This interactive feature shows the Civil War's legacy like never before - We Are The Mighty
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This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before

The Civil War began right as practical photography was coming into its own. For the first time in American history, camera operators could go out and capture the devestation of war.


Now, photographer David Levene has gone back to the battlefields with the 150-year-old pictures and taken photos in the same spot.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
The interactive archive lets you see the exact same scenes, 150 years apart.

The result is a stark juxtaposition between the horrors of the Civil War and the world modern America became because of those soldiers’ sacrifices.

Rounding out the archive are audio clips from historians who have studied the battlefields.

Se the interactive archive, complete with scenes of Fort Sumter, Antietam, and other famous battles, at The Guardian.

Articles

This teenage genius created the best prosthetic ever

Easton LaChappelle, a 19-year-old from Cortez, Colorado, has created the most technologically advanced prosthetic the world has ever seen.


LaChappelle began experimenting with robotics when he was 17, creating a moveable robotic arm out of legos and other equipment found in his bedroom. Since then, he and his friends have created Unlimited Tomorrows, a robotics company that specializes in 3D printed prosthetics.

LaChapelle’s prototype possesses a range of motion that is nearly identical to that of a human hand, all controlled by the user’s thoughts. With more than 1,500 military service members having had major limb amputations since 2001, this device may be a game-changer for wounded troops.

And the best part? While most prosthetic limbs cost around $60,000, Chapelle’s prototype was created for only $350. This kid is going places.

To see more of Chapelle and his prosthetic, watch the video below:

DON’T MISS: Forget The Terminator Arm — DARPA Wants An Implantable Hard Drive For The Brain

Intel

This classic spy plane can’t land safely without a car driving behind it at 140 mph

The US Lockheed U-2 Spy plane is arguably one of the most capable platforms in the sky, but it needs backup when it comes in for a landing.


With only two wheels, the aircraft is incredibly unsteady when it touches down, and pilots have their hands full during the entire landing process.

The solution? Send a back-up pilot to trail the plane in a car while offering control inputs. The ground pilot can reach speeds around 140 mph while attempting to keep up with the aircraft. And without his help the plane could ground loop or worse.

Yes, it is as insane as it sounds.

Check out the video below to see a U-2 in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2tnCDBkIoI

 

NOW: Hilarious robot fails show why you shouldn’t worry about ‘Terminator’ just yet

OR: Here’s how the military takes civilian tech and makes it more awesome

Intel

This combat footage shows Special Forces raiding a terrorist compound

No matter where you try to hide, Army Special Forces will find you.


That message is clear by watching this video. Special Forces soldiers catch up with some insurgents in what looks like the only structure in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, it’s like finding Luke Skywalker’s house on Tattooine.

However, Skywalker didn’t have SF hunting him down. The door opens and all hell breaks loose. ISIS should know that, especially since they just freed 70 hostages from their clutches.

Watch: 

H/T: Funker

NOW: What we know about the Kurds fighting against ISIS with help from Delta Force

OR: Here’s what it takes to try out for Delta Force

Intel

Chinese troops showcase super soldier exoskeleton suits

China’s no-holds-barred military modernization program has included some attention-grabbing new technologies seemingly drawn from the recesses of science fiction. In addition to the development of artificial intelligence technology, experiments in weather control, and the development of microwave “heat ray” weapons, Beijing has also reportedly pursued programs to genetically engineer super soldiers.

And if a recent Chinese news report is to be taken at face value, the Chinese military has already deployed troops equipped with strength-enhancing exoskeleton suits to the disputed Sino-Indian Himalayan border.

According to a report by the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, a detachment of Chinese border guard troops wearing the exoskeleton suits hauled a supply delivery to a mountaintop outpost in China’s southwestern Ngari prefecture — a Himalayan territory within the Tibetan Autonomous Region that includes portions of China’s contested border with India. In a video news report posted online, Chinese soldiers don devices that attach to their legs and waists, providing extra propulsion and support as they shouldered loads (containing food parcels to celebrate the Lunar New Year) up a rugged mountain trail at a reported altitude of roughly 16,700 feet.

Chinese forces first advertised their use of the exoskeletons in the Himalayan region in February, according to Chinese news reports, which touted the technology as a way to increase an individual soldier’s load-carrying capacity — especially at high altitude. An October CCTV video showed Chinese soldiers lifting heavy crates with the assistance of another, more substantial exoskeleton suit variant with a brace that extends the length of the wearer’s spine.

While eye-catching, the varied Chinese exoskeleton suits are more or less analogous to the designs currently being tested by the US military. Last year, the US Army began a four-year, $6.9 million research program to evaluate exoskeleton suits for military use. The suits under review are designed to artificially enhance the physical performance limits of a soldier — allowing him or her to run faster, jump higher, and carry heavier loads.

“As we explore the more mature exoskeleton options available to us and engage users, the more we learn about where the possible value of these systems is to army operations,” David Audet, a division chief in the Soldier Effectiveness Directorate at the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, told Army-technology.com.

The US Army is currently evaluating multiple exoskeleton variants, including designs by American defense firms such as Lockheed Martin and Dephy.

Lockheed Martin’s Onyx suit includes leg attachments that resemble therapeutic leg braces connecting to a waist belt. The Onyx uses electromechanical knee actuators, multiple sensors, and an artificial intelligence computer to boost human strength and endurance, according to Army-technology.com.

“Before the army can consider investing in any development above what industry has done on their own, we need to make sure that users are on board with human augmentation concepts and that the systems are worth investing in,” Audet said.

US Special Operations Command (SOCCOM) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have also built exoskeleton suits of their own. Comprising a roughly 700-pound suit replete with anti-ballistic, full-body armor and an array of sophisticated sensors, the SOCCOM design was deemed unwieldy and unworkable and was ultimately canceled, according to industry reports.

The DARPA exoskeleton is a so-called soft suit that facilitates easier freedom of movement while providing extra power to a soldier’s waist, hips, thighs, and calves.

China and India share a 2,000-mile-long border in the Himalayas, which includes some of the harshest terrain and environmental conditions on earth. It is an ideal testing ground for China’s burgeoning exoskeleton technology.

Much of the region is above 14,000 feet in altitude. It is arid and cold, with severe exposure in places. The unfiltered sunlight at high altitude can cause blindness if not wearing the right sunglasses. And the lack of oxygen can cause lethal afflictions like pulmonary and cerebral edemas to strike without warning.

Deployed troops have to spend weeks acclimating to the reduced oxygen levels at such heights before they’re able to perform their duties. For the Indian army, this takes place at an outpost on the Chang La pass — which, at 17,586 feet in altitude, is roughly the same height as Mount Everest base camp.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Indian and Chinese forces have competing claims over Pangong Lake. Photo by Nolan Peterson.

Tensions between China and India inflamed in May after reports of fistfights between Chinese and Indian border patrols at two different sites along the so-called Line of Actual Control, or LAC, which denotes the two countries’ Himalayan frontier in a remote Indian region called Ladakh.

Chinese units have also claimed territory near Pangong Tso, a high-altitude lake that marks part of the Himalayan frontier between the two countries. The two sides have overlapping claims on the lake. A hand-to-hand brawl in June left 20 Indian soldiers dead; Chinese troops have also used microwave weapons to harass Indian troops, according to news reports.

Both Indian and Chinese forces are in the midst of a phased withdrawal from the contested Himalayan border region, Indian news outlets report. The bilateral moves are intended to restore the border area to its status prior to last summer’s escalated tensions.

“Both sides will cease their forward deployments in a phased, coordinated and verified manner,” Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said Feb. 11.

Feature photo: Screenshot from YouTube courtesy of Chinese Media Perspective

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

Articles

The KGB’s Alpha Group left terrorists in fear of the Soviet Union

The massacre of Israeli athletes by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics was a wake-up call. Like many countries in the 1970s, the Soviet Union had to come up with a way to counter the rise of domestic and international terrorism. The western countries that comprised the NATO alliance had their special units, so the Soviet Union relied on its state security service to make its own.

KGB Chief Yuri Andropov created Alpha Group, a special operations and commando unit inside his already elite organization. Their skills included counterterrorism, hostage situations, interdicting foreign intelligence services, VIP protection, and more. Unlike most federal police agencies’ special tactical units, the KGB’s Alpha Group often found itself deployed overseas. 

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Not the look of a man who has patience with terrorists (Wikimedia Commons)

The Alpha Group would leave terrorists in fear, not the other way around. 

When deployed to Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion of the country, the KGB’s special operators decapitated the Afghan government, capturing the Ministry of Defence, the presidential palace, and assassinating President Hafizullah Amin, along with every other Afghan in the Tajbeg Palace and any witnesses. 

Members of the Alpha Group would spend the next ten years in Afghanistan, waging a war of fear and intimidation against the Afghan Mujahideen. 

The KGB’s finest operation against international terrorism came in Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1980s. At the time, Lebanon was in the early stages of a long civil war, and Beirut was a city torn apart. 

Although western countries sent peacekeeping forces into Lebanon and into Beirut in particular, many western countries began to feel the effects of terrorism on their people. The Americans not only suffered the bombing of its Marine barracks, but also experienced a number of significant kidnappings. Members of many Lebanese factions would go out and abduct high-profile individuals throughout the city.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
U.S. Embassy in Beirut after the 1983 bombing (Wikimedia Commons)

Many of these victims were kept for years. The longest was held captive for nearly five years. Diplomats, aid workers, and journalists were all victims of abductions from groups like Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Liberation Organization and others. France, the United States, West Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland were all victims. 

The Soviet Union lost one diplomat of the four that were abducted. In October 1985, four officials from the USSR were kidnapped in Beirut and the KGB’s Alpha Group was dispatched to find and rescue them. By the time the KGB arrived in Lebanon, Arkady Katkov, a consular attaché, had been killed. His body was found in a Beirut street. 

The KGB’s long-standing policy was not to negotiate with terrorists. Its operatives went to work identifying each member of the Islamic Liberation Organization who had a part in the abductions. Once they found a member of ILO who helped kidnap Soviet citizens, the KGB would abduct one of the offenders’ family members. 

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Alpha Group: Not to be trifled with (Wikimedia Commons)

It’s rumored that one of those family members had their testicles forcibly removed by the KGB and mailed to the members of the ILO. The threat was clear: you can get to us, but we can also get to you. Not only were the remaining three diplomats dropped off near the Soviet embassy within the next thirty days, international terrorists left the Russians alone for the next 20 years. 

Alpha Group would go on to have significant roles in attempted coups during the fall of the Soviet Union, but could not prevent the Evil Empire’s fall. The KGB would fall with the USSR, but Alpha Group would live on with the new Russian FSB state security service. 


Feature image: Vladimir Putin shakes hands with members of Alpha Group in Chechnya in 2011 (Wikimedia Commons)

Intel

Recon Marines honor fallen brothers with a grueling 30-mile ruck run

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for troops who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States.


On this day, Americans may be posting tributes on social media or attending events to honor the fallen. For a group of Recon Marines however, their way of honoring fallen brothers is with an intense, grueling challenge over nearly 30 miles.

“I’ll run for him until I retire,” says Master Gunnery Sgt. Christopher May of his comrade Staff Sgt. Caleb Medley, in a new video produced by the Marine Corps. Medley died in Feb. 2013 in a parachuting accident while training in California, according to The Marine Times.

Watch the video below:

SEE ALSO: 12 rare and amazing photos from the ‘War to End All Wars’

Intel

This video is the best Force Recon footage you’ll see this week

U.S. Force Recon Marines move ahead of the rest of the force and plunge into dangerous areas where the Marine ground force commander needs to know what’s going on but can’t otherwise gather intelligence.


They strap on scuba tanks, parachutes, and heavy rucks as the mission requires and carry an arsenal just in case they need to tangle with the enemy while reconnoitering the area. Check out the video above to see what these guys are all about.

Intel

Army moves forward with enlisted talent programs

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army continues to expand talent management plans for senior noncommissioned officers that could one day incorporate junior NCOs, as part of the service’s ongoing effort to place the right leaders in the right jobs.

Following the rollout of command assessment programs for lieutenant colonels and colonels, the Army Talent Management Task Force is now focusing to harness enlisted talent.

In November, the Sergeant Major Assessment Program was initially tested at Fort Knox, Kentucky, to evaluate nearly 30 brigade-level sergeants major for future senior assignments.

Earlier this month, the sergeant major of the Army decided to implement the program at the brigade level this fall, with plans to extend it to the battalion level the following year, said Maj. Jed Hudson, the task force’s action officer for enlisted talent.

“Now we’re going to have an opportunity to really use objective assessments to complement the current subjective evaluations that are already used as we select battalion and brigade command sergeants majors,” he said Wednesday during an Association of the U.S. Army Noon Report.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before

First sergeants

The First Sergeant Talent Alignment Assessment also held a recent pilot with about a dozen master sergeants from the 82nd Airborne Division and 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“99 percent of them said it was a great initiative and they felt it had a more holistic look at an NCO to match up with those positions,” said Sgt. Maj. Robert Haynie, the task force’s NCO team lead.

Additional pilots are being scheduled with 1st Infantry Division, 10th Mountain Division, and potentially with units in Alaska later this year, he added.

Leaders believe if the best individuals can fill first sergeant slots, it could help bolster the Army’s “This is My Squad” initiative, which aims to build cohesive teams at the squad level.

“That company-level first sergeant really coaches, teaches and mentors and puts those squad leaders into those right positions,” Haynie said. “Having the right NCOs with the right characteristics helps us get after that.”

Similar to the officer assessments, both enlisted programs plan to use objective methods to prevent unconscious bias, such as behavioral-based interviews that are double blind using a standard rubric of questions for each person, Haynie said.

The First Sergeant Talent Alignment Assessment also collects details on an individual through an assessment battery that measures a variety of their attributes, such as ethics, decision making, and general intelligence.

Those details are then seen by local commanders along with the normal data previously used, including evaluations, military and civilian education and military occupational specialties.

“They still have the authority to make the decision, but [now] they have the information to make an informed decision,” Hudson said.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before

ASK-EM

The Assignment Satisfaction Key-Enlisted Module, or ASK-EM, is also now fully operational and is in its second iteration, which is on track to assist about 9,000 NCOs through their permanent change-of-station process, Hudson said.

ASK-EM, which is run by Army Human Resources Command, allows NCOs from E6s to E8s to access a marketplace where they can enter their preferences and see available positions, while providing them more predictability on when they’ll move.

During the initial run of ASK-EM, about 25% of NCOs were able to receive their first choice of duty station, while roughly half had one of their top five choices, Hudson said.

In comparison, the first assignment cycle of the officer’s marketplace, called the Army Talent Alignment Process, saw 47% of roughly 13,000 officers receive their top choice last year.

“We think there’s no reason that the noncommissioned officer marketplace won’t be able to emulate that type of success,” Hudson said.

The major said he recently spoke to a master sergeant with the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, who informed him that he was able to get his first choice at U.S. Africa Command.

“One thing he told me, though, you still have to preference based on what skills you have,” Hudson said. “Are you qualified for the job and is it right for your career?

“So if you’re only preferencing based off location, especially junior NCOs who may not understand the career implications as much, there’s a chance that they will not set themselves up for success.”

The enlisted marketplace will shift the decision authority from assignment managers to local commanders, so they can better decide on what they require from a list of individuals.

“The assignment manager remains in the process as far as an advisor and a mentor to the individuals who are moving,” Hudson said. “It allows people to really have transparency on all the talent available and the individual [to have] transparency on all the assignments available.”

While senior NCOs may mostly benefit from the initial enlisted programs, Haynie said they will eventually trickle down to junior NCOs.

“We are moving forward with ‘people first’ and really putting our money where our mouth is and doing these initiatives,” he said. “This is going to continue.”

Intel

The Navy’s plan to replace the super hornet by the 2030s

The Navy needs a new fighter to replace the Super Hornet by the 2030s, and that means moving a whole lot faster than the F-35’s development.

The U.S. Navy joined the Air Force in garnering attention for their Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program recently, but just because they’re using the same acronym as the Air Force doesn’t mean they intend to field the same aircraft. In fact, it seems the Navy is open to looking broadly at potential replacements for its workhorse 4th generation fighter, as well as its electronic warfare counterpart, the EA-18G Growler.

This new fighter, which some have assumed will qualify for a “6th generation” moniker, will have its work cut out for it as the United States military pivots back toward deterring nation-level foes with increasing technological parity like China. In fact, it’s likely that whatever the Navy’s new fighter is, it’ll require support from at least one un-crewed aircraft in order to maximize its capabilities.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Artist’s rendering of a 6th generation Navy fighter (Boeing)

“As we look at it right now, the Next-Gen Air Dominance is a family of systems, which has as its centerpiece the F/A-XX – which may or may not be manned – platform. It’s the fixed-wing portion of the Next-Gen Air Dominance family of systems,” Rear Adm. Gregory Harris explained.

Admiral Harris’ suggestion that the Navy’s next fighter might not have a pilot may not be indicative of where the program currently sits developmentally, but rather, it likely suggests that the U.S. Navy is willing to consider a variety of potential solutions to the problems facing the nation’s fleet of flat-top fighters.

China, widely seen as America’s most militarily potent adversary, has already begun fielding hypersonic anti-ship missiles with operational ranges in excess of a thousand miles. Because of the incredible speed in which these weapons fly (greater than Mach 5), the U.S. currently does not have any reliable means of intercepting or defending against such an attack. As a result, America’s supercarriers would have to remain outside the thousand-plus mile reach of these weapons, creating what’s known as an “area denial bubble” extending from Chinese shores with these weapons in place.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Hypersonic weapons travel in excess of Mach 5. China and Russia both claim to have hypersonic weapons in service. The U.S. has multiple hypersonic weapons in development. (DARPA)

Currently, America’s Navy fighters have a combat radius reaching up to 750 or so miles, making them unable to cover the distance required to fly combat sorties over China without putting their carriers at risk of hypersonic missile strikes. You can read a more complete explanation of this area denial bubble and the Navy’s fighter fuel range woes in our in-depth discussion on it here.

But these new jets will need more than just range in order to dominate a 21st-century battlespace. The Navy’s Super Hornet replacements will need to leverage at least some degree of stealth in order to be survivable, and in fact, will likely need improved stealth capabilities over jets like the F-35 and F-22 in order to be seen as a truly 6th generation fighter. Improved avionics and data fusion capabilities are also all but certain–but the element that may make these new fighters really stand out from Lockheed Martin’s existing stealth jets is their use of drones for a variety of support roles.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Image of a recent test linking an F-35, F-22 and Kratos Valkyrie drone. (Air Force photo)

“But we truly see NGAD as more than just a single aircraft. We believe that as manned-unmanned teaming comes online, we will integrate those aspects of manned and unmanned teaming into that,” Harris said.

“Whether that – we euphemistically refer to it as our little buddy – is an adjunct air-to-air platform, an adjunct [electronic warfare] platform, discussion of could it be an adjunct advanced early warning platform. We’ll have to replace the E-2D [Advanced Hawkeye] at some point in the future, so as we look to what replaces that.”

The U.S. Air Force drew headlines the world over last year when they announced that they had already built and tested a prototype for their NGAD fighter program, prompting many to wonder if a new jet is right around the corner. Of course, the truth is, that prototype was likely a demonstrator for some elements of new fighter technology, like operating while interlinked with a constellation of support drones. In other words, the Air Force’s tests might have been about proving something was possible, moreso than moving into production.

But the progress the Air Force has made in the NGAD realm will almost certainly benefit the Navy’s NGAD efforts, despite both branches being clear that they have no intention of repeating mistakes made during the F-35’s acquisition process. The Joint Strike Fighter program that berthed the F-35 required a single fighter platform that could fill the disparate needs of multiple military branches and allied forces. The result was an incredibly complex, expensive, and slow development process that hasn’t been fully completed to this day, even in its 14th year of flying.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
The F-35 is widely touted as the most capable fighter on the planet, but it’s also expensive. The Navy will operate F-35Cs alongside their NGAD fighter. (DoD Photo)

With the Navy’s stable of Super Hornets and Growlers expected to age out of service within the next two decades, the F-35’s timetable just won’t cut it. The Navy needs a new, more capable, longer-range fighter–and it needs it sooner rather than later. That’s where some degree of cooperation between the branches can still be viable, even as the Navy and Air Force pursue different airframes with different specialties.

By using an open system architecture in designing these aircraft, the Navy and Air Force will be able to leverage new sensors and other digital technologies in both aircraft. Fielding the same modular systems would reduce costs, increase interoperability, and importantly, make it similarly inexpensive to replace those systems with newer ones as technology allows.

“So if you think about it, a contractor may have a particular sensor – let’s just use the radar as an example – and over time, perhaps the performance of that radar isn’t what you want, either from a sustainability standpoint or purely from a capability standpoint,” he said.

“With that open mission system architecture, you have an ability to more rapidly replace that without getting into vendor lock. And we’ve seen vendor lock create problems for us before. We firmly believe that competition will give us a better reliability, lower sustainment costs and lower the overall costs.”

The Navy is taking a two-step approach to replacing its 4th generation jets, first focusing on a replacement for the F/A-18 Super Hornet, and then for the EA-18 Growler, which is fundamentally the same or very similar, but is equipped with a suite of electronic warfare systems instead of kinetic munitions. The next-generation platforms in these roles may not be two similar jets. Instead, some roles will likely be filled by drones, as the Navy works toward fielding a larger uncrewed fleet.

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
An EA-18G Growler, from the “Cougars” of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, touches down on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Elliot Schaudt/Released)

The Navy is currently developing the MQ-25 Stingray as part of this very endeavor. Boeing’s prototype was originally intended to serve as a carrier-based UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle), but the Navy pivoted toward a fuel carrier in order to begin picking away at China’s area denial bubble. The MQ-25 will be able to refuel manned aircraft in contested airspace, allowing for greater range. It stands to reason, however, that the MQ-25 could find other uses aboard the Navy’s flat tops, including the kinetic one it was originally designed for.

“Right now – notionally – looking at driving towards an air wing that has a 40-60 unmanned-manned split and overtime shift that to a 60-40 unmanned-manned split. So to try to drive an air wing that is at least 50 percent or more unmanned over time,” Harris explained.

“Again, a lot of that’s going to be dependent on the success we see with the MQ-25 Stingray, on our ability to truly learn how to operate around the aircraft carrier and safely execute that both on the flight deck and then airborne.”

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
MQ-25A Stingray (Photo courtesy of Boeing)

Related: MQ-25 STINGRAY: A NEW DRONE THAT COULD BE A GAME CHANGER

Despite an increased focus on using artificial intelligence to aid in decision making aboard drones, it seems unlikely that the Navy’s next fighter will come without a cockpit. Dogfights between aircraft are considered to be among the most complex situations pilots could contend with, and the technology isn’t quite mature enough to hand those life or death decisions off to an AI system yet. Further, before we can field such platforms, America will have to contend with the idea of giving a machine the decision to choose a target and execute. Currently, human operators manage those decisions. However, using drone platforms as “arsenal ships” or “missile magazines” that support stealth aircraft may indeed be feasible.

“Having an unmanned platform out there as an adjunct missile carrier I see as not a step too far, too soon. I could have an unmanned friend. I typically say a flying Dorito chip when I’m thinking about it – doesn’t have to be that, right,” Harris continued.

“An unmanned system with missiles I can clearly in my mind envision a way to say, ‘fine defensive combat spread. Shoot on this target.’ And I will squeeze the trigger or I will just execute – enable that unmanned platform to shoot the designated target. That doesn’t stretch beyond my realm of imagination.”

It seems clear that the next fighters America fields will be just one piece of a larger “family of systems,” blending crewed and uncrewed aircraft, fusing data from air, ground, and sea-based sensors, and engaging targets with its own munitions as well as weapons carried by other assets. This networked interoperability will allow decision makers a broader set of options and pilots a great degree of awareness and capability.

The only question is, can they do it in time to beat the Super Hornet’s final flight off into the sunset?

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

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

NOW: That time the US Army stole a Russian helicopter for the CIA

Intel

Chinese hackers strike US government servers targeting people with Chinese ties

China is at it again, starting off the first 100 days of the Biden Presidency with a number of cyberattacks aimed at shaking American businesses, local governments and even those agencies with their own interests in what happens inside the Chinese government.

The latest round of Chinese attacks on American data services was one of the most advanced hacks yet, especially in terms of the measures taken to evade detection. This time, the hackers weren’t necessarily targeting the Department of Defense or critical infrastructure, they were targeting individuals with information China would consider valuable.

A hacking group called Advanced Persistent Threat 5 (or APT5)  is the culprit in the latest round of attacks according to Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, a division of FireEye. FireEye has routinely aided the U.S. government in its cybersecurity efforts and has detected or thwarted a number of high-profile attacks in the past decade. 

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of Mandiant, a division of FireEye (LinkedIn)

“This looks like classic China-based espionage,” Carmakal told the Washington Post. “There was theft of intellectual property, project data. We suspect there was data theft that occurred that we won’t ever know about.”

Though the defense department was a target of this round of hacking, a number of other U.S. government agencies were, along with some critical defense contractors. The attacks began in June of 2020 and may even be ongoing. The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), acknowledged as much in an April 2021 alert.

This time, the flaws exploited by Chinese hackers were inside of Pulse Secure virtual private network servers (VPN) that allow remote working employees to access company servers while offsite. 

Hackers also got into hardware devices near the victims’ locations, and renamed their servers to mimic those of current employees. Hiding in plain sight with a common name and the accounts of persons they just hacked is what made the intrusion so difficult to detect. 

FireEye has a long history of exposing high-profile hacks from state actors. In 2015, the company discovered Chinese hackers exploiting vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word and Office applications as well as Adobe Flash Player. In 2016, it discovered a vulnerability in the Android mobile operating system that allowed hackers to access text messages and phone directories. 

The cybersecurity firm was also a target of hackers itself in 2020, when state-funded hackers stole the FireEye toolkit. FireEye had to then begin to fight its own software, releasting tools to make the use of its toolkit more difficult in cyberattacks. 

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Tech. Sgt. Bryan Dauphinais, 103rd Communications Flight cyber transport journeyman, analyzes simulated cyberattacks during exercise Cyber Yankee at the Windsor Locks Readiness Center, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, July 30, 2020. The exercise connects Guardsmen throughout New England with state and federal agencies, and has them work alongside critical infrastructure utilities to combat simulated cyber attacks from threat actors. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Steven Tucker)

Most importantly, FireEye detected the 2020 SolarWinds attack and reported it to the National Security Agency (NSA). The SolarWinds attack allowed hackers to breach multiple government agencies, grant themselves privileged access to their networks. This attack was allegedly conducted by hackers working for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR.  

In response, President Biden implemented seeping sanctions on the Russian economy upon taking office. There is no word yet on retaliation against China from the Biden Administration, the White House has only commented that it was aware of the situation and was monitoring it closely. 

The most recent cybersecurity breach by APT5 is the third detected attack in 2021, all suspected to have links to China’s Communist Party. One of the previous two attacks hit 30,000 Americans in small business and local government, the other targeted tech giant Microsoft. 

Intel

This is the ultimate special operations weapon

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before
Image: courtesy of FN Herstal


NATO wanted a replacement for its 9x19mm Parabellum firearms; what it got is the ultimate special ops weapon.

The FN Herstal P90 is a compact but powerful sub-machine gun. It was designed for vehicle crews, support personnel, special forces and counter-terrorist groups.

It’s an ugly futuristic-looking weapon. The bullpup design with ambidextrous controls and top-mounted magazine make it unconventional. But make no mistake, this is an incredibly useful weapon. It’s so effective that it’s currently in service with military and police forces in over 20 nations throughout the world, according to this video.

Watch:

American Heroes Channel, YouTube

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