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?

These Are Not The Drones You Seek

Mission creep, what mission creep? Who are you going to believe, Robert Gates and Obama or your own lying eyes? Why, exactly, are we in Libya again?

U.S. will deploy Predators in Libya

President Barack Obama has given U.S. forces the go-ahead to use armed Predator drones in Libya after forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi changed their tactics in the fighting there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday.

“It’s an evolving situation. We saw an opportunity here and recommended it to the president. He took it,” Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.

However, Gates said the use of the drones did not indicate that the U.S. was being sucked back into a military campaign that Obama has promised will be handled chiefly by other NATO countries and allied forces.

“This is a very limited addition on our part, but it does provide some additional capabilities to NATO,” Gates said. “I don’t think there’s mission creep at all….The primary strike role has been turned over to our allies, our friends.”

Now remember boys and girls, providing “additional capabilities to NATO” is not, I repeat, IS NOT mission creep. Um, it’s been at least a couple months now, whatever happened to “days, not weeks”?

See also:
U.S. begins using Predator drones in Libya
U.S. Launches Drone Strikes in Libya
Obama authorizes Predator drone strikes in Libya
US deploys armed drones over Libya
Obama Approves Use of Predator Drones in Libya
U.S. Sends Predators to Strike Qaddafi Troops Fighting Rebels
Libya: US sends armed drones to shield rebels
Pentagon: Robot War Over Libya Begins in 3, 2, 1 …
US begins using armed drones in Libya
U.S. introduces armed Predator drones in Libya

Of course, the U.N. resolution we’re operating under only authorizes humanitarian efforts, so I’m sure these armed Predator drones will only be used to deliver food to civilians and stuff like that.

The Council stressed the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis that responded to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, noting actions being taken on the diplomatic front in that regard. It further demanded that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.

In that connection, the Council specified that the flight ban would not apply to flights that had as their sole purpose humanitarian aid, the evacuation of foreign nationals, enforcing the ban or other purposes “deemed necessary for the benefit of the Libyan people”.

I don’t know, what supposedly started out as a limited “kinetic military action” sure as hell seems to have blossomed over the weeks into the United States and NATO openly taking sides in a Libyan civil war.

/how is that not mission creep?