And now for the latest in USA Military Tech.
An unmanned experimental aircraft designed to fly six times the speed of sound broke apart over the Pacific Ocean seconds into a military test flight due to a faulty control fin, the U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday. The problem with the fin on the craft known as the Waverider or X-51A was identified in a test flight on Tuesday, 16 seconds after a rocket booster on the remotely monitored craft was ignited to propel it forward. Fifteen seconds later, when the X-51A separated from the rocket booster, it lost control due to a faulty-control fin.The 31 seconds of flight fell far short of the military’s goal for the X-51A to fly for five minutes.
The aircraft broke apart immediately and fell into the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu northwest of Los Angeles.
The Waverider was designed to reach speeds of Mach 6 or above, six times the speed of sound and fast enough to zoom from New York to London in less than an hour. The military has its eye on using the Waverider program to develop missiles with non-nuclear explosives that could strike anywhere in the world within an hour.
The cost of the experimental aircraft, which military officials said was dropped from a B-52 bomber before its rocket booster was ignited, has not been disclosed because many details of the program are classified. The aircraft is known as the Waverider because it stays airborne, in part, with lift generated by the shock waves of its own flight. The Boeing Co’s Phantom Works division performed design and assembly on the craft.
This was the third of four X-51A aircraft built for the military, one of which flew for over three minutes at nearly five times the speed of sound during a 2010 test flight.
The Waverider is part of efforts by the U.S. military to develop a prompt global strike capability to hit targets anywhere in the world within an hour. Over the years, the global strike program will likely eat up billions of dollars in development costs. If the program becomes operational, targets could include conventional military sites or militants.
A missile would likely not be fired from a vehicle like the X-51A, but the craft itself would be the missile.
That the test flight crashed early due to a problem with a fin would likely be frustrating for the military because that part was relatively easy to build, unlike the largely untested Scramjet engine
which uses the forward motion of the craft to compress air for fuel combustion.
Now how cool is this. The Tech being displayed by the USA Military is unbelievable. And they try to tell us that the crash at Roswell was only a weather balloon . Yeah Right !………
Developed by Northrop Grumman, the X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned aircraft designed to take off from and land on moving aircraft carriers at sea.
The U.S. Navy reached a new milestone for a futuristic new stealth drone when it successfully retracted its landing gear and flew in cruise configuration for the first time, engineers announced Tuesday.Developed by Northrop Grumman, the X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned aircraft designed to take off from and land on moving aircraft carriers at sea. New images released today depict a futuristic, almost UFO-like vehicle.
The test flight, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, helped validate hardware and software that would enable the X-47B to land with precision on a moving deck, the company said.
The aircraft is part of the U.S. Navy’s growing fleet of drones as the military looks to shift away from manned aircraft.
Northrop Grumman hopes to have successfully demonstrated the first carrier-based launch by 2013 with autonomous in-air refueling coming one year later.
You have to be concerned when you hear that the United States Government has taken the unprecedented step of asking scientists to censor key parts of their work describing how they managed to mutate the H5N1 bird flu virus into a strain that could be highly infectious.
Officials have become so alarmed at the prospect of the information falling into the hands of terrorists that they have asked for critical details of the experiments to be deleted before publication.
Two groups of scientists, in the Netherlands and the US, have submitted scientific papers describing how they managed to convert the virus, which does not spread easily between people, into an airborne form that can be transmitted in coughs and sneezes.
In a statement released yesterday, the US National Institutes of Health, which funded the research, says there are concerns that the virus could evolve naturally into a form that is transmissible between humans, which could result in a devastating pandemic.
“While the public health benefits of such research can be important, certain information obtained through such studies has the potential to be misused for harmful purposes,” the statement says. “These manuscripts … concluded that the H5N1 virus has greater potential than previously believed to gain a dangerous capacity to be transmitted among mammals, including perhaps humans.”
Ron Fouchier, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, deliberately mutated the virus before passing it from one group of ferrets to another, which led to five mutations in two genes. His work was submitted to Science, while the manuscript of a similar study carried out by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of Wisconsin and Tokyo universities was submitted to Nature.
While supportive of preventing research details falling into the wrong hands, Bruce Alberts and Philip Campbell, editors-in-chief of Science and Nature respectively, spoke of concerns about withholding potentially important public health information from responsible researchers.
Some scientists question whether such research should have been done in a university that does not have sophisticated anti-terrorist security. They also warn that viruses kept in seemingly secure laboratories have escaped in the past to cause epidemics – such as a 1977 flu outbreak.
“The fear is that if you create something this deadly and it goes into a global pandemic, the mortality and cost to the world could be massive,” a senior scientific adviser to the US Government told the Independent. “The worst-case scenario here is worse than anything you can imagine.”
The H5N1 strain of avian influenza has killed hundreds of millions of birds since 1996, but has so far infected only 600 people who came into direct contact with infected poultry. It has killed about 60 per cent of those people, making it one of the most lethal known forms of influenza in modern history – a deadliness moderated only by its inability, so far, to spread easily.
Scientists are in little doubt that the new strain has the potential to kill tens of millions of people. Independent
Once again the hi tech industry in the USA has come up with another edge in unmanned drones .
The U.S. Air Force is sending a single copy of a brand-new stealth drone to Afghanistan. Only maybe not just Afghanistan.
Officially, the General Atomics-made Avenger — a sleek, jet-powered upgrade of the iconic armed Predator and Reaper — is heading to Afghanistan as a combat-capable “test asset.” The Air Force said in a statement that it loves how the Avenger’s “internal weapons bay and four hardpoints on each wing,” will give it “greater flexibility and will accommodate a large selection of next generation sensor and weapons payloads,” as reported by Zach Rosenberg at Flightglobal.
Problem is, you don’t really need those things in Afghanistan. Internal weapons bays, which hide the radar signatures of bombs and missiles, are for stealth: most warplanes don’t have them. And it’s not like the Taliban has been firing radar-guided missiles at NATO aircraft. Besides, there are already dozens of armed drones in Afghanistan. One more isn’t going to make much of a difference.
Which begs the question: Is the 41-foot-long Avenger really meant for Afghanistan? Or is it destined to patrol over Afghanistan’s unruly neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, both of which do have radar-guided missiles? That was a job assigned to the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel before one of those drones crashed in Iran two weeks ago. We’re sure the Air Force has a few more RQ-170s to throw at Iran and Pakistan. After all, the elusive ‘bots have been spotted in Afghanistan, South Korea and Japan. But the Avenger, which debuted just two years ago, is newer and more capable than the Sentinel, which is widely believed to be a product of the early 2000s.
The Avenger reportedly carries a ground-mapping radar and the same ultra-sophisticated cameras as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, making it a perfect candidate for quietly snooping above, say, suspected nuclear facilities or terrorist camps guarded by air-defense radars and missiles. And for a psychological impact, there’s nothing like an advanced, armed stealth drone to put a dent in Iran’s swagger after Tehran captured an apparently intact RQ-170.
To be clear: The Air Force isn’t sending the Avenger to Afghanistan specifically in response to the Iranian drone capture. The flying branch initiated the Avenger purchase back in July, long before we saw the Iranian military on YouTube apparently poking at a dinged-up Sentinel in what appears to be a high school gymnasium.
It’s also not a sure bet that the Avenger would even see action in Afghanistan. The air war over Afghanistan is winding down, big time. NATO warplanes dropped just 310 bombs last month, compared to 866 in November 2010, according to U.S. Central Command. High-tech drone reinforcements are a more natural fit for escalating surveillance operations over Iran and Pakistan than for the Afghanistan war.
The Air Force purchase is apparently the first for the Avenger. The swept-wing General Atomics robot is compatible with the same ground-based control systems as the Predator and Reaper (and possibly the RQ-170, as well). It’s likely the Avenger will simply slot into existing Air Force drone squadrons.
Along with Boeing’s X-45C and Northrop Grumman’s X-47B, the Avenger represents the likely backbone of the Air Force’s and Navy’s future killer-drone fleets. But first, the Avenger will ply its secret trade over Iran and Pakistan Afghanistan. Totally.