Australia will buy six U.S. Triton remotely piloted aircraft to beef up its maritime patrols, with the initial investment of A$1.4 billion ($1 billion) for the first drone, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday. The government said the Triton drones, made by Northrop Grumman Corp, would be used alongside P-8A Poseidon aircraft for long range operations and intelligence gathering, and would improve anti-submarine warfare and marine strike capability. "This investment will protect our borders and make our region more secure," Turnbull and Australia's defence ministers said in a joint statement. The total cost for the six drones, including facilities upgrades and support, will be A$6.9 billion, a person familiar with the transaction said. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne's office declined to comment on the total cost of the aircraft, which can fly for up to 24 hours and have sensors that can view the surrounding area over 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 kms).
Russian scientists are developing an advanced automated submarine that will be powered by an external combustion engine, Igor Denisov, deputy director of the Foundation for Advanced Studies (FPI), revealed in an interview with Interfax, a Russian news agency. "We are planning to create an apparatus that will pass through the Northern Sea Route without floating up and without the use of nuclear power, including under the ice," Denisov said. "In order for this device to accomplish such a'feat,' its autonomy should be at least 90 days, which is already commensurate with the autonomy of modern submarines." The decision to forego the nuclear option to power the underwater vehicle was a conscious one, Denisov said, in order to make it increasingly safe. While a nuclear installation helps power submarines for uninterrupted movement throughout the world's oceans, it also puts its operational capabilities at risk.
Mullah Fazlullah, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, accused of shooting activist Malala Yousafzai was killed by a United States drone strike June 13 close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a U.S. military official confirmed to Voice of America. "U.S. forces conducted a counterterrorism strike June 13 in Kunar province, close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which targeted a senior leader of a designated terrorist organization," army Lt. Col. Martin O'Donnell, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan said. He was reportedly traveling in a vehicle with four other commanders when the strike took place, Pakistani daily the Express Tribune reported. "A US drone strike in Afghanistan's northeastern Kunar province has killed the leader of the TTP," Mohammad Radmanish, Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense spokesperson, told CNN. "US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO-led Resolute Support forces continue to adhere to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan's unilateral ceasefire with the Afghan Taliban, announced by ... Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, which began on the 27th day of Ramadan," a statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said claiming the strike did not put the ceasefire order by President Ashraf Ghani into risk, CNN reported. "As previously stated, the ceasefire does not include US counterterrorism efforts against IS-K, al Qaeda, and other regional and international terrorist groups, or the inherent right of US and international forces to defend ourselves if attacked," the statement added.
A drone footage of the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. and five Nigerian soldiers that surfaced recently shows the service personnel desperately trying to escape and fighting for their lives after friendly Nigerien forces mistook them for the enemy. The video shows the harrowing hours of troops holding off their enemy and waiting for rescue. It shows how the soldiers set up a defensive location on the edge of a marsh and wrote letters to their loved ones thinking they were going to die. Pentagon released the video with explanatory narration and it contains more than 10 minutes of drone footage, animation and file tape that was not made public last week when the military released a portion of the final report on the October attack, the Guardian reported. In a failed attempt to target a local ISIS leader, 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops were involved in the initial mission in the West African nation.
Despite being commercially available, drones can be a real threat. They can barge into no-fly zones, engage in mid-air crashes, reconnaissance missions, or even conduct deadly air-strikes. The risk of such attacks never wears off but in order protect its critical installations against rogue UAVs, United States military is working on some lethal counter-drone weapons. The service, in collaboration with defense manufacturer Raytheon, has produced two Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) -- one that uses high power microwave (HPM) to disable the target and other that deploys a high energy laser (HEL) to disintegrate it. The two systems were put to test in a recent Maneuver Fire Integrated Experiment and were able to take out as many as 45 different drones out of the sky, along with a few stationary mortal projectiles, Popular Mechanics reported.
In a bid to modernize battlefield resources, the Chinese Army has started trialing unmanned tanks, according to a new report from state-run publication Global Times. The upgraded military vehicles are currently being tested with a distant manned console, much like remotely operated drones. However, the People's Liberation Army Ground Force, aka PLAGF, also plans to integrate them with artificial intelligence, in order to make them nearly self-operable. A short video from CCTV, a prominent state television broadcaster in the People's Republic of China, recently appeared on the internet showcasing one of the unmanned vehicles being tested. The clip features a modified version of a dated Type 59 tank moving forward and backward like a remote-controlled car and a distant Chinese Army official manning its control-box a few meters away.
The US Army is working on a new mine detector that allows soldiers to see as well as analyze the size of an explosive hidden underground. The new device uses real-time spatial location tracking and a range of sensors to produce an image of the buried object, be it an active IED or some unexploded artillery shell. As seen in the video, the tech creates a colored map on a tablet as and when the surface is scanned by the device. The area highlighted in orange roughly represents the scale or the metallic object or a potential risk-zone, while other colors represent the safer areas. "You can immediately see the shape of the object and roughly its size," Christopher Marshall, a scientist in the Countermine Division of the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, said in a statement.
The world is full of connected devices – and more are coming. In 2017, there were an estimated 8.4 billion internet-enabled thermostats, cameras, streetlights and other electronics. By 2020 that number could exceed 20 billion, and by 2030 there could be 500 billion or more. Because they'll all be online all the time, each of those devices – whether a voice-recognition personal assistant or a pay-by-phone parking meter or a temperature sensor deep in an industrial robot – will be vulnerable to a cyberattack and could even be part of one. Today, many "smart" internet-connected devices are made by large companies with well-known brand names, like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung, which have both the technological systems and the marketing incentive to fix any security problems quickly.