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air force research laboratory

Air Force Pumps Cash Into ‘Vanguard’ Effort, Small Industry Teams

Posted by Paul McLeary on


“We need that partnership with customers on the DoD side where they’re willing to take a step forward with us in understanding that neither one of us knows the ultimate answer.”

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US ‘Loyal Wingman’ Takes Flight: AFRL & Kratos XQ-58A Valkyrie

Posted by Colin Clark on


A single F-35 could have a flock of “loyal wingman” drones to carry weapons, jam radars, and if need be take a hit and die to save their human commander.

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Dial-A-Blast For Smart Bombs: AFRL Weapons Adjust Yield To Target

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


AFA: The Air Force is developing smart bombs that detonate differently depending on the target. These “Dialable Effects Munitions” could turn up the blast to devastate an enemy camp or turn it down to kill a single terrorist without hurting nearby civilians. In the extreme case, said Col. Garry Haase, the director of munitions at… Keep reading →

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OODA Loop 2.0: Information, Not Agility, Is Life

Posted by Tod Schuck on


Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The OODA Loop remains a key concept for those who fight, especially fighter pilots. After all, Air Force Col. John Boyd made it and his theory of Energy-Maneuverability famous with his bold claim to be able to defeat any other pilot within 40 seconds. Boyd helped inspire the designs of the… Keep reading →

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Pentagon Study Urges ‘Immediate Action’ On Thinking Weapons; VCJCS Selva Cautious

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Should the United States build physical and cyber Terminators, weapons that do not have a human in the loop? The unequivocal answer from the prestigious Defense Science Board is yes. “This study concluded that DoD must accelerate its exploitation of autonomy—both to realize the potential military value and to remain ahead of adversaries who also… 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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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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Laser Fighters: 100 kW Weapons By 2022

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


PENTAGON: Star Wars fans, calm down. The US Air Force wants to fire a 100-plus-kilowatt laser from a small plane. And not just any airplane, Air Force Research Laboratory officials. The last laser on an airplane — the megawatt Airborne Laser, which filled a converted 747 and cancelled in 2011 — the 2022 demonstration will be… Keep reading →

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Air Force Chief Welsh Signals Shift To Modernization, AKA Weapons

Posted by Colin Clark on


ORLANDO: More than half-way into his tenure as Air Force Chief of staff, Gen. Mark Welsh has shifted focus from the service’s airmen to its weapons, declaring today that “we must modernize the Air Force. This isn’t optional. We must do it. And It will be painful because we will have to make hard choices.” Welsh’s speech… Keep reading →

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