlash

March 29, 2013 3:05 am | by JOAN LOWY - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americans' everyday lives, performing countless useful functions. A far cry from the killing machines whose missiles incinerate terrorists, these generally small, unmanned aircraft will help farmers more precisely apply water and pesticides to crops, saving money and reducing environmental impacts. They'll help police departments find missing people, reconstruct traffic accidents and act as lookouts for SWAT teams.

Optimism in UN over 1st global arms trade treaty

March 27, 2013 9:25 pm | by EDITH M. LEDERER - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The first global treaty on regulating the multimillion-dollar arms trade appeared to be nearing consensus, supporters said, though worries remained that Iran, India, or other countries would back off an agreement that requires approval from all 193 United Nations member states.

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Researchers seek to reduce deafening jet engine noise

March 25, 2013 11:59 am | News | Comments

Have you ever had a fighter jet fly over your home and the noise of the aircraft booms loud enough to rattle the windows? Imagine working on an aircraft carrier or air base, up close to the engines as they take off or land. Several U.S.-based research teams, with the support of the Office of Naval Research, have been tasked with finding a way to reduce that deafening noise as part of a three-year project.

Israel, U.S. successfully test anti-missile system

February 25, 2013 2:45 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Israel's Defense Ministry says a joint exercise with U.S. forces has successfully tested the Arrow anti-missile system for the first time. The system is meant to defend Israel from the threat of an Iranian strike. The ministry said Monday the test was "a major milestone in the development of the Arrow 3 Weapon System."

New waterjets could propel combat ship to greater speeds

February 6, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

The Navy’s fifth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Milwaukee, will be the first to benefit from new high-power density waterjets aimed at staving off rudder and propeller damage experienced on high-speed ships. Developed by Rolls-Royce Naval Marine in Walpole, Mass., the new Axial-Flow Waterjet Mk-1 can move nearly half a million gallons of seawater per minute, providing more thrust per unit than current commercial waterjets.

High-tech cargo airship being built in California

January 30, 2013 9:09 am | by Raquel Maria Dillon, Associated Press | News | Comments

A new massive blimp-like aircraft was recently hovering just a dozen feet off a military hangar floor during flight testing south of Los Angeles. The fact that the hulking Aeroscraft could fly for just a few minutes represents a step forward in aviation, according to the engineers who developed it. According to the Department of Defense and NASA, their prototype could one day carry more cargo than any other aircraft to disaster zones and forward military bases.

DARPA funds research for electronics that disappear

January 28, 2013 5:23 pm | News | Comments

Advanced electronics are indispensable in modern warfare, but locating and tracking them all on the field of battle is almost impossible. To prevent valuable and strategic technology from falling into enemy hands, DARPA has announced the Vanishing Programmable Resources program, which has the aim of improving “transient” electronics, or electronics capable of dissolving into the environment around them.        

PNNL awarded $2.8 million to keep troops cool

January 25, 2013 8:12 am | News | Comments

A new, energy-efficient air chilling system could keep troops on the front lines cool while using about half as much diesel as current systems. The system's decreased fuel consumption could also save lives by reducing attacks on American soldiers who deliver fuel to field operations.

Pentagon researches new life for dead satellites

January 23, 2013 10:42 am | by Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

When satellites retire, certain parts—such as antennas and solar panels—often still work. There's currently no routine effort to salvage and reuse satellite parts once they're launched into space.  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is spending $180 million to test technologies that could scavenge defunct communication satellites for their valuable parts and recycle them to build brand new ones for cheap.

Top officials meet at ONR in response to Arctic changes

December 14, 2012 10:28 am | by David Smalley, Office of Naval Research | News | Comments

The rapid retreat of sea ice in the Arctic has attracted the attention of top naval officials who have recently held an Arctic Summit at the Office of Naval Research to discuss their reponse to what will likely be a increased volume of human activity in the region. Although the meeting did not discuss policy, it did highlight the many potential areas of impact, from oil drilling to tourism.

Air Force sends mystery mini-shuttle back to space

December 12, 2012 9:21 am | by Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer | News | Comments

The military's small, top-secret version of the space shuttle rocketed into orbit Tuesday for a repeat mystery mission, two years after making the first flight of its kind. The X-37B is about one-quarter the size of the original NASA space shuttle and can land automatically. The purpose of this mission remains a secret: Launch commentary ended 17 minutes into the flight.

The future looks bright: ONR, Marines eye solar energy

November 30, 2012 12:32 pm | News | Comments

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is looking to the sun for energy in an effort to help Marines do away with diesel-guzzling generators now used in combat outposts, officials announced. The Renewable Sustainable Expeditionary Power (RSEP) program seeks to create a transportable renewable hybrid system that can provide Marines with electricity for a 15-day mission without relying on fuel resupply convoys that often become targets for adversaries.

Georgia Tech awarded $2.7 million from DARPA

November 30, 2012 7:25 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Georgia Institute of Technology has received a $2.7 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop technology intended to help address the challenges of "big data"—data sets that are both massive and complex.

Games may help train analysts to overcome bias

November 13, 2012 10:52 am | News | Comments

Analytic exercises conducted by researchers at Raytheon that used scenario-based games showed that some of the participants displayed anchoring and confirmation biases as they tried to determine responsibility and motivations for insurgent attacks in the scenario. This game-playing approach may help intelligence analysts identify biases that can cloud decision-making and problem-solving during life or death situations.

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