Saturday, August 12, 2017

Stealth Saga #65

6th Gen Fighters:

Russia claims it will incorporate lasers to shoot down missiles in its 6th gen fighter.

PAK-FA:


The PAK-FA engaged in mock combat at MAKS-2017.

The developmental stage of the PAK-FA is set too end by the end of 2017 with the flight testing of the new engine.  However, there may be a translation error as that the development is now stated to be finishing in 2019.  Or was it?

New flight controls were to be demoed on the PAK-FA at MAKS 2017.

The Russians are considering an LRIP of 12 PAK-FAs.

The KH-38ME missile has been modified for a better fit for the PAK-FA.

PAK-DP:

The Russians have revised what they said about when the PAK-DP will start.  2019 is the earliest.

PAK-DA:

In the same article above, the PAK-DA has been postponed for first flight until 2025 to 2026 and production later.

MiG-29 Replacement:

The Russians are talking about a light fighter, Mig-29, replacement by 2025.  Maybe.

FGFA:

The Russians have reiterated the FGFA contract with India will be signed momentarily.  Maybe.

Hunter-B:

A supposed Russian stealthy UAV has surfaced in slides at least: meet the Hunter-B.

H-20:

Status of the H-20 project is discussed at James Town.  Tech demonstrators for the H-20 have likely flown and the first prototype is likely to fly around 2020.

Franco-German Next Gen Fighter:

The French and Germans have signed an agreement to develop a next gen fighter.

Is it a good idea?

The new Franco-German fighter is not a threat to the Franco-British UCAV effort.

B-2:

A cool video of the B-2.

The B-2 is getting a massive upgrade and some sources are starting to call the upgraded B-2s the B-2B.  Unofficially.

F-35:

The F-35 has passed 100,000 flight hours.

The F-35 might get nuclear capabilities faster than previously planned.

The F-35 helmet had a significant glitch with the night vision camera during shipboard testing for the F-35B.

The F-35B has started ski jump testing.

The Gripen withdrew from the Belgian fighter competition, leaving the Eurofighter, Rafale and F-35.

Lockheed is still optimistic about the purchase rate for the F-35.

Lockheed has stated it is on track to finish the SDD flight trials by the end of the year.

META:

The scandals at KAI have brought scrutiny to the F-35 and KF-X programs in South Korea.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Terminator Times #32

Drones (UAVs):

The Army Research Lab has developed a tiny 300g tilt rotor drone it intends to fly autonomously for ISR missions.

The US Army awarded Leonardo a contract to develop a vehicle mounted CUAS system.

A drone buzzed an F-22 parked at an airport and as a result the USAF is calling for defenses against drones (and permission to shoot them down).

A USAF Global Hawk's route when observing the Black Sea and Ukraine.

The USMC is also looking for good drone defenses.

The US Navy has released its latest version of the draft RFP for the MQ-25A Stingray tanker.  The results are rather...disappointing.

Should Lockheed compete an unmanned S-3 for the MQ-25A contract?

A US Navy Research Lab drone can transition from moving through water to the air and back.

The US Navy's Triton drone program costs have risen 17%.

Australia will sign an MOU for seven MQ-4C in March 2018.

Australia also signed a contract with AeroVironment for their WASP-AEs.


China's CH-5 drone had its maiden flight and here are some pictures.

China is also offering its CH-5 for export.

China is supposedly ready to mass produce the CH-5.

Estonia's Threod has a new Stream C UAV.

Estonia's Marduk is to begin testing its Shark counter drone system, a laser.

Estonia's Eli Airborn Solutions is about to start testing its Drone Nest.

The French and Germans have agreed to develop their own MALE UAV.

Germany has ordered more of the LUNA UAVs.

Guardion has entered the CUAS arena.

IAI is boosting its Heron TP offer to India.

Thales has proposed the Watchkeeper UAV to Indonesia.

However, Indonesia is considering Chinese drones.

Iran is now marketing its Hamaseh UAV internationally.

Israel's Aeronautics is reportedly buying an unnamed US drone company.

The Italian air force's Predators have appeared with new markings for a new squadron's activation.

Logos tested its light weight Wide Area Motion Imagery pod on a US Navy drone.

Nigeria has reactivated its UAV training units.

A Hermes 900 was spotted flying over Luzon (Philippines) recently.  This was part of a demonstration for their Air Force.

Russia has modified an unmanned helicopter for Arctic use.

The Chinese may be interested in the new Russian Arctic capable VTOL UAV.

Russia has also unveiled a Predator equivalent, the Orion-Eh.

The Russians are going to start developing a radar equipped VTOL drone for artillery recon.

Russia's Radar MMS details its VTOL effort.

Russia may have a stealthy UCAV called the Hunter-B under development.

Russia's SAT design bureau, the one developing the SR-10 forward swept trainer, has conceived a derivative called the AR-10, a air-to-air and strike UCAV.

The Russians are working on AI-like avionics for their new drones.

South Korea has started production of new radars to detect North Korea's drones.

South Korea's tilt rotor TR-60 UAV has conducted flights from ships.

Turkey's Anka UCAV has made its first airstrikes.

The Anka also had a forced landing.

Bolos and Ogres (Unmanned Ground Vehicles):

China appears to be developing a prototype unmanned logistics truck.

Ukraine's Infocom has developed another armed unmanned ground combat vehicle.

Robo Subs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles):

DARPA has awarded BAe a phase one contract for small UUVs to hunt enemy subs.

META:

Robots should not be programmed to autonomously kill.

Robots might one day refuel US Army helicopters.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

China's Other Base in Africa

The construction of the campsite of China's first peacekeeping helicopter detachment to Sudan was completed in Al Fashir, Sudan on the morning of July 20, local time.

The project has passed the acceptance inspection by the engineering department of the African Union/UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and is now ready to accommodate the Chinese peacekeepers.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Pondering the Precambrian #5

Proterozoic:

Evidence of anoxic and alkaline oceanic conditions in the Vempalle and Tadpatri formations in India from stromatolites.


NeoProterozoic:

The evolution of sponges is reviewed.

Ediacaran:

There was a very negative and unexplained carbon-13 shift during the aftermath of the Snowball Earth episode.

At the dawn of the Ediacaran, during the retreat of the Ghaub Glaciation, the Ediacaran oceans' oxygen levels fluctuated.

Relatives of Cloudina from China are helping our understanding of the Ediacaran biomineralized metazoan.

Using x-ray tomography, attempts are made to interpret trace fossils made by metazoans during the Ediacaran.

Why did metazoans start growing in size during the Ediacaran?

Could the discovery of certain acanthomorphic acritarchs allow for better correlation of different Ediacaran fossils localities?

A unique fossil of Rangea has been found in ironstone and demonstrates a semi rigid skeleton for the Ediacaran critter.

There was an anoxic ocean volume in Brazil during the Ediacaran.

A transitional fauna from the end Ediacaran was found in Nevada.

Cryogenian:

A very thick layer of sediment from the Cryogenian has been found in Death Valley.  Evidence of glacial activity and rifting is present.

Tonian:

Did animals diverge into different lineages in the Tonian prior to the Snowball Earth episode?

The chemical weathering and Rodinia's continental drift in the Tonian contributed to the lead up to the Cryogenian Snowball Earth episode.  It also had a lot of parallels with the lead up to the Huronian Snowball Earth episode.

The evidence of evolutionary radiation of eukaryotes in Africa at the time of the MesoProterozoic/NeoProterozoic boundary.

Vase shaped microfossils have been found in Arizona, USA from the Tonian.

MesoProterozoic:

Was there an oceanic oxygenation spike during the Ectasian 1.36 billion years ago?

Evidence from Mauritania suggests what the paleoecology of the MesoProterozoic might have been like.

PaleoProterozoic:

Examining a paleoproterozoic gold deposit suggests there were two different sources for its carbon content and some caution about inferring the deposition temperatures from Raman spectroscopy.

Examining a paleosol from the Statherian shows atmospheric carbon dioxide was 4.8x preindustrial levels.

Evidence of continental assembly prior to the supercontinent Columbia from Brazil during the Orosirian.

There is evidence of significant geological turmoil during the Orosirian and is interpreted as a true polar wander.

The iron deposits of the Dongshan in China from the Orosirian show evidence of two different sources for the iron.

Siderian fossils from Western Australia seem to show benthic microbial mats seem to have continued to thrive during the Great Oxidation Event.

The evidence from the first known Snowball Earth episode during the Siderian appears to support the Jormungund scenario (slushball earth).

Archean:

Microbial dissimilatory iron reduction was common across the Archean/Proterozoic Boundary.

Plankton-like micro fossils from Australia have been found in South Africa.

Evidence of anaerobic photosynthetic microbes has been found from the PaleoArchean of Australia.

Did life really start on land?

META:

How did the Earth stay warm enough for life despite the Faint Young Star Paradox?

The importance of methane to prebiotic chemistry.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Is Musk (and SpaceX) Steering Away From Mars?

During an appearance at the International Space Station Research & Development Conference on Wednesday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said plans for propulsive crew Dragon landings and Red Dragon missions to Mars had been scrapped, downplayed the probability that the first Falcon Heavy launch will succeed, and even had a good word to say about the moon.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The US Navy is Getting Much Closer to an Operational Railgun


The Navy’s futuristic electromagnetic railgun is set to take a major developmental step forward this summer as developers work to increase the number of shots it can fire per minute and the power behind the system.

The railgun has been a pet project for the Navy for more than a decade since early testing of a prototype for a shipboard system began in 2006. The gun uses electromagnetic force to launch projectiles at high speeds, allowing the system to function without the powder mechanism conventional shipboard guns.

In theory, a railgun would be safer and potentially cheaper to fire than traditional weapons. Navy plans have called for installing the railgun on the Navy’s three DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, but it’s not clear when that will happen.

For now, officials with the Office of Naval Research are working to build the program up to its target capability envelope.

This summer and into next year, work will focus on increasing the power with which projectiles are fired to the target of 32 megajoules, and increasing what’s known as the rep rate to 10 shots per minute, or one every six seconds, said Dr. Tom Beutner, head of Naval Air Warfare and Weapons for ONR.

link.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Turkey Moved More Troops Into Qatar

The slow build-up of Turkish soldiers in Qatar has continued, despite their withdrawal being one of the demands that Saudi Arabia and its allies have insisted Doha complies with before they lift their blockade of the emirate.

The Qatari ministry of defence (MoD) announced on 11 July that a fifth instalment of Turkish soldiers had arrived in Doha to join their comrades at the Tariq bin Zayid Battalion base, under the provisions of the military co-operation agreement signed by the two countries. The ministry released photographs showing Turkish troops disembarking from a Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) C-130J-30 transport aircraft.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) did not confirm the statement, but Turkish newspapers reported on the following day that that a 45-strong commando unit affiliated to the Istanbul-based 1st Army Command had arrived in Doha. The Dogan News Agency (DHA) reported that another contingent of about 25 soldiers from an artillery unit would arrive in Qatar between 16 and 19 July with T-155 Fırtına self-propelled howitzers.