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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sikorsky assembling second S-97 Raider

SOURCE: Sikorsky has begun final assembly of its second S-97 Raider prototype compound helicopter. Sikorsky is campaigning the S-97 in the Pentagon's Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) program as part of the Defense Department's Future Vertical Lift initiative to develop future helicopter technologies. Sikorsky is funding 75 percent of S-97 costs with the remainder being contributed by supplier partners including Aurora Flight Sciences, builder of the aircraft's fuselage. The 220-knot S-97 features a coaxial main rotor system and an aft thruster and is based on Sikorsky's experimental X2 design. The S-97 is designed to replace current armed reconnaissance rotorcraft. The first S-97 is currently undergoing powered ground testing in expectation of a first flight later this year. The second prototype will be used for customer demonstration flights.

Ground testing on the first prototype began in February at Sikorsky's facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. Sikorsky rolled that aircraft out in October and has successfully completed software qualification testing, component fatigue testing, and gearbox testing. Ground testing includes verifying the propulsion system, drive train, rotor control system, and pilot-vehicle interface with the aircraft tied down.

Sikorsky is developing other technologies that could eventually find their way onto the Raider. They include the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) for the Defense Advances Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Sikorsky recently announced it had received an $8 million DARPAcontract for Phase 1 of the program designed to develop and insert new automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced crew. Sikorsky plans to leverage its Matrix Technology to test and field systems and software that significantly improve the capability, reliability, and safety for autonomous, optionally piloted VTOL aircraft by adding systems intelligence to rotary and fixed wing aircraft to enable them to complete complex missions with “minimal human oversight.”

Sikorsky is partnering with the United Technologies Research Center, the National Robotics Engineering Center, and Veloxiti, Inc. to demonstrate the value of applying autonomous technology to a variety of different aircraft including the UH-60 Black Hawk.

Sikorsky fitted an S-76 with fly-by-wire controls and Matrix in 2013 to create the Sikorsky Autonomous Research Aircraft (SARA) flying test lab used for rapid testing of software and hardware. Working with the U.S. Army in 2014, Sikorsky used a UH-60 modified for autonomous flight as part of the Manned Unmanned Resupply Aerial Lifter (MURAL) programa

Friday, February 13, 2015

ISIS fails in suicide attack on US air base in Iraq

stock photo 

WASHINGTON — Several Islamic State fighters who led a suicide attack on an air base where US and coalition forces are training Iraqi forces were killed by Iraqi troops, the Pentagon said Friday.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary, said an estimated 20 to 25 Islamic State militants were involved in the attack on al-Asad air base in Anbar province. He said the attack was led by “at least several” suicide bombers, some of whom managed to detonate their bombs before they were killed by Iraqi troops.

No Iraqi or US troops were killed or wounded, Kirby said.

Kirby also said Islamic State fighters had taken control of al-Baghdadi, a town near the al-Asad air base. He said this represented “the first (time) in at least a couple of months, if not more, where they have had any success in taking any new ground.”

Kirby said it was not clear whether the attackers at al-Asad managed to penetrate the perimeter of the base, which is a sprawling series of compounds. “Information is still coming in,” he said, which may clarify some details.

There are about 400 US troops at the base, but Kirby said none of the Americans was involved in the fighting. Another Pentagon spokesman, Col. Steven Warren, said the US troops were about two miles away, in a different section of the base.

US unmanned surveillance aircraft and Army Apache attack helicopters were sent to the scene from Baghdad, but the attack was over before they arrived, so they did not engage in fighting, Warren said.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Forbes reeling after target hack by Chinese ...

(Reuters) - The financial news site was infected by Chinese hackers with spying software that targeted specific visitors, including those at U.S. financial services and defense firms, according to two cybersecurity firms.

The hackers infected in November with software that automatically attacked visitors by exploiting security flaws in Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer browser and Adobe Systems Inc's Flash software, cybersecurity firms iSight Partners Inc and Invincea Inc said on Tuesday.

The firms said they only had a limited view into the attacks based on customer data and other intelligence.

They said they only identified a few organizations in the defense and financial services sectors that were targeted and declined to identify them. They also said they did not know if the hackers had succeeding in stealing any data, though they believed other visitors to were affected. is the most popular website known to be compromised as part of an espionage campaign, according to iSight researcher John Hultquist. Previous cyberattacks on popular websites have involved malware used by criminals, not spies, he said.

Espionage campaigns typically target smaller websites catering to targeted communities using a technique known as a "watering hole" attack, Hultquist said. For example, hackers looking to spy on aerospace firms have been known to infect sites of associations and news blogs that focus on the industry. spokeswoman Laura Daunis said in a statement on Tuesday that the company on Dec. 1 identified an "incident" that occurred on Nov. 28.

"A file had been modified on a system related to the Forbes website," she said. "Forbes took immediate actions to remediate the incident. The investigation has found no indication of additional or ongoing compromise." She declined to elaborate.

ISight said it believed a Chinese group known as Codoso, or Sunshop, was responsible for attacking Forbes, based on evidence including use of common infrastructure with previous attacks.

The firm said it believes the group was responsible for similar recent attacks on a think tank site,, as well as and, which focus on issues of interest to China's Uighur and Turkic minorities.

Codoso is responsible for attacks dating back to 2010 on the energy and financial services sectors, government agencies, dissidents and think tanks, according to iSight.

Microsoft released an update on Tuesday to fix the bug in Internet Explorer. Adobe released a Flash update in December to fix that vulnerability., which said it had about 33 million unique visitors in September, is majority owned by Hong Kong-based Integrated Whale Media Investments.

Monday, January 12, 2015

CentCom twitter feeds hacked by group claiming to be sympathizers of the Isis

A US military Twitter feed appears to have been hacked by people claiming to be sympathizers of the Isis militant group.

In a disturbing demonstration of the vulnerability of the American government’s cyber networks, a group claiming association with the Islamic State gate-crashed the Twitter account of Central Command, also known as CentCom, and began posting internal information including personal details of retired senior officers.

Identifying themselves as the Cyber Caliphate, the infiltrators seized Central Command’s Twitter account at about 12.30 pm eastern time on Monday and began posting assorted messages including threats to US military personnel. They said the hacking operation was part of a so-called ‘CyberJihad’.

Among messages seen by anyone following the account was, “AMERICAN SOLDIERS, WE ARE COMING, WATCH YOUR BACK. ISIS”. As well as posting direct messages and threats, the group used the incursion to post images of documents containing what appeared to be sensitive Pentagon information as well as links to other sites where more information was available for download.

However it wasn’t clear if those documents had been stolen as a result of an earlier, successful hack into Pentagon servers or if they were in fact already publicly available. A US Defence Department official told Reuters that nothing in the trove of information being made available was classified.

Friday, January 9, 2015

MI5 warns mass casualty attacks against the West are looming.

SOURCE: Andrew Parker, Director General of Britain’s intelligence sector MI5, has issued a statement to the media that “mass casualty attacks against the West” are being planned by “a group of core al-Qaida terrorists in Syria.” As the tragic terrorist situation in Paris continues to unfold, Parker has warned that transport networks and iconic landmarks in Western countries were central to “complex and ambitious plots” by Syria-based extremists. His speech and its message were scheduled prior to the Paris attacks, and its unfolding has added considerable weight to his announcement.

With the world’s eye being trained on movements of ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, more focus has been zeroing in on Syria. The UK official reported that “a significant proportion” of British citizens, believed to number over 600 people, have traveled to the area with the intention of joining the jihadists. Not all extremists have left the country, however, and some have been encouraged to launch attacks against the nation. So far, three known Islamic terrorist plots on British citizens have been stopped by security services in recent months.

Al-Qaida has become a house hold name in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, but since the death of Osama Bin-Laden in 2011, the group has seemed to recede into the background. Parker wants to highlight the group is still very much active, and still very dangerous. Al-Qaida-based terrorist cells are reportedly planning several large-scale aviation bombing and mass shooting attacks against the UK and other Western nations. Parker was believed to be referring to the Khorasan Group, made up of veteran al-Qaida members. According to intelligence assessments, many Pakistani members of the cell have appeared in Syria, lending authorities to believe the threat of mass attacks to be a very real possibility.

Read more HERE


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