Posts filed under ‘Disaster Relief’

FRIDAY FOTO (September 21, 2018)

Worth a thousand words.

Florence Flooding in Bladen County

(Nebraska National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Herschel Talley)

Nebraska Army National Guard Spc. Matthew Reidy surveys the flooding from the air on September 19 (Wednesday) in Bladen County, North Carolina.

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 13 Soldiers assigned to a Lincoln-based Nebraska National Guard aviation unit supported the ongoing Hurricane Florence relief operations from the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Raleigh International Airport in North Carolina. The Company G, 2-104th General Aviation Battalion Soldiers are equipped and trained to conduct search and rescue operations, as well as air movement missions.

For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and rivers keep on rising. The storm’s death toll ticked up to 41 people in the Mid-Atlantic region on Thursday (September 20); 31 of them in North Carolina alone, according to NPR.

The disaster sparked a widespread government response from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard units — as well as the Department of Homeland Security and local emergency workers.

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September 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Light Show, Teaming with Air Force jets; Paris patrol; Assassination Weapon?

A new kind of Fireworks.

Drone Light Show entertains Team Travis

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Conrad)

More than 500 drones illuminated the sky during a light show at California’s Travis Air Force Base on July 5, 2018. Intel’s new lightweight Shooting Star drone — it weighs just 330 grams — is designed to carry only a light that can change colors. Together, the 500 little quadcopters are capable of 4 billion color combinations, reported CBS Bay Area TV station KPIX.

Originally scheduled for the Fourth of July, the drone light show had to be postponed for a day because of high winds. Even so, a glitch required landing the fleet, early in the show, and resetting the drones before they could conduct five minute light show — controlled by one lap top and one operator, according to ABC TV station KGO.

The tiny drones, made of plastic and foam, swooped and swirled in the night sky forming images of the American flag, an airplane, the Golden Gate Bridge and the California Grizzly Bear.

Intel, the silicon chip maker, unveiled its drone light show capabilities in 2015 using just 100 little quadcopters. “The difference between 100 and 500 is mind blowing,” Natalie Cheung, who heads the Intel light show business unit, said in a company video. The drone display integrates computing, communication, sensor and cloud technology.

“All this drone can do is light up the sky, but it is something it can do really, really well,” the light show lead engineer, Daniel Gurdan said in the video.

Teaming Drones with Manned Aircraft

Intel’s flying light show is just one way scientists and engineers are working on ways to operate drones in large numbers. The military, in particular, has been looking at ways large numbers of fast-moving, evasive drones could overwhelm and enemy’s air defense systems.

The Army has looked into pairing its MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with attack helicopters, using the drone as a kind of hunting dog to seek out targets and threats out in front of the manned helicopter. Your 4GWAR editor first wrote about that for Smithsonian’s Air&Space magazine blog in 2011

Now Air Force thinkers are looking at teaming manned aircraft with unmanned drones. In a policy paper released late last month (July 2018), the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies says maximizing the attributes of human operators and aircraft autonomy could boost affordable, effective combat capacity.

The paper notes that as a result of advancements in autonomy, processing power, and collaborative information exchange, the U.S. Air Force may soon be able to fly traditionally manned combat aircraft in partnership with unmanned aircraft.

The paper’s authors urge the Air Force to explore the advantages that could come through collaborative teaming of manned and unmanned combat aircraft. They noted  that the “combination may provide increased numbers of affordable aircraft to complement a limited number of exquisite, expensive, but highly potent fifth-generation aircraft.”

In short, that could mean meeting the requirements of Air Force Combat Command in a sustainable way during a time when there is a shortage of pilots and funds for newer, more expensive aircraft.

In other unmanned aircraft news …

Protecting Paris.

During Bastille Day celebrations in France last month (July 15), two MQ-9 Reaper drones patrolled the skies over Paris and southwestern France.

According to the manufacturer of the unmanned aircraft — San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems — the French Air Force (Armee De L’Air) operated its drones over Paris and the city of Cognac, providing airborne surveillance over the national celebration.

Equipped with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite of sensors, the Paris MQ-9 flew safely over a populated area of seven million people among numerous other military aircraft participating in the airborne parade.

SONY DSC

(Photo of French MQ-9 Reaper courtesy of Business Wire)

Two French MQ-9s are based in Cognac Châteaubernard Air Base, where they perform daily training or ISR support in French airspace. Another six Reapers are operated by the 1/33 Belfort Squadron, providing intelligence and support to Operation Barkhane, the ongoing French anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Assassination Attempt by Drone?

Two drones packed with explosives reportedly flew toward Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Saturday night (August 4) in what his government says was a failed assassination attempt. New York Times site has video here.

MAP-Venezuela_large_locator

Venezuela in South America (Source: CIA World Factbook)

The attack  occurred while Maduro was making a speech at a huge outdoor event in Caracas to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the country’s national guard, according to USA Today, which detailed what happened.

Maduro blamed the “far right”, Colombia’s outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos, and shadowy forces in Miami for the attack, The Economist reported. He has denounced a score of plots since he took over from the late Hugo Chávez in 2013.

August 17, 2018 at 12:28 am

FRIDAY FOTO (July 13, 2018)

Underwater Raiders.

MRF conducts bi-lateral dive training with Jordanian SOF

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Corporal Jon Sosner)

Marine Raiders swim underwater during dive training in Aqaba, Jordan, on July 8, 2018. The Marines are assigned to Maritime Raid Force of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Marine Special Operations officers, specialists and critical skills operators — collectively known as Marine Raiders — are the Marine Corps component of Special Operations Command.

And yes, it’s the same Aqaba captured by T.E. Lawrence in the film, Lawrence of Arabia.

 

July 13, 2018 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 1, 2018)

Big

Coast Guard Cutter Waesche completes drydock maintenance

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ayla Kelley)

Crew members assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche examine a propeller before the ship leaves dry dock following maintenance in Seattle. Photo taken May 22, 2018.

We think this huge metal device looks like something out of a Georgia O’Keeffe painting (video on her work).

June 1, 2018 at 12:22 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 4, 2018)

Eye-eye, sir.

PP18 personnel participate in a cooperative health exchange at Sri Lanka

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jasper Seisa)

Lieutenant Commander Scott Williams, a Navy optometrist, examines a child’s eye in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, at a health clinic event during Pacific Partnership 2018,  an annual  humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission in the Indo-Pacific region.

This year, the multinational mission included military personnel from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. In addition to healthcare clinics, like this one, doctors, dentists, engineers, Navy Seabees and musicians made civil engineering assistance stops, training symposiums, information exchanges, search and rescue exercises and band performances in Malaysia as well as Sri Lanka.

May 4, 2018 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 9, 2018)

Vertigo!

Bridge Company Field Training Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class Timothy Shoemaker)

Marines perform preventative maintenance to a girder bridge during a field training exercise at Camp Pendleton, California on February 28, 2018.

These Marines are assigned to Bridge Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion of the 1st Marine Logistics Group. They’re attaching ropes to link reinforcements under the bridge to ensure it was tightly secured. There’s no information on just how high they were working, but looks pretty high.

March 9, 2018 at 10:31 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 15, 2017)

Flying Fire Fighter.

146th Airlift Wing continues fighting Thomas Fire.

(Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Nieko Carzis)

A California Air National Guard C-130J Hercules drops fire retardant over the hills above Santa Barbara, California on December 13, 2017. The aircraft, helping fight the fatal Thomas Fire, is assigned to the 146th Airlift Wing.

A 32-year-old firefighter, Cory Iverson, lost his life Thursday (December 14) battling the Thomas Fire, the largest of the blazes plaguing southern California. Iverson, who had been a firefighter with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection — also known as Cal Fire — since 2009, was a fire apparatus engineer from San Diego, according to a Cal Fire spokeswoman, CNN reported.

December 16, 2017 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

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