China’s J-11D Fighter Copied From Russian Su-27 Jet Makes Maiden Flight

J-11 fighter jet

China’s high-end J-11D fighter aircraft, a copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 jet, made a maiden flight.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — China’s high-end J-11D fighter aircraft, a copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 jet, has made a maiden flight, local media reported Thursday.

 

Photos uploaded to the Internet on Wednesday show the latest modification of China’s domestically-constructed J-11B aircraft, initially designed as a copy of the Soviet-made Su-27, the Sina.com news portal said.Unlike its predecessor, the J-11D model reportedly has phased-array radar and an air refueling system, and carries PL-10 air-to-air missiles.

The aircraft is produced by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. China purchased the Su-27 manufacturing license from Russia in the 1990s and has been building new versions using domestic parts.

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Say Cheese! Russia Snaps Photos of Top Secret US Spysats

Titov Space Control Centre

Washington has become extremely paranoid about a series of rare images of its Lacrosse spy satellites (# 2,3,4 and 5), which were recently released by Russia.

The US is trying to find a reason why Russia has disclosed its images of secret Lacrosse US spy satellites.

It is busy guessing what the actual reason behind the disclosure is; while it continues to think it might be a way for Russia to challenge what the US sees as its “space advantage”, a more likely answer comes from Germany: it’s simply a way “to show that Moscow is aware”.

Altai optical-laser center
Altai optical-laser center

Former CIA analyst Allen Thomson has compiled and analyzed the shots captured by Russia’s Altay Optical Laser center somewhat between 2005 and 2010.

The existence of the Lacrosse terrestrial radar imaging reconnaissance satellites, operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), was not officially confirmed for a long time, its existence was declassified only in 2008.

Lacrosse satellites use synthetic aperture radar as their prime imaging instrument. It is able to see through cloud cover and its gaze also has some ability to penetrate soil.

The name Lacrosse is used to refer to all of these orbital spycraft, while there is another name, Onyx, which is sometimes used to refer to the three newer units.

Five Lacrosse spacecraft have been launched, and three are currently in orbit.

US spy satellite
US spy satellite

“The [released] images contain enough information (range, angular scale) to perform a bit of technical intelligence (i.e., sophomore high school trigonometry) on the radar antenna size, which is a significant parameter affecting capability,” Thomson said, as quoted by the US media.

“Why did the Russians release the images?  The US is highly paranoid about releasing resolved images of spysats, ours or others. The Russian paranoia is at least as great, so how did these images get out? What was the purpose?” Thomson questions.

“The images themselves seem to be mostly just a curiosity,” he supposed. “But perhaps they underscore the growing visibility and the corresponding vulnerability of US space-based assets.”

Then Thomson however supposed that it might be a way “to respond to our [their] space advantage”, citing Gil Klinger, a defense intelligence official, who testified at a 2014 House Armed Services Committee hearing on US national security space activities.

Klinger then said that the US asymmetrical advantage in space “also creates asymmetrical vulnerabilities”.

The answer came from the German news site Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, which supposed that it is a way to show that “Moscow always knows what the US is up to”.

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Russian defense minister orders to consider restarting Tu-160 missile carrier production

Russia’s Air Force will get two strategic bombers Tupolev Tu-160 and twelve long-range Tu-22M3 bombers this year

Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber (archive)

Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber (archive)

KAZAN, April 29. /TASS/. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu gave instructions on Wednesday to study the issue of resuming the production of Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO reporting name: Blackjack) supersonic strategic bombers at the Kazan aviation plant in the Volga Republic of Tatarstan.

“It is necessary already today to start implementing tasks not only for keeping in good order and modernizing the fleet of long-range aviation but also for reproducing Tu-160 missile carriers,” Shoigu said during a visit to the Kazan plant.

The Tu-160 bomber is “a unique plane that has been several decades abreast of time and has not used its constructive possibilities to the full extent until now,” the Russian defense minister said.

“No one has devised a better plane in the supersonic category up to date,” Shoigu said.

The Russian Air Force currently operates about 15 Tu-160 strategic bombers. The missile carriers are undergoing modernization, which was announced in 2012. 

Russia is currently developing a new strategic bomber dubbed PAK DA (prospective aviation complex of long-range aviation). The new bomber is expected to make its first flight in 2019 and become operational in the Russian Air Force approximately in 2023-2025.

According to previous reports, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu held a workshop on the restoration and maintenance of the country’s long-range aviation fleet. The Defense Ministry said Shoigu has visited the Kazan Aviation Plant and gave orders to furnish the enterprise with new equipment to boost the long-range aviation power.

Ahead of the meeting, the ministry said, Shoigu visited shops of the aircraft plant where the Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 bombers are repaired and modernized.

Russian Air Force will get 2 Tu-160 and 12 Tu-22M2 bombers

The Defense Ministry press service told TASS on Wednesday that Russia’s Air Force will get two strategic bombers Tupolev Tu-160 and twelve long-range Tu-22M3 bombers before the end of this year.

In February, Russian Air Force Commander Viktor Bondarev said that deep modernisation of five Tu-160 and nine Tu-22M3 aircraft would be completed this year.

 The Russian Defense Ministry is set to continue the rearmament program in the armed forces this year. Infographics by TASS

“Six more Tu-22M3 aircraft have been taken for modernization to the Gorbunov Kazan Aviation Plant,” the press service said.

The Kazan Aviation Plant, founded in 1927, is a subsidiary of JSC Tupolev. It currently manufactures special purpose aircraft on the basis of Tu-214, as well as repairs and modernises bombers. In addition, the company manufactures and supplies components and assemblies within the framework of cooperation with other plants of the United Aircraft Corporation. In particular, the Kazan plant is preparing for the production of wings and tail assembly for the IL-476 planes.

New Armata tanks roll through Red Square in May 9 parade rehearsal

 

April 30,  MOSCOW
Besides the Armata and the Kurganets, the Coalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery weapons and also the Boomerang armored fighting vehicles took part in the rehearsal on Red Square

 

MOSCOW, April 30. /TASS/. The new Armata tanks and the Kurganets-25 infantry fighting vehicles for the first time rolled through Moscow’s Red Square in a night rehearsal of Victory Day parade, a TASS correspondent has reported.

The newest weaponry is part of a convoy that is due to participate in the traditional parade on May 9. This year’s parade marks the 70th anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany.

Besides the Armata and the Kurganets, the Coalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery weapons and also the Boomerang armored fighting vehicles took part in the rehearsal on Red Square.

Third batch of equipment for S-400 missile regiment arrives in Russia’s Kamchatka

 

April 29,  MOSCOW
The batch comprises more than 50 units of equipment, spare parts and accessories of the S-400 missile system that will soon replace the S-300

 

“The batch comprises more than 50 units of equipment, spare parts and accessories of the S-400 missile system that will soon replace the S-300. The rearmament will be completed soon and the new S-400 air defense missile system will be put on combat duty to protect air frontiers of Russia’s northeast,” Martov said.

The first batch that included more than 20 equipment units for the S-400 system had arrived in Kamchatka in early February. The second batch arrived to the peninsula in April. According to previous reports, the delivery of the regimental set of the Triumph missile systems will take five trains.

A Russian Defense Ministry source told TASS previously that the S-400 regimental set for Kamchatka would comprise three battalions, and not two as before. 

The S-400 missile systems are already protecting the skies over Moscow and St. Petersburg, and Severomorsk – the headquarters of the Northern Fleet, the Kaliningrad region – the most western part of the country, locked between Poland, Lithuania and Belarus and home to Russia’s Baltic Fleet, and also southern regions and the coast of the Sea of Japan in the Far East. The S-400 is a new generation anti-aircraft system, which can be equipped with very long-range missiles (up to 400km), long-range (250km) and medium-range (120km). It’s capable of shooting down anything from small aircraft to cruise missiles such as the Tomahawk, and even ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

CIA Runs Archipelago of Torture Around the World – Award-Winning Journalist

The National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. The National Security Agency has been extensively involved in the U.S. government's targeted killing program, collaborating closely with the CIA in the use of drone strikes against terrorists abroad, The Washington Post reported Wednesday Oct. 16, 2013 after a review of documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ran an extensive worldwide network of black-sites and has since passed on its torture practices to local authorities, investigative journalist and winner of the Ridenhour Book Prize for truth-telling, Anand Gopal told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Gopal, who served as an Afghanistan correspondent for multiple US newspapers, explained that United States Army commanders in Afghanistan are “very well aware” of the torture practiced by Afghan security forces and warlords.

 

According to international human right organizations, the United States co-opted up to 54 foreign countries to take part in its extrajudicial rendition and interrogation program during the War on Terror.“The CIA essentially ran an archipelago of torture around the world,” Gopal said on Wednesday. “It is actually still being committed [in Afghanistan], but it is now outsourced to local actors who are deputized to carry out these atrocities.”

Individuals who are accused of terrorist activities “will be taken away, they will be beaten, tortured and many times killed,” Gopal said.

The practice is not done by “rogue elements,” he argued, but has become “standard operating procedure” during the US War on Terror.A February 2015 United Nations report documented the forms of torture taking place under the Afghan security forces, and local warlords.

These actors “have been created, armed and funded by the United States,” Gopal alleged, continuing that the torture practices are “going on as we speak.”

US officials disregard the human rights concerns, he said, because the officials in question “are too important for national security.”

Former Romanian President Ion Iliescu brought to light new revelations on US overseas black-sites when he confirmed that Romania had hosted at least one CIA facility. In a Wednesday blog post, Iliescu acknowledged that he had approved CIA requests to set up at least one black site in Romania where detainees were held and subjected to torture.

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Pentagon Hopes for Softer Sanctions on Rocket Engine Purchases From Russia

RD-180 rocket engine

The US Department of Defense has asked the Senate to soften sanctions that ban American companies from buying the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines.
 

The Pentagon has urged the US Senate to soften sanctions against the use of RD-180 Russian rocket engines by American companies, the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti reported.The RD-180 is used in the first stage of US Atlas 5 rockets, and thus far there has been no US alternative to the Russian engines.

Earlier, Congress passed a legislation barring the use of the RD-180 on future military missions. In particular, the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act directs the US Air Force to wean itself from the Russian-built propulsion system by 2019. The ban was drafted in connections with the situation in Ukraine.

A separate piece of legislation provided 220 million dollars to the Air Force earlier this year to begin development of a US alternative to the engine.

Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James proposed a spate of amendments to the law so that the US could buy the RD-180 engines that were ordered from Russia before the events related to Crimea’s reunification with Russia. The US has yet to pay for these engines.

According to James, the amendment “will help preserve the launches of competing Atlas rockets until US alternatives to the engines are developed.”

 

Senator John McCain, who is notoriously known for his anti-Russian rhetoric, was quick to wonder “whether it was in the interests of the United States is to subsidize the Russian defense industry, given Russia’s behavior.””No. It’s regrettable, but guaranteed access to space is much more important,” the Pentagon spokesman answered quoted by the Air Force Times.

In March 2015, the US announced a tender for space launches in connection with the ban on Russian rocket engines RD-180. The tender will be held for 28 launches, due to be conducted between 2020 and 2024.

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