Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bell V-280 Valor engine tests begin ...

Photo by Steve Douglass 
Anyone driving to Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Texas  might have seen this odd looking site a Bell V280 Tiltrotor prototype being attached to an engine test stand in front of the Bell Helicopter/Textron Plant.

The Bell V-280 Valor is a third-generation tilt-rotor aircraft being developed by Bell Helicopter and Lockheed Martin for the United States Army's Future Vertical Lift program and is in the running to replace the aging military UH-60 Sikorsky helicopter. 

Photo by Steve Douglass 

Photo by Steve Douglass

Monday, August 28, 2017

BREAKING; North Korea fires missiles over Japan - warnings go out.

South Korea's military said Kim's regime fired the "unidentified projectile" from Pyongyang towards the sea at 5:57am local time.
The government's J-Alert warning system advised people in the area to take precautions.
But public broadcaster NHK said there was no sign of damage and the Japanese military did not attempt to shoot down the missile.
It passed over Japanese territory around 6:06 am local time, officials said.
Kim has sparked fury throughout the world this year by ramping up his missile programme and continuing to threaten the United States.
Donald Trump brought tensions with the North Korea to a new height as he outright threatened "fire and fury" against Pyongyan

Friday, August 11, 2017

China to North Korea: You are on your own ...

BEIJING — China won’t come to North Korea’s help if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil and there is retaliation, a state-owned newspaper warned on Friday, but it would intervene if Washington strikes first.

The Global Times newspaper is not an official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, but in this case its editorial probably does reflect government policy, experts said.

China has repeatedly warned both Washington and Pyongyang not to do anything that raises tensions or causes instability on the Korean Peninsula, and strongly reiterated that idea Friday.

[Trump ramps up rhetoric: U.S. forces “locked and loaded”]

“The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is complicated and sensitive,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement.

China hopes that all relevant parties will be cautious in their words and actions, and do things that help to alleviate tensions and enhance mutual trust, rather than walk on the old pathway of taking turns in shows of strength, and upgrading the tensions.”
In an editorial, The Global Times said China should make it clear to both sides: “when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”

“China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral,” it added. “If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

Thewarning comes at the end of a week of threats and counterthreats between Washington and Pyongyang, and as the United States weighs its options to deal with the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.
The brinkmanship weighed on world financial markets for a fourth consecutive day. Main indexes were down in Frankfurt and Paris, and London’s FTSE 100 touched its lowest level since May. Asian markets also slumped, including South Korea’s KOSPI, dropping 1.8 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was largely flat after the opening bell.
On Tuesday, President Trump threatened to respond to further threats from North Korea by unleashing “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Pyongyang in turn threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific with ballistic missiles

Monday, August 7, 2017

DOD: Drones flying over military bases can now be shot down

DEFENSE TECH.ORG: The Defense Department has formally given guidance to all U.S. military installations on how best to address drones they deem a threat — including shooting them down.

“Protecting our force remains a top priority,” DoD spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in a statement Monday. “That is why the Department of Defense issued very specific, but classified, policies that detail how DoD personnel may counter the unmanned aircraft threat to personnel, vital facilities, and critical assets.”

Davis said the policy itself is not new, as it is based off language enacted in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

“The NDAA is the basis for most of this,” he told “The newness of it is that we’re providing guidance to the local installation commander to craft their public affairs guidance.”

Language in Section 1697 of the NDAA, “Protection of Certain Facilities and Assets from Unmanned Aircraft,” amended Chapter 3 of U.S. Code Title 10, according to budget documents.

Through Section 130i, it gave the department the authority “to take certain actions with respect to unmanned aircraft systems, including using reasonable force to disable, damage, or destroy them,” a defense official told on Monday.

“We won’t go into the specific rules for the use of force; however, we retain the right and obligation to act in self-defense,” the defense official said, reiterating the DoD’s latest stance.

The official added, “We never discuss that because then hobbyists or [those who intend harm] will know how to push the limits.”

Section 1697 offers additional help to specific missions across the Pentagon. For example, protection for the U.S. Air Force’s nuclear mission is highlighted under the bill.

The bill’s language says the defense secretary may authorize armed forces to take action to mitigate threats posed to “the safety or security of a covered facility or asset.”

The meaning behind “covered facility” is broken down even further.

According to the bill, “The term ‘covered facility or asset’ means any facility or asset that a) is identified by the Secretary of Defense for purposes of this section; b) is located in the United States (including the territories and possessions of the United States); and c) relates to — 1) the nuclear deterrence mission of the Department of Defense, including with respect to nuclear command and control, integrated tactical warning and attack assessment, and continuity of government; 2) the missile defense mission of the Department; or 3) the national security space mission of the Department.”

Some Air Force leaders have been outspoken about the issue, asking for even more specific language as it pertains to their bases.

In July, Air Combat Command commander Gen. Mike Holmes told audiences that he wished for more authority to mitigate pesky hobbyists bothering ACC bases for fear they may become a bigger hazard.

Holmes said ACC tracked two incidents earlier this summer in which small drones disturbed operations at ACC, including one in which a drone almost collided with an F-22 Raptor.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

BREAKING: US convoy attacked two dead

ABC NEWS: Two U.S. service members died after their convoy came under attack in Afghanistan.
According to a U.S. official, the convoy was on a routine training, advisement and assistance mission when it was attacked. The Taliban has claimed responsibility.
"I can confirm that two U.S. service members were killed in action in Kandarhar, Afghanistan, when their convoy came under attack," said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. "U.S. Forces Afghanistan will provide additional information as it becomes available."
A statement from Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan said the attack was on a NATO convoy.
ABC News' Stephanie Ramos contributed to this report.


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A Taliban suicide bomber rammed his vehicle into a NATO convoy in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Wednesday, killing two American soldiers, the Pentagon said.

Zia Durani, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said the convoy came under attack when it was traveling in the area of Shorandam, which lies on the main road from Kandahar Airfield, one of the largest American bases in the country.

“The area is cordoned off by the coalition forces,” Mr. Durani said. “We are not aware of their casualties.”

An initial statements said there had been casualties among the convoy. Later, a Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, confirmed that two Americans had been killed.

At the scene of the attack, at least four helicopters landed to evacuate the casualties, and firefighters arrived to extinguish one of the armored vehicles that was in flames. Local officials said two coalition force members had been killed and three wounded.


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