Friday, April 24, 2009

Why doesn't this make me feel any safer?

Pakistani PM: Nukes safe from Taliban

Pakistani PM: Nukes safe from Taliban: "Pakistan's military can stop Taliban fighters who are closing in on the capital and the nation's nuclear weapons are safe, Pakistan's prime minister said Friday.



Predator C is Stealthy with a Tailhook

Predator C is Stealthy with a Tailhook: "

For all you unmanned combat aerial vehicle fans, the wait is over. Here are some snazzy'photos of the Avenger, i.e., General Atomics' new Predator C, which appears'to take the old standard and make it stealthy and more deadly.

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Aviation Week & Space Technology is publishing an exclusive set of photos, the first, and they are also available here in the Defense Showcase, along with many we couldn't fit in the print version. The magazine's April 20th edition has interesting new information on the UCAV, which we previewed for you on this week.

blog post photo

While company officials aren’t calling it a stealthy aircraft, they will admit to a reduced signature. The 20-hr.-endurance UAV’s undeniably stealthed-up exterior offers clues about how the aircraft could be employed.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems'chief of UAVs,'retired admiral Tom Cassidy, has'created an empire by building on his own dime'what the Pentagon needs and not what it asks for. The result is a line of relatively inexpensive, armed, high-performance combat UAVs that are used by all the services and intelligence agencies. Now it appears that Cassidy could strike yet again with a stealthy, armed, fast, all-jet UCAV that is cheaper than'known Air Force or Navy UCAV designs.

The aircraft also was designed from its inception so that the wings could be folded at the point where they crank (or change shape at mid-wing) for storage in hangars or for aircraft carrier operations. The UAV also comes with a tailhook that suggests that carrier-related trials are planned. The inner section of the cranked wing is deep, providing structural strength for carrier landings and generous fuel volume while maintaining a dry, folding outer wing.

Read this week's Aviation Week & Space Technology story: Predator C Avenger Makes First Flights.

Aviation Week's Bill Sweetman, editor in chief of Defense Technology International, helped report this story.

Credit: General Atomics


(Via Ares.)

F-16s, helos intercept small plane near Capitol

F-16s, helos intercept small plane near Capitol: "WASHINGTON — A small, single-engine plane strayed into restricted air space near the U.S. Capitol on Friday, forcing anxious officials to place the White House in temporary lock down and take steps to evacuate the Capitol."

(Via Air Force Times - News.)

The Beast Of Kandahar

The Beast Of Kandahar: "

Researcher and long-time collaborator Terry Mahon has passed on some observations regarding that other stealthy UAV, the one spotted at Kandahar recently. In fact, Mahon notes, this could be something that Aviation Week's been covering for some years.

As Dave Fulghum and Amy Butler reported in September 2005:

Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, perceived as lagging rivals Boeing and Northrop Grumman in the unmanned aerial vehicle field, is secretly developing a stealthy, long-endurance unmanned aircraft for penetrating deep inside hostile airspace to collect intelligence.' By early next year at the latest, the company is expected to announce that - with the U.S. Air Force’s backing - it is building one or more demonstrators of what the Pentagon has newly designated an unmanned aircraft system (UAS).'

This might have been Polecat, but that aircraft was strictly a private venture, and more of an aerodynamics technology demonstrator than an operational system. Then, in February 2006, the Washington Outlook column stated that:'

The Pentagon is taking another look at an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft design that it rejected more than 10 years ago in favor of Northrop Grumman's popular Global Hawk. Planners are back looking at concepts similar to the two-engine, 125-ft. wingspan, low-signature B-2-like design offered for the competition.' It was to fly at 70,000-80,000 ft. and pull from an inventory of two dozen classified engines in storage.

'This could have referred to a Lockheed Martin proposal for the Global Hawk contest, or to the Frontier Systems/Loral offering. The engines would have been GE J97s from the late-1960s Compass Arrow program - tested and qualified for flight above 80,000 feet. (The existence of a NASA-held stockpile of these engines was confirmed in early 2006.)

Black-project researcher Peter Merlin is of the view that the Kandahar aircraft may be associated with the Desert Prowler program patch, which has circulated widely since last year. It has been suggested that Desert Prowler is a UAV that has been flying since 2005, in which case it pre-dates the split of the Joint UCAS program, which took place at the end of the year.'

Mahon adds:' 'Recall that under General Jumper (CoS 2001-2005), the AF consistently sought to position J-UCAS first and foremost as a SEAD/IW/DEW platform.''

It could be, therefore, that the Kandahar UAV - which cannot be particularly sensitive, or it would not have been seen in plain sight - is a four-year-old demonstrator, pressed into service in an information-operations role to meet an urgent requirement.


(Via Ares.)

Army's multimode death ray knocks out IEDs, vehicles, whiners

Army's multimode death ray knocks out IEDs, vehicles, whiners: "

While the US Air Force is dead set on shooting down missiles with airborne lasers, it looks like their colleagues in the Army are busy cooking up a little something called the Multimode Directed Energy Armament System (see our artist's conceptual rendering, above). According to Wired, this device uses an ultra-short pulse laser to create an ionized channel through the air, which it can use to send bursts of energy, conduct electricity, or act as a waveguide for an intense pulse of microwaves. If you're looking to knock out an IED, an oncoming vehicle, or an enemy combatant, this bad boy should do the trick just fine. The Army's Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) plans on having a working prototype operating in a the real world sometime in 2011.

[Via Wired]

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Army's multimode death ray knocks out IEDs, vehicles, whiners originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 24 Apr 2009 06:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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(Via Engadget.)


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