Thursday, September 29, 2011

Iranian Navy To Patrol Off U.S. Coast

     Defense Tech reports that Iran plans to establish a "powerful force" off the U.S. eastern seaboard.
     While this propaganda is probably for internal consumption, if followed through it could pose a threat to states on the Gulf of Mexico. The main problem with this is the range factor, as the eastern seaboard is over 6,000 kilometers from Iran's major naval base at Bandar Abbas. However, Iran does have some friends in the region, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez is a friend of Iran's and would probably offer Iran the ability to refuel at a Venezuelan port. And of course there is always Cuba, which is stilled ruled by the old fool named Fidel Castro, who would also probably offer Iran the ability to refuel at a Cuban port.
     While it is highly unlikely that Iran will mount a naval expedition to the U.S. eastern seaboard, if they do it could pose a threat to the many Oil Rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Along with the massive fishing fleet that works the Gulf. As this continues to develop it will be interesting to see if Iran actually attempts this. If so, how do you say "live fire exercise" in Farsi?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More Iranian Military Photos

     Uskowi On Iran has been posting some rather interesting photos of a recent Iranian military parade. The first two photos show a Bavar-2 in what little glory it has. The Iranians claim that the Bavar-2 is a stealth aircraft, even thought it has an open-air cockpit and an engine block that would destroy any stealth it had.

Next up to bat is the Ashura-class inshore patrol craft. It appears to be armed with a PKM machine gun on the bow, and a MRLS (Multiple Rocket Launcher System) system above the cockpit which looks like it would burn the helmsman if the rockets are launched.

Now in this next section we see some of Iran's trucks and artillery. First to strikeout is Iran's copy of the BM-21, the HMxx MLRS, which is equipped with 30 122mm rocket tubes. The BM-21 was developed in 1964 and it's rocket have no guidance system. 

After the HMxx we see two D-20 152mm towed howitzers.

Now we come to section of the parade where Iran shows off it's repackaged Estes rockets that they claim will take out tanks. First we see a BGM-71 mounted on a truck. After that we see 13 trucks carrying AT-5s.

Next we come to the most dangerous (to the Iranians) vehicle in the parade. The Samander dune buggy with a M134 .30cal minigun on top.

Last we come to a large formation of Iranian soldiers carrying something that appears to be a weapon from American Gladiator.

Photo Credit: Uskowi On Iran, the last photo is from The Blaze

Monday, September 26, 2011

Iranians Rips Off More Soviet Equipment

     Uskowi On Iran posted these photos showing some of Iran's "missiles". The first two photos show 2 Khalij Fars (Persian Gulf) which Iran claims is an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM), but is more likely is a Scud painted black with more fins (and is probably dangerous to be around when they light the fuse).

Next up to bat is a copy of the SA-2 "Guideline" which has been named the Tondar which Iran thinks is a SRBM (Short Range Ballistic Missile), but is simply a surface-to-air missile painted blue.

And last and probably least is Iran's Shabab-2 SRBM, which is a Scud with a new name.

Photo Credit: Uskowi On Iran

Thursday, September 22, 2011

U.S. Air Force To Replace ALCM

     Defense News reports that the USAF is planning to replace the aging AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile with a new stealth cruise missiles.
     The AGM-86 was selected to be the Air Force's air launched cruise missile back in the 1980s. Since then the ALCM has seen service in Operation Desert Storm, and in several other operations over Iraq. As of 2011 all ALCMs are AGM-86Bs which are equipped with a single W-80 nuclear warhead which has yeild of between 5 and 150 kilotons. As of 2011 the AGM-86B and AGM-129 are the only nuclear weapons the B-52 is capable of carrying, and due to reliability issues and cost the AGM-129 is being phased out of service. The AGM-86B is also going phased out of service due to it's age and the New START treaty.
     With the retiring of the AGM-86B and the AGM129 this will leave the B-52 without a nuclear mission, that is why the Air Force is planning to start a new nuclear cruise missile program. This proposed missile will be stealthy, have a long range, and "be able to penetrate the most challenging of enemy air defense systems" in the words of Maj. General William Chambers the Air Force's strategic deterrence and nuclear integration officer.
     However, this program may never get off the ground as Congress has yet to come to a compromise over budget cuts, and if they do not, a large amount (1+ trillion dollars) of the defense budget will be cut. But, if this program actually survives then it will be fascinating to see how the program progresses and what capabilities the cruise missile will have.

Photo Credit: USAF

Monday, September 19, 2011

Photo: Stern of the USS Gerald R. Ford

     Defense Tech posted this photo of the Gerald R. Ford's stern being lifted into place. The Gerald R. Ford is scheduled to be launched in 2013, and will feature a new type of nuclear reactor, electro-magnetic catapults, and a number of other new features.

Photo Credit: Defense Tech

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ron Paul On The War On Terror

     At the last Republican primary debate Ron Paul proceeded to explain why Muslims have good reasons to kill Americans. Ron Paul claimed that muslims kill Americans simply because we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, and killed lots of people over there. 
     Now, Mr. Paul we invaded Afghanistan because 19 Muslims destroyed the WTC and killed 2,600 of our countrymen, and 400 foreign nationals in New York City and in the Pentagon. Following the attacks we invaded Afghanistan and two years later invaded Iraq. Mr. Paul, to say that they kill our citizens because we have bases in their holy land is a lie. We have bases in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others because they attacked us. 
     Our invasion of Middle East is because of what the Muslims did to us, not because we want their oil, or to get influence. No, it is because they have attacked the most powerful country on earth and they are and will catch heck for it. To sum it up, you Mr. Paul are nuts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photo: J-11B In Hangar

China Defense Blog showing the photo showing a J-11B inside a hangar.

Photo Credit: China Defense Blog

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Obscure Stealth Aircraft Part 2: South Korea's KAI KF-X

     I have written previously on South Korea's KF-X program, but I did not discuss the KAI KF-X program in much detail at the time. The KAI KF-X differs from the original KF-X program in that the KAI KF-X it is supposed to be an indigenous stealth fighter. The original KF-X program is meant to purchase fighter aircraft from other countries, the aircraft purchased under the KF-X program is the F-15K Slam Eagle, the F-15K was purchased in both first and second phases of the KF-X program.
     The KAI KF-X is supposed to be equipped with a AESA radar built in South Korea, along with a IRST system. At the moment there are two designs competing in the KAI KF-X program, one design is similar to the F-35 in that it has only one engine. The second differs from the first in that the design uses two engines versus one, this would give the pilot a degree of insurance if one engine went out. Besides this there is not much else known about the KAI KF-X, but it is probably safe to say that the KAI KF-X will carry American missiles and bombs.
     If the cost stays down there could be a market for around 300-500 KAI KF-Xs being sold to various countries. South Korea has partnered with Indonesia in development of the KAI-KF-X, and Turkey has been discussed as a third partner, but as of yet Turkey has joined the KAI KF-X program.
     As the KAI KF-X program progresses it will be interesting to see which design is picked, how the program fares, and if North Korea attempts to purchase stealth fighters.

Photo Credit: TR Defense

Video: F-35 Flyby

Video Credit: YouTube

Monday, September 12, 2011

Photo Of the J-20's Cockpit And HUD

     Alert 5 posted this photo showing the J-20's cockpit. Notice the design of the HUD (Head Up Display) and the cockpit displays.

Photo Credit: Alert 5

New Varyag Photos

     China Defense Blog posted these photos. Notice that the Varyag's deck is covered with temporary equipment rather than the office trailers it used to have on it's deck.

Photo Credit: China Defense Blog

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10th Anniversary Of 9/11

     This morning at 8:46 EST, 10 years ago, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the WTC North Tower. 17 minutes later at 9:03 EST, United Air Lines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower (see photo above).
     The attacks that day, which are forever burned into America's mind, were carried out by 19 Muslims who were part of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. Those men were not brave martyrs as Muslims would like believe. No, they were cowards who could not fight America in the open like real men, but instead chose to hijack civilian aircraft to attack a civilian target, to kill civilians, all in the name of their god. 
     As we enter the 10th year of the War on Terror, we must consider why we continue to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. For while it is a worthy fight in some respects, the same fate that befell the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s might befall the U.S. as well. But, whatever happens to the U.S. in the War on Terror, We shall never forget what happened on that terrible day in September 2001.

Photo Credit: TheMachineStops

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Libyan SA-24s: Terrorists New Toy

     Defense Tech reports that over 20,000 surface-to-air missiles mainly, SA-24s, along a number of SA-7s have fallen into terrorist hands.
     The SA-7 was developed in the 1970s to shoot down low flying western aircraft, and has a max altitude 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) and a warhead of 1.15 kilogram (2.5lbs). The SA-7 has been fired at civilian airliners several times, including an incident where a DHL aircraft was hit by an SA-7 taking off from Baghdad in 2003.
     However, the more serious threat is the SA-24 Grinch. The SA-24 has a maximum engagement altitude of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles), and a warhead of 2.5 kilograms (5.5lbs). The SA-24 also has a more advanced guidance system than the SA-7, and is not as easy to evade as the SA-7. The SA-24 entered into service with the Russian military in 2004 making it rather new, and thus is just entering it's service life. This also makes the SA-24 a threat for a long time to come as the batteries in a MANPADS's (MAn Portable Air Defense System ) guidance system determine the missile's lifespan as long as there are no problems with the missile itself.
     As Libya is still in turmoil it will be interesting to see what other weapons are stolen from ex-Qaddafi weapons caches.

Photo Credit: Mike1979Russia

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Photo Of The Smoke Cloud from Bastrop Wildfire

     I took this photo yesterday in Sugar Land of the smoke cloud from the Bastrop wildfire. Bastrop is about  130 miles from Houston, or about a 3 hour drive. The wildfire has already burned 45 square miles and burned down 1,000 homes. Please pray for the firefighters and the people whose homes have been destroyed by the wildfire.

J-20 Moves It's Canards

China Defense Blog posted these photos showing the J-20 moving it's canards. One of the more unusual features of J-20 is that it features canards which are not stealth enhancing features because they increase an aircraft's radar cross section.  This might make the J-20 more of a technology demonstrator rather than a new type of Chinese fighter.

Photo Credit: China Defense Blog

Monday, September 5, 2011

Obscure Stealth Aircraft Part 1: Japan's ATD-X

     This is the first of a new weekly series centered on lesser known stealth aircraft like Japan's ATD-X, South Korea's KAI-X, Russia's T-50K, and several others. This week the subject is Japan's ATD-X. 
     ATD-X stands for Advanced Technology Demonstrator-X, and will probably be built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The ATD-X's maiden flight is scheduled for around 2014, and in June the Japanese government reaffirmed the plan for the ATD-X's maiden flight in 2014. 
     The ATD-X is thought to be a jumping off point from where the Japanese can develop their own stealth fighter similar to the F-22 Raptor. The ATD-X is supposed to be equipped with a 3D thrust vectoring system similar to that of the Rockwell X-31. The ATD-X is also supposed to be equipped with an unknown AESA radar which possibly could have microwave weapon capabilities. Other planed features the ATD-X is supposed to have are, a fly-by-optics flight control system, a so-called "Self Repairing Flight Control Capability", which can detect damage or failures in the flight control system and use the remaining flight control surfaces to maintain controlled flight.
     Besides this, not much else is known about the ATD-X, but in 2005 there was a series of tests done with a model to examine the ATD-X's radar cross section, but no results have been  made public from those tests. The Japanese government has said that if they decide to put a stealth fighter into production the decision will be made around 2016. The ATD-X program will probably not affect Japan's purchase of either, the F-35 Lightning II, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, or the Eurofighter Typhoon to replace their aging F-4Js and F-15Js.
     Over the next few years it will be interesting to see how Japan develops the ATD-X, and how other Asian nations respond to it.

Photo Credit: Flightglobal, (picture is an artist's impression of the ATD-X)

Are The F-35C And F-35B Going To Be Canceled?

     Aviation Week reports that U.S. Navy undersecretary Robert Work has ordered the Marine Corps and the Navy to  look for less costly alternatives to the Navy's current tactical aviation plan, and reexamine the consequences of canceling either the F-35C or the F-35B. Work also directed the Navy and Marines to find out if they could operate fewer than the planned 40 squadrons of F-35Bs and Cs. The order came in a June 7 memo that also ordered that "The key performance differences between the Block II F/A-18E/F Super Hornet with all planned upgrades, F-35B and F-35C." 
     This is a major event in the F-35 Lightning II program, as there has always been solidarity in the high levels of all three participating services, in that they all supported the F-35 program and fiercely defended their service's variant. 
Thus, with this report it shows that the Navy at least is having some doubts about the F-35 program. This report could be based on fears that the F-35B's exhaust could be hot enough to melt the deck of the ships it lands on, and the fear that the F-35 could be canceled in future budget cuts.
      This is simply the beginning of a whole new F-111 fiasco, when the Navy left the F-111 program. During the 1960s then Defense Secretary Robert McNamara merged the Air Force's requirement for a high speed low altitude nuclear bomber, and the Navy's requirement for an aircraft capable of shooting down Soviet anti-ship missiles at long range. This snafu of a program became known as the F-111 Aardvark (hint: not a bird). The Navy eventually left the F-111 program because the aircraft was extremely expensive, overweight, under powered, just to name a few reasons.  The Navy then replaced the F-111 with the F-14 Tomcat, which today could be the F/A-18E/F, F/A-XX, or even the X-47B. The Air Force eventually bought the F-111 using it as a long range precision bomber and as an ECM aircraft (Electronic CounterMeasures) formerly known as the EF-111A Raven. 
     While the F-35 was originally a good idea, attempting to squeeze three different aircraft into one common airframe is a recipe for disaster, which we will see in the next couple of years. The Navy will probably pull out of the F-35 program, the F-35B will probably be canceled, but the Air Force will probably stick with the F-35 and rode out the storm.  

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

Friday, September 2, 2011

Video: J-20 Opening It's Weapons Bays

     Alert 5 posted this video showing the J-20 move it's tails and open what appears to be it's weapons bay. The weapons bay appears to have a straight edge which can decrease the stealth of an aircraft, that might indicate that the J-20 is a technology demonstrator rather than the first of a new type of Chinese fighters.

Video Credit: Alert 5

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The P-8 Poseidon: The New Sub-Hunter

     The P-8 Poseidon is a new ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) aircraft based off the Boeing 737 airframe, and is being produced for the U.S. Navy and the Indian Navy. the P-8 Poseidon is the replacement for the P-3 Orion which has served in the U.S. Navy and several other navies since 1962.
     In 2000 the Navy announced the Multimission Maritime Aircraft competition for a replacement for the aging P-3. Boeing and Lockheed were the original two competitors, but BAE Systems later entered as well, Boeing submitted a design based on the 737 airliner, Lockheed submitted a a modified version of the P-3, and BAE Systems submitted a new build version of the Nimrod MRA4. BAE later pulled out of the competition because it had a very small chance of winning the contract, as BAE is based of the UK and the U.S. military purchases most of it's equipment from U.S-based companies.  
     The P-8 has a range of at least 2222 kilometers (1381 miles), a top speed of 907 kilometers per hour (564 MPH), and a max altitude of 12.5 kilometers (41,000ft). The P-8 has an endurance of 4 hours on station, and a crew of nine. The P-8 can carry a range of weaponry including, Mk 54 anti-submarine torpedoes, AGM-86 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, SLAM-ER land attack missiles, and possibly air-to-air missiles. The P-8 is equipped with a sonobouy launcher, a magnetic anomaly detector, and several other types of ASW sensors. 
     The U.S. Department of Defense is planning to follow a plan similar to that of the F-35, by getting help from potential P-8 users. In 2008 Boeing proposed the P-8I for the Indian Navy to replace the Indian's aging Tu-142s (ASW version of the Tu-95 "Bear"). In 2009 the Indian Navy signed a contract for 8 P-8Is, and later signed a contract for an additional 4 P-8Is. Australia has shown some interest in the P-8 to replace their aging AP-3 Orions, and signed a memorandum of understanding that would allow them to gain access to the program and make suggestions about the program. The U.S. Navy is planning to buy up to 108 P-8s with full scale production starting in 2013.
     It will be interesting to see in the next few years what other countries purchase P-8s, especially the UK since the cancellation of the Nimrod  MRA4 leaves a large gap in the UK's ASW and maritime surveillance capabilities. It also be interesting to see how the P-8 performs against increasingly quiet Chinese submarines.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy