The U.S. Air Force is ready to ‘”weaponize’” and quickly field directed-energy technology, following two recent successful high-power microwave demonstration programs. Progress is also being made with solid-state high-energy lasers. Directed Energy was one of three ‘”game-changing’” technologies discussed by Maj Gen Tom Masiello, the commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, at the recent Air Force Association Conference in Washington, D.C. The others were hypersonics and autonomy.
Science and technology in the United States
For the second time in less than a month, a major Internet-related company has acquired a firm developing a high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS), which could serve as a node to provide Internet connectivity from the stratosphere.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) recently reported on a second flying demonstration of an MQ-9 Reaper in the electronic warfare (EW) role. The UAV flew with the Northrop Grumman Pandora EW system inside special pods designed by GA-ASI. The combination flew from MCAS Yuma, Ariz., last April and again in October during a Marine Corps exercise.
General Atomics has demonstrated electronic attack capability on an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft fitted with a Northrop Grumman jamming pod. A test flight took place during a U.S. Marine Corps weapons and tactics instructor (WTI) course in April, the results of which have only now been made public.
Norwegian Air Shuttle officials say that the airline’s adoption of the Teledyne Controls enhanced airborne data loader (eADL) for updating the navigation databases of its 42 Boeing 737s is saving it approximately $11,700 per month.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy completed the first shore-based trials in early November of a wireless handheld device that will enable operators to maneuver the X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) on Navy carrier decks. The tests were conducted at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
The U.S. Navy stepped closer to the first carrier landing of an autonomous, unmanned aircraft following the July 2 carrier touchdown of a manned F/A-18D surrogate aircraft. It is equipped with the same avionics and software planned for the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft.
Northrop Grumman’s active electronically scanning array (AESA) radars have undoubtedly made a big impact on fighter technology. The AN/APG-77, the AN/APG-80 and the AN/APG-81 are fitted, respectively, to Lockheed Martin’s F-22A Raptor, F-16E/F Block 60 Desert Falcon, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).