* Posts by SkippyBing

1878 posts • joined 21 May 2008

US military manuals hawked on dark web after files left rattling in insecure FTP server

SkippyBing
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The actor was even bragging about accessing footage from a MQ-1 Predator

I'm not saying he didn't, at the same time he could just be Jay from The Inbetweeners.

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I see you're trying to leak a file! US military seeks Clippy-like AI to stop future Snowdens

SkippyBing
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You're never going to get in trouble classifying a document as more secret than it needs to be.

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As far as the gender pay gap in Britain goes, IBM could do much worse

SkippyBing
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Joke

26.5 per cent of its workforce as "identifying as female"

Hold the phone, what if they just get the highest paid 50% of the company to say they identify as female? That should solve all their problems right?

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HTC U12+: You said we should wait and review the retail product. Hate to break it to you, but...

SkippyBing
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40 Year Old Lesson?

When the F-16 was introduced the side stick controller didn't move, it just sensed the pressure the pilot was applying. This was so universally disliked that it was replaced with a more conventional moving part fairly early on. Who knew four decades later phone companies would be relearning the lesson...

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Buttonless and port-free: Expect the next iPhone to be as smooth as a baby's bum

SkippyBing
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I take it we're just ignoring the issue of it being less efficient than plugging the things in then? I mean what's an extra power station or two between friends.

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Skynet for the win? AI hunts down secret testing of nuclear bombs

SkippyBing
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Testing?

I mean I get that they can trawl through past data where they absolutely know what was happening. But that assumes they know when all the bombs have gone off in the past, otherwise all they're proving is that the neural net can do what we already can, which doesn't seem like a massive advance.

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... Aaaand that's a fifth Brit Army Watchkeeper drone to crash in Wales

SkippyBing
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Re: Bangkok full name @ DG

That's awesome, I think all city names should include a diss of another city. So something like Plymouth the impregnable port (unlike Cadiz).

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SkippyBing
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Re: Thinking outside the box here...

You say that, 2 of the 5 have crashed on their own airfield so it might be a bit counter productive!

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SkippyBing
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Re: Savings

Alas I'm fairly sure we've already paid for them all and the manufacturer is now crashing ones we've brought. I'm not sure how big the attrition reserve is but it must be running out.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Thales

'No, I think 5 out of 54 is closer to undecimated.'

It's closer to 1/10th than anything else would be...

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SkippyBing
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Re: 'Main' base?

West Wales is the manufacturers centre of operations, and currently where most of the flying takes place as the Army don't feel it's ready for service use and Thales are trying to get to a position where they do. So it's more like development flying rather than training.

The Army's main base for it is Boscombe Down as it's conveniently near Salisbury Plain, although they did a lot of training in Ascension Island on the grounds if something went wrong you'd be really unlucky to hit anything.

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SkippyBing
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Thales

To be scrupulously fair to the Army, it was yet again an aircraft being operated by the manufacturer, Thales. So to date it's Thales 3 - Royal Artillery 2.

I also feel this was a missed opportunity to say the fleet has now been decimated...

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Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer nicked on suspicion of giving F-35 info to China

SkippyBing
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Re: Really?

'Modern us military engines are pretty much "remove and service every other flight" - so I'm not sure about "reliable".'

The modern US military engines on the aircraft parked outside my office hardly ever need removing, they'll only take one spare for an eight month cruise. So I'm not sure which ones you're using.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Really?

'but are the Chinese just staying with the old soviet 'good enough', now build far more than the opposition can point at us.'

They appear to be in a transition phase, a lot of the aircraft they're looking to introduce in the near future appear to be much more complex than in the past. i.e. at least semi-stealth, modern avionics etc. etc. a side effect of that is you also need more electrical generation capability which again ties into the engines.

Of course a problem with trying to outnumber your opponent is that you have to train a lot more pilots, engineers, ATC, etc. As China's economy grows that becomes harder as the wage bill increases and starts to dwarf what you can spend on new shiny.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Really?

'Military aircraft only need solid reliable motors, if it has the right dimensions & power why not?'

Because you could get the same power from a modern engine that was smaller and burnt less fuel, which gives you more payload/range. Or a more powerful engine the same size burning the same amount of fuel letting you carry more. For military aircraft you virtually never have enough power.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Really?

I was thinking that, the whole F-35 connection seems a bit tenuous at best. He's a combustion specialist who left RR in '03. At that point he may have had some knowledge of the alternate F-136 engine for the F-35 that was cancelled in 2011 and probably nothing useful about the big fan.

That's not to say he couldn't have given useful information to China about gas turbine design as that's an area they have to date lagged the West in. They're still using licence built Speys in some of their newer aircraft as I understand it, e.g. the Xian JH-7 which only left production last year.

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Dixons Carphone 'fesses to mega-breach: Probes 'attempt to compromise' 5.9m payment cards

SkippyBing
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Re: Ha Jokes on Them

'Get a wallet with a chain on it.'

That was learning point #2!

Learning point #1 was that it's actually quite handy having a contact less card saved on your phone so you can at least pay for accommodation before you cancel everything. Learning point #3 is to leave that card at home next time.

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SkippyBing
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Ha Jokes on Them

I've lost* all my credit cards and had them replaced since I last shopped there** so it's all useless information.

*Lost, fell out of my pocket while motorcycling across France, same difference.

**2016, I needed a new hard drive fast and they were actually the same price as Amazon.

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Brit drone biz Sensat notches up 29km remote-control flight

SkippyBing
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BVLOS?

At 500' the aircraft was theoretically visible up to 27 miles away, so I'm not sure it really counts as BVLOS.

http://www.ringbell.co.uk/info/hdist.htm

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UK's first transatlantic F-35 delivery flight delayed by weather

SkippyBing
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Re: "the cost of retrofitting was about the same as building another carrier!!"

'F35B doesn't exist until it's finished! '

On that grounds no military aircraft exists until about 5 years before its withdrawn from service as they're continually being modified and updated. F-35B is in front line service with the USMC flying off ships in the Pacific, Naval Gripens aren't.

'Do you think the EFA project would rip up billions of euros worth of development and start afresh just because the French left the project? '

The French left the project because it didn't meet their requirements, if Typhoon was compromised by needing to operate off France's aircraft carriers, there wouldn't be any Rafales. France left the programme that became Eurofighter in 1985 before the consortium had spent more than ~£180 million* because the proposal didn't meet their requirement. Ergo it's not compromised by meeting a French requirement as it never did, hence the French developing their own aircraft.

*Most of that was spent on the EAP demonstrator and was a mix of private and public money.

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SkippyBing
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Re: A Picasso is Better Value

And these small planes frequently wait weeks for the right weather and have the empty seats in the cabin fitted with extra fuel tanks. But sure, that's an accurate comparison.

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SkippyBing
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Re: "the cost of retrofitting was about the same as building another carrier!!"

'The US offered to fund the fitting of EMALs/CATOBAR to our QE's in exchange for shared use of said resources'

They may have done, but it was still going to cost £2 Billion to modify the rest of the carrier, so after about 18 months of saying we were going to buy the C we went back to the B on the grounds that way we'd end up with twice as many carriers for the money.

' the better solution would have been to join the proposed naval Gripen project'

Your saying the better solution would have been to go for something that doesn't exist?

'Typhoon - which is too small for the RAF as a bomb truck because of original French requirements to build a carrier variant'

Patently isn't based on it being able to carry more Paveways than a Tornado, and the original French requirement resulting in the Rafale which is notably smaller than the Typhoon because once they'd left the programme there was no need to stick to their requirement.

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SkippyBing
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Re: "It won't"

More detail on single vs twin engine aircraft losses here:

https://defenseissues.net/2014/08/09/single-vs-twin-engined-fighters/

In short there's no clear cut advantage taking them as a whole, although certain single engined aircraft have a worse engine related loss rate than certain twins and vice versa.

Re being hit in one engine, these days it's likely that will cause bits of the damaged engine to enter the other engine at high speed so you're not really any better off. Certainly the article link above gives the F-15 and F-18 higher loss rates in Gulf War 1 than the F-16 despite it only having one engine.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Putin are you reading this?

WW2 wasn't that amazing the big girls blouses had to delay invading France a day because of the weather. Or wasn't that what you meant?

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SkippyBing
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Re: Remember the war

Also remembering the war, D-Day was postponed 24 hours due to the weather and that was only across the Channel, presumably you think that was a national embarrassment as well?

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SkippyBing
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Re: So...

'So, it should be perfectly safe to invade the Islas Malvinas again...

What with?

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SkippyBing
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Re: Luckily

The thunderstorm issue has been resolved, essentially until they'd proven the fuel tank suppression system there was no clearance to operate near thunderstorms. That's now been certified and in fact I'm sure they'd had at least one lighting strike before it had been signed off without the aircraft exploding. Still better safe than sorry.

Not sure about the warm fuel issue but it seemed to be something of an edge case anyway, but is due to the fuel being used as a heat sink, a la Concorde, so needs to be below a certain threshold. Most modern military aircraft have cooling issues due to trying to cram all the avionics in. Once it's in the aircraft there don't seem to be any problems.

The tailwind issue is true for most jets, why the USAF went against decades of practice by not parking the aircraft facing into wind I've got no idea. Certainly on the old old Ark Royal if a Buccaneer was parked facing the wrong way they used to have to hold a bin lid over the exhaust to stop a tail wind affecting the start.

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SkippyBing
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Re: I don't see the big problem with stopping on the way

And yet air forces frequently use their tankers to do it in one go rather than risk leaving a trail of aircraft scattered across the North Atlantic when they have a fault on start. Still I'm sure they've got no idea what they're doing.

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SkippyBing
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Re: New better technology?

'The Blackburn Buccaneers would fly to Red Flag, across the Atlantic, without refuelling. Huge range and an effective bomber.'

The Buccaneer could but its replacements the Tornado and the Sea Harrier couldn't, so I'm guessing you think they're complete failures as well?

Most trans-Atlantic crossings by tactical jets require multiple air-to-air refuellings, they often slip right by a day or two to allow for the weather, you just don't hear about it.

I can remember when people were decrying the Typhoon as an overpriced heap that was designed for the last war and should be cancelled, if we kept listening to people saying things like that we'd still be on the Sopwith Camel.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Remember the war

'There is a minor "reality" check here.

Range of 1000 miles without drop tanks or refuel.

So it either has to suck from the Private Financing Initiative Bastard or do one or more landings along the classic Lend-Lease route.'

Which is also true for Typhoon when it goes across the Atlantic, or Tornado*, it's literally why we have the tankers. So your criticism is that tactical jets don't have trans-Atlantic range**, which is true but that's mainly because carrying them much fuel would stop them being tactical jets.

*Tornado might just make it with all the overloads and good weather, but I've seen plenty of pictures of them tanking it.

**Buccaneer is the only exception I can think off but that had freakishly long range.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Which is more expendable?

Average time to train a fast jet pilot is around 4-5 years, you could get a new plane a lot quicker than that. Most fleets are purchased with extras to accommodate losses so you could in some cases get a replacement the next week.

Also it's quite hard to recruit people if you take a laissez faire attitude to them dying in preventable accidents.

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SkippyBing
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Honestly we fly aircraft across the Atlantic all the time, there were Typhoons at a Red Flag exercise in Nevada only last year. The difference with Black Buck is that there were a lot less diversion options!

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SkippyBing
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Re: Carriers??

'I believe the US have been more picky about this in the past, until selecting the F35C.'

The USN seem to go in phases with this, ignoring anything before '45 when it was all single engine they had a lot of single engine jets in the '60s and '70 such as the F-8 Crusader, A-4 Skyhawk, and A-8 Corsair. Then in the late 70s/80s they went all twin jet for some reason.

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SkippyBing
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Re: "It won't"

Worth mentioning the accident rate for single engined fighter is actually lower than that for twin engined ones. Effectively you've doubled the points of failure and if the aircraft is heavily loaded the second one really just increases the area you're likely to crash in.

No idea where you're getting the idea the Lightning F6 has better range than the F-35B from. Ferry range for the Lightning F6 is 800NM, for the F-35 is 900NM+. The F6 only has an advantage if it takes its ridiculous over wing tanks. And you can find a flying one.

Similarly you're accusations about the helmet appear to be made up on the basis that they haven't broken lots of dummies during the seat trials.

Also worth noting the F-35 has to date flown more hours without a fatality than any other fighter aircraft programme. And none of the engine failures have had anything to do with the vertical lift fan so you're criticism of that appears unfounded, in fact the F-35B seems to have less engine problems than the A or C according to one report. http://uk.businessinsider.com/f-35-engine-problems-2015-4

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SkippyBing
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Re: Carriers??

You could but that would tie the programmes even closer together than they are. i.e. the aircraft coming over as part of 617 Sqn are working up to initial operating capability (IOC) in the land role and won't really have anything to do with the carrier for a few years yet. The aircraft conducting the carrier trials later in the year are part of the Joint Test Squadron and won't have anything to do with achieving land IOC.

So using the carrier to ferry them across would delay the land IOC by ~6 months and add nothing to the carrier trials.

Alternatively you could just put them on any old cargo ship to cross the Atlantic, but that means stripping them down and giving them some sort of environmental protection, which again would delay things.

Worth remembering most (all?) the UK's Phantoms were flown across the Atlantic before joining the old, old, Ark Royal, so this isn't exactly a new phenomena.

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SkippyBing
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I believe there may be a transport aircraft with an air drop-able life raft as an alternative to the one man raft that comes with the ejector seat. Other than that careful routing to take the shortest distance while remaining in cover of air sea rescue. This isn't a major disadvantage as the route should also allow aircraft to divert to a suitable airfield in the event of a problem with the air-to-air refuelling which will often coincide with an air sea rescue base.

My understanding is that they generally plan on no aircraft going below ~50% fuel to give a decent diversion range and a bit spare for a contingency. This does mean they have to refuel more often than you'd expect if you just used the basic range figure. Obviously having a thunderstorm in the way makes it a lot harder to guarantee you'll manage that.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Remember the war

They also lost a lot of aircraft following that route, now at the time there was a war of national survival going on so it was a risk worth taking, these days not so much.

Not to mention we've been doing non-stop crossings of the Atlantic for decades now with and without Voyager, it's a lot quicker than landing and taking off several times on the journey and reduces the likelihood of something not working after you've turned the plane off.

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Don’t talk to the ATM, young man, it’s just a machine and there’s nobody inside

SkippyBing
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Re: Reminds me of JAFO

'I cannot remember which book it was but certainly a autobi graph of one of the WW2 pilots, maybe winkle brown'

That may have been Mike Crosley's 'They Gave me a Seafire' which definitely has a chapter on it, along with getting confused for FW-190s as having removed the wing tips to get a faster roll rate they didn't have the Sea/Spitfire's distinctive silhouette. Definitely worth a read if you haven't already.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Reminds me of JAFO

The term Observer dates back to the first military aircraft, the pilot would drive the thing while the Observer literally observed the fall of gunfire and called corrections back to the ship/artillery battery. The RAF used the term up until I think WW2 when they introduced navigators, it generally being felt by those who'd qualified as Observers that navigators were less skilled due to the reduced training involved.

As stated the Fleet Air Arm still uses the term for the god like being doing all the tactical work and achieving military effect with the aircraft, although there isn't a huge amount of observing the fall of shot anymore. You do get trained in it though which is fun.

Yes, yes I do have a cap with JAFO on...

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British egg producers saddened by Google salad emoji update

SkippyBing
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Re: Pointless emojis

'We don't need one for every single thing. I almost feel nostalgic for the days we had to type them ourselves.'

These days I just find it easier to type 'raised eyebrow face' or 'egg salad emoji' rather than spend 10 minutes scrolling through all the options. It's like they're trying to reinvent the impracticality of hieroglyphics or Chinese.

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UK military may recruit wheezy, alcoholic keyboard warriors

SkippyBing
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Re: Pay?

It is quite hard scrapping by as part of the 10%, but I tried a real job and it didn't seem much fun.

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SkippyBing
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Pay?

So if they're non-deployable presumably they'll be paid less? Nominally 15% of service pay, known as the X-factor*, is for the embuggerance of service life i.e. getting two weeks notice that you're going to live in a desert/on a ship for six months.

It's not just theoretical either, Full Time Reserve Service pays different rates of X-factor depending on how deployable you are. Don't want to get deployed, find a Home Commitment job and take a 15% pay cut**.

*From before that was a thing with Simon Cowell.

**I know it's not 15% both ways but I can't be bothered with the maths.

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NASA spots asteroid on crash course with Earth – with just hours to go

SkippyBing
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I don't understand

"It is also only the second time that the high probability of an impact was predicted well ahead of the event itself."

So they're calling a few hours well ahead of the event? I mean it can take me that long to wake up in the morning so I'm not convinced it's that useful a time span.

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UK mobile operator Three launches Superdrug Mobile MVNO

SkippyBing
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CK Hutchison is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing

Sounds like the whole family will be Ka-Shing in.

Thank you, I'm here all week...

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Your F-35s need spare bits? Computer says we'll have you sorted in... a couple of years

SkippyBing
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If it's anything like the UK the problem is they haven't upgraded the internet connection to the base since the days of dial-up, despite adding more and more online management systems.

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SkippyBing
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Re: Logistics software?

Do not underestimate the military's problems with logistics, generally when the budget gets cut the easiest/only way to make the necessary savings is to not buy the spares. When combined with buying into a just-in-time procurement policy invented by Japanese companies making more cars in a day than you have aircraft then you're setting yourself up to fail.

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Artificial intelligence... or advanced imitation? How DeepMind used YouTube vids to train game-beating Atari bot

SkippyBing
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'These sorts of rewards are therefore described as sparse: each of the steps involved to obtain the reward appears to achieve very little'

So kind of like real life then? But over generous with the rewards.

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MH370 search ends – probably – without finding missing 777

SkippyBing
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Re: Someone probably knows where it is/was

' They also didn't want to admit that just maybe the staff who were supposedly tracking all these potentially hostile targets just maybe were actually asleep at the wheel and therefore didn't notice anything at the time anyway.'

Surprisingly few people are looking for hostile targets flying across the Indian Ocean, on account of there being nothing there to be hostile to. If they find it in the middle of the GAFA, that would be embarrassing, but as it doesn't appear to have even got within radar range of Australia's west coast how are they supposed to have tracked it?

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SkippyBing
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'You can't find something that someone didn't want found.'

Anti Submarine Warfare is literally all about doing that.

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New UK drone laws are on the way – but actual Drones Bill still in limbo

SkippyBing
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Re: Badly reported, or badly done?

'I also disagree with putting the matter under the auspices of the CAA who - speaking frankly - are motivated to do what they can to ruin drones'

Don't take it personally, they're trying to legislate most forms of aviation into non-existence. It's safer that way.

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