Saturday, May 23, 2020

Military Tech

Covering the latest military technology news about tech currently under development in military.

U.S. hints at selling state-of-the-art Predator Drones to India
Fewer than a dozen Avenger drones have been purchased since the product first flew in 2009, but General Atomics believes it may be able to sell about 90 aircraft in the next few years to a single international buyer, its president said Wednesday. General Atomics has struggled to find a major customer for the Avenger, also called the Predator C, since the collapse of the U.S. Air Force's MQ-X program and the U.S. Navy's UCLASS program, both of which sought out UAVs that could survive contested environments. Speaking to reporters on Aug. 16, GA president David Alexander said the company was engaged with an unnamed foreign nation on a potential Avenger purchase. In April 2016, Reuters reported that India's Air Force had inquired about the potential procurement of up to 100 Predator Cs. Even if India, if it is the unnamed country interested in the Avenger, decides to press on with the sale - which is especially uncertain given the country's fondness for rapidly changing weapons acquisition plans - it is unclear whether the United States would agree to export the armed UAVs. Unmanned aircraft are currently subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime, which spells out a "Presumption of denial" for Category I systems like the Avenger. That Obama-era policy is now under review by the Trump administration, which could open a path for an Avenger sale to India, a longtime partner nation of the United States that has been denied armed UAVs in the past, or other interested countries that have trouble getting weaponized drones. Defense reporters got to see GA's Avenger prototype, Angel One, during a trip to the company's hangars at Gray Butte Field Airport. Angel One - which is slightly smaller than the production version of the Avenger - has been configured for humanitarian aid missions such as airdropping food rations from its expansive payload bay. Most details about the Avenger continue to be tightly guarded, with company officials saying they were not permitted to talk about the operational use of the aircraft for classification reasons. GA has acknowledged the production of up to nine Avenger aircraft: the Angel One prototype that the company currently still owns; one bought by the U.S. Air Force; and no more than seven units owned by a classified U.S. government customer, Alexander said. Unlike its older brothers, the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, the Avenger features a jet engine and internal weapons bay, making it less visible to radar. The extended-range Avenger has a maximum payload of 6,000 pounds, including internal storage for up to 3,860 pounds of equipment.
U.S. Army halts use of Chinese-made drones over cyber concerns
The U.S. Army has ordered its members to stop using drones made by Chinese manufacturer SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd because of "Cyber vulnerabilities" in the products. An Aug. 2 Army memo posted online and verified by Reuters applies to all DJI drones and systems that use DJI components or software. It requires service members to "Cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media and secure equipment for follow-on direction." The memo says DJI drones are the most widely used by the Army among off-the-shelf equipment of that type. DJI said in a statement that it was "Surprised and disappointed" at the Army's "Unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision." The privately held company said it would contact the Army to determine what it means by "Cyber vulnerabilities" and was willing to work with the Pentagon to address concerns. Analysts at Goldman Sachs and Oppenheimer estimated in 2016 that DJI had about 70 percent share of the global commercial and consumer drone market. Goldman analysts estimated the market, including military, to be worth more than $100 billion over the next five years. The Army was considering issuing a statement about the policy, said Army spokesman Dov Schwartz. The move appears to follow studies conducted by the Army Research Laboratory and the Navy that said there were risks and vulnerabilities in DJI products. The memo cites a classified Army Research Laboratory report and a Navy memo, both from May as references for the order to cease use of DJI drones and related equipment.
Killer robots: Experts warn of third revolution in warfare
More than 100 leading robotics experts are urging the United Nations to take action in order to prevent the development of "Killer robots". In a letter to the organisation, artificial intelligence leaders, including billionaire Elon Musk, warn of "a third revolution in warfare". The letter says "Lethal autonomous" technology is a "Pandora's box", adding that time is of the essence. The 116 experts are calling for a ban on the use of AI in managing weaponry. "These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways," it adds. There is an urgent tone to the message from the technology leaders, who warn that "We do not have long to act". Experts are calling for what they describe as "Morally wrong" technology to be added to the list of weapons banned under the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Along with Tesla co-founder and chief executive Mr Musk, the technology leaders include Mustafa Suleyman, Google's DeepMind co-founder. A potential ban on the development of "Killer robot" technology has previously been discussed by UN committees. In 2015, more than 1,000 tech experts, scientists and researchers wrote a letter warning about the dangers of autonomous weaponry. A killer robot is a fully autonomous weapon that can select and engage targets without human intervention. Those in favour of killer robots believe the current laws of war may be sufficient to address any problems that might emerge if they are ever deployed, arguing that a moratorium, not an outright ban, should be called if this is not the case.
Get ready for Sci-Fi lasers to become a reality
The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense is finalizing the agreement of a £30M contract with UK DRAGONFIRE, a UK industrial team led by MBDA, to conduct the Laser Directed Energy Weapons Capability Demonstrator. UK DRAGONFIRE will achieve, through the Laser Directed Energy Weapons Capability Demonstrator, a significant step-change in the...
Drone photography offers a different view on tourism
"'I bet you've looked at drone footage and just thought 'wow," says Guardian photographer and licensed drone operator Graeme Robertson. Robertson explains the appeal of drone photography, which has had a surge in popularity in recent years. Drones entered the mainstream imagination in an unlikely way. The unmanned aerial vehicles first became...
Laser Weapons Ready for Use Today
For years, the Pentagon has pursued the dream of directed energy weaponry - laser weapons that could defeat a foe for pennies when compared with the expensive kinetic weapons the department relies on. The time has finally come where those weapons are capable of being fielded, according to a trio...
This Devastating New Bullet Is The "World's Deadliest Bullet Ever Made" 1
Bullets used in pistols have retained pretty much the same form and shape since their inception many decades back. The end of a pistol bullet, in particular, is meant to hit the target and neutralize the enemy upon impact. It has not undergone any significant changes over all these...
This Homemade Inflatable Drone Can Travel At 120mph 1
The concept of an airship is not a new one. Around the World in Eighty Days brings to mind the iconic image of travelers stepping in to a hot air balloon for a cruise around the world, the legendary Hindenburg brings to mind the horrific image of a burning...
New Device Could Help Gunshot Victims Within 15 Seconds 1
The foremost way of treating a gunshot wound on a battlefield has been to pack it with gauze. Understandably, soldiers on the battlefield realize the importance of this more than anyone else. However, the process requires urgency since there needs to enough pressure exerted on the gunshot wound to...
10 Recent and Disturbing Scientific Developments 1
Scientific advances can be astonishing events that bring hope and joy to the human race, but all too often these advances can come at a horrifying price. These 10 recent developments are examples of this. 10. Man-Made Organs The liver is one of the most used and abused organs in the...

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