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Military Connection: Next Generation of USMC Drones

Marine Corps Drones

By Debbie Gregory.

As the use of mechanized warfare continues to evolve, the United States Marine Corps is making a push for its next generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to be more versatile. One of the features that the U.S.M.C. wants for all of its UAVs, usually referred to as drones, is the capability to be launched and operated from Navy vessels.

Many civilians may not know that the Marine Corps is a part of the Department of the Navy.Historically, marines (predating, and including early U.S.M.C.) were sea-going infantry, often responsible for ship-to-ship combat in the days when ships would board each other. Marines have also traditionally been used as expeditionary forces, brought across bodies of water onboard naval vessels and disembarked to the shore. Today’s Devil Dogs of the U.S.M.C have many more areas of responsibility than their predecessors, but they still embark on U.S. Navy ships, and are used as expeditionary forces.

Keeping with their amphibious warfare role, it only makes sense that, like their Marines, the Corps’ equipment be capable of ship-to-shore operations. The next generation of U.S.M.C. drones will range in size from hand-launched model-airplane sized to UAVs that are the size of manned aircraft. The drones will be used for surveillance, attack missions and logistic support. The Corps is even looking to use some for medical evacuation of wounded Marines.

Previous generations of Marine UAVs were almost solely land based. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marine drones mostly utilized long runways on land-based airstrips. The Corps’ leadership is reluctant to rely on those types of resources being readily available for any possible needs in the future. A self-reliant Marine Corps with ship-borne troops and ship-borne UAVs is much better equipped for any challenge.

The Marine Corps also wants their new drones to come equipped with control settings that would allow for a single control station to pilot any of the Corps’ drones. They are also in the process of developing unmanned ground vehicles like the Internally Transportable Vehicle, which was designed to fit inside an MV-22 Osprey.

The Navy and the Coast Guard have also begun efforts to develop their next generation of drones that are suitable for ships. Most notably is the Navy’s X-47, which has already conducted safe takeoffs and landings from aircraft carriers, both solo and with other manned aircraft on deck.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Next Generation of USMC Drones: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Helmet for F-35 Provides X-Ray Vision

helmet

By Debbie Gregory.

While most helmets offer protection to the wearer’s head, the helmet designed for the F-35 Lightning II is far from that. Pilots who climb into the cockpit of the stealth fighter to fly the costliest military plane ever built, will be wearing a helmet straight out of a science fiction movie.The capabilities of this piece of equipment may be bringing sci-fi to reality through the technology behind it.

Placed strategically throughout the F-35 are cameras and sensors programmed to display data through the helmet. The information pilots need to complete their mission is viewed on the helmet’s visor; airspeed, heading, altitude, targeting information and warnings all at the pilot’s glance. The device allows pilots to see the plane’s environment as if the plane itself had eyes, simply by the pilot tipping his head.

As one would expect, this advanced system has not been a simple project in development.  To date, the cost of the helmet has exceeded $400,000. And as the third iteration of the helmet goes into testing, there are still some challenges and fixes ahead.  Lockheed Martin has served as the prime contractor, and has overcome many of the early issues, such as a jittery display when flying through turbulence and challenges with night-vision accuracy.

Amid the difficulties, the situational awareness the helmet provides the pilot is unprecedented. To address the challenges in the original designs, Rockwell Collins was brought into the project and is providing the third generation helmet. Still troubling the complex system is the interruption of data when flying 3-4 aircraft together. Pilots are reporting improvements, but still experience issues with the software.

The F-35 combines state-of-the art stealth technology with highly advanced avionics and maneuverability

“Testing is an ongoing process,” said program executive officer Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan. “If you find problems, we try to fix them and look ahead.”

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their families. We are the go-to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go-to site.

Military Connection: Helmet for F-35 Provides X-Ray Vision: by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Boeing to Develop Plasma “Force Field”

 

Video URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zIiOmJVfHU#t=29

By Debbie Gregory.

Over the course of our technological progression, many tangible products have developed from concepts that were once just fantastical dreams. Previously, these ideas could only be found in the pages of books and in the make believe universes created for the big and small screens. Objects such as submarines, cell phones, airplanes, robots, computers, tablets, and video chatting are just a few examples of science fiction that became reality. Soon, we could be able to add “force fields” to the list.

In March, 2015, Boeing was granted a patent for a defense system that functions much like a plasma force field, which, for now, is just fantasy. But instead of being equipped on a space craft to deflect proton projectiles or other space weaponry, Boeing intends that this system will be mounted on ground vehicles or on high-value buildings.

Boeing’s system, which hasn’t been built yet, is not intended to defend against direct hits from missiles, bombs or bullets. It also won’t offer protection from the shrapnel flung by the explosive impacts caused by those weapons. Instead, the Boeing system will protect the high value unit or building from the shock waves caused by nearby explosions.

The system will include a sensor designed to detect incidents that produce shock waves, such as an explosion. When the sensor detects a shock wave, it will determine the appropriate direction and strength needed to protect the asset it is defending. Boeing intends to use a combination of lasers, electricity and microwaves to rapidly heat up the air between the asset and any nearby explosion. The heat will create a plasma shield that will be able to absorb or deflect the energy from the incoming shock wave. The plasma shield will not permanently surround the protected asset, but will only materialize for short durations after the sensor detects an event.

Boeing filed for the patent in 2012. The United Kingdom’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), which operates much like our DOD’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), announced that they were working on a similar shield system in 2010. There is no timeline for the completion or active testing for any of these systems.

Only time will tell what other technological advances will be added to our world. The future is closer than we think, as reality is constantly changed by concepts once found only in the imagination.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site!

Military Connection: Boeing to Develop Plasma “Force Field” by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: New Look for Armored Units: By Debbie Gregory

GXVT

When most of us think of armor, we imagine the archaic iron suits worn by medieval knights. While extremely limiting the wearer’s speed and mobility, the armor protected the knight from blows and stabs. Modern ground warfare has been dominated by heavily armored, slow moving vehicles that are reminiscent of those immobilizing suits worn by knights. But the U.S. Military is working to change that.

In August, 2014, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the launch of its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program. The program is bent on revolutionizing modern armored units.

Attempting to move away from the slower, bulky units that are often limited to roads, the GXV-T program is investigating ways to improve the mobility and survivability of U.S. Military vehicles through means other than just bulking on more armor. Researchers are currently looking into alternatives that include avoiding detection, engagement and hits by enemy forces.

The primary goal of the GXT-V program isn’t to replace one type of vehicle, but rather to overhaul the U.S. military’s entire concept of armored units. GXV-T’s technical goals include reducing vehicle size, weight and crew size by 50%, increase vehicle speed by 100%, improve access to diverse terrains by 95%, and reduce detection signatures.

DARPA plans to develop GXV-T technologies over a 24 month period after initial contracts are awarded. Contracts are expected to be awarded by April, 2015. The GXV-T program intends to pursue research, development, design and testing of new units or major components of them. So far, there are only a few sketched drawings of possible prototypes. But the pictures depict a hyper transformation of unit types that are a far cry from M1Abrams tanks.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Look for Armored Units: By Debbie Gregory