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Archive for the ‘military’ category

Aug 16, 2018

US targets a megawatt laser by 2023 and then deployment in drones and satellites for hypersonic and ICBM defense

Posted by in categories: drones, government, military, satellites

The US Congress wants the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to rapidly develop and demonstrate a boost-phase ICBM (and hypersonic weapon) intercept capability as soon as practicable.

Space-based laser weapons technology is one of the options.

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Aug 15, 2018

SpaceX seeks approval for Starlink internet tests on high-performance govt. planes

Posted by in categories: internet, military, satellites

According to updated regulatory documents and recent Aviation Week interviews with the US Air Force Research Laboratory, it can be all but guaranteed that the USAF has begun working with SpaceX to test the feasibility of using the company’s planned Starlink satellite internet constellation for military communications purposes.

In early August, SpaceX updated regulatory documents required by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the company to be permitted to experimental test its two prototype Starlink internet satellites, named Tintin A and B. Launched roughly six months ago as a copassenger on one of SpaceX’s own Falcon 9 rockets, the satellite duo has been quietly performing a broad range of tests on orbit, particularly focused on general satellite operations, orbital maneuvering with SpaceX’s own custom-built electric propulsion, and – most importantly – the experimental satellites’ cutting-edge communications capabilities.

The orbit histories of @SpaceX’s Tintin A/B Starlink prototype satellites, launched in February! Some thoroughly intriguing differences in behavior over the six months they’ve spent on-orbit. Data and visualizations generated by the lovely http://CalSky.com. pic.twitter.com/a8CfQaZJep

Continue reading “SpaceX seeks approval for Starlink internet tests on high-performance govt. planes” »

Aug 14, 2018

The Perfect Can Wait: Good Solutions to the ‘Drone Swarm’ Problem

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The nearly successful drone assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month highlighted yet again a persistent worry for U.S. defense planners: the possibility that a swarm of cheap drone-borne bombs might overwhelm the sophisticated defenses a U.S. base or ship. While the defense industry has seized upon this concern and is currently at work developing new high-tech solutions to this problem, the Department of Defense can’t rely on those alone. It makes sense to develop such solutions, but the Department of Defense procurement process is long and the threat is now. With a little ingenuity, there is much that can be done with existing technology to defend effectively against drone threats. Accordingly, this article focuses on the measures the Department of Defense can employ now, with existing technology, to mitigate the threat of drone swarms.

The Current Problem

The drone swarm threat to U.S. naval installations and ships is already quite serious. Only a small amount of explosives and shrapnel would be required to cause significant damage to many of the most important radars, cameras, and important flight systems on ships, missiles, and aircraft. Damaging critical equipment would put military platforms out of action for several weeks or even months and put intense pressure on naval logistics chains and maintenance organizations at a time when they are already hard pressed to keep up with current demands. Even more importantly, such an attack orchestrated on a grand scale could leave U.S. forces unable to respond to critical events around the world in sufficient time to fulfill U.S. defense commitments to allies and friends.

Continue reading “The Perfect Can Wait: Good Solutions to the ‘Drone Swarm’ Problem” »

Aug 14, 2018

R&D Special Report: Federally Funded Research Labs

Posted by in category: military

Concept art: Air Force

National Defense magazine asked research laboratories involved in national security programs: “What is your organization’s number one R&D ‘big bet,’ (in other words: a high-risk, high-reward technology investment) that you believe will have the biggest payoff for those in the military or national security realm? Why? And in what ways do you think it will benefit the end users?”

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Aug 10, 2018

President Donald J. Trump is Building the United States Space Force for a 21st Century Military

Posted by in categories: military, space

America is reclaiming its heritage as the world’s greatest space-faring nation and leading space development into the 21st century.


BUILDING SPACE FORCE: President Donald J. Trump and his Administration are laying the groundwork to build Space Force as the sixth branch of the United States military.

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Aug 10, 2018

Pence details Space Force

Posted by in categories: military, space

SPACE FORCE: Vice President Pence delivers remarks on the Trump administration’s plan to establish a new branch of the U.S. military.

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Aug 9, 2018

A military helicopter drone that can fight wildfires

Posted by in categories: drones, military, robotics/AI

What if an ultra-advanced flying robot designed for extreme military missions could join the fight to combat wildfire alongside human fire crews?

The biggest wildfire in Californian history is raging, with fire officials stating earlier this week that an area almost the size of Los Angeles has been compromised.

It is actually expected to burn through the rest of August, and experts predict the escalation in frequency and scale of wildfires will only continue going forward.

Continue reading “A military helicopter drone that can fight wildfires” »

Aug 9, 2018

US Army moves ahead with development of 100-kW mobile battlefield laser

Posted by in categories: energy, military

The US Army is moving forward with a new 100-kW laser weapon, awarding US$10 million to Lockheed Martin and Dynetics to continue development of the High Energy Laser Tactical Vehicle Demonstrator (HEL TVD). Designed to counter low cost, high volume threats, the new mobile battlefield laser is the latest in the American effort to produce incrementally more powerful and accurate directed energy weapons.

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Aug 6, 2018

Mystery meteor reportedly exploded with 2.1 kilotons of force above a US military base — and the Air Force said nothing

Posted by in categories: existential risks, military

Meteors could be a possible trigger of the nuclear war.


Data from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows a record of an object of unspecified size traveling at 24.4 kilometers per second (about 54,000 mph, or Mach 74) at 76.9 degrees north latitude, 69.0 degrees west longitude, on July 25 at 11:55 p.m. That latitude and longitude checks out as almost directly over Thule, Greenland.

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Aug 5, 2018

Employees at Google, Amazon and Microsoft Have Threatened to Walk Off the Job Over the Use of AI

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, ethics, information science, military, robotics/AI

There is. Our engagement with AI will transform us. Technology always does, even while we are busy using it to reinvent our world. The introduction of the machine gun by Richard Gatling during America’s Civil War, and its massive role in World War I, obliterated our ideas of military gallantry and chivalry and emblazoned in our minds Wilfred Owen’s imagery of young men who “die as Cattle.” The computer revolution beginning after World War II ushered in a way of understanding and talking about the mind in terms of hardware, wiring and rewiring that still dominates neurology. How will AI change us? How has it changed us already? For example, what does reliance on navigational aids like Waze do to our sense of adventure? What happens to our ability to make everyday practical judgments when so many of these judgments—in areas as diverse as credit worthiness, human resources, sentencing, police force allocation—are outsourced to algorithms? If our ability to make good moral judgments depends on actually making them—on developing, through practice and habit, what Aristotle called “practical wisdom”—what happens when we lose the habit? What becomes of our capacity for patience when more and more of our trivial interests and requests are predicted and immediately met by artificially intelligent assistants like Siri and Alexa? Does a child who interacts imperiously with these assistants take that habit of imperious interaction to other aspects of her life? It’s hard to know how exactly AI will alter us. Our concerns about the fairness and safety of the technology are more concrete and easier to grasp. But the abstract, philosophical question of how AI will impact what it means to be human is more fundamental and cannot be overlooked. The engineers are right to worry. But the stakes are higher than they think.

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