Wednesday, October 29, 2014

End of an Era: Marines Depart Camp Leatherneck for Last Time

Pakistani army confident after North Waziristan offensive

US Marines Leave Afghanistan;Pakistanis Battle Militants

The US Marines have completed their mission in Afghanistan,withdrawing from Camp Leatherneck along with their British allies.Their numbers have declined from 20,000 Marines in Southwest Afghanistan to zero today.In 2009,the Marines were sent into Helmand Province to assist the British.More than 350 Marines died in Helmand alone.Now the Afghans are bearing the brunt of the fatalities.The Marines lowered the American flag and departed in C-130 Hercules transports and helicopters.They had turned over the watchtowers and perimeter patrols to Afghans just before their departure.
By the end of the year,only about 10,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan to provide advice and assistance for at least the next two years.*
Meanwhile,the Pakistani miltary is waging its own war on the Taliban militants in Northwest Waziristan,which borders Afghanistan.They have killed more than 1100 militants,laying waste camps and hideouts.Alarmingly,some of the Taliban are switching allegiance to the more ruthless Islamic State,which has been recruiting Pakistanis online and scrawling graffiti in Pakistan.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Navy's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Passes Test

The US Navy's new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye reconnaissance plane has passed its initial operational test and evaluation,and has entered the training phase.The aircraft is to be deployed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt(CVN 71) aircraft carrier next year.It builds upon an earlier version,the Cold War era E-2C.The new version upgrades target detection and tracking with extended range electronically-scanned radar.It also has better detection over land and the littorals,or shallow waters.*
Radar planes can see much farther out than ship-based radar.This allows the warfighter to minimise threats and hone battle plans.The E-2D's upgraded real time,on-scene capability improves early warning,command and control areas of strike,maritime awareness,border and coastal protection,air traffic control,search and rescue coordination and humanitarian assistance.*
Contractor Northrop Grumman says that,with a two-generational leap in radar sensor capability,the Advanced Hawkeye will deliver critical,actionable data to joint forces and first responders.These advances provide warfighters with the necessary situational awareness to compress the time between initial awareness and active engagement.*
The E-2D is crewed by two pilots and three naval flight officers.*
Northrop Grumman(NOC)

Northrop Grumman - E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Carrier Suitability Tests [480p]

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Air War Heats Up As Syrian Front Concerns-top line warplanes used

Turkey has authorised the use of military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.It has also given permission for other countries to use its bases,such as Incerlik Air Base,in the conflict.
Several US and Arab ally airstrikes have been carried out in the Kobani area of Northern Syria in recent weeks as US allies the Kurdish ground forces attempt to save the strategically important city from Islamic State militants.The IS is trying to stretch its control over a swath of territory more than 100 kilometers-or 62 miles-from its headquarters in Raqqa,Syria to Kobani near the Turkish border.The airstrikes destroyed two IS fighting positions south of Kobani Tuesday.Also,witnesses observed two large plumes of smoke just west of Kobani after hearing the sounds of military aircraft.Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been participating in these Syria airstrikes.
One of the targets struck was an IS staging area/IED factory.
Despite the increased tempo of the air war against them,the militants have succeeded in capturing several villages near the city and making various incursions into it,raising their black and white flag.The IS has seized several buildings on the southern edge of town,as well as a hospital being built on the western side.Kurdish forces were still flying their flag over the center of town as of Tuesday,but are outnumbered and outgunned.*
Over the weekend,US Army Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships were brought into the air war for the first time to engage the enemy west of Baghdad,a sign of the deteriorating situation in Anbar Province.The targets there,as well as many of them in Kobani,are too close to Kurdish forces or the Turkish border to use fighter aircraft
On 22 September,the US Air Force sent its front line Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters into combat for the first time ever.The Raptor,a stealth aircraft with internalised weapons bays,were used to strike IS targets in Syria.It was deemed appropriate to send them because of uncertainty about whether Syria might switch on its advanced air defences as the US conducted its first raids over Syria.In the event,Syria did not respond.
The Raptors were sent in the second wave of attacks.Stationed in the Middle East,the fifth generation warplanes can fly very high and fast-more than Mach 1.5-in all weather.The US Air Force has 188 of these agile strike aircraft.*
Also recently brought into the air war over Iraq were the RAF Panavia Tornado fighters.These swept wing aircraft are considered to be among the best high speed/low level attack planes in the world.They flew in from RAF Akrotiri,Cyprus.*
Lockheed Martin(LMT),Boeing(BA)

RAF Tornado jet fighter and bomber,which responded to recent beheadings.

They're back: US uses Apache helicopters against ISIS in Iraq

Apache Helicopter Shreds Snipers in Iraq

Kurdish forces fight back against ISIS strongholds

F-22 Raptor In Action!! ((U.S AIR FORCE))

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca Piedra Herrada-Monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico.

Nature Note:Monarch Butterflies More Numerous

I have already seen more monarch butterflies in the Mid-Atlantic region this autumn than last autumn:two,as opposed to one.The first of the iconic orange and black migrating monarch butterflies,many of them traveling from as far north as Canada,have been seen early this year at their winter haven in Mexico,said Dr.Orly "Chip" Taylor of the University of Kansas,founder and director of the Monarch Watch project.Conditions in spring and summer have been favourable this year.There are as many as two to four times last year's number at the overwintering sites south of the border.That's still below historical numbers,but shows the species is resilient and can recover if given more habitat.*
Favourable conditions for the monarch include higher temperatures and better planting conditions on the breeding grounds.Conditions in these northern breeding areas allowed the population to increase.Milkweed is the host plant for monarch larvae and pupae.We've lost 167 million acres of milkweed habitat over the past 10-15 years.Herbicide-tolerant crops allowing more spraying of harmful chemicals,and the ethanol mandate for gasoline encouraging the conversion of habitat into cornfields,are the causes of this loss.*
I wouldn't say this year's numbers are a fluke,Dr.Taylor continued.The population has come back in more normal conditions.I suspect we only have enough habitat to support three to four hectares of monarchs at the wintering sites.We need to restore a lot of habitat for both bees and monarchs,the insect expert urged.