Monthly Archives May 2017

Tooled up Marines Build Drones on the Battlefield

Through a program called Marine Makers, they’re learning how to build devices, and to be more innovative thinkers

n the battlefield, U.S. Marines have long had a reputation for resourcefulness, a talent for adapting quickly and decisively to the unexpected. So try to imagine a future where Marines, using a laptop and a 3-D printer, are able to build and deploy a drone customized to support that day’s mission.

Sounds far-fetched? Not at all, insists Capt. Christopher Wood, who sees the scenario as more goal than fantasy.

“I don’t want to say that we will achieve that, but that’s where we think we can go,” he said. “We think the technology is there to do something like that, to put drones on the battlefield—on demand, as needed, and with mission-optimized platforms.”

Stre...

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This Drone Will Get You Into Drone Racing

Hone your drone skills before stepping into the big league.

Under normal circumstances, going from zero experience flying drones right to drone racing would be like jumping into NASCAR competition the day after you get your driver’s license. But the Aerix Black Talon isn’t your average racing drone. Beginners will find it easy to pilot, and with its $99 price tag, they’ll also find it extremely affordable.

The Aerix Black Talon is the first ever drone designed for racing newbies. It features a 6-axis flight control system that aids handling, paired with the extreme performance you’ll only find in ultra-fast racing drones...

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Marines Test the Drone Robotic Weapons of the Future at ANTX 2017

A military exercise designed to help identify useful technologies for amphibious warfare featured rocket-firing hovercraft, machine gun-armed robots crawling up the sandy beaches of southern California, and hybrid speedboat/submarines. Dubbed “Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technological Exercise 2017” or ANTX 2017 for short, the exercise aimed to find out how new emerging technologies, especially unmanned systems, could allow the Marine Corps to storm beaches with fewer casualties.

As the U.S. Marine Corps shifts back to big power warfare, its bread and butter mission of amphibious warfare is coming back into focus...

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The Best Indoor Drones for Honing Your Skills or Just Having Some great Fun

These drones are not for all weather conditions, but they make drone piloting a great hobby.

Drones can soon become an expensive pastime, but it can be surprisingly cheap if you just want to test the waters. Today, you can get fairly capable drones for under $100 that are great for practicing indoors before stepping up to a larger (and more expensive) quadcopter later.

Here are just some to consider whether you’re looking to get a taste of what drones are all about or just looking to have a bit of fun.

1 Blade Nano QX

Amazon | $60

If you’re looking to put on some training wheels before making an investment in a more full-featured drone, you may want to opt for something like the Blade Nano QX...

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Lockheed’s Catapult-Launched Drone Called Fury Lingers 15 Hours Over the Battlefield

Lockheed is developing a new drone promises to be a long-endurance, high-altitude friend for troops on the ground, acting as an eye in the sky or a communications relay.

Fury, which looks a little like a pumpkin seed with bat wings, can operate for more than 15 hours at altitudes up to 15,000 feet. An in-house project funded on the company dime, Lockheed’s new drone is designed to give ground troops or warships their own surveillance or communications platform. The 17-foot-wingspan drone doesn’t need a runway to operate. Instead, it’s launched from a truck or deck-mounted catapult and can be recovered by flying it into a recovery net.

Lockheed Martin expects Fury to be useful in a variety of roles...

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The Marines Are Testing a Glider Drone Made of Plywood

TACAD is expected to carry a load around 700 pounds

A new drone concept could lead to a cheap and disposable way to resupply Marines in hostile territory. TACAD, or TACtical Air Delivery, can deliver quarter ton payloads at ranges of up to 70 miles. The drone could even be used in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations, sending food and aid precisely where it’s needed.

The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, an arm of the Corps that develops new equipment, is studying TACAD as a means to resupply troops on the battlefield. TACAD is designed to be pushed out the cargo ramp of an aircraft at high altitude—say, a Marine KC-130 transport tanker. TACAD has a glide ratio of 15:1, meaning for every foot of vertical travel it glides fifteen feet horizontally...

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China Is Building a Sea-Skimming Anti-Ship Drone

No name drone can fly less than two feet above the surface of water

China is developing a new drone that uses ground effect technology to skim the surface of the ocean, allowing it to fly just eighteen inches off the water. The unmanned vehicle could be a challenging opponent for potential adversaries, some of whom would find it difficult to detect.

The drone first appeared on Chinese corners of the internet and quickly spread to Russian and western defense blogs. The drone appears to have a set of forward canards and a pair of upward swept wings. It has an air intake on top instead of the bottom, perhaps to avoid sea spray from being sucked into the engine at very low altitude. It is also painted in blue Chinese Navy camouflage.

Most modern cruise missiles are what are called “sea-skimme...

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