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New US Military Technology


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Army tests high-tech airdrop system that 'sees' its target

By James Rogers  Published March 09, 2016  FoxNews.com

The U.S. Army is testing a high-tech airdrop system that uses a sophisticated video navigation system to locate its target. The system could prove invaluable for airdrops in difficult terrain and urban environments, researchers say.

The military has been working for years to boost the accuracy of its airdrops when resupplying troops. As part of this effort, the Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS), which uses GPS, an onboard computer and a steerable parachute, was developed in 2006. The technology was deployed in the field three years – it accounted for about 1 percent of the total airdrops conducted by the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan.

Now, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) is working on an even more accurate airdrop alternative to GPS as part of an ambitious multi-service project.

"In some terrains, such as steep canyons, or urban settings with tall buildings, you can lose GPS - these are gliding systems, so they can't fly up in altitude." Richard Benney, Director of the Aerial Delivery Directorate at NSRDEC, told FoxNews.com. “We're researching and testing what we call a video navigation system – currently it's simply a camera that's looking down and out towards the ground in the direction of flight."

Benney explained that the video navigation system picks up ‘targets,’ such as reference points or features in the local landscape. “We will probably feed the JPADS an image just before it's deployed out of the aircraft from the USAF JPADS mission planner,” he said. “The image can come from a satellite, UAS [Unmanned Aerial System] or other sources - it will tell the JPADS 'your job is to land on that pixel'.”

The as-yet unnamed video navigation system is currently being tested in desert environments and there are plans to upgrade the JPADS fleet with the new technology over the next three to five years.

The video navigation technology will eventually guide a wide range of payloads to their intended targets. There are two variants of JPADS – a 2K version that handles weights from 700 pounds up to 2,200 pounds and a 10K version for weights from 5,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds.

Benney explained that 2Ks can be dropped from as low as 3,500 feet and up to 25,000 feet, whereas 10Ks are dropped between 18,000 and 25,000 feet.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Draper Lab, under contract with the U.S. Army, developed the JPADS flight software and is one of the lead partners on the flight vision software.

Initial indications suggest that video navigation airdrops offer an extremely high level of accuracy. “The 2K requirement is to be within 150 meters [492 feet] of the target, but it's considerably better than that,” Benney told FoxNews.com.  “[The] 10K target is [to be within] 250 meters [820 feet] for the target, but it's significantly better than that."

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

New tech gives US helicopter pilots 'Superman-style' vision

By Allison Barrie  Published March 03, 2016  FoxNews.com

New technology means U.S. military helicopter pilots will be getting amped-up ‘Superman-style’ vision to help them tackle dangerous environments.

One of the biggest threats to aircraft is Degraded Visual Environment or DVE. New technology made by Honeywell aims to solve this problem.

Superman’s vision lets him see through things and observe high detail. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has issued a contract to Honeywell to create tech enabling helicopter pilots to deal with extreme DVE and “See” crucial details. The tech is called synthetic vision. Honeywell has been developing and testing it with DARPA for more than nine years.

U.S. Military helicopters like the UH-60 Black Hawk will be outfitted with the Synthetic Vision Avionics Backbone (SVAB) for testing.

The threat

When visibility is degraded it can mask hazards lurking in bad weather like rain, snow, dust and fog. These challenges can cause low visibility, making it tough to land and fly.

“Brown-out" is a condition that military pilots regularly face when terrain becomes obscured, particularly in desert conditions such as those experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When a pilot approaches a landing zone in a desert environment it often becomes a brown out when sand, dirt and dust gets kicked up. In a brown-out, the pilot loses his or her visual reference with the ground. The airframe can drift and collide with the ground or other structures causing the helicopter to land hard or even roll over.

How does it work?

Honeywell's technology provides pilots with a 3-D view of the landing zone on their flight displays. The synthetic vision system integrates data from a number of state-of-the-art sensors. These data are fused together, processed and translated into a picture of the area around the pilot.

The technology aims to show dangers like other aircraft, telephone wires, vehicles and personnel near the landing zone as well as unexpected terrain hidden by dust or other aspects of DVE.

Ultimately, military pilots could have such enhanced vision that even small holes and ditches around the landing zone will be revealed.

The tech could help save lives as well as reduce costs.  Pentagon research estimates place the damage and loss of U.S. military aircraft due to degraded visual environments in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Many companies have been trying to find a solution to DVE. Tech touted to tackle the problem includes millimeter wave radar, infrared radar, long wave and LIDAR, a laser-based surveying technology.

Advanced military aircraft like the CH 47 F-model Chinook, AH-64 Block III Apache attack helo and the Black Hawk UH-60 M-model already give pilots enhanced support when equipped with cutting edge moving map displays and digital flight controls.

How does it work?

In the next phase of the Multifunction Radio Frequency program, Honeywell will update the synthetic vision system to fuse information from DARPA's Advanced Rotary Multifunction Sensor radar, along with satellite imagery and databases of terrain and obstacles.

DVEs are a big challenge for all militaries, but with this technology US pilots would have the advantage of being able to safely operate where others cannot.

Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at wargames@foxnews.com or follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.



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Rifleman62 said:
Army tests high-tech airdrop system that 'sees' its target
The best part of that post is the first clause in the author's bio.  ;D


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Yes, That why I posted her bio. Not the first time her articles have been posted.

Kind of reminds you of the bio of our current great leader. ;D (Can't find a butterfly)


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Developers hope to ground test a turbine engine at Mach 3.2 in the coming months, paving the way for long-range supersonic cruise missiles as well as potentially laying the foundation for a viable combined-cycle hypersonic propulsion system.

Testing of high-speed engines is being conducted separately by Rolls-Royce Liberty Works and Williams International under the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) supersonic turbine engine for long-range (Stelr) program. A follow-on effort to the joint AFRL and Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) high-speed turbine engine demonstration (Histed) program, Stelr is targeted at the development of Mach 3-plus weapons and vehicles. These include long-range standoff missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, unmanned air vehicles and advanced cruise missiles capable of sustaining flight at maximum Mach number for 1 hr.

Rolls-Royce’s Stelr engine has already operated for “more than two hours at Mach 2-2.5, and will run up to Mach 3.2 in the next few months,” says John Kusnierek, director of business development and strategy for the company’s Liberty Works unit. Although Rolls has applied lessons learned on its Histed engine, the YJ102R, to the Stelr project, Kusnierek emphasizes the newest development “is not the same engine.”

Speaking to Aviation Week at the Air Force Association convention in Washington, Kusnierek explained that although the Stelr engine is designed for a lower Mach number than the YJ102R, it has longer endurance. The engine has been developed to “run at Mach 2-3.2 continuously.” The design mission is to operate for 1 hr. at speeds up to Mach 3.2, or sufficient to provide a range of more than 2,000 mi. The same system would also, therefore, have the ability to fly 1,000 mi. in 30 min., which is a “capability of interest,” he adds.

Displayed in mockup form at AFA, the engine is similar in size to the YJ102R, which was earmarked for the canceled Lockheed Martin revolutionary approach to time-critical long-range strike (Rattlrs) missile flight demonstrator. Just like YJ102R, the Stelr is nonafterburning, providing longer range at supersonic speed. “At Mach 3.2 the inlet air temperature is 800F, so there is a lot of materials technology in the engine,” says Kusnierek.

Although designed for expendable weapons, the engine’s baseline durability could make it useful for wider, reusable roles. “The need to have enough life to qualify the engine means it can be reusable, so it could probably do 50 missions in an ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] role,” he adds.

Beyond supersonic missiles, Stelr also offers new hope for developers of hypersonic engines. Stelr technology could provide the missing piece of the puzzle for engine-makers looking to close the gap between turbines and high-speed dual-mode supersonic combustion ramjets/scramjets for hypersonic flight. “It fills the niche between subsonic and hypersonic propulsion. There is no companion vehicle program. It is a chicken and egg situation, no one can design a missile until there is an engine, so first we have to demonstrate the engine,” Kusnierek says.

Stelr is one of three active Air Force and NASA high-speed propulsion efforts underway to support development of reusable turbine-based combined-
cycle (TBCC) engines. In these propulsion systems a turbine engine would provide the power from takeoff to Mach 4, with a ramjet/scramjet taking over for higher-speed flight. Speaking at the AIAA International Space Planes and Hypersonics Systems and Technologies Conference in July, Darpa deputy director Steven Walker says Stelr “would enable state-of-the-art ramjet takeover.” The program has “identified four turbine engine options and completed vehicle synthesis for each,” he adds.

Companion efforts include AFRL’s medium-scale critical components (MSCC) program, which is exploring first generation, larger-scale scramjet engine characteristics beyond those of the pioneering X-51A hypersonic demonstrator, which last flew in 2013. Designed to evaluate engines with 10 times the airflow rate, performance, operability and thermal management capabilities of the X-51, the MSCC “will test takeover, acceleration and cruise conditions,” says Walker. The Air Force’s Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee, has been modified to conduct the first direct connect tests of these larger scramjet engines, and calibration testing began in July. Combustor testing will begin at the site in February 2016.

NASA, supported by funding from AFRL and Darpa, has meanwhile been testing a large-model TBCC under the combined-cycle large-scale inlet mode transition (CCE-LIMX) program. Conducted in the 10 X 10-ft. wind tunnel at NASA Glenn Research Center in Ohio, the test unit consists of a high-Mach turbine simulator or engine paired with a scramjet simulator. A modified Williams WJ38-15 turbojet, similar in size to the company’s XTE88 Histed engine, was made available for the tests, though it was limited to Mach 3. Flow to the engines, depending on the operating speed and mode, is controlled via a set of low- and high-speed ramps and flowpaths.

The initial phases of the program focused on inlet performance and stability at Mach 4, which took up 95% of the early testing. Mode transition schedules were developed during tests in 2011-12, and a Mach 3 bleed configuration was created to help solve a high steady state distortion that was discovered at Mach 3. The goal of the latest phase was to focus on smooth and stable mode transition at Mach 3 and test a closed-loop inlet control system in the process. Walker says the program completed system identification of inlet dynamics for development of controls algorithms and “successfully demonstrated a fully autonomous mode transition with no unstarts.” This latest phase of testing was completed in May.

Stelr is also one of the propulsion options included in a NASA-funded Lockheed Martin study in support of the proposed SR-72 hypersonic, ISR strike aircraft. The study has been looking into the viability of a TBCC propulsion system with several combinations of “near-term turbine engine solutions” and a very-low-Mach ignition dual mode ramjet. Unlike the Mach 4 takeover range of most ramjets conceived to date, this study, together with another similar contract recently awarded by NASA to Aerojet Rocketdyne, is evaluating take-over velocity to be reduced to Mach 2.5 and below.

This article was originally published on September 18.


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Northrop is building a super laser gun.


Two years ago, tiny Kratos Defense & Security (NASDAQ:KTOS) strapped together six commercial welding lasers, added a bit of military-industrial complex magic, and built the Navy its first working laser cannon. Unimaginatively dubbed the Laser Weapon System, or "LaWS," the new gun proved itself capable of shooting down unmanned aerial vehicles, poking holes in small boats, and blasting targets at classified -- but "tactically significant " distances.




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Top special operations snipers go head to head
By FoxNews.com  Published March 30, 2016


6 top picks in elite sniper tech  By Allison Barrie  Published March 31, 2016  FoxNews.com

What’s the latest and greatest in innovation for snipers?

Cutting-edge tech helps elite snipers push the envelope. At the recent USASOC International Sniper Competition held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, companies were showcasing top sniper technology.

From BEAST and Huron through to Omen ASP and PredatOB, here are six top picks in rifles, sights and more.

Ultimate Hoodie

Tyr Tactical’s Huron Cold Weather Combat Smock is a must have. Think Savile Row for elite snipers. Huron is jam-packed with features and can be adapted for each user.

Ideal for professional snipers, the camouflage color options are also ideal for outdoor enthusiasts such as hunters and fishermen.

Nab one in a regular color to blend in like a professional operator – you’ll look like you’re wearing a cool regular jacket, but you’ll know it's state-of-the-art covert tactical gear jam packed with stealth features.

You can stash and carry all your gear and be ready for tough weather, rather than have to wear a bunch of layers. There are lots of smart pockets, including four hidden pockets in front. For mission specific items, there are internal base mesh pockets, giving them even more protection from the elements.

Made out of a lightweight, maximum-strength material that provides weather and wind protection, the Huron is also abrasion resistant and repels water, dirt and even oil. The breathable 4-way stretch fabric also gives you flexibility when you need it the most.

Designed with snipers in mind, the smock’s hood is removable and a ghillie hood can be attached instead. To help wearers keep cool the smock can be vented. The antimicrobial-treated mesh lining also wicks moisture.

Built with insight from top U.S. military snipers and worn in special operations missions across the globe, the Huron Retails for about $995.95.


The NEMO Arms OMEN ASP is one ultra hard-hitting battle rifle in a short carbine – one that packs a whole lot of power into a remarkably light design.

It is an outstanding piece of craftsmanship and a remarkable performer. At long distances, it can match and outstrip .308s in performance.

The Omen ASP features a short lightweight 16-inch .300 Win Mag 416 stainless steel barrel with a lightweight stock. The 9.4-pound semi-automatic’s length is 35.5 inches. It has a Geissele SSA-E 2-Stage Trigger as well as a Magpul MOE buttstock and cheek riser. Other features include a NEMO 2-Position adjustable gas block and muzzle brake.

Retails for about $4,999.

Magnum Universal Night Sight

Made by FLIR, the MilSight S135 Magnum Universal Night Sight (MUNS) AN/PVS-27 is a high-resolution night vision weapon sight. Invest in this one piece of tech and you get three key options. For long-range recon, it can be mounted on a spotting scope. Of course, it comes in handy for night vision during night work.

And very cool, you can use it as a handheld Night Observation Device (NOD) as well.

MilSight S135 Magnum Universal Night Sight (MUNS) AN/PVS-27 (FLIR)

From .50 caliber semi-automatics to carbines and bolt-action, MUNS can enhance the spectrum.

Incredibly easy and quick to use, it installs, removes and operates without any tools. The clip-on mounts on any MIL-STD-1913 rail interface forward of an existing scope.

Retails for about $12,320.


B.E.A.S.T. is an extremely advanced riflescope that packs a whole lot of power and tactical versatility into a compact size. With one riflescope, you get tech that excels in all different types -of environments - from extreme distances through to tight, crowded urban terrain.

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BEAST (Night Force)
Made by Night Force, BEAST is 15.37 inches long, allowing thermal, night vision and other accessories to be attached. It is designed to be intuitive and quick to use, offering efficient one-handed operation.

Related: High-tech sponge can save lives in less than 20 seconds

With one device, you will get multi-scope capabilities with 5 through 25 times magnification. BEAST excels in tough lighting conditions. It can achieve better than 90 percent light transmission.

Nightforce ZeroStop technology incorporated into the device ensures an instant return to the sniper’s established zero point.

Retails for approximately between $3,783 and $4,268.

Ballistics Brain in a Box

The Kestrel 5700 Elite Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics enhances precise trajectory calculation. It's the next-gen version of the hugely popular Kestrel 4500 series.

In one compact handheld device you can measure 15 environmental parameters while leveraging long-range shooting ballistics data.  For trajectory calculations, snipers can choose either G1 or G7 ballistic coefficients.

With the ballistics calibration feature harvesting observed impacts at long range, the sniper can train the tech software to match his or her rifle.

Readily compatible with Android and iOS smartphones via Bluetooth link up - it also works seamlessly with the Bushnell CONX Range Finder.

PredatOBR 7.62

LaRue Tactical’s 20-inch PredatOBR 7.62 is irresistible.If the standard OBR and PredatAR 7.62x51 rifles had a very talented baby this would be it.

A standout feature is that it can be completely broken down to fit into its rollup bag and toolbox.

It has a truly “free-float” barrel. The hand guard does not touch the barrel and barrel nut at any point. There’s lots of space on the zero-MOA upper rail for night-vision day and night accessories. When you need to use a sound suppressor, the PredatOBR's Port Selector Technology gas block is adjustable.

PredatOBR comes with a LaRue MBT trigger. There’s a direct impingement with LaRue PST port selector gas system.

Retails for about $3,370.


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The next generation of C-RAM for the US military.


Lockheed Martin Mini-Missile Takes Flight in New Demonstration  

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M., April 5, 2016 – A Lockheed Martin-built Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor was successfully launched from a Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) in an engineering demonstration on April 4 at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.
The launch demonstrated the agility and aerodynamic capability of the MHTK missile, which is designed to defeat rocket, artillery and mortar (RAM) targets at ranges greatly exceeding those of current and interim systems. Today’s launch advances the program, increasing the level of MHTK integration maturity with the MML.

“Today’s global security environment demands agile, close-range solutions that protect soldiers and citizens from enemy rockets, artillery and mortars,” said Hal Stuart, Lockheed Martin’s MHTK Program Manager. “This test is a critical milestone demonstrating the interceptor’s maturity, and we look forward to continuing to build on this success using key data gathered from today’s launch.”

The MHTK interceptor was designed to be small in size while retaining the range, lethality and reliability of other Hit-to-Kill interceptors. MHTK is just over two feet (61 cm) in length and weighs five pounds (2.2 kg) at launch. The compact footprint of the MHTK allows multiple rounds to be packaged in a single MML tube.

The MML is a key component of the Army’s Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2 – Intercept program.  The program is designed to provide Army forces protection from cruise missiles, unmanned aircraft systems and RAM threats. The MML is designed to carry and launch a variety of missiles from a single launcher.

The MHTK uses Hit-to-Kill technology, which destroys threats through kinetic energy in body-to-body contact. Hit-to-Kill technology removes the risk of collateral damage seen in traditional blast-fragmentation interceptors. The MHTK interceptor complements other Lockheed Martin Hit-to-Kill missile interceptors by delivering close range lethality with proven success for a true layered defense.


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Further to Thuc's last.


I believe that this is a development of the same MML (Multiple Missile Launcher) developed by Kongsberg for the NASAMs system and which has been used for launching AIM-9, ESSMs and AIM-120s.


And could be the basis of the GBAD-CRAM system - bringing to the Army what the Mk41/VLS system brought to the Navy.