Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Pentagon: "UAPs clearly pose a safety threat."


CBS Washington — A House panel held the first public congressional hearing on unidentified flying objects in more than half a century on Tuesday, with top Pentagon officials saying the number of "unidentified aerial phenomena" (UAP) reported by pilots and service members had grown to about 400. 

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie and Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray testified before a House subcommittee about how the Defense Department is organizing reports of UAPs after a congressionally mandated report released last year found most of the incidents analyzed remain unidentified. 

Rep. André Carson, a Democrat of Indiana and the chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism, and Counterproliferation, opened the hearing by saying UAPs "are a potential national security threat, and they need to be treated that way."

"For too long, the stigma associated with UAPs has gotten in the way of good intelligence analysis. Pilots avoided reporting or were laughed at when they did. DOD officials relegated the issue to the backroom or swept it under the rug entirely, fearful of a skeptical national security community," Carson said. "Today, we know better. UAPs are unexplained, it's true. But they are real. They need to be investigated. And any threats they pose need to be mitigated."

There is little doubt that the unidentified objects are real objects, whatever they may be, because at least 80 of the 144 incidents were detected by multiple sensors, the report found. "UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security," the report said.

At the public portion of the hearing, which was followed by a classified session, Bray said the number of reported incidents had grown to approximately 400 since last year's report. He said the sightings are "frequent and continuing" and often occur in military training areas or other designated airspace. 



The U.S. Congress is holding  public hearing today (May 17) on reports of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) skirting through our skies, and you can watch the proceedings live.

Last year, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence submitted to Congress a preliminary report regarding UAP that relayed the progress the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force has made in understanding the mysterious phenomena. (In the past few years, the term UAP has substituted for the more familiar "unidentified flying object," or UFO.) 

That helped lay the foundation for today's hearing on UAP, which will be held under the House Intelligence Committee's Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee. The two-hour hearing started at 9 a.m. EDT




Monday, May 16, 2022

Photo: "Super Blood Moon" photographed from Texas


Click to enlarge 

Shortly after 03:30 GMT on Monday, Earth's orbit meant that for several minutes our planet was positioned directly between the Sun and the Moon.

In that time the Moon fell completely into Earth's shadow - temporarily turning it a dusky shade of dark red.

Its hue was created by sunlight being projected through Earth's atmosphere onto the Moon's shadowed surface.

The lunar eclipse coincided with a separate event - a super Moon. This is when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit and so appears larger than usual.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

House sub-committee to hold UAP investigation.


A House subcommittee is scheduled to hold next week the first open congressional hearing on unidentified aerial vehicles in more than half a century, with testimony from two top defense intelligence officials.

The hearing comes after the release last June of a report requested by Congress on “unidentified aerial phenomena.” The nine-page “Preliminary Assessment” from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence focused on 144 incidents dating back to 2004 and was able to explain only one.

The report declined to draw inferences, saying that the available reporting was “largely inconclusive” and noting that limited and inconsistent data created a challenge in evaluating the phenomena. But it said most of the phenomena reported “do represent physical objects.”

The assessment concluded that the objects were not secret U.S. technology and that “we currently lack data to indicate any UAP are part of a foreign collection program or indicative of a major technological advancement by a potential adversary.”

The hearing, scheduled for next Tuesday, is intended to focus on the work of a group within the Pentagon that is following up on the national security and flight-safety questions raised by the report.

“Since this is an area of high public interest, any undue secrecy can serve as an obstacle to solving the mystery, or it could prevent us from finding solutions to potential vulnerabilities,” said Representative AndrĂ© Carson, Democrat of Indiana and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee’s subcommittee on counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and counterproliferation, which is holding the hearing. “This hearing is about examining steps that the Pentagon can take to reduce the stigma surrounding reporting by military pilots, and by civilian pilots.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

E-7 "WEDGETAILS" will replace a portion of the E-3 AWACS fleet.


April 26, 2022 | By John A. Tirpak

The Air Force will buy some Boeing E-7A Wedgetails to replace a portion of its aging E-3 Sentry fleet, the service announced after evaluating two prototypes.

The Air Force “has decided to replace a portion” of the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) fleet with the E-7, the service said April 26, without disclosing how many it expects to procure. In its fiscal 2023 budget request, the Air Force asked Congress to let it retire 15 of its 31 Sentry aircraft, but a service spokesperson said not to assume those aircraft will be replaced on a one-for-one basis.

“That will be determined after the evaluation,” she said.

The fiscal 2023 budget proposal also included a request for $227 million in research, development, test, and evaluation for a “rapid prototype” example of the E-7, which, despite the description, will not be delivered until 2027. A second prototype will be requested in the fiscal 2024 budget, the service said—with a delivery date not disclosed. A “production decision” is to be made in fiscal 2025, well before the prototypes are even delivered.

The service said the savings obtained by divesting the E-3s will pay for acquiring their replacement.

“The E-7 system was developed by Australia for the Australian Defence Forces,” the Air Force said. “The unbreakable U.S. and Australia alliance and interoperability amongst the armed services enabled the Department of the Air Force to leverage this considerable investment and exceptional capability.”

The E-7 is “the only platform capable of meeting the requirements for the Defense Department’s tactical battle management, command and control, and moving target indication capabilities within the timeframe needed to replace the E-3,” the service said.

Air Force officials have previously said the Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye and the Saab Erieye, both turboprop-powered AWACS-type aircraft, lack the speed, altitude, and capability USAF needs for the mission.

Senior USAF leaders have expressed their interest in the E-7 for several years. Last October, Gen. Mark D. Kelly, head of Air Combat Command, said he wanted them in the inventory “two years ago.” Complimentary comments have been offered by Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. and Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach.

Due to its age, obsolete engines, and diminishing vendors, sustaining the E-3 fleet has become a “Herculean effort,” Kelly said, with mission capable rates dipping near 50 percent on “a 45-year-old airframe.”

Last October, the Air Force said it was entering a contract with Boeing to evaluate how the E-7, which was designed and optimized for the Royal Australian Air Force, could be adapted for USAF use.

Unlike the E-3, which uses an iconic rotating radome mounted ahead of its vertical tail, the Wedgetail uses an Active Electronically Scanned Array radar mounted in a blade-like structure on the back of a 737 airframe. Because it is digital, the blade antenna has a faster revisit time than the mechanical radome, which has some latency. It also requires less maintenance. The gaps at either end of the blade are filled in by sensors in an overhanging lip, called the “Top Hat.”

Australia, South Korea, Turkey, and the U.K. either have or plan to sign up to buy the E-7, but it would require different equipment and a different architecture to be compatible with USAF systems. Boeing has said it will supply an “open architecture” version of the E-7 to USAF, which would allow other companies to supply systems for the aircraft, but the existing version does not have this capability


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