Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Land-Based Navy Planes Gather SIGINT

One of the nation's premier signals intelligence collection platforms is the U.S. Navy's EP-3E Aries aircraft,a modified P-3 Orion loaded with SIGINT capabilities.The Lockheed Martin plane intercepts;collects;exploits;fuses;identifies;and disseminates SIGINT in support of joint,theater and fleet command tasking.A crew of 24 on the EP-3E collects and fuses SIGINT information and disseminates it for direct threat warning;information dominance;battlespace situational awareness;air defense supression;and anti-air and anti-submarine warfare applications.The 16 EP-3E Aries aircraft have been thoroughly upgraded over their lifespans through incremental programs that have provided automated electronic surveillance;ForceNET classified network connectivity;and SIGINT sensor capabilities.The aircraft are based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island,Washington and are operated by two fleet air reconaissance squadrons.Lockheed Martin(LMT)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

After the Shuttle:Preparing for Orion Flight Tests

Even as progress is made toward turning over routine low earth orbit transport to contractors such as SpaceX and Orbital Sciences,below the radar,NASA'a deep space team is quietly building momentum,preparing the Orion spacecraft for its upcoming Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014.The EFT-1 will be conducted by Lockheed Martin Space Systems.It is an unmanned mission to evaluate the spacecraft's readiness for a subsequent manned flight test.Orion will be launched on the Delta IV Heavy rocket for EFT-1.The manned test flight to follow will be launched on the new deep space rocket,the Space Launch System,or SLS.The SLS will carry astronauts to the asteroids and beyond,its upper stage powered by the J2X engine.A number of engineering studies and spacecraft fabrication activities,along with Kennedy Space Center renovations,are underway to prepare the Orion spacecraft for EFT-1 and the decades of exploration ahead.Mission Control has also begun to transform itself for this first major step of the Orion program,Exploration Flight Test-1.These preparatory industrial,construction and engineering moves,as well as software integration,parachute and splashdown tests are perhaps not very exciting to the mainstream media,but are the essential underpinnings of the bold new Orion era of manned space flight. Lockheed Martin(LMT),Orbital Sciences(ORB)

NASA - Dragon Fire

NASA - Dragon Fire

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

National Security Cutters Joining the Fleet

The U.S. Coast Guard's National Security Cutter program is right on track.Three of the planned eight vessels have been delivered,and a fourth is under construction. The NSC is the Coast Guard's largest cutter.It is 418 feet long,with a beam of 54 feet.The ship can carry up to two helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles.With a crew of 108,an NSC can sail at up to 28 knots on its three engines.Its armament consists of a Mk110 57mm gun,as well as a Phalanx Mk 15 CIWS,or Close-In Weapons System,and four M2 .50-caliber machine guns. Some of the missions the NSCs have been on include drug interdiction;Arctic patrol;and operations and exercises abroad in support of the Department of Defense.Huntington Ingalls Industries and Lockheed Martin are the program's prime contractors. The oldest of the NSCs is USCGC Bertholf(WMSL 750),which was commissioned in 2008. Huntington Ingalls Industries(HII),Lockheed Martin(LMT)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Operation Enduring Freedom:Navy Officer Killed in Action

Lieutenant Christopher E. Mosko,U.S. Navy,was killed while conducting combat operations in Nawa district,Ghazni Province,Afghanistan on 26 April.A member of Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3,San Diego,he was assigned as a Platoon Commander to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force,Afghanistan.He was killed by an IED explosion along with two U.S. Army sergeants. Lt.Mosko,28,was a graduate of Eau Claire Memorial High School,Wisconsin and Drexel University,Philadelphia,Pennsylvania,where he was commissioned in 2007 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps.Known as an ardent soccer player and choir member at Eau Claire,he listed his residence as Pittsford,New York,where his family resided in recent years.Besides being qualified in explosive ordnance disposal,he also had ratings as a free fall parachutist and scuba diving instructor:a true special ops man.Lt.Mosko was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.In his honor,flags were flown at half staff on New York state buildings. About 90,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan,and most of them are slated for withdrawal by 2014.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Coast Guardsman and Astronaut

Captain Dan Burbank,50,is the second Coast Guardsman to be a NASA astronaut.Born and raised in Connecticut,he graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1985 and became an instructor pilot.Primarily a helicopter aviator,he flew more than 1800 missions,with more than 300 of them being search and rescue.Obtaining an M.S. degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,he began his space flight career with two missions aboard the space shuttle Atlantis in 2000 and 2006,respectively.These involved space walks in which Captain Burbank racked up 7 hours and 11 minutes of EVA time.By 2011,he was on International Space Station crews,serving on Expedition 29 and as Commander on Expedition 30,which just concluded on 27 April.His total time in space is 247 days.Captain Burbank has been decorated with the Legion of Merit;the Air Medal;the National Defense Service Medal with two stars;the NASA Exceptional Service Medal;the Coast Guard Commendation Medal with one award star;and several others.A photo of Captain Burbank after touchdown in Kazakhstan is offered in the previous post. Commander Bruce Melnick,U.S. Coast Guard retired,was the first member of his service to fly in space.