Posts filed under ‘Aircraft’

FRIDAY FOTO (July 21, 2017)

See Paris and … Fly!

FRIFO 7-21-2017 Thunderbirds Over Paris

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Christopher Boitz)

The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron, streaks by the Eiffel Tower on July 11, during a practice for the 2017 Bastille Day celebration in Paris. The Thunderbirds’ F-16s were among than 90 aircraft that participated in the July 14 festivities.

We usually pass on photos of the Thunderbirds. While they are some of the world’s best military aviators and their aerial derring do is breathtaking, they, like their Navy counterparts, the Blue Angels, are doing what they do to provide publicity for the Air Force and aid recruitment. Here at 4GWAR we prefer the FRIDAY FOTO to shed some light on the amazing feats performed by all the other service members that don’t routinely draw crowds and flocks of photographers.

But hey, it’s Paris!

Like Henry of Navarre put it: “Paris vaut bien une messe.”

July 21, 2017 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

ASIA/PACIFIC: U.S. Marines at Australian Exercise.

The Marines Have Landed …

USS Green Bay conducts Talisman Saber 17

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

U.S. Marines maneuver combat rubber raiding craft toward Cowley Beach in Australia on July 8, 2017, during an amphibious raid rehearsal as a part of exercise Talisman Saber 17. These Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

… and Landed.

Marines Helo Australia Talisman Sabre 17.JPG

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

Here Marines are disembarking from a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter for a ground assault training exercise as part of Talisman Saber 17 in Australia on July 12, 2017. More than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in the biennial joint exercise, which runs through July 25.

Talisman Saber, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command, incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and the Australian Defence Force, as well as other government agencies from both countries, according to Pacific Command.

Featuring 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft, this is the seventh iteration of the exercise. For 2017 it is focusing on training a Combined Task Force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario.

July 20, 2017 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Cyclocopters Go All-Terrain

Paddlewheel Propulsion.

The U.S. Army’s quest for autonomous reconnaissance aircraft that can fit in the palm of a soldier’s hand has led to a breakthrough in vertical lift technology by researchers utilizing a concept long-known, but never successfully demonstrated: the cyclocopter.

Cyclocopter-Uof Md water test

The multi-modal quadrotor cyclocopter developed at the University of Maryland began aquatic mode testing in March. The unmanned aircraft, equipped with plastic foam pontoons, successfully crossed calm water. (Photo via Elena Shrestha)

A cyclocopter is a vertical lift aircraft — but unlike a helicopter — it has at least two rotors, one on either side of the servo and autopilot. A ring of rotor blades extend horizontally like the wings of an airplane and rotate around a horizontal axis, moving in a cycloidal way, like a paddlewheel on a riverboat.

Your 4GWAR editor reports on the latest developments in these tiny unmanned aircraft in the new issue of Vertiflite, a publication of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International.

In flight, the cyclocopter’s cycloidal rotors and their circular housing look something like a speeding exercise wheel in a hamster cage, but without the hamster. The angle of the rotor blades can be shifted, altering lift and thrust that allows the aircraft to shift seamlessly from vertical to horizontal. The rotating multiple, uniform blades provide the aircraft with 360 degrees of thrust vectoring.

The cyclo rotor concept is over 100 years old with recorded experiments dating back to 1909 but early researchers focused on manned flight and were never able to demonstrate a vehicle that could fly, despite several attempts in the 1930s

Texas A&M tiny cyclocopter

Researchers at Texas A&M achieved the world’s smallest cyclocopter, weighing just 29 g (1 oz). (Photo via Moble Benedict)

With funding from the Army Research Laboratory, engineers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University have been designing, building and flying unmanned  cyclocopters to demonstrate their agility and viability. At Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, student researchers have built small unmanned cyclocopters ranging in weight from just over two ounces (60 grams) to almost two pounds (900 grams). The largest of the little drones is multi-modal and designed to travel across land and water, as well as the air. At Texas A&M’s Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory, researchers have also developed a range of increasingly smaller cyclo rotor-powered drones, including one that weighs just 29 grams, currently the smallest ever made.

Anticipating challenging battle environments that U.S. forces will face in future conflicts, the Army Research Lab’s Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) program began looking for promising technologies that would provide portable air and ground situational awareness devices for soldiers moving on foot through complex terrain, like dense urban areas. MAST’s Collaborative Technology Alliance (MAST-CTA) was created in 2008 to encourage cooperation among the military, industry and 20 research universities ….

TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY IN THE JULY/AUGUST ISSUE OF VERTIFLITE MAGAZINE, CLICK HERE.

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July 12, 2017 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: Using Lasers on Drones and Against Them.

Directed Energy Weapons.

Each branch of the U.S. military is developing directed energy technology — largely for defense against small, weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones.  But the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) wants to mount a laser on a drone to attack enemy ballistic missiles.

DIRECTED ENERGY-DARPA-MobileForce

An artist’s rendering of a vehicle-mounted small laser defense against attacking drones being studied by DARPA. (DARPA photo).

Since the Air Force manned Airborne Laser system was cancelled as too expensive and impractical in 2012, the MDA has looked for a way of combining a compact, high-power laser with a high-flying aircraft that can stay aloft for extended periods. Such an aircraft, ideally a drone, would be able to destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the boost stage — shortly after launch — when it is most vulnerable.

“Our goal eventually is to integrate a high-powered, solid-state laser on a long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle operating in the stratosphere where the atmospheric disturbance of the aircraft and the laser is significantly reduced,” Richard Matlock, MDA’s program executive for advanced technology told a missile defense conference last December.

Meanwhile, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  is working on a counter drone laser system to protect moving ground vehicles. The agency’s Mobile Force Protection Program is seeking industry solutions for protecting high value ground assets from the growing threat of small weaponized drones.

C-130 Gunship.JPG

The Air Force wants to supplement the Gatling gun on the AC-130 gunship with a silent laser weapon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter)

The Navy, which is the farthest along in weaponized laser development, is also helping Special Operations forces mount a directed energy weapon on Air Force AC-130 gunships. In addition to the big plane’s flying Gatling gun with a finite load of ammunition, directed energy would bring a silent, invisible capability that will be a game changer, according to Air Force Lieutenant General Bradley Heithold. Heithold, the principal deputy director for cost assessment and program evaluation at the Pentagon, is expected to outline the Defense Department’s roadmap for offensive and defensive directed energy weapons capabilities when he and Matlock speak at IDGA’s Directed Energy and Next Generation and Munitions conference later this month in Washington.

June 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: NATO Air Exercise in Arctic, A-10s to Alaska, New Russian Base.

Military Update.

With an increasing number of intercontinental ballistic missile test launches by North Korea, Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic and continuing aggressive behavior toward former Soviet satellite nations that have joined NATO, the countries that ring the Arctic are increasing their defense budgets and stepping up training exercises in the Far North, as well as Eastern Europe.

Mildenhall and Lakenheath aircraft on way to Arctic Challenge

Two F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, fly in formation next to a KC-135 Stratotanker on May 19, 2017. The aerial refueling tanker is assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England. All three aircraft were flying in Arctic Challenge 2017, a multinational exercise that ended June 2 in Finland and Sweden. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant  David Dobrydney)

ARCTIC CHALLENGE.

The U.S. Air Force and the air services of ten other nations are winding up Arctic Challenge a training exercise that began May 19 in Scandinavia and ends Friday (June 2).

The gathering sought to build relationships and increase technical inter-operability among NATO and non-NATO member partner nations. Participants included NATO members Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as non-members Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Zumwalt, commander of the U.S. 493rd Fighter Squadron, said the exercise presented practice opportunities and experiences that allow Air Force pilots and aircraft maintainers to work “side-by-side with our partners and allies to plan, execute and debrief some very complex missions.”

The 493rd sent 12 F-15C Eagle fighter jets and 200 personnel from their base in England. Two  KC-135 aerial refueling tankers and 30 airmen from the 351st Air Refueling Squadron, also based in England.

*** *** ***

RED FLAG ALASKA.

CORRECTS: A-10 Lightning II to A-10 Thunderbolt II (What were thinking?!!)

Meanwhile, a dozen Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft based in South Korea, have flown to Alaska to participate in an exercise his summer. The move is an indication that the U.S. military is carrying on with business as usual despite rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the Stars and Stripes website.

A-10 Thunderbolt

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Battles)

The planes and additional air crew and support personnel and will join the Red Flag Alaska 17-2 drills out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, also in Alaska, through early July, according to an Air Force spokeswoman.

The exercise will simulate the first 10 days of combat with a near-peer adversary. The A-10s, also known as “Warthogs because of their homely appearance, heavy armor and fierce attack capabilities, are designed to provide close support to infantry and destroy enemy tanks.

The A-10s are based at Osan Air base in Korea, where the rest of the 25th Fighter Squadron remains to handle mission requirements.

*** *** ***

NEW RUSSIAN ARCTIC BASE.

The Arctic, is expected to grow more accessible as melting sea ice opens up shipping lanes and, as 4GWAR has noted since 2014, Moscow has engaged in a military buildup in its Arctic Regions, including more than a dozen new operational airfields as well as future deployments of drones, ships and submarines and future construction of mobile nuclear power plants.

The Russians recently opened their sprawling Trefoil base, located just outside the Arctic Circle, according to CBS News. The post can house 150 troops and aircraft. While parts of the base remain top secret, Moscow offered a virtual video tour of the building, CBS reported in April.

arctic-circle-svg

Arctic Circle Nations Click on image to enlarge.

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ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Far North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests” in the region. “Those interests include national security needs, protecting the environment, responsibly managing resources, considering the needs of indigenous communities, support for scientific research, and strengthening “international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

June 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 26, 2017)

Rotor Wash.

170523-N-OI810-1283

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Burke)

The shadow of a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter overlays the water its rotors are roiling during helicopter search-and-rescue training south of Japan.

Barely visible in the water are Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Kaltenbach and Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Brush as they prepare a rescue basket before Kaltenbach is hoisted into the Seahawk. This photo was taken May 23, 2017.

May 26, 2017 at 7:53 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 12, 2017)

Dramatic Demonstration.

FRIFO 5-11-2017 Apache Wall of Fire

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Technical Sergeant Jorge Intriago)

Here at  4GWAR, we don’t think we’ve seen a photo quite as cinematic as this one. It shows an AH-64D Apache attack helicopter flying in front of a wall of fire during the South Carolina National Guard’s Air and Ground Expo at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. on May 6, 2017.

This two-day event featured more than 100 static displays of aircraft and ground vehicles, military equipment from the past and present, as well as aerial and ground demonstrations “with lots of pyrotechnics,” according to a National Guard press release. The photo above proves they weren’t kidding.

 

May 12, 2017 at 12:12 am 1 comment

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