All articles by Claire Apthorp

Claire Apthorp

Improving airfield repairs with AI drones

The US Navy is looking for a drone equipped with artificial intelligence to speed up the repair of damaged airfields. Claire Apthorp looks at the current airfield maintenance process to find out where the weaknesses lie, and ask how intelligent unmanned systems could improve the speed and efficiency of repairs.

Friend or foe: securing aircraft IFF systems

The US Air Force has contracted Raytheon to provide secure identification friend-or-foe (IFF) equipment in a bid to help safeguard aircraft. IFF technology, which helps radar operators and missile crews tell the difference between friendly and potentially hostile aircraft, can be susceptible to spoofing, so securing this capability is essential. Claire Apthorp takes a look at Raytheon’s solution and other approaches to keeping IFF equipment secure.

Maxwell: smart base pilot kicks off

AT&T has announced it is working with Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, to pilot a more efficient and effective “smart base.” The concept uses Internet of Things technology to pull together connected smart perimeters, gate monitoring, notifications, fleet management and more. Claire Apthorp spoke to those involved to find out more about the pilot and talk early results.

A stealth solution for the US Air Force’s biggest birds

Pentagon chiefs are looking to Silicon Valley to present ideas for a ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ cloaking technology for the largest aircraft in the fleet – aerial refuelling tankers. According to top officials from the Air Mobility Command, there is no point cloaking fighter jets while all the enemy has to do is look for the refueller. So what options are out there? Claire Apthorp finds out.

All a Kaggle: DSTL teamup identifies novel ways to evaluate defence data

The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) recently partnered with Kaggle, the world’s largest data science competition community, to identify novel methods to evaluate large, complex data sets. The competition attracted over 5,000 submissions and will be used to help intelligence analysts evaluate information more quickly, accurately and effectively. By Claire Apthorp.

The US Air Force’s struggle to retain fighter pilots

The US Air Force is facing a pilot shortage and ranks of fighter pilots have been hit hardest. In 2015, the force was short 511 fighter pilots, a number that increased to nearly 750 at the end of 2016. Has the allure of the swashbuckling, all-American hero worn off? And what are the US Air Force and others doing to attract new recruits? Claire Apthorp finds out.

Certifiable Predator B: a new generation sharpens its claws

Following the news that the UK has ordered a fleet of the new Certifiable Predator B remotely piloted aircraft from the US in a deal worth $1bn, Claire Apthorp took a look at the new technology.

A lesson in air readiness with NATO

To show just how ready NATO is to deploy its counter threat capability, the organisation recently packed up its entire Deployable Air Command and Control Centre (DACCC) moving it via air, land and sea from Poggio Renatico, Italy, to Sardinia, 600km south of the DACCC’s home base. Claire Apthorp finds out how the move went and why the exercise is so important to maintaining NATO’s readiness.

The unmanned wingman: high-speed drones to support fighter aircraft

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions has secured a contract to explore the use of high-speed drones to support fourth and fifth generation fighter aircraft. Simply put such an unprecedented capability would provide fighter jets with a wingman capable of advanced tactical manoeuvrability. Claire Apthorp takes a look at what’s planned.

Spoofing and jamming: tackling threats to GPS-guided systems

GPS-guided weapons such as cruise missiles and the British Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System have the potential to fall victim to ‘spoofing’ attacks by terrorists and hostile forces, which could lead rockets or missiles astray. While some adversaries are keen to exploit this vulnerability, major work is underway to ensure that the next-generation of GPS satellites are safe from attack, as Claire Apthorp finds out.