Saturday, September 9, 2017

Classified aircraft crashes - pilot killed








LIEUTENANT Colonel Eric Schults died from injuries sustained after the military aircraft he was flying crashed on Tuesday.


The US Air Force won’t reveal what aircraft he was flying.


It also took authorities three days before publicly announcing his death.


Both elements are highly unusual, especially given it came a day before two A-10C Thunderbolt II ground-attack aircraft crashed on the same weapons testing range. Both pilots managed to eject to safety.


“Information about the type of aircraft involved is classified and not releasable,” Major Christina Sukach, chief of public affairs for the 99 Air Base Wing at Nellis, told military.com.



UPDATE: AVWK: Fatal Nevada Crash Involved Foreign Aircraft Type


Aerospace Daily & Defense Report


LOS ANGELES—A Sept. 5 accident at the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) that killed a U.S. Air Force test pilot appears to have involved a foreign aircraft type operated by the service’s secretive Red Hat squadron.

Monday, September 4, 2017

North Korea Claims to have detonated Hydrogen Bomb

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea’s claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test marks a major step in the isolated country’s long-stated goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile that puts the U.S. mainland within range, experts say.

North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which it said was a successful detonation of an advanced hydrogen bomb, technically known as a two-stage thermonuclear device.

All of North Korea’s six nuclear tests including the one on Sunday have taken place at its underground testing site in Punggye-ri, deep in mountainous terrain, and it is hard to independently verify the claims.

But experts who studied the impact of the earthquake caused by the explosion - measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at magnitude 6.3 - said there was enough strong evidence to suggest the reclusive state has either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting very close.

The detonation produced 10 times more power than the fifth nuclear test a year ago, South Korean and Japanese officials said. NORSAR, a Norwegian earthquake monitoring agency, estimated the yield at 120 kilotons, significantly above the 15 kiloton “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the 20 kiloton “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War Two.

“That scale is to the level where anyone can say (it is) a hydrogen bomb test,” said Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University.

“North Korea has effectively established itself as a nuclear state. This is not just a game changer, it’s a game over,” Suh said.

Lassina Zerbo, executive secretary of nuclear test ban watchdog CTBTO, said: “The physics of the event that we’re talking about today seems to indicate a much larger event than the one from 2016 and before.”

North Korea claims its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) tested twice in July can reach large parts of the mainland United States.

READ MORE AT REUTERS

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bell V-280 Valor engine tests begin ...

Photo by Steve Douglass 
Anyone driving to Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Texas  might have seen this odd looking site a Bell V280 Tiltrotor prototype being attached to an engine test stand in front of the Bell Helicopter/Textron Plant.

The Bell V-280 Valor is a third-generation tilt-rotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army's Future Vertical Lift program and is in the running to replace the aging military UH-60 Sikorsky helicopter. 


Photo by Steve Douglass 


Photo by Steve Douglass







Monday, August 28, 2017

BREAKING; North Korea fires missiles over Japan - warnings go out.

South Korea's military said Kim's regime fired the "unidentified projectile" from Pyongyang towards the sea at 5:57am local time.
The government's J-Alert warning system advised people in the area to take precautions.
But public broadcaster NHK said there was no sign of damage and the Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile.
It passed over Japanese territory around 6:06 am local time, officials said.
Kim has sparked fury throughout the world this year by ramping up his missile programme and continuing to threaten the United States.
Donald Trump brought tensions with the North Korea to a new height as he outright threatened "fire and fury" against Pyongyan

Friday, August 11, 2017

China to North Korea: You are on your own ...

BEIJING — China won’t come to North Korea’s help if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation, a state-owned newspaper warned on Friday, but it would intervene if Washington strikes first.

The Global Times newspaper is not an official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, but in this case its editorial probably does reflect government policy, experts said.

China has repeatedly warned both Washington and Pyongyang not to do anything that raises tensions or causes instability on the Korean Peninsula, and strongly reiterated that idea Friday.

[Trump ramps up rhetoric: U.S. forces “locked and loaded”]

“The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is complicated and sensitive,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement.

China hopes that all relevant parties will be cautious in their words and actions, and do things that help to alleviate tensions and enhance mutual trust, rather than walk on the old pathway of taking turns in shows of strength, and upgrading the tensions.”
In an editorial, The Global Times said China should make it clear to both sides: “when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”

“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

Thewarning comes at the end of a week of threats and counterthreats between Washington and Pyongyang, and as the United States weighs its options to deal with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.
The brinkmanship weighed on world financial markets for a fourth consecutive day. Main indexes were down in Frankfurt and Paris, and London’s FTSE 100 touched its lowest level since May. Asian markets also slumped, including South Korea’s KOSPI, dropping 1.8 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was largely flat after the opening bell.
On Tuesday, President Trump threatened to respond to further threats from North Korea by unleashing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Pyongyang in turn threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific with ballistic missiles

Monday, August 7, 2017

DOD: Drones flying over military bases can now be shot down

DEFENSE TECH.ORG: The Defense Department has formally given guidance to all U.S. military installations on how best to address drones they deem a threat — including shooting them down.

“Protecting our force remains a top priority,” DoD spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in a statement Monday. “That is why the Department of Defense issued very specific, but classified, policies that detail how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat to personnel, vital facilities, and critical assets.”

Davis said the policy itself is not new, as it is based off language enacted in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

“The NDAA is the basis for most of this,” he told Military.com. “The newness of it is that we’re providing guidance to the local installation commander to craft their public affairs guidance.”

Language in Section 1697 of the NDAA, “Protection of Certain Facilities and Assets from Unmanned Aircraft,” amended Chapter 3 of U.S. Code Title 10, according to budget documents.

Through Section 130i, it gave the department the authority “to take certain actions with respect to unmanned aircraft systems, including using reasonable force to disable, damage, or destroy them,” a defense official told Military.com on Monday.

“We won’t go into the specific rules for the use of force; however, we retain the right and obligation to act in self-defense,” the defense official said, reiterating the DoD’s latest stance.

The official added, “We never discuss that because then hobbyists or [those who intend harm] will know how to push the limits.”

Section 1697 offers additional help to specific missions across the Pentagon. For example, protection for the U.S. Air Force’s nuclear mission is highlighted under the bill.

The bill’s language says the defense secretary may authorize armed forces to take action to mitigate threats posed to “the safety or security of a covered facility or asset.”

The meaning behind “covered facility” is broken down even further.

According to the bill, “The term ‘covered facility or asset’ means any facility or asset that a) is identified by the Secretary of Defense for purposes of this section; b) is located in the United States (including the territories and possessions of the United States); and c) relates to — 1) the nuclear deterrence mission of the Department of Defense, including with respect to nuclear command and control, integrated tactical warning and attack assessment, and continuity of government; 2) the missile defense mission of the Department; or 3) the national security space mission of the Department.”

Some Air Force leaders have been outspoken about the issue, asking for even more specific language as it pertains to their bases.

In July, Air Combat Command commander Gen. Mike Holmes told audiences that he wished for more authority to mitigate pesky hobbyists bothering ACC bases for fear they may become a bigger hazard.

Holmes said ACC tracked two incidents earlier this summer in which small drones disturbed operations at ACC, including one in which a drone almost collided with an F-22 Raptor.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BREAKING: US convoy attacked two dead

ABC NEWS: Two U.S. service members died after their convoy came under attack in Afghanistan.
According to a U.S. official, the convoy was on a routine training, advisement and assistance mission when it was attacked. The Taliban has claimed responsibility.
"I can confirm that two U.S. service members were killed in action in Kandarhar, Afghanistan, when their convoy came under attack," said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. "U.S. Forces Afghanistan will provide additional information as it becomes available."
A statement from Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan said the attack was on a NATO convoy.
ABC News' Stephanie Ramos contributed to this report.

UPDATED;

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A Taliban suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a NATO convoy in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Wednesday, killing two American soldiers, the Pentagon said.

Zia Durani, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said the convoy came under attack when it was traveling in the area of Shorandam, which lies on the main road from Kandahar Airfield, one of the largest American bases in the country.

“The area is cordoned off by the coalition forces,” Mr. Durani said. “We are not aware of their casualties.”

An initial statements said there had been casualties among the convoy. Later, a Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, confirmed that two Americans had been killed.

At the scene of the attack, at least four helicopters landed to evacuate the casualties, and firefighters arrived to extinguish one of the armored vehicles that was in flames. Local officials said two coalition force members had been killed and three wounded.

Friday, July 28, 2017

BREAKING: NORTH KOREA CONDUCTS ANOTHER MISSILE TEST.

BBC: North Korea has conducted a new intercontinental ballistic missile test, South Korea and the Pentagon say.

The missile reached an altitude of about 3,000km (1,865 miles) and landed in the sea off Japan, the Japanese national broadcaster NHK said.

It comes three weeks after North Korea's first ICBM test.

The latest missile flew higher and for longer than the one in early July and has been condemned by a number of countries.

The test - the 14th carried out by North Korea in 2017 - is the latest to be conducted in defiance of a UN ban.

The latest missile was launched at 23:41 North Korea time (15:41 GMT) from Jagang province in the north of the country, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. Korean missile launches at night are rare.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the missile flew for about 45 minutes - some six minutes longer than the ICBM tested in early July.

He said it landed in the sea in Japan's exclusive economic zone - not within Japan's territorial waters.

NHK said it reached an altitude of about 3,000km - about 200km higher than the previous ICBM.

The range of North Korea's ICBM has been disputed.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear nonproliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, said that initial indications showed the latest missile had a range of about 10,000km - far enough to strike the west coast of the United States and beyond.

READ MORE HERE

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Declassified memo reveals Obama's NSA improper domestic spying


THE HILL: 

The National Security Agency and FBI violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama administration by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.

The memos reviewed by The Hill were publicly released on July 11 through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union.

They detail specific violations that the NSA or FBI disclosed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Justice Department's national security division during President Obama’s tenure between 2009 and 2016. The intelligence community isn't due to report on compliance issues for 2017, the first year under the Trump administration, until next spring.

The NSA says that the missteps amount to a small number — less than 1 percent — when compared to the hundreds of thousands of specific phone numbers and email addresses the agencies intercepted through the so-called Section 702 warrantless spying program created by Congress in late 2008.

“Quite simply, a compliance program that never finds an incident is not a robust compliance program,” said Michael Halbig, the NSA’s chief spokesman. “The National Security Agency has in place a strong compliance program that identifies incidents, reports them to external overseers, and then develops appropriate solutions to remedy any incidents.”

But critics say the memos undercut the intelligence community’s claim that it has robust protections for Americans incidentally intercepted under the program.

“Americans should be alarmed that the NSA is vacuuming up their emails and phone calls without a warrant,” said Patrick Toomey, an ACLU staff attorney in New York who helped pursue the FOIA litigation. “The NSA claims it has rules to protect our privacy, but it turns out those rules are weak, full of loopholes, and violated again and again.”

Section 702 empowers the NSA to spy on foreign powers and to retain and use certain intercepted data that was incidentally collected on Americans under strict privacy protections. Wrongly collected information is supposed to be immediately destroyed.

The Hill reviewed the new ACLU documents as well as compliance memos released by the NSA inspector general and identified more than 90 incidents where violations specifically cited an impact on Americans. Many incidents involved multiple persons, multiple violations or extended periods of time.

For instance, the government admitted improperly searching the NSA’s foreign intercept data on multiple occasions, including one instance in which an analyst ran the same search query about an American “every work day” for a period between 2013 and 2014.

There also were several instances in which Americans’ unmasked names were improperly shared inside the intelligence community without being redacted, a violation of the so-called minimization procedures that Obama loosened in 2011 that are supposed to protect Americans' identity from disclosure when they are intercepted without a warrant. Numerous times improperly unmasked information about Americans had to be recalled and purged after the fact, the memos stated.

“CIA and FBI received unminimized data from many Section 702-tasked facilities and at times are thus required to conduct similar purges,” one report noted.

“NSA issued a report which included the name of a United States person whose identity was not foreign intelligence,” said one typical incident report from 2015, which said the NSA eventually discovered the error and “recalled” the information.

Likewise, the FBI disclosed three instances between December 2013 and February 2014 of “improper disseminations of U.S. persons identities.”

The NSA also admitted it was slow in some cases to notify fellow intelligence agencies when it wrongly disseminated information about Americans. The law requires a notification within five days, but some took as long as 131 business days and the average was 19 days, the memos show.

U.S. intelligence officials directly familiar with the violations told The Hill that the memos confirm that the intelligence agencies have routinely policed, fixed and self-disclosed to the nation's intelligence court thousands of minor procedural and more serious privacy infractions that have impacted both Americans and foreigners alike since the warrantless spying program was created by Congress in late 2008.

Alexander Joel, who leads the Office of Civil Liberties, Privacy and Transparency under the director of national intelligence, said the documents chronicle episodes that have been reported to Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for years in real time and are a tribute to the multiple layers of oversight inside the intelligence community.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Military wants small drone engagement rules after F-22 near collision


Small, civilian-owned drones can buzz past the US Air Force’s stealthy fighter fleet sitting at domestic bases and the service’s head of Air Combat Command (ACC) has no way to deal with them.

In the course of one day last week, the air force counted two reports of small drones interfering with operations at an ACC base, Gen Mike Holmes told an audience in Washington DC this week. In one incident, a Lockheed Martin F-22 almost collided with a small drone during its final approach and during another, a gate guard watched a drone fly over the top of a gate and tracked the vehicle as it flew over the flight line, Holmes says.

“I have no authority given to me by the government to deal with that,” he says. “Imagine a world where somebody flies a couple hundred of those and flies one down the intake of my F-22s with just a small weapon on it.”

While ACC has no authority to disable or track UAS near its bases, the air force’s nuclear sites are working on getting government approval for deal with gate-crashing drones. Earlier this year, the head of Global Strike Command lamented the complex web of government agencies that must approve a drone defence strategy.

“It’s not a military authority...it’s a civil authority that can the be executed by military forces,” Holmes says. “The rules are basically the same as if it were a civil aircraft. If it was a civil aircraft I could track it back to where it started from and I could admonish that pilot or take their license, where the small UAS is really hard to get after.”

The USAF will receive approval for the nuclear bases first and Holmes will request air force headquarters to extend those authorities beyond global strike assets, he says. The USAF has already issued requests for counter drone technologies and industry representatives are vocal about their offerings, but the service still needs to wait for approval.


U.S. State Department has approved a possible $3.9 billion missile defense sale to Romania


The U.S. State Department has approved a possible $3.9 billion missile defense sale to Romania, in a move likely to anger Russia. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Tuesday that it delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the potential sale to NATO member Romania on July 10.

Announcing the deal, the agency said: “The proposed sale of the Patriot system will support Romania’s needs for its own self-defense and support NATO defense goals.”

It added: “Romania will use the Patriot missile system to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats. The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Romanian military to guard against aggression and shield the NATO allies who often train and operate within Romania’s borders. Romania should have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces.”

Moscow has previously raised issue with Romania hosting a U.S. missile shield that it said was a threat to Russian security. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned back in May when the Romanian element of the shield was activated that there would be repercussions for the shield, and is unlikely to react well to the U.S.’ missile defense sale to Romania…

Read full post here.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Bell 525 Relentless back in the air a year after deadly crash

file photo by Steve Douglass 
AIN ONLINE: Today, a year and a day after the fatal crash of its first prototype, Bell Helicopter resumed the flight test program of its model 525 Relentless super-medium twin after receiving experimental certificate renewal from the FAA.
Today we have resumed a key element of the Bell 525 program,” said Bell CEO Mitch Snyder. “Bell Helicopter has worked with the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA since the accident and we are confident in the resumption of flight test activity.” Snyder said Bell remains on track to certify the 525 in 2018. The 525 features fly-by-wire flight controls and the Garmin G5000H touchscreen-controlled avionics system. The flight test program had been stood down since the fatal crash of 525 flight test vehicle 1 (FTV-1) last July 6th.
Neither of the remaining two test aircraft had engaged in ground runs during the standdown. Two more test aircraft are being built at Bell's plant in Amarillo, Texas. One of those new aircraft is expected to fly this year and the other early next year.
The NTSB has yet to issue its final report on the FTV-1 accident. That aircraft was conducting tests near Vne speeds when the main rotor rpm dropped off and the main rotors departed the normal rotation plane and struck both the tailboom and the nose during the in-flight break-up sequence that destroyed the helicopter, according to the NTSB. A Bell executive told AIN last year that the company was making unspecified modifications to the remaining test aircraft in the wake of the accident.
file photo 
According to FlightRadar24, the helicopter was traveling 199 knots (about 229 mph) at an altitude of 1,975 feet immediately before the crash. Throughout its one-hour test flight, radar data shows the helicopter increased and decreased speed several times.

Bell Helicopter had hoped to complete the certification process for the 525 in 2017, but the crash has delayed certification as well as first deliveries to customers.

“We do remain committed to the 525 program and will work to ensure the aircraft will be a safe, reliable and high-performance helicopter,” said Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly last week. Textron owns Bell Helicopter.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NYTIMES: In North Korea, ‘Surgical Strike’ Could Spin Into ‘Worst Kind of Fighting


NYT: 

SEOUL, South Korea — The standoff over North Korea’s nuclear program has long been shaped by the view that the United States has no viable military option to destroy it. Any attempt to do so, many say, would provoke a brutal counterattack against South Korea too bloody and damaging to risk.

That remains a major constraint on the Trump administration’s response even as North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, approaches his goal of a nuclear arsenal capable of striking the United States. On Tuesday, the North appeared to cross a new threshold, testing a weapon that it described as an intercontinental ballistic missile and that analysts said could potentially hit Alaska.

Over the years, as it does for potential crises around the world, the Pentagon has drafted and refined multiple war plans, including an enormous retaliatory invasion and limited pre-emptive attacks, and it holds annual military exercises with South Korean forces based on them.

But the military options are more grim than ever.

Even the most limited strike risks staggering casualties, because North Korea could retaliate with the thousands of artillery pieces it has positioned along its border with the South. Though the arsenal is of limited range and could be destroyed in days, the United States defense secretary, Jim Mattis, recently warned that if North Korea used it, it “would be probably the worst kind of fighting in most people’s lifetimes.”

Friday, June 23, 2017

Drone crashes in Sierra Nevada moutains

A U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk crashed near Mount Whitney in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range at approximately 1:45 p.m. PST yesterday.
No injuries or deaths were reported.
The remotely piloted aircraft was assigned to 12th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, California, and was on a routine flight from Edwards Air Force Base en route to its home station when it crashed.
The incident is currently under investigation.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Is Lockheed's NGAD concept the "Dorito" we photographed over Amarillo, Texas?

This author  can't help but feel a bit of vindication when I saw Lockheed Skunkworks latest update rendition of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) aircraft and it looks a heck of a lot like the mystery "Dorito" our group saw and photographed a few years ago which made national headlines.
The subsequent hub-bub, denials and disinformation put out by the war machine only helped reinforce the idea that what we witnessed was something hush-hush.
I took a lot of heat over this sighting and the photographs which were published in Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine with some internet trolls accusing me of faking the photos and lying and falsifying recorded communications to back up the supposedly hoaxed sighting.
Not to mention it was followed by a very expensive (to the American taxpayer) stunt by the Air Force in what amounted to a dog and pony show - flying three B-2s at low level over Amarillo so they could try and make us doubt what we saw and then officially state (unsolicited mind you) that "B-2s flew over Amarillo." but somehow leaving out the part that it was a month later.
So - from the latest released renditions it looks like the planform of the NGAD matches what we saw. My guess is what we photographed could have been prototypes or technology demonstrators constructed to prove the technology woks.
Still - my enthusiasm is tempered until I'm invited to the roll-out and only then will I truly get to say "I told you it was real."

LINKS: 



Monday, June 5, 2017

Charges filed against federal contractor who leaked NSA materials to the media

(CNN)

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against a federal contractor with Top Secret security clearance, after she allegedly leaked classified information to an online media outlet.
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, is accused of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet," according to a federal complaint.

CNN is told by sources that the document Winner allegedly leaked is the same one used as the basis for the article published Monday by The Intercept, detailing a classified National Security Agency memo. The NSA report, dated May 5, provides details of a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack on a US voting software supplier, though there is no evidence that any votes were affected by the hack.

A US official confirmed to CNN that The Intercept's document is a genuine, classified NSA document.

US intelligence officials tell CNN that the information has not changed the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which found: "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying."
Prosecutors say when confronted with the allegations, Winner admitted to intentionally leaking the classified document -- and she was arrested June 3 in Augusta, Georgia.

An internal audit revealed Winner was one of six people who printed the document, but the only one who had email contact with the news outlet, according to the complaint. It further states that the intelligence agency was subsequently contacted by the news outlet on May 30 regarding an upcoming story, saying it was in possession of what appeared to be a classified document.

"Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation's security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement Monday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also slammed leaks last month in the wake of the Manchester attacks, saying: "We have already initiated appropriate steps to address these rampant leaks that undermine our national security."

Brits secretive "Blue Thunder" SAS team responds to London Bridge attack.

A helicopter-borne team of Special Air Service counter terrorism experts landed on London Bridge in the wake of Saturday night’s London attack.
The elite SAS unit nicknamed ‘Blue Thunder’ is understood to have arrived after the attack had been ended by armed police, and sources said they played no role in confronting the three terrorists.

However a small number of special forces soldiers will remain forward deployed in the capital to support police if needed, sources said.

At least one blue Eurocopter AS365 N3 Dauphin helicopter was photographed landing on the bridge after the attack.

A small number of the twin-engine helicopters that can hold up to 12 passengers are operated by the Army Air Corps to ferry around SAS troops.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on special forces operations, but a Whitehall source confirmed the helicopters were carrying SAS troops.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Friday, May 26, 2017

Masked militants attack Cairo Christians

CAIRO -- Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including many children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The attack came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Local health officials said the attack happened on Friday while the bus was traveling on the road to the St. Samuel Monastery in the Minya governorate, about 140 miles south of the Egyptian capital.

Eyewitnesses told Egyptian media that around 8:45 a.m. local time, about 10 masked men with assault rifles, some dressed in military uniforms, emerged from vehicles and sprayed the bus with bullets.

Some of the gunmen went into the bus and continued to fire on the passengers, many of whom were women and children, according to the witnesses. The attack lasted just a few minutes, after which the attackers fled the scene. They governor of Minya said Egyptian police had launched a manhunt for the attackers and set up roadblocks in the region.

Khaled Mogahed, the Health Ministry spokesman, said the death toll stood at 28 but feared it could rise further. According to Copts United news portal, only three children survived the attack. It was not immediately known if most or all of the victims were children.

In April, ISIS suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches in northern Egypt, killing 44 people and turning Palm Sunday services into scenes of horror and outrage at the government that led the president to call for a three-month state of emergency.
READ MORE HERE


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BREAKING: Cairo Embassy warned of imminent terror attack.

ABC NEWS: The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a security warning about a potential threat posed by a group it referred to as a "terrorist organization."

"The embassy is aware of a potential threat posted on a website by the Hassm group, a known terrorist organization, suggesting some kind of unspecified action this evening," the embassy said in a security message. "The embassy has no further information about this potential threat but is in contact with Egyptian authorities."

Hassm is described as "a non-Salafi revolutionary jihadist group" that uses "violent insurgency tactics against Egyptian security forces, which they refer to as occupiers," according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, a digital database of research and analysis focused on terrorism.

Hasam is a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist organization and political party, according to TRAC.

The message urges Americans living in Egypt to follow security guidelines provided by the State Department for dealing with possible threats.

"U.S. citizens should continue to follow sound security practices and adhere to the security guidelines provided in the travel warning for Egypt issued by the State Department on Dec. 23, 2016," according to the message.

READ MORE HERE

Monday, May 22, 2017

US State department issues warning after Manchester exp!osion


JUST IN: U.S. Embassy London issues emergency message after Manchester Arena incident urging U.S. citizens "heed guidance from local authorities"http://abcn.ws/2ruwTec


Thursday, May 18, 2017

U.S. airstrike targets pro-Syrian government forces.


ABC NEWS: U.S. officials say an American airstrike has hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area.

The officials say the strike near Tanf hit a tank and a bulldozer and forces there, but it was not clear if they were Syrian army troops or other pro-government allies.

One official says the pro-regime forces had entered a so-called "de-confliction" zone without authorization and were perceived as a threat to U.S.-allied troops there. The officials say the strike was a defensive move to protect the U.S. allies. It wasn't clear if U.S. forces were there.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

—Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington.

Syrian opposition activists say a suspected coalition airstrike has hit a convoy of pro-government forces in the desert near the border with Jordan.

There was no immediate response from the U.S.-led coalition following the reports. A U.S. official confirmed that an airstrike in southern Syria occurred on Thursday, though it was unclear if Syrian government troops were there. The official was not authorized to talk publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Several Syrian opposition media groups with activists in the area say the airstrike hit a convoy of government troops and allied militiamen on the road to the Tanf area, where Syria's borders with Jordan and Iraq meet.

One opposition media group, the Palmyra News Network, says the attack at the Zarka juncture, about 27 kilometers or 17 miles from the border, destroyed a number of vehicles and caused casualties.

The area has been a source of tensions as both government forces and U.S.-backed rebels advance there. Both the government forces and the rebels are trying to rout Islamic State militants from the area.

The Revolutionary commandoes or Maghaweer al-Thawra, a U.S.-backed group, shared a report about the airstrike on their Twitter account.

READ MORE HERE 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hackers hold auction for stolen NSA cyber-weapons


SITE: A group has claimed stealing malware developed by the “Equation Group,” a sophisticated hacking group suspected of being the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), and put the files up for sale to highest bidder in a bitcoin auction.

On August 13, 2016, an untitled document uploaded to Pastebin.com by the account “THESHADOWBROKERS” detailed the nature of the hack, the files taken, and the terms of their sale by auction. In the document, the group first introduced the “Equation Group,” a moniker dubbed by Kaspersky Lab, as the creators of highly advanced malware such as Stuxnet and Flame. “Equation Group” has been suspected by security experts of having ties to and/or being the NSA.

The group then claimed hacking and obtaining “many many Equation Group cyber weapons,” and provided links to images of file directories and encrypted packages of the malware, including 316 MB worth of “free” samples. Finally, the document listed a bitcoin address and stated that the party with the highest bid would receive decryption instructions for the rest of the files, which they claimed are “better than Stuxnet.”

A copy of the Pastebin.com document follows. A copy of the malware samples and encrypted files are available upon request.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

From:

bitmessage = BM-NBvAHfp5Y6wBykgbirVLndZtEFCYGht8
i2p-bote = o1uHOkOcMoFEa7O7dbEilzfMvWzo7bDu~td3x9gYz4b4t5OriJ7U6GUWr5GZoWxQ9f2TrIY5RzhpIMVP6hTLXZ

Equation Group Cyber Weapons Auction - Invitation
- ------------------------------------------------

!!! Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it !!!!

How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons? Not malware you find in networks. Both sides, RAT + LP, full state sponsor tool set? We find cyber weapons made by creators of stuxnet, duqu, flame. Kaspersky calls Equation Group. We follow Equation Group traffic. We find Equation Group source range. We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons. You see pictures. We give you some Equation Group files free, you see. This is good proof no? You enjoy!!! You break many things. You find many intrusions. You write many words. But not all, we are auction the best files.

Picture Urls
- ------------
http://imgur.com/a/sYpyn
https://theshadowbrokers.tumblr.com/
https://github.com/theshadowbrokers/EQGRP-AUCTION



Monday, May 8, 2017

Sheikh Abdul Hasib leader of Islamic State’s Afghan faction was killed by US Special Forces

By Carlo Muñoz - The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2017


The leader of Islamic State’s Afghan faction was killed in joint night raid by U.S. and Afghan special forces in eastern Afghanistan last month, American commanders confirmed Monday.

Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the so-called emir of the Afghan cell known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-Khorosan Province or ISIS-K, was killed along with 35 other fighters and several of the group’s senior leaders during the April 28 operation in Nangarhar province.

Two Army Rangers, Sgts. Joshua Rodgers and Cameron Thomas with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were also killed during the operation. Command officials at coalition headquarters in Kabul are investigating whether the deaths of Sgts. Rodgers and Thomas were the result of friendly fire.

Hasib is the second ISIS-K leader to have been killed by Afghan and coalition forces in the last year. Former chief Hafiz Saeed was killed during a U.S. drone strike on the group’s stronghold in Nangarhar province last August.

“This successful joint operation is another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K in 2017,” Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement issued Monday on Hasib’s death.

“For more than two years, ISIS-K has waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan\

Thursday, April 13, 2017

US DROPS 'MOAB' GBU-43" MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS ON ISIS

The United States has dropped the 'largest ever non-nuclear bomb' in Afghanistan in a targeted attack against ISIS.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb — nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) — was dropped on a series of cave complexes at 7pm local time today (4pm UK time).

Pentagon spokesman dam Stump confirmed the strike was carried out by Air Force Special Operations Command using a 21,000lb weapon, packed with 11 tones of explosives.

Donald Trump admitted he DIDN’T authorise the strike, admitting in a press conference that he has given the US military "total authorisation."

General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to military sources.

The attack today targeted ISIS-K, also known as the Khorasan group.

The group is based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban.

U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary.

U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi’ite Muslim targets.

The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Growing nuclear tensions, growing US military presence and "Great Leaders" predicted birthday muscle flexing causing war concerns.


With tension growing markedly, the Korean peninsula is the closest it has been to a "military clash" since Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006, an influential state-run Chinese newspaper said today.

North Korea should halt any plans for nuclear and missile activities "for its own security", the Global Times said in an editorial.

While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches and President Donald Trump's threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.

President Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said on Twitter that North Korea was "looking for trouble" and the United States would "solve the problem" with or without Beijing's help.

Officials from the North, including leader Kim Jong Un, have indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite on April 13, 2012, marking the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founding president Kim Il Sung.

Saturday will be the 105th birthday of the "Great Leader."

The U.S. also recently sent the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson along with its accompanying strike group to the area to conduct naval exercises with the South Korean Navy. The group was also sent as a show of force directed at the North Korean military.

North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the US in light of US Navy operations. North Korea’s state run Rodong Sinmun newspaper stated, “Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland.”

The Carl Vinson Strike Group started its move on Saturday, leaving its deployment to Singapore for patrols of the South China Sea. It includes an aircraft carrier and several destroyers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SPECIAL OPERATION FORCES U-28A crashes in Clovis claims 3.

video



— Colonel Benjamin R. Maitre, spokesperson for the Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, announced Wednesday morning the three airmen on board a U-28A died when the aircraft crashed Tuesday night.

The plane crashed during what the base described as a "training sortie" around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday in a field about a quarter-mile east of the Clovis Municipal Airport. All three crew members were assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron and died in the crash.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss within our Air Commando family,” said Maitre, the installation commander. “Our sympathies are with the loved ones and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time.”

The crash caused a fire, which was extinguished by local first responders by about 7:40 p.m.

The U-28A is a light aircraft operated by the 34th, 318th and 319th Special Operations Squadrons of United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). It is part of AFSOC's Non-standard Aircraft fleet. The aircraft type is also flown by the 919th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Reserve Command.

The U-28A is a militarized version of the commerical-available Pilatus PC-12. It has been fitted with advanced sensors, navigation gear, survivability aids and communications equipment to enable its special operations role.

One of the U-28A roles is the insertion, extraction and resupply of Special Operations Forces (SOF). The single-engine U-28A is small enough to land on small grass or dirt airstrips. It can carry 10 passengers or 3,000lbs of cargo and can operate from the type of short, unimproved airstrip that a larger plane, such as the C-130 Hercules, would be too big and heavy for.

Another role of the U-28A is to act as a tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform in support SOF on the ground. Sensors aboard the U-28A include a day variable-aperture TV camera, a variable aperture infrared camera and synthetic aperture radar.

Communications systems aboard the U-28A have the capability to relay full motion video, voice and data over secure data links.

Other additions to the basic PC-12 airframe include aircraft survivability equipment i.e. threat detection and counter measures.

The aircraft is crewed by 3: pilot, co-pilot and Combat System Officer (CSO)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Textron bowing out of USAF T-X trainer competition

WASHINGTON — Textron Airland has officially decided against offering its Scorpion jet for the Air Force’s T-X trainer competition, ending speculation about whether the aircraft would emerge as a dark horse candidate.

“We certainly believe the Scorpion can fit a good training role, not only for the U.S. Air Force but around the world, but with the requirements that had been put out there for the T-X, we don’t believe the Scorpion fits all the requirements,” said Bill Harris, the company’s vice president of Scorpion jet sales.

Textron told Defense News in early 2016 that it would probably not pursue the T-X contract unless the Air Force changed its requirements to be less demanding. However, earlier this winter, company officials stated that they had not ruled out a T-X bid and were assessing the final request for proposals.

Harris explained Textron wanted to take a second look at the requirements to evaluate whether Scorpion could fit the service’s needs, but the jet had trouble meeting some of the Air Force’s more aggressive performance characteristics, including a high G threshold of 6.5 — the Scorpion can achieve 6 Gs.

“It basically was very close to what you would see in an F-16 Block 50 aircraft,” he said. “We went over it and over it, and it became clear that we weren’t going to meet these aggressive performance standards.”

READ MORE HERE

SPANISH POLICE UNCOVER ARMS CACHE



NBC LONDON — When a gunman killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, police in Spain launched an effort to reduce the number of illegal firearms circulating in Europe.


What they found was a arsenal large enough to supply an army — and all ready to be sold to terrorist groups and gangs.

Spanish police announced Tuesday they had recovered around 10,000 assault rifles, pistols, machine guns, and revolvers, as well as 400 shells and grenades, in raids in the north of the country.

They also arrested five suspects and recovered around $90,000.


The raids, in Girona, Biscay and Cantabria, targeted a gang trafficking firearms on the black market that were destined to be sold to terror groups and gangs in Spain, France and Belgium.

Spain's national police, who worked with cross-border authority Europol on the operation, said the gang "exploited legal loopholes and legislative differences between E.U. countries to divert guns from legal suppliers." They used a workshop to re-brand and reactivate the weapons, which were "being made ready for sale to terrorist groups and organized. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

US TESTING LASER ARMED DRONES AS ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE



As North Korea marches toward its goal of threatening the United States with nuclear weapons, the Pentagon is racing to add a new component to its missile defense system: a revolutionary drone laser weapon capable of zapping rockets almost as soon as they are launched.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency says it has conducted tests of a “directed-energy airborne laser” fired from a military drone. The weapon, which would be carried by remote-control aircraft loitering high over suspected enemy ballistic missile launch sites, would add an early interception ability to the current system, which relies on “metal-to-metal” missile interceptors guided by an elaborate system of radar and satellites.

“Our vision is to shift the calculus of our potential adversaries by introducing directed energy into the ballistic missile defense architecture,” agency spokesman Christopher Johnson wrote in an email response to a Las Vegas Review-Journal inquiry. “This could revolutionize missile defense, dramatically reducing the role of kinetic interceptors.”

Johnson said five leading defense contractors — Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon — are studying the technology, and the agency expects to award contracts this year to design a multi-kilowatt-class laser weapon for missile defense.

“We will select the best designs, develop a demonstrator system for flight test in 2020, and piggyback on ballistic missile defense tests in 2021,” Johnson said.


Ground testing of a laser weapon called the High Energy Laser, or HEL, took place last year at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The High Energy Laser test is being conducted by the Air Force Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

The first airborne tests are slated to take place by 2021, service officials said.

The developmental efforts are focused on increasing the power, precision and guidance of existing laser weapon applications with the hope of moving from 10-kilowatts up to 100 kilowatts, Air Force officials said.

Service scientists, such as Air Force Chief Scientist Gregory Zacharias, have told Scout Warrior that much of the needed development involves engineering the size weight and power trades on an aircraft needed to accommodate an on-board laser weapon. Developing a mobile power source small enough to integrate into a fast-moving fighter jet remains a challenge for laser technology.

Air Force leaders have said that the service plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35.

Air Combat Command has commissioned the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator Advanced Technology Demonstration which will be focused on developing and integrating a more compact, medium-power laser weapon system onto a fighter-compatible pod for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons, a service statement said.

Air Force Special Operations Command has commissioned both the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren to examine placing a laser on an AC-130U gunship to provide an offensive capability.

READ MORE HERE

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