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Intercepted

3 May 2017

Recce and interception have been a games long played, especially during the Cold War. These are intercept photos from the U.S. Navy Archives taken during the Cold War:

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F-14 Tomcat joins up with a Tu-95 Bear—U.S. Navy Archives image

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Tu-16 Badger as seen from the intercepting aircraft—U.S. Navy Archives image

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Tu-16 Badger as seen from the intercepting aircraft—U.S. Navy Archives image

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A pair of F-4 Phantom IIs escort a Tu-16 Badger—U.S. Navy Archives image

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This Tu-16 Badger was met by an F-8 Crusader—U.S. Navy Archives image

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A Tu-95 Bear passes close by the USS Nimitz with an F-4 Phantom II in close attendance—U.S. Navy Archives image

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A-4 Skyhawk joins up with this Tu-16 Badger—U.S. Navy Archives image

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From a bit further away, the same A-4 in formation with the Tu-16 Badger—U.S. Navy Archives image

Since the Cold War was so much fun the interceptions have begun again:

A Russian Tu-95H Bear photographed from the intercepting RAF Typhoon—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Tu-95H Bear under escort from the intercepting RAF Typhoon—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Su-27 Flanker aircraft photographed from an intercepting RAF Typhoon—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Su-27 Flanker aircraft photographed from an intercepting RAF Typhoon (note the pilot looking toward the photographer)—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Su-27 Flanker aircraft photographed from an intercepting RAF Typhoon—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Tu-160 Blackjack aircraft is escorted by an RAF Tornado F3—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Tu-160 Blackjack aircraft under escort by an RAF Tornado F3—Crown Copyright image

A Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bomber photographed by the intercepting RAF Tornado F3—Crown Copyright image

Cassini and the 22 penultimate diving of the century

1 May 2017

 

Cassini mapping Saturn’s magnetosphere and the effect of the solar wind upon it (much of space is latent but dynamic)—NASA art image

NASA Space Probe Cassini will soon end its spectacularly successful mission of investigating Saturn as well as two of its moons—Enceladus and Titan (with the Huygen lander earning the title of first landing on a foreign moon). Nearly two decades on duty with seven of them in travel to the objective Cassini has gathered information on Saturn, its rings, moons as well as gravitational and magnetic fields. Saturn is a space laboratory for a solar system with its gaseous center surround by orbiting masses forming into rings and moons.

Cassini—NASA art image

Cassini and the rings of Saturn—NASA art image

Cassini in orbit over Saturn—NASA art image

Cassini’s view of the (many) rings of Saturn—NASA image

Earth (the white dot) viewed through the rings of Saturn—NASA image

Cassini’s mission is nearly complete. Dwindling maneuvering fuel supplies will soon render the spacecraft uncontrollable though its nuclear power can continue on for quite some more time. NASA has decided to place the probe into an orbit which has crossed the poles, investigated the geysers of Enceladus and is now orbiting inside the rings for 22 orbits—then the grand finale— the last plunge to take place in September taking images while diving into Saturn’s atmosphere.

Cassini as imagined by a NASA artist diving between Saturn and its rings—NASA art image

Bright Bronco

26 April 2017

OV-10 Bronco—Crown Copyright image

OV-10 Bronco—Crown Copyright image

RAF C-130 centenary art

24 April 2017

Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules ZH880 painted in No. 47 Squadron colours celebrating the Squadron’s Centenary—Crown Copyright image

Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules ZH880 painted in No. 47 Squadron colours celebrating the Squadron’s Centenary—Crown Copyright image

Royal Air Force C-130J Hercules ZH880 painted in No. 47 Squadron colours celebrating the Squadron’s Centenary—Crown Copyright image

Lancaster Mk X in flight

21 April 2017

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster Mk X—Crown Copyright image

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster Mk X—Crown Copyright image

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Lancaster Mk X—Crown Copyright image

THAAD—machine-v-machine

19 April 2017

THAAD launch—U.S. Missile Defense Agency image

THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) is a mobile system is meant to destroy incoming missile warheads in their terminal phases. Since these warheads would be destroyed over friendly territory the THAAD missile works using a direct hit instead of proximity explosions—the kinetic kill—to not disperse the warhead materials wider than minimally possible.

X-band radar (microwave frequencies from 7–11.2 GHz) ground units guide the 125 mile ranged missile with an altitude capability of 93 miles. The ER (extended range) version, if development is successful, promises to be useful against hypersonic glide vehicles.

The speed of incoming warheads, as well as hypersonic glide vehicles, make shooting them down a machine-v-machine affair as there is a matter of ten seconds or less to acquire, launch and kill the incoming threat.

THAAD launch—U.S. Missile Defense Agency image

THAAD missile burning its way to a test interception—U.S. Missile Defense Agency image

Norge—the airship first bringing humans to the North Pole

17 April 2017

Norge was built for a single purpose and that was as transport for arctic exploration. Airships were the vehicle of choice back in the day (in this case the early 1920s) as they were faster, more reliable and longer ranged than aircraft—as well as free from the maritime constraints  of ships.

Famed polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Lincoln Ellsworth combined efforts to fly over the North Pole as well as transit the arctic ice cap for a flight in 1926. Equally famous as an airship pilot and airship designer Umberto Nobile was engaged to modify his N-1 airship design as well as pilot the airship Norge on what became known as the Amundsen–Ellsworth 1926 Transpolar Flight.

The Norge was a semi rigid airship with a cruciform tail recently indebted by the Schütte-Lanz company (becoming the standard in Hindenburg designs as well). Metal framing gave shape to the nose and tail with a flexible metal keel aiding in the length dimension. Pressurization of the enveloped then gave the final aerodynamic shape with hydrogen filled gas cells providing lift (displacement, really). A control gondola and three engine gondolas completed the overall design. 16 men formed the Norge’s compliment on the expedition. Although not landing at the North Pole the expedition flew over it on 12 May 1926, dropping flags of Norway, the United States and Italy to signify the accomplishment of being the first to the North Pole.

The Norge was 347′ 9″ in length and has a payload capacity of 20,900 pounds using 670,000 cubic feet of hydrogen gas. Three Maybach Mb.IV could power the Norge to 71 mph.

The airship Norge on the island of Svalbard—Nasjonalbiblioteket image

The airship Norge aloft and looking from the bows (note the dangling ground handling lines)—Nasjonalbiblioteket image

The Norge coming into the hangar (note the photographer behind a tripod in the foreground)—Nasjonalbiblioteket image

Airship Norge aloft over Svalbard (note the reindeer drawn sled)—Nasjonalbiblioteket image

The airship Norge comes to a mooring mast (a mooring mast is the airship equivalent of laying at anchor)—Nasjonalbiblioteket image

The Norge elegantly sailing over her home country of Norway—Nasjonalbiblioteket image