Feeds

Northrop offer supersonic robot stealth raygun cyber-bomber

Bells and whistles cupboard emptied in one

Intelligent flash storage arrays

American aerospace colossus Northrop Grumman has called for the US air force to purchase a hundred-strong fleet of enormous aerial stealth raiders, able to direct "netted wolfpacks" of flying kill-robots and packing "cyber warfare tools" capable of "attacking enemy information nodes". The proposed Next Generation Long Range System (NGLRS) cyberbomber is also, of course, thought likely to mount some kind of raygun.

The argument in favour of a new American superplane is made by two former US air force colonels now working as strategy-eggheads/marketeers for Northrop, Robert Haffa and Michael Isherwood. The two men have written a paper called The 2018 Bomber, which is flagged up by veteran aerospace analyst and secret-plane expert Bill Sweetman at Aviation Week.

Haffa and Isherwood say that present-day B-2 stealth bombers are old hat, and anyway there just aren't enough of them for America to truly bomb the dickens out of countries in possession of modern "double digit"* Russian air-defence missiles. They also argue that the tendency for today's strike aircraft to act more or less as flying artillery - hanging about in the sky hitting targets as required, rather than taking off with a specific objective in mind - calls for a big plane with lots of bombs in it able to lurk overhead for a long time.

So far, so boring. Not exactly the kind of mad new technology one has come to expect from the US weaponry complex. But then the two salesman-wonks start to liven things up a bit. This won't just be an ordinary bomber, but a sort of flying combo mega-WiFi hotspot and cyber weapon.

The NGLRS will also be built with an open system information technology architecture ... The NGLRS will be designed to accommodate and integrate information from a networked information enterprise that includes downlinks from space systems ... in 2007, [current Raptor superfighters] provided an equivalent of an airborne “local area network” during the NORTHERN EDGE exercise in Alaska. The NGLRS, with its greater power capacity, can be employed over a larger area and create an airborne “wide area network” to expand the information flow ... the 2018 bomber will have the size and electrical capacity to provide options for non-kinetic, cyber operations ... passive electromagnetic surveillance sensors will allow it to identify and locate signals ... the bomber’s larger antenna and greater electrical power promise improved range and capability ... Information Operations capabilities will also be integrated [providing] persistent means to sever improvised explosive device communication links, monitor an enemy’s communications, or conduct similar electronic warfare operations ...

This kind of airborne network warfare is said to have been key to the mysterious US-assisted Israeli air raid against Syria last year. It has been said that "computer to computer" techniques and "air-to-ground network penetration" methods allowed parts of the Syrian air defences to be remotely shut down, spoofed, jammed or hacked on that occasion.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.