Most likely one of the more enjoyable training operations they get to participate in. From Wikipedia:
Operation Christmas Drop is a tradition that serves as a training mission for the United States Air Force which started in 1952. It has since become the longest running U.S. Department of Defense mission in full operation, and the longest running humanitarian airlift in the world. Supported by the local communities of Guam, it is primarily conducted from Andersen Air Force Base and Yokota Air Base.
Aircraft-maker Boeing has successfully tested the missile which has reportedly cost £24m to develop and it is claimed could cripple an entire country, without causing loss of life.
In a desert in the US state of Utah, scientists working on the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP) fired the rocket along a pre-programmed flight path. The microwaves it emitted permanently disabled computers inside a nearby military compound.
Experts are reported to believe the weapon is equipped with an electronic pulse cannon – effectively a super-powered microwave oven – which causes voltage surges in electronic equipment. This destroys computers even if they are plugged into surge protectors.
Here’s an arms race to look forward to, it would potentially destroy power grids and communications systems of a wide area taking months if not years to repair. Regardless, it’s quite interesting to read about.
By putting 3D printers behind the front line it hopes to be able to produce spares more cheaply and quickly than it can get them from manufacturers.
The army embarked on the project to produce its own printer as commercial devices were too expensive.
Early versions of the printer cost $695 (£436) compared to $3,000 (£1,880) for a commercial model.
It makes total sense if you think about it. One of the biggest weaknesses in Iraq for a long time were supply convoys. They were constantly being attacked and subjected to IED’s. Keeping the front lines supplied is critical to any battle. If they could refabricate just a few critical things it would reduce the impacts of this vulnerability.
Of course one also wonders why the military, especially after Iraq doesn’t stress alternative full supplies more than they do. One in eight casualties was due to fuel supply convoys. It’s apparently something they are working hard on. It would be a major strategic victory if they had such technology they could rely on. Perhaps in the future, our military on the front lines will actually be self sufficient and not relying on convoys to bring supplies. It would save many lives.
Not to mention, applying these things to other non-military uses would be a major win too. Imagine being able to deploy such capabilities to a natural disaster. First responders would be much more productive than they are capable of being today.
Logistics is expensive, and time-consuming at best. Reducing logistics makes dangerous situations better. These technologies can and likely will eventually change the world and how our military and first responders will respond to a crisis. It’s pretty impressive to see where things are headed.
Pretty cool records recently declassified. From ExtremeTech:
The aircraft, which had the code name Project 1794, was developed by the USAF and Avro Canada in the 1950s. One declassified memo, which seems to be the conclusion of initial research and prototyping, says that Project 1794 is a flying saucer capable of “between Mach 3 and Mach 4,” (2,300-3,000 mph) a service ceiling of over 100,000 feet (30,500m), and a range of around 1,000 nautical miles (1,150mi, 1850km).
Looks a lot like the Avrocar in many respects. I wonder how many UFO reports in that era were perhaps manned or unmanned tests of this aircraft. I’d imagine it’s possible that while this is now declassified, the US Government still isn’t going to admit to what degree it was tested.
A French military bunker from WWI and WWII was discovered by urban explorers. The preservation of some of the vehicles is amazing. So very cool. Hopefully this gets preserved and protected against vandalism and theft.