Tensions escalated when the Israeli military shot down an Iranian drone who they suspect infiltrated Israel early Saturday before launching an attack on dozens of Iranian targets in Syria, Reuters reported. Israel, upon discovering the drone hovering over their territory, shot it down and sent warp...
The United States Department of Defense announced it is offering grants to build bat-like drones that can be powered by lasers as part of its Defense Enterprise Science Initiative. The opportunity is open to submissions through Feb. 28 as the Pentagon looks for emerging technology that can help it build "new paradigms for autonomous flight, with a focus on highly-maneuverable platforms and algorithms for flight control and decision making." In a Broad Agency Announcement adding detail as to what the Department of Defense is seeking through its grant, the announcement invokes bats and flying insects as inspiration for the project. "The biological study of agile organisms such as bats and flying insects has yielded new insights into complex flight kinematics of systems with a large number of degrees of freedom, and the use of multi-functional flight surface materials," the announcement reads. The description goes on to note that advances in technology--including improvements in sensors and miniaturization of powerful computing processors--as well as improvements of flight control algorithms should enable the creation of an autonomous drone that would operate akin to a free-flying creature like a bat.
An Australian man was taken into custody Saturday for allegedly acting as an economic agent for North Korea and attempting to sell missile parts, military intelligence and coal on the black market. The Australian Federal Police arrested Chan Han Choi, 59, in Sydney and charged him with brokering sales of weapons of mass destruction, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It is the first time a charge of this kind has been leveled against anyone in Australia. The sales would violate Australian and United Nations sanctions. "We believe this man participated in discussions about the sale of missile componentry from North Korea to other entities abroad as another attempt to try and raise revenue for the government in North Korea, again in breach of the sanctions," said Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan in a statement.
The state firefighting service of California collaborated with a unit of California Air National Guard and deployed military wartime drones in order to receive real time photos and videos of the massive wildfire which spread across the area. According to a report by USA Today, this is only the third time such collaboration had taken place. The Reaper MQ-9, operated by the 163d Attack Wing at March Air Reserve Base in the Riverside County, will fly five miles above and transmit relevant information to commanders on the ground. This also includes information about spot-fire detection. Scott McLean, Deputy Chief of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said, "It's out of the way."
South Korea planned to introduce a new counter to North Korea's burgeoning nuclear weapons program: drones. South Korean news wire agency Yonhap reported Tuesday that the nation planned to roll out a new weaponized drone unit next year. "The Army plans to set up a special organization to lead the development of dronebots, establish a standard platform and expand the dronebot program by function," an Army official told Yonhap, asking not be named because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter. "To begin with, we will launch a dronebot combat unit next year and use it as a'game changer' in warfare." The drones primary function will be for surveillance -- North Korea has launched a number of ballistic missile tests this year and many of them came without warning.
Science fiction has a funny habit of becoming science fact after enough time has passed. The wide-eyed wonder of children sitting cross-legged in front of the TV eventually becomes inspiration for incredible feats of engineering, or the means of our own destruction. The latest example of this phenomenon is a new, powered up exoskeleton the U.S. Army is testing, per Scout. There are tons of examples of this sort of thing in science fiction. It usually involves military personnel enhancing their combat capabilities with some manner of armor or exoskeleton.
Russian president Vladimir Putin wanted world leaders to have regulations in store for superhuman soldiers in the future in case they turn in to mass killers who feel no pain or fear, The Express reported Monday. The statement came after he warned attendees of the "World Festival of Youth and Students" Saturday. Genetically-modified superhuman soldiers are a possible danger, because scientists are close to breaking the genetic code. "He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain," Putin said in his speech for the festival's closing ceremony, according to Express. "What I have just described might be worse than a nuclear bomb," Putin proclaimed, in front of the 20,000 young women and men attending the festival, which was held in the Olympic Park in Sochi.
Sally Jones, a former punk rocker from Kent, United Kingdom, who gained notoriety as "Mrs Terror" after joining the Islamic State group (also called ISIS), was reportedly killed in a United States drone strike along with her 12-year old son Jojo in Syria as she tried to escape Raqqa, the Sun reported. Though Whitehall sources confirmed reports that Jones was killed, according to the Guardian, the Pentagon was unable to confirm the news. Jones collected another nickname -- White Widow --after Hussain was killed by a U.S. army drone in IS group capital of Raqqa in 2015. Metro reported that in a Twitter post after Hussain's death, Jones claimed she was "proud my husband was killed by the biggest enemy of Allah, may Allah be pleased with him."
However, going by the official video, it doesn't seem to be equipped for flying long distances. Unlike diesel or petrol vehicles, battery-powered flying vehicles are equipped to fly less than an hour, also the thin frame doesn't give room to add much payload to the vehicle and also limits the number of rotors on the vehicle. But the concept can be scaled up and made capable of flying long distances and carrying bigger payloads. But it is not just the Russian military, the U.S. military is also working on a similar concept with Malloy Aeronautics, but that concept currently has a robot riding the hoverbike.
The Navy is starting to use repurposed Xbox 360 controllers to control the periscopes on some of its submarines, according to The Virginian-Pilot. In the past, many Virginia-class submarines used mast-mounted cameras to see above the water and they required helicopter-like joysticks that required extensive training and were costly to use. Lockheed Martin said sailors were able to pick up the controller scheme within minutes and for the Navy, the shorter training time is a secondary benefit. Plus, Xbox 360 controllers, which run around $30, cost way less than a military grade joystick for a submarine.