Sunday, October 27, 2019

China: Resolving Taiwan Question of the Highest Priority

Separatist activities are doomed to failure, Wei said at the opening of the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, which China styles as its answer to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have ratcheted up ahead of the self-ruled island’s presidential election in January. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue.

“China is the only major country in the world that is yet to be completely reunified,” Wei said.

“Resolving the Taiwan question so as to realise China’s full reunification is the irresistible trend of the times, China’s greatest national interest, the righteous path to follow and the longing of all Chinese people.”

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stealth Saga #53


Aviation Week has a surprisingly detailed article about the RQ-180.  This is the unmanned aircraft which may have been spotted last August.

6th Generation Fighters:

The USAF's NGAD has been redirected to promote the 'Digital Industrial Revolution' for manufacturing.

The USAF's NGAD has a PEO and has set up the program office in general.

The USAF's advanced engine plans have hit a funding snag.

The RAF's chief of staff has endorsed the American 'Digital Century series' fighter program.

The FCAS companies are urging their governments to move forward with the program.

France and German signed a deal regarding weapon exports.  The FCAS is probably one of the weapons covered.


The Korean led stealth fighter program will roll out its first prototype in the first half of 2021.

South Korea unveiled a mockup of the aircraft.

South Korea also showed off a mockup of the cockpit.

South Korea has stated it is open to foreign partners in the KF-X.

The whole program may be at risk though.

South Korea has started construction of the aircraft.


Russia has started MUM-T testing between the Ohotnik-B UAV and the Su-57:

Chinese Stealth Carrier-borne UAV:

China's reported plan to put a ISR drone on its carriers makes sense to some.

China's Sharp Sword carrier based UAV is claimed to be entering service by the end of the year.  It may be the aircraft may NOT be carrier based, but in service already.  It did get displayed at the October 1st military parade.


The J-20 at a high AOA.


The USAF has reactivated the 420th Bomber Wing for B-21 testing.

The B-21 first flight could be delayed.

Some are questioning whether or not the schedule for the B-21 can be kept.

First public flight is still aimed for Dec 2021.


The USAF tweeted a photo of the B-2 stating it would be the last thing Area 51 Raiders would see if they had actually tried.  The USAF later apologized.


Who is flying the 'retired' F-117s?


The F-35 is closer to IBCS integration.

The full rate production decision for the F-35 has been delayed by 13 months.

A USAF student pilot apparently saved a F-35A when the computer crashed in flight.

The official welcome ceremony was held for the 158th FW's first F-35A.

At least 13 F-35Bs embarked on the USS America to test the 'Lightning Carrier' concept.

A F-35 did some very impressive demo flying over San Francisco.

Australia is looking for a larger piece of the F-35 manufacturing pie.

British F-35Bs are off to operational carrier testing.  One was photographed in 'Beast Mode.'

Italy has deployed its F-35s to Iceland.  Take an up close and personal look.  They have completed their mission.

The Japanese will get their first aircraft carriers in 75 years, but the USMC will fly their F-35Bs off them first.

Netherlands will order 9 more F-35s.

Norway is having problems with the drag chute on its F-35As.

Poland has placed the F-35 front and center in its air force modernization plans.

South Korea showed off its F-35As to the public.

South Korea will also order 20 more F-35As.

South Korea awarded a contract for the design of a ship that can carry F-35Bs.

Lockheed has declared the F-35's stealth coating rock solid.

The offset projects promised by Lockheed for South Korea are progressing.

United Technologies won a $325.2M contract to support the F-35.


Claims about passive radar are a bit overblown.

Friday, October 25, 2019

NASA is Paying for Sufficient SLS Rockets for 10 Artemis Missions

NASA has taken the next steps toward building Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stages to support as many as 10 Artemis missions, including the mission that will carry the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024.

NASA finished assembling the main structural components for the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage on Sept. 19. Engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans fully integrated the last piece of the 212-foot-tall core stage by adding the engine section to the rest of the previously assembled structure.Credits: NASA/Steven SeipelView Image Feature

The agency intends to work with Boeing, the current lead contractor for the core stages of the rockets that will fly on the first two Artemis missions, for the production of SLS rockets through the next decade. The core stage is the center part of the rocket that contains the two giant liquid fuel tanks. Towering 212 feet with a diameter of 27.6 feet, it will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and all the systems that will feed the stage’s four RS-25 engines. It also houses the flight computers and much of the avionics needed to control the rocket’s flight.

NASA has provided initial funding and authorization to Boeing to begin work toward the production of the third core stage and to order targeted long-lead materials and cost-efficient bulk purchases to support future builds of core stages. This action allows Boeing to manufacture the third core stage in time for the 2024 mission, Artemis III, while NASA and Boeing work on negotiations to finalize the details of the full contract within the next year. The full contract is expected to support up to 10 core stages and up to eight Exploration Upper Stages (EUS).

Thursday, October 24, 2019

As a Reaction to Facebook's Libra, FedCoin Rises Again

Lawmakers and Federal Reserve officials are so concerned about Facebook’s plans to launch a new digital currency that they’re contemplating a novel response — having the central bank create a competitor.

Momentum is building for an idea that was once considered outlandish — a U.S. government-run virtual currency that would replace physical cash, a dramatic move that could discourage major companies like Facebook from creating their own digital coins.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Russian Scientist has Started Editing Human Embryos

Russian biologist Denis Rebrikov has started gene editing in eggs donated by women who can hear to learn how to allow some deaf couples to give birth to children without the genetic mutation that impairs hearing. The news, detailed in an e-mail he sent to Nature on 17 October, is the latest in a saga that kicked off in June, when Rebrikov told Nature of his controversial intention to create gene-edited babies resistant to HIV using the popular CRISPR tool.

Rebrikov’s latest e-mail follows a September report in Russian magazine N+1 that one deaf couple had started procedures to procure eggs that would be used to create a gene-edited baby — but the eggs that Rebrikov has edited are from women without the genetic mutation that can impair hearing. He says the goal of the experiments is to better understand potentially harmful ‘off-target’ mutations, which are a known challenge of using CRISR–Cas9 to edit embryos.

Russian Hacking Group 'Cozy Bear' has Been Using Reddit, Other Social Platforms Starting in 2013

Cyber-espionage operations from Cozy Bear, a threat actor believed to work for the Russian government, continued undetected for the past years by using malware families previously unknown to security researchers.

Relying on stealthy communication techniques between infected systems and the command and control (C2) servers, the group managed to keep their activity under the radar for a long time.

Cyber-espionage campaigns that likely started in 2013, collectively named "Operation Ghost," have been attributed to this group, and continued through 2019.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

South Korea is Considering Large Deck, CATOBAR Aircraft Carriers

A senior South Korean lawmaker has said the country should reconsider proposals for acquiring either light or medium aircraft carriers with Catapult Assisted Take-Off Barrier Arrested Recovery, or CATOBAR, configurations to respond to growing regional security threats. These were alternatives to South Korea's reported decision to purchase a number of large amphibious assault ships capable of supporting fixed-wing short takeoff and vertical landing combat jets, namely the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter. This call for reassessing that choice comes as the South Korean Ministry of Defense may be leaning toward acquiring 20 more conventional F-35A models rather than B variants, further deferring plans to develop a fixed-wing naval aviation capability.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Terminator Times #64

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones):

The US will continue flying drones over the areas Trump made the US military retreat from in Syria.

DOD may invest in small drone manufacturers in the US and other allies.

DARPA's X-61A Gremlins tests are all laid out but will have to move due to the earthquake damage suffered at China Like.

The USAF's XQ-58A Valkyrie suffered an accident and damage on landing due to retrieval/landing system failure.

US ARSOAC/USSOCOM trialed the GBU-69/B with the Gray Eagle UAS.

The US Navy will trial cargo UAVs in January 2020.

Australia is testing the ScanEagle UAV for MCM missions.

Australia and Boeing are teaming up to work on AI for UAVs.

Reportedly, China will unveil a new UAV at the Chengchun airshow, the Blue Sword.

France received the last NX70 micro UAVs.

Russia linked a maritime patrol aircraft to a UAV.

A Heron 1 in Singapore was spotted with a new payload.

South Korea's KUS-VH is in a holding pattern.

Aerovironment is pitching a long range version of the Puma hand launched UAV as a Shadow replacement.

AeroVironment is trying to market its Vapor VTOL UAV to the US Army.

Anduril's anti drone drone gets profiled.

Elbit has sold over 1,000 Thor mini UAVs to an undisclosed southeast asian nation (probably the Philippines).

FLIR is upgrading the camera on its Sky Raider UAV.

General Atomics will demonstrate integration of the MQ-9B with the National Airspace System.

Instant Eye is trying to update its UAVs to entice the US military to buy.

Kratos has been showing off a containerized launcher for its Valkyrie.

The US Army FTUAS win by Martin has gained it several contracts.

Raytheon may ship its Howler counter drone system that uses the Coyote drone to Saudi Arabia to work with the Patriot batteries deployed there.

Sikorsky UH-60A has been flown autonomously.

Uvision wants to open a plant in the US to manufacture its suicide drones.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos and Ogres):

US Army research could improve combat robots.

The US Army effort for unmanned ground combat vehicles is going better than expected.

The US Army will release the RFP for the small and medium sized UGCVs in November.  Industry unveiled potential contenders.

The Textron owned Howell and Howell Ripsaw has been upgraded with a 30mm for the competition.

Iran unveiled its Heidar-1 UGVs.

Ukrainian company Roboneers showed off its Camel UGV.

Textron has rolled out two versions of the Ripsaw UGV for the US Army's light and medium UGCV programs.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro-Boats):

Austal has developed an unmanned ship for asia.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

Drone-40 is a grenade launcher deployed loitering suicide UUV.

Software Bots:

The US Army is looking at software bots to defend its networks.

The US Army is also looking at tailoring sensors so the data can be analyzed by software bots better.


Lockheed demoed its ONYX exoskeleton.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Boeing & SpaceX are Pushing to get Their Capsules Flying Test Flights This Year

Boeing expects to carry out a pad abort test for its CST-100 Starliner commercial crew vehicle in early November, followed by an uncrewed orbital flight test in mid-December, a company executive said Oct. 8.

During a panel session of the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) here, John Mulholland, vice president and program manager for commercial programs for Boeing’s space exploration business unit, said the company was targeting a Dec. 17 launch of its Starliner vehicle on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 from Cape Canaveral.

That mission, called the Orbital Flight Test (OFT) by Boeing, will send the Starliner to the International Space Station, docking with the station and remaining there for about a week before undocking and landing at one of several locations in the western United States. Mulholland said that if the mission launches as currently scheduled, the landing would most likely be at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Boeing had planned to fly OFT earlier this year, but announced in April it was delaying the launch, then scheduled for May, until later in the summer because of a tight schedule and a conflict with another Atlas 5 launch.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Russia is Expanding its Hmeymim Airbase in Syria

Russia's Hmeymim airbase in Syria currently hosts about 30 warplanes and helicopters but will be able to accommodate more aircraft after the reconstruction, a base official said. This reported by Sputnik.

"The second runway is being reconstructed, which will increase its capabilities. New hangars have been built, in which aircraft are kept. These structures protect against possible attacks of combat drones, as well as from rain and direct sunlight", the official said.

According to the officer, there are currently about 30 aircraft at the airbase, including Su-35S fighter jets, Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-24 attack aircraft, as well as Mi-35 attack helicopters and Mi-8AMTSh assault transport helicopters.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Robopocalypse Report #120


Audi unveiled an offroad EV vehicle concept with drones for headlights.

China unleashed an army of drones to wipe out the armyworm infestations in the southern part of the country and seems to have wiped out 98% of them.

Cities are trying to plan for self driving cars.  again.

Flying a drone responsibly turns out to be surprisingly hard.

Drones are being used to study the Amazon Rain Forest's health.

Drones are being used to detect pot shards for archaeology.

There is a surge in drone development.

Google's Wing drones will start delivering FedEx and Walgreen's deliveries.

The first hurricane relief drone was ready to fly, but Hurricane Dorian smashed those plans.

Imperial College's Flying Fish drone literally explodes out of the water.

Parrot's latest drone package includes an immersive virtual cockpit.

Russian police and security forces received special permission to shoot down drones.

Skydio has a drone to challenge DJI with.

UPS has the first delivery drone service approved by the FAA.

Watch UAV Turbines micro turbine powered UAV fly.

Self Driving Cars:

Who is driving the self driving car job market?

A study finds Americans would prefer to drive themselves rather than use a self driving car.

With Levandowski being indicted for 33 felonies, will Silicon Valley change its lack of morality? (hint, probably not)

The NTSB has stated a 2018 Tesla crash was partially caused by the Autopilot software.

Aptiv and Hyundai have teamed up.

Daimler has started testing its self driving trucks on public roads.

Ford is bringing its self driving cars to Austin, TX.

GMV is building a satellite based nav system for self driving cars for BMW.

University of Michigan's self driving cars are using Verizon's 5G network now.

People are reporting collisions with Teslas using the Summon feature.  It doesn't always work.  And can end badly.

Tesla's Smart Summon has been used over a half million times,.

Tesla seems to have acquired DeepScale.

Uber has started mapping Dallas' streets for its self driving cars.

Why we should be thrilled with Waymo's go-slow approach to developing self driving cars.

3d Printing:

A Chicago based startup has 3d printed a mini human heart.

GE has been pursuing the quest for 3d printing a passenger plane engine.

Harvard scientists have created a new, more efficient way of 3d printing organs, including the blood vessels.

There is a new technique for 3d printing biomaterials.


Boston Dynamics' Atlas is now capable of being a gymnast.

Boston Dynamics' Spot is now commercially available.

Long distance heart surgery has been accomplished.

Picnic has a robot that can make 300 pizzas/hour.

Remote controlled lizard robots were used to study Galapagos lava lizard behavior.

Robots are being built to kill invasive species.

A robotic gripper has been developed to mimic the human touch.

Robot surgeons are starting to rival human ones.

Robots built a house in Switzerland.

Scientists have built micro bio hybrid robots.

Squid inspired robots!

Starship's delivery bots are now making deliveries at Purdue University.

Toyota has started training robots via a VR interface.


A mind reading interface attached to an exoskeleton allowed a paralyzed man walk again.


A special glove has been designed for prosthetic hands.

Synthetic skin has potential for virtual reality and amputees.

A new robotic hand has been developed for amputees.

New reconfigurable electronics show promise to implantable tech.

A prominent German neuroscientist committed misconduct in brain reading research.

A new prosthetic leg allows amputees to feel the robotic feet and knees in real time.

Biohackers implanted a hard drive in a person's leg.


The biggest market in the US for software bot controlled cameras is the schools.

There is an argument to protect American workers from automation.

Software bot driven surveillance has expanded worldwide.

Software Bots:

Google is bringing its Assistant to people without internet.

Intel wants to use software bots to repair spinal nerves.

McDonald's is replacing the person at the drive up sign with a software bot.

OpenAI's bots learned to pay hide and seek.

Should AI researchers get special access visas for traveling?

Deep learning powers finger tip tracking.

A software bot designed a molecule,. It appears to have drug like properties.

Should you care software bots are being used for hiring?

Software bots should not be used to oppress minorities.

Can software bots spot liars?

Software bots are used to ID primate faces in the wild.

A software bot has successfully passed an 8th grade science test.

A software bot was used to mimic a CEO's voice to steal money.

Software bots are being used for heart attack prediction.

Have software bots killed off spam and we didn't notice?

Software bots could revolutionize medicine or make it hell.

Software bots can pass standardized tests but would fail at preschool.

Software bots are being used in the quantum lab.

Software bots are being used to predict outcomes for radiation therapy use for throat and neck cancers.

Software bots are being used to ID genes associated with heart failure.

Software bots are being used to predict depression outcomes.

Software bots can outperform some employees in sales by 400%.

Software bots are being used to improve eye tests.

Software bots are being used to predict climate stress for African farmers.

Software bots are being used to probe dark matter.

Software bots are being used in clinical trials.

Software bots could make health care inequality worse if care is not taken.

Software bots are getting to be as good as people in medical diagnoses.

Software bots that read privacy policies are getting pretty good.

Software bots may not be able to protect us from deep fakes.

Software bots will not save us from deep fakes (again).

Software bots with blind spots might be key to privacy.

Software bots can help with pneumonia x rays.

Software bots can help with biomedical imaging.

Yacht used a software bot to help create their latest album.


NYC Mayor de Blasio wants a tax on robots.

Some are criticizing some backlash for the robopocalypse originating in Silicon Valley.

Asimov's 3 Laws are useless.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

China Leaked the Video of an Unknown Ground Launched Missile

China appears to have accidentally revealed the existence of a new high-speed ground-launched missile. A brief glimpse of what looks to be a test launch of this previously unseen weapon emerged earlier this week in an official video released in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist State on Oct. 1. There have already been indications that a number of new or otherwise previously unseen aircraft, missiles, and other systems will be present at a major parade in Beijing to mark the occasion next week.

The People's Liberation Army Rocket Force, or PLARF, posted the full video on social media on Sept. 25, 2019. Sometime afterward, the original one-minute long montage was replaced with one that omitted the launch of the unknown weapon and replaced it with unrelated footage of known missiles, according to the South China Morning Post.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Terminator Times #63

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drones):

DARPA's Gremlins project has been delayed due to the earthquake damage at China Lake.

The NGA may be interested in an ISR version of the MQ-25 for maritime surveillance.

The US military is interested in small hard kill interceptor drones to kill drones.

The USAF's Reapers will test out SRC's Agile Condor pod.

A USAF drone strike killed 30 pine nut workers in Afghanistan.

The USAF's XQ-58A Valkyrie can be armed with 2 air to air missiles and the USAF is looking to tailor the airworthiness process for attritable aircraft like the Valk.

The US Army tested using a Gray Eagle with a Chinook.

The US Army is seeking an American made quadcopter.

The US Navy's MQ-25 tanker drone prototype has flown.  A boring flight test was what they hoped for and got.

The US Navy's Trition is off to Guam.

Britain signed a £100 million contract for its Protector UAV.

Britain's Protector is getting closer to civilian airspace approval.

China appears to be ready to unveil the Malan triangle UAV at the upcoming military parade.  And they did!  This is the WZ-8, a high speed recon UAV.  It appears to be in service.

China and Serbia are deepening their UAV cooperation.  China is giving Serbia nine Wing Loong UAVs.

China's Sharp Sword carrier based UAV is claimed to be entering service by the end of the year.  It may be the aircraft may NOT be carrier based, but in service already.  It did get displayed at the October 1st military parade.

China's reported plan to put a ISR drone on its carriers makes sense to some.

Finland has finished trials of the S-100 Camcopter.

Hezbollah in Lebanon claims to have shot down an Israeli drone.

Houthi drones attacked crude oil sources at two Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia and have disrupted the supply, at least for a short time.  An estimated ten drones made the attack.  The Houthi attack knocked out half the Saudi crude oil supply.  One senior US administration official stated the attacks didn't come from the Houthi.  The Houthis state the refineries are still targets.  Saudi Arabia presented evidence of the origin of the drones that attacked.

How DID drones take out 5% of the world's oil supply?

The Houthis are threatening the UAE.

Drone attacks like the Houthi against the Saudis are not considered a danger to the US.

An Indian UAV crashed during a test flight.

78% of all Israeli flight ops last year were UAV flights.

NATO is not prepared for drone attacks like what hit the Saudis.

Russia has started MUM-T testing between the Ohotnik-B UAV and the Su-57:

Future Russian drones might be fitted with a simplified version of the Su-57's comm system.

Russia will have a new version of the Orlan-10 UAV soon.

Turkey unveiled its Akinci UCAV.

Turkey downed a UAV violating its airspace.

AeroVironment showcased its Vapor UAV.

BAe is likely to buy Prismatic and jointly built the PHASA-35 UAV.

Bell is pushing the V-247 tilt rotor UAV for the USMC and use in the USN in general.

Crew Training International won a contract mod to support the MQ-9.

Drone Evolution has launched its drone tethering solution.

FlareBright's mini UAV is intended as a tactical recon element.

KAI's Night Intruder VTOL UAV has taken flight.

MBDA is developing a swarming EW version of its Spear munition, blurring the lines between missile and drone.

Northrop won a $375.8M contract to support the MQ-4C Triton.

UAVOS and Stratodynamics HiDRON stratospheric glider UAV reached a new altitude record of 98,000 ft.

Yates has started production of its 900 kg cargo glider drone, the Silent Arrow.

Unmanned Ground Vehicles (Bolos and Ogres):

The US Army test fired a Javelin missile from a Titan/Themis UGV.

Will the LLAMA succeed for the US Army where the Big Dog failed?

France ordered 56 UGVs from Nexter.

Norway has ordered more FLIR Packbots.

BAe Australia is building an autonomous version of the M113 APC.

Elta demonstrated its self driving AFV for the Israeli army.

Rheinmetall unveiled the plan to mount 70mm rockets on its Mission Master UGV.

Rheinmetall's Supacat is optionally manned/semi autonomous mortar system.

Unmanned Surface Vehicles (Ro Boats):

The US Navy claims a stronger technical background in USVs than its critics think.

The Sea Hunter's controls might be adapted to the USMC LCUs making them unmanned hovercraft.

The USMC is looking into the CUSV USV.

The USMC & USN are looking at USVs to bolster USMC capabilities.

Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (robo subs):

The US Navy tested UUVs in frigid conditions in Alaska.

General Dynamics has unveiled its new Bluefin-21 UUV.

Hydroid won a $52.3M contract mod for more Knifefish UUVs.

China unveiled its HSU-001 UUV.

3d Printing:

The USAF is using 3d printing to improve readiness.

The US Army is ramping up its use of 3d printing.

Indian companies have signed an accord to collaborate on 3d printing for defense use.

A ruggedized 3d bioprinter is meant for military medical applications.


The USMC is considering an exoskeleton for cargo work.

Software Bots:

Boeing Australia is working on AI there.


NATO exercised its unmanned assets off of Portugal.

An ex Google engineer warned autonomous weapons can cause mass shootings.

Friday, October 04, 2019

The Kruger 60 Star System may be the Origin of Interstellar Comet C/2019 Q4 Borisova


Dybczyński et al


An interstellar comet C/2019 Q4 was discovered on August 30 by an amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov at MARGOT observatory (Crimea). One of the obvious questions is where does this object come from. Taking an orbit obtained by Nakano and published by MPC in CBET 4670 we numerically integrated the motion of C/2019 Q4, the sun and 647 stars or stellar systems from our list of potential stellar perturbers of cometary motion. As a result we obtained that 1 Myr ago C/2019 Q4 passed double star Kruger 60 at a small distance of 1.74 pc having an extremely small relative velocity of 3.43 km/s. Almost the same results were obtained from our own orbital solutions.