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Weapon Wednesday – Space Cargo Drops – The Ultimate Quick Response

spacex rocket cargo
SpaceX/Flickr
  • The U.S. Air Force wants $47.9 million to support its Rocket Cargo concept.
  • Rocket Cargo calls for a 100-ton rocket capable of airdropping cargo virtually anywhere in the world within minutes.
  • This system would use an existing space rocket, modified to suit the service’s needs.

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Weapon Wednesday – Don’t to wash behind Your Drop Tanks

afwerx jet washing robot
Texas Air National Guard
  • The Air Force built a robot that can wash an F-16 fighter jet in just 1 hour.
  • It typically takes a crew of four airmen up to 6 hours to do the same job.
  • The Jet Washing Robot could also save airmen from possible chemical agent exposure.

 

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Weapon Wednesday – New F-15 – Great Plane – Lame Name

lt col richard turner, commander, 40th flight test squadron, and lt col jacob lindaman, commander, 85th test evaluation squadron, deliver the first f 15ex to its new home station, eglin afb, florida, 11 march, 2021 the 40th flts will take possession of ex1 and the 85th tes will own ex2 upon its arrival, coming soon squadron aircrews and testers will work together to complete the combined developmental and operational testing simultaneously us air force photo by tech sgt john mcrell
U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John McRell

The U.S. Air Force has officially announced the name of its next-generation F-15 Eagle fighter … and it’s about what you’d expect. read more

Weapon Wednesday – Air Force F-36 Kingsnake

kingsnake plane from teasel studio
Andy Godfrey/Teasel Studio
  • The U.S. Air Force has expressed interest in a new, non-stealthy fighter jet to replace the F-16.
  • Several aviation experts have banded together and invented a new jet out of thin air.
  • The result, the F-36 Kingsnake, would use the F-22’s engines, place less of an emphasis on stealth, and use digital engineering.

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Weapon Wednesday – Air Force’s New Secret Jet

ngad

U.S. Air Force
  • The U.S. Air Force announced it has already flown a new prototype fighter.
  • We know virtually nothing about the new plane … other than it exists.
  • Most observers did not expect a new fighter for another decade.

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Weapon Wednesday – Lockheed Hypersonic Missile

The X-51 hypersonic test vehicle
The X-51 hypersonic test vehicle(Credit: US Air Force)

It appears that the US Air Force is taking recent reports of Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapon systems seriously, as it’s upped its game by awarding Lockheed Martin a contract worth up to US$928 million to develop a conventional strike weapon capable of flying over five times the speed of sound. read more

Weapon Wednesday – New Cruise Missile Coming

Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to develop a replacement for the current AGM-86 air-launched cruise...
Lockheed Martin was awarded the contract to develop a replacement for the current AGM-86 air-launched cruise missile(Credit: US Air Force)

Lockheed Martin may have lost out on designing America’s next-generation ICBM, but the company has been selected to help replace the vintage AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile. The US$900 million US Air Force Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract tasks the company with developing the technology needed to build the nuclear-capable Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile. read more

Weapon Wednesday: New Air Force B-21

Getty Images

The U.S. Air Force is preparing to start mothballing the B-2 Spirit and B-1B Lancer fleets in preparation for the next-generation stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, according to Aviation Week. The nuclear-capable B-2 stealth bomber and conventional B-1B supersonic bomber fleets will ultimately be retired to free up funds to support the B-21 program, which is expected to field the first aircraft in the mid-2020s. read more

Aircraft Laser-Defense System

Northrop Grumman is working with the U.S. Air Force to develop radical new laser weapons for supersonic fighter jets and hopes to test them in 2019, it has been revealed.

The technology, known as  ‘directed energy systems’ will be fitted to future craft to allow them to protect themselves.

The laser weapon will be housed in a pod attached to a fighter-sized aircraft.

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The technology, known as 'directed energy systems' will be fitted to future craft to allow them to protect themselves. The laser weapon will be housed in a pod attached to a fighter-sized aircraft.
The technology, known as ‘directed energy systems’ will be fitted to future craft to allow them to protect themselves. The laser weapon will be housed in a pod attached to a fighter-sized aircraft.

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Life on the Battlefield

They’re the first tintypes created in a  combat zone since the Civil War.

Seeking to capture the humanity of his peers  fighting in the Afghanistan war, California Air National Guard aerial gunner  Ed Drew asked  them to sit for photos on the battlefield.

While the process was painstaking and  laborious – when duty called, the Brooklyn-based photographer dropped his camera  and jumped into a helicopter – the images were gripping.

Drew was on active duty in the Helmand  Province as a helicopter aerial gunner with a U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue  Unit.

‘To do this process in a war, let alone a  foreign war, is  historically significant,’ Drew told the New Yorker.

‘The process of wet-plate tintypes is  challenging enough with perfect conditions and the availability of  chemicals.  In a foreign war, with the stresses of combat, lack of basic  materials, drying  desert air, and the wind and dust of Afghanistan, it  was quite a  challenge.’

The spectacular images can be viewed at his  website Ed Drew Photography. 

Drew's images are the first combat zone tintype photos created since the Civil WarDrew’s images are the first combat zone tintype photos  created since the Civil War

 

Drew said it was tough convincing his peers to sit through the tedious photo shoot Drew said it was tough convincing his peers to sit  through the tedious photo shoot

 

Drew was staff sergeant in the California Air National Guard and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a helicopter aerial gunner with a U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Unit when he captured these images Drew was staff sergeant in the California Air National  Guard and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a helicopter aerial  gunner with a U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Unit when he captured these images

 

Drew said taking tintype pictures in a war zone was 'historically significant' Drew said taking tintype pictures in a war zone was  ‘historically significant’According to fstoppers.com,  tintype ‘is a slow, laborious wet plate process that is difficult to master and  work with in warm temperatures’.Introduced in the mid-nineteenth century,  this artistic process was used to document the Civil War.It involves hand-pouring a collodion mixture  onto a metal plate, which is then made light sensitive in a darkroom via a  silver nitrate solution.

The plate, encased in a light-tight film  holder, is exposed to light in camera and then must be processed within ten  minutes of exposure.

For Drew, the unique artistic process helped  him work through his own involvement in the war.

‘As a photographer and artist I wanted to  achieve something that was physical, one of a kind and very unique,’ he told  PetaPixel.

‘I believe in the Japanese aesthetic of  ‘Wabi-Sabi’ so the idea that something is imperfect and impermanent interests  me.

‘I wanted that to translate in my Afghan  images as metaphors for what I  experienced in the war, I thought tintypes to be  the perfect  photographic process to translate Wabi Sabi in my  portraits.’

 

The stresses of combat, lack of basic materials, drying desert air, and the wind and dust of Afghanistan challenged Drew's artistic ability The stresses of combat, lack of basic materials, drying  desert air, and the wind and dust of Afghanistan challenged Drew’s artistic  ability

 

While Drew's peers were initially reluctant to sit for him, they went back for more after seeing the incredible results While Drew’s peers were initially reluctant to sit for  him, they went back for more after seeing the incredible results

 

Drew photographed his fellow soldiers in the front of the Air Force rescue helicopters they flew Drew photographed his fellow soldiers in the front of  the Air Force rescue helicopters they flew

 

Drew chose tintype photography because he 'wanted to do a process that was historical, but also made me take my time and work slowly to focus on my subject.'Drew chose tintype photography because he ‘wanted to do  a process that was historical, but also made me take my time and work slowly to  focus on my subject.’But convincing his peers to sit for a formal  portrait was tough, with many frustrated with the painstaking process.’Initially, I really had to convince them to  do it,’ Drew told fstoppers.com.’I work with these guys, but they know me as  a gunner.

‘After they started seeing how amazing the  plates looked, they began booking appointments.

‘One of the guys I flew with is the great  great grandson of Buffalo Bill so  he asked for a photo just like his  grandfather. It was one of my best  plates.’

 

 

Drew's photographic goal was to 'show the humanity of war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with.'Drew’s photographic goal was to ‘show the humanity of  war in the eyes of airmen I fly combat missions with.’

 

Not since Matthew Brady¿s work documenting the Civil War has the tintype photographic process been used on the battlefieldNot since Matthew Brady¿s work documenting the Civil War  has the tintype photographic process been used on the battlefield

 

Drew gave everyone who sat for him a high resolution scan and a print to thank them for participating Drew gave everyone who sat for him a high resolution  scan and a print to thank them for participating

 

Taking photos during an active mission meant Drew often had to 'drop everything' and jump in a helicopter Taking photos during an active mission meant Drew often  had to ‘drop everything’ and jump in a helicopter

 

Drew's Afghan images were 'metaphors' for what he experienced in the warDrew’s Afghan images were ‘metaphors’ for what he  experienced in the war

 

Drew said switching 'thought process, from creative to tactical' was difficult, as he had to make sure he maintained his 'situational awareness'Drew said switching ‘thought process, from creative to  tactical’ was difficult, as he had to make sure he maintained his ‘situational  awareness’

 

For Drew, the photos helped him to document his 'life in the aftermath of my deployment' For Drew, the photos helped him to document his ‘life in  the aftermath of my deployment’

Attribution: Mail Online