Tuesday, January 16, 2018

China's Second Aircraft Carrier (Shandong) to Start Sea Trials

China's second aircraft carrier might conduct its first sea trials in February, military analysts said after Taiwan media reported that China's first aircraft carrier the Liaoning sailed near the island on Friday.

China launched its second aircraft carrier in April 2017 after the Liaoning, a refitted Soviet Union-made carrier that went into commission in 2012.

China's second aircraft carrier is the country's first domestically made carrier.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Russia is Expanding its Naval Base in Syria

A plan to expand the Russian naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus has been formally approved in Moscow.

On 29 December Russian President Vladimir Putin formally signed into law a plan that was agreed by Moscow and Damascus on 18 January 2017. This followed ratification of the agreement by the Duma on 21 December and the Federal Council on 26 December.

The Kremlin released a document saying the agreement covered the expansion of the territory of the Russian Navy’s logistics centre at Tartus, saying Syria is transferring land and water areas, as well as real estate, in the port.

The agreement also covers visits by naval vessels to all Syrian ports and territorial waters and the status of Russian personnel in the country.

It is valid for 49 years, at the end of which it will automatically be renewed for 25-year periods.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

China is Banning Bitcoin Miners

As China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies broadens to bitcoin miners, some of the industry’s biggest players are shifting operations overseas.

Bitmain, which runs China’s two largest bitcoin-mining collectives, is setting up regional headquarters in Singapore and now has mining operations in the U.S. and Canada, Wu Jihan, the company’s co-founder, said in an interview. BTC.Top, the third-biggest mining pool, is opening a facility in Canada and ViaBTC, ranked No. 4, has operations in Iceland and America, their founders said.

The moves underscore how China’s once-dominant role in the world of cryptocurrencies is shrinking as policy makers clamp down.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Terminator Times #40

Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles):

The US will provide Lebanon with ScanEagle drones.

A drone struck a US Army helicopter.

The US Army Research Lab designed quickly 3d printable drones.

The USAF is retiring the MQ-1 Predator this summer.

The USAF's Global Hawk is getting a new optical sensor.

The USAF just gave a $48 million contract to Aurora for its Orion UAV.

The USMC has been testing fully autonomous helicopters.

USMC VMU-4 retired its last RQ-7b.

Two Marines UAV operators received Achievement Medals with the Remote 'R' Impact device.

The US Navy has placed its first LRIP order for the Triton.

China's Wing Loong II hit multiple targets with five different types of munitions a test run.

India is advancing its procurement of General Atomics Guardian UAVs.

The Israeli Navy is working on a VTOL UAV for its ships.

Russian UAV teams practiced jamming attacks on simulated opponents.

Taiwan will launch the production of the Teng Yun MALE UAV.

AeroVironment has teamed up with SoftBank to develop a long persistence, solar powered HALE drone.

Airbus has been testing autonomous fly and landing capabilities for helicopters.

Airbus is getting help with its Zephyr pseudo satellite UAV.

BAe has been testing the MAGMA drone flown without control surfaces.

Boeing unveiled its MQ-25A Stingray entry: more pix here with a link to a video.  This is the follow-on to the UCLASS that turned from a stealthy strike asset to a tanker.  It appears Boeing updated its UCLASS design to be a tanker.  The prototype is undergoing engine trials and will conduct deck handling demonstrations in the coming year.

The FAA has approved and given a designation to the Boeing MQ-25 prototype: N234MQ.  Supposedly, the Navy wants t build up to 72 MQ-25s.

General Atomics got a $328+ million contract to support the Predator and Reaper drones.

Ogres & Bolos (Unmanned Ground Vehicles):

The US Army has selected four vendors for its SMET UGV program.

Robo Boats (Unmanned Surface Vehicles):

The US Navy has given Leidos another contract for a second Sea Hunter II USV.

China has been showing off the Tianxing-1, an armed USV capable of over 50 knots.

Israeli Seagull USVs were used for mine hunters for the HMS Ocean during an exercise.

Robo Subs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles):

DARPA has awarded the payload bay design for the US Navy's Orca XLUUV.

General Atomics is building a permanent magnet motor for the US Navy's LDUUV.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen captured a US Navy UUV.


The UN is getting hung up on just defining what killer robots are, nevermind any progress on actually banning them.

Saab has laid out its vision of manned/unmanned teaming in war.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Thales Alenia Participating With THree Companies in Studying the Deep Space Gateway

Thales Alenia Space is partnering with three U.S. companies that are working on NASA studies of concepts for the proposed Deep Space Gateway, leveraging its expertise in space station and cargo module development.

Thales announced Dec. 14 that Boeing was the latest company it was working with as part of NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) 2 effort. Thales has previously also been working with Lockheed Martin and Orbital ATK. Thales did not disclose the value of the individual contracts with the three companies.

For all three companies, Thales is providing expertise in areas such as structures, environmental controls and thermal controls, said Walter Cugno, vice president of Thales Alenia Space’s exploration and sciences domain, in a call with reporters. The company’s contributions are currently limited to studies, he said, and does not include hardware at this time.

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.