Friday, June 23, 2017

Drone crashes in Sierra Nevada moutains

A U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk crashed near Mount Whitney in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range at approximately 1:45 p.m. PST yesterday.
No injuries or deaths were reported.
The remotely piloted aircraft was assigned to 12th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale Air Force Base, California, and was on a routine flight from Edwards Air Force Base en route to its home station when it crashed.
The incident is currently under investigation.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Is Lockheed's NGAD concept the "Dorito" we photographed over Amarillo, Texas?

This author  can't help but feel a bit of vindication when I saw Lockheed Skunkworks latest update rendition of the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) aircraft and it looks a heck of a lot like the mystery "Dorito" our group saw and photographed a few years ago which made national headlines.
The subsequent hub-bub, denials and disinformation put out by the war machine only helped reinforce the idea that what we witnessed was something hush-hush.
I took a lot of heat over this sighting and the photographs which were published in Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine with some internet trolls accusing me of faking the photos and lying and falsifying recorded communications to back up the supposedly hoaxed sighting.
Not to mention it was followed by a very expensive (to the American taxpayer) stunt by the Air Force in what amounted to a dog and pony show - flying three B-2s at low level over Amarillo so they could try and make us doubt what we saw and then officially state (unsolicited mind you) that "B-2s flew over Amarillo." but somehow leaving out the part that it was a month later.
So - from the latest released renditions it looks like the planform of the NGAD matches what we saw. My guess is what we photographed could have been prototypes or technology demonstrators constructed to prove the technology woks.
Still - my enthusiasm is tempered until I'm invited to the roll-out and only then will I truly get to say "I told you it was real."

LINKS: 



Monday, June 5, 2017

Charges filed against federal contractor who leaked NSA materials to the media

(CNN)

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against a federal contractor with Top Secret security clearance, after she allegedly leaked classified information to an online media outlet.
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, is accused of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet," according to a federal complaint.

CNN is told by sources that the document Winner allegedly leaked is the same one used as the basis for the article published Monday by The Intercept, detailing a classified National Security Agency memo. The NSA report, dated May 5, provides details of a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack on a US voting software supplier, though there is no evidence that any votes were affected by the hack.

A US official confirmed to CNN that The Intercept's document is a genuine, classified NSA document.

US intelligence officials tell CNN that the information has not changed the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which found: "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards. DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying."
Prosecutors say when confronted with the allegations, Winner admitted to intentionally leaking the classified document -- and she was arrested June 3 in Augusta, Georgia.

An internal audit revealed Winner was one of six people who printed the document, but the only one who had email contact with the news outlet, according to the complaint. It further states that the intelligence agency was subsequently contacted by the news outlet on May 30 regarding an upcoming story, saying it was in possession of what appeared to be a classified document.

"Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation's security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement Monday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also slammed leaks last month in the wake of the Manchester attacks, saying: "We have already initiated appropriate steps to address these rampant leaks that undermine our national security."

Brits secretive "Blue Thunder" SAS team responds to London Bridge attack.

A helicopter-borne team of Special Air Service counter terrorism experts landed on London Bridge in the wake of Saturday night’s London attack.
The elite SAS unit nicknamed ‘Blue Thunder’ is understood to have arrived after the attack had been ended by armed police, and sources said they played no role in confronting the three terrorists.

However a small number of special forces soldiers will remain forward deployed in the capital to support police if needed, sources said.

At least one blue Eurocopter AS365 N3 Dauphin helicopter was photographed landing on the bridge after the attack.

A small number of the twin-engine helicopters that can hold up to 12 passengers are operated by the Army Air Corps to ferry around SAS troops.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on special forces operations, but a Whitehall source confirmed the helicopters were carrying SAS troops.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Friday, May 26, 2017

Masked militants attack Cairo Christians

CAIRO -- Masked militants riding in three SUVs opened fire Friday on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including many children, south of the Egyptian capital, killing at least 28 and wounding 22, the Interior Ministry said.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the fourth to target Christians since December, but it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The attack came on the eve of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Local health officials said the attack happened on Friday while the bus was traveling on the road to the St. Samuel Monastery in the Minya governorate, about 140 miles south of the Egyptian capital.

Eyewitnesses told Egyptian media that around 8:45 a.m. local time, about 10 masked men with assault rifles, some dressed in military uniforms, emerged from vehicles and sprayed the bus with bullets.

Some of the gunmen went into the bus and continued to fire on the passengers, many of whom were women and children, according to the witnesses. The attack lasted just a few minutes, after which the attackers fled the scene. They governor of Minya said Egyptian police had launched a manhunt for the attackers and set up roadblocks in the region.

Khaled Mogahed, the Health Ministry spokesman, said the death toll stood at 28 but feared it could rise further. According to Copts United news portal, only three children survived the attack. It was not immediately known if most or all of the victims were children.

In April, ISIS suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches in northern Egypt, killing 44 people and turning Palm Sunday services into scenes of horror and outrage at the government that led the president to call for a three-month state of emergency.
READ MORE HERE


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

BREAKING: Cairo Embassy warned of imminent terror attack.

ABC NEWS: The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a security warning about a potential threat posed by a group it referred to as a "terrorist organization."

"The embassy is aware of a potential threat posted on a website by the Hassm group, a known terrorist organization, suggesting some kind of unspecified action this evening," the embassy said in a security message. "The embassy has no further information about this potential threat but is in contact with Egyptian authorities."

Hassm is described as "a non-Salafi revolutionary jihadist group" that uses "violent insurgency tactics against Egyptian security forces, which they refer to as occupiers," according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium, a digital database of research and analysis focused on terrorism.

Hasam is a splinter group of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist organization and political party, according to TRAC.

The message urges Americans living in Egypt to follow security guidelines provided by the State Department for dealing with possible threats.

"U.S. citizens should continue to follow sound security practices and adhere to the security guidelines provided in the travel warning for Egypt issued by the State Department on Dec. 23, 2016," according to the message.

READ MORE HERE

Monday, May 22, 2017

US State department issues warning after Manchester exp!osion


JUST IN: U.S. Embassy London issues emergency message after Manchester Arena incident urging U.S. citizens "heed guidance from local authorities"http://abcn.ws/2ruwTec


Thursday, May 18, 2017

U.S. airstrike targets pro-Syrian government forces.


ABC NEWS: U.S. officials say an American airstrike has hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area.

The officials say the strike near Tanf hit a tank and a bulldozer and forces there, but it was not clear if they were Syrian army troops or other pro-government allies.

One official says the pro-regime forces had entered a so-called "de-confliction" zone without authorization and were perceived as a threat to U.S.-allied troops there. The officials say the strike was a defensive move to protect the U.S. allies. It wasn't clear if U.S. forces were there.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

—Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns in Washington.

Syrian opposition activists say a suspected coalition airstrike has hit a convoy of pro-government forces in the desert near the border with Jordan.

There was no immediate response from the U.S.-led coalition following the reports. A U.S. official confirmed that an airstrike in southern Syria occurred on Thursday, though it was unclear if Syrian government troops were there. The official was not authorized to talk publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Several Syrian opposition media groups with activists in the area say the airstrike hit a convoy of government troops and allied militiamen on the road to the Tanf area, where Syria's borders with Jordan and Iraq meet.

One opposition media group, the Palmyra News Network, says the attack at the Zarka juncture, about 27 kilometers or 17 miles from the border, destroyed a number of vehicles and caused casualties.

The area has been a source of tensions as both government forces and U.S.-backed rebels advance there. Both the government forces and the rebels are trying to rout Islamic State militants from the area.

The Revolutionary commandoes or Maghaweer al-Thawra, a U.S.-backed group, shared a report about the airstrike on their Twitter account.

READ MORE HERE 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Hackers hold auction for stolen NSA cyber-weapons


SITE: A group has claimed stealing malware developed by the “Equation Group,” a sophisticated hacking group suspected of being the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), and put the files up for sale to highest bidder in a bitcoin auction.

On August 13, 2016, an untitled document uploaded to Pastebin.com by the account “THESHADOWBROKERS” detailed the nature of the hack, the files taken, and the terms of their sale by auction. In the document, the group first introduced the “Equation Group,” a moniker dubbed by Kaspersky Lab, as the creators of highly advanced malware such as Stuxnet and Flame. “Equation Group” has been suspected by security experts of having ties to and/or being the NSA.

The group then claimed hacking and obtaining “many many Equation Group cyber weapons,” and provided links to images of file directories and encrypted packages of the malware, including 316 MB worth of “free” samples. Finally, the document listed a bitcoin address and stated that the party with the highest bid would receive decryption instructions for the rest of the files, which they claimed are “better than Stuxnet.”

A copy of the Pastebin.com document follows. A copy of the malware samples and encrypted files are available upon request.

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA256

From:

bitmessage = BM-NBvAHfp5Y6wBykgbirVLndZtEFCYGht8
i2p-bote = o1uHOkOcMoFEa7O7dbEilzfMvWzo7bDu~td3x9gYz4b4t5OriJ7U6GUWr5GZoWxQ9f2TrIY5RzhpIMVP6hTLXZ

Equation Group Cyber Weapons Auction - Invitation
- ------------------------------------------------

!!! Attention government sponsors of cyber warfare and those who profit from it !!!!

How much you pay for enemies cyber weapons? Not malware you find in networks. Both sides, RAT + LP, full state sponsor tool set? We find cyber weapons made by creators of stuxnet, duqu, flame. Kaspersky calls Equation Group. We follow Equation Group traffic. We find Equation Group source range. We hack Equation Group. We find many many Equation Group cyber weapons. You see pictures. We give you some Equation Group files free, you see. This is good proof no? You enjoy!!! You break many things. You find many intrusions. You write many words. But not all, we are auction the best files.

Picture Urls
- ------------
http://imgur.com/a/sYpyn
https://theshadowbrokers.tumblr.com/
https://github.com/theshadowbrokers/EQGRP-AUCTION



Monday, May 8, 2017

Sheikh Abdul Hasib leader of Islamic State’s Afghan faction was killed by US Special Forces

By Carlo Muñoz - The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2017


The leader of Islamic State’s Afghan faction was killed in joint night raid by U.S. and Afghan special forces in eastern Afghanistan last month, American commanders confirmed Monday.

Sheikh Abdul Hasib, the so-called emir of the Afghan cell known as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria-Khorosan Province or ISIS-K, was killed along with 35 other fighters and several of the group’s senior leaders during the April 28 operation in Nangarhar province.

Two Army Rangers, Sgts. Joshua Rodgers and Cameron Thomas with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, were also killed during the operation. Command officials at coalition headquarters in Kabul are investigating whether the deaths of Sgts. Rodgers and Thomas were the result of friendly fire.

Hasib is the second ISIS-K leader to have been killed by Afghan and coalition forces in the last year. Former chief Hafiz Saeed was killed during a U.S. drone strike on the group’s stronghold in Nangarhar province last August.

“This successful joint operation is another important step in our relentless campaign to defeat ISIS-K in 2017,” Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement issued Monday on Hasib’s death.

“For more than two years, ISIS-K has waged a barbaric campaign of death, torture and violence against the Afghan\

Thursday, April 13, 2017

US DROPS 'MOAB' GBU-43" MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS ON ISIS

The United States has dropped the 'largest ever non-nuclear bomb' in Afghanistan in a targeted attack against ISIS.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb — nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) — was dropped on a series of cave complexes at 7pm local time today (4pm UK time).

Pentagon spokesman dam Stump confirmed the strike was carried out by Air Force Special Operations Command using a 21,000lb weapon, packed with 11 tones of explosives.

Donald Trump admitted he DIDN’T authorise the strike, admitting in a press conference that he has given the US military "total authorisation."

General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to military sources.

The attack today targeted ISIS-K, also known as the Khorasan group.

The group is based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban.

U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary.

U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi’ite Muslim targets.

The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Growing nuclear tensions, growing US military presence and "Great Leaders" predicted birthday muscle flexing causing war concerns.


With tension growing markedly, the Korean peninsula is the closest it has been to a "military clash" since Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006, an influential state-run Chinese newspaper said today.

North Korea should halt any plans for nuclear and missile activities "for its own security", the Global Times said in an editorial.

While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches and President Donald Trump's threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.

President Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said on Twitter that North Korea was "looking for trouble" and the United States would "solve the problem" with or without Beijing's help.

Officials from the North, including leader Kim Jong Un, have indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite on April 13, 2012, marking the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founding president Kim Il Sung.

Saturday will be the 105th birthday of the "Great Leader."

The U.S. also recently sent the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson along with its accompanying strike group to the area to conduct naval exercises with the South Korean Navy. The group was also sent as a show of force directed at the North Korean military.

North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the US in light of US Navy operations. North Korea’s state run Rodong Sinmun newspaper stated, “Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland.”

The Carl Vinson Strike Group started its move on Saturday, leaving its deployment to Singapore for patrols of the South China Sea. It includes an aircraft carrier and several destroyers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SPECIAL OPERATION FORCES U-28A crashes in Clovis claims 3.

video



— Colonel Benjamin R. Maitre, spokesperson for the Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, announced Wednesday morning the three airmen on board a U-28A died when the aircraft crashed Tuesday night.

The plane crashed during what the base described as a "training sortie" around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday in a field about a quarter-mile east of the Clovis Municipal Airport. All three crew members were assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron and died in the crash.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss within our Air Commando family,” said Maitre, the installation commander. “Our sympathies are with the loved ones and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time.”

The crash caused a fire, which was extinguished by local first responders by about 7:40 p.m.

The U-28A is a light aircraft operated by the 34th, 318th and 319th Special Operations Squadrons of United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). It is part of AFSOC's Non-standard Aircraft fleet. The aircraft type is also flown by the 919th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Reserve Command.

The U-28A is a militarized version of the commerical-available Pilatus PC-12. It has been fitted with advanced sensors, navigation gear, survivability aids and communications equipment to enable its special operations role.

One of the U-28A roles is the insertion, extraction and resupply of Special Operations Forces (SOF). The single-engine U-28A is small enough to land on small grass or dirt airstrips. It can carry 10 passengers or 3,000lbs of cargo and can operate from the type of short, unimproved airstrip that a larger plane, such as the C-130 Hercules, would be too big and heavy for.

Another role of the U-28A is to act as a tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform in support SOF on the ground. Sensors aboard the U-28A include a day variable-aperture TV camera, a variable aperture infrared camera and synthetic aperture radar.

Communications systems aboard the U-28A have the capability to relay full motion video, voice and data over secure data links.

Other additions to the basic PC-12 airframe include aircraft survivability equipment i.e. threat detection and counter measures.

The aircraft is crewed by 3: pilot, co-pilot and Combat System Officer (CSO)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Textron bowing out of USAF T-X trainer competition

WASHINGTON — Textron Airland has officially decided against offering its Scorpion jet for the Air Force’s T-X trainer competition, ending speculation about whether the aircraft would emerge as a dark horse candidate.

“We certainly believe the Scorpion can fit a good training role, not only for the U.S. Air Force but around the world, but with the requirements that had been put out there for the T-X, we don’t believe the Scorpion fits all the requirements,” said Bill Harris, the company’s vice president of Scorpion jet sales.

Textron told Defense News in early 2016 that it would probably not pursue the T-X contract unless the Air Force changed its requirements to be less demanding. However, earlier this winter, company officials stated that they had not ruled out a T-X bid and were assessing the final request for proposals.

Harris explained Textron wanted to take a second look at the requirements to evaluate whether Scorpion could fit the service’s needs, but the jet had trouble meeting some of the Air Force’s more aggressive performance characteristics, including a high G threshold of 6.5 — the Scorpion can achieve 6 Gs.

“It basically was very close to what you would see in an F-16 Block 50 aircraft,” he said. “We went over it and over it, and it became clear that we weren’t going to meet these aggressive performance standards.”

READ MORE HERE

SPANISH POLICE UNCOVER ARMS CACHE



NBC LONDON — When a gunman killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, police in Spain launched an effort to reduce the number of illegal firearms circulating in Europe.


What they found was a arsenal large enough to supply an army — and all ready to be sold to terrorist groups and gangs.

Spanish police announced Tuesday they had recovered around 10,000 assault rifles, pistols, machine guns, and revolvers, as well as 400 shells and grenades, in raids in the north of the country.

They also arrested five suspects and recovered around $90,000.


The raids, in Girona, Biscay and Cantabria, targeted a gang trafficking firearms on the black market that were destined to be sold to terror groups and gangs in Spain, France and Belgium.

Spain's national police, who worked with cross-border authority Europol on the operation, said the gang "exploited legal loopholes and legislative differences between E.U. countries to divert guns from legal suppliers." They used a workshop to re-brand and reactivate the weapons, which were "being made ready for sale to terrorist groups and organized. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

US TESTING LASER ARMED DRONES AS ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE



As North Korea marches toward its goal of threatening the United States with nuclear weapons, the Pentagon is racing to add a new component to its missile defense system: a revolutionary drone laser weapon capable of zapping rockets almost as soon as they are launched.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency says it has conducted tests of a “directed-energy airborne laser” fired from a military drone. The weapon, which would be carried by remote-control aircraft loitering high over suspected enemy ballistic missile launch sites, would add an early interception ability to the current system, which relies on “metal-to-metal” missile interceptors guided by an elaborate system of radar and satellites.

“Our vision is to shift the calculus of our potential adversaries by introducing directed energy into the ballistic missile defense architecture,” agency spokesman Christopher Johnson wrote in an email response to a Las Vegas Review-Journal inquiry. “This could revolutionize missile defense, dramatically reducing the role of kinetic interceptors.”

Johnson said five leading defense contractors — Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon — are studying the technology, and the agency expects to award contracts this year to design a multi-kilowatt-class laser weapon for missile defense.

“We will select the best designs, develop a demonstrator system for flight test in 2020, and piggyback on ballistic missile defense tests in 2021,” Johnson said.


Ground testing of a laser weapon called the High Energy Laser, or HEL, took place last year at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The High Energy Laser test is being conducted by the Air Force Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

The first airborne tests are slated to take place by 2021, service officials said.

The developmental efforts are focused on increasing the power, precision and guidance of existing laser weapon applications with the hope of moving from 10-kilowatts up to 100 kilowatts, Air Force officials said.

Service scientists, such as Air Force Chief Scientist Gregory Zacharias, have told Scout Warrior that much of the needed development involves engineering the size weight and power trades on an aircraft needed to accommodate an on-board laser weapon. Developing a mobile power source small enough to integrate into a fast-moving fighter jet remains a challenge for laser technology.

Air Force leaders have said that the service plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35.

Air Combat Command has commissioned the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator Advanced Technology Demonstration which will be focused on developing and integrating a more compact, medium-power laser weapon system onto a fighter-compatible pod for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons, a service statement said.

Air Force Special Operations Command has commissioned both the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren to examine placing a laser on an AC-130U gunship to provide an offensive capability.

READ MORE HERE

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Phone intercepts show Trump sides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence



WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.




American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.


The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.


But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.


The call logs and intercepted communications are part of a larger trove of information that the F.B.I. is sifting through as it investigates the links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government, as well as the hacking of the D.N.C., according to federal law enforcement officials. As part of its inquiry, the F.B.I. has obtained banking and travel records and conducted interviews, the officials said.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Special RAM coating plant hints at B-21 production capabilities


WASHINGTON:

By COLIN CLARK

on February 06, 2017 at 11:44 AM
A little Pentagon contract announcement offers the latest indication of the course of the secretive B-21 program.

The announcement last Tuesday of a $36 million modification to an existing contract is the key. It’s for a new 45,900 square foot “coatings facility” at Northrop Grumman’s facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA.

I’ve confirmed with a source that this plant is part of the B-21 program and that the facility would be key to stealth coatings for the plane. The Air Force plans to buy more than 100 of the long range strike aircraft and to pay Northrop $550 million a copy.

Development of a stand-alone plant for coatings, presumably for stealth, highlights the importance of security to the program. It’s also confirmation that the B-21 will be largely built and integrated at Palmdale, as most observers expected.


Loren Thompson, a defense consultant who’s watched the program closely, said the completion date of Christmas Day 2019 “does seem a little late in the development cycle, but it would give them several years to integrate the bomber and to begin testing it.”

As a reminder, the Government Accountability Office’s report on the unsuccessful B-21 protest filed by the Boeing-Lockheed team noted “some level of Air Force expectation that disruption of schedule may occur.”

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How SEALs were caught in ‘ferocious’ firefight during Yemen counter-terrorism raid



WE ARE THE MIGHTY:


New details have emerged about the Jan. 28 raid on a compound used by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL and the loss of an MV-22 Osprey.

According to a report by the Washington Post, the raid had been intended to nab Yemeni tribal leaders and get intelligence on their ties with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The snatch operation turned into a firefight when terrorists launched a counter-attack.

Among the militants firing at the SEALs were women, an several were believed to have been among the 14 terrorists killed in the raid. The SEALs were forced to call in air support from AH-1Z Cobras and AV-8B+ Harriers based on the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as the firefight went on, the Post report says.

Additionally, officials with Central Command said Feb. 1 that investigators are looking into allegations that among the dead were civilians in the compound targeted by the SEALs. Officials said in a release that civilians were “likely” killed and “may include children.”

“The ongoing credibility assessment seeks to determine whether any still-undetected civilian casualties took place in the ferocious firefight,” CENTCOM said. “The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist U.S. forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions and U.S. special operations members receiving fire from all sides, including from houses and other buildings.”
To get the SEALs out, elements of what the report called “an elite Special Operations air regiment,” likely referring to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also called the Nightstalkers. After retrieving the SEALs, the Nightstalkers intended to meet up with a Marine quick reaction force on MV-22 Ospreys to transfer the SEALs to the Makin Island, where the wounded could receive medical treatment.

That meet-up went wrong. One of the V-22s made a “hard landing” – more akin to a crash – which ended up leaving three Marines injured.

In an interview with reporters Feb. 1, Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. John Davis said officials are still investigating what went wrong with the Osprey, adding his suspicion was that brown-out conditions might have played a role.

“They were going into a firefight at night. … But what’s the good news? A lot of people don’t walk away from hard landings, and everybody walked away from this one,” Davis said. “There’s a Marine who kind of bumped his head, but everyone walked away.”

Trump puts Iran "officially on notice" after missile test



The Trump administration has said it was “officially putting Iran on notice” in reaction to an Iranian missile test and an attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but gave no details about how Washington intended to respond.


The threat was made on Wednesday by the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in his first public statement since taking office.

Speaking in the White House briefing room, Flynn said a missile launch on Sunday and a Houthi attack on a Saudi frigate on Monday underlined Iran’s “destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.”.


Flynn did not specify how the new administration would respond. Asked for clarification, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said the president wanted to make sure the Iranians “understood we are not going to sit by and not act on their actions”.

At a White House briefing, senior administration officials repeatedly refused to rule out any options for a US response, including military intervention.

“There are a large number of options available to the administration,” one senior official said. “We’re going to take appropriate action.”


Asked if measures under consideration included a military option, the official replied: “We are considering a whole range of options.”


The official declined to say whether the White House had sent a message to Tehran putting it on notice.


“We are in the second week. We do not want to be premature or rash or take any action that would foreclose options or unnecessarily contribute to a negative response.”
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The announcement was not accompanied by any change in the US military stance in the region, nor any immediate additional deployments.


“We saw the statement as well,” said a spokesman for US central command, which runs operations in the Middle East. “This is still at the policy level, and we are waiting for something to come down the line. We have not been asked to change anything operationally in the region.”

The Pentagon was informed before the announcement and the defense secretary, James Mattis, prevailed upon Flynn to soften his language about Iran from an earlier version. At the time of the Flynn’s statement, Mattis was en route to Asia for an official visit to Japan and South Korea.

Ali Vaez, an Iran expert at the International Crisis Group in Washington, said: “It’s either an empty threat or a clear statement of intent to go to war with Iran. Both are reckless and dangerous ... In an attempt to look strong, the administration could stumble into a war that would make the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts look like a walk in the park.”


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pakistan claims to have tested MIRVs


RAWALPINDI: Pakistan on Tuesday conducted its first successful flight test of surface-to-surface ballistic missile ‘Ababeel’, Inter Services Public Relations said here.

The statement issued by the ISPR, media wing of the military, said the missile has a maximum range of 2200 kilometers and is capable of carrying multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry (MIRV) technology.

The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.

Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain have also conveyed their appreciation to the team engaged and armed forces of Pakistan on this landmark achievement.








Tuesday, January 3, 2017

North Korea continues with "Spy Numbers" broadcasts.

AUTHORS NOTE: The content of these coded messages may have no content at all and are being used to make S.Korea think spies have infiltrated their ranks. 
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state radio station resumed broadcasting mysterious numbers Friday in what could be some kind of coded message to its agents operating in South Korea.
Radio Pyongyang, the North's state-run radio station, started broadcasting messages at 1:15 a.m. (Seoul time), calling out a series of pages and numbers, such as No. 69 on Page 894, before repeating them one more time.
The radio announcer said, "(I'm giving) review works in math lessons of the remote education university for No. 27 expedition agents." The content was the same as those transmitted in the early hours of Dec. 16.
Since June 24, 20 of such encrypted numbers broadcasts have been discovered, with the latest one broadcast Sunday.
Broadcasts of mysterious numbers are considered a kind of book cipher that was often used by North Korea to give missions to spies operating in South Korea during the Cold War era. Spies could decode numbers to get orders by using a reference book, although many intelligence officials believe this form of sending orders to be totally outdated.
Many have said the broadcasts may be some sort of psychological strategy aimed at sparking internal confusion within South Korea.
Pyongyang had initially suspended such broadcasts in 2000, when the two Koreas held their first historic summit.

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