Bulava Test FireRussia on Wednesday carried out its second successful submarine launch of a Bulava strategic missile in two months.

The back-to-back tests come roughly a year after Russian military leaders considered putting the sea trials of two nuclear-powered Borei-class subs on hold after one missile experienced a malfunction during its second minute into flight, the English-language Russian news site RT reported.

The Bulava – Russian for mace or club – is a critical part of Russia’s nuclear program but one that has experienced a series of problems over its decade long development. To date about a third of its 22 test launches – either ground or undersea – have failed, though just one of the last nine.

On Wednesday, the missile was launched by the Yuri Dolgoruky (K-535), its multiple warheads landing on target at the Kura test range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, RT reported. [Continue reading…]

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M113-ISIS-600x400ISIS militants have loaded U.S. M113 armored personnel carriers and are using them as vehicle born IEDs against Iraqi Security Forces, according to photos release by militants with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. forces rarely drove the M113s brought to Iraq outside the wire because the vehicles were so susceptible to buried improvised explosive devices. Rather than ship the aging armored personnel carriers, U.S. officials left many M113s with the Iraqis after U.S. troops returned home. ISIS militants have since taken those M113s in northern Iraq since overrunning Iraqi army bases.

The photos released by ISIS show the M113s driving through side streets of Amiriyat al Fallujah in eastern Anbar province. The photos of the M113s are then followed by explosions, supposedly of explosive-laden M113s hitting Iraqi Security Forces positions. [Continue reading…]

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China SubChina’s submarine fleet made its first known trip into the Indian Ocean, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. A Chinese attack submarine passed through the Straits of Malacca between Malaysia and Indonesia with sightings near Sri Lanka and the Persian Gulf.

It’s the latest report of the significant steps forward the Chinese navy has taken in advancing its submarine fleet. Earlier this year, a U.S. Navy report estimated that the Chinese navy has nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines able to launch strikes against the United States from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The Chinese navy has ambitious plans over the next 15 years to rapidly advance its fleet of surface ships and submarines as well as maritime weapons and sensors, according to a report by the Office of Naval Intelligence.

[Continue reading…]

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(Story was updated to include additional information and quotes from the NASA press conference, which concluded around 10 p.m. local time.)

An unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp. rocket exploded seconds after liftoff Tuesday from a launch pad in Virginia.

The company’s $200 million Antares rocket topped with a Cygnus spacecraft suffered a “catastrophic anomaly” at 6:22 p.m. local time in what would have been its third mission to resupply the International Space Station.

“Teams were not tracking any issues prior to launch,” one official said on NASA TV, which was live-streaming the event. [Continue reading…]

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Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout test preparations at Naval Bas

The latest version of Navy’s Fire Scout reconnaissance drone is being readied for actual takeoff and landing from the deck of a Navy ship at sea, Northrop Grumman announced following recent test takeoffs and landings using a sloped platform at Naval Base Ventura County at Point Mugu, California.

“The … tests are designed to be as real as it gets to actually operating on a Navy ship,” Capt. Patrick Smith, Fire Scout program manager at Naval Air Systems Command, said in a statement. “The autonomous MQ-8C Fire Scout system is able to precisely track and understand the roll and pitch of the surface which resembles at-sea conditions.”

The same test platform was used previously to test the MQ-8B Fire Scout for ship-based operations. That unmanned aviation system began at-sea testing earlier this year. Northrop Grumman, the Navy’s prime contractor on the MQ-8, said initial ship-based flights of the C-model will take place before year’s end. [Continue reading…]

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