Wednesday, November 27, 2013

B-52H:The Plane That Challenged China

The US Air Force sent two B-52H Stratofortress bombers through China's newly declared Air Defence Identification Zone over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Monday.China,Japan and Taiwan lay claim to the islands.The previously scheduled training mission went off without incident,despite the American refusal to heed Chinese requirements to file a flight plan;radio frequencies;and transponder information-or face emergency military measures.There was no communication with China during the flight.
The B-52s are part of the 20th Bomber Squadron and flew out of Andersen Air Force Base,Guam.They were deployed there in August from Barksdale AFB,Louisiana in accordance with the new US defence strategy of rebalancing forces to the Pacific.The Air Force has 76 of the venerable bombers,which were built in 1962.They can fly at a speed of up to 650 mph(Mach 0.84) at an altitude of up to 50,000 ft/15,151.5 m.They have a crew of 5,and can fly 8800 miles/7652 nautical miles unrefueled.
Armed with precision-guided bombs and air-launched cruise missiles,it flies both high altitude strategic bombing,interdiction and close air support missions.It can assist the US Navy,as it is highly effective at ocean surveillance,as well as minelaying and anti-ship operations.In 2 hours,2 B-52s can monitor 140,000 sq mi/364,000 sq km of ocean.The planes can serve till 2040,the latest engineering studies show.
The bombers,which are under Global Strike Command,have been receiving a B-52 Software Block(BSB) upgrade this autumn.This will allow them to fully utilise new equipment and advanced weapons as they are introduced.As well,existing systems can be improved and enhanced by the upgrade.Such items as the Offensive Avionics System;GPS;GPS Interface Unit;and Advanced Targeting Pod computer can be enhanced by the upgrade.
New lines of code are created to access new weapon or equipment capabilities such as the new ability to attack fast moving ground targets with smart weapons,Global Strike Command program analyst Nathan Dawn said.The upgrade can also correct software errors and patch deficiencies not found during development and testing.When errors are found in new and complex software,they are documented and prioritised for repair in the next upgrade cycle.
Boeing was the original manufacturer of the B-52H.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Billionaire Ted Turner Receives Lone Sailor Award

Cable TV pioneer Ted Turner was one of three honorees at the US Navy Memorial's Lone Sailor Awards Dinner on September 18 at the National Building Museum in Washington,DC.The award is given to Sea Service veterans who have excelled in civilian life,while exemplifying the Navy's core values of honour,courage and commitment.Mr.Turner,75,said he served in the US Coast Guard 50 years ago.My time in the Coast Guard was life-changing,the media magnate said.It provided me with structure and discipline,which no doubt played a key role in my future success as a businessman and philanthropist.*
Turner told The Washington Post he was assigned to Charleston and Fort Lauderdale,then served in the Coast Guard Reserve for eight years.He had been suspended from Brown University for discipline infractions,and joined the Coast Guard to avoid the draft and because he liked boats,having begun sailing at age nine.
Turner founded Cable News Network,the first 24 hour news channel,as well as Turner Network Television,the first satellite channel,and Headline News Network.He also owns 15 bison ranches,making him one of the largest industrial landowners in the United States.*
Also receiving the award were General P.X. Kelley,former Commandant of the US Marine Corps and businessman,and Dan Akerson,Chairman and CEO of General Motors,a US Navy veteran.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas received the Naval Heritage Award for her staunch support of the Sea Services.Sponsors of the awards included Lockheed Martin;General Motors;Northrop Grumman;USAA;Kratos;and Raytheon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

President Ford's Daughter Christens Aircraft Carrier

The Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R Ford,first of a new class of nuclear aircraft carrier,was christened on Saturday,November 9 at Huntington Ingalls Industries' shipyard in Newport News,Virginia.The late President Gerald R Ford's daughter and Ship's Sponsor,Susan Ford Bales,broke a bottle of champagne on the bow of the ship and named it in honour of her father,the nation's 38th president and a US Navy veteran of World War II.Mr.Ford was aware of plans for the carrier at the time of his death in December,2006 at age 93,and expressed both pride and humility that it would be named for him.
The new warship is expected to enter service in 2016.It will be followed by PCU John F Kennedy,already under construction.Carriers are intended to serve for 50 years.The Ford class features a new and repositioned island,or control tower,;a redesigned and more efficient flight deck;and three flight deck elevators instead of four.These improvements will allow a 25% increase in sorties,or missions.
The new class also has two advanced nuclear reactors and 250% more electrical capacity,as well as dual-band radar and electronic catapults for launching aircraft.The cumulative effect of the latest engineering will save the Navy a projected 4 billion dollars over the carrier's lifespan,according to Newport News Shipbuilding,the HII unit that designs and builds the Ford class.The number of valves has been reduced by over a third,for example.The greater electrical capacity ensures the ship can handle new weapons systems that come along over the next several decades.
Gerald R Ford was president from 1974-77,following his 9 months as Richard Nixon's Vice President and a long career in the House of Representatives from 1949-73,where he became known for his integrity and bipartisanship.A football player during his student days at the University of Michigan,Mr.Ford was a gunnery and training officer in the Navy from 1942-46,seeing extensive action in the Pacific theatre aboard the light carrier USS Monterey(CVL 26) and rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.He was decorated with the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 9 Battle Stars;the Phillipine Liberation Medal with 2 Bronze Stars;the American Campaign and World War II Victory Medals.After the war,he was a member of the American Legion;AMVETS;and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Susan Ford Bales,born in 1957,is the youngest of Mr.Ford's 4 children and has been deeply involved in preserving her father's legacy as a Trustee of the Gerald R Ford Presidential Foundation.As Ship's Sponsor,she participates in all the ship's milestone events.
Huntington Ingalls Industries(HII)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Marines Conduct Interdiction Op in Helmand

On Thursday 31 October,about 15 US Marines from First Battalion,9th Marine Regiment conducted an interdiction operation in Helmand Province,Afghanistan and sent back photos to document some of the mission.They departed Camp Bastion in a CH53E Super Stallion helicopter.Before they left on the daylight mission,however,they and their military working dog practiced entering and exiting the chopper,supervised by a corporal.
British and Afghan forces have jointly conducted a similar interdiction operation-also with a military working dog-and recorded it in a YouTube video.
Even while on the ground before they left,the Marines were guarded by an aerial observer with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 82,who manned a .50 caliber machine gun in the open tail of the chopper.Security is a passion in Afghanistan.A tail gunner was posted during the flight as well.
These helicopters typically churn up a lot of dust when they land on the barren Afghan terrain.There's an element of chaos in the situation.
An interdiction operation is intended to delay,disrupt or destroy any enemy forces or supplies en route to a battleground.
At 10pm on 14 September,2012,Camp Bastion was infiltrated by 15 Taliban militants who slipped through a hole in a perimeter fence,killing two Marines and wounding nine others.Six irreplacable AV-8B Harrier jump jets were also blown up.These critical aircraft are no longer in production,so lasting damage was done to the Marine Corps by the incursion.
Security sweeps through the area are more crucial than ever in light of the devastating nighttime militant raid.
Two Marine Corps generals were recently forced to retire because of their failure to properly secure the base.