Wednesday, April 26, 2017

China launches its 2nd carrier....

Thanks to S300v4 for the pics!

Around 2025.

That's when the Chinese will be ready to go toe-to-toe with us.  I hope the Marines and Army Dawgs are training hard.  This will be a fair fight and that means it won't be a good fight.

Battle of Kapyong

Pic and caption via WARDOLL Instagram Page...
Today marks the end of the Battle of Kapyong // 700 Canadian soldiers defeated 5,000 enemy troops in the battle of Kapyong. The badly outnumbered Canadians prevented the communists from ultimately capturing Seoul, the present-day capital of South Korea.
Interesting no?  Check this out via Wikipedia...
 The Battle of Kapyong (Korean: 가평전투, 22–25 April 1951), also known as the Battle of Jiaping (Chinese: 加平战斗; pinyin: Jiā Píng Zhàn Dòu), was fought during the Korean War between United Nations (UN) forces—primarily Australian and Canadian—and the Chinese communist People's Volunteer Army. The fighting occurred during the Chinese Spring Offensive and saw the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade establish blocking positions in the Kapyong Valley, on a key route south to the capital, Seoul. The two forward battalions—3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3 RAR) and 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI)—occupied positions astride the valley and hastily developed defences. As thousands of South Korean soldiers began to withdraw through the valley, the Chinese infiltrated the brigade position under the cover of darkness, and assaulted the Australians on Hill 504 during the evening and into the following day.

Although heavily outnumbered, the 27th Brigade held their positions into the afternoon before the Australians were finally withdrawn to positions in the rear of the brigade, with both sides having suffered heavy casualties. The Chinese then turned their attention to the Canadians on Hill 677, but during a fierce night battle they were unable to dislodge them. The fighting helped blunt the Chinese offensive and the actions of the Australians and Canadians at Kapyong were important in assisting to prevent a breakthrough on the United Nations Command central front, and ultimately the capture of Seoul. The two battalions bore the brunt of the assault and stopped an entire Chinese division during the hard fought defensive battle. The next day the Chinese withdrew back up the valley, in order to regroup. Today, the battle is regarded as one of the most famous actions fought by the Australian and Canadian armies in Korea.
So much military history to learn, so little time. How these famous battles aren't shouted from the rooftops by every Canadian and Australian reader I have is beyond me, but I'm glad WarDoll posted it.

A plant move and labor cost made the CH-53K explode in price?

via Defense News.
But those figures don’t tell the whole story, Vanderborght said.

Two factors outside of the government’s control have driven the cost growth on the program: the increasing costs of labor and Sikorsky’s move of the helicopter’s final assembly line from Florida to Connecticut, he said. Under the Marine Corps’ current cost-type contract agreement with the company, the government is left footing the bill for those added expenses. 

As the CH-53K moves from its research and development phase to procurement, Vanderborght believes he will have more opportunities to hold Sikorsky responsible for cost growth. The service intends to switch to a fixed-price contract during production, which will offload some risk onto its contractors. 
Story here.

I'm calling bullshit!

I'm calling massive bullshit!  If I didn't know better I'd suspect the USMC is subsidizing LM by allowing the price of the CH-53K to rise to ridiculous levels. I can't prove it but a SERIOUS audit needs to be conducted.

But let's take this at face value.

A contractor can give their employees a pay raise AND move an assembly plant and the US government is left footing the bill?


Lockheed Martin cuts earnings outlook....the F-35 cuts are coming!

 Defence contractor Lockheed Martin reported its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday ahead of the bell on Wall Street, seeing increased revenue in its aeronautical business, which includes the F35 program much maligned by President Donald Trump.
The company lowered its full-year earnings outlook however, sending the shares lower in early trading in New York.
Net sales rose 7% to $11.06bn in the first three months of the year, aided by an 8% boost in revenue at its aeronautics business, which includes sales of its F35 fighter jet. US President Donald Trump had criticised federal overspending on programs such as the F35. Lockheed's aeronautics operations makes up around 37% of its business.

This is all guessing on my part but I'm betting that earning boost from its aeroautics division came from the extravagantely expensive CH-53K and not from the F-35 like the writer implies.

Additionally with the earning outlook being lowered for the year I'm betting that F-35 cuts are already being factored in.  Something is happening behind the scenes.

Have you noticed that we got no word and NO DEFENSE REPORTER has asked about the study of the Super Hornet vs F-35 for the Navy that Mattis requested?  Have you noticed that we got no word and NO DEFENSE REPORTER has asked about proposals from the USAF for upgraded F-15s, F-16s and even Arsenal Planes?

This turkey is slowly but surely being seen for what it is by policy makers.  Trump might be calling it a great plane so he doesn't spook our allies but the US military (except for the USMC) is already looking at plan B's.

War drums still beating in N. Korea and you don't even notice it...

via Reuters.
Top Trump administration officials will hold a rare briefing on Wednesday at the White House for the entire U.S. Senate on the situation in North Korea.

All 100 senators have been asked to the White House for the briefing by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday.

While administration officials routinely travel to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress on foreign policy matters, it is unusual for the entire Senate to go to the White House, and for all four of those officials to be involved.

Wednesday's briefing was originally scheduled for a secure room at the Capitol, but President Donald Trump suggested a shift to the White House, congressional aides said.

Washington has expressed mounting concern over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.

Trump, who called the leaders of China and Japan during the weekend, told U.N. Security Council ambassadors on Monday that "the status quo" is not acceptable, and said the council must be ready to impose new sanctions.

Congressional aides suggested the briefing was being held at the White House to underscore the message to North Korea that Washington is serious about wanting a shift in policy.

A senior Trump administration official said the flurry of activity around North Korea was "not a part of something choreographed" and cautioned against over-interpretation.
I've been accused of wearing a tinfoil hat and this might be another instance where my critics are right, but to call the entire Senate to the White House for a freaking briefing?

To have the SecDef, SecState, CJCS and DNI all brief?

This sounds like the opening act of some type of military action.  I'm paying attention.  I hope you are too.  If this isn't on your radar then its time to reassess your thinking.  I get the sense that SOMETHING is brewing. 

Open Comment Post. April 26, 2017

When did Old Ford Broncos become luxury items?

I'm a Ford buy and I luv my 95 Bronco.  Still...I have that yearning to get an earlier old skool body type.  My conundrum?  They've turned into freaking luxury items!  How did this happen?  Why did this happen?  Pics and article via High Consumption Magazine...

Scary precedent...but where was leadership????

via CDR Salamander's Blog
There is so much going on with the T-45/F-18 O2 problem that it is hard to get your head around exactly what is the most interesting.

Is it the fact that this has been a known problem for over twice the time it took to fight WWII and nothing was seriously done until now?

Is it the cycles of aviation leadership that couldn't or refused to see it as an issue ... or decided the easier thing to do was to shift the problem in to someone else's PCS cycle?

Is it the hubris of engineers who put more faith in their theories than the facts in the aircraft?

Hard to say, but what I find most interesting is the fact that what finally got things moving was after a body of the best junior officers in Naval Aviation went on strike.
This is some scary shit.  There is no other way to say it.  Consider the age old mantra...Mission first, troops always!

Then dig into this story.

We're seeing the worst of both world's rearing its ugly head.  Personally, I've been alarmed at how casually military leadership (and in particular SOME Marine Corps leaders) throw accusations at pilots.  The first time I noticed it was when the MV-22 crashed in the desert during testing.

They vilified those pilots who perished in the crash and it took the families almost 20 years to finally get their names cleared.  It happened with a crash of an F-22.  I remember that one too.  I was a regular on Aviation Week and I stated clearly that they were too quick to blame the pilot but got shouted down by the "arm chair aviation experts" that believed more in tech than in brave men.  That pilot was vindicated too.

My point?  We're seeing a failure of leadership in the aviation house that is bordering on the criminal.

The scary precedent?

Like CDR Salamander took a freaking strike by pilots to get the problem taken seriously!  This whole thing is unsat!  Think about it!  A system on a modern jet trainer (and on some of our fighter/attack jets) is physically harming our pilots and we don't see a MASSIVE push to fix it?  The pilots have to go on strike?

It was necessary but I've never heard of this happening before.  This is weird, scary, wild...but it worked.  Let's all pray this is a one off event!

Marines participate in Alligator Dagger by Lance Cpl. Melanye Martinez

ARTA BEACH, Djibouti (April 8, 2017) — U.S. Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) make their way back to an amphibious assault vehicle after conducting a mechanized raid at Arta Beach, Djibouti, April 8, during Exercise Alligator Dagger 17. The exercise provides an opportunity to enhance multilateral capabilities in critical mission sets inherent to the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps, as well as partners and allies in the region. The 24th MEU, part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region.

Editor's Note:  This will be something that the upcoming ACV will excel at.  If Marine Corps planners are smart and want to maximize the utility of this vehicle in service (especially if I can somehow get Neller to listen to my Enhanced Expeditionary Unit idea) then Mechanized Raids against terrorist forces will be something we put on the plate for Combatant Commanders.  Even if we use it in a support role to Helo-Borne Raids by Navy SEALs/Special Forces it would provide increased flexibility for both SOCOM & the CC!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wheels vs Tracks. HELLO!!!! Everything gets stuck in the mud!

I've been monitoring a conversation on the blog regarding the mobility of tracks vs. wheels.  It's been a fun watch but I think everyone is missing the point.


Wheels, just doesn't matter!

Route recon, attack approach, driver training, standard combat load, weather conditions....all that and much more has as much to do with whether a vehicle is gonna get stuck as does the question of whether its tracked or wheeled.

Additionally if you're gonna hang your hat on ground pressure then be advised that modern wheeled vehicles can air down to put more surface tread on the deck to increase mobility....Long story short?  Argue all you want but wheeled 8x8 APC/IFV are here to stay.

In the Marine Corps the MTVR has been shown to be an off road all star and to have the mobility to keep up with M1 Abrams off road.

So while the argument is fun to have its no longer applicable.  The tech has changed.  Wheels that are setup properly can do what tracks can

Raytheon’s Long-Range Precision Fires

Thanks to Anthony for the link!

Hmmm.  Can we mount the M270 pod onb our 7-tons?  This system could help ground forces when US air power is fighting for survival or grounded for whatever reason.  Between guns, missiles and attack helicopters we might have fire support covered....if we can get enough of them!

Breaking News! ATF Says You Can Shoulder Your Arm Brace (HD)