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Topics - Ayoshi

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Japan agency gives PH ‘A minus’ credit rating, stable outlook
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:40 PM June 11, 2020

The Philippines’ credit rating has reached the coveted “A” grade level for the first time after Japan Credit Rating Agency Ltd. (JCR) on Thursday (June 11) announced an upgrade in the country’s sovereign rating to “A-“ with a “stable” outlook.

The new credit rating was one notch higher than “BBB+” previously, while the outlook meant JCR will likely keep the rating in the near term.

While JCR—Japan’s top debt watcher—may be smaller than the top three credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings, its upgrade came at a time when the Philippines was in a recession as a result of economy-killing measures needed to stop the transmission of coronavirus.

“The ratings mainly reflect the country’s high and sustainable economic growth performance underpinned by solid domestic demand,” JCR said.

It also showed Philippine “resilience to external shocks supported by an external debt kept low relative to GDP [gross domestic product] and the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves, the government’s solid fiscal position, and a highly sound banking sector,” the rating agency said.

Currently, Philippine economic growth is “under downward pressure on the back of the impact of temporary reduction of economic activity due to the implementation of quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19,” JCR said.

Directed-energy weapons / USS Portland Conducts LWSD Test
« on: May 25, 2020, 01:31:30 PM »

USS Portland Conducts Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD) Test
23 May 2020

LWSD is a high-energy laser weapon system demonstrator developed by the Office of Naval Research and installed on Portland for an at-sea demonstration. LWSD’s operational employment on a Pacific Fleet ship is the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser. The laser system was developed by Northrup Grumman, with full System and Ship Integration and Testing led by NSWC Dahlgren and Port Hueneme. 

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The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), to include lasers, since the 1960s. DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.

Space / Solar Power satellite hardware
« on: May 25, 2020, 01:28:16 PM »
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory conducts first test of solar power satellite hardware in orbit | Army Recognition - 20 May 2020 08:31
The use of solar energy to operate satellites began at the start of the space age with another NRL spacecraft: Vanguard I, the first satellite to have solar cells. This current experiment focuses on the energy conversion process and resulting thermal performance. The hardware will provide researchers with temperature data, along with PRAM’s efficiency in energy production. This information will drive the design of future space solar prototypes.

Depending on the results, the team aims ultimately to build a fully-functional system on a dedicated spacecraft to test the transmission of energy back to Earth. The development of a space solar capability could potentially help provide energy to remote installations like forward operating bases and disaster response areas.

This flight experiment enables researchers to test the hardware in actual space conditions. Incoming sunlight travels through the Earth’s atmosphere, both filtering the spectrum and reducing its brightness. A space solar system traveling above the atmosphere would catch more energy from each of the sunlight’s color bands. “There’s more blue in the spectrum in space, allowing you to add another layer to solar cells to take advantage of that,” Jaffe said. “This is one reason why the power per unit area of a solar panel in space is greater than on the ground.”

The National Security Space Office recommended in a 2007 feasibility study to investigate solar power satellite technology. NRL’s expertise with solar-powered satellites since the late 1950s and long history as a pioneer in space, including in the development of GPS, led researchers to further explore this emergent field.

Indonesia / Indonesian PT-76 light amphibious tank
« on: May 25, 2020, 12:54:00 PM »


PT-76B light amphibious tank (Picture source Army Recognition)


Vertical Launch MICA (VL MICA) is a short range, ground based air defence system deploying the MICA fire-and-forget missile, currently the only missile in the world capable of being fitted with either a heatseeking homing head (VL MICA IR) or with an active radar (VL MICA RF).

This unique capability ensures an outstanding kill probability, even in severe IRCM-ECM environments.

Organisation of a typical VL MICA unit is based on a vehicle-mounted shelter-protected Tactical Operations Centre (TOC) also known as the Platoon Command Post (PCP). This is capable of carrying out all Command, Control and Coordination functions, including real-time engagement, mission planning, system monitoring and connection with the higher level of command.

The TOC remotely controls a tri-dimensional radar mounted on a separate vehicle and three to six vertical launcher units also mounted on vehicles.

The VL MICA system design ensures ease of deployment, facilitates integration within a global air defence network, minimizes the need for personnel and reduces the logistic footprint and Life Cycle Cost.

Unmanned Vehicles / Mosquito night navigation
« on: May 25, 2020, 12:34:35 PM »
Mosquito night navigation inspires new UAV obstacle avoidance system | Air Recognition - 19 May 2020 09:46
Nocturnal mosquitoes navigate in the dark without crashing into surfaces. When they land on humans or other animals to feed, they do it very gently in order to remain stealthy; being noticed could spell disaster. Since these nocturnal mosquitoes cannot see what they are doing with their eyes, they use a different sensory mode – mechanosensing.

Mosquitoes, and other flying animals, fly by accelerating the air around them, creating fast jets beneath each flapping wing. These jets change shape in the presence of obstacles such as the ground or walls.

Thanks to an exquisitely sensitive array of receptors at the base of the antennae on mosquitoes’ heads, called the Johnston’s organ, the mosquito is capable of detecting these changes in airflow patterns. The researchers called this “aerodynamic imaging”: it gives the mosquito a picture of the world around them even in the dark and when they cannot feel surfaces by physical contact.

The team used computational fluid dynamics simulations, based on high-speed recordings of mosquito flight, to investigate the effects of the ground and walls on airflows around the body. They discovered a trend: the Johnston’s organs on the antennae detect airflow changes very easily at low altitude, with the response diminishing at higher altitudes, until the threshold for detection is not met.

They were surprised to see that one of the locations with the largest differences in airflow patterns occurs above the head, which means that the insects’ antennae were optimally positioned to sense these changes despite being farthest away from the ground.

Aeroplane and helicopter pilots will be familiar with a phenomenon called ‘ground effect’ which tends to come into play when very close to the ground, usually noticeable at an altitude lower than two wing lengths.

Using their new data, the researchers predicted the maximum distance at which the Culex mosquito can detect surfaces: more than 20 wing lengths, which is far larger than the expected distance for detection based on existing aerodynamic models.


China Warns Australia It Could Face Boycotts Over Call for an Independent Inquiry Into Coronavirus

China has accused Australia of parroting the United States in its call for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organization to determine the origins of COVID-19 and how the world responded to the emerging pandemic.

Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye used an Australian newspaper interview this week to warn that pursuing an inquiry could spark a Chinese consumer boycott of students and tourists visiting Australia as well as of sales of major exports including beef and wine.

When senior Australian diplomat Frances Adamson raised concerns about the interview, Cheng took the extraordinary step of making public his account of their telephone conversation. Cheng said he told Adamson to “put aside ideological bias” and “stop political games.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked China’s coercion and urged U.S. partner countries to also demand transparency and answers.

Dissent & Breakaway Regions / Taiwan seeks W.H.O Observer Status
« on: May 22, 2020, 11:30:47 PM »

U.S. Senate joins calls for Taiwan to regain WHO observer status

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill seeking the restoration of Taiwan’s observer status with the World Health Organization, escalating an international campaign to push back against Chinese efforts to isolate the island.

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The Senate vote Monday is part of a push by China’s critics in the U.S. and elsewhere to use the coronavirus pandemic to strengthen Taiwan’s official and unofficial diplomatic relationships. Beijing, which considers island part of its territory, has blocked its participation in the WHO since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was elected in 2016 and refused to accept that both belong to “one China.”

Space / US Space Force missile warning satellites
« on: May 22, 2020, 11:27:30 PM »
See also: U.S Space Force


Northrop Grumman to develop missile warning satellites for US Space Force
20th May 2020 - 13:00 GMT

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $2.37 billion contract modification to develop two Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) missile warning satellites for the USAF.

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The original $47 million contract covered analysis of system and payload requirements for the two polar orbiting satellites.

Military History / PAF Command/Parade vehicles
« on: May 22, 2020, 11:04:41 PM »

A modified WW2 era Dodge truck used as a parade vehicle for the Air Force Commander alongside Air Force Jeeps – PAF Aerospace Museum (April 2018)

Photo from


Boeing Stearman Model 75 basic trainer – operated by both the Philippine Army Air Corps and Air Force – PAF Aerospace Museum (April 2018)

Photo from

Military History / PAF Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw (S-58)
« on: May 22, 2020, 10:52:19 PM »

Alongside the S-62B is a less luxurious and more utilitarian Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw (S-58), which was used by the PAF as a troop transport and utility helicopter for aerial photography, mapping and intelligence gathering work from 1969 to 1974. They were also used by the 505th Air Rescue Squadron from 1969 to 1980.

Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw (S-58) transport helicopter – PAF Aerospace Museum (April 2018)

Photo from

Military History / PAF Beechcraft T-34 Mentor trainer aircraft
« on: May 22, 2020, 10:24:40 PM »

A T-34 Mentor jet plane possibly confusing the captain of the MV Karagatan by circling around the trawler.

Photograph from Francis Karem Elazegui Neri via

See Also:
* Martial Law Anniversary (1972)
* The legacy of Martial Law


How one ship might have changed the course of the Marcos Regime
Dec 11 2018

Editor’s note: Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army, asked for arms and monetary support from China’s communist Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. Famed geologist and left-wing revolutionary Rolando Peña navigated the MV Karagatan, a wooden-hulled boat consigned to carry arms from Fukien to the Philippines in 1972. The arms landing was intercepted by the Philippine military. A second arms landing was undertaken in 1974, this time aboard a ship called the MV Andrea. Peña was aboard the ship when it hit the Pratas reef near Hong Kong and Taiwan, and a series of almost comical misfortunes befell the beleaguered crew. Below is his account of events as they unfolded.

(Rolando Peña, arguably the country’s most important geologist and a key figure in the Communist movement against Ferdinand Marcos, passed away on November 30, 2018.)

We were on a boat towards the Asian Mainland, this reef on the South China Sea. There were strong winds, and gray skies. The captain got seasick on the second day, and we were left on our own to steer the boat to its destination, but were told especially not to touch the reefs. But there seemed to be a siren song borne by the winds that blew us smack into the Pratas reef, 170 nautical miles southeast of Hong Kong. Only a siren song—no sirens. Ulysses would have been disappointed. This jolt engineered by the gods was probably meant to cure the captain of his seasickness because he was suddenly up and about.

We were advised not to touch the reefs. Especially not the [Pratas] reef, a dot on the map! The boat was tilted precariously on the edge of the reef—we could hardly walk fore and aft, starboard and port.

As fate would have it, a scavenger ship from Hong Kong came by to get steel plates from a big wreck on Pratas reef. So, we were installed in a corner of the Falcon while the Hong Kong crew cut the steel plates away. One day, as they cut away with an acetylene torch, they ignited a fuel container and a gust of wind set a fire whirling through the hull. We all scampered to safety. When the fire subsided, a few of us went aboard to check our things. But another gust of wind set off corridors of fire. I ran across and hid in what used to be a bathroom. When the wind died down, we all fled back to safety. No injury, but I lost my eyelashes and I was spitting black mucus for a couple of days.

When the Hong Kong crew was nearing the end of their work, a ship appeared into view. There was a flash, and then a thud. They must be taking pictures. Then another flash, and another thud. They were firing cannons! As the Falcon neared, the ship started firing its machine guns. The Hong Kong crew panicked. As they tried to run for their lives, one or two got wounded. The incoming ship was the supply vessel of the Taiwanese Navy which has a base on the other side of the Pratas reef. They were doing target practice, so we were told to hoist a white sheet aboard the Falcon to let them know that there were civilian people in the wreck. The incoming ship turned back and the engineer and interpreter of the Hong Kong ship went to the Taiwanese naval base to complain. On their return, they started packing up and told us to wait for them, as they would be coming back for us. As the sun went down, we took down a lifeboat and let the sea currents take us somewhere—maybe Vietnam. But the Hong Kong crew came back and we were taken to Hong Kong.

The story for us to tell was that we were adrift in the sea because our vessel sank and we were picked up by a rescue ship. We stayed in Victoria Detention Centre in Hong Kong for a few days and were later taken to mainland China as asylum seekers.

AFP Organization, Services, and Units / Combat Camera Team
« on: May 22, 2020, 09:41:41 PM »
Brigada (The Brigade): Combat Camera Team
GMA Public Affairs
In a span of 153 days, more than a thousand soldiers have been wounded, over a hundred troops killed in action, more than 6,000 families forcibly displaced to over 30 evacuation centers, and one peaceful city is now devastated.

In the middle of intense firefight in Marawi City, two members of the Combat Camera Team of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion are extremely busy. Their mission in the frontline is to document all the operations of the Philippine Army’s combatant units. Marisol Abdurahman meets Codename Alpha and Codename Bravo who use their cameras and not their rifles as primary weapons in the war.

Meanwhile, now that the war in Marawi is over, some residents are gradually picking up the pieces in the hopes of restoring their war-torn city. Raffy Tima joins some of the internally displaced persons who dream of bringing their beloved Marawi back to life.

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