The Department of Defense has signed off on a $34 billion contract to buy 478 F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin.

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WASHINGTON — The presidential helicopter isn't supposed to leave scorch marks on the White House lawn. So the Navy and Lockheed Martin Corp. are working to fix a "high risk" problem after the new Marine One did just that in a test without the president on board.

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America's most expensive weapon — Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter — is still struggling with a number of serious problems, such as destructive chain reactions triggered by a flat tire, a weird green glow on the helmet display that makes it difficult to land on aircraft carriers, and a loss of stealth at supersonic speeds.

Documents obtained by Defense News indicate that the U.S. military's fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters continue to suffer from more than a dozen issues that could potentially put pilots at risk or jeopardize a mission.

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An artist's depiction of the High Energy Laser and Integrated Optical-dazzler with Surveillance (HELIOS) in action. (Courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

The Navy intends to mount a laser weapons system aboard a guided-missile destroyer for user against small enemy watercraft in the next two years, the head of the service's surface warfare directorate announced on Wednesday.

"We are going to burn the boats if you will and move forward with this technology," Rear Adm. Ron Boxall said during an industry summit in Washington, D.C., according to USNI News.

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Courtesy of Sikorsky

The Army is currently considering two advanced rotary-wing aircraft to replace the Black Hawk as part of the branch's Future Vertical Lift program, and after a year of firsts for Bell's tiltrotor V-280 Valor, Boeing and Sikorsky are raring to catch up in 2019 with the much-anticipated SB-1 Defiant.

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Washington is stepping up its efforts to develop and field hypersonic weapons as it competes to retain America’s technological advantage over Russia and China, both of which are developing similar systems.

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