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Archive for the ‘military’ category

Oct 9, 2019

Ekipazh: Russia’s top-secret nuclear-powered satellite

Posted by in categories: energy, military, satellites

There is strong evidence from publicly available sources that a Russian company called KB Arsenal is working on a new type of military satellite equipped with a nuclear power source. Called Ekipazh, its mission may well be to perform electronic warfare from space.

KB Arsenal, based in St. Petersburg, is no newcomer to the development of nuclear-powered satellites. In the Soviet days it built satellites known as US-A (standing for “active controllable satellite”), which carried nuclear reactors to power radars used for ocean reconnaissance (in the West they were known as “radar ocean reconnaissance satellites” or RORSAT for short.) The satellites had been conceived in the early 1960s at the OKB-52 design bureau of Vladimir Chelomei before work on them was transferred to KB Arsenal at the end of that decade. The satellites’ three-kilowatt thermoelectric reactors, known as BES-5 or Buk, were built by the Krasnaya Zvezda (“Red Star”) organization. The US-A satellites operated in low Earth orbits at an altitude of roughly 260 kilometers and, after finishing their mission, the reactors were boosted to storage orbits at an altitude of about 900 kilometers.

Oct 8, 2019

Meet America’s newest military giant: Amazon

Posted by in categories: computing, military

The Pentagon’s controversial $10bn JEDI cloud computing deal is one of the most lucrative defense contracts ever. Amazon’s in pole position to win—and its move into the military has been a long time coming.

Oct 7, 2019

What could a military do with this flying saucer?

Posted by in category: military

Uncrewed and jet-powered, the Romanian design hopes to overcome the airframe style’s long history of unsuccessful flight.

Oct 5, 2019

U.S. Air Force scientists developed liquid metal which autonomously changes structure

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI

As reported by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, military scientists have developed a “Terminator-like” liquid metal that can autonomously change the structure, just like in a Hollywood movie.

The scientists developed liquid metal systems for stretchable electronics – that can be bent, folded, crumpled and stretched – are major research areas towards next-generation military devices.

Conductive materials change their properties as they are strained or stretched. Typically, electrical conductivity decreases and resistance increases with stretching.

Oct 2, 2019

The U.S. Air Force Plans to ‘Grow’ Runways with Bacteria

Posted by in category: military

Project Medusa plans to use biomanufacturing to grow military-grade runways using nothing more than dirt and microorganisms.

Oct 2, 2019

Squid-inspired robots might have environmental, propulsion applications

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

Inspired by the unique and efficient swimming strategy of cephalopods, scientists developed an aquatic robot that mimics their form of propulsion.

These , squidlike robots are made of , which make them hard to detect—an advantage that has potential military reconnaissance and scientific applications—while maintaining a low environmental footprint.

Physicists Xiaobo Bi and Qiang Zhu used to illustrate the physical mechanisms and fluid mechanics of a squid’s swimming method, which uses intermittent bursts through pulsed jet propulsion. By using this form of locomotion, the new can achieve impressive speeds, just like its animal inspiration. Bi and Zhu discuss their work in this week’s Physics of Fluids.

Oct 2, 2019

New Drones, Weapons Get Spotlight in China’s Military Parade

Posted by in categories: drones, military

The massive event celebrated 70 years of Communist rule — and an arsenal for its next decade.

China’s newest weapons were on display Tuesday at the massive military parade staged in Beijing to mark the 70th anniversary of Communist rule. China watchers noticed a new emphasis on airborne and naval drones and the public unveiling of a new hypersonic missile and a new ICBM.

The parade offered the first clear look at the supersonic DR −8 spy drone, which “would be expected to play a key role should there be a conflict with US aircraft carrier strike groups in the South China Sea or Western Pacific,” wrote the South China Morning Post.

Sep 30, 2019

Legendary inventor Dean Kamen jumpstarts human organ manufacturing in the US

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, military

Legendary inventor Dean Kamen is working on a venture to manufacture human organs with the backing of the Pentagon, Rockwell and others.

Sep 30, 2019

How to dismantle a nuclear bomb: Team successfully tests new method for verification of weapons reduction

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, military, treaties

How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don’t, for the most part. When countries sign arms reduction pacts, they do not typically grant inspectors complete access to their nuclear technologies, for fear of giving away military secrets.

Instead, past U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaties have called for the destruction of the delivery systems for nuclear warheads, such as missiles and planes, but not the warheads themselves. To comply with the START treaty, for example, the U.S. cut the wings off B-52 bombers and left them in the Arizona desert, where Russia could visually confirm the airplanes’ dismemberment.

It’s a logical approach but not a perfect one. Stored nuclear warheads might not be deliverable in a war, but they could still be stolen, sold, or accidentally detonated, with disastrous consequences for human society.

Sep 30, 2019

Rethinking Drones As Autonomous Robotics

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

We hear it daily — “Launch your drone program!” Uninspired marketing campaigns littered across social media, websites and emails. A detrimental circle of brands mirroring brands, unwittingly stalling the rise of drones. The problem is, as an industry, they’re missing the damn point. Take for example a use case we see all too often — construction. When handheld drills started showing up on jobsites, we didn’t hear Black + Decker say, “launch your drill program!” Why not? Drills are just enablers. They allow workers to do what they were already doing — except better, faster and more efficiently. The breakthrough had little to do with the actual tool itself, and more the new ability to enable faster holes. Drones are no different.

The goal isn’t to “put a drone on every construction site.” Drones are promising new vehicles that have the potential to transform industry, but they also inherently introduce new costs and complexities. The thought of adding new tools, new responsibilities, new certifications and permits, and new burdens to an already complex operation is the exact opposite of what most project managers consider helpful. This might begin to explain why drone service providers today are collectively struggling to grow at any meaningful velocity. We’re creating “launch your drone programs” solutions that make it easier for businesses to own and operate drones, when we should be making the drone invisible, and become laser-focused on the data drones generate and an infrastructure that supports rapid spatial insights.

We need to stop putting drones on construction sites, and start giving the industry the very thing that drones enable — insight. Drones will be on every job site in the next few years, but not as another tool on the tool belt. The project manager isn’t adopting a drone program. They’re adopting a visual insights program that captures a new, historical perspective across their sites. They’re providing situational awareness holistically throughout their organization. They’re making decisions based on the actual state of projects, and the insights affordable by new perspectives and sensors.

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