Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NAVY drone crashes off Maryland shore ...

A Naval drone aircraft crashed on Maryland's Eastern Shore on Monday without injuries or property damage on the ground, officials said.

The 44-foot plane on a routine training flight crashed around noon near Bloodsworth Island, across the Chesapeake Bay from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, according to Jaime Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for the Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons program.

Aerial video from WBOC-TV showed a plane-shaped indentation surrounded by burning debris at the swampy crash site.
The cause is being investigated and the U.S. Coast Guard has set up a safety zone around the crash site, officials said.

The Northrop Grumman RQ-4A BAMS-D drones with a range of 10,500 nautical miles can reach 11 miles above the ground, which is above most weather, and stay in the air for more than 30 hours with speeds up to 391 mph, according to the Navy. It is operated by a crew of four on the ground.

The aircraft is one of five acquired from the Air Force Global Hawk program that support more than half of maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. They have flown more than 5,500 hours in support of combat operations since 2008.

The maritime surveillance aircraft have been used in support of the 5th Fleet, which covers much of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf and part of the east African coast.
The southern Maryland station at the mouth of the Patuxent River, 65 miles southeast of Washington, is home to the Navy's test pilot school, drone operations and principal research center for aircraft and support systems.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/11/coast-guard-unmanned-navy-aircraft-crashes-in-us/?test=latestnews#ixzz1xcGwVghz

Clinton: Russia arming Syria with attack choppers

Her accusation came as international cease-fire monitors in Syria aborted a fact-finding trip after they came under assault by an angry mob and gunfire, and the top United Nationspeacekeeping official said Syria was already in a state of civil war.
Those developments — coupled with a newly released United Nations report that accused the Syrian military of using Syrians as young as 8 as human shields for troops — overshadowed fresh diplomatic efforts by Kofi Annan, the special envoy to Syria, to advance a peace plan that that has basically been ignored since it was put into effect two months ago.
Secretary Clinton’s remarks, at a Washington forum, appeared likely to irritate Russia, the most important foreign backer of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and seemed at odds with recent American efforts to forge a unified approach toward a resolution of the 16-month-old conflict that would push Mr. Assad out.
Russia has repeatedly denied sending any armaments to Mr. Assad that could be used to crush the uprising against him. But Mrs. Clinton said the United States was “concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on their way from Russia to Syria.” The shipments, she warned, “would escalate the conflict quite dramatically.”
In Syria, a team of cease-fire monitors deployed under the auspices of the United Nations were thwarted from entering Al Heffa, a besieged rebel-held enclave in the northwest part of the country, when hostile crowds struck their vehicles with stones and metal rods, a spokeswoman for the monitors said. As the monitors retreated, their vehicles came under attack by gunfire from an unspecified source, said the spokeswoman, Sausan Ghosheh.
Al Heffa, near Syria’s main port, Latakia, was among several flash points where new fighting was reported Tuesday.
At the United Nations, the under secretary general for peacekeeping operations, Hervé Ladsous, whose office is responsible for the monitor mission in Syria, said the Syrian conflict had become a civil war, an assertion that goes beyond what other senior diplomats at the United Nations have said in characterizing the conflict.
“Yes, I think one can say that,” Mr. Ladsous said in an interview with Reuters, which was later confirmed by Mr. Ladsous’s office. “And clearly what is happening is that the government of Syria lost some large chunks of territories and several cities to the opposition and wants to retake control of these areas. So now we have confirmed reports not only of the use of tanks and artillery, but also attack helicopters.”
The monitors uploaded a video from their observations on Monday of Homs, a center of resistance to President Assad that has defied months of military shelling and shooting, and the towns of Talbiseh and Al Rastan north of Homs, which have also been subjected to military attack. The video shows wafts of drifting smoke from buildings and homes hit by shelling, emptied roads, a wrecked bridge draped with a Syrian opposition flag, fresh blood on some home corridors and residents picking through the rubble, with one man shouting in English: “We are people! Not animals!”
Officials from the United Nations and Western countries including the United States have expressed fears of a massacre in Al Heffa. At least four other episodes of mass killings have taken place in Syria in the past few weeks, refocusing world attention on the increasingly brutal and sectarian tensions in the conflict, now in its 16th month.
Houran Al Hafawi, a member of the Local Coordination Committee of Al Heffa, an activist group, said in a telephone interview that he had been forced to flee to a neighboring village because his house had been bombed, but he remained in contact with his brothers and other civilians there. “The shelling has been continuous,” he said. “The Syrian Army is throwing missiles and rockets from helicopter and rocket launchers from the eastern and western entrances.”
He said Al Heffa activists had pleaded with the United Nations monitoring mission to check on Al Heffa, where at least 40 people have been killed over the past several days and more than 100 wounded, of which 40 were taken into Turkey. The claims were not possible to corroborate.
Asked about fears of a massacre in Al Heffa, he said: “If the Syrian Army gets in, yes; I do expect a massacre. It’s normal; it’s happening everywhere.

AVWK: India has a stealth program

Undeterred by development headaches on some of its indigenous fighter programs, in the next two decades Indian military researchers are looking to explore a range of stealth technologies for future-generation manned and unmanned aircraft.

At the same time, the country is exploring ways to better detect stealth aircraft. Detecting low-observable aircraft is a key element of the Indian 2020 airborne early warning and control development effort, a program likely to start in late 2014. It will be based on a yet-to-be selected widebody. This initiative follows the current Embraer EMB-145-based airborne early warning program featuring an Indian-developed, 240-deg. field-of-view radar. The first of the modified regional jets is due for delivery to India in August, with radar integration to start in October.

The new system will feature a rotodome radar and be integrated with unmanned aircraft and aerostats to allow bi-static radar operations to detect stealth aircraft, says Vijay Kumar Saraswat, scientific adviser to the director general of the Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO). The distributed transmitter and receiver approach should also aid in detecting small targets, such as unmanned aircraft, and provide extended-range detection, Saraswat recently told the Aerospace Forum Sweden 2012.

The advances on India's own stealth technology are largely centered on two efforts. The first is the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), which would operate with a range of 400-600 km (249-373 mi.) between the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (being developed with Russia), and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). The second is the notional Indian unmanned combat air vehicle development, which could take another 10-15 years. The AMCA is a 25-metric-ton-class, twin-engine fighter with an empty weight of around 18 metric tons and 2 hr. of endurance, featuring supercruise; thrust vector control; an active, electronically scanned array radar; and integrated modular avionics.

Many of these technologies could also find their way into the Light Combat Aircraft Mk. 3 that is to be more stealthy than the current Mk. 2 version, which is due to fly in the next two years with the General Electric F414 engine and be ready for operational trials in 2016. The Mk. 3 is to have up to 70% composite content, almost double the current version's level, and could be powered by India's Kaveri turbofan, if that troubled program gets back on track.

Although much of DRDO's research focus is on reducing an aircraft's radar cross section, that is not the only area of activity. Reducing exhaust temperatures and smokeless engine exhaust to suppress an air vehicle's infrared signature also is on the agenda. “There are major areas where research and development is going on at the moment,” Saraswat notes.

A particular near-term focus is on fuselage-shaping, including curved jet pipes and serpentine engine ducts to support low radar cross section designs. In the latter case in particular, Indian researchers are grappling with flow separation in the serpentine duct and seeking to apply advanced flow-control technologies to mitigate the effects. This includes exploring pulse jets and other active devices to eliminate separation problems.



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