Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Today's excerpt from The Interceptors Club and the Secret of the Black Manta

>So why put a pilot in it at all? Why even have the option of configuring it to fly under manned control?” Pepper asked hoping he impressed the General.

“Because there are some things that computers just don’t do well. Humans can still see things, especially during the haze of combat that robot brains have the tendency to ignore. Subtle things, like being able to tell a hospital from a munitions factory, things that we can’t tell from a spy satellite-photo. We think that being able to configure it from a manned to an unmanned craft can give us the best of both worlds.”

“She’s beautiful sir.” Pepper said as he looked down on Excalibur.

“Take a good look at her son, for it’s the last time you’ll see her.”


“Excalibur is only here for some standard maintenance that we can’t perform at Stallion. Tonight, under cover of darkness we fly her back and put her under wraps until pilot training is complete, then she’ll fly at night on the range against various radars to check her radar signatures. There are too many loose tongues here at Holloman. She’ll be more secure at Stallion.”


X-51A WaveRider Flight Test Today!

"This is an experimental X-plane and it's a complicated test. We knew the original schedule was aggressive and we would need to be flexible," said Brink.
by Staff Writers
Edwards AFB CA (SPX) May 21, 2010

Boeing has announced that the X-51A WaveRider will make its first hypersonic flight test attempt from Edwards Air Force Base on Tuesday, May 25. The unmanned aerial vehicle will be released from a B-52 bomber off the southern California coast.

The X-51A is expected to fly autonomously for five minutes - powered by a supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) motor - accelerate to about Mach 6 and transmit large amounts of data to ground stations before it splashes down into the Pacific and breaks up, as planned. There are no plans to recover the flight test vehicle, one of four built.

"In those 300 seconds, we hope to learn more about hypersonic flight with a practical scramjet engine than all previous flight tests combined," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The longest previous hypersonic scramjet flight test, performed by a NASA X-43 in 2004, was faster, but lasted only about 10 seconds and used less logistically supportable hydrogen fuel.

The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with industry partners The Boeing Company and Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne.

The May 25 attempt will be the only hypersonic flight attempt this fiscal year, a change from the original test plan, which was to fly once in December 2009 and three more times in 2010. A combination of factors, including high demand for flight-test and range assets such as the B-52, contributed to the pause.

"This is an experimental X-plane and it's a complicated test. We knew the original schedule was aggressive and we would need to be flexible," said Brink.

"It's also expensive to keep a staff of engineers and support staff at the ready and then not be able to fly when supporting assets aren't available. So we elected to make only one hypersonic try this spring and then pause for a few months to conserve funding."

Alex Lopez, Boeing vice president of Advanced Network and Space Systems, said the X-51A program will pave the way to hypersonic weapons and future access to space.

"This is been a major team effort for the past seven years," said Lopez. "If the test flight meets even a subset of our expectations, the leap in engine technology will be the equivalent to the post-World War II leap from propellers to jet engines. It will be a historic event."

On the brink?

CNN) -- Mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula reached a new level Tuesday as a North Korean agency announced that the communist nation is severing all ties with its neighbor to the south and will "abrogate the agreement on non-aggression."

A spokesman for North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea accused South Korean President Lee Myung-bak of falsely blaming Pyongyang for the sinking in March of the South Korean warship Cheonan, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

An official South Korean report accused the communist North of firing a torpedo at the ship, killing
46 sailors.

Meanwhile, a North Korean military official accused the South of intruding into North Korean waters in the Yellow Sea from May 14 to May 24, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Video: Tensions between the Koreas Video: South Korea lashes out at North Korea Video: Hillary

Clinton warns North Korea

"This is a deliberate provocation aimed to spark off another military conflict in the West Sea of Korea and thus push to a war phase the present north-south relations," the official said in a statement, according to Yonhap.

Lee has already announced that South Korea was suspending trade with North Korea, closing its waters to the North's ships and adopting a newly aggressive military posture toward its neighbor.
While in China on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States supports the finding on the Cheonan's sinking.

She urged North Korea on Monday to reveal what it knows about the "act of aggression." She also said the United States' "support for South Korea's defense is unequivocal" and that North Korea should "stop its belligerence and threatening behavior."

"We endorse President Lee's call on North Korea to come forward with the facts regarding this act of aggression and, above all, stop its belligerence and threatening behavior," Clinton said.
U.S. President Barack Obama has directed military commanders to work with South Korean troops "to ensure readiness and to deter future aggression" from North Korea.

The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, the group that is in charge of relations with South Korea, said in its statement Tuesday that it would consider South Korea's "smear campaign over the sinking of the warship as a declaration of a war."
It said the North would "mete out a merciless and strong punishment," KCNA reported.
Among the committee's recommendations:
-- That all relations be severed and inter-Korean issues be handled under wartime laws.
-- That dialog between North and South be halted during Lee's tenure.
-- That all communications between North and South be cut off.
-- That South Korean ships and airliners be banned from passing through North Korean territorial waters and airspace.


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