Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year & Thanks

Since everyone likes to celebrate the incoming New Year with explosions, I thought it might be appropriate to recognize the largest nuclear event in human history. The Tsar Bomba, at 57 megatons, a real city buster.


Have a good 2013, be safe, and God bless.

Update: I held off on this till today to make sure everything was counted. In all of 2012 General Quarters! got 17105 pageviews from all over the world, 8 comments , and was posted on 139 times. I'd thank all those who read General Quarters! for a great year. Here's to a better 2013! Thanks again!

2012 In Review: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

     It seems like just yesterday I was writing 2011 In Review, but here we are on the cusp of a new year. Thus, it's time we look back at The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
     The Good: The Navy's P-8 program made good progress, the F-35C made it's first cat shot, and the UCAS-N was put aboard the Truman for shipboard tests, and CVN-80 will be named the Enterprise. In the Air Force, the  F-35A made good progress, and their new bunker buster became operational. The Philippines began arming up finally by purchasing 12 KF-50s, and 2 Italian frigates (not much but a start). Iran's nuclear program came under cyber attack, and at one point the program's computers began blasting "Thunderstruck" (gotta love those Jews). Israel destroyed Hamas in Gaza by killing their brass and destroying their stocks of rockets. Israel was also rumored to be monitoring Iran's nuclear program by inserting spec ops people via "Jedi Rides".
     The Bad: Iran made a lot of progress with their nuclear program, and is a helluva lot closer to building a nuke than 12 months ago. China unveiled the J-31, and more recently the Y-20. China also put the Varyag to sea for several more sea trials, and launched the lead ships of the Type 056 corvettes and the Type 052D DDG. Russia is reported to have sold China the Su-35 (again), 4 Lada-class SSKs, and is rumored to be shipping SS-26s to Syria. Syria continues to fall apart with Assad now using his Scuds and rumored to have begun using chemical weapons. Hamas and other terrorists are now rumored to have MANPADS in their possession from Libya.
     The Ugly: Harry Waxman, 'nuff said.
     This just scratches the surface of 2012, a lot more did happen, some good, a lot bad. 2013 looks to be a lot worse with sequestration, China throwing it's weight around in Asia, the mideast getting even more grouchy than usual, and a truck load of crap about to hit the fan here at home. Get ready for a rough ride, and may God have mercy on us.




Sunday, December 30, 2012

Do We Have a Mothball Fleet?

     ComNavOps over at Navy Matters had a rather interesting post the other day discussing the state of U.S. mothball fleets. CNO pointed out that in a protracted war with China we would not be able to replace our losses. I've lived near the Suisun Bay fleet, and I can tell you from passing by the fleet we have no major warships laid up there. Currently, the only warship in any U.S. mothball is the USS Nassau, a LHA. Read the post here and ponder.

Russia Sells China 4 Lada-class SSKs


After selling 48 advanced Su-35 fighters to China, Russia will sell four Lada class submarines to the PLA under the direct order of President Vladimir Putin, according to Moscow-based newspaper Kommersant on Dec. 20.
The Lada class is an improved version of the Kilo class diesel-electric submarine, equipped with an advanced combat system and running much more quietly than its predecessor. Suggesting that the total price of the four submarines will be US$2 billion, Kommersant said that the contract will be signed by 2015. This means that the PLA Navy would operate the submarines earlier than India and Venezuela. A spokesperson for Rosoboronexport, Russia's major weapon exporter, confirmed the report on Dec. 23.
Source within the Russian military said Moscow will not only sell the four submarines to China but also transfer their technology. Equipped with air-independent propulsion, the Lada class is able to operate beneath the surface for a longer period of time than other similar subs. Since it is quieter, it may also prove a perfect option for the PLA Navy to counter US carrier strike groups.... (Emphasis is mine)
A couple interesting things jump out at me. 

1. China got the Su-35? There have been more rumors about a purchase lately, but nothing truly confirmed, but disturbing if true. 

2. Putin ordered this? I know Russia is hard-up for hard cash, but why would the Russkies sell 4 top notch SSKs to a potential enemy?

3. Transfer of technology. Biggest part of the story, assuming the story is accurate. China is still behind the U.S. in terms of quieting tech for subs, and those could be a big jump in quieting their current SSKs, and maybe future SSNs. To date PRC SSNs have been infamous for the amount of noise they generate (they are comparable to '50s Soviet SSNs), making them easy for U.S. sub hunters to track. 

Overall, an extremely worrying development, as China is building up her SSK fleet at a dizzying rate, and could easily raise hell with her massive numbers of subs. Not mention U.S. sub hunting skills have been on the decline since the collapse of the USSR, and sequestration isn't helping things either. Time to get on the ball, buy more P-8s and develop a new class of DDs for sub hunting (think Spraunce-class). 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Take On The Assault Weapons Ban & The 2nd Amendment

     On December 14 an mentally ill Adam Lanza attacked Sandy Hook Elementary school, incurring 27 KIAs and 2 WIAs. Of those 27 KIAs, 20 were between 6 and 7 years old. Less than 24 hours the Media and gun control advocates were dancing in the blood of the massacred innocents. I've kept silent on this issue because I thought it was pointless to add to the discussion, because of the demonization of gun owners, and that fact that it was extremely inappropriate time to discuss gun control. However, if the media and liberals wish to play dirty, then so be it, these are my thoughts. 
     1. Assault weapons/hi-cap magazine bans are pointless. Sen. Diane Feinstein has promised to introduce a new assault weapons ban (see outline here), and Dems in the House are promising to introduce a bill banning hi-cap magazines. However, I can tell you a murderer does not need an AR-15, AK, AUG, or any other semi-atuo with a +10 round mag to slaughter people or raise seven different kinds of hell. In fact, the same day as Sandy Hook a man stabbed 23 at a school in China, I would bet had he taken his time he could have killed at least of those he stabbed, but thankfully he didn't. Another thing these assault weapons bans forget is that the guns they ignore, (revolvers, bolt-action rifles, M1 Garands, and any pistols with a >10 round mag capacity) are just as dangerous in the right hands as a AR-15 or Glock 17. A skilled marksman with a Mossberg ATR, Remington Model 700, Savage Axis or any other hunting rifle, can wreak havoc from a concealed position on large groups of people. Take for example Charles Whitman in Austin, TX in '66. Basically, assault weapon/high-cap mag bans do little to stop slaughters of innocents, and are little more than feel-good solutions. Just to get a fell for what Feinstein's new bill would affect, here are what qualified  a weapon as an assault weapon under the Clinton ban.
    2. The true purpose of the 2nd amendment is to inhibit the government from becoming tyrannical. Personally, I've had arguments with people claiming that the 2nd Amendment only gives the military the right to bear, I've seen the media claim that the 2nd Amendment only protects hunting, and I've heard people claim that the Framers didn't see semi-auto rifles coming (that's actually a highly debatable point), and wouldn't want the people to have access to them to prevent crime. Bullshit, all of it. Rifles and pistols are the great equalizers, prior to their development kings and/or the government could do anything they wished to the people, and the people couldn't do a thing. However, now that We The People are armed, and trained in the use of those arms, the government can no longer prohibit practicing religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, or any other right documented in the Bill of Rights. The Framers wanted the people to be just as well armed as the military, so that The People would be able to put the government back in it's place, namely, subservient to the people, instead of vice versa. To lose that right to keep and bear arms, of all types and looks, would be to make The People servants to the government and give the government a leg up on The People in a situation where the government must subdue the people. To quote Mao Zedong, "All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The Communist Party [The State] must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party [State].". That is in essence why the government wants in enact gun control, and is also why we must never surrender our guns under any conditions.
    Finally, all I have to say about a new assault weapons ban is that it won't work, this is a waste of time. It would be better to just repeal the NFA of 1934 and throw out the idea of gun control because it doesn't work. In the end, in the event of new gun control laws, all I have to say is, I will not comply.


μολὼν λαβέ


Friday, December 28, 2012

China Buys The Tu-22M Production Line

From International Aviation News:


China has already imported 6 such bombers as the bombers are much better than China’s own H-6 bombers in bigger load and larger range.
The Tu-22MB Tupolev Backfire is a supersonic, swing-wing, long-range strategic and maritime surprise strike bomber.
According to Chinese military expert Ma Dingsheng, the swing-wing of Tu-22MBenables it to conduct surprise stealth maritime attack. It can first adjust its wings in a position that enables it to fly at super-low attitude without being detected by enemy radar. When it comes near its target, it changes its wing position to enable it to clime up quickly to conduct sudden attack.
However, Ma said that for production of the bombers, China still needs quite a few parts that it cannot produce especially the engines. It is said that there is a contract to supply the parts for the production of 36 such bombers.
China has to develop its own ability to produce the parts, especially the engines. Otherwise, if Russia refuses to provide more parts, China will be unable to produce more and even have difficulty in maintenance of the bombers.
Source: China Times
This has been in the rumor mill since the late '90s (see Fatal Terrain by Dale Brown), but this is the first I've seen that this might actually happen. However, until we see a Tu-22M in PLAAF markings, take this with a grain of salt.

H/T to Solomon over at SNAFU! for spotting this.
Photo Credit: Air Power Australia

Y-20 : China's New Heavy Lift Transport

Rumors have been floating around lately about a new Chinese transport about the size of the A400M with associated grainy pics. However, yesterday it became official as the DoD confirmed that China is developing a new transport known as the Y-20. This is a major development, as the Y-20 the largest aircraft China has built to date indigenously. A few questions that come to mind, 1) are what engines are being used, as China has historically had problems with local designed and built engines, 2) How will this affect the airmobile and paratroop elements of the PLA, 3) Will China produce a tanker version of the Y-20 like the Russians did with the IL-76, amongst others. Interesting times as the Y-20 is third new aircraft unveiled by China in just two years, the other being the J-20 and F-60. Can't wait to see what 2013 brings with new ChiComm developments and tensions in the Spratleys and Senkakus.

Here are a few photos of the Y-20 and a couple CGI pics.




Photo Credit: SNAFU!, China Defense Blog



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy 2013! War in the Spratleys

From Strategy Page:

     The Chinese announcement that it would begin enforcing new rules, starting January 1st, that will have Chinese naval patrols escorting, or expelling, foreign ships from most of the South China Sea has mobilized a lot of resistance. This should not be surprising as the new rules include offshore areas of the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, and Vietnam that international law does not recognize as Chinese. India and the United States have both announced that they will not obey and that Indian and American warships expect to move unmolested through the South China Sea in 2013.

     China had issued new passports (since last May) which had the new map of China showing the South China Sea as Chinese territory and part of India as part of China. This was ignored until the recent announcement that the Chinese navy would threaten or harass foreign ships in parts of the South China Sea claimed by China. The Philippines and Vietnam have refused to recognize this passport. India is stamping visas for Chinese with the Indian version of the map. Filipinos are also angry at how China has reneged on its agreement to withdraw its warships from Scarborough Shoal (which, according to international law, is Filipino). Both countries agreed to withdraw their warships from the shoal but three Chinese ships remain. The Chinese keep offering excuses of why the ships are still there and the ships show no sign of leaving.


     Not good, the South China Sea has been a powder keg for years, and China continues to piss off her neighbors. In the last few years we've seen a U.S. naval research harassed by Chinese fishermen, ChiComm frigates patrolling Scarborough Shoal, the ChiComms questioning a Indian naval vessel why she was in the South China Sea, amongst other provocative actions. Now we have China showing part of India as China, this isn't new, there have been territorial disputes between China and India since the '60s over parts of the Himalayas, but this is going to ruffle some serious feathers in New Delhi. With Sparky in office and no one in south Asia capable of beating China in a shooting war, this is going to be heck of a ride. A big chunk of Japan and South Korea's oil passes through the area, not to mention the fishing done by Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines in the area. Come 1/1/13 it's going to be interesting to see what happens, because if the U.S. does not come to the aid of our allies in the area, it will show the world the U.S. doesn't have the balls to stand up to her adversaries.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Whiskey. Tango. Hotel.

     This just out of Michigan where the Legislature just passed a right to work law (yes, Michigan). Regardless of your view of right to work laws, this should make your blood boil.

    So...union members are now on par with WWII vets who went through hell and back again for this country? Real fracking classy. Hat tip to Weasel Zippers for spotting this bit.
    

71 Years Ago Today

Today, at 0755 Pearl Harbor was attacked by the naval air force of Japan, killing 2402 American personnel and wounding 1247. The next day America entered WWII. Think about our mobilization efforts after Pearl Harbor, and ponder, could we do it agin?







September 2, 1945 





Sunday, December 2, 2012

CVN-80 To Be Named Enterprise

     From the DoD

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today via video message at the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) inactivation ceremony that the third Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier will be named Enterprise. 
            Mabus selected this name to honor USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which was inactivated today in Norfolk, Va. Commissioned in 1961, CVN 65 served for more than five decades. It participated in the blockade of the Cuban Missile Crisis, launched strike operations in Vietnam, and conducted combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 
            “The USS Enterprise was the first of its kind, and for 51 years its name has been synonymous with boldness, readiness and an adventurous spirit,” said Mabus. “Rarely has our fleet been without a ship bearing the name.  I chose to maintain this tradition not solely because of the legacy it invokes, but because the remarkable work of the name Enterprise is not done.” 
            The future USS Enterprise, designated CVN 80, will be the ninth ship to bear the name.  

Mabus did real good on this one, now he needs to name the rest of the Ford-class: Hornet, Wasp, Ranger, San Jacinto, Lexington, and Yorktown

Photo Credit: US Navy


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

War In Israel!

     Israel just killed the military CO of Hamas, and hit 20 underground storge facilities for rockets, Syrian rebels are taking control of parts of the Syrian-Israel border, and Egypt is going nuts. The Jeruslame Post reports that Israel is ready to launch an ground operation, and Iran is launching major drills all around. Get ready for a wild ride. Oh, and the video above is IR footage of the airstrike that killed the Hamas man. Congrats to the IDF for killing that SOB. I'll be posting more as this unfolds over the next few days.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Aw Crap


     Sorry I have been gone so long, but life kinda got in the way for a while. Regardless here we are, 11/7/12, the day after the election. And we have a big problem, Sparky got reelected. Romney ran a pretty good campaign there, but he failed to hit Obama where it hurt. Romney did not go after Obama's past (drugs, communism, etc...), just like McCain. So here we stand, and as the title of the post suggests, aw crap.
     Here are my predictions for the DoD in the next four years.

1. Cut numbers of CVs, CGs,  cancel SSBN-X, Flight III Burkes, and the Zumwalts.

2. Cancel all versions of the F-35, and retire legacy fighters without a viable replacement.

3. Cut Army and Marine Corps numbers by +25%. Also, kiss the MPC and any upgraded AAV goodbye.

4. Cut the LRS-B (Next Generation Bomber), and F/A-XX, and any other future aircraft program.

5. Lots of peace-keeping missions. Think Somalia and the Balkans mid-90s, Black Hawk Down, and all associated crap.

6. Cut missile defense, including any co-operation with the Israelis, and removing the missile shield over Europe.

7. Cutting deployed nuclear weapons down to ~300 devices.
   
    This is just for starters, this is not including sequestration. What with GOP gains in the House, and Dem gains in the Senate, sequestration is coming at us like a 100 car freight train. Carter was bad, Obama will be worse.

And for the record, I voted. Now, if you'll excuse me I'm going to go pray hard.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Clancy Indirectly Predicted Green-On-Blue Attacks

     About a 2 years ago I bought a copy of Tom Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin, which revolves around the story of an American mole high up the Soviet chain of command (I won't spoil it for those who have not read it). But that is beside the point, a good chunk of the book was devoted to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. 
    In Chapter 17, the main Afghan character, The Archer (so named because of his use of Stinger SAMs) leads an attack on a Soviet battalion at it's base. At about the time the unit was eating lunch, the CO was the first to get killed. In Chapter 3 a Afghan sergeant attempeted to kill a Soviet captain and an Afghan LT loyal to the Soviets, just prior to an attack by the Muj.
     Clancy is generally a good read, and is generally solid on the technical end of things, but here he not only told what was happening to the Soviet in A-Stan, he also told us what would happen when if we ever went in to A-Stan. A warning we would have been wise to heed.

Monday, September 17, 2012

DF-16 Is Made Public


In mid-September 2012 the first full image of the China Aerospace Science and Industries Corporation’s (CASIC) Dong Feng-16 (DF-16) was revealed on Chinese web pages. In mid-March 2011 the Director of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau (their CIA) told the Taiwan legislature that the DF-16 had been deployed and that it had an estimated range of 800km to 1,000km, the latter falling within the definition of a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).

It is reported to be deployed with one Second Artillery Brigade in the Guangzhou Military Region, contributing to what the Taiwan Ministry of Defense says are now 1,600 missile aimed at Taiwan. The DF-16 is seen as a faster successor to CASIC’s 300-500km range DF-11 short-range ballistic missile (SRBM), better able to counter Taiwan’s U.S.-made Patriot PAC-2/3 and domestic Tien Kung anti-tactical ballistic missile interceptors.
New imagery reveals that the DF-16 is both wider and longer than the DF-11 and that its bi-conic warhead structure leaves room for potential growth to include specialized warheads, like the terminally guided and deep penetrating warheads used by the competing DF-15 SRBM family. It uses a 10x10 wheeled transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) similar to that employed by CASIC’s new DF-21C/D MRBMs but does not use the latter’s “cold launch” missile storage tube. Instead the DF-16 uses a new protective “shell” to cover the missile.


One has to wonder what else will show up, as this comes on the heels on the unveiling of the F-60.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Is Wrong Here?

   
Hint: Look at the vertical stabilizer. The DEW Line thinks this is a testbed for Iranian built ejection seats.

Photo Credit: Airliner.net

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

China Claims +90% Of The South China Sea


August 7, 2012: China recently declared that most of the 3.5 million square kilometers South China Sea had become Sansha, the latest Chinese city. The area China claims is within the city limits comprises over two million square kilometers of largely open ocean and a few hundred tiny islands and reefs, many of which are only above water during low tide. Sansha is administered from one of the Paracel islands (Woody Island). The U.S. government responded by asking that China obey international law. China currently claims South China Sea areas close to neighboring nations, except for areas about 22 kilometers from the coast. International law gives all nations control over fishingand oil drilling 380 kilometers off their coasts. China refuses to obey this rule (which it had once agreed to). In response to the American reminder, the Chinese called the U.S. a trouble maker. China is not backing down.

For over three decades China has been using a gradual strategy that involves first leaving buoys (for navigation purposes, to assist Chinese fishermen), followed by temporary shelters (again, for the Chinese fishermen) on islets or reefs that are above water but otherwise uninhabited. If none of the other claimants to this piece of ocean remove the buoys or shelters, China builds a more permanent structure to aid passing Chinese fishermen. This shelter will be staffed by military personnel who will, of course, have radio, radar, and a few weapons. If no one attacks this mini-base China will expand it and warn anyone in the area that the base is Chinese territory and any attempts to remove it will be seen as an act of war. The Vietnamese tried to get physical against these Chinese bases in 1974 and 1988 and were defeated both times.

In 1995, China built one of these mini-bases 114 kilometers from the Filipino island of Palawan on Mischief Reef. Earlier buoys and a temporary structure had been removed by Filipino sailors. But in 1995, while the Philippines had suspended air and naval patrols of the area because of a nearby typhoon (Pacific hurricane), the Chinese rushed in and built a permanent base, on stilts, on the reef. China told the Philippines they would defend this one, and the Philippines found that their American ally was reluctant to go to war over a small structure on stilts on Mischief Reef. Four years later the Chinese expanded the Mischief Reef stilt structure and now it was obviously a military base. The Philippines protested and China ignored that. Now the Philippines is drilling for oil off Palawan and Chinese is using this "base" as the basis for declaring the drilling operations illegal. China has threatened to use force against oil companies that dare drill in their territorial waters without permission.

This is part of a strategy based on the ancient principle that, when it comes to real estate, "possession is 9/10ths of the law." It's the law of the jungle because all the claimants are armed and making it clear that, at some point down the road, force will be used to enforce claims. With the establishment of Sansha City, China is saying the next time anyone does anything China does not like within the city limits it could be war, because a government has to defend its sovereign territory.

     That is not gonna go over well in the capitols of Vietnam, Philippines, and the U.S.. There is a war brewing down there, and China is playing with fire, next to a powder keg.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Petraeus As Romney's VP?

     Needless, to say this would the curve ball to end all curve balls. David Petraeus has stated he has no political ambitions, but in light of what Sparky has done to the country he might just come back and run as VP if Romney asks him. That said, Jay Carney stated this morning that Sparky never said anything about Romney wanting Petraeus to be his VP, but Carney has lied before, so take it with a few kilos of salt. I must also add that Petraeus's views on domestic and foreign policy are unknown. Read the article from The Drudge Report:

President Obama whispered to a top fundraiser this week that he believes GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney wants to name Gen. David Petraeus to the VP slot!

"The president wasn't joking," the insider explains to the DRUDGE REPORT.

A Petraeus drama has been quietly building behind the scenes.

Romney is believed to have secretly met with the four-star general in New Hampshire.

The pick could be a shrewd Romney choice. A cross-party pull. The Obama administration hailed Petraeus as one of history's greatest military strategists. Petraeus was unanimously confirmed as the Director of the CIA by the US Senate 94-0.

But Petraeus has categorically asserted that he has NO political ambitions. And Team Obama stands prepared to tie one of their own to "Bush wars." A Petraeus pick could been seen as simply shuffling the decks of power in DC.

"He's a serious man, for seriously dangerous times," notes a top Republican.

A DRUDGE POLL on Tuesday morning showed readers split on if Romney should give it a go.

And the calendar is running out of days.

Developing...
 




Monday, August 6, 2012

U.S. Criticizes China Over New Island Garrison

     From Defense News:


WASHINGTON — The United States on Aug. 3 criticized China’s establishment of a new military garrison in the South China Sea as it called on all sides to lower tensions in the hotly contested waters.
China announced last week that it was establishing the tiny city of Sansha and a garrison on an island in the disputed Paracel chain, infuriating Vietnam and the Philippines, which have accused Beijing of intimidation.
“We are concerned by the increase in tensions in the South China Sea and are monitoring the situation closely,” U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.
“In particular, China’s upgrading of the administrative level of Sansha city and establishment of a new military garrison there covering disputed areas of the South China Sea run counter to collaborative diplomatic efforts to resolve differences and risk further escalating tensions in the region,” he said.
Ventrell also pointed to “confrontational rhetoric” and incidents at sea, saying: “The United States urges all parties to take steps to lower tensions.”
China says it controls much of the South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam all claim portions. Vietnam and the Philippines have accused China of stepping up harassment at sea.
    China claims all of the South China Sea on the grounds that they have been sailing it for the last 1000 years (China got organized around 200 BC). And because of that they have been running roughshod over the locals. Even going so far as to question an Indian Navy vessel why it was in the area. China is not going to up it's claim to the entire sea without a fight, which if the U.S. doesn't intervene China will win. Tough rhetoric won't stop, contrary to the belief of the U.S. and the U.N..  There is a war brewing in those parts, the question is when and how big.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dirty Harry Endorses Romney

     "The one thing you have to ask yourself is do I feel lucky?...Well, do ya punk?"

From the AP:


SUN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) — Clint Eastwood just made Mitt Romney's day.
The Oscar-winning director and longtime movie star says he's endorsing the Republican presidential candidate.
Eastwood tells The Associated Press that he's backing Romney because, in Eastwood's words, "I think the country needs a boost."
Eastwood was among those attending a Romney fundraiser Friday night in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Philippines Buy 2 Italian Frigates, And Maybe 10 Attack Choppers


MANILA, Philippines - Two Italian warships are set to strengthen the Philippines' maritime defense capabilities, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Thursday.

Gazmin said the Philippine Navy is buying the P11.7-billion Maestrale-class frigates , which have anti-submarine and anti-aircraft weaponry.

The move is part of the Armed Forces' modernization program, the defense chief said at a forum in Camp Aguinaldo.

"These frigates are warships. These have anti-air, sub-surface, they have anti-submarine (capabilities). What we are getting are really meant for war," Gazmin said.

The frigates, which were commissioned in the 1980s, are being used by the Italian Navy.

He said the Navy is waiting for the approval of contract that is expected to be signed in January 2013.

The ships will then be delivered by November after they are refurbished.

"These are operational. They are being used by the Italian Navy. They will be refurbished and overhauled," Gazmin said.
The Philippine Navy bought a Hamilton-class cutter from the US Coast Guard for about P400 million last year.  A similar vessel is expected to be delivered to the Navy within the next few month.

"These will be a big help because they will be giving us a very good defense posture," Garzmin said. "These will help in guarding (our territory), against terrorism, enforcement of maritime laws."

Fernando Manalo, defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel, said a separate P3.2-billion contract for the purchase of 10 attack helicopters from Eurocopter could be signed this month.

The helicopters will be delivered this year if the contract gets the green light.

     This is the latest episode in a growing arms race with countries with coast on the South China Sea racing to build up their military because of China's aggression. Just a few days ago a Chinese frigate ran aground on a shoal claim by China and the Philippines, and was removed a couple days later. The Philippines do not want to see that happen again, I think that is why they have purchased these 2 frigates. As to the 10 attack helicopter mentioned at the end, I would guess those are going to be Eurocopter Tigers, or the EC 635.             
     Either way this a major development, as the Hamilton-class cutters are greatly outclassed by these 
frigates. As these frigate bring an anti-air, and anti-ship capability to the table which the Hamiltons don't have.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy 

Flashback Friday: Project Babylon

     Project Babylon. The last supergun project in recent memory. Project Babylon was a fixed artillery piece meant to launch projectiles at least 1000km, when completed the gun would have had a bore of a 100cm (surpassing Little David and Mallet's Mortar at both tied at 91.4cm as ths largest artillery piece ever built). Saddam would have easily been able to reach all of Israel and a pretty good chunk of Iran. Project Babylon was abandoned when the designer, Gerald Bull, was assassinated, and most of the components were confiscated in Europe. 

     The one problem with this idea, was that it was stationary, and extremely vulnerable to air attack, similar to the German supergun, the V-3. However, simply having the capability to reach out and touch your opponent 1000km away, faster than with a missile, gives you the ability to threaten other countries with it. Either way this was an ill-conceived idea and was a drain on Saddam's resources, with little military value. 


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Help Name The Varyag

     The Diplomat has a little contest ring on where you can suggest a name for the ex-Varyag. Read it:

China needs your help.
Shipwrights in Chinese yards worked wonders transforming a Soviet hulk sold for scrap into a working aircraft carrier. The flattop formerly known as Varyag has ventured out of port on sea trials several times this past year. The People’s Liberation Army Navy appears satisfied with its performance. In fact, some press outlets speculate it could be placed in commission as early as thismonth. But it needs a name. It must stop being the Prince of the naval-aviation world.
Our friends in Beijing are evidently having a hard time settling on a name, though. The vessel was reportedlygoing to bear the name Shi Lang, for a long-ago conqueror of Taiwan. When word got out, the ensuing uproar apparently convinced China’s leaders they were being a tad heavy-handed—especially when they were cultivating an era of good feelings across the Taiwan Strait. Since then the poor ship has gone by “ex-Varyag,” truly an undignified moniker to grace China’s first operational carrier.
That’s where you can help. What kind of name should the ship have? Should it overawe all who behold it, sporting a name like Indisputable Sovereign of the Sea? Should it emphasize the cuddly side of Chinese sea power, with something like Panda Bear or Hello Kitty? Or something else? Please tell us! Enter your response in the comments below. Our crack editorial team will judge the responses and publish the winner next week. The prize will be … a date with editor Harry Kazianis!! (Editor's Note: What?)
And China will thank you.

     Currently, there are names like, Missile Magnet, The Great Leap Forward, Russian Roulette,
  and The Pain Train, among many others. So hop on over there and post your suggestion.

Hat tip to Bayou Renaissance Man for spotting this.