The Xian H-6N made its first large-scale appearance after taking to the skies on October 1 as part of the military parade for Beijing’s 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. While there were clear changes to the supersonic bomber variant, such as the removal of its bomb bay and addition of an aerial refueling boom, specific details pertaining to the H-6N’s supersonic capabilities and lethality have recently emerged. In a November 8 interview with the South China Morning Post, an anonymous source close to the PLAAF revealed the bomber is now suited to carry the CJ-100 supersonic cruise missile and WZ-8 supersonic stealth drone since the elimination of its bomb bay. “The semi-recessed area under the fuselage of the H-6N is designed to carry either the WZ-8 or the CJ-100,” the military source said on Friday. Speaking on the WZ-8, researchers Antoine Bondaz and Stéphane Delory explained to the Financial Times that the drone is … [Read more...] about Supersonic Arsenal May Expand Chinese H-6N Bomber’s Range to 6,000 Kilometers
Chinese military drones
One day in late November, an unmanned aerial vehicle lifted off from Shindand Air Base in western Afghanistan, heading 75 miles toward the border with Iran. The drone’s mission: to spy on Tehran’s nuclear program, as well as any insurgent activities the Iranians might be supporting in Afghanistan. With an estimated price tag of $6 million, the drone was the product of more than 15 years of research and development, starting with a shadowy project called DarkStar overseen by Lockheed Martin. The first test flight for DarkStar took place in 1996, but after a crash and other mishaps, Lockheed announced that the program had been canceled. According to military experts, that was just a convenient excuse for “going dark,” meaning that DarkStar’s further development would take place under a veil of secrecy. Inside Obama’s War Room The drone that was headed toward Iran, the RQ-170 Sentinel, looks like a miniature version of the famous stealth fighter, the … [Read more...] about The Rise of the Killer Drones: How America Goes to War in Secret
'What's Your Warrior' campaign graphic. (U.S. Army) Maneuvering attack helicopters through mountains, firing lasers from ground vehicles, commanding autonomous robot sensors, waging cyberattacks and creating microscopic explosions splitting cells in a laboratory — are all images designed to capture a growing realm of Army experiences depicted in the service’s massive new ad campaign called “What’s Your Warrior?” Beginning with images of Apache helicopters weaving through rocky cliffs amid dust, wind and high-risk combat, the Army-colored greenish-yellow video animation balances a nuanced message, blending individual soldier specialties with platforms, networks and advanced weapons being used by “teamed” groups of soldiers. The ads show snipers buried in tall grass battling high winds, paratroopers descending in groups through morphing yellowish-clouds and cyberwarriors typing feverishly while satellites, sensors and command and control … [Read more...] about Army launches massive new ‘What’s Your Warrior?’ ad campaign
Early one morning in April, the former CIA agent sat inside a room at a seedy Ramada Inn in Norfolk, Virginia, smoking crack with a Glock 9mm service pistol in his shorts. He was 42 years old, three weeks into an epic bender, and believed he had only two choices in life: die or go to jail. With him was a young couple he’d met a few weeks earlier who only knew him as Dave – a guy with a raging two-ounce-a-week crack-and-cocaine habit and some serious boundary issues. “He would say, like, a lot of creepy things to me,” the woman, Jessica, would later tell a local TV news reporter. “Like, when my boyfriend wasn’t around, like inappropriate things.” She also didn’t know that she was about to witness the final act in the collapse of a man who had done and seen acts committed in the shadows of the War on Terror. Michael Hastings: My Decade of bin Laden Andrew Warren was a rarity in the CIA’s Clandestine Service – African-American, … [Read more...] about The Spy Who Cracked Up in the Cold
Welcome to Edition 2.05 of the Rocket Report! Some interesting news this week, including US military interest in a SpinLaunch concept, as well as a frank admission by some European rocket scientists that reusable boosters like the Falcon 9 are probably the way to go. As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. DOD shows interest in SpinLaunch. New Mexico-based SpinLaunch announced that it has received an "other transaction authority," or OTA cost-sharing contract from the Defense Innovation Unit, the Pentagon's technology outreach office in Silicon Valley. Rocket Lab and Vox Space previously announced they entered OTA agreements with DIU. With a budget of $15 million, the Defense unit sought … [Read more...] about Rocket Report: Catching a falling fairing, where’s China’s biggest rocket?