Thursday, January 19, 2017

B-2 Bombers strike targets in Libya. The USAF makes a play to impress the new boss!

Thanks to Robert for the link!

via Air Force Times
American warplanes unleashed a massive attack Wednesday on at least two Islamic State training camps in Libya, killing an estimated 80 militants who fled the group's crumbling stronghold there, U.S officials said. 
The airstrikes occurred in a remote area approximately 30 miles southwest of Sirte, a city along the Mediterranean coast that's been a focus for U.S. forces since at least February. 
The operation was carried out by two Air Force B-2 bombers and an unspecified number of unmanned MQ-9 Reapers armed with Hellfire missiles, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told Air Force Times on Thursday morning. An estimated 100 Islamic State fighters were targeted and approximately 100 weapons were released, James said, adding that the mission was coordinated with U.S. special operations personnel working with local allies on the ground nearby.  

Freaking seriously?  You're gonna send two B-2 bombers and an "unspecified" number of Reapers to kill 100 ISIS fighters?

I would bet body parts that the B-2 weren't even necessary but added to the package to simply earn the USAF a little publicity before the new boss takes over.

The SecAF passed this info to reporters?

This is obvious and obscene.  The USAF is making a play for relevance.  I guess the budget wars are in full effect.

This TV prop is gonna get people killed. How is this a thing?

Above you see "Lucille" the weapon used by Negan in the Walking Dead TV show to bash in the heads of a couple of characters on that show.

No big deal its fiction right?

Wrong.  The pic above is from an ad on WALMART showing it for sale.  Don't get me twisted.  I'm not for the nanny state in any form but let some idiot think he's gonna scare me (and in his mind he only wants to scare) by running at me or mine with this in his hands as some type of prank and someone is going to be crying because their loved one was a Darwin award winner.

How is this a thing?

I guess it doesn't matter.  It is a thing and something that those that are into self defense should know about.  Check out this article from the Daily Mail...
San Francisco Police are asking for help leading to those chaining up spiked baseball bats to poles throughout the city.
San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak says officers first received reports of wooden or metal baseball bats appearing on poles and parking meters in the city on Thanksgiving morning.
The bats are 'spiked' with large screwdrivers driven through the tops.
The weird bats have been chained to telephone poles and parking meters.

Andraychak says 27 bats with spikes running through them have been found since then. The latest discovery was Friday in the Fishermen's Wharf area.
Andraychak says the spikes on the objects allow them to be considered a prohibited or deadly weapon, which is a felony.
Want to know the bad news?  If you're attacked with one of these weapons then that means your attacker has gotten close, is probably conducting an ambush and the trauma from the first hit could be bad enough to totally incapacitate you.

We're entering a new world.  A gun attack is one thing but a spiked club attack is something that few people have ever really wargamed (knife attacks...even California rushes we have practiced against).  I'll be looking to see what the pros are saying to do to protect against this (besides the obvious to be aware of your surroundings).

Blast from the past. US Army Sterling T26 8 x 8 12-ton Heavy Truck

pics via Diesel Futures Tumblr Page.

I am in love with this troop carrying/logistics version.  Am I wrong or would it like in place in today's Army or Marine Corps?

We're all guilty.  When it comes to vehicles from the past the military blogging community (and armor enthusiast in general) focus only on tanks, APCs and IFVs.

The troops carriers/logistics trucks are all but forgotten (unless they're halftracks!).

I think we're doing ourselves a disservice.  The M26 Dragon and the T26 (above) were futuristic and essential to the war effort. has this interesting write up....
She was a big beast by any standard - but then she had a big job to do.

And although technically extinct, the memory of the US Army Sterling T26 8 x 8 12-ton heavy truck lives on, through a book researched and written by Tony Gibbs
Called “Sterling T26 Discovered”, Tony will be signing copies of this limited edition work at the War and Peace Show, at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, in July.
He is also working on a model of this historic military vehicle.
“The T26 was designed to take over from the M26 Dragon Wagon, at a time when the Americans were building super-heavy tanks, capable of taking on the German Tigers,” said Tony, an industrial designer before he retired 10 years ago.
“Powerful though the M26 was, it was just not up to lugging the 70-ton T29 tank nor the turretless T-28, which weighed in at no less than 95 tons.”
Tony’s book is a tribute to the brilliant designer Lieutenant Steve Hodges, who led the T26 design project. He visited Hodges at his home in California and the two became friends.
When Steve Hodges died, Tony was given access to his entire archive, and was able to scan copies of all the documentation, photos and technical drawings relating to the project.
“One of the problems Steve faced was that the quality of steel available during the Second World War was just not tough enough for conventional gears on a truck this size,” said Tony.
“The solution he came up with was to create a system whereby power was delivered individually to each of the eight wheels, using sprocket and chain for the final drives. So they were reverting to older technology as a way of dealing with wartime constraints.

“The vehicle was steered by rotating the entire front bogie, which gave it a very tight turning circle. Coupled with the much shorter T58 semi-trailer this arrangement would have helped on the narrow lanes encountered in Normandy. However the war ended before it could be shipped to Europe.”
The T26 was initially powered by an American LaFrance 300E V12 engine, which had a capacity of 754 cubic inches (12,356 cc), which generated 280 bhp at 1800 rpm and 518 foot pounds of torque. This was upgraded on later variants.
Three manual gearboxes gave a choice of 20 forward and three reverse gears.
Later models were powered by the Ford GAA V8 tank engine with the Ford GAC V12 projected for the ulitmate version.
Steve Hodges, who was awarded the Legion of Merit for his design work, went on to develop further 8 x 8 trucks, including the Lockheed Twister and the Lockheed Dragon Wagon, the essence of which was embedded in the Oshkosh LVS military truck series, used to good effect in Operation Desert Storm.
Tony Gibbs began researching the T26 as a retirement project, after a career in industrial design during which he worked on projects ranging from a Royal Mail pillar box to a complex spacecraft control console.
His interest in military vehicles was sparked in the days before D-Day when as a child he watched endless convoys heading south to the embarkation points.
Even then it was the massive American transports that most captivated his interest, together with the cool and relaxed GI crews that operated them.
With the passing of Captain Cernan and Lt General Brandtner we're not only losing our nation's studs but we're also losing touchstones to our military history.

It must be left to others to catalog their heroics and if possible get first hand accounts from them before they pass away but the armor community must do a better job of collecting and disseminating info about past efforts...both successful and unsuccessful.  Knowledge is acquired by learning what worked, what didn't and how they went about designing/building those vehicles.

Rant over.  Time to hit Galvars and Costas TT over the head and get them to send me bulk copies of their armor catalogs.  I wonder if I should setup a Google Hangout so we can more easily share pics/articles/information on military vehicles?

Open Comment Post. Jan 19, 2017

Our nation keeps losing its studs....Lt. Gen. Martin L. Brandtner Laid to Rest

Latest "hotness" at Shot Show? Kel Tec RDB Survival

This is the hot thing at shot show.  Personally I yawn.  First Kel Tec doesn't put their guns in stores so its always a rat race to get them.  Not talking about the pistols but the long guns.  Next the price point has me wondering if it wouldn't be better just to save pennies and bump up to a Tavor.

Either way check out the video above....NutnFancy did a pretty good review.

Side note:  Is it just me or do the ergonomics seem a bit off. The thumb over the stock seems weird.

Kader Siddiqi, an Indian Mukti Bahini guerrilla, bayonets men via Historium

Kader Siddiqi, an Indian Mukti Bahini guerrilla, bayonets men accused of collaboration with Pakistan during East Pakistan’s struggle to become the independent state of Bangladesh. 1971

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gambia is melting down. African troops from 3 nations poised to remove the Gambian President.

via NPR
In a few hours, longtime Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh's presidential term will expire. But he is clinging to power as troops from regional powers reportedly amass at the border.
International and regional powers are demanding that Jammeh step down and make way for his rival, businessman Adama Barrow, who won last month' s presidential election.
The African Union has stated that it will stop recognizing Jammeh as president after his term expires at midnight local time. (Gambia is five hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast.)
And ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc, appears to be preparing to enforce the election result by force. The Nigerian air force said in a statement that it has moved "a contingent of 200 men and air assets" to Senegal's capital, Dakar, "from where it is expected to operate into Gambia."
Senegalese forces also are poised to cross the border, army spokesman Col. Abdou Ndiaye tells Reuters. "We are ready and are awaiting the deadline at midnight. If no political solution is found, we will step in," Ndiaye said, according to the wire service.

ECOWAS had earlier threatened military action if Jammeh refused to leave and is seeking "the U.N. Security Council's endorsement of its 'all necessary measures' to help remove Jammeh from power," The Associated Press reported. Gambia, "a country of 1.9 million people, is estimated to have just 900 troops," according to the wire service.
Jammeh, who has been president since he led a coup 22 years ago, initially accepted the result of the Dec. 1 election — but dramatically changed his mind a week later, saying that the results were void because of voting "irregularities." And earlier this week, he issued a 90-day state of emergency.
Parliament also extended his term for another three months earlier today, according to news reports, though that hasn't appeared to ease the tension heading into tomorrow's deadline.
Meanwhile, it appears Barrow is preparing to be sworn in as president. It's unclear where that ceremony would take place, as Barrow is in Senegal for his own protection.
"Our future starts tomorrow," Barrow said in a tweet.
Want to know the amazing thing?  People aren't upset that this guy is violating his nation's laws and violating their constitution.  They're upset because so many Western nations worked to undermine his election (yeah...the US is accused of attempting to influence the Gambian election) because he made anti-gay statements.

Be that as it may this is a terrible setback for Africa but par for the course.

Are we about to see govts in even more chaos while they're fighting ISIS and sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims (especially in the North and Central Africa)?

I thought we had more time before things went South in Africa.

I was wrong.

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.