Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Nature Note:Red-tailed Hawk

The chunky sentinel of North American roadsides,the red-tailed hawk(buteo jamaicensis),is one of the most common birds of prey on the continent.Tolerant of human activity,this hawk is often noted by motorists as they rush to and fro.
The red-tailed hawk has a rust-colored tail and a white breast with central dark band.It hunts for small mammals up to the size of rabbits either soaring or perched on a tree or telephone pole or wire.Its high-pitched scream is often included in film sound tracks to suggest the wild.
The red-tailed hawk will also feed on roadkill along byways.It breeds as far north as British Columbia and Nova Scotia,and lives year-round down into Mexico.A famous pair of red-taileds has been breeding in New York's Central Park.
They are so widespread,they may serve as an introduction to the raptors for children and adults alike.If you see a hawk while driving ,there's a good chance it is a red-tailed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Boeing Delivers P-8A Poseidon Aircraft To US Navy

On November 2,Boeing delivered the fifth P-8A Poseidon aircraft  to the US Navy.The plane is part of an initial low-rate production order of 24 of the ultra-sophisticated maritime intelligence,surveillance and reconaissance planes,which also have anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capability.
It was the final P-8A delivery of 2012;there will be 12 deliveries in 2013,including some P-8I planes to India.Initial operational capability for this P-3C Orion replacement will be reached in 2013.Until then,the Navy is testing the new jet,which is based on the Boeing 737 commercial airliner,at Naval Air Station Jacksonville,Florida.
The sixth P-8A will be delivered to the Navy in early 2013.The Navy plans to purchase a total of 117 of the planes,and Australia has expressed interest in acquiring some as well.Equipped with advanced radar and infrared sensors,the P8-A has a range of 1200 nautical miles radius with 4 hours onstation.It is armed with torpedoes and cruise missiles.
The Poseidon has a ceiling of 41,000 feet.It can fly at up to 490 knots true air speed.

Boeing: News - Media Center - Image Gallery

Boeing: News - Media Center - Image Gallery

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Maine Shipyards Critical To National Security

Maine's Bath Iron Works,with its massive blue cranes,is a bulwark of national security.It is a full service shipyard specialising in the design,building and support of complex US Navy surface combatants.BIW,a part of  leading defence contractor General Dynamics,is currently building the Arleigh Burke and Zumwalt classes of destroyers.
Since 1884,BIW has built tough ships at the right price,the shipyard says.Its slogan is "Bath-built is best built."It has built US Navy ships since 1893,according to Senator Susan Collins(R-Maine),a strong supporter of the facility and winner of the Navy League's Annual Congressional Sea Services Award for 2012.BIW is truly a national asset,the senator said at her award ceremony on Capitol Hill,and the workers there are truly the world's leading builders of surface combatants.
Navy Undersecretary Robert O. Work said that,during Collins' fifteen years in office,BIW has either built or is building a total of 31 ships,which is literally over 10% of the total number of ships that we expect to have in the fleet.That's quite an accomplishment.
She has also been an ardent advocate for Maine's Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and its employees,which ensures our submarine force remains strong and on station,24/7,365 days a year.The Navy-Marine Corps team,the entire national fleet,the shipbuilding industry,is stronger because you have been here for the last fifteen years.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is in Kittery,Maine and repairs and overhauls the Navy's nuclear submarine fleet.It is one of four public shipyards in the United States.
Collins stated that every day I think of those men and women who are serving our country on the front lines,and that's why I have always been so committed to making sure that the men and women who serve have all they need from us.We owe them that much.
Bath Iron Works notes that it employs a number of military reservists from all the service branches.It's a tradition at the shipyard.
General Dynamics(GD)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

US Coast Guard CPO Killed By Drug Smugglers

In the early hours of December 2 near Santa Cruz Island,California,US Coast Guard BMC Terrell Horne III,34,was killed by two drug smugglers,and his shipmate was injured.Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Horne,the equivalent of a Navy Chief Petty Officer,was second in command of patrol boat Halibut(WPB 87340).He was sent from the Halibut in a small rigid-hull inflatable boat to investigate a panga-style vessel,commonly used in the drug trade,that had been spotted by a patrol plane.The suspicious vessel was operating with no lights on in the dark.
As BMC Horne and his colleague approached,the smugglers gunned their engine and rammed the Coast Guard boat,knocking Horne and his shipmate into the water before they fled the scene.The Coast Guardsmen were rescued,but Horne had sustained a severe head injury.He was pronounced dead at the Port Hueneme pier at 2:21 am.His colleague was treated for minor injuries and released.
The two smugglers were later located and apprehended by a helicopter and 45-foot boat.They were charged with BMC Horne's murder.Horne leaves his pregnant wife and a young child,his Redondo Beach neighbors said.
The Halibut is an 87-foot Marine Protector class patrol boat with a crew of 10.It is armed with two .50-caliber machine guns.
BMC Horne was praised for his sacrifice by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in a statement.The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security.