Thursday, May 18, 2017

Aircraft Carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) - Update

After completing a round of trials with shipbuilders at Newport News Shipbuilding, the US Navy finally has its hands on the USS Gerald R. Ford, the futuristic new aircraft carrier that promises a new area of naval aviation. Now, the Navy plans to send the Ford out to sea by Memorial Day for the first round of at-sea acceptance trials.

The Ford's electromagnetic aircraft launch system, which has been plagued by development setbacks, has been criticized directly by President Donald Trump himself, who bashed the system in favor of the older, steam-powered system. "You going to goddamned steam," Trump told TIME.
The USS Gerald R. Ford 'supercarrier' is 99 percent complete the USN reports. The lead ship in the Navy's new class of "supercarriers," the $12.9 billion nuclear-powered warship can be measured in acres rather than square feet -- 4.5 acres, to be precise. It weighs 100,000 tons.

Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is 99 percent overall complete with 93 percent of the test program complete (93 percent Hull, Mechanical & Electrical, 92 percent propulsion testing, and 93 percent electronics testing). Sea trials are scheduled for March 2017, followed by "acceptance trials" and delivery in April, assuming the trials go well.
With weeks to go, the Navy's most-expensive aircraft carrier is on track to miss the service's November delivery deadline. That's the latest slip for the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford. The carrier was originally expected to be delivered in 2014 but has been beset by delays, cost overruns and technological problems with unproven, untested systems.

In June and again in July, two of Ford's electricity-generating main turbines experienced issues. As of August, the Ford was 98 percent complete. The shipbuilder had turned over 98 percent of the ship's compartments and 91 percent of the overall shipboard testing was finished. "We continue to look for opportunities to get Gerald R. Ford to sea as soon as possible,"
The USS Gerald R. Ford, the Pentagon’s largest and most advanced aircraft carrier, is two years late for delivery, $2.9 billion over budget, and is “not fit for combat.” It is the most expensive warship ever built, coming in at $12.9 billion.

Right this minute the ship can’t launch and recover aircraft, can’t mount a defense, and can’t transport bombs around the ship. In other words, the core functions of an aircraft carrier cannot be met. The Pentagon is hoping that it will all be fixed and delivered before November.

"As delivery of (Ford) approaches later this year, my concerns about the reliability of these systems remain and the risk to the ship's ability to succeed in combat grows as these reliability issues remain unresolved"
Some argue the US military budget has far less to do with defending the United States than it does to further enrich entrenched military contractors. Politicians are under intense pressure to push weapons systems that produce “jobs” for their districts. An example is the disastrously expensive F-35 fighter that is built in 45 states and several foreign countries.

Last October, the Pentagon's chief weapons tester expressed serious concerns about the reliability of key systems on the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Korea Zero Threat to US Arms Dominance

The U.S.'s overall military capabilities are unparalleled. The U.S. has one of the world's largest military budgets accounting for gross domestic product, spending roughly $618 billion a year on arms and other military capabilities. It has nearly 8,000 nuclear warheads in reserve, 13,900 aircraft, 920 attack helicopters and 72 submarines, along with 800 overseas military bases in 70 countries scattered across strategic areas throughout the world, and roughly 150,090 soldiers stationed across 150 countries. The U.S. employs about 1,066,600 soldiers. The U.S. military could soon get even bigger, as Trump has urged Congress to increase military spending next year by 10 percent, or $54 billion.
North Korea’s armed forces counts 1.19 million service members and another 7.7 million reservists. The isolated nation of 25 million people is also home to 3,500 battle tanks, 72 submarines, 302 helicopters, 563 combat aircraft and 21,100 artillery pieces, making up one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump tried to shut down an FBI investigation into one of his former aides

President Donald Trump’s White House was rocked on Tuesday night by allegations that Trump tried to shut down an FBI investigation into one of his former aides, as the administration struggled to manage a growing list of scandals. Former FBI Director James Comey detailed in a memo that Trump asked him in the Oval Office to drop the probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a request that came just one day after Trump ousted Flynn for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador.
The news sent shockwaves across Washington and adds to the controversy overwhelming the White House, which was already dealing with the fallout from Trump’s firing of Comey last week and Trump’s alleged disclosure of highly classified information to Russian officials.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Russia tries to elbow its way into Saudi Arabia arms club

Long-time U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is pushing to diversify its source of arms suppliers and the Russians are more than happy to help. Up to now, American defense companies have been the top beneficiaries of foreign arms sales to Saudi Arabia and stand to reap billions of dollars more with President Donald Trump's upcoming trip to the kingdom. Yet Moscow is intensifying efforts to capture business from the Saudis, even as it continues to sell to long-time customers such as India and China.
Last week, the Russian news agency TASS reported that Russia's deputy defense minister had a meeting with a top Saudi military official in Moscow. The Russian defense ministry played up the meeting afterward on the government's website with the headline: "Saudi Arabia wants to buy modern Russian armament." "It often conveys a very strong political message when certain meetings are announced."
The Saudis plan to increase military spending by nearly 7 percent this year. The spending, almost 10 percent of the kingdom's gross domestic product, was disclosed in its 2017 budget released in December. U.S. foreign military sales to the Saudis accounted for just over half of all arms sales to the Near East/South Asia region from 2012 to 2015, representing a whopping $48.5 billion.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Air Force's X-37B

The Air Force has a secret space robot called the X-37B. The secret space robot returned to earth last night, after almost two years in space, and it did so with a not-so-secret sonic boom in the greater Orlando metropolitan area. When the X-37B landed yesterday, it was after 718 days in space conducting “on-orbit experiments” What are those? Nobody can possibly say.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Trump turns Pussy on South China Sea?

China urged the United States to sack the head of the U.S. Pacific Command in return for exerting more pressure on North Korea amid concerns over its growing nuclear and missile threats, a source close to U.S.-China ties said Saturday. The Chinese leadership headed by President Xi Jinping made the request, through its ambassador in the United States, to dismiss Adm. Harry Harris, known as a hard-liner on China.

Since Trump took office, the sole request by US military to sail a warship close to artificial islands China has built in the contested waters has been turned down by the Pentagon.
Freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea were regularly authorized by the Obama administration, with US Navy vessels sailing within 12 nautical miles of China's artificial islands at least three times in the past year-and-a-half.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Trump warns of a 'major, major conflict' with North Korea

Donald Trump has said that a “major conflict” is possible with North Korea though he would prefer to solve the standoff over the country’s nuclear and missile programmes through diplomacy. Trump’s warning on Thursday came as a concerted effort to restrain Pyongyang from carrying out major new weapons tests was being made.

A ballistic missile launched early Saturday by North Korea in defiance of international pressure and at a time of heightened regional tensions appears to have failed. The missile blew up over land in North Korean territory. Trump cast the launch as a direct snub against China, one of North Korea's only allies and a nation seen by the Trump administration as a potential US ally in efforts to stamp out Pyongyang's nuclear program.
“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump told Reuters.

 The Chinese had warned Pyongyang, an increasingly unruly client in recent years, that it would impose punitive measures if North Korea carried out provocative tests. China refused to confirm or deny the US claim of new pressure. A foreign ministry spokesman reiterated China’s support for UN sanctions on the North but stopped short of commenting on China's plans.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Nuclear Threat of North Korea

The New York Times released a classified intelligence report which concluded that North Korea is capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks as Pyongyang threatened its sixth nuclear test in 11 years. North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, and since then four others, the three last of which generated Hiroshima-size explosions. North Korea's most recent test was in September.

Experts estimate that Pyongyang could have anywhere between 20 and 100 nuclear warheads by 2020.
North Korea is estimated to possess enough plutonium to develop about 10 plutonium-based warheads. If the country is producing highly-enriched uranium, it could be creating multiple uranium based warheads annually.
There's no way to estimate at what rate North Koreans could be developing nuclear warheads or how many nukes Pyongyang really has in it's possession.

 Reports also indicate that Pyongyang has roughly 1,000 ballistic missiles in eight varieties. The Taepodong 2 missile is the biggest concern for the Pentagon.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

U.S. starts to ‘swiftly’ install THAAD

The U.S. military started installing a controversial antimissile defense system in South Korea overnight Tuesday, triggering protests and sparking criticism that it was rushing to get the battery in place before the likely election of a president who opposes it. The sudden and unannounced move came only six days after the U.S. military command in South Korea secured the land to deploy the system, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD.

Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate who has a strong lead in polls ahead of a May 9 presidential election, has promised to review South Korea’s decision to host the antimissile battery.
China has attempted to pressure the government in Seoul not to deploy THAAD. It is concerned that the system’s powerful radar could be used to keep tabs on China, and it has imposed painful economic boycotts on South Korean companies in response.

Each THAAD battery includes at least six truck-mounted launchers that carry up to eight missiles each. They are designed to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. North Korea has bolstered the case for the system by test-firing dozens of missiles over the past year.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

North Korea stages massive military drill

The U.S. and North Korea continued their game of chicken, with both nations escalating the potential for a conflict in the Korean Peninsula by increasing military maneuvers and offering tense rhetoric.

North Korea's military held a large-scale artillery drill to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the country's army, while officials from the U.S., South Korea and Japan met in Tokyo to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
North Korea's military drill underscored that Pyongyang controls a powerful standing army despite the nation's limited financial resources. North Korea’s armed forces counts 1.19 million service members and another 7.7 million reservists.
The nation of 25 million people is also home to 3,500 battle tanks, 72 submarines, 302 helicopters, 563 combat aircraft and 21,100 artillery pieces, making up one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Monday, April 24, 2017

F-35 will take ANOTHER $1.7 billion in cost overruns - Watchdog

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Monday warning the Department of Defense against funding further software updates for the already $400 billion F-35 program until the current software becomes operational. The F-35 is already operational with the Air Force and Marine Corps, but it runs a limited version of its software, called the 3i block, which only provides 89% of the code required for full warfighting potency.

Lockheed Martin hoped to have the updated software loaded into the factory and ready to go on new jets by the end of 2017, but the GAO pegs that number at around 12 months. And while F-35 program officials admit the delay will cost an additional $532 million, GAO cites $1.7 billion in cost overruns with "approximately $1.3 billion of which will be needed in fiscal year 2018."

F-35 Gen III Helmet Mounted Display System (HMDS)
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Sunday, April 23, 2017

China tries to drive away planes with top Filipino officials

Chinese forces tried to drive away two Philippine planes carrying Manila's defense and military chiefs Friday near a Chinese man-made island.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the aircraft continued uninterrupted after Filipino pilots messaged back to the Chinese that they were flying over Philippine territory. The Chinese warned the Philippine aircraft they were entering the periphery of Chinese installations and told to avoid miscalculation.

The Philippine-claimed Thitu Island. Philippine Defense Secretray Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano and other officials flew to the island to assert the country's claim to the heartland of the disputed area where China is believed to have added missiles on man-made islands.