Antenna design turns entire vehicles into broadcasting equipment

High-frequency antennas transmit radio waves across vast distances and even over mountain ranges using very little energy, making them ideal for military communications. These devices, however, have one big problem: They need to be huge to operate efficiently.

Instead of adding more bulk, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineers are working to increase the effective size of antennas by turning the military vehicles that carry them into transmitters — using the structures that support the antennas themselves to help broadcast signals.

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Is that really just a fly? Swarms of cyborg insect drones are the future of military surveillance

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

The kinds of drones making the headlines daily are the heavily armed CIA and U.S. Army vehicles which routinely strike targets in Pakistan - killing terrorists and innocents alike.

But the real high-tech story of surveillance drones is going on at a much smaller level, as tiny remote controlled vehicles based on insects are already likely being deployed.

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Air Force Treating Wounds With Lasers and Nanotech

•By Katie Drummond •May 5, 2010

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Platypus wins contract to develop sensor

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Jan. 5, 2010

A $2.2 million contract with a U.S. Army research center could bring a Madison company one step closer to its goal of making a portable sensor that detects deadly gases and other toxins.

Platypus Technologies LLC said it has been awarded a one-year contract with Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center in Maryland, the second it has received from the center.

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Boeing Laser Systems Destroy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Tests

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Nov. 18, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] in May demonstrated the ability of mobile laser weapon systems to perform a unique mission: track and destroy small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

During the U.S. Air Force-sponsored tests at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, Calif., the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated eXperiments (MATRIX), which was developed by Boeing under contract to the Air Force Research Laboratory, used a single, high-brightness laser beam to shoot down five UAVs at various ranges. Laser Avenger, a Boeing-funded initiative, also shot down a UAV. Representatives of the Air Force and Army observed the tests.

"The Air Force and Boeing achieved a directed-energy breakthrough with these tests," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems' Directed Energy Systems unit. "MATRIX's performance is especially noteworthy because it demonstrated unprecedented, ultra-precise and lethal acquisition, pointing and tracking at long ranges using relatively low laser power."

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New AFOSR Magnetron May Help Defeat Enemy Electronics

9/16/2009 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Researchers funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) at the University of Michigan invented a new type of magnetron that may be used to defeat enemy electronics. A magnetron is a type of vacuum tube used as the frequency source in microwave ovens, radar systems and other high-power microwave circuits.

According to Dr. Ron Gilgenbach, an AFOSR-sponsored researcher at the University of Michigan, a new class of magnetrons was invented that holds the potential for more compact Department of Defense microwave sources with faster start-up, as well as higher peak and average power.

"This invention should make it possible to develop more compact magnetrons that operate at higher power and higher frequencies," said Gilgenbach. "Higher power magnetrons could be utilized to jam and defeat enemy electronics."

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Sonic laser or "Saser"

PA163/09

It was an idea born out of curiosity in the physics lab, but now a new type of ‘laser’ for generating ultra-high frequency sound waves instead of light has taken a major step towards becoming a unique and highly useful 21st century technology.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham, in collaboration with colleagues in the Ukraine, have produced a new type of acoustic laser device called a Saser. It’s a sonic equivalent to the laser and produces an intense beam of uniform sound waves on a nano scale. The new device could have significant and useful applications in the worlds of computing, imaging, and even anti-terrorist security screening.

Where a ‘laser’,(Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation), uses packets of electromagnetic vibrations called ‘photons’, the ‘Saser’ uses sound waves composed of sonic vibrations called ‘phonons’. In a laser, the photon beam is produced by stimulating electrons with an external power source so they release energy when they collide with other photons in a highly reflective optical cavity. This produces a coherent and controllable shining beam of laser light in which all the photons have the same frequency and rate of oscillation. From supermarket scanners to DVD players, surgery, manufacturing and the defence industry, the application of laser technology is widespread.

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Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi

<p>Sulphur in just one hair could blow a terrorist's alibi</p>

A group of researchers from the LGC Chemical Metrology Laboratory in the United Kingdom and the University of Oviedo, Spain, have come up with a method to detect how the proportions of isotopes in a chemical element (atoms with an equal number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons) vary throughout the length of a single hair. The mid-term objective is to be able to use these methods to track the geographical movements of people, including international crime suspects and victims.

In order to carry out this study, which is published this month in the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, the scientists focused on the most abundant sulphur isotopes in hair keratin – sulphur-32 (32S), which accounts for about 95%, and sulphur-34 (34S), which makes up around 4%. This proportion can change slightly in response to people's diets and if they travel from one country to another, and the technique is able to detect these small variations.

"The new method is based on combining a laser ablation system and multicollector inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (abbreviated to LA-MC-ICP-MS)", Rebeca Santamaría-Fernández of LGC, lead author of the study, tells SINC. To summarise, the laser makes contact with the selected fraction of the hair, generating an aerosol, which later ionises within plasma, with the spectrometer providing the exact proportions of the sulphur isotopes.

"The advantage of this method compared with others is the high resolution resulting from use of the laser", points out Santamaría-Fernández. This advance has enabled the scientists to confirm that the sulphur variations in hair can be linked to peoples' geographical movements.

The traveller experiment

The researchers collected hair samples of more than 4cm in length donated by three volunteers. Two were permanent residents in the United Kingdom, while the third – dubbed "the traveller" – had spent the past six months in Croatia, Austria, the United Kingdom and Australia.

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Resilient Technologies developing tougher tire for Army

Wausau - Getting a flat tire is never convenient. In a war zone, it can be deadly.

While Humvees have been loaded with extra armor to protect troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the tires remain vulnerable to attacks by improvised explosive devices. But an ingenious honeycomb design by a Wisconsin engineering company may be the key to a new airless tire that could keep military vehicles running faster and longer after an attack.

Resilient Technologies is in the middle of a four-year, $18 million contract with the Army to develop a tire that will continue running even after it has been shredded by roadside bombs or gunfire. Though Humvee tires are now outfitted with run-flat inserts, the Army wants to upgrade to an airless tire that's better at carrying heavier loads and can quickly move soldiers out of harm's way.

When engineers at Resilient Technologies began working on tire designs, they settled on one of the most resilient natural structures – the six-sided cells bees construct to hold their honey.

"Patterns in nature have gotten there for a reason. We looked to structures in nature that are sound, and that's how we came up with the honeycomb," said Ed Hall, vice president of business affairs.

Aside from strength, the design allows shrapnel and high-caliber bullets to pass through the tire. During testing, the tire has continued to run well - losing only a small percentage of performance - with much of the webbing removed.

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International Study Finds Ways to Maximize Effective Responses After Terrorism Incidents

A new international study led by faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has identified ways to maximize the effectiveness of responses to terrorist attacks that use explosive devices on civilian populations. The study, “Blast Related Injuries from Terrorism: an International Perspective,” will be published in the April 1, 2007 issue of Prehospital Emergency Care (volume 11 issue 2).

A multi-disciplinary panel of blast-related injury experts from eight countries that have recently experienced terrorist attacks examined and discussed their emergency medical response to blast events and identified common issues that could be used by others to enhance preparedness. The represented countries included: Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the National Association of Emergency Medical Service Physicians.

According to lead author, E. Brooke Lerner, Ph.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College, “Learning from nations that have experienced conventional weapon attacks on their civilian population is critical to improving preparedness worldwide. Our study found that there were a number of commonalities among these terrorist events, even though they occurred in different countries under vastly different circumstances. These commonalities can be used by all nations in their preparedness efforts.”

The disaster paradigm—Detection; Incident Command; Scene Security & Safety; Assess Hazards; Support; Triage & Treatment; Evacuation; and Recovery—which can be applied to all types of mass casualty events, was selected as a framework to study responses in these different countries. In each area similarities were found. For example, it was determined that detecting an attack has occurred, such as the Madrid bombings in 2004, was not difficult but frequently the initial reports to the 9-1-1 system were misleading in terms of the scope and location of the event. This could lead to insufficient resources responding to the scene or to providers not taking the appropriate precautions against a secondary device. In discussing incident command and triage, it was found that regions that had a pre-defined command structure and triage guidelines that their providers practiced regularly were able to successfully and quickly respond to events. For example, in London they practice “Triage Tuesdays,” where every Tuesday responders triage every patient as if they were involved in a mass casualty event.

An important part of Scene Security is ensuring that people are who they say they are and are not a threat to the responders or bystanders. A hospital that received the bulk of patients from a bombed housing complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, found this was very difficult, since members of the staff were showing up at the hospital without their identification badges leaving security guards to make difficult decisions about who to let in.

Support requires additional trained human resources for all incidents, but they are needed in a controlled manner. Many speakers stated that it took time to recall staff and that they needed to consider how to maintain medical systems for hours and days after the initial incident, not just to meet the initial demand. For example, as the trauma hospital in Darwin, Australia, prepared to receive patients from the Bali, Indonesia, night club explosion, they used the media to ask people not come to the emergency department unless they had a true emergency. However, this request did not significantly decrease the number of patients that came to the emergency department for care.

In considering evacuation, it was important to consider that many terrorist bombings occur in remote tourist communities in developing countries such as Turkey and Indonesia. This complicates the response since hospitals in tourist communities do not typically have the resources to attend to many severely injured casualties. Therefore, patients need to be stabilized and moved to larger hospitals that are some distance away. Another complication is that incidents in resort towns typically involve foreign nationals. This creates a situation where governmental agencies need to be involved in the response and arrangements need to be made to move patients back to their home countries. This may require specialty transport services depending on the nature of the injuries and the care required during transport.

An important component of recovery is informing the general public of the extent of the event, where they can receive assistance if needed, whether there are continued risks and how to mitigate them. Further, community awareness and notifying authorities if something seemed out of the norm was found to be important, particularly by the Israelis who feel that their population is always alert and reports anything that seems suspicious.

“This project provides an initial framework for learning lessons for preparing for terrorist events. However, the next steps are to identify best practices in response to a blast-incident and to develop a research agenda that will guide research priorities,” Dr. Lerner says.

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Madison-based Alfalight receives $1.7 million contract

By AVRUM D. LANK

alank@journalsentinel.com
Posted: March 20, 2007

A small, fast-growing Madison company said Tuesday that it won a $1.7 million contract from the Army to help build high-power lasers.

Alfalight Inc. is to use the money to develop very high-power pump blocks, which are power sources for lasers.

The one-year contract is from the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md., for its scalable, high-efficiency solid-state laser program.

"We expect to develop both usable pump prototypes and provide valuable research results to the Army Research Laboratory upon completion," said Manoj Kanskar, vice president of research and development for Alfalight.

In addition to helping the Army develop lasers, the pump blocks could have uses in commercial material-handling equipment, Alfalight said.

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Lockheed Martin to patent quantum radar

Quantum computers are still a long way away, even though the basics have been resolved and already work in the lab. But up to now, "entanglement" has only worked with a few qubits. No information is transmitted between entangled, but spatially separated photons in the classic sense of the term; rather, the photons form a pair, with the polarisation of one, for instance, directly determining that of the other regardless of the distance between them.

Now, the Guardian of Britain is reporting that a patent filed by US defense firm Lockheed Martin at the European Patent Office (no. EP1750145) uses Einstein's "spooky action at a distance" for a radar system that allegedly overcomes the limits of conventional radar systems.

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Record power for military laser

By Paul Rincon
Science reporter, BBC News

A laser developed for military use is a few steps away from hitting a power threshold thought necessary to turn it into a battlefield weapon.

The Solid State Heat Capacity Laser (SSHCL) has achieved 67 kilowatts (kW) of average power in the laboratory.

It could take only a further six to eight months to break the "magic" 100kW mark required for the battlefield, the project's chief scientist told the BBC.

Potentially, lasers could destroy rockets, mortars or roadside bombs.

For many years, solid state, electrically powered lasers like SSHCL were only able to operate at a fraction of the 100kW mark.

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NOVEL AMES LAB COMPOSITE MAY REPLACE DEPLETED URANIUM

Nanostructured Material Offers Environmentally Safe Armor-piercing Capability

AMES, Iowa – Armor-piercing projectiles made of depleted uranium have caused concern among soldiers storing and using them. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory are close to developing a new composite with an internal structure resembling fudge-ripple ice cream that is actually comprised of environmentally safe materials to do the job even better.

Ames Laboratory senior scientist Dan Sordelet leads a research team that is synthesizing nanolayers of tungsten and metallic glass to build a projectile. “As the projectile goes further into protective armor, pieces of the projectile are sheared away, helping to form a sharpened chisel point at the head of the penetrator," said Sordelet. “The metallic glass and tungsten are environmentally benign and eliminate health worries related to toxicity and perceived radiation concerns regarding depleted uranium.”

Depleted-uranium-based alloys have traditionally been used in the production of solid metal, armor-piercing projectiles known as kinetic energy penetrators, or KEPs. The combination of high density (~18.6 grams per cubic centimeter) and strength make depleted uranium, DU, ideal for ballistics applications. Moreover, DU is particularly well-suited for KEPs because its complex crystal structure promotes what scientists call shear localization or shear banding when plastically deformed. In other words, when DU penetrators hit a target at very high speeds, they deform in a “self-sharpening” behavior.

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Free-Electron Laser Shines at Over 14 Kilowatts in the Infrared

Free-Electron Laser Shines at Over 14 Kilowatts in the Infrared
Released: 11/9/2006

Newport News, Va. – The most powerful tunable laser in the world just shattered another power record: the Free-Electron Laser (FEL), supported by the Office of Naval Research and located at the U.S. Department of Energy´s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), produced a 14.2 kilowatt (kW) beam of laser light at an infrared wavelength of 1.61 microns on October 30.

“This wavelength is of interest to the Navy for transmission of light through the maritime atmosphere and for material science applications,” said Fred Dylla, Jefferson Lab’s Chief Technology Officer and Associate Director of the Free-Electron Laser Division. The FEL is supported by the Office of Naval Research, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Joint Technology Office, as well as by the Commonwealth of Virginia. The laser’s new capabilities will enhance a wide range of applications, such as shipboard antimissile defense and other defense applications as well as manufacturing technologies and the support of scientific studies in chemistry, physics, biology and medicine.

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First Demonstration of a Working Invisibility Cloak

The cloak, made with advanced 'metamaterials,' deflects microwave beams and may find a variety of wireless communications or radar applications

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Durham, NC -- A team led by scientists at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering has demonstrated the first working "invisibility cloak." The cloak deflects microwave beams so they flow around a "hidden" object inside with little distortion, making it appear almost as if nothing were there at all.

Cloaks that render objects essentially invisible to microwaves could have a variety of wireless communications or radar applications, according to the researchers.

The team reported its findings on Thursday, Oct. 19, in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science. The research was funded by the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship
The researchers manufactured the cloak using "metamaterials" precisely arranged in a series of concentric circles that confer specific electromagnetic properties. Metamaterials are artificial composites that can be made to interact with electromagnetic waves in ways that natural materials cannot reproduce.

The cloak represents "one of the most elaborate metamaterial structures yet designed and produced," the scientists said. It also represents the most comprehensive approach to invisibility yet realized, with the potential to hide objects of any size or material property, they added.


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Stealth radar system sees through trees, walls -- undetected

Stealth radar system sees through trees, walls -- undetected

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State University engineers have invented a radar system that is virtually undetectable, because its signal resembles random noise.
The radar could have applications in law enforcement, the military, and disaster rescue.

Eric K. Walton, senior research scientist in Ohio State's ElectroScience Laboratory, said that with further development the technology could even be used for medical imaging.

He explained why using random noise makes the radar system invisible.

"Almost all radio receivers in the world are designed to eliminate random noise, so that they can clearly receive the signal they're looking for," Walton said. "Radio receivers could search for this radar signal and they wouldn't find it. It also won't interfere with TV, radio, or other communication signals."

The radar scatters a very low-intensity signal across a wide range of frequencies, so a TV or radio tuned to any one frequency would interpret the radar signal as a very weak form of static.

"It doesn't interfere because it has a bandwidth that is thousands of times broader than the signals it might otherwise interfere with," Walton said.

Like traditional radar, the "noise" radar detects objects by bouncing a radio signal off them and detecting the rebound. The hardware isn't expensive, either; altogether, the components cost less than $100.

The difference is that the noise radar generates a signal that resembles random noise, and a computer calculates very small differences in the return signal. The calculations happen billions of times every second, and the pattern of the signal changes constantly. A receiver couldn't detect the signal unless it knew exactly what random pattern to look for.

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Robots are saving American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan

Robots are saving American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan
By Robert S. BoydKnight Ridder

NewspapersWASHINGTON -The Defense Department is rapidly expanding its army of robot warriors on land, air and sea in an effort to reduce American deaths and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We want unmanned systems to go where we don't want to risk our precious soldiers," said Thomas Killion, the Army's deputy assistant secretary for research and technology.

Robots should take over many of the "dull, dirty and dangerous" tasks from humans in the war on terrorism, Killion told a conference of unmanned-system contractors in Washington last week.

Despite doubts about the cost and effectiveness of military robots, the Defense Department's new Quadrennial Defense Review, a strategic plan that's updated every four years, declares that 45 percent of the Air Force's future long-range bombers will be able to operate without humans aboard. No specific date was given.

One-third of the Army's combat ground vehicles are supposed to be unmanned by 2015. The Navy is under orders to acquire a pilotless plane that can take off and land on an aircraft carrier and refuel in midair. Robotic submarines also are planned.

The Pentagon is doubling the number of Predators and Global Hawks, unmanned surveillance aircraft that have been prowling the skies since before the Iraq war began.

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Oshkosh Truck testing hybrid truck for military, urban use

Trucks made with power to spare
Oshkosh Truck testing hybrid truck for military, urban use
By RICK BARRETT
rbarrett@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 12, 2006

When floodwaters rose around Charity Hospital in New Orleans, power lines were down and drainage pumps languished.

The hospital basement was flooded, water was 4 feet deep in the street, and doctors used canoes to bring in supplies.

Following Hurricane Katrina, conditions in the city's largest hospital deteriorated rapidly.

More than 1,100 miles away, Oshkosh Truck Corp. wanted to help with hurricane relief and further test a hybrid, diesel-electric truck it was developing for military and civilian applications. The ProPulse hybrid truck's generator can provide power for a small airport, a field hospital or a military command post.

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Robotic truck could haul supplies in combat zones

No driver required
Robotic truck could haul supplies in combat zones
By RICK BARRETT
rbarrett@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Jan. 24, 2006

First there was Terramax, an unmanned robotic truck that completed a 150-mile race through the Mojave Desert.

Now, Oshkosh Truck Corp. has developed a second version of Terramax that could be used to haul supplies in dangerous war zones. The 10-wheel-drive truck was tested this week in the desert near Yuma, Ariz.

The tests were done on an off-road course, with U.S. military officials watching from a sport utility vehicle.

It was "quite a viable demonstration," said John Stoddart, president of Oshkosh Truck's defense division.

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Saving soldiers: Better body armor expected from new material formation process

Saving soldiers: Better body armor expected from new material formation process

A Georgia Institute of Technology researcher has developed a process that increases the hardness and improves the ballistic performance of the material used by the U.S. military for body armor. The researcher's start-up company is commercializing the technology.

Boron carbide is the Defense Department's material of choice for body armor. It is the third hardest material on earth, yet it's extremely lightweight. But it has an Achilles heel that piqued the interest of Georgia Tech Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Robert Speyer five years ago.

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Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

By YURI KAGEYAMA
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; 7:28 AM

ATSUGI, Japan -- We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation _ essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

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Littoral combat ship on schedule as Navy lays keel

Littoral combat ship on schedule as Navy lays keel
By MarketWatch
Last Update: 5:01 PM ET June 2, 2005

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- The Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship is on schedule and on budget heading into Thursday's keel laying in Wisconsin, program officials said this week.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) is building the "Freedom," the first in a new ship class designed to fight submarines, disarm mines and hunt terrorists close to shore. The official keel-laying ceremony is a big moment for the fledgling program as it moves toward launch.

"It's going to happen on schedule. It's kind of at an unprecedented (development) speed as well," said Capt. Don Babcock, Navy program manager, in a briefing with reporters that was embargoed ahead of Thursday's ceremony.

Navy plans call for building between 63 and 82 Littoral Combat Ships, comprising nearly half of the planned fleet's surface combatants. So far, the program includes two separate designs, one from Lockheed Martin and one led by General Dynamics Corp. (GD).

Lockheed Martin will build the first ship at the Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette, Wis.

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Earth-Penetrating Nuclear Weapons

Many Deaths Still Expected With
Earth-Penetrating Nuclear Weapons

WASHINGTON -- A nuclear weapon that is exploded underground can destroy a deeply buried bunker efficiently and requires significantly less power to do so than a nuclear weapon detonated on the surface would, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. However, such "earth-penetrating" nuclear weapons cannot go deep enough to avoid massive casualties at ground level, and they could still kill up to a million people or more if used in heavily populated areas, said the committee that wrote the report.

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Philip Morrison: Bomb builder turned critic passes away

Bomb builder turned critic passes away
26 April 2005

Philip Morrison, one of a generation of physicists who built the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, only to spend the rest of their careers campaigning against nuclear weapons, has died at the age of 89. Morrison spent most of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was appointed Institute Professor, the highest honour awarded by MIT, in 1973.

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UWM researchers' new metals could help save state foundries

Lighter, stronger materials
UWM researchers' new metals could help save state foundries
By RICK BARRETT
rbarrett@journalsentinel.com
Posted: April 25, 2005

Stronger than steel and lighter than aluminum, advanced materials are being developed at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that could be used in mobile, spare-part factories on battlefields.

Pradeep Rohatgi, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee holds an aluminum-graphite composite cylinder liner that is self-lubricating. The composite could be used in making artificial hip joints and lighter, stronger engines. The computer in the background displays an image of particles of cast aluminum composite material.

Taken a step further, wounded soldiers could get emergency bone replacement implants made in mobile laboratories.

"That is the Army's dream, and it's something they have asked us to look at," said Pradeep Rohatgi, a UWM engineering professor and director of the university's Center for Composite Materials.

Some of the new composites could be used to help save Wisconsin's foundry industry, Rohatgi said.

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Senate looks at expanding patents for bioweapon antidotes

Senate looks at expanding patents for bioweapon antidotes

BY CHRIS MONDICS

Knight Ridder Newspapers


WASHINGTON - (KRT) - When the SARS viral epidemic swept out of southern China in early 2003, spreading as far as Canada and the United States, hundreds of people died, thousands were quarantined, and international travel was severely restricted.

The epidemic was contained, but not before it had devastated lives, traumatized entire regions, and wreaked economic havoc.

Now, the prospect of another SARS-like outbreak, or a repeat of the 2001 anthrax attacks that left five Americans dead, is spurring efforts in the Senate to enact incentives for drug companies to develop medicines to protect against biological attacks and epidemics.

Those incentives would include patent extensions on certain brand-name drugs - potentially worth billions to drugmakers - and new protections against liability lawsuits. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, and Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., all key Senate players, are sponsoring one bill. In the coming weeks, Sens. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., the former vice presidential candidate, and Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, plan to introduce their own version, with even broader patent extensions.

The useful patent life on a medicine is about 10 years. Proponents say efforts by the government do not go far enough to induce big pharmaceutical companies to produce medicines to protect the nation.

"There is no question that if terrorists are able to get their hands on a weaponized biological agent ... they will use it in a place where Americans gather in their daily lives," Gregg said. "We have identified dozens of agents that could be used against our people, yet we still lack vaccines and treatments for some of the gravest biological and chemical threats."

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Pentagon Invests in Unmanned 'Trauma Pod'

Pentagon Invests in Unmanned 'Trauma Pod'

By Paul Elias
The Associated Press
Monday, March 28, 2005; 8:52 AM

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Pentagon is awarding $12 million in grants on Monday to develop an unmanned "trauma pod" designed to use robots to perform full scalpel-and-stitch surgeries on wounded soldiers in battlefield conditions.

The researchers who pitched the Defense Department on the idea have prepared a futuristic "concept video" that seems straight out of a teen fantasy game, showing with full color and sound effects the notion that robots in unmanned vehicles can operate on soldiers under enemy fire and then evacuate them.

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Recalling Iraq's Terrors Through Virtual Reality

Recalling Iraq's Terrors Through Virtual Reality
Therapy Aims to Alleviate Post-Traumatic Stress

By Ariana Eunjung Cha
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005; Page A01

SAN DIEGO -- Joseph Blythe settled into the couch in the psychologist's office, slipped on a pair of high-tech goggles, took hold of the joystick and within a few seconds was transported through time and distance back to Iraq. He walked briskly along the maze-like urban streets, scanning the rooftops for friend or foe, passing by bombed-out cars, listening to the roar of choppers flying past the palm trees.

As he reached an alley, Blythe heard the whoosh of a bullet going past his head and flinched.

"That was scary," he said.

Blythe, a 25-year-old medic who spent eight months with the U.S. Marine Corps in Fallujah during its most turbulent period in 2004, is among the first to test a new virtual-reality system that the military hopes will help servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The idea behind the treatment is counterintuitive. It forces the troops to do the last thing they want to do: relive the experience.

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NIH Grants Exclusive Patent License for Ebola Vaccine to Crucell

Crucell Secures Exclusive Patent License from NIH to Commercialize Ebola Vaccines

LEIDEN, Netherlands, Mar 17, 2005 (PRIMEZONE via COMTEX) -- Dutch biotechnology company Crucell N.V. (Euronext:CRXL) (CRXL) announced today that it has obtained an exclusive license to certain patents of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to develop and commercialize recombinant vaccines against Ebola.

The patents cover valuable vaccine components, such as the Ebola antigens and vectors. In addition, the license covers 'one-shot' emergency vaccination strategies that have proven to be effective in relevant animal models.

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UW Nanomachine Use Single Baterial Cell to Create Bio-electric Circuits

HARNESSING MICROBES, ONE BY ONE, TO BUILD A BETTER NANOWORLD

SAN DIEGO - Taking a new approach to the painstaking assembly of nanometer-sized machines, a team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has successfully used single bacterial cells to make tiny bio-electronic circuits.

The work is important because it has the potential to make building the atomic-scale machines of the nanotechnologist far easier. It also may be the basis for a new class of biological sensors capable of near-instantaneous detection of dangerous biological agents such as anthrax.

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New 'Composite' Armor May Save Lives by Protecting Soldiers and Helping Thwart Attacks at Home

New 'Composite' Armor May Save Lives by Protecting Soldiers and Helping Thwart Attacks at Home

Mar. 13, 2005 - Ballistics Research, Inc., of Rome, Georgia say that they have developed a new composite polymer material to offer improved force protection against attack or domestic terrorism.

The material, named Advanced Anti-Ballistic Compound, or AABC, is a new, patent-pending, composite polymer material with a very high strength-to-weight ratio. The company claims that that the material is capable of stopping and safely absorbing projectiles from small arms fire and every kind of conventional (non-nuclear) explosive device. In its own testing, AABC has proven its effectiveness against the .50 caliber BMG, a heavy military machine gun round previously referred to as "unstoppable."

Advanced Anti-Ballistic Compound composite weighs less than most other viable protective materials, with the company asserting that it's the only known material that actually "increases in strength under attack." While other materials degrade under attack, AABC is said to absorb projectiles fired into the exact same location into itself, building density and mass, and becoming increasingly resistant to assault.

Teamed with a second new development, AABC holds tremendous promise for saving the lives of American troops and vastly increasing the security of buildings and sensitive facilities, such as chemical or nuclear plants. Though it may be produced in any form or shape in which its properties are desired, AABC offers additional unique advantages when in the form of the Three-Dimensional Interlocking Protective System, or 3-D IPS, also a development of Ballistics Research.

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Medical College joins Wisconsin Security Research Consortium

March 8, 2005 - The Medical College of Wisconsin has joined the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium with academic and research institutions statewide in hopes of attracting more classified federal research funding to Wisconsin.

Development of the consortium allows the College and these other organizations to bid for funding available for military and high-security projects from federal agencies like the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.

"Funding for classified research has the potential to help build up regional economies through the creation of high-paying jobs and the incubation of products and medical advances," said William R. Hendee, PhD, Sr. Associate Dean for Research. "We want the opportunity to bid on these contracts, although the Medical College will limit its involvement to research that is focused on the public and personal health, the positive side of classified research in medicine. We are not interested in producing agents that harm people."

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Historian claims Nazis did nuclear tests

Historian claims Nazis
did nuclear tests
But others doubt Hitler could have won arms race
The German-language book "Hitlers Bombe" is due to be released March 14.
By Dave Graham

Updated: 2:29 p.m. ET March 4, 2005
BERLIN - Nazi Germany was not only trying to develop nuclear weapons but actually tested atomic devices near the end of World War II, the publisher of a yet-to-be-released book by a German historian says.

The pre-publication claims by historian Rainer Karlsch drew headlines in German newspapers on Friday, but the publisher of “Hitlers Bombe” (“Hitler’s Bomb”) declined to give details or answer further questions until the book is launched on March 14.

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WI Higher Education Consortium Formed to Attract "Classified and Sensitive" Federal Research Dollars

State covets classified research
Higher education consortium formed to draw federal money
By NAHAL TOOSI
ntoosi@journalsentinel.com
Posted: Feb. 24, 2005

Several of Wisconsin's institutions of higher education have agreed to organize a consortium designed to attract classified and sensitive federal research funds to the state.

The Wisconsin Technology Council will be the administrative headquarters of the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium, according to a memorandum of agreement. Representatives of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the Marshfield Clinic have signed the agreement.

The idea of such a consortium has been talked about on and off for the last year, said Tom Still, the technology council's president, who also signed the memorandum. The council, based in Madison, is a private non-profit created by the state Legislature to act as a science and technology policy adviser to the governor and lawmakers.

A major job of the council in the consortium would be to connect university experts with Wisconsin companies that receive federal funds stipulating some sensitive or classified work. Policy-makers and others have long complained that the state does not attract nearly enough federal money.

There are no plans for the consortium to build specialized research facilities; if anything, it would be a "virtual" consortium, Still said.

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Tests confirm the Explosive Destruction System’s (EDS) ability to destroy biological agents

Tests confirm the Explosive Destruction System’s (EDS) ability to destroy biological agents

LIVERMORE, Calif. — From the beginning, researchers at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories, the creators of the Army’s Explosive Destruction System (EDS), suspected the system could, in addition to snuffing out chemical warfare material, treat and destroy biohazards such as those containing anthrax. Such a system could give homeland security personnel a tool for safely neutralizing a dormant terrorist device, or it could be used by the military to remove a land mine or canister shell without having to set off an open-air explosion.

A just-released study at Sandia confirms EDS’s effectiveness against biological agents, bio-contaminated containers, and improvised biological devices. Sandia sponsored the study itself, spending $60K in Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) funds over the past year to confirm the capability. The report, says Sandia researchers, augments the system’s already established capability to destroy explosively configured munitions containing chemical agents.

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Missle Defense Test Fails

Missile shield test fizzles out
Interceptor fails to launch, Pentagon says
The Associated Press
Updated: 11:18 a.m. ET Feb. 14, 2005
WASHINGTON - A test of the national missile defense system failed Monday when an interceptor missile did not launch from its island base in the Pacific Ocean, the military said. It was the second failure in months for the experimental program.

A statement from the Missile Defense Agency said the cause of the failure was under investigation.

A spokesman for the agency, Rick Lehner, said the early indications was that there was a malfunction with the ground support equipment at the test range on Kwajalein Island, not with the interceptor missile itself.

If verified, that would be a relief for program officials because it would mean no new problems had been discovered with the missile. Previous failures of these high-profile, $85 million test launches have been regarded as significant setbacks by critics of the program.

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U.S. Redesigning Atomic Weapons

U.S. Redesigning Atomic Weapons
By WILLIAM J. BROAD

Published: February 7, 2005

orried that the nation's aging nuclear arsenal is increasingly fragile, American scientists have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives, federal officials and private experts say.

The officials say the program could help shrink the arsenal and the high cost of its maintenance. But critics say it could needlessly resuscitate the complex of factories and laboratories that make nuclear weapons and could possibly ignite a new arms race.

So far, the quiet effort involves only $9 million for warhead designers at the nation's three nuclear weapon laboratories, Los Alamos, Livermore and Sandia. Federal bomb experts at these heavily guarded facilities are now scrutinizing secret arms data gathered over a half century for clues about how to achieve the new reliability goals.

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SWORDS will be the first armed automaton to see combat

Army readies robot soldier for Iraq

The Associated Press
Updated: 11:13 a.m. ET Jan. 24, 2005ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. - The rain is turning to snow on a blustery January morning, and all the men gathered in a parking lot here surely would prefer to be inside.

But the weather couldn’t matter less to the robotic sharpshooter they are here to watch as it splashes through puddles, the barrel of its machine gun pointing the way like Pinocchio’s nose.

The Army is preparing to send 18 of these remote-controlled robotic warriors to fight in Iraq beginning in March or April.

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Superthermite Bombs

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Military Reloads with Nanotech
By John Gartner January 21, 2005

Nanotechnology is grabbing headlines for its potential in advancing the life sciences and computing research, but the Department of Defense (DoD) found another use: a new class of weaponry that uses energy-packed nanometals to create powerful, compact bombs.

With funding from the U.S. government, Sandia National Laboratories, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are researching how to manipulate the flow of energy within and between molecules, a field known as nanoenergentics, which enables building more lethal weapons such as "cave-buster bombs" that have several times the detonation force of conventional bombs such as the "daisy cutter" or MOAB (mother of all bombs).

Researchers can greatly increase the power of weapons by adding materials known as superthermites that combine nanometals such as nanoaluminum with metal oxides such as iron oxide, according to Steven Son, a project leader in the Explosives Science and Technology group at Los Alamos.

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In Age of Security, Firm Mines Wealth Of Personal Data

In Age of Security, Firm Mines Wealth Of Personal Data

By Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 20, 2005; Page A01

It began in 1997 as a company that sold credit data to the insurance industry. But over the next seven years, as it acquired dozens of other companies, Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint Inc. became an all-purpose commercial source of personal information about Americans, with billions of details about their homes, cars, relatives, criminal records and other aspects of their lives.

As its dossier grew, so did the number of ChoicePoint's government and corporate clients, jumping from 1,000 to more than 50,000 today. Company stock once worth about $500 million ballooned to $4.1 billion.

Now the little-known information industry giant is transforming itself into a private intelligence service for national security and law enforcement tasks. It is snapping up a host of companies, some of them in the Washington area, that produce sophisticated computer tools for analyzing and sharing records in ChoicePoint's immense storehouses. In financial papers, the company itself says it provides "actionable intelligence."

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Biometrics Use Growing in Security Applications

Unwrapping the Biometric Present
By Simson Garfinkel January 18, 2005

Congress gave a sizable Christmas present to the nation’s biometrics industry last month.

The word biometrics appears 35 times throughout the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, and it establishes the use of biometrics for aviation security, creates a “biometric center of excellence,” expands an FBI biometric system for criminal background checks, requires friendly visa waiver countries to add a biometric to their passports, and mandates the collection of “biometric exit data” for people leaving the United States.

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Carnivore Retired by FBI

FBI Retires Controversial E-Mail Surveillance Tool
Reuters
Tuesday, January 18, 2005; 11:53 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI has all but retired its controversial e-mail wiretap system formerly known as Carnivore, turning instead to commercially available software, according to two recently released reports to Congress.

The monitoring system developed to intercept the e-mail and other online activities of suspected criminals was not used in fiscal years 2003 and 2002, according to the reports obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Uncovering secrets of abalone body armor

January 14, 2005

By Rex Graham

Engineering researchers at the University of California, San Diego are using the shell of a seaweed-eating snail as a guide in the development of a new generation of bullet-stopping armor. The colorful oval shell of the red abalone is highly prized as a source of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, jewelry, but the UCSD researchers are most impressed by the shell’s ability to absorb heavy blows without breaking.

In a paper published in the Jan. 15 issue of Materials Science and Engineering A, Marc A. Meyers, a professor in UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering, and engineering graduate student Albert Lin explain in detail for the first time the steps taken by the abalone to produce a helmet-like home made with 95 percent calcium carbonate “tiles” and 5 percent protein adhesive. Teachers who write on blackboards know that calcium carbonate, or chalk, is weak and brittle, but Meyers and Lin have demonstrated that a highly ordered brick-like tiled structure created by the mollusk is the toughest arrangement of tiles theoretically possible.

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Pentagon reveals rejected chemical weapons

Pentagon reveals rejected chemical weapons
15 January 2005

THE Pentagon considered developing a host of non-lethal chemical weapons that would disrupt discipline and morale among enemy troops, newly declassified documents reveal.

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Study shows nanoshells ideal as chemical nanosensors

‘Nanoshells' enhance sensitivity to chemical detection by factor of 10 billion

New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science finds that tailored nanoparticles known as nanoshells can enhance chemical sensing by as much as 10 billion times. That makes them about 10,000 times more effective at Raman scattering than traditional methods.

When molecules and materials scatter light, a small fraction of the light interacts in such a way that it allows scientists to determine their detailed chemical makeup. This property, known as Raman scattering, is used by medical researchers, drug designers, chemists and other scientists to determine what materials are made of. An enormous limitation in the use of Raman scattering has been its extremely weak sensitivity. While it was discovered almost three decades ago that roughened metallic surfaces could enhance Raman scattering signals by factors of 1 million, this “surface-enhancement” effect has been difficult to control, predict, and reproduce for practical sensing applications. Now, Rice researchers have shown that nanoshells can provide large, clean, reproducible enhancements of this effect, opening the door for new, all-optical sensing applications.

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Tech CEOs Issue Cyber-Security Recommendations

Group Seeks to Guide Policy in Bush's Second Term

By Brian Krebs
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 7, 2004; 5:13 PM

A group representing technology industry chief executives on Tuesday warned that the Bush administration has failed to follow through on its two-year-old strategy for protecting the nation's information infrastructure and offered recommendations for improving the government's handling of cyber-security in President Bush's second term.

At the top of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance's set of recommendations is raising the profile of cyber-security at the Department of Homeland Security by elevating the position of national cyber-security director to the assistant secretary level. Such a move, the technology community and some members of Congress believe, would bring stronger leadership to the division, whose director currently reports to an assistant secretary who is responsible for both cyber and physical security threats.

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Researchers develop new tool to detect agents of bioterrorism

Researchers develop new tool to detect agents of bioterrorism

Contact: Michael Bernstein
202-872-6042
m_bernstein@acs.org

Scientists have developed a new “biological smoke detector” to help protect against potential bioterrorist attacks, according to a study published in the Jan. 1 edition of Analytical Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

High-traffic facilities like airports, office buildings, rail stations and sporting arenas serve hundreds of thousands of people each day, making them particularly susceptible to silent and invisible biological attacks. Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have now developed a new stand-alone detector that can provide early warning to help authorities limit exposure and start treating victims before they show symptoms of full-blown infection.

The instrument, called the Autonomous Pathogen Detection System, or APDS, continuously monitors the air like a “biological smoke detector,” says John Dzenitis, Ph.D., a chemical engineer at LLNL and corresponding author of the paper. It is capable of detecting and identifying three types of biological agents: bacteria, viruses and toxins, including such familiar threats as anthrax, plague and botulinum toxin. The machine runs the same tests that molecular biologists would carry out in a laboratory to detect biological agents, providing information that is required before definitive public-health action can be taken.

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Anatomy of a Spy Satellite

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 03 January 2005
06:45 am ET

For military and intelligence communities, outer space has become a highground, hide-and-seek arena -- a kind of "now you see me, now you don’t" espionage playing field.

Over the decades, spying from space has always earned super-secret status. They are the black projects, fulfilling dark tasks and often bankrolled by blank check.

However last month, several U.S. senators openly blew the whistle on a mystery spy satellite program, critical of its high cost while calling to question its utility in today’s post-9/11 world.

One lawmaker, Jay D. Rockefeller (D-WV), the vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, openly criticized the program on the floor of the U.S. Senate. He said the program "is totally unjustified and very wasteful and dangerous to national security," adding that he has voted to terminate the program for two years, with no success.

There is now a delicate dance underway between issues of national security and open public scrutiny about taxpayer dollars being spent wisely or squandered. Meanwhile, the swirl of secrecy seems to be revolving around a top secret "stealthy" satellite project, codenamed MISTY.

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