Posts filed under ‘U.S. Navy’

FRIDAY FOTO (August 17, 2018)

Sub Swim Call.

USS Olympia Swim Call

(U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Vien Nguyen)

Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, USS Olympia, participate in a swim call at sea in the Pacific Ocean, July 31, 2018. We’ve seen photos of swim calls before, but never one on a submarine.

Swim Call, as you might imagine, is a period when there is time for some of the crew to jump off the ship — or in this case boat — for a little exercise and recreation.  The tradition dates back as far as World War II, according to an article in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, which includes a bunch of photos of sailors taking a dip from all sorts of U.S. Navy vessels. The Daily Mail piece also notes there is always a few folks keeping watch for sharks from a dinghy or rubber boat near the swimmers.

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August 17, 2018 at 1:20 am 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 (August 3, 2018)

Waaay up high.

180720-N-IL409-0031

(U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Apprentice Joshua Leonard)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Donavyn Rogers paints the superstructure of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in Bremerton, Washington on July 20, 2018. The superstructure, also known as the island, is the tower on the starboard (right) side of the carrier flight deck, although in the photo below, it looks like it’s on the port (left) side, because of the angle from which the photo was shot.

In the lower photo, compare the size of the sailors and Marines on the flight deck of another Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier —  the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) — with the ship’s superstructure to get an idea of high high up painter Rogers has to work.

Nimitz-class_aircraft_carrier_USS_Harry_S._Truman_(CVN_75)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kilho Park)

August 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm 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 30, 2018)

Future War.

URBAN ANTX18

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Rhita Daniel)

Infantrymen from the 4th Marines’ 3rd Battalion assessed emerging technologies and engineering innovations recently during an Urban Advanced Naval Technology Exercise at Camp Pendleton, California. The March 21, 2018 exercise saw leathernecks checking the operational utility of an unmanned light cargo vehicle, an electric tactical vehicle, protective helmets and defensive weapons like the Big Gun shown here. The name on the side of the weapon says it all. The “Drone Killer” is aimed at countering the threat from small unmanned aerial systems (drones).

Marine Corps planners expect battle-spaces in the future will include narrow streets lined by high rise buildings in densely populated megacities in Africa and Asia.

Click here to see more photos of the technology examined at the urban warfare technology exercise.

 

March 30, 2018 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 16, 2018)

Carrier Deck Dance.

FRIFO 2-16-2018 Carrier deck dance

(U. S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kaysee Lohmann)

Sailors signal an F/A-18E Super Hornet to launch from the flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman in the Atlantic Ocean on February 7, 2018.

For the curious or uninitiated, each crewman has a different task on a carrier flight deck, depending on the color of their jacket. Click here to see what the different color jackets  mean. As for the precision dance team pose, there are all sorts of signals between deck crewmen and pilots on the incredibly noisy carrier deck. Click here to see an amazing video.

February 16, 2018 at 12:36 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 26, 2018)

And Awaaaaay.

Free Fall

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Private First Class William Chockey)

A Marine jumps from an MV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. The January 18, 2018 jump by the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion came during Integrated Training Exercise 2-18.

January 26, 2018 at 12:33 am Leave a comment

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