27 June 2015

Indonesian Air Force Golden Eagle

Indonesias Air Force (TNI AU) has been strengthened by new fighter jets T 50i Golden Eagle made in South Korea.

A total of 16 units or a squadron of the fighter jets were handed over by the Ministry of Defense to TNI AU during a ceremony at the military headquarters, here on Thursday, attended by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

Also witnessing the handing over ceremony were Army Chief of Staff General Budiman, Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Marsetio, and Air Force Chief of staff Marshal Ida Bagus Putu Dunia.

Indonesia has purchased 16 T 50i Golden Eagle fighter jets and all of them have completely been delivered.

Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro explained that the delivery of the fighter jets was based on a contract signed on May 25, 2011 worth US$400 million.

The T-50i jets made by Korean Aerospace would replace Hawk MK53 at the 15th Air Squadron at Iswahyudi airbase in Madiun, East Java, as combat trainers.

The aircraft, measuring 43 feet long with a wing span of 31 feet and a height of 16 feet, is actually the same of the fourth-plus generation of planes because its specification is not like the common T-50 aircraft but that of FA-50 fighter minus air radar.

The fourth generation of modern aircraft is expected to be able to train young TNI AU pilots to become guardians of the countrys air space with front line fighters such as F-16 C/D, Sukhoi 27/30 and other front line generation 4.5 including K/IFX made in Indonesia-Korea and other modern fighter jets.

This type of the aircraft would later be equipped with air radar so that it can carry out all kinds of operation missions day and night.

TNI AU chief of staff Marshal Ida Bagus Putu Dunia stated earlier that TNI AU was proud to receive the sophisticated aircraft from the government.

"The aircraft will later be operated at Iswahyudi airbase in Madiun, East Java, to replace MK53 that has been operated since 1980," he added.

He pointed out that in the future, eight of the 16 T 50i Gold Eagles will be made ready to be part of the "Blue Eagle" Jupiter Aerobatic Team that TNI AU once had.

The commander of Squadron 15th Wing 3 of Iswahyudi air force base, Lt Col Wastum commented that he was proud to be given an opportunity to fly T 509 Golden Eagle, which is very sophisticated, equipped with a digital avionic, armament and radar warning receiver systems, such that it will be able to detect the presence of enemies coming from all directions.

Indonesian Air Force F-16C/D Block 52ID

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Nov. 16 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Indonesia for the regeneration and upgrade of 24 F-16C/D Block 25 aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $750 million.

The Government of Indonesia has requested a sale for the regeneration and upgrade of 24 F-16C/D Block 25 aircraft and 28 F100-PW-200 or F100-PW-220E engines being granted as Excess Defense Articles. The upgrade includes the following major systems and components: LAU-129A/A Launchers, ALR-69 Radar Warning Receivers, ARC-164/186 Radios, Expanded Enhanced Fire Control (EEFC) or Commercial Fire Control, or Modular Mission Computers, ALQ-213 Electronic Warfare Management Systems, ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser Systems, Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD), Situational Awareness Data Link, Enhance Position Location Reporting Systems (EPLRS), LN-260 (SPS version, non-PPS), and AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER or AN/AAQ-28 LITENING Targeting Systems. Also included are tools, support and test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated cost is $750 million.
The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner that has been, and continues to be, an important force for economic progress in Southeast Asia.
Indonesia desires the F-16 aircraft to modernize the Indonesian Air Force (IAF) fleet with aircraft more capable of conducting operations in the outermost border regions of Indonesia. The IAF’s current fleet of F-16 Block 15 aircraft is not capable of fulfilling that role, and the aging F-5 aircraft are expensive to maintain and operate due to diminishing resources existing to support the aircraft. The avionics upgrade will provide the IAF an additional capability benefitting security by modernizing the force structure, and enhancing interoperability by greater use of U.S.-produced equipment. Indonesia, which already has F-16 Block 15 and F-5 aircraft in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these upgraded systems.
F-16C/D Block 52ID TNI-AU

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
Indonesia requested the regeneration be sole sourced to the 309th Maintenance Wing, Hill Air Force Base, in Ogden, Utah, and Pratt Whitney, in East Hartford, Connecticut for the engine overhaul. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Indonesia.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
This notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean the sale has been concluded.

26 June 2015

Lockheed’s Airships Is Still On Track For a 2018 Delivery

Lockheed Martin announced June 16 that it would be partnering with Atlanta, Georgia-based Hybrid Enterprises LLC to sell its Hybrid Airship, which, Lockheed says, is still on track for a 2018 delivery.

Speaking from the Paris air show, Lockheed’s announcement said that Hybrid Enterprises would serve as the sole reseller of the aircraft.
The Hybrid Airship uses what Lockheed refers to as an “air cushion landing system,”a system of hovercraft-like pads that allow the airship to takeoff and land from any type of terrain, including over water. The air cushions can also grab the ground like a suction cup, making ties and ropes unnecessary.
Heather Kelso, a spokeswoman from Lockheed Martin, said in a June 16 email that she would not name any potential customers. But, she said, “our detailed studies show that the initial vehicle has the highest value in markets and locations that have very little transportation infrastructure.”
Potential customers might include those looking to carry cargo to and from remote oil and gas operations, she added.
According to Reuters, Hybrid Enterprises’ Chief Executive Rob Binns also declined to name future buyers. However, he did say that Lockheed usually only enters billion-dollar markets.
Other aircraft manufacturers are interested in building aircraft that can provide transport for the oil and gas industry. In March, Bristow, a Huston, Texas-based rotorcraft transport company, announced that it would be partnering with the Italian company AgustaWestland to develop the AW609 tiltrotor aircraft with the intent of flying to offshore drilling rigs.
In November, Lockheed projected the first deliveries of their Hybrid Airship by 2018, and it still holds this date. Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said that the project is on track to get the green light from the Federal Aviation Administration soon.
“We have completed all required FAA certification planning steps for a new class of aircraft and are ready to begin construction of the first commercial model and the completion of the FAA Type certification process,” Carvalho said. 
Carvalho said that the Hybrid Airship represents the fruits of over 20 years of research and development. The project is manly based out of Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works department.

Russian Aircraft Keep Flying Provocative Around The U.S. and Europe

Why do Russian long-range bombers keep flying close to NATO airspace?  It seems that every other week there is another incident where a NATO member country scrambles its fighters in response to Russian bombers that are flying too close for comfort. Themost recent instance of this happened over two weeks ago, when British typhoons scrambled to intercept Russian Tu-95 bombers.

To understand why this keeps happening, Aviation.com had a conversation with a Russian politics expert.
What follows is an email correspondence held with Andrew S. Bowen.  Bowen is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Boston College. He has a Master’s degree from NYU and is a contributing analyst at the political risk consultancy Wikistrat. He is also a columnist at The Interpreter, and his writings have appeared in Foreign PolicyThe AtlanticThe National InterestThe Diplomat andThe Daily Beast.
Russian aircraft keep flying provocative sorties around the U.S. and Europe.  NATO says that in 2014 their aircraft have intercepted over three times as many Russian military airplanes as in 2013. What’s going on and why?
The increased sorties are designed for two international audiences and one domestic. The domestic audience sees the return of long range strategic bomber patrols as a return to a lost historical claim to greatness that was lost in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. The sorties are a way of demonstrating that, from the Russian point of view, the period in which the West could take advantage of, and dictate to, Russia is over.
The second audiences are the smaller eastern European members of NATO and the Arctic states. The sorties are increasingly being flown over the Baltic states and are intended to send a message that ultimately boils down this: NATO will not come help you, and we, if we should so choose, can invade and occupy you. In that sense the sorties are meant to both destabilize the smaller member countries of NATO and to also sow discord amongst NATO itself, between the smaller countries nearer Russia that want increased troops presence/security guarantees, and the larger members of NATO who do not see Russia as an immediate threat and are more inclined to diplomatically negotiate with Russia (Italy, Germany etc…).
It is also really designed to assert Russia’s dominance over the arctic and the massive natural resources that global warming is starting to reveal. Russia is building and re-building airfields, search and rescue stations all over the arctic along with creating specially designed arctic warfare units, icebreakers and even a new military command to oversee the arctic. This is making Nordic countries like Finland, Sweden and Norway extremely nervous.
This turn in perception was driven not only by events internationally but domestically as well. The protests against his return to the presidency in 2011-2012 clearly shook the Kremlin.  The government says the machinations of western NGO’s and democracy promotion are merely covers to overthrow Putin’s rule, not to mention the expansion of NATO. Russia has an acute, and not unwarranted, need for Buffer zones between them and potential adversaries, thus making NATO expansion and the loss of Ukraine untenable. Putin has come to the conclusion that working with the current western-dominated international structure is not in Russia’s benefit and seeks to challenge it.
Additionally, on the back of rising oil prices, Russia has dramatically improved and modernized it military since 2008. It is not at the point where it can defeat the West in a conventional battle, but modern enough that it can show off its new toys, and even launch impressive operations (like Crimea) with the few units that are increasingly becoming modern, professional units (primarily the Naval Infantry, Airborne VDV, and Spetsnaz groupings). Part of the reason to be so aggressive now is the fear of lowered oil prices will diminish Russia’s ability to pressure its neighbors and the international community. I think alot of what is going on has to do with the mentality of we have some capabilities, we need to demonstrate them now while we have them because we may not be able to sustain this momentum in the future.
The U.S. and its allies have been demonstrating their aerial power, and the U.S. has been sending more of its attack aircraft over to Europe. Do you think this is meant to send a message to Russia? How have Western countries responded to increased aerial tensions?  
Most of the aircraft sent to Europe has been in response to Russia, and more importantly to calm our NATO partners disturbed by recent events. Most of the aircraft bombing the Islamic state are based in the Gulf region, from carriers, or also Turkey (although some are flying out of Italy).
Russia, as I mentioned before, has been spending a lot of money to introduce new modern equipment and reform its military from one that largely resembled the Soviet Union and relied on mass mobilization to staff its units and are almost continually undermanned. Despite these efforts and the political and economic support it has gotten, Russia essentially suffers from trying to make its military do everything. Due to its size, it needs an army in the West to fight a technologically advanced enemy, carry out rapid, mobile strikes (Crimea) and deal with smaller countries or insurgencies, and be prepared to fight a massive land war in the East.
The one place that Russia has traditionally excelled is in its airplanes. Russia is gradually replacing its SU-27 fleet with new and more modern Su-30 variants and especially the SU-35 which is a 4++ generation fighter. The SU-35 is a really remarkable fighter that has the ability to seriously challenge any of the warplanes that the West can field, with maybe the exception of the F-22. They are also developing a Mig-35 to replace the older Mig-29’s in service.
Despite these gradual improvements, Russia’s military industrial complex is feeling the strain of meeting all these requirements. It is maxed out at upgrading and increasing the life of older designs, most of which date from the 70’s and 80’s, while trying to produce new viable 5th generation designs.
Russia’s answer to the F-22 and F-35 is the PAK FA. Despite its impressive capabilities on paper, it has run into significant technological struggles and impediments, not to mention the fallout of a dramatically weakened economic outlook that has already had the Russian MOD reduce its planned purchases of the aircraft. Yet much of the excitement and fear over Russia’s “resurgent military” looks at the technical specs and supposes a one-on-one conflict between tanks, planes or ships, and discounts how everything has to work together (this leaves out less sexy aspects like Russia’s severe shortage of tankers for air to air refueling).
The Russian military still relies on mass conscription, leaving it woefully undermanned with competent professional soldiers able to utilize the technologies required in combat today, its designs for its modernization plans are already coming under threat due to a weakened economic climate, the multiple threats it must contend with, command and control shortcomings and a lingering inability to strategically transport units in a timely manner.  These last two things, in addition to posturing against neighboring countries, are what many of the snap exercises are designed to reduce/improve.

25 June 2015

Astronomers Found of Strong Evidence of First Generation Stars In The Universe

A bright, distant galaxy shows evidence of harboring these massive, previously purely theoretical stars that were the creators of the elements necessary to forge the cosmos we see today.
Astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) have discovered the brightest galaxy in the early universe and found strong evidence that examples of the first generation of stars lurk within it. These massive, brilliant, and previously purely theoretical objects were the creators of the first heavy elements in history — the elements necessary to forge the stars around us today, the planets that orbit them, and life as we know it. The newly found galaxy, labeled CR7, is three times brighter than the brightest distant galaxy known up to now.

Astronomers have long theorized the existence of a first generation of stars — known as Population III stars — that were born out of the primordial material from the Big Bang. All the heavier chemical elements — such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon and iron, which are essential to life — were forged in the bellies of stars. This means that the first stars must have formed out of the only elements to exist prior to stars: hydrogen, helium, and trace amounts of lithium.

These Population III stars would have been enormous — several hundred or even a thousand times more massive than the Sun — blazing hot, and transient — exploding as supernovae after only about 2 million years. But until now the search for physical proof of their existence had been inconclusive.

A team led by David Sobral from the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences, the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon in Portugal, and Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands has now used ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) to peer back into the ancient universe to a period known as reionization, approximately 800 million years after the Big Bang. Instead of conducting a narrow and deep study of a small area of the sky, they broadened their scope to produce the widest survey of distant galaxies ever attempted.

Their expansive study was made using the VLT with help from the W. M. Keck Observatory and the Subaru Telescope as well as the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The team discovered and confirmed a number of surprisingly bright young galaxies. One of these, labeled CR7, was an exceptionally rare object, by far the brightest galaxy ever observed at this stage in the universe. With the discovery of CR7 and other bright galaxies, the study was already a success, but further inspection provided additional exciting news.

The X-shooter and SINFONI instruments on the VLT found strong ionized helium emission in CR7 but surprisingly no sign of any heavier elements in a bright pocket in the galaxy. This meant the team had discovered the first good evidence for clusters of Population III stars that had ionized gas within a galaxy in the early universe.

“The discovery challenged our expectations from the start,” said David Sobral, “as we didn’t expect to find such a bright galaxy. Then, by unveiling the nature of CR7 piece by piece, we understood that not only had we found by far the most luminous distant galaxy, but also started to realize that it had every single characteristic expected of Population III stars. Those stars were the ones that formed the first heavy atoms that ultimately allowed us to be here. It doesn’t really get any more exciting than this.”

Within CR7, bluer and somewhat redder clusters of stars were found, indicating that the formation of Population III stars had occurred in waves as had been predicted. What the team directly observed was the last wave of Population III stars, suggesting that such stars should be easier to find than previously thought: They reside among regular stars in brighter galaxies, not just in the earliest, smallest, and dimmest galaxies, which are so faint as to be extremely difficult to study.

Team member Jorryt Matthee concluded: “I have always wondered where we come from. Even as a child I wanted to know where the elements came from: the calcium in my bones, the carbon in my muscles, the iron in my blood. I found out that these were first formed at the very beginning of the universe by the first generation of stars. With this discovery, remarkably, we are starting to actually see such objects for the first time.”

Further observations with the VLT, ALMA, and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are planned to confirm beyond doubt that what has been observed are Population III stars and to search for and identify further examples.

Kuwait Buys F-18 Fighter Jets From Boeing In $3 Billion Deal

Kuwait is poised to strike a deal with Boeing for 28 F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, dealing a blow to manufacturers of the Europe-built Eurofighter Typhoon that was running for the order against the American product. The deal, which is expected to be signed next week when President Barack Obama hosts Gulf leaders in Washington, is likely to keep open the St. Louis, Missouri-based production plant that was facing closure for lack of orders. The U.S. Navy, the Super Hornet's biggest customer, has fewer than 100 left on order, and there are some more planned for Australia, after which the line would shut down unless new orders come.  

"A near-term international sale would be great news for Boeing and the Navy," said Caroline Hutcheson, a Boeing spokesperson in Washington. "It's important to note that the combination of a major sale along with funding for the 12 Super Hornets in the Navy's unfunded requirements list would allow us to continue producing jets without a break in the line."

Boeing’s fighter jets have been defeated in all major international competitions lately, losing to Sweden’s Saab Gripen in razil, and France’s Dassault Rafale in India. Boeing is also hoping to strike deals with Denmark and Canada, but those are both tough sells as both are partner countries for the F-35 made by rival Lockheed Martin, and look poised to buy the Lockheed plane instead. 

Kuwait had initially opted for the Typhoon but backed off from the deal in mid-2014. It’s not yet clear if Kuwait will take the single-seat F/A-18E or two-seat F/A-18F. It does however have an option to buy 12 more as part of the contract.

The Kuwait deal will offer hope to workers that the St. Louis plant does have a future past 2017.  According to Boeing, the plant needs to produce 24 aircraft a year to break even, although a slightly lower rate could be sustained, the company said.

Leaders from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar are expected to meet the president at the White House on May 13. 

Russia Ready to Transfer Sukhoi Technologies to Indonesia

Russia reiterated its readiness on Thursday to comply with the transfer-of-technology scheme required by Indonesia should the latter opt to buy Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters to modernize its air force.

“I talked to Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu a couple of months ago. We are fully aware of Indonesian government regulations on transfer-of-technology and industrial-offset schemes,” Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Mikhail Galuzin told journalists at his residence in South Jakarta recently.

“We are ready and open for further discussion with our Indonesian partners on the feasibility of procuring Su-35s,” the 54-year-old diplomat added.

The statements came amid fierce competition from the world’s top jet fighter producers to supply replacements for the Indonesian Air Force’s (TNI-AU) aging F-5 E/F Tiger IIs.

Last week, Spanish Ambassador to Indonesia Francisco José Viqueira Niel claimed that Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters were the best choice for Indonesia to modernize its air force when it comes to technical capabilities and the transfer of technology.

The Eurofighter consortium involves four countries, namely Spain, Germany, Italy and the UK. Another strong contender is the single-engine Swedish-built SAAB Gripe; the Flanker and Typhoon are both twin-engine jet fighters.

But Galuzin talked up Russia’s military aircraft technology, claiming it was among the best in the world. This year, he added, Russia would host three international military events to showcase its advanced military technologies and capabilities.

In June, the Russian Defense Ministry will host the “ARMY-2015”, an international military technical forum. About a month later, St. Petersburg will exhibit the 2015 International Maritime Defense Show.

“In August, the MAKS 2015, or the 12th International Aviation and Space Salon, will be held in Moscow,” Galuzin said.

Currently, the TNI-AU operates a mixed fleet of single-seater Su-27s and double-seater Su-30s in the 11th squadron based at Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

In January, 2015, Indonesian Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Djundan Eko Bintoro said that, during Galuzin’s meeting with Ryamizard, the envoy had also offered Kilo Class Type 636 submarines and Mi-17 helicopters to bolster the Indonesia’s maritime defense system. 

Meanwhile Bloomberg reported that Russia’s exports were expected to drop from a record in 2015 with major programs closing and falling oil prices affecting clients such as Iran and Venezuela, consultants IHS Inc. said.

The report said, Saudi Arabia became the largest importer of defense equipment last year, surpassing India.  Inbound shipments jumped 54 percent in 2014 when Saudi Arabia also became the top trading partner with the US, the biggest exporter, Englewood, Colorado-based IHS said in a report Sunday. Saudi Arabia will import 52 percent more defense equipment this year, to US$9.8 billion, it said. The Boeing Co. was the top company exporter last year, followed by Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co., according to the report. 

F-35 Ski Jump Launch Test

THE F-35 IS the hugely expensive, and hugely complicated, fifth-generation stealth fighter jet. Perennially delayed and wildly over budget, it’s had its share of problems and rightly earned piles of criticism. So here’s some good news for once: The plane—maybe the most expensive weapon ever developed—has successfully taken off from a ski jump.

Before you start laughing, this is actually a significant milestone. The F-35 will come in a number of variants for different operational profiles (one source of complications and cost overruns), including the F-35C, designed for carrier operations with hardware allowing it to land and launch from flat-top aircraft carriers like US Navy’s Nimitz and Ford class aircraft carriers, as well as folding wings and some other accoutrements. The F-35A is a more conventional fighter meant for use by the US Air Force and other land-based air forces.
Then there’s the F-35B. It’s the short takeoff and vertical landing (STOVL) variant. It’s meant to be a replacement for the Harrier “hover jet”, and it’s able to take off from much smaller ships than the F-35C. It uses fancy hardware to aim engine thrust down, allowing the plane to take off and land at much slower airspeeds or even completely vertically, helicopter-style.
See, full-size aircraft carriers like the American Nimitz class—with longer runways and catapults to make taking off feasible—are incredibly expensive, and many of our allies can’t justify the cost. Instead, they build smaller carriers with ski jump-like ramps at the end to assist planes in taking off.
The upward-sloped ramp at the bow simultaneously launches the aircraft upward and forward, allowing planes to take off with more weight onboard and with less speed than horizontal launch systems. Basically it’s about saving money, because the ship can be a lot smaller and thus cheaper to build and run. They’re used by navies around the world, including those of Britain, Australia, China, India, Italy, Russia, and Spain. The British, Italians, and Australians are all considering the F-35B. The US Marine Corps has committed to buying a number of them as well.
Last week, a BAE Systems (one of the main contractors on the F-35) test pilot successfully flew the F-35B off a ski jump for the first time at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.
To make the process easier, the F-35B automatically adjusts control surfaces and nozzles for takeoff, allowing the pilot to focus on other things—and again showing how freaking complicated this thing is. If you look at the rear of the plane, you can see the thrust vectoring nozzles on the main engine pointing downward to mix lift and propulsive thrust, helping the plane get airborne.
We’re sure the myriad companies involved in building the F-35B will get it all figured out (eventually), and that it’ll be awesome once they do. But boy is it costing a lot of money. Depending on who you ask, the whole F-35 program will cost more than $350 billion over its lifetime (it got started in 2006), so it’s really important that it, you know, work. This test is one small step in making sure it does.

Starving Milky Way Black Hole Gorges on Companion Star

The massive Milky Way black hole has not dined so spectacularly on material streaming off its companion star since 1989, the European Space Agency reports.

The viewing is spectacular for those equipped with X-ray and gamma ray optics -- not so much so for the amateur astronomers forced to gaze out in the visible light band that is blind to the bright flashes.
For more than a week, the professionals have been taking advantage of the opportunity to witness one of the most extreme activities in the universe unfolding just 8,000 light years away in the constellation Cygnus with a collection of deep space, International Space Station and ground-based observatories.
"The behavior of this source is extraordinary at the moment, with repeated bright flashes of light on time scales shorter than an hour, something rarely seen in other black hole systems,'' Erik Kuulkers, project scientist for the European Space Agency's deep space Integral observatory, notes in the ESA summary. "In these moments, it becomes the brightest object in the X-ray sky, up to fifty times brighter than the Crab Nebula, normally one of the brightest sources in the high-energy sky.''
The celestial feeding frenzy was detected June 15 by the Burst Alert Telescope on NASA's 11-year-old Swift satellite. A gamma ray burst automatically triggered the attention of Swift's X-ray optics. An X-ray flare in the region soon caught the attention of the six-year-old  Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image investigation, or MAXI, sensor on the Kibo Japanese Experiment Module of the ISS.
Alerts from the two space X-ray monitors triggered a worldwide observing campaign using telescopes equipped to study V404 Cygni at multiple  wavelengths. ESA's 13-year-old Integral gamma ray observatory joined the effort on June 17.
The fireworks come from material that has been pulled away from the companion star by the black hole's gravity. It accumulates in a disk surrounding the black hole until reaching a critical point that triggers a periodic feeding frenzy.
After the 1989 feasting,  astronomers were able to gauge the black hole's mass at 12 stellar masses, the companion star's at half the mass of the sun. That outburst was detected by Japan's Ginga X-ray satellite and similar sensors aboard Russia's former Mir space station.
At that time, scientists were still struggling to confirm the existence of black holes.
By combing through past observations with optical telescopes, experts believe there is evidence of similar outbursts in 1956 and 1938.
This time, equipped with the latest and largest radio and optical sensors, astronomers plan to monitor the action at V404 Cygni well into July to gather clues as to what triggers the disk material to shine brightly before spiraling into the black hole.