Fielding new technologies in the war on terror is a big priority for director of defense research and engineering, John Young. Speaking to defense reporters Thursday, Young described some of the fielded DOD projects, including a biometric tool that collects fingerprints and iris scans at controlled facilities being used in Iraq and with the Department of Homeland Security. He expects to see fielded soon such projects as an aerostat camera with acoustic, infrared radars to let operators determine the source of a blast or shot. Other developing projects include an improvised explosive device jammer and an automated language program that can translate Arabic into English—no human needed on the spot.
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.