Friday, January 12, 2018

US military has a long history of killing foes with 'entrenching tools'

Command Sgt. Major John Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, carried a shovel with him as he spoke to troops about killing the Islamic State. Troxell challenged Islamic State fighters to surrender or die and said that U.S. troops could kill them “by beating them to death with our entrenching tools.” The value of the entrenching tool, or 'etool' which is a shovel issued to soldiers and Marines, has come into the spotlight.

The Military Times Hall of Valor includes many citations for medals and awards that U.S. service members have earned for relying on their entrenching tool as a weapon of last resort.

E-Tool with Pick, Serrated Blade, No Sheath

Friday, January 5, 2018

Russia's nuclear warplane - Tupolev TU-160M2

Russia reported that the latest Tupolev TU-160 heavy strategic bomber, called "Black Swan" by Russia and "Blackjack" by NATO, would make its first flight in February 2018. The latest inception of the massive nuclear-capable warplane was designated TU-160M2.
The Tupolev Tu-160 is a supersonic, variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber.
The original TU-160 entered into service in the late 1980s. About 16 of these surviving aircraft have remained in service and were modernized in 2005 to carry long-range cruise missiles. The TU-160 along with the Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bomber and missile carrier, comprise the aerial third of Russia's nuclear triad. The other assets were ground-based and submarine-launched.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made revitalizing and revolutionizing his country’s massive military a priority of his leadership.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

US Army developing missile-loaded ‘Gremlin’ drones

The drones, named gremlins, are expected to be ready for field demonstrations early next year. America's Gremlins drone programme dates back to 2015, and was named after the mythical flying imps that British Spitfire pilots in the Second World War blamed for mechanical problems on combat missions.

Flocks of the pilotless drones could be launched from modified fighter jets, bombers, and transport planes, and will be able to return to 'the mothership' after smashing their targets. Experts believe each gremlin would cost about $700,000
Dynetics, of Alabama, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the San Diego-based developer of the Predator drone, were charged with developing models of the gremlin drone, which will have a 300-mile range and 60lb payload.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Trump slams Pakistan in first Tweet of 2018

In his first tweet of the new year President Donald Trump slammed Pakistan. "The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools," Trump tweeted Monday morning. The New York Times reported last week that the US might withhold $255 million in aid to Pakistan because of Trump's frustration.
The United States has cut both military and economic aid to Pakistan sharply in recent years, reflecting mounting frustration with the nuclear-armed country's support for the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. That frustration has dogged U.S.-Pakistan relations for more than a decade, but has spiked anew as the militant Islamic group has advanced in parts of Afghanistan that U.S. and allied forces once helped to secure.

Coupled with warming U.S. military and business relations with India, Islamabad’s strategic importance as an ally to Washington has fallen off the map. American civilian and military aid to Pakistan, once the third-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, totaled less than $1 billion in 2016, down from a peak of more than $3.5 billion in 2011.
Pakistan can turn to other sources of aid, including China. Last year the two countries launched a plan for energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan worth $46 billion. U.S. defense companies including Lockheed Martin and Boeing Co. are entering the Indian market, and the country has become the world's second-largest arms buyer after Saudi Arabia.

Friday, December 29, 2017

US sending anti-tank missiles to Ukraine

Raytheon / Lockheed Martin FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)
In a move that has angered Russia and fueled massive uncertainty over the future of the war in Ukraine, President Donald Trump has approved the sale of lethal munitions to the Ukrainian government in its fight against Russian-backed separatists. The $47 million sale includes 35 FGM-148 Javelin launchers and 210 anti-tank missiles.
The Javelin, a fire-and-forget anti-tank missile, is one of the most advanced anti-tank systems on the market due to its top-attack flight profile, and has been repeatedly requested by the Ukrainians as a way to counter Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

US military photos - November

More than 1.3 million serve in the five branches of the US armed forces.

Add in civilian employees from the US Department of Defense, and you get the world's largest employer: 3.2 million employees.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Lockheed hits F-35 delivery target despite production problems

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) said that it hit its 2017 target to deliver 66 F-35 fighter jets to the U.S. and its allies last week, despite production problems. In September and October, the U.S. Defense Department halted shipments of F-35s for 30 days after a production error allowed corrosion to form around fasteners attaching body panels to the airframe. It was the latest of several production issues that have arisen in the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. The F-35 is key for Lockheed, accounting for about a quarter of its total revenue.
During the third quarter, sales at Lockheed’s aeronautics business increased 14 percent to $4.7 billion, pulled higher by F-35 sales. The U.S. and its allies are negotiating an annual purchase of a batch of 141 planes. As of Friday, they had more than 265 of the jets already flying.

The company is scheduled to deliver about 90 jets next year and the Bethesda, Maryland-based weapons maker aims to nearly triple annual production to more than 160 jets in 2023. Lockheed shares hit an all-time high of $323.38 on Friday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Syrian Army rolls with US weapons captured from ISIS

The Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) Tiger Forces arrived in northern Hama this week with a big surprise from their previous operations. Units from the Tiger Forces were seen armed with US made weapons that were seized from the Islamic State (ISIS) during the two month long battle in Deir Ezzor.

Among the weapons are a large number of TOW missiles that were previously supplied by Washington to the rebel forces in Syria before they were later sold to the Islamic State.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

U.S. suspends aid to Somalia's military over graft

The United States is suspending food and fuel aid for most of Somalia’s armed forces over corruption concerns, a blow to the military as African peacekeepers start to withdraw this month. African Union (AU) troops landed in Mogadishu a decade ago to fight al Shabaab Islamist militants and Somali forces are supposed to eventually take over their duties.

But the United States, which also funds the 22,000-strong peacekeeping force, has grown frustrated that successive governments have failed to build a viable national army. U.S. officials are increasingly frustrated that the military is unable to account for its aid. The documents paint a stark picture of a military hollowed out by corruption, unable to feed, pay or arm its soldiers - despite hundreds of millions of dollars of support.
Between May and June, a team of U.S. and Somali officials visited nine army bases to assess whether the men were receiving food the United States provides for 5,000 soldiers. “We did not find the expected large quantities of food at any location".

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Russia to start Su-57 fighter jet production in 2018

Production of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet will begin in the Khabarovsk Region in the Russian Far East in 2018. The fighter is said to have supercruise, stealth, supermaneuverability and advanced avionics.

The Russian fifth-generation Perspective Aviation Complex of Frontline Aviation (PAK FA, also known as the T-50) fighter jet took to the skies for the first time in 2010. The cutting-edge fighter performed its first flight with a new engine on December 5.
The Sukhoi Su-57 (Russian: Сухой Су-57) is intended for a stealth, single-seat, twin-engine jet multi-role fighter aircraft designed for air superiority and attack operations. The experimental design work on Russia's most advanced fighter jet should be completed in 2019.
Per unit costs are estimated at US$50 million.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

US Weapons Industry led Global Arms in 2016

Despite a slump in the global arms industry for five consecutive years, in 2016, arms producers world over saw US$375 billion in profits, with the U.S. weapons industry claiming over half the global sales. U.S. companies' sales rose by four percent. U.S. weapons producers which claimed the largest share of sales, about 58 percent, racked up $217 billion of sales.

Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman ranked among the top five, with Lockheed Martin being the world's top arms producer.
Earlier in September, the U.S. Senate approved a US$700 billion dollar military-spending bill for 2018. The defense bill will pump nearly US$634 billion into the fiscal year 2018 for key Pentagon operations, with about US$66 billion alone for the war operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries.

Sales of arms and military services world over increased by 38 percent since SIPRI started its analysis in 2002. The researchers also noted that China's military spending "increased almost threefold between 2002 and 2016,"

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The M4: The Gun the U.S. Army Goes to War With

U.S. Army infantrymen carry a weapon whose lineage dates back to Vietnam but which has been constantly improved to become the weapon it is today. Rugged, simple and accurate, the M4 carbine is the standard infantry weapon of not just the Army but all of America’s ground forces.

The story of the M4 goes back to the mid-sixties and the early days of the Vietnam War. The Pentagon wanted a small, lightweight service rifle to replace the larger standard-issue M14.
The new AR15, or Armalite Rifle-15, was smaller, lighter and fired a smaller 5.56-millimeter bullet. A soldier carrying the AR15, later designed the M16, could carry twice as much ammunition as a soldier carrying the M14. In the early 1990s, the Army purchased a limited number of M4 carbines. The M4 had a collapsible stock and a shorter, 14.5-inch barrel, as opposed to the longer twenty-inch barrel of the M16A2. That made the weapon easier to carry in tight spaces. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan accelerated adoption of the M4.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Norway's new F35s sending data to Lockheed Martin

Norway’s new F-35 fighter jets boast an impressive array of high-tech gadgetry, but Norwegian defense officials were surprised to learn of one unadvertised feature: the pricey plane relays sensitive data back to its US manufacturer, Lockheed Martin. Major General Morten Klevar, the director of Norway’s F-35 program, has described the fabled fighter jet as “crucial to the continued modernization of our armed forces and our ability to preserve Norwegian and allied security and interests.”
Norwegian defense officials soon discovered that their fancy fleet of F-35s also automatically transmit sensitive data to Lockheed Martin’s servers in Fort Worth, Texas, after each flight.

Norway has committed to buying 40 F-35 fighter jets, and is expected to purchase an additional 12, altogether totaling NOK 67.9 billion ($8.36 billion). Some of the details surrounding the deal have already raised eyebrows. In what has been described as a “blunder of epic proportions,” it was revealed earlier in November that the pricey aircraft will be housed in tents until proper hangars can be constructed

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

'We're really winning': Trump on US military successes

President Donald Trump thanked U.S. troops for their service, assuring them "we're really winning" against America's foes. Trump told deployed military members via a video conference that they've achieved more progress in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State group under his watch than had been made in years of the previous administration. "They say we've made more progress against ISIS than they did in years of the previous administration," he said. "And that's because I'm letting you do your job."
"In a fight, you know a fight like I watch on the movies ... how good is it?" he recalled asking. "They said, 'Well, it wins every time because the enemy cannot see it, even if it's right next to it.'".

The F-35, horribly plagued by development problems and cost overruns, is in fact not invisible to people. Its stealth technology is designed to evade detection by radar and other sensors.