July 25, 2024

Shipboard Laser Weapons Advance

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Shipboard lasers that can hit air and surface targets with precision are a bit closer to deployment after successful testing on the USS Ponce, reports Stars and Stripes. The LaWS laser system is a directed-energy weapon that can target both air and surface targets with lethal or nonlethal force. However, the Navy won’t be installing its new laser weapon system on ships throughout the fleet any time soon, despite the initial success. The system is still in the experimental phase, and testing will continue for an undetermined period.

President Obama gave most federal employees a bonus day off on Dec. 26, reports The Washington Post. Many workers will be paid as if they had worked a normal schedule that day, and those who had already scheduled annual leave for that day won’t have to use a vacation day. The Post investigates how the day off affects pay, leave and other associated issues.

Maryland’s Prince George’s County Police Department was named one of the nation’s best police agencies for veteran hiring in the Navy Times’ 2015 edition of Best for Vets: Law Enforcement.

A Navy Cross recipient was informed by the VA that the multiple gunshot and shrapnel wounds he suffered in Vietnam were “not related to your military service,” according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Veteran Steve Lowery has the scars, two Purple Hearts and his Marine Corps medical records to prove he was wounded when his 12-man reconnaissance team was attacked in 1969. Efforts are now underway to investigate and remedy the situation.

Military Times provides an in depth look at the current state of the armed forces titled “America’s Military: A force adrift.” The commentator concludes that, “after 13 years of war, troops feel burned out and without a sense of mission. More doubt their leaders and their job security.”

Over the last five years, 90 Navy skippers were relieved of duty for issues ranging from driving under the influence to having inappropriate relationships, but losing their job didn’t always end their career, according to Stars and Stripes. The publication found that 53 percent of all officers relieved of command since 2010 are still in uniform, most without loss of rank.

The unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans dropped in November, falling to 5.7 percent, according to Military Times. Only two times in the monthly measure’s six-year history has this unemployment rate been lower. The November post-9/11 veteran unemployment rate is down a point and a half from the October statistic of 7.2 percent. For veterans of all generations, unemployment stood at 4.5 percent in November, unchanged from the October rate.

The University of Maryland’s UAV test facility based in St. Mary’s County is open for business after launching a Talon 240 unmanned aircraft, reports The Baltimore Sun. The Maryland UAV site is designed to give FAA regulators information to guide the development of rules and policies that will allow unmanned aircraft to safely share the skies with manned aircraft. Companies will be able to partner with the university to get their projects airborne and plans are underway to assess fish populations in the Chesapeake Bay and examine power lines in Southern Maryland.

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