Wednesday, May 31, 2017

US Air Force CSAR Pave Hawk Successor Reaches Critical Design Review - Rotor

US Air Force CSAR Pave Hawk Successor Reaches Critical Design Review - Rotor: Sikorsky’s HH-60W can now prepare for assembly, test and evaluation, Lockheed Martin said. The U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) project has successfully reached air vehicle critical design review. “This milestone is an important achievement and demonstrates Sikorsky and the Air Force are well aligned on the technical requirements of the HH-60W,” said Tim …

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sec. Mattis warns conflict with North Korea may lead to "the worst kind ...

F-15K Slam Eagles Takeoff • Kunsan Air Base South Korea

US supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers joint drill with South Korea after N Ko...

North Korea Threatens Japan with Latest Missile Test - US,South Korea respond with B-1Bs,fighter jets and aircraft carriers

On 29 May 2017,Memorial Day in the US,North Korea launched its third ballistic missile test in less than three weeks and its twelfth of the year.The missile was fired at 0539 hours locval time from near Wonsan,Kanguan Province,on North Korea's east coast.It traveled 248 miles to a point in Japan's exclusive economic zone,a place with heavy commercial ship and aircraft traffic that is within 200 miles of the Japanese coast.*
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said:
It is a severe threat to the peace and stability of not only the Korean Penninsula,but also the international community.Since our government took office,North Korea has been frequently and repeatedly conducting provocation in such a manner.*
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff added:
North Korea's continuous provocative actions will cause its own isolation and it will be facing strong punishment from our own military.*
Defence experts say the number and pace of the missile tests mean North Korea is accelerating reaching its goal of developing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the mainland US.*
For his part,Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that:
We can never tolerate North Korea's repeated provocations violating repeated warnings from the international community.We have lodged a firm protest against North Korea as we have agreed at the G7 Summit that North Korea is the priority of the international community.In order to deter North Korea,we will take concrete action together with the US.We will maintain high vigilance in coordination with South Korea and we will take all possible measures to secure the safety of the people of Japan.*
In the event,South Korea revealed that,at about 1030 hours,two US Air Force B-1B Lancer strategic bombers arrived over the East Sea some five hours after the missile test.The swept-wing bombers flew about 80 kilometers east of Gangueng,a city near the Military Demarcation Line that defines the border between North and South Korea.Warplanes from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and South Korean F-15K fighter jets joined in the responsive drill.North Korea described it as a nuclear bomb-dropping exercise,but:
Such military provocations of the US imperialists is a dangerous reckless racket for bringing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.*
Indeed,the KNCA official North Korean news agency disclosed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had recently watched the test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system organised by the Academy of National Defense Science.This weapon system,whose operational capacity has been thoroughly verified,should be mass-produced to be deployed all over the country.It will completely destroy the enemy's wild dream to command the air,boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty.*
Besides the Carl Vinson,the US has the carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Western Pacific as well.What is more,it is reportedly sending the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68 ) to join them.Three carriers in one region is almost unheard of for the US Navy.

Friday, May 26, 2017

DARPA, Boeing Spaceplane Would be New Class of Hypersonic Aircraft - Avionics

DARPA, Boeing Spaceplane Would be New Class of Hypersonic Aircraft - Avionics: What do you get when you mix a business jet with a rocket? Presumably, it would result in Phantom Express, Boeing and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) XS-1 program aircraft-like vehicle. DARPA selected Boeing to complete advanced design work, and investment is coming from both parties.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The U-2 Takes On Northern Edge 17 - the U-2S Dragon Lady visits Alaska for the first time in decades

Eastern Wolf Pack Howling - Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Wolves 2016 - aka Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon)

Nature Note:Eastern Coyotes Don't Replace Missing Wolves - study suggests reintroducing wolves still necessary

A thorough study by John F. Benson et al. in Central Ontario considerably explicates the ecology of wild canids in Eastern North America.The paper,Ungulate predation and ecological roles of wolves and coyotes in eastern North America,was recently published in the April 2017 issue of Ecological Applications.Understanding the ecological roles of species that influence ecosystem processes is a central goal of ecology and conservation biology,the authors say.This study sought to clarify the predatory ability and ecological roles of the different top canid predators of Eastern North America by investigating intrinsic and extrinsic influences on per capita kill rates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and moose (Alces alces) by canids of varying Canis ancestry in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park in Central Ontario.Erroneously concluding that Eastern coyotes have replaced the ecological roles once performed by wolves could detract from wolf restoration efforts and the conservation of naturally functioning ecosystems.Thus studies of predation patterns of Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) and Eastern coyotes (Canis latrans var.) are needed to critically evaluate the ecological functions performed by wild canids in Eastern North America.*
In 2015,the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that Eastern wolves be recognised as a separate species rather than a subspecies of Grey wolf.Currently the majority of Eastern wolves inhabit areas in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.Besides Eastern wolves,in the study we are reviewing today,admixed Grey wolves are referred to as Great Lakes-boreal wolves.The study combines GPS telemetry,field investigations,DNA analysis and environmental data to quantify predation on deer and moose by canids of varying Canis* ancestry in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.*
Previous studies revealed that Eastern wolves were the dominant resident canids in APP (estimated 63%).There are smaller numbers of Eastern wolf x Great Lakes-boreal wolf hybrids and wolf (Great Lakes-boreal and Eastern wolf) x Eastern coyote hybrids (29%),with whom they sometimes form packs.Eastern coyotes (estimated 64%) and Eastern coyote x wolf (Great Lakes-boreal and Eastern wolf) hybrids (29%) were the dominant resident canids of adjacent Wildlife Management Unit 49,where wolves were much rarer.Both APP and WMU 49 were characterised by hardwood,conifer and mixed forests interspersed with wetlands,lakes and rocky meadows.The landscapes have elevations ranging from 180-580 meters in APP and 79-549 meters in WMU 49.*
The authors note that Eastern coyotes have ascended to the role of apex predator across much of Eastern North America since the extirpation of wolves (Canis spp.) and there has been considerable confusion regarding their ability to prey on ungulates and their ecological niche relative to wolves.Eastern wolves are thought to have been the historical top predator in eastern deciduous forests and have previously been characterised as deer specialists that are inefficient predators of moose because of their smaller size relative to grey wolves (Canis lupus).*
In any event,the basic findings of the study under consideration suggest the following:
1.Eastern coyote ancestry within packs negatively influenced per capita total ungulate (moose and white-tailed deer) and moose kill rates.
2.Furthermore,such packs consumed significantly less ungulate biomass and more anthropogenic (human-related) food than packs dominated by wolf ancestry.
3.Similar to Grey wolves in previous studies,Eastern wolves preyed on deer when they were available.However,in areas of scarcity,Eastern wolves killed moose at rates seen previously among Grey wolves at comparable moose densities across North America.
4.Most critically,Eastern coyotes are effective deer predators,but their dietary flexibility and low kill rates on moose suggest they have not replaced the ecological role of wolves in Eastern North America.If this were not understood,ecosystems that are in fact in need of restoration by the reintroduction of wolves could be overlooked.*
Large remote tracts of mature forest inhabited primarily by moose rather than deer are rare in the Northeastern US,which will make Eastern wolf establishment difficult in the presence of abundant coyote populations,the authors point out.Reintroducing Great Lakes-boreal wolves may be advantageous given that hybridisation between sympatric (inhabiting the same area) Great Lakes-boreal wolves and coyotes appears to be minimal in areas where they overlap.Great Lakes-boreal wolves are aggressive with and behaviourally dominant to coyotes,whereas Eastern wolves tend to treat coyotes similar to conspecifics in territorial interactions,at least at the home range level.Great Lakes-boreal wolves have successfully colonised areas in Minnesota,Wisconsin and Michigan that were characterised by younger forests,habitat fragmentation and abundant coyotes,suggesting they could also persist in the Northeastern US.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

steers capsule and launch abort system away from launch vehicle in event of emergency - Test Fire of Orbital ATK’s Attitude Control Motor for NASA’s Orion Space...

NASA Orion parachute test, 8 March 2017

Orion Capsule from Lockheed Martin

Bulletin:NASA Rejects Revision to Orion Program Schedule - thanks,but no thanks

NASA has politely declined the White House's suggestion that it might speed things up and make the first launch of the integrated Orion system,Exploration Mission -1,also the first crewed Orion mission.While expressing gratitude for President Trump's obvious enthusiasm for the space program,the agency feels it would not be in the long-term interests of the Orion Program to skip the uncrewed fully integrated test flight it originally planned for,this late in the mission planning process.It would be difficult.*
Instead,NASA will proceed with a focus on the uncrewed EM-1 test flight,while at the same time constructing hardware for the first crewed Orion mission,EM-2.EM-1 is now planned for a 2019 launch,taking all factors into consideration,including hurricane damage that was sustained by NASA facilities.EM-1 will be a technological milestone,as it takes a human-rated spacecraft to a high lunar orbit,farther than one has ever gone before.It will also be a definitive confirmation that Orion is indeed on track for safe,reliable operations in deep space.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Heather Wilson Confirmed as New Air Force Secretary

Heather Wilson Confirmed as New Air Force Secretary: The U.S. Senate voted to confirm the former congresswoman and Air Force Academy graduate to be the next Air Force secretary.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

X-37B OTV-4 landing (close-up) 7 May 2017

2015 Launch of US Air Force's Mini Space Shuttle - X-37B on Atlas V Rocket

Pentagon Identifies US Service Member Killed in Somalia - New England native excelled in special ops

The Pentagon has announced that Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken,38,of Falmouth Maine,was killed while on a raid with Somali commandos against al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabaab about 40 miles west of the Somali capital Mogadishu.SCSWO Milliken and his team were helicoptered into the raid and immediately took fire from the militants.He was wounded along with two other Americans and medivaced to the neighbouring nation of Djibouti,where he died of his wounds.*
SCSWO Milliken was a husband and father who resided with his family in Virginia Beach,Virginia.He was a member of SEAL Team Six,the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.SCSWO Milliken was a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghan Wars,earning a total of four Bronze Star Medals for his service,among many others.A graduate of the University of Connecticut,he had been in the Navy for 13 years.*
Fifty US Special Warfare Operatives are currently serving in a train and advise capacity with the African Union forces in Somalia.SCSWO Milliken was the first US service member to be killed in action in Somalia since 1993,when 18 US service members died in the Battle of Mogadishu,which was dramatised in the movie "Blackhawk Down."*
According to a Somali official,the special operation was surgically targeting senior members of al-Shabaab hiding in the area and a media outlet supportive of the Islamist extremists.It was considered a success as several of the terrorists were killed.*
SCSWO Milliken will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday, May 5, 2017

U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation - counterterrorist mission

U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation: U.S. Africa Command issued a news release that said a U.S. service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab near Barii, Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

As Battle of Mosul Ebbs,US Army Officer Killed in Iraq

Even as the Iraqi Security Forces near perhaps the greatest victory in their history by having liberated all but a pocket of the longtime Islamist extremist stronghold of Mosul,a young US Army officer was killed in action on 29 April 2017 by an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant IED as he helped secure the outskirts of the city.He was identified by the Pentagon as 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee,25,of Bluffton,Georgia.1ST LT Lee was on a patrol in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,providing security as part of advise and assist to partnered forces,when the IED exploded.ISIL militants have heavily mined and booby-trapped all the areas of and around Mosul they withdrew from,making the city and surrounding area extremely hazardous.*
1ST LT Lee was a member of the 1st Battalion,325th Infantry Regiment,2nd Brigade Combat Team,82nd Airborne Division,out of Fort Bragg,North Carolina.An ROTC graduate of the University of North Georgia,he had enlisted in the Army in 2015 and excelled in pistol marksmanship as an ROTC cadet.Commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in December 2014,1ST LT Lee earned his Ranger tab prior to his Parachutist badge.Among his other decorations were the National Defense Service Medal,Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.The paratrooper was on his first tour in Iraq,having deployed there in December 2016,and posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal,Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.*
At this point,the ISF have wiped out most of the 6,000 ISIL fighters that had been holding Mosul.Only 200-300 remain,and they are surrounded in the city's northwest,dug in among about 400,000 civilians running short on food,water and medicine in the historic Old City area.Mostly the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service and Federal Police are fighting inside Mosul;while the Iraqi Army regulars,Shiite volunteers and Kurdish Peshmerga control the perimeter.A total of about 100,000 ground troops supported by OIR coalition airpower and artillery have been battling ISIL in the Battle of Mosul since October 2016,which is expected to be concluded in a maximum of three weeks' time.