Saturday, May 23, 2020

Stealth Saga #59

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF's NGAD appears to be on track - if it follows the same course as the LRSB/B-21 - to make a selection in 2023.

The USN's Next Generation Fighter appears to have either been cancelled or gone black.

A think tank created a forum for Australia, Japan and the US to discuss requirements for the next gen fighters.

Mike Griffin is deeply skeptical of lasers on aircraft.

The Franco-German FCAS has started the demonstrator phase.

The Germans are considering the ethics of the FCAS program.

Japan has decided to build their own next gen fighter rather than participate in foreign systems.

Japan wants their next gen fighter to carry a lot more missiles than the F-35.

Japan may consider exporting its next gen fighter due to its high costs.

Japan has picked American companies to work with on its next gen fighter, but will take the lead on the project.  They will not be joining the British led Tempest project.

Loyal Wingmen:

The USAF has started its Loyal Wingman program officially, called Skyborg.


Su-57:

A video suggests the Su-57 finally launched a missile from its small, side bay.

The Russians have been  testing an unmanned flight mode for the Su-57.

The Russians are also claiming the Su-57 has met almsot all testing goals.

B-2:




F-117:

The F-117 conducted missions over the pacific ocean twice off the coast of California.

F-22:

F-22s intercepted a Russian aircraft.  What happened next depends on who is telling the story.

An F-22 has crashed in Florida.

F-22s participated in an elephant walk in Hawaii.

F-22s in Alaska participated in an elephant walk.

F-35:



Trump is not happy parts of the F-35 are made overseas.

The F-35 is having some parts problems after removing the Turks from the program.

The Pentagon issued a contract for 78 F-35s from Lockheed.  48 F-35As, 14 F-35Bs and 16 F-35Cs.

The Pentagon is looking at how to extend the life of the OLEDs on the F-35 helmets.

In light of COVID-19, how is the testing continuing at Edwards AFB?

F-35 manufacturing will not meet its goals due to covid-19 impacts.

Some still are not happy about the F-35 program.

The total SSDs left for the F-35 have been reduced from 43 to 6, but the bulkhead cracking is still one of them.

USAF and Israeli F-35s exercised together.

A USAF F-35 crashed in Florida.

USAF F-35As returning to Hill AFB from the Middle East are coming back with unique nicknames.

Two F-35As flew to Eielson AFB.

The US military is considering removing the F-35 from Britain over the Huawei 5G plans.

The USMC does not have enough pilots to fly their F-35Bs.

The USMC won't cut their F-35 procurements for now, but that may change.  They are debating that.

USMC's F-35C equipped VMFA-314 has been declared safe for flight.

An Australian firm will produce cannon ammo for the F-35.

The US approved a support package for South Korean F-35s.

Collins will deliver the Tactical Combat Training Increment II for the F-35.

META:

Northrop is developing a gateway for networking 5th gen fighters.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Paleolithic Papers #35

Genus Homo:


H. sapiens:

The late Pleistocene dating for Cooper's Ferry is disputed and here is the response.

H. neanderthalensis:

Neandertals made string, cord or twine.

H. antecessor:

H. antecessor is either the last common ancestor for Denisovans, Neandertals and modern humans or really, really close to it.

H. heidelbergensis:

The Broken Hill skull has been dated from ~299 thousand years gao.

H. naledi:

The DH7 juvenile skeleton gives some insight as to how H. naledi matured.

H. erectus:

H. erectus lived alongside paranthropus and australopethicus in South Africa.

Carnivores were responsible for the accumulation of H. erectus fossils at Dmanisi.

Genus Australopithecus:

A. afarensis:

Lucy's brain grew like a modern human's, but was organized like an ape's.

META:  

What did ancient humans look like?

How thick was the enamel on plio-pleistocene hominins?

How did the talus evolve in early hominins?

Were there multiple descents from the trees?

The role of cladistics in paleoanthropology.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Terminator Times #70

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):


DARPA's AlphaDogFight final demo is imminent.

The USAF is planning when to buy Loyal Wingmen drones.

The USAF has taken over a remote Mojave airstrip and turned it into a drone air base.

The USMC has realized they were asking for too much with the MUX drone and are going to redo the program.

A comparison of the F-35 and the XQ-58A Valkyrie.

Attritable UAVs have defense contractors rethinking their approaches with the probable lost of the lucrative MRO contracts.

Elon Musk told USAF fighter pilots the era of the manned fighter has passed and that the F-35 should have an unmanned competitor.

The USN exercised a clause in the contract for the MQ-25A to get 3 more by 2024 and Boeing is refusing to add extra capabilities to keep costs low.

How the MQ-8C is helping the USN with its surveillance gaps.

Argentina has produced the Asteri RUAS 160 VTOL UAV.

Australia has accepted the new engine for the CamCopter VTOL drones.

Australia has selected four companies to compete to replace its Shadow 200 UAVs.

The British have stood up a group to develop swarming drones.

China showcased its BZK-005 UAV.

Russia has integrated the Orlan-10 UAV into its 2s5 artillery units.

South Korea is considering its KUS-FS UAV for ground command operations.

South Korea expects their RQ-4 to begin initial operations by year's end.

Taiwan has decided not to buy the MQ-9B VTOL UAV.

Turkish UAVs are playing an important role in the battle of Idlib in Syria.

Turkish drones killed 19 Syrian government soldiers.

Turkey sold UAVs to Tunisia.


(above) Ukraine unveiled its Thunder suicide drone.

Ukraine has unveiled the RAM suicide drone.

Boeing is leveraging its relationships with Australian business to work on its Loyal Wingman tech.

General Atomics has unveiled its Defender Loyal Wingman to protect tankers and other like assets.

General Dynamics' first production quality MQ-9B has started flight tests.

Meet Northrop's XRQ-72A Great Horned Owl.

UAVOS & KACST unveiled the Saker-1B UAV and demonstrated progressive flight control.

UMS Skeldar has unveiled an enhanced V-150 VTOL UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos & Ogres & Terminators, oh my!):

Britain's DSTL has ordered its first autonomous UGVs.

IrvinGQ has developed an airdrop platform for the MilRem UGV.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro Boats):

GeoSpectrum has developed a scaled down traps sonar for USVs.

Zycroft has updated its Dolphin USV.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (Robo subs):

DARPA is expanding its Manta Ray autonomous UUV program.

The USN is combining two UUV programs.

The USN conducted an exercise with UUVs equipped with SONAR and suggests that is the future of ASW operations.

China's latest Haiyi underwater gliders have been deployed to the Indian Ocean.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Stealth Saga #58

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF has stated manned fighters could start being replaced by UCAVs within 5 years.

Elon Musk agrees and stated the era of the manned fighter has passed.

The US Navy will cut F/A-18E/F production to speed up their next generation fighter.

France and Germany have started the demonstrator phase for the FCAS program.  Spain will join.

The French Neuron UAV will inform the FCAS program.

Dassault blames politics for the demise of the Anglo-French 6th gen fighter project.

Loyal Wingmen:

The USAF is plotting the course for when the Loyal Wingmen will be introduced.

The USAF/Kratos Valkyrie gets compared to the F-35 for capabilities vs cost.

The Australian/Boeing Loyal Wingman ATS is progressing.

KFX:

Elbit will provide TF/TA systems for the South Korean KFX system.

Su-57:

The Su-57 has been spotted testing the new engine.

B-21:

The B-21 renderings show subtle differences between the B-2 and the B-21.

B-2:

B-2s flew to Iceland and exercised with Norwegian F-35s and USAF F-15s.

A B-2 deployed to the Azores.

B-2 DMS-M upgrades will be limited to the cockpit.

F-117:

A stripped F-117 has been placed on a government website for sale on a government surplus website.

An F-117 has been spotted over Star Wars Canyon again.

F-22:

F-22s and F-35s exercised in Hawaii.

For F-22 & F-35 demo pilots, aggressive maneuvering is the norm.

Watch F-22s arrive in Singapore.

F-22s returned from a short notice deployment in Qatar.

Watch an F-22 do a slo-mo take-off and vertical climb.

F-22s and CF-18s intercepted Tu-142s off Alaska.

F-35:

500 F-35s have been delivered.

The Pentagon is unsure if the new approach will fix the ALIS issues and lacks performance metrics for the system.

Captain Kristin "Beo" Wolfe joined the F-35 demo team.

Lot 9 and new F-35s are getting cracks after using their guns.

The newest F-35A squadron is showing off the F-35A's capabilities at Red Flag.

F-35As in the Middle East found a GBAD system.

F-35A store separation tests have completed ahead of schedule.

The F-35B will be flying at the Singapore airshow.

F-35Bs exercised off the USS America (which is flying the Captain America flag) in the South China Sea.

USMC F-35Cs have arrived at Miramar.

The first F-35C pilot has earned the Britannia award.

Australia and Britain are opening an F-35 reprogramming facility in the US.

Indonesia wants to buy the F-35 instead of the Su-35.

Israel is buying another 25 F-35Is.

The Japanese F-35 production line shutdown due to the COVID-19 virus.

The JASDF 302 Squadron emblem has been unveiled.




Norwegian F-35As in Iceland.


Norwegian F-35As (and others' Eurofighters) intercepted Tu-142s.

Lockheed could be financially liable for unmet SDD requirements.

F-35 profitability might suffer with the loss of Turkish manufacturing.

Sunday, March 08, 2020

A Chinese Destroyer Fired a Laser on a US Navy Aircraft

A Chinese destroyer lased a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft that was operating over international waters about 380 miles west of Guam, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

The laser could not be seen by a human eye but was captured by sensors on the airplane, which is a variant of the Boeing 737 that has been upgraded with sensors and systems to support tracking surface and undersea targets.

The incident, which PACFLT called “unsafe and unprofessional,” took place on Feb. 17 and was just announced by the Navy.

Weapons-grade lasers could potentially cause serious harm to aircrew and mariners, as well as ship and aircraft systems, PACFLT noted in its statement.

The destroyer involved appears to be Hohhot, a Type 052D or Luyang III-class destroyer in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy. This destroyer, pennant number 161, is among the newer Chinese destroyers and entered the fleet last year, according to news reports.

The PACFLT statement says the lasing violates both bilateral and multilateral agreements between the U.S. Navy and PLAN, including a 2014 agreement that specifically notes that the use of lasers could cause harm to personnel or damage to equipment.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Terminator Times #69

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The US has ended a secretive UAV program with Turkey over Turkey's actions in Syria.

DARPA is starting an infrastructureless launch and recovery system program for UAVs.

The Valkyrie has had a successful 4th flight and expanded its flight envelope.

Kratos has started XQ-58A production despite the delay in the production contract by the USAF.

Details of the USAF RQ-170's first trip to South Korea emerge.

A USAF General thinks the Reaper would be the ideal SOCCOM overwatch aircraft.

The USAF is abruptly ending Reaper procurements.

And CENTCOM wants more Reapers.

The USAF has stated UAVs could start replacing manned fighters in mid 2020s.

The USMC is seeking medium and long endurance ISTAR UAVs.

The first USN Tritons arrive in the west Pacific.

The USN demoed flying EA-18G Growlers as unmanned aerial vehicles by another Growler.

The Australian/Boeing Loyal Wingman ATS is progressing.

Australia will buy a 2nd Triton.

The Bahamas have bought UAVs.

The British are planning a large UAV demo off the HMS Prince of Wales.

China unveiled a 3 engine variant of the Tengen TB001.

Egypt has deployed its Wing Loong II drones to western bases.

The French Neuron UAV is informing the FCAS 6th gen fighter effort.

The Houthis attacked Saudi Arabia with drones again.

Indonesia approved the plan to procure ScanEagle UAVs.

Israel's drone sector is changing.

Morocco has received 3 Harfang UAVs from France.

Portugal has added VTOL UAV capabilities to its OPV ships.

Russia has ordered an updated Forpost UAV.

Russia accused Turkey of illegally sending its drones into Idlib, Syria.

South Korea has set up a new squadron to operate its Global Hawks.

South Korea is developing UAV engines.

Syria shot down two drones near Hmeimim airbase.

A Turkish drone was shot down in Idlib.


BAe's PHASA 35 has flown for the first time.

BGJX unveiled more details about its JH-1 Dragon VTOL UAV.

CIAC is attempting to pitch its UAV to the Colombian military.

Controp is working on a a quad copter for surveillance.

Edge unveiled its Garmousha VTOL UAV.

Elbit will demo the Hermes 900 for civilian applications for the UK.

General Atomics received more funding for Reapers, $7.8M.

General Atomics will extend its partnership with Cobham in Australia.

General Atomics demonstrated laser comm to orbit for a OAV.

General Atomics unveiled the Defender UCAV: it looks like the Avenger's big brother and suspiciously like the Avenger twist I posited here.

IAI introduces the Heron II.

IAI signed an MOU with Indian companies to locally produce UAVs.

Leidos completed the purchase of Dynetics.

Watch a Lockheed drone recovery go very wrong.

Piaggio's administrator has called for bids for the purchase of the drone company.

PT Len is developing UAV mission payloads.

Safran is working on fixing the Patroller UAV after a crash.

ST Engineering unveiled its Veloce VTOL UAVs.

UAVOS continues to work on VTOL UAVs.

UAVOS will demo maritime search and rescue with its ISR350-5 VTOL UAV.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos & Ogres, & Terminators, oh my!):

The artillery branch of the US Army is seeking autonomous ammo haulers for the artillery.

Autonomous supply vehicles may increase safety for the US Army convoys.

Milrem is showcasing its updated Themis UAV.

ST Engineering has a new remote weapon station for UGVs.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (ro-boats):

DARPA lays out its goals for NOMARS.

The USN is working on resiliency for its USVs.

The USN is starting initial low rate production of the CUSV as part of the Unmanned Influence Sweep System.

Britain has procured a MANTIS T12 USV.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

DOT&E states the Knifefish needs more development.

Huntington Ingalls is prepping for US Navy demand in UUVs.  They bought Hydroid.

Northrop will integrate its sonar systems on L3 Harris UUVs.

Software Bots:

The Pentagon has established ethical guidelines for AI work.

META:

Former democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang called for a ban on autonomous weapons.

DARPA is pushing forward with its Assured Autonomy program.


Saturday, February 22, 2020

Paleolithic Papers #34

Genus Homo:

Modern human and Neandertal relics are washing up on shore in the North Sea.

Neandertal DNA might be more common in modern humans than previously thought.

What cave art reveals about human nature.

Scientists have uncovered a ghost lineage of ancient hominins in West African genomes.

Was there evidence of a technological break or gap or evolution at a cave in Israel?

Modern Humans (H. sapiens):

Mesolithic site  remains show cooking tubers took place.

Pottery from the Amur River region from the late Pleistocene has been found.

Settling of the Americas remains complex with outliers in cranial morphology being found.

How old is the oldest H. sapiens skull?  The one from Florisbad.

A skeleton of a 30 year old woman from Mexico dating from the end Pleistocene/dawn Holocene has interesting insights to the early native American populations.

What was the climate variability like during the early expansions of modern humans out of Africa?

Neandertals (H. neanderthalensis):

The last Neandertals might have lived at Byzovaya, above the Arctic Circle in Russia.

Neandertals made an epic trek 60k years ago to the Altai Mountains.

There is evidence of two separate migrations into Asia by Neandertals.

Inbreeding might have been the doom of Neandertals.

Denisovans:

Mitochondrial DNA from Densovans has been found in modern human nuclear DNA.

Denisovans were more complex than we originally thought.

Meet the Denisovans.

H. antecessor:

Two juvenile scapula from Spain are examined.

H. erectus:

H. erectus arrived in Java 200,000 years later than originally thought.

H. erectus might have engaged in long range trade for obsidian.

Genus Australopithecus:

A. anamensis:

What ecology did A. anamensis live in?

META:

Nasty recessives aren't an obstacle to introgression between hominins.

What we have learned about human evolution and what remains to be understood?

African climate forcing simulation for the last 140,000 years and its implication for human evolution.

There's a new method for figuring out where ancient humans came from.

Human language probably evolved gradually.

When did hominins begin to understand death.

How to estimate the contamination of ancient DNA by modern.