* DARPA wants to make DoD procurement more secure with its Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense (SHIELD) program. This would be done through small, very cheap components dedicated to authenticating the origin of their host electronic parts. The agency will host a workshop [PDF] on March 14 in Arlington, VA.
Developing Multipurpose VTOL UAVs
* Lockheed Martin and Piasecki are working on a ducted-fan cargo UAV under DARPA’s Aerial Reconfigurable Embedded Systems (ARES). Picture the offspring of an X-22 breeding with a K-Max. ARES intends to address not only the supply missions that K-Max has been used for in Afghanistan, but also casualty evacuation (obviously MEDEVAC is out of the question unless they also invent a robotic medic) and intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance. Incidentally, Lockheed Martin recently announced a contract with the US Army Robotics Technology Consortium to test K-Max for ISR uses.
Staffing the DoD
* The US Senate Armed Services Committee is conducting an omnibus confirmation hearing today with no less than 6 nominated senior Pentagon staffers under consideration, including Bob work as the DoD’s future #2, and Michael McCord to replace Bob Hale as Comptroller (Hale recently announced his retirement, McCord is currently his principal deputy).
Sevastopol Gets a Russian Mayor
* Sevastopol’s city council handed power to a Russian citizen and raised the Russian flag. The city is home of a port leased to Russia, where its Black Sea fleet is based. This basing is critical to Russia’s renewed Mediterranean ambitions. Some think Vladimir Putin may try to support Crimea separatism, re-using the playbook from 2008 to pull South Ossetia apart from Georgia.
Germany’s Evolving Posture
* Robert Pollard at the CSIS think tank explains why it is now more palatable for German leaders to advocate more active involvement in international security affairs, including with the deployment of troops abroad. He thinks the change is genuine, but will be done one small step at a time.
J-20: Ready for Drag Racing
* New pictures of China’s future stealth fighter show a few visible changes from the last batch of orchestrated leaks. The nose section looks somewhat like an F-35, but the body then goes on forever.
AW139: When It’s Time to Go, We’re Here for You
* The AW139 is gaining popularity as a military and parapublic helicopter. Its recent performance whisking away Viktor Yanukovych and his staff was commendable, but we’re not holding our breath waiting for the advertisement posters.