6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction - We Are The Mighty
Intel

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

After two decades of counter-terror operations, America’s Department of Defense, or DoD, is pivoting back toward great power competition with a slew of new programs and proposals that seemingly blur the line between science fiction fantasy and legitimate military capability.

America’s combat operations in places like the Middle East have afforded its defense apparatus a great deal of experience, but that benefit doesn’t come without a price. Aside from the significant wear and tear on equipment (and the associated maintenance costs), America’s defense apparatus has also offered its competition in nations like Russia and China a perfect opportunity to study and assess Uncle Sam’s military capabilities. While neither Russia nor China currently possesses truly peer-level military capabilities when compared to the United States, it’s important to remember that they don’t need to in order to pose a significant risk to American interests, or indeed its very safety.

With America’s combat playbook open for all to see, China and Russia have both devoted significant portions of their defense spending to leverage gaps in the U.S.’s proverbial armor. As a result, the United States now finds itself falling behind the technological power curve in a number of important ways, including hypersonics and potentially even anti-satellite weapons.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Russia’s hypersonic Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile mounted on a Russian Air Force MiG-31K (WikiMedia Commons)

But despite the strategic advantage America’s defense commitments have offered its competitors in recent years, it wouldn’t be wise to count the U.S. out quite yet. In fact, the DoD already has a number of groundbreaking programs underway, and in recent months, the Defense Department has gone even further, soliciting proposals for advanced technology so unusual that practically read like science fiction.

Of course, soliciting proposals and even funding programs doesn’t mean every one of these efforts will result in an operational weapon or mature strategic capability. Some of these programs are sure to fail or to be pulled apart and devoured by other broader reaching efforts. Like SOCOM’s Ironman-like TALOS armor or the stealth RAH-66 Comanche, a DoD program doesn’t have to cross the finish line to benefit the force.

Here are 6 crazy-seeming DoD programs that are currently in development.

Fusion Reactors and “Spacetime Modification” weapons

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

In 2019, the U.S. Navy’s Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) filed a number of seemingly out of this world patents that could, in theory, revolutionize not only military aviation, but just about everything. Among these filings were patents for a High Energy Electromagnetic Field Generator, which if functional, could produce massive amounts of power with far-reaching military and commercial implications and would practically result in the world’s first highly efficient fusion reactor.

But if near-limitless clean energy isn’t crazy enough, another offshoot of this work led by U.S. Navy aerospace engineer Dr. Salvatore Pais would see the creation of a “spacetime modification weapon” that would, in his words, “make the Hydrogen bomb seem more like a firecracker, in comparison.

You can read a thorough breakdown of Pais’ work, as well as a similar effort led by Lockheed Martin, in our coverage of this story here.

Plasma Holograms that can fool missiles (and maybe even people)

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Artist’s rendering of DoD program to field laser induced plasma filament holograms.

New technology under patent by the U.S. Navy could shift the odds of survival further into the favor of stealth aircraft by leveraging lasers to produce plasma bursts that could trick inbound missiles into thinking they’ve found a jet to chase that would actually be little more than a hologram.

According to their patent, the laser system could be installed on the tail of an aircraft, and upon detection of an inbound missile, could literally project an infrared signature that would be comparable to a moving fighter jet’s exhaust out away from the fighter itself. Multiple systems could literally project multiple aircraft, leaving inbound missiles to go after the decoy plasma “fighters” instead of the actual aircraft itself.

These “laser induced plasma filaments,” as researchers call them, can be projected up to hundreds of meters, depending on the laser system employed, and (here’s the part that’ll really blow your mind) can be used to emit any wavelength of light. That means these systems could effectively display infrared to fool inbound heat seeking missiles, ultraviolet, or even visible light. 

You can read more about this effort in our full coverage of it here.

Drone Wingmen and “Skyborg”

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor and F-35A Lightning II fly in formation with the XQ-58A Valkyrie low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle over the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground testing range, Ariz., during a series of tests Dec. 9, 2020. (US Air Force photo)

The 2005 movie “Stealth” depicts a team of 6th generation fighter pilots who are assigned a new wingman: an AI-enabled drone. The movie may not have gotten much right about military aviation, but the premise has proven not just viable, but likely. With programs underway like the Air Force Research Laboratories Skyborg and Boeing’s Loyal Wingman, it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing data-fusing jets like the F-35 flying with their own constellations of support drones that can be used to extend their sensor reach, engage targets on the fighter’s behalf, or even sacrifice themselves to prevent a missile from reaching the crewed aircraft.

Recently, the U.S. Air Force successfully flew a Kratos Valkyrie UCAV alongside both of America’s 5th generation fighters, with an active data link connecting the F-35 to the drone. While still a rudimentary test, this flight was truly just the beginning.

You can learn more about this effort in our coverage here.

Artificial Intelligence in the cockpit

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

In August of last year, Heron Systems’ incredible artificial intelligence pilot system defeated not only its industry competitors, but went on to secure 5 straight victories against a highly trained U.S. Air Force F-16 pilot, without the human pilot even scoring a single hit. It was a significant success for the endeavor to get AI into the cockpits of American fighters, even if the competition was technically stacked in the AI’s favor.

The intent behind the competition wasn’t to embarrass a human pilot, but rather to improve both the AI’s ability to make decisions and develop a level of trust between human operators and future AI co-pilots. By outsourcing some tasks to a highly capable AI, pilots can focus more of their bandwidth on situational awareness and the task at hand.

You can read more about this effort in our coverage of it here.

6th Generation Fighters

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
(U.S. Air Force rendering of a 6th generation fighter.)

Last September, the U.S. Air Force shocked the world with the announcement that they had already designed, built, and flown a prototype of the next generation of fighters. Details released by the DoD are scarce, but there are a number of assertions we can make about this program based on publicly available information.

In order to justify the creation of a new fighter generation, this new jet will need to offer all the capabilities found in 5th generation jets like the F-35, along with a slew of entirely new capabilities. It seems feasible that the fighter that has already been tested by not be a mature platform destined for service, but may instead be a technology demonstrator used to assess the efficacy of some of these state-of-the-art systems.

You can learn more about what exactly makes a 6th generation fighter in our coverage here.

Using shrimp to track enemy submarines

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

DARPA’s effort to track undersea life’s behavior as a means to detect enemy submarines has just entered its second phase. In the first phase, DARPA’s Persistent Aquatic Living Sensors (PALS) program sought to prove that sea life would respond to the presence of a submarine in a measurable way. With that seemingly confirmed, the second stage of the program will focus on developing sensors that can identify that behavior and relay a warning back to manned locations aboard a ship or onshore.

Undersea life tends to behave in a certain way when it senses the presence of a large and foreign object like a submarine. By broadly tracking the behavior of sea life, PALS aims to measure and interpret that behavior to make educated guesses about what must be causing it. In other words, by constantly tracking the behavior of nearby wildlife, PALS sensors can notice a significant change, compare it to a library of known behaviors, and predict a cause… like an enemy submarine, even if a submarine was stealthy enough to otherwise evade detection.

You can read more about this program in our full coverage here.

Feature photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

Intel

The 8 steps of counting down to deployment

Anticipating a deployment is at once stressful, exhilarating, and boring as hell. Here are the 8 basic steps:


1. Announcement

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Photo: US Marine Corps Land Cpl. Katelyn Hunter

The announcement comes down from the Pentagon that your unit is headed overseas at some point. Everyone will respond to this differently. Newer troops will walk with a swagger as they think about becoming combat veterans. Actual combat veterans will sigh heavily.

2. Keeping it a secret (while telling everyone)

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

Sure, operational security and all that. But you have to tell your family. And your best buddies need to know. Also, those guys at the bar won’t buy you drinks just for sitting there. Is that hot girl over there into deploying troops?

3. First stage of training

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Photo: US Army Capt. Lisa Browne Banic

“Time for pre-deployment training! Time to become the most elite, modern warriors in the world!” you think for the first 15 minutes of the first training session.

4. The rest of training

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

“Oh my god, how much of this is done via PowerPoint?” Also, your weapon will be completely caked in carbon from those blanks.

5. Culmination exercise

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Photo: US Army Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

Suddenly, it’s exciting again. Pyrotechnics, laser tag, a bunch of awesome pictures that can become your Facebook cover photo so those girls from high school can see them. Someone in your squad can edit out the blank firing adapters.

6. Packing (and packing, and packing …)

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

That brief adrenaline rush at the final culmination exercise will not last. You will realize you still have to clean and pack the gear to go home. Then pack the connexes to send to country. Then pack your bags to go into other connexes. Then pack the …

7. Pre-deployment leave

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

Finally! After months of hard work, a brief rest before more months of hard work. Also, a chance to “not” tell more hometown girls that you’re deploying.

8. Getting on the plane (or ship or whatever)

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julio Rivera

Time to go somewhere really “fun” and live there for a year or so. But hey, only [balance of deployment] left until redeployment.

Articles

DARPA’s new robot can jump hurdles, chase you down, and haunt your dreams

With backing by DARPA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a robot that can run 13 mph and jump over obstacles without guidance from a human. A video of it in action was released yesterday, though it doesn’t appear to be running at full speed.


Looks like it’s time to start training. “Terminator” robots are going to be way faster than we ever imagined.

Some of the technology is explained in the video available below.

For more information on the robot, check out the full article on it over at Wired.

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Intel

Four US Marines killed in ‘act of terror’ in Tennessee

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
In this image made from video and released by WRCB-TV, authorities work an active shooting scene on Amincola Highway near the Naval Reserve Center, in Chattanooga, Tenn. on July 16, 2015. (Photo: WRCB-TV via AP)


A lone gunman opened fire at a Navy recruiting facility and another military building in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Thursday, The Military Times reported.

“Lives have been lost from some faithful people who have been serving our country,” Gov. Bill Haslam told the Military Times. “And I think I join all Tennesseans in being both sickened and saddened by this.”

A total of five people were reported dead, which included the gunmen and four U.S. Marines., according to The Associated Press. A soldier and a police officer were also wounded at the scene. An FBI special agent told The Guardian it was being treated as an “act of terror.”

On Facebook, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus released this statement:

While we expect our Sailors and Marines to go into harm’s way, and they do so without hesitation, an attack at home, in our community, is insidious and unfathomable. As the investigation unfolds, our priority will be to take care of the families of those affected.

I’d like to express my gratitude to the first responders on the scene whose prompt reaction was critical to stopping this individual from inflicting further violence.

Though we can never fully prevent attacks like this, we will continue to investigate, review and guard against future vulnerabilities and do everything in our power to safeguard the security of our service members and their families.

Read the full report here at the Military Times  

Read more: The 5 biggest stories around the military right now (July 16 edition)

Intel

This is how Singapore could strong-arm China

If you believe some reports, or breathless commentators, China is becoming an unstoppable naval juggernaut in the Pacific region. That may be somewhat overstated. Yes, China’s navy has become far more modern in the last ten years, but ironically, a country that is the size of the entire Washington D.C. metropolitan area (District of Columbia, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Alexandria, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County) could bring it to its knees.


 

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A 428th Fighter Squadron crew chief member marshals an F-15SG fighter in front of the Republic of Singapore squadron May 6, 2009. The unit includes approximately 180 active duty and 130 support personnel as part of a long-standing partnership with the United States to train Singaporean aircrews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Renishia Richardson)

Singapore is so small, about 25 percent of its combat planes are based in the United States due to a lack of space for training. In absolute terms, Singapore’s navy is small, with six frigates, six second-hand Swedish submarines, and six guided-missile patrol boats (plus a host of smaller combatants) according to the 16th Edition of Combat Fleets of the World.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
RSS Archer prior to its re-launch. (Kockums AB photo by Peter Nilsson)

China’s just in the South China Sea fleet is much larger, and the Luyang-class destroyers outclass Singapore’s Formidable-class frigates. Yet, Singapore has one very big advantage in any conflict – and it’s best summed up in that real-estate maxim: Location, location, location.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
This map shows Singapore’s strategic location between Malaysia and Indonesia. (CIA map)

 

Singapore controls the Strait of Malacca, the most critical maritime chokepoint on the Pacific Rim. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) had a notable collision with a merchant ship near this choke point, which contributed to the Pacific fleet’s commander being passed over for a promotion.

 

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A Singaporean F-16D Fighting Falcon with the 425th Fighter Training Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo)

While a lot of merchant traffic goes through this chokepoint – so called because those who control it can choke the trade of other countries – the most important are supertankers. With its diesel-electric submarines and frigates, combined with modern F-15 and F-16 fighters, Singapore can shut down traffic in the Strait of Malacca.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
The Republic of Singapore Navy missile corvette RSS Vengeance launches two Barak missiles during a missile exercise in support of the Singapore phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). The two missiles successfully shot down two U.S. Navy BQM-74E aerial drones, launched from the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46). (U.S. Navy photo)

China may be a high-tech power, but one resource it doesn’t have a lot of is oil. Cut off the oil supply, and the People’s Liberation Army Navy isn’t going anywhere. Nor will the People’s Liberation Army Air Force or the People’s Liberation Army Navy Air Force. That is how tiny Singapore could put a stranglehold on China. It’s all about location – and Singapore has prime geo-political real estate.

Intel

Could we really build a B-1B gunship?

In 2018, Boeing filed patents for a number of potential cannon mounting solutions for the supersonic heavy payload bomber, the B-1B Lancer, with the intent of creating a B-1B gunship similar in capability to the famed Spooky AC-130 and its most recent successor, the AC-130J Ghostrider. While the patents indicate Boeing’s interest in prolonging the life of the venerable Lancer, there’s been little progress toward pursuing this unusual design.

Recently, the U.S. Air Force announced plans to begin retiring its fleet of B-1Bs in favor of the forthcoming B-21 Raider, prompting us to ask ourselves: could we actually build a B-1B gunship to keep this legendary aircraft in service?

Could we really build a B-1B Gunship?

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

Boeing’s patents indicate a number of cannon-mounting methods and even types and sizes of weapons, giving this concept a broad utilitarian appeal. America currently relies on C-130-based gunships that, while able to deliver a massive amount of firepower to a target, max out at less than half the speed that would be achievable in a B-1B gunship. The Lancer’s heavy payload capabilities and large fuel stores would also allow it to both cover a great deal of ground in a hurry, but also loiter over a battlespace, delivering precision munitions and cannon fire managed by a modular weapon control system.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

In theory, it all sounds well and good, but there are also a number of significant limitations. The B-1B Lancer’s swing-wing design does allow it to fly more manageable at lower speeds, but it would almost certainly struggle to fly as slowly as an AC-130J can while engaging targets below. Likewise, a B-1B gunship would be just as expensive to operate as it currently is as a bomber–making it a much more expensive solution to a problem one could argue the U.S. has already solved.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll never see this concept, or even these patents, leveraged in some way. If you’d like to learn more about the concept of turning a B-1B into a gunship, you can read our full breakdown (that the video above is based on) here.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

Why CIA analysts are often sent into combat zones

In the first season of Amazon’s Jack Ryan, the eponymous character begins as a low-level financial analyst within the CIA. The series is, essentially, one big prequel, connecting to what will ultimately become Tom Clancy’s Ryanverse, a fictional reality that’s the basis for many great films, like The Hunt for Red October and The Sum of All Fears.

At the series’ start, Ryan is just a lowly desk-jockey, reluctant to embrace danger — he begins the series complaining about being sent into a combat zone. Now, it’s not necessarily a plot hole, but a CIA analyst being reluctant to get into the mix is a lot like a young private complaining that they’re being sent to Afghanistan: It happens so often that they should kind of expect their number to be called.


CIA analysts often provide the Department of Defense with the actionable intelligence they need to conduct their missions. That being said, the life of a CIA analyst isn’t the fun, high-stakes adventure that films often make it out to be. Since information about specific events is rarely released to the public, we often only hear about their missions well after the fact, or in some broad, vague way.

Each analyst is specifically trained in a given field and is sent to a specific region to learn one specific thing. This is fairly well represented in the show — Ryan is sent to Yemen to learn about terrorist spending habits there. Actual analysts would be given more mundane tasks, yes, but their missions would be along those lines.

Even if it’s a tad unrealistic, upping the ante makes for a great show.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

Hacking in the real world is more like using software to crack passwords than improvising lines of written code, just to demystify that one, too.

For the most part, analysts often only report local happenings to their higher ups. Sure, a deep-undercover operative sent to Afghanistan in 2000 may have been doing all that secret-squirrel stuff and agents sent to Berlin in the 70s could have been living it up like James Bond — but analysts might be sent anywhere for any reason, like to get a feel of the trends in the Kazakh media.

The whole spy world gets demystified when you realize that it’s actually kinda boring. Take the often-misunderstood CIA cyber analysts, for example. Moments where you can flex your super-hacker muscles like they do in the movies probably exists, but you’re mostly just gathering intelligence via social media analysis.

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

Don’t get that twisted, though. They’re still going to be involved with the cool moments you see in spy films — just not very often.

Hamid Karzai with Special Forces and CIA Paramilitary in late 2001.

Then there’re the analysts that get embedded with the troops. On one extreme, they’re working hand-in-hand with the special operations community to collect as much information as possible about any given threat, like on the Abbottabad Compound where Osama Bin Laden hid. Or they could be working with conventional forces to gather whatever the troops learn while deployed.

Everything just comes down to the second word in the CIA’s name — intelligence — and learning what they can from anywhere and everyone.

Intel

Marine Who Lost Leg In Combat To Climb Everest

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Veteran Charlie Linville is determined to scale Mount Everest despite the life-changing injuries he suffered while serving tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Photo: Charlie Linville personal collection)


Iraq and Afghanistan vet Charlie Linville lost his leg to an IED, but the Marine is determined to stand on top of the world by climbing Mount Everest. Marine Staff Sgt. Linville enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2006, served multiple tours and trained in disarming IEDs.

He was struck by an explosive device in Afghanistan in 2011, which resulted in the amputation of his right leg below the knee, the loss of two fingers, a severe spinal injury and moderate traumatic brain injury. But now, the married father of two, 29, is training to climb Everest with the Heroes Project in the spring.

A Kickstarter campaign will finance filming his ascent.

Read the rest of the story at Page Six.

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Articles

DARPA created a completely new way for helicopters to land

DARPA has been hard at work on the Mission Adaptive Rotor program, a system allowing helicopters to land on sloping, uneven, craggy, or moving surfaces by lowering robotic legs that bend to accommodate the terrain.


While helicopters can already land in plenty of locations other aircraft can’t, there are still a lot of places where landing is tricky or impossible because of the terrain.

The system worked successfully in a recent flight demonstration, but engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology will continue working on it. Beyond allowing for easier and safer takeoffs and landings, the gear is expected to reduce the damages from a hard landing by as much as 80 percent, according to a DARPA press release.

To see the system in action, check out the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJn9NrhbXYA

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Intel

This Medal of Honor recipient thinks Donald Trump is wrong on Muslims

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Photos: US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jacob N. Bailey and Michael Vadon CC BY-SA 4.0


Medal of Honor recipient and Afghan War Veteran Dakota Meyer recently penned an essay on Trump’s plan to ban all Muslims from entering the country.

Meyer, who fought beside Muslims while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, points out that Trump’s tactics will likely aid ISIS recruiting and threaten American security. It would also keep out the translators whose services saved American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, including the interpreter who Meyer worked to get into America safely.

Read Meyer’s essay over at Warriorscout.com 

Intel

Inside the Marine Corps’ new recon sniper course- a visual journey

Yesterday, Coffee or Die Magazine broke the story that the Marines have developed a new course to train snipers for the Corps’ elite Reconnaissance units.

That means we can now reveal that Coffee or Die staffers have been embedded with the Marines of Reconnaissance Training Company on Camp Pendleton off and on for the past month as they train 10 students in the first-ever Reconnaissance Sniper Course. We are following this first class of Recon Snipers all the way through the pilot course, which concludes March 19.

As always, we’re committed to what we do best, which is put boots on the ground to produce detailed multimedia coverage of these types of historical developments and, in this case, provide our readers an intimate view of how some of our most elite warriors are trained.

We have a lot more coverage on the Recon Sniper Course coming, but for now, here’s a taste of some of our best photos so far.

Read Next: How PIGs Become HOGs — A Visual Journey in Marine Corps Scout Sniper Training

6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A student in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course trains with the .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Students in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course get a briefing during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student engages targets with the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System (SASS) during marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 25. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Through their extensive training, Recon Marines earn the Combatant Diver insignia and the Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A student in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course fires the .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 10. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Reconnaissance Sniper Course students collected spent .50-caliber shell casings after firing the M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A student in the Reconnaissance Sniper Course fires the .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifle (SASR) during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Reconnaissance Sniper Course students on the range with .50-caliber M107 Special Application Scoped Rifles during known-distance marksmanship training on Camp Pendleton Feb. 11. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
Reconnaissance Sniper Course students during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student carries his rifle during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
RSC students carry equipment while running to the starting point for a stalk during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A student takes instructions from an RSC instructor while gathering vegetation from the surrounding environment to improve his camouflage, or “veg up,” during the early phase of stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A Reconnaissance Sniper Course student during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A student prepares for stalking training at the RSC, Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
RSC students carry equipment while running to the starting point for a stalk during stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
A student during stalking training at the RSC, Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction
An RSC student watches an instructor while gathering vegetation from the surrounding environment to improve his camouflage, or “veg up,” during the early phase of stalking training Feb. 26. Photo by Ethan E. Rocke/Coffee or Die Magazine.
6 crazy new DOD programs that sound like science fiction

This article originally appeared on Coffee or Die. Follow @CoffeeOrDieMag on Twitter.

Intel

The Navy wants to shoot 30 drones out of a cannon

The Navy is pushing harder toward fielding swarms of drones to accomplish missions and guard its ships. In August of last year, the service tested swarms of autonomous boats. Now, they want to take the technology into the air with drones that will fly in a coordinated swarm. To rapidly deploy the drones, the Navy is firing them from cannons.


The crown jewel of the research is the technology to coordinate the drones into a swarm, so the current drones being tested could be switched out for other platforms such as the popular Reaper and Predator drones once the technology matures.

See the video below or read more about the program at Defense One 

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