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A rare - one -of-a-kind military prototype made a surprise stop at Rick Husband Amarillo International today. It's called the Model 151 Ares and was designed as a proof-of concept demonstrator for the US Army's requirements for a low-cost - fast and agile attack aircraft - a sort of mini A-10 Warthog - the current US militarys' premier tank killer.
Designed in the early 90s, by Scaled Composites out of Mojave, California - who built the first private space ship (Virgin Galactic's Space Ship One) and Space Ship Two (the first commercial space ship soon to be taking well-heeled passengers into space - ARES 151 landed shortly before noon to refuel.
The aircraft (thought to be in mothballs) has been taken out of retirement and is being used as a test-bed for the NAVY, its' mission - classified.
It is interesting to note the ARES 151 sports a new low-vis flat grey paint job and a few more (new?) antennae - slightly modified (more rounded) lines and was absent it's 25 mm GAU-12/U Gatling cannon as seen in the video below.
The aircraft flew on to Smyrna Georgia and is rumored to be heading to the Naval Air Warfare Center at Pax River in Maryland.
Photos by Steve Douglass
A little more info from WikiPedia
The ARES has quite unique shape compared to other aircraft. It incorporates canards which enable safer flight at low altitude. The canards serve as the pitch control and are designed so that the canard surface reaches critical angle of attack sooner than the main wings, protecting the aircraft from stall while full roll control is retained.
The canards have a wingspan of 19.2 feet (5.85 m) and are swept 7 degrees forward so they can be placed behind the cockpit.
The main wing has a span of 35 feet (10.7 m) and a reference area of 191 sq. ft. (17.7 m2), not including the strakes. It is swept aft 16 degrees at the leading edge. The strakes are swept 49 degrees at the leading edge.
These strakes, combined with a wet wing center-section area, form the bulk of the 2,200 lb (1000 kg, approximately 333 U.S. gallons) fuel capacity. The wing has conventional ailerons on the outboard trailing edge, and spoil-flaps (similar to the dive-brake flap) on the inboard trailing edges. The ailerons are actuated by push-rods, and the spoil-flaps are hydraulically operated.
Directional stability is provided by twin boom-mounted fins, each of 18 sq ft (1.7 m2). area. Each has a cable-actuated rudder at its trailing edge. The rudder actuation system also drives the full-time mechanical nosewheel steering for ground operations.
The engine inlet is another major unique feature of ARES. Since gun gas ingestion posed significant problems in other aircraft development programs (like A-10), the configuration of ARES was designed to avoid this problem: the engine inlet is entirely contained on the left side of the aircraft, and the gun is installed on the right side. The inlet has a circular cross section, and is straight into the fan face. The engine is mounted slightly transversely in the fuselage, with an 8-degree misalignment from the aircraft's longitudinal axis.
The engine exhaust is turned back to the longitudinal axis by a curved composite tailpipe. A composite tailpipe was to help get the gun recoil reaction closer to the aircraft lateral center of gravity (CG) location, the gun is sub-merged as deeply as practical into the right side of the fuselage. Also, the fuselage is not centered about the aircraft centerline, but is offset to the left by three inches. This results in the firing barrel of the gun being only about 18 inches from the lateral CG. This minimizes the yaw movement caused by the recoil of the gun.
The aircraft fuselage is almost completely made of fiberglass composite material installed over the foam core. The technique of making of composite aircraft fuselages has been perfected by Scaled Composites in previous aircraft.
Maximum speed: 464 kt (763 km/h)
Range: 1200 nm (2200 km)
Wing loading: 34 lb/sq. ft (166 kg/m2)
Thrust/weight: 0.43 (at maximum weight)
25 mm GAU-12/U Gatling cannon
AAMs: AIM-9 Sidewinder
air-to-ground weapons include: Unguided rockets
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:17 PM
MOSCOW (Reuters) —
After battling for hours to extinguish a blaze aboard a nuclear submarine, Russian firefighters finally gained control of it early Friday by submerging the stricken vessel at a navy shipyard.
Television showed a giant plume of smoke above the yard in the Murmansk region of northern Russia as more than 100 firefighters struggled to douse flames that witnesses said rose 30 feet above the submarine.
The firefighters tried for hours to douse the flames with water from helicopters and tugboats before trying another approach: partly sinking the submarine. The fire continued to burn, but the intensity was reduced. “The fire has been localized,” Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said from a control room in Moscow more than nine hours after the blaze began on Thursday.
Russia said that the vessel’s nuclear reactor had been shut down and that all weapons had been removed from the 550-foot Yekaterinburg, which launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from the Barents Sea at a firing range thousands of miles away in Kamchatka as recently as July.
“Radiation levels are normal,” a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry said. “No one was injured.”
After hours of trying to put out the flames, officials decided to partly submerge the hull of the 18,200-ton submarine at the Roslyakovo dock, one of the main dockyards of Russia’s northern fleet, 900 miles north of Moscow.
Local media reports were vague, but the blaze was believed to have started when wooden scaffolding caught fire during welding repairs to the submarine, which had been hoisted into a dry dock.
The submarine can carry 16 ballistic missiles, each with four warheads. Its nuclear reactor was not damaged in the fire. Russian Navy submarine reactors are built to withstand enormous shocks and high temperatures.
“The reactor has been shut down and does not pose any danger,” an official at navy headquarters said, according to the Interfax news agency.
Russia’s worst post-Soviet submarine disaster occurred in August 2000 when the Kursk nuclear submarine sank in the Barents Sea, killing all 118 crewmen aboard.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 6:45 PM
Hacked US security firm Stratfor has told its subscribers that it may take a week or even longer to restore its website.
The site went offline on 24 December.
Hackers have posted credit card details, email addresses, phone numbers and encrypted passwords which they said were taken during the attack.
Stratfor has said it will pay for a credit card fraud protection service for members whose payment details might have been compromised by the breach.
Tweets posted on accounts linked to the hacktivist group Anonymous said that the US Department of Defense, the defence firm Lockheed Martin and Bank of America were among Stratfor's clients.
A recent message posted by @YourAnonNews added that other parties affected by the hack included Google, American Express, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Sony, Microsoft and the mining group BHP Billiton.
An email from Stratfor to its subscribers said: "At our expense, we have taken measures to provide our members whose credit card information may have been compromised with access to CSID, a leading provider of global identity protection and fraud detection solutions and technologies.
"We have arranged to provide one year of CSID's coverage to such members at no cost.
"As part of our ongoing investigation, we have also decided to delay the launching of our website until a thorough review and adjustment by outside experts can be completed."
The identity theft prevention service Identity Finder has carried out its own analysis of details posted online about hacked clients whose names fell between A and M. It suggested that the attack netted:
9,651 unexpired credit card numbers
47,680 unique email addresses
25,680 unique telephone numbers
44,188 encrypted passwords of which roughly half could be "easily cracked"
This list is expected to grow if the hackers publish details of the N to Z list.
A tweet posted to the account @AnonymousIRC on 25 December claimed that $1m (£650,000) had been taken from the hacked accounts and had been given to charity.
Participants in Anonymous have subsequently posted screenshots which allegedly show money being transferred to the charities Red Cross, Save the Children and Care.
The organisations will have to return the money if credit card owners report the charges as being unauthorised. Some supporters of the Anonymous movement have also expressed concern that the charities could theoretically be charged a fee for the return of the transactions.
Anonymous Twitter accounts have also hinted that the hackers planned to release details of emails harvested in the breach, adding that "Stratfor is not the 'harmless company' it tries to paint itself as.
Stratfor could not be reached for comment. However a video posted by Fred Burton, its vice president of intelligence, to YouTube promised to provide updates "as more details become available" and offered details about the credit card protection scheme.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:58 AM
Two F-16 fighter jets were dispatched by the North American Aerospace Defense Command to intercept a civilian aircraft near Washington, D.C., NORAD said Wednesday.
The incident happened about 12:15 p.m. ET after the aircraft failed to establish radio contact, the agency said in a press release.
“The civilian aircraft re-established communications and was allowed to continue on its way without incident,” NORAD said.
Out of an abundance of caution, officials are being vigilant about security concerns around the holidays.
After the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 in September, two fighter jets were scrambled after reports of air passengers acting suspiciously on two flights. Although no problems occurred, authorities sent F-16s to shadow the flights just in case.
Posted by Steve Douglass at 7:53 AM