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House Dems Block Wall Funds, Slash Sub, But Add F-35s

Posted by Paul McLeary on


The House Dems launch the first salvo in what promises to be a long defense budget saga, and they are drawing lines that will be hard to cross.

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Lasers: Beyond The Power Problem

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Miitary lasers are getting more and more powerful, fast. But raw power isn’t all you need for a workable weapon.

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AFSOC Adds Artificial Intelligence To Armory; Still Eyes Lasers

Posted by Colin Clark on


AFA ORLANDO: Air Force Special Operations Command doesn’t speak much in public, for obvious reasons. The commander pretty much appears once a year here to speak with reporters, and for the last three years, mounting lasers on AC-130 gunships  has been a top topic. The former AFSOC commander, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, first announced the… Keep reading →

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AFSOC Expects C-130 Laser Tests Within Year

Posted by Colin Clark on


ORLANDO: More than a year since news broke that Air Force Special Operations Command planned to install and test lasers on its fabulously lethal AC-130 gunships, the plan now is to get its top unfunded requirement tested within a year. Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, head of AFSOC, told me that was now the plan. General Atomics and other… Keep reading →

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General Atomics Plans 150kW Laser Tests; Eye On AC-130, Avenger

Posted by Richard Whittle on


General Atomics, whose MQ-1 Predator changed the world, is to start testing another potentially revolutionary weapon next month: a 150-kilowatt class laser. Several other companies are developing laser weapons and “we’re looking at all of them,” said Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, in an interview with Breaking Defense. “The… Keep reading →

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AC-130 To Get Laser Guns & Air-Launched Drones: Heithold

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Lt. Gen. Brad Heithold, the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, wants to make the AC-130 a kind of flying aircraft carrier, launching mini-drones mid-flight to scope out threats and targets. Oh, and he wants the AC-130 to have a laser cannon as well. Speaking to the Association of Old Crows’ annual conference on electronic… Keep reading →

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Air Force Moves Aggressively On Lasers

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


TYSON’S CORNER: All branches of the military really want laser weapons. But they don’t all want them for the same missions. What struck me after a recent conference here was how differently the US Air Force is approaching lasers. The USAF is pursing a two-pronged approach: They want to mount lasers on both the large… Keep reading →

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The Laser Revolution: This Time It May Be Real

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


TYSON’S CORNER: New laser technology looks promising as a way to shoot down Chinese-style massed missiles. But laser projects have overpromised and underdelivered for decades, from Reagan’s Star Wars in the eighties to the Airborne Laser, canceled in 2011. Now proponents must convince the skeptics — particularly in Congress — that this time is different. “Right… Keep reading →

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AFSOC Rebuilds Air Breathing Fleet Under New CO, Lt. Gen. Heithold

Posted by Richard Whittle on


Still in his first year as leader of Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold has lots of plans, but they no longer include replacing AFSOC’s U-28A manned surveillance aircraft with MC-12W Liberty spy planes. “There was discussion about moving to the Liberty birds,” Heithold told an audience at the Air Force Association… Keep reading →

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Ghostrider’s Big Gun: AC-130J Gets 105 ASAP; Laser Later

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Sometimes smart bombs aren’t the smart choice. Sometimes you just need a big bad flying gun. That’s why the aging AC-130 gunship is still revered by ground troops for its ability to fire a 105mm cannon — a weapon normally mounted on light tanks. That’s why the head of Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt.… Keep reading →

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