Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Does leaker Snowden have a "doomsday cache?"

(Reuters) - British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a "doomsday" cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.
The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.
The data is protected with sophisticated encryption, and multiple passwords are needed to open it, said two of the sources, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
The passwords are in the possession of at least three different people and are valid for only a brief time window each day, they said. The identities of persons who might have the passwords are unknown.
One source described the cache of still unpublished material as Snowden's "insurance policy" against arrest or physical harm.

U.S. officials and other sources said only a small proportion of the classified material Snowden downloaded during stints as a contract systems administrator for NSA has been made public. Some Obama Administration officials have said privately that Snowden downloaded enough material to fuel two more years of news stories.
"The worst is yet to come," said one former U.S. official who follows the investigation closely.

Friday, November 22, 2013

China tests RQ-170 like stealth drone

ABC NEWS: China has completed its first successful stealth drone test, according to China state media today.

“The successful flight shows the nation has again narrowed the air-power disparity between itself and Western nations,” China Daily newspaper said. The newspaper attributed confirmation to photographs taken by military fans.

Military expert Andrei Chang told the AFP the design appeared a “little na├»ve,” but if successful would indeed mark a milestone for China.

Lijian, or Sharp Sword, was reportedly produced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, but the information office has not yet confirmed the test.

News of the 20-minute test on Thursday in southwest China and photographs of Lijian first appeared on cjdby.net, a popular military forum.

Lijian’s test makes China the fourth nation to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Online reports suggest it is a delta-wing, single engine drone. It has been compared to both the Northrop Grumman-made X-47 series used by the U.S. Navy and the Russian MiG Skat drone.

Wang Ya’nan, the deputy editor in chief at Aerospace Knowledge Magazine, told China Daily the drone seems to be equipped with the RD-93, a Russian turbofan engine originally designed for a fighter jet.

“The drone, which is capable of flying undetected at high altitudes while providing high-resolution video and other intelligence, will let maritime departments keep abreast of developments in the East and South China seas and will help Beijing make accurate decisions when dealing with territorial disputes with its neighbors, ” Xu Guangyu, a former PLA major general told the SCMP.

The most recent Pentagon report on the Chinese military, published in May, alluded to Lijian.

“The acquisition and development of longer range Unmanned Aerial Vehicles…and Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles, will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations.”

Friday, November 1, 2013

Aviation Week Exclusive- SR-72 revealed ...

click here

Although there has been evidence to suggest that work on various classified successors to the SR-71, or some of its roles, has been attempted, none of the tantalizing signs have materialized into anything substantial. Outside of the black world, this has always been relatively easy to explain. Though few question the compelling military imperative for high speed ISR capability, the astronomical development costs have made the notion a virtual nonstarter.

But now Lockheed Martin believes it has the answer. “The Skunk Works has been working with Aerojet Rocketdyne for the past seven years to develop a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a scramjet to power the aircraft from standstill to Mach 6 plus,” says Brad Leland, portfolio manager for air-breathing hypersonic technologies. “Our approach builds on HTV-3X, but this extends a lot beyond that and addresses the one key technical issue that remained on that program: the high-speed turbine engine,” he adds, referring to the U.S. Air Force/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) reusable hypersonic demonstrator canceled in 2008.

The concept of a reusable hypersonic vehicle was an outgrowth of Darpa’s Falcon program, which included development of small launch vehicles, common aero vehicles (CAV) and a hypersonic cruise vehicle (HCV). As structural and aerodynamic technologies for both the CAV and HCV needed testing, Lockheed Martin was funded to develop a series of unpowered hypersonic test vehicles (HTV).


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