Category Archives: Military

John P. Craven, 90, Pioneer of Spying at Sea, Dies

john p craven

I served on submarines in the US Navy during the cold war. John P. Craven, a former Navy scientist whose innovations in ocean technology and exploration led to some of the nation’s most celebrated feats of espionage, died on Feb. 12 in Hawaii. He was 90. The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease, his family said.

From 1959 to 1969, as chief scientist of the Special Projects Office, Dr. Craven led the Navy’s drive to expand its presence into the crushing depths of the sea. Among other things, he turned submarines into spy machines that could reach down miles to inspect and retrieve lost enemy matériel, including nuclear arms.

Read the full story on NYTimes.

RIP John.

Upgrading the Dogs of War

war dog

The BBC Science goes to North Carolina to get rare look inside one of the US Military projects to counter the threat of roadside bombs. North Carolina has a centuries old reputation for producing some of the best trained dogs and it’s here that the military is investing in “Jason Bourne” type pooches to help take up the cause of finding mines and roadside bombs.

The BBC report…

A Must See GI Joe Fan film

This is a very cool fan film of the GI Joe franchise, how fans probably really want the story to proceed. And the production quality is surprisingly good for a fan film! I’m subscribed to the youtube feed to keep track of new episodes because I was left with a desire for the story to keep going…that’s a good sign. Smile I’m going to donate to the effort to help encourage more.

You can find more information at their website  and at their Facebook page.

Backdoor to Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner Computer System?



Researchers claim the chip used in military systems and civilian aircraft has built-in function that could let in hackers. The chip in question is ProASIC3 chip , it’s used in medical, automotive, communications and consumer products, as well as military use. Among applications where it’s used are remote surveillance systems, drones, and for flight-critical applications on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Good god, this is all we need to worry about now for possible terrorist attacks that no longer need to penetrate physical security to down a plane, now all they need is a really good hacker.

Read more at the Guardian.

Another New Military Aircraft Mistaken for UFO

From Wired’s Danger Room:

Note to the Navy: When trucking a giant flying robot with a rounded fuselage across the country, people are going to think they’re looking at an artifact from Area 51.

As the local news coverage above shows, residents of Cowley County, Kansas, were freaked out to see a truck rumbling down U.S. 77 towing what looks a whole lot like a 32-foot spaceship. “People were calling in saying, ‘Oh they think they found a flying saucer,’” Donetta Godsey of the Winfield Daily Courier told the ABC News affiliate

If I saw this I wouldn’t think it was a UFO because surely the gov’t has been doing an outstanding job keeping their alien discoveries suppressed from the public view and they wouldn’t have been stupid enough to truck it through a town in broad daylight….or would they?


Royal Navy Completes Windows for Submarines™ Rollout

Windows for Submarines (clicky)

Windows for Submarines is the program undertaken by the Royal Navy and BAE Systems to equip the nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet with a Windows-based command system.  The transition to the Windows for Submarines command system on HMS Vigilant, a Trident nuclear missile submarine, was completed in just 18 days. BTW, Windows for Submarines is not the official name of the program, it’s Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG). It’s considered “Next Generation” because it’s the first time that commercial PCs and off the shelf software are being used for a system that is at the heart of the submarine’s mission.

From the Register:

The Royal Navy and BAE Systems plc were pleased as punch yesterday to announce that their implementation of Windows for Submarines™ is complete ahead of schedule. Windows boxes on Ethernet LANs are now in control of the UK’s nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet.

The comments on the Register story are pretty good, here’s one of my favorites:

It looks like you are trying to launch a nuke. Are you sure?


You do not have to correct permissions to launch this application. Please log in as the Administrator

**Clickety Click**

It looks like you are trying to launch a nuke. Are you sure?

**Click Click**

trident_nuke.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. Sorry for any inconvenience. Do you want to send an error report to Microsoft?

Military Bans YouTube, Launches TroopTube


Last year the military banned service personnel from posting videos to Youtube. Apparently some not so nice things or classified things were on full display for the public. And as we all know by now, the public is not to be trusted. Hey, I don’t trust you, why would the military?

In any case, today the troops have their own video hosting web service, TroopTube:

Not too many videos are up yet, I’m looking forward to some Submarine vids, in the meantime here’s one from a pair of wives with a shoutout to their men in 3rd Brigade 133 Cavalry.

(MSNBC) The U.S. military, with help from Seattle startup Delve Networks, has launched a video-sharing Web site for troops, their families and supporters, a year and a half after restricting access to YouTube and other video sites.

Whatever Happened to the First Law of Robotics?


Who would have thought that a blog on ‘Export Law’ would have as a blog article among some of the more geeky and (at least to me) interesting topics out there.

It’s got Isaac Asimov, robotics, military, mobile gadgets and Wall-E the trash robot.

The author, Clif, brings up a good point on what may be sort of a “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy by the robot manufacture wrt how their bots may be used. Could be in a military capacity or for rescue or contamination clean-up, I guess it depends on how it’s configured in the field?

Wasp Injector Knife


I’ve been seeing a lot of versatile weapons being introduced lately, but the coolest one by far in my opinion is the Wasp Injector Knife made by Wasp Injection Systems, Inc.  Toted as the penultimate bladed weapon of choice for military and tactical use, this knife has a notch cut into the top of the blade connected to a tiny tube and a cartridge of compressed gas.  At the press of a button, the compressed gas is ejected from the notch in just under 2 seconds!


This weapon injects a frozen ball of compressed gas approximately the size of a basketball at 850psi nearly instantly. The effects of this injection will drop many of the world’s largest land predators. The effects of the compressed gas not only cause over-inflation during ascent when used underwater, but also freezes all tissues and organs surrounding the point of injection on land or at sea.


Wow.  How cool is that?  I’d definitely get one of these 😉

Search For The Titanic Was a Cover For Secret Cold War Sub Missions

Scorpion Submarine

Almost unbelievable, but still, here it is: <snip>

When Bob Ballard led a team that pinpointed the wreckage of the liner in 1985 he had already completed his main task of finding out what happened to USS Thresher and USS Scorpion.

Both of the United States Navy vessels sank during the 1960s, killing more than 200 men and giving rise to fears that at least one of them, Scorpion, had been sunk by the USSR.

Dr Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he located and inspected the wrecks for the US Navy in top secret missions before he was allowed to search for the Titanic.

Times Online has the full story.

BTW, the pic above is the USS Scorpion, it was the sister ship to the first sub I served on. They were part of the Skipjack class of boats and they were pigs, but I say that with love and with fond memories.

Satellite Shoot-Down Set: Intercept Near Hawaii; Debris Cloud Over Canada

Oh dear. The Danger room has all the gory details and the possible plans to take down the rogue satellite USA-193 on a death dive to Earth and a tank full of toxic fuel. It looks like the satellite’s momentum at the time of the shoot is taking it over Canada at 10:30 EST.

Let’s imagine worst case scenario here: The missile doesn’t get a good hit, the bird is winged, still contains exotic fuels and comes down over Canada as a result of this shoot, spraying the northern part of the continent with toxins. In that case, as reparations to the Canadians, should the USA give them Alaska to move to? After the oil has been pumped out of course, but then they can have it.

 Satellite Shoot Down

So Long and Thanks For The Plankton, Or Sizzling Bacon


If you’re into ‘save the whales and hug a tree’, then The “Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi” has some FUD on the Whales vs. Navy Sonar situation and how the gov’t got smacked down, at least temporarily.

On the one hand, there’s the whole national defense thing and the easiest, bestest way to find those enemy subs sneaking up on your ports is to use active sonar. If the whales don’t like it they’ll quickly learn to stay away from this ‘bad place’.

On the other hand, I used to work on submarines. At times we would play war games and the skimmer battlegroup that would basically be on top of you for hours or days on end going active with their sonar, training they called it. Torture, I called it.

Even though they easily detect you in that situation when we’re forced to remain on station and play the ‘rabbit’, the skimmer Sonar Techs got lots of good real world practice to see what the sonar returns look like with a boat at different depths, with different salinity and different water temperature while we moved through the different layers.

However, while the skimmers are going active on their sonar constantly it would drive me batshit. The incessant ringing and reverberation for hour after hour was ridiculous, keeping me from sleeping or concentrating. It was akin to something like the Chinese Water Torture where just a little bit wouldn’t bother you but that little bit applied every 2-3 seconds non-stop makes you want to pull your hair out.

Here’s some sample audio of an active sonar:

Sidebar: On the topic of undersea audio, in case you’ve never heard this before, Snapping Shrimp sound like sizzling bacon when listening through passive sonar. People never believe me until i point it out like here & here. I found those at this audio gallery on the Alpheus heterochaelis (snapping shrimp) page.

Boeing’s New Military ‘Frankentanker’ Design

Boeings Frankentanker

I’m hoping one of our military folks that reads Geeknews, specifically Rizzo, can comment on this whole affair.

The Seattle-Times is reporting that Boeing’s opponents and critics are calling their latest design proposal for the military’s new air tanker a clumsily stitched together horror of parts assembled from different models of the 767. Visit the news page to see the bigger pic of the caricature, you can see a Frankenstein bolt sticking out of it’s ‘neck’ right behind the cockpit.

Boeing is competing for the contract against the bids by Northrop-Grumman and Airbus who are combining their efforts. If you haven’t been following this tale there’s been some very interesting twists and scenarios in this hotly contested contract, not the least of which is that Airbus may become Americans since they’d end up moving some of their manufacturing plants to the United States if they win the contract! Imagine that.

The Airbus/Northrop proposal is based on the A330 MRTT, Boeing’s proposal is called the KC-767.

Hey Rizzo – you work on the KC-135 Stratotanker that is to be replaced by the winning design, do you or your team ever talk about the next big thing in air refueling like these bad boys? Do you have any preference or comments?