Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Delivering Death In 30 Minutes Or Less

Unlike the disastrous HTV-2 program, it looks like DoD got this one right.

US tests hypersonic weapon which can hit any target on earth in 30 mins

The US military successfully conducted the first test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept.

In a statement issued by the US Department of Defence, the AHW is a first-of-its-kind glide vehicle, designed to fly long range within the earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speed.

The hypersonic flying missile travels five times the speed of sound and is rumoured to gain up to mach 20 speeds. More impressively, it can strike a target in any location on Earth in just 30 minutes.

See also:
U.S. Army tests hypersonic weapon that travels five times the speed of sound… and can hit ANY target on earth in 30mins
America tests new hypersonic missile
Hypersonic bomb: One-hour delivery?
U.S. missile hits its target 2,300 miles away at 5 times the speed of sound
Hypersonic weapon flies 2,400 miles at Mach 8 without crashing
US army test flies advanced hypersonic weapon
Space and Missile Defense Command tests hypersonic glider for possible use as conventional weapon
Army Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile
Hypersonic weapon tested by US Army
When you absolutely have to get there fast (and bomb something)
Matt Gurney: Even when broke, America can find cool ways to kill you
Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW)

The problem with a lot of high value targets (HVTs) is the time gap between pinpointing their location and the ability to bring ordinance to bear. Hypersonic, kinetic kill vehicles would narrow that gap considerably, minimizing the chances that the target could move and escape before it can be hit.

/fewer lost opportunities, more dead evil doers

From China, With Sprinkles

Gee, you’d think there’s be some type of common sense rule about not buying critical electronic components for your military hardware from your enemy, but I guess not.

Fake electronics becoming military danger

“Sprinkling” sounds like a fairly harmless practice, but in the hands of sophisticated counterfeiters it could deceive a major weapons manufacturer and possibly endanger the lives of U.S. troops.

It is a process of mixing authentic electronic parts with fake ones in hopes that the counterfeits will not be detected when companies test the components for multimillion-dollar missile systems, helicopters and aircraft. It was just one of the brazen steps described Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing examining the national security and economic implications of suspect counterfeit electronics — mostly from China — inundating the Defense Department’s supply chain.

See also:
U.S. defense equipment has been outfitted with counterfeit parts from China
Senate Homes in on China’s Role in Counterfeit Parts Entering DOD’s Supply Chain
Senators to Take on Counterfeit Electronic Parts in DOD
US Senators Demand China Crack Down on Suppliers of Fake Military Parts
Officials: Fake weapons parts ‘ticking time bomb’
Officials: Fake weapons parts ‘ticking time bomb’
Opening Statement at SASC Hearing on Counterfeit Electronic Parts in DOD Supply Chain
Fake Chinese weapons costs US millions
Lawmakers says counterfeits flood Pentagon supply
Chinese counterfeit parts found in U.S. weapons
Officials: Fake weapon parts hit Pentagon supplies
Lawmakers describe counterfeit electronic parts flooding into military’s supply chain
Probe traces bogus military parts to China
Report: US military supply chain riddled with shanzhai parts from China
China rejects U.S. charges of bogus weapons parts

It’s bad enough that China steals our intellectual property at will and that we owe them over a trillion dollars, but now they’re deliberately sabotaging our military equipment with fake electronics that, upon failure, could cost the lives of our military service members?

/it’s not a hot war, but it’s not a cold war either and we seem to be losing

Caught Stealing . . . Again

I thought cyberattacks were supposed to considered acts of war, how long are we going to just keep bending over for this threat to national security behavior?

Chinese Hackers Target Chemical Companies

Chinese hackers tried to penetrate the computer systems of 48 chemical and military-related companies in a late summer cyber attack to steal design documents, formulas and manufacturing processes, a security firm reported Tuesday.

The attack ran from late July to mid-September and appeared to be aimed at collecting intellectual property for competitive advantage, reported Symantec, which code-named the attack Nitro, because of the chemical industry targets. Hackers went after 29 chemical companies and 19 other businesses that made advanced materials primarily used in military vehicles.

See also:
The Nitro Attacks
Stealing Secrets from the Chemical Industry

Nitro Attack: Points of interest
“Nitro” spear-phishers attacked chemical and defense company R&D
‘Nitro’ Cyber-Spying Campaign Stole Data From Chemical, Defense Companies
‘Nitro’ Hackers Rifle Through Chemical Companies’ Secret Data
Report: Chinese hackers launched summer offensive on US chemical industry
‘Nitro’ Hackers Reportedly Attack Dozens of Companies in Chemical, Defense Industries
Chemicals and defence firms targeted by hacking attack
Dozens of chemical firms hit in espionage hack attack
“Nitro” attacks target 29 firms in chemical sector
‘Nitro’ hackers use stock malware to steal chemical, defense secrets
‘Nitro’ Hackers Steal Chemical Company Secrets
Nitro Malware Targeted Chemical Companies
Cyber attacks on chemical companies traced to China
Cyber Attacks on Chemical Firms Traced to Chinese Computers
Symantec uncovers cyber espionage of chemical, defense firms

You know, if we’re not going to treat these attacks as military in nature, which we should, the least we should do is take action against China for violation of international trade agreements, not to mention international law. For all the ‘fraidy cat, nervous Nellies who are so scared of engaging China in a trade war, what do you call these constant corporate espionage cyberattacks?

/China is not our friend

Hacking The High Ground

Not content to merely cyberattack our civilian and military computer systems every second of every day, the Chinese have now taken their hacking attacks to a whole new, higher level.

Chinese Military Suspected in Hacker Attacks on U.S. Satellites

Computer hackers, possibly from the Chinese military, interfered with two U.S. government satellites four times in 2007 and 2008 through a ground station in Norway, according to a congressional commission.

The intrusions on the satellites, used for earth climate and terrain observation, underscore the potential danger posed by hackers, according to excerpts from the final draft of the annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report is scheduled to be released next month.

“Such interference poses numerous potential threats, particularly if achieved against satellites with more sensitive functions,” according to the draft. “Access to a satellite‘s controls could allow an attacker to damage or destroy the satellite. An attacker could also deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite’s transmission.”

See also:
Hackers Interfered With Two U.S. Satellites, Draft Report Says
Hackers Interfered With 2 US Government Satellites
Hackers reportedly behind U.S. government satellite disruptions
Hackers Targeted U.S. Government Satellites
Chinese military may have hacked US satellites
China may have hacked US satellites
Hackers Targeted U.S. Government Satellites
U.S. satellites tampered by hackers
Hackers interfered with two U.S. satellites, report says
Chinese hackers suspected of interfering with US satellites
New hacker target: Government satellites
Chinese hackers may have attacked U.S. satellites
China suspect in US satellite interference: report
US reportedly attacked by Chinese hackers linked with the military
US Satellites hacked by Chinese Military says Congressional Commission

Given their ongoing and constant obsession with conducting cyberwarfare, it’s hardly surprising that the Chinese would be interested in attacking satellites. After all, in the event of hostilities, taking out the enemy’s satellites would effectively render them “blind”. The U.S. military is particularly dependent on satellite technology for communication and navigation, so it would only be logical for the Chinese, either by hacking or with kinetic strikes, to attempt to neutralize our satellite network and with it our technological advantage. The question is, what are we doing to counter this extremely obvious and serious threat?

/does anyone still remember how to navigate using a map and compass?

Keeping Up With The Jetsons

You want a flying car? We got your flying car right here, almost, maybe in a few years.

‘Flying Humvee’ moves ahead

A flying car that’s rugged enough for hardcore off-road driving, able to survive small-arms fire and can quickly take off and land is potentially just a few years shy of reality, according to reports sourced from DARPA, the U.S. military’s future-oriented research arm.

Aerospace companies Lockheed Martin and AAI Corporation have presented “feasible designs” to the military’s Transformer program, reports Aviation Week’s Ares blog, and have advanced to the next phase, which is to begin work on prototypes of the contraptions.




See also:
Is Darpa’s Fly-Drive Transformer on the Right Road?
The ‘flying Humvee’ gets off the ground as U.S. military plans first all-terrain, bullet-proof warcraft by next year
Flying humvee inches closer to reality
DARPA sets target date for testing ‘flying Humvee’
Coming soon: US army four-seater vehicle that can take off and land vertically
Progress to the Flying Humvee and enabling a revolution if door to door air travel up to 400 mile ranges
What’s The Point of Darpa’s ‘Flying Humvee,’ Exactly?
Military Developing Transformer To Solve Problems That Don’t Exist
Pentagon Wants Flying Humvee, For Some Reason
Transformer (TX)
Transformer (flying car)

I’m all for flying cars, but do we really need them for combat? The concept drawings of the Transformer TX makes it look like a huge ordnance magnet that, if it wasn’t blown up transitioning from ground to sky or vice versa, it would have so many complex moving parts that it would be undergoing maintenance for many more hours than it would be available for field use. Look at the trouble we already have keeping the V-22 Osprey in service.

/at a time when budget cutting and deficit reduction is the new national pastime, the Transformer TX would seem to be, in my opinion, a military toy too far

Mooky Rubs The U.S. Nose In The Iranian Victory In Iraq

After almost a decade in Iraq, after losing thousands of soldiers and spending hundreds of billions of dollars, the United States’ request to maintain even a minimal troop presence in Iraq after the end of 2011 was categorically rejected, in the end, effectively vetoed by close Iranian ally and long time U.S. nemesis, with plenty of U.S. blood on his hands, Muqtada al-Sadr. We got kicked out by Mooky, how absolutely humiliating is that?

Iraq’s Sadr calls for full US withdrawal

Head of Iraq’s Sadr movement, Muqtada al-Sadr, has called for the complete withdrawal of all American troops from the country by the end of the year.

Speaking in the holy city of Najaf on Wednesday, the cleric rejected any form of US presence in the country, as Washington and Baghdad are discussing keeping a limited number of US troops as military trainers in Iraq.

Sadr said the presence of US military trainers in Iraq beyond the Dec. 31 deadline is an ”organized occupation”.

He also dismissed any negotiation with the US before the full withdrawal of all foreign soldiers and the payment of compensation to the families of Iraqis killed by US troops.

Washington has been pressing Baghdad to agree to keep thousands of its troops beyond the 2011 deadline. It also wants the remaining troops to be granted immunity from prosecution.

See also:
Sadr rejects presence of US Military trainers in Iraq
Sadr bloc warns over keeping US military
Iraq’s move to revoke immunity for troops adds to US problems
After Nearly Nine Years of War and Occupation, America to Withdraw All Troops From Iraq
The U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq
U.S. role in Iraq comes to unsatisfying end
Timid leadership on US forces by Iraq’s politicians
As U.S.-Iraq troop talks faltered, Obama didn’t pick up the phone
With troops pulling out at year’s end, close U.S. Embassy in Iraq for diplomats’ safety
Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory
Risk Key US Gen calls Iraq pullout ‘disaster’
Overheard on CNN.com: Iraq not ours to ‘win’
Soldiers, Pundits Debate Whether Iraq War Was Worth It

If anyone tries to tell you that the U.S. pullout from Iraq, without a trace, after begging to stay and being curtly rebuffed, isn’t a huge victory for Iran, they’re either naive, confused, or lying. Iran will dominate Iraq, economically, militarily, politically, and socially after we’re gone. The majority of Iraq’s government is already aligned with Iran.

Does anyone seriously believe that a U.S. embassy, with less than 200 troops, has any chance of checking Iran’s influence in Iraq? Hell, we’ll be lucky if our embassy isn’t overrun. Iraq could very well become another Iranian satellite state, like Lebanon. And hey, you thought taking military action against Iran’s nuclear program was already difficult at best? Try it without any leverage over or military footprint in Iraq.

/Obama’s Iran/Iraq policy, “not with a bang, but a whimper”

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