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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Impossible to predict costs of F-35 : UK politicos

Rapidly rising costs may force the Ministry of Defence to cut its planned order of 138 stealth jets.
MPs on the Commons defence committee heard it was impossible to accurately forecast the costs of the F-35.

Britain has already signed a contract for the first batch of 48, which are estimated to cost £9.1bn by 2025, including training and maintenance. Now it would be “imprudent” and “misleading” to even give an estimate for the cost of the rest.

Friday, November 17, 2017

S-500: Russia's Super Weapon

The Russian military expects to receive the first examples of the new Almaz Antey S-500 air and missile defense systems. The new weapon—which will form the upper tier of Russia’s layered integrated air defense system—is expected to be able to engage targets at altitudes of about 125 miles—or 660,000 feet. That means that S-500 will be able to engage targets such as incoming ballistic missiles in space at ranges as great as 400 miles.
The S-500 is expected to able to detect and simultaneously attack up to ten ballistic missile warheads flying at speeds of 23,000 feet per second. It is also designed to use hit-to-kill interceptors, a design like Lockheed Martin's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
The S-500 is so capable that many U.S. defense officials worry that even stealth warplanes like the F-22, F-35 and the B-2 might have problems overcoming them.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

North Korea says Trump should be ‘sentenced to death’ for insulting Kim Jong Un

The ever-escalating war of words between the United States and North Korea got dialed up when an editorial in a state-run newspaper called President Trump a coward who deserved the death penalty.

“The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership. He should know that he is just a hideous criminal sentenced to death by the Korean people.”

Most senior American officials who stop in South Korea spend at least a couple of hours in the DMZ.
The editorial also mocked Trump for skipping a visit to the Demilitarized Zone, a 2.5-mile-wide and 160-mile-long strip that divides North and South Korea. “He was just too scared to face the glaring eyes of our troops.”

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency called Trump a “lunatic old man” who was “lost to sense.” The outlet also urged Americans to oust Trump and suggested that he had “begged for nuclear war.”

Sunday, November 12, 2017

US and South Korea launch major war drills

The US and South Korea launched a military drill involving three American aircraft carrier strike groups in a massive show of force that drew the anger of rival North Korea. The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Nimitz, and USS Theodore Roosevelt converged in the region for the four-day manoeuvres, also involving 11 American Aegis vessels and seven South Korean warships. North Korea's foreign ministry issued a statement describing Trump's trip as "a warmonger's visit for confrontation. It is also nothing but a business trip by a warmonger to enrich the monopolies of the US defence industry by milking the moneybags from its subordinate 'allies'."

Friday, November 10, 2017

Trump is weapons 'salesman-in-chief'

For US defense contractors, Donald Trump is looking like a salesman-in-chief right about now. In the space of two days, Trump has urged the leaders of Japan and South Korea, as well as the US Congress, to spend heavily on the expensive systems offered by the likes of Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Boeing ... all in the name of defending against North Korea. “It’s a lot of jobs for us and a lot of safety for Japan.” In Japan, the first stop in a trip through Asia, Trump sold Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe. Trump mentioned F-35 fighter jets, missiles, and missile-defense systems.

Also yesterday, Trump asked US lawmakers for an additional $4 billion to spend on missile defense to counter the North Korea threat.
Today, Trump traveled to South Korea. In a press conference, he said that South Korea had agreed to order “billions of dollars” of military equipment, and drew the connection again to jobs for Americans.

“We make the greatest military equipment in the world,” he said in Japan. “There’s nothing close.”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

U.S. Navy's New Super Frigate: Littoral Combat Ship

The US Navy is now finalizing the weapons, sensors and technologies it plans to engineer into a new, more survivable and lethal Littoral Combat Ship variant designed to perform anti-submarine and surface warfare functions at the same time.

The new ship, called a Frigate, will be integrated with anti-submarine surface warfare technologies including sonar, an over-the-horizon missile and surface-to-surface weapons such as a 30mm gun and closer-in missiles such as the Hellfire. The littoral zone is the part of a sea, lake or river that is close to the shore. In coastal environments the littoral zone extends from the high water mark to shoreline areas that are permanently submerged. It always includes this intertidal zone.
USS Independence in 2009The new Frigate is slated for delivery to the Navy by 2023; the platform is an outgrowth of the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship effort which originally planned to build 52 shallow-water multi-mission ships.

The Independence class is a class of littoral combat ships built for the United States Navy. The hull design evolved from a project at Austal to design a 40 knot cruise ship. That hull design evolved into the high-speed trimaran and the Independence class was then proposed by General Dynamics and Austal as a contender for Navy plans to build a fleet of small, multipurpose warships to operate in the littoral zone. Two ships were approved, to compete with Lockheed Martin's Freedom-class design.
The emerging Frigate ship will also be equipped with next-generation and stronger electronic warfare technologies far greater than the existing LCS and comparable to current Navy Cruisers and Destroyers. In addition the ship will be configured to accept and integrate new technologies and weapons as they emerge such as lasers and rail guns.

The Navy's focus on anti-piracy, counterterrorism, ensuring freedom of navigation and a technique they call Visit, Board, Search and Seizure means the new ship will have seven 11-meter rigid inflatable boats for combat or expeditionary missions.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Pentagon Discloses New Quality Glitch on Lockheed's F-35 Jets

The Pentagon’s F-35 program office is weighing how to fix to a newly discovered glitch in the fighter -- the military’s most expensive program -- that halted deliveries of the Lockheed Martin Corp. plane for 30 days. Discovery of the flaw came after the Pentagon already has taken delivery of about 250 F-35s to date. Upkeep of the F-35 fleet will become more challenging as the Pentagon prepares for what the manager of the program has called a “tsunami” of new production toward an eventual planned U.S. fleet of 2,456 planes plus more than 700 additional planes to be sold to allies.

The fastener example is another instance of the potential maintenance burden on the program.

Monday, October 30, 2017

U.S. Army Rushing New Weapons to Afghanistan - Super Bazooka

The U.S. Army is fast-tracking acquisition of more than 1,000 upgraded, lightweight shoulder-fired weapons able to destroy enemy targets hidden behind rocks, trees and buildings. The weapon is an upgraded variant of the Army’s Multi-Role Anti-Armor, Anti-Personnel Weapons System, or MAAWS - a reusable, recoilless shoulder-fired conventional weapon. The Army has approved a requirement for 1,111 M3E1 units. The M3E1 is compatible with intelligent sighting systems for firing programmable rounds. The weapon includes an airburst capability with its High Explosive, or HE, round.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

F-35 a 'nonfunctional, money-sucking nightmare'

There's no end in sight to the unkind words about the 5th generation 'flying toaster'. Latest are the bugs in its ejector-seat mechanism that are ready to decapitate the pilot should said pilot have to exit the toaster suddenly.

The most recent suggests the entire F-35 project ultimately will cost US taxpayers $1.53 trillion over the aircraft's 60-year lifetime. Overrun so far is $35 billion of a total cost of $406.5 billion. The time to repair a part is averaging 172 days, with the new jets being "unable to fly about 22 percent of the time.”
The F-35B, the Marine Corps version of the fighter that’s scheduled to begin ship deployments next year won’t have the required maintenance and repair capabilities at sea at all.

Reports say the jets cannot launch vertically without a 'skijump' for assistance because they are too heavy, even when not carrying weapons.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Classless Monkey Donald Trump calls war widow a liar

Taking to his favorite medium, Twitter, on Monday morning, Trump in so many words accused a gold-star widow of lying about the conversation they had after her husband's death in Niger. The grieving Myeshia Johnson, wife of the late Sgt. La David Johnson, broke her silence about the now-infamous phone call she received from Trump offering condolences. she told ABC's Good Morning America that the call from Trump left her "very upset and hurt; it made me cry even worse." She confirmed that Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson recalled the call correctly. She said Trump didn't even know her husband's name.
Normal people, people with a sense of decency and compassion or even aware sociopaths, would find a way to beat a respectful retreat at this point. Not Trump. He has gone on the attack against any and all that call him out on his lies.

Admitting fault or asking forgiveness are not a part of the Trump mental empire.
Meanwhile it has been revealed Trump has played golf on one of every four days of his presidency. He has logged his 75th appearance on the grounds of one of his golf courses since he entered the White House in January.

The US Secret Service has reportedly spent at least $137,505 renting golf carts to protect the President at his private clubs as he plays golf.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

US Abrams tanks sway the battle in Kirkuk

U.S. M1A1 Abrams tanks supplied to the Iraqi Army provided an asymmetrical advantage over Kurdish Peshmerga and security forces during the battle of Kirkuk, according to witnesses. In 2003 Kurds reclaimed the oil rich city, but that unraveled in lighting speed on October 16, when Iraqi forces led by U.S.-supplied Abrams tanks spearheaded towards the K1 airfield and an industrial zone just south of the city. Iraqi convoys were led by Abrams tanks, followed by Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, in U.S. Humvees and trucks. The convoy that struck the industrial complex just south of Kirkuk had five Abrams tanks in it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Trump to soldier's widow - "he knew what he signed up for"

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said a Florida congresswoman "fabricated" an account of him telling the widow of a soldier killed in an ambush in Niger that her husband "knew what he signed up for." Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson said she was in the car with Myeshia Johnson on Tuesday on the way to Miami International Airport to meet the body of Johnson's husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, when Trump called. Wilson said she and others heard part of the conversation on speakerphone.
In yet another early morning tweet Trump said ... "Democrat Congresswoman totally fabricated what I said to the wife of a soldier who died in action (and I have proof). Sad!" Trump wrote without specifying what proof he had. No 'proof' has been forthcoming.

Wilson stood by her account, telling CNN on Wednesday that "the president evidently is lying, because what I said is true." Wilson said she and others in the car with Johnson heard Trump. Wilson said, "He doesn't even know how to sympathize with people. We're grieving. This is a grieving community. ... It's disgraceful for him to even tweet about this. And as I say, this gentleman has a brain disorder and he needs to be checked out."

Saturday, October 14, 2017

309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group - AMARG

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), often called The Boneyard, is a United States Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility in Tucson, Arizona.

AMARG takes care of more than 4,400 aircraft, which makes it the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world.


The hard soil makes it possible to move aircraft around without having to pave the storage areas.
AMARG was established in 1946 as the 4105th Army Air Force Unit to house B-29 and C-47 aircraft. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was chosen because of Tucson's low humidity, infrequent rainfall, alkaline soil and high altitude of 2,550 feet, reducing rust and corrosion.