Multiple reports have emerged that a Malaysian MH-17 passenger jet carrying 295 people was shot down over Eastern Ukraine Thursday morning. Early reports point to pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, or Russian forces stationed on the Russia-Ukraine border shooting down the passenger jet. However, Ukraine, Russia and the pro-Russian separatists have all denied shooting down the passenger plane.
Records show the passenger jet was cruising at about 33,000 feet at about 500 miles per hour. In order to shoot down a jet at this altitude, it requires an advanced surface-to-air missile, or an air-to-air missile. Early indications show it was likely a radar guided surface-to-air missiles (SAM).
Below are four Russian SAM systems that could knock down a passenger jet flying at 33,000 feet: [Continue reading…]
FARNBOROUGH, England — Drone-maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. unveiled an enhanced cockpit station featuring high-definition touch screens, a video game-like controller, and keyboard for chat and other messaging functions.
The San Diego-based maker of the Predator family of military drones demonstrated the new ground control station to attendees and potential customers this week at the Farnborough International Air Show outside London.
The technology, which has been in development for several years, makes it easier for pilots to see more of the battlefield, fly the aircraft and operate weapons systems, according to Christopher Ames, the company’s director of international strategic development. [Continue reading…]
FARNBOROUGH, England — The Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet program is working closely with the Office of Naval Research to explore technological enhancements to extend its service life well into the 2030’s and beyond, service officials said at the Farnborough International Airshow.
Alongside upgrades to the platform that are already underway such as targeting improvements and experimentation with conformal fuel tanks and an external weapons pod, the Navy is planning upgrades to the plane’s sensors, radar and computer systems, said Capt. Frank Morley, program manager for the F/A-18 and EA-18G Growler.
While the Navy is making progress with existing modifications to the platform, the service is also looking into slightly longer-term surface-warfare upgrades to the aircraft such as improving the active electronically scanned array radar and forward looking infrared radar technologies, Morley said.
In particular, one effort involves research into a technology known as the “Magic Carpet,” a series of flight control algorithms developed by the Navy to improve control of the airplane as it maintains a glide slope and lands on the deck of a carrier, Morley explained. [Continue reading…]
FARNBOROUGH, England — Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force are testing a new, high-tech air-dropped bomb that can pinpoint targets from long distances, destroy stationary or moving targets and change course in flight using a two-way data link, officials said at the Farnborough International Airshow.
The Small Diameter Bomb II represents a technological departure from previously fielded precision-guided air-dropped weapons because of its ability to track and hit moving targets from long distances.
Most of the testing of the SBD II thus far has been on an Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter jet, however the weapon has also been fitted and tested on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Engineers are also working on plans to integrate the bomb onto the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-16 as well, Raytheon officials said.
GPS and laser-guided weapons such as Joint Direct Attack Munitions have been around for decades, however, they have primarily been designed for use against fixed or stationary targets. [Continue reading…]
FARNBOROUGH, England — BAE Systems and the British Ministry of Defence demonstrated several new radar-evading stealth technologies during recent flight trials of their Taranis drone program, officials said July 15 at the Farnborough International Air Show.
During a second phase of flight trails conducted earlier this year, Taranis flew successfully with a conformal data system, meaning it was able to collect, organize and transmit relevant air data without needing to use an external probe or boom, said Chris Garside, engineering director for Future Combat Air Systems, BAE Systems.
“The air data boom was replaced with a clean nose of the aircraft. A suite of software was implemented to match those configuration changes. The system generated a full set of flight data without the use of an external probe or boom which would have impacted the low-observable characteristics of the platform,” Garside said. [Continue reading…]