US Department of Defense Unveils Prototypes of New Warfighting Satellites

By Aaryaa Padhyegurjar

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been working on some innovative technologies that could be quite useful to the military.

Synthetic aperture radar satellites, which can see through clouds and at night, were successfully prototyped by the Defense Innovation Unit. According to Michael Brown, DIU director, these satellites provided the world with imagery of Russian forces in and around Ukraine, allowing the department to forecast the invasion and show undeniably what was happening without revealing classified sources.

DARPA’s director, Stefanie Tompkins, said her organisation is working on a number of projects. DARPA has recently completed a second successful flight test of the HAWC hypersonic air breathing weapon concept, in collaboration with the Air Force. “This test set the US record for scramjet endurance and we believe it’s an inflection point on the path to reclaiming US leadership in hypersonic weapons,” Tompkins said. However, not many details about the HAWC were revealed.

“I ask you please to remember that some of those will fail. If they don’t, it means we’re not trying hard enough. And we’re not taking enough risk. But some of those will succeed, and in doing so, may fundamentally transform our nation and strengthen our national security,” she added.

“Imagine a world where soldiers’ basic needs, things like food, water, fuel or medicine are made right on the spot from waste material, say from plastic, or even just from the air, completely independent of vulnerable supply chains,” Tompkins said. “Imagine a world where both of our electronics and software are completely secure by design and thus unhackable. Imagine a world in which all of our military systems, which today have a lot of trouble interoperating, can seamlessly communicate and work together … Those are some of the features that DARPA seeks to make real,” she continued.

Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu notes that novel commercial technologies, paired with conventional weapons can change the nature of a conflict.


 

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