Flash Dance: A flash drive that uploaded malicious code into the US Central Command network in 2008 provided an unidentified foreign intelligence service with undetected access to classified US information, admits a US Pentagon official in a Foreign Affairs article.
Russian Buffer: Russia is beefing up its military presence in the Caucasus and the Black Sea region in an effort to create a security buffer zone, a Turkish analyst says.
Low Tech Jarheads: Forget night vision goggles, laptop computers, GPS devices, and robots, US Marines are training to fight in the mountains of Afghanistan using compasses, ropes, pack animals, and communication equipment made out of plastic spoons, string and wire.
Inmarsat Navigation Ventures, Ltd. in London, England recently received an $18 million firm-fixed-price demonstration contract to develop and certify a transceiver terminal for their 3-satellite I-4 constellation’s Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) service. The terminals must be capable of operation from on-board low Earth orbit satellites, and the BGAN network will require modifications to support space-based terminal equipment. Under the contract, Immarsat will support the integration of the space-based BGAN terminal with a government demonstration satellite, and support the on-orbit connectivity via the BGAN network for the demonstration satellite mission.
Work is to be performed in London, England (20.60%); Golden, CO (64.76%); Aylesbury, England (11%); Norresundby, Denmark (2.15%); and Ontario, Canada (1.49%), with an estimated completion date of Sept 13/15. One bid was solicited with one bid received by DARPA in Arlington, VA (HR0011-10-C-0149).
Inmarsat currently operates a fleet of 11 satellites, and their customers include governments and the military. In November 2009 they bought managed secureIP provider Segovia, whose clients include the US military. The I-4 constellation is based on EADS Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 bus, but in August 2010, Immarsat announced a $1.2 billion contract with Boeing for 3 702HP-based satellites, in order to field a more advanced I-5 constellation delivering up to 6.25MB/s (50 megabits) each.
JDAM manufacturer Boeing’s GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I is a 250 pound weapon with pop-out glide fins that greatly improve its range, and GPS/INS guidance. Its narrow body and streamlined shape help it punch above its weight against hardened targets, and its small size has the dual benefit of allowing more bombs per aircraft (4 per pylon), and lessening collateral damage beyond the target.
The Dutch have already ordered dual-mode GPS/laser guided Enhanced Paveway kits that fit 500 pound bombs, so the capability isn’t new. What would change are range, carrying profiles for the lighter weapons, and number of bombs available per fighter. The new GBU-39s would initially see use on the same Dutch F-16 fighters, which have received a Mid-Life Upgrade and are expected to get additional software modifications. If the Dutch hope to field the new weapons in 2012 as planned, however, they may have to overcome some political obstacles at home…