2011年2月26日 科威特
在科威特国庆日这一天,坦克以及战机在通过阅兵场。此次阅兵是为了纪念科威特独立50周年,同时也是在第一次海湾战争胜利20周年,在那场战争中他们成功地赶走了萨达姆.侯赛因的部队。
美国国防部 大众传媒专员 Chad J. McNeeley下士

Kuwaiti tanks roll and jets fly during the Kuwaiti National Day military parade on Feb. 26, 2011. The parade was part of celebrations that marked the 50th anniversary of their independence, and the 20th anniversary of their ousting of Saddam Husseins forces from their country during the first Gulf War. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

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Air Force Eyes Purple Bacteria to Power Drones
美空军着眼于紫细菌为无人机提供能源

by Katie Drummond
凯蒂·德拉蒙德

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The Air Force doesn’t exactly want its drones powered by purple bacteria. Instead, the air service would like to use a synthetic dye, based one the microorganisms, to juice up its robotic planes.
空军不是真的想用紫细菌来驱动无人机。而是空军希望使用一种基于微生物的合成涂料,来使他的机器人飞机翱翔于空中。

Let me explain: The U.S. armed services are on a slow crawl towards environmental friendliness, investing in everything from massive solar arrays to algae-based jet fuels to trash-powered generators. Military-funded researchers are also experimenting with downright novel methods to come up with green fuel and power. Like this bacteria-and-drones project.
让我来解释一下:美军正在慢慢地爬着走向环境友好型,同时给巨型太阳能电池阵列场、基于藻类的喷气式飞机燃料到垃圾发电机等等项目投资。军方资助的研究人员也直接使用新方法来实验制作绿色燃料以及能源。比如这个“细菌”无人机计划。

The Air Force is sponsoring a University of Washington research effort to generate power using a bacterial pigment that can convert solar energy to electricity, Defense News reports. The pigment, found in purple microorganisms that thrive in shallow water, harnesses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide to carbohydrates, which the bacteria then uses for energy.
据防务新闻报道,空军正在资助一个华盛顿大学的研究小组以使用细菌涂料通过将光能转化为电能,以此来发电。这种在潜水大量繁殖的紫微生物中发现的涂料可以利用太阳光将二氧化碳转化为碳水化合物,然后细菌就使用这些碳水化合物作为能量。

Dr. Minoru Taya’s University of Washington lab has created a synthetic version of the pigment and embedded it into solar energy cells (the components of solar panels). When the dye-sensitized cells are hit by sunlight, the pigment launches an electron circuit, yielding electricity. That process can repeat over and over, so the cells rarely need replacing.
华盛顿大学某实验室的稔·塔亚博士合成了这种涂料,并且将其降入到太阳能电池中(太阳能电池板的组件)。当这种使用涂料搜集能源的电池被太阳光照射后,涂料形成一个电子轨道,产生电能。这个过程可以不断的重复,所以电池几乎不需要更换。

Right now, the cells are used commercially to recharge cell phones. It would take a lot more of them to charge an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), but the military thinks the project is feasible. Mostly because dye-sensitized cells are cheap and small compared to the silicon alternative. They’re a little less efficient, but cost a quarter as much to produce. And the cells are lightweight and thin, so they could spread across the wings of an UAV without taking up extra space.
现在,电池已经已经商用化用于手机电池充电。但是给一架无人机(UAV)供电则需要相当多的这种电池,不过军方认为这个项目是可行的。很可能是因为这种使用涂料收集能源的电池成本低,且与硅材料制成的替代品相比更小。这种电池效率不是太高,但是制造成本仅为后者的四分之一。电池轻盈且很薄,因而可以铺满整个无人机的机翼而不需要占用额外的空间。

And that’s exactly what the Air Force wants: panels of dye-sensitized cells that run along the wingspan of UAV’s, charging a battery that could power the plane’s propeller, surveillance systems, onboard computers and flight controls.
而且这正是空军所需要的:铺满整个无人机机翼的涂料电池板,并且它可以给飞机的螺旋桨、监控系统、机载计算机一级飞行控制系统供电。

So far, the Air Force has spent $450,000 on the project, and expect to power an UAV with the mock bacterial dye within three to five years. But the cells could be used in other projects before that. The military is considering a bacteria-inspired solar “power shade” that would fit over Army tents to keep the electricity flowing inside.
至今,空军已经在这个项目上投资45万美元,希望能够在3到5年内使用仿生细菌涂料来给无人机供电。不过电池将会在其他项目中提前应用。军方正在研究一种吸入太阳能的细菌“能量伞”,那将适合陆军能使得电力不流入帐篷内部。

[Photo: NASA]
[照片供稿:美国国家航空航天局]

 

告密者断言猛禽隐形战斗机的“严重缺陷”

by David Axe

070401-F-6701P-005

The fight over the future of Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor just got a lot nastier. While Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Congress fuss over whether to buy more of the $150 million-a-copy jets (not counting development costs), allegations have surfaced of serious and surprising problems with what is widely considered the world’s most capable fighter. One former Lockheed Martin engineer has sued the company in federal court, alleging that the company knowingly applied faulty stealth coatings to the Raptor’s skin. And today, The Washington Post connected the stealth-coating allegation to a series of Pentagon tests between 2004 and 2008 that revealed problems with the jet’s skin, requiring “frequent and time-consuming repairs.”
关于洛克希德·马汀公司的F-22“猛禽”战斗机的争论现在日益白热化。国防部长罗伯特·盖茨和国会为是否要购买更多的单价为1亿5000万美元的“猛禽”(还不包括研发费用)而殚精竭虑,关于这种普遍被认识是世界上能力最强的战斗机的严重、惊人问题的断言日渐浮出水面。一位前洛克希德·马汀公司的工程师在联邦法庭起诉他的公司,声称公司有意地在“猛禽”的表面应用了有缺陷的伪装涂料。而且今日《华盛顿邮报》将这则关于伪装涂料的断言与2004年到2008年间五角大楼的一系列测试联系起来,这些揭示“猛禽”涂料的问题需要“频繁且费时的修理”。

The lawsuit filed by engineer Darrol Olsen, who was fired in 1999 for unrelated reasons, claims he “witnessed Lockheed commit fraud regarding the F-22’s stealth coatings. Specifically, from September 1995 until June 1999 when he left Lockheed, Olsen “witnessed Lockheed order and use coatings that Lockheed knew were defective.” Olsen — described as “one of the top materials and process, composites and low observables engineers in the stealth technology industry” — first took his findings to Lockheed officials, but was told to “stay out of it,” according to the lawsuit. He turned to noted Lockheed whistleblower Mike DeKort, for help filing suit.
由于不相干的原因而在1999年被解雇的工程师达罗尔·奥尔森,提请的这则诉讼声称他“能证明洛克希德公司在F-22的伪装涂料上有诈骗行为”。具体地说,在1995年9月到他离开洛克希德的1999年6月,奥尔森“证实洛克希德订购且使用了其明知为有缺陷的涂料。”在提请的诉讼中,奥尔森——被描述为“隐形科技业界的一名顶级材料加工、复合和隐形工程师”——说他第一次将其发现提交给洛克希德官方时,被要求“不要插手这件事情”。他转而求助于著名的洛克希德告密者麦克·迪克特来帮助他提出诉讼。

The end result of the alleged fraud, is an F-22 fleet that can only fly 60 percent of the time, according to WaPo. “The trends are not good,” Thomas Christie, former Pentagon top weapons tester, told the paper. It was apparently these problems, and others, that former Defense Department chief weapons buyer John Young was referring to, when he recommended, in November, that the Pentagon focus on fixing the Raptors it has, rather than buying more.
据《华盛顿邮报》说,这则诈骗案的最后结果是一架F-22机群实际飞行时间只有设计标准的60%。“这个势头可不怎么好,”前五角大楼高级武器测试专家汤马斯·克里斯蒂告诉记者。明显地,前国防部武器装备采购主管约翰·杨在11月提及、关于这样那样的问题之建议是五角大楼关注的是解决“猛禽”现有的问题,而不是购买更多的“猛禽”。

A Lockheed spokesperson told The Post that “the issues raised in the complaint are at least 10 years old.” “We deny Mr. Olsen’s allegations and will vigorously defend this matter.” They’ll surely have to, as criticism of the pricey F-22 mounts, in what could be the program’s 11th hour.
一位洛克希德公司的发言人告知《华盛顿邮报》记者“这些问题至少已经有10年了。”“我们否认了奥尔森先生的指控并且将坚定地为自己辩护。”当对于昂贵的F-22的批评排正在发难之时——这个项目的关键时刻,他们也只有这个法子。

[PHOTO: Air Force]
[照片来源:美国空军]

 

五角大楼:隐形战机是个缺胳膊少腿的干扰发射台,生产已经终止了。

By David Axe

Congress and the Pentagon are locked in a battle royale over the future of the Air Force’s $150 million-per-copy F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates thinks 187 of the jets is just plenty. House and Senate panels have moved to buy at least another seven this year — and potentially dozens more, later.
国会和五角大楼在一场关于空军1亿5000万美元一架的F-22猛禽隐形战斗机的未来的利益争斗中吵得不可开交。国防部长罗伯特·盖茨认为187架已经足够了。参众两院的专门小组促使今年至少购买7架——之后可能更多。

In a Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, Marine Gen. James Cartwright, the vice chairman of Joints Chief of Staff, defended Gates’ position — and whipped out a new argument for why Raptor-making should end. Faced with shutting down either Lockheed Martin’s F-22 production line, or Boeing’s competing F/A-18E/F  fighter, for cost reasons, Cartwright said he asked the military’s regional commanders what air capabilities they needed most. They chose “electronic warfare,” a.k.a. “radar jamming,” Cartwright said. That meant keeping the Boeing jet, for only it has a dedicated jammer version, the EA-18G Growler.
参院周四举行的参议院听证会上,参谋长联席会议副主席海军陆战队詹姆斯·卡特怀特上将为盖茨的观点做了辩护——迅速给出了为何猛禽的生产应该停止的论证。面临着洛克希德·马汀的F-22生产线或者波音的竞争产品F/A-18E/F战斗机其中之一会因成本原因被关闭的现状,卡特怀特说他问了战区军事指挥官他们最需要战机的什么能力。他们选择了“电子战”又名“雷达干扰,”卡特怀特说。那将意味着保留波音的战机,因为只有波音拥有专用电子战战机EA-18G“咆哮者”。

Cartwright’s testimony might come as a surprise to some Raptor boosters, who for years have touted the stealthy jet’s ability to perform “electronic-attack” missions, including jamming, using its sophisticated, electronically scanned radar. It’s for this reason that a top Air Force official, in 2007, said the Raptor’s “F-22″ designation simply wasn’t comprehensive enough. “It’s not an F-22, it’s an F-, A-, B-, E-, EA-, RC-, AWACS … 22,” then-Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. David Deptula said, adding the letter prefixes for bombers, spy and radar planes and jammers.
卡特怀特的声明可能让“猛禽”的鼓吹者他们吃了一惊,那些鼓吹者们数年来都以隐形战机实施“电子打击”任务——包括使用那复杂、电子扫描雷达进行干扰——的能力来吹嘘、兜售战机。正是因为这个原因,一名空军的最高官员在2007年这样评说猛禽,简单地说,F-22的设计不够全面。随后参谋长联席会议副主席大卫·戴普特拉中将说,“他本质上不是一架F-22战斗机,是一架战斗、攻击、轰炸、电子侦查、电子攻击、侦查、预警机的22型飞机,”为战机缀上了一堆给轰炸机、侦察机、雷达预警机和干扰机的命名前缀。

But the F-22’s electronic-attack skills have remained dormant, while the Air Force focuses on honing the jet’s air-to-air prowess, and improving vexing maintenance problems. The Raptor won’t be able to jam enemy radars, until 2011 — and then, only half the fleet will have that capability. The Raptor suffers other, serious limitations, that haven’t been widely reported. As many as half of the jets already paid for, lack modern dogfighting systems, such as helmet-mounted sights.
但当空军正关注于增强战机的空中格斗能力、改进烦人的维护问题时,F-22的电子战技能还只是潜在的。直到2011年前,猛禽战机不能干扰任何敌军雷达——并且,到那时也只有一半的F-22有那样的能力。猛禽还在其他方面严重受限,但是没有大范围的报告。在缺乏例如头盔式仪表盘等现代格斗系统的情况下,多达一半的战机都已经付款了。

Still, the F-22 is the only jet that can routinely “supercruise” — flying faster than sound, without afterburner — and there are hints it can use this ability to loft AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, high enough to kill enemy satellites. But that wasn’t enough to sway top generals, when asked to choose between the Raptor and the much cheaper F-18. In a recent mock dogfight, an EA-18G “killed” an F-22 — one of only a handful of times any other fighter has managed such a feat, in the air. Now the electronic F-18 has also beaten the Raptor in the hallways of the Pentagon.
然而,F-22战机仍然是能够例行地进行“超级巡航”的唯一喷气式飞机——不需加力燃烧室就能超音速飞行——这暗示着它有能力发射高级中程空对空导弹,高的足以打击任何敌方卫星。不过那不足以改变将军们当被问及在“猛禽”以及更便宜的F-18中间做选择时的想法。在最近的一次模拟格斗中,一架EA-18G击落了一架F-22——在空中成功打败F-22的屈指可数的几个战例之一。如今在五角大楼的走廊里,F-18的电子战型号也击败了猛禽。

[PHOTO: Steve Trimble]
[照片提供:史蒂夫·天宝]

 

原作者:Noah Shachtman
原文地址:http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/06/stealth-jets-could-touch-off-dc-dogfight/

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT — There’s been lighter-than-expected resistance on Capitol Hill to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ plan to radically overhaul the Pentagon budget. But a face-off may be looming.
发自某美国军机——国防部长罗伯特·盖茨对于国防预算案大幅改动在国会山遇到的阻力比预想的要小。不过一场争论还是悄然临近了。

In April, Gates called for dozens of major weapons programs to be slashed or majorly reworked, from advanced helicopters to laser-firing jumbo jets to next-gen tanks. Each of those programs has powerful constituencies in Congress – constituencies which ordinarily resist any cut. When he initially rolled out the budget plan, Gates sounded unsure just how many of his proposed changes would make it past Congress. “You know, you never get 100 percent of what you ask for. And I think we’ll just have to see how the dialogue unfolds,” he said.
4月,盖茨宣布多项主战武器项目的削减或者修订,涉及高级直升机、大型激光发射喷气机、下一代坦克。在涉及的项目中,每一个都在国会中有强大的支持背景——这些支持力量通常都抵制任何对项目的削减。当最开始提出预算案的时候,盖茨的声音听上去极不确定,他也不知道有多少他提出的更改能够在国会获得通过。“你们知道的,从来都不可能想要什么就得到什么。我想我们只要了解一下对话是怎么展开的,”他说。

The dialogue has been heated, at times. But that hasn’t resulted in many changes to the actual budget. Today, Gates told Danger Room that he’s been “a little bit” surprised by how little the legislators “differe[d] from what we put forward. Based on the mark we’ve already seen from the House and what I’ve heard about the Senate… I think we’ve actually done pretty well. ”
间或地,对话逐步升温。不过那不是对实际预算的诸多更改造成的。今天,盖茨告诉Danger Room说,“议员对他们提出的方案提出这么少异议”,令他小小的吃惊了一下。“基于我们从众议院看到的结果以及我从参议院得到的消息……我想我们实际上做的非常不错。”

A fight could still be ahead, however. The biggest disagreement so far has come over the F-22 Raptor stealth jet. Gates wants production of the advanced fighter ended, after 187 planes; the House and Senate Armed Services Committee voted to spend another billion or two to build up to 12 extra planes – and add money for an alternative engine to a second stealth jet project. That may sound relatively minor, in a military budget that’s more than $530 billion. But the jet stopped being just a piece of hardware years ago. In military circles, the Raptor is a symbol.
不过,未来仍会有一场争执。迄今为止,最大的分歧在于F-22猛禽隐形战斗机。盖茨希望这种高级战斗机在生产187架之后停产;众议院和参议院武装部队委员会投票同意追加10到20亿美元以多造12架并给第二个隐形战斗机计划追加用于替代发动机的预算。

For the Raptor’s backers, the advanced fighter is key to continuing American military dominance over potential competitors like Russia and China. Stopping production “means a loss or erosion of margin in our air superiority,” one former senior military official says. That erosion that invites an aggressive response. “The first nation that determines they can kick our ass is going to kick our ass.”
用“猛禽”战机的支持者的话说,先进战斗机是延续美军对诸如俄罗斯、中国这些潜在竞争者绝对优势地位的关键。停产“意味着一种损失、对我们制空权的腐蚀,”一位前军方高级官员如是说。对制空权的腐蚀将招致挑衅性的回应。“一旦有国家认为自己能够揍我们,他们就将会给我们好看。”

For the jet’s detractors, the F-22 an overpriced anachronism — a relic of a dogfighting age that’s out of place in the era of the improvised bomb. Allowing the program to continue, even a little longer, represents a return to the bad-old-days of Pentagon spending, when endless billions were poured into platinum-plated projects only marginally relevant to current conflicts.
“猛禽”的反对者则说,F-22是种定价过高的过时货了——不适合自制炸弹横行的时代,而是空中格斗年代的老古董。五角大楼古老的不良支出方式源源不断地将数十亿美元砸向花费高昂却与当前冲突几乎不相干的项目中,如果允许计划继续执行,哪怕再延长一点儿,都是一种朝那种方向的一种倒退。

“Even one is a problem,” says Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell. “The number is zero.”
“就算是只增加一架也是难事,”五角大楼新闻秘书杰夫·莫拉尔说。“一架都不造。”

Gates has been talking with Congressional leaders, telling them which parts of his budget plan he’s willing to accept – and which ones he won’t. “I’m not going to detail what that list is,” he said. But the Raptor is clearly in the no-go category. So are some of the more exotic missile defense research projects, like the Airborne Laser, a ray gun-equipped 747. Gates also indicated today that he won’t budge on his reorganization of Future Combat Systems, the Army’s $200 billion effort to field new wireless networks, new sensors, and new families of fighting vehicles. The drones and the bandwidth will be rolled out to the troops. The current vehicle models – no way. The Army has already started early planning on alternatives. If Congress tried to roll back that process, Gates said, that “would be a problem.”
盖茨已经与国会代表们展开商谈,告知他们预算案中哪些部分是乐于接受的、哪些不是。“我不是要纠结于清单中的具体细节,”他说。不过“猛禽”无疑地要被打入冷宫。还有那些更多的例如空载激光——747装备的激光束发射武器等奇特的导弹防御研究计划也是一样。盖茨今天还说他不会为重组“未来战斗系统”编制预算,那是陆军为部署新的无线网络、新的传感器以及新的战斗车辆家族所要耗资2000亿美元的一个项目。遥控的无人驾驶飞机以及网络带宽将会分配给部队。最近的车辆型号是不可能了。陆军已经启动了替代方案的先期规划。盖茨说,如果国会设法阻止这个过程,“那将会造成麻烦。”

[Photo: U.S. Navy]
[照片来源:美国海军]

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