The Squad X experimentation program was started to give infantry Marines the same resources that mounted forces have by using autonomous robots engineered by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In a test at Twentynine Palms earlier this year, a group of these autonomous ground and aerial systems provided intelligence as well as recon support for Marines equipped with sensor-laden vests as they moved between natural desert and mock city blocks, all the while ground-based units provided armed security for the primary force. Read more for a video of this test.
Photo credit: The Aviationist
Lockheed Martin’s classified SR-72 project leverages technology from the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 to help it fly at speeds exceeding Mach 6. It’s set to have a strike mission, and reported plans call for a “Flight Research Vehicle” to be built in the early 2020s. Best of all, the pilots who get to fly this plane will not be required to wear the bulky suits that SR-72 Blackbird pilots wore since the initial plans call for the SR-72 to be a drone. Read more for another video and additional information.
Earlier this year the U.S. Army announced that the Soldier Sensors and Lasers (SSL) division of Rock Island Arsenal’s Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center (RIA-JMTC) delivered the first 60 complete Black Hornet systems to unspecified units. This Personal Reconnaissance System (PRS), weighs in at less than a tenth of a pound, measures just under seven inches long, and comes complete with a docking station for two drones, a hand-held touchscreen device as well as a controller. The U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion of the 82nd Airborne Division’s 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment will begin using the devices next month in Afghanistan. Read more for two additional videos and information.
Photo credit: Roberto E. Rosales / Journal
Say goodbye to drones in restricted airspace, and hello to the Tactical High Power Microwave Operational Responder (THOR). Engineers at Kirtland Air Force Base only took 18-months and $15-million to complete the project. “We create a counter electronic effect, we target the drones and drop them. We implement a hard kill on those drones, and drop them out of the sky,” said Amber Anderson, the Program Manager for THOR. Read more for a video and additional information.
Why bother with slow tanks, when you could be driving an Arquus Scarabée (Beetle) on the battlefield? This Volvo-owned company specializes in manufacturing battlefield-ready vehicles, and their latest model features two engines in the back (one electric / one diesel) that help propel the 6.6-ton vehicle to a top speed of 75mph. The coolest feature is probably its ability to drive sideways, since each of its wheels are powered. Read more for a video and additional information.
US Navy pilots reported seeing hypersonic (over 3,800 mph) UFOs that had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes performing impossible mid-air maneuvers at 30,000-feet off the east coast of the United States between 2014 and 2015. The pilots reported that the objects were able to accelerate, make sudden stops and then instantaneous turns, or in other words, maneuvers beyond the capacity of current aerospace technology. Read more for an interview with one of these pilots by documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell and additional information.
A California driver managed to capture dashcam footage of an F-16 fighter jet pilot ejecting just moments before the plane crashes into a warehouse. One warehouse worker said he heard the deafening noise of the jet seconds before it smashed through the roof of the building near a Southern California air base. “Next thing I know I just hear this explosion and turn around to the back of the building, and I just seen a burst of flames and just the ceiling started falling through every part of the building. I turned around, and my co-worker just told me to get out, so I just made a run for it,” Daniel Gallegos told KABC-TV. Read more for the dashcam footage and additional information.
At first glance, the MD 969 Combat Helicopter looks like any other you’d see military forces using, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it comes equipped with a CLT (Common Launch Tube) system. This specially mounted array is located in the rear of the 969’s fuselage and consists of seven launch tubes that can be loaded with precision-strike missiles or even independently operating drones. Read more for a video and additional information.
DARPA’s ACE (Air Combat Evolution) program aims to find ways to teach machines to fly planes in dogfight scenarios, while also enabling human pilots to trust what the aircraft is doing. The ultimate goal is to have AI handle the minor fighting and let the human pilot focus on “the larger air battle.” ACE Air Force Lt. Col. Dan Javorsek says it could be possible for an AI to make split-second maneuvering during within-visual-range dogfights, while the pilot can be remotely flying a swarm of other unmanned aircraft operating in the area. Read more for another video and additional information.
BAE Systems’ MAGMA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) recently completed a series of ground-breaking flight trials above the skies of north-west Wales, demonstrating two innovative flow control technologies that could revolutionize future aircraft design. Called “Flap-free flight,” this replaces moving surfaces with a simpler ‘blown air’ solution, which in turn improves an aircraft’s stealthiness as they reduce the number of gaps and edges that currently make them observable on radar. Read more for a video and additional information.