Wednesday, August 28, 2013

MV-22 makes hard landing in Nevada

A Marine Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft made a hard landing Monday near Creech Air Force Base during a routine training operation, Air Force and Marine officials said Monday.
No injuries were reported during the 3:38 p.m. incident involving the MV-22 Osprey assigned to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego.
“There were four crew members and all four walked away from the aircraft,” said Marine Capt. Anton Semelroth, a spokesman for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.
A map from Clark County fire officials indicates the Osprey landed on public land about 3 miles northwest of the base along U.S. Highway 95 near Indian Springs, about 48 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Base officials, however, had not confirmed the hard-landing location at 7:15 p.m.

MV-22 Ospreys can make vertical takeoffs and landings but their twin turboprops can be shifted into horizontal positions so the aircraft can fly like a fixed-wing plane.
Semelroth said no damage estimate was available for the Osprey involved in Monday’s hard landing. In 2008, the MV-22 was priced at $67 million per aircraft.

Syrian airports - most likely first cruise missile targets

The idea for the surgical strikes was set out by Chris Harmer, an analyst at the US Institute for the Study of War, who argued it was possible to keep an attack against the Assad regime short and sharp and cost-efficient, while avoiding significant risk to US servicemen.
Since those were precisely the factors that had paralysed the US as the Syrian crisis has unfolded during the past 30 months, it has been eagerly seized on.
Senator John McCain, a critic of President Barack Obama's apparent inaction in Syria, said Mr Harmer's analysis "confirms what I and many others have long argued - that it is militarily feasible for the US and our friends and allies to significantly degrade Assad's air power at relatively low cost, low risk to our personnel, and in very short order".
The study indicates the Syrian Air Force regularly conducts three missions which give it a strategic advantage over rebel forces: it brings weapons and other supplies from Iran and Russia, it resupplies army units fighting the rebels, and it has been involved in the bombing of rebel-held districts.

"An initial strike would require just three US navy surface combatant vessels and 24 total US navy and USAF aircraft," Mr Harmer said.
"A limited strike resulting in the degradation of Syrian Air Force infrastructure could be accomplished with no US military personnel entering Syrian air space or territory, at relatively small cost."
Six of Syria's 27 airbases would be primary targets: Damascus International (which also takes civilian traffic), Damascus Mezzeh military base, al-Qusayr, Bassel al-Assad International, Dumayr and Tiyas. The plan would be to damage runways, fuel storage plants, maintenance hangars and control towers and radars.
Cruise missiles were not designed for all-out destruction, he said, but could crater runways, thus putting them out of action. It would also hinder Russian cargo aircraft trying to land with weapons or ammunition, and Iranian transporters bringing in fighters.
A typical initial sortie, Mr Harmer calculated, would entail eight cruise missiles fired from each of three naval vessels, backed up by 24 strike fighters.
Mr Harmer was nervous yesterday that his analysis was being talked up by military planners who are anxious to give an Allied strike a modest flavour.
"Tactical action in the absence of strategic objectives is usually pointless and often counter-productive," he told the US foreign policy blog The Cable.

NY Times - Twitter hacked by Syria?

By Gerry Shih and Joseph Menn
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Media companies, including the New York Times, Twitter and the Huffington Post, lost control of some of their websites Tuesday after hackers supporting the Syrian government breached the Australian Internet company that manages many major site addresses.
The Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a hacker group that has attacked media organizations it considers hostile to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, claimed credit for the Twitter and Huffington Post hacks in a series of Twitter messages.
Security experts said electronic records showed that, the only site with an hours-long outage, redirected visitors to a server controlled by the Syrian group before it went dark.
New York Times Co spokeswoman Eileen Murphy tweeted the "issue is most likely the result of a malicious external attack", based on an initial assessment.
The Huffington Post attack was limited to the blogging platform's British web address. Twitter said the hack led to availability issues for 90 minutes but that no user information was compromised.
The attacks came as the Obama administration considers taking military action against the Syrian government, engaged in a civil war against rebels for more than two years.
In August, hackers promoting the Syrian Electronic Army targeted websites belonging to CNN, Time and the Washington Post by breaching a third party service used by those sites.
The SEA managed to gain control of the sites by penetrating MelbourneIT, an Australian Internet service provider that sells and manages domain names including and NYTimes.
The New York Times, which identified MelbourneIT as its domain name registrar and the main hacking victim, told employees not to send sensitive emails from corporate accounts.
MelbourneIT tracked the breach to an Indian Internet service provider, saying two staff members from one of their resellers opened a fake email seeking login details.
"The SEA went after the company specifically to create a high-profile event," CEO Theo Hnarakis told Reuters. "This was quite a sophisticated attack."
One staff member was the direct manager of the NYTimes domain, along with other media companies and had the login and password information of the company in his email, which the hackers accessed.
Hnarakis confirmed that other media organizations were also attacked, but this proved unsuccessful as their customers used a secondary security measure known as a registry lock.
MelbourneIT said it restored the correct domain name settings, changed the password on the compromised account, and locked the records to prevent further alterations.
Twitter did not respond to requests for comment. In a blog post, the company said "it appears DNS (domain name system) records for various organizations were modified, including one of Twitter's domains used for image serving, Viewing of images and photos was sporadically impacted.


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