Tuesday, December 30, 2014

DoD News Now: 0900 December 29, 2014

NATO Allied Land Command Soldiers Prepare For Operation Resolute!

Artillery in Afghanistan! U.S. Army Soldiers Fire New Excalibur Round!

Afghanistan:US Counterterrorism Combat Will Continue;Air Strike in Somalia

On Sunday,28 December,Operation Enduring Freedom ended after 13 years of the Afghan War that cost the lives of more than 2,000 US troops.Some 10,800 US troops will remain until America's allies up their contribution;then 9800 US troops will provide the bulk of NATO's Operation Resolute Support,which will have an end strength of 13,500.The US will share an advise,assist and training mission with its NATO allies;but will handle counterterrorism combat operations on its own under the name Operation Freedom's Sentinel.
US troops will continue to engage in combat with al Qaida militants in Afghanistan still posing a national security risk to the United States.Outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a statement that we will work with our allies and partners as part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission to continue training,advising and assisting Afghan security forces.And we will continue our counterterrorism mission against the remnants of al Qaida to ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to stage attacks against our homeland.
General John Campbell,US Army,is commander of both NATO's Operation Resolute Support and America's Operation Freedom's Sentinel.The Afghan National Security Forces number more than 350,000 troops and police,and have shown themselves to be fairly competent in combat and security operations after extensive training,though deficient in logistics and airpower against a Taliban and al Qaida enemy that remain determined and dangerous to the fledgling Afghan democracy.*
Meanwhile,the US continues to combat Islamist militants in Somalia as well.Today it conducted an airstrike on a leader of the al-Shabab organization near Saakow,Somalia.The militant's identity was not revealed;nor had the effectiveness of the strike been ascertained;it was still being assessed.Al-Shabab is an al Qaida affiliate.
Update:On Wednesday 31 December,the Pentagon stated that the Somali Islamist militant leader targeted in Monday's airstrike had been killed when his vehicle was struck by several Hellfire missiles fired by a drone.The strike had been triggered by actionable intelligence.The leader killed was Tahliil Abdishakur,chief of al-Shabab's intelligence section.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Australian, US Marines MOUT Exercise Ssang Yong 14 in South Korea

DMZ weird moment North Korean DPRK soldiers picture

RDML Richard P. Breckenridge talks about the Ohio Class Submarine Replac...

Progress Made on New Ballistic Missile Submarine;President Signs Defense Spending Bill

Congress has established a separate account for the Ohio-class Replacement Program.The account will contain funds for the US Navy's new Trident missile submarine that will replace the Ohio-class boats,which are under US Strategic Command as part of the nation's nuclear deterrent triad,along with land-based strategic bombers and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.The purpose of having a separate account is to take the pressure off the Navy's regular shipbuilding account,which must fund ongoing programs such as destroyers,littoral combat ships,aircraft carriers and attack submarines.This will allow the Navy to achieve its goal of a 300-ship combat force;it has 280 ships today.
The ORP account will include a transfer of excess Pentagon funds totaling 3.5 billion,plus a 1.3 billion appropriation from the 2015 Defense Spending Bill that President Obama just signed into law last Friday.The bill also forbids the retirement of the A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft;forbids the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility;permits the awarding of Purple Heart medals to survivors of the November 2009 Fort Hood,Texas massacre by Army psychiatrist Nidal Hassan,who killed 13 and wounded more than 30 in support of Islamist militants;provides core Pentagon funding of 521.3 billion and 63.7 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan;plus funds for the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels and 5 billion for Iraqi security forces.*
The 12 ORP submarines will be procured from 2021-2035 at a Congressional Budget Office estimate of 7.7 billion per boat.The entire project will run about 70 billion dollars,according to the Navy estimate of 5 billion per submarine,which is lower than the CBO's.By the CBO's reckoning,the whole program would cost 92.4 billion.The submarines are intended to have a lifespan of 42 years-the same as the Ohio-class.The submarines will be the largest in the Navy's history at 560 feet long.They will be armed with 16 of the same Trident D-5 missiles the Ohio-class uses,fired from 45-foot tubes.A common missile compartment will be shared with the United Kingdom for its four new Trident D-5 submarines,each with 12 firing tubes.
The ORP submarines will enter service in 2031 and serve through 2085,carrying about 70% of the US strategic nuclear warhead arsenal in a stealthy,survivable manner.General Dynamic's Electric Boat division is currently working on their early engineering,design and prototyping at its Groton,Connecticut and Quonset Point,Rhode Island facilities.*
The ORP submarine will feature a quieter,direct propulsion drive system;advanced sound-absorbing coating;advanced sensing technologies;and the same communications system,antennae and mast as the current Virginia-class attack submarine.*
General Dynamics(GD)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Orion Explore and Beyond-official NASA video

America's Rocket - Space Launch System Animation (2014)

Orion Program's SLS Rocket Already Being Fabricated;Engine Test Soon

Some components of the Orion Program's new Space Launch System rocket are already being fabricated by a giant tool at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility,New Orleans.Parts of the rocket's engine section and the Core Stage are being welded by the Vertical Weld Center,a massive tool that is three stories high and weighs 150 tons.The barrel that holds the rocket's four RS-25 main engines was completed in November.The VWC will also weld barrel panels together to produce whole barrels for the SLS Core Stage's two pressurised tanks,intertank and forward skirt.*
The SLS will include components that were also part of the Space Shuttle system's hardware.For example,the RS-25 engine was also the Space Shuttle's main engine,and the SLS will utilise the same two solid rocket boosters that the Space Shuttle used as well.An engine firing test was planned to occur before year's end at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County,Mississippi.An RS-25 engine was placed on the A-1 Test Stand at the Center in November,awaiting final preparation and activation work.*
The Boeing SLS Core Stage contains the rocket's cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellant for the main engines.The Core Stage will tower more than 200 feet high and have a diameter of 27.5 feet.*
A new engine controller is being produced for the RS-25 engines.The controller regulates valves that direct the flow of propellant to the engines,which determines the amount of thrust generated during an engine test.Propellant flow and engine thrust determine a spacecraft's speed and trajectory,NASA explains.The engine controller also regulates the engine's start-up sequence and shutdown sequence,critical to the proper operation of the sophisticated RS-25 engine under both normal and emergency conditions.)*
The RS-25 engine is a product of Aerojet Rocketdyne,a division of GenCorp.*

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Orion Splashdown-official NASA video

Orion Soars on First Flight Test-official NASA video

Onward To Deep Space:The Orion Spacecraft's Next Missions

The Orion spacecraft arrived in San Diego late Monday in the well deck of the USS Anchorage(LPD 23),an amphibious transport dock ship.It will now be trucked back to Kennedy Space Center,Florida for data retrieval and processing for reuse.The next flight of Orion is scheduled for June 2018.It is called Exploration Mission-1.EM-1 will be another unmanned mission.On this flight,Orion will be launched into a stable orbit around the Moon to demonstrate the integrated system performance of Orion with the new Space Launch System rocket.Much of NASA's focus between now and late 2017 will be on building and testing the SLS,led by the Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville,Alabama.*
The following space flight,in 2021,will be Exploration Mission-2,Orion's first manned mission.EM-2 will fly a crew of up to four astronauts farther into space than humans have gone before,in a test flight around the Moon.Of course we have orbited the Moon before,but not at the height Orion will achieve,which means humans will be farther from Earth on Orion than the Apollo astronauts ever got.*
After EM-2,the Asteroid Redirect Mission will involve capturing a small asteroid with a robotic spacecraft and relocating it to a stable lunar orbit for astronauts to rendezvous with and study.This activity will test new systems and capabilities needed for the exploration of Mars and its moons.*
The first mission to Mars will take place sometime in the 2030's,with Orion likely carrying an international crew on the eight month trip,their exploration vehicles having been prepositioned in orbit around Mars,and returning them to Earth.*
Until at least 2020,the International Space Station will continue preparing the way for long duration space flights such as the asteroid and Mars missions.The research being done and experience accumulated on the ISS will be critical to exploring the solar system on the Orion spacecraft.ISS even participated in Orion's first mission by using its sensors to provide surface winds data at the Orion recovery site.*
Between now and 2018,Boeing will be building the SLS Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage,which will boost Orion to the correct altitude and trajectory needed to send the spacecraft around the Moon to check out vital systems on the initial test flights,NASA said.The ICPS is a liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen-based system based on Boeing's Delta Cryogenic Second Stage already used on Orion's first test flight.The ICPS will be replaced by a larger,more powerful upper stage needed for the asteroid and Mars missions.At that point,the SLS will be the tallest and most powerful rocket ever made.Boeing is also building the Core Stage of the SLS,while Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for the Orion spacecraft itself.Lockheed will be making any modifications to Orion deemed necessary after analysis of the EFT-1 data.*
Boeing(BA),Lockheed Martin(LMT)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

B-1 Bomber & F-22 Raptor Refuel During ISIS Airstrikes

F-22 Raptor sees First Combat in Syria against ISIS

On The U.S. Front Combating ISIS

Irregular Warfare:Rand Corporation Analyst on the Battle for Iraq

We don't have a clear strategy for Iraq right now,said Major Ben Connable,US Marine Corps Retired,International Policy Senior Analyst at the Rand Corporation.We have an ongoing military campaign.Several Iraqi divisions have collapsed,and several are near collapse in Anbar.What is it that the President wants to accomplish at the end of the campaign?Clarity would be very helpful to the US officers who are designing and implementing the campaign.*
Most of the Gulf countries' troops are designed for internal security and would be resented by the Iraqi people.A lot of these countries are providing bases,trainers and aircraft.An advisor is someone who is going in to advise commanders on what decisions to make in logistics,communications or as air controlers.*
The US Navy has a strong presence in Bahrain.It's a very touchy relationship with Iran.We have had a difficult relationship with them.They may already have a Quds force there advising Iraqi troops.The Jordanians have been tremendously helpful.The Emirates and Saudi have been very helpful.I know a lot of Iraqis who risked their lives to build a democratic state.*
There has been progress recently that has degraded the Islamic State and forced them to act in small groups,but if you kill or destroy the Islamic State,there has to be something that fills that void that we leave behind.Irregular warfare is incredibly difficult.Every decision is a tradeoff not leading to a clear victory.It frankly exceeds the capacity of the human mind to fully and completely understand the complexity of this scenario and a US military campaign:not understanding the crisis,you can't count them,and you don't know where they are;the Islamic State broke away from al Qaida;al Nusra is affiliated with al Qaida,but somewhat separate.If we do want to defeat and destroy the Islamic State,I don't know how we can do that without large US ground forces.Just through air power and advisors is extremely difficult,MAJ Connable observed.