Author Archives: xbradtc

About xbradtc

Kicking poon and taking names since March 2009


Back before the introduction of the ATACMS missile system launched from the MLRS and HIMARS, the Army had the MGM-52 Lance missile system to deliver nuclear and conventional long range fires at Corps and Army level.


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The Doolittle Raid

On this day in 1942, sixteen B-25 Mitchell bombers, designed solely for land based operations, lifted from the deck of the USS Hornet, and began the long flight to Tokyo.

The  surprise attack on the Japanese capitol shocked the Japanese, and gave an immense boost to American morale. Prior to the news of the daring raid, virtually everywhere the American public looked, doom and despair were to be found. It seemed the US might lose the war. The public was still steeled to fight on, but needed a sign that their faith in the war effort was well placed.

Of the 80 airmen who launched, three were killed, three more were executed by the Japanese, five were held as prisoners by Japan. Only four airmen still live today.

Huzzah for one of the boldest operations ever undertaken. Let their spirit continue to inspire today’s warriors.



The Return of the Flying Dorito? Or “What the heck was that over Texas?

Planespotters in Texas and now Kansas have recently been seeing some very unusual looking aircraft overhead. The shape of these high flying mystery jets is similar too, but NOT the same as, the B-2 Spirit bomber, better known as the Stealth Bomber.

These sightings have, of course, cranked up the rumors and theories.

Today we have new pics that are the clearest yet.

A mysterious flying object was snapped flying over Wichita, Kansas by Jeff Templin. It resembles a similar unidentified aircraft streaking across the skies of Texas last month

The triangular shape certainly calls to mind one of the biggest procurement failures of the latter half of the 20th Century, the Navy’s failed A-12 Avenger II program.

The A-12, planned successor to the fabled A-6 Intruder attack aircraft, was eventually cancelled before the first was ever built due to staggering cost overruns and the massive weight gain of the design.

But you can see from the picture above, the triangular shape of the mystery jet is certainly very, very similar to the A-12.

Who knows if the jet over Texas is manned or a drone, or what?

What say you?


Filed under Air Force, navy, planes

Compare and Contrast





We’re doomed.



Ugh. Busy Day

More here.



Accountability and the Rule of Law

There’s a reason so many of us distrust the government.

Ace has a long, very good post on the numerous ways the Obama administration has moved the goalposts on a wide range of domestic policy metrics.

Of course, the Administration’s main salutatory innovations in economic and policy matters has been to change the method by which we measure the economy and impacts of specific policies.

We used to figure out a President’s job creation number from, get this, subtracting jobs lost from jobs created, resulting in (whether positive or negative) net jobs created.

But Obama found that Old School Approach to not be accurate enough. He created a new category — Jobs Saved.

And when “Jobs Saved” turned out to not be plentiful in and of themselves, he created a new category– “Jobs Funded.” He asked employers to note when even a single dollar of government stimulus money had gone to an an employee, whether or not that employee was ever in danger of being laid off. If a single dollar of money went to that employee, then the job was considered “funded” by the government.

But that still wasn’t enough — the Department of Energy created a new metric for measuring the economic impact of stimulus spending. People who politically supported boondoggle spending on, say, Solyndra, would be credited as having been “positively impacted” by the spending.

Sure, Solyndra cost the country money in exchange for no jobs, but think about all those people “positively impacted” by the spending! They felt good about spending money on a cronyist boondoggle; and you just can’t put a price on making progressives’ erogenous zones throb with the excitement of spending other people’s money.

Of course, when we on the right criticized the movement of oversight of the Census Bureau to the White House, we were scorned as paranoids.

While the Obama administration is the most egregious example of government unworthy of trust, it certainly isn’t the only one. The very core of conservative political philosophy is the understanding that all government, at every level, and of any party or ideology, will attempt to increase its power and ultimately abuse that power. That definitionally means a decrease in liberty and freedom of the polity. As a conservative, I don’t distrust the government because it is leftist. I trust it because it is far too powerful, and far too big.

And of course, with size and power, accountability goes out the window. A great quip from Ace:

And in each case, the changes in accounting methodology prevent the whole point of accounting — accountability.

Theoretically, local government is more responsive to the public. Unfortunately, they’re also far more likely to be involved in your day to day life. And it rarely works out that those institutions have your best interest at heart. They have their own interests first and foremost.

Let’s take the example of a Pennsylvania student being bullied in school. His complaints were ignored by the school. And so, he decided to provide irrefutable proof, and recorded an encounter with his tormentors. When his mother presented the school with conclusive evidence that the school was not taking steps to ensure the safety and well-being of her son, the school did the only rational thing. They called in the police and threatened the poor victim with felony wiretapping charges. Really-

A Pennsylvania teen, who claimed to have been bullied constantly (and ignored by school administration), made an audio recording of his tormentors using a school-supplied iPad. He brought this to the school’s attention, which duly responded by calling the cops… to have him arrested for violating Pennsylvania’s wiretapping law. (h/t to Techdirt reader btr1701)

And so, here we have another example of why people do not, and should not, trust power in the hands of government. You and I and every normal person knows this is a miscarriage of justice (in the end, the boy plead to misdemeanor disorderly conduct).

When I said the school did the only rational thing, I wasn’t kidding. From the point of view of the school, concerned more with the well-being of the school than the student, calling the police was a very rational act. Faced with evidence that, in our litigious society, would show the school was negligent, they neutered that threat by turning the victim of the school’s inaction into a criminal. For the police, it was entirely rational. Under the laws of Pennsylvania, there was more than sufficient probable cause to charge him with wiretapping. And for the prosecution, why not? Felony wiretapping would be a lot of work to prosecute, but a plea bargain for disorderly conduct is bread and butter.

But you and I, I hope, see that while these actions were legal, and well within the bounds of the law, they were by no means just or moral.

And there will be no accountability. None. Oh, the family might sue, and even win. But that’s not accountability. That’s taking money from taxpayers and transferring it to the victim.

Will the principal be fired? Will the school administrators who actually drafted the school’s policy on discipline lose their jobs? Of course not. Will the police officer, who tossed common sense out the window in favor of persecution in the name of prosecution, face consequences? Of course not. Will the prosecutors face consequences? The judge who didn’t have the sense to throw out the case?

Not. One. Damn. Bit. Of. Accountability.

That is why people lose respect for the law. The vast, overwhelming majority of Americans want to respect the rule of law. But they also want the rule of law to respect them.

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The New York Times or The Duffel Blog- Which is more credible?

First, the New York Times published a sloppy, vile smear on vets today. Because the Anti-Semite nutjob who killed three people at Jewish locations in Kansas City was once a soldier, of course the NYT had to spill gallons of ink to warn its readers that every veteran is a ticking timebomb.

Of course, the NYT forgets to mention that Frazier Glenn Miller, the accused, was forced out of the Army for his extremist views. Further, he has been out of the Army far longer than he was ever in it.

More than one outlet has called out the Times for its shameful smear against vets.

Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, was outraged by Belew’s piece, which he called “sensational, slanderous and incredibly offensive to veterans.”

“Both the title — ‘Veterans and White Supremacy’ — and an accompanying graphic joining service members with KKK members are shameful,” Rieckhoff said in a statement to Military Times on Wednesday. “And the piece relies on weak research and sweeping generalizations about veterans. Especially coming right after so much irresponsible journalism that surrounded the [April 2] Fort Hood shooting, this is stunning and sad to see.

“How could the New York Times publish such a hurtful piece?” Rieckhoff said. “Veterans deserve answers from the Times — and an apology. After more than a decade of sacrifice, no veteran should have to open the newspaper and read an op-ed linking them to hate groups. In contrast to this op-ed, we should focus on telling the story of veterans doing amazing, inspiring work across the country and addressing the real challenges veterans face, including high rates of suicide and unemployment.”

Also, from Commentary Magazine:

Here is Belew’s shoddy logic. Step A: “Vietnam veterans forged the first links between Klansmen and Nazis since World War II. They were central in leading Klan and neo-Nazi groups past the anti-civil rights backlash of the 1960s and toward paramilitary violence.” Step B: “It would be irresponsible to overlook the high rates of combat trauma among the 2.4 million Americans who have served in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the full impact of which has not yet materialized.” Implication: Many Iraq and Afghanistan vets are about to become violent white supremacists.

This doesn’t add up, to put it mildly, as even Belew (or her editors) seem to recognize because they put so many qualifiers into her argument. For example, she admits that “the number of Vietnam veterans in that [white supremacist] movement was small — a tiny proportion of those who served.” She also adds: “A vast majority of veterans are neither violent nor mentally ill. When they turn violent, they often harm themselves, by committing suicide.” But those qualifiers easily get loss amid the gist of the article, which clearly implies that the U.S. armed forces are a breeding ground for violent extremists.

So, are there racists in the services? Sure. The services are a reflection of the society they serve. And somehow, we as a society have not figured out how to fundamentally change the human condition.

Probably the best pushback came from Crispin Burke at Medium. It’s short, go read it all.

But those people in the services who harbor racism and hatred have to keep word and deed in line with the stated values of the services. Or get kicked out. Just like Frazier Glenn Miller got kicked out. And I guarantee you, the services are even less tolerant of racism now than they were 35 years ago.

As noted in the article, the NYT finds it remarkably easy to stereotype veterans in a way it simply could not do with any other group. Did Belew and the Times look at last night’s horrific murder of five people in Calgary and conclude (with just as much evidence) that belonging to a college community makes one a mass murderer?

Shame on the NYT. But then, they are and have been shameless.

Sorta related/Little too close to the bone-

Yesterday’s link to The Duffel Blog article on registering vets as dangerous nutjobs was, I thought, pretty funny. But apparently, some folks have impaired satire skills. TAH brings us news that a political blog, one that apparently leans conservative, bought the TDB post hook, line and sinker, and sent its readers after Rep. Jim Moran.

I’m about as rabidly right wing Republican as you can get, but even I find it embarrassing that the gullible sight STILL has the story posted. No link for stupid people. You can find them on your own.

As a consequence of this “outrage” Rep. Moran’s office has apparently been flooded with calls and emails excoriating him for this plan to register vets. Of course, the first Rep. Moran ever heard of such a thing was from the misguided blowback. Moran is one of the more loathsome members of Congress, and a dim bulb to boot, but this is actually one offense he’s not guilty of.

Have a kitteh:



Antonov 225

Just to give you and idea how big the largest plane in the world is, the AN-225 is 275 feet long, and has a max takeoff weight of almost one and a half million pounds.

That’s almost half the weight, and dang near as long, as a World War II Buckley class destroyer escort.



Norwegian military’s ship killing missile blows up a frigate – YouTube

Norwegian military’s ship killing missile blows up a frigate – YouTube.

I haven’t posted any ‘splody for Roamy in a while.



Thank You!

One of you, dear readers, hit the tip jar over there on the right —>

All donations are, of course, gratefully accepted. I won’t say the funds go to any great purpose, other than supporting my lifestyle, or maybe buying coffee mugs for the co-authors.

Also, a reminder that I’m an Amazon affiliate. If you use the link in the right sidebar to start your shopping experience, I get a nice little bit of advertising revenue, AT NO COST TO YOU.

Every little bit helps, and it sure helps boost the ego that readers think this blog is worth not just their time, but even their money. So, again, thank you.



Harvest Hawk Herc

We’ve mentioned the Marine Corps program to “bolt on” a ground attack capability to some of its fleet of KC-130J Hercules. And lo and behold, here’s some video of one doing a live fire exercise.

My eyes are getting pretty old. Can one of you sharp eyed spotters identify the chase plane? I think it’s a T-6 Texan II, but I’m just not sure.


Filed under marines

Bundy vs. BLM: A Visceral Reaction | National Review Online

One can be a supporter of the rule of law and still recoil in anger and disgust from the militarized display of force by the federal government toward Clive Bundy.

The disproportionate nature of the government’s reaction to Bundy suggests this has less to do with delinquent grazing fees than it does with the selective assertion of raw governmental power — sending a message not just to Bundy or a disfavored group, but to America as a whole. The same federal government that deploys Bureau of Land Management shooters tricked out like SEAL Team 6 directs Border Patrol agents to flee from aggressive illegal immigrants. The same federal government that would fire and prosecute federal agents who physically restrain border-crossers sends agents to tase and sic German shepherds on ordinary Americans exercising First Amendment rights.

One can acknowledge that the government has the right — in fact, the responsibility — to enforce the law, yet object that this administration habitually enforces the law in a capricious, arbitrary, and discriminatory manner. They imperiously go after a Bundy while excusing scores of miscreants whose get-out-of-jail-free card is membership in a politically-correct class. They regularly waive legal requirements out of sheer political expediency. They fail to defend duly enacted statutes with which they, the enlightened, disagree.

via Bundy vs. BLM: A Visceral Reaction | National Review Online.




UPDATE: Hue City crew doused major fire at sea | Navy Times |

The crew of the cruiser Hue City fought and defeated a major fire in one of the main engineering spaces Monday evening without suffering any injuries, according to a new report obtained by Navy Times.

The fire broke out at just after 6:20 p.m. local time while the Hue City was steaming about 200 nautical miles northeast of Bermuda, according to the initial incident report sent by the ship.

It started in the No. 1 gas turbine generator, located in main engine room one, and the crew reacted by going to general quarters, this message said, in what appears to be among the most serious shipboard fires in a few years.

While much remains unclear about what happened on board, the report makes clear that the fire wasn’t finally declared “out” until more than an hour and a half after it started.

via UPDATE: Hue City crew doused major fire at sea | Navy Times |

Prayers for the crew. There’s nothing scarier to sailors than fire at sea.

And it’s a certainty that if they had to break out the hose teams, she’s going to need some time in the yards before she’s ready to sail again.



Hellfire Longbow for LCS

Sam LaGrone notes that the Navy has ditched the idea of equipping the troubled LCS family of ships with the Griffin short range missile, and will instead arm them with the millimeter-wavelength radar guided version of the popular AGM-114 Hellfire missile.

The Navy has traded Raytheon’s Griffin IIB missile for Lockheed Martin’s Longbow Hellfire AGM-114L for the surface-to-surface missile for early increments and testing for the surface warfare (SuW) mission package for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the outgoing program manager for LCS Mission Modules (PMS 420), Rear Adm. John Ailes told reporters on Wednesday.

The choice between the missiles — roughly equivalent in size, range (about five miles) and warhead size — came in part from the ability of the Army’s Longbow to take targeting information from Saab’s Sea Giraffe radar and use its onboard millimeter wave seeker to find a target. The Griffin uses a semi-active laser seeker that requires the ship’s crew to ‘paint’ a target with a laser, limiting the number of missiles that can engage targets at once.

“We have these 10,000 [Longbow] missiles, there’s no cost risk at all, it’s vertically launchable and you can shoot lots of them at same time and you don’t have to do that thing where you keep the laser on it,” Ailes said.
“That’s why we’re excited about Longbow Hellfire.”

The Navy plans to test the missile aboard a LCS — likely USS Freedom (LCS-1) — next year. In 2013, the Navy tested the Longbow at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. against simulated small boat targets successfully.

Griffin is a pretty handy missile, but its selection never made any sense. First, it’s a semi-active laser homing weapon. That means you can only simultaneously attack as many targets as you have laser designators. The MMR Hellfire, on the other hand, is fire and forget.* For dealing with a swarming boat attack, that means as soon as you’ve assigned the missile to its target, you can launch and start targeting another. This, of course, greatly decreases the engagement cycle time.

I will admit, I had no idea anyone had looked at a vertical launch capability for the Hellfire, but according to our old friend Chuckles, the Navy tested it out on a 65’ patrol boat.


*The Hellfire missiles you have seen in videos from Iraq and Afghanistan are semi-active laser guided variants. There are a couple reasons for this. First, Laser Hellfire is good enough in the relatively benign air defense environment in Afghanistan and Iraq. Also, in a COIN environment, Rules of Engagement generally call favor a weapon under positive control in place of a fire and forget weapon. Finally, especially in the high/hot conditions in Afghanistan, removing the fire control radar from the Apaches means a big weight savings, and increased helicopter performance.

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Stolen from Facebook

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by | April 15, 2014 · 4:27 pm

Lawmaker Introduces Bill Requiring Veterans To Warn Neighbors Of Their Combat Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following a second mass shooting at Ford Hood, at least one lawmaker thinks a bill currently under consideration will ensure the safety of American communities by requiring the estimated 2.6 million unstable veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan to tell their neighbors of their combat service.

The Fortify & Unite Communities to Keep Veterans’ External Threats Secure Act (H.R. 1874) which was introduced on Tuesday, would require military veterans to register with the Department of Homeland Security and periodically “check-in” with a case officer, in addition to going door-to-door in their neighborhood to notify people nearby that they are a powder keg of post traumatic stress, alcoholism, murder, and hate just waiting to blow.

“We really feel that we can drastically minimize the damage to some communities, especially those in troubled ‘PTSD hotspots‘ that have become a haven for these psychopathic troops,” said Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who sponsored the legislation. “We are so thankful for their service, and now they can continue to serve on veterans probation.”

via Lawmaker Introduces Bill Requiring Veterans To Warn Neighbors Of Their Combat Service.



SGT Kyle J. White to be awarded the Medal of Honor

On May 13, 2014, President Barack Obama will award Kyle J. White, a former active duty Army Sergeant, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Sergeant White will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007.

Sergeant White will be the seventh living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.


Former Sergeant Kyle J. White separated from the Army on July 8, 2011. He currently lives in Charlotte, NC, where he works as an Investment Analyst.

Sergeant White enlisted in the Army in February 2006 as an Infantryman. After completion of training at Ft Benning, he was assigned to Vicenza, Italy, with 2nd Battalion (Airborne) 503rd Infantry “The Rock” as a grenadier and rifleman which included a combat tour to Afghanistan from May 2007 until August 2008. Following Italy, Kyle was assigned as an opposing forces Sergeant with the Ranger Training Battalion at Ft Benning.

Sergeant White deployed in support of the War on Terror with one tour to Afghanistan.

At the time of the November 9, 2007 combat engagement, then-Specialist White was a Platoon Radio Telephone Operator assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. His heroic actions were performed during a dismounted movement in mountainous terrain in Aranas, Afghanistan.

White’s awards and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster and “V” device, the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, the Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon with numeral “2” device, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Parachutists Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Valorous Unit Award.

via President Obama to Award Medal of Honor | The White House.

From the Times-Herald:


The battle for which White is being honored was a textbook ambush by an enemy that vastly outnumbered the Americans and their Afghan comrades. Between firing his rifle, scrambling to retrieve wounded comrades and having his thoughts scrambled by two close explosions, White told commanders what was happening, according to an Army account.

“All of Afghanistan was listening to his call sign, Charlie One Six Romeo,” says Col. William Ostlund, then-commander of the battalion in which White served as a specialist.

“So when his platoon leader was killed, Charlie One Six Romeo was instrumental in controlling every single thing, from the fixed-wing bombers to the helicopter attack to the indirect (mortar and artillery) fire to treating casualties,” Ostlund says.

Fourteen Americans and a squad of Afghan National Army soldiers were attacked while strung out single file along a narrow trail devoid of cover. Scores of Taliban fighters crouched on the opposite side of the valley or were concealed ahead down the trail or on the ridge above. They opened fire at 3:30 p.m. as the setting sun was in the soldiers’ eyes. Many of the attackers were in shadows, all but invisible to the Americans.

The Taliban even videoed the action so they could turn it into a propaganda film. But the battle all but escaped notice in American media.



‘Throw A Frag Grenade’ Into Acquisition Or ‘Do No Harm:’ Navy Struggles With Innovation « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

NATIONAL HARBOR: It’s easy to call for innovation. It’s hard to do. At this week’s Sea-Air-Space conference here, just 10 miles down the Potomac from the Pentagon, admirals and junior officers alike wrestled with the right balance between speed and safety, between it taking hours to 3-D print a new design and many months to certify it, between the dueling imperatives of Moore’s Law and “first do no harm.”

“There’s 85 percent that probably needs to be done the way we’re doing it; 15 percent that needs to move with that speed,” said Vice Adm. William Hilarides, chief of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), after an audience member urged him to “throw a frag grenade” into the current procurement system. “We definitely need a system where innovation can play inside that.”

via ‘Throw A Frag Grenade’ Into Acquisition Or ‘Do No Harm:’ Navy Struggles With Innovation « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary.

I think most of the ills of the acquisition system are at the DoD level, personally.

Having said that, the Navy hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory in its shipbuilding over the last 10 or 15 years.



Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea – Washington Times

A Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region, a U.S. military official said Monday.

In the first public account of the incident, the official said the Russian Fencer flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, a Navy destroyer, at about 500 feet above sea level. Ship commanders considered the actions provocative and inconsistent with international agreements, prompting the ship to issue several radio queries and warnings.

via Russian fighter jet buzzes U.S. Navy destroyer in Black Sea – Washington Times.

The US and Russia have for years had a bilateral agreement governing behavior during flybys and interceptions, specifically to reduce the risk of things getting out of hand. It appears the Russians have decided that those rules only apply to us.

While that’s likely true during an Obama administration, they may come to regret that stance later, should a US president ever be elected who possesses a spine.




Would you, dear reader, rather learn more about the Chinese Order Of Battle (OOB) or anti-tank guns, and early US Army anti-tank doctrine?

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Load HEAT- Janina Gavankar

With strings of recurring roles on shows like Arrow, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, The League and a gazillion other shows, sultry looking Janina Gavankar isn’t a household name, but she’s got an unforgettable look.

Janina Gavankar (1) Janina Gavankar (2) Janina Gavankar (3) Janina Gavankar (4) Janina Gavankar (5) Janina Gavankar (6) Janina Gavankar (7) Janina Gavankar (8) Janina Gavankar (9) Janina Gavankar (10) Janina Gavankar (11) Janina Gavankar (12) Janina Gavankar (13) Janina Gavankar (14) Janina Gavankar (15) Janina Gavankar (16) Janina Gavankar (17)

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Filed under ARMY TRAINING, girls, guns, Load Heat

Apaches at Sea?

So, Spill brings to my attention that the Army, as a part of the services “pivot” to the Pacific, is looking at increasing its capabilities to contribute to combat power in the vast reaches of the Pacific.

For the most part, the Pacific theater has widely been seen as the realm of the Navy/Marine Corps team, and to a lesser extent, the Air Force. That’s partly because there’s a lot of water, and not so much land. Part of that perception, though, is that historically, post-World War II, the Army has stressed its operations in Europe over those in the Pacific. Of course, that overlooks the fact that throughout the Pacific War, the Army greatly outnumbered the Marine Corps, and in fact, staged more amphibious assaults.

At any rate, the Army is looking at increasing the training and planning it does for operating its helicopters from Navy ships.

An Army AH-64D Apache attack helicopter lands aboard the afloat forward staging base Ponce in 5th Fleet in 2012. The Army is considering expanding operations off Navy ships.

An Army AH-64D Apache attack helicopter lands aboard the afloat forward staging base Ponce in 5th Fleet in 2012. The Army is considering expanding operations off Navy ships. (MC1 Jon Rasmussen / Navy)

The Army is considering certifying some of its attack helicopters to operate from ships — a mission historically conducted by the Marine Corps — as the service looks to broaden the role it would play in an Asia-Pacific battle.

Operating from ships at sea “seems to be a growth capability, and we do sense that there is increasing demand out there” in South Korea and U.S. Central Command, said the Army’s director of aviation, Col. John Lindsay, at an April 8 event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

The service has been running drills on landing AH-64 Apache helicopters on Navy ships in recent months, but “we’ve gotta make sure that we have the appropriate demand signal coming in from the combatant commanders,” Lindsay said, to determine “how much maritime capability does the Army need to invest in.”

Lindsay acknowledged that over the long term, “we still have some work to do” to determine how much the Army wants — or needs — to invest in operating Apache helicopters from naval vessels, but there is serious work being done.

Obviously, you can tell from the picture, this is not without precedent. More than once, the Navy has hosted Army aviation assets. But that has, in the past, been more an ad hoc mission, rather than a pre-planned or routine capability.

Now, there’s no obvious reason that the Army cannot operate from Navy ships such as carriers or amphibious warfare ships. But, as the article notes, there are drawbacks.

First, air operations in the Navy are governed by a program called NATOPS, or Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures. In short, NATOPS is the sum of over 100 years experience in how to safely and effectively fly from ships. Not surprisingly, Army Aviators have little or no experience with NATOPS, and what training they can get in addition to their normal unit training schedule barely scratches the surface. As a result of this shortage of training, the risk of accidents or other operational hazards goes up. How much? I don’t know. But the increase in risk is real, and must be factored into any decision to adopt sea-basing.

Second, Army helicopters are not optimized for operations aboard ship. The most obvious issue is corrosion control. Navy and Marine aircraft are designed with preventing salt spray from corroding them very much in mind.  Army aircraft have no such protection. And the salt spray at sea can do significant corrosion damage in a surprisingly short space of time.

Another issue is that Army helicopters have rotors that can only be folded manually. Navy rotorcraft have power folding rotors. It’s a a lot more work to fit Army aircraft onto a ship.

One issue that I am not sure about it HERO, or Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance. All ordnance and pyrotechnics aboard ship must be tested to be insensitive to the intense amounts of R/F energy that are commonly found aboard ships, what with their multiple radars and high powered radio transmitters. Most ammunition should be certified by now, as they are also used by the Navy or Marines, there may be some pyrotechnics that aren’t. Further, I seem to recall hearing that the 30mm ammunition for the Apache M230 gun was problematical in that environment.

There may also be issues with the avionics of Apaches or other Army rotorcraft operating with and around ships.

The challenges of operating Army aircraft at sea are by no means impossible to overcome. The question is, is this something we really need to do, or are we merely duplicating a capability already provided by Marine Corps air?

The Army has a lot more to contribute to the Pacific Pivot (and the nebulous concept of Air Sea Battle, as well) than is generally recognized. But much of that contribution won’t be in the form of direct combat power, and instead takes the shape of combat support and service support- the unsexy side of warfighting.



Ukraine places blames for eastern unrest on Russia –

Ukrainian officials placed blame for unrest in the eastern section of their country squarely on their neighbors in Russia in a written statement Sunday from Kiev.

The new Ukrainian government said it has launched security operations against terrorists who are attempting to “destroy our country.”

“In the eastern regions of Ukraine, the Russian special service and saboteurs embarked on the large-scale separatist operations to seize power, destabilize the situation threatening the lives of citizens of Ukraine, as well as the separation of the regions of our country,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Giving no further details, it also said it had “concrete evidence of Russian special service involvement” in the pro-Russian protests and storming of buildings in the east in recent days and would present it at an international meeting on the Ukraine crisis on Thursday. There was no immediate response from Moscow.

Ukrainian security forces launched an operation Sunday to clear pro-Russian separatists from a police headquarters in the eastern city of Slaviansk, officials said. One person was killed, Kiev said.

via Ukraine places blames for eastern unrest on Russia –

This isn’t “unrest.” It’s a soft invasion. If you don’t think these are Spetznatz troops operating in Ukraine, you’re incredibly gullible.

You’ll notice in our post of the Russian order of battle the other day, at least two battalions of Spetznatz were listed in the OOB.

Russia has a nice little tactical setup here. They can either achieve their objectives via this soft invasion, or if Ukraine forces manage to suppress them, they still have the option of sending in conventional forces under the cover story of rescuing ethnic Russians from the cruel oppression of the Ukraine military.

The US response has been… underwhelming.

And if you don’t think China hasn’t noticed the success of simply seizing by force what Russia wants, you’re again, gullible. I’m a little surprised China hasn’t simply seized several of its island objectives and told the West to get over it.



Why Are Search-and-Rescue Drones Grounded? – IEEE Spectrum

Gene Robinson of Wimberly, Texas, is a licensed pilot and also flies radio-controlled model airplanes—not an unusual combination. About a decade ago, he realized that a model aircraft outfitted to take aerial photos could be enormously useful in locating people who have gone missing—perhaps because they’ve been abducted or maybe just because they are very young and have wandered off into the woods alone. His efforts have paid valuable dividends over the years—helping find the remains of nearly a dozen people. But since late February his search-and-rescue model airplanes have been grounded: That’s when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration notified him in writing that what he has been doing is illegal.

Since 2007, the FAA has maintained that model airplanes, no matter how small, cannot be flown for commercial purposes until the agency puts regulations in place to accommodate them. But thousands of people fly radio-controlled (RC) model airplanes as a hobby, and what Robinson has been doing with his 2-kilogram, electrically powered, foam-and-plastic planes is really no different. “This is a double standard we’ve had to deal with for almost seven years,” says Robinson.

via Why Are Search-and-Rescue Drones Grounded? – IEEE Spectrum.

It’s stupid, arbitrary regulatory regimes like this that cause so many people to distrust government.

Some faceless bureaucrat decided, on his own authority, that this is illegal. Mind you, if Mr. Robinson was simply flying his RC aircraft in an identical manner, but not supporting a SAR effort, he’d be perfectly legal.

And by the way, what’s with a regulatory decision (in the absence of regulations, no less!) mandating whether or not an activity is illegal? Illegal is generally synonymous with unlawful, and I was under the impression that laws are made by the Congress, not obscure regulators.



Saturday Morning Radar Trivia Quiz

OK, kids, here’s the question-

What was the first operationally deployed phased array radar in the US Navy?