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Wave Motion will work on jet-gun launcher for Navy

Everett, Wash.-based Wave Motion Launch Corp. has been awarded $1.3 million to support its efforts to develop a barrel-less launcher technology that could eventually be used to send payloads to space.

Wave Motion was selected for project funding from the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division via the Naval Surface Technology and Innovation Consortium. NSTIC offers federally funded research and business opportunities related to naval surface technology innovation, with a focus on emerging ventures.

The funding is due to run through the end of 2023 — and if Wave Motion’s jet-gun technology proves out, the company could be selected for follow-up awards.

Wave Motion is the brainchild of three University of Washington alumni — Finn van DonkelaarJames Penna and Casey Dunn. The two-year-old venture was one of the award winners in UW CoMotion’s I-Corps program in 2020. Van Donkelaar is Wave Motion’s CEO and holds the patent for the jet-gun system. Penna is the chief operating officer, and Dunn has served as chief financial officer.

The jet-gun concept involves firing a jet of supersonic gas to push a projectile to very high speeds. Since there’s no physical structure or barrel surrounding the projectile, Wave Motion says the system has the potential to be up to 100 times more compact than a rocket or regular cannon of equivalent power.

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Blue Angels promise a louder post-COVID air show

The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels had to pass up their traditional Seafair air show in Seattle last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but assuming the all-clear is given, they promise to come roaring back this August.

Literally.

This will be the first year that the Blue Angels do their aerobatic act with F/A-18 Super Hornets instead of the “legacy” Hornets that the team has used for 34 years. The shift is the result of a transition that’s been years in the making.

When it comes to power, the Boeing-built Super Hornets are … well, super.

“With the Super Hornet, the show will definitely be audibly louder, because the jet itself produces more thrust,” Lt. Julius Bratton, who serves as the team’s narrator and No. 7 pilot, explained today during a Zoom video conference with reporters. “The Super Hornet has about 42,000 pounds of thrust in full afterburner, whereas the legacy Hornet that we previously flew had about 32,000 pounds of thrust.”

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Navy ‘officially’ releases widely seen UFO videos

The Defense Department has authorized the release of three unclassified Navy videos, captured in 2004 and 2015, that purport to show unidentified flying objects — or to use the Pentagon’s preferred term, unidentified aerial phenomena.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

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Boeing’s robotic refueling drone aces test flight

Boeing’s MQ-25 Stingray drone successfully completed its first test flight today, marking a big step toward providing the Navy with robotic refuelers for carrier-based warplanes.

The test aircraft, known as T1, went through a two-hour autonomous flight that was conducted under the direction of Boeing test pilots at a ground control station at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, Ill., Boeing and the Navy reported in a news release.

Boeing said T1 completed an autonomous taxi and takeoff, and then flew a predetermined route to validate the aircraft’s basic flight functions and operations with the ground station.

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