Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Does McCain's plan for 300 "brush war" fighters make sense?

via AOL Breaking Defense.
A key part of Sen. John Mclain’s alternative defense budget proposal is the rapid purchase of 300 “low-cost, light-attack fighters that would require minimal work to develop.”
I asked Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein today what he thought of McCain’s proposal, contained in Restoring American Power. “Great idea,” he said, pointing to the long war we’ve fought against Islamic terrorists and other violent extremists. While America needs F-22s and F-35s in case of war with China, Russia, Iran or North Korea, Goldfein said those aircraft need a break from flying the regular missions into permissive environments such as those found in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other theaters where US aircraft execute Close Air Support (CAS) and other operations that don’t require stealth, high speed or other expensive and sophisticated capabilities.
Then this.
I asked Goldfein if the Scorpion aircraft, built on spec by Textron AirLand, was one of the aircraft under consideration and he said yes. The other planes already being considered for OA-X are Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucanos and Beechcraft’s AT-6. With ardent A-10 supporter Sen. Kelly Ayotte having lost her seat, it will be interesting to see how Congress shapes the CAS decisions the Air Force hopes to make.
Sorry guys but McCain's plan makes no sense.  Think about it like this.

1.  We already have the superb A-10 for the down and dirty fight.  If we don't already have 300 of them then we should easily reach that number by refurbishing those in the boneyard.

2.  Remember during the F-35 debate when everyone said that it was too vulnerable to do CAS?  We were told that those missions would be performed at 15K feet due to all the great sensors and precision weapons we have.  Are we suddenly gonna risk losing pilots to ISIS by having them get in the weeds with a Super Tucano or an AT-6 or even Bronco?

3.  What about the MQ-9 Reapers (and the early model) that we have access to?  Those are all armed, can stay on station for hours and not only can drop bombs and fire missiles but also provide the vaunted "sensor node" that the USAF is all wet about.

4.  If CAS has evolved then we have long range, high flying, massive load carrying, can stay on station an awful long time B-52s.  Lets be honest.  They're no longer part of the nuclear mission.  Not realistically anyway.  Time to redesignate them as AB-52's (attack bombers) and go back to the big belly modification used in Vietnam.

This plan is nothing more than a money grab by the Air Force.  Toss fly guys a new toy and they get happy.  We don't need 300 new low end fighters.  That base is already covered by assets we already have in inventory.

CSBA Think Tank agrees with me! Make friends with Russia, prepare to punch China in the throat!

via AOL Breaking Defense.
Wealth, population and thin-skinned nationalism make China the number one threat to the US-led world order, not Russia or Islamic terrorism, writes leading military strategist Andrew Krepinevich. That means the US must build up forward-deployed forces in the Western Pacific, he writes, if necessary at the expense of defending Europe. Russia’s oil-dependent economy and withering demographics relegate it to the second-place threat in the near term, he argues, and in the long term — say, by the 2030s — Russia may become less dangerous than Iran, which Krepinevich’s forthcoming study from the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments ranks currently at No. 3.
The cliff notes version was in the title of this blog.
Make friends with Russia and prepare to punch China in the throat! 
Of course being a think tank they continue to get stuff wrong.  Forward deployment of US forces is militarily stupid.  We put our naval and air power within easy reach of Chinese anti-access weapons.  Assuming a first strike by China, forward deployment could see a major surface ship (or two..maybe even three) sunk before we even know hostilities have begun.

As far as Russia being weaker than Iran?  Not bloody likely.  That would mean a major rebound in oil prices which would benefit Russia as well as Iran and Iran unlike Russia has shown no ability to develop weapons beyond what me and a couple of buddies could build in a machine shop.

My opinion?  They're right on Russia but they need to zoom the timetable.  Kill ISIS now and forget about toppling Assad.  Put Iran back into its cage and get Russia to help us with that (and yeah we'd have to lift sanctions but that's a small price to pay).  As far as China if we can get Russia into our camp, maintain good relations with Japan and Australia (at that point S. Korea would be begging to be part of the team...and even if they don't then we leave them to the tender mercies of the North) and then start doing joint exercises with them in the Pacific I think China would get the message.

Think WW2 envelopment with the target being the Chinese instead of the Japanese.

It's a no brainer.  

Trump meets with Boeing again...its got to be about EA-18G!

via DoD Buzz
The chief executive officer of the world’s largest aerospace company on Tuesday met again with the president-elect to talk about the cost of future Air Force One aircraft and fighter jets.
Dennis Muilenburg said he had an “excellent conversation” with Donald Trump yesterday at Trump Tower in New York City.
“We talked about a couple of topics,” he said, according to a press pool report. “We discussed Air Force One. We discussed fighter aircraft.”
Muilenburg added, “We made some great progress on simplifying requirements for Air Force One, streamlining the process, streamlining certification by using commercial practices. All of that is going to provide a better airplane at a lower cost, so I’m pleased with the progress there. And similarly on fighters, we were able to talk about options for the country and capabilities that will, again, provide the best capability for our warfighters most affordably.”
And then this.
The Boeing-made F/A-18E/F Super Hornet doesn’t offer the same level of stealth or sensor technology as the F-35, though the Chicago-based aerospace giant has previously argued that the capabilities of the twin-engine electronic attack variant EA-18G Growler eclipse the Joint Strike Fighter’s stealth advantage. And, of course, the Super Hornet is significantly cheaper.
Something is going on here.  Trump is getting hip deep into the F-35 issue and let's face it.  The Pentagon is the place where you can make a big splash quickly.

How could Trump make a big splash and garner much support among the fiscal hawks and much of the silent majority when it comes to the F-35?

He could cut the hell outta the program.  If he orders it then the Pentagon can play games about contracts already signed but in the end they would have to salute and follow orders.

But what has me intrigued is the fact that the author of the article brought up the EA-18G.

Do you remember the significance of this?

I'll try and find the link but the DoD and the Navy were suppose to do a study on how much electronic attack they needed going into the future.  In essence they wanted to know how many EA-18G's were needed to satisfy combatant commander needs.  Oh and lets be clear.  The AESA on the F-35 is at best a LIMITED electronic attack option which leaves us with the Navy option.

Regardless I'm almost positive that Trump is going to do something big with the F-35 and the F/A/EA-18E/F/G. 

General John F. Kelly, an old skool BAD ASS!

Thanks to John for the link!

Like John said in his e-mail.  This is why I love this guy and wished he was selected as Commandant.  No false motivation, no silly imagery, no posturing for the so called elite.


This man has given more and his family has made more sacrifices for this country than 99.9% of the public but instead of saying enough he responds in the positive when Trump asked him to fix, reform and run the DHS...perhaps the most dysfunctional govt bureaucracy.

Yep.  On this one you're right.  I am a fanboy.

Boxer CRV for LAND 400 Phase 2

Thanks to SvD for the link!

The UK military tests for steroids

via Sputnik
Over the course of the year, 730 soldiers in the UK Army tested positive, which is more individuals than make up an entire infantry regiment, compared with 570 in 2015. The Royal Navy saw a 60 percent increase, with offenders rising to 50 from 30. At least 50 service personnel tested positive for illegal steroids. The Royal Regiment of Scotland had 90 failures, while the Royal Engineers had 110.

I knew they tested for drugs but steroids?  Wow.  I'm betting they have made a swing to the Royal Marines, Parachute Regiment or UK Special Ops in general.  I've seen those dudes and they're jacked (well alot of them are).

If the US military wanted to kill SOCOM all you have to do is do a steroid test.  Want to reduce the Marine Corps and Army by half?  Do the same.

I wonder if the Brits realize what a can of worms they're unleashing by doing this. 

3rd ABCT, 4th ID sends rounds downrange in Poland....

Note:  You see armored vehicles all I see is pain.  You know those guys are freezing their asses off.  Gotta look and see how cold it is in Poland!  I'm back.  According to Google the high is 24 F with a low of 14 F!  If they're playing for real then you're gonna see at least a couple of bubas with frostbite.

LCS alternatives by Navy Matters Blog

Navy Matters Blog tackles the idea of what to do with the LCS.  This is a must read article because for better or worse it appears that we're gonna be stuck with the ship so we need to figure out what we're gonna do with it.

NMB hits some pretty good ideas that are worth considering.  The funny sad thing?  This generation of military leaders have given the military a mixed bag of weapons to fight the next war.  Remember this.  We went to Gulf War 1 and 2 and Afghanistan and even the current fight in Iraq and Syria with the weapons that the guys from the 60's and 70's designed.

What will we get from this generation?  The F-35, MV-22, LCS, AMPV and JLTV. Everything else we're buying is simply improving on what the previous generation gave us.

Somehow someway we're not as innovative as those that came before.  We seriously need to figure out why.

How did the Marine Corps declare the F-35 IOC and send it on deployment with this many deficiencies???

via FoxTrot Alpha.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive military program in the world with a total cost of more than $1 trillion. Now, a new Pentagon report suggests that the futuristic fighter jet still has hundreds of deficiencies and won’t be ready for ready for full combat testing until 2019.

The Pentagon’s latest brutal assessment of this high-priced aircraft was part of an annual report from the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation Michael Gilmore. The dossier includes a five-page evaluation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the results of which are damning—emphasis ours:

The Services have designated 276 deficiencies in combat performance as “critical to correct” in Block 3F, but less than half of the critical deficiencies were addressed with attempted corrections in 3FR6.
That’s not all. In addition to the hundreds of flaws that have already been found in the aircraft, the Pentagon expects to keep finding more. The report specifically states that deficiencies are popping up at a steady rate—emphasis ours:

Deficiencies continue to be discovered at a rate of about 20 per month, and many more will undoubtedly be discovered before and during IOT&E.
The operational performance of the aircraft is a complete joke. The plane’s “objectionable or unacceptable flying qualities” while breaking the sound barrier are just some of the many flaws plaguing the aircraft including overheating problems and cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could lead to compromises of F-35 data.
Story here. 

Simple questions.

1.  If the Marine Corps knew of all these deficiencies then why did they declare initial operational capability on the F-35?

2.  With these deficiencies how and why did the Marine Corps think it prudent to send these airplanes off on deployment.

3.  How much of a budget hit will the Marine Corps face to bring all the F-35's already bought up to operational capability in another 3 or 4 years IF WE DON'T HAVE FURTHER DELAYS?

4.  Why does the Deputy Commandant for Aviation still have a job.

This is more than a procurement mistake.  The F-35 is a scandal, has shown a lack of integrity of Marine Officers at the highest levels and show a disregard for the lives of Marine Aviators that have to fly this plane.

Someone needs to go to jail.  If not that then reduced in rank and forced to retire.

BAE Says Trump Seeking at Least 10% Cut in F-35 Fighter Cost

Thanks to William for the link!

via Bloomberg
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has asked Lockheed Martin Corp. to reduce costs on the $379 billion F-35 fighter-jet program by at least 10 percent, according to Roger Carr, chairman of BAE Systems Plc, which is a key participant in the program.
“We’ve been told through Lockheed that the president has an ambition to reduce the cost of that aircraft by a material amount of money, many percent, into double digits over a period,” Carr said in a Bloomberg Television interview Tuesday from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We respect that and we’ll work towards a contribution towards that.”
I don't buy this for a minute.  My bet is that Lockheed is throwing a number out there that they think the Program Office will be pleased with so that the uniforms can sell the plan to the President Elect.

Trump is a skilled negotiator and you don't lay down a solid number like 10 percent.  You push for max savings!

But what has me spinning is why did BAE release this info instead of Lockheed?  Games are being played!

Open Comment Post. Jan 18, 2017.

Little Elm, Texas | Officer Down Shooting Audio | 1/17/17

Thanks to Tony for the link!

Words escape me.  Rest in peace.