Secret In The Sky

Round and round the Earth it goes, who or what it’s spying on very few people know.

Delta 4 rocket successfully lofts surveillance satellite

A Delta 4 rocket made a thunderous departure from California on Tuesday afternoon, only to slip into a news blackout minutes later while it climbed higher and faster to deploy a classified spy satellite, a success-defining milestone that was confirmed by hobbyist observers.

The United Launch Alliance-made booster roared away from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 4:12:57 p.m. local (7:12:57 p.m. EDT; 2312:57 GMT) on a southwesterly course to reach a retrograde orbit inclined 123 degrees relative to the equator.

. . .

The hush-hush nature for the rest of flight is all part of launching covert payloads for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office, the secretive agency that operates the country’s fleet of spy satellites. The NRO does not disclose the purpose of its spacecraft being sent up on each launch, saying only that the flight was called the NROL-25 mission.

See also:
Rocket Launches Secret Spy Satellite for US Military
United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office
United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Successfully Launches Payload for the National Reconnaissance Office
US launches new spy satellite NROL-25
Delta 4 lifts off
Spy satellite-carrying rocket blasts off
U.S. rocket carrying classified payload launches
ULA Successfully Launches Delta IV Rocket
Rocket carrying classified payload launches from California’s central coast
Rocket launch includes key parts from Utah’s ATK sites
List of NRO Launches
National Reconnaissance OfficeNational Reconnaissance Office

According to the listed launch designation, NROL-25 is a radar imaging satellite operating in a retrograde low Earth orbit.

/if I had to guess what it’s looking at, I’d guess Iran

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Fifteen Tons Of Fun

Gee, I wonder what these might be for.

B-2 Bomber Gets Boeing’s New 30,000-Pound Bunker-Buster Bomb

The U.S. Air Force has taken delivery of a new 30,000-pound bomb from Boeing Co. (BA) that’s capable of penetrating deeply buried enemy targets.

The huge bunker buster, dubbed the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, is built to fit the B-2 stealth bomber. The Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the bombs in September, Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller said in a short statement to Bloomberg News.

The deliveries “will meet requirements for the current operational need,” he said.

See also:
Air Force gets super bombs to attack Iran?
Weighing in at 30,000 pounds, a new bomb for US
Pentagon’s New Bunker Busters Not for Iran or ‘Any One Country’
Pentagon Receives Massive Bunker-Busting Bombs, Denies Targeting Iran
Pentagon denies bunker-busting bomb is intended for IranPentagon: Bunker buster not intended for Iran
New bunker-busting bomb not targeted at Iran : Pentagon
B-2 Bomber Gets Boeing’s New 30,000-Pound Bunker-Buster Bomb
US reveals its new bunker-buster bombs
US stealth bombers finally get nuke-nobbling super bomb
The Solution to the Iranian Threat – Bunker Busting Bomb

If the MOP isn’t intended for Iran, what could it possibly be intended for?

/*wink wink, nudge nudge*

Watching The Drone Watchers

I smell China, or maybe Russia. The fact that the virus keeps resisting efforts to remove it shows that there’s some sophistication involved.

U.S. Military Drones Infected With Mysterious Computer Virus

A fleet of U.S. military drones on a Nevada Air Force base has been infected by a keylogger virus that tracks every key and button their pilots press, Wired.com reported Friday — and top Air Force sources strongly contested.

The virus was first noticed by officials at Creech Air Force Base nearly two weeks ago using the base’s security system. It logged every keystroke of the pilots in the control room on the base as they remotely flew Predator and Reaper drones on missions over Afghanistan and other battle zones.

There has been no confirmation of information being lost or sent to an outside source, but the virus has been resistant to military efforts to clear it from the system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” a source told Wired.

See also:
Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet
Computers Controlling Military Drones Reportedly Infected with Virus
Computer Virus Attacks U.S. Military Drones: Wired
Keylogger virus hits US drone operations
Combat drones’ computer systems reportedly infected with virus
Computer virus hits US’ Predator drone fleet
US war drones keep flying despite computer virus
America’s Drones Have Been Infected by a Virus
Virus infects Pentagon drones’ computers
U.S. Drone Controllers Said To Be Infected By Computer Virus
US drones hit by virus
U.S. Military Facing a Battle Unlike Any Other
Cyberwar: a Whole New Quagmire – When the Drones Come To Roost
Creech Air Force Base

Theses computers didn’t just infect themselves, they were almost surely infected by someone, either deliberately or unwittingly, connecting a malware infected memory stick or other portable media storage device to the network. This has been a known attack vector for a long time now and it’s easily preventable, simply don’t allow portable media storage devices anywhere near classified computer networks!

/search all personnel coming and going if that’s what it takes, it’s a small price to pay for avoiding potentially catastrophic security breaches like this

The Russian Raptor

Gee, does this aircraft look, um, familiar?

Russia Unveils Its First Stealth Fighter

Russia on Tuesday unveiled its first stealth fighter to the public, lifting the curtain on a secret project designed to flood the market with cheaper versions of better-known US jets.

The Sukhoi Tu-50, being developed jointly by Russia and India, made its maiden flight at a Far East airbase in January 2010 and was rolled out for public viewing at the MAKS international airshow outside Moscow.

Two of the sleek silver prototypes are due to perform air stunts Wednesday under the watchful eye of Russia’s powerful prime minister, Vladimir Putin, in a show of Russian military confidence in the much-delayed project.

“The T-50 jet will provide the backbone not only of the Russian air force but also that of India,” said Mikhail Pogosyan, president of United Aircraft Corporation, the state aviation holding company.

See also:
T-50 Fighter to Be Unveiled at MAKS
Russian Next Generation Stealth Fighter Unveiled at Air Show
Russian stealth and euro efficiency at MAKS airshow
Russia Set To Show Off Its First Stealth Fighter
Introducing The T-50: The Russian Stealth Fighter That Will Be Unveiled This Week
Indo-Russia T-50 stealth fighter to make its international debut
Russia sees orders for fifth generation jet from 2015
Russia set to show off its first stealth fighter
What does Russia’s fighter debut mean for the U.S.?
MAKS 2011
MAKS Airshow
Sukhoi Company (JSC)
Sukhoi PAK FA

So, Russia and India are going to mass produce the Sukhoi Tu-50 and “flood the market”. Meanwhile, we/ve stopped producing the F-22 Raptor and have funneled all or resources into the technologically inferior, ridiculously expensive, cost overruns from hell, F-35 Lightning II program, a program that’s now grounded while still only in the testing phase because it sucks so bad!

/what’s wrong with this picture?

Two Up, Two Down

This is the second failed flight for the HTV-2, at $160 million per splash.

DARPA issues statement on failed flight of hypersonic aircraft

The Falcon launched at 7:45 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, into the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere aboard an eight-story Minotaur IV rocket, made by Orbital Sciences Corp.

After reaching an undisclosed sub-orbital altitude, the aircraft jettisoned from its protective cover atop the rocket, then nose-dived back toward Earth, leveled out and began to glide above the Pacific at 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20.

Then the trouble began.

“Here’s what we know,” said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, DARPA’s program manager. “We know how to boost the aircraft to near space. We know how to insert the aircraft into atmospheric hypersonic flight. We do not yet know how to achieve the desired control during the aerodynamic phase of flight. It’s vexing; I’m confident there is a solution. We have to find it.”

See also:
Pentagon’s hypersonic flight test cut short by anomaly
Pentagon’s Mach 20 Missile Lost Over Pacific — Again
DARPA drops another HTV-2
Second Flop: DARPA Loses Contact With HTV-2
DARPA Launches and Loses Hypersonic Aircraft: Update
The Air Force Loses a Second Superfast Spaceplane
Falcon HTV-2 is lost during bid to become fastest ever plane
Falcon hypersonic vehicle test flight fails
Review Board Sets Up to Probe HTV-2 L
DARPA loses contact with hypersonic aircraft
Lost at sea. Military loses contact with hypersonic test plane
Misdirection, Always Watch What The Left Hand Is Doing

So, in order to find out what went wrong, the Air Force needs to find this tiny HTV-2 drone, that they lost contact with, somewhere in the vast Pacific ocean. Good luck with that, they never lost the first one the dunked.

/why do I get the feeling there’s not going to be a third time?

Not Good For A Secular Turkey

If you thought Turkey was already an unreliable NATO ally, this won’t help.

Turkey: Military chiefs resign en masse

The chief of the Turkish armed forces, Isik Kosaner, has resigned along with the army, navy and air force heads.

They were furious about the arrest of senior officers, accused of plotting, shortly before a round of military promotions.

A series of meetings between General Kosaner and PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to resolve their differences.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul moved quickly to appoint General Necdet Ozel as the new army chief.

Gen Ozel is widely expected to be swiftly elevated to chief of the general staff in place of Gen Kosaner. Tradition dictates that only the head of the army can take over the top job.

There has been a history of tension between the secularist military and the governing AK party, with the two sides engaged in a war of words for the past two years over allegations that parts of the military had been plotting a coup.

See also:
In Turkey, top military figures apparently resign en masse
Turkey’s military has at last stood aside
Turkey’s top generals resign in apparent rift with Erdogan government
Turkey’s military chiefs of staff resign
Turkish military’s chiefs of staff step down
Turkey’s top military leaders resign in protest of staff arrestsTurkey’s resignations, a sign of military decline
Turkey’s military chiefs quit ahead of key meeting
How Turkey’s military upheaval will affect NATO
Turkey’s reset
Analysis: Turkish government strengthens control on military
Government prepares for major overhaul of Turkish military
A Prime Minister’s Push Reshapes Turkish Politics

Traditionally, in Turkey, the military has served as check on Islamist forces and a key to maintaining a secular government.

/obviously, this development represents a substantial consolidation of power in the hands of Erdogan’s Islamist AK party and a big blow to the future of secularism in Turkey

Misdirection, Always Watch What The Left Hand Is Doing

While everyone was busy watching the classified launch of the X-37B in Florida, the Air Force was up to even more classified hijinxs in Califiornia.

New Minotaur rocket launches on suborbital flight

A new Minotaur launch vehicle derived from retired missile parts successfully blasted off from the California coast Thursday, but officials lost contact with a hypersonic glider testbed for a U.S. military quick-response global strike system.

The Minotaur 4 booster, flying in a downsized three-stage configuration, launched on a suborbital mission at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. EDT; 2300 GMT) from Space Launch Complex 8 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The three-stage version of the launcher uses retired Peacekeeper missile motors. The configuration is called the Minotaur 4 Lite.

A small winged glider designed by Pentagon researchers was the payload for Thursday’s launch. The craft, called the Hypersonic Test Vehicle 2a, apparently did not complete all of its planned maneuvers to demonstrate new hypersonic flight systems.

“Preliminary review of technical data indicates the Minotaur Lite launch system successfully delivered the Falcon HTV 2 glide vehicle to the desired separation conditions,” the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said in a statement. “The launch vehicle executed first of its kind energy management maneuvers, clamshell payload fairing release and HTV 2 deployment.”

See also:
Air Force launches hypersonic glider over Pacific
DARPA confirms mission’s failure
U.S. Air Force launches back-to-back secret missions – coincidence?
Unmanned military space planes usher in new weaponry era
Hyperfast missile to hit anywhere in an hour
A weapon that can strike anywhere on Earth in 30 minutes
5 Ways to Kill Osama Bin Laden in 2 Hours or Less
DARPA’s Mach 20 Hypersonic Glider and Air Force’s X-37B Space Plane Make Their Debuts
First Minotaur IV launches with Hypersonic Test Vehicle
Obama administration spending billions on new global strike weapons
US moving towards ‘high-altitude’ weaponry era with Falcon, X-37B launches
DARPA Falcon HTV-2: Frequently Asked Questions

Taking the high ground with space weapons.

/hmmm, a Mach 20 glider, payloads anywhere on earth within an hour and there’s nothing you can do about it