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?

Advertisements

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

Pelosi’s Excellent Jobs Plan

Close down a major manufacturing plant and put hundreds of workers out on the street, unless they unionize, even if the workers have already rejected the union!

Pelosi Vs. Boeing — And Jobs

“Do you think it’s right that Boeing has to close down that plant in South Carolina because it’s nonunion?” asked host Maria Bartiromo.

Pelosi’s quick answer was “yes.”

Pelosi said she preferred the plant in the right-to-work state would unionize; failing that, the National Labor Relations Board is right to shut down the plant where Boeing hopes to build its Dreamliner passenger aircraft.

Never mind that workers at the South Carolina plant were once unionized and voted to kick the union out. The Vought Aircraft plant, which Boeing purchased in 2009, was once one of Boeing’s suppliers.

See also:
Pelosi: “Yes” The Obama NLRB Should Shut Down Boeing’s Plant In SC
Pelosi Says She Supports Pro-Union NLRB Telling Boeing Where To Build Its Factories…
Unionize, Or Die
Nancy Pelosi Goes ‘Rogue’: Boeing Should Either Close Down SC Plant Or Unionize It
Pelosi: Shut down Boeing in South Carolina
Pelosi: NLRB Should Shut Boeing Plant Down Or Force It to Unionize
Nancy Pelosi To Boeing: Shut SC Plant Down
Rick Santorum says Nancy Pelosi is ‘flat out wrong’ on Boeing comment

That’s right, Democrats like Pelosi believe that not having a job is better than having a good paying nonunion job, even if the workers have already rejected unionization. And why do do Democrats work to destroy nonunion jobs? The answer to that is simple. The unions forcibly collect dues from their members, then the unions donate large amounts of their members’ dues money to elect Democrats, and then the Democrats work to further the Unions’ agenda, so the unions can collect more dues, to elect more Democrats, who work for the unions . . . a never ending, self-reinforcing cycle of political corruption.

/and the wheels on the bus go round and round . . .

Look What The FBI Dragged In

Why, it’s yet another homegrown Muslim jihadi plotting to kill his fellow Americans and any other infidels that might cross his Islamic path.

Man, 26, charged in plot to bomb Pentagon using model airplane

A 26-year-old Massachusetts man with a physics degree was arrested and charged Wednesday with plotting an attack on the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol with a remote-controlled model aircraft, authorities said.

Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen from Ashland, Massachusetts, planned to use model aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives, authorities said.

As a result of an undercover FBI investigation, Ferdaus, who has a physics degree from Northeastern University in Boston, was charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda for attacks on U.S. soldiers overseas, authorities said.

Read the criminal complaint

See also:
Federal agents charge Ashland man with targeting Pentagon, Capitol with aerial explosives
Timeline of alleged terror plot
Officials search home of Ashland terror plot suspect
Ashland neighbors shocked at arrest
Man accused of plotting drone attacks on Pentagon, Capitol
Feds: Mass. man planned to blow up Pentagon
Mass. musician accused of D.C. terrorist plot
Man arrested in ‘step-by-step’ plot to blow up Capitol, Pentagon
Ashland man arrested and charged in terrorist plot against the Pentagon and US Capitol
Witness describes scene at Framingham, Mass. storage facility
US Man Charged With Pentagon, Capitol Attack Plan
Mass. man accused of plotting attack on Pentagon, Capitol
FBI: Mass. Man Arrested For Plot Against Pentagon, Capitol

And remember, there is no Muslim extremist problem here in the United States. After all, Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance.

/it’s just a super freaky coincidence that almost every last terrorist the FBI arrests turns out to be a Muslim jihadi

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?

Invincible Spirit

Let the games begin.

US, S. Korea Begin Large War Games Off Korean Coast

A large 4-day exercise involving U.S and South Korea forces is under way in the Sea of Japan.

It comes in response to the sinking of a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, four months ago. An international investigation blamed a North Korean torpedo attack for the incident.

The war games off the east coast of the Korean peninsula were called to send a strong message of deterrence to Pyongyang.

The joint military exercise is known as “Invincible Spirit.” And while the forces of the United States and South Korea routinely conduct drills together, this war game is considered unprecedented in scope.

For the first time, the most advanced fighters of the U.S. Air Force are participating. They are the F-22 Raptors. U.S. officials say four of the stealth technology jets are taking part, along with nearly 200 other aircraft.

At sea is the strike group of the USS George Washington. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is accompanied by three destroyers.

U.S. and South Korean top military officials say the exercises are a significant show of force intended to deter North Korea from further aggression.

See also:
U.S., S. Korea aim to strike the right tone as exercise kicks off
Massive show of U.S.-South Korea military might
U.S., S Korea start military drills amid concerns of neighboring countries
US and South Korea begin military drills in the face of nuclear threat from North Korea
U.S., South Korea launch naval drill to warn North Korea
U.S.-South Korean War Drills Begin
On board USS George Washington in S Korea navy drill
Anti-sub warfare part of S. Korea exercise
US rattles sabre in the Sea of Japan
America’s Spirit Invincible; China’s Still Puzzling
US and South Korea set to confront North with show of naval force
North Korea threatens ‘nuclear war’ over troop exercises
US, S.Korea begin war games

We have a pack of F-22 Raptors roaming freely over the Korean peninsula? Let’s go for it and not waste the tax dollars on an “exercise”.

/remember, we’re still at war with North Korea, today is just as good as any other day to end it, while we’re here, with the gear

It’s A Baby B-2!

Isn’t it cute?

Boeing’s Phantom Ray to fly in December

Boeing will put its Phantom Ray flying wing into the air before the end of the year.

The aerospace giant says that the unmanned aerial vehicle, unveiled at Boeing’s St. Louis facility on Monday, is on track to make its first flight in December. The Phantom Ray will be a testbed for unspecified “advanced technologies,” and in a press release Monday, Boeing rattled off an array of potential missions for the aircraft, from the now standard UAV tasks of recon and surveillance to aerial refueling, electronic attack, and the menacingly vague “strike.” (A separate Boeing feature on the Phantom Ray makes reference to a potential “hunter/killer” mission, which would put it in the same category as the MQ-9 Reaper already in use by the U.S. Air Force.)

Leading up to the planned December flight will be a summer schedule of taxi tests. The debut flight for the one-off prototype aircraft will be followed, Boeing said, by up to nine more flights over the ensuing six months.

“The initial flights will take Phantom Ray through its paces for the flight test profile. Beyond that, the missions and systems tested will be determined by future warfighter needs,” said Craig Brown, Phantom Ray program manager for Boeing, in a statement.

Looking like a boomerang with a bump in the middle, the Phantom Ray is 36 feet long and has a wingspan of 50 feet. Weighing in at 36,500 pounds, it has a cruising speed of 614 mph, or 0.8 Mach, and an operating altitude of 40,000 feet. It’s powered by an F404-GE-102D turbofan engine.

Boeing is touting the UAV as an example of the ability of its Phantom Works unit to do rapid prototyping, and it’s also funding the project internally. A feasibility study took place in spring 2008, and the program got the green light in the fall of that year, the company said. Of course, they had something of a head start–the Phantom Ray design is derived from that of the X-45C experimental aircraft, part of the Defense Department’s J-UCAS effort in which Boeing was participating.

See also:
Boeing Feature Story: Phantom Ray makes its debut in St. Louis
Boeing says jet-sized drone on track to fly in December
Boeing unveils the fighter-sized Phantom Ray
Boeing unveils Phantom Ray in St. Louis
Boeing unveils Phantom Ray aircraft
Boeing unveils unmanned Phantom Ray demonstrator
Meet Boeing’s Phantom Ray while you can see it
‘Phantom Ray’ to Revive Boeing’s X-45C Unmanned Combat Aircraft
Boeing Defense, Space & Security’s Phantom Works
Boeing Phantom Works
Boeing X-45
Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS)

Hmmm, I wonder how much these beauties cost?

/we could use several hundred of them for a swarm attack on Iran, without risking any pilots