Photos from this year’s Thunder over Michigan Air Show at Willow Run (Michigan) airport.
Photos from my latest visit to the Behind the Scenes Tour at the National Museum of the United State Air Force. Work is progressing on the B-17 Memphis Belle, and the B-17 Swoose.
Photos from the my latest visit to the National Museum of the United State Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. I traveled down to go on the behind the scenes restoration tour (photos to be posted) and I had a chance to take a few photos in the main museum.
Despite limited success in testing, the Navy railgun program has been fallen to budget cuts. The weapon was not slated to reach operation status until the 2020s, but congress has decided to kill the program.
“With the Electromagnetic Railgun, the committee felt the technical challenges to developing and fielding the weapon would be daunting, particularly [related to] the power required and the barrel of the gun having limited life.
As the US scales back its airborne laser program due budget constraints and performance issues, the Russians are moving ahead with their airborne attack laser which has the capability to blind and possibly disable American satellites.
The A-60’s nose doesn’t seem to have any openings, however. Instead, there’s a “large bulge on the upper back of the aircraft [that] is apparently a sliding port for a 1-megawatt laser turret,” space historianDwayne A. Day writes for The Review. “The laser is clearly intended to fire up, at something above the plane, rather than to the sides or down, to engage ground targets or other aircraft.”
The craft’s nose art show it attacking the Hubble telescope but the Russians seem to be fielding a capability that will prevent the US from taking more than just pretty pictures of the cosmos.
Sometimes I think the former Soviet Union would fund any crazy idea their scientists could conceive of. The latest example is the Lun Ekranoplan, an aircraft so large and bizarre that the US officials created a special drone just to monitor its testing says a new book on Area 51.
The Lun ekranoplan weighs 380 tons, has a 148-foot wingspan and can launch six anti-ship missiles from flight. Or rather, it could, before it was retired to a forlorn pier in southern Russia.
You have to hand it to the Russians, they take the phrase go big or go home to heart.
National Geographic has published recently declassified photos of the A-12 (the predecessor of the SR-71) undergoing radar signature testing at Area 51 and photos of a crash that occurred during a test flight.
The Department of Defense has released its long term procurement plan, which reveals that UAV force is expected to double by 2021.
The Army’s got a Reaper-esque drone called Gray Eagle. The Marines want a similar UAV as part of their “Group 4 Unmanned Air System” program. The Navy’s so-called Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Strike and Surveillance initiative aims to put a jet-powered killer drone onto carrier decks no later than 2018. Around the same time, the Air Force could begin buying its own jet-powered attack ‘bot to complement the prop-driven Reaper.
By the end of the current decade, the Air Force should have enough medium and large drones to maintain at least 65 ’round-the-clock “orbits,” compared to 48 today. Add UAVs from the other services, and you’re looking at 100 or so permanently on-station killer drones, watching and waiting to swoop down with precision-guided bombs and missiles.
The manned aircraft inventory is expected to remain steady and in case you were wondering the venerable B-52 is expected to stay in service for another few decades.
Two years ago, pictures leaked of a previously unknown, bat-winged drone operating out of Afghanistan’s Kandahar airport. Speculation spiked about the mission of the mysterious aircraft, instantly nicknamed “the Beast of Kandahar” by secret plane-spotter extraordinaire Bill Sweetman.
The drone’s smooth, curved shape meant it was stealthy — hard for radars to spot. But the Taliban didn’t have any radars. So what was the Beast doing?
Some suggested that it might be snooping on Iran’s nuclear program. Others thought the drone (officially known as the RQ-170 Sentinel) might be the test bed for a new, microwave weapon to fry enemy electronics or a next-gen jammer to screw with enemy communications. The drone was even spotted over Korea; maybe it was watching missile launches while avoiding the prying eyes of our foes in Pyongyang?
Turns out, the Beast wasn’t dodging enemy radars, at least not lately. It was avoiding detection by our putative allies in Pakistan, as it gathered intelligence about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts.
As more details emerge about the raid that finally bagged Osama Bin Laden, one thing is perfectly clear- the U.S. went all out to ensure the success of the operation- even if it meant revealing previously hidden strategic assets.
When one the helicopters experienced a failure that required it to be destroyed to prevent it from falling into unfriendly hands, the debris revealed the existence of a previously undisclosed variant of the Blackhawk dubbed the “silenthawk.” Further conjecture points to stealth version of the H-47 taking part as well.
The latest revelation centers on the “Beast of Kandahar” that was sighted numerous times in the region over the last several years. Officially known as the RQ-170 Sentinel, the drone was used to stealthily gather intelligence on the lair of the Bin Laden and evade detection by Pakistani forces which may have tipped off the Taliban leader.
While ultimate credit belongs to the Navy Seal team which performed the raid, American technology made it possible.