Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nature Note:Daisy Fleabane

Beside a driveway,a tall white daisy plant is growing this summer.It is daisy fleabane,a native wildflower once believed to have anti-flea properties.The small flowers on this tall plant close at night.When they open in the morning,small native insects visit them.We used to call them sweat bees-tiny pollinating bees or flies of various types.Growing along roads and in fields and lots of the Northeast and North Central regions,and down through the Southern Appalachians,daisy fleabane blooms from May to October.It lends a striking elegance to the scene,such that you don't want to mow it.It's best to leave this native plant alone if you can possibly spare it a bit of space.It contributes to the landscape as an ecological member,as well as having aesthetic value.The little native pollinators rely on its nectar.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Air Defense Briefing:1st Air Force Facts

CONR-1AF(AFNORTH),or 1st Air Force,is the NORAD Continental U.S. Region command and the designated air component command for U.S. Northern Command,providing air defense in the form of airspace surveillance and airspace control.It is responsible for the land areas of the continental U.S.,Puerto Rico and surrounding seas out to approximately 500 nautical miles.It also responds to natural disasters and coordinates search and rescue throughout the lower 48 states,Mexico and Canada.The command emblem features both a bald eagle and a maple leaf.
Nearly 2300 active duty U.S. Air Force,Air National Guard,Air Force Reservists,civilians and contractors support the missions of CONR-1AF(AFNORTH),operating more than 180 aircraft,including F-15s,F-16s and F-22s.The command is based at Tyndall Air Force Base,Florida.It is divided into two air defense sectors:EADS in Rome,New York;and WADS in McChord AFB,Washington state.
1st Air Force works closely with Canadian Forces.Canadian personnel serve at HQ in Tyndall AFB,Florida,as well as at the two regional air defense sectors in New York and Washington states.By the same token,U.S. personnel serve at 1AF Detachment 1,Winnipeg,Manitoba;and at 722nd Air Defense Squadron,North Bay,Ontario in Canada.
The personnel of 1st Air Force include many veterans of Kosovo,Iraq and Afghanistan.Most of them are Air National Guard members,proudly and ably executing all phases of Operation Noble Eagle,the air sovereignty mission of NORAD Continental U.S. Region.
NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense Command,a binational U.S.-Canadian military organisation that secures the continental airspace.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Special Report:NORAD Announces Test Flights Over DC Area

NORAD,the North American Aerospace Defense Command,has alerted the public that it will conduct a series of test flights over the Washington,DC area between 11pm and 5:30am on Monday and Tuesday nights,June 18-20.The exercises will be coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration and other authorities.F-16 Fighting Falcon interceptors,as well as a U.S. Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter and civilian aircraft,will be participating in the drill.According to NORAD,the flights are a test of interception and identification operations,as well as a certification process for new command and control personnel.Since the 9-11 attacks,NORAD has been routinely patrolling the skies over New York,Washington and other big U.S. cities,as well as over Camp David,the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountain Park.The U.S. Coast Guard contributes heavily armed helicopters to Washington,DC's security.NORAD is the binational U.S.-Canadian military organisation that ensures the sovereignty of the continental airspace.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Shop Talk:New Navy Reconnaissance Drone Rolled Out

Dear Readers,I would just like to point out to you that I have published a link to a fine Aviation Week article by Guy Norris,and its accompanying photo,below this post.It concerns the delivery of the U.S. Navy's new unmanned Broad Area Maritime Surveillance aircraft,or BAMS.The MQ-4C Triton is a critical technological update,so I know my inquisitive readership will want to be informed about it.Northrop Grumman built this futuristic-looking and ultra-sophisticated reconnaissance system at its Palmdale,California skunk works.This is part of my effort to keep you abreast of developments in national security affairs-even outside this blog's normal publication regimen.As always,your loyal support in all its forms is greatly appreciated.Sincerely,Andrew Taylor.Northrop Grumman(NOC)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Canadian Coast Guard To Receive New Icebreaker

Canada has awarded a design contract for a new polar icebreaker to STX Canada Marine.The vessel is slated to replace the current flagship icebreaker Canadian Coast Guard Ship Louis S. St.-Laurent in 2017.The Canadian Coast Guard operates a number of other light to heavy icebreakers.The new ship will be 140 meters long-or 454.3 feet-and displace 23,000 tonnes.It will be capable of breaking ice about 2.4 meters/8 feet thick.This John G. Diefenbaker class ship will carry out a wide range of Arctic and winter missions for Fisheries and Oceans Canada,the Canadian Coast Guard's parent ministry.These will include everything from scientific research to fisheries and sovereignty enforcement and search and rescue.In the meantime,CGCS Louis S. St.-Laurent will continue to carry out such missions.Since 2008,she has been conducting Arctic research annually with U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy(WAGB-20),America's only functional polar icebreaker at this time.The Canada-U.S. Joint Expedition program has been an effort to ascertain the delineation of the extended continental shelf in the Arctic.This is important for the protection,management and use of ocean resources under the Convention on the Law of the Sea,which requires a defintion of rights in concrete geographical terms.The research involves gathering bathymetric data for a 3D map of the ocean floor,as well as seismic reflection data for a cross-section view of beneath the ocean floor.Another American polar icebreaker,USCGC Polar Star(WAGB-10),is currently being reactivated for return to service in 2013.This blog would like to extend hearty congratulations to the Canadian Coast Guard on the occasion of its 50th anniversary year.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Combat Air Patrol Observed Near Camp David

When the president is in residence at the Camp David retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains,the normal restricted airspace over the camp is extended outward from 3 nautical miles,or 6.5 miles,to 10 nautical miles,or about 22 miles in diameter.As the president is at Camp David this weekend,I know that combat air patrols by NORAD military aircraft may be visible.Still,they are more often heard than seen as they carry out their part in Operation Noble Eagle,as the post 9-11 airspace protection mission is known.I indeed hear them as I walk near the Mason-Dixon line,the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania which lies beneath the expanded restricted airspace.The jet engine noise of a sudden becomes very loud.I pause and,looking up,regard the swift low passage of an F-15 Eagle,painted olive drab or gray,hurtling north toward the edge of the security perimeter with jaw-dropping speed.This is better than an air show;it is the real deal,a combat air patrol protecting the President of the United States and his family and guests,as well as their neighbors in Northern Maryland and South Central Pennsylvania.The F-15 banks to the left and the right before vanishing over the horizon.There may be another,unseen fighter aloft at a greater altitude also participating in the patrol.Suffice it to say,the Air National Guard F-15 had made my walk one of the safest in the world on that sunny morning. NORAD,the North American Aerospace Defense Command,is the binational U.S.-Canadian organization that monitors and defends the continent's sovereign airspace.