Military

Top Gun 2 to pit drones against Cruise’s Maverick

Top Gun 2 to pit drones against Cruise’s Maverick

When you green-light a sequel to a classic like Top Gun you need more than just topless sweaty men playing volleyball, so Tom Cruise is set to battle drones. Cruise will reprise his role as Maverick, movie producer David Ellison confirmed at a Terminator: Genisys press conference this week but, just as air warfare has evolved in the almost three decades since Top Gun was released, so the challenges of human pilots facing replacement by remotely-controlled or even autonomous craft will be explored in the new film.

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US DoD to develop and build HoverBike in the US

US DoD to develop and build HoverBike in the US

In August of 2014, we got our first look at one of the coolest Kickstarter projects ever when the HoverBike broke cover. This device was developed by Malloy Aeronautics and was seeking money from people to help further develop the project. The HoverBike is sort of, like a cross between a helicopter and an ATV designed to allow a rider to take to the skies. If you thought that the HoverBike sounded too farfetched to actually work, the US Department of Defense doesn't agree.

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U.S. Army and Air Force build laser-blasting bomb-disposal vehicle

U.S. Army and Air Force build laser-blasting bomb-disposal vehicle

The latest technology from the U.S. Air Force and Army that could head into the battlefield involves harnessing laser power to destroy fields of landmines from a safe distance. The Air Force-built laser will be incorporated into the Army's mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs). The specific prototype is known as RADBO which stands for Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance. It's a lengthy moniker, but it accurately describes the missions in which the laser should be used--turning an airfield that is littered with landmines into a usable airbase with as few casualties as possible.

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U.S. Navy tests electromagnetic catapult for aircraft

U.S. Navy tests electromagnetic catapult for aircraft

The U.S. Navy is developing a faster, more efficient way to get aircraft off of ships and into the sky. Aircraft carrier vessels have exceedingly short runways. Pilots need a great deal of skill to takeoff from the narrow decks, and they usually get some help from the runway crew to ensure that the plane has enough speed to achieve flight. The best way to get a plane off the deck without hitting the sea involves a launch catapult. The Navy is going beyond the catapults in standard use to create an Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS).

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U.S. Air Force to develop new hypersonic jet

U.S. Air Force to develop new hypersonic jet

The U.S. Air Force is looking to create a new hypersonic aircraft, building upon the success of hypersonic scramjet X-51A's test flight in 2013. Hypersonic is more than just breaking the sound barrier. Hypersonic speeds are classified as Mach 5 through Mach 10, which is approximately five to ten times faster than the speed of sound. Hypersonic aircraft are so fast that a traditionally five-hour flight from Los Angeles to NYC would be cut down to, roughly, 30 minutes. These hypersonic flights are for unmanned aircraft and weapons, only. To reach these speeds, the acceleration is too much for humans to withstand.

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Navy eyeing autonomous missile for Super Hornet aircraft

Navy eyeing autonomous missile for Super Hornet aircraft

The military has a big interest in all sorts of robotics and autonomous technologies, and many of them are directly related to weaponry, allowing machines to wage war in places where human loss would be too high. We've seen examples of this before, such as with the autonomous GuardBot robot ball, and now there's another example: an autonomous missile for a Super Hornet aircraft. As expected, the autonomous missile would be able to handle some of the mission entirely on its own.

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US Army is testing ray-gun rifle attachment

US Army is testing ray-gun rifle attachment

In the near future, the Army could be getting a futuristic weapons upgrade: ray guns. The electric guns are said to be in testing right now by the United States Army, and their purpose would be to disable electronics when soldiers are out on the battlefield. Though they’re futuristic in nature, they don’t look like cheesy ray guns from classic sci-fi movies. Rather, they’re standard M4 rifles with antennas jutting from the barrel, with the entire attachment being called the “Burke Pulser”.

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DARPA makes Google Glass-like eye display for soldiers

DARPA makes Google Glass-like eye display for soldiers

Over-eye displays like that offered by Google Glass can serve many purposes -- they facilitate navigation without having to take one's eyes off the roads, for example, and allow data to be presented without pulling out a smartphone in the middle of a project. The military is one entity that can find ample uses for eye-mounted displays, and it is no stranger to such technology. Cost is a perennial problem, however, and so its mad scientist devision DARPA has come up with a budget-friendly Glass-like solution.

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The Navy’s new drone is a ‘Flimmer’ named WANDA

The Navy’s new drone is a ‘Flimmer’ named WANDA

The US Navy thinks ducks — yes, the animal — are a good model for hunting down submarines. They can fly, swim, and dive, uniquely positioning them as a do-it-all model for hunting down submarines. The trouble is, ducks don’t go where submarines go, and it might be hard to train a duck to look for submarines. Instead, the Navy is building a drone codenamed WANDA that can fly (of course), but also dive into the sea and hunt down submarines.

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DARPA “rethinking” how it develops new tech innovations

DARPA “rethinking” how it develops new tech innovations

DARPA has released its "Breakthrough Technologies for National Security" report, and in it the agency discusses its plans for the upcoming years. This time around, DARPA has laid out its plans to boost tech innovation to help it keep pace with the innovations being seen in other nations around the globe. The report claims the US is a technological leader in many areas, but that the wars it has been involved in over the last decade have required a lot of focus and during that time other nations have been moving quickly to close the gap.

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