Author Archives: xbradtc

About xbradtc

Kicking poon and taking names since March 2009

The Syrian Campaign

Well, there you go.

Mind you, especially with the Tomahawk strikes, this looks like “wave 1″ if you will, targeting those fixed or semi-fixed air defense, command and control, and troop concentrations our intelligence has been able to suss out. How well they’ve done in finding remunerative targets is unknown.

Here’s the thing about airpower. It’s firepower without persistence. It has an incredible capability bring large amounts of destruction in a very short time. And it’s that short time that is the problem. It cannot maintain that level of pain for very long.

Further, the return in investment in the use of airpower is highest against concentrated targets. Very quickly, any opponent that cannot challenge our dominance of the skies learns to disperse his assets. That vastly reduces the effectiveness of airstrikes. We’ve been trying to bomb deployed forces into submission since the Italian campaign. We’ve yet to succeed.

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Book Review- Predator- The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution-Richard Whittle

Review copy courtesy of Henry Holt and Company, the publishers.

Richard Wittle, who has already published a history of the development of the MV-22 Osprey, just launched his newest book, Predator- The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution.

Just over 300 pages long, the book does a good job of not focusing on extraneous technical details, but rather on the people who brought about the Predator program. Focusing on the development of the Predator from the early 1990s to its first uses as a Hellfire armed weapon system in Afghanistan in 2002, the story is rich with biography of the key players in the program.

First we get to cheer the plucky underdog garage inventor. Then the complex machinations that brought investors in, while struggling to overcome deep seated apathy by the military.

And once the military becomes involved, it’s a tale of a small team struggling to gain acceptance from the big boys, until a triumph of innovation makes a major splash.

To me, the most frustrating part was the early operations in Afghanistan. One of the key lessons of Desert Storm was supposed to be the strength of decentralizing decision making to the operational level. And yet, the very first operations in Afghanistan involved the very upper echelons of command almost literally hovering over the shoulders of the man with a  finger on the trigger.

Whittle’s writing is easy, and the book is only a touch over 300 pages, not counting the extensive notes.

Easily recommended, 3-1/2 stars out of 5.

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Navy Testing Norwegian Naval Strike Missile on LCS Next Week – USNI News

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is set to strap a Norwegian anti-ship missile to the deck of an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship in an exploration of boosting the firepower of the LCS hulls.

Next week, USS Coronado (LCS-4) will test fire a Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile off the coast of Southern California at the target ranges at Port Hueneme.

“This demonstration is intended to test the capabilities of the Norwegian-made missile from a sea-based platform against a Mobile Ship Target (MST) and provide insights into the weapon’s stated capabilities of increased range and lethality,” according to a Thursday release from NAVSEA.

via Navy Testing Norwegian Naval Strike Missile on LCS Next Week – USNI News.

It’s about time. Ideally, if we’re forced to have 24 or 32 LCS in the fleet, they can be armed to take out more than a Boston Whaler.

We’ve shared the NSM video before. What the heck, why not one more time.

Further down in the article is this bit:

NAVSEA told USNI News on Friday the test of the missile was not necessarily the start of a new acquisition program for the LCS Surface Warfare package or had a direct relation to the completed — but yet unrevealed — Small Surface Combatant (SSC) study.

“The Navy views as an opportunity to test a future warfighting capability,” NAVSEA spokesman Matthew Leonard told USNI News on Friday.
“There is currently no requirement for this capability.”

They don’t mean that there’s not requirement for this capability. They mean there’s no requirement written down as one of the things to buy. That’s dumb, but can be changed. And one suspects that someone at NAVSEA is working very hard to write a requirement that, without saying “Norwegian Strike Missile” can only be filled by Norwegian Strike Missile.  And Kongsberg is probably working to establish a partnership for shared production or licensed production of the NSM here in the US.

 

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Lightning Strikes

Speaking of World’s Smallest Aircraft Carriers…

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Load HEAT- Mary Elizabeth Winstead

The reigning Scream Queen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has enjoyed quite a successful career in the horror movie industry. Maybe not a household name, but it pays the bills. She’s easy on the eyes, and not a bad actress.

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The 1962 Fleet Review

For centuries, heads of state would periodically review their fleets. In the age of sail, the line of battle was nearly always concentrated, and so, to view the entire fleet was not the greatest logistical challenge.

By the early years of the 20th Century, the various naval powers of the world had evolved the Fleet Review to a major public relations exercise, almost on a scale of a World Exposition. The nation would flaunt its naval might. It was also an exercise in diplomacy, with friendly (and often not so friendly) foreign powers sending major units of their own fleets to observe and pay their respects. In addition to an excellent chance to show off your own fleet, it was a good opportunity to scope out the competition’s ships. Indeed, a good bit of the intelligence the US Navy gathered on Japanese warships before World War II was gathered simply by photographing them at various international reviews.

The Fleet Review has pretty much passed into history. One of the last I know of was the 1962 review of the Atlantic Fleet by President John F. Kennedy.

It was pretty much the ultimate in dog and pony shows. Give it a couple minutes to get going. You’ll see some serious airpower, and even better, you’ll get to see a Marine amphibious landing.  There’s quite a bit of live fire going on in the clip.

Did you notice the Terrier missiles? Did you notice they missed the drone? Friedman, in his cruiser design history, tells us Kennedy was so disgusted by the miss that he personally ordered that USS Long Beach be refitted with a pair of 5”/38s.

Also, that’s just about the only place I’ve seen contemporary footage of the LVTP-5 Amtrac.

Finally, can you imagine the Secret Service letting the President get that close to all that live fire today?

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Are U.S. Soldiers Dying From Survivable Wounds? – WSJ

In an unassuming building in suburban Washington, a team of military medical specialists spent six months poring over autopsies of 4,016 men and women who had died on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

They read reports from the morgue at Dover Air Force Base, where bodies arrived in flag-draped coffins. They examined toxicology reports. They winced at gruesome photos of bullet wounds and shredded limbs. In each case, the doctors pieced together the evidence to determine the exact cause of death.

Their conclusion would roil U.S. military medicine: Nearly a quarter of Americans killed in action over 10 years—almost 1,000 men and women—died of wounds they could potentially have survived. In nine out of 10 cases, troops bled to death from wounds that might have been stanched. In 8%, soldiers succumbed to airway damage that better care might have controlled. “Obviously one death or one bad outcome is too many, but there are a lot of them,” said one of the researchers, John Holcomb, a former commander of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.

The findings appeared in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery in 2012 to almost no public attention. But in military medical circles, they have fueled a behind-the-scenes controversy that rages to this day over whether American men and women are dying needlessly—and whether the Pentagon is doing enough to keep them alive.

via Are U.S. Soldiers Dying From Survivable Wounds? – WSJ.

A very disturbing article.

Are some soldiers dying from survivable wounds?

Of course.

I suspect that the tactical situation in some incidents listed here had a direct influence on the outcome.  Rapid evacuation isn’t always possible. Or sometimes, your buddy simply can’t get to you to treat you. Or worse, no one realizes at first that you are wounded.

Just since 2001, the military has made great strides in improving the immediate lifesaving care provided by buddy care, Combat Lifesaver care, medics, and evacuation teams, to say nothing of the advances in trauma medicine at frontline hospitals, and the expeditious evacuation of critically wounded to definitive care hospitals in Germany and the US.

But there is always room for improvement. I suspect the percentage they quote is quite high. But the Army has a moral obligation to continue to strive to shrink that number.

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