Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blast from the past. Harrier intercepts TU-16...

via Flight Global
I still marvel at the capability holiday the UK forced upon itself by retiring these aircraft early.  Sweetman might gush over the Libyan air war and truly believe that no ground forces were providing targeting data (Fat chance of that!  Either allied special ops or Libyan fighters were talking to fighter bombers overhead) but either way, naval air in the form of a strike fighter is essential in any power projection scheme outside of area.

A great maritime nation acting like some of its land locked cousins still astounds.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

And this is why ISAF press releases are useless...

I'm done with ISAF.

They issue nothing but fluff pieces and have been doing so for so long that I've gotten in the habit of ignoring most of their stuff out of hand.

This press release just pushed me over the edge and now I'm done.
Helicopter makes precautionary landing in eastern Afghanistan

ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
For Immediate Release
KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov.  24, 2011) – An International Security Assistance Force helicopter made a precautionary landing in eastern Afghanistan Thursday.
ISAF is still in the process of assessing the circumstances to determine more facts; however, initial reporting indicates that there was no enemy activity in the area. All crew members have recovered with no reported injuries. When the assessment is completed, details will be released as appropriate.
I'm sorry and most of you probably disagree but the deal here to me is this.

1.  No one was injured.
2.  They stated that it was a precautionary landing.
3.  Initial reports are stating that no enemy activity in the area.
4.  All personnel have been recovered.

Then why not tell us the unit and helicopter type!

This war has gone from being reported to having the news managed.  Most images (I'd say at least 90%) are simply fluff pieces telling us how great the ANA is. 

They've been telling us that shit for at least 8 years now.

ISAF Public Affairs Office can kiss my ass.

Is the main battle tank tactically dead?

Is the MBT tactically irrelevant?  I ask because of all the weapon systems designed to kill it...just in US service check out the following...
Maverick Missile

A-10's Gun

DAGR 2.75 rocket noteworthy because it could revolutionize attack helicopters.  Instead of a heavy load of 16 antitank missiles you could carry a 'light' load of perhaps 32 DAGR's...don't laugh, an RPG-29 penetrated an M1 in Iraq.  These should be several times more powerful...just need the right warhead.

Brimstone (not US) but supposedly we have our own version under development...noteworthy because so many rounds can be carried by one airplane.
Hellfire (love this guys artwork)

All this and we haven't even started to look at GPS guided weapons that can be retrofitted for the precision work necessary to take out tanks...we haven't even talked about area denial weapons and bomblets designed to channel and destroy tanks...I haven't even talked about precision artillery shells.

I have been critical of our allies that appear to be destroying there heavy armor forces but perhaps in this area a 'holiday' can be taken.

History has shown that although artillery is still the biggest killer on the modern battlefield, most attention has been paid to destroying tanks.

Perhaps the threat to tanks has finally pushed it into the obsolete category...useful, but on a modern battlefield too heavily hunted to be able to hunt.

If the F-35 is getting the axe someone better tell MCAS Yuma!

via the

The hangar, which costs $36 million and would normally take about 18 months to build, is expected to be completed in 10 months, and in use by March. McBee said that the air station is on a tight timeline to coincide with the first arrival of the first F-35s in Yuma.

As the future home of the first F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in the country, MCAS Yuma will get five squadrons each with 16 aircraft, and one operational test and evaluation squadron of eight aircraft. The 88 aircraft will replace Yuma's four existing squadrons of 56 AV-8B Harriers.

Great news.

With infrastructure being built on both coasts to house the F-35 I just don't see how they can practically afford to cancel the program.

I also love how they're managing to plus up the B's, kill the F/A-18D's and keep the US Navy happy while maintaining the C's...

Soon the only aircraft that will be big carrier capable will be the F/A-18C's and I wonder how much good the Hornet will do with carriers filled with Super Hornets...a mix of similar looking aircraft but much different capabilities.

The inter-service politics could get really interesting.  The Hornet is faster than the Super...but has shorter legs....I wonder if it might be relegated to CAP and carrier defense?

Is this the beginning of Marine Air basically taking itself out of the big carrier business?

I mean seriously, the Commandant signed for the C model but the talk on the street is that the B model will come first. 

Yeah, this will get good on the manufacturing side...the procurement fight is all but won.