The S-30 / Orion hybrid carrying the HiFiRE 5B experimentAustralia's venerable Woomera rocket range last week hosted a successful hypersonic test in which the experimental HiFiRE rocket hit Mach 7.5 and an apogee of 278 km.The data-gathering experiment wasn't testing a hypersonic motor – sorry Sydney to London in two hours fans – but rather carried instruments to observe the aerodynamics of flight at speeds up to 9,200 km/h.The HiFiRE 5B experiment was conducted to measure boundary layer transition on a three-dimensional body reaching hypersonic speeds.It was a repeat of the HiFiRE 5 launch in April 2012, which only reached Mach 3 after the second-stage rocket failed.HiFiRE is a joint project between Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation, the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing, and the University of Queensland.Here's the launch:As this design document PDF on NASA's site explains, the experimental part of last week's shot was the payload carrying an instrument package.
The US Air Force has declassified a harrowing video showing the heads-up display of student pilot who passed out during a tight maneuver.Mercifully, his F-16 was equipped with a ground collision avoidance system, saving him from certain death.It took nearly 30 years for the USAF to develop this system, requiring the help of NASA, Lockheed Martin, and its own Air Force Research Laboratory.The USAF introduced Auto-GCAS into its F-16 fleet in late 2014, and it s already saved at least four pilots, including the one in this video.Auto-GCAS works by continuously comparing a prediction of the plane s trajectory against a pre-existing terrain profile.If the system predicts an imminent collision with the terrain profile—as it does at the 26-second mark of this video you can see the two chevrons come together —the autopilot kicks in.
NEW YORK — The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory AFRL Rocket Lab plays a direct and extensive role in advancing rocket propulsion technology — but you'd never see its sticker on the finished engines.Rather, the lab does fundamental research into solid, liquid and in-space propulsion, and tests out the futuristic technology on the small and extremely large scale at the Edwards Air Force Base in California before passing the results on to aerospace companies.Space.com talked with Rocket Lab Director Shawn Phillips recently aboard the floating Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, to get the scoop on what Rocket Lab engineers do, how to replace Russia's widely used RD-180 rocket engine and what's in store for the future of rocket propulsion.Amazing Rocket Launch Photos Gallery Space.com: What does the AFRL Rocket Lab do?Shawn Phillips: A lot of people would hear about NASA, the engineering marvels they do.
The Air Force's Distributed Common Ground System, a network of 27 surveillance and intelligence-gathering sites, projects that it will ultimately save hundreds of millions of dollars by moving to agile development, open architecture, and infrastructure-as-a-service, said Wes Haga, chief of mission applications and infrastructure programs at the Air Force Research Lab.Under the DCGS's old proprietary architecture, the IT team took an average of 84 months to bring new capabilities to the surveillance and information-analytics system, Haga said."We're looking to be able to collapse it further than that," he said recently.The move to open architecture, cloud-based IaaS, and the agile cooperative development model began in 2014, with pilot programs rolling out last year.DCGS, which collects data with surveillance planes and drones, has already added several new capabilities, including full-motion video capture and high-altitude exploration, that would have taken years under the previous model.Workers were also stuck in "bad processes," including excessive requirements to create documents that were never read again after they were written, he said.
Nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs”, the MOAB GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb was the most destructive non-nuclear weapon designed (when it was first designed).This bomb has a blast radius of more than a mile, and was originally designed to replace a bomb made for Vietnam War troops to create helicopter landing spaces in wooded areas.The bomb was originally developed at the Air Force Research Laboratory by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the United States military.The bomb was developed to be carried and dropped by one airplane line, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules.In the Lockheed C-130 Hercules family, this bomb was designed to fit the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.This device is a 21,000-pound fuel-air-explosive weapon which, according to the The National Review, the explosion generated by MOAB creates is such that it resembles “a small nuclear detonation.”
IBM is working with the U.S. Air Force to improve its TrueNorth line of chips designed to optimize the performance of machine learning models at the hardware level.The new 64-chip array will consist of four boards, each with 16 chips.IBM’s chips are still too experimental to be used in mass production, but they’ve shown promise in running a special type of neural network called a spiking neural network.Though the technology is still in its infancy, IBM believes the low power consumption of its chips could some day bring value in constrained applications like mobile phones and self-driving cars.In an Air Force context, this could include applications in satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).The chips are designed in such a way that researchers can run a single neural net on multiple data sets or run multiple neural nets on a single data set.
As part of a research program initially funded in 2013 by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Army Research Laboratory researchers led a multi-disciplinary team of Department of Defense, industry, and academic researchers to develop a novel, general-purpose principled framework.The research team proposes what they've named the Privileged Sensing Framework, which was conceived to leverage recent advances in human sensing technologies to dynamically integrate human and autonomous agents on the basis of their individual characteristics.For example, Humans tend to easily adapt to changes in the environment or task.Autonomous agents typically can process large amounts of data more quickly than humans, Marathe explained.The focus of this research was to demonstrate how the PSF preserves the human as a primary, critical and central authority while also enabling technical systems, like robots, to detect and mitigate when people's decisions or actions would lead to dysfunction or even catastrophe, said Dr. Amar Marathe, a researcher in ARL's Real-World Soldier Quantification Branch."The research was fundamentally enabled by a critical move towards a novel control systems framework that can account for dynamic interactions among information components that impact the value of that information and yet appropriately propagates into robust overall decisions.
The technology continues to advance, but testing technology has lagged behind, leaving new generations of weapons and their tactical advantages unavailable to today's troops.Closing the gap between infrared sensor technology and testing technology was the challenge accepted by Chip Design Systems (CDS), a business founded by University of Delaware Prof. Fouad Kiamilev (electrical and computer engineering), who had some smart weapons of his own: a lab packed with sharp, young researchers and a team of expert collaborators.The projector produces infrared scenes with unprecedented resolution, double the speed and much higher brightness than existing technology.Its circuits allow each pixel to be programmed.It has proven the work is going in the right direction, according to Ron Rapp, senior research engineer with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin AFB.The infusion of government support allows for development of new technology, a costly enterprise that otherwise would be far beyond the reach of a small-but-innovative company such as CDS, Kiamilev said.
Nothing says futuristic 'top gun' like a fighter jet using a high-energy laser to blast enemy missiles out of the sky.That future may be only a few years away.The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has issued a $26.3-million contract to Lockheed Martin to design, develop, and build a high-energy laser for tests in a tactical fighter jet by 2021.Fiber lasers started as a dark horse in the development of electrically-powered laser weapons that culminated in a demonstration of a 100-kilowatt laboratory laser by Northrop-Grumman in 2009.Multi-kilowatt fiber lasers were already in use in industrial machining, but conventional wisdom said that fiber laser output was limited because optical power was concentrated inside the fiber's tiny light-guiding core.Though that setup maximized how efficiently a fiber laser could convert electrical energy into light and gave good beam quality, it also raised the power density so high that a single fiber couldn't emit much more than about 10 kilowatts without self-destructing.
We may not live in a Star Wars-esque age of light speed travel and Death Stars, but that isn’t stopping the US military from turning its jet fighters into laser-firing weapons from the future.The Air Force Research Laboratory just dropped a cool $26.3 million on a contract with Lockheed Martin to develop a system by which highly mobile jet fighters can be equipped with laser weapons to shoot enemies and incoming threats right out of the sky.Lasers developed for use as weapons aren’t a completely new concept, as various military contractors have already demonstrated the ability to build powerful lasers that can track and destroy both ground-based and airborne targets.However, the systems are typically large and cumbersome, and shrinking the tech to the point that it could feasibly work on a jet is an incredibly challenging task.Lockheed Martin is focusing on fiber laser technology for its development of the airborne laser weapons, utilizing a technique it calls “spectral beam combining” to fuse the outputs of as many as 100 different lasers into a single, powerful beam.This technique actually consumes less power but still produces a suitable beam that can be fired for long distances.
Slashdot reader Big Hairy Ian quotes New Atlas: In a move that could revolutionize aerial combat, the US Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) has awarded Lockheed Martin a US$26.3 million contract to design, develop, and produce a high-power laser weapon that the AFRL wants to install and test on a tactical fighter jet by 2021.The new test weapon is part of the AFRL Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program tasked with developing airborne laser systems.Airborne laser weapons are nothing new.Experimental lasers mounted on aircraft date back to the US Strategic Defense Initiative of the 1980s, but producing a practical weapon system has proven difficult.Previous attempts have resulted in dodgy chemical laser weapons so bulky that they had to be mounted in a 747, but the development of solid state fiber optic lasers is starting to change the game.Earlier this year, Lockheed's ground-based ATHENA system shot down five 10.8-ft (3.3-m) wingspan Outlaw drones by focusing its 30-kW Accelerated Laser Demonstration Initiative (ALADIN) laser at their stern control surfaces until they burned off, sending them crashing into the desert floor.
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the Air Force Research Laboratory have discovered that a technique designed to coat nickel nanoparticles with silica shells actually fragments the material - creating a small core of oxidized nickel surrounded by smaller satellites embedded in a silica shell.The surprising result may prove useful by increasing the surface area of nickel available for catalyzing chemical reactions."Nickel is noteworthy for its widespread applications in catalysis," says Joe Tracy, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and corresponding author of a paper on the work."One reason you'd want to coat nickel nanoparticles in porous silica is to embed them in a neutral substrate to maintain their efficiency as catalysts in chemical reactions.So the fact that this process could increase their surface area at the same time could prove to be beneficial."The researchers employed a widely used approach called reverse microemulsion, or reverse micelle, to apply a silica coating to nickel nanoparticles that were approximately 27 nanometers (nm) in diameter.
As tensions between the US and North Korea continue to rise amid heightened concerns over a potential nuclear war, the US appears to be ramping up its nuclear defence strategy.The US military has reportedly developed microwave weapons – called Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) – that could knock out North Korean missile control systems.The microwave weapons have reportedly been designed to be fitted onto air-launched missiles, delivered by US B-52 bombers.The bombers can reportedly fly CHAMPs over contested airspaces, flying at low altitudes, so the weapons can emit sharp pulses to disable nearby electronic systems.Citing unspecified sources at the US Air Force, NBC News reported that the microwave weapons, which are currently not operational, could be ready for use within days.According to NBC News' report, the US Air Force Research Laboratory began working on CHAMP in 2009 and by 2012 the weapon was ready for operational testing.
The weapon in question, the product of the US Air Force's Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP), uses bursts of microwave energy to disable electronic devices such as computers, communications and air defense radar systems.Officials from Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) suggested CHAMP could be fully weaponized in a matter of weeks.But almost as a footnote, the NBC report noted that the weapon would have to pass very close to an ICBM before launch to affect it—which, despite CHAMP's classification as a non-lethal weapon, might be considered an act of war.AFRL, Raytheon, and Boeing's Phantom Works development team tested the CHAMP concept aboard a Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) in 2012 at a Utah test range.Raytheon and Boeing have continued development under an AFRL contract.She said "Raytheon is executing on time and ahead of schedule on this contract."
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will host the Air Force Science and Technology Engagement Summit, to be held on Thursday, Jan. 18.Sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the summit will provide an overview of the goals for a yearlong strategic review and share details on numerous outreach activities, giving participants an opportunity to share their ideas for the future of the U.S. Air Force research agenda.Highlights of the event will include opening remarks by National Academy of Engineering President C.D.(Dan) Mote Jr. and a keynote address by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who will present her vision for how the Air Force manages path-breaking research.An hour-long reception in the Great Hall will follow.The summit will begin at 12:30 p.m. EST Thursday, Jan. 18, at the National Academy of Sciences building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. Reporters who wish to attend the meeting in person should register in advance with the Office of News and Public Information; tel.
DAYTON, Ohio-A patent issued on Feb. 20 to Dr. James Joo, Advanced Structural Concepts team lead at the Air Force Research Laboratory, for the "variable camber adaptive compliant wing system."The new design contained in US Patent 9,896,188 allows an aircraft wing to re-contour the airfoil camber in-flight.These flexible, single piece structures change shape through elastic deformation.This enables a continuous wing reconfiguration that optimizes wing geometry for current altitude, airspeed, and lift-to-drag ratio requirements.The design also limits separated flow and parasitic drag with the seamless construction (no holes or gaps), which increases overall range and endurance of an aircraft in addition to controlling surface effectiveness and power use reductions.The wing reconfiguration also decreases aircraft noise, e.g., the flap side-edge noise, and with a seamless skin reduces control surface gap and edge noise.
The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space plane has winged past 200 days in orbit on its latest clandestine mission.That mission, known as Orbital Test Vehicle-5 (OTV-5), began Sept. 7, 2017, when the robotic spacecraft launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 booster from NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.According to Air Force officials, one payload flying on OTV-5 is the Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader, or ASETS-11, of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).[The X-37B Space Plane: 6 Surprising Facts]"The X-37B has been and remains a technology demonstrator," said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor in the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island."Given that most space technology is dual-use, with the ever-increasing sway toward warfare in space, it's likely that the more militaristic uses of the space plane will be pursued more vigorously, and likely openly given the [presidential] administration's proclivity toward chest thumping," she told Space.com, expressing her personal view.
Fears that the United States is falling behind in key areas of space exploration and defense have spurred government agencies to address the needs of the nation's civilian and military space programs.Bernd Chudoba, University of Texas at Arlington aerospace engineering professor, has received a $250,000 grant from the Air Force Research Laboratory headquarters to develop parameters for a forecasting methodology that will allow strategic planners to identify science and technology gaps related to space transportation issues like hypersonic speed, space launch/return and in-space operation.The grant also would identify and rank emerging technologies that the United States needs to address.Ed Kraft, associate director of research at the University of Tennessee Space Institute, is co-principal investigator on the project."We will apply a parametric, multi-disciplinary mentality to the strategic planning environment to build a toolbox that will allow strategists to forecast what architectures on earth and in space should be available to help the U.S. plan toward its 2030 goal of eliminating vulnerabilities and being defensible from space," Chudoba said.The resulting toolbox will allow planners to look broadly at issues of defensible space, space travel and colonization that could affect the United States down the road.
Compression therapy is a standard form of treatment for patients who suffer from venous ulcers and other conditions in which veins struggle to return blood from the lower extremities.Kolle and his colleagues have published their results in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials.Co-authors from MIT include first author Joseph Sandt, Marie Moudio, and Christian Argenti, along with J. Kenji Clark of the Univeristy of Tokyo, James Hardin of the United States Air Force Research Laboratory, Matthew Carty of Brigham and Women's Hospital-Harvard Medical School, and Jennifer Lewis of Harvard University.The researchers fabricated the fiber from ultrathin layers of transparent rubber materials, which they rolled up to create a jelly-roll-type structure.This makes the fiber appear a certain color, depending on the thickness of the layers within the fiber.Optical interference is what produces colorful swirls in oily puddles and soap bubbles.
NEW YORK...June 11, 2018 - United States Air Force aircraft may become safer and less costly to maintain through a groundbreaking research collaboration between Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to improve engine monitoring.The three-year agreement will leverage advanced diagnostic and prognostic algorithms to monitor engine health and predict materials deterioration.Prof. Jacob Bortman, currently the head of BGU's Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, worked on the algorithms in the Israel Air Force as head of materiel command and will continue development in his lab."We are proud to collaborate with the AFRL, a world-leading lab to bring the aeronautical industry closer to achieving 'condition-based maintenance'."Prof. Bortman is also head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Flight Course Academic Program at BGU, and is leading the University's coordination with the IDF as it moves its technology and training units to Beer-Sheva next to the Advanced Technologies Park that is adjacent to the University's Marcus Family Campus.The AFRL agreement was signed under the auspices of the Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure.