Tuesday, March 25, 2014

US Pacific Command:Strategy and Assets

China is trying to change the balance of power in the Pacific,Admiral Samuel Locklear agreed,appearing before the Senate Armed Serrvices Committee on Tuesday.Their maritime strategy is pretty clear.It is an incremental strategy.They look at their strategy and the current situation in the South China Sea,and I believe they think they are on their strategy,said the admiral,who is Commander,US Pacific Command.
They watch very carefully the US;our alliances,the status of those alliances;our forces,the capability of our forces.I believe there is more defence spending than they report annually.I would agree that their actions have been provocative.*
The littoral combat ship has a shallow draft,has speed,has a small crew.It only meets a portion of what my requirements are.I'm still a supporter of the LCS and what it can do.If you talk about having a 320-325 ship navy,having 50-55 littoral combat ships makes sense;if you're talking about a smaller navy with budget constraints,the LCS doesn't make a lot of sense,and I can understand why it would be reduced.*
We are seeing a Chinese navy with a more global reach;more forward-deployed,longer deployments;out of area deployments by their submarines.As their economic interests grow,they need to protect those interests.Certainly they have a credible submarine force today.In the next decade or so,they'll have a modernised force of 50-60 submarines.That's a lot of submarines for a regional power.They also have sophisticated surface ships.Their missile technology is among the best in the world.*
We have had a good return of our Marines back to the Asia-Pacific.I have five Amphibious Ready Groups:four in San Diego;one in Sasebo,Japan.I have asked that additional amphibious lift be put into the Pacific.We wouldn't be able to do an opposed amphibious assault without it.*
My assessmet across the joint force is,we are where we need to be in detecting submarines.China's advances in nuclear technology will enable their acquiring a submarine-based nuclear deterrant by 2017.We still maintain a significant advantage in undersea warfare,and we need to maintain that.Submarines figure heavily into scenarios all the way from peace into contingency.They have a wide range of missions.These have been figured into the design of the future Virginia class attack submarine.*
I believe our industrial base is under pressure.We have to continually update that workforce.It has to be figured into the calculation of our national security strategy for the long term.*
Our first priority is to support General Scaparrotti in Korea and make sure Kim Jong Un is contained,then to support our alliances,maintain our parterships,maintain peace and stability.US military pressure has maintained the stability.We have a strategic partnership with Singapore-also partnerships with Malaysia,Indonesia and Brunei.
The Asia-Pacific has 50% of the world:17% of the land;83% of the water.Six out of ten people live on that 17%.Most of the global economy is generated there.We're a Pacific nation.Our economy is Pacific-centric.It's important that a peaceful,stable Pacific be maintained,according to Admiral Samuel J Locklear III of US Pacific Command.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

US Air Force Augments Baltic Presence

Over March 14-15,12 US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons plus a C-130 transport and about 200 support troops arrived at Lask Air Base near Lodz,Poland.The planes and personnel are with the 555th Fighter Squadron,31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base,Italy.They will be conducting an off-site exercise with the Polish air force to demonstrate US commitment to the NATO collective defence pact,Air Force News reported.
Lt.Col.John Peterson,Squadron Commander,said one of their objectives is to develop bonds so that if something happens,and we have to take action in a real world environment,you want to have trained together in advance.You want to develop those tactics,techniques and procedures before you're in a combat environment.Unless you figure out how to work together at a tactical level,from the Squadron Commander to the Junior Airman turning wrenches-you lose out on the opportunity to know each other's strengths and develop your weaknesses.
There is a permanent detachment of about 10 USAF personnel in Poland to act as a coordinating element for joint training between the US and its NATO ally Poland.Its aim is to remain ready to operate across the range of military operations with precise,full-spectrum capability.It was activated in November 2012 and makes it possible to host multiple allied air force elements,and serves as a regional hub for air training and multinational exercrises.
The current augmentation by the USAF with common assets-Poland has 48 of its own F-16 fighters-is seen as a milestone in the rotational deployment of US military resources in Poland since 2012.*
At the same time,another augmentation has occurred in the Baltic state of Lithuania with the deployment of six USAF F-15C Eagles and a KC-135 tanker,plus more than 60 airmen,from RAF Lakenheath,England to Siauliai Air Base at the request of the Baltic allies Lithuania,Latvia and Estonia.These countries lack their own air force and NATO sends aircraft to patrol their airspace on a rotational basis.The six F-15s are an augmentation of the current routine USAF deployment to Lithuania,which runs from January through April,when Poland will assume the patrols.
The Lithuanian defence ministry said the augmentation was in response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and its amplified miltary activity in the Kaliningrad
region,Baltic News Service reported.Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite told journalists in Brussels that Russia was trying to redraw the boundaries,so first it's Ukraine;Moldova will be next;and,finally,it can reach the Baltic states.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered live fire exercises in Kaliningrad without following the standard protocol of notifying the nearby Baltic states and Poland or inviting international observers,according to Polish General Marek Dukaczewski.Kaliningrad is a Russian enclave bordering Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.*
Another NATO ally,Turkey,which is across the Black Sea from Ukraine,has recently scrambled fighter jets to intercept Russian warplanes probing its air defences.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

US Forces Arriving in Eastern Europe

A constellation of US forces including the destroyer USS Truxtun(DDG 103),as well as US Air Force planes and troops,have begun arriving in Eastern Europe to conduct planned yet augmented exercises,as well as bolster NATO's presence in the face of the Russian invasion of Crimea,Ukraine.The Truxtun docked at Constanta,Romania on Saturday,March 8 prior to visiting the Bulgarian port of Varna.The US warship will be honing such interoperational skills as divisional tactics,passing and helicopter landings with the Romanian and Bulgarian navies.Black Sea exercises by the three NATO allies have been postponed by a day,however,because of poor weather in the western Black Sea.*
In 1988,two US Navy ships,the cruiser Yorktown and destroyer Caron,were slightly damaged when Russian warships sideswiped them in the Black Sea.The Russian navy is currently blockading Ukrainian navy warships in Crimea.*
Up to 30,000 Russian troops are in Crimea now.They have surrounded several Ukrainian military bases and demanded their surrender.As well,on Tuesday Russian troops seized the control tower of Crimea's main international airport,cancelling all flights except those to and from Russia.On Monday,Russian troops seized a Ukrainian missile base and military hospital.
The Ukrainian troops will not resist,acting Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov said,because Russia has massed tank divisions on Ukraine's eastern border,and would use resistance as an excuse to invade the Ukrainian mainland.*
Meanwhile,US Air Force assets began arriving in Lithuania last Thursday.Six F-15C Eagle fighters and a KC-135 tanker,along with more than 60 airmen from RAF Lakenheath,England have stepped up NATO's presence in the Baltic state,which is near Russia.NATO has also dispatched two AWACS reconnaisance aircraft to the area.*
The first of 12 US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons,two C-130s and more than 300 troops began arriving in Poland on Monday,the Polish Defence Ministry said.The rest will arrive later this week.There had already been an exercise planned before the Ukraine crisis,but not of this scope.
In April,three more C-130s and 100 airmen from Ramstein Air Base,Germany are scheduled to arrive for joint training with Polish forces,the US Air Force announced last week.

USS Truxtun (DDG 103) Arrives in Constanta, Romania

USS Truxtun (DDG 103) Arrives in Constanta, Romania

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Orion: Exploration Flight Test-1 Animation (with narration by Jay Estes)

NASA To Hold Asteroid Initiative Forum

NASA is moving its Asteroid Initiative forward by holding an Asteroid Intiative Opportunities Forum on March 26 at NASA Headquarters in Washington,DC.The Forum will gather industry,academia and interested individuals for an update on Asteroid Redirect Mission studies,and summarise how responses to NASA's 2013 Request For Information will benefit the program.*
The two-part Asteroid Intitiative consists,first,of the deep space Asteroid Redirect Mission,which will send a robotic spacecraft to capture a near-earth asteroid or remove a boulder from a larger asteroid,then redirect the object to a stable lunar orbit for rendevous with a manned Orion spacecraft.At that point,Orion astronauts will remove samples from the captured object and carry them back to earth for study.It may be the farthest from earth that humans have ever ventured,and will in any case be an interim step to a Mars mission.*
The March 26 Forum will seek ideas for alternate capture system concepts;rendevous sensor systems;secondary payloads;feasibility studies on adapting commercial spacecraft buses for the mission;and commercial and international partnership opportunities for the mission.*
The second part of the Asteroid Initiative is The Grand Asteroid Challenge,which seeks the best ideas for finding all asteroids that threaten humanity,and accelerating NASA'a existing work on planetary defence.*
The Orion spacecraft is scheduled to undergo its first unmanned flight test,Exploration Flight Test-1,in September 2014.It will be launched on a Delta IV Heavy rocket.The Orion and its service module will reach a distance ten times farther than low-earth orbit.The Orion will then jettison the SM and return to earth,spalshing down in the ocean and being retrieved by a US Navy ship with a well deck.The test will evaluate Orion's heat shield and parachute systems,as well as capsule recovery procedures,in preparation for manned missions atop the new Space Launch System deep space rocket.Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft.*
Lockheed Martin(LMT)