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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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FRONT-ROW VIEW: What visitors are saying about Vectren Dayton Air Show

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 10:37 AM

Be right next to the pole as air show pilot Sean D. Tucker makes a ribbon cut and fast passes.

Rain started to fall on and off at the Dayton Air Show around 11 a.m. as crowds started to grow with spectators. 

Marvin Napier, of Huber Heights, stood underneath the wing of the Orbis Flying Hospital aircraft to shield his two young children from the rain. 

The Porter family of Bloomington, Ind. arrived early for today’s start to the 2018 Vectren Dayton Air Show.(Staff Writer)

"The rain is better than 95 degree heat where you're sweating. With the clouds, the planes will fly lower so it's a win-win," he said. 

This is the first time he's taken his kids to the air show. They're excited for the Blue Angels and Sean D. Tucker.

Chris and Sandy Porter, of Bloomington, Ind., arrived bright and early to secure front-row seat at the air show. Sitting in a blue and white U.S.A. law chair, Sandy Porter said she and her husband made the drive up last night to meet with her family members from Columbus.

GATES OPEN: What you need to know about today


“It’s more just about being together with family. That’s what it’s all about,” she said.

Rain or shine, the family comes to the Dayton Air Show. She said they’re especially excited to see the Blue Angels this year.

John Klatt's Scramin' Sasquatch is a 1929 Waco taperwing biplane equipped with a jet engine at Vectren Dayton Air Show. Klatt appears to be flying over Blue Angel #3 as he approaches show center on Friday, June 22, 2018. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

An air show spokeswoman said officials anticipate less heat-related health issues from spectators this year because of chillier temperatures.

Terry Weaver drove from Pennsylvania to watch the Dayton Air Show, but he hasn't been here in years. In 2013, he and his son came to the air show when a pilot and wing walker died in a fiery crash. 

"We saw everything. It's burned into my memory," he said. "My 9-year-old son, he hasn't wanted to come back." 

Weaver said he was excited to finally come back for the show this weekend.


Air show forecast: Warm with chance for showers, storms

RTA offers express shuttle service to Vectren Dayton Air Show

How to avoid traffic and parking headaches at this weekend’s Vectren Dayton Air Show

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U.S. House candidate Katie Arrington seriously hurt in wrong-way crash

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

South Carolina congressional candidate Katie Arrington is in the hospital with serious injuries after being involved in a fatal car wreck Friday night.
Kathryn Ziesig, AP
South Carolina congressional candidate Katie Arrington is in the hospital with serious injuries after being involved in a fatal car wreck Friday night.(Kathryn Ziesig, AP)

Katie Arrington, a Republican congressional candidate in South Carolina is in the hospital with serious injuries after she was involved in a deadly wrong-way car crash Friday night.

Arrington was traveling in the passenger seat with a friend, when another driver traveling in the wrong direction hit their car, WSOC reports.

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The driver of the other vehicle died at the scene, according to Sheriff's Capt. Roger Antonio. The driver of Arrington’s car, her friend Jacqueline Goff, also sustained serious injuries.

Arrington and Goff were driving to Hilton Head, where Arrington was scheduled to receive an award Saturday morning, her campaign posted on Twitter.

Arrington has suffered a fracture to her back, broken ribs and a partial collapse of a main artery in her leg.

She will have undergo surgery and will require more procedures and weeks of recovery, CNN reports.

Arrington is alert and recovering at the Medical University of South Carolina and her family is by her side.

President Donald Trump expressed his sympathies to Arrington via Twitter.

Arrington defeated U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in his re-election bid last week.

Sanford also expressed his well-wishes to Arrington on Twitter.

Arrington’s Democratic opponent, Joe Cunningham, announced Saturday morning that he's suspending his campaign out of respect for Arrington's recovery.

“As we all know, Katie Arrington is an extremely strong woman and has tremendous faith and an incredibly supportive family," her campaign said on Twitter.

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New ice cream shop opening in former Dairy Queen to hold hiring event this weekend

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

The Sweet Retreat to replace DQ on Smithville Road in Belmont.

A new independent ice cream shop coming to a former Dayton Dairy Queen is gearing up for opening with a hiring event this weekend.

The Sweet Retreat plans to open in the next few weeks and will hold open interviews on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Interviews will take place first come, first served. 

>> Black Rock Grill coming to former Don Pablo’s near Mall at Fairfield Commons

The shop will offer employment opportunities in both back and front of the house as employees are needed for food operations and as cashiers.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Former Dairy Queen space springs to life as a locally owned, independent ice cream shop

The Sweet Retreat, a new ice cream shop in a former Dairy Queen space in Belmont slated to open summer 2018. (Source: The Sweet Retreat Facebook)

The ice cream shop coming to 2613 S. Smithville Road in Dayton’s Belmont neighborhood is the brainchild of Simon Wiley and Chris Tobias, who attended the same grade school and high school.

>> Guide to the best hidden gem ice cream shops around Dayton

The Sweet Retreat plans to offer more than two dozen soft serve flavors:

>> The best places to get frozen treats in Dayton

The Sweet Retreat, a new ice cream shop in a former Dairy Queen space in Belmont slated to open summer 2018. (Source: The Sweet Retreat Facebook)

The Sweet Retreat, a new ice cream shop in a former Dairy Queen space in Belmont slated to open summer 2018. (Source: The Sweet Retreat Facebook)

The Sweet Retreat will replace the former Dairy Queen on Smithville Road in Belmont. MARK FISHER/STAFF(MARK FISHER/STAFF)

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Amber Alert issued for 2 abducted Urbana boys

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:15 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

Jamie Rollins, suspect in Champaign County, Ohio, Amber Alert
Jamie Rollins, suspect in Champaign County, Ohio, Amber Alert

An Amber Alert is active for two boys reported abducted from Urbana.

They were reported missing at 7 a.m. from Maplewood Circle after their grandparents awoke to find them gone, according to a release from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

The first boy is Justin Wallace Jr., 7, a biracial boy with black hair who stands 4 feet 5 inches and weighs 72 pounds. There was no further descriptive information available.

The second boy is Aaron Rollins, 9, a white boy with brown hair and hazel eyes who stands 4 feet, 11 inches and weighs 72 pounds. He was last seen wearing a maroon and white T-shirt and camo high-top tennis shoes.


The suspect, Jamie Rollins, is the non-custodial mother. She is believed to be driving a taupe Kia Optima with Ohio plates 347YSL. She is described as a white woman with red hair and blue eyes who stands 5 feet 3 inches and weighs 223 pounds.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts or who spots them is urged to call 911.

For more information visit the Ohio Amber Alert website.

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