Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bell’s V-247 Vigilant Unmanned Tiltrotor...will this platform un-man half of Marine Air?

Thanks to Donald Bacon for the link!

via DoD Buzz.
 The Marine Corps wants a jumbo-sized drone that can take off and land on amphibious ships, and the list of requirements for the aircraft is daunting.

It needs to escort the MV-22 Osprey and have comparable flight range, carry the same weapons as an F-35B Joint Strike Fighter, and execute missions ranging from electronic warfare, command and control, airborne early warning, and airstrikes — just for starters.
Story here. 


Think about what Davis wants.  He wants a tilt rotor combat UAV that can escort V-22s, act as command and control, perform early warning, provide airstrikes (and considering the way its performed now...close air support) just for starters?

If successful this could effectively "un-man" half of Marine Air!

AH-1Z?  Gone.  Why risk a pilot when we can get a longer loiter period and a MUCH HEAVIER weapons load for the same range (remember it has to carry the same load out as an F-35).

UH-1Y? Gone.  We have the MV-22 for its insertion mission which leaves only its utility task which are limited in the Marine Corps anyway...and light attack is something the unmanned tiltrotor can perform.

But this gets really interesting when you start talking about F-35 numbers.

Why do you need it if the tiltrotor is gonna do escort?  Why do you need it if the tiltrotor can do electronic warfare?  WHY DO YOU NEED IT if the tiltrotor can perform air strikes/close air support!

The missing piece is software.  Can we get one of these to do anti-air missions?  No, not the penetrating anti-air mission that the USAF is so in love with but the defensive anti-air that the Marine Ground Combat Element depends on Marine/Navy/USAF Air to perform so they don't have to look into the sky.

If the computer geeks can make that happen and if the F-35 is as expensive to maintain as I think it is, we could be looking at the platform that un-man's half of Marine Air just a few years away.

I've never been excited about UAVs.  This one could be an exception.

Last word on AdBlocker...

This will be my last word on AdBlocker on the site and why I took steps to add script to prevent access if you have it installed.

Just a sad reality guys.  I want the blog to grow and ads on the blog are part of making it happen.

Most have been supportive.  Others have written e-mails saying they're gonna stay away because of it.

I get it.

My stance remains the same but I'm making moves to reduce the number of ads you see on the blog.  So I'll be changing things around a bit, moving stuff from here to there...hopefully making things a bit sleeker and speeding up how the blog spools up on your computer/notebook/cell phone.

Cdr Salamander & Eagle One are talking USS Fitzgerald this afternoon....

Want to know what a couple of old skool Surface Navy guys think about the USS Fitzgerald incident?

Then tune into Midrats this afternoon from 5pm - 6pm Eastern time.

There aren't alot of "Surface Navy" blogs or bloggers and many of the people that actually are/were part of that community aren't talking (I wonder why...everyone but the people that serve/served on these ships are talking, why not the people that have been there done that) so the perspective of things from Cdr Salamander and Eagle One should be interesting and will hopefully fill in some of the blanks.

Sidenote:  The damage to the Fitzgerald is worse than I first thought...Just getting some hi-rez pics and if the damage below line is worse than above it's amazing that these Sailors were able to save their ship.  

Turkey refuses to close base in Qatar...why aren't they talking about Al Udeid Air Base

The US Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and 17 other nations.

via Reuters.
President Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday dismissed calls for Turkey to close a military base in Qatar and said a wider list of demands issued by four Arab states was an unlawful intervention against the Gulf emirate's sovereignty.

In his strongest statement of support for Qatar in the nearly three-week-old crisis centered on the Gulf state, Erdogan said the call to withdraw Turkish forces was disrespectful and that Doha - which described the demands as unreasonable - was taking the right approach.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a boycott on June 5 on Qatar and issued 13 demands including closing Al Jazeera television, curbing relations with Iran, shutting the Turkish base and paying reparations.
Story here.

Curious isn't it.

Not one word from the GCC about closing down the US base at Al Udeid...the Brits are also there.

How many US personnel?  Over 12K.  I have no idea about the number of allied troops, but it's also large.  If I recall correctly (and I could easily be wrong) but the Brits were talking about a Naval installation there too.

I don't know or understand the end goal of the they even have one?  What happens if we see the usual Arab bluster (is that being racists?) and fighting starts between the GCC and Qatar with our 12K plus troops caught in the middle?

I can only hope someone in the Pentagon is further along in their thinking/wargaming than I am.

Open Comment Post. June 25, 2017

Philippine Govt in talks with Islamic Terrorists...the West still doesn't know how to do COIN...

via Reuters.
Philippine emissaries met on Sunday with a leader of a militant group loyal to Islamic State, officials said, taking advantage of a short truce in a battle over a southern city occupied by rebels for more than a month.

The eight Muslim leaders entered the conflict zone in the heart of Marawi City alongside rescue teams. It was not immediately clear what was discussed with Abdullah Maute, one of two brothers in charge of the Islamist group named after them.

Retired General Dickson Hermoso, who coordinates efforts to free trapped civilians, said a unilateral eight-hour truce by the army to mark the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday was extended to enable the talks, details of which he withheld to avoid jeopardizing chances for dialogue.

"We need to balance this because this is very precarious," Hermoso told reporters.

He said the Maute group released some women and children on Sunday and the emissaries had come under fire briefly from rebel snipers.

"We have only established a foothold with the Maute," he said. "We hope both sides will again grant us the respite."
Story here. 

Wow.  You have solid intel on where the Terrorists leaders are and you don't take the opportunity to whack them with a little help from the US in a coordinated strike raining down precision guided bombs and cruise missiles?

I'm not so sure that targeted killing of terrorist leaders is a "war winning" strategy against these hasn't worked against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Iraq/Syria/Afghanistan but if I was a proponent of the thing then this would be an opportunity too good to pass up.


This thing will stretch out for another decade.  The West still hasn't wrapped its brain around conducting successful Counterinsurgency Ops.


I'm not sure.  The Counterinsurgency Manual was re-written with great fanfare by Amos and others but we've seen no improvement.  Is this a failure of modern military culture?  I really wonder.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ad Blocker...

Hey all.

I haven't passed around a cup, asked for donations for the blog or started a patreon.

I do however request you turn off your ad block to help the blog out.  It's a simple thing I'm asking and I hope you find the minor inconvenience worth it.

Oh and my ads are from Google, Disquis and NewsMax.  I don't think those companies would risk spreading malware via their advertisements so there's that.

Anyway I appreciate it.

WHOA!!!! We need to reconsider everything with regard to air to air combat since the SU-22 evaded our AIM-9X!

Thanks to MicMac80 for the link!

via Aviation Week Blog by Bill Sweetman ( here to follow the link)
"We had 210 maintainers," Manclark recalled. "They were dedicated, just unbelievable, tech sergeants and master sergeants. The CIA gave us a flare dispenser from a Frogfoot [Su-25] that had been shot down in Afghanistan. We gave it to maintenance – it was just a thing with wires coming out of it. Four hours later they had it operational on a MiG-21."

That proved to be a very important test. "In 1987 we had the AIM-9P, which was designed to reject flares, and when we used US flares against it would ignore them and go straight for the target. We had the Soviet flares – they were dirty, and none of them looked the same – and the AIM-9P said 'I love that flare'.

"Why’d that happen? We had designed it to reject American flares. The Soviet flares had different burn time, intensity and separation. The same way, every time we tried to build a SAM simulator, when we got the real thing it wasn’t the same.

"I use the AIM-9P because it is out of the system and I can talk about it. The same thing happened to a lot of things that are still in the system and that I can’t talk about."
Now this from Combat Aircraft (click here to follow the link).
At approximately 18.43hrs local time on June 18, a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet operating over Syria shot down a Syrian Arab Air Force (SyAAF) Su-22M4 ‘Fitter’ fighter-bomber near Tabqah, Syria.

The F/A-18E (reported as BuNo 168914/AJ304) was assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 87 ‘Golden Warriors’ (also known as ‘War Party’), which is assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8.

Its pilot engaged the ‘Fitter’ and initially fired an AIM-9X Sidewinder close-range heat-seeking missile from a range of about half a mile, which was defeated by flares launched by the Su-22 pilot. The Super Hornet then re-engaged and fired an AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile), which hit the ‘Fitter’ despite being fired from relatively close range.

The pilot was able to eject and was later recovered safely, according to local sources.

It marked the first shootdown of a manned fighter by a US aircraft since May 4, 1999, when Lt Col Michael ‘Dog’ Geczy, US Air Force, downed a Serbian MiG-29 with an AIM-120 fired from his F-16CJ during Operation ‘Allied Force’.

However, the engagement poses some interesting questions, not least; how was a 1980s-era ‘Fitter’ able to defeat a cutting-edge US air-to-air heat-seeking missile?
Go to both pages and read them in their entirety!

Now back on task.

I originally dismissed this news.  I thought nothing of it.  Then I saw MicMac80 in the open comments section today and it hit me square between the eyes.


Think about it.

Maneuvering is irrelevant.

We all had been led to believe that modern dogfighting would result in mutual suicide because close range missiles were just that accurate.

We have read stories about the Navy wanting to get a bit more range out of the AIM-9X to make it into a medium range missile.

And then we have that old Rand Study that claimed that the F-35 would be clubbed like baby seals.

But what if even that dire report is overly optimistic?  What if between electronic attack, active/passive countermeasures and super maneuverability we're actually, unknowingly behind our potential foes?

What if risk was assumed and that risk has already cost us our once vaunted aerial superiority?

I'm just asking some questions.  It's up to you to decide what's right and wrong.  Have at it in the comment section.

How to Make a Quick & Easy Smoke Bomb via The Art Of Manliness...

What do you need?  Foil, Spectra Stump Removal, Sugar and a cast iron skillet...

Story here.

You know what has me spinning?

Imagine you wanted to go loco on people and start sniping.  What is one of the things you want?  How about smoke bombs going off in the location so that its more difficult to find your sniper hide?

99% of my readers can carry the start of the scenario to it's logical conclusion but damn!  If someone decided to launch a semi-complex ambush on citizens or police all the tools are right on the internet and in stores to get the job done.

Want something even more crazy?  You don't even need to make these...they're for sale as novelty items!

Are we the only people that understand the tactical applications for these "toys"??????

Electronic Warfare is now considered important by the Pentagon...another sign more Growlers are on the way!

via Breaking Defense.
After two decades of neglect, electronic warfare is — slowly — on the mend, the Pentagon’s Deputy Director for EW said yesterday. That includes a growing budget, a new (classified) strategy from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, increased interest from the leaders of all four armed services, and, most immediately, an ongoing joint study of future jamming aircraft.

“Give me about a month, maybe two,” and he’ll have a lot more clarity on what’s called the Analysis of Alternatives for Joint Airborne Electronic Attack, William Conley told the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute.
Then this.
 For its own investments, the Air Force bet on stealth aircraft, the F-22 and F-35, that it deemed so undetectable they wouldn’t need Navy EW airplanes jamming enemy radar on their behalf, as one 4-star told Colin as recently as 2014.

As adversaries grow more electronically sophisticated, however, the Air Force has come round and started studying what it calls Penetrating Electronic Attack. PEA might be a dedicated manned aircraft unto itself like the old EF-111, a specialized variant of the future fighter known as Penetrating Counter-Air, a drone, or a complex mix of capabilities installed on different airframes. Much is classified, much is still to be determined.
Finally this.
 In other words: The brass realize that if you don’t have electronic warfare — both to protect your own networks, sensors, and communications, and to disrupt the enemy’s — you’re probably dead.
Story here. 

Make sure you read the whole thing but it left out a few important points...

*  The Pentagon has already done a study to determine if more Growlers were needed to meet the demands of the force.  I believe (not sure) that it decided it did which is why initially more Growlers were ordered.

*  The USAF has all but given up on the mission.  I know that they initially assigned Electronic Warfare Officers to EA-6B squadrons but I don't believe that practice has continued.

*  The USMC has stated that the F-35 will conduct the Electronic Attack mission with its AESA array.  That was obviously wishful thinking.  If that was the solution then all the Super Hornets, Updated F-15/F-16s with AESA arrays would be able to fulfill the need.  This story is telling.  The AESA might have attack capabilities but not to the extent that some hoped a few years ago.

*  The outlook for the Growler/Super Hornet combo continues to get brighter. With every grounding of the F-35 despite it being "in limited service" and new reports of needing capabilities NOW that the F-35 probably won't have till 2030 at the earliest mean that Boeing Defense stock is seriously undervalued.

Electronic Attack.

This is where we are without a doubt behind our potential foes.

What I find amazing is that the Marine Corps and Army are talking about inserting tactical Cyber Warriors at the Squad level but seem to be ignoring EA at the Battalion and higher.

Sic Semper Tyrannis calls the 'Evil Russia' meme a complete lie...

via SST
Let me give you some basic facts about Russia and the United States in terms of defense spending and then you will begin to appreciate my glum, angry outlook.
Russia has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.326 Trillion dollars. Their Per Capita GDP is roughly $9,200.00. Russia, who is supposedly keen on conquering the world, only spends $60 Billion dollars on Defense. That works out to $417 per person in Russia to buy tanks, planes and air craft carriers.

The United States, with a GDP of almost $18 Trillion dollars is spending over $600 Billion dollars on Defense. Every man, woman and child in America is contributing $1,884 for U.S. defense. On a per capita basis the United States is spending four times what Russia does.

It also is laughable to portray Russia as "a crumbling civil society." Look at the fundamental economic facts. Although the United States enjoys a higher per capita GDP than Russia (almost six times more than Russia) the United States has a massive imbalance between its income and its expenses. The United States, with a GDP of $18 Trillion dollars, has a debt that is approaching $21 Trillion dollars. Put simply, we are spending more than we are bringing in. As long as the rest of the world lets us run up our credit card then we can continue to live the lives of kings. Russia, with a GDP of $1.3 Trillion dollars, only has a national debt of $157 billion dollars.
Then this.
 This is the American delusion. We insist that Russia is a beast of enormous appetite and intent on world conquest while happily ignoring the hard truth that the United States is invading more countries than any other nation state. We continue to spend more money on defense than China and Russia combined while our infrastructure becomes more frail, middle class jobs disappear overseas and our national debt exceeds our domestic product. We are like a drunk asleep on the sidewalk. In our previous life we were a banker of great repute. Now we lie soiled and asleep. Content to keep drinking the lethal mixture of war and debt. This much I know--this does not end well for us.
Story here. 

NOTE!!!!  SST has a STRICT comment policy.  He will ban a person he considers a troll faster than even I do.  I even think he pre-approves comments before they're posted.  If you go there then behave.

Open Comment Post. June 24, 2017