Sunday, December 17, 2017

Has Russia Given up on Developing a Rail Based Nuclear Missile?

A news article published on Russian government daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Dec. 2 says Moscow has given up on the development of a rail-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).


So it seems.

But then, this isn't the first time the rail based nuclear weapons have been canceled.  And revived.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Terminator Times #39

Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/UAVs):

The US Air Force is incorporating the laser guided small diameter bomb on its Reapers.

Two dozen Reapers are being sent to be based in Florida.

Niger approved armed US drones in its country.  Some think this is a bad idea.

The US Army along with the British demonstrated unmanned resupply capabilities using UGVs & UAVs.

The USMC is testing the potential of unmanned gliders delivering up to 700 lbs of supplies to troops.

The USN will only initially buy 4 MQ-25A tanker drones to see if the contractor can meet the requirements.  That contractor might be selected by the end of this coming summer.

The USN is looking at plugging in its ground based control system for the MQ-25A into the carriers.

The USN has taken delivery of its first Northrop MQ-4C Triton.

The USN is going through the final testing of the FireScout this spring before declaring initial operating capability.

The USN will use the FireScout as a forward spotter, amongst other roles.

A Reaper was used in a sub hunting (ASW) exercise.

China's AVIC demonstrated some impressively flexible UAVs but they (currently) have short endurance.

China has been testing VTOL UAVs in Tibet.

China has shown its Cloud Shadow UAV as a potential naval strike asset.

China's Beihang has shown off its TYW-1 strike capable UAV.

China claims an Indian drone violated its airspace and crashed.

Czech's will be buying ScanEagle UAVs.

India has extended the deadline for bids on the naval UAV system procurement.

India's army has issued an RFI for 60 short range UAVs.

Kuwait is seeking UAVs.

Turkey's special forces have received their first batch of loitering munitions.

Airbus has teamed up with Facebook on high altitude drones.

Antonov has demonstrated a new UAV, the Horlytsia.

Bell is considering whether or not to make the V-280 tilt rotor able to fly autonomously.

Elbit has expanded the Hermes UAV system with the Hermes 45.

General Atomics and Intelsat demonstrated a UAV moving from one satellite radio spot to another.

Lockheed is looking at extending the range of its Fury UAV.

Leonardo is showing off the Evo Falco UAV.
Skeldar has enhanced the R-350 VTOL drone.

Teal predicts $100 billion market (or is it $80 billion?) for drones & UCAVs.

Bolos & Ogres (Unmanned Ground Vehicles):

The US Army is looking at the Remote Combat Vehicle program: a mix of manned and unmanned vehicles with the punch of an M-1 Abrams.

Robo Subs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles):

US Navy's unmanned assets were being used in the hunt for the missing Argentine submarine.

US Navy sent its deep dive recovery UUV for the hunt.

US Navy is implementing a continual improvement program for UUV.

A Houston based company is attempting to build a UUV designed for deep dives without an umbilical.


The US military is testing exoskeletons to help US troops carry their heavy loads.

Counter Drone:

China has tested a laser based anti drone weapon system.

BAe has been given a contract to modify shipborne machine guns to be anti drone weapons.


Russia has made it plain it will NOT adhere to any treaty banning autonomous weapon systems.

Friday, December 15, 2017

India Preparing for March 2018 Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission

The launch of the next Moon mission could be just four months away. India plans to return to the Moon in a big way with the ambitious Chandrayaan-2, which includes an orbiter, lander, and a small rover. If it all succeeds, it will be India's first soft landing on another world, and only the second such landing since the end of the Apollo and Luna era. For India, landing success would be "a stepping stone for future exploration missions to other planets," according to Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M. Annadurai.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Europe Wants its own X-37B, called the Space Rider

Space Rider is a re-entry vehicle, the evolution of the IXV (Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, launched by Vega in February 2015), capable of ‘navigating’ up to 2 months in low Earth orbit before returning to earth. Re-entry enables the recovery of all the useful load that can be analysed, and the vehicle to be reused for a new mission. The contract signed by ESA with Avio and TAS-I (Thales Alenia Space Italia) is worth a total of €36.7 million for the development of the Space Rider system, consisting of two modules: AOM (Avum Orbital Module) and RM (Re-entry Module). Avio will handle the development of AOM, a specific version of AVUM (fourth stage of the VEGA C) capable of supplying power and services for controlling the vehicle’s re-entry attitude during the orbital stage.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Stealth Saga #69

Have Blue & Tacit Blue:

A test pilot that flew both the Tacit Blue and Have Blue prototypes recounts his experiences.


Japan will conclude the X-2 program in March 2018.  The RCS was better than expected and all the data required was gathered in 34 flights.  What the path forward for the F-3 program will be will be based on the evaluation of the X-2 data brings to light.  Two options being considered are building a fighter indigenously or with a foreign partner.


Is the FC-31 being used to help


The Russians are trying to convince the Indians to not abandon the Su-57 derivative for India's first stealth aircraft.


A Su-57 prototype flew with the new engine for around 17 minutes.

Is the Su-57 program toast though?  Some think so.


Is the construction at Area 51 related to the B-21 Raider?


The B-2 Spirit might be deployed to South Korea for exercises.

The B-2 is getting a new GPS receiver.


Six F-22s arrived in South Korea for exercises.

Watch an F-22 hunt and kill an A-4 in an exercise.

An F-22 can actually save fuel by flying faster.  


US DOD gave Pratt & Whitney a $351 million contract for logistics and maintenance on the F135 engine.

South Korean media are reporting USAF F-35As deployed to the Korean Peninsula right after the F-22s.  They are both participating in exercises with South Korea.

Does the US Navy actually think the F-35C is important to the carrier air wing?

Some are STILL angry over the F-35 program.

Lockheed certified various weapons for the F-35.

Lockheed is touting the synthetic training capabilities of the F-35.

The F-35 is undergoing cold weather testing in Alaska.

Israel has declared its F-35I to be combat operational.

Two Dutch F-35s did a flyover in Star Wars canyon.

Drag chute deployment tests are underway in Alaska for the Dutch and Norwegian F-35s.

The Netherlands might have problems paying for their last three F-35As due to currency exchange rates.

Counter Stealth:

China is attempting to build a satellite based imaging system that can detect stealth aircraft.

Friday, December 08, 2017

A/2017 U1 "Oumuamua:" More on our Interstellar Visitor

Systematic takes another look at the strange visitor.

Scientists are dazzled by our interstellar visitor.

The visitor is definitely weird.

Is Oumuamua really interstellar in nature?

Where did Oumuamua come from?  The Local Association?  From a binary star system?

What is the origin of Oumuamua?

How does Oumuamua compare to objects from our solar system?

What are the implications for planet and planetesimal formation?

Observations of Oumuamua by the NOT and WIYN telescopes.

Oumuamua is tumbling.

Is Oumuamua really macroscopic dark matter?  Really???

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Will Venezuela Launch First Hyperinflating? or Oil-Backed? Cryptocurrency, the Petro?

President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that Venezuela will launch a cryptocurrency to combat what the leftist leader says is a financial “blockade” against the crisis-hit nation spurred by U.S. sanctions.

Maduro said the OPEC member’s new currency, “petro,” will be backed by natural resources reserves although he did not provide details on the logistics of its roll-out.