Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Funnies

Video Credit: RingTales

Thursday, July 28, 2011

France To Buy Israeli UAVs

     The Jerusalem Post reports that France is going to buy the IAI Heron to fill it's UAV needs, and thereby ending a 44 year old arms embargo.
     Back in the late 1950s France helped Israel start it's nuclear weapons program by helping them build the Dimona reactor in the Negev desert, during that period, France also sold Israel a large number of Mirage fighters, and bombers. However, on the eve of the Six-Day War in mid-1967, then french president Charles de Gaulle declared an arms embargo against Israel, which temporarily stopped the delivery of several missile boats under construction, and an order for 50 Mirage 5 fighters (later the missile boats were smuggled out, and Israel purchased the design for the Mirage 5 and built them in Israel under the name Nesher).  Since then France has not purchased or sold any weapons from Israel, but a few months ago gave 100 HOT anti-tank missiles to Lebanon.
     Moving on, France apparently picked the Heron over the MQ-9 Reaper, which is a improved version of the infamous MQ-1 Predator. The IAI Heron TP is supposed to replace the older EADS Harfang which is a variant of the original IAI Heron. The Heron has a mission endurance of 36 hours, an unknown range, and a mission payload of 1,000kg (2,205lbs). The Heron is rumored to be able to reach Iran, but that is unconfirmed.
     With the French arms embargo finally lifted, it will be interesting to see if Israel begins to purchase weapons from the French again. 

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The J-20 May Not Be For Attacking Carriers

     Stephen Trimble over at the The DEW Line spotted this photo apparently showing the weapons bays on the J-20.
     This is not the first time I have posted on the J-20's weapons bays, but in this photo there are some inconsistencies. 1. the PL-9 on the side is larger than the PL-12s in the centerline weapons bay. 2. The PL-12s in the centerline bay appear to have fins overlapping. 3. This appears to be a plastic model that you buy in a hobby shop, and not a very accurate one at that. 
     If this is a model then it does not necessarily show the J-20's true payload, as that would be top secret in China. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Israel Refutes Palestinian Claim To The West Bank

     Thanks to the The Blaze for spotting this video showing Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon explaining why the West Bank is not an "occupied territory" as many claim. He also explains why there is no such thing as 1967 borders.   

Video Credit Danny Ayalon

Israel's Nuclear Armed Submarines

     Last Sunday Defense Tech had an interesting article about Israel's submarine fleet, and the suspicion that Israel has nuclear armed cruise missiles on board. 
      Since the end of WWII, and the UN declared Israel a country, Germany has subsidized Israel's purchase of 6 Dolphin-class submarine since the late 1990s (modified Type 209s). Since Israel started purchasing Dolphin-class subs there has been controversy over whether or not Israel has nuclear weapons on board. Israel has deployed these submarines all the way to the way to the Persian Gulf, and is now keeping a nuclear armed submarine in Gulf permanently as a deterrent to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. 
     The missile that has been the subject of the most discussion is the Popeye cruise missile, the U.S. Air Force is also a user of the missile which in the U.S. is designated the AGM-142 Raptor. The variant of the missile which is believed to carry nuclear warheads is the Popeye Turbo, which is rumored to have a 1500km range, and carry a 200kg (441lbs) warhead containing 6kg of plutonium. Israel has deployed submarines armed with these missiles, all the way to the way to the Persian Gulf, and is now keeping a nuclear armed submarine in Gulf permanently as a deterrent to Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.
     As the World & the UN continues to array against Israel, it will be interesting to see how Israel reacts to the Arab and diplomatic threats.

Photo Credit: Global Security

Monday, July 25, 2011

Russia Offers PAK FA To South Korea

     Stephen Trimble over at The DEW Line reports that Russia is offering the PAK FA to South Korea for the FX-III section of the FX fighter competition.
      When the PAK FA was unveiled last year, Russia has been working with India to develop a variant of the PAK FA for the Indian Air Force. The PAK FA is still in the testing phase, and will probably not enter service for another 1-5 years, but that does not mean it is unavailable for export (a good example of this would be the F-35). 
     South Korea has been running a fighter competition since 1999, with the 1st and 2nd phases culminating in the purchase of 61 F-15K Slam Eagles. Competing in in the 3rd phase for an order of 60 aircraft, are the Lockheed Martin F-35, Boeing F-15SE, and the Sukhoi PAK FA. Of these three the F-15SE is, in my view the leading contender for the contract, due to the fact that South Korea already manufactures parts for the F-15K, and thus would be compatible with some parts from the F-15K. The other two contenders, the F-35 and PAK FA, are not as appealing to Seoul, due to the facts that the F-35 is having problems, and is rising in cost, and that the PAK FA is still in flight testing and would cause South Korea to rely on Russia for parts and weapons for them. On top of this, the F-15SE offers a reduced radar signature, and similar payload, when compared to the F-15K. Along with proven performance compared to the F-35 and PAK FA.
       Another one of the main factors South Korea will be factoring in, is how these aircraft will perform in a war with North Korea. The F-15SE has a larger payload and better maneuvering than the F-35, and is compatible with American missiles which is what South Korea uses. The PAK FA on the other hand is only compatible with Russian missiles, which would mean South Korea would have to purchase weapons from Russia, and that brings up the possibility of Russia not selling the missiles in a war with North Korea.
     As the F-X contest continues, it will be interesting to see which aircraft South Korea chooses, and why they chose it.

Photo Credit: The DEW Line 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Information About The DF-21D

     Last week the Taipei Times, ran an article quoting Chinese Gen. Chen Bingde confirming the existence of the DF-21D, this would be the first time a Chinese official confirmed it's existence. 
     Further down in the article Chen Bingde stated that the DF-21D has a range of  of 2,700km, which is is almost twice as much as the estimate of 1,500km given by the Navy. Chen Bingde also stated that the DF-21D is still in the development stage and that such high-tech devices were difficult to bring to bring to maturity. Earlier this year the company which produces the DF-21D claimed that it would field a 4,000km IRBM (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile), along with that Chen Bingde stated that a 2,700km range is easy for them. 
     However, I am skeptical about a 2,700km range for the DF-21D because the Chinese have had problems with high-tech equipment (aircraft engines for example), and the fact that MARVs are not simple things to produce and are very complicated. On top of this the Chinese will be depending on a series of satellites to to feed information to the DF-21D, and satellites can be damaged by flashing lasers at them. Back during the Cold War the Soviets flashed lasers at the Space Shuttle, which caused some problems on the shuttle and discomfort for the crew.
     Overall, the DF-21D is an interesting question, but there still are many kinks to work out in the DF-21D, but, given time the DF-21D could mature into a threat.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

MRAPs For China?

     Recently there have been reports that China is going to be purchasing MRAPs (Mine Resistant Armor Protected), from a South African company named Mobile land Systems.
     Ever since the U.S.-led coalition went into Iraq in 2003, coalition forces encountered many roadside bombs, and the bombs were causing heavy casualties. Thus, there arose a need for a vehicles that could withstand roadside bomb blasts, which led to the development of the MRAP family of vehicles.
     What is strange about China purchasing MRAP type vehicles is that there is no major fighting anywhere in the country. However, China might be purchasing these vehicles because of the fact that the population in western China which is mostly muslim, and might catch the "Arab Spring fever", and revolt. On top of this, Tibet is not exactly happy about the Chinese occupation, and who knows what Tibet might do. 
     As this story progresses it will be interesting to see how many MRAPs China purchases, and what China does with them.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy, Defense Tech

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Virginia-class: The New Ohio-class

     Aviation Week reported last Thursday that the Navy was considering canceling the proposed SSBN(X) project to meet budget reduction requirements. Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright stated at the Defense Writers Group breakfast that the Pentagon was considering lengthening Virginia-class submarines to be capable of carrying Trident C-4 SLBMs (Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles).
     The idea of lengthening Virginia-class submarines has been discussed before, the idea being to insert an extra 27.4 meter section into a normal Virginia-class sub, and fill the section with 194  Tomahawk cruise missiles. 
     The proposal to insert SLBMs into a Virginia-class certainly has merit, but with congress in a stalemate over the debt ceiling, the chances of this happening, are slim at best.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

Friday, July 15, 2011

Iranian F-14 Makes A Belly Landing

     Alert 5 spotted this photo showing a F-14 Tomcat that made a belly landing. 
     Just a couple of thoughts about this, 1) where does Iran keep getting spare parts for their F-14s, because the U.S. has an arms embargo against Iran. 2) When did this happen, and what caused the crash?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The F-15 Silent Eagle: A Dark Horse

     With all the talk about the Air Force's next fighter being centered on the F-35, there has been another aircraft that has been all but forgotten, the Boeing F-15 Silent Eagle (F-15SE).
     The F-15SE is a variant of the F-15 Strike Eagle (F-15E), which is itself a variant of the original F-15 Eagle.

     The F-15SE has a top speed of Mach 2.5 (1855 MPH), versus Mach 1.5 to 1.8 (1113 to 1335 MPH) for the F-35A (the Air Force variant). The F-15SE also has a longer mission radius of between 1333 kilometers to 1667 km for an air-to-air loadout, and a mission radius of between 1482 km to 1852 km for a air-to-ground loadout. In comparison, the F-35A has a mission radius of 1082km which is 11km under the Air Force's requirements.

     However, the F-15SE's main advantage lies in it's cost, 1 F-15 would cost about 100 million dollars, versus the F-35A which costs 193 million dollars in the LRIP-5 (Low Rate Initial Production) batch in fiscal year 2012. On top of this the F-15SE is actually a stealth aircraft, Boeing has converted the F-15E's CFTs (Conformal Fuel Tanks) into CWBs (Conformal Weapons Bay), which can carry either air-to-air weapons (AIM-120, AIM-9X) or air-to-ground weapons (SDB, JDAM).
     With the Air Force approaching a fighter shortfall, and the two replacements for early model F-15s and F-16s (F-22 and the F-35) not meeting expectations, there is serious need for a fighter to close the gap.


  Photo Credit: Aviation Earth

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More Libyan Rebel Weapons Pictures

     Defense Tech spotted these photos showing 5 tubes for launching S-5 rockets mounted to an ATV chassis. Defense Tech also spotted a video showing some rebels reloading old rifle ammo, and an early 1900s rifle, possibly a Mauser 98 or a Caracano, but due to technical difficulties I was unable to upload the video.

Photo Credit: Defense Tech

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Dutch Attack Fort Hood

     Sometime between July 9th and 10th a Dutch AH-64 conducting training at Fort Hood, accidentally fired two rounds of live 30mm ammunition, as Ares reports.
     Apparently, the Dutch have been using Fort Hood (which is between Austin and Waco in Texas) as a training ground for their Apache pilots. However, what is really concerning is that someone on the ground crew messed up so badly that they accidentally put live ammo in the gun. To really understand how big a 30mm round is, take a look at those rounds below.
     Personally, I'm just glad no one was hurt.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy, U.S. Army

Taiwan Did NOT Fire A SLCM

     Back on Friday I wrote about a missile launch the Taiwanese conducted, where they had launched a cruise missile from a submarine. The day I posted that, a story came up on Defense News stating that the reports had been false, and had come from a newspaper which has ties to a pro-independence political party. 
     The article quoted a former Taiwanese Navy official who used to work with naval ordnance, who stated that Taiwan's Hai Lung-class submarines have "absolutely no capability" for launching anti-ship missiles out of their torpedo tubes.  

Iran's Impenetrable Missile Silos & All The Other Doomsday "Weapons"

     During the last few years Iran has unveiled a stream of new weapons and facilites, ranging from copies of Germany's V-1 flying bomb to ship killing flying boats that look like they were made in the 1920s to missile silos that are supposedly impenetrable. So, here are some examples of Iran's newest weapons.
     This year during the Great Prophet 6 exercises Iran showed off it's new missile silos that the say can withstand direct attack (just not the nuclear kind), and can handle Shahab-3 and Sajjil-2 Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBMs).
     Next up is Iran's fleet of flying boats, Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmed Vahidi stated concerning the boats "Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the few countries which managed to design, build and use flying boats in a short time.". The flying boat is designated the Bavar 2 and is supposedly armed with 1 machine gun and a camera. Defense Tech reported that Iran also claimed that the Bavar 2 cannot be seen by any radar because of it's hull's advanced design.
     Moving on we come to Iran's "Ambassador of Death" which is a V-1 flying bomb with a range of 1,000 kilometers, a max speed of 560 MPH, and can be armed with 2 113.4 kilogram bombs or a single 450lbs bomb.
     Stephen Trimble spotted this gem apparently showing a model of a stealth fighter, which looks somewhat like a YF-23.
     While most of this stuff is extremely low tech, if deployed en masse it could drive the price of oil sky high, and shut down the Strait of Hormuz 

Photo Credits (top to bottom): U.S Air Force, Federation of American Scientists, CNN, Fox News, The DEW Line

Friday, July 8, 2011

Taiwan Fires Homemade Submarine Launched Cruise Missile

     Taiwan late last month launched an unknown number of Submarine Launched Cruise Missiles (SLCMs) in a drill, as Defense News reports.
     The missiles launched were Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles (Brave Wind II), and were launched as part of a 5 year project to enhance the capabilities of Taiwan's 2 Hai Lung-class submarines. The Hsiung Feng II has a range of 80 kilometers, a max speed of Mach 0.65 (482 MPH, possibly as high as Mach 0.85 or 630 MPH), and a warhead weighing 180 kilograms (possibly 225kg).
     If the Taiwanese Navy was able to fit cruise missiles into the Hai Lung-class submarines, it would pose no small threat to the Chinese, because diesel-electric submarines are extremely quiet. If this threat is real then it would pose a threat to any Chinese attempts to invade Taiwan, the threat would be especially high for relatively small ships like frigates and possibly destroyers. 
     However, as the photo above shows, the Hai Lung-class is a bit narrow, with a beam of only 8.4 meters. Thus, I would be curious to see how they managed to fit a cruise missile(s) into a submarine that narrow. 

Photo Credit: Republic of China Navy

Helmet Camera Records American Soldiers Being Ambushed In Afghanistan

     Thanks to Kit Up! for spotting this video.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Tale Of A Chinese AIM-120D & The J-20's Weapons Bays

     I have speculated previously that the J-20 might be designed for attacking U.S. carriers, but until now there have been no photos showing the J-20's weapons bays. Yesterday China Defense Blog posted some new photos showing the J-20's weapons bays, and a Chinese look-a-like (or copy) of the AIM-120D AMRAAM.

The weapons bay shown in the photo looks like it might be able to hold a anti-ship missile, but due to the angle of the photos it's hard to tell. 

And here are the photos showing the copy of the AIM-120D (possibly designated the PL-15). The missile in question might be a mock up of the missile because the missile appears to be slightly bent.

Photo Credit: China Defense Blog

Predator Drone Nails Terrorist Car

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grainy Videos Showing Officials Touring The Varyag & The Varyag's Weapons Systems

     Alert 5 spotted these two videos showing a group of officials on the Varyag's deck, and below, a video showing a HQ-10 (FL-3000), a 10 barrel gatling gun, and an unidentified rocket launcher.

Here is the video showing the tour.

And here is the video showing the Varyag's weapons.

If you made the mistake of not turning the sound off for the first video, here is the real song.

Video Credit: Alert 5 & Hans Zimmer

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day 2011

     Today is July 4th, 2011, 235 years ago 56 great men among whom were John Adams, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin all signed the Declaration Of Independence, thereby breaking the 13 Colonies away from from Britain, and forming the United States of America. This afternoon and evening, as you grill, cook, have a cold one, light fireworks, or go to a fireworks display, think about what it means to be an American. Also, remember the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.

God bless you and the USA.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

NYPD Destroys 5,000lbs Of Illegal Fireworks

Video Credit: New York Police Department

Saturday, July 2, 2011

It's the Weekend! 7/2/2011

     Get a load of this video showing a bunch of aircraft marshallers at various military bases around the world, dancing.

I did not make this.