Monday, December 20, 2021

Black "Project Mayhem" hints at secret hyersonics


Recent tests of the US Air Force’s most recent hypersonic development program, ‘Project Mayhem’ creates a vital avenue for the development of hypersonic aircraft, both military and civilian. The project, under the purview of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is designed as a hypersonic missile – larger than the Air-launched Hypersonic Weapon (ARRW) also under development by the Air Force.

Whilst details on the Mayhem project are scant, its capabilities would be transformative for hypersonic aircraft engines. Existing models of hypersonic aircraft, such as the recently showcased Hermeus project ‘Quarterhorse’, uses a turbine-based combined cycle which they claim is capable of be launched using a conventional General Electric J85 turbojet which pivots to a separate hypersonic engine when it approaches hypersonicspeed. The existing demonstrator displayed by the company, does not show how it will achieve that without accumulating significant drag or weight.

The potential of viable multi-cycle designs is hugely significant for both weapons and aircraft concepts, and unlike existing hypersonic projects – it could produce a vessel that is capable of hypersonic flight and could land afterwards, making it reusable. Whilst this development would be more significant for hypersonic aircraft, it would also have utility for hypersonic missiles – providing them with the capability to adjust between speeds depending on mission requirements.

Flying at hypersonic speeds creates further problems not just with standard aviation fuel solid-fuel rocket systems face challenges in high altitudes where hypersonics typically operate and research is being conducted into advanced fuels to provide wider flammability limits as well as longer ranges. European tests of hypersonic aircraft have used hydrogen as fuel, this is because liquid hydrogen is not as combustible as hydrogen reducing the chances of explosion or fire, but this will incur significant costs compared to traditional fuel.

Multi-cycle engines are an area of increasing investment, with Rolls-Royce working with Reaction engines for combined cycle engines for use on a space-launch ship and DAPRA also has a multi-cycle program under development, titled the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program. The development of Mayhem has transformative capabilities for hypersonic flight and will likely provide existing programs with the technology needed for flight.

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Congress Tells Pentagon and Intelligence Community: UFOs Are Serious Business.

DOUGLAS DEAN JOHNSON WASHINGTON– (December 7, 2021, 1:45 PM EST) – With the unveiling today of legislative language already agreed on in negotiations between key lawmakers meeting privately, it is likely that Congress will soon send the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community a set of emphatic statutory commands regarding Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (or UFOs, in common parlance).

The content of the UAP language agreed on by key negotiators from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services committees is being reported and analyzed in detail here for the first time anywhere.

The UAP-related provisions are included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now being advanced under the bill designated S. 1605. I will sometimes refer to the new UAP text as the "Gillibrand-Rubio-Gallego" language, or "GRG." The UAP-related language is contained in Section 1683, covering 15 pages of bill text. Images of the UAP-related pages appear at the bottom of this article.

I read the unwritten message underlying the bill language as something like this: We, the Congress, have concluded that Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are serious business. We want you to start treating it as serious business: Get your act together and get a grip on this problem! Expect to be held accountable.

The measure incorporates a robust array of statutory provisions, in essence commanding the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community to substantially elevate the priority, coordination, and resources that they devote to investigations of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). The legislation describes the overarching mission in unmistakable terms, but also provides detailed mandates and funding authorities to advance UAP investigations, and provisions to require a measure of periodic partial public disclosure of future findings.

This negotiated NDAA proposal has been packed into the shell of a numbered bill that has already passed the Senate (S. 1605, originally dealing with an unimportant memorial), which may simplify the procedural steps in the Senate. Even so, a round or two of legislative "ping-pong" might occur, as the Senate and House work out a few remaining issues unrelated to UAP. It is not likely that the UAP language would be altered during such any such ping pong. Congress has enacted an NDAA for the past 60 consecutive years. I think it likely that this NDAA, with its historic UAP-related provisions, will become law before Christmas.

The new negotiated NDAA text contains most, but not all, of the major components of the Gillibrand-Rubio Amendment. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who sits on both the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, introduced her amendment on November 4, 2021. [I was the first person anywhere to publicly report on the Gillibrand proposal, in a lengthy analytical post on this blog at noon on November 5, 2021. Since then, I have frequently reported on legislative developments pertaining to the proposal via my Twitter account, @ddeanjohnson.] Gillibrand's amendment was quickly co-sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), well known in ufological circles for a number of past actions and strongly worded public statements about UAP, beginning in 2020. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also soon joined as co-sponsors.

Gillibrand's proposal built on and greatly upgraded a set of UAP-related mandates that had earlier been incorporated into the House version of the NDAA (H.R. 4350) by Congressman Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). Gallego is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee-- a panel that had received a classified briefing from the UAP Task Force on June 17, 2021. (My September 11, 2021 report on the groundbreaking Gallego initiative is here.) That bill sailed through the House of Representatives, without any challenge to Gallego's UAP language, on September 23, 2021.

The Pentagon this summer issued a report on UAP sightings that raised more questions than it answered. It found no solid evidence that the still-unexplained sightings were from global adversaries or … something else … but it encouraged political leaders to begin taking the issue more seriously than they traditionally have.
Not so long ago, it would have sounded like science fiction, but today it makes perfect sense that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is proposing creation of the Anomaly Surveillance and Resolution Office, dedicated to investigating these sightings as they occur. Gillibrand has introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act establishing the office.

“If it is technology possessed by adversaries or any other entity, we need to know. … Burying our heads in the sand is neither a strategy nor an acceptable approach,” Gillibrand told Politico last month. “I can count on one hand the number of hearings I had in 10 years on this topic. That’s fairly concerning given the experience our service members have had over the last decade.”

The idea has wide bipartisan support — a rarity these days, and an indication of how seriously this once-snicker-inducing topic is now being taken in Washington. For once, Washington is right.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Biden warns Putin to not invade Ukraine!


President Joe Biden on Friday warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against taking military action against Ukraine after US intelligence warned of Russia's plans to launch an offensive attack as early as 2022.

"We've been aware of Russia's actions for a long time and my expectation is we're gonna have a long discussion with Putin," Biden told reporters outside Camp David in Maryland on Friday, according to the Associated Press

A Biden administration official told the Associated Press that US intelligence has determined Russia plans to deploy 175,000 troops to Ukraine, and about half of them are already stationed near the Ukrainian border.

"What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do," Biden also said Friday.

According to the Washington Post, which first reported the US intelligence information on Friday, the Kremlin is planning an offensive attack as early as next year. It's also demanding the US promise the Ukraine will not join NATO and that NATO will stay out of the region, according to the Post report.

"I don't accept anyone's red line," Biden said, per the AP.

According to the unclassified document seen by the Post, Russian troops are currently stationed in four locations with 50 battlefield tactical groups deployed with tanks and artillery, according to the Post.

"The Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia's snap exercise near Ukraine's borders," a senior administration official told the Washington Post. "The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment."

One Biden administration official told the Associated Press the US has seen an increase in Russian propaganda by proxies and media outlets to weaken Ukraine and NATO.

According to the AP, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the US is close to setting up a call next week between Biden and Putin.

"It certainly would be an opportunity to discuss our serious concerns about the bellicose rhetoric, about the military buildup that we're seeing on the border of Ukraine," Psaki said, according to the AP.

A source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Biden and Zelensky were also working to set up a call next week, the AP reported.

New ICBM radar system goes online

WASHINGTON: The Missile Defense Agency today announced it had finished construction and started initial fielding on a key radar program that, once operational, will play an integral role in protecting the homeland from ballistic missiles.

The Long Range Discrimination Radar, built by Lockheed Martin, is stationed at Clear Space Force Station in Alaska and will be turned over to the Air Force after it completes testing.

“The Long Range Discrimination Radar has finished construction, and we can now begin the testing phase that will lead to the full operational use of this vital system,” MDA Director Vice Adm. Jon Hill said in a statement. “LRDR will allow Northern Command to better defend the United States from ballistic and hypersonic missile threats.”

The S-band radar’s primary purpose is to distinguish between intercontinental ballistic missiles launched by adversarial nations towards the US and decoys or other innocuous objects moving through space. In addition to protecting the country from a legitimate attack, the capability to differentiate between real threats and decoys helps to preserve the Pentagon’s precious supply of interceptors.

LRDR represents one of the Pentagon’s newest ballistic missile sensors, accompanied by several other ground- and sea-based technologies deployed throughout the world, that all send information back to the GMD Fire Control component in Colorado. The ultimate goal with each new sensor is for the Pentagon to create enough vantage points and string together enough information so that no matter where in the world a missile is launched, its network of sensors will be able to find and track that threat until its neutralized.

“Digital, solid-state, and modular radars are already redefining the emerging radar renaissance. From Patriot to Aegis to GMD, the spectrum of air and missile threats is going to require a new generation of sensors, both radars and other types,” Tom Karako, a senior fellow focused on missile defense at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Breaking Defense.

The announcement comes despite a handful of setbacks the program suffered last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Parts of Lockheed Martin’s production were delayed to October 2020 from August 2020 when some workers tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Government Accountability Office report published in April. Coronavirus cases also paused work at the military base in Alaska, derailing “progress during the second half of the fiscal year for LRDR” and prompting further negotiations with Lockheed Martin over additional costs, GAO found.

“The increase included the costs to maintain critical staff on site to monitor the radar and equipment during the evacuation period, as well as production impacts, redeployment, and the performance impacts to the overall contract,” according to GAO.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

CIA has "credible evidence" 10 employees committed sex crimes.


WASHINGTON (TND) — The Central Intelligence Agency reportedly had credible evidence that at least 10 members of its staff, some of whom were contracted employees, committed sex crimes involving children, but only one individual was ever charged.

Senior investigative reporter Jason Leopold and investigative reporter Anthony Cormier with Buzzfeed News detailed their findings in an article after combing through hundreds of internal agency reports they obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits.

Leopold and Cormier say the declassified reports "show a pattern of abuse and a repeated decision by federal prosecutors not to hold agency personnel accountable."

The featured reports detail 14 years of accusations against several CIA employees and contracted employees.

One employee was accused of having sexual contact with both a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old before he was fired. Another employee resigned after being accused of purchasing sexually explicit videos of "young girls" filmed by their mothers. A contractor had his contract revoked after allegedly arranging to have sex with an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a child.

Only one of the people cited in the documents was actually charged, according to the documents.

Prosecutors sent the rest of the cases back to the CIA to handle internally, meaning few faced any consequences beyond the possible loss of their jobs and security clearances," said Leopold and Cormier in their report. "CIA insiders say the agency resists prosecution of its staff for fear the cases will reveal state secrets.

The documents were finally obtained by Buzzfeed News after a nearly decade-long pursuit. Buzzfeed News published the documents for public viewing.


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