Thursday, December 28, 2017

British Army:Operation Inherent Resolve Deputy Commander Briefs Pentagon Reporters

Operation Inherent Resolve Deputy Commander Briefs Pentagon Reporters: UK Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Deputy Commander-Strategy and Support, briefs Pentagon reporters via satellite on operations to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Dec. 27, 2017.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Operation Inherent Resolve:Special Ops Raids Staged in Syrian Desert

Today,27 December 2017,a press release was received from the Special Operations Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.Datelined Southwest Asia,it stated that:
In union with Coalition counter-Daesh forces,the Maghawir al-Thawra (or MaT,an Arab unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces),conducted a series of ground clearance operations Dec. 23 to drive Daesh out of the Hamad Desert in southern Syria.
Ongoing successful operations follow previous engagements earlier this month,in which the MaT killed several Daesh terrorists in the 55km de-confliction zone recognized by the Coalition,Russia,and the Syrian Regime.*
According to Major General James Jarrad,Commander of OIH's Special Operations Joint Task Force:
The combined operations are a result of many hours of planning,building trust and close cooperation between Coalition Special Operations Forces and the MaT.These operations have disrupted Daesh's freedom of movement by clearing several caves they have historically used to store weapons,explosives and communications equipment.ISIS has repeatedly surfaced in the Hamad Desert.However,inside the de-confliction zone,our partner forces have successfully thwarted ISIS' movements.*
No details were given as to which other Coalition partners participated or what their roles were,nor whether there were any casualties.

U.S. Army Field Artillery Conducts Strikes Against ISIS (Daesh)

BATTLE For IRAQ/SYRIA: Special Operations JTF Commander in Kuwait Update...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Shop Talk - Christmas Break

Have a blessed Christmas,if you are celebrating it.Thank you for being my readers.Ad astra,to the stars.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

F-15 Aerial Refueling During Icelandic Air Policing - afterburner launches

Iceland: NATO’s eye in the north

The Icelandic Coast Guard - #WeAreNATO


Crush the Enemy:CIA Covert Forces Expand Afghanistan Mission

Far from being drawn down as US military forces are being augmented in Afghanistan under the President's new South Asia Strategy,the CIA's Special Activities Division/Special Operations Group paramilitaries are reportedly also expanding their role in a conflict that has spanned more than sixteen years.It is said that President Donald Trump and his CIA director,Mike Pompeo,are determined to make the most of the Agency's paramilitary capability in hopes of quickening the end of the Taliban militants and other Islamist extremist elements who are trying to wreck the emergent democracy,such as al-Qaida,the Haqqani Network and ISIL-Khorasan.Speaking at the University of Texas in October,Mr.Pompeo said:
This is unforgiving,relentless.You pick the word.Every minute,we have to focus on crushing our enemies.If we are not out pushing the envelope,the Agency will not succeed.*
Immediately after the 9-11 attacks,the CIA was first on the ground in Afghanistan in the form of a small paramilitary team codenamed JAWBREAKER.This team and its follow-ons linked up with the indigenous resistance,the Northern Alliance,under Ahmad Shah Masood,gathering HUMINT on the Taliban and their al-Qaida guests and conducting joint operations with US and British military SOFs and the NA to eject the Taliban from cities such as Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.Once the Taliban had been thrown out of power in Afghanistan,however,the SAD Ground Branch settled into the role of training Afghan forces and collecting HUMINT,while the Air Branch struck targets inside Pakistan with armed Predator drones.*
The Agency's paramilitaries,be they recruited from the Armed Forces' Special Operations Command or from within the CIA,are trained for proficiency in:
sabotage;abduction;bomb damage assessment;personnel and material recovery;hostage rescue;and counterterrorism.That's not surprising,what with them being the heirs of the World War II Office of Strategic Services.
Typically operating in teams of six or less,they may even be tasked with solo missions.On the other hand,they have been frequently sent on joint operations with the Pentagon's SOFs and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.This is the joint role they are moving into now,as leaders of hybrid Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams with Pentagon SOFs detailed to the CIA under the Omega Program and ANDSF members.They are to range across the country seeking to quash Taliban bomb-makers in particular,as the mainline US SOFs and Afghan commandos focus on recapturing Taliban territory.The Taliban IED factories are a rising threat as the militants turn more to destabilising bombing campaigns,unable to make headway against the greatly improved ADNSF and their US advisors.
The CPTs will also include Afghan intelligence officers from the National Directorate of Security as well as CIA contractors.The SAD Air Branch was trying to expand its role to include an armed drone campaign within Afghanistan itself,not just striking militants in neighbouring Pakistan,but it isn't known if that was finally approved.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

B-52 Bomber On A Combat Mission • Afghanistan (2017) - includes night launch

F-22 Raptors Takeoff From Southwest Asia Air Base

Northrop Grumman E-8 Joint Stars Taxi + Night Takeoff - CFB Gander

U-2 Dragon Lady Operations in Southwest Asia

Afghanistan:'It's A New War,'Air Force General Says - fifth generation fighters used

On 12 December 2017,US Air Force Brigadier General Lance Bunch,Director of Future Operations CJ-35,Resolute Support Headquarters,Kabul,Afghanistan,addressed the media at the Pentagon via teleconference.He is in charge of synchronisation,contingency planning and air campaign integration for Resolute Support Mission and Operation Freedom's Sentinel.BRIG GEN Bunch said that:
As General Nicholson has said,we will be here until the job is done.Our future shop developed an air interdiction campaign,a counter-revenue campaign using air power.We have been able to target the Taliban in their safe zones,their command and control nodes,illicit revenue-generating ventures and their logistical network.This new air interdiction campaign directly strengthens the Afghan defence forces and their continued battlefield success.In the past three weeks,since the campaign began,we have been able to eliminate 25 narcotics processing labs from the Taliban inventory.This amounts to nearly 80 million dollars in drug money from the kingpins' pockets,while denying over 16 million in direct revenue to their Taliban partners.*
The US Marines have also been able to use their HiMARS rockets against such facilities.The Afghan National Interdiction Unit also conducted two simultaneous raids of Taliban narcotics bazaars as part of this campaign.This resulted in over 2,000 kg of heroin and 5,000 kg of opium getting confiscated.The Taliban narcotics leadership has been caught off guard,so we were able to target Mullah Shah Wali,the Taliban special forces branch,or Red Unit,commander of this Taliban squad in Helmand Province,delivering yet another blow to this criminal network.This was a joint effort by the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,the US Army,Air Force,Navy and Marines,all collectively exercising authorities granted under the South Asia Policy-and it's not over;in fact,it's only just begun,and this will be a very long winter for the Taliban,as we will continue to disrupt their resources again,and again,and again-but a key part of these operations are a strong Afghan defence forces.Whereas before we could only embed at the Corps level,our new SAP will allow us to embed all the way down to the Kandak,or Battalion level.This allows us to train,advise and assist Afghan units and leaders directly controlling the fight,and accelerate their transition to increased ability and capacity.The US force uplift announced in the new SAP has already happened.This policy,coupled with our air campaign,will allow Afghan defence forces to keep pressure on the Taliban through the winter.*
In early 2018,the new Security Force Assistance Brigade will deploy into theatre and further enhance our assistance to the Afghan security forces going into the next fighting season.The Taliban have been unable to take a provincial capital or even a single city.This year,the Taliban have fared poorly.We,along with our Afghan partners,are on the path to victory.Now,with our new authorities,we're able to target networks,not just individual fighters.Our SFAB will deploy in the March of 2018 time frame.*
We're currently unfolding the air interdiction campaign.We continue to leverage our Intelligence,Surveillance and Reconnaissance across the theatre to find the enemy wherever they may be so that we can develop targets.There's been much said that as the war in Iraq and Syria starts to wind down,the main effort will shift to Afghanistan;and as those assets become available and come to us,we'll of course be able to leverage them to full effect.*
We're looking to triple the size of the Afghan Air Force by 2023.They did 500 more sorties in 2017 than 2016.This is a new war,and the gloves are off,if you will.We are able to go after the Taliban support structure,whereas before we could only strike in support of the Afghan forces that were in contact with the enemy.So now we're able to go after their weapons cache sites;their revenue generators;their C2 nodes-all the ones where they thought they were safe and they are no longer,so it has definitely been a game changer and the Taliban is definitely feeling it.I think what General Nicholson said is that the war is in a stalemate,but the momentum is definitely shifting to the ANDSF.*
The assets we've been using include the B-52 with its new conventional rotary launcher;the F-22;F-16;A-29;HiMARS;F/A-18;over the horizon air refueling assets;JSTARS and ISR assets.We used the fifth generation F-22 fighter jet to limit collateral damage in the Northern Helmand interdiction campaign.The most precise weapon at our disposal is the small diameter bomb carried by the F-22s.*
We're looking for opportunities to disrupt their ability to fund their operations,to recruit fighters or buy weapons.The Taliban gets 300-500 million a year as their total budget.Sixty percent comes from their narco-processing trade;the vast majority of that comes from Northern Helmand,which is their economic engine.The forces we have right now are enough to keep the ANDSF on the offensive through the winter.*
BRIG GEN Bunch said that,besides the Taliban,ISIL-Khorasan had up to 1,000 fighters in Afghanistan;but he didn't have the number of recent US air strikes on al-Qaida fighters on hand.US Forces Afghanistan does not currently have the authority to conduct airstrikes on Pakistan.Asked whether the uplift in US forces has resulted in the drawdown of the CIA's Ground Branch paramilitary operatives,who have been active in Afghanistan since right after 9-11,BRIG GEN Bunch said that was beyond his pay grade.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Wolfpack:F-16 Takeoffs. Kunsan Air Base 2014.Exercise Beverly Midnight.

51st Fighter Wing Mission Video

U.S. F-35A Fighter Jets Arrive In S. Korea For Combat Drills

Korea:As War Becomes More Likely,Large Airpower Drill Gains Importance - plus which other nations are committed to help defend South Korea

In a swirl of rhetorical skirmishing between the US and North Korea,US-South Korea Airpower Exercise Vigilant Ace 18-1 began on 4 December 2017 and concludes on 8 December.About 12,000 US personnel and Republic of Korea Airmen are taking part in a realistic air combat drill with 230 aircraft stationed at eight bases,US Pacific Air Forces said.There will be a decided emphasis on US fifth generation fighters,with 12 US Marine Corps F-35B and six US Air Force F-35A aircraft joined by US Air Force F-22 Raptors.In addition,the stalwart F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-15 Eagle will assist;as well as US Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet fighters;US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II ground attack jets;E/A-18 Growler electronic attack jets;B-1B Lancer bombers;C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft;and ROK F-15K Slam Eagle and F-4 Phantom II fighters as well.*
According to a release from 51st Fighter Wing Commander Colonel William Betts,Osan Air Base,ROK:
My biggest expectation for the Wing is to remove any 'exercise' mindset from the equation and maximize the realism of every response.We will ensure we have no regrets if we find ourselves executing contingency operations.
In the event we need to help defend our 5.1 million Korean allies,I need to be sure the 51st Fighter Wing is synchronized with the Combined Joint-Force.Vigilant Ace is a chance for us to do just that;focus on getting smarter,faster and more capable than we were yesterday while we generate combat airpower and strengthen the alliance.*
Korean locations involved in the drills are:Kunsan,Osan,Jungwan,Gwangju,Wonju,Daegu,Seosan and Cheongju.At these bases,the USAF,US Marine Corps and US Navy will be testing their warfighting skills with the ROK Air Force,focused on the full-spectrum deterrence of,or,if necessary,actual defeating of,the rapidly evolving threats from the North.Units from across US Pacific Command are embedding at these bases to augment their combat forces and ensure VA 18-1 is as true to life as possible,enhancing operational and tactical level coordination,while integrating and practicing combat operations against realistic air and ground threats.The drills will ensure the capability to deter aggression,preserve the armistice,defend the ROK and defeat any attack against the alliance.
North Korea calls VA 18-1:
a ceaseless large-scale war game,creating a situation that a nuclear war could break out at any moment.*
To the mind of US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster,the risk of war from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un:
I think it's increasing every day,which means we are in a race to be able to solve this problem.Every time he conducts a missile launch,a nuclear test,he gets better.He's getting closer and closer,and there's not much time left.*
In the event of war,besides the US and ROK,15 other nations committed to help defend the ROK when the 1953 armistice was signed.Several of them sent contingents to annual wargames on the Korean Peninsula in 2017,including:
Australia,Canada,Columbia,Denmark,France,New Zealand,the Netherlands and the UK.The USAF 7th Air Force says:
This effort will require coordinated and integrated Airpower in a congested and contested battlespace.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Know P-8 Poseidon - Submarine Hunter and Game Changer for Indian and Uni...

Take A Rare Look Inside US Navy P-8A Poseidon Surveillance Aircraft

USS James E. Williams deploys from Naval Station Norfolk

USS JAMES E WILLIAMS transits Bosphorus

Russian Fighter Endangers US Navy Surveillance Plane Over Black Sea - USN destroyer enters the sea

Even as the USS James E Williams (DDG-95),an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer,transited the Bosphorus Strait and entered the Black Sea on 26 November last weekend,a Russian Su-30 fighter jet endangered a US Navy P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance Aircraft flying over the Black Sea by its unprofessional antics,the Pentagon said.The P-8A was flying in international airspace when the Su-30 crossed in front of it from right to left with afterburners flaring.The resultant jet wash caused the Poseidon to roll 15 degrees and experience violent turbulence,Pentagon spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told CNN.The Poseidon had its transponder on,but the Su-30 came within 50 ft. of the P-8A.The entire incident lasted about 24 minutes.*
The USS James E Williams was seen and filmed transiting the Bosphorus by ship spotter hobbyists.It is expected to make a port call at Odessa,Ukraine,a Navy spokesperson told USNI News.*
The US Navy periodically sends warships into the Black Sea to establish NATO presence and reassure NATO Allies along the sea such as Romania and Bulgaria.Under international law,they are allowed to stay for a period of up to 21 days.*
The Poseidon may be armed with cruise missiles,naval mines and torpedoes.The James E Williams is armed with a full suite of missiles,torpedoes and guns and can embark two SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Interview: Top U.S. Army Commander In Afghanistan Discusses New South As...

USAF F-16 Fighting Falcons Deploy • 77th Fighter Squadron - night launch to SW Asia,21 October 2017

B-52 Bomber On A Combat Mission • Afghanistan (2017) - 19 November

Family Portrait - Meetings of NATO Ministers of Defense,November 2017

NATO's Allied Spirit VII:Close Quarters Combat Drills in Northern Europe - plus Nuclear Planning Group meets

A three week-long NATO infantry exercise is drawing to a conclusion at US Army Europe's Hohenfels Training Area,Germany.Allied Spirit VII is a 7th Army Training Command-conducted exercise emphasising tactical interoperability and testing secure communications among NATO Allies,7th Army TC said.Running from 30 October to 22 November,some 4,000 troops from 13 countries have taken part in the warfighting drills:the Czech Republic,Denmark,France,Germany,Hungary,Italy,Lithuania,Poland,Portugal,Slovenia,Spain,the UK and the US.Among those units representing the US were the 40th Infantry Division,California Army National Guard;Field Artillery Squadron,2nd Cavalry Regiment;1st Battalion,3rd Aviation Regiment with Apache AH-64D Longbows.*
Italian soldiers of the 24th Field Artillery Regiment calibrated and camouflaged their FH 70 155mm Field Howitzers.*
The allied armies were integrated into a single multinational brigade under a Lithuanian headquarters command.Initial activities included IED awareness training;medical training;route clearance;and chemical,biological,radiological and nuclear defence.*
According to Lieutenant Colonel Jez Lamb,British Army 1st Battalion,Royal Regiment,Fusiliers,who were participating in their first Allied Spirit exercise:
It was totally different from what we normally do,because most of our training is conducted in Canada on wide-open prairies.But here,maximum ranges are about 50 meters,so it's very close.We can't form nice open formations,so the whole thing is totally different.*
Once the Allies had studied the terrain,the multinational brigade moved into a combat scenario versus simulated enemy forces.Skills were integrated to conduct recons;dismounts;attacks;and defensive operations as an interoperable warfighting force.
Note:At the recent Defence Ministerial in Brussels,NATO's Nuclear Planning Group,consisting of all Alliance members except France,which doesn't wish to belong to the Group,and chaired by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg,met to discuss the Alliance's nuclear forces and policies.Topics typically include the safety and survivability of nuclear weapons,communications and information systems,as well as deployment issues,NATO says.The Alliance's nuclear policy is kept under review and decisions are taken jointly to modify or adapt it in light of new developments,and to update and adjust planning and consultation procedures.
It is known that,at this Defence Ministerial,the US informed the Alliance that Russia is in violation of its Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty obligations.This could ultimately result in a decision involving a change in the Alliance's own nuclear posture.*

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

NATO Anti-Aircraft Missile Live-Fire • Artemis Strike - German and US troops,NATO Missile Firing Installation - Chania,Greece

Hellenic Air Force | HAF| Πολεμική Αεροπορία | NATO #1 Skill | By Nemesis HD

B61-12 Guided Standoff Nuclear Bomb • Test Drop

B-1 Bombers & F-18s Low-level Flyover – 3-Carrier US/Japan/Korea JOINT S...

USS Nimitz View Of Carriers Closing In On North Korea

Rarest of the Breed:Massive Maritime Display by US,South Korea and Japan

The US Navy's 7th Fleet has been holding an extremely rare three-carrier strike group exercise with allies Japan and South Korea off the East Coast of South Korea in the Sea of Japan.It has been 10 years since three US carriers exercised simultaneously in the Western Pacific.Taking part in the drills from the US were the USS Nimitz (CVN-68);USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71);and the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76),plus their respective battle groups of guided missile cruisers,guided missile destroyers and nuclear attack submarines.The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force contributed a helicopter carrier and two destroyers;while South Korea sent seven warships to the exercise running from 10-14 November 2017.*
According to US 7th Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift:
It is a rare opportunity to train with two aircraft carriers together;and even rarer to to be able to train with three.Multiple carrier strike force operations are very complex,and this exercise in the Western Pacific is a strong testament to the US Pacific Fleet's unique ability and ironclad commitment to the continued security and stability of the region.*
The exercise has included air defence drills;sea surveillance;replenishments at sea;defensive air combat training;close-in coordinated manoeuvres;and other training,the 7th Fleet said.The drills demonstrate the Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a coordinated strike effort.Embarked on the carriers were 12 strike fighter squadrons of F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets and two squadrons of F/A-18C Hornets,all of which are capable of carrying the B61 nuclear weapon.*
In response,North Korea's ambassador to the UN,Ja Song Nam,wrote a letter excoriating the exercise to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.Mr.Ja noted the round-the-clock sorties by US B-52H strategic bombers that are reminiscent of the Cold War and the surprise strike posture with frequent flights of the B-1B and B-2 formations to the airspace of South Korea:
The large scale nuclear war exercises and blackmails,which the US staged for a whole year without break in collaboration with its followers to stifle our republic,make one conclude that the option we have taken was the right one and we should go along the way to the last.The US is now running amok for war exercises by introducing nuclear war equipment in and around the Korean peninsula.*
Perhaps the highlight of the drills was the low overflight of a pair of US Air Force B-1B Lancer strategic bombers over the armada of allied warships in the Sea of Japan,escorted by Hornet fighter jets.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NATO Secretary General Pre-Ministerial Press Conference, 07 NOV 2017, Pa...

NATO Secretary General Pre-Ministerial Press Conference, 07 NOV 2017, Pa...

Pentagon Responds to Query From Congressmen on a Korean War II - airstrikes not enough

On 27 October 2017,Rear Admiral Michael J. Dumont,US Navy,responded to a letter from Representatives Ted Lieu (D-California) and Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona),who asked the Department of Defense to scope out a possible armed conflict with North Korea for them.They were particularly interested in the expected casualty assessment and the prevention of North Korean retaliation.
RADM Dumont replied that:
We have not seen any change in the offensive posture of North Korea's forces,something we watch very carefully.We remain postured to respond in the event of a provocation or conflict,and we have taken all appropriate measures to protect our Allies,the ROK and Japan,and US Forces in those countries.As military professionals,we prepare for all contingencies and continually review our posture and coalition efforts to deter and respond,if necessary,using the full range of military capabilities.*
Calculating even the roughest "best-or worst-case casualty estimates " for any conventional or nuclear attack is challenging.We continually evaluate what actions North Korea might take,and its capability to attack the ROK,Japan or Guam,and in particular Seoul,with long-range artillery,rockets,and ballistic missiles.In addition to being the capital and the ROK's most densely populated city,Seoul is also just 35 miles from the demilitarized zone.Given Seoul's vulnerability,casualty estimates will vary significantly depending upon the nature,intensity,and duration of a North Korean attack.
Further complicating casualty estimates,is the ability of our ROK-US Alliance Forces to respond to a North Korean attack with counter-battery fire and coalition airstrikes,missions for which we train constantly.We can help mitigate the number of casualties and reduce the duration of  a North Korean attack by maintaining the readiness of our forces and our ability to respond rapidly and decisively.*
The only way to "locate and destroy-with complete certainty-all components of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs" is through a ground invasion.A classified briefing is the best venue for a detailed discussion of our capabilities to counter North Korea's ability to respond and to eliminate North Korea's nuclear weapons located in deeply buried,underground facilities.We would be happy to join the Intelligence Community to address these issues in a classified briefing,RADM Dumont offered.*
President Donald Trump is currently traveling through East Asia to meet with South Korean and Japanese leaders,as well as President Xi Jinping of China,on the North Korea crisis.

Mattis to Visit Europe for NATO, Northern Group Meetings

Mattis to Visit Europe for NATO, Northern Group Meetings: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will make a five-day trip to reaffirm key partnerships and alliances in Europe, and his engagements will begin at a Northern Group meeting, a multilateral forum of 12

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Linkin Park Castle Of Glass

160th SOAR Night Stalkers "Death Waits in the Dark" - Note:loud music

Night Stalkers // 160th SOAR | U.S. Army Special Operations Force

Decorated Special Operations Pilot Killed in Afghan War Crash

On 27 October 2017,US Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jacob Michael Sims,36,of Juneau,Alaska,was killed and six other crewmembers injured when the UH-60 Blackhawk they were flying in crashed late Friday in Logar Province,Afghanistan,while on a mission in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel,US Special Operations Command said.The Soldiers were on a night raid in Kharwar district when,having transported troops there,they hit a tree and had to make an emergency landing,according to a provincial official.The Taliban Islamist extremists claimed responsibility for the incident,which is under investigation.NATO denied that enemy fire brought the helicopter down.*
CWO2 Sims was an 18-year veteran of the Army,having been deployed several times to both Iraq and Afghanistan,as well as Kosovo.He had been a Night Stalker,or special operations aviator,since 2014.Besides the UH-60,he was also rated to fly the CH-47 Chinook and its special operations version,the MH-476.Volunteering for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne),Alpha Company,4th Battalion,out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord,Washington state,he became an MH-476 pilot-in-command and a company aviation safety officer.*
Among CWO2 Sims' awards were:
Air Medal with Combat Device;Army Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters;Army Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters;Meritorious Unit Award with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters;Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Campaign Star;Iraqi Campaign Medal with 2 Bronze Campaign Stars;NATO Medal (3rd Award);Air Assault Badge;and Combat Action Badge.*
Colonel Philip Ryan,commander 160th SOAR (A),said that:
Jacob lived by a creed that few understand and even fewer embody.He will not be forgotten and his legacy will endure through his family,friends and fellow Night Stalkers.*
Operation Freedom's Sentinel is the US military's mission in Afghanistan,including train,advise and assist,as well as counterterror operations,conducted in coordination with the overall NATO Resolute Support Mission.More troops and equipment have been en route to the country on President Donald Trump's orders.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How Neil Armstrong Cheated Death Multiple times Before Apollo

A Bird's-eye View: SLS Core Stage Engine Section Loaded onto the Barge P...

Orion Program Update-what are they working on and when will it launch?

As far as NASA and partner ESA are concerned,it's full speed ahead for the Orion Program-not just for test flight Exploration Mission-1,but even for EM-2,the first crewed mission of Orion.The Orion Crew Module is currently being processed for EM-1,the first integrated mission of Orion and the new Space Launch System rocket,the most powerful rocket ever built.The capsule has been in the clean room of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center,Florida,where critical systems such as propellant lines,Environmental Control and life support systems are being installed.In the building's high bay,a number of test stands,processing bays and other hardware have been laid out.Several Orion components such as Thermal Protection Panels are in various stages of processing there,NASA said.
The Orion Crew Module will be launched from Pad 39B in 2019 on EM-1.A three-week flight will take it some 40,000 miles beyond the Moon into cislunar space,the farthest a human-rated spacecraft has ever flown.After a fiery re-entry,it will splash down in the Pacific.*
Meanwhile,in Europe the European Space Agency Orion Service Module is being processed for EM-1 and will be shipped to KSC in 2018.Additionally,the second ESA OSM,for EM-2,is being constructed by ESA contractor Thales Alenia in Turin,Italy.The ESA OSMs provide power,propulsion,cooling,water and oxygen to the Crew Module.*
The purpose of the Exploration Missions is to build and test the systems needed for the challenging deep space missions to the Mars system and beyond in the 2030s,in concert with NASA's domestic and international partners.The vision taking shape involves constructing the Deep Space Gateway,a small space station that will facilitate further crewed and robotic cislunar missions on the way to Mars.There may be about five crewed lunar landing missions in the 2020s as well as robotic counterparts,evaluating commercial prospects on the Moon as well as increasing the scientific knowledge base about our only natural satellite,while preparing for longer duration space flight more independent of Earth.*
The other major component of Orion,the Space Launch System,has been making similar progress.According to John Honeycutt,SLS Program Manager at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,Alabama:
This year,the SLS team has constructed major parts of the rocket,such as the in-space stage,which is already at NASA's KSC in Florida;the four RS-25 engines;core stage structures;and solid rocket booster segments.The rocket is happening now.The SLS has made great progress and has an exciting year ahead as NASA conducts critical structure tests at Marshall,assembles the core stage and the RS-25 engines at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility,New Orleans,and delivers more hardware to the launch pad at Kennedy.                              

5 October 2017 - Vice President Pence Calls for Human Missions to Moon, Mars at National ...

Remembering Astronaut Paul Weitz - Skylab,Space Shuttle Astronaut Captain Paul Weitz,US Navy (Retired) - photo

Remembering Astronaut Paul Weitz

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Η Παναγία Χοζοβιώτισσα με πολεμικό πλοίο στην Αθήνα - The Hellenic Navy transported a famous icon,the Panagia Chozoviotissa,from Amorgos to Athens

NATO Nuclear Drills:Tornado, 44-23, German Air Force; Departure Steadfast Noon 2012

NATO Nuclear Drills:Steadfast Noon 2012; Kleine Brogel,Belgium; Tornado +F16 Departures

NATO Nuclear Drills:Volkel,Netherlands 27-9-2011; Steadfast Noon 2011; PART 1/3 ; Departure

NATO's Steadfast Noon 17:Nuclear Deterrence in the Heart of Europe

On 16 October 2017,NATO commenced its annual nuclear deterrence exercise,Steadfast Noon 17.The drill is perhaps the most cryptic of the NATO exercises,its details held very close to the vest.Revolving around a fictitious scenario,it is being lumped in with the biennial Exercise Formidable Shield 17 this year,an exercise focused on missile and air defence.FS 17 ends on 18 October,so perhaps Steadfast Noon will as well.
Typically SN involves launching and recovering a number of nuclear-capable fighters,such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the PA200 Tornado.There may also be support aircraft code-named SNOWCAT in the drill.*
Partcipating in Formidable Shield 17 are Canada,France,Germany,the Netherlands,the US and the UK.Poland has participated in Steadfast Noon since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014,and since it is being held in Belgium and Germany this year,those two Allies will certainly be participating.It has rarely been filmed,but I did locate some quality videos of the 2011 and 2012 drills by airplane enthusiast MrSoeberg.*
The US stores between 150-180 B61 nuclear bombs at six air bases in five European countries,the Congressional Research Service revealed.Among them is Belgium's Kleine Brogel Air Base.Belgium is intent on keeping the powerful weapons on its soil,where it has a nuclear dual key arrangement with the US.This may incline Belgium to select the F-35 Lightning II for the upcoming modernisation of its fighter jet fleet.*
German and Italian  IDS PA200 Tornados are capable of deploying the B61.Other aircraft known to be capable of handling this bunker buster,tactical nuclear weapon are:
B-52 Stratofortress;B-2 Spirit;F-16 Fighting Falcon;F/A-18 Hornet/Super Hornet;F-22 Raptor;F-35 Lightning II;F-15E Strike Eagle.NATO is modernising its stockpile to the more accurate B61 Mod 12,which is a standoff weapon.The current Mod 11 is an unguided gravity weapon with a yield that varies from 0.3 to 340 kilotons.*
The following Allies have been assigned NATO nuclear strike missions:Belgium;Germany;Italy;the Netherlands;possibly Turkey;and the US.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

USAF F-22 Raptors Arrive In The United Kingdom - RAF Lakenheath - NATO deployment 8 October 2017

(Volume Warning :) McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II Plus - Spanish Navy


NATO's Brilliant Mariner 17:Certifying France for Leadership at Sea

Brilliant Mariner 17 is a NATO non-Article V Crisis Response Operations exercise aimed at certifying France's Aero-Naval Rapid Reaction Force (FRMARFOR) for command of the NATO Response Force (NRF) Maritime Component in 2018.France will assume command on 1 January 2018 and serve in that capacity for one year.The drills are running from 29 September-13 October 2017.Participating are 3500 personnel,27 warships,two maritime patrol aircraft,and amphibious assets from twelve nations,including:
Canada;Denmark;France;Germany;Greece;Italy;the Netherlands;Norway;Portugal;Spain;Turkey;and the UK.*
The NRF is a highly ready and technologically advanced multinational force comprised of land,air,maritime and Special Operations Forces components that can deploy quickly wherever needed to strengthen the Alliance's deterrence and defensive posture,and project stability beyond the Alliance's borders,NATO said.*
Brilliant Mariner 17 is an opportunity for France to exercise command and control at the NRF MCC level.The participating units and crews will evaluate readiness and validate capabilities by operating in a demanding and challenging environment,enhancing collaboration and improving interoperability.*
Brilliant Mariner 17 is headquartered at the French Toulon Naval Base on the Mediterranean.Among the drills conducted so far were:
1.The Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond conducted a live firing gunnery exercise (GUNEX) with its 4.5 inch gun at sunrise along with French frigate FS La Fayette;
2.A Maritime Tactical Operations Group (MTOG) from the Canadian Forces conducted small arms training aboard the frigate HMCS Charlottetown;
3.A Royal Danish Navy boarding party disembarked HMCS Charlottetown into a rigid-hulled inflatable boat;
4.Spanish Navy Marines from the Strategic Projection Ship ESPS Juan Carlos I conducted operations on French Military Facility Camp de Garrigues during an infantry exercise;
5.Royal Navy frigate HMS Enterprise received French Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas,who was transferred by helicopter off the exercise flagship,French amphibious ship (LHD) FS Mistral,and winched to the deck.
6.ESPS Juan Carlos I sent Spanish Navy AV-8B Harrier II Plus jets into night operations.
7.French Army Tigre,NH 90 and Puma helicopters practiced "Touch and Gos" on the flight deck of FS Mistral.
8.Spanish Navy Marines conducted amphibious assault training from FS Mistral,including transport ashore by French catamaran.They were also deployed on land by Spanish Navy Sea King helicopters and a French Army Puma for a projection force helicopter drill.
9.A flotilla of 21 Allied ships sailed in formation in the Mediterranean on 8 October.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences - Avionics - photo

Boeing to Acquire Aurora Flight Sciences - Avionics: Boeing plans to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., the to-be subsidiary said. Although the sale is not yet official, the two parties have signed an agreement. Terms have not been disclosed. “The combined strength and innovation of our teams will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems,” said Greg Hyslop, CTO …

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Aurora 17 – Together Strong in the North - Finnish Defence Forces

NATO to deploy new drones - NATO Secretary General press point at inauguration of Hybrid CoE, 2 OCT ...

Inauguration of Hybrid Threats CoE with NATO Secretary General and EUHR Mogherin...

Dateline Finland:NATO and EU Inaugurate Counter-Hybrid Warfare Centre in Helsinki

On 2 October 2017 in Helsinki,Finland,NATO and the European Union inaugurated their European Centre of Excellence,or CoE,for Countering Hybrid Threats.Eleven nations are contributing to the Centre,including the US.Attending the ceremony were NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg;EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini;Finnish President Sauli Niinisto;and Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila.The Centre aims to better understand modern,complex threats and to strengthen our societies against them.
Meeting with the Finnish leaders,Mr.Stoltenberg praised Finland for its contributions to international security,especially airspace security in the Baltics,and expressed gratitude for Finland's close partnership with NATO.He also emphasised the close cooperation between the EU and NATO:
Our relationship has never been closer.*
NATO and the EU have agreed to 42 measures on the hybrid challenges,cyber defence,and security in the Mediterranean Basin.Both organisations hope to expand cooperation into even more areas later this year.*
Mr.Stoltenberg pointed out to the media that Finland's border with Russia is longer than that of all the NATO Allies and partners combined,so Finland offers NATO and the EU special insight and expertise regarding Russian activities and on relations with its giant neighbour.
Last November,Finnish President Sauli Niinisto became the first Finnish president to visit NATO headquarters in Brussels.Finland contributes to NATO missions and operations in the Balkans,Kosovo,and Afghanistan.They participate in NATO exercises and the NATO Response Force.Mr.Stoltenberg noted that:
This year was the hundredth anniversary of Finland's independence from Russia.And you know better than I,that those hundred years is very much about Finland's relationship to the neighbour to the east,to Russia,in good times and in bad times.*
We use the phrase "hybrid" to cover actually many things,Mr.Stoltenberg explained:normally a kind of mixture of military and non-military means of aggression;a combination of covert and overt operations and measures,everything from propaganda,from disinformation,actually the use of regular forces,from tweets to tanks;sometimes soldiers in uniforms,sometimes soldiers without uniforms;and sometimes something that happens in cyber space and sometimes things that happen at our borders.And this combination of so many different things at the same time with the aim to hide the real intention,that has got the name "hybrid threats."And it's a kind of buzzword I hear everywhere I go now.
We have responded in close cooperation with the EU,responded in close cooperation with countries like Finland:
1.We have improved our situational awareness,established a new division within NATO only working with intelligence:improved situational awareness to be able to foresee and understand what is going on;
2.significantly increased the readiness of our forces,tripling the NATO Response Force to 30,000 troops,including the new VJTF,Very High Readiness Joint Task Force,a brigade that can react in a few days.We have deployed four battle groups to the three Baltic countries and Poland,and also strengthened our presence in the Southeast of the Alliance.If we see small,green men showing up somewhere they should not show up,NATO will be there;
3.the third thing is to increase our resilience in infrastructure,energy security,but in particular cyber.There is no military activity;there is no military conflict without a big cyber dimension.So we have to be able to support and defend our own networks.
And I strongly believe that to have a Centre like this as a hub for sharing information,for sharing experiences,for learning from each other,for organising training,and for also doing some practical work and looking into how we can address specific hybrid threats,will be of great advantage both for the EU,for NATO,and of course for all our member states,including Finland,NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg concluded.*
Even on the plane out of Helsinki,Mr.Stoltenberg and Ms.Mogherini were photographed continuing their dialogue.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

NATO and Afghanistan:Mattis and Stoltenberg Discuss the New Strategy - a compelling advantage

On 27 September,NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held talks with Afghan leaders in Kabul,including President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Dr.Abdullah Abdullah of the National Unity Government.*
At a press conference after the discussions,Mr.Mattis and Mr.Stoltenberg gave a frank briefing on the new approach.
Mr.Stoltenberg:NATO doesn't quit when the going gets tough.That is why I much welcome that many nations have pledged further contributions to our mission here in Afghanistan,including more troops from the US.And I welcome President Trump's new,conditions-based approach to Afghanistan and the region.NATO is committed to funding the Afghan security forces until at least 2020,and we will continue to provide almost a billion each year to the Afghan defence and security forces.
At our defence ministerial in June,we actually decided to increase our NATO troop levels in Afghanistan,and several Allies have already started to step up to their pledges to send more troops.So they are sending more troops because it is in their interest to have a more stable Afghanistan.*
Mr.Mattis:We will not abandon Afghanistan to a merciless enemy trying to kill its way to power.
This new strategy is conditions-based,and not time-based,because war is principally a matter of will,and we've made clear that we have the will to stand together.
Through our partnership,we will suffocate any hope that al-Qaida,or ISIS-Daesh,Haqqani or the Taliban have of winning by killing.
We are up against an enemy right now that intentionally fights among innocent people;that intentionally hides behind women and children;that intentionally tries to draw fire on the innocent,and we do everything humanly protect the innocent on the battlefield.We're not the perfect guys;but we are the good guys.
We are bringing in reinforcements,and those reinforcements are designed to add more advisors to your units in the field,and more trainers in your military schools.We are going to give them more advantage to the NATO access,and advantage to the NATO air forces overhead,to make sure that at no time does the Taliban own the high ground.We will always own the high ground.
I prefer to not go into the specific numbers right now.We are bringing more Americans in;there are more coalition forces coming in.I don't want to tell the enemy exactly what we're doing,but the whole point is to make certain that we have a compelling battlefield advantage over anything the Taliban tries to mass against your forces.We are not going to stand for that.
There's an increasing collusion.There's increasing teamwork among the various terrorist bands,and I will just tell you that this simply gives more impetus to those of us who are against terrorism to work together,Secretary Mattis told the reporters gathered in Kabul.*
Among others attending the talks were General John Nicholson,US Army,NATO Resolute Support Mission and Operation Freedom's Sentinel commander;Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison,US Ambassador to NATO;and Afghan national security officials.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Swedish & Finnish Troops Team With U.S. Marines • Aurora 17

Former CIA operative talks Korea and ISIS' foothold in Afghanistan

CIA Special Activities Division - Special Operations Group | SAD SOG

CIA Paramilitary Officers Acknowledged in Death - some of the nation's most secret,heroic and highly trained warriors

Following their long-delayed burial this summer at Arlington National Cemetery,the identities and partial biographies of two CIA Paramilitary Officers,members of the Agency's Directorate of Operations,specifically the Special Activities Division/Special Operations Group,or SAD/SOG,were revealed by The New York Times on 6 September 2017.Any substantive information about the unit is a very rare find,so those who die in this form of heroism do so largely in obscurity-part of the deal they signed onto.
Even the medals these commandos receive are themselves classified and may not be taken home.*
They were Brian Ray Hoke (1974-2016) and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre (1968-2016).The paramilitaries were killed in a firefight while mounting an assault  in Jalalabad,Afghanistan on a compound of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - Khorasan militants on 21 October 2016.Mr.Hoke was a US Naval Academy graduate and former Navy SEAL;Mr.Delemarre was a veteran of the US Marine Corps Reserves,in which he was a radio operator,and a commissioned officer in the US Naval Reserves at the time of his death.Both men were married and had children.In May 2017,they received stars on the memorial wall at CIA Headquarters in Langley,Virginia,bringing the total number of CIA Afghan War deaths to 18.Another star added at that time was in memory of George A. Whitney,38,also killed in Jalalabad-but in December 2016.Mr.Whitney had served in the Third Marine Reconnaissance Battalion in Anbar Province,Iraq.*
The SAD/SOG is thought to number in the low hundreds.It is used for highly dangerous paramilitary or covert operations the US Government wants deniability for.These operatives have been awarded most of the stars on the CIA memorial wall,as well as a large number of the Distinguished Intelligence Crosses and Intelligence Star medals for distinguished valour and excellence in the national service.
Besides paramilitary operations,the tactical personnel may carry out covert political action in hostile and austere environments.Unlike the Pentagon's Special Operations Forces,the SAD/SOG is tasked directly by the President or National Security Council on his behalf.It is highly regarded by the combatant commanders and often linked with the US military's Special Operations Forces and indigenous commandos on sensitive missions.
Another unique characteristic of the SAD/SOG members is that they combine unconventional warfare expertise with clandestine intelligence operations skills,being fully qualified to recruit and run foreign agents as well as conduct direct action raids and sabotage,counterterrorism and hostage rescue missions in any environment,with little to no support.*
Indeed,the SAD/SOG is a self-contained,combined arms paramilitary service within the CIA.It has four branches,including an Air Branch;Maritime Branch;Ground Branch;and Armor and Special Projects Branch for heavier and more esoteric equipment.Training is centered at the nearly 9,000 acres of the US Navy's Camp Peary near the historic enclave of Williamsburg,Virginia.Most of the tract is a natural area famed for its hunting;but,besides academic buildings,it additionally includes an air strip and a boat facility.
One surreptitious photo shows that a cargo drop practice went wrong and the cargo got stuck in a tree.*
The Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency trains its agents at Camp Peary as well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Russian military drills stir NATO unease - France 24

U.S. Dagger Brigade is heading to Europe - NATO

U-2S - 80-1083 Quid 09 - Back After Sortie - RAF Fairford 07/09/17

U-2S: Unparalleled High Altitude Reconnaissance

Värdlandsstöd och operativa transporter under Aurora 17

USAF F-15 Eagles In Lithuania • NATO Baltic Air Policing

As Exercise Aurora Unfolds,Details from Zapad 17 Emerge - little green men,U-2S Dragon Lady and Swedish SIGINT

Adrenaline is running high in Europe as multiple crucial exercises are underway on both sides of the geopolitical divide.
On 19 September,Exercise Aurora 17 began in Sweden.It is the largest Swedish national exercise in more than twenty years,US European Command said.Augmenting the more than 19,000 Swedish personnel,the US has sent about 1300 Soldiers,Marines and Sailors,and France has contributed air defence forces.
US European Command commander and Supreme Allied Commander Europe,General Curtis M. Scaparrotti,US Army,stated that:
The interoperability and cooperation of Sweden and the US remains vital.*
Aurora 17 is running from 19-27 September.The drills will occur in Malardalen,Stockholm,Gotland and Gothenberg,Sweden.US Forces participating include:
from the US Army:US Army10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command;12th Combat Aviation Brigade;2nd Cavalry Regiment;194th Armored Regiment,Minnesota Army National Guard;134th Infantry Regiment,Nebraska Army National Guard;149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade,Kentucky Army National Guard;
from the US Marine Corps:Marine Rotational Force Europe 17.2;
from the US Navy:Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79);and a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron 16.*
The forces will train in both defensive and offensive operations;simulated airborne operations;simulated amphibious assault;as well as area security and unit level tactics.*
Meanwhile,sources in theatre,particularly the Finns,have been sharing their observations of Russian/Belorussian Exercise Zapad 17,giving the ambience of Zapad and the response to it:
1.On 16 September,so called "little green men" in unmarked camouflage fatigues appeared on the border with Lithuania,the Swedish publication Cornucopia reported.One photo showed five LGM in a field with balaclavas and kalashnikov rifles;and a second photo shows two LGM,one of whom has removed his balaclava.They are reportedly hybrid warriors,Don Cossack paramilitaries,some of whom were also noted to be active in annexed Crimea and the beseiged Donbas region in Ukraine.*
2.According to another source,a US Air Force U-2S Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft departed RAF Fairford,England,at 0655 hours on a Baltic mission on 17 September.
3.On 14 September,the Russian 6th Tank Brigade that had seen heavy fighting in Ukraine in 2014 joined Zapad 17 drills.
4.On 17 September,strategic places in Severodvinsk were masked by aerosol fogging in the framework of Zapad 17.
5.On 18 September,land units of the Russian Baltic Fleet carried out firing in the framework of Zapad 17;while a shipborne strike group of the Russian Northern Fleet supported artillery forces of the Russian Marines.
6.On 17 September,a Swedish SIGINT plane was sent on a mission outside the Russian outpost of Kaliningrad.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Russia: Russian Airborne Forces kick-off large scale drills in Crimea - 21 March 2017

Iran Threatens to Destroy 'Rabid' US Aircraft

The Daily Vertical: Don't Fear The Zapad

Protest Held In Minsk,Belarus Against Russia-Led War Games

What should NATO do about Russian disinformation?

Zapad 2017: What You Need to Know About Russia’s Big Wargame on NATO’s D...

Lithuania Reacts to Massive Russian Exercise - has it already begun?

Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskite has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal as reacting to the Russian military exercise Zapad 17,officially slated to begin on 14 September:
We see a very,very large scale offensive exercise that demonstrates hatred against the West.It is clear that this will be used to upgrade the military in the region,to upgrade the modernisation of the Army.
In reality,the Zapad exercises are already ongoing.It's not just military exercises,but information operations,propaganda and other follow-ups.*
This view was seconded by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius:
Unconventional warfare is already happening as we speak.*
President Grybauskite believes that Russia is trying to undermine the Baltic governments with disinformation campaigns.Indeed,Moscow has specialised troops dedicated to information warfare.*
Western analysts note the large number of flatbed rail cars that have been requisitioned by Russian forces.It's more than is needed for a mere 12,700 troops,the official number of Zapad 17 participants.Up to 100,000 personnel could be involved in Zapad and interlinked exercises,which in fact began in August,according to NATO sources.Russia has already admitted that drills took place from 11-12 September 2017.On Monday,its Baltic Fleet practiced with S-300 and S-400 air defence systems and Su-24 bombers;while on Tuesday,Russia held snap readiness drills along its Western border.It additionally held exercises with Mongolia in August and in annexed Crimea in March 2017.
As an exclamation mark,Russia also successfully test-launched its Yar ICBM to a target in the Far East on 12 September. *
A Russian Soldier revealed that his division alone was sending 10,000 troops to Zapad 17.Every four years,the major exercise is held in the Western Strategic Direction,which extends from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea.This event shows where Russia perceives the front line is;where they want to be strategically postured against NATO.*
Zapad 17 is also occurring as intensive attacks by Russian-backed militants against the Donbas Region in Eastern Ukraine have multiplied in recent weeks in total disregard of the Minsk agreement.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Update:Moldovan Troops Arrive in Ukraine

Moldova has sent the troops to Ukraine it had planned to contribute for Exercise Rapid Trident 17,despite Moldovan pro-Russian President Igor Dodon's objections.Moldova's Prime Minister Pavel Filip dismissed Mr.Dodon's prohibition as invalid.The forces arrived on time for the beginning of the exercise on 8 September 2017.*
The first phase of the two-week drills is the tactical air exercise,which got underway as scheduled.RT 17 is centered on the International Peacekeeping Centre in Yavoriv,Western Ukraine.Moldova has participated in every iteration of the drills to date.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Army of Ukraine 2017 • Армія України 2017

U.S. Army Europe Command Video

Ukraine to Host Exercise Rapid Trident 17 - Moldova pulls out

US Army Europe has announced that Rapid Trident 17 will be hosted by Ukraine from 8-23 September at the International Peacekeeping Security Centre near Yavoriv,Ukraine,which is close to the city of Lviv and the Polish border in Western Ukraine.About 1800 personnel from 13 nations will participate:Bulgaria,Canada,Estonia,Georgia,Italy,Lithuania,Norway,Poland,Romania,Turkey,Ukraine,the UK and the US.The purpose of the drills is to support combined interoperability among Ukraine,the US,allied and partner nations.NATO partner Moldova withdrew from this year's exercise at the last minute by order of Moldovan President Igor Dodon,who is known to be pro-Russian in his sympathies.*
President Dodon,whose role is mainly symbolic,favours a strategic partnership with Russia;while the Moldovan Government is pro-Europe.Mr.Dodon is also opposed to NATO opening a liaison office in the Moldovan capital Chisinau.The Moldovan Minister of Defence was planning to send 57 troops to RT 17.*
RT 17 will focus on peacekeeping and stability operations to ensure a safe and secure environment,USAREUR said.It will consist of:
1.a multinational,brigade-level,computer-assisted command post exercise
2.integrated with a battalion-level field training exercise;
3.and a platoon-level situational training exercise.
4.There will also be integrated air and ground training near Starokonstantinov,Ukraine,with a focus on aeromedical evacuation;tactical airlift/air drop;logistics planning;and equipment preparation.*
Russian exercise Zapad 17 will coincide with RT 17,running from 16-20 September.Moscow keeps about 2,000 troops in the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdniestria,to the disapproval of the Moldovan Government.
In 1992,Russian troops backed the separatists in Transdniestria,who proclaimed their independence from Moldova.No other country has recognised their independence.*
Moldova is located between Romania and Ukraine.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dream Chaser Rolls Through Tow Tests at NASA Armstrong - new video - Commercial Crew Program

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber

US Nuclear Forces Upgrade Momentum - deep strike war plans

The US Air Force has gotten its nuclear forces modernisation plan seriously underway by awarding several preliminary design contracts to leading aerospace firms.On 22 April 2017,the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent contract was awarded to Boeing and Northrop Grumman.This is for the replacement of the silo-based Minuteman III ICBM and is under the heading of "technology maturation and risk-reduction."The contracts run for three years,at the end of which the winner will be chosen.Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne are potential subcontractors for the GBSD's solid fuel rocket engines.*
On 23 April 2017,the preliminary contracts for the AGM-86B nuclear cruise missile replacement,which is termed the Long Range Standoff weapon,or LRSO,were awarded to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.This is under the heading of "maturing design concepts and proving developmental technologies."Each company got a 900 million dollar contract running for 54 months.At the end of the period,the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will select one firm for the Engineering,Manufacturing Development and Production and Deployment phases of the project,the USAF said.*
The current nuclear cruise missile,the AGM-86B,dates from the early 1980s,when it was projected to have a 10-year design life.The Air Force believes the missile will continue to face increasingly significant operational challenges against emerging threats as well as reliability challenges.
Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein noted that:
The Long Range Standoff weapon is a critical capability required to support General John Hyten's war plans.*
General John Hyten is commander,US Strategic Command.*
General Robin Rand,commander,Air Force Global Strike Command,told the House Armed Services Committee that:
The LRSO missile will ensure the bomber force continues to hold high-value targets at risk in an evolving threat environment,including targets deep within an area-denied environment.*
Besides the B-2 Spirit and B-52H Stratofortress legacy strategic bombers,the LRSO will be fitted to the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider,a very large stealth strategic bomber capable of both conventional and nuclear strike that is currently in development.Indeed,the Air Force has already begun planning for an appropriate stealth fighter escort for the B-21.The new fighter is known as the Penetrating Counter-Air,or PCA,and will accompany the B-21 deep into hostile territory.That's all that is known about it as of now.*
Besides its bomber role,the B-21 Raider will reportedly have intelligence gathering,battle management and interceptor capabilities-a bravura suite of competencies for sure.The B-21's subcontractors include BAE Systems;Rockwell Collins;and Orbital ATK.*
Nor is that all.The Air Force is also planning a stealth refueling tanker,the KC-Z.*
Boeing (BA),Northrop Grumman (NOC),Lockheed Martin (LMT),Raytheon Company (RTN)

Friday, August 25, 2017

Why Are Navy Ships Colliding in the Pacific? Experts Weigh In

Why Are Navy Ships Colliding in the Pacific? Experts Weigh In: U.S. Navy leaders are scrambling after two destroyers collided with other ships in the Pacific within months of each other.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Afghan War Plan Unveiled - what to expect now

On 21 August 2017,President Donald Trump addressed the nation and the troops,who were represented by Soldiers at Fort Myer in Arlington,Virginia,to reveal his plan of action for the Afghan War.This strategy was long-awaited and finally delivered over a month later than promised.The President was very painstaking as he sorted through the frustrating issues,repeatedly asking questions about the options submitted to him by the Pentagon.In the end,having met with his national security team at Camp David,the presidential retreat in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains,he elected to follow a more forceful approach than his predecessor,Barack Obama.*
Based on his remarks and those of knowledgeable sources,we may soon observe:
1.More intense air strikes,counterterror raids and more flexible rules of engagement;
2.More NATO and partner contributions;
3.Up to 5,000 more permanent US troops,plus possible temporary deployments;
4.More pressure on Pakistan to robustly eradicate terrorist camps on its territory;
5.No pre-set time limits,but conditions-based decisions on strategy instead.
Consider some of the President's statements from the address,which was praised by leading critic Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
Today,20 US-designated foreign terrorist organisations are active in Afghanistan and Pakistan,the highest concentration in any region anywhere in the world.For its part,Pakistan often gives safe haven to agents of chaos,violence and terror.
Working alongside our allies,we will break their will;dry up their recruitment;keep them from crossing our borders;and,yes,we will defeat them,and we will defeat them handily.
We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.Conditions on the ground,not arbitrary timetables,will guide our strategy from now on.America's enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out.
I have already lifted restrictions the previous administration placed on our warfighters that prevented the Secretary of Defense and our commanders in the field from fully and swiftly waging battle against the enemy.Micromanagement from Washington,DC does not win battles.They're won in the field,drawing upon the judgement and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline Soldiers,acting in real-time and with real authority,and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy.
From now on,victory will have a clear definition:Attacking our enemies;obliterating ISIS (another word for ISIL);crushing al-Qaida;preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan;and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge.

Friday, August 18, 2017

NATO Special Forces • "Don't Get In My Way"

Update:Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Identified - Special Forces member

US Forces Afghanistan in Kabul has released the identity of the fallen US Soldier killed in action against ISIL-K on 16 August 2017 in Achin district of Nangarhar Province Afghanistan:
Staff Sergeant Aaron Rhett Butler,27,of Monticello,Utah.
SSGT Butler was a Special Forces engineer with the 19th Special Forces Group of the Utah Army National Guard out of Salt Lake City.Sixteen other US service members were wounded in the raid.Fourteen of them were treated and released and the other two remain under hospital care.*
SSGT Butler was reportedly clearing a building with his unit when an IED exploded.The Soldiers were on a partnered operation with the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan.
General John Nicholson,Commander of all US and NATO Forces in Afghanistan,said that,despite the latest causalties,they were determined to continue the struggle against ISIL-K.*
On 17 August,General Mark Milley,Chief of Staff US Army,arrived in Kabul for meetings with Afghan defence officials.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan - counterterror operation

An American Soldier was killed and about seven others wounded in a clash with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan militants on 16 August 2017,US Forces Afghanistan in Kabul and the Utah National Guard said.The battle took place in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,a longtime stronghold of the Islamist extremists.All of the Americans were members of the Utah National Guard serving in a partnered operation with the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
General John Nicholson,US Army,Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan,said he wants to eradicate ISIL-K from Afghanistan by the end of the year.Eleven Americans have died in the Afghan War so far this year,already exceeding the death toll of ten for all of 2016.*
On Friday,US President Donald Trump is reportedly to hold a meeting about Afghanistan with his National Security Council at the presidential retreat,Camp David,Maryland.A Trump decision on strategy for the war is regarded as being past due on Capitol Hill.The Pentagon favours sending up to 4,000  US troops back to Afghanistan,a partial reversal of the 2014 widescale withdrawal.There are currently about 8400 permanently assigned US service members there.*
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the three key areas are Special Operations Forces,air power and better command and control by the ANDSF.It isn't going to be easy and nonviolent in Afghanistan this year or even next year.
NATO Allies  may be approached by the US for additional troop contributions once a strategy is set.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Iraq Update:Fallen Soldiers Identified - Iraq Campaign continues

The Pentagon has released the names of the two US troops who died in Northern Iraq on 13 August 2017 while supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.Both were with the 2nd Battalion,319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment,2nd Brigade Combat Team,82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Hood,Texas:
Sergeant Roshain Euvince Brooks,30,of Brooklyn,New York and Sergeant Allen Levi Stigler Jr. of Arlington,Texas.
SGT Brooks joined the Army in July 2012.He was deployed to Afghanistan from June-November 2014.
SGT Stigler joined the Army in November 2013.He was on his first deployment.*
According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning,US Army,an Army artillery section was conducting a counterfire mission against an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant mortar site at the time of the incident.An investigation is ongoing.
To the west of Mosul,the 9th and 15th Iraqi Army Divisions maintain defensive positions on the west forward line of troops near Tal Afar,and the coalition continues to support the Iraqis as they reset and prepare for follow-on operations in the Western Nineveh Province,COL Manning added.*
The Iraqi Security Forces said the Soldiers died when a shell exploded in a cannon they were inspecting.

Monday, August 14, 2017

USAF Refuels French Mirage 2000 Fighter Jets Over Iraq

French & US Artillery In Action Conducts Heavy Support Fire in Iraq: CAESAR, M77...

U.S. Army Artillery In Action Near Mosul • April 2017

Bulletin:Two US Troops Die in Iraq - Tal Afar campaign underway

The Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve has announced the death of two US Soldiers on 13 August 2017 in Northern Iraq and the wounding of five others.They were conducting combat operations at the time,but were not in contact with the enemy.The incident is under investigation.According to The Washington Post,the Iraqi Security Forces said the troops died when a shell exploded in a cannon the Soldiers were making a routine inspection of.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant extremists claimed responsibility for the casualties,saying they had attacked the troops,but CJTFOIR said it was a false claim.*
At this time,the ISF are working to liberate the city of Tal Afar in Northern Iraq,which is near Mosul,which they have recently recaptured from ISIL militants.The US Army has for some time been supporting the ISF with artillery strikes from several fire bases.France has also supported the ISF with its artillery.*
The latest incident brings the total number of US deaths in Operation Inherent Resolve this year to nine.Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend,US Army,Commander,CJTFOIR,said in a statement to the Soldiers' family and comrades that:
There are no words to describe the respect I have for you and sorrow I have for your loss.I hope there is some solace in knowing their loss has meaning for our country and all the members of our coalition as the fallen service members were fighting to defeat a truly evil enemy and to protect our homelands.*

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: The United States and our allies have the demonstrated capabilities and unquestionable commitment to defend ourselves from an attack. Kim Jong Un should take heed of the United Nations Security

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Orion and the European Service Module - ESA

NASA’s RS-25 Rocket Engine Fires Up Again - 25 July 2017 - one of four RS-25s that will power the SLS rocket

NASA tests Orion splashdown recovery in Gulf - 13 July,2017

13 July 2017 - Live: KHOU 11's Jason Miles heads off shore with NASA to test Orion reco...

Orion Program Update: Summer of Safety and Recovery Systems Testing,SLS Rocket Fabrication and Testing

This summer has been quite busy for the Orion Program,with multiple tracks of testing and fabrication going on at various NASA and contractor faclilities.The media rarely report what many Americans would consider dull engineering activity.Of course,the excitement of exploration cannot occur without these extensive preparations.No one will fly in a shoddily built,unsafe and untested spacecraft.In actual fact,the missions to deep space have already begun with this hardware development,and also the research on long-duration flight being done on ISS.*
On 14 June,a mock-up of the Orion crew module was dropped out of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster at an altitude of 25,000 feet over the US Army Proving Ground in Yuma,Arizona to test the three main parachutes.The test was of the parachutes' performance in low altitude and low dynamic pressure.The engineers are testing for different situations in this flight qualification process.It was the sixth of eight tests.*
NASA has also been testing an updated design for the crew module uprighting system,a system of five airbags on top of the capsule that inflate at splashdown.The original design,tested on Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014,didn't work properly.The airbags should turn Orion right side up if high winds or waves were to flip it over,or if it should land nose cone first in the ocean.The testing will be in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at Johnson Space Center,Houston,one of several tests to validate computer models.Later in the summer,the airbags will be tested in the Gulf of Mexico off the Galveston,Texas coast.*
On 15 June,subcontractor Orbital ATK tested the abort motor for the Launch Abort System,firing it for five seconds.The LAS is positioned on top of the Orion crew module,and propels the crew in their capsule away from the Space Launch System rocket,directing them toward the Atlantic Ocean for a safe descent in the event of an emergency.*
The test verified that the LAS can fire within milliseconds and will work as expected under high temperatures,NASA said.*
As well,crew egress testing took place from 10-14 July in the Gulf of Mexico by an interagency group of NASA,US Navy,Coast Guard and Air Force personnel to stage various ideal and less than ideal splashdown and recovery scenarios,such as landing off course or water intruding into the crew module.*
Meanwhile,Space Launch System rocket hardware such as fuel tanks and solid rocket booster motors are being fabricated and tested by contractors including Boeing and Orbital ATK.All the hardware will eventually be shipped to Kennedy Space Center for stacking and integration of Orion and the SLS for the uncrewed Exploration Mission-1 in 2019.EM-1 will be  followed by the crewed EM-2 in the 2022-3 time frame,taking astronauts a record 40,000 miles past the Moon and dropping off 13 CubeSats,small satellites that will conduct research on lunar and astrobiology topics,among others.*
Boeing (BA),Orbital ATK Inc (OA)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Update:Nationality of Afghanistan Suicide Blast Victim Revealed

A Republic of Georgia Soldier was killed by a personnel-borne IED on Thursday in Kabul Province,Afghanistan,NATO's Resolute Support Mission said in a press release today.The Georgian was on patrol with Afghan and US troops when the attack occurred.*
Georgia has about 900 troops in Afghanistan,and is the largest non-NATO contributor to the coalition.It was the coalition's third fatality in two days,after the killing of two US troops by a VBIED on Wednesday.*
Georgia aspires to NATO membership and is currently a NATO partner and hosting Exercise Noble Partner 2017.Two US troops,three other Georgians and an interpreter received non-life threatening injuries in the attack;while two Afghan civilians were killed and seven wounded.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bulletin:NATO Says A Third Soldier Dies in a Second Suicide Blast

A press release just received from NATO's Resolute Support Mission says that a second suicide blast has killed the third coalition Soldier in two days in Afghanistan.The Thursday attack was carried out in Qarabagh district of Kabul Province by means of a personnel-borne IED that exploded as a joint Afghan-coalition patrol was passing by.Six other coalition personnel,including an interpreter,were injured by the blast and are being treated at Bagram Airfield for non-life threatening injuries.Yesterday,two US Soldiers died when  a Taliban militant rammed a VBIED into a NATO convoy that was returning to Bagram Airfield.
No nationality for the third fatality has yet been provided.
In a related development,Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,has again taken the Trump administration to task for failing to chart a course for the Afghan War.In a Facebook post,the senator said:
Our commanders-in-chief,not our commanders in the field,are responsible for this failure.*
Senator McCain added that,if nothing were done by September,he would offer an amendment to the defense authorization bill that does lay out a strategy for the war.

Linkin Park - Castle Of Glass- one of many war videos using this song

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bulletin:NATO Convoy Attacked in Afghanistan - two US troops killed

NATO's Resolute Support Mission said a NATO convoy came under attack in Kandahar Province,Afghanistan.The convoy was on a routine train,advise and assist mission at the time of the incident.US Navy Captain Jeff  Davis at the Pentagon confirmed that two US troops were killed in action and said Resolute Support would provide further information.
The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for what was reportedly a suicide attack.US Soldiers were photographed investigating damage done to one of the convoy's armoured vehicles.
This brings the US death toll in Afghanistan combat to nine so far this year,equaling the toll for all of 2016.The Trump administration,which has been in office for over six months,has been criticised for dragging its feet in coming up with a plan for this longest war in American history,which began in 2001 in response to the 9-11 attacks that al-Qaida planned and directed from Afghanistan with the aquiescence of the Taliban regime.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Pence Condemns 'Russia's Occupation' Of Georgian Soil

Rocket Fire • NATO

Noble Partner 2017 – Opening Day Ceremony B-Roll - Republic of Georgia

'We Stand Together' - Pence Reaffirms U.S. Commitment To Baltics

Noble Partner 17:Bringing Georgia up to NATO-level Warfighting

NATO Exercise Noble Partner 2017 began on 30 July at Vaziani Military Base,Georgia.The main purpose of the exercise is to prepare the Georgian second light infantry company for certification as a member of the NATO Response Force.Not only NATO members,but NATO partners such as Georgia are also eligible to contribute to this multinational force kept at a high state of readiness.The NRF has land,air,maritime and Special Operations Forces components.*
According to US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly:
The United States supports the sovereignty and integrity of its partners.Those gathered here seeking to build readiness and interoperability in the face of aggression are critical to that end.*
Participating in NP17,which runs from 30 July to 12 August,are a total of 2800 personnel from Armenia;Georgia;Germany;Great Britain;Slovenia;Turkey;Ukraine;and the US.The US has sent a contingent of more than 2,000 troops,about a quarter of them from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck,Germany,US Army Europe said.The Regiment has recently traveled some 2,000 kilometers in support of exercises throughout Eastern Europe.*
The tactical focus of NP17 is defensive operations.One of the participating forces will occupy semi-prepared positions and defend them against an attacking force with live-fire ammunition.The scenarios provide an opportunity to engage multiple systems and arrange multiple assets to achieve an objective.The mixed forces will operate as a single unit to reach their goal.Participating forces will take part in combined situational field training,as well as both combat and cargo air drop missions.Leaders at all levels will exercise staffs in mission planning;command and control;movement and manoeuvre;and the execution of complex joint and combined operations,USAEUR explained.*
Among the key elements of NP 17 are a tactical road march by US and Slovenian forces;two airborne operations by the US Army's 173rd Brigade Combat Team;and a joint live-fire exercise with the 1st Battalion,66th Armor Regiment,3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team,4th Infantry Division and Georgia's 4th Mechanized Brigade.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Launch of Atlas V Rocket with Cygnus OA-7 Cargo Craft

Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s - Ørland hovedflystasjon

T33 Spots Boeing P-8 Poseidon Submarine Hunter w/ Attached Box - Advanced Airborne Sensor

US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon lands at RAF Leuchars

US,UK and Norway Ink Pact - North Atlantic security needs addressed

On 29 June 2017,the US,UK and Norway drew even closer as they signed a memorandum of intent to outline principles of cooperation for North Atlantic security.The new pact by the three NATO Allies comprises a framework for future cooperation based on the fact that all three will be heavily relying on the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft by 2023,if not before.The US has already put the P-8A in service;while the UK and Norway are preparing for stationing and maintaining the Poseidon.*
The Poseidon is a modified Boeing 737-800 ERX airliner that has both surveillance and maritime strike capability for both anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.It is armed with five internal and six external struts for the AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER and AGN-84 Harpoon missiles;the Mark 54 torpedo;and the High-Altitude Anti-Submarine Warfare Weapon Capability (HAAWC).*
The memorandum was signed by Defence Ministers Michael Fallon of the UK;Jim Mattis of the US;and Ine Eriksen Soreide of Norway on the sidelines of the recent NATO Defence Ministerial in Brussels.The ministers described the pact as being:
a statement of intent to lay out guiding principles for a trilateral partnership with P-8A aircraft to address the changing security environment in the North Atlantic.As the United States,the United Kingdom,and Norway continue to work to advance trilateral maritime security cooperation,this agreement establishes a framework for further cooperation in areas such as readiness,enhancing defence capability,and interoperability.*
The agreement is a foundation for such capabilities as coordination of operations in the North Atlantic and other regions as necessary,exchange of information,and exploring opportunities to co-locate maintenance and training assets,a defence official told USNI News.For example,the US and UK have already signed an agreement to base US Navy P-8As at RAF Lossiemouth,Scotland.*
Vice-Admiral James G. Foggo III,former commander of the US Navy's 6th Fleet and nominee to command US Naval Forces Europe and Africa,told Proceedings magazine:
Not only have Russia's actions and capabilities increased in alarming and confrontational ways,its national security policy is aimed at challenging the United States and its NATO Allies and partners.*
There is agreement in NATO and defence analytical circles that Russian naval activity has grown more aggressive since it annexed Crimea and instigated unrest in Eastern Ukraine in 2014.In 2015,the Nordic Defence Cooperation countries of Norway,Sweden,Denmark,Finland and Iceland said:
Russia's conduct represents the biggest challenge to European Security.As a consequence,the security situation around the Nordic countries has significantly weakened during the past year.We must be prepared to respond to face possible crises or incidents.The Russian military is acting provocatively along our borders,and there have been several border violations around the Baltic Sea.Closer cooperation in Northern Europe and solidarity with the Baltic states will contribute to stronger security in our region and raise the threshold for possible military incidents.*
The UK is currently preparing facilities for the P-8A at RAF Lossiemouth,Scotland.Both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel will crew the nine aircraft the UK is purchasing.Their initial training is taking place in the US,as will depot level maintenance of UK P-8As.*
Boeing (BA)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Italian,Russian and USMC Colonel Randy Bresnik astronauts

Innovation Beyond Boundaries - NASA

Inside NASA's SOFIA Airborne Astronomical Observatory - NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA Prepares for New Horizon's Next Misson - occultation observation raises possibilities

Having flown by Pluto in 2015,NASA'S New Horizons spacecraft is now well beyond the dwarf planet on its journey to another Kuiper Belt Object (KBO),a small body of an unknown nature called KBO MU69.NH is planned to execute a flyby of it on 1 January 2019,setting a record for the most distant celestial object ever explored in a flyby.
The Kuiper Belt is a region of the solar system rich in celestial objects believed to be from the early days of our system's formation,such as dwarf planets;thousands of icy bodies more than 62 miles/100 km across;and an estimated at least one trillion comets.*
NASA is striving to learn all it can about MU69 before NH reaches it,in order ensure it will not collide with any debris or ring systems which may be in this unexplored region.Data from the Hubble Space Telescope and ESA Gaia satellite are being used to calculate where MU69 will cast its faint shadow on the Earth's surface as it passes in front of a star (an occultation event).So far,there have been three such events monitored by NASA and collaborating observers and technicians to prepare for the New Horizons flyby.
One of the events was on 3 June 2017,when more than 50 mission team members and collaborators set up mobile telescopes in South Africa and Argentina in an effort to capture images of MU69's shadow speeding over the Earth for two seconds.Other observations were made by HST and the Gaia space observatory.In the event,the telescopes took more than 100,000 photos of the occultation that can help ascertain the nature of MU69's environment.Indeed,valuable and surprising insights were obtained,mission team members said.
New Horizons science team leader Mark Buie of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder,Colorado noted that:
These data show that MU69 might not be as dark or as large as some expected.
Principle investigator at the SWRI Alan Stern added:
The fact that we accomplished the occult observations from every planned observing site,but didn't detect the object itself,likely means that either MU69 is highly reflective and smaller than some expected,or it may be a binary,or even a swarm of smaller bodies left over from the time when planets in our solar system formed.*
Occultation observations of MU 69 have also been made on 10 July 2017 by the NASA/German Aerospace Centre SOFIA flying infrared observatory,a converted Boeing 747 with a 2.5 meter telescope that allows for IR study above 99% of the atmosphere's water vapour.That data is currently being analysed.A second mobile telescope round was carried out on 17 July 2017 in Southern Argentina,with the HST also participating.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ukraine pushes ahead with NATO membership moves

F-15J ( J.A.S.D.F.)

US B-1B Lancers & Japanese F-15 Eagles Flying Together to Keep North Kor...

U.S. bombers challenge China in South China Sea flyover

US,Japanese Warplanes Send Message to Potential Adversaries - unprecedented mission

On 6 July 2017,US Air Force and Japanese Air Self-Defense Force units sharpened their combat skills in a bilateral mission over the East China Sea,the Pentagon revealed.Two B-1B Lancer strategic bombers from the 9th Expeditioinary Bomb Squadron out of Dyess Air Force Base,Texas flew from Andersen AFB,Guam for the mission with their Japanese allies.It was the first time that US Pacific Command B-1Bs have conducted combined training with Japanese fighters at night.Such bilateral drills enable the operational units to improve their combined capabilities and tactical skills,also building confidence and strong working relationships,according to the Department of Defense.
US PACOM chief of bomber operations Air Force Major Ryan Simpson said:
Flying and training at night with our allies in a safe,efficient manner is an important capability shared between the US and Japan.This is a clear demonstration of our ability to conduct seamless operations with all of our allies.*
From the East China sea,where Japan and China have a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands,the aircraft headed to the South China Sea,where Beijing has been intent on militarising several artificial islands it has built up from reefs,adding military-length airstrips,port and missile facilities,while claiming sovereignty of 90% of the Sea.The claim is rejected by the international community,which relies on the Sea for vital shipping lanes.
Additionally,Japan and the US are threatened by a belligerent North Korea's military buildup.*
US officials said this mission demonstrates how the US will continue to exercise the rights of freedom of navigation anywhere international law allows.These actions are consistent with long-standing and well-known US policies applied to military operations worldwide.
The officials went on to say that:
Joint US military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region are always ready to defend the American homeland.These flights with Japan demonstrate the solidarity between Japan and the US to defend against provocative and destabilising actions in the Pacific theatre.*
The JASDF fighters were reportedly Mitsubishi F-15J Eagles.*
Mitsubishi Corporation ADR US:OTC (MSBHY)

Friday, July 7, 2017

USAF Seeks Heavy Lift to Recover Crashed Drone - Rotor

USAF Seeks Heavy Lift to Recover Crashed Drone - Rotor: The U.S. Air Force is seeking heavy-lift helicopter help to recover a pricey, sophisticated reconnaissance drone that crashed in California’s Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains June 21. USAF solicited bids for a helicopter to recover debris more than a week after the RQ-4 Global Hawk, priced at more than $227 million, crashed near Mount Whitney, California, …