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Weapon Wednesday – Boeing’s In-Flight Drone Refueler

Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for...
Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year(Credit: Boeing)

Boeing has lifted the lid ever so slightly on its entry in the US Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray unmanned tanker competition. The company released a partial image of the swept-wing drone that is currently completing engine runs before starting deck-handling demonstrations next year. read more

How Will Corporate America Ever Survive Without the Export-Import Bank?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

To listen to the wails from Democrats and the socialistic “financial media,” you’d think business will cease to exist in America. Certainly American corporations will no longer be able to compete on a global scale without the help of our government.

You see, the big meanie conservative Republicans in the House allowed the Export-Import bank authorization to lapse – so now, other than previously agreed-upon commitments, the bank is no more.

Last week General Electric, one of the largest corporations on the planet, “announced it would create 500 jobs in France instead of the United States because it can no longer access the kind of financing once offered by the now shuttered agency.”

“Congress left us no choice when it failed to reauthorize the Ex-Im bank this summer,” said John Rice, G.E.’s vice chairman. You do have a choice Mr. Rice – but I’ll address that in a bit.

The liberal Fiscal Times felt the need to add: “but G.E.’s announcements suggest that more companies may start blaming Congress for destroying American jobs.”

Guess they got that right out of the Democrat playbook. It is widely known that the spineless Republican leadership can’t stomach criticism. But to that, my man Ted Cruz said: “I understand the crony capitalism is an easier way to do business, simply getting politicians in Washington to carve out billions in favors for giant corporations, but it’s not what Congress should be doing.” read more

The Secrets Out

The U.S Air Force’s highly secret unmanned space plane was supposed to stay in space for nine months, but it’s now been there for a year and three days – and no one knows what it’s doing.

The experimental craft has been circling Earth at 17,000 miles per hour and was due to land in California in December.

However the mission of the X-37B orbital test vehicle was extended – for unknown reasons.

The plane resembles a mini space shuttle and is the second to fly in space.

The first one landed last December at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California after more than seven months in orbit.

The 29-foot, solar-powered craft had an original mission of 270 days.

The Air Force said the second mission was to further test the technology but the ultimate purpose has largely remained a mystery.

The vehicle’s systems program director, Lieutenant-colonel Tom McIntyre, told the Los Angeles Times in December: “We initially planned for a nine-month mission. Keeping the X-37 in orbit will provide us with additional experimentation opportunities and allow us to extract the maximum value out of the mission.”

However, many sceptics think that the vehicle’s mission is defense or spy-related.

There are rumours circulating that the craft has been kept in space to spy on the new Chinese space station, Tiangong.

However, analysts have pointed out that surveillance would be tricky, since the spacecraft would rush past each other at thousands of meters per second.

And Brian Weeden, from the Secure World Foundation, pointed out to the BBC: “If the U.S. really wanted to observe Tiangong, it has enough assets to do that without using X-37B.”

Last May, amateur astronomers were able to detect the orbital pattern of the first X-37B which included flyovers of North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, heightening the suspicion that the vehicle was being used for surveillance.

Other industry analysts have speculated that the Air Force is just making use of the X-37B’s amazing fuel efficiency and keeping it in space for as long as possible to show off its credentials and protect it from budget cuts.

After all, under budget cuts for 2013 to 2017 proposed by the Obama administration, the office that developed the X-37 will be shut down.

 

According to X-37B manufacturer Boeing, the space plane operates in low-earth orbit, between 110 and 500 miles above earth. By comparison, the International Space Station orbits at about 220 miles.

The current flight launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in March.

Attribution: Ted Thornhill