Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nellis Red Flag Pilot Killed in F-15 Crash Identified.




UPDATE: NELLIS PILOT KILLED IN F-15D CRASH IDENTIFIED.

UPDATE 8-3-08 SEE THE LINK TO THE RIGHT TO VIEW CRASH SITE PHOTOS.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. - The pilot who died in an aircraft accident July 30 was identified as Lt. Col. Thomas Bouley in a press conference with Col. Russell Handy, 57th Wing commander. Colonel Bouley was the 65th Aggressor Squadron commander.

Colonel Bouley died when the U.S. Air Force F-15D Eagle, a two seater he was piloting, crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range during a Red Flag training exercise July 30, 2008.

"Colonel Bouley had recently celebrated his 20th year wearing the uniform, and had more than 4,200 flight hours in the F-15 Eagle, the Royal Air Force F-3 Tornado, and the T-38 Talon," said Colonel Handy during the press conference. "He was a decorated warrior, an inspiring leader of Airmen, and a loving father and husband. He served his country with distinction and will be greatly missed."

The other pilot in the aircraft, a Royal Air Force exchange pilot, is in stable condition. His name is being withheld due to the ongoing investigation, but will be released when the accident investigation board completes its work.

Both pilots were assigned to the 65th Aggressor Squadron, whose mission is to simulate opposing enemy air forces during Red Flag exercises here.

"The investigation into this mishap began almost immediately. The Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board will collect and protect evidence from the scene, and gather and analyze all relevant data," said Colonel Handy.

The accident investigation board is comprised of a board president who is a senior pilot, a maintenance expert, flight surgeon, judge advocate and any other needed specialists.

"As commander of this wing, the safety of our Airmen is at the top of my priority list," said Colonel Handy. "Protecting our nation's sons and daughters is a sacred trust, and we intend to do everything in our power to find the cause of this mishap so we may prevent it from happening again."

All aircraft units, with exception of the 64th and 65th Aggressor Squadrons, have continued flying operations. The 64th AGRS will resume flying missions Aug. 1, and the 65th AGRS will resume operations Aug. 4.

"Right now, we're focused on supporting Colonel Bouley's family and the men and women of the 65th AGRS," said Colonel Handy.

Red Flag, a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the United States and its allies, is conducted on the vast bombing and gunnery ranges at Nellis AFB, Nev. It is one of a series of advanced training programs administered by the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and Nellis, through the 414th Combat Training Squadron. Nellis is the busiest flying base in Air Combat Command, flying 42,000 sorties each year.

More information will be posted at www.nellis.af.mil , the Nellis Air Force Base official Web site, as it becomes available. -

A military training mission ends in disaster for the crew of an F-15 fighter jet from Nellis Air Force Base. One pilot is confirmed dead and a second airman is hospitalized as of Wednesday night. The jet went down shortly before Noon on Wednesday in a remote corner of Nye County, about 180 miles north of Las Vegas.

It happened during a busy week at Nellis. Sixty-five airplanes this week are taking part in special exercises and war games known as "red flag." News 3's Steve Crupi has discovered that Wednesday's crash at Nellis occurred during one of those combat exercises where the mission was to simulate enemy aircraft.

The accident happened quickly. There was a plume of dark smoke as a rescue chopper moved in to airlift the victims, who were apparently ejected from the F-15 Eagle. There's no indication yet what caused the crash. The pilot who survived the crash could hopefully hold the key to explaining exactly what happened. The jet and crew were part of the 65th aggressor squadron.

Operations continued at Nellis Air Force Base Wednesday afternoon despite the crash. And a full investigation has been launched into what could have possibly gone wrong. This is the second week of red flag exercises, and F-15 aircraft play a vital role in the training missions. Pilots receive combat experience that is as close to the real thing as possible. Training includes complex tactical scenarios and aerial refueling maneuvers.

The activity at the airfield is always busy during red flag exercises, but most of the real action occurs far from the public's view over vast stretches of remote desert. In recent years, the F-15 has been involved in multiple fatal crashes, prompting a temporary grounding of all F-15s last year. Over the past three decades, dozens of airmen have died or suffered critical injuries during these red flag training missions. But the Air Force claims that the lives "saved" by this type of training far outweigh the casualties.

Thursday afternoon, Air Force officials have scheduled their first on-camera briefing with the media.


TRANSCRIPT: 57th Wing commander prepared statement

Nellis AFB Public Affairs

7/31/2008 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Good afternoon. I'm Colonel Russ Handy, commander of the 57th Wing. As you know, an F-15D Eagle, flying in support of our Red Flag exercises, crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range approximately 50 miles east of Goldfield, Nevada, at approximately 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. More importantly, we lost a fellow Airman, Lt. Col. Thomas Bouley - the commander of the 65th Aggressor Squadron here and the pilot of the F-15 that went down. Colonel Bouley had recently celebrated his 20th year wearing the uniform and had more than 4,500 flight hours in the F-15 Eagle, Royal Air Force F-3 Tornado and the T-38 Talon. He was a decorated warrior, an inspiring leader of Airmen, and a loving father and husband. He served his country with distinction and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Colonel Bouley's family, his Air Force family, and all of his friends during this difficult time.

We also had another well-respected instructor pilot on board the aircraft yesterday...who we are relieved to say is recovering today at Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital, here on Nellis Air Force Base. He is an exchange pilot from the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force. He is working with and assisting the accident investigation board and his priority, of course, is to recover fully and devote his energy to supporting the investigation. For this reason, we are not able to release his name, nor provide interviews at this time. I can tell you he comes to us with extensive Royal Air Force Tornado F-3 experience and is now fully qualified in the F-16. He just recently began his assignment here with the 64th Aggressor Squadron and was receiving aggressor familiarization training during yesterday's flight.

He was recovered by base rescue crews and transported to our hospital where he spent the night for observation. Our thoughts are also with him and his family, and we wish him a very speedy recovery.

The investigation into this mishap began almost immediately. For the next several weeks, a trained Air Combat Command investigation board will focus their exclusive efforts on collecting and protecting evidence from the scene and gathering and analyzing all relevant data with the specific purpose of determining cause so we may prevent future mishaps. There is a fact sheet in your packet that describes this investigative process thoroughly. After the Accident Investigation Board concludes their process, its findings will be released by Air Combat Command.

Red Flag, as many of you may have noticed, is continuing. The value of the training we provide here at Nellis through exercises such as Red Flag is crucial to our success and the success of our allies in the current Global War on Terrorism and in preparing for future challenges. We know every day, when we put on this uniform, there are inherent risks in what we do... and we mitigate those risks as best we can. Nellis is the busiest flying base in our command, producing more than 42,000 sorties a year. As commander of this wing, the safety of our Airmen is at the top of my priority list. Protecting our nation's sons and daughters is a sacred trust, and we intend to do everything in our power to find the cause of this mishap so we may prevent it from happening again. Finally, we are extremely grateful to our local community. The support we have received has been terrific. Thank you.

Minuteman Missile Truck Mishap in North Dakota 7-31-08




Truck carrying missile booster tips in N.D.
By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer Air Force Times


Posted : Thursday Jul 31, 2008 18:35:38 EDT
A military transport vehicle carrying an unarmed Minuteman III booster tipped over this morning on its way to a 91st Missile Wing launch facility at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Early reports show the vehicle tipped over on the gravel access road after the road gave out under the truck, according to an Air Force official. The accident occurred between the sparsely populated towns of Makoti and Parshall, N.D., about 70 miles southwest of Minot, right off County Road 24.

“They are still investigating now but we know there is no danger to the public and no nuclear materials were onboard the vehicle at the time of the accident,” said Maj. Laurie Arellano, an Air Force Space Command spokeswoman.

Minot emergency and security officials immediately responded to the scene, along with local fire department officials, she said. No injuries to the vehicle’s crew were reported other than minor cuts and bruises, she said.

Missile wing officials were still trying to right the vehicle and the missile’s booster as of 4:30 p.m. EST, Arellano said. The booster was the only component of the intercontinental ballistic missile designed to carry nuclear warheads aboard the transport vehicle at the time of the accident, she said.

Investigators are still on the scene and the wing intends to keep the truck at the scene until the investigation is complete.

However, sensitive missile components will be removed and transported to a more secure area, Arellano said. Base security forces will maintain a cordon around the truck as long as it remains on the road.

It’s unclear whether the 45-foot, 65,000-pound booster sustained any damage due to the accident, an official said. Diesel fuel from the truck was spilled at the accident, not fuel for the booster.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Navy Fires Captain After Carrier Catches Fire.



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Navy fired the captain and executive officer of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier George Washington on Wednesday because of a massive fire that damaged the ship in May, Navy officials said.


Both the captain and executive officer were relieved of duty Wednesday after a fire damaged the ship in May.

Capt. David C. Dykhoff and his executive officer, Capt. David M. Dober, were relieved of duty while the ship is in port in San Diego, California, for repairs.

The two were fired because of practices on their ship that Navy investigators believe led to the fire, Navy officials said.

The Navy officials said investigators believe the fire was started when a cigarette ignited material stored in an engineering room.

Investigators found flammable liquids stored in an engineering area of the ship, which is strictly prohibited. Investigators also found that sailors were allowed to smoke in the same engineering areas, considered another violation.

It is estimated that the damage to the ship will cost about $70 million to repair, the Navy officials said.

Read the full story at CNN.com

F-15 Crashes During Red Flag 7-30-08



LAS VEGAS -- A pilot from Nellis Air Force Base has died following the crash of a U.S. Air Force F-15D Eagle two-seater jet, Nellis Air Force Base officials said.
Another pilot from the aircraft was transported to Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The second pilot is under observation and in stable condition, officials said.

The crash occurred on the Nevada Test and Training Range about 50 miles east of Goldfield, Nev., said Charles Ramey of Nellis Air Force Base.
He said the crash occurred about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday as the jet was taking part in an Exercise Red Flag combat training mission.

Both pilots were assigned to the 65th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, whose mission is to simulate opposing enemy air forces during Red Flag exercises.

The names of the pilots involved are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

A board of military officials is being convened to investigate the crash.

Update: (AP) An F-15 fighter jet crashed during training over the Nevada desert Wednesday, killing one pilot and injuring another.

The two-seater F-15D Eagle went down in the vast Nevada Test and Training Range north of Las Vegas, according to a statement released by Nellis Air Force Base officials.

One pilot was declared dead shortly after the crash. The second was in stable condition at the base hospital, base spokesman Andrew Dumboski said.

Both pilots were assigned to the 65th Aggressor Squadron, which simulates enemy forces in air combat training exercises regularly held at Nellis. The Air Force base is about 10 miles north of Las Vegas.

The names of the two pilots were not immediately released.

The F-15D Eagle is primarily used for tactical missions and costs $29.9 million, according to Air Force figures.

Link to crash site photos can be found at the top-right, under: TOPICAL LINKS

VIDEO: RED FLAG F-15 AGGRESSOR LAUNCH/ 7-26-08

SOURCE:NELLISPSOTTERS>COM





Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag


Military Tech: Mayhem/Magneto and a Neato Stealth Fighter

Pentagon Hacker Claims He Was Looking For UFO Files.

LONDON, England (AP) -- Britain's top court refused Wednesday to stop the extradition to the U.S. of a British hacker accused of breaking into Pentagon and NASA computers -- something he claims to have done while hunting for information on UFOs.


Gary McKinnon, pictured here in 2006, plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Gary McKinnon, 42, faces charges in the United States for what officials say were a series of cyber attacks that stole passwords, attacked military networks and wrought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of computer damage.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS:
UK man loses appeal against extradition to the U.S. over alleged computer hacking
Gary McKinnon accused of breaking into Pentagon and NASA computers
Prosecutors says he stole passwords, caused $900,000 of computer damage
McKinnon's lawyer says he will appeal to European Court of Human Rights
See the full story at CNN.com





"Well good luck! Maybe they don't understand guys like you." Cheeky monkey!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

CNN: U.S. Gives Israel Missile Detecting Technology


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States will provide Israel with a radar system used to detect and track missile and rocket attacks, a senior Pentagon official told CNN Tuesday.


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says the technology will be running before Bush leaves office.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. assistance will include an agreement to facilitate the sharing of U.S. "early warning" launch data and technical and financial help developing defenses against shorter range rockets and mortars.

The technology is called X-band frequency, which has microwave range and provides for ultra-high very precise resolution. It is able to distinguish between real missiles, decoys and debris.

The technology would be running before "the new [U.S.] administration arrives" in January, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, according to Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

See the full story at CNN.com

Blogger's note: " I wonder if it can detect Photoshopped missiles from real ones?"

UFO Crash Or Black Ops?


Check out the link for this KLAS report by George Knapp) about a weird object that fell out of the night sky and crashed west of the Colorado River in May.

George interviews witnesses with weird hair who saw weird military vehicles in the area and weird helicopters lifting a weird object up into the air.

George's report also includes "Men in Black" , a guy who lives on a houseboat down by the river named "Bob on the River" who saw five helicopters in the crash area and heard a big "thump."

Despite all the weird characters and no hard evidence to prove anything crashed anywhere, I gotta think - " What happens North of Vegas doesn't always stay North of Vegas."

The link can be found in the list to your right --- no your other right.

-Steve

Space Plane Flight Test Date Set


First flight test of an unmanned military space plane.

Launch of the first mission of the USAF/Boeing X-37B space maneuvering vehicle is scheduled for liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in November on an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. A landing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., would follow.

Visit: aviationnow.com for the full story.

Link is at the right.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Virgin Galactic Rolls out Space Tourism Mothership: EVE




VIRGIN GALACTIC ROLLS OUT MOTHERSHIP “EVE”

WhiteKnightTwo launch vehicle for SpaceShipTwo heralds a new era in aerospace fuel efficiency, performance and versatility

Mojave Air and Spaceport, California
July 28th 2008

Virgin Founder, Sir Richard Branson and SpaceShipOne designer, Burt Rutan, today pulled back the hangar doors on the new WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that will ferry SpaceShipTwo and thousands of private astronauts, science packages and payload on the first stage of the Virgin Galactic sub-orbital space experience.

The rollout represents another major milestone in Virgin Galactic’s quest to launch the world’s first private, environmentally benign, space access system for people, payload and science.

Christened “EVE” in honor of Sir Richard’s mother, who performed the official naming ceremony, WK2 is both visually remarkable and represents ground-breaking aerospace technology. It is the world’s largest all carbon composite aircraft and many of its component parts have been built using composite materials for the very first time. At 140 ft, the wing spar is the longest single carbon composite aviation component ever manufactured.

Driven by a demanding performance specification set by Virgin Galactic, WK2 has a unique heavy lift, high altitude capability and an open architecture driven design which provides for maximum versatility in the weight, mass and volume of its payload potential. It has the power, strength and maneuverability to provide for pre space-flight, positive G force and zero G astronaut training as well as a lift capability which is over 30% greater than that represented by a fully crewed SpaceShipTwo. The vehicle has a maximum altitude over 50,000 ft and its U.S. coast-to-coast range will allow the spaceship to be ferried on long duration flights.

An all carbon composite vehicle of this size represents a giant leap for a material technology that has already been identified as a key contributor to the increasingly urgent requirement by the commercial aviation sector for dramatically more fuel efficient aircraft. Powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines, which are amongst the most powerful, economic and efficient available, WK2 is a mold breaker in carbon efficiency and the epitome of 21st century aerospace design and technology.

The twin fuselage and central payload area configuration allow for easy access to WK2 and to the spaceship for passengers and crew; the design also aids operational efficiencies and turnaround times. WK2 will be able to support up to four daily space flights, is able to carry out both day and night time operations and is equipped with a package of highly advanced avionics.

Large numbers of VIP’s, media and more than 100 fully signed-up future Virgin Galactic astronauts flew into Mojave for the rollout onboard a new Airbus A320 aircraft specially chartered from Virgin America, the youngest and most efficient US domestic airline, which launched to great acclaim in 2007.

Rutan’s Scaled Composites facility has been strictly out of bounds whilst design and construction has been underway, but guests today were additionally given a tantalizing preview of SpaceShipTwo, clearly visible but heavily shrouded and well on its way to completion, in the smaller of Scaled’s two hangars awaiting its own rollout in 2009. This will be scheduled once WK2 is at the appropriate stage in its extensive test program, which has already begun with ground tests; it is expected to take its first flight in the fall of 2008. The flight test program will be comprehensive even before SpaceShipTwo is carried as a payload for the first time in 2009.

Commenting on the rollout, Burt Rutan, Founder of Scaled Composites said:

“WhiteKnightTwo represents the apogee of the application of carbon composites to aerospace and all of us at Scaled are tremendously excited at the capabilities of the Mothership for SpaceShipTwo. I believe the vehicle will be developed and sold for a variety of launch applications beyond the initial requirements of our launch customer, Virgin Galactic. We have set up a new business jointly with Virgin, The Spaceship Company (TSC), to develop these vehicles and we very much hope that its efficiency will herald a wake up call to the aerospace industry and the necessity of using new materials and technologies in the future. “

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic added:

“As usual, Burt and the Scaled team have created a beauty and this is a very proud day for us all. The rollout of WhiteKnightTwo takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this most ambitious of projects is not only for real but is making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation.

Virgin Galactic is central to our ambition at Virgin to become the world’s leading group in the operation of energy and environmentally efficient transportation, in the air, on the ground and in space. We arrived here this morning on an aircraft operated by Virgin America, who run the most fuel efficient commercial fleet in the US, to roll out what by most definitions, is the most energy efficient aircraft in history. We are naming it EVE after my Mother, Eve Branson but also because it represents a first and a new beginning, the chance for our ever growing group of future astronauts and other scientists and payload specialists to see our world in a completely new light. I for one can’t wait!”

For further information go to www.virgingalactic.com.

For downloadable images and graphics go to www.virgingalactic.com/press

For press enquiries please contact Jackie McQuillan at Virgin Galactic on +44 (0)207 229 4738.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Breaking News: Gaping hole In jet forces emergency landing.


CNN) -- A Qantas flight from Hong Kong to Melbourne made an emergency landing in the Philippines on Friday after a hole appeared in the fuselage and the cabin lost pressure suddenly.


Qantas pilot Captain John Francis Bartels looks at the damaged fuselage in Manila, Philippines.

"There was an almighty crack," one passenger said. "We dropped a bit in the air, but other than that it was fine."

"There was a big bang," said another. "I knew there was a hole somewhere, but I didn't know what was going on."

Marina Scaffidi, 39, from Melbourne, told The Associated Press: "There was wind swirling around the plane and some condensation."

She said a hole extended from the cargo hold into the passenger cabin.

Michael Rahill, 57, an architect from Melbourne, told AP the bang sounded "like a tire exploding, but more violently."

Images of the Boeing 747-400 after it landed showed a large hole where the leading edge of the wing attaches to the fuselage.

Manila International Airport Authority spokesman Octavio Lina said there were no injuries, but some of the 345 passengers vomited after disembarking, AP reported.

Qantas said the hole, which was between 2.5 to three meters in diameter, was being inspected by engineers.

A report by the airport authority quoted pilot John Francis Bartels as saying an initial investigation indicated there was an "explosive decompression."

Lina said the cabin's floor gave way, exposing some of the cargo beneath and part of the ceiling collapsed, AP reported.

The flight originated in London. It was diverted to Manila International Airport, where it landed around 11:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m. ET Thursday.

Read the entire story and see exclusive video on CNN.com

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How to Launch A Nuclear Missile.

Interesting (but dated) video outlining the procedures for firing a Titan nuclear missile.

-Steve

Video taken at the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley.


Skyking.. Skyking - No answer? Air Force Officers Fell Asleep With Nuke Codes!




From Barbara Starr and Larry Shaughnessy
CNN Pentagon

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Three Air Force officers fell asleep while in control of an electronic component that contained old launch codes for nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, a violation of procedure, Air Force officials said Thursday.

The Air Force said the launch codes had been deactivated before the incident, but it was still a violation of protocol, prompting an investigation.

It is the fourth incident in the past year involving problems with secure handling of components of America's nuclear weapons.

The incident occurred July 12, during the changing out of components used to facilitate secure communications between an underground missile-control facility and missile silos near Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, according to Col. Dewey Ford, a spokesman for the Air Force Space Command in Colorado.

One of the parts, a code component, is for storage and processing. It is considered classified by the Air Force.

A code component was removed from the equipment at the remote missile-control facility and replaced with a new code component. That made the old component inoperable, but an Air Force source said old launch codes were still contained in the part.

Under standard procedure, the four-officer crew of the facility is supposed to keep the component secure until it is returned to the base. Ford said the crew took the component to a building above the facility and locked the component in a lockbox.

Then, three of the four crew members fell asleep.

This violated Air Force procedure, which calls for at least two of the crew members to remain awake while in control of the component. At the time they were asleep, the crew and the component were in a locked building that is guarded by at least one armed airman at all times.

The airmen were asleep for two to three hours, Ford said.

The component was later returned to the Minot base, and the investigations of procedural violations were started by Missile Command, Space Command, the 20th Air Force and the National Security Agency.

The investigation revealed the codes were not compromised, according to the Air Force. The codes had remained secured, and the crew was inside an area protected by Air Force security at all times, the investigation concluded.

See full story at CNN.com




This from Air Force Times:

Minot airmen fell asleep with classified nuke hardware
By Michael Hoffman and Kent Miller - Staff writers
Posted : Thursday Jul 24, 2008 22:11:55 EDT
Three missile officers with the 91st Space Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., fell asleep July 12 while holding a classified “code component” — a hardware device containing the codes needed to activate the control system for Minot’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The device, kept in a locked case, installs the codes that allow the missile launch control center to command the ICBMs in the missile silos. One piece of hardware is installed and the old one is removed, somewhat akin to changing hard drives in a computer.

Four officers had completed the process of changing the codes for the system underground in the launch control center and had returned topside to the large living center, which looks much like a ranch house inside and includes six bedrooms, a large kitchen and dining area, gym and a security control center for security forces airmen, according to Air Force officials.

While waiting for permission to bring the device back to base, the three officers with the code component in their possession fell asleep. The fourth officer was not present.

When they woke up, the officers reported the incident to their command, said Col. Dewey Ford, a Space Command spokesman. Representatives from U.S. Strategic Command, Space Command, the 91st Missile Wing at Minot, the 20th Air Force — headquartered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and the National Security Agency investigated the incident. They found that the missile launch codes were not compromised.

Ford called the incident a “procedural violation,” and emphasized that the code devices were no longer usable since the new codes had already been installed in the missiles. Ford said public safety was never at risk.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was not notified.

“Because [the codes] were never compromised, [the Air Force] did not contact top levels of leadership,” Ford said. “The procedural error involved the fact that they fell asleep. If they had stayed awake, this would not have been an issue.”

Asked for comment about the incident, a Senate Armed Services Committee staffer said senators had not been informed.

During their confirmation hearing before the committee July 22, Michael Donley, who’s been nominated to become Air Force secretary, and Gen. Norton Schwartz, the nominee for chief of staff, said their top priority would be shoring up nuclear surety and restoring the country’s trust in the service’s ability to manage its nuclear weapons and mission. They did not mention the incident.

Minot has been ground zero in the ongoing crisis surrounding the Air Force’s inability to properly manage and secure its nuclear weapons.

Last August, airmen of Minot’s 5th Bomb Wing mistakenly loaded six nuclear warheads onto a B-52, which then flew to Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The Stratofortress then sat on the runway at Barksdale for more than 12 hours before anyone noticed that the bombs under its wing, which were supposed to be dummies, were in fact live nuclear weapons.

The 5th Bomb Wing subsequently failed its NSI in May because of failures to properly secure its nuclear stockpile.

The 91st Space Wing at Minot failed its limited nuclear surety inspection in January, also because of “critical safety and security” failures.

When inspection teams returned to Minot in May, they determined the wing had fixed its security flaws and passed the 91st.

Idiot Anchorman Has Trouble Understanding Blackswift

Boeing Joins Lockheed on Blackswift.



Looks like two aviation giants are now bidding on building  DARPA's Blackswift hypersonic vehicle.

You can read the AVWK story at this link on the right.

-Steve Douglass


Monday, July 21, 2008

Farnborough Report : QinetiQ, Boeing Partner on Long-Endurance UAV




Very weird looking indeed!

UFOs blamed for nuclear missile malfunctions?

From the "yeah - right!" department:

B-52 Crashes Off Guam 7-21-08


Two killed in B-52 crash

An Air Force B-52 bomber crashed off Guam, killing at least two airmen and leading to the search of a vast area of the Pacific Ocean for the remaining four crew members, the US military said.

Six vessels, three helicopters, two F-15 fighter jets and a B-52 bomber were involved in the search, which had covered about 70 square miles of ocean, said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lt Elizabeth Buendia.

The Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and local fire and police departments were involved with the search.
Major Stuart Upton, a Pentagon spokesman, said the aircraft was unarmed.

The B-52 bomber, based at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, was en route to conduct a flyover in a parade when it crashed about 30 miles northwest of Apra Harbour, the Air Force said.

The Liberation Day parade celebrates the day when the US military arrived on Guam to retake control of the island from Japan.
The Air Force said a board of officers will investigate the accident.

The accident is the second for the Air Force this year on Guam, a US territory 3,700 miles southwest of Hawaii.
In February, a B-2 crashed at Andersen Air Force Base shortly after takeoff in the first-ever crash of a stealth bomber. Both pilots ejected safely. The military estimated the cost of the loss of the aircraft at 1.4 billion dollars.

The B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that can refuel in mid air. Since the 159-foot-long bomber was first placed into service in 1955, it has been used for a wide range of missions from attacks to ocean surveillance. Two B-52s, in two hours, can monitor 140,000 square miles of ocean surface.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Skyking - Skyking Do Not Answer!



A great article on those who have their hands on the nuclear button.

Link: http://www.thebulletin.org/files/064003005.pdf"

-Steve Douglass

I wish i could do this to my cranky Epson printer.

CNN Breaking News: Insurgents Attack In Waves in Afghanistan.


Published with permission.

Please visit CNN.com for more information.

KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan authorities released further details Monday of the insurgent attack at an outpost in eastern Afghanistan which killed nine American soldiers and wounded 15 others.


U.S. Marines on patrol in the town of Garmser in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Defense ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said Sunday's attack in Dara-I-Pech, in the far eastern province of Kunar, involved 400 to 500 militants. At least 100 were killed or injured, he said. The casualties also included four Afghan National Army soldiers.

The attack was the deadliest for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since June 2005, when 16 American troops were killed -- in the same province -- when their helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

During the fighting, insurgents used homes, shops and a village mosque for cover, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said. ISAF troops, along with members of the Afghan army, responded with firepower.

A U.S. official confirmed to CNN different numbers about Kunar. The official estimated that 200 insurgents participated in the Kunar fight and American officials up until now have not confirmed the numbers of insurgents killed. Watch more about the attack on the coalition base »

The official added most of those killed in action occurred just outside the base, when a group of insurgents overran an "observation point" -- a slightly elevated platform with a small number of troops.

"It is quite common for them to attack our outposts," said NATO spokesman Mark Laity. "But this was a larger scale attack than normal. This was not a new tactic. They usually get defeated. We are very, very sad that we lost some people but again, their attempt to take that base failed."

Meanwhile, U.S. military commanders in the region have asked the Pentagon to send hundreds of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), designed to withstand strong explosives, as quickly as possible to its troops battling the Taliban, a senior U.S. defense official said.

The MRAPS, which are the newest armored vehicles, have a V-shaped hull that helps deflect the blast of a roadside bomb. Defense sources said the request could include between 600 and 1,000 MRAPs.

Until MRAPs began arriving in Iraq in large numbers in 2007, troops had limited protection in armored Humvees. The last several months has seen a rise in the number of U.S. and NATO troop deaths from roadside bomb blasts in Afghanistan.

On Monday a roadside bomb killed six Afghan guards who were accompanying a vehicle of a U.S.-based private security firm, the Afghan defense ministry said.

The guards, working for the Texas firm U.S. Protection and Investigations (USPI), were struck Sunday near the town of Gereshk in the Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, Gen. Azimi said.

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack. But Azimi said it bore the hallmarks of the hardline militant group, the Taliban.

USPI is based in Houston, Texas, according to the company's Web site. Last December, Taliban fighters ambushed a USPI-operated convoy carrying fuel bound for U.S. military bases in western Afghanistan. Fifteen Afghan employees of the firm were killed in the attack.

On Saturday, a teenager detonated his explosives-laden vest outside an Afghan National Army camp, killing himself and three others.

In another Helmand attack, a coalition member was killed by a Sunday roadside bomb, the U.S. military said.

Since the start of coalition operations in Afghanistan, 470 U.S. troops have died, including Sunday's casualties.

Helmand -- where Monday's roadside bombing occurred -- is an important front in the war against Islamic militants. It is considered the the world's largest opium poppy growing region, and that trade has helped fund insurgent activities.

Newspapers worldwide issuing "corrections"

Iran Missile Photo

July 10, 2008

By Daryl Lang

It was an arresting image: Four missiles arcing skyward in near perfect symmetry, perhaps a prelude to war. It was ominous. It was also a fake.

Newspapers and Web sites around the world were duped into running a propaganda photo handed out by the Iran Revolutionary Guard that turned out to have been digitally manipulated. The missile launch was real, but one of the four missiles in the image apparently wasn't.

The problematic image was distributed Wednesday by Agence France Presse, which said it obtained the photo from Sepah News, the house organ of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. Video footage shot from the same angle and a second photo that is nearly identical show just three missiles, not four. AFP issued a correction Thursday saying, "The 2nd Right missile has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test."

By then it was too late. The image ran on many online news sites Wednesday. On Thursday, it ran on the front pages of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the Boston Globe.

Several newspaper editors said they are planning follow-up stories and corrections for Friday's editions, and some have already posted corrections online. The Seattle Times, for one, was considering a front-page correction, said director of photography Barry Fitzsimmons. Other papers were planning stories and corrections inside the paper.

"This kind of stuff is misinformation and intentionally done to fool people," said Chicago Tribune assistant managing editor for photography Torry Bruno. "We don't feel too good about it. We're going to be as transparent as possible in tomorrow's paper," he said, adding that the paper planned to run something longer than a standard correction.

Photo editors in the U.S. variously blamed themselves and AFP, a respected photo agency, for not catching the photo.

"AFP should have caught it, really," says Tim Rasmussen, assistant managing editor for photography at the Denver Post, which ran the photo on A1. "It should never have gotten past them."

But another Post editor was miffed that he failed to catch it. "Oh, I hate days like this," said Ken Lyons, the paper's front-page photo editor. "It was right there in front of me. I should have seen it."

In 2003, Lyons was among the first editors to spot a manipulated image from Iraq by Los Angeles Times photographer Brian Walski. Lyons, who worked at Orlando Sentinel at the time, refused to run Walski's image when it was transmitted to his newspaper.

Catching some of the heat Thursday was Getty Images, which distributes AFP in the U.S. Getty director of photography Pancho Bernasconi says the AFP content arrives through an automatic feed and Getty does not edit it.

Some newspapers made it clear in their captions or credit lines that the photo was provided by the Iranian government. Others did not. The Denver Post ran the image as its lead art and credited it to AFP/Getty; the Baltimore Sun ran the photo on page 1 and credited it to Agence France Presse.

Early Thursday on the East Coast, more than 12 hours after the AFP image had been distributed, the Associated Press moved a nearly identical photo showing three missiles. It appears to have been photographed a fraction of a second apart from the AFP image. In a news story, the AP said it obtained the photo from the same Iranian Web site from which the AFP obtained theirs.

The first person to call foul on the photo appears to have been the political blog Little Green Footballs, which spotted the manipulation Wednesday. It took until Thursday for word to spread widely through sites like The Drudge Report and The New York Times. The AFP correction ran shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday on the East Coast.

The Iranian photo manipulation case has some parallels to the 2006 story of Adnan Hajj, a Reuters photographer working in Lebanon who was accused of transmitting two manipulated photos. One showed extra smoke in an image and one showing a jet firing three projectiles instead of two. Little Greet Footballs and other blogs spotted Hajj's photos first, and Reuters ran a correction soon after and launched an internal investigation that led to the firing of an editor.

Lyons, of the Denver Post, said it is no consolation to him that many other papers – including local rival The Rocky Mountain News – also ran the four-missile photo.

"I take absolutely no comfort in that at all," he says. Lyons was also reflective about how much stronger the picture seems with the one extra missile. "The thing I've been asking myself all day is, Would we have run it if it were just the three?"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Iran You Suck At Photoshop - Internet Responds With Humor : UPDATED

A little humor about a dark matter is a fine thing. Special thanks to all who submitted their work!

Somewhere in Iran's propaganda ministry the guy who sucks at Photoshop is having his hands cut off and somewhere photo editors worldwide are looking for jobs.
































































Original photos and article follows:

Image of Iran’s Power, There’s Less Than Meets the EyeBy MIKE NIZZA and PATRICK WITTY
Published: July 11, 2008


A photograph showing four Iranian missiles heading skyward in unison was “apparently digitally altered” by Iranian state media, the news agency Agence France-Presse said Thursday.

Annotations by The New York Times; Photograph via Agence France-Presse
In a photo released by Iran and used by several news sites and papers, the second missile from the right (circled in red) appears to replicate another (circled in orange).
One of the missiles appears to be merely a copied image. But by the time that fact was reported, the photo had appeared on the front pages of The Los Angeles Times, The Financial Times, The Chicago Tribune and several other newspapers as well as on many major news Web sites, including nytimes.com, BBC News, MSNBC and Yahoo! News.

State-run media in Iran said that during war game maneuvers on Wednesday, the Revolutionary Guards test-fired several long- and medium-range missiles, including one that the government in Tehran said could reach Israel.

Agence France-Presse, which distributed the image of the four missiles to the West, said it was obtained on Wednesday from the Web site of Sepah News, the media arm of the Revolutionary Guards.

On Thursday, The Associated Press released what appeared to be a nearly identical photo, but Little Green Footballs a conservative blog, identified the altered image on its site on Wednesday night . Last year the blog pointed out a manipulated image that had been distributed by Iran’s semiofficial Fars News Agency. As in the case of Wednesday’s photograph and many others that the site has uncovered, the one from 2007 appeared to contain several cloned elements.

Iranian leaders have overstated military developments in the past. “They’ve made some exaggerated claims from time to time,” said Gary Sick, an expert on Iran at Columbia University. “They clearly want the world to be impressed with their missile capability.”

Agence France-Presse retracted its original image on Thursday morning, saying the fourth missile “has apparently been added in digital retouch to cover a grounded missile that may have failed during the test.”

American intelligence officials had larger questions on exactly how many missiles had been fired. One defense official said that “at least 7, and possibly up to 10,” had taken flight in all, although the intelligence data was still being sorted out.

Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington.

--------------------------





Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dassault Aviation AVE-D DRONE takes flight.


Dassault Aviation announced today (July 8, 2008) that its AVE-D drone completed its first fully autonomous demonstration flight a week ago, on June 30, 2008 near Toul, France. The jet powered UAV performed a completely automated flight sequence: roll from parking spot, runway alignment, takeoff, in-flight maneuvers, landing, braking and rolling back to the parking apron. The demonstration flight is a key development milestone for a technology essential to the successful pursuit of the European nEUROn Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Demonstrator program. The flight was watched by representatives of France’s Délégation Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) armaments procurement agency . more...

The AVE (Aéronefs de Validation Expérimentale) series is a family of scale model experimental unmanned aircraft developed by Dassault Aviation. It was flown for the first time eight years ago (July 2000), designed to test and validation advanced Uninhabited Air Vehicles (UAV), stealth designs and autonomous flight. As part of this stealth design evaluation, a tail-less version of the aircraft designated AVE-C was flown in June 2003. According to Dassault, the flight marks a significant first for the company, confirming its expertise in Uninhabited Air Vehicles.

Link: http://www.defense-update.com/newscast/0708/news/ave_c.htm

Flying Triangle Over Southhampton UK.



Interesting sighting -- if it is real. Is it a balloon? A hoax? What's your take?

-Steve Douglass

B-2 Bomber Crash at Guam/unedited.

B-2 Crash at Guam

The Story Of Tacit Blue

Credible Sport Video

For the full story on this amazing aircraft, click on the link to your right.

Iran Missile Test Video

The Osiraq Raid: Video

U.S: Iran lying about missile firing.


Posted with permission: CNN.com

(CNN) -- Iran did not conduct new long-range missile tests on Thursday, despite Iranian media reports that it did, a senior U.S. military source has told CNN.


Seven short- to medium-range missiles were fired on Wednesday, the U.S. believes.

The United States believes Iran on Wednesday fired seven short- to medium-range missiles, according to the source. At that time one missile did not fire and the Iranians fired it the next day, U.S. intelligence shows.

Iran's Press TV and Fars news agency reported Thursday that Tehran had conducted a second day of missile tests, citing Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Fars said the launches, near the Persian Gulf, were a continuation of testing that began Wednesday. Fars said the missiles hit their targets.

Iran launched the long-range Shahab-3 and other weapons Wednesday during exercises in the Persian Gulf region, state-run media said.

Earlier Thursday U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- responding to reports of Iran's latest test-firings of long-range missiles -- made it clear her country was determined to prevent Tehran from threatening the interests of itself and allies like Israel.

She told a news conference in the Georgian capital of Tblisi that the United States had been working with allies to "make certain that they are capable of defending themselves" against any threat from Iran.

"We take very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves and no one should be confused about that," she said. Watch Rice comment on Iranian missiles »

Rice's remarks came after Iranian leaders said they would strike at Israel and close the Straits of Hormuz if Iran was attacked.

The Iranian news agency Fars said the launches, near the Persian Gulf, were a continuation of Wednesday's maneuvers and that the missiles hit their targets successfully.

Iran's Press TV said a "Hoot" torpedo was among those tested. "The maneuvers have also included IRGC scuba divers and marines who conducted practice assaults with speedboats on hypothetical enemy targets," the station added. Watch Iran's latest test-firing of missiles »

Two years ago a report by Jane's Information Group, which provides information on defense issues, described the "Hoot" or Whale as a sonar-evading underwater missile that Iran had said was "one of the fastest in the world" and "able to outpace warships."

World powers, which have long suspected that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons, have offered economic and other incentives to Iran in exchange for the suspension of its enrichment program.

Iran accuses Israel of trying to destabilize the republic; Israel has not ruled out military action to halt Iran's nuclear aspirations.

There are fears that Israel, which has long been concerned that Iran wants to attack the Jewish state, is pondering a unilateral strike against the Islamic Republic.

"If Washington and Tel Aviv are foolish enough to even consider attacking Iran, our initial response would be to target Israel and set U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf ablaze," Ali Shirazi, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tuesday.

The Shahab-3 missile has a range of about 2,000 km, putting all of Israel, Turkey, Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula within striking distance. From Iran the missile's reach extends from southern Russia to the Horn of Africa, from south-eastern Europe to Nepal. See where Iran's missiles could strike »

Zelzal and Fateh missiles were also tested Wednesday during a military exercise called The Great Prophet III, described as a "joint maneuver" by guard corps naval and ground forces in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz region.

The Iranian exercises come a month after an Israeli military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes and aerial tanks. It was seen as a message that Israel has the capability to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Israel issued the same reaction Thursday that it did to Wednesday's missile test. "Israel seeks neither conflict nor hostilities with Iran, but the Iranian nuclear program and the Iranian ballistic missile program must be of concern for the entire International community."

Israel was due Thursday to display an advanced aircraft that is capable of spying on Iran. Israel's Army Radio told CNN that the Eitam airplane is a "practical answer" to recent Iranian "threats."

But Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) -- which manufactures aircraft for both military and civilian use -- said the exhibit was not linked to Israel's recent "tensions" with Iran.

Rather, the airplane is being shown near Ben Gurion International Airport, southeast of Tel Aviv, because it will be at Farnborough International Air Show in southern England next week, an IAI spokeswoman said.



The plane, a Gulfstream G550 business jet that has been modified with sophisticated intelligence-gathering systems, is already part of the Israeli Air Force's fleet.

In her speech Thursday, Rice said a missile defense shield the United States hopes to create in Eastern Europe would be another way to head off any threat from Ira

CNN: US Vows to Protect Israel


Posted with permission.

(CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- responding to Iran's latest test-firings of missiles -- made it clear Thursday the United States is determined to prevent Tehran from threatening the interests of itself and allies like Israel.

Iran test-fired missiles overnight, Iranian media said Thursday, near the Persian Gulf.
1 of 2

Rice was speaking at a news conference in the Georgian capital of Tblisi after Iran test-fired a long-range missile. According to Iranian state media, Iran conducted more test-firings Thursday.

Rice said the United States has been working with allies to "make certain that they are capable of defending themselves" against any threat from Iran.

"We take very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves and no one should be confused about that," she said. Watch Rice comment on Iranian missiles »

Rice's remarks came after Iranian leaders said they would strike at Israel and close the Straits of Hormuz if Iran is attacked.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the missiles involved in Thursday's test were medium and long-range.

The Iranian news agency Fars said the launches, near the Persian Gulf, were a continuation of Wednesday's maneuvers and that the missiles hit their targets successfully.

Iran's Press TV said a "Hoot" torpedo was among those tested. "The maneuvers have also included IRGC scuba divers and marines who conducted practice assaults with speedboats on hypothetical enemy targets," the station added. Watch Iran's latest test-firing of missiles »

Two years ago a report by Jane's Information Group, which provides information on defense issues, described the "Hoot" or Whale as a sonar-evading underwater missile that Iran had said was "one of the fastest in the world" and "able to outpace warships."

World powers, which have long suspected that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons, have offered economic and other incentives to Iran in exchange for the suspension of its enrichment program..

Iran accuses Israel of trying to destabilize the republic; Israel has not ruled out military action to halt Iran's nuclear aspirations.

There are fears that Israel, which has long been concerned that Iran wants to attack the Jewish state, is pondering a unilateral strike against the Islamic Republic.

"If Washington and Tel Aviv are foolish enough to even consider attacking Iran, our initial response would be to target Israel and set U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf ablaze," Ali Shirazi, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tuesday.

The Shahab-3 missile has a range of about 2,000 km, putting all of Israel, Turkey, Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula within striking distance. From Iran the missile's reach extends from southern Russia to the Horn of Africa, from south-eastern Europe to Nepal. See where Iran's missiles could strike »

Zelzal and Fateh missiles were also tested Wednesday during a military exercise called The Great Prophet III, described as a "joint maneuver" by guard corps naval and ground forces in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz region.

The Iranian exercises come a month after an Israeli military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes and aerial tanks. It was seen as a message that Israel has the capability to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Israel issued the same reaction Thursday that it did to Wednesday's missile test. "Israel seeks neither conflict nor hostilities with Iran, but the Iranian nuclear program and the Iranian ballistic missile program must be of concern for the entire International community."

Israel was due Thursday to display an advanced aircraft that is capable of spying on Iran. Israel's Army Radio told CNN that the Eitam airplane is a "practical answer" to recent Iranian "threats."

But Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) -- which manufactures aircraft for both military and civilian use -- said the exhibit is not linked to Israel's recent "tensions" with Iran.

Rather, the airplane is being shown near Ben Gurion International Airport, southeast of Tel Aviv, because it will be at the prestigious Farnborough International Air Show in southern England next week, an IAI spokeswoman said. Watch

The plane, a Gulfstream G550 business jet that has been modified with sophisticated intelligence-gathering systems, is already part of the Israeli Air Force's fleet.

In her speech Thursday, Rice said that a missile defense shield the United States hopes to create in Eastern Europe would be another way to head off any threat from Iran.

"These are all elements of America's intention and determination to prevent Iran from threatening our interests or the interests of our friends and allies, and I don't think the Iranians are too confused, either, about the capability and the power of the United States to do exactly that," she said.

Rice encouraged Iran to "get on the right side of the international community" by accepting a package of incentives put forward by China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- as well as Germany.

Iran "ought to be talking about that, not about threats against America or threats against America's allies because frankly it's not going to do them any good."

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, speaking after Wednesday's tests said Iran's "missile capacity is just for defensive purposes, to safeguard peace in Iran and the Persian Gulf region."

The minister added that "our missiles will not be used to threaten any country, they are only intended for those who dare attack Iran."

CNN: Iran Claims More Missile Tests



Posted with permission: CNN.com.

CNN) -- Iran test-fired more missiles overnight, Iranian news media reported Thursday, one day after it tested a long-range Shahab-3 and other missiles in the Persian Gulf region.


Iran test-fired missiles overnight, Iranian media said Thursday, near the Persian Gulf.
1 of 2

The tests came only hours after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is determined to prevent Iran from threatening its interests or those of its allies.

At a news conference in the Georgian capital of Tblisi, Rice said the United States has been working with allies to "make certain that they are capable of defending themselves" against any threat from Iran.

"We take very strongly our obligation to help our allies defend themselves and no one should be confused about that," Rice said. Watch Rice comment on Iranian missiles »

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has said that the missiles involved in Thursday's test were medium and long-range.

The Iranian news agency Fars said the launches, near the Persian Gulf, were a continuation of Wednesday's maneuvers and that the missiles hit their targets successfully.

Iran's Press TV said a "Hoot" torpedo was among those tested. "The maneuvers have also included IRGC scuba divers and marines who conducted practice assaults with speedboats on hypothetical enemy targets," the station added. Watch Iran's latest test-firing of missiles »

Two year ago a report by Jane's Information Group, which provides information on defense issues, described the "Hoot" or Whale as a sonar-evading underwater missile that Iran had said was "one of the fastest in the world" and "able to outpace warships."

World powers, which have long suspected that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons, have offered economic and other incentives to Iran in exchange for the suspension of its enrichment program.

Iran accuses Israel of trying to destabilize the republic; Israel has not ruled out military action to halt Iran's nuclear aspirations.

There are fears that Israel, which has long been concerned that Iran wants to attack the Jewish state, is pondering a unilateral strike against the Islamic Republic.

"If Washington and Tel Aviv are foolish enough to even consider attacking Iran, our initial response would be to target Israel and set U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf ablaze," Ali Shirazi, an aide to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Tuesday.

The Shahab-3 missile has a range of about 2,000 km, putting all of Israel, Turkey, Pakistan and the Arabian peninsula within striking distance. From Iran the missile's reach extends from southern Russia to the Horn of Africa, from south-eastern Europe to Nepal. See where Iran's missiles could strike »

Zelzal and Fateh missiles were also tested Wednesday during a military exercise called The Great Prophet III, described as a "joint maneuver" by guard corps naval and ground forces in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz region.

The Iranian exercises come a month after an Israeli military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes and aerial tanks. It was seen as a message that Israel has the capability to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Israel issued the same reaction Thursday that it did to Wednesday's missile test. "Israel seeks neither conflict nor hostilities with Iran, but the Iranian nuclear program and the Iranian ballistic missile program must be of concern for the entire International community."

Israel was due Thursday to display an advanced aircraft that is capable of spying on Iran. Israel's Army Radio told CNN that the Eitam airplane is a "practical answer" to recent Iranian "threats."

But Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) -- which manufactures aircraft for both military and civilian use -- said the exhibit is not linked to Israel's recent "tensions" with Iran.

Rather, the airplane is being shown near Ben Gurion International Airport, southeast of Tel Aviv, because it will be at the prestigious Farnborough International Air Show in southern England next week, an IAI spokeswoman said. Watch

The plane, a Gulfstream G550 business jet that has been modified with sophisticated intelligence-gathering systems, is already part of the Israeli Air Force's fleet.

In her speech Thursday, Rice said that a missile defense shield the United States hopes to create in Eastern Europe would be another way to head off any threat from Iran.

"These are all elements of America's intention and determination to prevent Iran from threatening our interests or the interests of our friends and allies, and I don't think the Iranians are too confused, either, about the capability and the power of the United States to do exactly that," she said.

Rice encouraged Iran to "get on the right side of the international community" by accepting a package of incentives put forward by China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- as well as Germany.

Iran "ought to be talking about that, not about threats against America or threats against America's allies because frankly it's not going to do them any good."

Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar, speaking after Wednesday's tests said Iran's "missile capacity is just for defensive purposes, to safeguard peace in Iran and the Persian Gulf region."

The minister added that "our missiles will not be used to threaten any country, they are only intended for those who dare attack Iran."

In 1981, Israel, which itself is believed to have nuclear weapons, attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq. Israel also struck a site in Syria this year that some say was a nuclear reactor under construction.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

CNN Breaking News: Iran Tests Missiles




Posted with permission: CNN.com.

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran has test-fired nine missiles in response to what it says are threats from Israel and the United States, state-run Iranian media says.


The new version of the Shahab-3 missile is capable of reaching its main regional enemy Israel, Iran says.
1 of 2

The Islamic Republic News Agency and Press TV reported that the naval forces of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Wednesday test-fired a Shahab-3 missile during war games in the Persian Gulf.

The exercises come a month after Israel conducted a military drill in the eastern Mediterranean involving dozens of warplanes, and the latest Iranian activities prompted concern from Israel and condemnation from the United States.

Iran occasionally tests missiles, but this firing comes amid international tensions over its nuclear aspirations.

"The war game was aimed at improving the combat readiness of Iran's armed forces. The 2,000-kilometer-range Shahab-3 missiles were tested to demonstrate Iran's capability in hitting its enemies accurately at the early stages of their probable attacks against the Islamic Republic.

"Domestic and foreign political and military analysts believe that Shahab-3 is able to reach targets in the occupied lands in case of the Zionist regime's probable attacks against Iran's nuclear sites," the Islamic Republic News Agency said. Watch footage of the missiles being fired »

Iran's Press TV said the Iranian forces "successfully test-fired new long and mid-range missiles." It mentioned the Shahab 3, "which can hit any targets within a range of 2,000km." It said the Shahab 3 "is equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead."

"Nine highly advanced missiles with improved accuracy were simultaneously tested including the Zelzal and Fateh missiles with ranges of 400km and 170km respectively."

Press TV said ground forces were also involved in the war games.

World powers, which have long suspected Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons, have offered economic and other incentives in exchange for the suspension of its enrichment program.

Iran, which says its nuclear program is to produce energy, defends its right to proceed with enrichment.

Israel's military exercise over the eastern Mediterranean Sea in June was in part an effort to send a message that it has the capability to attack Iran's nuclear program.

It involved dozens of Israeli warplanes, including F-15s, F-16s and refueling aircraft, an official said.

The distance involved in the exercise was roughly the same as would be involved in a possible strike on the Iranian nuclear fuel plant at Natanz, a U.S. military official said.

In 1981, Israel attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq. Israel also struck a site in Syria that some say was a nuclear reactor under construction.

One Israeli Cabinet member, Shaul Mofaz, recently said the Jewish state "will attack" Iran if it did not halt its efforts to develop nuclear weaponry,

Last week, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, Gen. Mohammed Ali-Jaafari, said any strike against Iran's nuclear facilities would be regarded as the beginning of war.

At the same time, Iranian leaders are discounting the possibility of war. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Malaysia this week for a conference, told reporters Iran was trying to prevent but not foment confrontation.

"We are making all-out efforts to expand peace and security in the world. You should not be concerned about a new war," he said on Tuesday.

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: "Israel seeks neither conflict nor hostilities with Iran, but the Iranian nuclear program and the Iranian ballistic missile program must be of concern for the entire International community."

The White House reacted strongly to the missile test.

"Iran's development of ballistic missiles is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and completely inconsistent with Iran's obligations to the world," said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Johndroe said that the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany "are committed to a diplomatic path, and have offered Iran a generous package of incentives if they will suspend their uranium enrichment activities."

"They should also refrain from further missile tests if they truly seek to gain the trust of the world. The Iranians should stop the development of ballistic missiles, which could be used as

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

LockMart MRE video

I-Spy I-Phone!

Captured: Spanking new V-22 heading out on a flight test.



Around 1:30 PM this afternoon I heard the distinctive drone of A V-22 Osprey (very common here in Amarillo) and snapped a few photos as it flew over the house. i also monitored it talking to the Bell tower saying they were going to do some tst work south of Cannon AFB on 123.100 MHz.

Although I see the V-22 a lot these days, it's always a thrill.




-Steve Douglass

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