Thursday, April 26, 2018

DoD suspends delivery of F-35s

The U.S. Department of Defense has stopped accepting most deliveries of F-35 jets from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) because of a dispute over who will cover costs for fixing a production error. Deliveries were paused over a dispute as to who will pay for what will likely be a complex and expensive logistical fix that could require technicians to travel widely to mend aircraft based around the world.

The delivery pause is just the latest of many production issues that have arisen in the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program. Lockheed says it will deliver 91 aircraft for 2018.
In other news an F-15 Eagle pilot deployed at Kadena Air Force Base told Defense News this week that the F-35 "sometimes" is defeated during training scenarios in Japan. Since 12 F-35As arrived at the airbase last November along with 300 airmen, the squadron has conducted training flights on a daily basis.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Trump to sign proclamation sending National Guard to border with Mexico

President Donald Trump and border-state governors are working to “immediately” deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. Trump has been frustrated by slow action on building his “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border – the signature promise of his campaign – as well as a recent uptick in illegal border crossings. Federal law prohibits the use of active-duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress.
300 to 1,200 troops will be deployed and that cost is expected to be at least $60-million to $120-million a year.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Russia’s S-400s sold to America’s allies

The US is threatening to sanction Russia if it sells its S-400 anti-air systems abroad. Russia's state-of-the-art defensive technology strongly undercuts the Pentagon’s strategic air and missile dominance. Qatar had previously been in talks with Russia about purchasing the missiles but looks likely to backtrack under American pressure. There’s recently been speculation that Pakistan might be interested in the S-400 as well.

China was the first global customer of the S-400, said to be the world's most potent air defence system. It was delivered to China last year. Russia is also expected to begin implementing the contract on delivery of S-400 systems to Turkey in early 2020.
India and Russia are in the final stages of negotiations to purchase 4 S-400s. The S-400 systems are capable of intercepting and destroying airborne threats at a distance of up to 250 miles and can simultaneously engage six targets. Each S-400 comprises tracking and search radar systems, eight launchers, 112 guided missiles, and command and support vehicles.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

U.S. airstrikes kill scores of Russian mercenaries in Syria

Scores of Russians fighting for Bashar al-Assad died in a failed attack on a base and refinery held by the U.S. and its allies. U.S. officials put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured. The Russian assault may have been a rogue operation. Russia’s military said it had nothing to do with the attack and the U.S. military accepted the claim.

The offensive began about 8 kilometers (5 miles) east of the Euphrates River de-confliction line late on Feb. 7, when adversaries fired rounds and advanced in a “battalion-sized dismounted formation supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars” No fatalities were reported on the coalition side.
The government in Damascus called the U.S. action “barbaric aggression” and a “war crime.”

The death toll from the incident, already about five times more than Russia’s official losses since it entered the war in 2015, is still rising. It’s not even clear who was paying the soldiers of fortune, whether it was Russia directly, its allies in the war, Syria and Iran, or a third party.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Trump needs $ 686 billion for Military

Donald Trump’s $686 billion defense request for the coming fiscal year would propel the Navy toward a new goal of 355 ships, restore major funding for a Boeing Co. fighter jet favored by the president and boost missile defense spending. The budget envisions a 355-ship Navy, with 299 vessels by the end of fiscal 2019, which begins Oct. 1, and 326 by 2023. The Navy has 280 ships today, but some are nearing the end of their useful life.

This week Trump unveiled his scheme for a large military parade. The cost of that is unknown.
Missile defense spending is expected to be $9.92 billion, up $1b from the last numbers. The Air Force plans $16.8 billion in funding through 2023 for the new B-21 bomber being built by Northrop Grumman Corp., including $2.3 billion next year for continued research.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Israel F-16 shot down by Iran

Anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria on Saturday in the most serious confrontations yet between Israel and Iranian-backed forces.

The F-16, one of at least eight Israeli planes dispatched in response to what Israel said was an Iranian drone’s incursion into its airspace earlier in the day, was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed in northern Israel.
Iran’s involvement in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad's nearly 7-year-old civil war - including the deployment of Iran-backed forces near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - has alarmed Israel. Israel and Syria signaled they were not seeking wider conflict.

Russia, whose forces began intervening on behalf of Assad in 2015, expressed concern and urged both sides to exercise restraint and avoid escalation.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Trump: Democrats ‘treasonous’ for not clapping at his State of the Union

U.S. President Donald Trump says Democratic members of Congress were “un-American” and “treasonous” when they refused to clap for parts of his State of the Union address last week. Trump is complaining bitterly that they did not applaud even when he spoke of the record-low in the unemployment rate for Black residents. Three days later, new government data showed that the Black unemployment rate had spiked, from the record 6.8 per cent to 7.7 per cent. But Trump likened the Democrats’ silence to his stupidity as a capital crime. Meanwhile Trump clapped for his own lies like a good patriot.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Russian jet flies within 1.5 metres of U.S. Navy plane over Black Sea

A Russian fighter jet intercepted a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft in international airspace over the Black Sea. The U.S. Navy has called the interaction between the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet and the U.S. EP-3 Aries aircraft “unsafe.” U.S. officials said the Russian jet flew within 1.5 metres of the EP-3, and crossed its flight path forcing the plane to fly through the Su-27’s turbulence.

A four-second video posted to YouTube by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet captured the Su-27 passing the slower-moving EP-3.

Friday, January 26, 2018

U.S. Marine Corps warns about the realities of war with North Korea

The commander of the U.S. Marine Corps warned about the realities of getting into a war with North Korea.

Marine Corps General Robert Neller said that the U.S. military was already preparing for a potential conflict with the armed forces of Kim Jong Un. Neller said that such a fight would likely be the most daunting challenge his troops have ever faced.

The U.S. has enhanced its naval assets in the Pacific and is increasing military drills with Japan and South Korea.
Aside from North Korea’s arsenal of nuclear weapons and ICBMs, the secretive state is also believed to possess a stockpile of chemical weapons. Last month, Neller told U.S. Marines stationed in Norway to be ready for a “big-ass fight,” but did not specify who the enemy would be.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

US conducts ‘very serious’ drills to prepare for war with North Korea

Two military drills last month and one in February are designed to ready troops for the possibility of war with the rogue regime. Defence secretary Jim Mattis has ordered his forces to be “ready for any possible military action on the Korean Peninsula”.
Military chiefs said the drills were designed to address worries about the US being unprepared for a more conventional land-based battle.
While the US is considering ways to increase its readiness for ground warfare, a leaked report has revealed a desire on the part of the Trump administration to boost its nuclear arsenal. A draft of the Defence Department’s Nuclear Posture Review has revealed that the Pentagon plans to develop of new “low-yield” nuclear warhead for the Trident missile to be fired from submarines.
The US also wants to add a new nuclear-tipped sea-launched cruise missile to its stockpile.

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.