International Military Discussion

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NRao
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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby NRao » 19 Feb 2016 21:48


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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby TSJones » 20 Feb 2016 15:53

...surplus NRO satellite donated to NASA to be re-purposed for infra-red space observation at L2.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/02/18/na ... telescope/

even with the donation the mission will cost $2.3 billion......last 6 years

will launch by 2024...........

the JWST is launching 2018 and will provide some much needed relief to the annual NASA budget.......

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Philip » 22 Feb 2016 13:30

What the US wants to happen.A military alliance of the US,Japan and OZ ,with SoKo-already beholden to the US thanks to the Korean War still not resolved in the van,the Phillipines,Singapore and India bring up the rear.

Submarine contract could lock in 'quasi military alliance' with Japan
HMAS Collins, an Australian-built Collins-class submarine that might be replaced by a Japanese model. Damian Pawlenko
by Angus Grigg

Japanese and Australian defence experts say buying new submarines from Japan would lock in what has become a quasi military alliance between the two countries, illustrating how one of the biggest defence contracts in Australian history could have profound diplomatic implications.

Teruhiko Fukushima, a professor at the National Defence Academy of Japan, said Tokyo's eagerness for closer military ties with Australia was to guard against China's increasingly aggressive behaviour in the region. He said Japanese politicians regarded military co-operation with Australia as second only to the alliance with the United States and believed building a new submarine fleet for the Royal Australian Navy would lock in this relationship for the next 30 years.

"These closer ties show our preparedness and that we are united," he said in Yokohama, outside Tokyo. "Yes, it's true Japanese politicians and officials now use the word 'quasi alliance' to describe the relationship with Australia."

Using the world "alliance" is highly political and likely to raise concern in Beijing, which views closer defence ties between the United States, Japan and Australia as an effort to limit its rise.

China has already made clear its opposition to Australia buying submarines from the Japanese, citing Tokyo's defeat in World War II and subsequent restrictions on the export of arms. These were lifted in 2015 as part of Japan's new security legislation and Tokyo is lobbying hard to win the submarine deal, the largest defence contract on offer in the world today.

"The Japanese SDF [Self Defence Force] recognise the submarines are a very important part of our security alignment with Australia, as they will foster enduring defence ties between Australia and Japan for at least 30 years," Professor Fukushima said. "The Prime Minister's office and the Foreign Ministry are very eager for the deal, as it will build the [defence] relationship."
Offending China

Some in Australia believe the federal government should be wary of aligning itself too closely with Tokyo at a time when relations between Japan and China remain frosty.

Hugh White, a professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University, said awarding the submarine contract to Japan would be akin to forming an alliance. "It is the closest military relationship you can have without actually having a formal alliance," he said. "Do we really want to tie ourselves to Japan strategically for the next 30 or 40 years?"

Professor White, who has often advocated that Canberra should pursue a more independent foreign policy, questions if it is in Australia's national interest to be so closely tied to Japan when our largest trading partner is China.

During her visit to Tokyo last week, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the relationship with Japan was at an "all-time high", but refused to categorise it as a "quasi-alliance". She acknowledged Japan had emphasised the "strategic importance" of its submarine bid.

This is a perceived advantage of Tokyo's bid, because it would make it easier for the two fleets to operate side by side. During her visit to Japan, Ms Bishop used some of her toughest language yet to rebuke China for destabilising the region.

"China should act in a way that contributes to regional and global stability," she said.
Praising Japan

She pointedly praised Japan for its commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law, principles that are clearly lacking in China.

"The Abe government would be very welcoming of such tough language," Professor Fukushima said. "The comments [from Ms Bishop] were tough but also showed much more determination [to stand up to China]."

The move to formalise closer defence ties with Japan began in 2007, with the signing of the Joint Declaration on Security Co-operation. This was upgraded to a Special Strategic Partnership in 2014 under former prime minister Tony Abbott and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

"Obviously Mr Abbott was keen for more security alignment with Japan, but while the political language has changed under [new Prime Minister Malcolm] Turnbull the strategy appears the same," Professor Fukushima said.

Peter Jennings, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Canberra was being very careful about ascribing alliance-like status to the relationship with Japan.

"They are building the reality of the relationship rather than a black letter treaty," he said. "But it should be remembered that the biggest factor in the speed of growing defence ties between Australia and Japan has been the behaviour of China."

This has included Beijing claiming control of air space above water administered by Japan in the East China Sea. It has built ports, storage facilities and even air strips on top of submerged reefs in the South China Sea, despite a complicated web of territorial disputes also involving Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.

Beijing pledged not to militarise the islands, but it emerged this week it had installed surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island in the Paracel chain of islands, which is also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
*(Typical Chinese doublespeak.Don't believe its words but believe its actions.)

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/world/asia/subm ... z40sybyxim
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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Philip » 22 Feb 2016 13:39

A truly great WW2 naval aviator.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/peopl ... 88106.html
Eric 'Winkle' Brown dead: Famed British pilot dies aged 97
Capt Brown died at the East Surrey Hospital after a short illness
Alexandra Sims

The Scottish-born airman was the Royal Navy’s most decorated pilot YouTube

Capt Eric “Winkle” Brown, one of the most celebrated British pilots in history, has died at the age of 97.

The Scottish-born airman was the Royal Navy’s most decorated pilot and held three world records, including flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft, at 487.


He died on Sunday at the East Surrey Hospital, Redhill after a short illness, according to the BBC.

Capt Brown flew fighter aircraft during World War Two and questioned several senior Nazis at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which was liberated by the British Army in April 1945.

During his lifetime he made a record-breaking 2407 aircraft carrier landings and survived 11 plane crashes.

While a guest on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 2014, presenter Kristy Young said: “When you read through his life story, it makes James Bond seem like a bit of a slacker.”

Born in Leith on 21 January 1919, he went on to study at Fettes College and the University of Edinburgh where, to earn money for his studies, he became a “wall of death” rider on a small motorbike, the Edinburgh News reports.

Our condolences to the family of Capt Eric 'Winkle' Brown; a tribute to the aviation hero from Navy News: https://t.co/ws9taLYWlb
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) February 21, 2016

Capt Brown retired from the Royal Navy in 1970 having commanded HMS Fulmar, but became the director general of the British Helicopter Advisory Board and in 1982 the president of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

In 2015 he was honored at 10 downing Street as a Great Scot.

A statement released by his family said: "It is with deep regret that the passing of Captain Eric Melrose Brown CBE DSC AFC is announced.

"Eric was the most decorated pilot of the Fleet Air Arm in which service he was universally known as 'Winkle' on account of his diminutive stature."

Capt Brown is survived by his son, Glen, and his second wife, Jean Kelly Brown

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby NRao » 23 Feb 2016 20:11

Feb 15, 2016 :: Russian Air Force Receives First Russian-assembled Il-76MD

AeroBD | The AERO news Company…FEB 15, 2016, Ulyanovsk, Russia : The Russian air force has taken into service the first modernized Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A heavy airlifter. The aircraft, serial number 0105, was handed over to the military at the Aviastar-SP assembly facility, a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in Ulyanovsk, on Dec. 2. It was flown to the 610th Combat and Conversion Training Center of the military transport aviation in Ivanovo, in central Russia, the next day.

This airframe, named after Viktor Livanov, a former CEO and chief designer of the Ilyushin design bureau, became the third serial Il-76MD-90A variant assembled in Ulyanovsk. The first two aircraft (MSN 0103 and 0104) were delivered to another UAC subsidiary, Taganrog-based Beriev Company, in November 2014 and April 2015. They will serve as platforms for future airborne early warning systems.

The Il-76MD-90A became the first Russian-built military transport. The basic Il-76 was designed in the 1970s and assembled at a TAPO facility in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. After the Soviet Union’s breakup, Russia failed to reach an agreement with Uzbekistan on control of the TAPO facility. So production of the modernized variant, initially dubbed Il-476, was launched in Ulyanovsk. Compared to the basic Il-76MD, the modernized airlifter received an improved wing and reinforced landing gear that enabled the takeoff weight to increase from 190 to 210 tons. The payload grew from 47 to 60 tons. The older D-30KP2 turbofans were replaced by more powerful PS-90A-76 engines, allowing the aircraft to use shorter runways. The Russian-built Il-76MD-90A prototype made its first flight in September 2012.

The program was backed by the Russian military, which placed an order for 39 Il-76MD-90As valued at 140 billion rubles (about $2 billion under the current exchange rate) in 2012. Deliveries are expected to be completed through 2020. According to Aviastar-SP CEO Viktor Dementyev, his facility plans to deliver more freighters to the military by the end of this year. Ten more airframes are on the assembly line. Military Transport Aviation Cmdr. Vladimir Benediktov says the Il-76MD-90A “will serve as a basis for the development of other modifications such as air tankers or other special mission aircraft that will be taken into service in the air force and aerospace force.”

Dementyev earlier confirmed that Aviastar-SP is already assembling the first Il-78M-90A air tanker. It will be sent to the military for evaluation trials in 2016. The program also has a civil variant – the Il-76TD-90A – that can potentially be of interest for current Il-76TD operators in Russia and other countries. The first order for the civil freighter was signed by Russia’s Emergency Relief Ministry in November. It contracted with Aviastar-SP for six Il-76TD-90A aircraft. Delivery is scheduled for 2018-2020.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 23 Feb 2016 22:11

RUSSIAN 3M14 KALIBR CRUISE MISSILE: TOP 5 FACTS


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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby member_29350 » 24 Feb 2016 15:21

Not sure whether this is posted before Pine Gap antennas installation and history.

http://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-spe ... -pine-gap/

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby NRao » 24 Feb 2016 17:53

The exotic new weapons the Pentagon wants to deter Russia and China

Little noticed amid the daily news bulletins about the Islamic State and Syria, the Pentagon has begun a push for exotic new weapons that can deter Russia and China.

Pentagon officials have started talking openly about using the latest tools of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create robot weapons, “human-machine teams” and enhanced, super-powered soldiers. It may sound like science fiction, but Pentagon officials say they have concluded that such high-tech systems are the best way to combat rapid improvements by the Russian and Chinese militaries.

These potentially revolutionary U.S. weapons systems were explained in an interview last week by Robert Work, the deputy secretary of defense, and Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Their comments were the latest in a series of unusual recent disclosures about what, until a few months ago, was some of the military’s most secret research.

“This is how we will make our battle networks more powerful, hopefully, and inject enough uncertainty in the minds of the Russians and the Chinese that, you know, if they ever did come to blows with us, would be able to prevail in a conventional [non-nuclear] way. That, for me, is the definition of conventional deterrence,” Work explained.

Within the Pentagon, this high-tech approach is known by the dull phrase “third offset strategy,” emulating two earlier “offsets” that checked Russian military advances during the Cold War. The first offset was tactical nuclear weapons; the second was precision-guided conventional weapons. The latest version assumes that smart, robot weapons can help restore deterrence that has been eroded by Russian and Chinese progress.

{Watch unmanned Navy vessels overwhelm a target Play Video6:23}


Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, voiced an early warning during his confirmation hearing in July when he said that Russia posed the greatest “existential” threat to the United States. Work said in a recent speech that because the United States has focused on the Middle East since 2001, “our program has been slow to adapt as these high-end threats have started to re-emerge.”

The Pentagon’s 2017 budget includes some money to prime the high-tech pump: $3 billion for advanced weapons to counter, say, a Chinese long-range attack on U.S. naval forces; $3 billion to upgrade undersea systems; $3 billion for human-machine teaming and “swarming” operations by unmanned drones; $1.7 billion for cyber and electronic systems that use artificial intelligence; and $500 million for war-gaming and other testing of the new concepts.

The Obama administration, sometimes chided for being slow to respond to Russian and Chinese threats, seems to have concluded that America’s best strategy is to leverage its biggest advantage, which is technology. The concepts are reminiscent of President Reagan’s “Star Wars” initiative, but 30 years on.

The high-tech resurgence got a boost last year from the blue-ribbon Defense Science Board, which conducted a “summer study” of autonomous, robot weapons. “Imagine if we are unprepared to counter such capabilities in the hands of our adversaries,” the board warned.

The game partly is about messaging the Russians and Chinese. Work has described Russia as “a resurgent great power” and China as “a rising power with impressive latent technological capabilities [that] probably embodies a more enduring strategic challenge.” In a Feb. 2 budget announcement, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spoke of Russian “aggression” in Europe and said: “We haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do.”

Carter raised some eyebrows in that budget message when he described the Pentagon’s “Strategic Capabilities Office,” a highly classified initiative that he began in 2012 when he was undersecretary. He noted that the office was working on advanced navigation for smart weapons using micro-cameras and sensors; missile-defense systems using hypervelocity projectiles; and swarming drones that are “really fast, really resistant.”

Work illustrated the new willingness to discuss exotic weaponry. During the interview, he showed off a small “Perdix” micro-drone, less than a foot long, which flew with 25 of its mates in a tight grid last summer after being launched from a large plane. These organized drones are part of the Pentagon’s vision of future combat.

The Ukraine and Syria battlefields have offered sobering demonstrations of Russian capabilities. In the interview and other public comments, Work catalogued Russian military advances that include automated battle networks, advanced sensors, drones, anti-personnel weapons and jamming devices.

“Our adversaries, quite frankly, are pursuing enhanced human operations,” Work warned a gathering at the Center for a New American Security in December. “And it scares the crap out of us, really.”

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby TSJones » 25 Feb 2016 10:11

......robots are closer than you think......

[youtube]rVlhMGQgDkY&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 25 Feb 2016 16:49

Russian Space Agency Reveals the 'Song of the Universe' (VIDEO)

http://sputniknews.com/science/20160222 ... verse.html



Various sounds such as those emitted by pulsars, the Sun, Jupiter and its moon Ganymede, black holes, the Aurora Borealis and interstellar space have been recorded by Roscosmos with the help of special radio telescopes.

Russian experts said that these sounds can't be heard in the conditions of the space vacuum. For example, solar flares, the collision of asteroids and explosions of stars occur in complete silence.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Sid » 25 Feb 2016 17:45

TSJones wrote:......robots are closer than you think......

[youtube]rVlhMGQgDkY&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]


Is that just me or this robot walks like puppy-monkey-baby? I always wondered how a BDs humanoid robots compares to Japnese counterparts, i.e. Asimo.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby jayasimha » 25 Feb 2016 20:48

http://www.satshow.com/

Satellite 2016, Gaylord National Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. Satellite 2016, to be held from March 7-10, is the most important global satellite communications event of the year and encompasses the largest gathering of all markets in the satellite community.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby member_22539 » 26 Feb 2016 13:09

Sid wrote:I always wondered how a BDs humanoid robots compares to Japnese counterparts, i.e. Asimo.


I haven't seen the Japanese robots exhibit such balance and control in rugged terrain. They seem pretty challenged just walking on level ground or going up stairs. The real story here is that how far the US has come after the Japanese initially gained a lead over them. Just goes to show how focused and well-funded their efforts are (thanks largely to the military), as well as what might be superior programming capabilities (much of it imported form India).

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Viv S » 26 Feb 2016 13:32

I was truly impressed by BD's Big Dog, even if it wasn't as 'cute' as Honda's Asimo. Carrying a 150 kg payload, its recovery on an icy surface was amazing.


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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 07 Mar 2016 22:18

The space missions that never happened

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2016030 ... r-happened

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby TSJones » 08 Mar 2016 04:27

^^^^ ..evidently the BBC never heard of these projects:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/hist ... index.html

The original idea of lifting bodies was conceived about 1957 by Dr. Alfred J. Eggers Jr., then the assistant director for Research and Development Analysis and Planning at what later became the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA (then called the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory).Eggers found that by slightly modifying a symmetrical nose cone shape, aerodynamic lift could be produced. This lift would enable the modified shape to fly back from space rather than plunge to Earth in a ballistic trajectory.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_X-20_Dyna-Soar

The Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar ("Dynamic Soarer") was a United States Air Force (USAF) program to develop a spaceplane that could be used for a variety of military missions, including aerial reconnaissance, bombing, space rescue, satellite maintenance, and as a space interceptor to sabotage enemy satellites.[1] The program ran from October 24, 1957 to December 10, 1963, cost US$660 million ($5.1 billion today[2]), and was cancelled just after spacecraft construction had begun.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby brar_w » 08 Mar 2016 05:45

Image

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby sooraj » 08 Mar 2016 09:57

The Cold War space missions that never happened


By Richard Hollingham

4 March 2016


Every jaded space nerd has a dream of where they hoped space exploration would take us. By now I imagined the Earth would be circled by gleaming space hotels, flights to the Moon would be routine and the first settlers would be colonising the dusty plains of Mars.

As yet, despite Richard Branson’s best efforts, our glittering space future remains as elusive as ever. Although, only the other week, a man in a gorilla suit chased a British astronaut through a space station. So it’s not all bad.

For the last 40 years, human progress beyond Earth’s orbit has been painfully slow, with space history littered with hundreds of abandoned projects and concepts. But an alternate and very different pattern of space exploration might have become reality had a few Cold War missions been given the final go-ahead.

Nuclear rocket

On the grey concrete of a small outdoor display area at Nasa’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama sits one of the most unusual engines the agency has ever developed. Mounted on a frame alongside a long thin Space Shuttle solid rocket booster (with “empty” reassuringly painted on the side), the funnel-shaped Nerva engine was designed to take astronauts to Mars.

"
Many rocket engineers still believe that nuclear propulsion has a promising future

Developed in the 1960s, Nerva – or Nuclear Engine for Rocket Vehicle Application – consisted of a cylindrical uranium nuclear fission reactor that heated liquid hydrogen. The gas was then expelled through a rocket nozzle to generate high levels of thrust.

Following Wernher von Braun’s plan, Nasa’s first Mars mission was slated for 1979 with astronauts blasting off on a conventional rocket before activating Nera in orbit to carry them onwards to the Red Planet.

Around 20 nuclear engines were tested successfully, with the results suggesting it was a promising technology for interplanetary travel. The engine on display at Marshall would have been the most powerful but the project was cancelled in 1973 before anyone could try it out.

Many rocket engineers still believe that nuclear propulsion has a promising future. However, the idea of launching a reactor filled with highly radioactive uranium on the top of a rocket filled with explosive gases also, unsurprisingly, has its detractors.

Space gunship

One of the scariest spacecraft ever designed emerged from a 1960s Russian programme to militarise the Soyuz spacecraft. The aim was to develop a crewed spacecraft to observe enemy territory and destroy enemy satellites.



The plan that emerged was for a manned gunship in space, able to creep up on other spacecraft and fire a projectile to blast them into pieces. The primary target would be American spy satellites as well as any weaponised US spacecraft.

A cosmonaut would aim the weapon by pointing the spacecraft and lining up the target in a gunsight. To ensure that when they fired, the Soyuz didn’t recoil backwards or start spinning uncontrollably, the gun was mounted on an independent low-friction platform.

Although it seems the technology was developed and cosmonauts trained, the military programme was abandoned in favour of a civilian space station programme. With the advent of more sophisticated spy satellites, it was also decided that there was no need for a man to snap the pictures.

Big G

The Gemini programme of the mid-60s featured some of the most audacious missions ever flown. With two astronauts crammed into a cockpit around the size of the front seats of a small family car, Gemini notched up a heap of space firsts: the first American spacewalk, the first long-duration spaceflight, the first orbital rendezvous and docking, the first time a spacecraft was fitted with fuel cells and programmable computers.


It was so good that its maker McDonnell Douglas had big plans for the little spacecraft, deciding to supersize it to carry nine astronauts. The programme that emerged was called ‘Big G’, described in the promotional brochure as “a truck in space”.

Designed to transport astronauts to and from a planned military space station, Big G had two compartments: a regular two-man Gemini capsule at the front and a larger crew cabin behind. McDonnell Douglas drew up detailed plans for the project and built full-sized mock-ups to show Nasa officials how it would all work.

With the space station on hold, Big G was finally dropped in favour of the Space Shuttle in 1971. The idea of a large crewed capsule to transport astronauts to and from orbit, however, is once more back in vogue, with Nasa currently funding designs by Boeing and SpaceX.

Space Station Freedom

The space station that President Reagan signed off in 1984 was very different to the International Space Station (ISS) that emerged from the political wreckage. Freedom was conceived to be far more than an orbiting laboratory.


Not only would it be fitted with labs, it would also have a fully equipped sick bay and recreation facilities. Perhaps most excitingly, the design also featured a hangar – where satellites and spacecraft could be brought in for repair before being released back out into the void.

In short, Freedom was far more like the space stations of science fiction than the lumpy collection of cylinders that we have ended up with. Unfortunately, Freedom turned out to be expensive, impractical and – with the end of the Cold War – unnecessary.

Although the ISS has few of the refinements of Freedom, it does bring together the two former Cold War rivals. In fact, it would not have been possible without Russian space station expertise.

You can read more about the history of the ISS here.

Soviet spaceplane

During the 1960s the two superpowers developed very different-looking spacecraft to solve the same problems. The Americans favoured conical capsules like Apollo, the Russians liked theirs spherical. In the next decade, however, there was rather more, shall we say, ‘borrowing’ of technology.


Image

The Russian Buran spaceplane, for instance, was a straight rip-off of the Space Shuttle. But the Americans too were not immune to copying Soviet space technology. One of the most curious of these borrowed designs was derived from the slipper-shaped MiG-105.

Developed in the mid-1960s, the MiG-105 was Russia’s first attempt at a spaceplane. The idea was to blast the small shuttle into orbit on the top of a conventional rocket. It would then return to Earth on a runway. A few successful atmospheric flights proved this was a sound idea and it wasn’t long before the US ‘acquired’ the technology and developed a version of its own.

This could easily have become just another Cold War concept that was never going to make it into space. Instead, the original design has been adapted into the Dream Chaser spaceplane being developed by the Sierra Nevada Corporation.

With funding from Nasa, the first of these spaceplanes is due to fly – unmanned – to resupply the ISS by the end of the decade. With interest from other nations and commercial operators, a crewed version could yet make it into orbit.

Dream Chaser proves that unusual and ambitious ideas developed at the height of the Cold War are sometimes worth revisiting. As we set our sights on Mars, nuclear engines may also make a comeback. As for the space gun… as we reach towards the final frontier, we may need all the crazy ideas we can get.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby TSJones » 08 Mar 2016 19:28

NASA 1957

Image

Image

Dream Chaser

Image

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 10 Mar 2016 09:31

Iran Qadr Qiam1, Shahab3 , 3B Ballistic missiles exercises Eghtedari-Velayat Phase two


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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby gashish » 11 Mar 2016 04:55

Russia Thinks It Can Use Nukes to Fly to Mars in 45 Days—If It Can Find the Rubles





But the outcomes of those two methods are radically different, because chemical rocketry has a catch-22. The faster or farther you want to go, the more fuel you need to pack. The more fuel you pack, the heavier your rocket. And the heavier your rocket, the more fuel you need to bring…

Eventually, the equation balancing thrust to weight plateaus, which is why a year and a half is around the lower time limit for sending a chemically propelled, crewed mission to Mars. (Until Elon Musk’s spiritual descendants build asteroid-mined interplanetary fuel stations. 8) ) And that’s not even considering the incredible cost of launching fuel—about $3,000 a pound. Expensive, but the politics surrounding nuclear make it a harder sell in America, so NASA is stuck with the Space Launch System (and its thirsty fuel tanks) for now.

The engines the Soviets and Americans were developing during the Space Race, on the other hand, had at least double a chemical rocket’s specific impulse. Modern versions could likely do even better. Which means spaceships would be able to carry a lot more fuel, and therefore fire their thrusters for a longer portion of the trip to Mars (bonus: artificial gravity!). Even better, a thermal fission spaceship would have enough fuel to decelerate, go into Martian orbit, and even return to Earth.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 15 Mar 2016 08:29

ExoMars team has long wait to confirm launch success

Image

Artist’s concept of the Proton rocket’s payload fairing releasing in flight, revealing the ExoMars spacecraft. Credit: ESA–David Ducros

It will take more than 12 hours from liftoff of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter until engineers verify the mission is on track for Mars after a series of critical in-space maneuvers by the Proton rocket’s Breeze M upper stage.

The Proton/Breeze M launcher has never sent a mission to Mars before, but while the flight profile is different most of the rocket’s missions, the ExoMars launch will not set records in mission duration or complexity.

The 191-foot-tall (58-meter) Russian-built rocket is counting down to launch at 0931:42 GMT (5:31:42 a.m. EST) on Europe’s most ambitious mission ever to another planet.

While the marathon rocket mission is not unusual to commercial communications satellite operators who often use the Proton/Breeze M, it is new to scientists and engineers mounting a Mars mission.

Jorge Vago, an Argentine-born researcher, leads the science aspects of the ExoMars mission for the European Space Agency.

He spoke with Spaceflight Now on the eve of the launch of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter and the Schiaparelli lander, a tandem craft that ranks among the most massive probes ever dispatched to the red planet.

“It’s a mixture of being happy that we’ve gotten to this moment, and I’m also nervous, of course,” Vago said in an interview.

Packaged atop the Proton rocket are the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, a platform designed to map the prevalence of methane in the Martian atmosphere, and the Schiaparelli lander, a stationary module that will make an automated touchdown on the red planet Oct. 19.

“A launch is always a tricky affair, and in particular the trajectory injection that requires four burns of the Breeze upper stage over a 10-hour period,” Vago said. “Each one of those has to work just fine to put us on the right trajectory to get to Mars.”

The Proton rocket will pitch east-northeast from the Baikonur Cosmodrome with the ExoMars spacecraft, soaring on more than 2 million pounds of thrust from six first stage RD-276 engines.

The major events of the ExoMars launch are listed below:

T+00:00:00 — Liftoff
T+00:02:00 — First Stage Separation/Second Stage Ignition
T+00:05:27 — Second Stage Separation/Third Stage Ignition
T+00:05:47 — Payload Fairing Jettison
T+00:09:42 — Third Stage Separation from Breeze M
T+00:10:16 — First Breeze M Ignition
T+01:38:04 — Second Breeze M Ignition
T+03:52:16 — Third Breeze M Ignition
T+10:16:10 — Fourth Breeze M Ignition
T+10:41:18 — ExoMars Separation

“It’s not just a case of watching the launch, and then saying, ‘Yippee, everything went OK,'” Vago said. “We have and sit and bite our nails for another 10 hours.”

The Breeze M main engine firings will propel the ExoMars payload higher and faster on the way to Mars, building up enough energy to escape the bonds of Earth’s gravity.

Deployment of the 9,550-pound (4,332-kilogram) ExoMars spacecraft from the Breeze M upper stage is set for 2012 GMT (4:12 p.m. EDT).

“Shortly thereafter, we will deploy the solar panels,” Vago said. “Once that has happened, and we know that the Breeze upper stage worked OK, then I think we can pop the cork.”

Ground controllers at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, expect to receive signals from the Trace Gas Orbiter around 2128 GMT (5:28 p.m. EDT) via a ground station in Malindi, Kenya. The communications pass will give engineers confirmation the spacecraft is healthy following launch, and officials also hope to verify the extension of the orbiter’s power-generating solar panels.

Often used to propel communications satellites into high-altitude orbits thousands of miles above Earth, the Proton/Breeze M combo has flown 87 times since 2001. The Proton’s core booster has been flying since 1965, amassing 410 missions launching commercial and Russian military satellites.

But the launcher’s track record in recent years has been spotty, at best, with six failures of the Proton rocket or its Breeze M upper stage logged in 49 flights since December 2010. The Proton/Breeze M has a run of six straight successes since its last mishap in May 2015.

Two of the recent failures were blamed on a design flaw in the Proton’s third stage — a weakness that Russian officials say has now been corrected — and investigators identified quality control issues for other in-flight anomalies.

“ESA got a report of the last failure and all the measurements they have taken, and they are strongly committed to not allowing this to happen again,” said Walter Cugno, ExoMars program manager at Thales Alenia Space, the mission’s primary European contractor.

Russia has a star-crossed history with launches of Mars missions, with the last two attempts never making it out of low Earth orbit.

European space officials switched the ExoMars launches to Russian Proton rockets after NASA withdrew from the program in 2012 due to funding restrictions within the agency’s planetary science budget.

NASA originally signed up to launch the 2016 and 2018 missions aboard Atlas 5 rockets from Cape Canaveral.

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.



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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 15 Mar 2016 15:18

ExoMars 2016 Schiaparelli descent sequence

Image

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Prem » 18 Mar 2016 04:01

Russia Approves Long-Awaited 10-Year Space Budget

The Russian government has approved a long-awaited federal program for space exploration, valued at 1.4 trillion rubles ($20.5 billion) over the next decade, according to an announcement posted on the government's website on Thursday.The document, known as the Federal Space Program 2016-2025, outlines Russia's major objectives in space over the next ten years and sets funding targets for individual projects. The original proposal requested 3.4 trillion rubles, but economic troubles have forced multiple cuts over the past year.But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev pushed for a decision after a year of delays. The TASS news agency quoted him as saying: “It's a large program, but we need such big programs even under circumstances when the economic situation is difficult.”Russia's space industry is currently undergoing a vast restructuring. Last year, the Federal Space Agency was liquidated and reformed into a state corporation known as Roscosmos. The company is now in the process of integrating Russian space companies under its wing.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/562859.html


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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Singha » 18 Mar 2016 17:47

have to give them credit..by hook or crook they have atleast reached heavy IRBM level

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby brar_w » 18 Mar 2016 18:56

VAQ-137 Jammin' 'Till Your GHz


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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Austin » 18 Mar 2016 19:16

Singha wrote:have to give them credit..by hook or crook they have atleast reached heavy IRBM level


I dont think they have used crook method , All the Satellite and IRBM/ICBM are of indiginous design , Unlike Pakistan they did not had 100 % success but couple of failures too

Credit to them for achieving these where many failed or just just copied . Same goes to Iran as well lot of indiginous systems due to years of sanctions.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby TSJones » 18 Mar 2016 19:33

Russia's Rapidly Evaporating Space Program


http://nasawatch.com/archives/2016/03/r ... pidly.html

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Viv S » 18 Mar 2016 20:34

Singapore: Forging Sabre 2015




Very interesting watch.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby member_22539 » 19 Mar 2016 14:04

Singha wrote:have to give them credit..by hook or crook they have atleast reached heavy IRBM level


Is it me or is Mr. Kim Jong Un giving a extra push to technology?

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby Karan M » 19 Mar 2016 15:26

Arun, there was a fascinating article on NoKos weapons and science programs sometime back. Basically best of scientists etc are given everything they need (which NoKo can afford) and quality of life to come up with breakthroughs. They are not as shambolic as most reports allege.
Also a US intel analyst recently released a report saying NoKO basically is the weapons manufacturer for most of the non western countries under sanctions etc. Bulk supplies of guns, MBRLs, basic infantry gear and weapons support.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby member_22539 » 19 Mar 2016 15:58

^Wow, nice system with regard to the scientists.

I didn't know they were a bulk supplier for anything besides small arms. MBRLs? I thought they were stuck old stocks themselves (though I have always heard that NK artillery is the strongest arm of the military). Its a revelation that they are exporting this stuff. Goes to show you that one must never trust CNN/BBC propaganda.

What is your opinion of their special forces, which are reputed to be the biggest such force in the world?

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby brar_w » 19 Mar 2016 21:11

U.S. Marines Help Britain Prepare For F-35 Introduction

In 2018, Britain’s first F-35 squadron will emerge from within a U.S. Marine Corps training unit here in South Carolina.

It may seem an unusual route to creation of a front-line capability, but the partnering of the Marines with their British counterparts has resulted in valuable lessons learned by both sides, as they build a greater understanding of how to use the new fighter.The Marines have adopted a U.K. approach to preparing new pilots for combat readiness, while the use of Marine Corps jets and facilities has given the British concrete experience to pave the way for initial operational capability from a land base toward the end of 2018.

Beaufort was selected as the Marines’ training base for the F-35B in 2010, and the first jet arrived in the summer of 2014 from Eglin AFB, Florida, where the service’s training capability had been initially established. VMFAT-501 “Warlords” is the first of two planned F-35 training squadrons.

The unit is working from new hangars for maintenance, and an apron flight line with sun shelters under which the F-35s are parked, the first phase of a modernization plan that will transition the base from a home to front-line F/A-18 Hornet squadrons to a wholly F-35 main operating base in the 2020s.A new security fence seals off the flight line, part of the security requirements for the F-35. Four hover pads have been constructed on the airfield, along with a landing helicopter dock (LHD) assault ship dummy deck. The hover pads are in daily use while the LHD pad, located in a remote part of the airfield, will be used beginning in summer.

To accommodate training the nearby Townsend Bombing Range in McIntosh County, Georgia, operated by MCAS Beaufort is being enlarged to 33,000 acres from 5,000. The purchase of additional land will mean the F-35 can conduct tactical weapon releases from 10,000-15,000 ft., with additional safety margins for weapon drops.

While VMFAT-501 currently uses simulators for weapons training, it expects to start live weapon drops later this year. The squadron is currently equipped with aircraft from several low-rate initial production runs with software loads ranging from 2B to 3i.

In February, the Marines began training its first two students, direct from the T-45 Goshawk. Until now, F-35 pilots have been plucked from the F/A-18 Hornet or the AV-8 Harrier community so the Marines could benefit from their experience. At the time of Aviation Week’s visit on March 7-8, the two ab initio students were in the academic phase of their training; they will begin flying the aircraft in the coming months.

The move toward taking on beginner students is perhaps an indication of the growing confidence the Marines have in the training program. The U.K. will follow this approach next year when its first students arrive at Beaufort after training on the Hawk T2 in mid-2017.

“With the F-35, we are going to expect a lot more from our young pilots,” says Maj. Ethan Howell, a Marine Corps instructor with VMFAT-501.

“[The students] need to be highly capable. The people who fly this jet will be making battle-changing decisions: The information they will disseminate will be sent to other warfighters and even the battlefield commander.”

VMFAT-501 is the first of two training squadrons planned for the Marine Corps F-35 program. A second unit, VMFAT-502 will likely stand up toward the end of this decade or in the early 2020s.The pilots trained at VMFAT-501 will not only move on to front-line squadrons. Some will take on test flying and the operational test and evaluation missions while others will become instructors to the growing number of pilots being trained. In the U.K.’s case, many pilots will remain and form the cadre of crews for the first front-line British unit, 617 Sqdn., also known as the Dambusters. “We have moved the training system closer to that adopted by the U.K.,” says Howell.

Previously Marine pilots would learn to fly a front-line jet in the training unit, then learn how to fight with it once attached to a front-line squadron. With the F-35, however, the service wants to more fully prepare pilots in advance by downloading combat training from front-line squadrons. As a result, VMFAT-501 is taking on more of what the U.K. would call an Operational Conversion Unit task.

“If you look at the Hornet, the aircraft on the Fleet Replacement Sqdns. are less capable than those on the front line,” Howell says.

“With the F-35 we have aircraft on the training squadrons that are just as capable as those with front-line units, and in some cases better, so we can maximize their training and make them as combat-ready as possible before they leave,” he adds.

Transitioning an experienced aviator from the current type into the F-35 currently takes about 8-9 months, while for students coming directly from the T-45, the training is expected to take 11-12 months as the syllabus is currently written. The flight-training burden is shared with simulators on a 50:50 basis; pilots praise them for the rapid progress they allow pilots to make.

In February, Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. Adam Hogg flew his first solo mission in the F-35. Just six flights into his training he will start transitioning into short-takeoff, vertical-landing and hovering flight regimes, a transition that would have taken considerably longer on the Harrier. Instructors have noticed that pilots with a background on the AV-8 have taken slightly longer to adjust to the F-35 than their counterparts with Hornet experience.

“[Former Harrier pilots] are familiar with hovering but because the Harrier pilot workload was so intensive,” says Howell, “they feel like they need to over-control the F-35 in the hover, but the Hornet pilots don’t.”

Britain’s contribution to VMFAT-501 has expanded rapidly to 36 personnel from both the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Navy, up from just seven this time last year. This is set to grow to about 150 by the time 617 Sqdn. is ready to deploy to the U.K. in the summer of 2018. About 100-120 will return to Britain with 617, while a smaller cadre remains at Beaufort for training, forming the first elements of the U.K.’s Operational Conversion Unit (OCU).

“There is a lot of work to do before we move back to the U.K.,” says Sqdn. Ldr. Hugh Nichols, a U.K. instructor assigned to the VMFAT-501, who will become a flight commander for 617 Sqdn.


Among the challenges will be to transfer the maintenance and airworthiness regimes used by the British at Beaufort. Currently, the U.K. flies its Beaufort-based F-35s under the U.S. Naval Aviation Maintenance Program, but in 2018 it will have to transfer over to the U.K. Military Aviation Authority’s Maintenance and Airworthiness Process (MAP) as it prepares for the move back home. “We have a flight sergeant preparing us for this process, which must be ready for 2018, and he’s here now,” says Nichols.That process is partly assisted by the fact that Britain’s 17 Sqdn., assigned to the Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) mission at Edwards AFB, California, has already adopted and is using the U.K. MAP system.

Britain currently has four F-35Bs; the latest, BK-4, was delivered in January to Edwards AFB for OT&E. Over the next nine months, the U.K. should double the size of its fleet, with aircraft being delivered every other month to Beaufort, with BK-5 expected around May.

At RAF Marham, Norfolk, England, where Britain’s F-35 main operating base will be located, preparation work is underway for construction of new infrastructure to cope with the jet. Britain plans to conduct its F-35 training in the U.K. with the formation of an OCU and training squadron, yet to be given a squadron number. Moving training to the U.K. will leave VMFAT-501 to potentially support the training of other F-35B customers such as the Italian navy.

Lockheed Martin has been contracted to do architectural studies on the new facilities at Marham including so-called Freedom of Action facilities that will allow the U.K. to perform all activities on the F-35 without reliance on partner nations.

In recent weeks, the British Defense Ministry has advertised tenders for construction work on taxiways, runways and the creation of hover pads. The tenders also include new hangars, operations buildings, hard standings as well as infrastructure for security and computer information systems. The value of work is estimated at £100-140 million ($140-200 million).

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby brar_w » 19 Mar 2016 22:42

Interesting videos..




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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby brar_w » 20 Mar 2016 18:55

Deleted

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby rkhanna » 21 Mar 2016 10:39

When you take TFTA too far lol..

So much for the "Quality" of NATO troops

wo young soldiers 'were forced to rape each other in horrific beasting as part of initiation ceremony' into Queen's Guards

Soldiers, aged 21 and 28, were serving at Pirbright Barracks in Surrey
Men were told to get showered before watching Rugby World Cup match
Then allegedly ordered to horrifically degrade themselves in sex acts
Young soldiers of 2 Company which is referred to as 'The Gay Company'

Soldiers forced young recruits to rape each other in a vile beasting initiation ceremony, it has been claimed.

The two soldiers serving at Pirbright Barracks in Surrey were allegedly forced to horrifically degrade themselves in front of more senior troops.

They had joined 2 Company and had completed seven months arduous training in Catterick, North Yorkshire.

Before watching a Wales v Uruguay World Cup rugby match, the men, aged 23 and 28, were told to get showered and come upstairs for some drinks.

Following the game, the good-natured atmosphere turned dark when older guardsmen brought in more alcohol.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3501177/Two-young-soldiers-forced-rape-horrific-beasting-initiation-ceremony-Queen-s-Guards.html

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby brar_w » 22 Mar 2016 18:36

kit wrote:By one report the Rafale costs more than the F22 fighter :shock: :((

Over the years, the Raptor’s cost has been the subject of intense debate in the Pentagon, the White House, Congress and the media. But advocates and critics tend to quote different figures to serve their various agendas. Fans of the twin-engine fighter usually refer to the “flyaway cost” — that is, how much Lockheed charged the government to piece together each Raptor after all development has been paid for. In other words, just construction spending.

By that reckoning, each of the last 60 F-22s set the taxpayer back $137 million, only slightly more than the roughly $110 million apiece Americans pay for a new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — a plane specifically designed to be “affordable,” whatever that means.

http://www.wired.com/2011/12/f-22-real-cost/


The exact price the French are seeking is not known but sources told India Strategic that each aircraft was pegged nearly at $200 million, and the overall deal could be as much as $7 (Seven) billion (about Rs 47,000 crores approx at the current exchange rates) but inclusive of offsets. Media reports however have said the deal should be worth Rs 50,000 crores

http://www.indiastrategic.in/topstories4547_India_concludes_Inter_Governmental_Agreement_to_buy_36_Rafale_Aircraft_from_France.htm




The only real cost that is valuable is the unit flyaway cost for many reasons. This applies to the F-22, or the rafale or practically any other project. The reason is simple and I'll use the F-22 as an example. The reason the F-22 total unit cost soared was primarily because development overshot estimates by 30 or so percent (primarily because of optimistic assumptions) while the numbers were reduced. When you have a largely fixed development cost that increases by 30%, and a reducing unit order book you get a recipe for a high per unit cost since you can't spend less to develop a weapons system because you are buying fewer of them (these sort of decisions are made in the 'requirements' phase and not mid-program).

However, these things don't really matter in the broader scheme of things. Do you think policy makers really care if the per unit cost of the F-22 is 300 million? or 400 million? vs 200 million? I can get it to below 200 million if I just build 500 more (since dev. cost remains fixed and is non-recurring). What the policy makers are interested in is the overall program cost, what budget they must allocate to complete the program and how that factors in to their other priorities and spending strategy. By capping the F-22 program, the policy makers SAVED money since they didn't buy the remaining 100-200 aircraft that the last estimates wanted even though per unit cost rose. Similarly with the Rafale the French cut orders and/or moved deliveries to the right and that no doubt raised overall program unit cost - BUT much like the F-22, that saved the French money that went or could have gone elsewhere.

For a competitive export product, you need to get your costs controlled and need to be producing the system efficiently. Unfortunately, in the case of the rafale, they pack in a lot of technology, that is expensive and they have been moving along at a sub-optimal (borderline ridiculous) production rate and that impacts cost even down the road. Ramp ups are expensive, take time, involve risk and must be sustained to make them worthwhile so it remains to be seen how competitive the rafale's price gets as Dassault gradually increases production to meet international demand.

By that reckoning, each of the last 60 F-22s set the taxpayer back $137 million, only slightly more than the roughly $110 million apiece Americans pay for a new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — a plane specifically designed to be “affordable,” whatever that means.


Comparing a post_learning_curve efficiencies, rate produced F-22 cost ordered through a bulk-multi year contract, to a Low_Rate_initial_cost of another system is unwise. The F-35 is still realizing production curve efficiencies and is ramping up. LRIP-2 to LRIP-8 cost reduction has been 50%+ and the bulk of the ramp up is yet to come. The argument that the F-22's full rate production volumes were comparable to high F-35 low rate volumes also don't really apply since the F-35's production process, is designed for very high rate production and that involves costs to get there, costs which for now are being absorbed by limited rate produced aircraft.

Simply put, the F-22's production was designed around mid to high 40 aircraft per year. The F-35 on the other hand has been designed for nearly 1 full assembly a day and this impacts production plans, and infrastructure down to the component suppliers (that are the most critical). The F-22 program would have to incur massive costs had it been asked to prepare to produce at those rates, and similarly had the F-35 program been asked to shed the requirement for high rate productions it could have also shed a lot of the cost associated with that - particularly in automation without which they don't get to that many deliveries per year.

Image

F-35 is still realizing the learning curve efficiencies and will continue to for a few more batches..The F-22 was a mature program, had its production continued at its rate it would have showed a flatline in cost much like a mature program like say the F-16, or F/A-18 would do as long as numbers remain the same. The F-35's cost reduction through learning curve efficiencies would continue to fall away and then cost reductions would come from lessons-learned initiatives (See Blueprint of Affordability), and production rates. Once those are reached, the cost will again stabilize much like the F-22.

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby TSJones » 22 Mar 2016 23:08

Another Russian rocket malfunction?

http://nasawatch.com/archives/2016/03/a ... l#comments

Did the New Russia-Europe Mars Mission Narrowly Escape a Launch Disaster?, Popular Mechanics

"After the launch reached the initial parking orbit around the Earth, the Proton's fourth stage (known as Briz-M, Russian for "breeze") acted as a space tug, boosting the space probe on a path to Mars with four engine firings. What happened next was a close call that could have ended the mission catastrophically. And ExoMars still isn't out of the woods ... What is especially worrying about the latest accident is that Briz-M apparently exploded after just 10.5 hours in space, when its ExoMars cargo was still in the vicinity. The good news is that ExoMars appears to be undamaged by whatever happened to its space tug, but the mission is not out of the woods yet."


.......".they call me the breeze"......Lynard Skynard

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Re: International Military & Space Discussion

Postby NRao » 23 Mar 2016 04:20

Image
A prototype of the first Japan-made stealth fighter (forefront) is put through ground tests at Nagoya airport Feb. 24. | POOL / KYODO


Japan backs homegrown stealth jet in aerospace industry revival

by Ayako Mie

Staff Writer

Mar 21, 2016
Article history
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Japan is set to become the fourth country to test-fly its own stealth jet — a move that is likely to increase its military presence in the region.

Air supremacy is crucial for today’s combat and for national defense. Yet after Japan was defeated in World War II, its once superior aerospace industry, famous for the Zero fighter, has lagged behind the United States and other nations in development.

We look at what development of indigenous stealth jets, as well as Japan’s homegrown fighters, means for Japan and the region.

How does stealth technology work?

Stealth technology is a key feature of state-of-the-art fighter aircraft. It makes the aircraft almost invisible on radar. Every aircraft has a so-called radar cross-section of detectability, and the aerospace industry has been working to minimize this profile.

To do this, aircraft are coated with radar-absorbing materials or designed to deflect radar, making them hard to detect. Stealth aircraft thus sport flat surfaces and sharp edges, instead of being rounded, a shape that paints an easier radar profile.

Fighter aircraft are ever-evolving, with each generation incorporating the latest technology. The latest, or fifth-generation, fighter called the F-35 Lightning II has advanced stealth capabilities, integrated avionics, sensor fusion and superior logistics support.

Lockheed Martin, the maker of the Lightning II, said, “advanced materials and other features make the F-35 virtually undetectable to enemy radar.”

An F-35 radar blip is said to be about the size of a small bird.

What other countries have stealth aircraft?

The U.S. has been the leader in stealth jets, with an inventory that includes the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the F-35.

Russia together with India have been developing the PAK-FA or T-50 directly to compete with the F-22 Raptor. And China’s Chengdu J-10B, which has some stealth capabilities, is also in service.

The U.S. is the only country that has used stealth jets in combat.

What kind of stealth jet is Japan developing?

Japan started developing the Advanced Technology Demonstrator, a stealth jet called X-2, in 2009.

It has so far invested some ¥40 billion in its development, according to the Defense Ministry. The X-2 fuselage is developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, while its engines, which have after-burner capability to provide extra thrust to launch from an aircraft carrier, are developed by IHI Corp.

Japan has been conducting test runs of the 14-meter-long demonstrator since earlier this year and it is slated to take its maiden flight later this month or after. After test flights, the aircraft will be delivered to the Defense Ministry, which will gauge its capabilities at the Air Self-Defense Force’s Gifu Air Field.

What is behind Japan’s recent move to develop fighters?

Developing stealth jets is considered crucial, but producing state-of-the art fighters is also key to maintaining air superiority, and keeping the aerospace industry viable.

Japan has wanted to develop a sophisticated indigenous fighter for years. Despite its technological advancement, the country has lagged behind the United States, Russia and European nations in the aerospace-aeronautics sector since the end of World War II.

The first fighter jet Japan developed, the F-1, had limited air-to-air combat capability due to its lack of sufficient weaponry.

Japan’s most recent homegrown fighter, the F-2, lacks stealth capability.

Its design, however, was based on the U.S. General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. The U.S. had pressured Japan not to develop its own fighter jets.

Mitsubishi Heavy has been building U.S.-designed fighter jets under license, but Japan cannot access critical information via the assembly process because it is kept secret.

But now Japan has embarked on development of a homegrown fighter to replace the F-2, which it plans to retire around 2030. The country will need to decide whether to develop its own fighters, buy those sold by other countries, or jointly develop them by 2018.

Richard Bitzinger, senior fellow and coordinator of the Military Transformations Program at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said Japan’s stealth jet quest was a significant step forward from the F-2.

“This is actually kind of a leap for them in a way, coming out of a relative failure of the F-2 program,” said Bitzinger. “It shows that Japan still wants to be a major player in the global aerospace community.”

How did Japan’s lifting of its arms export ban change the situation?

The F-35 resulted in a bitter experience for Japan, which bought the aircraft to technically replace the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fleet.

Even though Mitsubishi Heavy can assemble the aircraft, the country cannot participate in the joint development project because in the initial stage the arms export ban was still in place.

The 2014 easing of the ban allows Japan to develop arms with allies and give its defense industry the latest technology. It also enables the industry to potentially sell arms to countries other than those involved in conflicts with Japan or subject to U.N. embargoes, which could help bring down development costs.

Experts say that the chances are slim that Japan would go ahead with development on its own, given the costs. But having the technology makes it easier to participate in the joint project.

“The question is if Japan can develop an engine with much power,” said Yoshitomo Aoki, a journalist who specializes in the aerospace defense industry. “If Japan can come up with . . . notable technology in anything, it would be a ‘souvenir’ that would open the door for the joint development program.”

Will this change the military balance in the region?

Possibly. Experts say that Japan’s potential stealth jet could unnerve China, which is flexing its military muscle in both the East and South China seas.

Beijing is getting more wary that Japan is indirectly trying to keep China in check in the South China Sea by supplying technological support to neighboring nations.

China is now developing the fifth-generation fighter jet Chengdu J-20, which could go into service in five years. Even though experts are skeptical of the quality and capability of Chinese military assets, they say it’s important for Japan to have indigenous fighter jets with stealth capability and powerful engines amid China’s increasing efforts to develop technology.

“If China can develop really advanced stealth jets, China will have the air supremacy,” said Tetsuo Kotani, a senior fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA). “The F-35 can deal with the J-20, but we have to look beyond the J-20. It is about the competition for air supremacy.”


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