Howard's Tower

From high atop Howard’s Tower, the Intelligent Aerospace blog, Editor Courtney E. Howard ponders – and, frankly, rants and raves about – the latest aerospace developments, industry debates, and life’s general debacles. Weigh-in on related issues by commenting on and sharing posts, or by e-mailing



Is ‘flying gun’ UAS video a smoking gun?

Is ‘flying gun’ UAS video a smoking gun?

HOWARD'S TOWER BLOG. A 14-second video, posted to YouTube by a user named Hogwit, is causing a great deal of controversy. Admittedly, it’s not as controversial as the Portland, Maine, diner owner yelling at a crying infant this week… but it’s a much-debated topic today, especially among aerospace professionals and hobbyists.

Never has the value of human intelligence on the flight deck been more important

HOWARD'S TOWER BLOG 19 Jan. 2015. Modern avionics represents truly amazing technology. Sensors are growing in sophistication, digital satellite communications is helping guide aircraft to their destinations more efficiently than ever before, and small powerful computers are blending sensor inputs to produce on-board real-time situational awareness.

Flightline technicians need a stronger voice in the test equipment business

HOWARD'S TOWER BLOG, 13 Oct. 2014. The flightline test experts buying and specifying test equipment need to improve their communications with the technicians using that equipment, or risk playing a guessing game that could lead to the wrong choices.

An SA-17 missile fired from a Buk launcher would make short work of a 777 passenger jumbo jet

An SA-17 missile fired from a Buk launcher would make short work of a 777 passenger jumbo jet

HOWARD'S TOWER BLOG, 18 July 2014. It looks like Malaysia Airlines had another really bad day yesterday. News reports say a Malaysia Airlines 777 jumbo jet en-route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine where government forces and Russian-backed separatists are locked in a civil war in the eastern region of the country.

About the Blogger

Courtney E. Howard, as editor-in-chief, enjoys writing about all things aerospace & defense in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace & Defense Group, which encompasses Intelligent Aerospace, Military & Aerospace Electronics, the Intelligent Aerospace Conference & Exhibition, and much more. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics geek. Connect with Courtney at, @coho on Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

Aerospace & Defense Blog Archives

COTS still an awkward description two decades later; is it time for a new term?

December 31, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 31 Dec. 2013. Tomorrow begins the new year, and with everything else it brings, the calendar turning to 2014 means the term COTS has been with us now for 20 years.COTS, short for commercial off-the-she... Read More

Capital Hill budget deal could restore tens of billions of dollars to the Pentagon

December 17, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 17 Dec. 2013. Finally, some good news out of Washington. Leaders from the U.S. House and Senate have reached a budget deal that would restore billions of dollars to the U.S. Department of Defense over ... Read More

Hacker drone story a cautionary tale about the need for unmanned vehicle data security

December 10, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 10 Dec. 2013. Saw a fascinating, yet questionably accurate story the other day about designs for an inexpensive unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for hobbyists that may have the ability to hunt, hack, and ... Read More

Lack of money for systems upgrades threatens to maintain wind-farm radar dead spots

December 3, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 3 Dec. 2013. Whoever imagined that air safety, national defense, and renewable energy would come into conflict, but this is the situation today in which we find ourselves.The problem involves radar sys... Read More

Engineering support contracts indicate the Pentagon is sinking into the Mothball Strategy

November 26, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 26 Nov. 2013. Engineering services and support. That's what I'm seeing for the vast majority of today's Pentagon contract announcements. Not new procurement or research programs, but engineering servic... Read More

The revenge of COTS: an ageing commercial technology base complicates military supply chain

November 19, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 19 Nov. 2013. The U.S. military's move to replace custom-designed mil-spec electronic subsystems and components with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronic was supposed to reduce costs and give the... Read More

Navy's newest destroyers evolve to fill traditional battleship roles

November 12, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 12 Nov. 2013. U.S. Navy leaders have launched the first in a new class of surface warships designed for shore bombardment -- a job that traditionally belongs to battleships and heavy cruisers.This new ... Read More

International suspicions of U.S. encryption technology putting defense companies in a bind

November 5, 2013
THE MIL & AERO BLOG, 5 Nov. 2013. Major U.S. defense contractors may be in worse shape than we know, as defense budgets shrink, sequestration takes its toll, and as more and more experts conclude that the era of large-scale conventional milita... Read More

Defense industry left guessing as Army struggles forward with an unclear mission

October 29, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 29 Oct. 2013. Circumstances are gathering into a potential perfect storm that may threaten not only the U.S. Army's future mission, but also how the defense industry can move forward to support the Arm... Read More

These are tough times for the combat vehicle and vetronics industries

October 22, 2013
Posted by John KellerTHE MIL & AERO BLOG, 22 Oct. 2013. The most prominent exhibits this week at the Association of the U.S. Army trade show in Washington involve glittering versions of the latest fast, armored, and networked military vehicles... Read More

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