Author Archives: xbradtc

About xbradtc

Kicking poon and taking names since March 2009

MiG-27 D/J Flogger

Why the Soviet Union, which already had the formidable Su-17 in production, felt the need to build a ground attack version of the MiG-23 Flogger is a headscratcher, but they did, the MiG-27 D, and later J variant. The MiG-23 is today seen as something of a dog as a fighter (as opposed to being a dogfighter) but as a ground attack aircraft, the MiG-27 was… well, not too bad. It carried a decent payload, and relatively decent avionics, including a laser spot tracker and the ability to carry the AS-7 Kerry and AS-14 Kedge guided missiles. It was even built under license in India,which still operates a few. It’s been withdrawn from Russian service.

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Red Air For Hire: The big business of private air forces

America is home to three military air forces including the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Naval Air Forces (USN, USMC), and United States Army Aviation (USA). With roots stretching back to the early 20th century, these air arms are well understood by most Americans.But there are a growing number of private air forces in the US and Canada which Americans are overwhelmingly unaware of. Composed of retired military fighter and training aircraft, operated by ex-military pilots, these company-owned fleets provide a surprising range of airborne training services to the US armed forces. Quietly, they’ve been a feature of American military aviation for more than three decades, increasingly integrated but still on the fringe, a contracting force not spoken of freely or often by the Department of Defense (DoD).Business is about to pick up, however. According to the executives who lead the companies in this unique industry, the contract air services (CAS) trade is at a tipping point. “If there was ever a question about the future of the industry, it has been answered,” says Jared Isaacman, CEO of the Florida-based Draken International. “It’s not just a Navy thing anymore. The Air Force, the Marines, the Army – they’re all going to use it and NATO allies are going to use it. We’re past the question mark.”

Source: Red Air For Hire: The big business of private air forces

For the most part, contracting these services out makes a great deal of sense. While the article notes ATAC support to TOPGUN and support for CAS training, there’s another mission set they don’t mention that has long used contractor support.

Area air defense by the surface fleet, that is, Aegis destroyers and cruisers, need targets to practice. While drones work well for live fire exercises, they also need tracking practice. And contractor support can provide that, and has done so for many years.



Happy Tanksgiving

Have a nice time in Slovenia, Esli.




Happy Thanksgiving

I was fortunate that I was never actually deployed during Thanksgiving. The closest I came to that was spending Thanksgiving at Graf during gunnery. 

In most units, it’s traditional for the battalion and brigade combat team leadership to head to the Dining Facility for the noon meal, which is when they serve the big turkey dinner. Seeing the colonels serving turkey in their dress blues is a bit odd, but hey, tradition. And by serving at the noon meal, they get to go home and have a traditional meal with their families.

And almost universally, they do a very good job of putting out a traditional menu- bird, dressing, gravy, cranberry, and a host of other well known dishes.

As a single troop, it was also quite common for one of my married coworkers to invite me to their home to enjoy another vast meal, a few beers, and football on the television. After all, we take care of our own.

And if you’re deployed, the Army will go to great lengths to make sure you get a real meal.

On behalf of all of us here at, Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.



Happy Thanksgiving



by | November 26, 2015 · 5:00 am

How the U.S. campaign in Iraq has escalated with a new weapon: rocket artillery – The Washington Post

Last week, close watchers of the many-sided war in Iraq and Syria learned from an apparently inadvertent Russian state television disclosure that Russia has upped the ante in its eight-week-old war in Syria, apparently adding ground-based artillery to the array of attack jets, strategic bombers, and helicopter gunships that have been pounding Islamic State terrorists and U.S.-backed rebels alike in the country

.Without fanfare, the U.S.-led coalition has escalated its involvement in the conflict in a similar way in recent weeks, adding artillery raids of its own to the steady thrum of air strikes against the Islamic State. In the U.S. case, the weapons involved are long-range, satellite-guided rockets, not howitzers, and the targets are in Iraq, not Syria.

Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren first acknowledged the use of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS—a staple of U.S. operations in Afghanistan—during a briefing last month. Since then, Inherent Resolve press releases have noted the use of rocket artillery on eight more days, most recently Sunday, when “rocket artillery” accounted for an unspecified number of 19 coalition strikes in Iraq.

Source: How the U.S. campaign in Iraq has escalated with a new weapon: rocket artillery – The Washington Post

I’m not entirely sure “escalation” is the right word to describe a weapon that has shorter range than strike aircraft, and a smaller warhead.

Three things here. HIMARS is the launcher. High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. GMLRS is the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System. HIMARS can carry a pod of 6 GLMRS. ATACMS is the Army Tactical Missile System, a much larger, longer ranged guided missile. The HIMARS can carry one in a pod with the same dimensions as the 6-pack of GMLRS.

GMLRS is relatively cheap. ATACMS is not, so its use would be for very important targets.

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SMA Dailey’s Top 10 for Sergeants Major

SMA Dailey is pretty much the best Sergeant Major of the Army I’ve seen since Glenn Morrell.

No. 1. Yelling doesn’t make you skinny. PT does.
If you’re not out there saluting the flag every morning at 6:30, you can automatically assume your soldiers are not. Soldiers don’t care if you’re in first place. They just want to see you out there. This is a team sport.
PT might not be the most important thing you do that day, but it is the most important thing you do every day in the United States Army. The bottom line is, wars are won between 6:30 and 9.

No. 2. Think about what you’re going to say before you say it.
I’ve never regretted taking the distinct opportunity to keep my mouth shut.
You’re the sergeant major. People are going to listen to you.
By all means, if you have something important or something informative to add to the discussion, then say it. But don’t just talk so people can hear you. For goodness sake, you’re embarrassing the rest of us. Sit down and listen. Sometimes you might just learn something.

No. 3. If you find yourself having to remind everyone all of the time that you’re the sergeant major and you’re in charge, you’re probably not.
That one’s pretty self-explanatory.

No. 4.You have to work very hard at being more informed and less emotional.
Sergeants major, I’ll put it in simple terms: Nobody likes a dumb loudmouth. They don’t.
Take the time to do the research. Learn how to be brief. Listen to people, and give everyone the time of day. Everyone makes mistakes, even sergeants major, and you will make less of them if you have time to be more informed.

No. 5.If you can’t have fun every day, then you need to go home.
You are the morale officer. You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but you do have to be positive all the time. The sergeant major is the one everyone looks to when it’s cold, when it’s hot, when it’s raining, or things are just going south. Your job is to keep the unit together. That’s why you’re there. The first place they will look when things go bad is you, and they will watch your reaction.

No. 6. Don’t be the feared leader. It doesn’t work.
If soldiers run the other way when you show up, that’s absolutely not cool.
Most leaders who yell all the time, they’re in fact hiding behind their inability to effectively lead.
Soldiers and leaders should be seeking you, looking for your guidance, asking you to be their mentors on their Army career track, not posting jokes about you on the ‘Dufflebag blog’. That’s not cool. Funny, but it’s not cool.

No. 7. Don’t do anything — and I mean anything — negative over email.
You have to call them. Go see them in person. Email’s just a tool. It’s not a substitute for leadership. It’s also permanent.
You’ve all heard it. Once you hit ‘send,’ it’s official, and you can never bring it back. Automatically assume that whatever you write on email will be on the cover of the Army Times and all over Facebook by the end of the week. Trust me, I know this personally.

No. 8. It’s OK to be nervous. All of us are.
This happens to be my favorite. It came from my mother. My mom always used to tell me that if you’re not nervous on the first day of school, then you’re either not telling the truth, you either don’t care, or you’re just plain stupid. [Being nervous] makes you try harder. That’s what makes you care more.
Once that feeling is gone, once you feel like you have everything figured out, it’s time to go home, because the care stops.
Don’t do this alone. You need a battle buddy. You need someone you can call, a mentor you can confide in. Don’t make the same mistakes someone else has made. Those are the dumb mistakes. Don’t do this alone.

No. 9. If your own justification for being an expert in everything you do is your 28 years of military experience, then it’s time to fill out your 4187 [form requesting personnel action] and end your military experience.
Not everything gets better with age, sergeants major. You have to work at it every day. Remember, you are the walking textbook. You are the information portal. Take the time to keep yourself relevant.

No. 10. Never forget that you’re just a soldier.
That’s all you are. No better than any other, but just one of them.
You may get paid a little more, but when the time comes, your job is to treat them all fair, take care of them as if they were your own children, and expect no more from them of that of which you expect from yourself.