Tuesday, September 24, 2013

ICBM Launched From California

A Minuteman 3 ICBM was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base,California on Sunday at 3am in a test flight.The routine test of accuracy and reliability successfully sent the missile,which contained an unarmed warhead equal in weight to a nuclear warhead,about 4200 miles to a designated target on Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.Another test of an ICBM is slated for Thursday.*
Kwajalein Atoll is a large,circular coral island with water in the center.It is the US Air Force's customary test range,and is known as the Ronald Reagan Missile Defense Test Site.There are several ICBM tests a year.The mission of the tests is to maintain a secure and effective nuclear deterrent,the Pentagon said.*
Vandenberg AFB is located near Lompoc on the Southern California coast,about 150 miles Northwest of Los Angeles.

F-22 Raptor Intercepted Iranian F-4,General Reveals

More details of a March 2013 encounter between US Air Force and Iranian jet fighters were recently provided by General Mark Welsh,Air Force Chief of Staff.Speaking at an Air Force Association conference September 17,General Welsh indicated an F-22 Raptor,currently the Air Force's most advanced tactical aircraft in service,approached an Iranian F-4 Phantom,a Vietnam era fighter,and,flying beneath it undetected,assessed its armament.The Iranian had been closing within 16 miles of a US MQ-1 Predator drone off the coast of Iran.Assessment completed,the F-22 pilot,Lt.Colonel Kevin "Showtime" Sutterfield,US Air Force Reserve,pulled alongside the Iranian's left wing and radioed a warning to the F-4 pilot,according to General Welsh.No shots were fired during the incident,which the Pentagon disclosed when it occurred in March,but did not then identify what type of US aircraft were involved in the successful intercept.*
During a March Pentagon briefing,spokesman George Little specified that two US aircraft participated.The Predator drone had been on a routine classified surveillance mission over international waters when the Iranians drew near to it,he said.This was seen as an unacceptable threat to the drone's force protection mission,so the US fighters responded.*
In November 2012,an Iranian fighter had actually fired on another US drone in the Persian Gulf area.Iran also threatened to close the strategically important Strait of Hormuz,the entrance to the Gulf through which much of the world's oil supply passes.This threat had reportedly caused the Air Force to base an F-22 squadron at Al Dhafra Air Base in the UAE in April 2012,which would explain where the F-22s in the March 2013 incident came from.*
The F-22 is known for its stealth and extreme agility.Some F-22 Raptor pilots have experienced blackouts for lack of oxygen,causing the Air Force to ground the planes on occasion.General Welsh expressed confidence that the problem would be solved.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Navy Secretary Leads Massacre Recovery

The horrific events of Monday at the Washington Navy Yard have brought Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus into the spotlight,an official the general public is not normally aware of.We are dealing with this as a Navy family,Mabus said Monday.We lost friends,family,co-workers.We're gonna marshal all the resources the US Navy and Government have to deal with this.
I meet with families.I write a handwritten letter to every family member.These people were patriots no less than those who go into combat.They died patriots.They died serving their country.We will mourn them in an appropriate manner.*
All of the twelve victims of Aaron Alexis' rampage were civilians,some with the Navy Department,others working for Navy contractors like Alexis himself.Two of the dead were US Naval Academy graduates who went on to serve more than 20 years in the Navy,then continued to work after military retirement in a civilian capacity at the Navy Yard.*
Mr.Mabus has been Navy Secretary since 2009.A surface warfare officer from 1970-72,serving on the cruiser USS Little Rock,he had been state auditor and then Governor of Mississippi from 1988-92.He was Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from 1994-96.In the wake of the Navy Yard tragedy,he has ordered a quick look at the physical security of Navy and Marine Corps installations,to be followed by a longer,in-depth review.
Mabus attended a brief wreath laying ceremony Tuesday morning with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and others at the Navy Memorial in Washington.The eight victims who were wounded are eligible for treatment at miltary hospitals,and grief counseling has been made available.*
The organisation many of the victims worked for,Navy Sea Systems Command,or NAVSEA,designs and builds Navy ships.The District of Columbia had eagerly sought the location of the NAVSEA building at the Navy Yard.
The Navy Yard is a gated compound that includes the Navy Museum and several other tenants.It is secured by US Marines and civilian guards,and has a mixed military-civilian workforce of about 3,000.*
Aaron Alexis,a former Navy Reserve Aviation Electrician's Mate 3rd Class,was authorised to enter the base and had a Secret clearance as a Navy IT contractor there.Although he had a long history of gun violations and anger management issues,he had no felony convictions and had only recently sought psychiatric treatment at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals,which do not share such information.
Alexis' father felt his son's troubles stemmed from the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder he acquired while helping to rescue victims of the 9-11 attack.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Whether a Military Strike is War

The House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the Syria crisis Tuesday,at which a number of miltary issues were hashed out.Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke about the Russian proposal that Syria surrender its chemical weapons to international control,saying that the proposal has to come rapidly.I would assume this is on a very fast track.*
A concern about the aftermath of military action was raised.There is always unpredictability anytime when a strike option is taken,Mr.Hagel said.There are a significant number of responsible individuals in the Syrian opposition.We have been vetting them through our partners that are in the opposition.The strikes and the options we have given the president have all factored in the uncertainty.
If we do nothing,Assad will continue to do what he's doing and worse.We have exhausted almost every diplomatic option in this effort.We believe,based on our intelligence and our partners in the area,if we carry forward,this will specifically deter and degrade.If Assad should accelerate and use chemical weapons again,my guess would be the president would come back to the Congress and ask for further authorization.*
General Martin Dempsey,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,said it's challenging to vet the rebels,but we have a methodology.*
A discussion arose as to whether even a limited strike amounts to war.In an article,General Dempsey wrote that "the use of force is no less than an act of war."To a soldier,when you put them in a conflict,it tends to be a war,he told the House Armed Services Committee.Secretary Hagel,a Vietnam veteran,agreed that's how it is.
Our ability to over-match regime forces and our forward presence leads us to believe we can handle retaliation,General Dempsey continued.*
Turkey,Saudi Arabia,Qatar and France would participate in military action in some way.President Obama's first priority has been and is diplomacy-all to date to no avail,Secretary of State John Kerry told the committee.Russia and China have vetoed all UN resolutions,and even press releases condemning the generic use of chemical weapons.General statements have been blocked.We're waiting for that Russian proposal,but we're not waiting for long.It cannot be simply a debating society in the UN.*
Mr.Kerry will meet Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva,Switzerland on Thursday to discuss the Russian proposal.Meanwhile,the president has ordered US forces in the region to remain on standby while the diplomatic process runs its course,ready to strike should it ultimately fail.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Russians Shadow US Navy Ships Near Syria

Russia has sent at least four ships to the Eastern Mediterranean to support its ally Syria.One of them is a spy ship that is monitoring events in the area,including the activities of US Navy ships.There are five US Navy destroyers in the area,each armed with about 40 Tomahawk cruise missiles,plus at least one attack submarine.On station in the Red Sea is the USS Nimitz(CVN 68)aircraft carrier and its strike group,which has four more destroyers and a guided missile cruiser.
The USS San Antonio(LPD 17),a transport dock ship with 300 US Marines and sophisticated communications capability,is in the area to serve as an afloat staging base for special operations forces,and can also assist with evacuations.On its way to the Red Sea is the USS Kearsarge(LHD 3),an amphibious assault ship that can carry more than 1900 Marines.
Each Tomahawk cruise missile has a 1,000 pound conventional warhead.They have a range of 700-900 nautical miles and a speed of about 550 mph.It is believed the Russian spy ship will be able to send the Syrians up to two hours of advance warning of a US Navy cruise missile attack,as the spy ship will detect preparations by the US destroyers long before they actually launch their cruise missiles.
According to General Martin Dempsey,US Army,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,there is some evidence the Russians have told Syria they will replace anything the US destroys during military action against the Assad regime.We have been asked to maintain a collateral damage estimate of "Low,"which means lower than a certain classified number.
Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,added that there are reports the Syrians are hiding things in a Russian naval base.
Raytheon manufactures the Tomahawk cruise missile.