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?

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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*

Ghost Of The Sea

Is this the U.S. Nay’s follow on to the $195 million Sea Shadow program, the Sea Shadow that’s currently floating on the scrap heap, waiting to be dismantled?

New Stealth Boat Glides Over Gas Layer

A new kind of boat is designed to move quickly and stealthily through water by generating a layer of gas around its underwater surfaces.

The design reduces friction by a factor of 900, according to the New Hampshire company that produced the boat. Its smooth speed makes it ideal for special operations. It could also revolutionize shipping.

Juliet Marine recently unveiled the Ghost, a ship it says can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The shape of the craft is similar to earlier attempts at making watercraft less visible to radar — notably the Navy’s “Sea Shadow” project of the 1980s.

The phenomenon is called supercavitation. Supercavitation occurs when a projectile moving through water generates a low-pressure zone around its surface. Go fast enough and the low-pressure zone becomes a layer of gas. In that respect the Ghost is similar to a Russian-made torpedo (called the “Shkval,” or squall), though the underwater portion of the boat’s twin hulls are a new design.

See also:
Juliet Marine Systems, Inc. Announces the First Super-Cavitating Ship, GHOST
Stealth Boat Glides Over Gas Layer
‘Ghost’ craft comes into view
Ghost ship unveiled: Stealth vessel is ‘virtually unstoppable
GHOST Boats Will Prey on Pirates
Pirate-fighter vessel revealed by Juliet Marine
Juliet Marine Develops Offshore Anti-Piracy Platform
“Stealth” Boat Could Revolutionize Naval Warfare
Juliet Marine Systems

Given the massive debt hole the U.S. is already in and that the Sea Shadow ended up being scrapped, I’m not sure the Navy really needs a new “stealth boat” like the Ghost, especially if it’s primary purpose would be to combat pirates. Pirates, for the most part, don’t have radar. The problem isn’t sneaking up on them, the problem is finding them in the first place and we don’t need a “stealth boat” for that.

/the supercavitation technology does, however, appear to be extremely promising in terms of possible commercial shipping applications where time and fuel are money

Our Friends The Pakistanis

Is this the thanks we get for our billions of dollars in annual aid?

Report: Pakistan gave China access to ‘stealth’ chopper in bin Laden raid

Pakistan gave China access to the previously unknown “stealth” helicopter that crashed during the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May despite explicit requests from the CIA not to, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

. . .

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad,” the paper quoted a person “in intelligence circles” as saying.

Pakistan, which enjoys a close relationship with China, allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed chopper as well as take samples of its special “skin” that allowed the American raid to evade Pakistani radar, the newspaper reported.

See also:
Pakistan lets China see US helicopter
Pakistan let China see ‘stealth’ chopper from bin Laden raid: FT
Report: Pakistan Gave China Access To US Chopper
Pakistan let China see crashed US “stealth” copter – report
UPDATE 1-Pakistan let China see crashed US “stealth” copter-FT
Pakistan let China see “stealth” chopper from bin Laden raid
Can We Please Have Our Wreckage Back?

Well, kiss that technology goodbye, and China didn’t even have to steal it, Pakistan handed it to them.

/tell me again why we give Pakistan billions of dollars and pretend they’re our ally?

Can We Please Have Our Wreckage Back?

Hey Pakistan, we’re really sorry that we violated your sovereign airspace without so much as a captain may I, but that helicopter wreckage we left behind is top secret and we’re afraid you’re going to give it to the Chinese. We realize that you’re throughly embarrassed and really pissed off at us, but can we please have our helicopter pieces back?

Top Secret Stealth Helicopter Program Revealed in Osama Bin Laden Raid: Experts

Before an elite team of U.S. Navy SEALs executed a daring raid that took down Osama bin Laden, the commandos were able to silently sneak up on their elusive target thanks to what aviation analysts said were top secret, never-before-seen stealth-modified helicopters.

In the course of the operation that cost the al Qaeda leader his life, one of the two Blackhawk helicopters that carried the SEALs into bin Laden’s Pakistani compound grazed one of the compound’s wall and was forced to make a hard landing. With the chopper inoperable, at the end of the mission the SEALs destroyed it with explosives.

But photos of what survived the explosion — the tail section of the craft with curious modifications — has sent military analysts buzzing about a stealth helicopter program that was only rumored to exist. From a modified tail boom to a noise reducing covering on the rear rotors and a special high-tech material similar to that used in stealth fighters, former Department of Defense official and vice president of the Lexington Institute Dan Goure said the bird is like nothing he’s ever seen before.

See also:
Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk
Secret Stealth Helped U.S. Accomplish bin Laden Raid
Did U.S. forces use secret stealth helicopters in bin Laden raid?
Aviation Geeks Scramble to ID bin Laden Raid’s Mystery Copter
New top-secret stealth choppers used on bin Laden raid
‘Stealth chopper’ helped hit Bin Laden
Speculation is rampant when it comes to the secret copters used in Bin Laden raid
Stealth Blackhawk Used In Bin Laden Raid?
Could the bin Laden Raid Have Revealed a Secret New Helicopter?
US: Helicopter Used in Bin Laden Raid Could Fall into Enemy Hands
MH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter
MH-60K/L Black Hawk
MH-60 Black Hawk

Yep, looking at the available photographs, that’s not an ordinary MH-60 Black Hawk and what’s left of the top secret variant is in, or on the way to, enemy hands, shades of the F-117 lost over Serbia in 1999. Now we’re reduced to begging the Pakistanis for our wreckage back.

/the SEAL operators must have known it wasn’t completely destroyed before they left the scene, would it have killed us to send a follow on airstrike to complete the destruction?

Chinese Stealth?

As usual, it appears that the Chinese have been putting their stolen Western technology secrets to good use. Check out their new J-20 “stealth” fighter, look familiar? While it may be based on stolen Western technology, there’s questions as to how “advanced” it really is. One thing’s for sure, the damn thing is huge, as fighters go!

Chinese J-20 Stealth Fighter In Taxi Tests

China’s first known stealth aircraft just emerged from a secret development program and was undergoing high-speed taxi tests late last week at Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute’s airfield. Said to be designated J-20, it is larger than most observers expected—pointing to long range and heavy weapon loads.

Its timing, Chengdu’s development record and official statements cast doubt on U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s 2009 prediction (in support of his decision to stop production of the Lockheed Martin F-22) that China would not have an operational stealth aircraft before 2020.

The debut of the J-20 was announced in a November 2009 interview on Chinese TV by Gen. He Weirong, deputy commander of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. The general said a “fourth-generation” fighter (Chinese terminology for a stealth fighter) would be flown in 2010-11 and be operational in 2017-19.

The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, bigger and heavier than the Sukhoi T-50 and the F-22. Comparison with ground-service vehicles points to an overall length of 75 ft. and a wingspan of 45 ft. or more, which would suggest a takeoff weight in the 75,000-80,000-lb. class with no external load. That in turn implies a generous internal fuel capacity. The overall length is close to that of the 1960s General Dynamics F-111, which carries 34,000 lb. of fuel.

See also:
China ‘leaks’ sneak peek of first stealth aircraft going for a test run
A Chinese Stealth Challenge?
China Builds J-20 Stealth Fighter Prototype
China’s stealth jet is no cause for alarm: US
Reports Of China’s Stealth Fighter Come As Pentagon Proposes Cuts
‘Stealth’ Chinese Fighter Jet Photos No Accident
China’s J-20 stealth fighter on film
J-20 Stealth Fighter Jet: 5 Facts About China’s New Stealth Plane
China Uncloaks Stealth Fighter Prototype
China’s J-20 fighter conducts taxiing test in Chengdu; photos+
Chinese Stealth Fighter: J-20 Stealth Fighter vs. F-22 Raptor in 2018?

Well, thank God that Obama and Gates canceled the F-22 Raptor program, eh? We have less than 200 of them and we’re not making any more. Now, some may argue that the J-20 is no match for the F-22. However, as history has shown, what the Chinese lack in quality, they more than make up for in quantity.

/although the exact number of simultaneous targets that the F-22 can track is classified, it’s a large number, but it’s still a finite number, and the Chinese are well known for their indifference to casualties in order to achieve an objective

If It Weren’t For Bad Luck . . .

. . . the HMS Astute wouldn’t have any luck at all. Remember when she ran aground two weeks ago? Well, apparently the grounding wasn’t the worst part of ordeal.

HMS Hapless: submarine in crash No2 with tug

An investigation was already being held into the grounding of HMS Astute on a shingle bank off Skye last month after the £1 billion vessel, whose key attribute is stealth, was turned into a tourist attraction.

Now a new inquiry is underway after it was revealed that having survived the incident relatively unscathed, the submarine was damaged in a collision with the tug boat hired to free it.

The Anglian Prince was contracted by the navy to help pull the sub to safety.

But during the operation the towing rope became caught in the tug’s propeller and pulled the vessels together, damaging the Astute’s starboard foreplane.

A navy spokesman said the sub will be repaired at Faslane and trials will resume in due course.

He added: “The inquiry into the damage sustained by Astute is now complete, although the findings have still to be released to naval officers.”

The Anglian Prince, based in Stornoway, is normally under contract to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, but the Ministry of Defence took over its operation temporarily to help Astute.

It was undamaged despite the tangle with a nuclear submarine and is back in Stornoway, having since helped a cargo boat which got into difficulty off Rum this week.

See also:
Stricken Sub Astute Damaged By Rescue Tug
U.K.’s Stricken Nuclear Submarine HMS Astute Collided With Rescue Vessel
Revealed: Rescue tug crashed into stranded submarine HMS Astute causing millions of pounds of damage
Tug damaged HMS Astute while freeing it
Astute damaged in tug collision
HMS Astute submarine damaged by towboat
Stranded British submarine damaged in tug collision: navy
Call for debate on scrap-threat coastguard tug
Not So Astute

Thirty year old tugboat 1, brand new, multi-billion dollar nuclear submarine 0, talk about adding insult to injury, what an indignity. The Astute seems to be jinxed.

/maybe they should just scrap the Astute and put the Anglian Prince into active naval service, the tugboat has a better anti-submarine warfare record