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The Navy’s costliest warship finally has all the elevators needed to lift bombs from below its deck so it can deploy on its first operational patrol — more than four and a half years after delivery.

The service has announced that the 11th and final Advanced Weapons Elevator is in place on the $13.3 billion USS Gerald R. Ford and the aircraft carrier is ready for training and operations.

“This is a significant milestone for the Navy, ship and her crew,” Rear Admiral James Downey, the Navy’s program executive officer for aircraft carriers, said in a statement. “We now have the entire system to operate and train with.” He said the service and the prime contractor, Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., used “hundreds of craftsmen, technicians and engineers, working around the clock —through multiple underway and holiday periods — to get these advanced systems on line and operational.”

Defense company Raytheon has clinched a US Navy contract to provide engineering and technical services for the Evolved Seasparrow Missile and NATO Seasparrow Missile programs, the Pentagon has said.

A press release by the Department of Defense on December 30 stated, “Raytheon Company [of] Tucson, Arizona, is awarded a $55,121,826 modification to a previously awarded contract for engineering and technical services in support of the Evolved Seasparrow Missile and NATO Seasparrow Missile Systems programs.”

The contract combines purchases for the US government (99%); and those of Japan and the United Arab Emirates (1%) under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Hypersonic air travel is anything that travels at Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. The U.S. was once a leader in developing supersonic and hypersonic technology, but has taken “our foot off the gas,” according to Mark Lewis, executive director of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute.

Watch the video to find out more about how the U.S. fell behind Russia, China and possibly North Korea, and how we’re spending billions to catch up.

Hypersonic air travel, for both military and commercial use, could be here within the decade.

The $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act signed into law Tuesday calls for investing billions into hypersonic research and development, making them a top priority for Washington. The next step is congressional approval to allocate the money for the technology to the Pentagon.

“If you are traveling at hypersonic speeds, you’re, you’re going more than a mile per second,” said Mark Lewis, executive director of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Emerging Technologies Institute. “That’s important for military applications. It could have commercial applications. It could also open up new, new ways of reaching space.”

Hypersonic is anything traveling above Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. That’s roughly 3,800 mph. At those speeds, commercial planes could travel from New York to London in under two hours.

The US Navy’s new Ford-class carriers use the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System to catapult planes off their decks, and France wants it too.

China’s growing military prowess dominated global headlines in 2021. Beijing’s fast-paced developments — be it the innovation in hypersonic technology, indigenous aircraft, or naval power — took the world by surprise and sent the alarm bells ringing in the West.

The EurAsian Times takes a look at five big developments in China’s weapons research and development.

Chinese Manned Space Agency (CMSA) is in the process of constructing a space station, called Tiangong, in the low Earth orbit (LEO). This construction gained a major milestone in May this year when Beijing launched Tianhe, the first module of the orbiting space station.

Lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), also called “killer robots” or “slaughterbots” being developed by a clutch of countries, have been a topic of debate with the international military, ethics, and human rights circles raising concerns. Recent talks about a ban on these killer robots have brought them into the spotlight yet again.

What Are Killer Robots?

The exact definition of a killer robot is fluid. However, most agree that they may be broadly described as weapons systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) to identify, select, and kill human targets without any meaningful human control.

While rotating at up to 10 degrees per second!

The technological competition between the United States and China is growing at breakneck speeds.

A small and relatively low-cost satellite by China can allegedly take high-resolution images of cities in mere seconds, The South China Morning Post first reported. The images are allegedly so detailed that they can be used to identify specific military vehicles and weapons.

An impressive act proving this statement was performed by Beijing-3, a small commercial satellite launched by China in June. Beijing-3 conducted an in-depth scan of the San Francisco Bay, which corresponds to roughly 1,470 sq mi (3,800 sq km), within 42 seconds, according to scientists involved in the satellite project who published the results this month in the Chinese peer-reviewed journal Spacecraft Engineering.

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The Chinese inroads into space have got strategic circles abuzz with discussions about a possible revival of a Cold War-type competition between the US and the erstwhile Soviet Union.

China has yet again made headlines with a move that goes beyond just sending missions to the Moon or Mars. It has claimed to have launched a satellite that could take high-resolution photos of American cities from space, which can capture even details of a vehicle’s number plate.

According to experts, a Chinese satellite captured photographs of a vast region around a US city in just 42 seconds, crisp enough to recognize a military vehicle on the street and tell what type of weapon it might be carrying.