The US Navy is creating an offensive anti-surface network that will tie targeting information from satellites, aircraft, ships, submarines and the weapons to form a lethal “kill web”.
The name kill web was chosen because Sky Net was already taken and death cloud sounded too much like a toxic fart.
Kill web uses sensors in a so-called tactical cloud that will allow aircraft and ships to access a range of targeting information to launch weapons against surface targets.
Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, who works admiring rears at the Strike Weapons and Unmanned Aviation at the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), used lots of buzz words to describe how it worked.
“The All Domain Offensive Surface Warfare Capability is “integrated fires, leveraging all domains, the ability for us to utilize air-launched capabilities, surface launched capabilities and subsurface launched capabilities that are tied together with an all domain [information network],” he said.
“Specifically their ability to take all of their sensors and nets them together to project their ability to see me faster and farther away and [now] my sanctuary been decreased,” Darrah said.
“It’s about their ability to reduce the amount of space I have to operate in by tying their capability together and force me to operate from a farther distance from a threat.”
The scheme will allow the Navy to increase the effective ranges of their own weapons against surface targets.
While it is spending a fortune on new weaponry, the US Navy would rather pay millions in protection money to Microsoft to keep its ancient Windows XP machines running.
The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which runs the Navy’s communications and information networks, signed a US$9.1 million contract earlier this month for continued access to security patches for Windows XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003.
This will be worth $30.8 million to Microsoft and extend into 2017. All of those products have been deemed obsolete by Microsoft by July 14.
It is good for Microsoft as it will continue to offer security updates on a paid basis for customers like the Navy. It has to do the security updates anyway because it still has a fair number of Government customers who have also been slow to upgrade.
The Navy tried to sail away from XP in 2013, but it seemed to hit some headwind with the project as of May this year it still had approximately 100,000 workstations running XP or the other software.
Steven Davis, a spokesman for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego said that the Navy relies on a number of legacy applications and programs that are reliant on legacy Windows products.
“Until those applications and programs are modernised or phased out, this continuity of services is required to maintain operational effectiveness.”
Microsoft applications affect “critical command and control systems” on ships and land-based legacy systems. Affected systems are connected to NIPRnet, the US government’s IP network for non-classified information, and SIPRnet, the network for classified information.
The US Navy is using travel software similar to that under the bonnet of Expedia to slash its global logistics and transportation budget.
The Navy expects to save $20 million per year thanks to Expedia technology.
According to a talkative navel, the system consolidates information about freight and personnel travel schedules into a single database.
Slashdot said this then shows up giving decision-makers a choice of the quickest, cheapest options available.
The Office of Naval Research, which developed the application, said that the Transportation Exploitation Tool (TET) is a little more sophisticated than online travel sites such as Expedia or Travelocity were in 1996.
The system consolidates travel schedules and capacity reports for both military and civilian carriers to give logistics planners a choice of open spaces in ships, planes, trucks, trains or other means of travel, along with information about cost, estimated time of arrival and recommendations of the most efficient route.
In the bad old days logistics planners trying to get an engine part to a Navy ship stranded in a foreign port would spend hours or days looking through separate databases to find something able to carry the part.
Bob Smith, program manager at the Office of researching navels , wrote that the system uses advances in technology to provide outstanding optimisation of available flights and ship routes.
It saves huge amounts of time and could mean lives being saved. Particular if the limes arrive on time and no one gets scurvy.
The system is based in cloud servers and has been combined with the Financial and Air Transportation System, which is the travel and supply-chain planning system owned by the US Transportation Command.
The prototype version saved the Navy $28 million in transportation costs, and the outfit expects it to continue to save about $20 million per year.
The US Navy is going to deploy its first on ship laser next year and has been showing one in action on YouTube.
It is the first ever ship-mounted laser, a disruptive, cutting-edge weapon capable of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles with a blast of infrared energy.
They are designed to tackle one of the biggest headaches for capital ships – massed fleets of small boats, like pirates or the Iranian navy. Suicide attacks on bigger boats by such smaller fleets can do a lot of damage because they are harder to hit with conventional weapons.
The shipboard laser which will be installed in early 2014, is a solid-state laser prototype. It will become part of the weaponry of the unfortunately named USS Ponce and packed off to the 5th fleet region in the Middle East.
A Navy press release video shows the laser locks onto an unmanned drone, which bursts aflame in mid-flight. The drone soon catches fire and crashes into the sea below.
These are exactly the sort of small surveillance drones that Iran uses. The Navy says the laser can also take out the small, armoured speed boats that Iran also favours.
Navy researchers say the laser destroys its targets all the time. It can also be used to send non-lethal pulses to boats too.
Rear Admiral Matthew Klunder, chief of Naval Research said that each gun cost $32 million to produce. But it only costs a dollar every time you fire it.
The US Navy has done a little better than the Air Force which recently cancelled project to put nose-mounted lasers on its aircraft.
But there are some concerns that the laser cannot fire in poor weather conditions. It is not certain if it can hit faster moving objects, such as fighters. Its power is too low to hit cruise missiles.
The US Navy has a long tradition of knocking things out of the sky and ever since the Imperial Japanese Navy decided to engage in mass “tokko” suicide attacks, and it has been thinking about new ways to shoot down anything that doesn’t have some stars and stripes on it.
Practically every warship deployed by the US Navy over the past few decades features Phalanx CIWS turrets and a number of point defence missiles, specifically designed to bring down sea skimming anti-ship missiles. However, such systems tend to be quite bulky and expensive. Using an ESSM or RIM-116 missile to shoot down a tiny drone is out of the question, as a single RIM-116 costs $440,000.
In addition, marine units that hit the beach cannot rely on ship borne defences, so they would be exposed to enemy drones, which are difficult to intercept. With that in mind, the Navy is now offering cash to private outfits to develop laser systems, small enough to be fitted on top of a Humvee.
The entire system should weigh less than 2,500 pounds and it will feature a 25 to 50 kilowatt laser, Wired reports. Since most drones are incredibly light and built using materials that don’t react well to heat, the idea should work.
However, it is rather ambitious. Powering a 25 kilowatt laser on top of a small truck sounds like a tall order. Wired reports that even small ships have trouble generating enough power for 100 kilowatt lasers. A small system installed on a Humvee would probably need to rely on an external source of power, or it would need at least 20 minutes to recharge between shots.
This means that any enemy with more than one drone has a good chance of penetrating the defences, while marines rush to recharge the laser.
The US Navy has created a deepwater robot that it will use to dive and search out underwater mines.
Measuring 5.8 meters and weighing 1,700 pounds, the Knifefish underwater robot is powered by lithium-ion batteries and moulded like a torpedo.
It is claimed that it will be able to roam the seas for roughly 16 hours at a time and sweep for mines by sending out low-frequency sound signals.
If they bounce off a man-made object, the robot will create an image of this, which is sent back to experts on board a nautical submarine.
According to Bloomberg, around 50 countries have a total of 250,000 underwater mines that could be dropped in oceans around the world. The Navy believes that if these were to be deployed then they could potentially blow up ships as well as disrupt oil pipes, telephone and internet lines.
Traditionally it has sent down ships and divers to search and defuse these dangers – as well as using trained dolphins equipped with sensors and cameras. However, the robot should be able to sniff these out more safely and quickly. The snag is once a drone finds a suspicious object it must send out divers to investigate further.
The US Navy will spend $170 million over the next five years to design eight of the robots, with the first one taking its dive in 2016.
These will be created by General Dynamics and Bluefin Robotics, and it is estimated that the Navy will have purchased 52 of these by 2034.
The US Navy is paying a company a six figure number to hack into used video game consoles and pull out sensitive information.
Recently, the US government advertised a project which is loooking to develop Tools for Extracting Information from Video Game Systems and it turned out that a contract was signed with the California-based company Obscure Technologies. The US is paying $177,237.50 for the job.
According to ZDNet, the US Navy wants to hack into used foreign consoles.
Obscure Technologies will have to provide monitoring for six new video game systems, and generate data which does not contain any identifiable information from real people from new video game systems.
It will have to design a prototype rig for capturing data from new video game systems and implement the prototype rig on the new video game systems.
The sailors will dig up used video games systems bought on the open market which are likely to contain data and the firm’s toolkit will have to find out what is there.
It is not clear why the navy would get so much mileage from reading gamers’ messages. We guess if a Chinese agent was passing information via a games console it would be useful. But other than learning how to stage a raid on an Orc dungeon we can’t see what the US Navy would get out of it.
HP has won an impressive $2.5 billion services contract from NASA.
Despite being full of clever people who dedicate their time to space and science, it seems NASA’s desktops could do with a bit of work and that’s where HP comes in. It’s an infrastructure rehaul which will see PCs and devices delivered to over 60,000 in the organisation.
As usual the idea is that there will be boosted productivity and long-term cost savings, until the next rehaul is needed at least.
HP will be working in tandem with what NASA calls the Agency Consolidated End-User Service program, or ACES. Although exciting-sounding when abbreviated it is core IT which will be managed and maintained by HP. The contract applies to all of NASA.
NASA has small business participation guidelines, so some will be brought in to help out.
A city in Kansas which is to become a test hub for a high-speed broadband network has temporarily changed its name to Google.
The city, which was called Topeka, decided on the name change after Google decided to use the region to test out its high-speed broadband network.
Topeka has a population of 226,268 and Mayor William Bunten said that for the month of March, the Kansas capital would be known as “Google, Kansas – the capital city of fibre optics.”
Topeka.org, will welcome visitors to “The City of Google”. It is not clear if they are going to change the stationery or the road signs, or the name of the three US Navy ships carrying the name
The web search and advertising giant said the envisioned one-gigabit-per-second networks would be built in “a small number of trial locations” in the United States.
Topeka means “to dig good potatoes” in the languages of the Kansa and the Ioway. Apparently the region was famous for its prairie spuds. Now it will be known for a huge IT company which runs a near monopoly of the search market. Not sure which is better.