Air Force could arm fighter jets with future lasers

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 5:00 AM

Air Force Research Laboratory Executive Director Jack Blackhurst talks about plans to arm a fighter jet with a laser. Video produced by Barrie Barber.

The Air Force has a target date to install a laser on a fighter jet by 2021.

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which leads the service branch work in military applications of lasers, awarded a $26.3 million to Lockheed Martin to develop an airborne laser pod.

AFRL has launched the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstration initiative to expand the use of lasers.

“The Air Force is very interested in moving out in directed energy,” AFRL Executive Director Jack Blackhurst said in an interview with this newspaper earlier this year. “For many years, we in the laboratory have been testing directed-energy technology, both in the laser and in the high-powered microwave (field), and the leadership has now decided that it’s time to move the technology into the field and actually implement this into the Air Force weapon systems.”

RELATED: New office at Wright-Patt will test weapon systems technology

As the size of lasers has shrunk, the Air Force has made gains to stabilize the future weapon systems in fast-moving aircraft flying through turbulence – one of the biggest technical challenges, according to Gen. Ellen M. Pawlikowski, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson.

The service branch is aiming to have laser-equipped combat jets sometime between 2030 to 2035, she said.

“We don’t have a specific transition point,” she said in an interview with this newspaper. “This is one of the technologies though that we have looked at as having some strong potential” to gain air superiority over adversaries.

Air Force officials have not said what aircraft the laser, which fires invisible beams at the speed of light to disable a target, would be tested on.

RELATED: House defense leader at Wright-Patt, says AF pilot shortage growing

Pawlikowski, a former AFRL commander, was a prior director of the Air Force’s airborne laser system program office, which put a chemical-powered megawatt-producing laser into a the modified Boeing 747. The laser-armed jumbo jet shot down a ballistic missile in a February 2010 test, according to the Air Force. The jet was pulled from the test fleet at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in 2012.

Lockheed Martin has researched airborne laser “for well over 20 years,” said Katharine Scruggs, a company spokeswoman.

RELATED: Ohio Air Guard tanker flight part of U.S. bomber flight near Korean peninsula

“It’s a completely new and different challenge to get a laser system into a smaller, airborne test platform,” Rob Afzal, a Lockheed Martin laser researcher, said in a statement. “…The development of high-power laser systems like SHEiLD show laser weapons system technologies are becoming real.”

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Hero German shepherd takes bullet for teenager in home invasion

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 8:50 PM

(KIRO7.com)
(KIRO7.com)

When burglars violently broke into a Des Moines, Washington, home mid-afternoon on Wednesday, a teenager hid in a closet and held onto his dog.

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But Rex -- a 2-year-old German shepherd -- ran downstairs to protect the 16-year-old.

The dog confronted the burglars, who beat him until he was bloody. The dog ran back upstairs.

>> Related: Argument over dog’s weight turns deadly at Missouri sports bar

With the dog out of sight, the home invasion continued as the two burglars trashed the house room by room. When they came into the bedroom where the teen and the dog were hiding in the closet, and the teen was on the phone with 911, the dog stood up to them with the little strength he had left.

>> Related: Police: Des Moines teen calls 911 from closet during home invasion

He threw himself at the burglars, the teen's family wrote on a GoFundMe page, and was shot at least three times in the neck, leg and knee.

As the sound of sirens became audible, the burglars ran away.

Officers found smashed sliding door glass when they went into the home to get the teen outside safely. They also found Rex, who at first looked dead.

While SWAT teams looked for the suspects, Rex was taken to the animal hospital. 

>> Related: Shepherd, lab mix found tied to tree with note attached to collar gets adopted

He was eventually taken to BluePearl, where he is in the veterinary intensive care unit, receiving pain medication, antibiotics and wound care, with round-the-clock monitoring of his vital signs.
After making it through the night, the dog is now in stable condition.

As Rex recovers, people on social media have taken to calling him a "hero dog" for intervening between the burglars and the teenager.

"My nephew was protected by his eternal friend until the last bit of strength he had in him to do what his unconditional, loving instinct told him to," family member Susy Cadena said on the GoFundMe page.

The family started crowdfunding after paying large sums of money for X-rays and urgently needed medication for Rex. They hope to raise $10,000 to cover the expenses.

"Our family cannot let Rex the hero dog go without us fighting as hard as he did, to his very last bit of a strength while protecting my nephew," Cadena said.

Meanwhile, officers are still looking for the suspects, and they are trying to figure out why the house was targeted.

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Armed Stoneman Douglas resource officer 'never went in' during Florida shooting

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 5:35 PM

Armed Stoneman Douglas Resource Officer Resigns

The school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has resigned, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

[View the story "Stoneman Douglas resource officer resigns after investigation" on Storify]

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Follow along with our live updates as we learn more

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Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 3:49 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 1:29 AM

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • No incidents to report. 

Surface Street Incidents 

  • No incidents to report. 

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

  • Arlington Road between Pleasant Plain and Upper Lewisburg Salem Road, BRIDGE CLOSURE, March 5 - Sept. 30. All ramps for I-70 will remain open. 
  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.

SHELBY COUNTY

  • SR 47 between Fifth Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue, Lane closures Jan. 21 - Nov. 27. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. 

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Wakanda is real? Village of Wauconda, Illinois, gets ‘Black Panther’ love, requests for vibranium

Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:06 AM

(Marvel Studios/Disney via AP)
AP
(Marvel Studios/Disney via AP)(AP)

The village of Wauconda, Illinois, is getting a lot of love from “Black Panther” fans following the blockbuster’s record-breaking premiere weekend.

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Pronounced the same way as the magical (but fictional) African kingdom of Wakanda, the town, where about 20,000 people reside along the shore of Lake Michigan, has already received a call asking whether they were hiding vibranium, the strongest metal in the world (Wakanda’s fictional world).

Another fan called to ask about the village’s pronunciation. “When I told him, he began yelling, ‘Wakanda forever!’” Alise Homola, executive assistant to Wauconda’s village administrator and mayor, told the Hollywood Reporter.

» RELATED: ‘Black Panther’ was the first movie filmed at Tyler Perry Studios’ new stages

"At first, I was like, is there a full moon out?” Homola said, confused about the calls and requests for vibranium. She knew about the film but not the plot.

In the Marvel universe, the Kingdom of Wakanda is a fictional nation ruled by T’Challa, or the Black Panther. Thanks to its massive hidden stash of vibranium, it’s also one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Wauconda High School Principal Dan Klett even received an inquiry about changing the school’s mascot from a bulldog to a black panther. But that won’t be happening.

» RELATED: ‘Black Panther’: Five things to know about the movie’s ties to metro Atlanta

While Wauconda, Illinois, has no plans to play up the “Black Panther” connection, other cities are getting in on the fun.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport announced on Twitter that it would be offering nonstop flights to the fictional kingdom, prompting hilarious reactions from some of the stars of “Black Panther” themselves.

The blockbuster’s ties to the metro Atlanta region are a pretty big deal. In fact, almost $84 million of flick’s reported $200 million budget was spent in Georgia, the AJC previously reported. 

Several scenes of Wakanda were actually shot at the beautiful rock quarry at the Vulcan Materials Co. in Stockbridge.

» RELATED: Made in Atlanta: “Black Panther” stuns with $235 million four-day take

According to the state economic development department, 3,100 people working in Georgia’s booming film industry were employed during the shoot, which started in August 2016 and wrapped up in November 2017.

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