Monday, November 23, 2015

Army Zaps Artillery Rounds with Electricity for Extended Range |

Army Zaps Artillery Rounds with Electricity for Extended Range | The U.S. Army is experimenting with electricity to give field artillery rounds extended range.

As part of an Army Science and Technology-funded project, engineers at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey are using electrical charges to give artillerymen greater control over propellants, which would give some long-range artillery rounds extended range, power and versatility.

"If you can control the burn rate and energy output of a propellant with electric voltage, this opens a whole new capability," David Thompson, a chemical engineer and member of the research team, said in a recent Army press release.

The Army uses artillery rounds that have two different types of motors for their extended range propellants. One type is a base bleed motor, which gets some extended range over a normal round and burns right out of gun, Thompson said.

The second type is a rocket-assist motor, which doesn't burn until it gets the top of its flight, before it boosts and increases the velocity of the projectile.

AFRICOM Expects Greater Funding in FY17

AFRICOM Expects Greater Funding in FY17: The head of US Africa Command expects to see a funding increase in fiscal year 2017, at a time when Africa is increasingly important to counter terrorist operations.

Asked if he expected AFRICOM's budget to increase in fiscal year 2017, Gen. David Rodriguez, who has led the command since April of 2013, said "yeah."

"And we got some increases this past year and we have some increases this year to do those things," Rodriguez said. "The capacity building is really the main effort to what we do because it's really the long-term solution and we have some pretty good success stories."

Specifically asked if he expected part of that funding increase to focus on training and growing local leadership, Rodriguez responded in the affirmative.

Regionally-aligned Soldiers find African forces motivated | Article | The United States Army

Regionally-aligned Soldiers find African forces motivated | Article | The United States Army

Soldiers who serve in the militaries of African nations are not interested in having Americans provide security for them or their countries - they want to get better at doing it for themselves, said U.S. Army Soldiers who recently returned from there.

Soldiers, assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, or 3/1 AD, out of Fort Bliss, Texas, recently concluded a nine-month period, January through September, where they were regionally aligned with U.S. Army Africa, or USARAF. As part of the "regionally-aligned forces," or RAF, concept, Soldiers with 3/1 AD deployed to and redeployed from Africa, some of them more than once, to provide military-to-military support on an as-needed basis to USARAF-sponsored missions there.

"We planned missions in Africa to support our brigade, which was regionally aligned under U.S. Army Africa," said Maj. Thomas E. Lamb, squadron executive officer for 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry. "We visited multiple countries, did security cooperation, participated in joint exercise lifecycle events and combined exercises with multi-national partners, such as our NATO allies and African allies on the continent, and built partner capacity within units who were actually training and prepping to go into harm's way in support of United Nations missions and other types of activities."

Lamb said his unit prepared for their RAF on-call period with Africa-specific training in culture and history, with individual training for Soldiers, and by brushing up on collective tasks such as team live-fire and squad live-fire.

"We re-blued ourselves on activities such as IED [improvised explosive device] training, medical training, and some of the other activities that we knew we'd be training indigenous forces in Africa," Lamb said.

Overall, Soldiers from the brigade ended up going to 26 different countries throughout the nine-month mission, said Col. Barry "Chip" Daniels, commander of the 3/1 AD, who personally visited 12 different African nations during his involvement in the RAF period.


"Probably my first significant observation in the whole mission, shared by many of the Soldiers as well, was the level of motivation of a lot of the African partners," Daniels said. "These are people who have a vision for the future. They know what they want to be. They want - as do most people in the world - for their children to grow up with a better life than they had."

Daniels said when he talked with the leaders and soldiers from the militaries of the different nations in Africa that he visited, he learned that they were adamant about getting better at taking care of their own business - rather than having somebody else do it for them.

"They are interested in securing their own part of the world - their backyard, so to speak," Daniels said. "And their militaries understand they may have some capability gaps that we can help them close, and provide them some assistance in everything from tactical-level training to headquarters exercises, operational concepts, staff planning and execution. They want to do that so they can counter extremists in their own backyard and provide for this future that they want."

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael C. Williams, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, traveled multiple times to Africa during the nine-month RAF period. He worked with militaries in Malawi, Ethiopia and Zambia, and said he was impressed with their willingness to be independent - to learn from, but not lean on the U.S. military to do for them what they can and should do for themselves.

"I was immediately impressed by their level of discipline. They are very motivated, very energized, and they very much want to be successful in what they do," he said. "These nations want to be distributors of security rather than consumers of security from the United States. They want us to be able to come over there, and help build their capacity for security stabilization within their own region, versus having us do it for them. That is not their goal."

Williams said the RAF concept is a "phenomenal" idea for the U.S. Army to be involved in.

"It's a great way to allow these partner nations to facilitate their own security, and to prevent instability in their own regions," Williams said. "This is the first part of 'prevent, shape and win.' This is how we get 'left of the boom' and prevent having to go over and solve things kinetically for other people."


The Army's RAF concept links U.S. Army units to combatant commands, such as U.S. Africa Command, to provide on-demand support to them when needed. But it's not just combatant commanders that benefit from RAF. The Soldiers and the units that participate in RAF benefit as well.

For 1st Lt. Ashley Meadows, 123rd Brigade Support Battalion, the recent RAF rotation put her in Burkina Faso for a total of four months. It was her first time in Africa and she said it was the highlight of her Army career.

"It was the best experience I've had in the Army, and also in my life - to experience the different culture," she said. "You see certain things about Africa on the news. But I was pleasantly surprised to see a welcoming community, and I would go back."

During the brigade's nine-month RAF rotation, Meadows actually deployed to Burkina Faso two times. The first time she went for a month to participate in leadership training with the 1st Logistics Company in Burkina Faso. The second time, for three months, was to provide medical, resupply operations, and maintenance operations training to the same unit.

"It was myself and a team of six," she said. "We interacted with 193 soldiers, day in and day out. It wasn't just training medical and resupply. We also shared stories of deployment, personal stories of the difference between Burkina Faso and the United States - so it was a marriage of culture during this training."

Williams said that as a senior noncommissioned officer, or NCO, he felt his involvement in Africa as part of the RAF rotations there expanded his understanding of what kind of impact the United States has around the world.

"I think it has certainly brought awareness to me personally of the fact that it is entirely possible and plausible for us as a nation to have a real geopolitical impact on our partners and to facilitate things before they become problematic, or to solve problems before they become real problems," Williams said. "I think that it has also shown me how other nations envy what we do as a non-commissioned officer corps, and it has allowed me to appreciate what we do here that much more."


Daniels said he thought it will be some time - perhaps years - before the long-term impact of his unit's RAF rotation in Africa can be accurately measured.

"We are trying to prevent conflict by shaping the security environment and working with our partners in Africa at their request to secure their own region," he said. "Measuring the impact of that, and the effectiveness of that, is going to take time. I think we need to look at this in three- to five-year, and ten-year increments, and assess whether this investment we are making is actually shaping the security of the security environment and preventing the outbreak of large-scale hostilities."

What he knows now about their RAF rotations in Africa is that it has impacted his own unit, helping young leaders to grow and develop.

"There is no doubt this improved our leaders. We would send junior NCOs and junior officers over to run small teams in Africa for up to four months at a time," he said. "They are learning how to integrate with cultures that are very different from where they come from, their own background. Those cross-cultural skills are important."

The colonel said his Soldiers were exposed not just to the culture of the African militaries they worked with, but also the culture of other NATO partner nations and other agencies within the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense and Department of State.

"They get an appreciation for embassy operations, and what that means - what a country team does in each of these countries," he said. "They are learning that at a relatively junior level, and should we be committed to having to win decisively in a large-scale operation somewhere, they are going to already have a lot of this cultural expertise. So the leadership development aspect of it is fantastic."

Strategically, he said, the partnerships that his brigade has built with African militaries, and the partnerships other Army units will build, will be useful and valuable in the future.

"I think it is in the U.S. interest to have a stable Africa," he said. "They believe it is in their interest. I think we share that interest. And any work we do to help them achieve that is probably money well spent."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

LRASM begins Super Hornet flight testing | IHS Jane's 360

LRASM begins Super Hornet flight testing | IHS Jane's 360: The US Navy (USN) has begun airworthiness testing of Lockheed Martin's Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet carrier-borne strike fighter.

Developed and integrated under an accelerated programme to meet the Offensive Anti-surface Warfare (OASuW) Increment 1 programme, LRASM is a highly autonomous, precision-guided anti-ship standoff weapon that leverages the basic design of the AGM-158B Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-off Missile Extended Range (JASSM-ER) but introduces additional sensors and systems specific to the offensive anti-surface warfare mission. It has been conceived to be able to penetrate sophisticated shipborne defences and with reduced dependence on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, network links and GPS navigation.

Originally initiated in 2008 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research, the programme has now been transitioned to the LRASM Deployment Office (LDO), a partnership of DARPA, the USN (through the Naval Air Systems Command [NAVAIR]), and the US Air Force (USAF).

Advocates Call For 200 Next-Generation Bombers

Advocates Call For 200 Next-Generation Bombers: Lawmakers and analysts renewed calls Wednesday for the Pentagon to build significantly more next-generation bombers than currently planned, arguing that the Air Force needs a fleet of 200 advanced bombers to project power in a more dangerous world.

In study released today by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Moeller made the case for the Pentagon to procure a modernized bomber force of 200 aircraft by 2045.

“America desperately needs to rebuild its bomber force, starting with the [Long Range Strike Bomber] and then moving forward,” Moeller said. “100 new bombers, the analysis finds, is not enough.”

Two USN Carriers in Japan?

Two USN Carriers in Japan?: With the US Navy stretched beyond its means to meet worldwide commitments, planners are looking at ways to get more operational time out of the ships, aircraft and sailors on hand. One solution, says an influential analyst, is to consider basing not just one, but two aircraft carriers in Japan.

A second carrier in Japan would solve all western Pacific carrier needs, Bryan Clark, a naval analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said Tuesday, a day before presenting his findings at a Capitol Hill press conference.

“Not having the transit time from the West Coast saves about 20 percent in the deployment length,” Clark said, adding that his research shows a two-carrier force would result in a 1.4 presence factor, meaning at least one carrier would be available every month of a year, with both carriers available an additional four months.

SecDef pulls back on personnel reforms, leaves out big changes for now

SecDef pulls back on personnel reforms, leaves out big changes for now: Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Wednesday vowed to push forward on an array of changes to the military personnel system, but omitted many of the ambitious proposals that top-level Pentagon officials talked about earlier this year.

Carter announced plans to create a new high-tech personnel management system for matching individual troops with job assignments, an online network he compared to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Other changes he intends to set in motion include streamlining transitions between the active and reserve components and creating a new “chief recruiting officer,” a civilian to oversee forcewide efforts to attract top talent.

The secretary said other reforms -- including those that could impact military pay, benefits and the way officers are promoted -- may be on the horizon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spanish ship embarks MV-22 Osprey squadron | IHS Jane's 360

Spanish ship embarks MV-22 Osprey squadron | IHS Jane's 360: The Spanish Navy (Armada Española) has claimed to be the first non-US naval service to embark a squadron of the US Marine Corps' (USMC's) Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft on board one of its ships. The embarkation took place during Exercise 'Trident Juncture 2015' that started in early October 2015 and jointly hosted by Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The four Osprey transports, which combine the vertical lift-off capability of a helicopter with the higher speed and payload flight of a turbo-prop aircraft, are stationed at the Morón de la Frontera Air Base in southern Spain.

For 'Trident Juncture 2015' the aircraft were embarked with six of the Armada's AV-8B Harrier and an AB-212 helicopter from the 27,000-tonne landing helicopter dock (LHD) Juan Carlos I .

"This event is a historic achievement both for the Marines and the Armada Española," said the Spanish Navy. "Never before has an American [Osprey] squadron formed part of an air unit embarked on a ship that does not belong to the US Navy."

Davis: Marine Corps Aviation Must Adapt To Become More 'Value-Added' to Naval Force - USNI News

Davis: Marine Corps Aviation Must Adapt To Become More 'Value-Added' to Naval Force - USNI News: The Navy and Marine Corps should explore ways to make Marine aircraft a more useful part of the naval battle force – using alternate mixes of aircraft types on amphibious ship flight decks, finding additional missions for those aircraft, and pursuing increased connectivity to the rest of the naval fleet, the deputy commandant for aviation told USNI News.

In recent memory, the aviation combat element (ACE) in the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) has served to support the MEU’s ground combat element. The ACE brought Marines and their weapons ashore in combat situations and helped bring materiel ashore in humanitarian assistance missions.

But Lt. Gen. Jon Davis argues the MEU, and particularly the ACE – which already includes the game-changing MV-22 Osprey and will soon include the equally transformative F-35B Joint Strike Fighter – can and should do more.

Marines fly Osprey from Miramar to Brazil, set record

Marines fly Osprey from Miramar to Brazil, set record: The Marine Corps set a new distance record for Osprey flights on Tuesday as three MV-22Bs traveled from California to Brazil.

Flight crews from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 764 flew 6,165 miles from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to Rio de Janeiro. The Marines made the journey as part of UNITAS Amphibious 2015, a nine-day multinational maritime exercise that runs through Nov. 24. About 1,000 troops from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru are participating.

The Osprey squadron made a five-leg flight that included stops in Trinidad and Tobago, and Brazil, said 1st Lt. Tyler Hopkins, a UNITAS spokesman. The three Ospreys were supported by three KC-130J Hercules tankers from Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 234 and one KC-130 from Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 452.

The flight took five days as leadership decided to wait out some bad weather, said Lt. Col. Greg Gehman, commander of the VMM-764 Moonlighters. Lessons learned from the long flight will lead to faster and more efficient responses, and help to better prepare flight crews for crossing international boundaries and dealing with environmental concerns, he said.

Army May Slow Down Procurement of New Light Reconnaissance Vehicle

Army May Slow Down Procurement of New Light Reconnaissance Vehicle: The Army is looking to procure a new scout vehicle for infantry units. But funding constraints and other priorities could hold the project back as the service pushes forward with its modernization plans.

The Army is undertaking an effort to restore “tactical mobility” to its infantry brigade combat teams, according to service officials. This includes equipping air assault forces with all-terrain “ground mobility vehicles,” or GMVs. But the unarmored trucks would create operational concerns.

Lt. Col. Scott Coulson, chief of the maneuver branch at the Army Capabilities Integration Center, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), said the GMV would not have much survivability.

If there’s a bad guy “with a machine gun and here comes 12 GMVs, that’s going to be a very bad day” for us, he said.

To prevent infantry units from unknowingly moving into the enemy’s crosshairs, the Army hopes to equip cavalry squadrons with light recon vehicles, also known as LRVs.

“LRV is intended to fill the capability gap right now inside the reconnaissance squadron,” Coulson said. “In the infantry brigade combat team, we do not have a dedicated platform that is capable of rapid mobile reconnaissance and fighting … to support expeditionary missions.”
Ted Maciuba, deputy director of mounted requirements at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, said the LRV needs to be able to conduct “reconnaissance by fire.”

The vehicles need to have the lethality necessary to lay down suppression fire, and also the ability to call in artillery or close-air support against heavily armed foes, he said.

Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Completes Key Flight Tests

Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Completes Key Flight Tests: Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker recently completed aerial refueling initial airworthiness, the latest step on the road to full air refueling capability.

The test plane’s 20th flight on Thursday marked the completion of a series of flight tests that validated the plane’s initial airworthiness to conduct aerial refueling operations, Boeing spokesman Charles Ramey told Defense News.

The team conducted what is called “free air stability” testing and worked to validate the plane’s aerodynamic model during the flights, Ramey said.

The initial airworthiness validation is the first of two major milestones necessary for the new tanker to conduct its core mission, aerial refueling, according to Boeing spokeswoman Caroline Hutcheson.

Testing for Autonomous Helicopter Moving Forward

Testing for Autonomous Helicopter Moving Forward: Sikorsky will demonstrate the first flight of an autonomous UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter by the fourth quarter of 2016, said company executives.

The test will take “the lessons learned of what we did on the UH-60M upgrade and what we are doing on other areas of our product line … [to make] it a more affordable, lower cost solution,” said David Zack, vice president of the U.S. government division for Sikorsky Defense Systems and Services.

In collaboration with the Army, the company first flew an optionally-piloted UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter — the manned/unmanned resupply aerial lifter, or MURAL — on March 11, 2014 as part of a demonstration in West Palm Beach, Florida. The test used a prototype fly-by-wire UH-60M and incorporated the company’s Matrix technology, which improves the capability, reliability and safety of autonomous, optionally piloted and piloted vertical take-off and landing aircraft. For the unmanned UH-60A, the company has to retrofit fly-by-wire systems on the older aircraft and then add autonomy systems.

Similar to the UH-60M test, the unmanned UH-60A will demonstrate the ability to perform a cargo-lifting mission while being controlled from the ground.

Jeff Hanke, director of Army and Air Force programs for Sikorsky Defense Systems and Services, said the autonomy kit that will be added to the UH-60A is key to reducing the Army’s costs and logistical footprint. By “having a retrofittable kit that allows you to take an existing UH-60A or L and turn it into an autonomous vehicle, you’re not adding to the footprint that the U.S. Army already has, and the brunt of the cost of these systems is the logistics footprint.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Coast Guard studies shipping lanes for Bering Sea routes

Coast Guard studies shipping lanes for Bering Sea routes: More Arctic sea ice melting each summer from global warming is making it easier for ships to plot routes through the environmentally sensitive Bering Strait.

The rise in traffic is prompting concerns among U.S. Coast Guard officials about the potential dangers of a vessel crashing and leaking oil.

The Coast Guard is taking steps to plot a shipping route that will help the ships safely navigate the 53-mile wide waterway separating Russia and Alaska.

Among the vessels slated to pass through the strait is a cruise ship carrying more than 1,000 passengers on a 32-day voyage next year through the Northwest Passage.

The agency has laid out a 4-mile wide route through the Bering Sea into the Arctic Ocean that could become the area's first official shipping lane.

Monday, November 16, 2015

US Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense System Defeats Cruise-Missile Target

US Army's Integrated Air and Missile Defense System Defeats Cruise-Missile Target: The US Army's future Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (AIAMD) took out its first cruise-missile target on Nov. 12 in a test that included a new command-and-control system and Patriot and Sentinel radars, according to the service.

The test took place at 10:26 a.m. MST at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, according to an Army statement. While the cruise missile surrogate — an MQM 107 drone — went undetected by the Patriot radar due to its low-altitude trajectory, the Sentinel tracked the target and relayed the data to the Integrated Battle Command System — the brains of the AIAMD.

IBCS then relayed information through a remote integrated fire control network (IFCN) to engage the threat with a Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile that hit the target.

The test is significant because it shows that the Army is making headway in moving away from traditional, system-centric weapon systems — like Raytheon's Patriot air-and-missile defense system — to a net-centric, "plug and fight" integration of existing and future air and missile defense systems.

The Northrop Grumman-made IBCS, which all of the Army's missile defense sensors and shooters will plug into, is expected to reach initial operational capability in fiscal 2019.

DoD Officials Near Decision on Future of Patriot Missile System

DoD Officials Near Decision on Future of Patriot Missile System: Key Pentagon officials met this week to make critical decisions on the future of the Army's air and missile defense architecture, and while the service is not making recommendations in favor of any one radar for the system, the way forward must include an ability to target threats from 360 degrees — something the current Patriot system can't do.

Raytheon's Patriot has been the Army's cornerstone air-and-missile defense system for 40 years. But the service wants to replace the stovepipe system over time with a more integrated one.

It's clear from Army slides outlining findings from an analysis of alternatives conducted over the past year that the preference is to develop a newer 360-degree radar that meets emerging requirements and would keep pace with the more challenging threat environment expected in the future.

But developing a new radar, rather than upgrading the Raytheon-made Patriot, would cost more than the Army has in its budget for such an effort, according to the slides — marked "for official use only" and obtained by Defense News. The full analysis of alternatives is classified as secret, according to the documents.

The Army can afford to modernize Patriot and give it 360-degree capability, the slides show, but it is predicted that the missile wouldn't be able to keep up against a wide range of modern and future threats even with a baseline upgrade.

Obama hears calls to place US troops in Eastern Europe | TheHill

Obama hears calls to place US troops in Eastern Europe | TheHill: The Obama administration is hearing growing calls to permanently station a substantial number of troops in Eastern Europe as a deterrent to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putting a large number of U.S. or NATO troops in Eastern Europe would violate a 1997 treaty with Russia, but those arguing for the placement say Putin already broke that treaty by backing the takeover by Russian-backed groups of Ukrainian territory.

“Russia’s aggression and more dangerous military posture in Eastern Europe is a critical test for NATO,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said in a written statement. “Now is the time to bolster our Baltic allies and Poland by basing at least one battalion in each of the four countries. This would restore the confidence of our allies and reestablish a safer balance in the region.”
Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the first lawmaker to publicly support the idea, but a congressional aide said the lawmaker is working with colleagues to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg advocating for the troops. The aide did not want to delve into further details since the letter is incomplete.

“This action wouldn't violate the NATO-Russia Founding Act because once Russia changed Europe’s 'current and foreseeable security environment,' NATO was released from its pledge not to permanently station substantial additional combat forces,” Engel said in his statement, which was separate from the letter.

Aides for some congressional Republicans said their bosses would likely support the proposition.

EEG may someday boost Soldiers' cognitive ability | Article | The United States Army

EEG may someday boost Soldiers' cognitive ability | Article | The United States Army

New and complex technology for Soldiers can tax their mental ability, since the brain has finite processing capability, said David Hairston, a neuroscientist.

Hairston and his colleagues at the Army Research Lab's Human Research and Engineering Directorate want to someday use electroencephalogram, or EEG, to aid Soldiers in those mental tasks. He's leading the Real-World Neuroimaging program to make that happen.

The EEG, which has been in use now for more than 60 years in clinical practice, measures and records voltage fluctuations in different parts of the brain to determine a person's neural patterns. Those patterns provide insights into what a person is seeing, hearing, thinking and feeling - like peering into an individual's mental and emotional state, he said.

For instance, if a Soldier is fatigued, a unique EEG pattern will be produced, he said. That sort of information could be useful for a commander, who could rotate in a more rested Soldier for a critical mission requiring alertness.

Unfortunately, there's currently no way to monitor a Soldier's neural pattern out in the field, since EEG equipment is bulky and it's located in laboratories or a medical facilities.

Hairston's goal is provide positive results to Soldiers by leveraging what can be learned from an EEG. The challenge, Hairston said, is that science currently has very little understanding of how the brain works outside of the laboratory, because the brain is very rarely measured outside a clinical setting. He compared that task to putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle that's missing many of the pieces. "We have to create the pieces as we go along."


The first puzzle piece Hairston's team created was a simplification of how the EEG is hooked up to a person's head. The traditional method is attaching wired sensors to different parts of a person's scalp. A gooey gel is used on the person's head to facilitate electrical conductivity.

That gel and all those wires are messy, bulky, invasive, uncomfortable and time-consuming to connect, he said.

Instead of using gel, ARL researchers invented new sensors based on spring-loaded pins. "The pins wiggle their way through your hair to make contact, so you don't need gel." he said.


The second piece of the puzzle involved removing all the individual, separate wires and sensors from the scalp and encasing them in a custom-fitting, lightweight cap made of plastic that's fitted over the head.

The cap could be worn, he said, by an image analyst sitting in front of a computer, looking through images from an unmanned aerial vehicle, searching for a pattern, which might be, for example, an enemy emplacement or a tank.

When the analyst is pouring over thousands of images, he might miss something important because of the immense amount of cognitive processing required. Plus, it is a very time-consuming and tiring process.

Wearing the cap would facilitate that task with EEG, since "we can pick out that sort of ah-ha, pop-out moment in your brain, which happens very quickly," he said.

In other words, the Soldier's brain subconsciously picked out the signal, but the brain's internal communication didn't elevate it to the conscious level, he said.

Using an algorithm, a computer that's hooked up to the EEG would then process that information and quickly figure out that of 1,000 images, perhaps 10 are likely very important based on the EEG pattern, he said. Those could then be re-presented back to the Soldier very slowly so they can look for the target.

One problem though is that most EEG caps are not comfortable because they are designed as "one-size fits all," so people will not wear them long. As an alternative approach, Hairston picked up a prototype of a custom-fit cap that had been printed out by one of ARL's 3-D printers. The Soldier's head had first been measured in 3-D by magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. The cap felt lightweight, spongy and comfortable, and would be a perfect fit for that Soldier.


Puzzle piece number three involved completely ditching the cap and wirelessly transmitting EEG data via a microprocessor. This is one of the most challenging stages.

ARL's material scientists are looking at a number of materials to make non-metallic polymer sensors that are stretchable and pliable so they'll be comfortable and lightweight, he said. "In order to do this, we must work as a multi-disciplinary, collaborative team, involving members from other areas including material science, aerospace engineering and electronics engineering."

The material holding the sensors and the sensors themselves would need to be thin enough to fit inside a Soldier's helmet safely, and the electronics operate only on locally-harvested power to alleviate the need for a bulky battery.

Hairston held up an example of one that's being tested. It was lightweight and comfortable. "We don't want to burden Soldiers with more equipment," he said.

The other parts of the puzzle would be getting the sensors to transmit on ultra-low power and getting the algorithms needed to assist Soldiers in a variety of tasks.

It's probably still years away from happening, he said.

But at ARL, it's about "taking what we know from basic neuroscience research and finding ways of turning that into useful applications for Soldier systems and future scientific methods and understanding of how the brain actually works in real, dynamic environments."

Friday, November 13, 2015

New Destroyer Aims to Go to Sea Next Month

New Destroyer Aims to Go to Sea Next Month: If everything goes right, if the hardware and software all seem good and the weather cooperates, the revolutionary destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000) could taste the sea for the first time in less than a month. It’ll be a moment many years in the making.

“We’re at the stage of construction where there is very little production going on. The ship is built,” Sean Stackley, the Navy’s top official for research, acquisition and development, said Nov. 5.

Featuring a tumblehome hull optimized for stealth, a new propulsion and power distribution system, an ambitious software environment that ties together nearly every system on the ship, and a reduced crew, the Zumwalt has been under construction since 2008 in the tiny town of Bath, Maine, at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard of General Dynamics. Development and design started much earlier than that.

”Everything is new,” Stackley said in an interview with Defense News. “From the propulsion plant, the power distribution – the whole integrated power system – the extraordinarily unique features of the hull form that provide the degree of stealth and survivability, the radar system, the degree of automation that’s incorporated into the ship to enable the reduced-size crew – it’s all new.

“We’re at that stage,” he added, where “all of that is coming together in the test program.”

The ship carried out extensive tests at the shipyard in mid-October – a 96-hour, four-day “fast cruise.”

F-35's Joint Strike Missile successfully completes flight test

F-35's Joint Strike Missile successfully completes flight test: The Kongsberg-made Joint Strike Missile successfully completed a missile flight test at a U.S. Air Force base in Utah.

The missile, developed specifically for Lockheed Martin's F-35 multi-role fighter jet, was launched at an altitude of 22,000 feet from an F-16 jet over the testing area and performed several challenging maneuvers.

Kongsberg, a defense contractor based in Norway, called the test a milestone achievement for the Joint Strike Missile program.

"This is a major accomplishment for the JSM program, and in addition several critical capabilities beyond the scope of the test were verified," Kongsberg Defense Systems President Harald Annestad said in a statement. "The test demonstrates that we are on track with the qualification of JSM, which brings critical capability to F-35 and the warfighter."

3D printed UAV makes debut

3D printed UAV makes debut: A jet-powered, 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle has been unveiled this week by Stratasys Ltd and Aurora flight sciences.

The UAV has a nine-foot wingspan, weighs just 33 pounds and has a speed of more than 150 miles per hour, according to Stratasys Ltd., which is headquartered in Minnesota.

"A primary goal for us was to show the aerospace industry just how quickly you can go from designing to building to flying a 3D printed jet-powered aircraft," said Dan Campbell, Aerospace Research Engineer at Aurora Flight Sciences. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest, fastest, and most complex 3D printed UAV ever produced."

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

LRS-B Faces Challenging Budget Outlook

LRS-B Faces Challenging Budget Outlook: Constrained US Air Force budgets over the coming decade will likely pit the Joint Strike Fighter against the Long Range Strike Bomber, potentially making the bomber project vulnerable to congressional deficit hawks, a panel of experts said Tuesday.

Speaking at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event, Mackenzie Eaglen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who specializes in defense issues, said Congress has not yet accepted – as the Pentagon has – that the US no longer enjoys worldwide aerial superiority.

This makes the LRS-B program vulnerable to cuts by a cost-conscious Congress, much as the B-2 became a sacrificial lamb to budget-balancing efforts in the 1990s, she said.

“The Air Force budget is not equipped to fully support this program already,” she said, noting that space already consumes 15 percent of the Air Force’s budget. Other modernization programs, including two-thirds of the nuclear triad, as well as a recapitalization of its Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) and development of a new trainer aircraft, also face budget crunches.

Bell Could Have FVL Ready For US Navy, Air Force By 2025

Bell Could Have FVL Ready For US Navy, Air Force By 2025: As the Pentagon considers the future of military vertical lift, Bell Helicopter is in talks with the US Navy and US Air Force to design a next-generation tiltrotor solution that could be ready by 2025.

Bell is partnered with Lockheed Martin to build a rotorcraft flight demonstrator as part of the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role program, which will gauge the art of the possible for the path ahead. The demonstrator program will inform the Army’s Future Vertical Lift effort to buy a new state-of-the-art family of helicopters in the 2030s.

But the demonstration effort may have implications beyond the Army. The Pentagon has indicated that FVL may eventually replace the Navy, US Marine Corps and Air Force military helicopters as well.

Experts: Bomber cost could upset F-35 plans

Experts: Bomber cost could upset F-35 plans: The F-35 is going to eat up so much of the Air Force’s procurement budget going forward that the service will likely have to reduce the number of joint strike fighters it buys to pay for other things, such as the Long Range Strike-Bomber, experts said on Tuesday.

As part of the Defense Department’s proposed budget for fiscal 2016, the Air Force would purchase 44 F-35s this fiscal year, 48 in fiscal 2017 and 60 each year from fiscal 2018 through 2020, budget documents show. The total procurement cost of the 1,763 F-35s is about $215 billion.

The Air Force also plans buy between 80 and 100 Long Range Strike-Bombers for up to $100 billion. The new bomber will replace the Air Force’s fleet of B-1s and B-52s.

In order to pay for the bomber, the Air Force will likely have to reduce the number of F-35s and other procurement programs, said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst for the Teal Group.

Commercial Spaceflight Gets A Boost With Latest Congressional Moves

Commercial Spaceflight Gets A Boost With Latest Congressional Moves: The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is the trade association of the commercial spaceflight industry. Much of its membership consists of those companies that are thought of as entrepreneurial start-ups that are trying to advance commercial space activities.

The list includes Bigalow Aerospace, Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems, Planetary Resources and XCOR Aerospace. In addition there are several commercial spaceport members including Mojave Spaceport, Spaceport America and Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.

One of the ongoing activities of CSF is lobbying for the reauthorization of the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competiveness Act (CSLA). CSF recently pointed out that when the CSLA was last updated in 2004, it incentivized high levels of investment, innovation and economic growth in commercial space flight activities. The new legislation (H.R. 2262) will allow continued growth and expansion of this industry.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Navy Developing Software To Give Standard Missile-6 Additional Mission Capabilities - USNI News

Navy Developing Software To Give Standard Missile-6 Additional Mission Capabilities - USNI News: The Navy’s surface ship weapons office is developing software to bring additional mission sets to the Standard Missile-6 surface-to-air missile, which may be ready for fielding in the next year or two.

Capt. Michael Ladner, program manager of the surface ship weapons office in the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS 3.0), told USNI News that there are several new missions that could be added to SM-6 – beyond its advertised capability of air defense against manned and unmanned aircraft and cruise missiles – through software-only upgrades.

“Our focus in IWS 3.0, in surface ship weapons, has been, how do we go find opportunities to take advantage of existing capability in the missiles above and beyond what they were initially required to go do, to see if we could provide an affordable capability faster to the fleet by taking advantage again of the capabilities already in the missiles [and adding] those new mission sets,” he said in an Oct. 26 interview.
“Of course the new missions are classified, but we are taking advantage above what was originally intended for these missiles to go do.”

Milley: Russia No.1 threat to US | Article | The United States Army

Milley: Russia No.1 threat to US | Article | The United States Army

Russia should be considered the No. 1 threat to the United States for two reasons, its capability and its intent, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley.

"In terms of capability, Russia is the only country on earth that has the capability to destroy the United States of America," Milley said here at the Defense One Summit, Nov. 2.

"It's an existential threat by definition because of their nuclear capabilities. Other countries have nuclear weapons, but none as many as Russia and none have the capability to literally destroy the United States."

Milley noted that while neither he nor anyone else knows what Russia's true intent is, his best guess at intent is based on past behavior over the last few years - a reorganized military, increased capabilities and aggressive foreign policy.

"The situation with Russia in my mind is serious and growing more serious," he said. "I see Russia as aggressive, not just assertive. They attacked Georgia; they illegally seized Crimea; they have attacked Ukraine… all those countries were free and independent and have been sovereign nations now for a quarter century, since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"I would say, Russia's recent behavior is adversarial to the interest of the United States," Milley said, adding that the United States and its allies have to approach Russia with a strength and balance approach.

"So, we want on the one hand to maintain strength in order to deter further Russian aggression and we need to stand firm where that aggression manifests itself, hence things like sanctions and what NATO is doing right now," he said.

"On the flip side, you don't want to shut them off completely, so we have our hands outreached where you have common interests and there are a variety of areas where the U.S., NATO and other friends to the U.S. have common interests with Russia… so, it's not a zero and one calculation… there's more nuance than that."

U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said during the recent Association of the United States Army annual meeting that he too would like to see the Russians back at the bargaining table and in the international community.

Meanwhile, the United States and the European Union continue to demonstrate the collective security of NATO through ongoing military exercises called Operation Atlantic Resolve, which began when Russia went into Ukraine. Hodges said the objective is deterrence. Units participate for about three months in the non-stop Atlantic Resolve rotations, which are multinational in scope.

Over the last several weeks, Milley had the opportunity to visit Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Afghanistan, then went into Europe and over to Indonesia and South Korea to meet with the chiefs of armies in the Pacific. Last week, he returned to Europe and met with the chiefs of the European armies and followed up with a trip to Ukraine.

"The Ukrainian desires continued military support by the United States and continued political and economic support," Milley said. "They're a proud people; they've been sovereign for 25 years and they're determined to remain a free and independent country."

Turning to the Middle East, the chief said the issues were strategic and that the radical terrorism in its current form of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, doesn't lend itself to easy solutions and will probably be there for a while.

"The president has given us charge to go ahead and degrade, then destroy ISIS - and we're doing that," he said. "We're adjusting our strategies… adjusting our tactical and operational approaches to achieve the strategic end state. The Middle East, specifically ISIS, is a problem that we're coming to grips with right now."

Milley next addressed the geopolitical challenges in Asia, specifically the situation on the Korean Peninsula, then the rise of China.

"In Korea you have a state of armistice since 1953," he said. "We have helped the Korean military and people maintain their independence, but Korea is artificially divided by the 38th Parallel, yet they are one ethnolinguistic group and at some point in the future… I don't know when, I don't know how… but at some point in the future it is highly probable that Korea will be one country again… whether that happens peacefully or violently, that's the $64,000 question.

"My concern is there would be a provocative incident initiated by North Korea that could lead to something more violent and that would be really tragic for Korea," he said.

"China is not an enemy and I think that's important for people to clearly understand," Milley continued. "China is a rising power that has been clicking off at 10 percent growth for almost 30 years. They dropped down to 7 percent last year and they will probably drop down to the range of normalcy and 3 to 5 percent growth, but that's still significant economic growth."

The chief summed up his thoughts saying that his main concern was Army readiness.

"None of us can see the future, so the readiness of the military is a fundamental concern and the greatest sin that I or any other general can commit is to send a Soldier, sailor, airman and Marine into combat and harm's way who is not well equipped, trained and ready," he said. "And, we want over-match… we do not want a level playing field or a fair fight; we want it all in our favor."

Monday, November 9, 2015

2-star: F-35 delays could force further extension of Super Hornets

2-star: F-35 delays could force further extension of Super Hornets: Joint strike fighter delays may force the carrier Navy to fly F/A-18 Super Hornets even longer into coming decades, a predicament that could reduce training hours and strain airframes.

Plans have been in the works to retire the F/A-18C Hornets in the mid-2020s, followed by the F/A-18E and F Super Hornets around 2035, but the consistently delayed development of the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter has compelled the service to push the Hornets past their planned service lives. The dilemma raises the possibility that Super Hornets new to the fleet may still be flying in three decades.

"We might even fly these airplanes close to 2040," air warfare director Rear Adm. Mike Manazir told members of the House Armed Services subcommittee on seapower on Monday.

The most expensive acquisition program in Defense Department history is not coming online fast enough to replace the fleet's F/A-18 strike fighters, which have spent more than a decade as warhorses in current conflicts.

Pentagon's Responsive Space Plan Has Problems

Pentagon's Responsive Space Plan Has Problems: A Government Accountability Office study has found problems with the Pentagon's planning for a responsive space capability.

While a 2015 Department of Defense report addressed many of the responsive space requirements call for in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, it did not include a consolidated plan for developing a responsive launch capability for quick launch of spacecraft, according to GAO researchers.

The problem seems to be one of requirements. "DoD attributes this omission to a lack of requirements for responsive launch, noting that no existing space program has them. DoD officials told us that such requirements are premature without a validated need for now responsive launch," the GAO report noted. "Officials from the United States Strategic Command added that responsive launch needs cannot be well defined at this time due to uncertainties in the threat environment, and stated that DoD will validate future responsive launch requirements once it acquires new information from intelligence and defense studies presently underway."

General Dynamics Can't Be Trusted on Destroyer Data, Agency Says - Bloomberg Business

General Dynamics Can't Be Trusted on Destroyer Data, Agency Says - Bloomberg Business: The Pentagon agency that oversees contracts says it can’t rely on cost and schedule projections from General Dynamics Corp.’s warship unit in a $22 billion program to build three Zumwalt-class destroyers.

The Defense Contract Management Agency wrote in an assessment that it “has no confidence in” the data because the unit, Bath Iron Works, hasn’t shown that it’s remedied 56 serious deficiencies the agency first cited in 2011. The flaws were in the shipbuilder’s “earned value management system,” which tracks how effectively milestones for the destroyers are being met.

The finding of “no confidence” means the agency considers data produced by Bath Iron Works “unreliable and inaccurate,” agency spokesman Mark Woodbury said in an e-mail.
The agency “identified systemic deficiencies in scheduling processes” and “estimates of cost at completion that were not being updated based upon performance trends” with the vessels, he said.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond 'Predator'

Graphene could take night-vision technology beyond 'Predator': Movies such as 1987's "Predator," in which an alien who sees in the infrared hunts down Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team, introduced a generation of sci-fi fans to thermal imaging. Since then, heat-sensing devices have found many real-word applications but have remained relatively expensive and rigid.

But a new development featuring graphene, reported in ACS' journal Nano Letters, could lead to a flexible, transparent and low-cost infrared vision system.

The concept of humans - or aliens - having the power to see in the infrared to help fight enemies in the dark has been around for decades. Technology has allowed real-life military, police, firefighters and others to do their jobs successfully at night and in smoky conditions. It also helps manufacturers and building inspectors identify overheating equipment or circuits.

But currently, many of these systems require cryogenic cooling to filter out background radiation, or "noise," and create a reliable image.

House Votes To Approve 2016 Defense Policy Bill

House Votes To Approve 2016 Defense Policy Bill: The US House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve the 2016 defense policy bill that complies with the terms of the overarching budget deal between the president and congressional leadership, teeing up a vote in the Senate next week.

This is the second time around for this 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, whose provisions authorize spending on a wide range of acquisition programs across the services, overhaul the military retirement system and reauthorize a host of military pays and benefits. The bill also includes significant provisions aimed at reforming acquisitions.

Thursday's House vote tallied 370-58 – netting significantly more Democrats than the last time. Many Democrats voted against the previous version, and President Obama vetoed it because it inflated Pentagon funding via the overseas contingency operations (OCO) wartime account to skirt budget caps but refused to include an equal increase domestic spending.

AP-GfK Poll: Americans souring on Obama's ISIS plan

AP-GfK Poll: Americans souring on Obama's ISIS plan: Americans are souring on President Obama's approach to fighting the Islamic State group, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll that also found deep pessimism about U.S. prospects for success in Afghanistan and uncertainty about Obama's plan to leave thousands of troops there when he leaves office.

More than 6 in 10 now reject Obama's handling of the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, where Obama has been escalating the U.S. military's involvement in a bid to break a vexing stalemate. Support for his approach has followed a downward trajectory since the U.S. formed its coalition to fight the group in late 2014. Last September, Americans were roughly split, yet disapproval has jumped 8 percentage points just since January.

Those concerns mirror broader trepidation about Obama's management of foreign policy, which garnered approval from just 40 percent of Americans in the AP-GfK poll. They come as Obama struggles to demonstrate progress advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East, where Obama hoped to disentangle the U.S. military after a decade-plus of war but will likely leave three military conflicts ongoing when his presidency ends in 2017.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Pentagon welcomes advance by IS-fighting allies in Syria

Pentagon welcomes advance by IS-fighting allies in Syria: A coalition including Syrian Arab groups regained a swath of territory in northeastern Syria from Islamic State militants, a US military spokesman said Wednesday, calling it an encouraging success.

The fighters, who are from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its Syrian Arab Coalition subgroup, regained 87 square miles (255 square kilometers) near the town of al-Hawl, US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

The group "conducted an attack ... driving ISIL back," Warren said by videoconference from Baghdad, using an alternate acronym for IS.

"This is not a large tactical action," he said, but "we are encouraged by what we saw."

The spokesman said the operation had pitted "well over a thousand friendly forces" against "several hundred enemies" in the vicinity, after heavy US airstrikes had cleared the way.

Ex-president George H.W. Bush lashes out at Cheney, Rumsfeld

Ex-president George H.W. Bush lashes out at Cheney, Rumsfeld: Former president George H.W. Bush has reportedly lashed out at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, two key figures in his son George W. Bush's presidency, slamming the former as an "iron ass" and the latter as "arrogant" in a forthcoming book.

Bush, president from 1989-1993, has mostly been silent on issues regarding his son's presidency and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But in an upcoming biography, he has some choice words for the two men who played a pivotal role in George W.'s 2001-2009 White House.

Former vice president Cheney is an "iron ass" who built "his own empire" and had too much of a "hard-line" over his son in convincing him to use military force around the world, Bush said, according to The New York Times on Thursday, citing the former president's biographer Jon Meacham.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

US, Russian fighters communicate over Syria in test: Pentagon

US, Russian fighters communicate over Syria in test: Pentagon: US and Russian fighter pilots communicated directly in the skies over Syria on Tuesday in a successful test of new procedures for avoiding incidents as they pursue separate air campaigns, the Pentagon said.

Navy Captain Jeff Davis said the test, carried out between one aircraft from each side over south central Syria, lasted three minutes and "met its intended objective."

"This test assured that the first time this mode of communication was used would not be during an unplanned encounter," Davis said.

The United States and Russia signed a "memorandum of understanding" on October 20 aimed at de-conflicting their air operations over Syria, where they are waging parallel air campaigns with different objectives.

F-35A Gatling gun system passes first aerial firing test

F-35A Gatling gun system passes first aerial firing test: The first aerial test of the F-35A's internal 25mm Gatling gun system has been successfully completed, Lockheed Martin reports.

The Oct. 30 test flight conducted in California was the first in a series to functionally evaluate in-flight operations of the F-35A variant and a major event in certifying the Gun Airborne Unit--22/A Gatling gun for use on the aircraft.

"The successful aerial gun test sortie was a culmination of several years' planning, which intensified in the first half of 2015 at the Edwards (Air Force Base) F-35 Integrated Test Force Flight Test Squadron with a team of Air Force, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman personnel," said Mike Glass, Edwards ITF flight test director.

"The results of this testing will be used in future blocks of testing, where the accuracy and mission effectiveness capabilities will be evaluated."

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Bomber Award Kicks Off Interservice Fight for Funding

Bomber Award Kicks Off Interservice Fight for Funding: The Pentagon’s decade-long search for a next-generation bomber ended last week, but now a fight is brewing over how the new bomber fits into the Pentagon’s long-term spending blueprint.

As all of the service branches brace for a tsunami of crucial — and costly — modernization programs next decade, top brass will have to reach deep into the Pentagon’s coffers to find cash for the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B).

Unless Congress stands up a separate fund solely to bankroll the new plane, the Air Force is stuck paying for the LRS-B out of its own shallow pockets. If the bomber is forced to compete with other service priorities for funding, smaller programs may fall through the cracks.

Winning contractor Northrop Grumman has already launched a campaign to pressure lawmakers to back the program, and experts are urging the Air Force to publicly push for an LRS-B slush fund. But for now, it is unclear how the Pentagon will pay for the bomber.

U.S. Marines react to switch from M16 to M4

U.S. Marines react to switch from M16 to M4: .S. Marines are largely supportive of their commandant's decision to drop the M16 rifle for the M4 carbine as the standard infantry weapon.

The U.S. Marine Corps will officially recognize the M4 carbine as the standard weapon for infantry personnel beginning in September 2016, following the approval by Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. The move has been welcomed with optimism from infantry. Sgt. Jonathan Ferriera, a mortarman with 1st Battalion 8th Marines who used the M4 during his deployment in Afghanistan says "it's about time."

"The M4 holds every quality that the M16 does: everything an M16 can do, the M4 does better," Ferriera told the Military Times.

Ferriera went on to add that the only advantage he saw with the M16 is the rifle's superior firing range capability, with the M16 having an effective range of 600 yards compared to 545 yards for the M4. However, the superior mobility of the smaller-sized M4 makes up for the difference, Ferriera says.

Fuel Additive Could Lead to Safer Jet Fuel

Fuel Additive Could Lead to Safer Jet Fuel: Airplane accidents are especially dangerous because jet fuel is highly flammable under crash conditions. On impact, jet fuel is dispersed in the air as a fine mist, which triggers a sequence of events that can lead to a fire engulfing an entire plane.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managed by Caltech, have been working on additives that inhibit the formation of this highly flammable mist during collisions. These additives are based on long molecules called polymers.

"This research is about making fuel safer and saving lives," said Project Manager Virendra Sarohia, based at JPL.

A new Caltech-led study in the journal Science describes polymers that could increase the safety of jet fuel and diesel fuel, particularly in the event of collision or a deliberate attempt to create a fuel explosion as part of a terrorist attack.

U.S. Air Force developing new advanced medical technology

U.S. Air Force developing new advanced medical technology: The U.S. Air Force is developing technology that will allow medical personnel to treat multiple patients at once on the battlefield.

The technology, known as Battlefield Airmen Trauma Distributed Observation Kit (BATDOK) is part of a larger family of technology known as Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided Knowledge (BATMAN). During a treatment, an Air Force pararescue jumper would arrive on location and place digital sensors on wounded areas of his patients, which would feed into a hand-held device like a smart phone to monitor vital signs.

"Currently PJs treat patients one-to-one," said Dr. Gregory Burnett, the program's chief engineer in a statement. "Now we can have one PJ treat and monitor multiple patients simultaneously."

The technology is still in its developmental stages. Currently, engineers with the 711th Human Performance Wing from the Human Effectiveness Directorate at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio are working with pararescue jumpers to make the new devices easier to use. New developments include wrist and chest mounts to improve access. Dr. Burnett adds that the BATDOK can be adjusted for civilian needs as well as military.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gen. Breedlove: Intelligence Community Changing How it Handles Russia

Gen. Breedlove: Intelligence Community Changing How it Handles Russia: The US intelligence community has begun changing how it handles the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the top American general in Europe.

Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the top military officer at NATO and the head of US European Command (EUCOM), said Friday that the intelligence community has begun reforming itself to better adjust to Russia after nearly two decades of treating the eastern nation as a potential ally, rather than an adversary.

"We are not where we need to be now, and the IC [intelligence community] is addressing it," Breedlove told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. "The IC has already made some fairly dramatic changes in the last several months in how we use our analysts, and they are beginning to look at reprioritizing assets, as well. We're gently turning the nose of this ship to get back to what we need to be looking at."

Breedlove acknowledged a "lack of ability to see into Russia, especially at the operational and tactical level," describing it as an issue based on the US posture toward Russia in recent years.

After Bomber Award, Experts Raise Red Flags - Blog

After Bomber Award, Experts Raise Red Flags - Blog: In the context of major U.S. military acquisitions, the Air Force long-range strike bomber may eventually emerge as a poster child for how to buy complex big-ticket weapons. Since the program got under way in 2011, it was deliberately set up to avoid the pitfalls that have tripped up the F-35 joint strike fighter and other troubled acquisitions.

The bid selection process that culminated in the Oct. 27 bomber development and production award to Northrop Grumman also was carefully crafted to ensure the Pentagon prevails if the losing bidder — a Boeing-Lockheed Martin team — challenges the decision in court.

A laser-like focus on containing cost and setting realistic technology targets should help keep the new stealth bomber in Congress’ good graces and out of the news. But some advocates are warning that Air Force leaders are spending far more time dwelling on the process of buying a new bomber than on stressing its importance or why the bomber is needed.

“One of the lessons not talked about much that this decision process illustrates is that the decision took way too long to make,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace Power Studies.

“As we move into an ever-accelerating future, the Department of Defense has to learn how to make decisions quicker, and reverse the trend of adding expense and time by paying so much attention to ‘process' as opposed to ‘product,’” he said in a statement to National Defense. “Much of the delay is driven by exquisite attention to excessive procurement rules and regulations in what is apparently greater concern with avoiding litigation than moving on with development of a critically needed capability.”

Raytheon unveils next-generation TOW EagleFire launcher

Raytheon unveils next-generation TOW EagleFire launcher: Raytheon has introduced a next-generation TOW EagleFire launcher, the latest development in the TOW weapon family.

The launcher is designed to fire both wire-guided and wireless radio frequency missiles. Raytheon officials say the EagleFire is a followup to the TOW 2 launcher, and features improved capabilities at a lower cost. These improvements include integrated day-and-night sight, range-finding capabilities, ergonomic handgrips, and an extensive built-in test capability.

"We improved target acquisition and engagement found in the older TOW 2 launcher system," said Duane Gooden, vice president of Raytheon's Land Warfare Systems in a statement. "TOW EagleFire is simpler to maintain and more reliable, thanks to built-in test equipment and a significant reduction in system subassemblies."