Archive for September, 2008

When you absolutely positively have to hit it in 30 minutes

Imagine – you know that a high value target will be at Location “X” in approximately 30 minutes.

It is far from the Continental US and there isn’t a CVBG in range. And Congress (among a host of others – including me) didn’t like the idea of putting conventional warheads on old Minuteman III’s.

The war against Iraq started in 2003 with a strike very much like this. But in this case – there was a B-1 bomber loitering far overhead – that was able to dash in and drop a dedicated load of bombs in an attempt to take out Saddam Hussein (The decapitation strike was a result of Saddam giving false information to a possible traitor on his staff. USAF blew up the building – and Saddam knew who to have shot).

But what do you do when you don’t have a heavy bomber nearby? In Afghanistan – UAV’s – like the Predator and the Reaper have been flying as much as the pilots and the mechanics can support them. Both those still require a forward base for the UAV’s to launched and recovered to.

For years the US has dreamed of having something able to be launched from the continental US and be able to fly at hypersonic speeds to be able to hit a target.

DARPA’s FALCON project – has been an attempt to create just such a system.

The requirement – deliver a 12,000 lb payload, out to 9,000 miles, in under 2 hours.

[This is the first in a series of articles about FALCON – and whether or not it will ever happen]


B-2 Spirit – pretty cool

B-2 Spirit on IR

B-2 Spirit on IR

This picture was supposedly taken by a Eurofighter Typhoon.  Obviously from below the B-2.  Pretty cool overall.  If you look to the trailing edge of the wing – near the center – you will see white lines – which is probably the heating from the engines.

I bet the same shot from overhead – would show a more dramatic rise in the exhaust signature.

I have to wonder though – why this image got out anyway.  It shows me – that the best way to look for a B-2 – would be from above.  Very high altitude a/c – or even an orbit IR sensor.

Unless it is time to illustrate the B-2’s shortcomings – so the NGB can get more $$$$.


Tanker follies – continue into the New Year/Administration

KC-767 Tanker Aircraft

Originally uploaded by planephotoman

The Pentagon has announced that the controversial bidding for the new Tanker aircraft – won’t start again until after the New Year (i.e. after the Election).

Which will give Boeing a chance to redo their proposal to be based on the 777 instead of the 767 (since the USAF seems to prefer a large airplane).

Boeing needs all of the help they can get right now. Not only are they in the middle of what will probably turn into a bitter strike with their Machinists Union – but they just announced that the delivery of the 767 tankers to Italy will slip to 2009.


Blackjack’s in Venezuela

Blackjack w. Flanker

Originally uploaded by yuriybrisk

After reports yesterday that Russian ships (based around the nuclear powered battle cruiser “Peter the Great”) would be sailing to Venezuela to conduct joint exercises – comes late word today that two Tu-160 Blackjack bombers (one is pictured w/ a Su-27 Flanker for a size comparison) have already been sent.

They landed earlier after a 13 hr flight (probably from the Kola Penisula).

Congress – can we please order more F-22’s now?


Kim Jung Il or Kim Jung Dead?

Flag - North Korea

(it was a bad pun – but my fingers couldn’t resist)

North Korea has been quiet for some time – too quiet some would say.  Last month – the N Korean’s stopped working on disabling their reactor at Yongbyon – when the US didn’t remove NK from a list of states that supports terrorism.

Then – about 48 hours ago – an Australian news organization publishes a story from a Japanese International Relations professor – saying Kim Jong Il has been dead for nearly 5 years.  And any appearances since that point have been carefully staged with body doubles.

[follow the link above – the story has a 2003 picture and a 2008 picture.  The changes between the two are believable for a 60+ year old man.]

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