Monday, April 15, 2013

Drones in the desert - Woomera, South Australia

Hi all,

New drone to be tested:

As if UAP researchers hadn't enough mundane objects to sort out from the core phenomenon, now there is one more. A new drone, named Taranis (click here) is to be flown at the Woomera test range, in northern South Australia.

The "Sunday Mail" newspaper published in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, dated 14 April 2013 read:

"Ian McPhedron
Defence Writer

The most secretive piece of airspace in Australia - the RAAF run Woomera flight test range in South Australia - will make history later this year when the world's first unmanned supersonic stealth combat aircraft makes it maiden test-flight above the desert.

Extreme secrecy surrounds the joint British-French project and the drone is called a Taranis, named after the Celtic god of Thunder and built by a British/French consortium led by aerospace giant BAE systems.

Resembling an insect and using the delta-shaped "flying wing" technology favoured by modern-day stealth aircraft such as America's B-2 stealth bomber, Taranis is designed to fly above the speed of sound over long distances undetected by enemy radar to attack targets with an array of precision missiles and bombs.

Unlike current generation attack drones such as Predator and Reaper, which are used extensively to attack targets in Afganistan, Pakistan and Yemen, Taranis will carry the latest in remote defensive technology so that it can also evade missiles and hostile manned aircraft.

The Woomera restricted area has already played host to a number of world firsts, including the maiden-flight of a scram jet engine that could power aircraft to speeds of more than 8500 km/hr or Mach 7 - seven times the speed of sound. That would make future passenger jets to fly from Sydney to London in two hours.

The rocket range is the second busiest launch pad in the world after NASA's Cape Canaveral in Florida.

In 2009 BAE systems flew a propeller-driven drone known as a Mantis at Woomera. The military regularly use the range to test missiles and foreign governments use the vast test site for a variety of top-secret test missions.

The company said Taranis was designed to use the most advanced means possible of achieving low observability.

"This includes both the systems and technology inside the aircraft as well as the shape, design and finish of the exterior of the aircraft. This does mean there are aspects of the exterior design of the aircraft which remains classified," he said.

Other details such as range and top speed are also top secret.

The development of pilotless combat aircraft is controversial and many regard the risks of mistakes associated with memory humans from the kill chain as unacceptable.

Several American companies are also developing unmanned fighters and helicopters for land and sea operations.

A senior American aerospace executive told News Limited that the fifth generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being purchased by the RAAF and be the last manned fighter built in the USA."

Global Hawk:

Taranis will not be the first advanced drone in South Australian skies. The USAF flew Global Hawk drone missions between 2001 and at least 2006, out of the RAAF base at Edinburgh (click here for more on RAAF base Edinburgh.) The full story is at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-03/revealed-us-flew-drone-missions-from-australia/4236306

The missions were detected by members of the West Beach Aviation Group, who stated that the drones generally arrived and departed at night.

Although the Australian government wished to announce the flights, the USAF insisted that the Global Hawk mission remained classified.

The news item stated that even the Premier of South Australia was not briefed on the missions.

"Global Hawk's only official visit to Australia at Edinburgh was in April 2001..."

WBAG spokesman Mr Daw said, "They used a strange call sign. The Global Hawk would line up to land from 200 nautical miles out over Port Augusta."

"The Australian Defence Department now confirms US Global Hawk visited Australia, but plays down the significance of the missions."

Daw said "Sometimes a Global Hawk would go out [from RAAF Edinburgh] on two or three flights. The aircraft would climb to 60,000 feet...they had enough fuel for 30 to 35 hours, and they'd return."

"The aviation enthusiasts say they spotted 10 missions to Adelaide."

Did the missions finish in 2006?

This brings me to a curious observation of an unknown object, in 2012, by one of our local Australian UFO Research Association members.

The site of the observation was the Adelaide Gaol, in the Adelaide suburb of Thebarton, just south of the CBD. The date was 12 Feb 2012. At 0115hrs it was a calm, clear night, with no clouds; temperature was 15-16 degrees Centigrade.

Looking up at the night sky the witness saw a number of flashing/blinking lights heading in a south-westerly direction towards him. The Moon was visible in the north-east sky. The angular size of the object was estimated as half a degree.

The mystery object flew overhead, slightly to the south of the witness. It had four flashing/blinking lights under its belly, with two red lights and two whitish/yellow lights, in a square formation. No fuselage was visible. It blacked out the stars as it passed over. There was no noise associated with the object.

It travelled in a straight line, and was visible for about 75 seconds altogether. It headed south-west towards the ocean and was lost to view.

A check was undertaken of the website of Air Services Australia. At this site under Webtrak (click here) it is possible to look at and re-run the Adelaide radar returns of all aircraft with transponders, leaving and arriving Adelaide airport, Parafield and elsewhere. No aircraft appears on the radar at around 1.15am on that morning.

What this object was, remains to be seen. Was it some kind of drone which did not have a transponder, flying late at night in Adelaide skies, where there is an 11 pm to 6am curfew for non jet aircraft, meaning that the skies are very clear of other aircraft.

BAE Systems:

For more on BAE Systems click here

For a history of Woomera click here.

For information about non-defence uses of Woomera click here.

Have any blog readers, additional information about drone flights over South Australia?

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