Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Iranian nuclear ambitions delayed?

Sunday’s New York Times will have an article on the Front Page that strongly suggests that the Stuxnet worm was an Infowar attack by the Israeli’s against the Iranian Nuclear program. It goes on to suggest that the US assisted and supported the development of this worm as a way to slow down the Iranian attempt to create a nuclear bomb.

This program has seemed to work – and Israeli and US intelligence seem to think this has added 3 years to the timetable for the Iranian’s to have a usable nuclear device.

Time will tell – if this has had the desired effect – or shown others a new way to attack their enemies.

 

Israel has permission to overfly Saudi Arabia

It is always fun to see what stories are published on a slow summer Friday – that fly completely under the radar.

Take for example this story published by The Times on Saturday – that claims the Israeli’s have Saudi permission to overfly Saudi airspace on the way to attack Iran.

The fact that the story appears no where else – makes you wonder if it was just an early ‘test leak’ to gauge public opinion, or else just put pressure on the Iranian government to comply w/ UN Arms control directives.

 

Airborne Laser shoots and scores!

Last night – the US Air Force’s much maligned Airborne Laser project hit the jackpot with a successful in-flight engagement and destruction of a Scud-like ballistic missile shortly after it was launched.

In the video below, a timecode that could be used to evaluate how long the laser was on target before its destruction – is noticeably missing.

The Airborne Laser is a chemically charged laser mounted in a modified Boeing 747-400 Freighter. This was originally planned to go into Operational use, but due to cost and schedule overruns, (Defense) Secretary Gates decided last year to downgrade the project to a R&D project. Whether this successful test will change the Pentagon’s plans for this system – has yet to be seen.

It is unknown how long this test has been planned, but what is interesting is that the results of this test were publicized, while another successful test earlier this month was not (last sentence in press release). It is possible that publicizing this test was meant to show an uncooperative Middle East state that continued nuclear enrichment is not a good idea.

 

AWACS – key to the modern Air War

Every modern airforce has Airborne Radar and Command & Control aircraft to not only direct offensive operations – but to also control their air defenses. But these aircraft are not cheap. Up until recently – only the major powers (US, NATO & Russia) could afford a fleet of these highly specialized aircraft.

The Western powers have standardized on the US Boeing E-3 Sentry (based on the Boeing 707 airliner), while the Russian’s based their AWACS on the Ilyusin IL-76 transport, refered to as the Beriev A-50 ‘Mainstay’.

RAAF 737 Wedgetail

[As technology has advanced and electronics have shrunk – Air Forces have no longer needed the size and capacity of a four engined aircraft. Newer AWACS-type aircraft are based on smaller aircraft – like the Boeing 737 pictured above undergoing shakedown tests before being delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force.]

One of the side affects of the Gulf War (I and II) was that the world saw the effect of a quality command and control system (and what happens when you don’t have one), so many countries have tried to add this capability to their own armed forces.

One of the most watched countries in the world – Iran – had recently upgraded its sole large AWACS aircraft. It was a hand me down IL-76 that originally came from Iraq (before the first Gulf War kicked off several Iraqi Air Force aircraft were ‘evacuated’ to Iran, rather than being shot down by Coalition forces), and was upgraded by the Russian’s last year.

Il-76/A-50 Mainstay

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Marine One data exposed by Contractor


Marine One

Originally uploaded by Pradagirl

It was disclosed this morning that blueprints and specifications of the Presidential Helicopter ‘Marine One’ have been compromised via a File Sharing program on a contractor’s computer.

And that the same data was found on a computer system in Tehran Iran.

The article doesn’t mention if this is the current Marine One, or the new Marine One (which might never go into service due to continuing cost overruns).

Someone will probably lose their job over this (unless they are a VP).

But this is a prime example of why you keep work on one computer and play on another.

 

[UPDATED] Red Bear Rising

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After years of living with the Cold War, many of us were surprised and chagrined to see Russia’s more relaxed, apparently friendly stance towards the world.  For a while, Russia almost dropped off the news map, as Russia became rather self-absorbed with their charismatic new leader, Vladimir Putin.  Clearly, however, that was not a time of narcissicsm; rather, it was a time of internal growth, stabilization, and unification. And it seems, now, that we may be starting to see the fruits of that growth.

Most of the world knows about the gas row in Ukraine last month, resulting in the cut off of Russian natural gas to the EU.   Not to mention the whole conflict with Georgia that was in the news last year. These incidents represent a much more aggressive stance than that which we’ve experienced from our global neighbor in past years.

Indeed, the indications seem to be that Russia is trying to return to what it perceives as its remembered time of greatness as a world leader.

Consider:

  • Last week, when the EU hinted about concerns over the murders of two Russians who were speaking out against the government, Russia responded not by trying to deny, feign ignorance, or cover up, but rather by accusing the EU of its own human rights abuses.
  • And today, Nikolai Bordyuzha, former KGB leader who is now the general secretary of the ODKB (or, in western alphabet, CSTO – think: Russian version of NATO), announced that Russia and its allies will be creating a joint-air defense system of its own, running the entire breadth of Russia, and encompassing Belarus, and most likely the other member countries of the ODKB.

For a long time, Russia has directed anger at NATO, condeming it for both its actions and for being what Russia calls “a puppet of the U.S.”  Now it seems Russia wants to play the same game.  Given the growing desire of Russia to return to the world stage, combined with the continuning problems in the middle east, and the ongoing struggles in Europe, the ODKB (which indicated some time ago that they would welcome an application from Iran to join its ranks) may well be a much larger player in the coming months and years.

Not to mention Russia itself.

UPDATE – Threat Watcher here – and let’s not forget the sudden development that Kyrgyzstan is closing Manas Airbase to the US.  Don’t know where Kyrgyzstan is?  Or why this is important?  Manas is the primary US supply point for getting men and material (food, bullets, etc) in and out of Afghanistan.

According to the New York Times;

The United States has leased the Central Asian base since after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, but American officials said they believed that Russia was using an offer of more than $2 billion in loans and grants to Kyrgyzstan to force the United States out of the region, colloquially referred to as “the Stans.”

Now that the Russian economy is back on its feet (thanks to sales of gas & petroleum to the West), the Russians can reassert control over the former Soviet Republics via ‘soft’ power.  No longer does the Kremlin need to deploy a Guards Shock Army to maintain power – all they have to do is to keep the money flowing.

 

Iran’s Satellite launch – real or Photoshop?

By now – everyone should be aware that the Iranian’s launched a small Sputnik type of satellite into low Earth Orbit yesterday.  But what was suprising – was the time that it took for the it to be publicized by the mainstream press.

My daily newsletter from Spaceflightnow.com – had this launch as their lead item when I got up in the morning (6am MST).

The headline about the launch from the BBC showed up a couple of hours later – in my crawl bar across the browser.

And then pulling up the rear – was CNN late in the day finally decided they had enough info to publish.  I guess CNN wanted to make sure that they were reporting a real story – and weren’t about to be had by a Photoshop’d picture – like during the Iranian’s Missile test last October (picture below);

Iranian Missile test - enhanced by Photoshop

Iranian Missile test - enhanced by Photoshop

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