Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pacific Bond 13:Pacific Allies Exercise

The US Navy is currently on exercise with two allies,Japan and Australia.On 23 June near the Marianas Islands,an anti-submarine warfare exercise was conducted by warships of the three partners.It was a building block toward  seamless iintegration to promote security and prosperity in the Western Pacific,according to Lt.j.g. Joshua Foote,Assistant Plans Officer Destroyer Squadron 15.It improves individual tactical proficiency,as well as increases understanding of how each of us achieves success in difficult tactical situations through the particular skills each of us brings to the table,Lt.Foote said.
Such exercises advance participants' military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.
The three allies integrated their skills to detect,track and defeat an adversary submarine in a variety of scenarios over the course of two days.They also developed proficiency in other aspects of warfighting,such as air defense and surface warfare.
Those paricipating include guided missile destroyers USS Preble(DDG 88) and USS Chung Hoon(DDG 93);members of forward deployed Destroyer Squadron(DESRON) 15;a PC-3 Orion aircraft;Royal Australian Navy guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney's(FFG 03);and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ship JS Murasame(DD 101).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Astronaut Class Selected-could go to deep space

NASA has selected eight candidates for the new class of astronaut trainees.Chosen from a pool of more than 6100 applicants,the second largest pool in history,they will begin training at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston in August.
Most of the candidates are currently serving in the US military;another was formerly in the service.NASA said they will receive a wide array of technical training at space centers worldwide,preparing them for an array of missions from low-Earth orbit,to an asteroid and Mars.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said the candidates applied because they know we're doing big,bold things here-developing missions to go further into space than ever before.They're ready to help lead the first human mission to an asteroid and then on to Mars.
Candidates from the sea services include Lt.Commander Victor J.Glover,US Navy,37;Major Nicole Aunapu Mann,US Marine Corps,35;and Josh A.Cassada,PhD,39,a physicist and former naval aviator.
There are also two US Army officers and a US Air Force officer.Four of the eight candidates are women.
Exploration Flight Test-1,an unmanned test flight of the new Orion spacecraft,which will carry astronauts to deep space destinations,is slated for 2014 on the Delta IV heavy rocket.This will be followed by another unmanned test flight in 2017 on the new deep space rocket,the Space Launch System.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for Orion and EFT-1.
Lockheed Martin(LMT).

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nature Note:Helping a Snapping Turtle

A juvenile snapping turtle(Chelydra serpentina) was crossing the Maryland roadway,so with some degree of caution I lended a hand to the native predator.Many would have just left it alone,either through fear,disdain or both.
It's not a friendly or handsome turtle.It's definitely reptilian,prehistoric looking.Yet it was headed for nowhere,into a fenced yard,so I gingerly carried it a tenth of a mile to a nearby stream.
A mature snapping turtle can deliver a serious bite if handled,but in the end,this little fellow was totally docile.Indeed,it was placid,while an eastern box turtle I had also transported was quite resistant to being carried,struggling with its legs to get free.
This juvenile snapper was about 15cm/6in long,not counting its long tail,and was all black in colour.The carapace,or upper shell, had an interesting,sculpted quality,with keels and serrations.
Why help such a disagreeable character?Because it belongs here,in this northern piedmont ecoregion.It plays a role in the environment,feeding on invertebrates,aquatic plants,birds and small mammals.It may not be appealing as an individual,but it is integral to the whole.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Assuring the Future:Navy Awards Destroyer Contracts

Two US shipbuilders are celebrating this week,as the US Navy awarded them a total of 6.1 billion dollars in contracts for the design and construction of nine Arleigh Burke class destroyers,with the option for a tenth pending congressional approval.The multi-year buy extends through 2017.Such deals are conducive to cost savings by allowing the shipyards to operate more efficiently.
Huntington Ingalls Industries and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works will reap 3.3 and 2.8 billion dollars,respectively, for an advanced version of the DDG 51 destroyer,which is really the heart of the surface combatant fleet.These multi-mission ships are equipped for anti-submarine;anti-air;and anti-surface warfare,a Navy spokesman said.
From the second ship on,they will feature the new Air and Missile Defense Radar(AMDR),plus more electrical power and cooling capacity for next generation AMD and joint battlespace awareness.The acquisition helps assure the ability to carry out the Air-Sea Battle Concept and new Pacific-centric national security strategy.
What is more,the Navy plans to add up to 8600 Sailors to its end strength-the only service to increase its ranks.They will be trained for maintenance;cyber;nuclear;electronic attack aircraft;and littoral combat ship specialties.The Navy is growing slowly over time,said Rear Admiral Joe Mulloy,Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget.
Huntington Ingalls Industries(HII),General Dynamics(GD)