Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Russia and China Hold First Joint Naval Exercises in Baltic Sea

Russian and Chinese naval warships are holding joint exercises in the Baltic Sea for the first time, underscoring deepening military cooperation between the two powers.

China’s Hefei destroyer, Yuncheng frigate and Lomahu supply vessel are involved in drills with two Russian corvettes that include “artillery fire at surface and air targets”. Helicopters and Su-24 bombers will also be involved in the “anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense measures” coordinated from the Baltiysk base in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.
Russia has strengthened defense cooperation with China, particularly after the U.S. and European Union imposed sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. Russian and Chinese warships conducted their first combined drills in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2015, followed three months later by maneuvers involving 22 combat ships and 20 aircraft off Russia’s Pacific coast. Similar exercises that included “island seizing” took place in the South China Sea last September.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Soviet S-400 long range surface-to-air missile system

The S-400 is a series of Russian long range surface-to-air missile systems produced by NPO Almaz. The S-400 system was developed to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles for the Soviet Air Defence Forces.
Subsequent variations were developed to intercept ballistic missiles. The S-300 system was first deployed by the Soviet Union in 1979. The S-400 is regarded as one of the most potent anti-aircraft missile systems in the world. It entered limited service in 2004.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pentagon wasted $28 million on bizarre camouflage for Afghan soldiers

The Pentagon will be called to account for its pricey plan to outfit Afghan soldiers in uniforms with a private-label forest camouflage scheme of dubious value in the desert country. The military squandered $28 million by purchasing uniforms that use a proprietary forest pattern while woodlands cover less than 2% of the country. The Pentagon has spent $93 million since 2007 to buy 1.3 million uniforms for Afghan soldiers. By using a camouflage pattern owned but not currently used by the U.S. military could have saved taxpayers $71 million. The uniform flap has prompted bi-partisan outrage. A report showed Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak chose the camouflage pattern because “he liked what he saw” during an internet search.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

USS John F. Kennedy, CVN-79

With help from President Donald Trump, the U.S. Navy commissioned the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia. The president called the USS Gerald R. Ford "the pride of the United States Navy." The $12.9 billion Gerald R. Ford was originally expected to be delivered in 2014 but has been beset by delays, cost overruns and technological problems.

The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is now 50 percent structurally complete. The ship is currently under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding. The 50 percent milestone was reached as the 70-foot lower stern was lifted into place. The John F. Kennedy will be the second Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and is being built like the first, using a modular construction process.
Ever since the USS Enterprise retired in 2012, the Navy has had 10 aircraft carriers, with the Ford soon to be commissioned as the 11th. It remains to be seen if the $2.4 billion over-budget Ford will be repeated with the John F. Kennedy.

“In hindsight,” said Adm. Thomas Moore, head of Naval Sea Systems Command, "the Navy should have tested the Ford’s ambitious new systems more extensively on shore before installing them aboard ship."
See ----->http://neerdowellhallofinfamy.blogspot.ca/2017/06/new-13-billion-aircraft-carrier-can.html
See ----->http://neerdowellhallofinfamy.blogspot.ca/2017/01/aircraft-carrier-gerald-r-ford-cvn-78.html

Friday, July 21, 2017

US cuts military reimbursements to Pakistan

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.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Pentagon 'concerned' after Turkey reveals secret locations of US bases in Syria

The Pentagon has voiced concerns to Turkey after the NATO ally's state news agency disclosed the locations of 10 US military posts in northern Syria. The Anadolu Agency (AA) said the bases — two airfields and eight military outposts — are being used to support the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Despite being NATO allies, the United States and Turkey have a tense relationship over the current US-led effort to defeat ISIS in northern Syria.

America is relying heavily on YPG and other Kurdish elements to conduct the fighting on the ground, and has shipped weapons to the Kurds in a move that infuriated Turkey because it views the YPG as a "terrorist group." The Pentagon said the release of "sensitive military information" exposes coalition forces to unnecessary risk.
Anadolu Agency reporter Levent Tok says the troop locations weren’t leaked by the Turkish government, but that the locations were gathered by Anadolu’s reporters in Syria, as well as from social media posts by Kurdish fighters. “The U.S. should have thought about this before it cooperated with a terrorist organization,” Tok told Bloomberg.

Experts say the locations were most likely leaked to the Anadolu Agency in retaliation for U.S. cooperation with the YPG. The map also indicates that there has been a buildup of U.S. forces between the YPG and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army, or FSA.
Turkish warplanes and Free Syrian Army proxy forces have clashed with U.S.-backed Kurds many times over the last several months.

In April, Turkish warplanes struck YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga positions, and in May, FSA forces mortared positions near the Syrian city of Manbij where U.S. forces are located.

The attacks have threatened to undermine the U.S.-backed campaign in Raqqa, where Kurdish militants are fighting the de facto ISIS capital.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Canadian warships shadowed by Chinese navy in South China Sea

For the first time, Chinese warships have shadowed ships from the Royal Canadian Navy. “We have interacted with Chinese ships,” was how HMCS Winnipeg’s captain put it. A pair of People’s Liberation Army Navy frigates came within three nautical miles of HMCS Winnipeg during a freedom-of-passage exercise the Canadian frigate conducted with U.S., Australian and Japanese warships late last month in the hotly contested South China Sea. The ships were shadowed for about 36 hours.

“Whenever we are near an American ship the Chinese are there,” said the Winnipeg’s coxswain. “There is not an American ship in the South China Sea that does not get shadowed by a Chinese ship."
China, South Korea and Japan are at loggerheads over claims to islands in the East China Sea, where Taiwan also has claims. But they are even more disputed in the South China Sea, most of which China claims. Why had Canada sent warships through contested waters? “Canada is a rule-of-law country. That is our stance on things,” HMCS Winnipeg’s captain said. “There is a right to transit international waters.”

The proximity of the Chinese frigates was similar to what happened three years ago in the Baltic Sea when Russian warships followed HMCS Fredericton. The Winnipeg and the Ottawa have one month left in what will be a five-month voyage before they return to British Columbia.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

U.K. joins the F35 haters club - report

The British Royal Air Force (RAF) is spending millions of pounds on flawed F-35 Lightning II jets that it might never be able to fly properly, a new report has revealed. Setbacks and hidden costs have driven the unit price of each jet to around £153 million, far higher than Lockheed Martin’s asking price of between £77 million and £100 million, ­The Times reported Monday. The British daily suggested that besides the already overblown price, taxpayers would also be required to pay for extra services such as software upgrades, spare parts and “cost reduction initiatives” buried deep in Lockheed’s contracts.
According to a former senior RAF officer, the aircraft suffers from “utterly pathetic” software bugs. The UK has put in orders for 138 aircraft. Forty-eight of those will be of the F-35B variant, which can take off and land vertically. The report noted that four of the aircraft purchased so far are too heavy and cannot perform the function safely.

'Ski Jump' to get F35B airborne
The fifth-generation stealth jet is also unable to transmit data to British ships or older planes without giving away its own position to the enemy. Worse, the aircraft’s £12 billion software system is prone to cyber attacks and Britain won’t be able to alter the code on its own.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Russian helicopters answer 'Tobruq Legacy 2017'

Russian helicopters staged explosive exercises, destroying maritime targets in the already tense Baltic region, where the U.S. began its own multinational war games just one day earlier. The Russian military deployed 10 Kamov KA-27 antisubmarine warfare helicopters from the naval aviation branch of its Baltic Fleet to participate in bombing a simulated hostile submarine off the coast of Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russian territory situated between Lithuania and Poland.

Both countries, along with Latvia and Estonia, are part of the U.S.-led military alliance NATO, which launched a regional exercise called Tobruq Legacy 2017.

Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS)
The day before, Russia and China conducted live-fire drills in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively, in preparation for joint war games to be held later this month. Tobruq Legacy 2017 mostly involves Surface-Based Air-Defense (SBAD) forces from the U.S., the Czech Republic and Slovakia
The U.S. also reportedly installed Patriot long-range anti-aircraft missiles in Lithuania, the first time the U.S. has deployed such a weapons system in the Baltics.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

North Korea military issues warning

In a chilling warning, North Korea claimed that its missiles are within striking range of US military bases on the Korean Peninsula. On Friday the US army opened a new HQ at the Camp Humphreys garrison in Pyeongtaek – 200 miles south of North Korean capital Pyongyang.

A spokesperson told Korean Central News Agency (KCNA): “The larger the US military base is, the more effectively our military hits targets.” At present there are around 25,000 US soldiers based at Camp Humphreys. The statement is the first issued by North Korea's military since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office.
The spokesperson added: “If [the leadership] issues an order, our military will destroy the US imperialists with salvos of firings. If the US sticks to reckless military confrontation despite our warning, it cannot avoid a miserable end. The destiny of the U.S. is under the thumb of the Korean revolutionary armed forces.”

Friday, July 14, 2017

Indonesia renames part of South China Sea

Indonesia renamed the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea, the latest act of resistance by Southeast Asian nations to China's territorial ambitions. Indonesia bills itself as a non-claimant state in the South China Sea dispute but has clashed with China over fishing rights around the Natuna Islands, detaining Chinese fishermen and expanding its military presence in the area over the past 18 months.

In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said "Certain countries' so-called renaming is totally meaningless" Experts say the renaming carried no legal force but was a political and diplomatic statement.
China told Japan on Friday to "get used to it" after it flew six warplanes over the Miyako Strait between two southern Japanese islands in a military exercise. Japan's defense ministry issued a statement late on Thursday describing the flyover by the formation of Xian H-6 bombers.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

US B-1B Bombers Fly Over South China Sea - China Protests

Two U.S. long-range strategic bombers flew over parts of the South China Sea, asserting freedom of overflight over disputed waters. The two B-1B Lancer bombers flight comes shortly after the latest U.S. freedom of navigation operation by the U.S. Navy which involved the USS Stethem.

An incident in May involving a U.S. B-1B flying over the East China Sea received warnings from Chinese authorities. China declared an air defense identification zone over much of the East China Sea in November 2013.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry reacted negatively to the flight, with a Foreign Ministry spokesperson saying that “China resolutely opposes individual countries using the banner of freedom of navigation and overflight to flaunt military force and harm China’s sovereignty and security.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Malabar 2017 - War Games

The U.S. has begun a series of what has been described as the most complex war games with Asian allies India and Japan. The maritime drills, known as "Malabar 2017," kicked off in India's Chennai and the Bay of Bengal, and mark the first time the three forces have deployed carriers to participate in regional military maneuvers. In addition to focusing on anti-submarine warfare, the U.S., India and Japan will engage in training on land.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

U.S. THAAD missile defenses hit test target

The US said it shot down a simulated, incoming intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) in a new test of the nation's THAAD missile defenses. The test was the first-ever of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system against an incoming IRBM, which experts say is a faster and more difficult target to hit than shorter-range missiles.

THAAD has a 100% track record for all 14 intercept attempts since flight testing began just over a decade ago. The United States deployed THAAD to South Korea this year to guard against North Korea's shorter-range missiles. That drew fierce criticism from China, which says the system's powerful radar can probe deep into its territory.
Congress expects delivery of 52 more THAAD interceptors to the U.S. Army between October 2017 and September 2018.
See ----->http://neerdowellhallofinfamy.blogspot.ca/2016/07/us-sends-thaad-system-to-south-korea.html

F-35 price tag may rise to $406 Billion

The cost of the F-35 stealth fighter jet program may rise by another $27.5 billion to $406.5 billion, according to the latest Selected Acquisition Report submitted to Congress. The F-35 is already estimated as the costliest single project in US military history.

The estimated increase was largely driven by the adjustments to the F-35’s production schedule. The US Air Force reduced its maximum rate of aircraft purchases from 80 to 60 per year, which requires the extension of planned procurements by six years, from 2038 to 2044.
The F-35 program has been plagued by reliability issues, major design flaws and cost overruns. Critics have warned the fifth-generation jet, marketed as a superior plane to its fourth-generation predecessors, would provide little advantage on the battlefield.

A report concludes that the advanced jet is ineffective as a fighter, unsuitable for carrier operations and hard to deploy to ground support missions.

Monday, July 10, 2017

South Korea Unveils new Jang Bogo-II Class Submarine

The Yu Gwan-sun is the latest in South Korea's Jang Bogo-II Class fleet, and it's set to be deployed in December.
South Korea is flexing its military muscle with a brand new, 213 foot-long, 1,800-ton, diesel powered submarine.
The new submarine can stay underwater for 10 days at a time without resurfacing with a full crew on board. The Chang Bogo-class submarines are armed with 8 bow 533 mm torpedo tubes and 14 torpedoes. The ships are also armed with Sub-Harpoon missiles. At present South Korea has 9 of the subs in service.
Its estimated the North has upwards of 80 submarines.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trump to Xi: 'Something has to be done' about North Korea

There will "eventually be a success" against Pyongyang, Trump said. "It may take longer than I'd like. It may take longer than you'd like. But there will be success in the end one way or the other." Xi told Trump that China remains "firmly committed to denuclearizing the (Korean) peninsula," according to a report from China's state-run Xinhua news agency. As a longtime ally of North Korea and its top trading partner, China is seen as the key to a solution on the Korean Peninsula.

While Trump has in the past praised China for efforts to exert pressure on its neighbor, he tweeted last month that those efforts had "not worked out."