Russia Plans to Launch 11 Military Satellites By 2015

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Russia will launch a total of 11 military satellites by 2015.
Speaking at a meeting on the development of the Russian satellite fleet, Putin said five military satellites have already joined Russia’s orbital group in 2013 and that five more will be added to it before the year is out.
Next year, Russia will launch another six satellites in line with the state arms procurement program, he said.
Putin did not specify the type of satellites or whether they would include dual-purpose Glonass navigation satellites.
According to Maj. Gen. Alexander Golovko, the commander of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces, Russia currently operates some 120 active satellites in orbit. About 80 of these satellites are reportedly military or dual-purpose.

Reference: Ria Novosti

Posted in Russia | Tagged | Leave a comment

Iran unveils biggest indigenous drone Fotros

Iran unveiled its largest indigenous strategic drone dubbed Fotros. Image Credit: Press TV

Iran unveiled its largest indigenous strategic drone dubbed Fotros. Image Credit: Press TV

Iran has unveiled its biggest domestically developed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which can be used for reconnaissance and combat operations.

The remote-controlled aircraft, dubbed Fotros, was put on display at the headquarters of the Iranian Armed Forces Aviation Industries Organization (IAFAIO) in Tehran during a ceremony attended by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan on Monday morning.

The drone has been designed and manufactured by experts at Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Company, which is affiliated to the IAFAIO, and in cooperation with the country’s academic centers to meet the nation’s defense needs, said the top commander.

The strategic UAV has an operational radius of up to 2,000 kilometers, an operational altitude of 25,000 feet and flight endurance of up to 30 hours, said the defense chief.

The Fotros drone can be used for reconnaissance and surveillance, and has the potential to carry out combat operations once armed with air-to-surface missiles and other types of rockets, the top general noted.

“The protection of maritime and land borders, monitoring of oil pipelines and telecommunications lines, road traffic control, the surveillance of areas struck by earthquakes, blazes and floods, environmental monitoring for the sake of environment protection, and the transmission of precise images and films throughout the mission are among the capabilities of the Fotros drone,” Dehqan pointed out.

On September 28, the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces unveiled an indigenously designed and built combat drone, dubbed Yasir, in a ceremony attended by senior military officials.

The drone can fly at an altitude of 15000 feet, has flight endurance of eight hours and an effective operational radius of 200 kilometers.

Iran unveiled its first domestically manufactured long-range combat drone, the Karrar (Striker), on August 23, 2010. It reportedly has an operational radius of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and can carry two 115-kilogram bombs or precision-guided munitions weighing 227 kilograms.

The first Iranian medium-altitude long-endurance UAV, the Shahed-129 (Witness-129), was unveiled in September 2012, which is capable of carrying out combat and reconnaissance missions for 24 hours.

Tehran has repeatedly assured other nations that its military might poses no threat to other countries since the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine is entirely based on deterrence.

Reference: Press TV

Posted in Iran | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Iran to unveil Fotros indigenous strategic drone

The Iranian drone, Yasir. Image Credit Press TV

The drone, dubbed Fotros, will be unveiled on Monday during a ceremony attended by Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan.

Fotros is the biggest strategic UAV which has special capabilities.

On September 28, the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces unveiled a new indigenous combat drone, dubbed Yasir, which can fly at an altitude of 15,000 feet.

Yasir, a portable drone, has a flight endurance of eight hours and effective operational radius of 200 kilometers. It is equipped with state-of-the-art light cameras for reconnaissance.

Iran unveiled its first domestically manufactured long-range combat drone, the Karrar (Striker), on August 23, 2010. It reportedly has a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) and can carry two 115-kilogram bombs or precision-guided munitions weighing 227 kilograms.

The first Iranian medium-altitude long-endurance UAV, the Shahed-129 (Witness-129), was unveiled in September 2012, which is capable of carrying out combat and reconnaissance missions for 24 hours.

In recent years, Iran has made great achievements in its defense sector and has attained self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems.

Tehran has repeatedly assured other nations that its military might poses no threat to other countries since the Islamic Republic’s defense doctrine is based entirely on deterrence.

Reference: Press TV

Posted in Iran | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Turkey, US hold talks on China missile deal

A senior US defence official has held talks in Turkey, the embassy said Saturday, after Washington expressed “serious concerns” about Ankara’s plans to acquire a long-range anti-missile system from China.

Turkey announced in September it was entering negotiations with the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) to buy its first long-range anti-missile system.

The move irritated its NATO allies, particularly the United States, which has imposed sanctions on CPMIEC for selling arms and missile technology to Iran and Syria.

“Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Jim Miller visited Turkey for bilateral consultations on regional security issues, including Syria, the US-Turkish bilateral defence relationship, and our partnership in NATO,” US embassy spokesman T.J. Grubisha told AFP.

US Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said last month that Washington was concerned about the prospect of a deal with the Chinese company.

There’s no disagreement between us but we are seriously concerned about what this means for allied missile air defence,” he said.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also voiced concern about the decision and said missile systems within the transatlantic military alliance must be compatible with each other.

CPMIEC, which makes the HQ-9 missile system, beat competition from a US partnership of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, Russia’s Rosoboronexport, and Italian-French consortium Eurosam for the deal, estimated at $4 billion (2.9 billion euros).

Turkey has defended its decision to enter into talks with the Chinese company but said it is open to new bids should the negotiations fall through.

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland will hold talks in Istanbul and in the southern city of Adana next week, the embassy spokesman said.

Turkey’s foreign minister will travel to Washington on November 18, but will not discuss the missile deal unless the US side brings it up, a Turkish diplomatic source told AFP

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Theorizers of The God Particle Win Noble Prize, But Massive Mysteries Remain

CERN's CMS was able to discern the fleeting Higgs boson by observing the results of proton to proton collisions. (T. McCauley, L. Taylor / CERN)

CERN’s CMS was able to discern the fleeting Higgs boson by observing the results of proton to proton collisions. (T. McCauley, L. Taylor / CERN)

The Nobel Prize is awarded to living people, but this year the physics prize could be said to have gone to the world’s most famous subatomic particle, the Higgs Boson, the so-called “God Particle.” In actual fact, the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics went to physicists François Englert of Belguim and Peter W. Higgs of England, who developed the theory—independently of each other—that supported the particle’s existence. A majority of scientists would say that the discovery of the Higgs at CERN has nothing to do, however, with a proof for the existence of God.

This very topic was the subject of a lively discussion on Sunday at the New Yorker Festival, appropriately titled, “The God Particle.” New Yorker writer Michael Specter led a free-wheeling conversation with world-famous physicists Brian Greene (of Columbia), Joseph Incandela (of CERN and UC Santa Barbara), Lawrence M. Krauss (of Arizona State University), and Lisa Randall (of Harvard.) It was quite a raucous display of intellects on one stage, with Greene and Krauss as competing wiseguys (there was a long digression involving CERN misspoken as SPERM which led ineluctably to the Large Hardon Collider observing the Higgs Bosom, etc.)

The collected physicists are nothing, however, compared to the riot of subatomic particles unleashed by the particle accelerator at CERN. Characterized by Incandela as “The most complicated machine that humans have ever built,… these are the gothic cathedrals of the 21st century.” The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been the collaboration of over 10,000 scientists and engineers from more than 100 countries over a decade, from 1998 to 2008. It is a monument both to complexity but also cooperation on an unprecedented scale.

And all of that energy, figuratively and literally, has been used to aim protons at other protons at incredible speeds in order to observe the wreckage of their collision. Particles acquire mass by passing through a field of Higgs bosons, but when this elusive particle is observed and measured it turns out to be 16 orders of magnitude lighter than it would need to be to fully explain all of the mass in the universe. So scientists are left with a big conceptual hole to fill, even as the Higgs itself has solved some vexing existential issues.

Both Randall and Krauss are actively engaged in questions of “dark matter” and “dark energy” that have been conceived as explanations for deficiencies in the Standard Model of particle physics. In a story about Krauss’ work in the ASU News blog, it says that “it is thought that such ‘dark energy’ contributes up to 70 percent of the total energy density in the universe, while observable matter contributes only 2 to 5 percent, with the remaining 25 percent or so coming from dark matter.” Greene has been working on the intersection of string theory and supersymmetry theory, which are also trying to account for all of what’s missing in the universe. It is an open question as to whether the results from CERN debunk notions of supersymmetry since none of these heavy “twin” particles have yet to be observed in conjunction with the Higgs. (The dark matter partner of the Higgs has been named the “Higgsino,” but this sounds more like an Italian brand of disposable diapers than a serious subatomic particle!)

For all of us, scientists and non-scientists alike, the Higgs should be a reminder of how complexity nests down to the smallest imaginable constituents of matter. When the LHC comes back on line in 2015, its full power should be able to explore what is called the Grand Unified Scale, which the ASU article describes as, “a scale perhaps 16 orders of magnitude smaller than the size of a proton, at which the three known non-gravitational forces in nature might converge into a single theory.” Could what happens at so small a scale account for all of that “dark” energy and matter? Perhaps a future Nobel laureate will tell us.

 Reference: Forbes

Posted in Physics | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Orbcomm Acquires The SENS Asset Tracking Operation

ORBCOMM has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Comtech Mobile Datacom Corporation’s (Comtech) Sensor Enabled Notification System (SENS) operation, which includes satellite hardware, network technology and web platforms.

SENS is a market leader in providing one-way satellite products and services to more than 20,000 subscribers worldwide.

This acquisition supports ORBCOMM’s multi-network operator strategy and strengthens ORBCOMM’s position as the leading provider of satellite and cellular communications for the M2M industry.

In addition, this opportunity complements ORBCOMM’s recently acquired GlobalTrak business, which uses Comtech’s SENS technology for its military container tracking applications in Pakistan and Afghanistan, its fuel monitoring program in support of the Defense Logistics Agency as well as other global deployments.

SENS provides secure tracking and messaging products and services to the government, defense, transportation, logistics, and oil and gas industries, all of which are key vertical markets for ORBCOMM.

The SENS system, which consists of satellite-based tracking devices, a network hub and an Internet-based back-office platform, enables customers to retrieve and view critical data from the field via the Globalstar satellite network.

“The SENS acquisition expands ORBCOMM’s portfolio of services by adding new offerings to our existing suite of satellite and cellular network services,” said Marc Eisenberg, Chief Executive Officer of ORBCOMM.

“We see this market segment growing rapidly based on customers that can benefit from the Globalstar network’s reliable, low-power, low-cost, one-way satellite data service for short messaging along with its unique advantages in power management.”

ORBCOMM will integrate the SENS operation and continue to support existing SENS customers, while marketing SENS products and services through ORBCOMM’s global distribution channels.

Posted in Space | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

US shutdown threatens defense contractors

Defense companies warned Friday they are days away from placing thousands of workers on unpaid leave if the US government shutdown drags on and halts arms manufacturing.

Failure by Congress to approve a budget for the new fiscal year has dramatically disrupted military contract work because the Pentagon has no money to cover compulsory inspections and audits.

Without inspections, defense firms have no legal way to keep building warplanes, naval ships, submarines and other weapons, even though they have funds from previously approved contracts.

Four days into the shutdown, the “industry is experiencing an urgent problem that needs to be addressed,” according to the Aerospace Industries Association and the National Defense Industrial Association.

In a letter to Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, seen by AFP, the lobby groups, said: “The most immediate concern is the absence of Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors.”

“The manufacturing process must stop if these inspections and certifications are not performed,” it said.

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, lead contractor for the biggest weapons program in US history, the F-35 fighter jet, said Friday that about 3,000 employees would be placed on furlough from Monday.

The Maryland-based firm said the number of workers forced on unpaid leave would likely increase if there is a protracted shutdown.

The employees were furloughed because of the absence of inspectors. The government office which employs them is closed.

United Technologies, which includes helicopter builder Sikorsky and aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney, has said it will furlough 2,000 employees on Monday because of the lack of Pentagon inspectors.

If the shutdown continues through next week, the company said it expects an additional 2,000 workers to be suspended at Pratt and Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems.

The CEO of defense giant BAE Systems, Linda Hudson, has warned employees that 1,000 workers in intelligence and security have been “excused from work” due to the shutdown.

Aircraft maker Boeing, which needs military and civilian inspectors to sign off on production, said it was preparing for an unspecified number of “limited furloughs of employees in some areas.”

Every contractor is being forced to confront the halt to Pentagon inspections, said Dan Stohr, spokesman for the Aerospace Industries Association.

“If the shutdown continues, this could be just the tip of the iceberg,” he said of the furloughs.

The industry letter to the defense secretary also voiced concern over an expected halt to the work of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which oversees the disbursement of some contract funds.

“The impact on credit lines for small businesses … will be significant in short order,” it said.

Analysts said by the end of next week, tens of thousands of defense industry workers could be out of work until Congress agrees to restore funding for government operations.

“You’ll see rolling furloughs, starting on the military side but possibly extending to the civilian side if the shutdown lasts,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of the Teal Group Corporation, which advises aerospace firms.

“The primary areas affected are maintenance work and repairs, and possibly aircraft deliveries if the shutdown continues,” he said.

But Aboulafia said he was hopeful the political stalemate would give way in a few weeks.

“What is happening is a cascading effect, where first the government workers go out, then the big contractors are forced to furlough,” said analyst Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute, which has ties to defense companies.

“And then their suppliers are forced to start laying people off.”

If the government remains without funding by the middle of October, “then you are talking about a major portion of defense production being shut down,” Thompson said.

America’s defense industry has so far weathered a slow economic recovery and automatic budget cuts better than expected, with strong share prices and profit margins, he said.

“But there’s this sense of foreboding across the industry, that something is going to go very wrong soon,” he said, citing budget pressures and Washington’s dysfunctional politics.

“There’s a general feeling that the share prices will be hard to sustain, given the underlying fundamentals.”

Posted in Economy, United States | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment