Roamy expressed some frustration that she couldn’t find a lot of articles on the attack on Camp Bastion. Well, the papers have started to catch up. I can’t think of a time since Vietnam when the US lost 6 planes on the ramp. Here’s a little more detail on the attack:
Click to embiggen. It’s a big graphic.
The Marines have a long history of fighting to defend the perimeter of an airfield. In fact, exactly 70 years ago, the 1st Marine Division was ashore on Guadalcanal, fighting to hold onto Henderson field. And more than just small infiltration teams faced them. As of September 1942, the forces on the island were roughly equal. And the IJN would send heavy cruisers and battleships to blast Henderson Field repeatedly in the course of one of the closest run campaigns of the war. So while the loss of two Marines, and 6 jets hurts, it’s not going to mean the end of operations there.
China unviels yet another stealthy fighter.
Mind you, building one prototype doesn’t a fleet of fighters make. The prototype of the F-22 flew on 29 September, 1990. It would be another 15 years before it became operational. Still, Mitt Romney’s plan to reopen F-22 production sounds pretty good to me, even with an estimated $1bn in startup costs.
The WaPo has an interesting article on the B61 bomb and the costs of maintaining the nuclear inventory. Of course, since there is zero political support for developing new weapons, the old ones will have to soldier on, and that means increasingly expensive support.
The B61 is the backbone of “bombs” (as opposed to missile warheads) in our arsenal. The primary delivery platform is the B-2 bomber. There was a time not too long ago, however, that if you flew fast jets, you qualified for and trained for a nuclear delivery mission. Today? I doubt more than a handful of tactical air pilots in any service have ever flown a nuclear strike profile. Maybe a few guys in the F-15E community. Dunno. It’s not something the Air Force spends a lot of time talking about these days.