Sunday, December 31, 2017

China is Building 2 Molten Salt Thorium Reactors

The cash is to develop two “molten salt” reactors in the Gobi Desert in northern China. 
Researchers hope that if they can solve a number of technical problems the reactors will lead to a range of applications, including nuclear-powered warships and drones.
The technology, in theory, can create more heat and power than existing forms of nuclear reactors that use uranium, while producing only one thousandth of the radioactive waste. 
It also has the advantage for China of using thorium as its main fuel. China has some of the world’s largest reserves of the metal.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Stealth Saga #70


The F-35 hater team is now hating on the Su-57.

The Su-57 will start production in 2018 (supposedly) with 12 'pre-production' aircraft delivered in 2019.

The Su-57 is making progress on the engine and other development milestones, but concerns remain.

"New" Russian VTOL Fighter:

Russia claims it is working on the replacement of the MiG-29 and Su-33 with a VTOL fighter.  That would mean the LMFS is definitely dead instead of almost certainly.

J-20 & J-31:

A report on the J-20 updates the capabilities.

A report states future Chinese aircraft carriers will have the two 5th gen fighters aboard.


Turkey has released the technical specifications on the TF-X.


The Brits are testing out a drone without control surfaces.  Instead, it uses airflow to control direction.

Tornado Replacement:

The Luftwaffe might prefer the F-35, but the German MoD prefers the Eurofighter.

CF-18 Replacement:

Canada is starting its replacement procurement for the CF-18.  The F-35 might be a contender.

Sixth Generation Fighter:

Directed energy weapons are finally gearing up for deployment.


The Russians are claiming an F-22 interfered with an attack run by Su-25s but was "chased away" by an Su-35.

Could the reason the Su-35s and F-22s be shadow boxing is because both sides are trying to gather intel on the other's capabilities?

An F-22 damaged during touch and goes six years ago will be fixed soon.

UTC received an almost seven billion dollar contract for maintaining the F119 engines on the F-22.


The F-35 is going to get a deep dive review on its costs.

66 F-35s were delivered this year.

Is there a change coming for testing on the F-35s?

F-35 weapon accuracy testing is complete.

The USAF claims to no longer need its A-10 maintenance crews to work on the F-35A.

The 115th and 187th Air National Guard Fighter Wings are getting upgraded to the F-35A.

F-35C aviators qualified on the Lincoln.

Britain is not happy about the lack of transparency for the F-35 program.

More on Israel's declaration of the F-35I being operational.

Poland has launched its Harpia fighter procurement and the F-35 is a contender.

Russian military observers went to Norway's base where its first F-35s are.

South Korea is reportedly buying 20 more F-35s.


F/A-18s spotted an unknown aircraft and tracked it on their FLIR.

Fictional Aircraft:

A real US Naval Academy professor did a presentation on the stealthiness of cinematic version of the fictional MiG-31 Firefox.

Friday, December 29, 2017

NASA Evaluating Placing Deep Space Gateway Propulsion Module on EM-2 SLS Launch

While NASA engages spacecraft industry help in studying concepts for design, development, test, and evaluation of the Power Propulsion Element (PPE), it is also studying where the anchor component of the proposed Deep Space Gateway (DSG) would orbit the Moon and how it would get there when launched as a part of Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2).

Sunday, December 24, 2017

How the US Says Russia Violated the INF Treaty

The word is that U.S. administration has finally identified the cruise missile that it suspects to violate the INF Treaty. In his remarks at the Wilson Center, Christopher Ford of the National Security Council said that the missile is known in Russia as 9M729. This was the first time the Russian name of the missile, designated in the United States as SSC-8, was announced officially. But, of course, someone leaked it to Jeffrey Lewis back in 2015, so it's not really news. I had my doubts about the 9M729 theory, but if that's what the U.S. administration builds its claim on, I am not in a position to argue.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Pondering the Precambrian #7



The Tarim Craton may have been connected to the North India Block rather than Australia within the supercontinent of Rodinia during the Tonian.

Has evidence of mountain building during the Tonian been found in Scotland?

The Tonian/Cryogenian transition seems to have been located in Svalbard.

How complete is the evidence of glaciations during the Cryogenian in Scotland?

How oxygenated was the ocean between the Snowball Earth episodes?

Caution with carbon-13 shifts are urged in Cryogenian deposits as they are deposit dependent.

Evidence of hydrothermal modification of a dolostone during the Marinoan Glaciations.

Was there a delayed oxygenation of the oceans from the Cryogenian to the Ediacaran?

Evidence from Mongolia's 540 million year old Khesen formation documents the rise of animals.

Evidence that Ediacaran Parvancorina was motile and could sense benthic currents.

Were there constant anoxic bottom waters during the Ediacaran?

Cyanobacterial-algal crusts have been found from Ediacaran paleosols.


Cyanobacterial microfossils are examined from Calymmian China.

Were tellurium and selenium weathered from sandstones into the Mesoproterozoic oceans?


Biosignatures have been found for eukaryotes from Statherian China.

There is evidence of an impact in India during the Siderian.

Was there a subduction cessation during the Siderian in China?

More evidence of warm subduction during the Orosirian from Cameroon.

Was the Great Oxygenation Event really an abiotic process?!

There appears to have been gradual oxygenation in the oceans (in some cases) just prior to the GOE.

A large igneous province is detected from India from the Rhyacian.

Was the early biosphere nutrient limited?


Evidence from China, specifically the North China Craton, about the composition of NeoArchean sea water.

Inland lakes appear to have fostered the diversification of microbial life during the MesoArchean.

The oldest known paleosols (fossil soil) date from the PaleoArchean (3.46 billion years ago) and originate in Australia and may have formed from sulfuric acid weathering.

Could there be a problem with the cherts being used from the PaleoArchean to claim microbial life?

Or is there a definitive example of fossil life from the PaleoArchean?  Does that mean life is common in the universe?

Is some of Earth's magma ocean preserved in PaleoArchean rock?


Exploring the Precambrian lithosphere of Zambia and Malawi.

The effect of paleoseawater chemistry on hydrothermal ridges.

Origin of Life:

The origin and diversification of the endosymbiont known as the mitochondria.

A new lineage of eukaryotes has given information on mitochondrial genome reduction.

Friday, December 22, 2017

WISE & NEOWISE Cannot Find Planet Nine

A 3pi Search for Planet Nine at 3.4 microns with WISE and NEOWISE


Meisner et al

The recent 'Planet Nine' hypothesis has led to many observational and archival searches for this giant planet proposed to orbit the Sun at hundreds of astronomical units. While trans-Neptunian object searches are typically conducted in the optical, models suggest Planet Nine could be self-luminous and potentially bright enough at ~3-5 microns to be detected by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). We have previously demonstrated a Planet Nine search methodology based on time-resolved WISE coadds, allowing us to detect moving objects much fainter than would be possible using single-frame extractions. In the present work, we extend our 3.4 micron (W1) search to cover more than three quarters of the sky and incorporate four years of WISE observations spanning a seven year time period. This represents the deepest and widest-area WISE search for Planet Nine to date. We characterize the spatial variation of our survey's sensitivity and rule out the presence of Planet Nine in the parameter space searched at W1 less than 16.7 in high Galactic latitude regions (90% completeness).

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Coinbase was Supporting Bitcoin Cash

We’re excited to announce that customers will be able to buy, sell, send and receive Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase. You can read more about Bitcoin Cash on our FAQ page.

Sends and receives are available immediately. Buys and sells will be available to all customers once there is sufficient liquidity on GDAX. We anticipate that this will take a few hours.


But not anymore.: insider trading by their own employees appears have been responsible.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Has Russia Given up on Developing a Rail Based Nuclear Missile?

A news article published on Russian government daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta on Dec. 2 says Moscow has given up on the development of a rail-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).


So it seems.

But then, this isn't the first time the rail based nuclear weapons have been canceled.  And revived.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Terminator Times #39

Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/UAVs):

The US Air Force is incorporating the laser guided small diameter bomb on its Reapers.

Two dozen Reapers are being sent to be based in Florida.

Niger approved armed US drones in its country.  Some think this is a bad idea.

The US Army along with the British demonstrated unmanned resupply capabilities using UGVs & UAVs.

The USMC is testing the potential of unmanned gliders delivering up to 700 lbs of supplies to troops.

The USN will only initially buy 4 MQ-25A tanker drones to see if the contractor can meet the requirements.  That contractor might be selected by the end of this coming summer.

The USN is looking at plugging in its ground based control system for the MQ-25A into the carriers.

The USN has taken delivery of its first Northrop MQ-4C Triton.

The USN is going through the final testing of the FireScout this spring before declaring initial operating capability.

The USN will use the FireScout as a forward spotter, amongst other roles.

A Reaper was used in a sub hunting (ASW) exercise.

China's AVIC demonstrated some impressively flexible UAVs but they (currently) have short endurance.

China has been testing VTOL UAVs in Tibet.

China has shown its Cloud Shadow UAV as a potential naval strike asset.

China's Beihang has shown off its TYW-1 strike capable UAV.

China claims an Indian drone violated its airspace and crashed.

Czech's will be buying ScanEagle UAVs.

India has extended the deadline for bids on the naval UAV system procurement.

India's army has issued an RFI for 60 short range UAVs.

Kuwait is seeking UAVs.

Turkey's special forces have received their first batch of loitering munitions.

Airbus has teamed up with Facebook on high altitude drones.

Antonov has demonstrated a new UAV, the Horlytsia.

Bell is considering whether or not to make the V-280 tilt rotor able to fly autonomously.

Elbit has expanded the Hermes UAV system with the Hermes 45.

General Atomics and Intelsat demonstrated a UAV moving from one satellite radio spot to another.

Lockheed is looking at extending the range of its Fury UAV.

Leonardo is showing off the Evo Falco UAV.
Skeldar has enhanced the R-350 VTOL drone.

Teal predicts $100 billion market (or is it $80 billion?) for drones & UCAVs.

Bolos & Ogres (Unmanned Ground Vehicles):

The US Army is looking at the Remote Combat Vehicle program: a mix of manned and unmanned vehicles with the punch of an M-1 Abrams.

Robo Subs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles):

US Navy's unmanned assets were being used in the hunt for the missing Argentine submarine.

US Navy sent its deep dive recovery UUV for the hunt.

US Navy is implementing a continual improvement program for UUV.

A Houston based company is attempting to build a UUV designed for deep dives without an umbilical.


The US military is testing exoskeletons to help US troops carry their heavy loads.

Counter Drone:

China has tested a laser based anti drone weapon system.

BAe has been given a contract to modify shipborne machine guns to be anti drone weapons.


Russia has made it plain it will NOT adhere to any treaty banning autonomous weapon systems.

Friday, December 15, 2017

India Preparing for March 2018 Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission

The launch of the next Moon mission could be just four months away. India plans to return to the Moon in a big way with the ambitious Chandrayaan-2, which includes an orbiter, lander, and a small rover. If it all succeeds, it will be India's first soft landing on another world, and only the second such landing since the end of the Apollo and Luna era. For India, landing success would be "a stepping stone for future exploration missions to other planets," according to Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M. Annadurai.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Europe Wants its own X-37B, called the Space Rider

Space Rider is a re-entry vehicle, the evolution of the IXV (Intermediate Experimental Vehicle, launched by Vega in February 2015), capable of ‘navigating’ up to 2 months in low Earth orbit before returning to earth. Re-entry enables the recovery of all the useful load that can be analysed, and the vehicle to be reused for a new mission. The contract signed by ESA with Avio and TAS-I (Thales Alenia Space Italia) is worth a total of €36.7 million for the development of the Space Rider system, consisting of two modules: AOM (Avum Orbital Module) and RM (Re-entry Module). Avio will handle the development of AOM, a specific version of AVUM (fourth stage of the VEGA C) capable of supplying power and services for controlling the vehicle’s re-entry attitude during the orbital stage.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Stealth Saga #69

Have Blue & Tacit Blue:

A test pilot that flew both the Tacit Blue and Have Blue prototypes recounts his experiences.


Japan will conclude the X-2 program in March 2018.  The RCS was better than expected and all the data required was gathered in 34 flights.  What the path forward for the F-3 program will be will be based on the evaluation of the X-2 data brings to light.  Two options being considered are building a fighter indigenously or with a foreign partner.


Is the FC-31 being used to help


The Russians are trying to convince the Indians to not abandon the Su-57 derivative for India's first stealth aircraft.


A Su-57 prototype flew with the new engine for around 17 minutes.

Is the Su-57 program toast though?  Some think so.


Is the construction at Area 51 related to the B-21 Raider?


The B-2 Spirit might be deployed to South Korea for exercises.

The B-2 is getting a new GPS receiver.


Six F-22s arrived in South Korea for exercises.

Watch an F-22 hunt and kill an A-4 in an exercise.

An F-22 can actually save fuel by flying faster.  


US DOD gave Pratt & Whitney a $351 million contract for logistics and maintenance on the F135 engine.

South Korean media are reporting USAF F-35As deployed to the Korean Peninsula right after the F-22s.  They are both participating in exercises with South Korea.

Does the US Navy actually think the F-35C is important to the carrier air wing?

Some are STILL angry over the F-35 program.

Lockheed certified various weapons for the F-35.

Lockheed is touting the synthetic training capabilities of the F-35.

The F-35 is undergoing cold weather testing in Alaska.

Israel has declared its F-35I to be combat operational.

Two Dutch F-35s did a flyover in Star Wars canyon.

Drag chute deployment tests are underway in Alaska for the Dutch and Norwegian F-35s.

The Netherlands might have problems paying for their last three F-35As due to currency exchange rates.

Counter Stealth:

China is attempting to build a satellite based imaging system that can detect stealth aircraft.

Friday, December 08, 2017

A/2017 U1 "Oumuamua:" More on our Interstellar Visitor

Systematic takes another look at the strange visitor.

Scientists are dazzled by our interstellar visitor.

The visitor is definitely weird.

Is Oumuamua really interstellar in nature?

Where did Oumuamua come from?  The Local Association?  From a binary star system?

What is the origin of Oumuamua?

How does Oumuamua compare to objects from our solar system?

What are the implications for planet and planetesimal formation?

Observations of Oumuamua by the NOT and WIYN telescopes.

Oumuamua is tumbling.

Is Oumuamua really macroscopic dark matter?  Really???

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Will Venezuela Launch First Hyperinflating? or Oil-Backed? Cryptocurrency, the Petro?

President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that Venezuela will launch a cryptocurrency to combat what the leftist leader says is a financial “blockade” against the crisis-hit nation spurred by U.S. sanctions.

Maduro said the OPEC member’s new currency, “petro,” will be backed by natural resources reserves although he did not provide details on the logistics of its roll-out.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Russian Test the Moscow Missile Defense System

On November 23, 2017 the Air and Space Defense Forces (VKS) conducted a successful test of an interceptor of the Moscow missile defense system. The test took place at the Sary-Shagan test site. The launch was conducted by the crews of the VKS air and missile defense army.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Paleolithic Papers #17

Genus Homo:

The brains of modern humans are different than other primates in particular ways.

Modern Humans (H. sapiens):

Ancient DNA from South Africa pushes back the origins of modern humans.

How did ancient humans organize themselves?  Check their genomes.

Did the first Americans come via the Kelp Highway?  More evidence.

Ancient mitochondrial DNA studies have shown three different groups swept into Labrador and Newfoundland at different times.

Hobbits (H. floresiensis):

How the Hobbit, LB1, was found.

Did Hobbits eat rats?


John Hawks disagrees when the Denisovans and Neandertals split.

Neandertals (H. neanderthalensis):

New wrist bones from the Neandertals of El Sidron, Spain have been found and studied.

The Mousterian Neandertals of China are discussed.

A high coverage DNA Neandertal genome has been recovered from Vindijia, Croatia.

The interbreeding between modern humans and Neandertals reintroduced older, lost DNA from ancient, older hominins to the modern human genome.

The interaction between Neandertals and modern humans has been modeled.

A paper suggested modern humans replaced Neandertals through immigration.  A response has been posted.

H. heidelbergensis:

Did the sinuses of H. heidelbergensis have a special role or placement

H. naledi:

Reviewing the September excavations at the Rising Star Caves.

An H. naledi pelvis is examined and found to have characteristics of Homo and Australopithecus pelvises.

Genus Paranthropus:

P. robustus:

Isotopic analysis of P robustus teeth show the environments and even movements of individuals lived in.


Crocodiles may make similar marks on bones when feeding like those interpreted to be done by stone tools and flakes used for butchery by hominins.

The jaws of hominins and their variation give important clues as to whether or not they belong to a specific species.

There are deep concerns some of the fossils from Europe of hominins were stolen and used in a study.  Even the journal has grown concerned.

Stone tools from late Oldowon from the Olduvai are investigated with new digs.

Pounding tools from the Oldowon to Acheulen transition are examined as well.

Friday, December 01, 2017

SpaceX Will Seek US Government Money for the BFR/BFS Rocket

The president of SpaceX said she expects the company would receive additional funding from the U.S. government to support the development of its large reusable launch system.

Speaking at the NewSpace Europe conference here Nov. 16, Gwynne Shotwell noted that SpaceX is already receiving funding from the U.S. Air Force supporting the development of Raptor, the engine that will power the vehicle known as BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, and the reusable spacecraft known as BFS or Big Falcon Spaceship.

“I do anticipate that there is residual capability of that system that the government will be interested in,” she said. “I do see that we would likely get some funding from the government for BFR and BFS.” She added, though, that work on the vehicles was not contingent on receiving government funding.

One avenue for doing so would be through the U.S. Air Force’s Launch Services Agreement competition, which plans to provide several awards to companies to help fund development of prototype launch systems, though initial test flights, to end U.S. reliance on the Atlas 5 and its Russian-manufactured RD-180 engine. Proposals for the competition are due to the Air Force Nov. 20.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Stealth Saga #68

The Unknown:

NORAD & the FAA are confirming an odd encounter with an unknown aircraft in Oregon.


Canada expects to kick off a competition to select a 5th gen fighter in 2019.  um.  There's only one for sale, oh Canada.


Indonesia has failed to pay its part of the KF-X program.

Harris has won a contract for the KF-X.


Japan is likely to delay the F-3 program.

Tornado Replacement:

The head of Airbus Defense and Space is calling on Germany and France to hurry up on decisions about the program.

In a bad sign for the program, Germany has stated the preferred replacement for the Tornado is the F-35.

Eurofighter Replacement:

Airbus has unveiled its concept for the Typhoon replacement.


Finland will be seeking 64 new fighters.  The F-35 may be a contender.

Sixth Generation Fighters:

The USAF Penetrating Counter Air platform might have a serious funding problem.

The USAF has been working on a new very long range missile for two years.


Northrop's parking lots seem to be rather full.  Is it a sign the B-21 program is ramping up?

An FOIA document on the B-21 appears to confirm the B-21 is optionally manned and nuclear capable (but not necessarily at the same time).


F-117s were seen on the road under protective covers for transport.  Probably for destruction.

Another F-117 was seen flying the day after the previous one(s) were seen on the road.


A com gateway between the F-22 and the F-35 is on the air force wish list.

F-22s conducted its first ground attack mission ever in Afghanistan.  Against a drug lab.

Six F-22s are being deployed to South Korea in December.

Is deploying F-22s to Afghanistan realistic training or just plain overkill?


Lockheed has delayed certifying the 3F software build for the F-35 under February.

Lockheed is targeting a $80 million per F-35A price for LRIP 14.

The House authorized 20 more F-35s than the White House asked for: 56 F-35As, 24 F-35B and 10 F-35C.  The Senate has offered less.

Watch 10 more F-35As arrive at Kadena.

The 62nd Fighter Squadron traveled to Mountain Home AFB for the 2nd F-35A training course.

The damaged F-35A was transported from Mountain Home AFB to Utah by the logistics arm of the USAF by ground.

An F-35A underwent extensive lifecycle testing to see how long the airframe will survive.  The fighter seems to have made it through 24,000 hours at this point.

The USMC VMFA-121 is at full strength with its F-35Bs in Japan.

The US Navy gave Lockheed a modest contract to integrate the small diameter bomb II on the F-35.

International partners in the F-35 program are worried about sovereignty issues with the ALIS system in the F-35 and have worked up interim solutions.

British F-35Bs have been training with Kfirs.

The Brits have been talking up the interoperability of the F-35 with the Eurofighter Typhoon.

Denmark has found problems with its selection of the F-35.

Israel is ready for its next two F-35Is.

The first Japanese built F-35B flew and landed at Misawa AB.

Norway's receipt of its first F-35s is a major milestone.

UAE wants to buy the F-35, the US is in discussions, but a USAF general is skeptical of a mixed F-35 and Russian air fleet.

Lockheed has stated the international partners in the F-35 program are getting their simulators.

Pratt & Whitney got a contract for spare parts for the F-35.

Counter stealth:

Iran continues to build anti stealth aircraft defenses.


Take a look at the secretive Tonopah test facility.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Robopocalypse Report #98 (mini version)

Apple has released self driving car research.

The British want a large number of self driving cars on the road by 2021.

California may limit the liability of self driving car manufacturers.

Delphi acquired self driving car company nuTonomy.

General Motors is finding self driving cars require a lot of computing power and that negatively impacts fuel economy.

General Motors has been pitching its hydrogen fuel cell tech to the US Army, including self driving, unmanned logistics trucks.

Google is driving its self driving cars around Chandler, Arizona without any backup driver.

Google will also test its cars in Detroit.

The first Las Vegas self driving bus got into an accident just hours after launch.

Lyft has received approval to drive its self driving cars in California.

Singapore will start using self driving buses in 2022.

Uber has ordered 24,000 Volvos for conversion into self driving cars.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Different Russia Minister Says it Will NEVER Legalize Bitcoin

In yet another backflip worthy of the Moscow Circus, a Russian minister has said that the country will never legalize bitcoin, just seven months after another government minister said it was considering making it legal.

Minister of Communications and Mass Media Nikolai Nikiforov made the statement Monday, saying that “bitcoin is a foreign project for using blockchain technology, the Russian law will never consider bitcoin as a legal entity in the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.”

Sunday, November 12, 2017

China Claims Next Aircraft Carrier Will Have an Electronic Catapult

People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Chinese defence industry officials are claiming that the second of China’s indigenously built aircraft carriers, the Type 002, will be equipped with an electromagnetic catapult, according to a report in the South China Morning Post .

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Terminator Times #35

Drones (UAVs):

The USAF is allowing more airmen to become drone pilots.

The USMC can now print drones with its expeditionary forces.

The US Navy's ONR tested the Nomad UAV on the USS Coronado.

The US Navy has one less competitor in the Stingray unmanned tanker procurement: Northrop has dropped out.  This is a bad sign because NG was seen as the leading contender.  It strongly implies Northrop thinks the competition will not complete or be badly mismanaged,

It appears the MQ-25 Stingray has gone weirdly pear shaped: there are rumors the Stingray will be an unmanned F-18 modified for tanking.  That might be the only way to get the stingray on the deck by 2019 like the Admirals want.  It would explain Northrop's withdrawal.

DARPA has funded the development of a drone that disappears after a single use.

The US Missile Defense Agency has awarded a contract for a laser test program to General Atomics as a precursor to placing a laser on a UAV, probably some variant of GA's Avenger.

Azerbaijan's Heron drones have been spotted at a new base.

The Bolivian Army demonstrated new UAVs, apparently from China.

China will resupply its South China Sea bases with its AT200 cargo drone.

China's Sunic-Ocean unveiled its SU-H2M VTOL drone.

Pakistan claims to have shot down an Indian spy drone.

Portugal is looking for a mini UAV system.

Russia delivered over 30 new drones to its western forces.

Spain has ordered the Fulmar mini UAV system.

The Swiss government is embarrassed because its officials witnessed the testing of the Hermes 900 in the Golan Heights.

Turkey has started manufacturing suicide drones, the Alpagu and Kargu.

The Cormorant UAV got its Safran helicopter engine.

Vanilla Aircraft demonstrated a less than 500 kg UAV that can fly for more than 5 days.

The future of drones gets discussed: higher autonomy, smaller and deadlier, operational challenges, and teaming deployment.

Ogres and Bolos (UGVs):

Russia is procuring armed robots for combat.

Robo Boats (USVs):

China's Yunzhou unveiled its M80B USV for ocean recon.

Robo Subs (UUVs):

The USMC sees a need for multiple types of UUV in the littorals.

Kazakhstan established an MRO facility for UUVs.

Lockheed won a contract to design an Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle.

Skynet (AI):

Google and other tech companies are warning China could outpace the US in AI technology by 2025.

Counter Drone:

China's Digitech is developing counter UAV systems.

Russia has stood up a dedicated drone killing unit.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A/2017 U1: Our First Known Interstellar Visitor

A small, recently discovered asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

This unusual object - for now designated A/2017 U1 - is less than a quarter-mile (400 meters) in diameter and is moving remarkably fast. Astronomers are urgently working to point telescopes around the world and in space at this notable object. Once these data are obtained and analyzed, astronomers may know more about the origin and possibly composition of the object.

A/2017 U1 was discovered Oct. 19 by the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, during the course of its nightly search for near-Earth objects for NASA. Rob Weryk, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA), was first to identify the moving object and submit it to the Minor Planet Center. Weryk subsequently searched the Pan-STARRS image archive and found it also was in images taken the previous night, but was not initially identified by the moving object processing.


Some are starting to call A/2017 U1 'Oumuamua.'

Is likely to find its next star in around a quadrillion, yes, quadrillion! years.  (get over the math envy, one friend said)

What is the rotation rate of A/2017 U1 and does it have a comet-like tail?

A/2017 U1 appears to be very red and lack absorption lines.

A/2017 U1 seems to have formed in a warm environment, not like the outer solar system.

A/2017 U1 is likely to be interstellar in origin.

Could A/2017 U1 have formed in a local stellar association?

What does A/2017 U1's detection mean about the universe?

What does A/2017 U1 imply about planetary formation?

Thursday, November 09, 2017

A Databus for Quantum Computers

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation, however, because quantum systems are very sensitive to environmental noise. Although systems can be protected from noise in principle, researchers have been able to build only small prototypes of quantum computers experimentally. One way to reduce the error rate is by encoding quantum information not in one single quantum particle but in several quantum objects. These logical quantum bits or qubits are more robust against noise. In the last few years, theoretical physicists have developed a whole range of error correction codes and optimized them for specific tasks. Physicists Hendrik Poulsen Nautrup and Hans Briegel from the Institute of Theoretical Physics of the University of Innsbruck and Nicolai Friis, now at the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information in Vienna, have found a technique to transfer quantum information between systems that are encoded differently.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Russia's View of American History Podcast

Ivan Kurilla is a Professor of History and International Relations at the European University at St. Petersburg. He specializes in the history of the US–Russian relations, especially during American antebellum and Civil War period. He’s the author of Zaokeanskie partnery: Amerika i Rossiya v 1830-1850-e gody (Partners across the Ocean: The United States and Russia, 1830s–1850s). His scholarship in English includes “Abolition of Serfdom in Russia and American Newspaper and Journal Opinion” in New Perspectives on Russian-American Relations, edited by Norman Saul and Russian/Soviet Studies in the United States, Amerikanistika in Russia: Mutual Representations in Academic Projects, edited with Victoria Zhuraleva and published by Lexington Books.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Russia Will Launch 4th Borei Nuclear Missile Sub in November

The first advanced version of the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine Project 955A Borei-class (North Wind) – the Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) – will be floated out this coming November, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Korolev, said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

“In the near future, the Severodvinsk-based Sevmash Shipyard will float out a new nuclear-powered missile underwater cruiser, the Knyaz Vladimir, from the slipway. The event will take place in November,” he said.

Korolev earlier said that the fourth Borei-class boomer was supposed to have been floated out in August.

The Knyaz Vladimir was laid down in 2012 and will become the fourth submarine in the series of eight Borei-class underwater cruisers and the first submarine of the advanced Borei-A Project.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Stealth Saga #67


The baseline twin engine design has been decided on, but refinements are still being made.  The first prototype roll out is expected in 2022 with an ambitious 2026 entry into service.  The Indonesian variant, called the IF-X is apparently virtually the same as the KF-X, except it will lack stealth coatings and also lack an internal weapons bay.


China is moving the J-20 into production.

This stealth fighter is operational.  Really.


The Russians are claiming the Su-57 will be (or can be) upgraded with 6th generation fighter capabilities.


More reports the Indian Air Force does not want to continue their participation in the Su-57 program.

Sixth Generation Fighter:

Lockheed scored the laser portion of the SHIELD program, something that will likely lead to a weapon for fifth and especially sixth generation fighters.

The US has been working on a new long range AAM for two years.

Northrop patented a kinetic kill anti missile system for stealth aircraft.

Model 401:

Scaled Composites flew their Model 401 for the first time.  The aircraft looks like a cross between the 1960s Quiet Bird and the General Atomics Avenger.


Is the B-21 meant to be a high altitude bomber?

Will the B-21 have morphing wing technology?


The B-2 got a night time photo op.

Some interesting details on how the B-2 trained for potential strikes on North Korea.

The B-2 flew over Japan for the first time.


In 2006, the largest known formation of stealth aircraft flew over Holloman Air Force Base.


Six F-22s have deployed to Britain at RAF Lakenheath.

One of them landed with an open missile bay.

Upgrades to the F-22s might cost $1.7 billion over 11 years.


An overview of the F-35 program.

The F-35 had a week of good and bad news.

Corrosion issues are delaying F-35 deliveries by a month.

F-35 deliveries were lagging behind already.

Serious, serious spare parts issues are hitting the F-35 program: depots are six years behind on maintenance already.

F-35s are getting a significant software update.

The USAF has graduated its 500th F-35 fighter pilot.

The USAF has sent one F-35A to Eielson AFB for testing in preparation of the arrival of two F-35 squadrons in 2020.

Two F-35As participated in a South Korean air show.

12 F-35As are being deployed to Japan.  They stopped at Hawaii along the way.

As many as 108 F-35As may not get the most recent software that allows them to be considered combat coded.

The first internationally assembled F-35B has flown its first short take-off and vertical landing.

F-35Bs in Japan performed a night refueling exercise.

The US Navy has been forced to shift qualifying the VFA-125 on the F-35C from the Lincoln to the Vinson by hurricane Irma.

F-35 data was stolen from an Australian defense contractor through hacking.  None of it is supposed to be classified.

The RAF has increased the F-35's risk rating.

A rumors are spreading about an attempted SAM attack on an Israeli F-35I after the Israelis ground their F-35s for a supposed bird strike.

A RNAF F-35A has been sent to Eielson AFB for the second stage of the drag chute testing.

Norwegian F-35As were to return to Norway on November 2nd (they landed).

Turkey is interested in the F-35B.

The F-35 is increasingly important to Lockheed's profitability.

Orbital ATK will be building composite components for the F-35.

Counter Stealth:

The US Navy's newish E-2D Hawkeye is intended (supposedly) to watch for Chinese stealth fighters.

Iran is building air defenses with stealth aircraft in mind.

Friday, November 03, 2017

China Claims Will Fly HOTOL Space Plane in 2020

China plans to launch its reusable spacecraft in 2020, according to a statement from China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Tuesday.

Unlike traditional one-off spacecraft, the new spacecraft will fly into the sky like an aircraft, said Chen Hongbo, a researcher from the corporation.

The spacecraft can transport people or payload into the orbit and return to Earth.