mav As always, the military is working on creating smarter, smaller, stealthier, and more lethal weapons and tools. But from all the military drones that they have created so far, this latest class of drones beats all the others. This new class is the Micro Air Vehicle MAV. Designed to be the size of a bug or a bird, the MAV uses nature’s flapping wings method of flight to better get around an urban terrain and better adjust to the gusts of wind created by obstructions like building. Aside from flying like an insect or bird, the MAV will be designed to also look like them to avoid suspicion.

The MAVs will be used for many different purposes ranging from surveillance missions, marking threats and points of interest, and all the way to taking out targets by sneaking up on them and then detonating explosives built into them. Researchers say these drones will also be able to work in swarms and communicate with each other to better carry out missions and create a “big picture” of the mission they are on.

As for powering the MAVs, researchers say that they might be able to charge from the sun, wind energy, power-lines, or vibrating machinery, and be able to go on missions for days or weeks at a time.

(Via DesignWorldOnline)

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military-jetsAside from just the military drones that have an unprotected video feed that anyone can hack into, it has now become apparent that all of the video feeds from the military are unprotected and can be seen by anyone that wants to. The military initially developed the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, or ROVER for short, in 2002 to let the troops on the ground download footage from the Predator drones and AC-130 gunships as it was taken. Since then, every military airplane has been equipped with a ROVER system.

Since this technology proved so very useful to the soldiers, the military tried to field test it and make it accessible to the soldiers as fast as possible, causing them to send it out to the field with some bugs.

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alqaida-africa In an effort to address the health concerns of troops stationed in the harsh desert climate of the Middle East, the Desert Research Institute in Nevada is getting $1.2 million dollars to use to create a mobile aerosol monitoring system for the Department of Defense.

The goal is to use the surveillance system to collect real time data that will help the Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine better understand the relationships between troop exposure to desert dust and other air pollutants, as well as respiratory and other health conditions.

Johann Engelbrecht and Hans Moosmüller are the research professors that have been designated with the task of designing and building the mobile surveillance facility, and initial testing will be done at the DRI Reno campus. This initiative is funded from part of about $90 million that has been designated for Nevada on behalf of the U.S. Senate in an effort to create more jobs in the state.

(Via RGJ)

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gps-map-iphoneRaytheon, a military contractor company, has announced its new iPhone application, the One Force Tracker. It will allow military personnel to securely communicate with each other, and track friends and foes on a real-time map. For example, it allows for crowd sourcing, which has volunteers using cellphones to report real-time traffic flow. The idea is to adapt the concept to turn each soldier into an individual reporting unit, delivering real-time data about position and status.

“We are really delighted to be leveraging Apple’s innovation” said J Smart, chief technology officer for Raytheon’s Intelligence and Information Systems.

The GPS-enabled map feature could also be used for tracking or labeling specific areas such as known sniper sites or safe fallback positions.

“This is hypothetical, but if there is a building with known terrorist activities, it could automatically be pushed to the phone when the soldiers get near that area,” said Mr. Smart.

With the extra communication, errors and misjudgments could be greatly reduced. In case another platoon doesn’t arrive on time, or military-iphonearrives early, soldiers would know that in real-time, instead of having to waste time confirming this with someone higher up; and on the battlefield, there is no time to waste.

Raytheon is also working on developing sensors that can be attached or even built into the military’s version of the iPhone that would serve other purposes. An example of this would be a portable ultrasound machine built into the iPhone which would be very useful for battlefield medicine.

If and when the military does start using the iPhone, there will be some modifications done to it to make it work at the highest level possible. The first thing that will be done is to turn off the “one-function” feature, allowing the iPhone to run multiple programs at once, such as having the GPS function running at all times, while other programs are being used. Also, since the iPhone doesn’t have a replaceable battery, the military might create a new, rugged phone case that would hold a bigger battery, and at the same time protect the phone from damage.

The adaptation of the iPhone to military use is somewhat unusual, since technology usually trickles down from the military to the consumer market. But this is a rare case of consumer hardware and software concepts being so useful and efficient that it is adapted for military use.

(Via NY Times)

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drone The U.S. has been using Predator drones, or unmanned jets,  to carry out attacks and surveillance missions in Iraq, but sources say that Iraqi militants have been using these video feeds to their own advantage. With a program called SkyGrabber, that can be bought online for around $26, Iraqi militants were able to intercept the live video feeds that the Predator jets were capturing. This type of intel allowed the Iraqis to basically anticipate and avoid any U.S. military action.

The security vulnerability of the video feeds exhibits how much work the military needs to do to secure and encrypt their network.


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drone-1_monster_397x224Recently the U.S. Air Force has completed developing and testing for a new unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV for short. Being virtually invisible to radar systems, the new UAV will be used for surveillance missions and is said to have the capability to gather aerial intelligence over Iran without detection, perhaps keeping track of the Islamic Republic’s emerging nuclear program.

Gene Robinson, founder of RP Flight Systems, which develops such planes for the civilian market, said that it is likely that the plain has no metal parts, except for its engine, making it effectively invisible to radar systems. Jamey D. Jacob, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Oklahoma State University, also said that the system is probably painted with a special paint and that it is likely composed of composite materials that add to its stealth capabilities.

Jacob also does not think the U.S. needs this kind of stealth technology to prevail in Afghanistan, even though the aircraft has apparently flown there, and is known as “The Beast of Kandahar.”

“Why does the U.S. need to have a super secret stealth UAV in Afghanistan?” he asked. “The Taliban and Al Qaeda don’t have radar seeking missiles we know of, so Predators and Global Hawks should work fine. This may mean then that Afghanistan is being used as a base of operations to fly covert surveillance missions over Iran, who do have radar based ground-to-air missiles.”

This is the first UAV of its type in operation, although Boeing and Northrop-Grumman are developing similar designs. “The fact that it is in the field already is telling in my opinion,” Jacob says.

(Via Fox News)

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army-shooterYesterday at Fort Hood, a Texas army base, 12 people were killed and 32 injured when Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist, opened fire on military personal. Sources say that this was not a terrorist plot against America, but rather the story of a disgruntled employee. Hasan was about to be deployed to Afghanistan against his will because he didn’t want to “do battle against other Muslims.” After realizing that he was going to be deployed anyway, he yelled out “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great” in Arabic, and open fired on the other soldiers. He was described as walking around calmly, only targeting soldiers instead of civilians. After killing a dozen soldiers and injuring 32 others, he was finally shot down by Sargent Kimberly Munley, a civilian cop, who managed to finally bring him down (but not kill him) after shooting him 4 times, while she herself was being fired at.

“It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil,” President Obama said in a statement.

Once again, evidence shows that this was not a terrorist plot. Hasan’s co-workers came forward to say that the Muslim doctor, the American-born son of Jordanian immigrants, opposed the war in Iraq but was not affiliated with any terrorist groups.

(Via NYDailyNews)

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cnn-logo1We recently posted about David Whittaker, a homeless and disabled vet who is currently rolling his way across the country in a wheelchair. CNN just posted a video update of David’s brave journey that is worth checking out. WJXT’s Scott Johnson reports.



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