Wednesday, December 28, 2016

History of Mission Control - NASA

Orion Backstage: NASA's Super Guppy Takes on Heavy Lifting for Orion

Space Station Crew Celebrates the Holidays Aboard the Orbital Lab - Cdr.Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson,USA and Thomas Pesquet,ESA

From Metal To Masterpiece: Orion's 2016 Progress - NASA

Orion Rising:What To Expect in 2017 and Beyond From the Deep Space Spacecraft

At this writing,the constellation Orion has begun rising in the eastern sky shortly after nightfall,pleasing those both with and without telescopes.At the same time,its namesake spacecraft is steadily being prepared for its 2018 launch on Exploration Mission-1,the first unmanned,integrated test of the complete Orion deep space exploration system,including the Crew module,ESA Service Module and Space Launch System rocket,in a high orbit around the Moon.These preparations will continue throughout the new year,bringing the first manned,record-breaking test of Orion,Exploration Mission-2,ever closer - as soon as 2021.At that point,NASA plans one launch a year of Orion in pursuit of its deep space objectives.
If 2016 was a time for integrating structural elements into the spacecraft,and then critical systems such as avionics components and propulsion tubing,next year will unfold as:
1.In spring 2017,computers in the Crew Module for EM-1 will be turned on for the first time to verify that the spacecraft can route power and send commands in an integrated test to verify Orion's systems are connected and responding appropriately.
2.The ESA Orion Service Module that will propel and power Orion will be shipped to Kennedy Space Center after structural and systems work is finished up at Airbus Defence & Space in Bremen,Germany.
3.The heat shield will be secured onto the Crew Module in summer,and then the Crew and Service Modules will be stacked one on top of the other.In early 2018,this stack will be shipped to NASA Glenn Plum Brook Station,Ohio,where it will undergo tests in the dynamics of launch and the harsh environment of deep space flight.
4.Several parachute tests will take place over the Arizona desert to verify the safety of recovery operations.
5.Human factors tests such as a legibility test will help evaluate how humans interact with the new spacecraft.
6.Orion prime contractor Lockheed Martin will carry out its own series of stress tests at its Denver facility.*
Even as these tests for EM-1 go on,construction work for the EM-2 Crew Module will begin in 2017.
Lockheed Martin (LMT)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Britain's secretive and lethal force in Syria - BBC News

Battle of Mosul 2016 - French Artillery Fire on ISIS + M109 Paladins Fir...

UK and US Defence Ministers:Why ISIL Is Losing

Defence ministers from member countries of the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve coalition met in London last week to assess the campaign's progress and chart the way ahead to ultimate victory over the Islamist extremists.
ISIL is now failing,said UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon.It controls less than 10% of Iraq.It's lost more than a quarter of land it once held in Syria.Its supply of recruits has dried up and more than 25,000 fighters have been killed.*
Thanks to the determination and the courage of our local partners in Iraq,Syria and elsewhere,pointed out US Defense Secretary Ash Carter,as well as the contributions made by service members from across our coalition and the leadership of the countries represented here today,our campaign has continually accelerated the execution of the campaign,simultaneously pressuring ISIL from all directions and across all domains.
As we look to the future of our campaign,there's clear value in our strategic approach of enabling local forces to seize and hold territory rather than attempting to substitute for them.This approach has not only been effective;it's also sustainable.It will be necessary to continue this kind of cooperation with our local partners,Dr.Carter emphasised.

LIVE: Full US Marine Corps Honors:John Glenn Memorial Processional - with audio

US Marine Corps Honor Guard:John Glenn lies in repose at Ohio Statehouse - with audio

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

On 10 December 2016,members of Hellenic Air Force Squadrons 341 and 347 visited His Beatitude Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem and All Palestine ΜΟΙΡΑ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΑΕΡΟΠΟΡΙΑΣ ΕΠΙΣΚΕΠΤΕΤΑΙ ΤΟ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟ.

SecDef Outlines Success,Plans for Europe at Italian Air Base - at a critical time

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to airmen of the US Air Force's 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base,Italy on 13 December 2016 as part of his holiday visit to the troops,his last before leaving office in January.Dr.Carter revealed a successful airstrike in the Middle East that directly impacts European security:
I wanted to tell you something that I have not said before.And,you know,we don't talk about these operations very much;but you're the first to know.I can confirm that today we took out three of ISIL's key leaders in the last couple of weeks.It was one strike.These are guys who were linked to plots right here in Europe.And I can't share all the details with you,but,for example,with the Paris attacks.And they were associates of al-Adnani,who was,if you'll recall,the chief external plotter for ISIL and its chief spokesman.*
Addressing members of the US Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team,who are based at Vicenza,Italy,Dr.Carter noted that:
We have,just to remind you,just two brigades stationed all the time here;another one that we'll be putting in on a persistent rotational basis;equipment for a fourth,so that will be an armoured division that troops can fall in on in a crisis;a battalion in the Baltics;and of course much,much more at sea,on land and in the air-a sad necessity of our time,but one that we need to do.
So whether it is in Europe;whether it is in the Middle East;whether it is in Africa,all the things you're doing here are necessary;they're extremely important.So you're right here,right now at a critical time in our strategic history,Dr.Carter concluded.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Nature Note:Fishers Reintroduced to Mt.Rainier - rare North American weasel species

Sometimes called the "fisher cat" because it is about the size of a large house cat,a close look at the fisher (Martes pennanti) shows much larger and longer claws than a house cat's,rounded ears and a pointed snout,with a facial resemblance to its cousin the wolverine.Now 10 of the rare forest weasels have been reintroduced to Mt.Rainier National Park.The creatures were set free on the Nisqually River Watershed on 2 December 2016.Over-trapping and habitat loss had extirpated them from Washington state in the mid-twentieth century,and they were listed as state-endangered in 1998.The US Fish&Wildlife Service has requested they be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.*
The four female and six male fishers released were captured in British Columbia as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce fishers to the Southern Cascade Mountains.They got health checkups by veterinarians and radio transmitters so biologists can track them,the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said.Lead partners in the effort were the WDFW;National Park Service;US Forest Service;and Conservation Northwest.The British Columbia Ministry of Environment and BC Trappers Association provided the animals.
Last year,the group released 23 fishers,11 females and 12 males,on Gifford Pinchot National Forest.Next,the Northern Cascades are targeted for more releases,with another 80 set for release beginning as early as autumn 2017.The Nisqually and Cowlitz tribes,along with Canadian Chilcotin and and Northern Shushrip First Nations,attended the Mt.Rainier release and performed their blessings and songs.*
From 2008-10,90 fishers were released in Olympic National Park,Washington.They have dispersed throughout the Olympic Peninsula and successfully reproduced.A secretive carnivore that favours low to mid-elevation boreal and mixed forests,the fisher preys on mountain beavers;squirrels;snowshoe hares;and even porcupines.The goal is to eventually be able to downlist the species,a valuable furbearer,to a less protected status.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

HMS Ocean Amphibious Assault Ship |

Royal Navy Flagship HMS Ocean – Amphibious Assault Operations

British Officer Takes Command of US Navy Task Force

On 25 November 2016,Royal Navy Commodore Andrew Burns,commander,Amphibious Task Group embarked on the Royal Navy flagship HMS Ocean (L12),took command of US Naval Forces Central Command Task Force 50 (CTF 50) in the Arabian Gulf.This is the first time a Royal Navy officer has commanded a US task force in the Middle East and is a significant step in combined maritime operations,US Naval Forces CENTCOM said.*
HMS Ocean is a helicopter carrier and amphibious assault ship and will provide continued forward presence in the Gulf.It can deliver Sailors and Marines by helicopter or landing craft.*
CDRE Burns,assuming command of CTF 50 from Rear Admiral James Malloy,USN,commander of Carrier Strike Group 10,said:
Together we have had an enduring presence in this region that has contributed stability,order on the high seas and freedom of navigation,and ensuring the free flow of commerce,so vital to the prosperity of our respective nations.Today marks the start of another chapter in the partnership as the Royal Navy takes on the privilege of leading a US task force in the Middle East for the first time.*
HMS Ocean will provide a range of flexible and adaptable capabilities to perform theatre security cooperation efforts and maritime security operations aimed at providing continuous forward presence as the USS Eisenhower (CVN 69) leaves CENTCOM's Area of Responsibility.The Eisenhower completed 1770 combat sorties delivering 1903 ordnances from both the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf in support of the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Return from Afghanistan 2014 - Royal Air Force - R.A.F. Freedom of St.Andrews March past for last time on 10th May 2014

DoD Identifies Fallen U.S. Service Member in Syria

DoD Identifies Fallen U.S. Service Member in Syria: The Defense Department has identified Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott C. Dayton, 42, of Woodbridge, Virginia, as the American service member who was killed in Syria on Thanksgiving Day.

Friday, November 25, 2016

2 US Servicemembers Killed in Syria, Iraq

2 US Servicemembers Killed in Syria, Iraq: One servicemember was killed in Syria and the other in Iraq; both died on Nov. 24.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NATO Critical of Russian Military Buildup on the Baltic Sea

Russia's new Bastion mobile missile launchers have been deployed to the Russian outpost of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea,in addition to previously deployed nuclear-capable Iskander short range ballistic missiles and long range S-400 air defence missiles there,the Russian Interfax news agency announced on 21 November 2016.NATO responded by saying these anti-ship missiles are aggressive military posturing that doesn't help to lower tensions or restore predictability to our relations.*
For its part,the US State Department responded to Russia's recent military buildup in Kaliningrad during a daily briefing by spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby,US Navy Retired:
While we understand that Russia has the right to exercise its conventional and nuclear forces on its own territory,the deployment of Iskander and S-400 missiles to Kaliningrad is destabilising to European security.Russia has made threats to move Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad now for the past decade in response to a variety of developments in Europe,none of which demands such a military response.We also call on Russia to refrain from words or deeds that are not consistent with the goal of promoting security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.*
Russia has also deployed Bastion missile launchers to the Syrian coast.Kaliningrad is between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea coastline.Russia insists the buildup is only in response to NATO's positioning of US Navy land-based Aegis missile systems in Romania and under construction in Poland.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Trump: 'Mad Dog' Mattis Is 'Very Impressive' SecDef Candidate - retired USMC general

Trump: 'Mad Dog' Mattis Is 'Very Impressive' SecDef Candidate: Retired Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis would make an excellent choice for defense secretary, President-elect Donald Trump said.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

AH-64D Longbow Apache Attack Helicopters Night Gunnery Training!

US Army Apache night attack in Mosul,Iraq

Apache Gunships Brought Into Battle of Mosul - actually had been used earlier

Small numbers of US Army Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters have been used in the effort to drive Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants from their northern stronghold of Mosul,Iraq.Fewer than 10 Apaches have been used in the operations,officials told Agence France Presse.*
I can confirm that Apaches have been used with significant effect,said Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook.My understanding is,there's been particular targets that have included VBIEDs and specific obstacles and impediments that we've seen ISIL put forward in Mosul.The Apaches have demonstrated a capability with very precise targeting to make a difference there,again,operating in a standoff position.They're able to do that from some distance back.*
The helicopter gunships also undertook night operations against ISIL in the early stages of the Battle of Mosul in October.Even before then,the Apaches had seen action in the Tigris River Valley back in June.The vulnerability of Apaches to fires from the enemy on the ground,however,given their typically slow speed and low altitude operational profile,has limited their usage in the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve to these small-scale standoff attacks.As well,the Iraqi government is reluctant to allow any more direct US involvement in the battle than is absolutely necessary.*
Boeing (BA)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Nations prepare to take over NATO’s spearhead force

Raytheon - DEADLY UPGRADE for US Military Patriot Air And Missile Defense System

US Deploys Patriot Missile Batteries to Poland: Russia deployed ballisti...

Partnering with Poland - US Army Europe

NATO Exercise Patriot Shock V:Air Defence Artillery Test at Short Notice

NATO Exercise Patriot Shock V is underway in both Romania and Poland,involving 200 troops from the US,Romania,Poland and Sweden.The drills,running from 5-10 November 2016,are a Deployment Readiness Exercise in conjunction with a multinational air defence exercise,said the 10th Army Artillery and Missile Defense Command.
As part of the exercise,the Soldiers of Delta Battery,5th Battalion,7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment,were in Romania in less than 72 hours of the notice of their deployment to a location near Camp Midia,Romania.Speed of assembly and speed of achieving interoperability with their Romanian Allies were key to the challenge they were presented with.Indeed,a Patriot missile battery had never been deployed to Romania before.The drills will validate the unit's readiness and demonstrate US Army Europe's rapid deployment capability.They will showcase the unit's leaders' and Soldiers' resilience and build their confidence in the capabilities of their mobility platforms and mission command systems while demonstrating US commitment to Allies and partners in the Black Sea region.*
Patriot Shock is also taking place in Skwierzyna,Poland,where the W 125 launcher SC Anti-missile syetem and Newa missile were deployed by the Polish army's 35th Air Defence Squadron.Participants obtained the ability to plan,prepare and execute joint and combined training in a real time,realistic setting.The exercise increases the proficiency in defending against aerial threats,while improving the integration and interoperability between US and Polish personnel and systems.It demonstrates NATO's ability to move forces quickly and freely across allied borders and maintain freedom of movement across the region.*
Also deployed by Poland was the 23mm anti-aircraft weapon system.This built fires interoperability between the US and Poland Air Defense Artillery community,making a stronger Alliance while demonstrating the participating nations' ability to deploy troops rapidly.Troops from Poland and Sweden are synchronising and integrating their air defence systems with US Soldiers,which would be critical in any multinational contingency operations,the US Army points out.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Ballad of the Green Berets - 2013 - in memoriam Captain Andrew D. Byers and Sergeant First Class Ryan A. Gloyer

Special Report:US Army Green Berets,Afghan Special Forces Killed in Joint NATO-Afghan Raid

Early on Thursday,3 November 2016,five Special Operations Forces members,including two US Army Green Berets and three Afghan Special Forces members,died in heavy combat with Taliban militants in Kunduz Province,Northern Afghanistan.The joint NATO-Afghan counterterror raid targeted senior Taliban commanders.It ended when airstrikes by both Afghan and then,when the Afghans did not succeed by themselves,NATO aircraft,were called in to rescue friendly forces surrounded by enemy fire,according to the Afghan Defence Ministry.*
Killed in the battle were Captain Andrew D. Byers,30,of Rolesville,North Carolina and Sergeant First Class Ryan A. Gloyer,34,of Greenville,Pennsylvania.CAPT Byers and SGT Gloyer were assigned to 2nd Battalion,10th Special Forces Group(Airborne),Fort Carson,Colorado.The 10th Special Forces Group(Airborne) conducts combat,unconventional warfare,special reconnaissance and foreign internal defence missions focused mainly in the US European Command Area of Responsibility.Since 9-11,they have seen action in both the Afghan and Iraq Wars,as well as service in Africa.*
Reports of up to 24 civilians being killed in the battle are being investigated by the US State Department.The Kunduz Provincial Police said the Islamist extremist Taliban took refuge in civilian homes in the village of Buze Kandahari,where the battle was concentrated,using them as human shields.Buze Kandahari is near Kunduz city,a frequent flash point in the 15 year-long conflict.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NATO Says 2 US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan

NATO Says 2 US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan: Two U.S. service members were killed on Thursday battling Taliban insurgents in northern Afghanistan, NATO said.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NATO Boeing E3A AWACS, 'LX-N90456', Arrival Geilenkirchen 15-06-2012

Nice DEPARTURE NATO E3A AWACS at Geilenkirchen

Operation Inherent Resolve:Pounding ISIL From the Air - plus NATO AWACS now involved

According to a news release from Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve,US and coalition forces continued to press their campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on 1 November.Attack,bomber,fighter and remotely piloted aircraft,as well as rocket artillery,participated in the raids over Iraq,which are coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq.Among the results reported were:
-Near Beiji,a strike destroyed an ISIL supply boat and a weapons cache.
-Near the ISIL stronghold Mosul,which has been encircled and is currently under ground assault by Iraqi Security Forces and their allies,three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units,destroying four vehicles,a mortar system and a fighting position;damaging two other fighting positions;and suppressing three tactical units,two heavy machine guns and a mortar system.
-Near Sinjar,a strke destroyed an ISIL fighting position.*
Coalition nations that have conducted strikes in Iraq include the US,Australia,Belgium,Canada,Denmark,France,Jordan,the Netherlands,Saudi Arabia,Turkey,the UAE and the UK.The US and France are known to have been conducting artillery strikes.*
NATO E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft are now providing military intelligence in the form of surveillance and situational awareness to OIR.The fleet of 16 aircraft,based at NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen,Germany,are staffed by multinational crews drawn from NATO Allies.They may be forward-deployed to operating bases in Greece,Italy,Norway and Turkey.Staying in international airspace or over Turkey,their radars will monitor medium altitude targets in Iraq and Syria within 520 kilometers;and low flying targets within 400 kilometers.

Expedition 49 Crew Lands Safely in Kazakhstan

Dan Goes to Kazakhstan - NASA team picks up Astronaut Tim Kopra upon his return from the ISS

Expedition 50-51 Crew Conducts Ceremonies Russia - NASA Chief Astronaut Peggy Whitson with her Russian colleagus

Expedition 50-51 Crew Undergoes Final Training Outside Moscow - NASA Chief Astronaut Peggy Whitson with her Russian Colleagues

Space to Ground: Three Up, Three Down: 10/27/2016 - NASA

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Norway's First F-35 Official Rollout

SUPER DEADLY Norwegian Navy Naval Strike Missile (NSM)

U.S. Tanks Cut Loose In The Snow • Live Fire In Norway

DEADLY PREDATOR Norwegian Army Leopard 2A4 tank as good as M1 Abrams

US Marines CH-53E Sea Stallions Refuel at Værnes Air Station, Norway

Norway and U.S. Marines: a + 20 year partnership

Bulletin:Norway Approves Basing of US Marines - accepts Pentagon plan

Norway announced yesterday it has accepted the Pentagon's proposal to base 330 US Marines on its territory,reversing a longstanding policy of not allowing foreign troops to be based in Norway.The rotational basing at Vaernes Air Station near Trondheim in Central Norway some 100 kilometers from the Russian border will be for a trial period in 2017.
Last week,there was concern when a number of Russian warships sailed down from Severomorsk and along the Norwegian coastline as they made their way to Syria.*
The US initiative is welcome and also fits well within ongoing processes in NATO to increase exercises,training and interoperability within the Alliance,said Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Erikson Soreide.The defence of Norway is dependent on allied reinforcements,and it is crucial for Norwegian security that our Allies come here to gain knowledge of how to operate in Norway with Norwegian forces.*
A Marine Corps presence in Norway will increase NATO's ability to rapidly aggregate and employ forces in Northern Europe,said Major General Niel E. Nelson,commander,US Marine Forces Europe.*
Norway currently stores a large amount of NATO equipment in caves,restoring its Cold War practice.It is said that the equipment,including tanks,is enough for 15,000 Marines.*
The Marines already have a rotational presence in NATO with their Black Sea Rotational Force being based at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base,Romania.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

US Army Astronaut Kimbrough to Assume ISS Command - how he got where he is today

West Point graduate,Gulf War veteran and retired US Army Colonel Robert Shane Kimbrough,49,is set to launch to the International Space Station on 19 October 2016 at 4:05 a.m. EDT from Baikonur Cosmodrome,Kazakhstan.He will be on the 50th expedition of the ISS with Russian Cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Andrei Borisenko.When the Expedition 49 crew currently running the ISS returns to Earth in just over a week's time,COL Kimbrough will assume command.*
COL Kimbrough was selected for the astronaut corps in 2004 in the first class following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster,having served as an attack helicopter platoon leader;aviation liaison officer;and helicopter battalion operations officer in the first Gulf War,Operation Desert Storm in 1991.In 1994,he commanded an Apache helicopter company at Fort Bragg,North Carolina,earning a master's degree in Operations Research at Georgia Tech in 1998.
In 2004,the Army assigned him as a flight simulation engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft.He got his first flight assignment in 2008 to STS-126.Launched on shuttle Endeavour in 11-08 for a 16-day mission,he performed two EVAs for a total of about 13 hours to maintain and upgrade the ISS.His crew also expanded the living quarters to accommodate six crew members as of May 2009.COL Kimbrough then worked in the Robotics Branch of the Astronaut Office and as chief of the Vehicle Integration Office until selected for Expedition 49-50 in February 2015 on Soyuz MS-02.
The new Soyuz-MS has higher efficiency solar arrays;better propulsion system redundancy;new rendezvous hardware,control and autonomous navigation capabilities.It is planned that COL Kimbrough will perform two EVAs to install six Lithium-Ion batteries on the ISS that will replace 12 nickel-hydrogen ones in January 2017.

Orbital ATK Launches to ISS from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Canada to send troops to Latvia for new NATO brigade

Meet the British soldiers leading NATO’s spearhead force in 2017

Russia Steps Up Probing of Nordic-Baltic Region - four NATO Allies respond in one day

US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work took Russia to task for its recent behaviour in the Nordic-Baltic Region at a press conference following a meeting with eight delegates from the region on 7 October 2016.Finland said two Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jets violated its airspace on separate occasions in the Gulf of Finland south of Porvoo that same day.Russian military aviation over the Baltic Sea has been intense,Finland noted;while Iceland had complained that two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flew too close to civilian airliners,flying between 1800-2700 meters/6,000-9,000 feet below a flight from Reykjavik,Iceland to Stockholm,Sweden.
There is absolutely no justification for it,Secretary Work said.Regardless of the timing,regardless of the circumstances,these are unsatisfactory manoeuvres that are unsafe and unprofessional.Hopefully we'll be able to see a moderation in them to avoid an accident or a tragic occurrence.Unfortunately,these are becoming the norm rather than the exception.*
Attending the US-Nordic-Baltic forum were Denmark,Estonia,Finland,Iceland,Latvia,Lithuania,Norway and Sweden.The forum dealt with regional security issues such as Russian behaviour in the Baltic Sea and ways to increase defence cooperation-including in the War On ISIL.*
Preceding the forum,the French Ministry of Defence revealed that,on 22 September 2016,four NATO Allies had scrambled fighter jets to intercept two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers:
1.The extraordinary chase began when Norway scrambled two F-16 Fighting Falcons to escort the Blackjacks towards the north of Scotland.
2.The British sent Typhoons from RAF Lossiemouth to intercept the Russian bombers and shadow them around the west of Scotland and Ireland.As a precaution,more Typhoons were scrambled from RAF Coningsly in Lincolnsire,but didn't intercept the Blackjacks in the end.
3.Two French Rafale fighters then intercepted the Russians 100 km off the Britanny coast.Two other Rafales took over as the bombers headed south.
4.Finally,two Spanish F-18s shadowed the Blackjacks north of Bilbao,at which point the Russians turned around and flew home.*
Russia has also deployed its Iskander-M mobile nuclear-capable missile system to its territory of Kaliningrad on the Baltic coast,which is wedged between Poland and Lithuania.Poland said this was very alarming and of the highest concern;but Russia insists it is only an exercise and has been done before.

Avionics Magazine :: F-16 Avionics Upgrades Driven by What You Can't See

Avionics Magazine :: F-16 Avionics Upgrades Driven by What You Can't See

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Seventh US Service Member Killed in Afghanistan This Year

Seventh US Service Member Killed in Afghanistan This Year: A U.S. service member was killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday while on patrol with Afghan forces in an operation against the ISIS.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

To drive ISIS from Mosul, a complicated coalition joins forces

US Heavy Artillery Fire Support For Iraqi Army Fighting ISIS and German Army training Kurds

U.S. General Fires M109 Paladin Howitzer In Iraq

War On ISIL:Battle of Mosul Imminent in Northern Iraq

According to the UK Defence Minister Michael Fallon,military cooperation agreements on the Battle of Mosul,Iraq were finalised on 23 September 2016;encirclement operations will begin in the next few weeks;and Mosul,the largest ISIL bastion in Iraq,will be liberated from ISIL in the next few months.*
Special Operations Forces from undisclosed Operation Inherent Resolve coalition countries are already conducting covert operations behind enemy lines.*
Logistics hub for the massive campaign is Qayyarah Air Base about 40 miles/60 km of Mosul.It was recaptured from ISIL in July.It's been reconfigured to handle military transport planes,providing a direct supply line to the OIR coalition members in the Mosul area,instead of having to truck supplies 185 miles up from Baghdad.
The US and French Armies have emplaced artillery systems on the base.Their mobile howitzers can range out half the distance to Mosul;while their artillery rockets can strike the city itself from Qayyarah in less than 20 seconds with high accuracy.*
About 22,000 Iraqi Security Forces,including Army and Special Operations Forces and backed by thousands more Kurdish Peshmerga,paramilitary or tribal militias,are poised to execute the battle plan with coalition close air support against the approximately 3,000-4500 ISIL militants that remain within Mosul along with 500,000-700,000 civilians.They have fortified the city with untold miles of trenches,each three meters deep by 2 meters wide.Some of the trenches have been filled with oil.*
Qayarrah Air Base is closed to the media.As the battle progresses,a new air base will be established next to Mosul to support combat operations even more readily.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monthly ISS Research Video Update for August 2016

Orion Backstage: Evaluating Radiation Protection Plans for Astronauts

Understanding NASA's Journey to Mars - what to expect and when

NASA'S Journey to Mars consists of three phases,and two of them have already begun.The first phase is the Earth Reliant.It runs from today to the mid-2020s,and is centered on the International Space Station,which operates through 2024.The ISS,NASA says,is a world-class test bed for the technologies and communications systems needed for human missions to deep space.The astronauts are ascertaining what it takes to live and work in space for extended periods.In particular,NASA wants to know how the body changes over time in the harsh environment of space and how to protect astronaut health.*
Besides this quest for knowledge,we are working with our commercial crew and cargo partners on providing access to Low Earth Orbit and eventually stimulate new economic activity,allowing NASA to continue using the station while preparing for deep space missions.*
The second phase,Proving Ground,runs from 2018-30.There will be regular crewed missions and spacewalks in cislunar space,or lunar orbit.Their goal is to verify deep space habitation.Three of these crewed cislunar missions have been mentioned so far.Before them,in November 2018,the uncrewed Exploration Mission-1 will go 40,000 miles beyond the Moon on an approximately three-week mission to test the new Space Launch System rocket and European Service Module for the Orion spacecraft.In the 2021-23 time frame,EM-1 will be basically replicated by the first crewed mission of the Orion programme,EM-2,which will set a new record for distance traveled from Earth on a human spaceflight.There will also be an Asteroid Redirect Mission culminating in the mid-2020s that will test deep spacewalking and sampling techniques;along with Solar Electric Propulsion,which will be used to deliver substantial cargo for human missions to Mars;and a planetary security manoeuvre,the gravity tractor experiment,that will test a technique which may be able to deflect an asteroid getting too close to Earth.Finally in the 2020s will be a year-long mission to validate readiness for the Mars mission.*
The third phase of the Journey to Mars plan is the Earth Independent,running from now to the early 2030s.Mars rovers are already studying potential Exploration Zones for compelling scientific research sites and resources our astronauts could possibly use.The next rover goes up in 2020;a round-trip robotic sample return mission is planned for the late 2020s.A mission to send humans into Low Mars Orbit is envisioned for the early 2030s.
This phase will test the entry,descent and landing techniques needed to get humans to the surface of the red planet and study what's needed for in-situ resource utilisation.NASA is confident we are well on the way to getting there,landing there,and living there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

MAGTF Demo .. Miramar Airshow 2015 - Marine Air-Ground Task Force

F35B Lightning II .. Miramar Airshow 2015 - Marine Corps Air Station Miramar,California

White House, NASA Discuss Asteroid Redirect Mission - 14 September 2016 - Major General Charles Bolden,USMC Ret.,NASA Administrator

US Marines To Be First In with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - possible combat mission in the Middle East

The US Marine Corps is first to fight,according to their tradition.In the case of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strik Fighter,they may well be first to fly the new aircraft in the Middle Eastern theatre of operations as well,according to Lieutenant General Robert Walsh,commander of US Marine Corps Combat Development Command and Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration.Speaking with reporters at a breakfast on 30 August 2016,LTGEN Walsh said that:
The Marine Corps has been out in fron with the F-35B.We're the first ones that are going to be deploying it.We are going to be deploying it on the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD-1).The interesting thing is,not only are we deploying it on the Wasp (in support of Asia-Pacific exercises);we're also going to deploy it on the USS Essex (LHD-2) during the same year in US CENTCOM (including the Middle East).So not only are we going to do one;we are going to do two.So that's quite the challenge,to get two squadrons aboard two ships and deploy them.*
Sixteen F-35Bs will be stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakumi,Japan.Then six of these will join the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and link up with Third Battalion,Fifth Marines,a regiment that is to be the experimental force of the US Marine Corps for two years.About eight months later,a Southern California MEU will deploy with F-35Bs on the USS Essex under CENTCOM.*
A lot of it's going to be the school of hard knocks.It's probably not the way we would have wanted it,but we want to exploit the fifth generation.That's what I think it is as we look at this airplane.We've been after this for a long time.We're replacing our F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets;our AV-8B Harriers;and our EA-6 Prowlers with that airplane,LTGEN Walsh noted.*
The second squadron of F-35Bs being stood up at Iwakumi makes the deployment into combat possible,Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller told the School of Strategic and International Studies in Washington in early August.The long delay in delivery of the F-35 has resulted in a shortfall of aviation readiness as the Corps scraped by,keeping the older aircraft flying longer than had been anticipated,GEN Neller explained.*
The US Marines will not only be leading the US military in deploying the F-35,but the Royal Navy as well.When the new British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth makes its initial deployment in 2021,guess who will be flying their F-35Bs off of it?It may be that the RN will not be ready to fully shoulder the responsibility at that time,so they invited the US Marines to deploy with them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

U.S. Naval Forces Europe Africa Week in Review: August 31, 2016 - Operation Odyssey Lightning:airstrikes on ISIL in Libya

August 2016 in NATO

NAVEUR Band Plays Tattoo Show in Antwerp

US Navy P-8s in Action During Exercise Northern Coasts 16

Big NATO Naval Drills Staged in Baltic

Standing NATO Maritime Group One and Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One have been staging Exercise Northern Coasts 16 in the Baltic Sea.Led by Germany,it is a large exercise providing relevant training in an undisclosed fictitious yet realistic scenario,NATO said.As many as 38 naval units,including submarines,have traveled from 16 NATO and partner countries and are focusing on both surface and undersea warfare.
Rear Admiral Jose E. Delgado of the Spanish Navy says the naval forces will train as a single Task Group.By training together,NATO and partners strengthen their ability to effectively combine national assets in order to face any possible challenges in a maritime environment.This major exercise will prove NATO Standing Forces' capability to rapidly grow to a bigger multinational Task Group whenever and wherever it could be demanded,RADM Delgado said.The drills have been staged in the Baltic since 2007.*
Flagship for RADM Delgado is the frigate ESPS Mendez Nunez (F-104).Germany,Belgium and Portugal are also contributing frigates to the effort.The US Navy has sent Sailors from Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8,as well as the P8-A Poseidon surveillance aircraft for undersea warfare drills.EODMU 8 began participating on 2 September,exercising mine countermeasures and counter-IED response capabilities,building interoperability and sharing best practices with the Allies and partners.*
Those participating in Exercise Northern Coasts 16 include Spain,Portugal,Germany,France,Belgium,the Netherlands,Estonia,Latvia,Lithuania,Canada,the US,Denmark,Norway and NATO partners Sweden and Finland.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Crew Flight Test Engine Hot Fired - NASA

ULA's Role in the Commercial Crew Program

The Right Stuff for The Next Giant Leap

Commercial Crew Progress, Summer 2016 - NASA

Commercial Crew Engine Passes Test - ready for crewed mission of Boeing Starliner

On 18 August 2016,an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL 10 engine successfully completed a test for launching humans on the first crewed flight test of the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft.The flight is scheduled for February 2018 following an uncrewed test in 2017.Viewing the test at Aerojet's facility in West Palm Beach,Florida were NASA Commercial Crew programme astronauts Captain Sunita "Suni" Williams,US Navy;Colonel Eric Boe,US Air Force Ret.,and Captain Barry "Butch" Wilmore,US Navy.Colonel Robert Behnken,US Air Force,is the fourth Commercial Crew astronaut.
All the astronauts present expressed confidence in the engine after meeting the Aerojet personnel and viewing the test.
When you go through the whole process seeing the engine and seeing the professionals out there building the engines,there was no doubt the test would be a success,CAPT Williams said.*
The RL 10 helped get the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto.It will be one of two RL 10s that will power the Atlas V rocket's Centaur upper stage that will push the Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft up to the ISS for docking during the February 2018 crewed test.After the test,the RL 10 will be shipped to United Launch Alliance's Decatur,Alabama facility and bolted next to its sister engine on the Centaur upper stage.Four RL 10s will also be used for the Orion programme's new Space Launch System rocket's Exploration Upper Stage on the crewed Exploration Mission 2.*
By enabling the transport of more ISS astronauts,NASA's Commercial Crew flights will nearly double the amount of research the astronauts can complete on the station,thus making for greater progress in support of the Orion deep space missions as well as other scientific goals.NASA is also committed to transporting international astronauts on its Commercial Crew spacecraft as well as Americans.*
Aerojet Rocketdyne (AJRD),Boeing (BA)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Marines wrap up Exercise Koolendong

Company A takes objective - Exercise Koolendong 16

U.S. Marines Live-Fire Training In The Australian Outback

French Marines & US Marines rifle range during Exercise Koolendong 2016,...

FANC shoots integrated table 5 - French Armed Forces New Caledonia

Outback Wargames Concluded in the Northern Territory by US Marines and Allies

US Marines with 1st Battalion,1st Marine Regiment,Marine Rotational Force-Darwin recently concluded Exercise Koolendong 16 in Australia's Northern Territory along with small contingents of their Australian and French allies.The two-week drills included live fire events;close air support;and capstone defensive live fire under chemical,biological,radiological and nuclear conditions,firing downrange while wearing protective suits and conducting a decontamination,representing an extremely austere geographical and warfighting environment.*
We are focusing on our core mission essential tasks,offense and defence,in a live fire environment and some of the harshest conditions,said Lieutenant Colonel Steven M. Sutey,company commander of MRF-D.*
HMLA-367 fulfilled the Air Combat Element of the exercise with their U1-1Y Huey helicopters.They executed several close air support evolutions;aerial command and control;armed reconnaissance;and forward air controller support for Marines on the ground.This provided MRF-D with full Marine Air-Ground Task Force assets.*
The closing drill of Koolendong 16 involved holding a battalion-size defensive position while working with the Air Combat Element for close air,and,in an extremely rare evolution,having to don gas masks as about 30 cans of CS gas were dropped into their fighting holes,adding a CBRN touch to the live fire environment,responding to CBRN conditions being one of these Marines' designated missions.*
Participating in Koolendong 16 were around 1300 US Marines and Sailors from MRF-D and 4th Marine Regiment Okinawa,Japan;100 Australian Defence Force troops from 8th/12th Australian Artillery Regiment,adding a capability the US Marines don't have in a MAGTF;and,in their first Exercise Koolagong,50 soldiers from the French Armed Forces New Caledonia infantry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Updated Special Report:US Soldier Killed in Action in Afghanistan Identified - American University of Afghanistan Comes Under Attack in Kabul

NATO command in Kabul,Afghanistan has announced the death of a US soldier on while on a joint foot patrol with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces near Lashkar Gah,capital of Helmand Province in the country's south.The patrol triggered an IED blast that wounded another US soldier and six Afghans.The names and service affiliations of the US troops haven't been released yet.They were part of NATO's Resolute Support Mission,training,advising and assisting ANDSF personnel.*
Separately,the US had deployed an additional 100 troops to back up the ANDSF in Helmand recently,where the Taliban have been stepping up attacks in one of their longtime stronghold provinces,focusing on Helmand provincial capital Lashkar Gah,a city of 200,000.The district is on the verge of being overrun by the Islamist extremist group,an Afghan official complained.The US troops involved in the IED attack were not part of the 100 reinforcements.NATO said an investigation of the attack is underway.*
The Taliban may become increasingly aggressive,hoping to expand their territory as this year's fighting season begins to wind down in the face of winter's approach.As well,they could be eager to make a statement by their actions with the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks,which they enabled by hosting al-Qaida on their territory,being just weeks away.*
Meanwhile,the American University of Afghanistan in the Afghan capital,Kabul,has come under nightttime attack by militants using guns and explosives.Fires have been reported inside the compound,which is a private,non-profit institution.The details of the assault are still unclear,with students and others phoning out that they are trapped.ANDSF have reportedly surrounded the campus.On 7 August,an American and Australian professor from the university were kidnapped and their fate is also unknown.
Updates:At least 12 were killed,including seven students,and dozens wounded in the assault by militants on the American University of Afghanistan,which has been resolved by the ANDSF and US military advisors,who assisted the Afghans on scene.Many American staff members were working there yesterday night when the insurgents blew the gate open,opening fire and throwing hand grenades in the course of their raid.No Americans were killed,but some were reportedly wounded.*
Killed in action while serving in the NATO Resolute Support Mission near Lashkar Gah,the capital of Helmand Province,was US Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Staff Sergeant Matthew V. Thompson,28,of Brookfield,Wisconsin.SSGT Thompson,who was assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord,Washington,was on foot patrol with Afghan Special Forces and US soldiers,moving toward a Taliban objective,when they triggered an IED explosion.Typically the NATO troops are based at compounds or forward operating bases with their Afghan trainees,but have the authority to accompany them to the front lines and assist them there as needed.This can quickly become a combat situation,so NATO troops such as SSGT Thompson are still in considerable danger in Afghanistan.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Special Report:Fighting Flares Again in the Afghan North - critical city threatened

Taliban militants launched a pre-dawn multi-pronged attack on Khanabad district of Kunduz Province in Northern Afghanistan,seizing control of the district and threatening the provincial capital Kunduz city.This comes less than a year after Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,backed by US airpower and NATO special operations forces,who secured the international airport as a haven for government officials,drove the Taliban back from the strategically located city,a regional transport centre for the Afghan north,in heavy combat last September.*
A lack of sufficient ammunition and manpower were being cited to explain the defeat.
We resisted for hours,but we received no support,complained Khanabad district administrator Hayatullah Ramiri to Reuters.According to the Associated Press,the Islamist extremists also confiscated weapons and military vehicles during their rampage.Civilians were seen fleeing the district.Other reports from Kunduz city say some government officials wasted no time in once again seeking refuge at the international airport when clashes approached the city gates.*
Kunduz city was a militant stronghold prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan following the 9-11 attacks.In their attempt to recapture the city last year,the Taliban freed more than 600 prisoners from the Kunduz jail,including almost 150 militants.*
Even as the battle for Kunduz Province re-erupts,fighting is also intense in Helmand Province in the south and Nangarhar Province in the east of Afghanistan;while the Taliban had seized yet another district in the north of the country,in Baghlan Province just to the south of Kunduz,less than a week ago.
Update:Fighting continued in Khanabad district of Kunduz Province,Afghanistan on Sunday after the Taliban Islamist extremist group captured it on Saturday,although a provincial government spokesman said that the ANDSF had retaken the centre of Khanabad.The spokesman said 38 Taliban militants had been killed in the battle so far.The Taliban were reportedly hanging on in other parts of the district,which is about 30 kilometers east of the provincial capital,Kunduz city.Nationwide,significant swathes-perhaps at least 10 to 20% of Afghanistan's territory-is either under Taliban control now or being contested by them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Orion Versatility Video - NASA

Orion Backstage: Up the Hatch with Astronauts - NASA

Orion: Cockpit -NASA

NASA Asteroid Redirect Mission Approved for Phase B

On 15 August 2016,NASA management approved the Asteroid Redirect Mission for movement to Phase B of its design and development-a project lifecycle milestone for the mission.Key Decision Point-B established the content,cost and schedule commitments for Phase B activities.*
The target launch date for the robotic segment of the mission has been set as December 2021;and the crewed segment was given a launch date of 2026,though still in its early concept mission phase.The project's cost cap has been increased from 1.25 to 1.4 billion dollars ex launch vehicle and post-launch operation phase.*
The content of the robotic segment of the mission is to demonstrate advanced,high-power,high-throughput solar electric propulsion;
advanced,high-speed autonomous proximity operations at a low-gravity planetary body;
controlled touchdown and liftoff with a multi-tonne mass from a low-gravity planetary body;
astronaut spacewalk activities for sample selection,extraction,containment and return;
and mission operations of integrated robotic and crewed service stack:all of which are needed for human missions to the Mars system.
With KDP-B under our belt,ARM can now move forward to define partnerships and engagements,said Michele Gates,ARM program director at NASA headquarters in Washington,D.C.For instance,in September,the agency will issue a request for proposals for the robotic spacecraft to aerospace companies that previously worked with the ARM design team on a six-month study of spacecraft concepts to meet mission requirements.*
After collecting the multi-tonne boulder from the asteroid,the rocket ship will slowly edge the boulder to the lunar position.The proposed target asteroid,2008 EV5 (subscript),is a primitive,carbonaceous asteroid believed to be rich in volatility,water and organic compounds.It will be carefully redirected to the Moon,where a series of proving ground missions for the Mars system will be carried out in the 2020s in order to validate mission concepts of human-robotic and spacecraft operations.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Exercise Pitch Black 16:Air Combat in Australia's Northern Territory - some NATO countries invited

The Royal Australian Air Force's massive,biannual air combat exercise Pitch Black 16 continues on this week.The multinational drills are focusing on offensive and defensive air combat in a simulated war environment.With up to 115 aircraft and more than 2500 personnel,Pitch Black is running from 29 July to 19 August in the vast open skies of the sparsely populated Northern Territory,based at RAAF Darwin and RAAF Tindal about 300 kilometers to the south,and utilising both the Delamere Range Facility and Bradshaw Field Training Area.*
Participating besides the host nation are the US,Canada,Germany,Singapore,Indonesia,New Zealand,Caledonia,Thailand,France and the Netherlands.It was Germany's first participation in Australia's largest air exercise.The UK is not participating this time because of other obligations at the Farnborough Air Show.*
Besides several US Air Force,Thai and Indonesian F-16 and Singaporean F-15 fighters,as well as Australian F-18 Hornets and Superhornets,many transport aircraft and tankers are involved in the war games as well,such as the US Marine Corps KC-130 tanker and the Australian KC-30A tanker/transport.In the Pitch Black scenario,the Red Force from Tindal is the aggressor against the Darwin Blue force with increasing complexity as the drills progress.Air defence systems will be tested and allied forces will develop how they operate together.Air to air combat;air to ground attack;command and control;and tactical air transport will be tested by large formations of aircraft practising challenging air operations.In today's air war,it's more about integrating into a complex and joint environment than achieving mission goals as an individual,providing immediate and responsive military options across the spectrum of operations.Air-land integration is also a new emphasis,as the US Army's 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment works with Australian Army counterparts to develop a joint approach to enable ground forces to communicate in real time with aircraft.
Troop transport and forward air controller drills are also being incorporated in Pitch Black 16 as part of the air-ground integration package.*
Such mutually beneficial tactics and procedures will build an effective coalition,as a larger team needs to operate cohesively in order to achieve success as well as stabilise and secure the Asia-Pacific region.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

USAF F-15 Eagles Morning Launch At Canadian Air Force Base Goose Bay

U.S. KC-135 Refuels Canadian CF-18 Hornet

Canadian CF-18 Hornet Fighter Jets Landing at Hickam AFB,Hawaii

Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Take Off at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson

Canada's NORAD Underground Complex (North American Aerospace Defense Command) AeroSpace...

Air Defence Puzzle:Complex Exercise Challenges NORAD,US STRATCOM

NORAD,the North American Aerospace and Defense Command,along with its close partner and fellow combatant command US Strategic Command,conducted a day of joint,comprehensive intercept and safe passage exercises in all three of the NORAD regions with a broad range of warplanes on 1 August 2016,the command revealed in a press release.The carefully planned and controlled drills ensured NORAD's rapid response capability.Normally,only one intercept at a time is conducted with only one type of interceptor and bomber involved.This test injected more layers of complexity by varying types of aircraft,commands involved,location and nationality.The scenario was a more realistic simulation of what an actual attack by a sophisticated enemy would be like.*
In these exercises,US Strategic Command B-52H Stratofortess and B-2 Spirit bombers conducted flights through each of the NORAD regions that were intercepted by three types of fighter aircraft:
2 F-22 Raptors in the Alaska NORAD Region,based at Elmendorf Air Force Base,Alaska;
2 CF-18 Hornets in the Canadian NORAD Region,based at Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg,Manitoba;and
2 F-15 Eagles in the Continental United States NORAD Region,based at Tyndall Air Foce Base,Florida.*
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted that the bomber flights provided NORAD with an excellent opportunity to hone our air defence capabilities,while also allowing us the opportunity to closely coordinate operations with our allies and the geographic combatant commands.*
Our ability to conduct intercept and safe passage escort procedures to coincide with American flights reinforces Canada's outstanding collaboration and interoperability with our closest ally.Canada and the US continue to expand on our close partnership,added Canada's Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan.*
The intercepts honed Operation Noble Eagle's procedures,cross-border interoperability and coordination,and to reinforce the enduring defence relationship between the US and Canada.
NORAD is the binational Canada-US command that provides aerospace warning,aerospace control and maritime warning for Canada and the US,NORAD explained.*
Operation Noble Eagle has guided the joint Canadian-US defence of North American airspace since the 9-11 attacks on the US by al-Qaida.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Counter-ISIL: Military Campaign Progress

Iraqi soldiers trapped in Ramadi rescued by helicopters - flown to Taqqadum Air Base

M109A6 Paladin Self Propelled Howitzer In Action

m109a6 paladin howitzer fire mission - artillery US Army is using in Iraq today

U.S. Marines Maintain Combat Readiness in Iraq - Al Taqqadum Air Base

US Army Artillery Thunders in Anbar Province,Iraq - training not primary focus at air base

On 27 June 2016,US Soldiers blasted shells from an M109 A6 Paladin howitzer,which is a very powerful self-propelled artillery piece,at Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant militants during a fire mission at Al-Taqqadum Air Base in Habbaniya,Anbar Province.This illustrates the wide-ranging role of US artillery in the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve:it is not limited to the Mosul recapture build-up in the north of the country;now it is clearly being utilised to suppress ISIL activity in Anbar in Western Iraq as well.*
The air base is a joint environment,home to Task Force Al Taqqadum Advise and Assist site,with all four Pentagon branches of the military represented,along with Allies Italian and Australian troops and their Iraqi counterparts of the 8th,10th and 16th Iraqi Army Divisions;the Iraqi Anbar Operations Centre,or AOC;Anbar National Police;and the Iraqi Counterintelligence Service.Still classified as an expeditionary airfield,it is officially a US Marine Corps base served with a complete range of support by the US Air Force's 321st Contingency Response Element in combination with Marines from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command,who will handle long-term security and logistics at the base,once the 321st withdraws.*
TFTQ,as the task force is known,operates out of Camp Manion at Taqqadum.It is an Operation Inherent Resolve force of Marines and Sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force;the Marine augments from SPMAGTF-CR-CC;and members of the US Army's 1st Infantry Division.Its mission is to advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces in the Ramadi area of Anbar,which,despite protracted combat operations and some notable successes,remains a somewhat unstable and contested zone.For example,as late as 25 July,Khalidiya Island in Eastern Ramadi was still the target of an extensive military operation by the ISF against ISIL strongholds and headquarters on the island.Also on that day,the ISF were reinforcing to counter reported plans by ISIL to converge on Haditha district from three directions west of Ramadi.*
To assist,the US Marines are embedded as full time advisors with the AOC,helping coordinate airstrikes and counterstrikes based on Iraqi reports of encounters with the enemy such as firefights;and intelligence data.USMC Colonel Christopher J. Douglas,TFTQ commander,said the assistance we provide is specifically in the form of intelligence,surveillance and reconnaissance flights and air support and strikes that are provided by coalition aircraft.All strikes and operations are approved by Iraqi leaders.*
The environment that we train in now is not a learning environment;we are very much in an operational environment where training is not the primary focus,said a USMC primary advisor to the 8th Iraqi Army Division.Still,they have conducted artillery,communications,medical,explosive ordnance disposal and engineering training as the occasion presented itself.*

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

SSBN: USS Maine - Ballistic Missile Submarine

Day & Night Trident II D5 Nuclear Missile test launch

Royal Navy Vanguard-class SSBN Launching Trident II (D5) Nuclear ICBM

Successor Submarines: Continuing the At Sea Deterrence - Ministry of Defence

UK to Keep Nuclear Deterrent,Build New Ballistic Missile Submarines

The British House of Commons voted yesterday to preserve the UK's independent nuclear deterrent and take the necessary steps required to maintain its current posture by replacing the Vanguard-class submarine with four of the new Successor-class ballistic missile submarines.The Conservatives,led by new Prime Minister Theresa May,secured a strong majority vote of 472-117 to approve the motion.The UK will now proceed with the building of the new Trident II D5 missile submarines by the BAE Systems Barrow shipyard at a cost of 31 billion dollars with a contingency of an extra 10 billion over 35 years.It is one of the largest expenditures in the history of the UK,besides also being a project of great complexity and scale,involving hundreds of subcontractors in addition to prime BAE.*
Two parliamentary Strategic Defence and Security Reviews approved the Successor programme in 2010 and 2015.For her part,Mrs.May said it would be sheer madness to contemplate even for a moment giving up Britain's independent nuclear deterrent.We cannot abandon our ultimate safeguard out of misplaced idealism.That would be a reckless gamble,a gamble that would enfeeble our allies and embolden our enemies.The nuclear threat has not gone away.If anything,it has increased,the new Prime Minster pointed out,citing a newly assertive Russia and countries such as North Korea who are seeking nuclear weapons.We will not leave NATO and our European allies behind,Mrs.May promised.*
Construction of the Successor-class is to begin in late 2016,with the first of the four vessels entering service in 2028.A minimum of four submarines is required to sustain the continuous at sea deterrence (CASD) posture which Britain has today,according to the formula of,at any given time,one armed submarine being on patrol;one in maintenance;and two in port or on training manoeuvres.All UK ballistic missile and nuclear powered submarines are based at HM Naval Base Clyde in Faslane,Scotland,which is 25 miles/40 kilometers west of Glasgow.The base is secured by Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines.*
As a crucial element of their special relationship,the US and UK now coordinate both nuclear strategy and hardware.Both countries endorsed the Trident II D5 Service Life Extension Programme that extends the life of the missiles out to 2042.Both will also be installing a common 12-missile compartment in the Royal Navy Successor-class and the US Navy SSBN-X successor to the Ohio-class submarine.*
BAE Systems PLC (London:BA/),BAE Systems PLC ADR (OTC:BAESY)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Carter: US to Send 560 More Troops to Iraq - 11 July 2016

British Army Iraq Tribute - music:Linkin Park - Castle of Glass

Canadian special operations forces working together with kurdish peshmerga to battle daesh (ISIL).

U.S. Artillery Support For Iraqi Army • Combat In Iraq 2016 - filmed 13 June 2016

More US Troops to Iraq as Mosul Recapture Mission Looms - major air base recovered,ops center set up

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made a secret trip to Baghdad and,while there,met with his Iraqi counterpart,Khalid al-Obaidi about the mission to retake Mosul from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant control.The Islamist extremists seized Mosul in 2014 when they took much of the rest of Iraq from government hands as well.Since then,however,these militants have experienced blowback as the Iraqi Security Forces,backed by anti-ISIL coalition Operation Inherent Resolve airpower,artillery,advice and training have wrested back Tikrit,Ramadi and,most recently,Fallujah,from their hands and furthered the process of surrounding Mosul.Mosul is ISIL's sole remaining major stronghold in Iraq and their biggest holding in Iraq and Syria.*
Now,however,OIR is focused intently on recovering Mosul as a crucial step in delivering a lasting defeat to ISIL.Along those lines,the US is sending an additional 560 troops to Iraq for a total of about 4650 engaged in the OIR mission.The new soldiers will be based at the sprawling Qayyarah Air Base,which the ISF,backed by US airpower,recaptured from ISIL on Saturday.Among the troops will be logisticians,engineers,security and communications forces.The troops have received warning orders to deploy and will arrive in country relatively soon,said Lieutenant General Sean McFarland,US Army,commander of OIR forces in Iraq and Syria,who requested the new personnel from the President.Even more such requests could be on the way,a US military official indicated.*
With its two runways for easier movement,Qayyarah will be a key staging area for the recapture of Mosul,and the US forces there will be able to help the ISF complete the southern-most envelopment of Mosul;Kurdish forces are already dug in on the east,north and west of the city.Many of the US troops will be assigned to rehabilitate the base that has been scarred by years of war.The logisticians will help the Iraqis deal with the large formations of ISF that will be transiting through the air base;other US troops will be available to advise and assist the ISF,accompanying them to the battalion level,which is closer to the front lines than the Americans have gone before.Some US forces may help develop the air intelligence stream as the refurbished air base brings US and Iraqi aircraft strategically closer to Mosul than previously.*
Besides Qayyarah Air Base itself,a new Nineveh Liberation Operations Center,referring to Nineveh Province where Mosul is located,has been set up and staffed by dozens of US and British soldiers to coordinate the offensive with their Iraqi colleagues.

Avionics Magazine :: Canadian Government Taps Lockheed Martin for $504 Million C-130J Contract

Avionics Magazine :: Canadian Government Taps Lockheed Martin for $504 Million C-130J Contract

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Feb. 21: Coalition airstrike destroys Daesh (ISIL) fighting position nearl Al H...

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Commences Strikes in Support of Operation Inher...

War On ISIL:Air and Artillery Campaign Update

On 4 July 2016,attack,bomber,fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted strikes in Syria,among them:
near Abu Kamal,a strike destroyed 6 ISIL oil wellheads;
near Ayn Isa,a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle;
near Manbij,8 sorties struck ISIL tactical units and destroyed 8 fighting positions and a vehicle.*
In Iraq,fighter,attack and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted strikes coordinated with and in support of Iraq's government.Ground-based artillery fire or in counterfire support to manoeuvre roles is not classified as a strike.Strikes included:
near Beiji,a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and a trench;
near Mosul,a strike struck an ISIL bomb factory;
near Sinjar,a strike suppressed ISIL rocket fire;
near Qayyarah,3 strikes destroyed an ISIL excavator,aircraft hangar,2 vehicles,18 rocket rails,11 rockets,a boat and a checkpoint.*
All strikes were conducted by members of the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve coalition.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

5 August 2011 NASA Juno Launch - Atlas V 551 - Juno arrives at Jupiter on 4 July 2016

24 June 2016 - ISS Expedition 47-48 Crew Departs for Launch Site - American,Russian,Japanese

Planned for 2018:Orion Spacecraft & Space Launch System Exploration Mission-1 Animation 2...

SLS SRB QM-2 static test - NASA

Fire in the Desert:NASA Tests SLS Booster for First Flight

On Tuesday 28 January,NASA lit up the desert with a tremendous and lengthy spurt of flame as it tested the Space Launch System booster at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems in Promontory,Utah.It was the second and final test firing before the first launch of the integrated Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket on the unmanned Exploration Mission-1 to a high orbit over the Moon in late 2018,NASA said.The two-minute full-duration qualification ground test for the SLS booster provided NASA with critical data to support booster qualification for flight and test the motor at the colder end of its accepted propellant temperature range at a targeted 40 degrees Fahrenheit.*
EM-1 will mark the farthest distance a human-rated spacecraft has ever traveled from the earth.The Orion/SLS pair will eventually launch astronauts into deep space,including an asteroid-redirect mission and then on to the Mars system,beginning with EM-2.*
The first SLS booster test had been successfully completed in March 2015 and demonstrated good performance at the higher end of the accepted propellant range of 90 degrees F.Testing at the extremes experienced on the launch pad is important to understanding the effects of temperature on the propellant's ballistic performance.*
The SLS booster was lying on its side on Test Stand 97 in a brushy and hilly desert landscape.A problem with a ground systems computer unrelated to the flight hardware caused a three hour delay of the test.Some 600 gigabytes of data were collected on the 82 test objectives as a crowd of at least hundreds of observers looked on from a mile and a half away.Former astronaut and now Orbital ATK Vice President Charlie Precourt described it as a beautiful test.The contractor aims to preserve the forensic data,freezing everything that happened at the moment of shutdown and dissecting the motor for qualification,Mr.Precourt said.Film,acoustics and temperature data will be digested.
The company is well into casing the propellant of the left booster of EM-1.Three of the total of 10 booster segments-five for each booster-needed for EM-1 are already completed and fueled for flight.*

Orbital ATK,Inc (OA)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Multinational Corps Northeast Headquarters in Szczecin, Poland

A new milestone in NATO-Georgia relations

Urban Training in Poland | ANAKONDA 16 | British Army

Nations Bridge Gaps at Exercise Anakonda

U.S. Army Europe Command Video - April 2016

US Army Europe:How Russia Troubles Them

Lieutenant General Ben Hodges,Commander,US Army Europe,shared his perspective with the BBC's Stephen Sackur:
The thing I worry about the most,LTGEN Hodges said,is the freedom of movement.The Russians are able to move huge formations and lots of equipment across a long distance very fast.Their snap exercises that they do,I personally am surprised each time they do it,and so you can see why that scares me.When 20,000 troops or a lot of equipment shows up on the border of a NATO country or a country like Georgia or Ukraine,that is concerning.
The Russians have what we call freedom of movement on interior lines.They can move anywhere inside Russia as fast as they want.In order for our political leaders to have other options than a liberation campaign,we need to match that same speed inside NATO.We need what I call a military Schengen Zone that would allow the military to move inside a British convoy;an American convoy;a German convoy-should be able to go anywhere inside NATO in order to have the same freedom of movement.
I'm talking about three days-three days' notification-we ought to be able to do that.We absolutely don't have that now.I think that's a necessary part of this deterrence,that the Alliance is shifting from assurance to deterrence.Deterrence is in the mind of a potential adversary.We absolutely do have deterrence,but my mind is uneasy that we have the ability to assemble quickly,for others to be able to assemble quickly,and so I'm going to continue trying to explain why this matters.It's not for our convenience;it's for the ability to give political leaders options short of having to do a liberation campaign,USAEUR's LTGEN Ben Hodges re-emphasised to the BBC.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

U.S. Army Airborne at FOB Shank - M777 howitzer

War On ISIL:US Army Artillery,Helicopters Open Up on Militants

The US Army is becoming more active in the anti-ISIL effort Operation Inherent Resolve.On 3 June 2016,soldiers with 1st Battalion,320 Field Artillery Regiment,2nd Brigade Combat Team,101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) fired an M777 howitzer from Kara Soar Counter Fire Complex,Iraq during a night operation in support of the Iraqi Army.Such fire missions enable the Iraqi Army to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,Combined Joint Task Force-OIR said.
Kara Soar CFC was established in March 2016 and was initially manned by US Marines of Task Force Spartan,the last 170 of whom departed from the fire base for Camp Lejeune,North Carolina on 10 June 2016.They were relieved by the 101st Airborne troops.About 15 miles/24 kilometers from ISIL territory,Kara Soar in Northern Iraq is a key staging area for the Iraqi Army's mission to retake Mosul from ISIL.*
In other US Army activity in Iraq,AH-64 Apache helicopters have been used in OIR combat operations for the first time,US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told reporters on his way to the NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels,Belgium.More than one Apache was sent to assist in the effort to recapture Mosul on 3 June 2016,and one of these attack helos fired on and struck an ISIL vehicle.The Apaches have been in Iraq since early spring and are at the disposal of the Iraqi government in their campaign against the Islamist extremist militants.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

U.S. B-52 Bombers Land At RAF Fairford For BALTOPS 16

BALTOPS 2016: Coming Soon to a European Theater Near You

Port Tallinn.US NAVY WARSHIP 20 (Mount Whitney) - NATO BALTOPS 2016

BALTOPS 2016: NATO allies and partners are making waves in the Baltic Sea

BALTOPS 2016:NATO Maritime Wargames Underway

Seventeen NATO member countries and partner nations are participating in BALTOPS 2016,the 44th iteration of the maritime wargames in the Baltic Sea region.Flagship of the exercise is the USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20),which is also flagship of Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKFORNATO) and the US Navy's 6th Fleet.Upgraded during a 2015 maintenance period,the Mount Whitney is a command and control platform with specialised capability.*
BALTOPS 16 will demonstrate the use of sea-based platforms to rapidly reinforce a crisis area by delivering material,equipment and forces whenever and wherever they are needed.Forces called upon will include more than 60 aircraft delivering nearly 90 sorties a day,among them US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers;joint/shared aircraft;more than approximately 800 amphibious troops;and 45 ships and submarines.
The drills will result in a higher state of readiness;improved interoperability with NATO and partner nations and confidence in their ability to operate together in a time of crisis.It is an excellent opportunity for personnel to engage in realistic maritime training;to build experience,teamwork and strengthen our interoperability in order to promote security of the Baltic region,said US Naval Forces Europe-Africa/US 6th Fleet.BALTOPS demonstrates the Alliance and its partners are ready for and capable of dealing with any contingency through its combat enhancement training and force integrated training amphibious landings,as well as mine clearing training.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

EXCLUSIVE - Syria: rare scenes of Western Special Forces fighting Islami...

Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units - Rocket artillery destroys ISIS positi...

Iraqi PMU Media - Liberation of Fallujah Operation "15th of Shaban" depl...

Iraqi F-16 CAS Filmed From The Ground By Iraqi Special Forces

Iraq: Mid-air refuels of anti-ISIL Belgium F-16 fighter and France E3-F ...

War On ISIL:Belgium Joins Syria Campaign;Battle for Fallujah Begins;Air Strike Details

On 13 May,Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and Defence Minister Steven Vandeput announced that Belgium will begin conducting airstrikes in Syria.*
Belgium is an important member of the coalition,and this contribution comes at a key moment of the campaign,said US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.Belgian aircraft played a key role in the air campaign over Iraq from October 2014-June 2015.As they return to Operation Inherent Resolve as part of a scheduled rotation with the Dutch military,Belgian F-16s now will operate with greater flexibility and coherence of effort as a result of the decision to conduct strikes in Syria as well,Mr.Carter explained.
As of 23 May,the new rotation had yet to begin.*
Meanwhile,Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the commencement of the effort to recapture Fallujah,which was lost to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant about two-and-a-half years ago.Fallujah is in Anbar Province and 50 km west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.Tens of thousands of civilians are trapped in the city.Dozens of families have managed to flee,but ISIL is trying to prevent this.
The ISF have almost completely surrounded the city.Iraqi F-16s recently acquired from the US have been bombing the area to soften ISIL resistance along with OIR coalition aircraft.The US fought two major battles in Fallujah in 2004,suffering some of the heaviest casualties since the Vietnam War there.
Participating in Operation 15th of Shaban are 20,000 Iraqi troops:10,000 Iraqi Army soldiers,Federal Police and the Golden Division;plus 10,000 Popular Mobilisation Unit members,including 5,000 Sunni tribesmen from Anbar and 5,000 mostly Shia volunteers from around Iraq;the Iraqi Air Force and Iraqi Army Aviation,as well as the OIR aircraft.
IEDs,booby traps and mines are all expected to confront the ISF as they battle their way into the city,the recapture of which is seen by Iraq as the next logical step on the road to liberating the ISIL northern stronghold of Mosul after the liberation of the Anbar capital Ramadi in December 2015.*
Combined Joint Task Force OIR has announced the following results from airstrikes conducted by coalition aircraft yesterday,23 May:
In Syria,fighters and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 7 strikes,among them:
near the ISIL capital of Raqqah,4 strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a military garrison;
near Shadaddi,a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle and a fighting position.
In Iraq,attack,fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 12 strikes,among them:
near Fallujah,4 strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a light machine gun,a front end loader,a mortar system,3 vehicle-borne IED storage facilities,2 rocket positions and 3 mortar positions;
near Mosul,4 strikes destroyed 2 ISIL vehicles,a VBIED,a mortar system and a fighting position,and suppressed a mortar position.*
Those that have conducted strikes in Iraq include the US;Australia;Belgium;Canada;Denmark;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;and the UK.
Those that have conducted strikes in Syria include the US;Australia;Bahrain;Canada;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;Saudi Arabia;Turkey;the UAE;and the UK.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"ღირსეული პარტნიორი 2016" სრული ვერსია - Opening Ceremony Noble Partner 2016 - US,British,Georgian Troops

Bradleys taking charge at Exercise Noble Partner

173rd Airborne Brigade makes grand entrance at Exercise Noble Partner

Noble Partner 2016 NATO-GEORGIA

Georgia stages military exercises with US and UK

Major NATO Exercise Underway in Republic of Georgia

About 1300 NATO and Republic of Georgia troops are currently executing Exercise Noble Partner 16 at Vaziani Training Area,Georgia.It is the largest exercise in the history of NATO Partner Georgia,which aspires to NATO membership.Having begun on 11 May,the two weeks of drills involve qualifying a Georgia light infantry company from 4th Armoured Brigade for the NATO Response Force,as well as enhancing Georgia's self-defence capability.The Brigade will operate T-72 Main Battle Tanks;BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles;and several wheeled-support vehicles,US Army Europe said.
One of the overarching goals of the NRF is to ensure the ability of a rapid military force to respond quickly wherever needed whenever a security crisis emerges,according to Nicholas Berliner,US Embassy Georgia Deputy Chief of Mission.The NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force that can include NATO Partners such as Georgia in addition to Allies,with both land,air,maritime and Special Operations Forces components.*
In addition to the Georgian contingent of around 500 troops,the US Army is contributing about 650 troops from the 173rd Airborne Brigade,as well as 3rd Infantry Division,the Georgia State Army National Guard and Air National Guard 165 Airlift Wing with 3 C-130 Hercules aircraft;while The UK has sent some 150 soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Rifles.
3 Rifles are a fully operational Light Role Infantry Battalion available for deployment worldwide from Dreghan Barracks in Edinburgh,Scotland.They are currently the spearhead Battalion of 12 Mechanised Brigade,tasked to deploy at short notice to trouble spots around the world such as Lebanon,the British Army said.*
The US infantry is operating their M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks;Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles;M119 Light Towed Howitzers;and several wheeled-support vehicles during Noble Partner 16.The exercise will include situational training;field training;and a final live-fire drill.*
We will accomplish a lot and we are looking forward to truly demonstrating interoperability between our forces,and we are looking forward to continuing to improve the readiness of our organisations,according to Colonel Jeff Dickerson,US Army,Deputy Exercise Director.*

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How to Survive a Grizzly Attack

Bear Power

Grizzly Bear Encounters - Mark Fraser

Nature Note:Leading Grizzly Bear Biologist Retires

The man who has been responsible for supervising the effort that has brought the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis),a North American subspecies of the brown bear (Ursus arctos),back from the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states to the point of being considered for delisting from Endangered Species Act protection,Dr.Christopher Servheen,65,has retired from his US Fish & Wildlife Service position.Known as "Dr.Bear" and working from his office at the University of Montana,Chris Servheen was Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator from 1981 to the present.Today,he says,the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide Ecosystems' grizzly populations have recovered.The total number of grizzlies in the lower 48 is about 2,000.*
We've come a long way,Dr.Servheen told Monatana Public Radio.We have three times as many bears today as when I started,and they occupy more than twice the range that they lived in when I started.It's been healthy for some time in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem -a complex of lands including Yellowstone National Park and National Forests-where there were as few as 176 in 1975,to over 700 today;and where grizzly bears today occupy more habitat than Vermont,New Hampshire and Rhode Island combined.
I've put in my 35 years and I've done my best,Dr.Servheen said.In the course of his long career,the PhD in wildlife biology has been praised by some and excoriated by others;but now he has his eyes set on fishing and hiking the backcountry of the Bob Marshall and Scapegoat Wilderness Areas to view bears with his two sons.*
Dr.Servheen's associate at USFWS,Ed Casworm,will serve as Acting Coordinator until a permanent replacement is found.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Army Delta Force commando killed in Iraq Hostage rescue - Oct. 2015

Peshmerga,US Special Forces rescue IS Hostages [English] -Oct. 2015

U.S. Special Operations Forces assisting in Northern Iraq - Oct. 2015

GWT: US airborne forces and Kurdish guerillas at airbase in N Iraq - US helicopters shown

War On ISIL:Navy SEAL Killed in Action - how the US responded to the assault

At 9:30 am local time,ISIL militants,having broken through Kurdish Peshmerga front lines near the town of Tel Asqof in Northern Iraq with bulldozers and suicide bombs,including vehicle-borne IEDs,killed a US Navy SEAL with direct small arms fire 3-5 km behind the front lines.He's been identified as Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV,31,of Phoenix,Arizona,grandson of the late banker Charles H. Keating,Jr.,who was imprisoned for five years for financial crimes committed in the 1980s.SWO Keating,based at Coronado,California,was there advising and assisting the Peshmerga,who are regarded as among the most effective fighting forces in the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve.*
The militants had overrun Asqof at dawn in a rare,if temporary,loss by the Kurds.SWO Keating,engaged to be married,was killed in a firefight that erupted in the course of the extended battle that followed.US F-15Cs and drones came to the Kurds' assistance,dropping at least 20 bombs and helping to drive ISIL back out of Tel Asqof.It was the third US combat death in OIR.Besides SWO Keating,according to the Kurdistan Region Security Council,more than 80 militants and at least 10 Kurds died in the Battle of Tel Asqof,which is about 28 km/17 miles from the ISIL stronghold of Mosul.Christian militiamen also assisted the Kurds.*
The US is in the process of moving Special Operations Forces closer to the front lines in Northern Iraq,and bringing in more troops and Apache helicopters as OIR ground forces begin encircling Mosul,having driven ISIL out of Ramadi,Anbar Province in December 2015,and then expelling them from the Hit region,also in Anbar Province,driving the Islamist extremists up the Euphrates River Valley.