Back in World Wars I and II, warships were painted with odd, cubist-looking geometric designs intended to confuse attacking weapons systems. But other than looking cool, no one was sure if these zebra-esque paint jobs accomplished much. Now a new study says the designs can protect modern military craft even better than they did in the past.
More news on the cyber warfare front today as more details leak out about the Pentagon’s ongoing efforts to produce a cyber operation framework. Today we learn via the Washington Post that the Pentagon has a classified list of approved cyber weapons and tools that are ready to be deployed if necessary, just as the DoD has an approved list of traditional military responses to certain scenarios.
On the heels of a cyber attack that breached defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s network defenses last week, the Pentagon is opening the door to new means of dealing with cyber attacks perpetrated by foreign nations. In a new, formal 30-page cyber strategy document--unclassified portions of which will be made public next month--the Pentagon has deemed that cyber attacks can constitute acts of war, and that responses can include traditional military retaliation.
The very notion of quantum computing is a bit mind numbing, and the technology is so nascent that researchers aren’t even really sure of the best way to go about constructing a quantum computer. Nonetheless, D-Wave Systems Inc. has just sold one of its eponymous D-Wave One quantum computing systems to none other than Lockheed Martin, along with a multi-year contract to keep the thing working.
Reporting from the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Danger Room got some hands-on time with a technology that may or may not have been used in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound.
Predators of the threatened Mojave ground squirrel include badgers, coyotes, snakes, falcons, hawks, and U.S. military aerial strikes. That's because the squirrel makes its home in a section of California's Mojave Desert also used by the Air Force as a practice area. But the military has to make sure not to accidentally bomb the squirrels, them being threatened and all, and expends a lot of time and money trying to find them so as to avoid that.
Explosives detection is a hot place for progressive science right now. One Colorado State researcher is breeding plants that change colors when certain molecules come in contact with them, and others are modeling chemical sensors on everything from butterfly wings to frog eggs. Now MIT may have trumped them all with a carbon nanotube and bee venom-based sensor that can detect explosives at the highest resolution: a single molecule.
The Office of Naval Research is seeking fresh tactics for fighting the problem of Somali piracy, and it is turning to the defense community via an increasingly common tool for crowd sourcing tactical advice: a video game.
An undeniably Burt Rutan-esque aircraft has been spotted in the airspace just a few dozen miles south of Beale Air Force Base, prompting aerospace buffs to post the question: what is this Burt Rutan-esque aircraft doing in the air near Beale Air Force Base? Flight Global has since identified (possibly) the plane as Scaled Composites Model 355, but what’s less clear is what sort of aircraft it might be.
Boeing's little delta wing is all grown up and flying on its own for the first time. The Phantom Ray drone took to the skies for 17 minutes over Edwards Air Force Base last week, proving its airworthiness and showing off Boeing’s ability to quickly design and build a prototype advanced unmanned air system.
A few weeks back, we wrote about a tiny, tossable recon robot small and sturdy enough to be thrown to and from rooftops, over walls, through windows, and pretty much anywhere a military, police, or first responders might need an extra set of remote-controlled eyes. Now Recon Robotics, makers of the Throwbot, have developed a similar beer can-sized robot that can be fired from a cannon, stick magnetically to the side of a ship, and scale the hull to get up to the deck.
For more than a year we’ve been posting grainy images of the Air Force’s RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, also known as the “Beast of Kandahar,” and speculating about its potential mission profile. Now, via a tweet from the National Journal’s Marc Ambinder yesterday, we might finally have an answer: “US Joint Special Operations Command SMU -- from DEVGRU (Navy SEALs), did the shooting. RQ-170 drone overhead. JSOC spotters on ground.”
It’s not uncommon for U.S. military forces to destroy an aircraft downed in a foreign land, but U.S. Special Forces had particular cause to blow up the ill-fated helo that participated in Sunday’s raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Apparently, it was a secret stealth helicopter, the design of which U.S. military commanders would not be keen to share with the Pakistanis or anyone else.
Searching text is a cinch, and thanks to facial and object recognition algorithms it’s growing increasingly easier to search within images for an object or person. But search within video--that is, video that has not already been previously viewed and tagged with searchable text--is particularly technologically daunting. But now, DARPA appears to have figured it out, at least partially.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.