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Showing posts from September 9, 2012

Target Drone on Craigslist

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Anybody in the Pacific Northwest looking for a slightly beat up target drone?  This appears to be a former U.S. Navy QST 33 Seaborne Powered Target (SEPTAR), used for gunnery exercises, especially those simulating drone swarms.  The QST-33s were used to test the LPD-17's MK 46 Mod 1 30 mm Gun Weapons System (GWS).

Mine Warfare Gets a Boost From Drones

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It is common knowledge that mines have damaged more U.S. Navy ships than any other weapon since World War II.  During the same period, however, the Navy's focus on Mine Warfare has waxed and waned.  The looming possibility of Iranian mines closing the Strait of Hormuz has once again put mine-countermeasures (MCM) on the upswing.  The Navy's future MCM force will be based on the Littoral Combat Ship and her MCM mission package which has yet to be deployed operationally.  In the meanwhile, the venerable fleet of Avenger Class minesweepers will provide the bulk of this important capability.  Four of the fiberglass-sheathed, wooden-hulled MCMs arrived in the Gulf in June to bolster the four ships already forward deployed to Bahrain.  Although the average age of these ships is over 23 years, their hull, mechanical, electrical, and combat systems suites were recently modernized.  The installation of new unmanned systems are another way the Navy has chosen to enhance the aging ships&…

3D Printing/Drone Logistics Mash-up

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Last Spring, the guys at CIMSEC wrote a series on how 3-D printing would revolutionize naval logistics.  Their vision is much closer to reality than science fiction.  The nexus of on-demand fabrication and unmanned vehicles was recently demonstrated in small scale at a venue where one would least expect to see cutting edge military concepts tested.  In another example of performance art-turned dual-use UAS military application, at the Burning Man Festival this year, a social entrepreneurship project called Blue Sky allowed visitors to scan an image of themselves, sculpt a miniature likeness of the person with a 3D printer, and deliver it to the consignee with an experimental octo-rotor UAV.  Despite challenges with wind, dust, and safety, the proof of concept demonstration was a success. 


The ability to print and deliver parts on demand locally and rapidly deliver them to forward operating forces will greatly streamline naval supply chains. Last December, the Marine Corps VMU-1 squad…