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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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Big SOCOM Budget Boost Goes To People, AI — & More

Posted by Paul McLeary on


WASHINGTON: The generals and admirals in charge of equipping and fielding the nation’s special operations forces are about to get some help in the form of an 11 percent budget increase. Just as the Trump administration has pledged to pump billions more into the defense budget, the Special Operations Command will also add about 1,700… 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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Presumptive Air Force Chief Appears To Shift On B-21 Cost Info

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


UPDATED: Adds Air Force Statement  WASHINGTON: The administration’s nominee for Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein, came before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning promising to improve Air Force relations with Congress. And Goldfein delivered, to the point of apparently agreeing with a pleased SASC chairman John McCain that the service should… Keep reading →

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‘Flying Coke Machine’ Would Replace A-10, If We Had $: Air Force Chief Welsh

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: The Air Force wants to replace the aging but beloved A-10 “Warthog” with a robotic “flying coke machine” that loiters over the battlefield, dispensing firepower at the touch of a button, the outgoing Chief of Staff said this morning. (More on that concept below). Gen. Mark Welsh also wants a “sixth-generation fighter” that can… Keep reading →

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Rites of Spring: Mating V-280 Wing And Fuselage

Posted by Richard Whittle on


CORRECTED: 280 knots equals 322 mph, not 245. Spring has sprung and at the Bell Helicopter factory in Amarillo, Texas, it’s mating season, of a sort. If all goes well, by September of next year a bird of a different feather will take flight – the V-280 Valor, a medium-lift tiltrotor transport whose wing and… Keep reading →

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Breathless British Tabloid Report Leaves V-22 Insiders Cackling

Posted by Richard Whittle on


A London Daily Mail report that the V-22 is “the SAS’s deadly new weapon in the war against Islamic State terrorists threatening to bring murder and bloodshed to the streets of Britain” has Pentagon and Osprey fleet insiders giggling and Bell-Boeing executives doing some wishful thinking. The Daily Mail told us that the SAS (Special Air Service) was… 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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