Saturday, June 30, 2012

The 72 Club: 6/30

Friday, June 29, 2012

Hat Tip To Old NFO

     I'm not going to post the article here, but Old NFO over at Nobody Asked Me has an article that points out Chief Justice Roberts kicked The Bamster where it hurts most. By throwing out Obamacare on the basis of the Commerce Clause, and using Congress' power to tax, Roberts makes it tax, rather than a penalty like the Dems advertised it as.

Read the blog post here.

Flashback Friday 6/29: Landing Craft Support, Large

     This week's Flashback Friday looks at the first LCS, the Landing Craft Support, Large. The LCS(L) was developed soon after the Battle of Tarawa, when shortcomings were found in the Navy's ability for close fire support for amphibious landings.  
     The LCS(L) carried an armament of  a 1 3"/50 gun and twin 40mm cannon on the bow and a twin 40mm cannon on the stern. Along with 4 20mm cannons and 4 12.7mm machine guns scattered thoughout the ship.  The LCS(L)s were a small ship with a displacement of 250 tons, a length of a 48.5m, a beam of 7m, and a draft of 2m. While they were small, the LCS(L)s were large enough to cross the open ocean on their own, albiet slowly with a top speed of 16.5 knots with a range of 8000km
    The LCS(L)s fought in the liberation of the Philippines, at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Borneo among others. The photo above shows LCS(L)(3)-8 off the coast of Corregidor in 1945, Later as the war progressed, after amphibious landing, the LCS(L)s were pressed into service as radar picket ships used to spot incoming air raids. LCS(L)s were also used on "skunk patrols" to watch for Japanese suicide boats attempting to attack landing areas. After WWII the surviving LCS(L)s were transferred to navies of France, Japan, Thailand, and Greece among others.  
     As of 2012, out of 130 LCS(L)s only one has survived, LCS(L)-102, which at the end of WWII was transferred to Japan who later transferred it to Thailand. In Thai service she was renamed HTMS Nakha, and served a patrol boat from 1966 to 2007 when she was given back to the U.S. to be used a museum ship.
    The LCS(L) was an example of a type of ship that was meant to fill a gap, and was cheap, expendable, and could be mass produced. The LCS(L) had her origins in several makeshift solutions for close in fire support in the South Pacific, including the modification of Higgins boats to carry several machine guns, among others. Later on Navy brass took notice and built on that concept, and produced the LCS(L). The LCS(L) packed a large punch into a small hull, and was easy to maintain and operate. Today the LCS designation has been assigned to the Littoral Combat Ship which has a number of shortcomings, and is a poor successor to the LCS(L).  Either way one looks at the LCS(L) it was a excellent ship, and performed it's mission well, and was an excellent patrol craft after the war. They were truly, to quote the men who served on them, the "Mighty Midgets".

For a more in-depth profile I highly recommend a post done on the same subject by XBRADTC over at Bring the heat, Bring the stupid.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy and NavSource Photo Archives

Thursday, June 28, 2012

China Starting "Combat ready" Patrols In South China Sea

    From Aviation Week:

China has begun combat-ready patrols in the waters around a disputed group of islands in the South China Sea, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday, the latest escalation in tensions over the potentially resource-rich area.

Asked about what China would do in response to Vietnamese air patrols over the Spratly Islands, the ministry’s spokesman Geng Yansheng said Beijing would “resolutely oppose any militarily provocative behavior”.

“In order to protect national sovereignty and our security and development interests, the Chinese military has already set up a normal, combat-ready patrol system in seas under our control,” he said.

“The Chinese military’s resolve and will to defend territorial sovereignty and protect our maritime rights and interests is firm and unshakeable,” Geng added, according to a transcript posted on the ministry’s website (

     I've posted before about the situation in the South China Sea, but this is the first that has come out about China beginning "combat ready" patrols in the area. One question I have is what does "combat ready" mean?
China has had warships in the South China Sea regularly for decades, so does "combat ready" imply that they will be arming commercial vessels to protect their claims in the area? 

Photo Credit: NavWeaps

Not News: Norks HATE Americans

PYONGYANG, North Korea — A framed poster on the wall of a kindergarten classroom shows bright-eyed children brandishing rifles and bayonets as they attack a hapless American soldier, his face bandaged and blood spurting from his mouth.
“We love playing military games knocking down the American bastards,” reads the slogan printed across the top. Another poster depicts an American with a noose around his neck. “Let’s wipe out the U.S. imperialists,” it instructs.
For North Koreans, the systematic indoctrination of anti-Americanism starts as early as kindergarten and is as much a part of the curriculum as learning to count.
Toy pistols, rifles and tanks sit lined up in neat rows on shelves. The school principal pulls out a dummy of an American soldier with a beaked nose and straw-colored hair and explains that the students beat him with batons or pelt him with stones — a favorite schoolyard game, she says.
For a moment, she is sheepish as she takes three journalists from The Associated Press, including an American, past the anti-U.S. posters. But Yun Song Sil is not shy about the message.
“Our children learn from an early age about the American bastards,” she says, tossing off a phrase so common here that it is considered an acceptable way to refer to Americans.
North Korean students learn that their country has had two main enemies: the Japanese, who colonized Korea from 1910 to 1945, and the U.S., which fought against North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War.
They are told that North Korea’s defense against outside forces — particularly the U.S., which has more than 28,000 soldiers stationed in South Korea — remains the backbone of the country’s foreign policy.
And they are bred to seek revenge, even as their government professes to want peace with the United States.
“They tell their people there can be no reconciliation with the United States,” says American scholar Brian Myers, who dissected North Korean propaganda in his 2010 book “The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters.” “They make it very clear to the masses that this hate will last forever.”
      "War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want."
       - General William T. Sherman
     Enough said.

Photo Credit: Associated Press 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Joe Biden Doesn't Like The Individual Mandate

    Looking forward to tomorrow.

Pentagon Singling Out Queer Troops?

     From the Military Times. Read it and weep.

WASHINGTON — In the course of a year, Marine Capt. M. Matthew Phelps says he went from being a gay man “in the closet,” afraid of being discharged, to invitee at the White House gay pride reception, drinking champagne with his commander in chief.
Phelps told his story Tuesday at the Pentagon’s first-ever event to recognize the service of gay and lesbian troops. The historic event came nine months after repeal of the 18-year-old “don’t ask don’t tell” policy that had prohibited gay troops from serving openly and forced more than 13,500 service members out of the armed forces.
“Last June ... I was at a point in my career that if anyone had found out that I was gay ... I could have lost my job,” Phelps told some 400 uniformed and civilian Defense Department employees packed into a Pentagon auditorium.
“A year later ... I, Capt. Matthew Phelps, was invited to attend this pride reception at the White House,” Phelps said of the June 15 reception hosted by President Obama. “And I thought how amazing is it over the course of a year, I could go from being fired for being who I am, to having champagne with the commander in chief — on cocktail napkins with the presidential seal on it.”
Phelps appeared on a panel of current and former service members, some of whom told of their experiences before the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and how life is different now. The audience filled the seats and dozens more stood along the walls, roughly 1 in 5 were in uniform and the rest civilians who had not been subject to the old policy.
“For those service members who are gay and lesbian, we lifted a real and personal burden from their shoulders,” top Pentagon lawyer Jeh Johnson said in a speech opening the event that lasted about an hour and a half. “They no longer have to live a lie in the military” or “teach a child to lie to protect her father’s career.
     Read the rest of the article here
     My question in all of this is why are we singling out queers? Queers only make up about 1-2% percent of America, and the 98% of us are straight. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful for what these men and women have done for this country, but why should they get special treatment? As a soldier you have to operate as a team with your squad, and by singling out the minority because of their sexual orientation you create divisions in that team. Thereby degrading the effectiveness of that team in combat, putting lives on the line for the sake of political correctness. 

Photo Credit: MC1 Chad J. McNEELEY

Why The F-35 Can't Replace The A-10

     One of he aircraft the F-35A is slated to replace is the A-10 sometime in 2028. The main mission of the of the A-10 is close air support, which means going low and slow, making yourself a target for AA and AAA. The A-10 from the get-go was designed with the close air support mission in mind, which is why the A-10 has redundant flight control systems, a redundant primary structure, all bulletproof glass, and the titanium "bathtub" surrounding the cockpit. The F-35A is on the other hand an air superiority fighter, and has been designed as such.
     The picture above is of an A-10 that was shot up over Baghdad in 2003. You can see several dozen bullet holes, possibly from a 23mm cannon (ZSU-23-4 or ZU-23-2). Now imagine an F-35 with that kind of damage, it would be blown out of they sky. The sky over a battlefield is by it's very nature filled with ground fire. Most of it is wild, and simply shots that missed their targets. However, every so often you will come across some sort of air defense system, be it an armored vehicle like the ZSU-23, or any sort of gun-based air defense system. And the F-35, like most other 4th and 5th generation fighters cannot take a great deal of punishment and stay in the air. That is a trade-off that occurs the more advanced the fighter. 
     Aircraft have to be built specifically for the close air support mission to perform that mission consistently. The F-15 and F-16 are air-superiority fighters, but they often perform the CAS mission. However, if they were fighting against an enemy with an a real IADS they would have to "shoot and scoot" before they are targeted by local air defense systems. The A-10 on the other hand can loiter over the target longer simply because it can absorb a great deal of punishment (the A-10 can take a 23mm hit almost anywhere and stay in the air, someplaces it can absorb a 57mm hit and stay up.) and bring it's pilot home. 
    If you want an aircraft to perform the CAS mission and be able to loiter above the battlefield, it has to be built for the mission. It has to be armored like a tank, have backup mechanical flight controls, the cockpit has to have extra armor, the canopy has to be made of bulletproof glass, it has to be able to take scores of high-caliber hits and stay in the air. The F-35, while an excellent air superiority fighter, will make a poor CAS aircraft simply because it can't take the punishment that comes with the mission.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Editorial: The U.S. Navy's Quantity Problem

     James R. Holmes writes an excellent op-ed on the number of ships in the U.S. Navy over at The Diplomat. Needless to say, he hits the nail on the head. Read the beginning:

As naval technology gallops on, can fleets execute the same missions with fewer assets?
Eminent people say so; I have my doubts.
Officials like U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work point to scientific and technical advances that supposedly render numbers of ships and aircraft less meaningful than in bygone decades.Unmanned reconnaissance aircraft able to detect, classify, and track hostile contacts across wide sea areas and feed targeting information to U.S. Navy task forces represent one such innovation. Sea-service leaders also point out that warships now entering service are far more technologically advanced than the ones they replace.
The message, seemingly, is that quantity no longer has much quality of its own.
Yet there’s an otherworldly feel to such claims. It’s certainly true that each new generation of ships, warplanes, sensors, and weaponry is far more capable in an absolute sense than the generations that went before. True, but not especially meaningful.
One of today’s Arleigh Burke-class Aegis destroyers, for example, would surely outclass an Aegis cruiser from the early 1980s, when that combined radar/fire-control system first went to sea on board USSTiconderoga.
So what?
     Hat tip to Pacific Sentinel for spotting this.
Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

The Tin Can Sailors Vs. The Center Force

Video Credit: The History Channel

Monday, June 25, 2012

Stealth: Too Much Of A Good Thing?

     Stealth. Since the development of Northrop's Have Blue prototype in the 70s the Air Force has fallen in love with the concept, and has bought 4 types of stealth bomers and fighters since. But at what cost to capabilities? Stealth is an extremely valuable resource, but today and for the next 10 years we will be fighting an asymmetric war against third world terrorists, rather than large conventional wars on the plains of central Europe. The question I ask, has stealth destroyed the Air Force and naval aviation?
     Exhibit 1: The A-12. The A-12 Avenger II was supposed to be a stealth bomber successor to the tried and true A-6 Intruder. The A-12 was canceled in 1991 due to cost and weight overruns, and problems with the radar system. Because the A-12 was supposed to replace the A-6 , the Navy canceled the A-6F Intruder II which would have had new engines, electronics, and 2 extra hardpoints for carrying ordnance. However, since the A-12 was supposed to replace the A-6, the Navy turned Grumman's proposal down. Then when the A-12 was canceled in 1991 the Navy was left without a tanker aircraft and bomb truck.  And because the Navy placed all it's bets on the A-12, it was forced to use the F-14 as an attack aircraft, and purchase the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The Super Hornet, while an excellent fighter, is acceptable in the attack role, but is not meant for it. Conclusion: Because the Navy relied too much on new technologies (read A-12) that had kinks to be worked out, lost their deep strike and tanker capability. 
    Exhibit 2: The F-22 Raptor. The F-22 Raptor has become darling of the Air Force, as it  can enter a dogfight with any type of aircraft and come out on top. However, in recent months the F-22 has had problems with it's oxygen system resulting in one pilot killed and a six month grounding for all F-22s. That does not include it extreme cost at 350 million dollars each, which has only been surpassed by that of the B-2 Spirit at 2.1 billion dollars. The damage to the Air Force done by the F-22 is not as obvious. And rather than manifest itself in loss of capability, it shows itself in quantity. With only 187 combat aircraft produced, the Air Force is forced to rely on a small number of extremely capable platforms. Not only that, but the Air force will be reluctant to risk a 350 million dollar piece of equipment in hostile airspace, simply because of it's cost and the technical secrets which the enemy would obtain. Conclusion: Because the Air Force was set on buying the newest, coolest airplane, they lost several good legacy fighters for each F-22, rather than buy better, new build fighter fighter like the F-16E of F-15SE.
     Exhibit 3: The F-35 Lightning II. The F-35 is the latest and greatest of Air Force programs, and is the planned replacement of the F-16, F/A-18, and A-10. The problem here is the number of F-35s to be purchased. The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps are planning to to buy ~2400 F-35s of all types. I agree with many that the F-35 is a good fighter, but we simply cannot afford to buy enough to cover all the services. The Air Force has stated that they alone need 2200 fighters of all types, subtracting the 187 F-22s that leaves 2013 fighters that the Air Force needs. Subtracting the 680 F-35Bs and Cs the Marine Corps and Navy are buying, the Air Force is only buying 1233 F-35As, leaving a shortfall of 800 fighters. And the idea that the F-35 will replace the A-10 in the CAS role is a pipe dream (see example here, point made?), simply because the F-35 cannot absorb the punishment or carry the ordnance an A-10 can. Conclusion: The F-35 is a good bird, but at the moment it is not what we need, as it is too expensive, and it's mission can be performed by new legacy fighters. However, that does not mean it should be canceled, rather it should shelved for the moment until a need arises.
     The other issue that hasn't been mentioned, is that are we willing to deploy stealth fighters into hostile airspace? The F-22, and F-35 are cutting edge fighters with some of the newest technologies in the West on board, and if lost would hand a technical goldmine over to enemy forces. Back in 1999 an F-117 was shot down, and it is almost certain those stealth materials fell into enemy hands. While obsolete by our standards, the F-117 is cutting edge for the rest of the world. Frankly, the Air Force or Navy would probably not risk stealth aircraft in hostile airspace like Iran, simply because of the rick of valuable technical secrets being lost.
     Stealth is here to stay, that is a fact. However, in our current fiscal condition we cannot afford the number of stealth fighters or bombers we need to maintain our commitments worldwide. We also must be willing to risk our stealth aircraft in hostile airspace, even if that risks technical secrets falling into enemy hands. Even if we are willing to risk stealth aircraft in enemy airspace, we still don't have the money to afford enough stealth fighters. To answer the question posed at the beginning of this post, yes, stealth has destroyed the Air force and naval aviation.
     The solution? The F-16E/F and F-15SE. The F-16E/F is the latest version of the venerable F-16, and is already in production. The F-15SE is a stealthier version of the F-15E, with conformal weapons bays (CWBs) rather than the conformal fuel tanks (CFTs). Both types are cheaper than the F-35 at around 80 and 100 million each. They are not the most advanced fighters in the sky today, but have two advantages. 
We can afford them in the numbers we need, and they are proven in CAS and air-to-air combat. As to the Navy and Marines, the Marines would have to keep flying AV-8 Harriers off of helicopter carriers, and use F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for land-based aircraft. The Navy is another story, the A-6F needs to be resurrected, and a new cheap naval based fighter developed.
    The problem for so many years has been that aviators across the board (with the possible exception of the Marine Corps) have become fixated on buying new aircraft. The "if its new, if its high-tech, we need it" mantra has killed the Air Force and Navy at a time when tried and true beats new and unproven. That is what has gotten us into this mess.

Photo Credit: U.S. Navy and USAF

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chinook Hit With An RPG In Afghanistan

    Everyone made it back OK. That is a well trained pilot and crew right there.

Hat tip to CDR Salamander.

Looks Like Debby Ain't Even Gonna Come Close to Texas

     8 hours ago NOAA was saying it would hit the Lake Pontchartrain/Mississippi delta area, and before that it was the Texas Gulf Coast, now it looks like the Florida Panhandle. Outside of a few inches of rain and a few missing shingles, it doesn't look too bad for Florida. Still, it has 4 days before it makes landfall, so we'll have to keep an eye on it. 

Photo Credit: NOAA

Bill Whittle On Fast & Furious

Hat tip to The Other McCain for spotting this.

Video Credit: Bill Whittle


Cheap patriotism? Look who's talking.

Hat tip to Weasel Zippers

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Aw Rats: TS Debbie Might Hit Texas

     Well, looks like we got ourselves a situation, AccuWeather reports that Tropical Storm Debby has finally  formed, and in record time. The question is now who will it clobber?

Debby will continue to crawl northward this weekend, but should get steered to the west-southwest toward Texas or northern Mexico as the ridge of high pressure expands. Given this solution, landfall would likely be delayed until the middle or latter part of next week.

This track should eventually put Debby in an environment conducive for further strengthening, giving the tropical storm the opportunity to become a hurricane.
Even though Debby is expected to track away from Florida, additional tropical moisture and downpours could still be directed across the state through early next week.

     It might not hit Houston, but then again it might. We'll be keeping on eye on it down here. Posting will be light through the end of next week, and maybe longer. I'll keep ya'll posted on how it goes.

Photo Credit: NOAA, AccuWeather


The 72 Club: 6/23

Friday, June 22, 2012

Photo: F-35B's Gun Pod

    That right there is a GAU-22 20mm cannon in an external pod. Unlike the F-35A, the B and C don't have an internal gun. Kinda like the SUU-16 without the gunsight problems. 

Photo Credit: USAF

Flashback Friday 6/22: USS United States (CVA-58)

    This week's Flashback Friday looks at the USS United States, what could have been the world's first supercarrier. The USS United States was primarily envisioned as a carrier that rather than support amphibious operations or sea control, would perform nuclear bombardment as it's main mission. Later on during the design period, the United States was redesigned to carry more fighters, but her main mission overall was for nuclear bombardment.  The United States would have had a flight deck that could handle 45,500kg aircraft because of the heavy weight of early nuclear weapons (some early nuclear weapons could weigh as much as 6000kg).
      One of the unique aspects of the United States was that she was designed without an island on the flight deck. Most carriers that have been built have been constructed with an island amidships of varying sizes. The main problem with the lack of an island it that the functions performed in an island (air traffic control, combat information center, steering, among others) have to be moved belowdecks. And while this provides greater armor, it denies the captain, air boss, and others a view of their surroundings. The other problem with the lack of an island is that  there is no place to locate radar and communications antennas.
     However, what was probably the most interesting feature of the United States was the fact that she had 4 catapults on the bow and amidships, and yet was designed to be able to recover aircraft at the same time she was launching them. This was a capability not available for the U.S. Navy until 1955 on the USS Shangri-La with the SCB-125 upgrade for WWII-era Essex-class carriers. And even then modified carriers could only use 2 of 4 catapults when recovering aircraft.
     What sank the United States however, was inter-service rivalry. At the same time the United States was being designed, the Air Force had begun pushing for a fleet of B-36 Peacemakers to use in lieu of carriers for nuclear deterrence. The SecDef at the time, Louis A. Johnson, canceled the construction of the United States 5 days after her keel was laid (see picture above). This led to the famous "Revolt of the Admirals" which cost the then CNO Admiral Louis Denfield his job. However, the "revolt" saved carrier aviation, as the then-new thinking was that strategic bombing with nuclear weapons would win any future war. This was proved wrong in the Korean War a year after the United States was canceled.
     The USS United States was a revolutionary design, and could have altered the design of U.S. Navy carriers for many years afterward. However, at the same time, it might have been a good thing that she was canceled, as she was designed with nuclear deterrence in mind, rather than air support and sea control which have always been the traditional missions of an aircraft carrier. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Philippines To Purchase 12 Fighters From S. Korea

     From ABS-CBN News:

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) said they will be acquiring fighter jets in the next two years.

Twelve surface attack aircraft lead-in fighters or TA-50s from South Korea are expected to be delivered by 2013.

Each jet costs P1.25 billion for a total of P25 billion for the dozen jets.

The TA-50 is a supersonic aircraft that requires more experienced pilots.

Authorities said bulk of the P70 billion allocated for the modernization of the Armed Forces under the Aquino administration will go to the Air Force.

“Dati hindi natin pinapansin ang territorial defense dahil wala nga tayong capability gaya ngayon. ‘Yung  bangka ‘yung atin, ‘yung kalaban natin napakalaking platform. Ngayon, tumaas ang rating ng problema natin sa territorial defense. Hindi pala natin pwedeng isantabi,” said Defense Sec. Voltaire Gazmin.

    (Here is a translation from Google Translator, it's not the best but it gets the point across.)

The Air Force currently has two trainer jets, which are now nearly 25 years old.

The S-211s were originally meant for training purposes but the military was forced to use them in actual operations.

The PAF admits that this is the current image of the air power of the Philippines, which has been left behind by its neighbors.

The country's lone fighter jet, an F-5, was sidelined in 2005 and has yet to be replaced.

     The President of the Philippines discussed this on a radio show in May, but at the time I derided it as political posturing. Looks like he was serious about that. What I don't understand is why they chose the TA-50, as it is the attack model of the T-50 trainer. And as such doesn't have an good air-to-air combat capability like the F-16s they wanted. Still, it is better than nothing. 

Hat tip to Pacific Sentinel for spotting this.

Photo Credit: Sergey Ryabtsev

Russian Ship Allegedly carrying Mi-25s To Syria Turns Back

     From The Telegraph:

The British marine insurer Standard Club said it had withdrawn cover from all the ships owned by Femco, a Russian cargo line, including the MV Alaed.
"We were made aware of the allegations that the Alaed was carrying munitions destined for Syria," the company said in a statement. "We have already informed the ship owner that their insurance cover ceased automatically in view of the nature of the voyage."
British security officials confirmed they had told Standard Club that providing insurance to the shipment was likely to be a breach of European Union sanctions against the Syrian regime.
They said they were continuing to monitor the ship, which has been the subject of a fierce international row since US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week revealed it was adding to the arsenal of weaponry available for Mr Assad to use against rebellious Syrian towns.
"We have various ways of keeping track of this ship and that is what we are doing," a source told The Daily Telegraph.
The MV Alaed picked up its cargo of Mi25 helicopters – known as "flying tanks" – from the Russian port of Kaliningrad, where they had been sent to the state-owned manufacturer Mil's "Factory 150" for servicing and repairs.
They were originally sold to the Syrian government by Moscow, its major arms supplier, at the end of the Soviet era.
The ship headed south through the North Sea towards the English Channel on its way to the Mediterranean and, most likely, the Syrian port of Tartous, also home to a Russian naval base.
But under sanctions announced last year, the EU has banned not only exporting arms to Syria but also providing related services such as insurance.
As first revealed by The Sunday Telegraph at the weekend, the US notified the UK government that the insurance was British last week.
As it neared the Dutch coast, the authorities there also hailed the ship, the security sources said, and it made an abrupt turn, heading towards Scotland. It was last night now off the coast of the Hebrides but with no insurance covering the ship security sources say it may now have to return to port.
In their attempts to bombard rebel towns into submission, Assad regime forces have increasingly brought up helicopters, strafing the towns of Haffa and Rastan last week.

     This coming after the announcement of 2 amphibs being sent to Syria would indicate Russia is taking a more active role in supporting Assad. Robert Beckhusen over at the Danger Room theorizes that this could be a sign of increasing U.S.-Russian cooperation over Syria. 
     However, it's my belief that the MV Alaed turned back because Russia does not want to risk international humiliation when it is found they are actively supporting Syria. Back in March there was a rumor, that Russia had sent a unit of "anti-terrorist marines" to Syria. While this was nothing more than a rumor, if true could indicate that Russia is actively fighting on behalf of Assad. I mentioned yesterday that Syria owes Russia 6 billion dollars for arms purchased, and Putin will not allow Assad to fall until Russia is paid. 
    Either way this is a developing situation that we should watch closely, as if the United States enters the civil war, the crap will hit the fan in the Mid-East.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MSNBC Host Loses It: Claims Race Responsible For War On Terror


Some quotes from Melissa Harris-Perry:
  • “Americans of course responded in very typically American ways to [terrorism], something that many people in the rest of the world had already experienced.  We began with a kind of nationalist fervor that was justified as reasonable patriotism.”
  • “I’d like to point out that we clearly must have been having post-traumatic stress disorder because for about a year after September 11th, there were African-American men walking around the city of New York with N.Y.P.D hats on– that can only be explained as a P.T.S.D. response.” 
  • “The other thing that happens in that moment, I don’t want to miss this, is that a new version of what America typically needs emerge, and that is a racial enemy.  Americans in part identify who we are, and who deserves what, through our notions of whiteness and of the racial enemies that are the non-whites.
  • “And in this moment, the new racial enemy became not so much Reagan‘s ’welfare queen,’ who was imaginary, but instead this imagined other that is somehow Muslim, or Arab, or Sikh, or something else.”
  • “We became willing to stomach a kind of horrific racial violence in the name of national security.  It is something that we have been willing to stomach as a people over and over again in our history.”
  • “The Patriot Act was not an act of a Republican president acting alone.  The Patriot Act was a bipartisan decision by both parties.  It was not bought and paid for by corporations; it was bought and paid for by our fear.”
     I am not going to waste my time refuting this point by point, it would a waste of good bytes. But to say race is the reason for the War on Terror, what is that? Naivete? Stupidity? Race-baiting?  Hat tip to The Blaze for spotting this.

Russia Sending 2 Amphibs To Syria

     From Defense News: 

MOSCOW — Russia is preparing to send two warships to the Syrian port of Tartus, where Moscow operates a strategic naval base, to ensure the safety of its nationals, the Interfax news agency reported June 18.
The report comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to meet his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos later June 18 amid tensions over Syria clouding bilateral ties.
"Two major amphibious ships — The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov — are preparing to be dispatched to Tartus outside of their schedule," the Russian news agency quoted an unidentified officer from the Russian naval headquarters as saying.
The two ships will carry a "large" group of Marines, Interfax added. There was no official confirmation of the report from the navy or the defense ministry.
The Tsezar Kunikov can carry 150 landing troops and various armaments including tanks, while The Nikolai Filchenkov can carry up to 1,500 tons of cargo and equipment, the report said.
Interfax said the ships could be used to evacuate Russian nationals.
"The crews of The Nikolai Filchenkov and The Tsezar Kunikov and SB-15 rescue tug together with Marines onboard are able to ensure security of Russian nationals and evacuate part of the property of the logistical support base if need be," Interfax quoted a source as saying.
The protracted conflict between the ruling regime and the opposition in Syria shows no signs of easing.
The opposition has demanded the deployment of armed peacekeepers after U.N. observers halted their work because of bloodshed.
Russia and its ally China have previously blocked earlier attempts at the U.N. Security Council to condemn Damascus and have shielded Assad's regime from further pressure amid accusations that Moscow has been sending weapons to Damascus.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has accused Russia of fueling the violence by sending attack helicopters to Syria, which she said were "on the way" and would "escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
Russia angrily retorted that it was not making any new deliveries and had only carried out repairs of helicopters sent there many years ago.
Syria, one of the few countries to back Russia in its war with Georgia in 2008, is Moscow's close ally from the Soviet era and a major purchaser of its arms.
Putin's predecessor at the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev, traveled to Damascus in 2010 in the first ever visit to the country by a Russian or Soviet head of state.
During talks with Assad, he promised Russian assistance to Syria in reconstructing its oil and gas infrastructure and even in building a nuclear power station.
Over the past months, the Kremlin has distanced itself from Assad but is sticking to its hard line, ruling out foreign intervention and insisting Assad's fate should be decided by Syrians themselves.
    This isn't the first time Russia has sent ships to Syria during the upheaval, as they sent the Admiral Kuznetsov to Tarus last December. However, with the prospect of amphibs going to Syria, they will almost certainly be carrying munitions and maybe even soldiers. Assad owes Russia 6 billion dollars, and the Russians need hard cash, and they will not allow Assad to fall before he pays them. 
    Frankly, I think that bit about evacuating civilians and their support base are just a cover story for shipping supplies to Assad.

A Forgotten Relic Of The Cold War

Video Credit: jaglavaksoldier

Monday, June 18, 2012

USS Texas Will Close For A Week

     From the Navy Times:

LA PORTE, Texas — The battleship Texas will close next week for repairs after the 100-year-old vessel began flooding.
Ship manager Andy Smith tells the Houston Chronicle the ship will remain open to visitors this weekend, but is set to close Monday. The battleship, which fought in World Wars I and II and now serves as a memorial and museum to those who sacrificed their lives, will likely remain closed through June 22.
The battleship developed a leak last weekend that quickly flooded the bilge areas beneath the engine room. Officials said Friday that the battleship was still taking on water, but the amount decreased from about 850 gallons per minute to about 100.
Smith says salvage and dive teams will inspect the hull Saturday to come up with a repair plan.
     The leak was supposed to be fixed last Wednesday, but obviously that failed. The good news here is that the leak has slowed. The voters here in Texas approved a measure that allocated 25 million dollars to place the Texas in a permanent dry dock. Construction is going to begin in 2014 and end in 2017. I only hope the Texas will remain afloat to see that day. It would be a shame for the Old T to fall victim to a leak after surviving 2 world wars.

Photo Credit: Louis Vest 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why We Need Romney

     With 5 months left to go till the presidential election, and the lesser evils gone from the GOP primary. This is my reasoning why we need Romney.
     Romney first and foremost, is a politician. And as a politician he leans which ever way the political winds are blowing, as he wants to win elections. As of today most of America is leaning towards a more conservative government, Romney has adjusted campaign platform to account for that. Romney has record of supporting gun control, the public option, and is pro-choice among other things.  However, because the GOP base/independents have shown that they oppose gun control, government health-care, and are pro-life, Romney will follow our lead. Otherwise he will alienate his base, and will lose his shot at the White House, because he is a politician.
     The other reason we need Romney is because as a country we need to be in damage control mode. The Bamster has fired the scuttling charges on this country and we need to plug the leaks before we make full-scale repairs. The Bamster has gutted/is gutting the military,  lowered America's stature in the world, crapped on the Constitution, and has basically run roughshod over the American people. Romney at the moment is our best bet to plug the leaks. 
      However, as much as we need Romney in 2012, we need to kick his butt in 2016. I have supported Cain, then Santorum, and now Romney over the GOP primary. The only reason I can now support Romney is because he is the lesser of the evils, and I can only pray that we will get a real conservative in 2016. For the moment we either get behind Romney, or we are done for. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flashback Friday 6/15: Kawanishi N1K-J

     This week's Flashback Friday looks at the Kawanishi N1K-J fighter called "Strong Wind" by the Japanese, known to Allied forces as "George". The Kawanishi N1K was unique among Japanese fighters in that it had self-sealing fuel tanks, a great deal of armor (by Japanese standards), and could fight an F6F Hellcat to a draw.
     The George began life as the Kawanishi N1K (known to the allies as the "Rex"), a floatplane fighter meant for defending the extremities of Japan's then-large empire. However, by the time the N1K was introduced, Japan was on the defensive and no longer needed a new floatplane fighter.  However, the suggestion was made by Kawanishi to remove the floats and make the N1K a land based fighter, and thus the N1K-J was born.
     The N1K-J, known as the George, entered service in 1943, and was arguably the best fighter of the Pacific War. The N1K-J was armed with 2 7.7mm machine guns in the nose, and 4 20mm cannons in the wing, later versions of the  N1K-J also had bomb racks capable of holding 250kg of ordnance each. The N1K-J had a top speed of almost 600km/h and a range of 1400km. 
      The N1K-J had a production run of only 1435 airframes, production was hampered by B-29s bombing the factories where they were produced. However, the aircraft that made it to the front lines were issued to the elite of the Japanese Navy. An example of this is the 343 Air Group which was formed Christmas Day 1944, fought in at least 15 major battles to the end of the war. the 343 Air group shot down somewhere in the range of 3-5 dozen Allied aircraft, but due to discrepancies between American and Japanese sources the number is not certain. 
     As of 2011 at least 3 N1K-Js survive in American museums, at the National Air & Space Museum, National Museum of Naval Aviation, and the National Museum of the USAF. The N1K-J was the best Japanese fighter produced during WWII hands down, beating the Zero, Tony, and others by a wide margin. However, like many other promising Axis designs it thankfully entered the war to late to have a major effect, and production was hampered by American bombing raids. Like so many other designs it makes you think how the Pacific War might have been fought differently had it been introduced earlier.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

F-35 & Old Glory

     Hat tip to Solomon at SNAFU!.

Afghan cop: Marine killings were ‘God’s will’

An Afghan police officer accused of killing two Marines and wounding four others during an attack last year in Helmand province told investigators he was motivated by “God’s will,” according to a report outlining the incident.
Second Lt. Mohammad Daoud was a member of the Afghan National Civil Order Police when he opened fire May 12, 2011, on Marines assigned to an ANCOP training team, the report says. Lt. Col. Benjamin Palmer, 43, died after being shot in the chest from about 8 feet away as he ate dinner. Sgt. Kevin Balduf, 27, was killed moments later.
Daoud survived the firefight and was taken into custody shortly after the shooting.
The report, dated June 1, 2011, was obtained by Marine Corps Times through the Freedom of Information Act. The report highlights an ongoing threat in which Afghan troops or those wearing Afghan military uniforms turn their weapons on the coalition troops tasked with training them.
The case remains under investigation, according to a June 4 letter accompanying the report, compiled by Marine Corps Forces Central Command.
The incident occurred at a police training compound in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. The shooter fired on Marines with an AK-47 assault rifle while they were eating dinner, Marine officials determined.
“Completely surprised by the vicious attack, the Marines began returning fire with their M9 service pistols,” the report said. “The enemy shooter immediately withdrew while continuing to engage the Marines, wounding yet another Marine.
“The Marines fired and maneuvered on the enemy shooter, who had moved to a covered position. Eventually, the Marines wounded him enough that he collapsed and stopped returning fire.”
Daoud, the alleged shooter, later told investigators with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service that he is not connected to Al Qaida or the Taliban, and shot the Marines as part of his own personal “Jihad,” or holy war.
“He stated it was ‘God’s will’ to kill the Marines because they kill women and children,” the report said. “Further, he stated that those who sent the ‘Colonel that died by my hand’ are responsible. Additionally, Lieutenant Daoud stated it was just ‘luck’ which Marines he shot and that he felt lucky that he killed and wounded so many.”

    Cut off his nuts and put a 9mm slug in the back of his head.  This SOB killed 2 Marines, and wounded 4 more, and there is no mention of punishment in the article. WTH? How much more before before we realize we need to get out?