Monday, February 20, 2017

WTF! McMaster is the new NSA????

Thanks to William for the link!!

via BLoomberg
2017-02-20 19:54:56.346 GMT

UPDATE.  I took a beat to drink this in and its still wow.  What does this mean?  It means a revival of the ground combat force.  It means a hard look at the F-35.  It probably means a lesser focus on Special Operations.  This is a revolutionary pic.  I don't know if its a good pic but it is out of the park.  What I don't know is his relationship to Mattis.  He's not a Mattis acolyte. He's independent from what I can tell (although he grates on my nerves!). What has been accomplished with this pic?  He broke up a potential power center that Mattis was putting together at the NSC and the nexus of power between the NSC/DoD is forever broken (to a degree).  One other thing.  McMaster is ambitious.  The guy wants it all, whatever that is.  He's gonna stand his ground when it comes to the internal battles I see shaping up between the Establishment (Mattis) and the Revolutionaries (Bannon).

What do you call the Trump team?  A group of rivals!

CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer to Indonesia...are they stronger than Australia?

via Defense Aerospace.
Nexter has been a longstanding partner supporting the modernization of the TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia) since entering into an initial contract in 2012 to supply 36 CAESAR artillery systems.
Today at the IDEX 2017 trade show, Nexter is proud to announce the signing of a new contract to supply a further 18 CAESAR systems to the Indonesian National Armed Forces.
The CAESAR 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer, deployed by the French Forces during operations in Mali, as well as in Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq, is recognized worldwide as striking the best balance between the simplicity of towed artillery and the mobility of a self-propelled system. Not only is the CAESAR highly accurate and mobile, allowing it to evade counter-battery fire, it also has the lowest maintenance costs of any mobile artillery system on the market.
It is in service with the armed forces of France, Indonesia, Thailand and a Middle Eastern country, and over 270 CAESAR systems have already been produced. They have fired more than 80,000 rounds and covered a distance of over one million kilometers.
In addition to the artillery systems, Nexter will also provide its firing control system, FINDART, CAESAR simulators for training and over 50 artillery battalion auxiliary vehicles assembled in Indonesia by its local partner PT Pindad. 
The question has to be asked.  Does  Indonesia have a more powerful ground combat force than Australia?

The quantity and quality of their ground forces matches (some would say exceed) what Australia has on hand.  From my seat they're equal in the air.  Only at sea do I see a clear advantage for Australian forces.  Am I running down Australia?  No.  But I am saying that increased defense spending by the Aussies is called for.  They live in a very dangerous neighborhood.

K9 Thunder for Finland...what is the key to the future...rockets or guns?

via Defense Aerospace.
Finland will buy 48 used self-propelled howitzers from South Korea for 146 million euros. Besides the howitzers, the deal also includes training, spare parts and maintenance.
Defence Jussi Niinistö (Sannf) approved the purchase on Friday.
The new vehicles are to replace part of the Finnish army’s artillery park that will become obsolete in the 2020s and 2030s.
The first self-propelled guns will arrive in Finland next year and the final ones in 2024. Conscripts are scheduled to begin training in the new artillery system in 2019.
The Army tested the K9 Thunder self-propelled guns last year in Lapland. Their 155-millimeter guns have a range of about 40 kilometers. They have a top speed of over 60 kilometers per hour.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The contract includes options for further procurement. The vehicles will be modified to Finnish requirements by Millog, the defense force’s logistics branch, and will generate 37 man-years of work, according to a Finnish-language statement by the Finnish MoD. Discussions are also continuing with Estonia over a possible joint procurement.) 
The Editor's Note is quite interesting.  The nexus between defense procurement and jobs is becoming a major driver.  I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing.  What I do know is that it is a "thing".

Many readers from Finland claim that they will now have the most powerful artillery force in the EU/NATO.  Only the US and Russia will have more powerful weapon systems.

I have to wonder though.  Which system is the key to future battlefields.  Rockets or guns? 

Sweden's Refugee Crisis Is Real....

Thanks to BBBJ345 for the link!


Many have pointed to issues as Sweden as a warning to the West in general. I thought the issue was overblown.  I was wrong.  Check out this vid to get the flavor of the situation.  Its beyond chilling.  The govt is accused of covering up crime statistics in order to protect immigrants, at the expense of Swedish citizens?!!! Additionally it seems that Sweden is choosing to commit national suicide by taking in more immigrants than they can successfully assimilate.

This confirms it to me.

The EU is gonna die.  Terrorism, criminality, and lack of security in general will doom the project to the dustbin of history.  Political correctness won the moment but will lose in the end.

The good news?

The US still has time to prevent this madness.

EU dream in peril...Le Pen moves up in the polls...

Thanks to William for the link!

via Bloomberg.
 Marine Le Pen gained ground on her rivals
for the French election as she benefits from concerns about
security while other candidates trained their fire on
independent front-runner Emmanuel Macron.

     Monday’s daily OpinionWay poll showed that first-round
support for anti-euro candidate Le Pen rose 1 percentage point
to 27 percent, with Macron and Republican Francois Fillon
unchanged at 20 percent each. While no surveys so far have shown
Le Pen even close to a victory in May’s run-off, she’s quickly
narrowing the gap to her rivals. OpinionWay showed Macron would
defeat Le Pen by 58 percent to 42 percent in the second round.
His advantage has halved in less than two weeks.
       Le Pen is gaining from her tough stance on the disturbances
that flared up across France last week during mostly peaceful
protests against police brutality. The National Front leader is
tapping into voters’ unease after more than 200 people were
killed in terrorist attacks in just over two years and those
sentiments were stirred up again this month when a soldier in
the Louvre fired five shots at an assailant armed with a machete
and crying “Allah Akbar.”

     The spread between French 10-year bonds and similar-
maturity German bunds rose 5 basis point to 79 basis points at
1:37 p.m. in Paris, the widest risk premium in more than four
     “It’s all about security,” said Bruno Jeanbart, director of
OpinionWay. “Le Pen is benefiting from the fact that they’re all
busy either bickering or unable to disentangle themselves from
their many controversies.” A separate Harris poll showed that Le
Pen is considered best placed to deal with security issues.
A common meme from Bush Jr to Obama is that the terrorists aren't an existential threat to the survival of the West but that they can, if left unchecked, alter our way of life if we give into fear.

The problem with that type thinking?

By instituting massive data collection in order to combat terrorism, our way of life has already been changed.  Worse?  The mix of big state surveillance coupled with a laissez faire approach to immigration ensures solutions are elusive at best, doomed to failure more than likely.

But back on task.  Le Pen is stronger than indicated.  My reading of the French is that they're giving her the "Trump" treatment.  French citizens have probably been conditioned to reject her views publicly even though they support them privately.

Take her current level of support and add at least 10 to it and you're probably closer to her real standings in the polls.

My prediction?  Le Pen will win a narrow victory.  That will be the beginning of the end of the EU.  The dream that was the European Union will die because of unchecked mass migration/terrorism.

Warfare Tech Blog on Automatic Cannons and Ammunition in Infantry Fighting Vehicles

Moog Defense RWS 
Warfare Tech has an interesting article on Automatic Cannons and Ammo that is a must read.  If you're not subscribed to this guy then you're missing out.  He blogs rather infrequently but when he does its almost always a good read. Check him out here.

French Army & UAE Army - Combined Arms Military Exercise (vid)

Patria AMV 28A @ IDEX 2017

I wondered if Patria would attempt to make an amphibious version of the Patria AMV after Lockheed pulled out of the joint effort on the USMC's Amphibious Combat Vehicle contest.

Looks like the answer is a strong yes.  Who do they hope to attract with this vehicle?  The obvious answer is any country operating the BMP-3F.

Don't get me wrong.  I consider the BMP-3F to be a serviceable vehicle but its rather long in the tooth and the current "hotness" is wheeled amphibious assault vehicles.

What will be interesting is the weapons fit.  They're displaying the AMV-28A with a 30mm cannon along with some attack tank missiles adjacent to the 7.62 RWS mount.  Will that satisfy customers that have grown accustomed to a 100mm gun that can also fire anti-tank missiles?

Time will tell, but the reputation of the Patria AMV and the simple but elegant solution of applying flotation armor should see at least a few sales.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blast from the past....When we "recovered" Russian nukes?

via Enrique 262 Tumblr Page!

On Friday 3 October 1986, off the coast of Bermuda, the Soviet submarine K-219, a Project 667A Navaga-clas (NATO: Yankee I-class) suffered a catastrophic missile silo explosion after seawater leaked into silo six while underwater, leading to a chemical reaction with the liquid propellant from the SLBM inside of it, producing large quantities of nitrogen dioxide gas that eventually detonated, killing three sailors and mortally wounding the submarine.

Thanks to the efforts of her crew, specially of enlisted seaman Sergei Preminin, who perished in his successful mission to shut down the boat’s nuclear reactor, the submarine managed to surface under battery power, where it was intermediately detected by US aircraft, becoming the most photographed soviet submarine of the Cold War.

A soviet tug managed to reach the stricken vessel, but the damage was so severe, and the silo kept leaking gas into the submarine, that her captain, Igor Britanov, ordered everyone but him to abandon ship and get into the tug, until the ship could no longer remain afloat and sank, the captain managing to abandon her just before she was lost beneath the waves.

The submarine was carrying 34 warheads in 17 missiles (the 18th silo had been welded shut after an earlier, eerily similar accident a few years back), where the explosion completely destroyed the missile inside silo 6, ejecting its warheads into the Atlantic, and the remaining 32 warheads were found missing after a soviet hydrographic research ship found the wreck in 1988, the silos having been found forced open, pointing to a successful recovery effort by the US government.
There is a book that covers this incident but I wonder.  Did we really steal recover those nukes?  If we (the United States) didn't then could it have been the Brits?  Italians?  Could the Russians have recovered them and this is just a bit of internet deception?

Regardless its some fascinating stuff.

The Cold War was a lot more dicey than anyone wants to admit.  We don't need a repeat.

Blast from the past....Amphibious Tank Type 3 “Ka-Chi”.

Pics via Bmashina Tumblr Page!

The Atomic Bomb saved lives on both sides of the war.  If the US and its allies actually invaded Japan, I wonder if that nation would actually exist today. The Japanese were massing their forces in a hopeless attempt to repel the allied assault and the entire population was mobilized to fight behind "every blade of grass".

It would have been a bloodbath from hell and I think we'd probably have come close to wiping out the entire Japanese race.  Everything I've read indicates that the resistance would have been so fanatical that we wouldn't have had any other choice.  As horrific as the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima was, it DID save lives on both sides.

Cobra Gold 2017 - AAVs on the by Petty Officer 2nd Class Amanda Hayes

China's military, especially aviation, has reached near parity with the US...

via Business Insider.
"Western military technological superiority, once taken for granted, is increasingly challenged," Dr. John Chipman, Director-General and Chief Executive of IISS, said in a statement. "We now judge that in some capability areas, particularly in the air domain, China appears to be reaching near-parity with the West."
Instead of its usual practice of working on systems that imitate Soviet and Russian technology, China has shifted its efforts (and budget) to domestic research and development. Its Navy is currently working on three new advanced cruisers, 13 destroyers, and outfitting other ships with better radar.
But China's efforts on new aircraft have been the most effective.
Then this from the same article.
 China has its own stealthy J-20 and J-31 fighters, helped in part by stolen technical details of the F-22 and F-35, though it still seems to lack many of the capabilities of its US counterparts. But Beijing has made up for that in the development of a long-range air-to-air missile that has no western equivalent.
"Seen on exercise last year and estimated at near-six meters in length, this developmental missile likely has the task of engaging large high-value and non-maneuvering targets," Chapman said. "With a lofted trajectory, an engagement range around 300 kilometers would appear feasible."
That long range makes that kind of missile particularly deadly to aircraft that supports short range fighters, such as aerial tankers and AWACS, which provide an airborne radar platform.
Interestingly, the report notes, China's progress is "now the single most important driver for US defense developments."
Story here. 

I've been warning about the rising Dragon for years and everyone assumed that it was the shouting of a mad man.

Now think tanks have picked up on the truth.

We wasted too much time on the F-35.  It might succeed in only one area.  As a Harrier replacement.  For everything else it will be a complete and utter failure.  I will give General Davis and Marine Corps leadership credit for one thing.  Somehow they roped the USAF and Navy (to an extent) in selling their souls to provide the nation with a supersonic jump jet.  If I was only looking at Marine Corps requirements I'd be the planes biggest fan!

But its about more than the Marine Corps.

The security of the nation and the Western world is at stake.

If China has reached technological parity with the US then that means that they have also achieved regional superiority.  We have world wide commitments.  They're only focused on their backyard.

We MUST do better.  We MUST start making the hard choices.  If we don't reorient ourselves now and get on the right track then the Chinese will achieve perfect victory...winning without having to fight.

Sidenote:  We haven't even started talking about armor developments or the Chinese shipbuilding programs.  While we've wasted almost 20 years in the Middle East wasting lives and treasure our enemies have gotten stronger.  My worry?  With a national focus on Russia, China continues to strengthen, continues to get harder while we flounder.  We must refocus on the real threat in the Pacific...