The Top 10 Defense Tech Posts of 2017

Military.com | By Brendan McGarry

1. New Carrier Landing Tech Wows Pilots on First Deployment

By Hope Hodge Seck: "After eight hours in the cockpit executing airstrikes on ISIS targets, fighter pilots assigned to this carrier are getting a little extra help as they come in for a landing. The Norfolk, Virginia-based George H. W. Bush and the San Diego-based carrier Carl Vinson both deployed in January with air wings equipped with a developmental technology that allows them to better control lift, making landings safer and more precise. How much more precise? So much, pilots attached to the ship told Military.com, that it's causing their arresting cables to wear unevenly." Read more.

2. North Korea Rattled by Commando-Carrying Guided Missile Sub

By Richard Sisk: "The North Korean regime headed by Kim Jong-Un seems rattled by the presence of the USS Michigan near the Korean peninsula. The former doomsday 'boomer' was once loaded with Trident nuclear ballistic missiles but has since gone retro for a more conventional role, including the transport of elite American commandos in the form of Navy SEALs. 'The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming an underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface,' the North's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said." Read more.

3. Why the F-22 Raptor Didn't Get the Air-to-Air Kill in Syria

By Oriana Pawlyk: "U.S. fourth-generation fighter jets this month scored some historic air-to-air kills in Syria. On June 18, a Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet conducted the U.S. military's first air-to-air kill involving a manned aircraft in nearly two decades when it downed a hostile Su-22 Fitter south of Taqbah. On June 8 and again on June 20, Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles shot down Iranian-made Shaheed drones over At Tanf as the unmanned aerial vehicles approached or dropped munitions near U.S.-backed forces on the ground. But aviation geeks couldn't help but wonder why the most advanced fifth-generation air-to-air fighter -- the Air Force's F-22A Raptor made by Lockheed Martin Corp. -- was missing from the action." Read more.

4. WATCH: Russia's Su-35 Wows Crowds at MAKS and Beyond

By Brendan McGarry: "Russia's Su-35 fighter jet wowed crowds this week at the MAKS 2017 airshow outside Moscow, according to multiple reports on social media. The twin-engine aircraft designed by Sukhoi carrying the NATO reporting name Flanker-E performed feats of aerial acrobatics that stunned even longtime aviation enthusiasts on social media. 'I mean, come on,' Stephen Trimble, aviation reporter and editor for Flightglobal's Americas bureau, tweeted Thursday after seeing footage of the aircraft's demonstration. 'And people actually thought the F-35A display at Paris last month was impressive. This isn't impressive. It's unbelievable.'" Read more.

5. Retired But Still Flying, the F-117 Nighthawk May Soon Fade to Black

By Oriana Pawlyk: "The F-117 Nighthawk has been spotted over the Nevada desert occasionally in recent years, raising questions why a "retired" plane has made its way onto a flightline. Technically categorized as "flyable storage," the remaining single-seat, twin-engine aircraft in the Air Force inventory are tucked away at test and training ranges in Tonopah, Nevada. But in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, passed Dec. 23, the Air Force will remove four F-117s every year to fully divest them -- a process known as demilitarizing aircraft, a service official told Military.com." Read more.

6. The US Just Flew a Stealth Fighter to Bomb Drug Labs in Afghanistan

By Oriana Pawlyk: "The Air Force has unleashed the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter in Afghanistan for its first operational mission against Taliban drug labs, the Defense Department said. The F-22s were joined by B-52 Stratofortresses and Afghan A-29 Super Tucanos to conduct an expanded strike mission -- called the new offensive campaign -- against the Taliban's revenue stream, said Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission and U.S. Forces Afghanistan. The Raptor 'was used because of its ability to deliver precision munitions -- in this case, a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimal amount of collateral damage,' he said during a teleconference briefing in Kabul." Read more.

7. MiG-35, Russia's New 4th-Gen Light Fighter, Readies for Combat

By Hope Hodge Seck: "The next addition to Russia's roster of fighter jets that bridge fourth- and fifth-generation technology may join units as soon as 2019, officials with the MiG Corporation told Military.com here at the Paris Air Show. The MiG-35, designed to replace MiG-29s rounding out their fourth decade in service, was absent from Paris but will be featured at the MAKS international airshow near Moscow in July as engineers finalize testing on the aircraft, said Anastasia Kravchenko, public relations director for MiG. Still to be determined is whether the fighter will be featured in a static display or aerial demo, she said." Read more.

8. US Army Close to Decision on Shielding Abrams Tanks with Israeli Tech

By Richard Sisk: "The Israelis call it the 'Windbreaker' that already is protecting their Merkava 4 tanks against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, and now the U.S. Army is close to giving the go-ahead to install it on the M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks. The Windbreaker, more commonly called the 'Trophy Active Protection System,' was designed to detect incoming projectiles and neutralize them with ball-bearing filled canisters fired off like buckshot. 'We're very close to a decision on the Trophy system,' said Army Maj. Gen. David Bassett, the Army's program executive officer for ground combat systems. Read more.

9. Humvee-Mounted Howitzer Dazzles at Modern Day Marine

By Matthew Cox: An Illinois-based company has developed a stabilized 105mm cannon system designed to be mounted on the back of Humvees, Joint Light Tactical Vehicles and similar-sized platforms. Mandus Group, in a partnership with AM General, showed off its Hawkeye 105mm Mobile Weapon System at Modern Day Marine 2017. The system features a U.S. Army M20 105mm cannon and a digital fire control system mounted on an AM General M1152A1 Humvee. The self-propelled howitzer features front and rear hydraulic anchors that stabilize the gun when firing. Read more.

10. Navy Electronic Jamming Aircraft Take Quiet Toll on ISIS

By Hope Hodge Seck: "While Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets deal death from the sky on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, the EA-18 Growler is jamming enemy communications -- and potentially enemy drones too. The Bush, which has been launching sorties in support of the counter-ISIS fight since early in the year, has four Hornet squadrons flying constant missions against the enemy. But also key to the fight are its squadron of Growlers and E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, which can detect airborne threats at distance and coordinate strikes from the air." Read more.

-- Brendan McGarry can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.