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.


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.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

SecDHS Admits Terrorists Are Crossing The Border "From Time To Time"

     From CNS News:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress last week that terrorists intending to harm the American people enter the U.S. from Mexico “from time to time."

At a July 25 hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) asked Napolitano: “As you know, Madam Secretary, there have been anecdotal reports about material evidence of the presence of terrorists along our southern border. My question is, is there any credible evidence that these reports are accurate and that terrorists are, in fact, crossing our southern border with the intent to do harm to the American people?”
Napolitano answered: “With respect, there have been--and the Ababziar matter would be one I would refer to that's currently being adjudicated in the criminal courts--from time to time, and we are constantly working against different and evolving threats involving various terrorist groups and various ways they may seek to enter the country.”
“What I can tell you, however, is that that southern border--the U.S.-Mexico border--is heavily, heavily staffed at record amounts of manpower, materiel, infrastructure and the like, and we are constantly making sure we're doing all we can to make that border as safe as possible,” she said.
     Here is video of the hearing:

     Not surprising, in 2005 2 Iraqis were caught attempting to smuggle weapons to Al-Qaeda, and if you know where to look there are often reports of Arabs crossing the border. For the the last 50 year the U.S. southern (and northern) border have become like swiss cheese, with hundreds of thousands of illegals crossing yearly. Nothing has been done about this because most illegals tend to vote Dem, and why would a politician alienate their voters? But one of these days our lax immigration policy will come back and bite us in the butt.

Photo Credit: Dan Sorensen