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*

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 . . .

Twice The Fun

Of all the U.S. armed forces, the Navy seems particularly fascinated with lasers.

Navy combines a high-speed 25mm gun with a laser

What do you get when you combine two of the most deadly weapons out there? No, not a machete duct taped to a nuke. You get the Navy’s new gatling gun/laser hybrid.

The Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System is something you really don’t want to be on the business end of. It combines a M242 autocannon, which is a lovely piece of equipment capable of firing 175 rounds per minute, with a high-energy laser gun.

See also:
Boeing building lasers for Navy machine guns
Boeing, BAE Systems to Develop Integrated Directed Energy Weapon for US Navy
Navy’s Next Wonder Weapon Combines a High Speed 25mm Gun With Deadly Laser
How to Make a Giant Chain Gun Even Deadlier: Give It a Laser Cannon
Navy’s Next Laser Mashes Up Machine Guns and Death Rays
BAE Putting Lasers on Mk 38 Naval Gun
Boeing, BAE Systems Team for Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System
Boeing (NYSE:BA) Making Navy Weapon
Boeing and BAE Systems Develop Weapon for the US Navy

An interesting idea, but I’m not sure how cost effective in terms of additional “bang for the buck”.

/I mean, what increased, incremental damage is a laser going to add that the 25mm chain gun isn’t already inflicting at 175 rpm?

Air Force Mystery Toy, The Sequel

Up and into orbit it goes, what it does, nobody knows. Although, the fact that it’s a military and not a civilian program should be a big clue.

2nd Boeing-built Orbital Test Vehicle X-37B Begins Flight

Boeing . . . today announced the successful launch of the second Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) for the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO). The OTV was launched on an Atlas V rocket into a low-Earth orbit today at 5:46 p.m. Eastern time from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 41.

“History was made in December when the X-37B became the United States’ first unmanned vehicle to return from space and land on its own,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. “The success of that mission validated this reusable and effective way to test new technologies in space and return them for examination.

“Today, we took another important step with the successful launch of the second OTV, enabling the RCO to further experiment with the vehicle and its ability to operate in low-Earth orbit,” Cooning continued. “Close teamwork between the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, the United Launch Alliance Atlas team, and the 45th Space Wing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station made this launch a success.”

See also:
Space weaponry in focus as US Air Force launches mysterious X-37B robotic plane
Second Orbital Test Vehicle X-37B Begins Flight
Air Force X-37B space plane launched into orbit
Air Force launches unmanned spacecraft
X-37B, super-secret experimental Air Force space plane, launches into orbit
The Air Force’s X-37B space plane reaches orbit for the second time
Second x37b Super-Secret Mission Launched into Space
The X 37B: Unmanned ‘Classified’ Space Plane Launched – Why?
Secretive plane raises flags as it heads for orbit
U.S. ‘space plane’ in orbit
Secret space mission blasts off
Atlas V Rocket Roars Toward Space
Atlas 5 rocket rumbles into sunny sky
X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle
Boeing X-37
It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Mystery Toy!
The Mystery Toy Comes Home To Roost

Well, today’s Air Force launch certainly went better than Thursday’s NASA launch.

/and that’s all you’ll hear about the X-37B until it comes back down to Earth sometime in the next nine months

The Mystery Toy Comes Home To Roost

The X-37B and it’s seven month mission are so secretive, not even Julian Assange knows what the hell it’s all about.

Secretive X-37B robot space plane returns to Earth

After seven months in space, the U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B unmanned space plane returned to Earth today to wrap up a debut flight shrouded in secrecy.

The robotic X-37B space plane landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to end its maiden voyage. The space plane, also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 1, glided back to Earth over the Pacific Ocean before landing at the revamped Vandenberg runway at about 1:16 a.m. PST (0916 GMT) Dec. 3.

“Today’s landing culminates a successful mission based on close teamwork between the 30th Space Wing, Boeing and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office,” said Lt Col Troy Giese, X-37B program manager from the AFRCO, which oversaw the mission. “We are very pleased that the program completed all the on-orbit objectives for the first mission.”

See also:
Secret Space Plane Finally Lands; Twin Preps for Launch
A successful mission, but Air Force won’t say more
Air Force’s Secret Space Plane Lands In California
X-37B, which officially was not on a secret unmanned mission, returns from secret, unmanned mission
Secret X-37B Mini Space Shuttle Lands
US military spacecraft back on ground after 7 months
Unmanned X-37B spacecraft lands at VAFB
Unmanned X-37B Spacecraft Returns to Earth
X 37b Mini Space Shuttle Lands Safely
It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Mystery Toy!

Gee, I’m curious, I sure wish I knew what the X 37b program was all about. Acknowledging the existence of the program while keeping its purpose a secret is tantamount to teasing.

/where’s WikiLeaks when you really need them?

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

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Mystery Toy!

Air Force’s Mystery X-37B Space Plane Fuels Speculation

The U.S. Air Force is on the verge of showcasing a new and long-sought after spaceflight capacity with its X-37B space plane, but it will do so on a space mission that’s cloaked in secrecy.

What the X-37B mission truly portends is in the eye of the beholder, from a game-changing tool to hone military hardware to a provocative harbinger of things-to-come in terms of space warfare.

Now ready for an Atlas boost into Earth orbit from Florida on April 20, the reusable robotic X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle (OTV) is a small space shuttle-like craft. The craft will wing its way into Earth orbit, remain aloft for an unspecified time, then high-tail its way back down to terra-firma – auto-piloting down to a landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, or at neighboring Edwards Air Force Base as back-up [more photos of the X-37B space plane].

The X37-B craft was built by Boeing’s Phantom Works with the mission run under the wing of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office. The reusable and diminutive OTV space plane is the first vehicle since the space shuttle orbiter able to return experiments to Earth for further inspection and analysis.

Its stats are modest: The vehicle tips the scales at 11,000 pounds (4,989 kg) and is just over 29 feet (8.8 meters) in length and stands slightly more than 9 1/2 feet (2.9 meters) in height. It sports a wingspan of a little over 14 feet (4.2 meters).

The designed maximum on-orbit duration for the X-37B is 270 days, said Angie Blair, an Air Force spokeswoman for the project, but that flight time will be driven more by success in achieving demonstration objectives.

“The X-37B is a risk reduction vehicle for space experimentation and to explore concepts of operation for a long duration, reusable space vehicle. The first flight will focus on vehicle checkout and test of subsystems such as thermal management, power control and distribution, and attitude control,” Blair said.

See also:
Space shuttle sequel slated for liftoff
Air Force to launch robotic winged space plane
Air Force prepping robot spacecraft for launch
U.S. Air Force X-37B Reusable Spacecraft to Launch Into Orbit Later This Month
Mystery Space Plane’s Mystery Mission Approaches
Air Force Space Plane to Launch After Long, Twisted Past
Air Force to Launch Robotic Space Shuttle, No One’s Really Sure Why
Boeing X-37
Boeing Phantom Works
Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office

Hmmm, I wonder what they’re up to with this? It’s too small to be of much practical use.

/hopefully we’ll find out before Obama cancels the program

Outsourcing Gone Mad

Russian Firm to Bid on Air Force Tanker Program

In another twist to the ongoing saga to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of aerial refueling tankers, United Aircraft Corp. of Russia is planning to bid on the $40 billion contract, according to a person familiar with its plans.

United Aircraft, an aerospace consortium owned by the Russian government, will seek to offer a tanker version of its Ilyushin Il-96 wide-body jetliner, dubbed the Il-98, this person said. The planes would be largely built in Russia, and assembled in the U.S., this person says. United Aircraft will partner with a “small U.S. defense contractor,” which will be renamed United Aircraft Corp. America Inc., this person said, declining to name that contractor.

“UAC will publicly announce by Monday morning the signing of the joint venture agreement for the first of what is hoped to be many opportunities in the U.S.,” says John Kirkland, a Los Angeles-based attorney representing UAC.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said, “the Department of Defense remains committed to a fair and open competition and welcomes proposals from all qualified offerors.”

The Air Force’s aerial tanker replacement program has been tangled in controversy since 2002, when the Pentagon planned to lease a fleet of new tankers from Boeing Co. That plan was revoked and in 2008, Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European partner, the European Aerospace Defence & Space Co., were awarded a contract to build the fleet using the Airbus A330 jetliner. Boeing successfully protested that award and the Pentagon restarted the process yet again last year.

See also:
Russian firm, EADS may give Boeing competition for Air Force tanker
Russian company expected to bid on Air Force refueling tanker
‘Bizarre’ tanker twist: Russians will bid against Boeing for Air Force contract
Russians to bid on U.S. air-tanker contract: WSJ
Russians to bid for U.S. air tanker work
Russian Company Interested in $40 Billion Tanker Contract
EADS says it may rejoin tanker competition
Pentagon says it may extend deadline for air tanker bids
UPDATE 4-Pentagon says EADS may yet pursue tanker deal
EADS Says 60 Days Insufficient for New Tanker Bid (Update2)
Ilyushin Il-96

What a great idea. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Besides ridiculously high labor costs, is there something wrong with Boeing?

/my head hurts

Digging Up The Past To Piss Off A Present Ally

It happened 95 years ago and the United States had absolutely no role in it, yet Congress, once again, sticks its nose where it doesn’t belong and has no business being. The predictable diplomatic fallout quickly ensues.

Turkey recalls Ambassador after US vote on Armenia ‘genocide’

One of the worst massacres of the 20th-century came back to haunt international politics yesterday when a powerful Washington panel voted to call the murder of about 1.5 million Armenians in Turkey “genocide”.

After more than three hours of debate, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs narrowly approved a resolution calling on President Obama to “characterise the systematic and deliberate annihilation of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide”.

The vote went ahead despite last-minute pleas from the White House and State Department and triggered a furious reaction from Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister.

“We condemn this resolution, which accuses the Turkish nation of a crime it did not committ,” he said. As Armenian observers applauded the vote on Capitol Hill, the Turkish Ambassador to Washington was recalled.

The Obama Administration may still be able to prevent a full vote in the House of Representatives but yesterday’s resolution threatened to poison America’s relations with its closest Muslim ally. Washington depends on Turkey for access to northern Iraq and in its regional efforts to isolate Iran.

The vote, with 23 congressmen in favour and 22 against, will also jeopardise historic efforts begun last year to create normal diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia.

“We are seriously concerned that this resolution approved by the committee despite all our warnings will harm Turkey-US ties and efforts to nomalise Turkey-Armenia relations,” Mr Erdogan added.

Mr Obama promised as a candidate to break with longstanding US practice and start calling the First World War era killings genocide if elected to the White House. He broke the promise last year, refusing to use the word on a visit to Ankara, where he praised Turkey as a model Muslim democracy.

Top defense contractors warn that genocide measure will hurt business

Executives for the nation’s top defense contractors say billions of dollars in business with Turkey could disappear if a genocide resolution advances on Capitol Hill.

Formally recognizing the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide could have “unintended consequences,” chief executives for Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and United Technologies Corp. warned in a Feb. 26 letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.).

“There is reason to believe committee passage of the resolution risks a rupture in U.S.-Turkey relations. Alienating a significant NATO ally and trading partner would likely have negative repercussions for U.S. geopolitical interests and efforts to boost both exports and employment,” the letter says.

The executives told Berman that U.S. defense and aerospace exports to Turkey in 2009 were more than $7 billion and that tens of thousands of American jobs depend on “strong relations” between the two countries. It follows a Feb. 24 letter from the Aerospace Industries Association to Berman that expressed similar concerns about the resolution.

See also:
Genocide Vote Riles Turkey
House panel risks Turkey’s ire in approving Armenian ‘genocide’ resolution
Armenian Genocide Resolution Passes US Congress Committee
Turkey condemns US ‘genocide’ vote
House panel approves Armenian genocide resolution
Turkey recalls ambassador after US resolution on ‘Armenian genocide’
House panel approves Armenian genocide resolution
Resolution vote sends the wrong message to Turkey
House Panel Says Armenian Deaths Were Genocide
House committee narrowly passes recognition of Armenian genocide
Turkey recalls envoy after House vote on Armenian genocide
Turkish anger at US Armenian ‘genocide’ vote

Way to go Howard Berman and your House Foreign Affairs Committee Circus! You’ve just alienated a key NATO logistical ally, jepordized billions of dollars in U.S. exports, and threatend tens of thousands of high paying American jobs, all in a single day! Can someone please tell me why the [expletive deleted] U.S. taxpayers are paying these congressional assclowns to damage international alliances and the U.S. economy over something that happened almost 100 years ago, that the United States wasn’t even remotely involved in? I wasn’t even aware that the Ottoman Empire still ruled Turkey.

/hey Howard, what’s on your assclown committee’s alliance busting agenda for tomorrow, chastising Italy for the crucification of Christ, or perhaps condemning Britain and France for the Crusades?

Don’t Tell Obama, He’ll Just Cancel The Program

Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser Defeats Ground Target in Flight Test

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and the U.S. Air Force on Aug. 30 defeated a ground target from the air with the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) aircraft, demonstrating ATL’s first air-to-ground, high-power laser engagement of a tactically representative target.

During the test, the C-130H aircraft took off from Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and fired its high-power chemical laser through its beam control system while flying over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The beam control system acquired the ground target — an unoccupied stationary vehicle — and guided the laser beam to the target, as directed by ATL’s battle management system. The laser beam’s energy defeated the vehicle.

“This milestone demonstrates that directed energy weapon systems will transform the battlespace and save lives by giving warfighters a speed-of-light, ultra-precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage” said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “By demonstrating this capability, the ATL team has earned a distinguished place in the history of weapon system development”

The test occurred less than three months after a June 13 test in which ATL successfully fired its laser from the air for the first time, hitting a target board on the ground. The ATL team plans additional tests to further demonstrate the system’s military utility. These demonstrations support the development of systems that will conduct missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

“The bottom line is that ATL works, and works very well” said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Missile Defense Systems’ Directed Energy Systems unit. “ATL’s components — the high-energy chemical laser, beam control system and battle manager — are performing as one integrated weapon system, delivering effective laser beam energy to ground targets”

See also:
Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser Defeats Ground Target in Flight Test
Test of laser from C-130H melts hood of car
Pew! Airborne Military Laser Takes Out Truck on Video
Video of Airborne Tactical Laser Hitting a Ground Target Is Not Very Satisfying
Meet the Advanced Tactical Laser
Directed Energy Systems (DES)
Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL)
Advanced Tactical Laser

Okay, so it’s not the most scintillating weapons demonstration ever filmed but it was an aircraft in flight, successfully hitting a specific target with a powerful chemical laser. All new weapons testing is incremental in nature. The ATL holds much future promise for battlefield effectiveness, as part of the AC-130s weapons suite or maybe, perhaps, operated from a drone.

/but seriously, don’t tell Obama, he’s already gutted the Airborne Laser (ABL) program, the ATL’s equally successful big brother