Category: Technology


 

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AirAsia Plane Often Experiences Trouble, Former Pilot Says

“Former Garuda Indonesia pilot Capt. Shadrach M. Nababan, said -based on its logbook data – that the Airbus A320-200 serving AirAsia flight QZ8501 had experienced problems as much as nine times on its auto rudder trim limiter flight control in 2014.

Three days before crashing on December 25, 2014, flight QZ8501 experienced a ‘return to apron’ twice, according to Shadrach…”

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Q: Regarding the continuous left turn, and reversion to alternate law, there were reports a number of years ago of FAC (flight augmentation computer) faults on A320s resulting in “runaway” rudder trim. From Youtube (not “runaway”, but … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT0NJiRFA1s My understanding is that FAC failure will also result in a reversion to Alternate2, with a number of protections being lost.

A: You got something there… Ironically a local media called me today and asked about MELs related to:

AUTO FLT RUD TRV LIM (and 2)

ELAC 1 FAULT

Rudder travel limiter 2 fault identification and MEL Cat C allowances

AUTO FLT RUD TRV LIM SYS

FAC 2 FAULT

This… they said was from the aircraft’s write up…

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Q: “Safety Recommendation 2010-092 It is recommended that Airbus alert all operators of A320-series aircraft of the possibility that an electrical power generation system fault may not be clearly annunciated on the ECAM, and may lead to uncommanded rudder trim operation.”,

A: Uncommanded rudder command or rudder trim is being suspected.

QRH Update

excerpt – from an AAIB reported incident on an A321 (pdf)

Q: A dual FAC failure seems to me one factor that could explain the event after the climb as it seems that the aircraft kept structural integrity all the way to the impact. Another problem is that with both FACs failed, the flight control laws revert to ALT w/o protections. It’s not – obviously – the explanation. It just shows how drastic and how complicated the chain of events could have been on this accident. Anyway, the failure(s) must have been severe, given how redundant the systems are on a modern jet. It’s one of the reasons I’d like to know whether the engines were running after / during the climb.

A: Dual FAC fail or fault could have caused reversion to ALTN NO PROT… Even Yaw Damper failure could have caused the above. If it’s an FAC 2 fault only, I wouldn’t suspect Yaw Damper failure… But ELAC2, and FAC2 swap (with another aircraft) and the write ups… does raise my eyebrow…

Q: I thought that even ALT2 had some protections left, but I’m always happy to learn.

A: A320 has a different albeit similar reversion chain… Dual FAC fail, Dual HYD (Green & Yellow) fail, Yaw Damper Failure = Pitch ALT (REDUCED PROT), ROLL DIRECT, YAW MECHANICAL

ALT NO PROT (ALTN 2) in A330 would translate in A320 to…

Pitch: ALT NO PROT

Roll: DIRECT

Yaw: ALT

This requires:

Double ADR Fail (with 1 fail not through self detection of VCAS or M disagree)

Triple ADR Fail

Double SFCC Fail

Double HYD fail (Green & Blue)

This is not what we seem to be looking at ALT RED PROT not ALT NO PROT.

Q: What we call * ELEC EMER CONFIG (on BAT) * is no joke and at 60 kt indicated, I honestly doubt the RAT would deliver anything.

A: Let’s just assume for the moment that the engines are running to the very end… 😉 *hint hint*

mandala499@a.net (Wed 21 Jan 2015)

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Q: I believe Mandala499 has pondered an inflight breakup.

A: Pondered only… leaks from within currently indicate recordings were all the way to water impact… this effectively rules out inflight breakup involving separation of the rear fuselage. The photos of the wreck, all seem to indicate a nose high water impact with left bank… but this will have to be confirmed by the FDR.

Q: How can the cockpit and the rest of the fuselage come to rest so far apart on only 100 feet deep water? After separaion they both fill with water in seconds and fall to the bottom.

A: If it was a flat attitude, it’s difficult… but a nose high altitude can make this possible it seems…

The media mayhem have stopped for me for the past 2 days providing much needed relief, rest, and time to look at the information gathered.

There is now a debate within the stakeholders on whether or not to look for the FOQA data (which includes the ECAM messages, which on this aircraft, is (according to sources in the airline) not recorded in the FDR. The FOQA data would be stored in the FDIMU in the avionics bay in a CF card… I am told the CF data, if treated the same way as the FDR from site-retrieval to the lab, would have a high possibility of having the data intact.

Let’s see how things will pan out over the next few days…

Mandala499@a.net

s041959482

AirAsia fuselage to be lifted to surface after divers foiled

“An Indonesian search official said Friday that the crashed AirAsia jet’s fuselage will be lifted to the surface after sea conditions again prevented divers from examining the large chunk of wreckage.

National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said that rescue teams discovered more wreckage despite the strong current and poor visibility.

“Apart from the fuselage, we found what we suspected as the aircraft’s cockpit and also an engine,” he said. “We also found what seems to be a passenger seat in which we thought there still bodies tied on it.”

He did not specify whether or not the seat was inside the fuselage section that sits on the seabed at a depth of 28 meters (92 feet). The 30-meter-long (100-foot-long) part of the plane body with a wing attached was sighted Wednesday.

Rescuers believe that many of the bodies are still inside the main fuselage.

Soelistyo said the failure of the underwater examination of the wreckage left no option but to lift the fuselage, either by using floating balloons as the tail part was lifted early this week, or using cranes from tugboats. He did not say when the operation would start.

He added that one victim’s body was recovered on Friday, raising the total to 51…

..Earlier Friday, chief of operation of the agency, Suryadi Bambang Supriyadi said the wreckage that appears to be the cockpit was located by sonar imagery about 500 meters (yards) from the fuselage and partly embedded in the mud.”

underswterairsi1501e

Fuselage found

Just spoken over the phone with the Commander Task Group for underwater search operations on board the MV Swift Rescue, SLTC Chow Khim Chong. He described to me how their sonar first detected the wreckage about 2km from where the tail was found earlier. They then sent the remotely operated vehicle to have visual confirmation before informing BASARNAS, the Indonesian search authority. The wreckage with wings was about 26m long. I asked Khim Chong to convey my thanks and appreciation to his crew. I’m sure Singaporeans are proud of them for their hard work. Attaching an audio-clip of the phone call.

– Ng Eng Hen

 

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“Reports from the field are trickling in… There is means to guarantee that the following make sense or accurate. This is a speculation warning.

From the description I am getting it appears that the horizontal stabilizer had separated from the rear fuselage, which separated from the rest of the aircraft, at around FL220 (where the recorded ADSB altitude is only GEO alt, and no more barometric).

From the description of the SAR team, it is unclear if the FDR was found on the sea floor below the horizontal stabilizer or the aircraft wing. 1 FA found strapped to his seat, indicates that those onboard were anticipating something.

The above may be obvious to some already, and this news from ‘inside’… gets me baffled once more…

Still a great deal of obfuscation going on and it seems to me that one of the most important things still unfound in this accident is absolute truth. The obfuscation by the SAR team isn’t helping. They, and the military brass seems to be seeking glory with every single discovery. Thankfully, they are not the ones doing the investigation, and sources from inside the search team has indicated that the locations reported are so far accurate.

Q: If that’s what happened I guess this wasn’t just a simple stall like AF447 as in that kind of a flight condition there shouldn’t be high enough forces to damage the aircraft so badly…

A: Well, -20000fpm, and the last recorded valid barometric info (I just received the info) on the ADS-B, was at FL235, with -15,681.25fpm, at the beginning of a tight left turn. Seems that the load factor protection of the FBW had failed… the question is, what caused the failure.

… I have seen the data and there was a wide left 180 (with a stall in the middle) followed by… a tight left orbit before the data stopped…

 Q: Does this normally degrade with degraded flight control law (normal to alternate to etc.) or is it supposed to always be present?

A: If it goes to ALT with reduced protection (load factor protection available), the icing argument, makes sense, but doesn’t explain the breakup… If it goes to ALT with reduced protection then go into an upset, this needs opening the books (which I can’t do effectively at the moment).

Mandala449@a.net

 

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“Divers have retrieved the cockpit voice recorder of crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501, according to reports…”

3news.co.nz

The flight data recorder of AirAsia QZ8501 is seen in a carrying case onboard Indonesian navy vessel KRI Banda Aceh, in the Java Sea

“…Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, says the flight data recorder was brought to the surface by four divers early Monday morning. He says the search continues for the cockpit voice recorder…”

abcnews/ap

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“Cockpit voice recorder located 20m from flight data recorder, says official”

Channel NewsAsia

Update – 11 January 2015

“…Forty-eight bodies have been retrieved so far. Search teams believe most of the remains may still be inside the fuselage of the plane, which has yet to be found…”

BBC

Potongan bagian ekor pesawat AirAsia QZ8501 ditarik ke atas kapal Crest Onyx, setelah berhasil diangkat dari dasar laut dengan menggunakan "floating bag" oleh tim penyelam gabungan TNI AL, di perairan Laut Jawa, Sabtu (10/1).

“THREE ships equipped with ping detectors received pings from the same location,” said Ridwan Djamaluddin, from the Agency for the Application of Technology, whose ship was involved in the search.

He said the ping came from a location about one to four kilometres from where the aircraft’s broken tail section was retrieved on Saturday. “We are confident it’s from the black box,” he said, referring to the voice cockpit recorder and the flight data recorder…”

news.com.au

Indonesia Plane

“If one assumed that the aircraft pancaked, or even broke up attempting to ditch, you would expect that the remainder of the aircraft, particularly all the concentrated mass components, ie, the dense and heavy bits, like engines, apu, mlgs, nlg, and if they separated from their mounting trays, the cvr, fdr etc, and the other larger major components like ths, outboard wing panels, and centre section, would be, indeed must be, immediately proximate, regardless of currents.  So far, that does not seem to be the case.

There is no evidence, at this stage, of any other major component wreckage, anywhere, let alone anywhere near the location of the tail. It has been reported that a suspected pinger is over a mile away.

The reported condition of the recovered bodys (at this stage less than one third) suggests relatively low “g” conditions. The leaked mode “s” data showed high rod at much below cruise level.

Taken together therefore, these observations suggest strongly to me, the high probability of an in flight breakup, not a whole aircraft experiencing surface induced structural disruption.

My viewing of the recovered upper empenage and fin, and lower rudder, suggests to me, that the ths, and it’s mounting structure (including apu mounting structure and apu) most likely separated from the upper empenage by downward bending with pitch down torsion.

If that is the case, it would have taken tremendous downward ths loading of the support structure to do that, which suggests to me, probable breakup during pull-up, attempting recovery from a significantly pitch down attitude, at high speed (high dynamic pressure), probably at a relatively low altitude, ie, between FL200 – FL100.

Under such conditions, if the ths separated first, with the aircraft otherwise still “whole at that instant”, the remainder of the aircraft would immediately, and violently, “tumble in the pitch down direction”, with high angular velocity. The weakened empenage would “immediately” tear off, and the remaining fuselage aft of the wing, and the fuselage forward of the wing, would then both rapidly separate from the wingbox, probably before the pitch axis had even passed through the vertical. In the same timeframe, the pylons would fail, the engines would separate, and the outboard wing sections would fail in downward bending and torsion overload, and separate, probably at or just outboard of the pylons.

The schredded wreckage would then descend. If that be the case, the greater the altitude of the breakup, the greater the dimensions of the resulting debris field. The foreward section of the fuselage, and the remaining aft section of the fuselage, may have remained relatively intact, and may still contain most of the occupants.”

ventus45@pprune

Pressure-Bulkhead shared by ventus45@pprune

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AirAsia Update – 7 Jan 2015

AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 UPDATE (as of 7th January 2015 8:00 PM (GMT+7)
SURABAYA, 7 JANUARY 2015 – The National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) Republic of Indonesia today confirmed that the SAR team retrieved a visual confirmation of the tail part of QZ 8501’s aircraft. The visual confirmation was made following underwater documentation of the aircraft’s tail and small wreckage, which showed the plane’s registration number (PK-AXC), captured by the SAR team’s sea divers.

The tail part was found in the additional focus search area (approx. 30 kms from the primary focus area). The SAR operation is still underway as the weather is reported to be clear with good underwater visibility for the divers to continue observation.

Sunu Widyatmoko, Chief Executive Officer AirAsia Indonesia commented, “We would like to extend our appreciation to all authorities and personnel that has been involved in the SAR operation. Today is the eleventh day and the latest finding is indeed an breakthrough for all of us who have been anxiously waiting for further development on the SAR operation.” Following the latest finding, BASARNAS confirmed that the later SAR operation will be focused in this area to see if there are any trapped remains that must be recovered as well as the continued search for the black box.

Earlier today, Indonesian Navy Commander of the KRI Bung Tomo-357, Lieutenant Colonel Ashari Alamsyah officially handed over the debris and passengers belongings of QZ 8501’s flight that were found in the search area to the Deputy Commander of Indonesian Naval Aviation Unit, Colonel Yuwono at SAR Operation center in Juanda International Airport. As for the next phase, debris will be transferred to Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) for further investigation.

This morning, BASARNAS also confirmed to have recovered one more remain from the search area. The remain is still in Pangkalan Bun, waiting to be transported to Surabaya for further identification process. Meanwhile, the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they have identified 8 more remains of QZ 8501 passengers as: Ratri Sri Andriani (female),Rudy Soetjipto (male), Jou Christine Yuanita (female), Soetikno Sia (male), Ruth Natalia Made Puspita Sari (female), Nico Giovani (male), Indahju Liangsih (female), Stephanie Yulianto (female). AirAsia Indonesia officially handed over the remains to the respective families at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya this afternoon.

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered a total of 40 remains of which 24 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 16 remains are still being identified.

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AirAsia flight QZ8501: Tail of plane found, Indonesia’s search and rescue chief says

Search teams looking for underwater wreckage from crashed AirAsia flight QZ8501 have located the tail of the aircraft, the section where the crucial black box flight recorders are housed, Indonesia’s search and rescue agency chief says.

Bambang Soelistyo, the chief of Basarnas, Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, told reporters in Jakarta recovery teams found the tail of the plane in the Java Sea.

“We have successfully obtained part of the plane that has been our target. The tail portion has been confirmed found,” he said.

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AirAsia Update – 6 Jan 2015

“…This evening, BASARNAS also confirmed to recover two more remains from the focused search area. The two remains are still in Pangkalan Bun, waiting to be transported to Surabaya for further identification process.

Meanwhile, the Disaster Victim Identification Police Department Republic of Indonesia (DVI POLRI) today announced that they have identified 3 more remains of QZ 8501 passengers as: Indra Yulianto (male), Hindarto Halim (male), Jou Brian Youvito (male). AirAsia Indonesia officially handed over the remains to the respective families at Bhayangkara Hospital, Surabaya this afternoon.

To date, BASARNAS confirmed to have recovered a total of 39 remains of which 16 remains have been identified by DVI POLRI and 23 remains are still being identified…”

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4 large objects detected in AirAsia wreckage hunt

The Jakarta Post

Indonesian officials said Saturday that they were confident wreckage of AirAsia Flight 8501 had been located after sonar equipment detected four massive objects on the ocean floor.

The biggest piece, measuring 18 meters (59 feet) long and 5.4 meters (18 feet) wide, appeared to be part of the jet’s body, said Henry Bambang Soelistyo, chief of the National Search and Rescue Agency.

Though strong currents and big surf have prevented divers from entering waters to get a visual of the suspected fuselage, officials are hopeful they will find many of the passengers and crew inside, still strapped in their seats…

The objects on the seafloor were discovered Friday and Saturday, and an Indonesian Geological Survey vessel was used to assess their dimensions, Soelistyo said.

In addition to what appeared to be a significant part of the plane’s body, chunks of debris found in the target search area measured up to 12 meters (39 feet) long.

Other suspected plane parts were seen scattered on beaches during an aerial survey, Soelistyo said…

Strong currents and towering waves as high as 4 meters (13 feet) have slowed recovery efforts, scattering bodies and debris in all directions. The discoveries so far include an emergency exit door and slide, as well as a backpack with food and a camera inside.

As part of the investigation into the crash, autopsies will be carried out on some of the bodies, including the pilot and co-pilot, whose remains have not yet been recovered, said Budiyono, who heads East Java’s Disaster Victim Identification unit and, like many Indonesians, uses only one name…

  2 Additional Large Objects Found by USS Fort Worth

202728_david1Object 6 has dimensions of 17 x 4 meters at a depth of 93 feet with 03-54.9667 S 110-32.0969’E.

 

202739_david2Object 7 measuring 14 x 4.6 meters at a depth equal to the coordinates 03-55.5672’S 110-34.1255’E.

 

qz8501-day-8-search-data

Internet Chatter

Q: The news is stating 4 large pieces of the plane have been identified/found/located, are these very close to each other?

A: 3 within 30-50 meters of each other and 1 within 300-400m of the other, that is what I heard or misheard on the press conference 18 hours ago or so.

 Q: Several threads ago you gave information which was transmitted from the aircraft. Has this data been able to be validated by cross referencing with other data which either qualifies the data as good or suggests it is maybe questionable?

A: I cross checked this with someone involved in the wreckage search, and the position “made sense” after allowing for debris drift. I have since obtained more on the so-called Mode-S transmissions from the aircraft, and trust me, it is NOT a pretty picture. Honestly, it makes AF447 look like a doddle.

Mandala488@a.net

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Q: The AD did not concern a “computer glitch,” but rather an issue with frozen AoA vanes which, under the right conditions, can cause Alpha Prot to activate and the flight control system to therefore command nose-down pitch rates.

A: People I believe are incorrectly referring to this Red OEB as they are looking for anything to quickly solve the cause. The OEB deals with the situation where the AoA probs which are an input to the flight control computers are frozen at an angle of attack, and the aircraft mach number is increased. This should not be an issue in the cruise when mach is relatively stable.

What the flight control computers see is a higher angle of attack on two or more probes which is normal for lower speeds, however as they aircraft accelerates the AoA should decrease. By having two or more of them them frozen (unable to rotate), AoA remains unchanged for the speed, so the flight control system will lower the nose to reduce the AoA. If it is the case of a single one being frozen, the aircraft will vote the incorrect one out, this problem only occurs when there are multiple incorrect inputs.

 Q: implies a very definite nose-down attitude.

A: No it does not.

 Q: Forgive my ignorance, but just how out of the ordinary is this?

A: Depends on the level they are at, it is not uncommon to have -60 deg C in cruise in the tropics, if they are looking at cloud tops of a mature CB, it can reach the best part of 20-30,000 above normal cruising altitudes in the tropics. The tropopause is up around 55,000 ft at the moment in the area, which is normal this time of year.

 Q: The general area of the main wreckage relative to floating debris varies not just with time (currents) but also depends highly on what exactly happened to the plane in the first place.

A: The parts of the cabin that have been recovered in my view show signs of vertical deceleration.

zeke@a.net

150841

LB Note:  As best I can determine, Air Asia did not have Airbus ACARS maintenance subscription nor on-line engine monitoring.

track

When avoiding CBs ahead you can ask for a clearance in many different ways.

– You can ask for a new specific heading: “Callsign requesting left/right turn heading xxx due to weather” You have to ask again when a further deviation is required.

– You can ask for a clearance to proceed offtrack: ” Callsign requesting up to 30NM right/left of track due to weather” This request allows you to basically to use headings on your own as long as you stay within the mileage which was granted.

In most parts of the world it is way easier to obtain a lateral deviation clearance than a vertical. Vertical separation is almost everywhere 1000′ and the limiting factor.

Lateral separation is around 5NM in terminal areas up to 100NM or more in remote areas. Take a look on flightradar and skyvector to get am impression of airway density in different parts of the world.

QZ8501 was filed on airway M635. The next airway towards the southwest is airway L511. It is more that 70NM southwest of M635. This enables the controller to use the airspace between the airways for traffic avoiding CBs…

Safety is first!

… Bravery… Being a pilot does not require bravery. But people are different. Sometimes I observe other traffic (on the nav display) which is very close to a build up. They are in a position where I would not want to be. Are they brave? I don’t know. They might be less sensitive to CBs than I am. But I really don’t like build ups that much.

The pressure on pilots might be different, depending on where you work.  This was on CB cluster we were deviating around. And it looks like that we did not received a clearance for that (Africa).

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 Q: Thanks again for your contributions. What are the circumstances under which you will climb to better see what you are trying to fly around?

A: This depends on lots of factors: Day, Night, Moonlight or not, what type of cloud am I in, tropopause height, relative position to build ups (if any), wind direction, … But in the end I don’t have to see anything, because the weather radar is a pretty good tool to avoid the dangerous stuff.

Q: Will the weather radar display hail that gets kicked out of the tops and can come down well away from the storm center?

A: You need to know the structure of a cumulonimbus cloud to identify dangerous areas. The reflectivity of precipitation depends on droplet type (rain, wet hail, dry hail, ice crystals). So you need a combination of weather radar display and knowledge to identify hail areas.

It is better not to fly in the areas where the hail will come down obviously. The hail itself will not be kicked out of the tops, but it will be in the cloud, next to the cloud and below the anvil. During cruise, the part under the anvil is the one you want to avoid because here you will find hail furthest from the cloud. You do not want to fly too close to the CB anyway.

Here is an open document, which contains some nice images, drawings and weather radar information:

http://www.airbus.com/fileadmin/medi…afetyLib_-FLT_OPS-ADV_WX-SEQ07.pdf

michi@a.net

sigwx

Indonesia Air Asia 8501: A Meteorological Analysis

“To summarise, the flight was in a northwesterly heading and probably climbing from FL320 to its cleared level of FL340. The crew had already initiated a deviation to the left of bad weather just before the accident, and meteorological data show some vigorous convection – and therefore moderate to severe turbulence – in the immediate vicinity. At least two other flights also appear to have taken a (wider) deviation. Upper air observations and model data suggest that icing conditions were also possible. Radar data show that the aircraft’s groundspeed was unusually slow for the conditions observed.”

Fergal Tierney

B6yuQijCAAEaLL7

The transponder today is no longer a simple device, it is a complicated transmitted connected to numerous systems designed to provide different levels of data to ATC and other aircraft.

In its most simple mode, the transponder will return a ping to a radar without any altitude information, and the time of flight and azimuth of the ping is used to generate an arc of that distance from zero ft at maximum distance to directly above the radar head where the aircraft must be. Next to useless as the height of the aircraft is needed to establish where the aircraft is on that arc.

The error with this position information is the similar to position errors with a VOR, the airways need to be calibrated to account for position errors. Calibration is needed to establish the ground station and site effect error, the can be as much as 2 degrees which at 200 nm from the radar head can mean a position error of around 7 nm.

Mode C is taken from the aircraft air data system, if the air data system is compromised, eg probes or ports blocked, the transmitted encoded altitude can be in error.

Globally the datalink standard ADS-B out uses is the 1090 MHz Mode S Extended Squitter (1090 ES) (some regional areas also use VHF Data Link Mode 4 (VDL-4) and Universal Access Transceiver (UAT)). ATC has two types of ADS-B, ADS-B RAD : ADS-B for Radar Airspace and ADS-B NRA : ADS-B for Non Radar Airspace. Data for the ADS-B out comes from a different system again, it comes from the navigation system, the system will normally provide 8 labels to the transponder from the GPS, GNSS Altitude (Msl) Feet, GNSS Latitude Degrees, GNSS Longitude Degrees, GNSS Ground Speed Knots, Vertical Figure Of Merit Feet, Vertical Velocity Feet/Min, EPU Estimate Position Uncertainty/ (ANP), Actual Navigation Performance, Horizontal Figure Of Merit, GNSS Height Feet. It can take up to two seconds for each ADS-B out packet to be sent, and for Routine Surveillance or Navigation the ATC equipment will process 95% of the ADS-B data within 22.5 seconds, and 99.996% within 45 seconds.

Bottom line, with the delay in generating and transmitting the ADS-B packets, you need to be aware of the limits of the different pieces of information, what their source is, and what the errors are in each system before drawing conclusions.

Also need to keep in mind is you are looking at SSR data, the altitude information is from the air data system on the aircraft, if its ADS-B, the altitude information is from the GPS/NAV system.

The radar screen image provided in a previous thread showed the aircraft as an open circle, that means the data source was SSR, ADS-B derived positions, aircraft are displayed differently (like a fly by waypoint symbol tilted by 45 deg).

zeke@a.net

AirAsia flight QZ8501: Crucial black boxes may not be found with wreckage after plane ‘split or cracked’ during crash

Independent – Adam Withnall

Five large objects have been found at the bottom of the Java Sea about 90 nautical miles off the coast of Borneo, and experts believe them to be parts of the Airbus A320-200 that plunged into the sea on route from Surabaya to Singapore last Sunday.

At about 18 metres (59 feet) long, the largest piece suspected to be the fuselage of the plane – but bad weather and strong currents have prevented searchers from making the relatively shallow 30-metre dive to verify this.

Fransiskus Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, said the focus now was to reach that fuselage, where many bodies could still be strapped in to seats. “Our priority is to dive in the location we suspect parts of the plane to be,” he said.

But Soelistyo said none of the ships searching the area have detected any “pings” – locator signals sent out by black boxes in the event of a crash…

Air Force Lt Col Johnson Supriyadi, a search and rescue official co-ordinating the operation, said it now looked like the boxes, located in the tail of the plane, had broken away from the rest of the wreckage.

“Based on the finding of pieces of debris it looks like the body of the aircraft split or cracked and was separated from its tail,” he said…

Bill-Holland-map

AirAsia Tail Location Mystery: Solved?

-03° 38′ 39″ 109° 43′ 43″ (degrees minutes seconds)
This is about 2.5nm South East of the last SSR/ADS-B location (Google Maps measures 3.03 statute miles = 2.63nm)

In my screen grab [above]:
– the lower yellow start marke the tail section (and the blue annotation is the distance from the purple star)
– the purple circle is the last lat/lon from the SSR (ADS-B),
– the purple star is the approx location from the primary radar image.
– The red box is supposed to be “Most Probable Area 2″,
– the black tilted rectangular outline is the left (Western) section of the “Underwater Search Area”.
– The yellow diagonal line is Route M635 between TAVIP to RAFIS.
– The black diagonal line is the FR24 estimated flight path (the inverted teardrops are individual extrapolations from FR24 after the last valid ADS-B data data they received)

[ignore the white square, the blue square, the Northern yellow star, and the green diagonal line]

Bill Holland

 

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The photo of inside tells the most: it is taken inside aft fuselage looking from front towards the tail end and considering that light comes from the top of photo, I believe camera was held reasonably level. Therefore, this part of tail section probably rests leaning on vertical stabiliser with its right side on the bottom (left side exposed – photographed) Right half of horizontal stabiliser pushed into the mud or is (partially) broken away-fuselage rests half inverted to the right side-approx. 130 deg. from normal. Interior shows parts of THS mechanism, that moves-trims horizontal stabiliser via jackscrew. It appears it is in extreme position ANU, (leading edge to the bottom) but cannot say for sure as mechanism looks broken and fuselage skin severely distorted. Am surprised that CVR / DFDR were not found, as they are installed very close to position, from where the photo was taken. I assume that part of the fuselage is not in the same piece with the structure photographed.

hoistop@pprune.org

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1420905410QzjKDF

AD No.: 2014-0266-E – Date: 09 December 2014

An occurrence was reported where an Airbus A321 aeroplane encountered a blockage of two Angle Of Attack (AOA) probes during climb, leading to activation of the Alpha Protection (Alpha Prot) while the Mach number increased. The flight crew managed to regain full control and the flight landed uneventfully.

When Alpha Prot is activated due to blocked AOA probes, the flight control laws order a continuous nose down pitch rate that, in a worst case scenario, cannot be stopped with backward sidestick inputs, even in the full backward position. If the Mach number increases during a nose down order, the AOA value of the Alpha Prot will continue to decrease. As a result, the flight control laws will continue to order a nose down pitch rate, even if the speed is above minimum selectable speed, known as VLS.

This condition, if not corrected, could result in loss of control of the aeroplane. To address this unsafe condition, Airbus have developed a specific Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) procedure, which has been published in AFM Temporary Revision (TR) N° 502. For the reasons described above, this AD requires amendment of the applicable AFM.

AFM Procedure20141209EASAAD20140266E (PDF)

 

AIRBUS A320 (PDF) Materials

A320_Front_Panel

A320-Overhead_Panel

A320-Pedestal_Panel

Smiths_Thales_A_1_0_1_FM_Pilot_Guide

Abnormal_procedures_

STALL_RECOVERY

NORMAL_LAW_PROTECTIONS

A320-Unreliable_Speed_Indication

A319-320-321-Ice_and_Rain_Protection

A320-Dual_ADR_Fault

A319-320-321_FMGS

FPV

A_0_Limitations

A319-320-321_Limitations

FCTM_A318_to_A321

A320-Ground_Speed_Mini_Function

New_VAPP_procedures

**Disclaimer:  The Smartcockpit PDF files are for training purposes only and may be obsolete.**

Indonesia Plane

;(

B-2-MOP

Rare image of a B-2 stealth bomber and its Massive Ordnance Penetrator bunker buster bomb

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An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has attempted a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has attempted a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pentagon requests $79.4 billion for combat operations

The Pentagon on Friday sent two budget items to Congress – one to provide funding for combat operations next year, and another to limit the sting of sequestration this year.

The Defense Department is asking for $79.4 billion for its overseas contingency operations, or OCO, budget in 2014. The department did not include the OCO request with the $526.6 billion Pentagon base budget request submitted in April, saying that continuing deliberations over troop levels in Afghanistan made the spending picture unclear.

Troop numbers in Afghanistan will decline markedly during fiscal 2014, which starts Oct. 1. The Obama administration has said it would remove just over half the current number of troops before stabilizing the level at about 34,000 by February. The drawdown is expected to continue after Afghan elections are held in April, during which U.S. troops will assist with security.

The new OCO request is the smallest since 2005. Congress approved $86.5 billion for war spending in the current fiscal year.

Though troop numbers will be far lower, the OCO request only fell marginally in part because DOD needs to withdraw equipment and remove facilities that have been built up in Afghanistan over 12 years of fighting, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters Monday.

“It’s not all about cost-per-troop in the OCO budget,” he said.  The department also sent a $9.6 billion reprogramming request to Congress to shift funds from military personnel and investment accounts into those with pressing shortfalls as a result of nearly $40 billion in sequestration cuts in the current fiscal year.

“We’re trying to scrape for every penny, dime and nickel to achieve an additional $37 billion in cuts between now and the end of September,” Little said. If Congress approves the measure, the money would support training and military operations, as well as higher-than-expected fuel costs this year.

“The main goal that we’re trying to deal with right now… is to limit the impact of sequestration on military readiness, particularly operations, training and maintenance accounts,” he said. Pentagon officials hope the reprogramming request is approved by Congress by early June, Little said.

George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

X-47B Accomplishes First Ever Carrier Touch and Go aboard CVN 77

” …USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) — The Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) has begun touch and go landing operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 17. For UCAS-D, this represents the most significant technology maturation of the program. Ship relative navigation and precision touchdown of the X-47B are critical technology elements for all future Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) aircraft.

Don Blottenberger, UCAS-D Deputy Program manager, commented, “This landing, rubber hitting deck, is extremely fulfilling for the team and is the culmination of years of relative navigation development. Now, we are set to demonstrate the final pieces of the demonstration.”

Earlier in the week, the UCAS-D test team and CVN 77 worked together to successfully complete the first ever launch of an unmanned aircraft from an aircraft carrier proving the importance of introducing unmanned aviation into the already powerful arsenal of aircraft squadrons. “We are proud to be a part of another historic first for Naval Aviation. The landing was spot-on and it’s impressive to witness the evolution of the Carrier Air Wing,” said Capt. Brian E. Luther, Commanding Officer USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)

The various launch and landing operations of the X-47B on the flight deck of George H. W. Bush signify historic events for naval aviation history. These demonstrations display the Navy’s readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation operations.  Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for Unmanned Combat Air Systems program office, said, “When we operate in a very dynamic and harsh carrier environment, we need networks and communication links that have high integrity and reliability to ensure mission success and provide precise navigation and placement of an unmanned vehicle.”

“Today, we have demonstrated this with the X-47B, and we will continue to demonstrate, consistent, reliable, repeatable touch-down locations on a moving carrier flight deck,” he continued. “This precision relative navigation technology is key to ensuring future unmanned systems can operate off our aircraft carriers.” The UCAS-D program plans to conduct shore-based arrested landings of the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before final carrier-based arrestments later in 2013.

George H.W. Bush is currently conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean, strengthening the Navy’s forward operating and war fighting ability…”

George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

McRaven Sets Future Course for Special Ops Command

TAMPA, Fla., May 22, 2013 – After 12 years of unprecedented demand for special operations forces capability worldwide, the commander of U.S Special Operations Command is shaping his forces for the future based on his “SOF 2020” vision. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven began an assessment of how to posture special operations forces to meet 21st-century challenges shortly after taking command in August 2011. He formed operational planning teams to focus on four major priorities:

— Win the current fight in Afghanistan;

— Strengthen the global special operations forces network;

— Preserve the force and families; and

— Resource responsibly.

By necessity, McRaven said, winning the current fight remains at the top of the list, a vital step toward accomplishing the other pillars of the vision. “Every commander that is in my position realizes that you have to take care of the 25-meter target first. For us, that is Afghanistan,” the admiral told several hundred participants at the 2013 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here last week.

“And I think we are making great strides in Afghanistan,” he said, citing the success of a new command structure that aligns various NATO and U.S. special operations forces under a two-star headquarters. “We are achieving in the SOF world probably the best results we have seen in many, many years in terms of synchronizing the effect on the ground, on the battlefield by pulling together all three of the SOF components,” he said.

But shaping for post-2014, McRaven said, the defense strategic guidance released in January 2012 and the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations championed by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, form the baseline for Socom’s future force and operations.

“Special operations forces are uniquely suited to implement the guidance outlined in these documents,” he told the House and Senate armed services committees earlier this year. With a pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region and continuing focus on the Middle East and Southwest Asia, the guidance includes a solid role for special operators around the globe, McRaven told the Tampa forum. “I am very comfortable that … there will still be a place for a force that is small, light, agile, networked, partnered — the sort of things that are a part of the SOF core competencies,” he said.

But looking to the future of the special operations force, McRaven said, those enamored with “Zero Dark 30” — the blockbuster movie depicting the SEAL mission that took out Osama bin Laden — and the myriad bestsellers about high-profile special operations forces activities are likely to be disappointed.

“The fact of the matter is, that [counterterrorism] piece — that we do better than anybody in the world — … is a small part of our portfolio,” McRaven said. “The broader part of our portfolio is how we build capability, how we link with our allies and our partners overseas so that we can help them take care of their problems so we don’t have to end up doing [counterterrorism].”

This capacity-building is vital in confronting the long tentacles of trans-regional and often globally networked adversaries, the admiral told the audience. “There is no such thing as a local problem any more,” McRaven said. “If you have a problem in Mali, it will manifest itself in Europe. And that problem in Europe will manifest itself in the Far East. Then the problem in the Far East will manifest itself in the Middle East. The world is linked, and therefore we need to be linked. We have to build a network to defeat the enemy network.”

McRaven’s SOF 2020 vision calls for a globally networked force of special operations forces, interagency representatives, allies and partners, with aligned structures, processes and authorities to enable its operations. Globally networked forces, he explained, will provide geographic commanders and chiefs of mission with improved special operations capability as they respond rapidly and persistently to address regional contingencies and threats to stability.

McRaven noted his own experience working with the Joint Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. “It has been interesting to work in a network like that, and we do that very, very well on the direct-action side,” he said. Part of the Socom plan, he added, is figuring out how to extend that network out to the theater special operations commands and down to special operations forward elements and forces assigned to them.

But McRaven said his No. 1 mission — one on which every other initiative depends — is the preservation of the force and family. Shortly after assuming command, McRaven received the results of an extensive evaluation of the special operations forces community, directed by Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson, the former commander. The findings were sobering, he said.

“It said the SOF force as a whole was frayed,” McRaven said, a state he said continues with no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of operational demands. “I would say, in the last 20 months, the force is fraying at a rate I am not comfortable with at all,” he added.

McRaven recalled his initial SEAL training, provided by Vietnam veterans who, along with their families, weren’t properly cared for after the war. “We are not going to let that happen to this force,” he said. “So we are putting a fair amount of effort, money, manpower [and] time into preserving the force and families.”

Finally, McRaven underscored the importance of responsive resourcing for the special operations forces community and the “strategic employment” of SOF funding. Socom’s unique acquisition authorities are critical to meeting the demands of the force and its operations, he said. The goal, he added, is to simplify processes and cut through red tape to “move money more quickly to deal with problems from the field and be able to provide that capability as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, McRaven acknowledged budgetary constraints during his congressional testimony and affirmed his commitment to “common-sense steps to cost-cutting and cost avoidance.” As he implements the SOF 2020 vision and aligns resources to meet it, the admiral emphasized to Congress the value special operations forces deliver to the United States. “Special operations forces exemplify the ethic of smart power — fast and flexible, constantly adapting, learning new languages and cultures, dedicated to forming partnerships where we can work together,” he said.

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Admiral William H. McRaven

Commander, United States Special Operations Command
United States Navy

Adm. McRaven is the ninth commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. USSOCOM ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and, as directed, conducts operations worldwide.

McRaven served from June 2008 to June 2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. JSOC is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics.

McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as commander, SOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.

McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for Operations at JSOC; commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group One; commander of SEAL Team Three; task group commander in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility; task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield; squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group; and, SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team Four.

McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff; assessment director at USSOCOM, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group One.

McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish, and was the first graduate from, the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.

William H. McRaven
Birth name William Harry McRaven
Nickname “Bill”
Born November 6, 1955 (age 57)
Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1977–present
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held U.S. Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command Europe
Naval Special Warfare Group 1
SEAL Team 3
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War

Operation Enduring Freedom

Iraq War

Death of Osama bin Laden

AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)

130522-F-ET475-001

Military suffers wave of ‘gay’ sex assaults

“… A recent military report on sexual assault in the military shocked many in Washington and around the nation, but a leading expert on military personnel revealed the prevalence of men assaulting other men is one of the major headlines in this study. The extended analysis of the report first appeared in Monday’s edition of the the Washington Times.

The Defense Department survey of sexual assault in the military during fiscal 2012 estimated 26,000 assaults took place in the armed forces. Nearly 3,000 of them were formally reported. Just more than 6 percent of women reported being victims of assault and 1.2 percent of men said the same. Given the much larger number of men in the military, those numbers suggest 14,000 of the assaults in the Pentagon study happened to men.

Among the assaults formally reported, 88 percent of reports came from women and 12 percent from men. The numbers are getting dramatically worse. “The number of reports of sexual assaults among military personnel have actually increased by 129 percent since 2004,” said Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly, who pointed out the number of formal reports of sexual assault jumped from 1,275 to 2,949 in just eight years.

She told WND when factoring in civilians working for or around the military, the increase in that time is 98 percent. Women are identified as the attacker in just two percent of all assaults, meaning most men who suffer assault are targeted by other men.

“So we’ve got a male-on-male problem here. The Department of Defense doesn’t want to comment on this. They know that the numbers are there. They say that they care, but all the attention is usually given to the female members of the military who are subjected to sexual assault,” Donnelly said.

The Washington Times article also includes analysis from Aaron Belkin, who heads The Palm Center. He said the rise in male-on-male sexual assault does not reflect the increase of homosexuals in the military but, rather, those assaults are ”somewhat similar to prison rape.”

“Well, that’s a great slogan to use for recruiting young men into the military, isn’t it? It’s outrageous. And yet, the Department of Defense doesn’t quite know what to do with these figures, and so they just sort of put them in there and hope nobody notices,” said Donnelly, who points out The Palm Center is a homosexual activist organization.

While Donnelly fiercely opposed repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, she said it’s important to keep monitoring the numbers to determine how much that policy change specifically contributes to the problem. She said the increase in sexual assaults against female service members should not be diminished, either. Donnelly said a lot of work lies ahead to reverse this trend, but the military and the federal government are kidding themselves if they don’t think some major policy decisions aren’t contributing to the rise in sexual violence.

“I think we have to start with the basics, and that means basic training. Back in 1998, unanimously, the Kassebaum-Baker Commission came out with recommendation to separate basic training for Army, Air Force and Navy trainers, (to) do it like the Marines do. The Marines train basic training separately, male and female at Parris Island. That’s a good thing to do. It’s a good first start,” Donnelly said.

“Second, they should stop pretending that sexuality does not matter. You cannot solve a problem by extending it into the combat arms. The big push is for women in combat, this argument that we have to have women in the infantry so they’ll be respected more and they won’t be assaulted,” said Donnelly, who noted that the strategy for women in combat that started more than a generation ago from then-Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo., has been thoroughly discredited.

“Respect for women in the military today is higher than ever, but the sexual assault numbers keep climbing up,” she said. “I think before we start implementing a theory that’s been discredited.  The members of the Pentagon and the people who make policy in Congress as well, they need to stop.  They need to assess where we are, what has happened in the last two decades and they need to stop pretending that a lot of sensitivity training or highly paid consultants, that that is going to make a difference in the sex problems we’re seeing right now,” said Donnelly…”

130522-F-ET475-005

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Tailless Aircraft And The End Of “Silent Service”

2013 Defense Budget/Sequestration Analysis And Dronery

DARPA: Thinking Outside the Box And Mining The Far Side!

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130513-N-FU443-020

130514-N-ZZ999-005

Media Advisory: U.S. Navy invites media to discuss historic X-47B launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)

USS George H.W. Bush (AT SEA) — The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia today.

“Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex warfighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,” said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, the Navy’s “Air Boss”.

The unmanned aircraft launched from the deck of George H.W. Bush at 11:18 a.m. It executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after an approximately 65-minute flight.

Buss called the launch a “watershed event” in naval aviation and said he expects that decades from now, a future “Air Boss” will have a picture of the X-47B launching from Bush behind his or her desk just as he has a picture of aviation pioneer Eugene Ely’s first-ever landing on the deck of a ship in 1911 behind his desk today.

Completing another important first for the UCAS-D program, the team demonstrated the ability to precisely navigate the X-47B within the controlled airspace around an aircraft carrier at sea and seamlessly pass control of the air vehicle from a “mission operator” aboard the carrier to one located in the Mission Test Control Center at NAS Patuxent River for landing.

“The flight today demonstrated that the X-47B is capable of operation from a carrier, hand-off from one mission control station to another, flight through the national airspace, and recovery at another location without degradation in safety or precision,” said Matt Funk, lead test engineer for the Navy UCAS program.

Prior to the catapult launch on Tuesday, the UCAS test team also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B in the dynamic, unforgiving environment of an aircraft carrier flight deck.

“This event is a testament to the teamwork, professionalism and expertise of everyone involved with X-47B program,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. “Their work will positively impact future unmanned aviation development for years to come.”

Over the next few weeks, the X-47B aircraft will fly approaches to the ship multiple times and eventually land on the pitching flight deck, said Navy UCAS Program Manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl.

The UCAS team will conduct additional shore-based testing with the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before its final carrier-based arrested landing demonstration later this summer.

Load’em up

FISCAL YEAR 2014 AIR FORCE POSTURE STATEMENT (pdf)

In January 2012, the Secretary of Defense issued new defense strategic guidance (DSG)—Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense—which serves as a foundational document in establishing national security interests, the threats to these interests, and the fiscal realities that guide our military posture. The DSG directed a rebalance of forces, with a renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region, as well as continued emphasis on the Middle East. Using the DSG as a point of departure, the Secretary of Defense recently directed a strategic choices and management review in light of budget realities—such as sequestration—and strategic uncertainty. This review will continue to help the Air Force to identify the major strategic choices that we must make to properly and realistically plan for the future.

Although the future is uncertain, we know that the capability to sustain national priorities hinges upon a strong and capable Air Force. Over the last 12 years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan required Air Force capabilities to help force rogue regimes from power and then to provide critical support to land forces engaged in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, and the Air Force currently plans to maintain these capabilities.

In addition, the expected military challenges of the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, and Africa suggest an increasing reliance on airpower, not only by America and her allies, but also by her adversaries. The defining characteristics of American airpower—range, speed, flexibility, precision, persistence, and lethality—have played a crucial role in cultivating stability in these regions, a trend that will only increase in the future. The sheer geographic size and extended lines of communication of the Asia-Pacific region, along with the developing military expansion of potential regional adversaries, demand an air force that is postured to ensure stability and preserve U.S. interests.

The Air Force is committed, along with our joint partners and allies and through cooperative military relationships, to ensuring global and regional stability and mutual freedom of access to the global commons to secure our common interests around the world.

The Air Force’s technological advantage is threatened by the worldwide proliferation of advanced technologies, including integrated air defenses, long-range ballistic and cruise missiles with precision-capable warheads, and advanced air combat capabilities.

Advances in adversarial capabilities in space control and cyber warfare may also limit U.S. freedom of action. Some of these technologies are attained with relatively minimal cost, greatly reducing the barriers to entry that have historically limited the reach and power of non-state actors, organized militias, and radical extremists. We live in an age of surprise, where individual acts can be powerful and the effects can be global. Today’s strategic environment presents a broad range of threats and an unpredictable set of challenges, ranging from non-state actors to nuclear armed nations.

We must continue to invest in our science and technology base to ensure that the future balance of power remains in our favor. This requires flexibility, versatility, and a shift to inherently agile, deployable, and networked systems from those designed for fixed purposes or limited missions.

One initiative that we continue to pursue as we consider the strategic environment is the Air-Sea Battle concept. Air-Sea Battle is an operational concept focused on the ways and means that are necessary to overcome current and anticipated anti-access and area denial threats. By focusing on increased integration and interoperability between all Services, the concept ensures that joint forces maintain the ability to project power and protect national interests despite the proliferation of anti-access/area denial threats worldwide. The concept is not a strategy, nor does it target a specific adversary, but instead focuses on acquiring pre-integrated, joint capabilities. Beyond conflict, the Air-Sea Battle concept can enhance response to humanitarian missions where weather or geography may deny access.

Even as we rebalance our forces, we are aware that the time, place, and nature of the next contingency can never be predicted with certainty. When contingencies arise, we must maintain the ability to respond immediately and effectively if called to action. To align with the DSG, the Air Force has traded size for quality. We aim to be a smaller, but superb, force that maintains the agility, flexibility, and readiness to engage a full range of contingencies and threats.

Pass in Review

Fiscal Environment

We recognize that because our Nation is striving to reduce spending and our military is transitioning operations from the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility and rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region, the Air Force must adapt to a relatively static or reduced budget.

However, reliance by the joint team and the Nation on our unique ability to provide Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power constrains Air Force options in reducing or terminating capabilities or missions. Therefore, we are working hard and making real progress in eliminating unnecessary expenses and ensuring more disciplined use of resources. Nonetheless, the fiscal environment requires us to make trades between force structure, readiness, and modernization among the core missions to ensure the highest quality and ready Air Force possible.

 Fiscal Year 2013 Sequestration Effects

 As a result of the triggering of the 2011 Budget Control Act’s sequestration provision, the Air Force is implementing significant reductions to our fiscal year 2013 (FY13) operations. If the post-sequester Budget Control Act funding caps remain in effect, the Air Force will be unable to achieve our agenda of reinvigorating readiness and aligning to the DSG. In both the short- and long-term, sequestration will have devastating impacts to readiness, will significantly affect our modernization programs, and may cause further force structure reductions.

Sequestration will force the Air Force to reduce expenditures by around $10 billion in FY13. These actions include a planned furlough of more than 170,000 civil service employees, an 18 percent reduction in flying training and aircraft maintenance, and deferment of critical facility requirements (including runway and taxiway repairs).

Many of these actions severely degrade Air Force readiness. Lost flight hours will cause unit stand downs which will result in severe, rapid, and long-term unit combat readiness degradation.

We have already ceased operations for one-third of our fighter and bomber force. Within 60 days of a stand down, the affected units will be unable to meet emergent or operations plans requirements. Lost currency training requires six months to a year to return to current suboptimal levels, with desired flying proficiency for crewmembers requiring even longer.

Getting Low

Sequestration impacts are already occurring, and the FY14 President’s Budget (PB) does not assume the costs of recovering the readiness impacts from even a partial year of sequestration.

Depot delays will also result in the grounding of some affected aircraft. The deferments mean idled production shops, a degradation of workforce proficiency and productivity, and corresponding future volatility and operational costs. It can take two-to-three years to recover full restoration of depot workforce productivity and proficiency. In our space portfolio, sequestration will force the elimination of some system redundancies, as well as other preventative maintenance actions designed to minimize risk. All of these sequestration impacts negatively affect Air Force full-spectrum readiness at a time when we have been striving to reverse a declining trend in this critical area.

As a result of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, the Air Force has been able to make limited funding transfers and reprogramming actions that will help alleviate the most problematic and immediate FY13 funding shortfalls. However, the decisions that we have been forced to make in short-term spending may increase total costs over the long run. For example, sequestration cuts to Air Force modernization will impact every one of our investment programs. These program disruptions will, over time, cost more taxpayer dollars to rectify contract restructures and program inefficiencies, raise unit costs, and delay delivery of validated capabilities to warfighters in the field. The drastic reduction to modernization programs reduces our Air Force’s competitive advantage and decreases the probability of mission success in the Asia-Pacific region.

Sequestration Effects in FY14 and Beyond

The President’s Budget includes balanced deficit reduction proposals that would allow Congress to replace and repeal sequestration in FY13 and the associated cap reductions in FY14 – 21. If sequestration is not replaced, however, the Air Force will have to rebuild degraded unit readiness, accept further delays to modernization, absorb the backlog in depot maintenance inductions, and invest additional funding to restore infrastructure. While the Air Force has made every effort to minimize impacts to readiness and people, the bow-wave of reductions, deferments, and cancellations associated with sequestration will challenge the strategic choices made in the FY14 budget submission.

The exact impacts of sequestration on Air Force resources in FY14 and beyond depend on congressional action. We do know, however, that the national fiscal situation will require some reductions that may increase risk to our readiness, force structure, and our ability to modernize an aging aircraft inventory. In addition, the outcome of the strategic choices and management review may drive further changes.

As we navigate the uncertain way ahead, in order to mitigate risk in critical areas like readiness, force structure, and modernization, and to avoid a hollow force, we will continue to work with Congress to develop force shaping options, urgently seek another base realignment and closure (BRAC) round, and ask for relief from legislative restrictions on the reduction of excess force structure and from mandatory expenditures on programs that we have proposed to retire or terminate. To slow the growth in military compensation while also fully supporting the all volunteer force, we also request congressional support on limiting the basic military pay raise to one percent and allowing sensible TRICARE fee and pharmacy co-pay changes.

In spite of these fiscal challenges, the Air Force will continue to strive to balance reductions across the force to maintain the capabilities of the remaining forces and keep the Air Force strong.

Air Force Week kicks off in New York City

SecAF, CSAF share confidence in nuclear enterprise

5/10/2013 – WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to testify about the service’s fiscal 2014 budget request, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III also addressed Congressional concerns over media reports about the findings of a recent missile wing inspection.

The 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., received an overall, passing “Satisfactory” rating during a Consolidated Unit Inspection by Air Force Global Strike Command, March 4 to13. Twenty-two areas were inspected during the CUI, with the missile wing earning an “Outstanding” rating in one area, “Excellent” ratings in 14 areas, and “Satisfactory” ratings in six areas. One area was rated “Marginal.”

Donley said the ICBM force, which maintains a high state of readiness as part of its mission, remains a safe, secure and reliable element of the nation’s nuclear triad, and what was found represents the stronger inspection process the Air Force adopted as it reinvigorated the nuclear enterprise.  “We have made substantial progress in restoring the confidence, I think, of our entire [Department of Defense] and Congressional leadership in the Air Force’s management of this important responsibility,” Donley said. “It is a number one responsibility for our Air Force that we take very, very seriously.”

As a result of the inspection and further review, unit leaders identified proficiency shortfalls compounded by an attitude of complacency among a small number of officers. They sent a call-for-action email to missile crew members to re-emphasize the high standards expected in the nuclear mission area. It identified areas for improvement, outlined expectations, and reinforced pride and importance of the mission.

“I believe this is the kind of commander intervention that prevents the incidents that occurred in 2007,” Welsh said. “They took very aggressive action early to make sure that there was no question in the minds of their crew force that marginal behavior or satisfactory-just-above-the-line was not acceptable.”

The inspection also allowed the unit commanders to assess performance of the crew members to identify individuals that require more training. The 91st Operations Group identified 17 crew members who required more training–approximately five to six from each of the three missile squadrons.  Currently, the 17 officers identified are going through what Welsh described as a retraining program that should last roughly 60 days.

Welsh made it clear that he feels the marginal findings do not present a risk to the Air Force’s nuclear mission, but are a result of identifying a potential problem before it has the ability to snowball — the exact reason the Air Force has inspections. The service uses assessments and inspections as tools for commanders to assess people, processes and performance.

“I don’t believe we have a nuclear surety risk at Minot Air Force Base,” Welsh said. “I believe we have commanders who are taking very aggressive action to ensure that never occurs. And in that respect, this is a good thing.”  Talking about the Airmen who perform the nuclear deterrence mission, Welsh reaffirmed his confidence in them.

“Their performance is really exceptional day-to-day … it has to be. There is no other option,” he said. “And I think our commitment is that we make sure we keep that motivation as they move up through the ranks, and make sure they understand that the Air Force recognizes it.”

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X-47B completes key milestone as it prepares for carrier tests at sea

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first-ever arrested landing here May 4, another key step to mature the system for its historic carrier-based tests later this month.

“Landing an unmanned aircraft on an aircraft carrier will be the greatest singular accomplishment for the UCAS demonstration and will serve as the culmination of over a decade of Navy unmanned carrier integration work”, said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager. “Shore based arrested landing testing here at NAS Patuxent River is our final check that the X-47B can meet that objective.”

During Saturday’s test, the X-47B used a tailhook on the aircraft to catch a carrier representative cable, known as the MK-7 arresting gear, to quickly stop the aircraft. This is known as an arrested landing, the type of recovery required aboard aircraft carriers. The MK-7 arresting gear is an underground installation of actual carrier equipment that accommodates structural tests and aircraft/arresting gear compatibility studies with all models of U.S. Navy carrier aircraft.

“Shore-based testing allows  our combined Navy/Northrop Grumman team to control test conditions before taking the aircraft to the ship,” said Matt Funk, Navy UCAS test team lead. “We are gradually building up to the maximum load conditions we expect to see during an arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier.”

This month the aircraft will undergo sea-based carrier testing, catapulting from the carrier deck and potentially completing  landings aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).

“The entire system has performed very well across a large set of shore-based testing events including aircraft performance, flying qualities, navigation performance, catapult launches, and precision landings designed to stress system operation,” Engdahl said. “Our final carrier-landing software simulation shows excellent performance, flight test results are very good, and we are confident the X-47B will perform well on the ship.”

The X-47B is a tailless, autonomous aircraft designed with unique features for an unmanned aircraft, such as carrier suitable landing gear and structure. While the X-47B itself will not be used for operational use, the UCAS-D program is developing a concept of operations and demonstrating technologies for use in follow-on unmanned carrier based aircraft programs.

“This actual demonstration of the X-47B unmanned carrier operations is a first, essential step toward developing a carrier-based unmanned system for the U.S. Navy,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, who leads the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. “A carrier-based unmanned aircraft will increase carrier strike group relevance, provide opportunities for training and readiness cost avoidance and enable our future forward deployed carrier air wings to provide continuous intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.”

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Videos:  Broadcast quality video can be downloaded at the links below:

UCAS LAUNCH 1:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Customer-delivery/130514-N-WH671-001+-+CVN77+UCAS+Launch.zip

UCAS LAUNCH 2:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Customer-delivery/130514-N-NX659-001+-+CVN77+UCAS+Launch.zip

UCAS LAUNCH 3:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Customer-delivery/130514-N-OJ017-001+-+CVN77+UCAS+Launch.zip

UCAS LAUNCH 4:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Customer-delivery/130514-N-SI489-001+-+CVN77+UCAS+Launch.zip

UCAS LAUNCH 5:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Customer-delivery/130514-N-HK564-001+-+CVN77+UCAS+Launch.zip

UCAS LANDING:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/Customer-delivery/X47_LANDING_PAX_14MAY13.zip

Mission

The mission of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) Aircraft Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) is to mature technologies for a carrier (CV) suitable  unmanned air system (UAS), while reducing risk for UAS carrier integration and developing the critical data necessary to support potential follow-on acquisition programs.

Description

In the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy was directed to restructure the Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program and develop an unmanned, longer- range carrier-based aircraft capable of being air-refueled to provide greater aircraft carrier standoff capability, to expand payload and launch options, and to increase naval reach and persistence.

The Navy UCAS program will develop and demonstrate a CV suitable unmanned air system in support of persistent, penetrating surveillance, and penetrating strike capability in high threat areas. The Navy UCAS program will evolve technologies required to conduct Launch, Recovery, and Carrier Controlled Airspace (CCA) operations and Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) . In FY13, the Navy plans to achieve UCAS CV demonstration objectives. In FY14, the Navy plans to achieve probe & drogue (USN style) and boom/receptacle (USAF style) AAR demonstration.

The X-47B made a successful first flight in February 2011 and  is now at NAS Patuxent River, Md., undergoing shore-based carrier suitability testing in preparation for sea trials in 2013.

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Specifications

Overall Length: 38.2 feet
Wingspan: 62.1 Feet
Height: 10.4 feet
Aircraft Carrier Takeoff Gross Weight: approximately 44,500 pounds
Speed: High subsonic
Power Plant: one Pratt & Whitney F100-220U engine
Payload Provisions: 4500 pounds, plus allowance for electro-optical, infrared, radar and electronic support measures sensors
Autonomous Aerial Refueling Provisions: US Navy and US Air Force styles
Contractor: Northrop Grumman Corporation

Program Status

ACAT: Pre-Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP)
Production Phase: Demo
Inventory: 2

Tactics Training

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Ready the Lighting

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X-51A Waverider achieves history in final flight

88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs – By Daryl Mayer

5/3/2013 – WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — The final flight of the X-51A Waverider test program has accomplished a breakthrough in the development of flight reaching Mach 5.1 over the Pacific Ocean on May 1 a little after 10 a.m. Pacific Time. “It was a full mission success,” said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate. The cruiser traveled over 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range.

It was the longest of the four X-51A test flights and the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever. “I believe all we have learned from the X-51A Waverider will serve as the bedrock for future hypersonics research and ultimately the practical application of hypersonic flight,” Mr. Brink said. The X-51A took off from the Air Force Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress.

It was released at approximately 50,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 4.8 in about 26 seconds powered by a solid rocket booster. After separating from the booster, the cruiser’s scramjet engine then lit and accelerated to Mach 5.1 at 60,000 feet. After exhausting its 240-second fuel supply, the vehicle continued to send back telemetry data until it splashed down into the ocean and was destroyed as designed. All told, 370 seconds of data was collected from the experiment.

“This success is the result of a lot of hard work by an incredible team. The contributions of Boeing, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, NASA Dryden and DARPA were all vital,” said Mr. Brink. This was the last of four test vehicles originally conceived when the $300 million technology demonstration program began in 2004. The program objective was to prove the viability of air-breathing, high-speed scramjet propulsion.

The X-51A is unique primarily due to its use of a hydrocarbon fuel in its supersonic combustion ramjet, or Scramjet, engine. Other vehicles have achieved hypersonic – generally defined as speeds above Mach 5 – flight with the use of hydrogen fuel. Without any moving parts, hydrocarbon fuel is injected into the scramjet’s combustion chamber where it mixes with the air rushing through the chamber and is ignited in a process likened to lighting a match in a hurricane.

The use of logistically supportable hydrocarbon fuel is widely considered vital for the practical application of hypersonic flight. As a technology demonstration program, there is no immediate successor to the X-51A program. However, the Air Force will continue hypersonic research and the successes of the X-51A will pay dividends to the High Speed Strike Weapon program currently in its early formation phase with AFRL.

Mission
The experimental X-51A Waverider is an unmanned, autonomous supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight test demonstrator for the U.S. Air Force.

Features
The X-51A is designed to be launched from an airborne B-52 Stratofortress bomber. The flight test vehicle stack is approximately 25 feet long and includes a modified solid rocket booster from an Army Tactical Missile, a connecting interstage, and the X-51A cruiser. The nearly wingless cruiser is designed to ride its own shockwave, thus the nickname, Waverider. The distinctive, shark-nosed cruiser has small controllable fins and houses the heart of the system, an SJY61 supersonic combustion ramjet or scramjet engine built by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne designed to burn JP-7 jet fuel. Boeing’s Phantom Works performed overall air vehicle design, assembly and testing for the X-51’s various component systems.

The X-51 was made primarily using standard aerospace materials such as aluminum, steel, inconel, and titanium. Some carbon/carbon composites of the leading edges of fins and cowls are used. For thermal protection, the vehicle utilizes a Boeing designed silica-based thermal protection system as well as Boeing Reusable Insulation tiles, similar to those on board the NASA Space Shuttle Orbiters.

Four X-51As were built for the Air Force. The X-51A program is a technology demonstrator and was not designed to be a prototype for weapon system. It was designed to pave the way to future hypersonic weapons, hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and future access to space. Since scramjets are able to burn atmospheric oxygen, they don’t need to carry large fuel tanks containing oxidizer like conventional rockets, and are being explored as a way to more efficiently launch payloads into orbit.

In addition to scalable scramjet propulsion, other key technologies that will be demonstrated by the X-51A include thermal protection systems materials, airframe and engine integration, and high-speed stability and control.

Background

The X-51A represents one of the service’s most significant reinvestments in hypersonic flight since the rocket-powered X-15 program which flew 50 years earlier.

Air Force officials anticipate the X-51A program will provide a foundation of knowledge required to develop the game changing technologies needed for future access to space and hypersonic weapon applications. For example, hypersonic speeds on the order of flying 600 nautical miles in 10 minutes may provide the ability to accurately engage a long-distance target very rapidly.

The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, with industry partners The Boeing Company and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Program management is accomplished by the Air Force Research Laboratory Propulsion Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Hypersonic flight, normally defined as beginning at Mach 5, five times the speed of sound, presents unique technical challenges with heat and pressure, which make conventional turbine engines impractical. Program officials said producing thrust with a scramjet has been compared to lighting a match in a hurricane and keeping it burning.

The Air Force currently plans to fly each X-51A on identical flight profiles. Like the X-15, the X-51A is designed to be carried aloft by a B-52 mother ship launched from the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. It is released at approximately 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range. The solid rocket booster accelerates the X-51A for 30 seconds to approximately Mach 4.5, before being jettisoned. Then the cruiser’s scramjet engine, remarkable because it has virtually no moving parts, ignites. The ignition sequence begins burning ethylene, transitioning over approximately 10 seconds to the same JP-7 jet fuel once used by the SR-71 Blackbird.

Powered by its scramjet engine, the X-51A will accelerate to approximately Mach 6 as it climbs to nearly 70,000 feet. Hypersonic combustion generates intense heat so routing of the engine’s own JP-7 fuel will serve to both cool the engine and heat the fuel to optimum operating temperature for combustion. The fuel load and flight profile provides for a 240-second engine burn, transmitting vast amounts of telemetry data on its systems to orbiting aircraft and ground stations, before the vehicle exhausts its fuel supply, splashes down into the Pacific and is destroyed, as planned. Flight test vehicles are not recovered.

The X-51A development team elected from the outset not to build recovery systems in the flight test vehicles, in an effort to control costs and focus funding on the vehicle’s fuel-cooled scramjet engine. A U.S. Navy P-3 Orion aids in transmitting telemetry data to engineers at both Naval Air Station Point Mugu and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., before it arrives at its final destination, the Ridley Mission Control Center at Edwards AFB.

Conceived in 2004, the X-51A made its first “captive carry” flight Dec. 9, 2009. The flight test verified the B-52’s high-altitude performance and handling qualities with the X-51 attached and tested communications and telemetry systems, but the vehicle remained attached to the B-52s wing.

The X-51A made history during its first supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight May 26, 2010, off the southern California Pacific coast. Officials said the flight test vehicle flew as anticipated for nearly 200 seconds, with the scramjet accelerating the vehicle to approximately Mach 5, nearly 3,400 miles per hour. The fuel-cooled scramjet performed as planned transmitting normal telemetry for more than 140 seconds, then observing a decrease in thrust and acceleration for another 30 seconds. An anomaly then resulted in a loss of telemetry, and the test was terminated and vehicle was destroyed by flight controllers on command.

Despite the anomaly, the May 26 flight is considered the first use of a practical hydrocarbon fueled scramjet in flight. The longest previous hypersonic scramjet flight test performed by a NASA X-43 in 2004 was faster, but lasted only about 12 seconds and used less logistically supportable hydrogen fuel.

Following an extensive analysis of flight data from the X-51A’s first hypersonic flight test, slight modifications are planned to strengthen the rear seal area near the engine exhaust nozzles for the three remaining X-51As.

The next two X-51A flights ended prematurely. The second vehicle was boosted by the rocket to just over Mach 5, separated and lit the scramjet on ethylene. When the vehicle attempted to transition to JP7 fuel operation, it experienced an inlet un-start. The hypersonic vehicle attempted to restart and oriented itself to optimize engine start conditions, but was unsuccessful. The vehicle continued in a controlled flight orientation until it flew into the ocean within the test range.

The third X-51A safely separated from the B-52, however after 16 seconds under the rocket booster, a fault was identified with one of the cruiser control fins. Once the X-51 separated from the rocket booster, approximately 15 seconds later, the cruiser was not able to maintain control due to the faulty control fin and was lost.

The final flight of the X-51A occurred May 1, 2013 and was the most successful in terms of meeting all the experiment objectives. The cruiser traveled more than 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes reaching a peak speed of Mach 5.1.

Overall the more than 9 minutes of data collected from the X-51A program was an unprecedented achievement proving the viability of air-breathing, high-speed scramjet propulsion using hydrocarbon fuel.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Hypersonic scramjet-powered flight test demonstrator

Contractors: Boeing, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

Power Plant: JP-7 fueled/cooled SJY61 supersonic combustion ramjet

Thrust: 500 – 1,000 pound class

Length: Full stack 25 feet; Cruiser 14 feet; Interstage 5 feet; Solid rocket booster 6 feet

Weight: Approx. 4,000 pounds

Fuel Capacity: Approx. 270 pounds JP-7

Speed: 3,600+ miles per hour (at Mach 6)

Range: 400+ nautical miles

Ceiling: 70,000 + feet

Crew:  ground station monitored

Unit Cost: Unavailable

Initial Flight Test: May 26, 2010

Inventory: Four purpose-built for flight test, not designed for recovery

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