Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Is Israel to blame for "Flame" virus?

DENVER POST/LONDON — Iran and other Middle East countries have been hit with a cunning computer virus that can eavesdrop on computer users and their co-workers and filch information from nearby cellphones, cybersecurity experts said Tuesday. And suspicion immediately fell on Israel as the culprit.

The Russian Internet security firm Kaspersky Lab ZAO said the "Flame" virus is unprecedented in size and complexity, with researcher Roel Schouwenberg marveling at its versatility.

"It can be used to spy on everything that a user is doing," he said.

Computers in Iran appear to have been particularly affected, and Kaspersky's conclusion that the virus was crafted at the behest of a national government fueled speculation it could be part of an Israeli-backed campaign of electronic sabotage against the Jewish state's archenemy.

The virus can activate a computer's audio systems to listen in on Skype calls or office chatter. It also can take screen shots, log keystrokes and — in one of its more novel functions— steal data from Bluetooth-enabled cellphones.

Schouwenberg said there is evidence to suggest the people behind Flame also helped craft Stuxnet, a virus that is believed to have attacked nuclear centrifuges in Iran in 2010. Many suspect Stuxnet was the work of Israeli intelligence. Tehran has not said whether it lost any data to Flame, but a unit of the Iranian communications and information technology ministry said it has produced an anti-virus capable of identifying and removing Flame from its computers.

Read more:Suspicion falls on Israel in Mideast computer virus - The Denver Post
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Space X inks deal for heavy lift rocket.

SpaceX announced the first commercial contract for the Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday, unveiling a deal with Intelsat, the world's largest communications satellite operator.

The company's statement did not say when or where the launch will occur, but one industry source said Intelsat is eyeing 2017 or 2018 for the mission.

Intelsat has not identified a satellite for the launch, and Alex Horwitz, an Intelsat spokesperson, said the company has not decided whether the flight would launch a single or multiple payloads.

The contract's monetary value was also not disclosed, but SpaceX has said the Falcon Heavy would sell for between $80 million and $125 million per flight, about one-third the price of a less powerful 
SpaceX announced the first commercial contract for the Falcon Heavy rocket Tuesday, unveiling a deal with Intelsat, the world's largest communications satellite operator.

The Falcon Heavy is designed to haul the largest U.S. government and commercial satellites into orbit, and it could dispatch up to 30,000 pounds of payload on a trajectory to Mars.

Thierry Guillemin, Intelsat's chief technical officer, said Falcon Heavy would need to complete multiple test launches before Intelsat assigns one of its satellites for a flight.

"Intelsat has exacting technical standards and requirements for proven flight heritage for our satellite launches," Guillemin said. "We will work closely with SpaceX as the Falcon Heavy completes rigorous flight tests prior to our future launch requirements."

Powered off the ground by 27 engines, the 227-foot-tall rocket can lift up to 117,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. It is composed of three core stages and a single-engine upper stage based on the Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX is finishing development of the huge Falcon Heavy before shipping the first rocket to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., for liftoff on a test flight in mid-2013.

SpaceX is paying for the demonstration flight in 2013 with internal funding.
"Access to space is essential for commercial operators and we want to support a new entrant with reliable products able to launch large spacecraft into [geosynchronous transfer orbit]," Horwitz said in a statement. "We believe SpaceX should be supported in their effort to develop reliable and powerful launch vehicles."

SpaceX spokesperson Kirstin Brost Grantham said the Intelsat mission's launch site has not been determined. The Vandenberg facility under construction for next year's test flight is positioned for launches into polar orbit, while Intelsat and other communications satellite operators deploy spacecraft into orbit over the equator.

SpaceX is considering a former shuttle launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center for future Falcon Heavy missions. The huge booster could also lift off from SpaceX's existing Cape Canaveral pad or a potential private launch site in Florida, Texas, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico.

Space taxi flies over Colorado

A space craft was tested in Broomfield on Tuesday.

The Dream Chaser is a crew space transportation system. It was built by Sierra Nevada Corporation in partnership with NASA.

The Dream Chaser was flown in Jefferson County on Tuesday. The crew of AirTracker7 spotted the space craft on the grass near Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield.

Officials told 7NEWS the spacecraft went through what's called a "captive carry" flight test on Tuesday.

The next test will be to put the spacecraft on an Atlas rocket and let it fly back to the ground, officials said.

Sierra Nevada hopes the Dream Chaser will be a fully-reusable spacecraft to transport people and cargo to the International Space Station and return them to Earth with a runway landing.
Learn more on Sierra Nevada's website.

The flight tests will initially prove the Dream Chaser's aerodynamic qualities using an engineering article being outfitted at Sierra Nevada's space campus in Louisville, Colo.

Using a combination of public and private funding, Sierra Nevada is developing the Dream Chaser to carry up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station and back to Earth. NASA has promised the company $125 million so far, with the bulk of the money already awarded to Sierra Nevada upon completion of predetermined development milestones.

"Our mission is very specific: to take crew and cargo to the International Space Station and to low Earth orbit," said Mark Sirangelo, Sierra Nevada's executive vice president and chairman of its space systems division.
Sierra Nevada has provided the Dream Chaser program with "tens of millions" of dollars in internal funding, but less than NASA's total investment, according to Sirangelo.

The remaining NASA funds will be released after the Dream Chaser's preliminary design review, scheduled for late May, and captive and free flight tests over Colorado and California.
"We've made amazing progress without a lot of money," Sirangelo said.

The Dream Chaser is based on the HL-20 lifting body concept studied by NASA's Langley Research Center from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. Launching into orbit on top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, the spaceship will dock with the International Space Station and can stay there for more than six months. At the end of its mission, the craft will enter the atmosphere and make a piloted touchdown at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Iran cyber warriors attack NASA

Iranian hackers 'Cyber Warriors Team' announced in an online post that it compromised an SSL certificate belonging to NASA and subsequently accessed information on thousands of NASA researchers. A space agency representative revealed that they’re currently investigating the incident.

The group said the certificate was compromised by exploiting an existing vulnerability within the portal’s login system, but they didn’t outline the entire attack. Once they had control over the certificate, they claim to have used it to “obtain User information for thousands of NASA researcher With Emails and Accounts of other users [sic].”

These incidents spanned a wide continuum from individuals testing their skill to break into NASA systems, to well-organized criminal enterprises hacking for profit, to intrusions that may have been sponsored by foreign intelligence services seeking to further their countries’ objectives,” Paul K. Martin wrote.

The attackers had full functional control over these networks. The Cyber Warriors Team (CWT) said in its post that it had written an HTTPS protocol scanner to find weaknesses, and had found an existing vulnerability in the NASA website, which was identified as that of NASA's Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) site. 

Worm.Win32."Flame" unleashed -sophisticated cyber weapon?

FOX NEWS: Computer malware described as "the most sophisticated cyber weapon yet unleashed" has been uncovered in computers in the Middle East and may have infected machines in Europe, according to reports from antivirus researchers and software makers in Russia, Hungary and Ireland.

The malware, dubbed Worm.Win32.Flame, is unusual in its complexity, size and the multitude of ways it has of harvesting information from an infected computer including keyboard, screen, microphone, storage devices, network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB and system processes.

The malware is called "Flame" by Kaspersky Labs, a Moscow-based antivirus software maker, but also known as sKyWIper by the Hungarian Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security (CrySyS Lab).
'A nation state sponsored the research that went into it.'
- Kaspersky Labs

Both Kaspersky Labs and CrySyS Lab said it was likely the malware was developed by a government-sponsored entity.
"The geography of the targets [certain states are in the Middle East] and also the complexity of the threat leaves no doubt about it being a nation state that sponsored the research that went into it," Kaspersky Labs said in a report.
"The results of our technical analysis supports the hypotheses that sKyWIper was developed by a government agency of a nation state with significant budget and effort, and it may be related to cyber warfare activities," a CrySyS Lab report said. "Arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found."

Although the virus has just been detected, there was evidence that it may have been in operation for at least two years.
Vitaly Kamluk, chief malware expert for Kaspersky Labs, said there were many pointers to it being a weapon, not the least of which was how highly-targeted it was. According to their investigations, only 382 infections have been reported, 189 of which were in Iran, and the malware targeted individuals rather than organizations.

Kamluk said the malware was most likely introduced by a USB stick or other removable drive. Once injected, the malware would contact one of the many command and control servers around the world and download additional modules as needed.

It used the same technique as Stuxnet, an earlier highly sophisticated malware, to seek out other machines to infect.
"Unlike Stuxnet," said Kamluk, "[Flame] was much more sophisticated and not simply trying to infect every machine." He said the malware was also able to find out information about other devices around it.

While the finger of suspicion for Stuxnet was pointed at a number of suspects, including both U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies, Kamluk said there was no evidence to suggest who might be responsible for Flame, and it was pure speculation to attribute blame.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Meet the HULC

Boeing reveals SLV concept

Growing interest in small satellites and, just as important, the problem of how to launch them affordably, could provide hypersonic system developers with a long-awaited first step on the way to reusable, routine access to space.
Piece by piece, parts of the puzzle that may conceivably drive down costs to as low as $300,000 per launch, are falling into place, according to hypersonic researchers at Boeing. Building on these pieces, the company has unveiled a small launch vehicle (SLV) concept aimed at the smallsat market, and it could be in service as early as 2020.

Unlike many previous ideas for air-breathing, multi-stage small launch systems, the SLV comprises elements that, in some cases, are already flying. Including the Scaled Composites-designed WhiteKnightTwo (WK2) carrier aircraft that would air-launch the three-stage vehicle, virtually every technology required for the SLV is therefore either developed or at a high-technology readiness level, says Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing's chief hypersonics scientist. Sized initially to carry payloads up to 100 lb., the SLV would employ two reusable air-breathing stages and a third stage made up of an expendable or reusable rocket.

“The cost of launching small satellites is three to ten times that of larger payloads, so is there any way of bringing it down? There are two main things I've learned: First, to get the cost down, you cannot throw away the hardware—throw away little or none, if possible. Second, you need a high utility rate. To get costs down to $300,000 or less per launch that vehicle must fly 100 to 150 times per year,” says Bowcutt.

The downward trend in satellite size, emergence of fractionated satellites and the low cost of on-demand launch capability itself will encourage market growth, Bowcutt asserts. Potential drivers include the delivery of small payloads to orbital outposts such as the International Space Station or Bigelow space habitats, as well as evolving markets ranging from on-demand tactical reconnaissance and weather monitoring to satellite servicing and space debris deorbiting.
Measuring almost 75 ft. in length and weighing slightly less than 25,000 lb., the SLV stack is nominally sized to be carried beneath the WK2 in the same way as the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo. Like the Orbital Sciences L-1011 launcher, the carrier aircraft can take the SLV to an “optimal launch location,” says Bowcutt. Benefits include flexible basing and getting around any weather issues at launch, he notes.

The delta-winged first stage borrows several design features of the XB-70 supersonic bomber, including a raised forward fuselage, two-dimensional mixed-compression wedge inlets and compression lift. Boeing's study evaluated several propulsion options for the first stage, which is designed to reach a staging Mach number of 4.5 before releasing the second stage. Options include the Atrex air-turbo ramjet with expander cycle, an experimental precooled engine under development by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency that works as both a turbojet and ramjet.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nuclear sub USS Miami catches fire in port.

Maine — A fire on a nuclear-powered submarine at a Maine shipyard has injured seven people, including five firefighters, but did not affect the reactor, which was not active.
Crews responded at about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday to the USS Miami SSN 755 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on an island in Kittery, a town near Portsmouth, N.H. It was not clear how many people were aboard the submarine at the time.
Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, commander of Submarine Group Two, said the fire was out Thursday morning and the shipyard was open as usual. He said the three shipyard firefighters, two civilian firefighters and two crew members received minor injuries and were in good shape.
Breckenridge called their efforts heroic, saying the extreme heat and smoke in the contained spaces made it very challenging for them. “Their efforts clearly minimized the severity of this event,” he said at a brief news conference.
Breckenridge said the fire started in the four forward compartments, which include living and command and control spaces. The sub’s reactor, isolated in another part of the sub, had been shut down for a few months at the time and was unaffected. Breckenridge said it “remains in a safe and stable condition.”
No weapons were on board.
Breckenridge said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
The USS Miami has a crew of 13 and 120 enlisted personnel. It arrived at the shipyard on March 1 to undergo maintenance work. It was commissioned in 1990 and its home port is Groton, Conn.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Russian Bombers drill near Japan.

About 40 strategic bombers will participate in five-day drills in Russia’s Maritime Territory near the Japanese border, Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik said on Monday. 

The long-range aviation exercise, which started earlier in the day, includes aerial bombing and launches of airborne cruise missiles at the Litovka test range, he said.

Other training missions will include aerial patrol and midair refueling.

About 30 crews of Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers, some 10 crews of Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers and two Il-78 aerial tankers will participate.

Japan has been concerned by Russian warplane flights near its coast.

In early February, a total of five Russian aircraft, including two Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, two Su-24 Fencer reconnaissance planes and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft flew close to Japanese territory, without intruding into its airspace, however.

They were shadowed by Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft.

Source: 17 April 2011 - dailyairforce News

Spy blimp ready for first domestic flight over New Jersey

WIRED DANGER ROOM: TAMPA, Florida — Sure, it took an extra year or so, but Northrop Grumman has finally penciled in the first flight of the giant surveillance airship it’s building for the U.S. Army. The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle — a football-field-size, helium-filled robot blimp fitted with sensors and data-links — should take to the air over Lakehurst, New Jersey, the first or second week of June. K.C. Brown, Jr., Northrop’s director of Army programs, crows: ”We’re about to fly the thing!”
It’s fair to say Northrop and the Army are crossing their collective fingers for the flight to actually take place, and smoothly. Giant airships promise huge benefits — namely, low cost and long flight times — but it’s proved incredibly hard to build and equip the massive blimps with military-grade sensors and communications … and fill them with helium.
The Air Force’s highly computerized (and potenitally missile-armed) Blue Devil 2 airship recently ran into integration problems, forcing the flying branch to cancel a planned test run in Afghanistan. (Although the service had never been too hot on airships in the first place.) The Navy meanwhile grounded its much smaller MZ-3A research blimp for a lack of work until the Army paid to take it over. The LEMV seemed to be losing air, too, as Northrop and the Army repeatedly delayed its first flight and planned combat deployment originally slated for the end of 2011.
As recently as last month Northrop and the Army declined to comment on the airship’s new flight schedule. Northrop VP Brad Metzger’s boast from last summer that the $500-million LEMV prototype would “redefine persistent surveillance” seemed hollow.

bin Laden doctor jailed for helping US.

BBC: A Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden has been jailed for at least 30 years, officials say.
Shakil Afridi was charged with treason for running a fake vaccination programme to gather information.
The US secretary of state Hillary Clinton had called for his release on the grounds that his work served Pakistani and American interests.
Bin Laden was killed by US forces in the north-western city of Abbottabad in May 2011.
The killing triggered a rift between the US and Pakistan, whose government was seriously embarrassed to find Bin Laden had been living in Pakistan.
Islamabad felt the covert US operation was a violation of its sovereignty.
Shortly after the raid on Bin Laden's house, Dr Afridi was arrested for conspiring against the state of Pakistan.
Pakistan has insisted that any country would have done the same if it found one of its citizens working for a foreign spy agency.
Dr Afridi has been found guilty under the tribal justice system in Khyber district, and has also been fined $3,500.
If he does not pay the fine his prison sentence will be extended by a further three years.
Dr Afridi was not present in court so was unable to give his side of the story.
The BBC's Aleem Maqbool in Islamabad says that many outside observers are concerned that most of the people detained since Bin Laden's killing have been those who were trying to help capture him, rather than those who helped shield him.
It is not clear if Dr Afridi knew who the target of the investigation was when the CIA recruited him, or what DNA he managed to collect in the fake hepatitis B vaccination programme.
The idea was to obtain a blood sample from one of the children living in the Abbottabad compound, so that DNA tests could determine whether or not they were relatives of Bin Laden, our correspondent says.
US Defense secretary Leon Panetta confirmed in January that Dr Afridi collected samples for the US and he spoke to the CBS television programme "60 minutes" about the case.
He said Dr Afridi "was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan... for them to take this kind of action against somebody who was helping to go after terrorism, I just think is a real mistake on their part".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Israel May Be Dropping Spies In Iran Using Secret American Stealth BlackHawk Helicopters

Former Pentagon senior policy analyst F. Michael Maloof claims that Israel is using the same ultra-secret stealth H-60 Blackhawk helicopter that US Special Forces used to hunt down bin Laden. How is this possible?
These helicopters are highly modified versions of the Blackhawk. The regular version is manufactured by Sikorsky for the American military as well as the Republic of Korea's Army, the
Colombian Armed Forces and the Turkish Armed Forces. This highly modified version, however, is not available to anyone but American special forces. It was supposed to be an exclusive transport for the Navy SEALS.
Or at least, that's what we thought until this report by Maloof for Joseph Farah's G2 bulletin, a global intelligence newsletter. He claims that Israel has these the stealth Blackhawks too. According to him, they are using them to transport Iranian dissidents from the Sunni Kurdish portion of northern Iraq into Iran. The teams are groups of 12 armed man trained to gather intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. Apparently, they are dressed as members of the Iranian military using Iranian military vehicles:
With the help of recruited Iranian dissidents in Kurdistan, the Israelis are attempting to gather sufficient information to convince the United States and the United Nations that Iran is involved in using its nuclear development program to make nuclear weapons.
Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government officially has denied claims by Iranian officials regarding the missions. But various reports including a recent Times of London report suggest that Israel is using specially modified U.S.-supplied Black Hawk helicopters to carry 12-member armed teams with sensitive equipment to monitor radioactivity and the magnitude of explosives tests.
One of these stealth Blackhawks was shot down during the operation that ended in the death of Al-Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden and its following burial at sea.
Ares' writer Bill Sweetman at Aviation Week described this helicopters as highly modified versions of the H-60 Blackhawk. Its tail "features stealth-configured shapes on the boom and tip fairings, swept stabilizers and a "dishpan" cover over a non-standard five-or-six-blade tail rotor. It has a silver-loaded infra-red suppression finish similar to that seen on some V-22s." Sweetman also pointed out that this secret version nobody knew about included aerodynamic and flight control adjustments that allowed less rotor speed and less noise, as well as a reduced radar cross-section.
It's not known if these secret stealth aircraft are on loan from Pentagon or units sold to Israel. 

Drones gone wild? Mystery craft over Denver

Aviation authorities are scratching their heads over a mysterious flying object in the skies above Colorado that almost caused a mid-air crash.

The object was sighted by a private jet pilot, who claimed to air traffic controllers that some kind of flying craft got too close for comfort on Monday.

In a transmission that appeared 
on, the operator of the Cessna Citation 525 CJ1 says: 'A remote controlled aircraft, or what?

Something just went by the other way ... About 20 to 30 seconds ago. It was like a large remote-controlled aircraft.'

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Fergus, told 9News that it is working to get some answers, and that if the pilot’s story is true, such an object can be extremely dangerous.

Trouble in the air: The object reportedly came dangerously close to the private jet, but it never appeared on radar

 The object reportedly came dangerously close to the private jet, but it never appeared on radar
The mystery object was spotted by a pilot high above the city of Denver, Colorado, seen here

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, Mike Fergus, told 9News that it is working to get some answers, and that if the pilot’s story is true, such an object can be extremely dangerous.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Panetta wants raptor fixed!

ABC NEWS: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demanded the Air Force take measures to make America's most expensive fighter plane, the F-22 Raptor, safer for its pilots in light of an ongoing, potentially deadly problem with the plane's oxygen system, a Pentagon spokesperson said today.
As a recent ABC News investigation found, for more than four years pilots for the F-22 Raptor have reported at least 25 incidents of experiencing "hypoxia-like symptoms" while at the controls of the $420 million-plus-a-pop jet. Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and is characterized by dizziness, confusion and disorientation.
Among other precautions, Panetta ordered the Air Force to expedite the installation of an automatic emergency back-up oxygen system to the planes, spokesperson George Little told reporters.
Currently, pilots who believe they're experiencing oxygen problems have to manually reach for a ring in a cramped corner of the cockpit to activate the emergency back-up system. The activation ring itself was already such a problem that the Air Force recently re-designed it for the entire fleet to make it more accessible.
In one fatal incident in November 2010, the Air Force said one of its pilots, Capt. Jeff Haney, had been too distracted by trying to activate the manual back-up system after a malfunction cut off his primary oxygen completely and he accidentally flew his plane into the ground.

TEHRAN -- Iran on Tuesday hanged a man convicted of playing a key role in the 2010 murder of a top nuclear scientist and of spying for Israel, the official IRNA news agency reported, quoting Tehran's prosecution office.

"Majid Jamali Fashi, the Mossad spy and the person who assassinated Masoud Ali Mohammadi, our nation's nuclear scientist, was hanged Tuesday morning," IRNA said.

Local media reported August 28 that Jamali Fashi was sentenced to death after being "convicted of Moharebeh [waging war against God] for placing a bomb-laden bike and blowing it up in front of martyr Ali Mohammadi's home, in collaboration with the Zionist regime and Mossad."

Jamali Fashi stood trial as the main suspect in the killing of Ali Mohammadi, a particle physics professor at Tehran University who was killed in a bomb attack outside his home in January 2010.

Jamali Fashi also faced charges of cooperating with Israel's spy agency Mossad and of receiving $120,000 for passing on intelligence to its agents.

The Islamic republic has blamed the Jewish state and the United States for the killing of four of its scientists and nuclear experts since 2010.

Western powers and Israel suspect Iran is seeking an atomic weapons capability under the guise of its civilian nuclear and space programs -- a charge Tehran vehemently denies.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Is the F-22 toxic?

Even as the Air Force searches for the reason pilots are getting sick flying the F-22, a new mystery about the troubled stealth fighter jet has come to light: Why are mechanics on the ground getting sick in the plane as well?
The Air Force has been looking into a number of reports that pilots experienced "hypoxia-like symptoms" aboard F-22s since April 2008. Hypoxia is oxygen deficiency.
The Air Force reports 25 cases of such systems, including 11 since September, when the service cleared the F-22 fleet to return to flight after a four-month grounding.

The fleet was grounded in May 2011 so the service could check the hypoxia reports, but the order was lifted in September under a "return to fly" plan, with equipment modifications and new rules including daily inspections of the life-support systems.
"Early on in the return to fly we had five maintainers that reported hypoxia symptoms," Gen. Daniel Wyman, command surgeon for the Air Combat Command, said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday.
The maintainers are mechanics on the F-22's ground crews who sometimes have to be in the cockpit while the jet's engine is doing a ground run.
"The maintainers, when they are doing their ground run, are not on the mask, they are in the cockpit," Wyman said.
The problem with maintainers getting sick while on the ground throws a wrench into some of the theories about why at least 25 pilots have suffered hypoxia symptoms.
The Air Force experts trying to figure out the cause of the problem have pointed out that the F-22 flies higher and faster than its predecessors, the F-15 and F-16.
There has also been speculation that there perhaps could be a problem with the system that feeds oxygen to the pilot's mask while in flight.
Asked what is causing the symptoms in maintainers on the ground, not wearing a mask, Wyman said, "I can't answer that at this time."
Sunday, two F-22 pilots told CBS's "60 Minutes" that they would not fly the jet any more. One of the reasons they gave was that there is a problem with the carbon filter built into their mask to help remove contaminants from the air they breathe.
Wyman said that "a black dust was noted in some of the breathing hoses near the filters. We analyzed this dust and found it to be activated carbon."
But no activated carbon was found in "30 pilots who had their throat swabbed for testing."
Activated carbon is an inert form of charcoal that has been used in air filters for years.
Nonetheless, the Air Force has decided to remove carbon filters from the F-22 pilot masks.
The Air Force said Tuesday that no disciplinary action will be taken against the pilots for taking their concerns to "60 Minutes.

Russian plane crash: rescuers recover bodies but no survivors

Rescuers have discovered bodies but no survivors near the wreckage of a new Russian-made passenger plane that smashed into the side of an Indonesian volcano during a flight to impress potential buyers. All 45 people on board are feared dead.

"So far we haven't found any survivors, but we are still searching," Gagah Prakoso said. "I cannot say anything about the condition of the bodies," he said, but added that "a high-speed jet plane hit the cliff, exploded and tore apart".

off from a Jakarta airfield, carrying mostly representatives from Indonesian airlines. 
Family members, many of whom spent the night at the airport, broke down in
 tears on hearing the newsfrom the crash site.
The plane, Russia's first new passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago, hit a jagged ridge on top of Mount Salak, a dormant volcano, leaving a giant gash along the steep slope as it stripped trees.
The Superjet has been touted as a challenger to similar-sized aircraft from Canada's Bombardier and Brazil's Embraer SA.
Potential buyers will scrutinise the crash investigation for signs of flaws in the aircraft.
The plane took off on Wednesday afternoon for what was supposed to be a quick demonstration flight – the second of the day. Just 21 minutes later, the Russian pilot and co-pilot sought permission to descend from 3,000m (10,000 feet) to 1,800m, said the head of the national search and rescue agency.
The plane then fell off the radar. It was not clear why the crew asked for the shift in course, he said, especially when they were so close to the 2,200m-high volcano.
Communication between the pilots and air traffic control are being reviewed.
More than 1,000 people, including soldiers and police, took part in the search and rescue effort. Helicopters carrying out aerial surveys near the crater and northern slope spotted the wreck.
The Superjet – developed by the civil aircraft division of Sukhoi with the co-operation with western partners – has been widely considered Russia's chance to regain a foothold in the international passenger plane market. The plane was on a tour, which included stops in Pakistan, Burma and Kazakhstan, and was due to visit Vietnam and Laos.
All but 10 of the 45 people on board were potential buyers and journalists, said Sunaryo from PT Trimarga Rekatama, the company that helped organise Wednesday's event.
The others were Russians, all from Sukhoi companies, an American consultant with a local airline and a Frenchman with aircraft engine-maker Snecma.
With a relatively low price tag of around $35m (£21m), the plane has gained around 170 orders. Indonesia is already one of its biggest customers.
Kartika Airlines and Sky Aviation, among dozens of airlines to have started up in Indonesia in the last decade to meet the growing demand for cheap air travel, have ordered at least 42.


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