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office of naval research

Talk To Us First, THEN Congress: Navy Acquisition Officials

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


“From an industry perspective, calling us, engaging us, talking to us, and synchronizing that alignment can be most helpful. It can also be, frankly, harmful if the appropriators or the authorizers get some stray voltage that doesn’t match up to the story.”

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Marines Want Armored Recon Prototypes By 2023: F-35 On Wheels Or FCS Redux?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


It’s important to explore a wide range of options and not lock down requirements too early, Lt. Gen. Walsh said. (By contrast, FCS set precise objectives and only then looked to see if they were possible). “We’re trying to solve the problem of what is reconnaissance (and) counter-reconnaissance in the future,” he said, not simply replace an old vehicle with a new one.

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Say It With Lasers: $45M DoD Prize For Optical Coms

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


PENTAGON: Live by the radio, die by the radio — unless, maybe, you switch to lasers, which are much harder to detect and interfere with. That’s why the Defense Department recently awarded a three-year, $45 million grant to a tri-service project for a laser communications system. “This is basically fiber optic communications without the fiber,”… Keep reading →

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Navy Railgun Ramps Up in Test Shots

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


PENTAGON: Consider 35 pounds of metal moving at Mach 5.8. Ten shots per minute. 1,000 shots before the barrel wears out under the enormous pressures. That’s the devastating firepower the Navy railgun program aims to deliver in the next two years, and they’re well on their way. “We continue to make great technical progress,” said… Keep reading →

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Best Of 2016: Rise Of The Robots

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


How does war change when your weapons can think? Do you trust a computer to decide when and whom to kill? Questions once asked only in science fiction are now becoming matters for policymakers. All four armed services are experimenting with artificial intelligence in every domain: land, sea, air, outer space, cyberspace, and the all-pervasive… Keep reading →

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Swarm 2: The Navy’s Robotic Hive Mind

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Robot boats are getting smarter fast. Two years ago, on the James River, the Office of Naval Research dropped jaws with a “swarm” of 13 unmanned craft that could detect threats and react to them without human intervention. This fall, on the Chesapeake Bay, ONR tested ro-boats with dramatically upgraded software. The Navy called this… Keep reading →

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Tern Tailsitter Drone: Pilot Not Included

Posted by Richard Whittle on


One of the oddest military drones aborning reinvents a stillborn technology from 1951. That’s because the unmanned aircraft revolution is resurrecting configurations that were tried more than a half century ago but proved impractical with a human pilot inside. The case in point: Northrop Grumman’s new Tern, a drone designed to do everything armed MQ-1 Predators… Keep reading →

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US, UK Do ‘Groundbreaking’ Drone Exercise Off Scotland

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


The multinational Unmanned Warrior exercise off the coast of Scotland is doing “really groundbreaking” work on naval drones, said one participating US scientist. There’ve been “a number of world firsts” in networking unmanned vehicles of different types and from different nations into a single unit, Marcus Tepaske, science advisor for the Office of Naval Research,… Keep reading →

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US, UK In Giant Drone Wargame Off Scotland

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


The US Navy needs to get better at hunting sea mines. The Royal Navy needs to get better at robots. So the two fleets are joining forces off Scotland in what the Brits are calling “the largest demonstration of its type, ever,” Unmanned Warrior 2016, with “more than 50 unmanned vehicles from over 40 organizations.”… Keep reading →

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PACOM Presses To Film China’s Reckless Pilots From P-3s, P-8s

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


Concerned over increasingly reckless Chinese and Russian intercepts of US aircraft, Pacific Command says it urgently needs cameras on its planes to provide irrefutable proof of their misbehavior. The problem: reconnaissance planes like the propeller-driven P-3 Orion and the new jet-powered P-8 Poseidon are designed to take photos of the land and sea far below, not of… Keep reading →

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