For a soldier in a firefight, one of the hardest things to protect without restricting vision or breathing is the face. Regular camouflage face paint, with its oil and wax base layers, actually makes things worse, so scientists have developed a new version that protects the skin from intense heat.
Science is hard at work developing ever more freaky robots to take over the world. To that end, DARPA, in partnership with private-public-hybrid Sandia National Laboratories, has developed a "cost-effective" modular robot hand that is scarily close to mimicking a human hand's movements.
Yesterday, the Air Force conducted a third test flight of its X-51a "Waverider" hypersonic cruise missile, hoping for 300 seconds worth of sustained scramjet-powered flight at over Mach 5. It could have gone worse, but not by much: a faulty control fin caused the vehicle to break apart and crash into the ocean just over 30 seconds after launch.
America has a mighty, might navy, with giant, powerful ships that are (or soon will be) outfitted with laser canons and hypersonic railguns, but these fearsome war machines have one major weakness: land. DARPA's new CAAT demonstrator can project some of this power onto the shore, using big air-filled flappy bits to allow vessels to travel on water or land.
The F-22 Raptor is unquestionably the most advanced combat aircraft the world has ever seen. It's also by far the most expensive. But whether it's the hands-down best is up for debate, especially after multinational Red Flag combat exercises in Alaska. In the words of one German Eurofighter Typhoon pilot, "we have had a Raptor salad for lunch."
We now know what an atomic bomb really sounds like. So what does it feel and look like? In June of 1957, five Air Force officers found out, volunteering to stand directly under an exploding two-kiloton nuclear warhead. They narrate the whole thing, live.
No, we didn't reverse the numbers or misplace a decimal point. The super secret IX-529 Sea Shadow that cost $50 million to build back in 1985 just sold for a decidedly underwhelming $2.5 million. What's worse than the colossal flip-flop on price? It was sold for scrap.
Have you checked out the military's own versions of Facebook or YouTube or Wikipedia recently? No? That's probably because they're heavily censored and restricted, which is just what you want with social and crowdsourced media, and this is why the Pentagon now wants its own version of Reddit, called Eureka. Makes sense, right? ...Right?
Engineers and students at the Naval Postgraduate School in Southern California are building drones, launching systems, and the necessary software to create a force of up to fifty unmanned aircraft capable of dogfighting. That would add a new layer to drone warfare, where drones capably engage one another.
The U.S. Air Force has a 370-foot-long surveillance airship sitting in a hangar in North Carolina right now, 95% complete. In two weeks, the blimp will be ready to fly, just in time for the USAF to scrap the entire program, dismantle the hardware, and pack it all into shipping containers for storage. Sigh.