Saturday, April 28, 2012

Raptors deployed within throwing distance of Iran

The U.S. military has deployed several F-22s, the nation's most advanced fighter jets, to an allied base less than 200 miles from Iran.

The Air Force strongly denies this deployment is meant as a show of force against Iran or that it is in some way related to a potential strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Rather, it says this is all part of a routine deployment and "security cooperation with regional partners."

The Air Force won't say how many jets were sent or exactly where they are stationed, but privately, U.S. officials have told Fox News the jets are in hangars at the United Arab Emirates' Al Dafra Air Base, a fact first reported by Aviation Week.
The F-22 has not yet seen combat. The jets were not used in Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya. They are stealth, and they specialize in air-to-air combat, but can also strike air-to-ground if needed. As one Air Force official put it, "this is America's premier fighter jet. It has no rival."

The next round for Iran nuclear negotiations, which many consider to be the country's last diplomatic opportunity, takes place on May 23 in Baghdad.

"The United States Air Force has deployed F-22s to Southwest Asia. Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations, and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures," Lt.Col. John Dorrian, Air Force public affairs, said in a written statement.  

Read more:HERE 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Helicopter crashes at Rick Huisband/Amarillo International airport

Connect Amarillo/KVII TV
AMARILLO, TEXAS -- No serious injuries were reported Thursday evening as a helicopter reportedly had a hard landing at Amarillo Rick Husband International Airport, officials said.
Two people were on board and one was taken to the hospital with injuries not considered serious, Patt Rhodes, Aviation Director, said.
The chopper, which was a Bell Ranger 3 helicopter, went down unexpectedly just before 5:00 p.m.
According to sources, the helicopter was owned by Chesapeake Bay Helicopters Inc.
ALl photos (C) Steve Douglass/ 

Photo of the same helicopter at Rick Husband two weeks before today's crash. 

No nukes for Iran?

JERUSALEM — Israel’s military chief said in an interview published Wednesday that he believes Iran will choose not to build a nuclear bomb, an assessment that contrasted with the gloomier statements of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pointed to differences over the Iran issue at the top levels of Israeli leadership.
The comments by Lt. Gen Benny Gantz, who said international sanctions on Tehran have begun to show results, could relieve pressure on the Obama administration and undercut efforts by Israeli political leaders to urge the United States to get as tough as possible on Iran.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have repeatedly stressed that sanctions and diplomacy will not persuade Iran to halt a nuclear program that they describe as a military one, and they warn that the time to stop it is running out.
But the Israeli security establishment is thought to be far less convinced about the urgency of military action. Gantz made his reservations clear in a handful of rare interviews with Israeli newspapers, offering comments that analysts said seemed intended to inject nuance into a debate that has reached frenzied heights this spring. Speaking to the newspaper Haaretz, he said that the Israeli military would be ready to act if ordered but that he did not think that this year would be “necessarily go, no-go.”
Gantz described Iran’s leaders as “very rational people” who are still mulling whether to “go the extra mile” and produce nuclear weapons.
“I believe he would be making an enormous mistake, and I don’t think he will want to go the extra mile,” Gantz said of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader. Although Gantz cautioned that Khamenei could still change his mind, the supreme leader has said repeatedly that Iran does not intend to build a nuclear weapon and that its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful purposes.
On Thursday, Gantz denied that there is disagreement about Iran’s intentions among Israeli leaders, according to the Associated Press. He also suggested that Israel has enlisted other countries to back a potential pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, saying other nations, which he did not name, have prepared their militaries for such an operation, the AP reported.
Although striking in its bluntness, Gantz’s assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions did not differ dramatically from comments made publicly and privately by other current and former Israeli officials in recent months. Others also have concluded, for example, that Iran intends to achieve nuclear weapons capability but would stop short of assembling and testing a bomb, steps that would almost certainly incur a military response from Israel and perhaps the United States.
But Gantz’s comments differed starkly in tone from those made recently by Netanyahu about the diplomatic efforts of the United States and other world powers. The Israeli prime minister recently dismissed the five-week break between this month’s nuclear talks in Istanbul and the next round as a “freebie” that awarded Iran more time to work toward making bombs.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

North Korea close to testing nuclear bomb ...

(Reuters) - North Korea has almost completed preparations for a third nuclear test, a senior source with close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing said, an act that would draw further international condemnation following a failed rocket launch.
The isolated and impoverished state sacrificed the chance of closer ties with the United States when it launched the long-range rocket on April 13 and was censured by the U.N. Security Council, which includes the North's sole major ally, China.
Critics say the rocket launch was aimed at honing the North's ability to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the United States, a move that would dramatically increase its military and diplomatic heft.
Now the North appears to be about to carry out a third nuclear test after two in 2006 and 2009.
"Soon. Preparations are almost complete," the source told Reuters when asked whether North Korea was planning to conduct a nuclear test.
This is the first time a senior official has confirmed the planned test and the source has correctly predicted events in the past, telling Reuters about the 2006 test days before it happened.

ARDENT SENTRY 12 exercise set.

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - The North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command will conduct a major exercise, ARDENT SENTRY 2012, focused on Defense Support of Civil Authorities, May 2 – 9, 2012. 

The exercise will be primarily a Command Post Exercise, but there will be field training events within the exercise. Those events will take place in North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Alaska, Connecticut and Nova Scotia and involve United States and Canadian military units.

- North Dakota, the Air Force Global Strike Command will respond to a simulated Nuclear Weapons Incident (NUWAIX) on Minot Air Force Base. 

- Oregon, the Oregon National Guard will work with state and local officials to respond to numerous weather-related and security events. 

- Texas, US Army North will deploy a task force to work through the process of leading a military response to a major disaster.  

- Alaska, Joint Task Force-Alaska will conduct a coordinated response to a major aircraft crash in a remote area. 

- Nova Scotia, Canadian and US Naval forces will work together to handle a security related event.

ARDENT SENTRY 12 will validate existing plans, policies, and procedures, including the Federal Inter-agency Response Plan, as well as state and regional plans.

al Qaeda leader smote by drone

 Government sources say a drone has killed a prominent al Qaeda leader linked to an attack on a French oil tanker.

Yemen's embassy in Washington said on Tuesday that Mohammed Saeed al-Umda, convicted in 2005 of involvement in the 2002 attack on the Limburg oil tanker, had been killed in an air strike on his convoy in the oil-producing province of Maarib on Sunday. It did not specify whether it was a U.S. strike.

Umda, described by the embassy as Yemen's fourth most-wanted man, had received military training under Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and was in charge of the group's finances, a security source said.

The United States has repeatedly used drones to target suspected al Qaeda militants, who have been emboldened by a year of political upheaval in the impoverished state.

Space X launch delayed

SpaceX's first launch to ISS delayed again

The launch of SpaceX's Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, which was scheduled for April 30, is eagerly anticipated. A successful mission will mark the first time a commercial spacecraft berths to ISS.
But we're going to have to wait a little longer. Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX,tweeted the latest about Dragon's first flight to the International Space Staton: it's delayed, at least a week, so that SpaceX can "do more testing on Dragon docking code."
SpaceX's official Twitter account repeated the message, and both SpaceX and Elon Musk note that a new launch date is pending coordination with NASA.
SpaceX and NASA completed a Flight Readiness Review on April 16, giving the commercial company the green light to launch its Dragon capsule, carrying some 1200 pounds of cargo, atop a Falcon 9 rocket. A successful berthing to ISS would set SpaceX and Dragon on the path to becoming regular visitors to Station

Monday, April 23, 2012

Researchers: dirty bomb most likely method of next terrorist attack ...

HUFF POST: If Los Angeles were to fall victim to a terrorist attack, one of the most likely methods would be a "dirty bomb," USC researcher Adam Rose told The Huffington Post.
A dirty bomb creates a small explosion that distributes radiation for about a square mile. It is a likely terrorist weapon because it is small enough to fit in a briefcase and because the idea of radiation frightens people.
That fear, in fact, could last for a decade and would cost the city 15 times more than immediate costs, according to a new study by USC and the National Science Foundation.
While previous disaster studies have focused on the initial costs of injuries, cleanup and business closures, this study focused on the psychological effects of an attack, Rose told HuffPost. "Nobody had done that before. And it turned out to be huge," said Rose, who has published economic estimates of the 9/11 attacks and the Northridge Earthquake.
Researchers surveyed 625 people nationwide after showing them a mock newspaper article and newscasts about a hypothetical dirty bomb attack on downtown LA's financial district. One of the mock newspaper articles used can be seen below.
The study found that, after six months, 41 percent of those surveyed would still not consider shopping or dining in the city's financial district. And, on average, employees would demand a 25 percent increase in wages to return to their jobs.
While the initial costs of such an attack would total just over $1 billion, the cost of the effects of the stigma on the area shoots the estimated total up to $16 billion.
However, the psychological costs could be cut nearly in half if policymakers communicate exactly what they're doing at every stage of the clean-up process, Rose said. The study's authors are presenting the study and communication tactics to local, state and federal policymakers.
In addition to LA's financial district, other potential targets could include LA Live and LAX, Rose said.
In regards to the probability of a dirty bomb or other type of terrorist attack on LA, study co-author William Burns told HuffPost, "The probability of different kinds of attacks are not known. The only people who would have any insight about that would be the Department of Homeland Security and that would be highly protected information." However, he did point to the department's list of likely types of attacks.
The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is part of a special issue of the international journal "Risk Analysis" which showcases USC CREATE’s research of terrorist attacks, natural disasters and their economic impacts.

Pentagon okays new spy operations unit.

The Pentagon is planning to ramp up its spying operations against high-priority targets such as Iran under an intelligence reorganization approved last week by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, a senior defense official said Monday. 
The defense official said the plan was developed in response to a classified study completed last year by the director of national intelligence that concluded that the military’s espionage efforts needed to be more focused on major targets outside war zones.

The new service will seek to “make sure officers are in the right locations to pursue those requirements,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss what he described as a “realignment” of the military’s human espionage efforts.
The official declined to provide details on where such shifts might occur, but the nation’s most pressing intelligence priorities in recent years have included counterterrorism, nonproliferation and ascendant powers such as China.
The realignment is expected to affect several hundred military operatives who already work in spying assignments abroad, mostly as case officers for the Defense Intelligence Agency, which serves as the Pentagon’s main source of human intelligence and analysis.
The official said that the size of the new service is expected to grow “from several hundred to several more hundred” in the coming years. Despite the potentially provocative name for the new service, the official played down concerns that the Pentagon was seeking to usurp the role of the CIA or its National Clandestine Service.
This “does not involve new manpower ... does not involve new authorities,” the official said. Instead, the official said that the DIA is shifting its emphasis “as we look to come out of war zones and anticipate the requirements over the next several years.”
Congressional officials said they were seeking more details about the plan. “My question is why? What’s missing and what’s going on?” said a senior Senate aide who had been given a preliminary briefing on the new service.
The plan was unveiled about a week after a senior U.S. Army officer with extensive experience in special operations and counter-insurgency fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was nominated to serve as the next chief of the DIA.
While serving in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn published a harsh critique of intelligence operations in that country, faulting collectors for being too focused on tactical threats and failing to understand the broader demographic and political context of the battlefield.
About 15 percent of the DIA’s case officers will be part of the Defense Clandestine Service, the defense official said. New, more clearly delineated career paths will give DIA case officers better opportunities to continue their espionage assignments abroad.
The new service fits into a broader convergence trend. U.S. Special Operations forces are increasingly engaged in intelligence collection overseas, and have collaborated with the CIA on missions ranging from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan to ongoing drone strikes in Yemen.
The blurring is also evident in the organizations’ upper ranks. Panetta previously served as CIA director, and that post is currently held by former four-star U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.
A key architect of the Defense Clandestine Service is Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, who formerly served in the CIA.

Iran claims to be building copy of US stealth drone ...

TEHRAN, Iran - Iran claimed Sunday that it had recovered data from an American spy drone that went down in Iran last year, including information that the aircraft was used to spy on Osama bin Laden weeks before he was killed. Iran also said it was building a copy of the drone.
Similar unmanned surveillance planes have been used in Afghanistan for years and kept watch on bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. But U.S. officials have said little about the history of the particular aircraft now in Iran's possession.
Tehran, which has also been known to exaggerate its military and technological prowess, says it brought down the RQ-170 Sentinel, a top-secret drone equipped with stealth technology, and has flaunted the capture as a victory for Iran and a defeat for the United States.
The U.S. says the drone malfunctioned and downplayed any suggestion that Iran could mine the aircraft for sensitive information because of measures taken to limit the intelligence value of drones operating over hostile territory.
The drone went down in December in eastern Iran and was recovered by Iran almost completely intact. After initially saying only that a drone had been lost near the Afghan-Iran border, American officials eventually confirmed the plane was monitoring Iran's military and nuclear facilities.
Washington has asked for it back, a request Iran rejected.
The chief of the aerospace division of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, told state television that the captured drone is a "national asset" for Iran and that he could not reveal full technical details.
But he did provide some samples of the data that he claimed Iranian experts had recovered from the aircraft, state television reported.
"There is almost no part hidden to us in this aircraft. We recovered part of the data that had been erased. There were many codes and characters. But we deciphered them by the grace of God," Hajizadeh said.
Among the drone's past missions, he said, was surveillance of the compound in northwest Pakistan where bin Laden lived. Hajizadeh claimed the drone flew over bin Laden's compound two weeks before the al-Qaida leader was killed there in May 2011 by U.S. Navy SEALs.
He also listed tests and maintenance that the drone had undergone, all of which, he said, had been recorded in the aircraft's memory. According to Hajizadeh, the drone was taken to California on Oct. 16, 2010, for "technical work" and then to Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Nov. 18, 2010.
He said it carried out flights from Afghanistan but ran into some problems that U.S. experts were unable to fix. Then the drone was taken in December 2010 to Los Angeles, where the aircraft's sensors underwent testing, Hajizadeh said.
"If we had not achieved access to software and hardware of this aircraft, we would be unable to get these details. Our experts are fully dominant over sections and programs of this plane," he said.
Hajizadeh said he provided the details to prove to the Americans "how far we've penetrated into this aircraft."
The U.S. Defence Department said it does not discuss intelligence matters and would not comment on the Iranian claims.
The semiofficial Mehr news agency said Iran had reverse-engineered the aircraft and has begun using that knowledge to build a copy of the drone.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday" that he views the reports with skepticism.
"There is a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly, now when they are on the defensive because of the economic sanctions against them."
He acknowledged that it was "not good for the U.S. when the drone went down in Iran and not good when the Iranians grabbed it." But the senator said he did not "have confidence at this point that they are really able to make a copy of it."
Iran has gone a long way in reverse-engineering some key technologies in the past three decades, particularly in the areas of nuclear and missile technology.
Iran's famous Shahab-3 missile, first displayed in 1998, is believed to be based on North Korea's Nodong-1 design. Iran obtained its first centrifuge from Pakistan in 1986 and later reverse-engineered it to develop its now advanced uranium-enrichment program.
Centrifuges, which purify uranium gas, are the central component of a process that can make fuel for power plants or — at higher levels of processing — weapons.
However, unlike the situation with the drone, the Iranian government usually touts these achievements as the result of an indigenous, home-grown research.
One area where there is concern is whether Iran or other states could reverse-engineer the chemical composition of the drone's radar-deflecting paint or the aircraft's sophisticated optics technology that allows operators to positively identify terror suspects from tens of thousands of feet in the air.
How much data there is on the drone is another question. Some surveillance technologies allow video to stream through to operators on the ground but do not store much collected data. If they do, it is encrypted.
Media reports claimed this week that Russia and China have asked Tehran to provide them with information on the drone, but Iran's Defence Ministry denied that.

Read it on Global News: Global Edmonton | Iran says it recovered data from captured US spy drone, plans to build copy 

Fireball rattles Nevada

MARTIN GRIFFITH/RENO, Nev. (AP) - A loud explosion heard across much of Nevada and California on Sunday morning rattled homes and prompted a flood of calls to law enforcement agencies on both sides of the Sierra Nevada, some reporting fireball sightings.

 The sound and the light show were likely caused by a meteor that entered Earth's atmosphere, astronomers said. "It made the shades in my room shake hard enough to slam into the window a couple times," said Nicole Carlsen of the Reno area. "I kept looking for earthquake information, but (there was) nothing.

 I even checked the front of my house to make sure no one ran into the garage. I wish I had seen the meteor." Erin Girard-Hudson of Arnold, Calif., told The Union Democrat of Sonora, Calif., that the loud boom that occurred around 8 a.m. made her 2-year-old daughter, Elsie, cry. "It knocked me off my feet and was shaking the house," she said. "It sounded like it was next door." No damages or injuries were immediately reported.

There were no reports of earthquakes at the time. Some people reported seeing a brilliant light streak across the sky at the same time. Sightings occurred over roughly a 600-mile line across the two states, including Reno, Elko and North Las Vegas in Nevada, and the San Francisco, Sacramento and Bakersfield areas in California. Astronomers said they believe the mysterious light was a fireball, which is a very bright meteor.

It will take time to determine the path of the fireball and where it broke up, they added. "From the reports, I have no doubt it was a fireball," said Robert Lunsford of the Geneseo, N.Y.-based American Meteor Society. "It happens all the time, but most are in daytime and are missed. This one was extraordinarily bright in the daylight." Lunsford said it's "pretty rare" for fireballs to produce a loud explosion. For that to happen, he explained, the meteor must have survived intact until breaking up about five miles above Earth. Most fireballs are visible at 50 miles above Earth.

 "If you hear a sonic boom or loud explosion, that's a good indication that some fragments may have reached the ground," Lunsford told The Associated Press. "We'll have to get some people to work on it to pinpoint where it broke up and see if anything can be found on the ground." Lunsford said more than 20 people in the two states had filed reports with his group by midmorning about seeing the fireball. "I have been looking at the sky for 30 years, and I have never witnessed something so amazing and puzzling. It is an event that makes you glad to be alive," said Matthew Neal of San Francisco. "The main body was bright green and the head was bright red and white."


Friday, April 20, 2012

Breaking: Pakistani air crash - possibly no survivors.

A Pakistani airplane carrying 127 people crashed near Islamabad's international airport and rescue officials tell Fox News that they don't expect to find any survivors.

Rescue crews have recovered at least 118 bodies. Emergency workers used flashlights to search among the smoldering wreckage of the fuselage, smashed seats and body parts for any sign of life at the crash site.
The Bhoja Airlines flight was a commercial jet traveling to Islamabad from Karchi. 

The Boeing 737 was expected to land in Islamabad at 6:40 p.m. local time, but crashed shortly before, sources say. 
The plane crashed in the residential area of Rawalpindi, which was reportedly experiencing heavy rain at the time. 
"It was really bad weather for a flight," said Navy captain Arshad Mahmood, who lives near the crash site. "The pilot was forced to move down to avoid clouds that were generating the lightening and thunder."
Eleven of the 127 people on board were members of the flight crew. 
Sobbing relatives of those on the flight flocked to the airport.

"My brother's wife was on board this flight," said Naveed Khan, who was among family members who gathered at Karachi's airport. "We pray for the departed souls, what else can we do now?"
Bhoja Air, a domestic carrier that has just four planes, only resumed operations last month after suspending them in 2001 due to financial difficulties. It was the airline's first evening flight from Karachi, according to a Bhoja Air official.
Wreckage, including smashed seats, clothes and jewelry belonging to passengers, was spread out over a half-mile wide area.

"I saw nothing but body parts and twisted metal on the ground when reached the scene," said local resident Mustafa, who only gave one name. "We collected up small pieces of human flesh and bundled them in cloth sheets like we collect grain."

Islamabad police chief Bani Yameen said that nobody on the ground appeared to be killed, "but apparently all onboard perished." 

Several farmers threshing wheat in the field near the crash said they saw the craft burst into flames when it hit the ground.

"The flames leapt up like they were touching the sky," said Mohammad Zubair.
The army declared an emergency and cordoned off the crash site.

TV footage showed wreckage of the plane, including parts of what looked like its engine and wing, up against the wall of a small building. Rescue officials were working in the dark, with many using flashlights as they combed the area.
The last major plane crash in the country -- and Pakistan's worst ever -- occurred in July 2010 when an Airbus A321 aircraft operated by Airblue crashed in the hills overlooking Islamabad, killing all 152 people on board.

A government investigation blamed the pilot for veering off course amid stormy weather. The impact of the crash was devastating, scorching a wide swath of the hillside and scattering wreckage over a kilometer (half-mile) stretch. Most bodies were so badly damaged that identification required DNA testing.

Bhoja Air started domestic operations in Pakistan in 1993 and eventually expanded to international flights to the United Arab Emirates in 1998. The company suspended operations in 2001 due to financial difficulties but resumed them in 2012.

In a statement, the Boeing Co. extended its condolences to the families of the victims and offered technical assistance to Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more:

Anybody want to buy a stealth boat?

The Sea Shadow - the first stealth naval warship is for sale. Problem is - you can't sail her. Anyone who wins the bid has to promise to scrap it and the secret floating dock it was housed in. LINK

 Sea Shadow was built in 1984 and used in secret but normal service until her public debut in 1993, to examine the application of stealth technology on naval vessels. In addition, the ship was designed to test the use of automation to enable the reduction of crew size.

The ship was created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Navy and Lockheed. Sea Shadow was developed at Lockheed's Redwood City, California, facility, inside the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), which functioned as a floating drydock during construction and testing.[1] She is sometimes referred to as "USS Sea Shadow"; however, this designation is inappropriate as she was never a fully commissioned ship of the U.S. Navy. Sea Shadow has a SWATH hull design. Below the water are submerged twin hulls, each with a propeller, aft stabilizer, and inboard hydrofoil. The portion of the ship above water is connected to the hulls via the two angled struts.

The SWATH design helps the ship remain stable even in very rough water of up to sea state 6 (wave height of 18 feet (5.5 m) or "very rough" sea). The shape of the superstructure has sometimes been compared to the casemate of the ironclad ram CSS Virginia of the American Civil War.[1] The T-AGOS 19-and-23-class oceanographic ships have inherited the stabilizer and canard method to help perform their stability-sensitive surveillance missions.[1] Sea Shadow has only 12 bunks aboard, one small microwave oven, a refrigerator and table.

It was never intended to be mission capable and was never commissioned, although she is listed in the Naval Vessel Register. Sea Shadow was revealed to the public in 1993, and was housed at the San Diego Naval Station until September 2006, when it was relocated with the Hughes Mining Barge - inside which it still resides - to the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, CA.

The vessels are available for donation to a maritime museum.[1] Sea Shadow was also the inspiration for the stealth ship in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies. Since 2006 the U.S Navy has tried to sell the Sea Shadow to the highest bidder but as of February 2009 nobody has bid.

 Not having found any viable offer to take in the Sea Shadow by June 18, 2011, the Navy finally decided to set it for "dismantling and recycling".[3] As of June 2011 the Sea Shadow is still being stored inside its barge at Suisun Bay awaiting its fate.[4] As of April 2012 Sea Shadow is listed for dismantling sale on

North Korea rocket science - take 2.

Seoul claims North Korea is assembling another heavy ballistic missile similar to the ill-fated one launched on April 13. Seoul’s assumptions are based on American space reconnaissance data. They say both rockets were delivered at the site simultaneously around March 23. One rocket was unsuccessfully launched last week, falling to pieces less than two minutes after the launch. The second rocket, presumably of the same type and specifications, is being prepared for launch in a hangar at at the Tongch'ang-dong Space Launch Center in woodland some 50 kilometers from the border with China. Seoul believes Pyongyang wants to compensate for the unfortunate launch of the Unha-3 that was supposed to take first North Korean satellite into an orbit. The UN Security Council banned North Korea to launch any ballistic missiles of both military and space research scientific missions after Pyongyang made two attempts to test ballistic missiles in 2006 and 2009. Despite the prohibition, North Korea will continue to develop its military might, promised country’s new leader Kim Jong-un. “National military industrial complex must develop a growing number of advanced weapons of the highest quality,” stressed the North Korean leader in his first statement since coming to power last year. After a successful test of a nuclear warhead in 2006 North Korea secured a role of an international pariah, falling under numerous UN-imposed sanctions. This explains why the reaction of the international community on North


DARPA: April 20, 2012 Aerodynamic design validated and new understanding of thermal material properties gained Following an extensive seven-month analysis of data collected from the Aug. 11, 2011, second flight of DARPA’s Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2), an independent engineering review board (ERB) investigating the cause of a flight anomaly completed its report. The findings of the ERB validated the vehicle’s aerodynamic design and uncovered new information regarding the thermal material properties of the vehicle. “The greatest achievement from Flight Two, which the ERB’s findings underscored, was that we successfully incorporated aerodynamic knowledge gained from the first flight into the second flight,” said Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz, DARPA program manager, who holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering. A technology demonstration and data-gathering platform, the HTV-2’s second test flight was conducted to validate current models and increase technical understanding of the hypersonic regime. The flight successfully demonstrated stable aerodynamically-controlled flight at speeds up to Mach 20 (twenty times the speed of sound) for nearly three minutes. Approximately nine minutes into the test flight, the vehicle experienced a series of shocks culminating in an anomaly, which prompted the autonomous flight safety system to use the vehicle’s aerodynamic systems to make a controlled descent and splashdown into the ocean. “The initial shockwave disturbances experienced during second flight, from which the vehicle was able to recover and continue controlled flight, exceeded by more than 100 times what the vehicle was designed to withstand,” said DARPA Acting Director, Kaigham J. Gabriel. “That’s a major validation that we’re advancing our understanding of aerodynamic control for hypersonic flight.” The ERB concluded that the “most probable cause of the HTV-2 Flight 2 premature flight termination was unexpected aeroshell degradation, creating multiple upsets of increasing severity that ultimately activated the Flight Safety System.” Based on state-of-the-art models, ground testing of high-temperature materials and understanding of thermal effects in other more well-known flight regimes, a gradual wearing away of the vehicle’s skin as it reached stress tolerance limits was expected. However, larger than anticipated portions of the vehicle’s skin peeled from the aerostructure. The resulting gaps created strong, impulsive shock waves around the vehicle as it travelled nearly 13,000 miles per hour, causing the vehicle to roll abruptly. Based on knowledge gained from the first flight in 2010 and incorporated into the second flight, the vehicle’s aerodynamic stability allowed it to right itself successfully after several shockwave-induced rolls. Eventually, however, the severity of the continued disturbances finally exceeded the vehicle’s ability to recover. According to Schulz, “HTV-2’s first flight test corrected our models regarding aerodynamic design within this flight regime. We applied that data in flight test two, which ultimately led to stable aerodynamically controlled flight. Data collected during the second test flight revealed new knowledge about thermal-protective material properties and uncertainties for Mach 20 flight inside the atmosphere, which can now be used to adjust our assumptions based on actual flight data and modify our modeling and simulation to better characterize thermal uncertainties and determine how to assess integrated thermal systems.” Aerodynamic assumptions and extrapolations from known flight regimes proved inadequate when preparing for HTV-2 inaugural flight test. The data from second flight revealed that extrapolating from known flight regimes and relying solely on advanced thermal modeling and ground testing could not successfully predict the harsh realities of Mach 20 atmospheric flight. “A group of nationally-recognized experts from government and academia came together to analyze the flight data and conduct extensive additional modeling and ground testing for this review,” Schulz said. “The result of these findings is a profound advancement in understanding the areas we need to focus on to advance aerothermal structures for future hypersonic vehicles. Only actual flight data could have revealed this to us.” Moving forward, the HTV-2 program will incorporate new knowledge gained to improve models for characterizing thermal uncertainties and heat-stress allowances for the vehicle’s outer shell. The remediation phase will involve further analysis and ground testing using flight data to validate new tools for this flight regime. The ERB findings and remediation phase efforts will inform policy, acquisition and operational decisions for future Conventional Prompt Global Strike initiatives executed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Acquisition, Technology & Logistics, Strategic Warfare directorate—the goal of which, ultimately, is to have the capability to reach anywhere in the world in less than one hour.


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