Saturday, October 13, 2018

Stealth Saga #40

Saeqeh UCAV:

Iran claims it used its drone reverse engineered from the captured RQ-170 to strike targets in Syria.

6th Generation Fighters:

Britain's Tempest fighter plan gets examined.

Russia claims to be testing High Power Microwave weapons for use on its 6th gen fighters.

F-3:

Japan has decided all the systems offered by foreign companies as fighters will be too expensive and not provide the capabilities wanted at the prices offered.  As a result, the Japanese are back to working on their own 5th/6th gen fighter.

J-31/FC-31:

Has the J-31/FC-31 prototype been spotted on a truck?

The J-31 gets compared to the F-35.

Su-57:

The SU-57 is supposed to be getting an upgraded version of the R-37M missile.

The Russians may be signaling another delay for the Su-57.  They are stating the deliveries will continue on schedule through 2027.  What that schedule is, who knows.  The only solid date is 2027.

H-20:

The Chinese are saying there's significant progress being made on the H-20 bomber.  This is tickling the rumors there will be a first flight soon.

The Chinese have also confirmed the H-20 designation.

KC-Z:

Lockheed talks about its stealthy KC-Z tanker concepts.

B-21:

SecAF Heather Wilson proposed more squadrons for the USAF to fight a major war.  Of the proposed 74 squadrons 5 are supposed to be for new bombers.  Does that mean the USAF will get 75 more B-21 bombers?

B-2:

B-2s conducted hot pit refueling on Wake Island.

The B-2s defensive modernization management system modernization effort might be delayed 21 months.

B-2s trained with F-22s in Hawaii.

YF-23:

The Blackwidow gets a profiling again for its unique weapons bay layout.

F-22:

Tyndall AFB took it in the shorts from Hurricane Michael.  It's probable some of the F-22s left behind are destroyed.

Homer-Hickam is getting an F-22 facility.

F-22 went down during an emergency landing in Alaska and is now on its side.

An F-22 performed at NAS Oceana's airshow.

F-22s are participating at RAF Lakenheath's dissimilar aircraft training exercises.

F-35:

Pentagon is delaying IOT&E for the F-35 software.

The Pentagon signed the contract with Lockheed for LRIP 11.  102 F-35As at $89.2M each, 25 F-35B at $115.5M each and 14 F-35C at $107.7M.

New incentives for the F-35 contract are in place to increase efficiency.

F-35 stress testing suggests a longer than expected service life.

F-35 operational test and eval plans have been approved.

F-35 flight costs have dropped.

Some F-35 critics might be coming around to the F-35 not being that bad.

F-35s did a shoot with F-16s over Arizona.  You can see the size difference between the planes.

More F-35As may be headed to Eglin AFB.

The joint Valiant Shield exercise included F-35Bs.

The F-35Bs currently deployed near the Horn of Africa have been carrying their external gun pods.

The same F-35Bs were flying recon over Somalia.

The F-35Bs on the USS Essex are supposedly going into combat in Afghanistan.  Actually, they did.  F-35Bs struck Taliban targets in Afghanistan. It won't stop the debate over the F-35.

The USS Essex has entered the Persian Gulf with its F-35Bs.

An F-35B crashed in South Carolina and the pilot seems to have ejected safely.  It seems there is a flaw in the fuel line for the F135 engine and almost all aircraft are grounded.  The Brits will continue flying their F-35Bs for the Queen Elizabeth trials and the Israelis are examining their aircraft.

A USMC F-35B connected to a HIMARS rocket system on the ground to help provide data for a shot.

The USMC is touting the F-35B's readiness despite the global stand down.

An F-35C made a precautionary landing in Fresno.

The first operational F-35C squadron for the Navy has received its first aircraft.

Preliminary feedback on the F-35C in the operational testing is positive.

The Australians have received their first F-35A for a combat squadron.

Two RAAF F-35s will arrive at Williamtown on December 10.

The delivery of F-35s to the Australians is unaffected by the crash.

The Brits are preparing for the carrier trials for the F-35B.  They have launched and now landed F-35Bs on the HMS Queen Elizabeth.  One journalist shares his comments and observations.  Some pictures of the quals.  The Brits started night quals on the Tin Lizzie for the F-35B.

The Brits were observed working their F-35B at RAF Marham.

The Dutch are open to buying more F-35s.

The Israelis are saying the F-35I is more than a match for the S-300 missiles Russia is deploying in Syria.

One of the obstacles for Turkey getting its F-35s has been removed.

Harris will be providing a replacement chip for the F-35 as part of the TR3.

Rathyeon is pitching an autolanding capability for the F-35A.

META:

Chinese researchers have come up with a 3d printable material capable of absorbing across a wideband.

US stealth aircraft are practicing operations from austere forward bases.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Soyuz Rocket Explodes, Astronaut and Cosmonaut Survive



Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and American astronaut Nick Hague had what was likely one of the wildest rides in the history of mankind when their Soyuz-FG rocket malfunctioned catastrophically just minutes after blasting off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Reports state that the rocket's second stage booster failed as the two arched their way towards low-earth orbit insertion. Their final destination was the International Space Station.


link.

2nd link.

3rd link.

4th link.

5th link.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Terminator Times #50

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The USAF is adding modular Agile Pods to their RQ-4 Global Hawks.

A USAF MQ-9 Reaper used a heat seeking missile to shoot down another drone.

The USAF autolanded its first MQ-9 block 5 Reaper.

The USAF is considering adopting the Loyal Wingman concept.  First potentially converted F-16s and then Kratos' Valkyrie.  Maybe.

The US Army issued specifications for a small VTOL UAV.

The US Army commissioned the University of Pennsylvania to develop eye tracking glasses to use to steer drones with.

Is the new US Navy MQ-25A Stringray actually pretty stealthy?

A US Navy MQ-4C Triton bellyflopped at Point Mugu.  The Tritons have stood down.  They will remain in stand down until the investigation is complete.

The US Navy is procuring support equipment for its FireScout UAVs.

The US Navy is accelerating its work on the MALD UAV/decoy.

Belarus is showcasing its Yastreb (Hawk) UAV.

China's Blowfish I VTOL UAV has entered service with the PLAN.

China's AV500W VTOL drone participated in a PLA exercise.

Chinese UCAVs are being used extensively by the Middle Eastern countries because they don't come with the restrictions American UAVs do.

Croatia is forming a unmanned research center.

Estonia is buying RQ-20B Puma UAVs.

Germany wants to sell its sole EuroHawk to Canada.  Here's a timeline of everything that went wrong with the Eurohawk program.  Transport Canada is the agency that may buy the UAV.  However, the RQ-4E isn't flyable: the Germans gutted the aircraft when they put it into storage.

The Netherlands is reforming a squadron to fly its Reapers.

Portugal is buying Raven B UAVs.

The Russian Altair UAV is profiled again for the video from the last post.

The Russian Orion-E is not capable of carrying weapons, but only a very small payload: 100 kg.  The parent company is starting work on a successor.

Serbia is reportedly buying six Chinese UCAVs.  Serbia has confirmed the story, possibly buying six Wing Loong IIs.

Turkey has developed a local EO/IR sensor for its Anka drone.

The Houthi of Yemen attacked Dubai airport with a drone.

Zambia's Hermes 450 UAV has been spotted.

AeroVironment is selling Raven UAVs to Latin American and Caribbean countries.

Bell unveiled its full size mockup of its V-247 Vigilant tilt rotor drone for the USMC's MUX program.

General Atomics got a contract for more MQ-9 Reaper ground stations.

Insitu unveiled a longer range Integrator UAV.

Logos has a new WAMI sensor for the Integrator UAV.

MBDA has unveiled its Spectre combat UAV concept.

Nothrop demonstrated the ability for the FireScout to help hunt mines with other unmanned assets.  It did again at ANTX.

Techmash has developed a grenade launcher for use on a drone.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Ogres and Bolos):

DARPA is kicking off its Subterranean Challenge where folks must build robots to navigate bunkers, caverns and rubble strewn underground spaces.

Thousands of US Marines are participating in a study on unmanned robotic targets.

The British tested Harris' T7 UGV at its Project Starter trials.

China is holding a UGV competition.

The French are looking at adding UGVs and UAVs to their Scorpion studies.

The Russians are upgrading their Uran-9 UGV.

South Korean company Hanwa has developed a 4x4 UGV for the Republic of Korea's army.

Thailand is buying French Cobra UGVs.

Brokk unveiled its newest SR120d demolition bot.

Endeavor Robotics is readying its Kobra UGVs for the DARPA challenge.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Roboats):

China has unveiled a new armed USV concept called JARI.  A prototype is undergoing testing.

ECA has developed a new USV.

A new unmanned suicide boat has been spotted off Yemen.

A pair of USVs were attempted to be used by the Houthis to attack the Jizan port.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles:

Hydroid is pitching its Remus 100 UUV to clear mines in shallow water.

3d Printing:

DARPA highlights its development of 3d printing.

The USMC built a barracks using a 3d concrete printer.

Software Bots:

AI might help reduce the chance of surprise by an enemy.

The new head of the Strategic Capabilities Office wants to focus on military AI.

META:

The US is pushing to reclassify drones under international arms export restrictions.

The European Parliament is lobbying for a global ban on autonomous lethal weapons.

Killer robots are a threat to humanity, especially if they get hijacked.

Friday, October 05, 2018

China may be Having Problems With the Launcher for its Next Gen Space Station

China’s plan to launch and construct a space station could be hit by a test flight delay of the launcher designed to send the modules into orbit.

An online report by People’s Liberation Army Daily, a military newspaper, reports Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO), as saying at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday that the Long March 5B will not make its planned test launch in the first half of 2019.

“Due to the failure of the launch of the Long March 5 remote launch vehicle, the first flight of the Long March 5B carrier rocket will be postponed. The specific implementation time needs to be clarified after coordination with relevant departments,” Xiqiang said.

The CMSEO manages China’s human spaceflight efforts and had planned a test launch of the Long March 5B before launching the 20-metric-ton Chinese Space Station core module, Tianhe, into low Earth orbit sometime in 2020.

The Long March 5, a launcher for missions to Earth orbit and beyond, suffered a failure in its second flight in July 2017, prompting an investigation and subsequent redesign of first stage engines, which were test-fired successfully early this year.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Are the Japanese Starting to Work on a Boost Glide Weapon?


Japan's Defense Ministry is developing supersonic glide bombs to strengthen the defense of remote islands, including the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

A glide bomb, separated from a missile at a very high altitude, falls at supersonic speed toward the target on ground. It is part of the Ground Self-Defense Force's capability of recapturing invaded or occupied remote islands.

The ministry aims to put glide bombs into practical use in fiscal 2026 by moving up its initial development schedule by about seven years, officials said.

Glide bombs are believed to use mobile launchers. Due to its long range, glide bombs, along with the Air SDF's planned antisurface long-range cruise missiles, may be considered to have an ability to strike enemy bases and raise alarm in neighboring countries.

link.

Jane's is reporting the weapon is hypersonic rather than supersonic.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Robopocalypse Report #108

Drones:

ABI Zero uses computer vision to map the indoors of buildings.

Drone startup Airways is shutting down despite raising $118M from investors.

Australian telecom company Telestra demonstrated how to use drones to help authorities after a disaster.

A drone has been used to deploy sensor packages in volcanoes.

Flirtey has conducted its first multidrone delivery in Reno, NV.

Glider drones have been taught to soar like birds through the use of software.

Impossible Aerospace has a drone that can fly for two hours.

An NFL official supports a bill allowing the Feds to seize drones.

University of Pennsylvania developed eye tracking glasses used to steer drones.

A reconfigurable shade made of drones has been designed.

RUDN University has proposed improving cellular coverage using drones.

Skidio released an SDK for its 4k capable drone.

State Farm has been given permission by the FAA to use drones to assess hurricane damage.

German company Strabag used LTE connected drones to map 7.5 miles of German autobahn.

Zipline is delivering blood by drone to remote areas.

Self Driving Cars:

5 great routes for self driving trucks, when they're ready.

There is a call for self driving car developers to put pedestrians first.

Is the self driving car industry blowing it?

The first self driving car was actually built in Germany in 1968.

Alibaba will develop its own chips for self driving cars.

Arm's latest chip is intended for self driving cars.

Audi thinks self driving cars are not a cure-all for traffic.

BMW built a self driving motorcycle.

BMW wants to form a self driving car industry coalition.

Ford unveiled its autonomous semi concept, the F-Vision.

Mercedes has rolled out their self driving car/van concept with switchable bodies.

Oklahoma will start using self driving cars for food delivery next year.

Renault unveiled its autonomous delivery system concept, EZ-PRO.

Self driving cars are the latest battleground for chip makers.

Siemens is developing self driving tech for trains and other track riding vehicles.

Volkswagen wants to organize a industry coalition self driving cars.

Volvo has designed a cabless self driving semi truck.

Robotics:

A new agrigbot has been developed to pick peppers.

Alibaba has a service robot for hotels.

Dyson has a robo vacuum.

City University of Hong Kong has developed a tiny, multi legged robot for potential use for drug delivery.

Inflatable grippers make an appearance again.

JAXA is sending robot avators into space with human-like hands.

Some machine learning algorithms are having problems being applied to real world robots.

MIT has developed a robot than can pick up anything after it examines it.

University of Queensland researchers have been studying lizards and how they use their tails to apply that knowledge to 'off-road' robots.


This robot makes images using thread.

A robot jellyfish can explore reefs.

Robo skin makes almost anything into a robot.  Including stuffed animals.

Robot lawnmowers are killing hedgehogs in Europe.

Robots are learning how to carefully peel lettuce leaves.

Watch sonic robots go nuts.

Sony's reborn Aibo robo dog is now available for preorder.

Samsung's NY AI center will focus on robotics.

Sphero and Facebook have teamed up to offer robots to help teach coding to schools.

A tactile sensor is applied through spraying it on.

A Tokyo cafe is using robot waiters operated by disabled people behind the scenes.

Hurricane Florence was studied by UUVs under the waves.

VineScout is a new and improved agribot.

xARM looks and acts like a 1950s robot.

Exoskeletons:

Harvard has developed a soft exoskeleton that adapts as you use it.

Cyborgism:

Meet the Transhumanists trying to turn themselves into cyborgs.

Researchers can now tell what mood you are in from your brain signals.

An electronic implant is helping the paralyzed walk again.

3d Printing:

Cody Wilson, the founder of a 3d printed gun company, is accused of child sexual assault and was on the run in Taiwan.  He was arrested there and has since been deported back to the US.  Cody Wilson has resigned from the 3d printing gun company.

Bioprinting is being used clinically.

Chinese researchers have come up with a new 3d printed metamaterial (pdf) that can absorb across a wideband.

3d printed CLIP carbon fiber parts were tested for strength.

HP has launched its 3d Metal Jet printers for mass production.

3d printing is being used for soft inserts for injection molding.

3d printing is also being studied to make tooling for injection molding.

LLNL is using lasers to help improve 3d metal printing.

There is now a nanodiamond enhanced 3d printer filament.

Are 3d printed parts made from recycled PLA as good as 'virgin' PLA?

Siemmens is turning to 3d printing for replacement parts.

3d printing was used to make a robotic surgical snake.

A recent study was conducted on how teachers will adopt 3d printing in the classroom.

Volkswagen wants to 3d print car parts in two to three years.

WASP has introduced a modular construction printer.

Software Bots:

A bill in the US Senate would require more AI adoption for the US government.

AI requires cultural intelligent.

Activists can't compete with bots online for 'clickivism.'

Can we hold algorithms accountable like people?

Now your microwave can spy on you.  Thanks, Amazon!

Amazon's Alexa went down across parts of Europe.

Apple put an AI chip in their Iphones.

China has changed its stance on AI and now wants to collaborate internationally, rather than dominate the field.

Computer vision still has problems.

Facebook's AI can analyze memes, but is there any real understanding?

Facebook has also developed an AI to autonomously conduct bug fixes.

Facebook's AI can extract text from images.

Ford is using software bots to improve on fuel economy in the Ford Edge.

Google is using its software bots to add sound searches to its search engine.

Google is using its software bots to predict and warn residents of Kerala, India about flooding.

Google has teamed up with Unity to accelerate Deep Mind development.

IBM is working to remove bias from AI.

Microsoft's AI tech could help with natural disasters.

MIT has developed software bots able to pick out objects in an image based on verbal cues.

nvidia is focusing on AI for the internet.

Software bots are being used to study superconductors.

Software bots are being used to track down fast radio bursts.

Software bots can help academics navigate scientific literature.

Software bots are being used to measure 3d printed items.

Software bots are being used to better diagnose lung disease.  Some can even diagnose which type of lung cancer.

Software bots can now scour social media for complaints about medication.

Software bots spotted DNA changes in a developing brain.

Software bots are being used to ID different types of plankton in millions of images.

A software bot enabled camera can spot guns and call the cops.

Software bots are better at predicting outcomes for psychosis and depression than people are.

US lawmakers are worried about deep fake technology.  They should be.

Automation:

Amazon's next locale to open an Amazon Go store is Chicago.

Amazon is planning 3,000 cashierless stores by 2021.

Machines will perform more tasks than people by 2025.

META:

Is fear of the robopocalypse overrated?

With very strong implications for the robopocalypse, farmers cannot repair their John Deere tractors without going to an approved dealer or mechanic.

Dr Lee Feifei focuses on people as the center of AI researcher.

Despite the rise in automation, carmakers are hiring people.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Russia Claims NASA Wants to Extend ISS Life to 2030

The United States has initiated prolongation of the International Space Station’s service life till 2028-2030 and corresponding work is already in progress, Russian cosmonaut, deputy director of the Institute of Biomedical Problems under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Oleg Kotov, told TASS in an interview.

"No, they [NASA] do not wish to dump it [the ISS] and they have never wished to do that. They have already initiated prolongation of the station’s operation till 2028-2030 and this work is already in progress. There are two tasks on the agenda - to persuade the government to provide funds for financing the operation of the ISS and to carry out technical scrutiny into whether it is safe to prolong the station’s life cycle," Kotov said.

link.

It is hard to believe the above when NASA will have such tremendous budget pressures in the 2020s with the lunar gateway, lunar landings and building the mars ship.

Then again, it looks like Congress, both the House and Senate, want to extend the ISS.

Speaking of the Gateway Station, Russia also stated they may abandon the project because NASA is not treating them as a peer rather than a secondary partner.  Given Russia's lack of recent experience past LEO for any mission and no experience for human spaceflight, Russia's inability to finish its portion of the ISS, and the current geopolitical climate, I'm surprised Russia thinks it will participate at all: NASA hasn't listed the Russians as participating in the station construction at least as of the last update.

Russia is claiming they may build their own gateway station, but...yeah.  Just like they will build their own LEO station in 2020.  um.  yeah.  we'll see.

Now they are backtracking their claim they will not participate in the Gateway Station.  It sounds like they don't want this to be an American project with international participation as junior partners, but rather to have it be an international project with American participation.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Chinese Sent an Uninvited Spy Ship to the Military Exercises with Russia

Russia recently concluded the 2018 edition of the massive Vostok exercise series that included Chinese forces for the first time. At Moscow’s invitation, Beijing sent People’s Liberation Army soldiers, helicopters, tanks – and one uninvited Chinese surveillance ship.

A PLA Navy Dongdiao-class auxiliary general intelligence (AGI) shadowed Russian Navy assets for the length of the at-sea portion of the exercise while Chinese and Mongolian troops exercised ashore, a U.S. official confirmed to USNI News.

The PLA sent about 3,500 troops for the ground portion, but it was unclear if the PLA Navy was invited to send warships to drill with the Russians.

Details from Russia on the exercise have been inconsistent, but Russian state-supported media claimed it was the largest exercise in modern Russian history.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Paleolithic Papers #23

Genus Homo:

The modern human hand was almost certainly around by 500,000 years ago, predating modern humans by 300,000 years.

The deactivation of the Cmah gene two to three million years ago appears to have given hominins a leg up by increasing endurance and improving running speeds.

H. sapiens:

When DID modern humans reach southeast asia and sahul?

The revised timeline of data from the Liang Bua cave may suggest modern humans made it to Flores by 46 kya.

The Levant had a humid period between 44kya and 55 kya.  That may be what helped modern humans disperse out of Africa.

An abstract piece of art appears to have been found in a cave in South Africa dating from 73,000 years ago.

Using ZooMS to understand the bone tools of the twilight of the Pleistocene in North Africa.

Humans actually share better than other primates.

Beer before agriculture.  Maybe.  However, beer dates from the twilight of the Pleistocene in Israel.  If not older.

Neandertals:

The early dates for the Neandertal Art might be wrong.  Some are disputing them.

Could cooking and fire be how modern humans outcompeted Neandertals?

How much did the climate cycles impact the replacement of Neandertals by modern humans in Europe?

Neandertal brains were bigger than modern humans, but not necessarily better.

Denisovans:

Meet Denny.  She is a 13 year old girl who had a Neandertal mother and a Denisovan father.

The cave where Denny came from has given up 4 more bones (not hers).  Dr. John Hawks comments.

Aroeria Hominin:

The bony labyrinth of this hominin appears to be more primitive than in Neandertals.  This could be a new hominin or an example of Homo heidelbergensis.

META:

Evolution of the hominin foot and how it relates to bipedalism.

How DID humans evolve their 'smarts?'

Two to three million years ago, human ancestors had genetic change that improved their running capability.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Japan to Demonstrate Experiment Return Capsule on Next ISS Resupply Mission



In the mission of HTV7 (“KOUNOTORI 7”), after completing the re-supply mission to ISS, HTV7 will demonstrate the novel technology for recovering experiment samples from ISS, which Japan has not obtained up until now, by taking advantage of the opportunity of re-entry into Earth with the HTV Small Re-entry Capsule (HSRC) that will be loaded on the HTV for the first time ever.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Republic of Korea Marine Corps Wants More Aircraft Carrying Ships

The Marine Corps is considering introducing a large transport ship capable of carrying warplanes, and mobilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enhance its amphibious operations and surveillance capabilities, its chief said Wednesday.

During his keynote speech at a security seminar, Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo also expressed his desire to capitalize on robotics and other cutting-edge technologies to enhance the marines' maritime power projection capabilities.

"We are considering building the LPX (large platform experimental)-type ship capable of carrying aircraft in close cooperation with the Navy," Jun said.

He did not specify what aircraft will be carried by the envisioned ship. But observers say that the commander might have in mind the F-35B, a short takeoff and vertical landing variant of the U.S.-made radar-evading fighter.

The Marine Corps appears to want to secure its own LPX ship apart from the 14,000-ton Dokdo amphibious landing ship and the Marado warship, which are currently in operation and under construction, respectively.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Stealth Saga #78

Fifth Generation Targets:

Sierra Nevada is making progress on their 5th gen target for the USAF.  The drone is 40 ft long, 24 ft wing span, has an endurance of 1 1/2 hours, can reach 40k ft, weighs 9,600 lbs, and can takeoff and land from a runway.

China has displayed potential targets at its expos.

Sixth Generation Fighters:

Will the 6th gen fighters be revolutionary?

Will the Tempest 6th gen fighter enhance or detract from the US-UK partnership?  Is the Tempest just a pipe dream?

The Franco-German FCAS will dramatically reduce the number of American parts used to avoid US export rules.

United Technologies will have a functioning F-35 sized advanced engine by 2022 based on the contract they were just awarded by the USAF for the AETD.

Chinese VSTOL:

Could Russia be helping China develop its own VSTOL like the F-35B?

MQ-25:

Is the Boeing MQ-25 actually pretty stealthy?

Su-57:

One paper in Russia has stated they do not think the SU-57 (and other '5th gen' platforms) will ever see full rate ("serial") production.

AvWeek claims the Russian gov finally ordered the Su-57 on August 22.

J-20:

The WS-15 engine might finally be fixed.   This would correct a real problem the J-20 has had (being underpowered).

Japanese Next Gen Fighter:

Will the Northrop YF-23 be the basis for their design for Japan's next gen fighter?

Lockheed is pitching a hybrid of the F-22 and F-35 to the USAF.  It would use the F-35's avionics and new stealth coatings while keeping the F-22's bauplan.  The cost per plane if 140 are ordered is $190M.  Some are stating the 6th gen fighter might take decades as the reason Lockheed is pitching the FrankenRaptor or F-22C.  This is the same aircraft it is offering to Japan.  The weird thing is how that is even remotely possible: the F-22 was banned from export by law.  However, the Secretary of the Air Force just shot the whole thing down.  The USAF is not buying the F-22C or the F-15X.

PAK-DA:

Tupolev claims the first flight of the PAK-DA will be mid 2020; however, they have stated the modernization program for the Tu-160 White Swan has eaten up too many resources and that is the reason for the delay of the PAK-DA.  The PAK-DA may never get made, but not because of money problems.  Rather it is because of a lack of specially trained personnel  working for Tupolev.

Supposedly, the Russian equivalent of a PDR was completed for the PAK-DA.

B-2:

The B-2 got a new ejection seat.

F-22:

An old F-22 that was hangared because it needed costly upgrades, has been repaired and returned to flight status.

Watch F-22s leave Spangenhlem AFB.

F-22s intercepted Russian bombers near Alaska.

And it happened again.  This time the bombers had Russian fighter escorts.

F-35:

Some really cool F-35 photos from the Chicago air show.

The F-35 has been making significant progress despite setbacks and criticism.

Some still have an axe to grind against the F-35 program.

USMC has deployed F-35Bs off the coast of Africa for training for the first time.  The USMC has redeployed F-35Bs on the USS Essex to the Middle East.  The USMC is ready to use the F-35Bs in combat if necessary.

The US Navy has begun operational testing on the USS Lincoln of the F-35C.  Videos here.

An F-35C has ingested part of the basket on an F/A-18 refueling the F-35.  This caused major damage, but the F-35 made it back to the carrier.

The F-35C will use Lockheed's eCASS system to test its avionics starting in 2020.

The F-35 helmet has an issue that only veteran pilots can do night landings on US Navy aircraft carriers.

The USAF Reserve has its first female F-35 pilot, Colonel Regina "Torch" Sabric.

The Brits have started testing the F-35B with the weapons made in the UK.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth has arrived in Florida for F-35B trials.

European F-35 operators want to drive down the operational costs.

Israel is expressing interest in the F-35B.

Italy sent an F-35 to Belgium.  The F-35 was gently 'pet' despite a warning not to touch the fighter.

South Korea's Marine Corps wants a large ship other than the current 15,000 ton Dokodo class to carry the F-35B so they can move an entire division at once.

It is increasingly likely Turkey will be banned from buying the F-35.

Major Halit Oktay was Turkey's first pilot to fly the F-35.

Lockheed got a $250M contract for the LRIP 11 lot.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Orion EM-3 Mission Will bring Two Gateway Modules to Lunar Space


NASA says astronauts will haul two pieces of a small space station to lunar orbit in 2024, during the second crewed flight of the Orion spacecraft.

Plans for the station, which is now referred to as the Gateway, have been shaping up since 2017. The Gateway, Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew capsule represent the core of NASA's plans to send humans back to the Moon and on to Mars. The Gateway is designed to host astronauts for short-term stays, serve as a waypoint for crewed surface missions and receive samples robotically collected from both the Moon and Mars.

The first piece of the Gateway is a power and propulsion module, scheduled to launch on a commercial rocket in 2022. The first crewed Orion mission, a lap around the Moon that will not stop in orbit, is scheduled a year later, in 2023. Then, in 2024, another Orion crew will fly to lunar orbit and visit the power and propulsion module, with two more pieces of the Gateway in tow.

"NASA plans to deliver two modules on the third integrated flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, targeted for 2024," said Kathyrn Hambleton, a NASA public affairs officer, in an email.

link.

NASA dropped the RFP for the gateway station 's power and propulsion module already, too.



NASA updated the assembly schedule for the Gateway: note!  Nowhere does it say anything about Russian participation.  The acquisition strategy decision for the airlock Russia was claiming it would build has been delayed until 2020.  I have expect it to be delayed another year, tbh.

Japan wants to participate in the Gateway.

NASA conducted the final parachute test for the Orion capsule.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Terminator Times #49

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The USAF is upgrading its Reapers to a multispectral targeting system made by Raytheon.

A USAF RQ-4 Global Hawk crashed off the coast of Spain last June.

Does the USAF need a Loyal Wingman UCAV?

The US MDA just gave Boeing, General Atomics and Lockheed contracts to improve their lasers intended for mounting on a UAV for missile defense.  The MDA is reportedly aiming for a 500 kw laser by 2021 and a 1 MW laser by 2023.

The US Navy award to Boeing of the MQ-25A is the largest defense contract win for Boeing in more than a decade and may lead to over 150 Stingrays.

US Special Operations Command gave General Atomics an integration contract for MALET.

Some interesting pix were found in Google Earth of Chinese UAVs by an Indian source.  I disagree with their assessment of what they are seeing, but not the images themselves.

The Indian Army selected the SpyLite UAV.

Russia claims to have destroyed a UAV factory in Syria.

Russia is testing its third Altair UAV.

Boeing has released another video related to the MQ-25A.  WiB discussed the MQ-25A history.

UAVOS showed off its latest UAVs.

UMS Skeldar is detailing the development of the next gen V-200.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos and Ogres):

The Brits are trialling their T7 UGV before delivery.

Arquus demoed an unmanned 4x4 Dagger vehicle.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (robo boats):

Russia is building USVs to hunt mines.

Software Bots:

DARPA is investing $2B in AI for the military.

META:

The US Army is talking about 'Fully Autonomous Maneuver' (aka killer robots) as a legitimate concept for the future.  The near future goal though being developed by the Army Research Lab is the 'mobile intelligent entities.' 

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Russia has Started Research on the Nuclear Power Plant for its Nextgen Carrier

The Russian Navy has commenced research on engine designs for Russia’s planned nuclear-powered supercarrier, dubbed Project 23000E Shtorm (Storm), the chief of the Russian Navy’s shipbuilding department, Rear Admiral Vladimir Tryapichnikov, said in a television interview on August 24.

“Today, an engine has been launched [the research work on its creation has been launched] and today we are working precisely on this issue,” Tryapichnikov said on Zvezda TV Channel last Friday. “Some concept will be approved in the near future. Of course, this is expensive but such a ship should be built.”

The principal design work for the new carrier is being undertaken by the St. Petersburg-based Nevskoye Planning and Design bureau, Russia’s primary designer of large surface warships. Tryapichnikov’s comments once more raise the question whether a Russian nuclear-powered aircraft carrier project will ever move beyond the design stage and whether the Russian Navy has a need for a flattop.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Robopocalypse Report #107

Drones:

In Africa, autonomous drones will help curb illegal fishing.

Airbus' Zephyr S broke flight records on its maiden flight.

The Amazon Prime Delivery Drone has been inducted into Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

ATLAN Space has developed an AI drone to detect environmental crimes.

AT&T recently trialled medical supply deliveries by drone in Puerto Rico and has now teamed up with Softbox for their effort.

Austin PD will be holding public hearings about whether or not to use drones in traffic accident investigations.

Australian rangers are using drones to monitor and protect an endangered turtle.

Australia has established 10 new 'drone parks' across Brisbane.

Australia is also using drones to check if Koalas are in trees before cutting them down.

Blue Bear Systems and Cranfield University have teamed up for the UK's drone corridor.

Caltech, CAIST and Imperial College have developed an algorithm to herd birds away from airports autonomously using drones.

Cape May County in New Jersey just got a $3M grant to build a drone center.

China's new drone innovation center in Shanghai will help develop new drone tech.

The Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma is using drones to round up feral pigs.

The Chula Vista PD is holding off on the use of drones due to public perception.

Coimbatore uses drones to monitor and herd elephants in India.

The Denver PD has shelved a drone program due to public concerns.

Deveron, a drone company focused on smart farming, has acquired Veritas for its analytics capabilities.

Drake is using drones as part of his tour.

Drones are increasingly being used for crash scene analysis.

Drone swarms are something of an illusion...for now.

Drones are being used to thwart rhino poaching in South Africa.

Drone Dek has patented a solar powered docking station for drones.

Drone Delivery Canada has started a trial to deliver blood to remote areas.

An ambulance drone won a grant.

A drone enthusiast built a functional Lego helicopter drone.

English prisons supposedly had one inmate coordinating smuggling into prisons using drones.

Eversource Energy is using drones for electrical infrastructure inspection.

Flytrex is now testing food delivery in North Dakota.

Ford is using camera drones for inspection of its engine factory in Britain.

The French secret service intercepted a drone near the French President's summer home.

Georgetown police have been using drones, including to IDing and pursuing suspects.

IBM filed a patent for a drone to detect and deliver coffee if you are tired.

India will legalize commercial drones after reversing the UAV ban.

In India, a startup is looking to deliver medical supplies in rural areas.

Intel has unveiled an open standard for remote IDing drones.

Japan is trying to sort out how to deal with heat stroke at the 2020 Olympics using drones.

The Kansas Department of Transportation is about to launch its first flight for its drone integration program.

Korean Post will start trials of drone deliveries in August with an eye to a general roll out in 2021.

Drone company Korec has been hired to survey Ireland's roads.

Lincolnshire Charity uses drones to find homeless people.

Lockheed and the Drone Racing League have a challenge for people to develop a software bot that flies drones better than the pros in races.

MatterNet will begin testing medical supply delivery by drone in North Carolina.

North Dakota's UAV test site has received FAA approval to conduct beyond line of site tests of rones.

Pennsylvania law enforcement use of drones has raised privacy concerns.

Project Wing has demonstrated its first long distance residential delivery.

The Reno Fire Department has been testing a drone to approach and assess a fire before responders arrive.

The Royal Cayman Island Police were using drones as part of a disaster response test.

San Diego and Cape have teamed up.

Smuggling using drones may be happening across the Canadian-North Dakota border.

A solar powered quadcopter can fly for hours.  How big could a solar powered drone be?

In Spain, a life guard drone saved a swimmer's life.

The Spry drone can fly and swim underwater.

The Ukrainian Border Patrol found a tobacco smuggling drone.

Unifly will provide the drone traffic management system for NY's drone corridor.

Self Driving Cars:

Even semi autonomous cars have flaws.

Consumers have become MORE apprehensive of self driving cars than they were before.

Self driving cars are being tested in a massive simulation.

An OpEd against self driving cars and for car ownership.

Self driving cars should look down, not just forward.

Almost all self driving car accidents in California were caused by human drivers, not the self driving ar.

Apple has hired back Tesla's former test engineer.

An Apple self driving car had its first accident.  It was the fault of the safety driver.  Doh.

How Aurora is making self driving cars.

Autonomous pods have been given huge eyes to make eye contact with pedestrians.

AutoX has started testing its autonomous grocery delivery service in California.

Blackmore has a new lidar for self driving cars.

CMU and Yamaha showed how drones can be used for simple cinematography.

Daimler applied for a trademark that strongly implies it is going for AI driven self driving cars.

Drive.ai is not just making self driving cars, but making them connected cars as well.

Fiat Chrysler confirmed it invested $300M in self driving car testing grounds.

Ford has outlined its approach to self driving cars.  They have stated they want to get self driving cars right rather than be the first to market.

Hyundai just test drove a self driving semi on South Korean highways.

Kodiak has jumped into the self driving truck business.

Kroger has confirmed Scottsdale, AZ as the site of its self driving delivery vehicle tests.

Lyft and Aptiv have provided more than 5,000 rides in self driving cars in Las Vegas.

Nuro is running their self driving car grocery delivery service beta test in Phoenix.

Olli, a self driving 3d printed shuttle, made its debut at the University of Buffalo.

Scale wants self driving cars to be connected.

Tesla claims its self driving car chip is ready.

Toyota claims there are passenger safety issues with self driving cars.

Uber lost $900M last quarter and is being urged by its investors to dump the self driving division.  Toyota just invested $500M into Uber's self driving division. Uber is not going to dump its self driving car divison.

Volvo unveiled its self driving car concept, the 360c.

Waymo's self driving cars have problem with turning corners and Arizonans absolutely hate the vehicles.

Waymo gave a writer for The Drive a ride in its self driving car.

A new study states truckers are in no danger any time soon from self driving tech.

Yandex has started testing its self driving car tech in Russia.

The CEO of Zoox, a unique self driving car company, has been suddenly fired.

3d Printing:

Could 3d printed stem cells patch spinal cord injuries?

The ArianeGroup wants to 3d print its new turbine blades for the new rocket engines.

GM thinks 3d printing will make cheaper, better cars.

Graphene can now be 3d printed as an aerogel.

Researchers 3d printed an autonomous underwater robot.

A prototype bionic eye was 3d printed.

Despite a court order extending the ban on 3d printed gun plans online, the manufacturer has placed those plans on its website for a pay-what-you-want amount.

The CDC is using HP bio printers to expedite new antibiotic tests.

A 3d printer using metallic glass has been developed.

How economically viable is 3d concrete printing?

Lawrence Livermore National Lab developed a nanoporous gold that can be 3d printed.

Is 3d printing a viable technology for manufacturing  medium altitude long endurance drones?

Robotics:

Robotics has a serious security issue.

Human hands are far superior to robotic ones to date.

Anki's new home robot is cute, but will it be a viable product?

Using autonomous robots can greatly accelerate marine exploration.

An ESA astronaut remotely controlled a robot from the ISS.

The Peacock Spider has inspired a soft robot.

Robots can be used in rehabilitation.

Skin for a robot is more sensitive than human skin.

People react differently to robots, especially if they are...mean.

Children give in to robot "peer" pressure.

UUVs have been studying the Antarctic Sea and found there's a surprising amount of CO2 exhale.

New materials might become the basis for grippers for robots.

A robot IDs electric vehicles and automatically charges them up.

Japan is trialing robots to teach english.

Yale has conducted a study that found robots can help autistic children with social interaction.

Robots can help kids read more, too.

These robotic hands are made of paper.

Brexit has caused a push for robotic strawberry pickers.

Senator Flake is attempting to get funding for 'beerbots' banned from the Pentagon budget.

Developers at the University of Tokyo and Keio Unversity have developed a robot you strap to your back and someone else operates remotely.  That way you have another set of hands and eyes.  Telling your boss to get off your back has a whole new meaning.

Queensland University has developed RangerBot, a UUV intended to monitor and protect the Great Barrier Reef, especially from starfish.

Using robots to help those who are housebound to interact with other people.

A simple, but clever robotic hand as been developed.

Some hospitals will use robot ducks to comfort kids with cancer.

A robot was developed to simulate a VERY uncooperative patient for surgery.

Robat is an autonomous robot that explores its surroundings via echo location.

An MIT grad developed a robot that will swim through pipes looking for leaks.

A robot sailbot autonomously crossed the Atlantic for the first time.

Exoskeletons:

Ford thinks exoskeletons are ready for prime time in the factory.

LG just added an exoskeleton to its line up.

Software Bots:

AI can develop prejudices, too.

Transliteration can help Amazon's Alexa find data across languages.

Baseball players want software bots to replace umpires.

The British are facing an AI brain drain.

Will China overtake the US as the lead in AI development?

Christie's will auction AI generated art for the first time.

Facebook and NYU have banded together to improve MRIs using software bots.

The dangers of Frankenalgorithms.

Google's Assistant can understand two languages at once now.

Google's DeepMind has teamed up with eye doctors to ID eye diseases.

A small team of part time student coders beat Google's software bots on a benchmark.

Google seems to be working on a software bot fitness trainer for smart watches.

Google is using a software bot to control the cooling in its data centers.

Google is letting anyone use its software bot toolkit to find child sex abuse pictures.

IBM's Watson might be flopping.

Machine learning technique reconstructs images passing through a multimode fiber.

Microsoft is using bots to make searchable video transcripts.

Microsoft is enabling testing of Alexa and Cortana to control your XBox One.

MIT thinks it can secure cloud based AI without slowing it down.

MIT also produced a software bot that can tell if you're depressed based on how you walk.  Take your pills, citizen.

An OpenAI software bot steamrolled a pro DOTA2 team.  Apparently, it happened, because its basically cheating.  The latest round, the OpenAI bots just got thrashed.  

A path to AI.

Samsung's Bixby is still rough around the edges.

The dilemma of software bots and drug patents is being debated already.

What happens when software bots teach themselves to cheat?

A software bot uses patient data to make cancer treatments less toxic.

A software bot was taught how to do simulated dribbling.

Software bots were taught to write Shakespearean sonnets.

Software bots can probably learn to ID authors of anonymous code.

Software bots will help improve how your avatar looks and behaves in video games.

Software bots are being used to develop brain cancer treatments.

A new software bot has been connected to big data to discern the potential for disease development in people.

A software bot has been IDing heat resistant coral reefs in Indonesia.

A software bot has been used at Mount Sinai to ID acute neurological disorders.

Software bots might be able to fix the 'bad' lip syncing in the future.

Are software bots running amok on Amazon's Mechanical Turk?

Software bots can now spot cheating at universities.

A software bot is very good at predicting earthquake aftershocks.

A software bot is being developed to diagnose detection of diabetic retinopathy autonomously.

Software bots can even edit video to make it appear you can actually dance.

Software bots as music producers, not artists...

Software bots might be used to help fight elephant poachers.

Are software bots for the consumer doomed?

Software bots can now recognize text.

Startups in Silicon Valley want to use software bots for debt collection.

Supercomputers and machine learning are improving power plants.

Uber says it has a software bot that can distinguish whether a trip taken is for personal use or business.

The World Economic Forum is warning software bots (or AI) could disrupt the financial system.

Automata:

Amazon Go's checkout free store is coming to NYC.

An Amazon Go competitor has opened to the public in San Francisco.

META:

The robopocalypse ought to benefit even the workers.

Some are wondering why there are so few women involved in AI research.

The Chief Economist of the Bank of England is warning about the robopocalypse.

AI can be a force for good.

It's not the automation taking the jobs...

Is it time to start talking about AI's effects on xenophobia?

Studying universal basic income has turned out tougher than expected.  Whooda thunk something political would be so complicated?

Another anti self driving car rant.