Tuesday, November 21, 2017

British Committee Members told price of F-35 impossible to predict and numbers may be cut...

via Telegraph.co.uk
Rising costs may force the Ministry of Defence to cut its planned order of 138 stealth jets, officials have suggested for the first time.

MPs on the Commons defence committee heard it was impossible to accurately forecast the costs of the F-35 programme. As costs become clearer as they enter service, the MoD would “make adjustments in our programme accordingly”.
Story here. 

Interesting isn't it.  It took a tier 1 partner to finally admit the truth that we've been screaming about on these pages for months.

All that talk of declining cost of the F-35 was just accounting gimmicks.

The truth is much more stark for our allies that have to sell the plane to their respective govts.

The total cost of the F-35 can't be masked...and the plane remains far from cheap.

I can't wait to hear from the fanboys on this one.  They always appeal to authority by saying that we should trust all the govts, pilots and ministry's of defense that say the plane is golden.

What will they say now that a Ministry of Defense says that the cost of the airplane is impossible to predict and that they may cut the numbers bought?

Wow. The hug that Assad gave Putin shows nothing but gratitude...

The story about Assad going to visit Putin is here.

But that isn't what I want to talk about.  Do you see that hug?  That is nothing but gratitude.  Assad seems to know that if not for the Russians he would be hung on a cross with his head at his feet.

But let's put that aside for a minute.

Think about all the work the US has been doing worldwide.  From Iraq to Afghanistan to Africa and onto Japan, S. Korea and other Pacific nations.

Do we get that same amount of thanks?

We have troops in Europe with the mission of "reassuring" them and deterring aggression.  Only in the Eastern European nations do we see the welcome mat out.  Okinawa is a unique situation but look at the troops in S. Korea.  Are they welcomed? 

The only place that I can think of where US troops are welcomed without complaint is Australia.

You want to study international relations/military/diplomacy?  Study what the Russians did in Syria to get this kind of reaction.  When we have allies that are as grateful as Assad then we know we're on the right track.

Open Comment Post. Nov 21, 2017

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mugabe being asked to resign instead of being dragged out to the bush and shot? This is a weird coup....

via Newsday.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has agreed to stand down after 37 years in power, CNN reported on Monday, after he avoided any mention of resignation in a rambling national address on Sunday night.

A resignation letter has now been drafted, CNN said, citing sources familiar with his negotiations with the generals who seized power in Harare last week.

Under the terms of the deal, Mugabe and his wife Grace would be granted full immunity, CNN said.

Pressure was now mounting from all sides on the 93-year-old, the only leader Zimbabwe has known since its independence in 1980, to swiftly end the confusion that has gripped the country since the de facto coup last Wednesday.

Mugabe stunned Zimbabweans in a rambling late night Sunday television address by avoiding any mention of resignation, pledging instead to preside over a congress next month of ZANU-PF, which had sacked him as its leader only hours earlier.
Story here. 

This is the weirdest coup I've ever seen in my life.  Are you noticing the "legalize" they're attempting to apply to this thing?  Do you notice how gentle they are being with this guy?

Full immunity?

That's just not how real coups work.  In my look back on history the way these things work is that the military storms the president's residence, the equivalent of our congress, the media and other important sites...and the former president/ruler/dictator is taken out to the bush, shot in the head and fed to the hyenas.

There is no doubt about this.

China is making their first power play in Africa and they're being careful in how they do it so they won't alarm any other African nations.

I'm actually impressed.

This is a classic Sun Tzu type takeover.  None of their troops were involved, their monetary interests are preserved, the other countries in the region are able to read between the lines and know not to jack with them...and they get to handpick the next leader of the country.

I'm beyond impressed.  I'm jealous.  I hope we're taking notes.  This is how you work in Africa...not with USMC Marine Expeditionary Unit, a brigade from the 82nd or an Army Ranger Battalion...you go low key, low risk and low effort.

Harriers take off aboard USS Iwo Jima...pics by Cpl. Jon Sosner

Germany is teetering on the brink and the Merkel govt might not survive.

Thanks to Moebius 2249 for the link!

via Reuters.
The failure of exploratory coalition talks involving her conservative bloc, the liberal pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and environmentalist Greens raises the prospect of new elections and casts doubt over her future after 12 years in power.
Negotiations broke down after the FDP withdrew saying they had found insufficient common ground with her Christian Democratic/Christian Social Union bloc and the Greens.
President Walter Steinmeier said Germany was now facing the worst governing crisis in the 68-year history of its post-World War Two democracy. After meeting Merkel, he warned parties not to shirk their democratic duties - remarks seemingly targeted at the FDP and Social Democrats (SPD), who on Monday ruled out renewing their “grand coalition” with the conservatives.
“Inside our country, but also outside, in particular in our European neighborhood, there would be concern and a lack of understanding if politicians in the biggest and economically strongest country (in Europe) did not live up to their responsibilities,” he said in a statement.
Business leaders also called for a swift return to talks.
With German leadership seen as crucial for a European Union grappling with governance reform and Britain’s impending exit, FDP leader Christian Lindner’s announcement that he was pulling out spooked investors and sent the euro falling in the morning.
Story here. 

It's funny.  I was always taught that a parliamentary type govt was more responsive to the people but apparently that's not true.

The Germans are suffering from the same problems that the American electorate are dealing with.

In both countries a "primal" scream was sent to the politicians but in both they're being ignored.

From my chair it looks like Merkel isn't taking the concerns of her people seriously and the same can be said for Trump and the Republicans in the US.

Who here believes that Trump ran on a promise of tax cuts?

I hadn't considered it but could we be looking at a period of govt instability in the West?

China chest thumps about it's VN-18 Amphibious Assault Vehicle...

Thanks to Jonathan for the link!

via Daily Mail.
China has unveiled the world's most powerful amphibious assault vehicle that can travel at high speeds both on land and water, according to the Chinese state media.

The formidable armoured vehicle, called VN18, boasts a maximum speed of 65 kmh (40 mph) on the ground and 30 kmh (19mph) on water and is the fastest of its kind in the world, reported China Central Television Station.

The 26.5-tonne beast is said to be equipped with a cannon, a machine gun and an anti-tank missile. It can carry three drivers and 11 soldiers.

China Central Television Station, the country's state broadcaster, revealed footage of the military vehicle in a programme on November 18.

The 1,600-horsepower assault vehicle was billed as China's 'magical weapon' by the programme.

It's said to be a modified variant of ZTD05 Light Tank, which was developed between 2000 and 2005.

Built with aluminium alloys, VN18 is armoured with a 30mm cannon, a 7.62mm machine gun, an anti-tank missile and smoke grenades, said the report.

The military vehicle is produced by Norinco Group, a state-owned weapon manufacturer in China.

VN18 boasts a maximum speed of 65 kmh on the ground and 30 kmh on water

It's said to be armoured with a cannon, machine gun, anti-tank missile and smoke grenades

During an interview with China Central Television Station, Zhang Wenhui, who is the deputy General Manager of Norinco Group, said VN18 is the fastest amphibious assault vehicle in the world.

Mr Zhang said: 'Only China and the United State have amphibious assault vehicles.

'Although the United State has them, their armies are not equipped with them.'

Mr Zhang claimed that amphibious assault vehicles in the United State are not as fast as VN18.

He said: 'They tried to developed faster ones than ours, but they failed.'

In explaining how fast VN18 is on water, Tan Yongyao, Head of the R&D at Norinco said: 'On the waters, it's like a car running at 120 km/h on a highway.'

Mr Tan added that the vehicle could work in adverse weather conditions and resist winds up to six metres per second (11 knots).

China Central Television Station commented that VN18 is another example of the country's innovative power.
Wow.  This article is dripping with arrogance, self congratulations, self assuredness and a huge dose of self importance.

It reeks of hubris on steroids.

That's a good thing.  That means that when we cross swords they will underestimate us.

That means we'll beat them.

A hardworking, quiet, humble China is one thing.  A loud, bragging, arrogant China is something else entirely.  The latter is easy, the former hard.

From what I can tell we're gonna be getting the latter which is GREAT news.

Open Comment Post. Nov 20, 2017

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Turkey may remove US radar if F-35s not delivered on schedule

via YenisAfak.com
As the U.S. and NATO pressure mounts on Turkey to stop the purchase of the powerful S-400 missile system from Russia, the American administration has threatened that it may not go forward with a plan to deliver F-35 fighter jets ordered by Turkey.

In retaliation to the American blackmail, Ankara may take measures of its own in response, atop of which is the possible dismantling of the powerful Malatya- K├╝recik AN-TPY-2 radar that was set up by the U.S. in 2012.

In a bid to dissuade Turkey from going forward with the purchase of the powerful S-400 missile defense system, the U.S. had warned that such a move “would jeopardize the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey.”
Story here. 

My news alerts gathers in info from around the world.  Having said that, this is the first that I've heard of this news site.  Additionally the phrasing that they use..."blackmail"...leaves me a bit cold.

I wonder.

What is the worry about the Russian radar?  Why is the US and NATO (which has said the same) so concerned?  Seems to me that we would get a good look at the capabilities of the system if it were used in training events.  If it is as formidable as everyone thinks (including me) then training against it in European exercises should be a win win.

If done right I can see these guys being on an almost constant roadshow to various sites in Europe, the US, Australia and even Japan so that we can all test our tactics and pilots against the system.

But all that is irrelevant.

The markers have been placed.  It also puts into light certain news we've heard about the F-35 and sales to Middle Eastern countries.  We MUST look at those possible sales in a new light. 

If this threat is credible then could the F-35 enterprise be looking for ways to replace the sizeable Turkish order for these airplanes?  Imagine that suddenly 150 planes are taken off the books?  That means that we'd see an instant price increase for the rest of the allies.  Additionally isn't Turkey suppose to be a major repair hub?  This could get nasty.  I think as usual, greed will outweigh national security but what if they actually hold strong and Turkish orders are negated?

Sex Assault cases are starting to turn Feminists against Feminists...

via Jezebel.
Lena Dunham, who’s been vocal in the movement to believe sexual assault accusers, now defends Girls writer Murray Miller after actress Aurora Perrineau accused him of sexually assaulting her when she was 17. Perrineau alleges that after a night of drinking at the Standard Hotel, she was driven to Miller’s home and woke up in his bed, when, she said in a statement, “he was on top of me having sexual intercourse with me,” The Wrap reports.

On Friday night, Dunham and co-showrunner Jenni Konner issued a joint statement to the Hollywood Reporter saying not that they doubt, but that they flat-out reject, the claim. They write that she and Jenni Konner are “confident” that “sadly this accusation is one of the 3 percent of assault cases that are misreported every year.” 
Story here. 

Many guys on this blog have put their finger in the wind and climbed on board the "accusers should be believed" train.  It's understandable.  It's the path of least resistance and people will pat them on the back for being so "open minded".

I look at this issue from a military perspective and there are so many shatterpoints in the way that you interact with other guys that incorporating women into even a fireteam is fraught with peril for the men working with her.

But putting that aside this is funny.  When the Marine Corps was getting pounded no one cared.  When the rest of the military got slapped up side the head the politicians cheered.  When this hit Hollywood the cheering intensified.

But now its reached the news media, feminists and the democrat party and now people want to pump the brakes.

My prediction?

Watch the Roy Moore controversy in Alabama go by the wayside.  They're gonna try and pivot to winning on the issues.  They can't push hard on it because Franken is in jeopardy and he's one of them.  Additionally there are many other politicians on both sides of the isle that can get taken down if this is allowed to continue.

The latest battle of the sexes is about to fade from the headlines.  It can't be pushed because its coming a little close to home for the powers that be.