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*

Watching The Drone Watchers

I smell China, or maybe Russia. The fact that the virus keeps resisting efforts to remove it shows that there’s some sophistication involved.

U.S. Military Drones Infected With Mysterious Computer Virus

A fleet of U.S. military drones on a Nevada Air Force base has been infected by a keylogger virus that tracks every key and button their pilots press, Wired.com reported Friday — and top Air Force sources strongly contested.

The virus was first noticed by officials at Creech Air Force Base nearly two weeks ago using the base’s security system. It logged every keystroke of the pilots in the control room on the base as they remotely flew Predator and Reaper drones on missions over Afghanistan and other battle zones.

There has been no confirmation of information being lost or sent to an outside source, but the virus has been resistant to military efforts to clear it from the system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” a source told Wired.

See also:
Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet
Computers Controlling Military Drones Reportedly Infected with Virus
Computer Virus Attacks U.S. Military Drones: Wired
Keylogger virus hits US drone operations
Combat drones’ computer systems reportedly infected with virus
Computer virus hits US’ Predator drone fleet
US war drones keep flying despite computer virus
America’s Drones Have Been Infected by a Virus
Virus infects Pentagon drones’ computers
U.S. Drone Controllers Said To Be Infected By Computer Virus
US drones hit by virus
U.S. Military Facing a Battle Unlike Any Other
Cyberwar: a Whole New Quagmire – When the Drones Come To Roost
Creech Air Force Base

Theses computers didn’t just infect themselves, they were almost surely infected by someone, either deliberately or unwittingly, connecting a malware infected memory stick or other portable media storage device to the network. This has been a known attack vector for a long time now and it’s easily preventable, simply don’t allow portable media storage devices anywhere near classified computer networks!

/search all personnel coming and going if that’s what it takes, it’s a small price to pay for avoiding potentially catastrophic security breaches like this

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?

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?

They’re Here!

And apparently, they like to play around with our nuclear weapons.

Aliens Are Monitoring Our Nukes, Worry Ex-Air Force Officers

Captain Robert Salas was on duty in Montana in 1967 when a UFO shut down the nuclear missiles on his base. And he’s hardly the only one to make such a claim.

On Monday, six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man will break their silence about similar events at the National Press Club, all centering around unidentified flying objects and nuclear missiles. They plan to urge the government to publicly confirm the incidents, stating that they were ordered never to discuss the events.

“We’re talking about unidentified flying objects, as simple as that,” Salas told FoxNews.com. “They’re often known as UFOs, you could call them that,” he added. Salas, a former U.S. Air Force nuclear missile launch officer, will host the event along with researcher Robert Hastings, author of “UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites.

According to the pair, witness testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to an ongoing and alarming intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplicably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby.

“I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site,” Salas said, regarding the March 16, 1967, event at Malmstrom AFB in Montana. “The missiles shut down, 10 Minuteman missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later,” he said.

See also:
Former Airmen to Govt.: Come Clean on UFOs
Ex-Air Force Personnel: UFOs Deactivated Nukes
UFOs Spying on Our Nukes, Airmen Claim
Former Air Force Officials Claim UFO Sighted at Military Bases
UFOs eyed nukes, ex-Air Force personnel say
‘We saw a bright glowing object like an eye’: U.S. airman’s startling testimony about UFO encounter near UK nuclear base
Sci-fi wars? Pilots say UFOs knocked out nukes
UFO Press Conference: Aliens Interested in Our Nukes
Aliens have landed … in the headlines
UFO visits? Hmmm. Cookies? Yummm.
UFOs and Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites

Did these incidents actually occur and, if so, did they involve space aliens? Who knows? Is Robert Hastings trying to sell books? Probably.

Over the years there’s been plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence of UFOs, but no definitive proof, lots of smoke, but no fire. You’d think that if space aliens were visiting Earth and wanted to take issue with the errors of our ways concerning potential nuclear conflagration, they’d reveal themselves in some spectacular fashion that would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that they existed and meant business.

/then again the History Channel is constantly running entire evenings devoted to UFO programming and apparently the UN ‘to appoint space ambassador to greet alien visitors’, so maybe they know something we don’t

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

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