Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NAVAIR V-22 testing.

F-35 CF-3 arrives at PaxRiver.

NAVAIR just posted this vid.

The UK prepares for a evacuation of personnel from Yemen.

You reap what you sow.

Destroy your Naval Expeditionary Forces and you're left with an inadequate fleet to get the job done.  Interesting.  The Royal Air Force can't even provide close air support in a proper way to assist the evacuation.

From the Daily Telegraph.

Three Navy Merlin helicopters have been also been "stripped out" of their anti-submarine equipment to be ready to help. The Telegraph understands that the aircraft will only be used to evacuate the British ambassador and his staff, as well as the 30 man military training team helping Yemeni special forces.
A force of 80 Royal Marines from Alpha Company, 40 Commando, equipped with landing craft and helicopters and enough arms to secure a port are also on board the ships, which are using Djibouti as a basing area.
The Apaches would be expected to escort the Merlins to the capital Sana'a, one of a number of cities where there have already been clashes between government forces, troops loyal to a general who has defected and tribal militias.
They might require desert refuelling, and it is believed part of the reconnaissance mission was to find a suitable rendezvous spot. The helicopters would also be expected to suppress anti-aircraft weapons with their Hellfire missiles.
The Apaches have already shown their ability to carry out strike missions from sea after they were launched from the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean on to targets in Libya earlier this month.
If I was British.  If I was watching this nonsense.  If I was witnessing the death of my once great Navy.

I would be like Sharkey Ward.  I'd be in agony.

Gates opposed to closing overseas bases.

Gates is opposed to closing overseas bases. 

He cites the high upfront costs...but ignores the long term savings.

He cites the message it would send...but ignores the message he attempted to send last week.

This via DODBuzz.

Secretary Gates, counting the hours until he’s sprung from his five-sided dungeon, warned senators on Wednesday about the risks involved with closing U.S. bases overseas as part of potential cuts to the defense budget. For one thing, he said, it would probably cost money upfront, as opposed to saving it, to build headquarters and barracks and other facilities in the U.S. to house the troops who now live in Europe. For another, it might send a dangerous message:
“What kind of signal to do you want to send the rest of the world, as far as America’s role in the world?” Gates asked.  “At the same time as we’re cutting the defense budget, we cut State’s budget, and State has fewer assets to deploy aboard, we have fewer assets to deploy aboard — are we basically sending the message to the rest of the world, to China, Iran, North Korea, a variety of others … that the U.S. is closing up shop and going home and headed toward Fortress America again?”
Not only would that have a chilling effect around the globe, Gates said, he argued that the American military bases in Europe have actually helped stem the trend of diminished NATO usefulness that he famously warned about last week.

“Our presence in Europe, one of the benefits it has brought — in addition to the fiscal benefit of having troops rotate from Germany to Afghanistan — one thing is has brought, is it has slowed, I think, this deterioration of NATO military capabilities,” Gates said.
Is that because European troops need to maintain a certain level of proficiency to keep pace with the Americans? asked Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland. Absolutely, Gates said.
“We train with them, we work with them, so they have to have capabilities to match us when we’re doing that,” he said.
Whatever you think of Gates’ arguments on foreign basing, his warnings appeared to add another bullet point to his list of things that DoD must keep — along with the now-familiar litany that includes the F-35, the KC-46A, Army and Marine Corps recapitalization, SSBN(X). At this rate, it’s getting difficult to see what things Gates would be all right with losing. Fortunately for him, with only 15 more days on the job, he won’t be around to have to figure that out.
What do you think — is Gates right?
No Gates isn't right.

He just proved that we're subsidizing European defense.

He just proved that they're not interested in their own defense.

He just proved that a big segment of Europe isn't worth the time or money.

Gates is wrong.  Time to pull ALL our forces out of Europe.

F-35 News.

Lockheed Martin F-35 Program Flight Test Update

FORT WORTH, Texas, June 14th, 2011 -- Overall, the F-35 program remains ahead of the overall goals for test flights and test points year-to-date. Through May 31, the program accomplished 378 flights versus a plan of 297 and accomplished 3,342 test points against a plan of 2,217.
Several flight test and production key milestones were accomplished since the last report:
  • The F-35B short takeoff /vertical landing (STOVL) jet BF-1 performed the 100th vertical landing for the test program on May 12. For 2011, 106 vertical landings have been performed.
  • The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) jet AF-1 flew to Mach 1.53, the fastest-to-date speed of the existing aircraft fleet. AF-7 completed the longest test mission to date lasting 4.1 hours.
  • During the month of May, all three variants of the F-35 flew a combined total of 94 System Development and Demonstration (SDD) flights, the most achieved in a single month in program history.
  • The F-35 program flew the most flights ever recorded on one day (May 25) when a combined total of 10 flights (includes SDD and LRIP) were completed at all three of its flight test locations at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB), Calif.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (PAX).
  • The U.S. Air Force accepted into its fleet, the second of a planned 1,763 production-model F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters when AF-6 was delivered to EAFB on May 13. AF-6 was the second aircraft in Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot one contractually delivered.
  • One of the first two F-35A production aircraft that will be delivered to Eglin AFB, Fla., accomplished its first flight on May 13. Known as AF-9, the aircraft will be delivered to Eglin for pilot and maintainer training later this year. This jet is the second aircraft to fly from LRIP lot two.
  • Two F-35C carrier variant (CV) aircraft, known as CF-2 and CF-3, were delivered to the F-35 test fleet at PAX. CF-2 was delivered May 16 and CF-3 delivered June 2.
  • CF-2 successfully completed the first F-35 public fly by at the Andrews AFB, Md., Joint Services Open House Air Show during the opening ceremony for the event May 21.
The following statistics reflect the cumulative flight test activity totals for 2011:
  • F-35A CTOL jets have flown 183 times.
  • F-35B STOVL aircraft have completed 166 flights.
  • F-35C CV jets have flown 62 times.
  • From the start of flight testing in December 2006 through June 13, 2011, F-35s flew 971 times, including the production-model acceptance flights and AA-1.
The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

Who am I seeing in their offices weeping like babies, banging their heads against their desks and saying mommy make the successful American fighter go away?

Why its Sweetman and Wall. 

You can both pound sand boys....the USMC order of this fighter (along with the Navy) will make it more successful than the Eurofighter.  Add the USAF to the mix and the Rafale, Eurofighter, Gripen and F/A-18 Super Hornet become irrelevant in the market place.

Another bad day for a couple of Europeans turned US defense writers, turned undercover European/Russian/Chinese fighter fans.

Pheonix Think Tank responds to questions about Falklands defense.

This letter by Sharkey Ward says it all and reinforces my belief that without a strong Navy, the UK is in peril.

It is a sad thing for Britain when Ministry of Defence spokesmen blatantly mislead the nation as in the last paragraph of Thomas Harding’s excellent article on our lack of ability to prevent Argentina retaking the Falklands (12 June 2011).
We are told by MoD that “Our ability to reinforce [The Falklands]  rapidly by air has been maintained.” This is utter nonsense. As in 1982, the Royal Air Force would not send its transport aircraft and refuelling tankers anywhere near the Falklands if British forces did not have control of the skies over the islands. Further, any invasion of the Falklands by Argentina would be conducted without warning and Mount Pleasant airfield would be the first bit of real estate that Argentina Forces would secure. Air supremacy and airspace denial would be the prerogative of Argentina, not Britain.
The only real deterrent to Argentina is for Britain to maintain a carrier battle group capability. Without such a capability Britain would be unable to contest an Argentinian invasion.
When will the MoD (RAF) start telling the public and our politicians the truth about such matters?
Yours sincerely,
‘Sharkey’ Ward.”
RAF boosters (and they're to be found under every bloody rock between here and Plymouth) are operating on "hope and change"....hope that they are never tasked with anything more strenuous than a Libya type campaign and change in the form that they think that someone will change the subject.

I won't let them.

The UK is a maritime nation and needs a strong Navy.  Not another repeat of failed Air Force centric thinking.