The Defense Department still uses 8-inch floppy disks and computers from the 1970s to coordinate nuclear forces


writes: Dale Hayden, a senior researcher at the Air Force’s Air University, told an audience of aerospace experts earlier this month that proliferation of antisatellite technology has put America’s communications networks at risk. “In a conflict, it will be impossible to defend all of the space assets in totality,” he said. “Losses must be expected.”

It has never been easier for America’s adversaries—principally Russia and China, but also independent nonstate actors—to degrade the U.S. military’s ability to fight and communicate. Senior military officials have expressed grave doubts about the security of the Pentagon’s information systems and America’s ability to protect the wider commercial virtual infrastructure.

The U.S. Navy, under its mission to keep the global commons free, prevents tampering with undersea cables. But accidents—and worse—do happen. Last year a ship’s anchor severed a cable in the English Channel, slowing internet service on the island of Jersey. In 2013 the Egyptian coast guard arrested three scuba divers trying to cut a cable carrying a third of the internet traffic between Europe and Egypt. “When communications networks go down, the financial services sector does not grind to a halt, rather it snaps to a halt,” warned a senior staffer to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in 2009. Trillions of dollars in daily trading depends on GPS, which is kept free by the Air Force.

There are now an estimated 17.6 billion devices around the world connected to the internet, including more than six billion smartphones. The tech industry expects those numbers to double by 2020. That growth is dependent, however, on secure and reliable access to intercontinental undersea fiber-optic cables, which carry 99% of global internet traffic, and a range of satellite services.

The U.S. military is working on ways of making them more resilient. For instance, the Tactical Undersea Network Architectures program promises rapidly deployable, lightweight fiber-optic backup cables, and autonomous undersea vehicles could soon be used to monitor and repair cables. In space, the military is leading the way with advanced repair satellites as well as new and experimental GPS satellites, which will enhance both military and civilian signals. Read the rest of this entry »

Chuck Yeagar vs the Sound Barrier

Capt. Charles E. Yeager is in the cockpit of the Bell X-1 supersonic research aircraft. He became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound in level flight on October 14, 1947. (Courtesy photo)

“To close hatch on X-1, hindered by my broken ribs, Ridley sawed off a broomstick, gave me a piece. It worked. Then, I broke the sound barrier.”

Megan Crouse writesOn this day in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager and the X-1 aircraft broke the sound barrier, marking the first time a human flew faster than the speed of sound.

Along with being the first craft to break the sound barrier, the X-1 was one of the first research aircraft ever used by the military. It was built by Bell Aircraft Corporation and used by the Army and the NACA (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, now NASA.) The thin wings and XLR-11 rocket engine propelled it to Mach 1….(read more)


The Bell X-1 displayed in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. Image credit: Ad Meskens

[PHOTO] Ava Gardner and Chuck Yeager


Ava Gardner with U.S. Air Force legend and World War II hero, Chuck Yeager

[PHOTO] Radio Control Sports Enthusiast


U.S. Fighter Pilot Scares off Iranians with ‘Top Gun’-Worthy Stunt

An F-22 fighter jet (U.S. Air Force)

An F-22 fighter jet (U.S. Air Force)

‘You really ought to go home’

Douglas Ernst  reports:  The U.S. Air Force has a message for Iran: Don’t mess with our drones.

In what only can be described as a scene out of Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun,” Gen. Mark A. Welsh IIIAir Force chief of staff, describes how F-22 stealth jets scared off Iranian jets from a U.S. drone flying in international airspace.

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