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By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

#5: New U.S. "Long Range Hypersonic Weapon" Will Fly to War in 2023 on C-17

A mobile launcher armed with eight new high-speed Long Range Hypersonic Weapons will load up onto an Air Force C-17, deploy to a high-threat forward combat zone to set up, attack, and leave … by 2023

The urgency of the Pentagon’s need to accelerate and deploy hypersonic weapons is serious, according to senior U.S. weapons developers citing extreme concern about Russian and Chinese weapons

“We are number 3 in this race. We have to catch up,” Robert Strider, Deputy, Army Hypersonic Project Office, told an audience Aug. 11 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville Ala., referring to fast-emerging Russian and Chinese progress with hypersonic missiles.

Read the in-depth details here.

#4: Ripped From the US F-35 Playbook? Manned Chinese J-20 Jets Control Unmanned Drones

F-35 Drones

The Air Force is assessing whether it can use the Skyborg artificial intelligence technology it is creating to allow an F-35 or F-15EX pilot to control drones like the XQ-58 Valkyrie. (Jeff Martin/Staff)

A report in the Chinese government-backed Global Times newspaper says the People’s Liberation Army Air Force is experimenting with manned-unmanned teaming with its J-20 5th-generation stealth fighter jet.

The “loyal wingman” concept enables manned fighter jets to control the flight-path and sensor payload of nearby drones without needing to transmit video and data back through a ground control center. Rather the incoming information in the form of video, still photos or EW specifics from drones can be collected, gathered and organized by on-board computer processing, greatly improving operational efficiency and multiplying mission options.

The possibility of enabling F-22 or F-35 pilots to control drones from the cockpit was on the radar for Air Force scientists years ago. Weapons developers saw an opportunity to reduce risk to manned aircraft by enabling them to control forward drones to test enemy air defenses, blanket an area with surveillance and even fire weapons when directed by a human.

Read the full story here.

#3: Army & Industry Teams Massively Modernize the Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW)

Beretta NGSW

Beretta NGSW

U.S. Army Infantry, Airborne Rangers, and Special Operations Forces are developing a next-generation automatic rifle, anticipating a new era of “close-in combat” firefights and paradigm-changing threats to the warfighter.

The Next-Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) rifle is intended to supplement and ultimately replace the current M4A1 carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Army developers say the new weapon will be longer range, lighter weight, and much more lethal by “achieving greater energy on the target.”

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The concept for the NGSW emerged following a 2017 U.S. Army Small Army Ammunition Configuration (SAAC) study. Among other priorities, the study called for advanced fire-control technology and bullet design to “not only defeat threat capabilities but also ensure overmatch.”

Full story here.

#2: Navy Fast-Tracks Up-Gunned DDG 51 Flight III Destroyers

USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)

USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)

The US Navy currently has seven new DDG 51 Flight III destroyers under construction, modern up-gunned variants of its signature warship built with new sources of on-board power, breakthrough levels of high-sensitivity, long-range radar and a next-generation combat system.

The signature element of the Navy’s Flight III destroyers is a software, radar, computing and fire control ship combat system called Aegis Baseline 10. The centerpiece of the system is a new extremely precise radar system known as the AN/SPY 6 v1, a technology said by developers to operate with an ability to detect objects twice as far and one half the size compared to existing radars.

Part of the advantage with Baseline 10 is that it can synthesize ballistic missile defense operations with lower-altitude, closer in air and cruise missile defense. Aegis Baseline 10 reduces the hardware footprint through the use of common technical standards, streamlines functionality and allows for continual performance upgrades through software as new technologies emerge.

Click to read full details here

#1: China's Stealthy 5th-Generation J-20 Fighter Jet. Can it Rival the F-22 or F-35?

China claims its fifth-generation, stealthy J-20 fighter jet is now taking yet another massive step toward war preparedness by flying in what could be referred to as “full stealth” mode.

A report from the Chinese-government backed Global Times says the J-20 was “spotted” flying without a Luneburg lens, a small device used to intentionally expose a stealth aircraft to others in situations like training or non-combat flights.

Does this mean the aircraft has taken new steps toward combat and operational “readiness?” Furthermore, just how stealthy is it?

Read the full story here.

-- Kris Osborn is the President and Editor-in-Chief of Warrior Maven and The Defense Editor of The National Interest --

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President, Center for Military Modernization