Boating With Lasers

It’s nothing earth shattering and certainly not anything a three inch shell couldn’t accomplish, but you need to start somewhere.

Naval laser torches small boat in test

Northrop Grumman’s Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD) is a 15 kilowatt solid state laser specifically designed to be mounted on ships. On Wednesday, the MLD underwent its first test, successfully disabling a small boat by setting fire to its motors. The range on this test was about a mile, and the laser was able to stay locked on its target despite the relative motion of its ship and the target boat in what I’d personally call heavy seas.

This is really just a first little taste of the capabilities of naval laser systems, and in a few years, the MLD is intended to be shooting down incoming missiles. A few years after that, we’ll have an incredibly destructive free-electron laser ready to go. And it can’t be too soon, according to the Navy.

See also:
Navy tests laser gun by zapping motorboat off California coast
US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame
Video: In Roiling Seas, Navy Laser Sets a Ship On Fire
U.S. Navy tests laser gun by blasting empty boat
Navy tests on-board laser weapon
Video: Navy Laser Sets Ship on Fire
US Navy fires laser gun from ship for the first time
Naval laser could prove deadly to pirates, incoming missiles
U.S. Navy getting closer to arming ships with lasers
Maritime Laser Demonstration

There’s a big difference between setting a slow moving small boat on fire and defeating incoming missiles at supersonic speed. And then another problem is scaling the laser up to make it more powerful. It’s not like they can plug it into the local power grid at sea, they have to have a self-contained power source.

/the Navy obviously still has a lot of work to do, let’s hope they can figure it out soon

Peek A Boo, We See You

This could come in handy. You know, if Obama actually lets us develop those “unproven missile defense systems“.

U.S. achieves the ‘Holy Grail’ of missile defense

A pair of low Earth-orbiting demonstration satellites built by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems for the first time on March 16 detected and tracked a ballistic missile launch through all phases of flight, a Northrop Grumman official said March 22.

So-called birth-to-death tracking of a ballistic missile launch had never been done before from space and is the most significant achievement to date for the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) spacecraft, said Doug Young, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of missile defense and warning programs.

“It’s the Holy Grail for missile defense,” Young said during a media briefing here.

See also:
U.S. Military Satellites Achieve ‘Holy Grail’ of Missile Defense
For the First Time, Satellites Track a Ballistic Missile Through All Phases of Flight
U.S.reports ballistic missile defense breakthrough
Satellites track complete missile flight
‘Holy Grail’ of Missile Defense Reached
Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS)
Raytheon Company: Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS)Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS)
Space Tracking and Surveillance System

With Iran and North Korea well on their way to developing the technology to deliver nuclear tipped missiles, having STSS in service makes for a great orbiting security blanket. Of course, it’s only useful in conjunction with a robust ballistic missile defense system, a system Obama seems loathe to fully fund. We have the capability within our grasp to protect ourselves and our allies against rogue missile attacks, if only we have the commitment to build and deploy the necessary BMD systems.

/domestic bliss and tranquility mean absolutely nothing without national security

The Navy Gets A Drone . . .

. . . the Navy gets a drone, Fly-Fer the carrier, the Navy gets a drone.

Navy unveils new bat-winged stealth bomber; unmanned X-47B is military’s deadliest new drone

An unmanned, bat-winged stealth bomber made its first demo flight in California, marking the first step in the Navy’s development of a new generation of killer drones.

The experimental warplane, named the X-47B, took off from Edwards Air Force base, shot to 5,000 feet and flew a racetrack pattern over a dry lakebed during the 29-minute demo flight on Friday, the Navy said in a statement.

“Today we got a glimpse towards the future as the Navy’s first-ever tailless, jet-powered unmanned aircraft took to the skies,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the program manager for the plane, said in a statement.

Military leaders see the plane as a major shift from the current fleet of robotic aircraft.

Combat drones are usually controlled remotely by human pilots, but the X-47B can carry out extended missions controlled by a computer and is designed to fly faster and farther than existing jets, like the Predators and Reapers used in Afghanistan.

It’s also the first drone capable of taking off and landing aboard an aircraft carrier in the ocean.

See also:
X-47B Sorties Ramping Up
Northrop’s X-47B robotic jet makes first flight from Edwards Air Force Base
U.S. Navy X-47B unmanned aircraft successfully conducts first flight
X-47B stealth drone takes its first test flight
X-47B Unmanned Stealth Bomber’s Maiden Flight
Lockheed Martin Supports U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman in X-47B UCAS-D Successful First Flight
Unmanned X-47B bomber successfully completes first test-flight
X-47B unmanned Stealth Bomber performs successful maiden flight
GKN Aerospace partners with U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman for X-47B first flight
New, stealthy Navy drone makes its maiden flight
Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Unmanned X-47B Plane
X-47B UCAS
Northrop Grumman X-47B

Well, the X-47B is certainly going to take up a lot of space on board a carrier, without the ability to contribute anything towards carrier defense.

/they’re probably looking forward to using it in conjunction with the CVX Next Generation Aircraft Carrier

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?

Peek A Boo, China Is Waging Undeclared War On You

Is your computer acting squirrelly, your internet connection spotty? It might not be Microsoft after all, it could be Chinese military sponsored hackers.

Congressional commission focuses on China’s cyberwar capability

In war and possibly in peace, China will wage cyberwar to control the information flow and dominate the battle space, according to a new report compiled for a congressional commission.

Chinese military strategists see information dominance as the key to overall success in future conflicts and will continue to expand the country’s computer network exploitation capabilities, according to the report, titled “Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation.” The report was prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission under contract by Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems Sector.

In a conflict, China will likely target the U.S. government and private industry with long-term, sophisticated computer network exploitation and intelligence collection campaigns, the report concludes. U.S. security agencies can expect to face disciplined, standardized operations; sophisticated techniques; high-end software; and a deep knowledge of the U.S. networks, according to the report (PDF).

The strategy employed by the People’s Liberation Army–China’s military organization–is to consolidate computer network attacks with electronic warfare and kinetic strikes, creating “blind spots” in enemy systems to be exploited later as the tactical situation warrants, according to the report. The strategy, which has been adopted by the world’s other technologically inclined armies, is referred to by the PLA as “Integrated Network Electronic Warfare,” the report stated.

The emphasis on information warfare has forced the PLA to recruit from a wide swath of the civilian sector, according to the report. As is the case with the U.S. military and its new Cyber Command, the PLA looks to commercial industry and academia for people possessing the requisite specialized skills and pasty pallor to man the keyboards. And although it hints broadly at it, the report offers no evidence of ties between the PLA and China’s hacker community.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission reports and provides recommendations to Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China.

China Expands Cyberspying in U.S., Report Says

The Chinese government is ratcheting up its cyberspying operations against the U.S., a congressional advisory panel found, citing an example of a carefully orchestrated campaign against one U.S. company that appears to have been sponsored by Beijing.

The unnamed company was just one of several successfully penetrated by a campaign of cyberespionage, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission report to be released Thursday. Chinese espionage operations are “straining the U.S. capacity to respond,” the report concludes.

See also:
Capability of the People’s Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation
Evidence Points To China In Cyber Attacks
Report: China building cyberwarfare capabilities
Security report finds Chinese cyberspying threat growing
U.S. report says China engages in cyber warfare
China fingered in cyberattack on mystery high tech co.
‘Huawei continues to receive preferential funding from China’s army’, says US Commission
United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission

/I sure hope Obama and company are putting at least as much time and energy into fighting this undeclared cyberwar with China as they are prosecuting their childish, whiny, crybaby media war against Fox News

Out Of The Rubble And Ready For Overseas Contingency Operations

USS New York, ship built with steel from the World Trade Centre, sets sail

The USS New York, built with tonnes of steel salvaged from the World Trade Centre towers, began its journey to New York today after undocking from a New Orleans-area shipyard.

The assault ship, named in honour of those killed in the 9/11 attacks, left the Northrop Grumman shipyard for a trip to its namesake city. The vessel will sail down the Mississippi river, through the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida and up the Atlantic coast on its voyage to the Big Apple.

The 208 metre- (684 foot-) long ship has a flight deck and can carry 800 marines. About 7.5 tonnes of steel from the World Trade Centre was melted at the Bradken Inc foundry in Amite, Louisana and used to construct the ship’s bow.

Doug Lounsberry, a Northrop Grumman deputy manager, said the ship is important to the workers who constructed it – not only because it commemorates those killed in the 2001 attacks, but also due to the setbacks they overcame following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Lounsberry said: “It’s like raising a kid. We’re sending this one off to college. But after they leave, they remain near and dear to your heart.”

Hundreds of people lined the banks of the Mississippi to watch the ship as it passed. Among them were Christine Cox, of Sterling, Virginia who said: “It’s awesome for anything so tragic to be so uplifting here.”

See also:
USS New York, made with World Trade Center steel, heads home
USS New York Makes Maiden Voyage From New Orleans to New York City
Ship symbolizes survivors bond between NYC, New Orleans
Blogging aboard the USS New York
USS New York LPD-21 | A ship forged from the steel of the World Trade Center
USS New York (LPD 21) | The Official Website. Commissioning Event Information
USS New York (LPD-21)

/may God bless her and all who sail in her