Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The F-22 in Syria: Deconflicting, Not Dog-Fighting

The F-22 in Syria: Deconflicting, Not Dog-Fighting: The U.S. Air Force's F-22 Raptor stealth fighter is playing a crucial yet evolving role in air operations over Syria and Iraq.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Canadian sniper's 3.5 km shot in Iraq shatters world record

Battle For Mosul: The end could be near for IS

US Army Blackhawk Helicopters in Mosul 2017, Iraq • Operation Inherent R...

War on ISIL:Air Campaign Update - plus a Canadian Forces sniper's world record kill

The air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant continued on 26 June 2017,according to Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.The OIR coalition conducted 31 strikes consisting of 45 engagements,CJTFOIR said in a  press release.
In Syria,coalition forces conducted 27 strikes consisting of 39 engagements against ISIL targets,among them:
near Dawr Az Zawr,7 strikes engaged 2 ISIL tactical units and destroyed 3 vehicles;a tactical vehicle;2 bunkers;2 pumpjacks;a front-end loader;an IED factory;and an ISIL headquarters,while damaging 2 fighting positions;
near Raqqa,18 strikes engaged 15 ISIL tactical units and destroyed 13 fighting positions;2 vehicles;a VBIED;an IED factory and an ISIL headquarters,damaging 2 fighting positions.*
In Iraq,coalition forces conducted 4 strikes consisting of 6 engagements against ISIL targets,among them:
near Beiji,3 strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a tactical vehicle storage facility;a tactical vehicle;and an ISIL fuel tanker;
near Tikrit,a strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit;
on 25 June,near Mosul,3 strikes began that engaged 2 ISIL tactical units and destroyed 14 fighting positions;5 weapons systems;3 medium machine guns;3 rocket-propelled grenade systems;2 mortar systems;a command-and-control node;and suppressed 5 mortar teams.These strikes closed within the past 24 hours,so were added to the 26 June report.*
The OIR strikes are conducted by fighter,attack,bomber,rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft;rocket-propelled artillery;and some ground-based artillery when fired on planned targets.No information on which countries participated in the strikes was provided.*
It is ironic that,with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau removing Canadian Forces from the OIR air campaign in an attempt to distance them from direct combat against ISIL,it was a Canadian Special Operations Forces member of Joint Task Force 2 who has just set the world record for a sniper kill by neutralising an ISIL militant from a distance of 3.54 kilometers,or about 2.2 miles.Congratulations to our loyal northern neighbours,who always find a way to assist,even joining the US Army so they could fight in the Vietnam War alongside Americans.
The sniper used a MacMillan TAC-50 .50 caliber weapon,which is the world's longest shoulder-fired firearm,and a 750-grain Hornady round.Experts point out that his spotter's skill in evaluating the atmospheric conditions all the way to the target was also critical to the success of the mission.
Mr.Trudeau insisted the sniper kill was both praiseworthy and consistent with Canada's advise and assist role in Iraq.Canadian Forces are expected to defend themselves and coalition partners during the course of their mission,he told reporters.

Dunford in Afghanistan for Talks on US Troop Increase

Dunford in Afghanistan for Talks on US Troop Increase: Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford was in Kabul on Monday to prepare the way for a possible U.S. troop increase.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Saber Strike 17 Opening Ceremony Orzysz, Poland

NATO Tanks Maneuver In Poland – Operation Saber Strike - US,Poland,Lithuania

Thousands of NATO Troops Assembled for Saber Strike 17 - preparing for Baltic warfighting

NATO Exercise Saber Strike 17 is currently underway in the Baltic States and Poland.The longtime drills emphasise cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region by NATO Allies and partners.The key objective of this year's exercise is training and exercising the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence,or eFP,Battle Groups with the aim of promoting interoperability and improving joint operational capability in a variety of missions,US Army Europe said.The drills are being held in multiple locations throughout Estonia,Latvia,Lithuania and Poland from 28 May to 24 June.*
Key evolutions of SS 17 include:
1.Convoy by Battle Group Poland from Orzysz,Poland to Southern Lithuania;
2.Maritime prepositioned offload of pre-staged supplies and equipment in Latvia;
3.Marine amphibious assault in Latvia;
4.Combined arms live fire exercises in Poland and Lithuania;
5.Air assault by UK Royal Marines at the Polish/Lithuanian border;and
6.River crossing there as well.*
Participating nations include:Belgium;Canada;Croatia;Denmark;Estonia;Finalnd;France;Germany;Italy;Latvia;Lithuania;Luxembourg;the Netherlands;Norway;Poland;Portugal;Romania;Slovakia;the UK;and the US.At least 11,000 military men and women were deployed.*
At one point in SS 17,US and Polish Soldiers and UK Royal Marines trained as a platoon for two days,rehearsing movements before being flown to a nearby location the day before an evacuation evolution.They then put their battle plan into action as they overcame the defensive forces,demonstrating skill and speed,the Pentagon noted.The drills test the capability of multiple nations to act together against a threat.
The ground assault was then transitioned into a comprehensive medevac training evolution with mock casualties.*
US Army Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Meidema pointed out that a common foundation of knowledge is necessary to communicate,build combat power,assemble swiftly and with agility bring combat forces against the enemy,or to reassure Allies.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Afghan War:Second Green on Blue Attack Rattles NATO - Camp Shaheen incident

In the second green-on-blue attack on less than a week,an Afghan soldier reportedly opened fire on his coalition allies on 17 June 2017 at Camp Shaheen in Mazar i Sharif,Balkh Province,Northern Afghanistan,a US military spokesman said.One Afghan soldier was killed and another wounded along with seven American troops,in the as yet unclear incident.The Taliban Islamist extremists claimed responsiblity for the new attack.The remaining US troops were evacuated from the base following the flare-up,which the NATO Resolute Support Mission said is being looked into.
On 11 June,three US Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were killed in a similar attack in Nangarhar Province that was also claimed by the Taliban.*
Camp Shaheen has a German detachment that is leading the NATO advise and assist mission there,but there was no indication of German casualties at the base,which is headquarters for the Afghan Army's 209th Corps.In April 2017,the Taliban militants mounted a major assault there,killing or wounding more than a hundred Afghan soldiers.*
President Donald Trump has recently delegated the authority to set US troop levels in Afghanistan to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis,who has come under congressional criticism for the delay in issuing an outline for the war effort.The Secretary said,however,that there will be no immediate change in troop levels.By next month,Mr.Mattis is to present the Trump administration with options for its Afghan War strategy.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two Helo Pilots Among NASA Astronaut Candidates - Rotor

Two Helo Pilots Among NASA Astronaut Candidates - Rotor: NASA’s newest class of astronaut candidates includes a U.S. Marine helicopter test pilot and a U.S. Army battalion surgeon for airborne Special Forces who formerly flew Sikorsky Black Hawks. The U.S. aeronautics and space agency said a record number of people — more than 18,300 — applied for the open astronaut candidate slots that Marine …

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Senator McCain Scolds SecDef Mattis for Delay on Afghan War Strategy

McCain Scolds Mattis for Delay on Afghan War Strategy: A key lawmaker criticized Pentagon and administration officials for failing to deliver a strategy for victory in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Norwegian troops arrive in Lithuania - NATO

Firefight 101st Airborne Khost Afghanistan - 2014

A history of insider attacks in Afghanistan - 2014 report

Three US Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Identified - 101st Airborne Division

The Pentagon has released the identities of the three US Army troops killed in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,Afghanistan on 10 June 2017.They were on a counterterrorism mission with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces against ISIL-K at the time of the incident,which is being considered an attack by an enemy infiltrator,or green-on-blue attack.The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for it.
All three Americans were members of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell,Kentucky.Those killed were:
Sergeant Erick M. Houck,25,of Baltimore,Maryland;Sergeant William M. Bays,29,of Barstow,California;and Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge,22,of Youngsville,North Carolina.
The Soldiers were serving in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team,and two of them were "Rakkasans" of the 187th Infantry Regiment,having been deployed in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in the fall of 2016.Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell,Major General Andrew Poppas,said of the incident:
We take this as a family loss.In the days ahead,the 101st Soldiers and the Rakkasans will continue the fight against terrorism with unbridled determination.Our Soldiers are battle-hardened and committed to the defence of our nation and the freedoms for which we fight.*
SGT Houck was a forward observer in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery,320th Field Artillery Regiment,assigned as a Fire Support Sergeant,having joined the Army in 2013.His awards include:Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster;Army Superior Unit Award;and the Army Good Conduct Medal,as well as the NATO Medal and Air Assault Badge.*
SGT Bays was an Infantryman in Company D,1st Battalion,187th Infantry Regiment.He was assigned as a Squad Leader,having joined the Army in 2009.His awards include:the Meritorious Unit Commendation;Army Good Conduct Medal;National Defense Service Medal;as well as the NATO Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster,Air Assault Badge and the Driver and Mechanic Badge.*
CPL Baldridge was an Infantryman in Company D,1st Battalion,187th Infantry Regiment,and was assigned as a Squad Leader,having joined the Army in February 2013.His awards include the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters;the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal;Army Commendation Medal,as well as the NATO Medal and Expert Infantryman Badge.*
All three Soldiers received various posthumous medals,among them the Bronze Star and Purple Heart Medals.CPL Baldridge was,in addition,posthumously promoted to the rank of Sergeant.*
"Rakkasans" is a nickname for the 187th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.It was received in occupied Japan after World War II when a translator was explaining to a local official what kind of troops they were.It is the Japanese word for "parachute men."

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Bulletin:Three US Troops Killed in Afghanistan - green on blue attack

US officials say three American service members were killed and a fourth wounded in Achin district of Nangarhar Province,Afghanistan on Saturday,10 June 2017.The incident is being labeled a green-on-blue attack,a NATO code word for an enemy infiltrator who opens fire on coalition forces while wearing an Afghan National Defence and Security Forces uniform.The treacherous attack occurred while US and ANDSF personnel were conducting a counterterrorist operation in the district,an ISIL-K stronghold that US and Afghan Special Operations Forces have been focused on for several months now.An Afghan official said ANDSF members shot the gunman dead.*
The Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the incident,calling the perpetrator a "mujahadid,"or freedom fighter.On Saturday,US Vice President Mike Pence mentioned the deaths and offered the American people's thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of the victims.*
ISIL-K and the Taliban had been fighting each other,so it is possible they have begun to cooperate against the US and Afghan forces now.*
ISIL-K is short for ISIL-Khorasan.The Islamist extremists refer to Nangarhar as being their Khorasan Province.In April,two more US troops were killed in action in Achin district of Nangarhar during combat with ISIL-K.*
The US and its NATO Allies are considering upping the number of forces in Afghanistan in light of the persistent militant activity.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

What Curiosity is Discovering on the Road to Mt. Sharp - note:Curiosity is currently climbing up Mt.Sharp,but this video gives a good account of its capabilities and how it got to this point.

First Mission into the Sun’s Atmosphere on This Week @NASA – June 2, 2017

Mars Science Laboratory Lifts Off for Red Planet - Curiosity rover,still active on Mars,lifted off on 26 November 2011

Robotic Exploration Outline:NASA JPL Engineer Briefs the Public

On Friday 2 June 2017,a senior engineer from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,California,briefed the Metropolitan Washington area public on robotic exploration missions at the C.Burr Artz Library in Frederick,Maryland.Dr.Adam Steltzner,team leader and chief engineer of Mars Rover Curiosity,began by recounting his own life to the standing room crowd in Maryland.A native of Sausalito,California in the San Francisco Bay Area,Dr.Steltzner admitted he was a terrible student in high school;indeed,he was barely able to graduate.He dreamed of being a rock star and played in a band.One night-a night that changed his life forever-he spotted the constellation Orion in the night sky and got so intrigued by its motion through the heavens that he took a class in astronomy.Unfortunately,there weren't enough students for the astronomy class,so it was canceled and he had to settle for a physics class,instead.From then on,though,exploring the universe became his true passion and he pursued a PhD in engineering physics.*
For 10 years,Dr.Steltzner led a team of JPL engineers of the revolutionary sky crane landing system that successfully placed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars in 2012.The atmosphere of Mars is so thin,he explained,they had to devise a new way to safely land Curiosity,which is the size of a car,the biggest rover ever sent into space,and came up with the sky crane system.He is now also chief engineer of the Mars Rover 2020 mission,the next iteration of the robotic exploration of Mars that began with the Viking spacecraft in 1976.Viking was followed by Pathfinder in 1997;the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity in 2004;Phoenix in 2008;and finally Curiosity in 2012.Of all these rovers,Opportunity,which is solar-powered,and Curiosity,which is nuclear-powered,are still doing great scientific work.*
The unique thing about JPL,Dr.Steltzner pointed out,is its culture.This culture is different in that it separates ideas from the people who hold them,thus freeing up the ideas to compete,so only the sharpest ones survive.His JPL experiences led him to author the book "The Right Kind of Crazy:A True Story of Teamwork,Leadership and High Stakes Innovation."*
Curiosity was gently positioned in the Gale crater,in the shadow of its central feature,the 15,000 foot Mt.Sharp.Over 3,000 JPL people from 37 states and seven nations worked to get it there.When it got to Yellowknife Bay,Curiosity pulled up powder,and data from the powder showed that conditions for supporting life were rich on Mars some three billion years ago,at about the time when life was beginning on Earth.This raises the question,did life on Earth somehow originate from life on Mars?
Curiosity has begun climbing up Mt.Sharp.*
Mars Rover 2020 will take up Mars material and seal it in three special,highly secure containers samples which will be retrieved and returned to Earth by another mission.These containers will be unbreakable because they are containers within containers;they are redundant.The containers will both shield the samples from contamination,on the one hand;and protect the Earth from contamination when they are returned,on the other hand.
Mars Rover 2020 will also be landed by the sky crane system.In this system,the landing stage has a crane mechanism on it that places rovers on the surface while it hovers,then propels itself away from the rover landing site so it will not damage the rover when it lands itself.*
After Mars 2020,NASA is looking ahead to a robotic mission to explore Europa in the 2025-27 time frame,Europa Clipper,but a lander is much less developed at this point-and even uncertain.Europa is the icy moon of Jupiter which is covered by oceans.Europa is the number one bet by astrobiologists for a place other than Earth to find extant life in our solar system,because of its oceans.Mars is an unlikely place to find extant life,because it receives a lot of radiation,which would tend to kill any microbes-and is also very dangerous for astronauts.Mars is smaller than Earth,so,unlike the molten-cored Earth,its core has already cooled off,and hence its magnetic field has nearly vanished.*
Dr.Steltzner noted that he does not agree with industrialist Elon Musk,owner of NASA contractor Space-X,that Mars should be colonised.All the knowledge needed to colonise Mars is also needed here on Earth.If,as seems obvious,we lack the knowledge to successfully live together on Earth,we will lack it on Mars as well.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

US Air Force CSAR Pave Hawk Successor Reaches Critical Design Review - Rotor

US Air Force CSAR Pave Hawk Successor Reaches Critical Design Review - Rotor: Sikorsky’s HH-60W can now prepare for assembly, test and evaluation, Lockheed Martin said. The U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) project has successfully reached air vehicle critical design review. “This milestone is an important achievement and demonstrates Sikorsky and the Air Force are well aligned on the technical requirements of the HH-60W,” said Tim …

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sec. Mattis warns conflict with North Korea may lead to "the worst kind ...

F-15K Slam Eagles Takeoff • Kunsan Air Base South Korea

US supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers joint drill with South Korea after N Ko...

North Korea Threatens Japan with Latest Missile Test - US,South Korea respond with B-1Bs,fighter jets and aircraft carriers

On 29 May 2017,Memorial Day in the US,North Korea launched its third ballistic missile test in less than three weeks and its twelfth of the year.The missile was fired at 0539 hours locval time from near Wonsan,Kanguan Province,on North Korea's east coast.It traveled 248 miles to a point in Japan's exclusive economic zone,a place with heavy commercial ship and aircraft traffic that is within 200 miles of the Japanese coast.*
South Korea's Foreign Ministry said:
It is a severe threat to the peace and stability of not only the Korean Penninsula,but also the international community.Since our government took office,North Korea has been frequently and repeatedly conducting provocation in such a manner.*
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff added:
North Korea's continuous provocative actions will cause its own isolation and it will be facing strong punishment from our own military.*
Defence experts say the number and pace of the missile tests mean North Korea is accelerating reaching its goal of developing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to the mainland US.*
For his part,Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that:
We can never tolerate North Korea's repeated provocations violating repeated warnings from the international community.We have lodged a firm protest against North Korea as we have agreed at the G7 Summit that North Korea is the priority of the international community.In order to deter North Korea,we will take concrete action together with the US.We will maintain high vigilance in coordination with South Korea and we will take all possible measures to secure the safety of the people of Japan.*
In the event,South Korea revealed that,at about 1030 hours,two US Air Force B-1B Lancer strategic bombers arrived over the East Sea some five hours after the missile test.The swept-wing bombers flew about 80 kilometers east of Gangueng,a city near the Military Demarcation Line that defines the border between North and South Korea.Warplanes from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and South Korean F-15K fighter jets joined in the responsive drill.North Korea described it as a nuclear bomb-dropping exercise,but:
Such military provocations of the US imperialists is a dangerous reckless racket for bringing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of war.*
Indeed,the KNCA official North Korean news agency disclosed that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had recently watched the test of a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon system organised by the Academy of National Defense Science.This weapon system,whose operational capacity has been thoroughly verified,should be mass-produced to be deployed all over the country.It will completely destroy the enemy's wild dream to command the air,boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty.*
Besides the Carl Vinson,the US has the carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in the Western Pacific as well.What is more,it is reportedly sending the carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68 ) to join them.Three carriers in one region is almost unheard of for the US Navy.

Friday, May 26, 2017

DARPA, Boeing Spaceplane Would be New Class of Hypersonic Aircraft - Avionics

DARPA, Boeing Spaceplane Would be New Class of Hypersonic Aircraft - Avionics: What do you get when you mix a business jet with a rocket? Presumably, it would result in Phantom Express, Boeing and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) XS-1 program aircraft-like vehicle. DARPA selected Boeing to complete advanced design work, and investment is coming from both parties.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The U-2 Takes On Northern Edge 17 - the U-2S Dragon Lady visits Alaska for the first time in decades

Eastern Wolf Pack Howling - Algonquin Provincial Park

Algonquin Wolves 2016 - aka Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon)

Nature Note:Eastern Coyotes Don't Replace Missing Wolves - study suggests reintroducing wolves still necessary

A thorough study by John F. Benson et al. in Central Ontario considerably explicates the ecology of wild canids in Eastern North America.The paper,Ungulate predation and ecological roles of wolves and coyotes in eastern North America,was recently published in the April 2017 issue of Ecological Applications.Understanding the ecological roles of species that influence ecosystem processes is a central goal of ecology and conservation biology,the authors say.This study sought to clarify the predatory ability and ecological roles of the different top canid predators of Eastern North America by investigating intrinsic and extrinsic influences on per capita kill rates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and moose (Alces alces) by canids of varying Canis ancestry in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park in Central Ontario.Erroneously concluding that Eastern coyotes have replaced the ecological roles once performed by wolves could detract from wolf restoration efforts and the conservation of naturally functioning ecosystems.Thus studies of predation patterns of Eastern wolves (Canis lycaon) and Eastern coyotes (Canis latrans var.) are needed to critically evaluate the ecological functions performed by wild canids in Eastern North America.*
In 2015,the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended that Eastern wolves be recognised as a separate species rather than a subspecies of Grey wolf.Currently the majority of Eastern wolves inhabit areas in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.Besides Eastern wolves,in the study we are reviewing today,admixed Grey wolves are referred to as Great Lakes-boreal wolves.The study combines GPS telemetry,field investigations,DNA analysis and environmental data to quantify predation on deer and moose by canids of varying Canis* ancestry in and adjacent to Algonquin Provincial Park.*
Previous studies revealed that Eastern wolves were the dominant resident canids in APP (estimated 63%).There are smaller numbers of Eastern wolf x Great Lakes-boreal wolf hybrids and wolf (Great Lakes-boreal and Eastern wolf) x Eastern coyote hybrids (29%),with whom they sometimes form packs.Eastern coyotes (estimated 64%) and Eastern coyote x wolf (Great Lakes-boreal and Eastern wolf) hybrids (29%) were the dominant resident canids of adjacent Wildlife Management Unit 49,where wolves were much rarer.Both APP and WMU 49 were characterised by hardwood,conifer and mixed forests interspersed with wetlands,lakes and rocky meadows.The landscapes have elevations ranging from 180-580 meters in APP and 79-549 meters in WMU 49.*
The authors note that Eastern coyotes have ascended to the role of apex predator across much of Eastern North America since the extirpation of wolves (Canis spp.) and there has been considerable confusion regarding their ability to prey on ungulates and their ecological niche relative to wolves.Eastern wolves are thought to have been the historical top predator in eastern deciduous forests and have previously been characterised as deer specialists that are inefficient predators of moose because of their smaller size relative to grey wolves (Canis lupus).*
In any event,the basic findings of the study under consideration suggest the following:
1.Eastern coyote ancestry within packs negatively influenced per capita total ungulate (moose and white-tailed deer) and moose kill rates.
2.Furthermore,such packs consumed significantly less ungulate biomass and more anthropogenic (human-related) food than packs dominated by wolf ancestry.
3.Similar to Grey wolves in previous studies,Eastern wolves preyed on deer when they were available.However,in areas of scarcity,Eastern wolves killed moose at rates seen previously among Grey wolves at comparable moose densities across North America.
4.Most critically,Eastern coyotes are effective deer predators,but their dietary flexibility and low kill rates on moose suggest they have not replaced the ecological role of wolves in Eastern North America.If this were not understood,ecosystems that are in fact in need of restoration by the reintroduction of wolves could be overlooked.*
Large remote tracts of mature forest inhabited primarily by moose rather than deer are rare in the Northeastern US,which will make Eastern wolf establishment difficult in the presence of abundant coyote populations,the authors point out.Reintroducing Great Lakes-boreal wolves may be advantageous given that hybridisation between sympatric (inhabiting the same area) Great Lakes-boreal wolves and coyotes appears to be minimal in areas where they overlap.Great Lakes-boreal wolves are aggressive with and behaviourally dominant to coyotes,whereas Eastern wolves tend to treat coyotes similar to conspecifics in territorial interactions,at least at the home range level.Great Lakes-boreal wolves have successfully colonised areas in Minnesota,Wisconsin and Michigan that were characterised by younger forests,habitat fragmentation and abundant coyotes,suggesting they could also persist in the Northeastern US.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

steers capsule and launch abort system away from launch vehicle in event of emergency - Test Fire of Orbital ATK’s Attitude Control Motor for NASA’s Orion Space...

NASA Orion parachute test, 8 March 2017

Orion Capsule from Lockheed Martin

Bulletin:NASA Rejects Revision to Orion Program Schedule - thanks,but no thanks

NASA has politely declined the White House's suggestion that it might speed things up and make the first launch of the integrated Orion system,Exploration Mission -1,also the first crewed Orion mission.While expressing gratitude for President Trump's obvious enthusiasm for the space program,the agency feels it would not be in the long-term interests of the Orion Program to skip the uncrewed fully integrated test flight it originally planned for,this late in the mission planning process.It would be difficult.*
Instead,NASA will proceed with a focus on the uncrewed EM-1 test flight,while at the same time constructing hardware for the first crewed Orion mission,EM-2.EM-1 is now planned for a 2019 launch,taking all factors into consideration,including hurricane damage that was sustained by NASA facilities.EM-1 will be a technological milestone,as it takes a human-rated spacecraft to a high lunar orbit,farther than one has ever gone before.It will also be a definitive confirmation that Orion is indeed on track for safe,reliable operations in deep space.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Heather Wilson Confirmed as New Air Force Secretary

Heather Wilson Confirmed as New Air Force Secretary: The U.S. Senate voted to confirm the former congresswoman and Air Force Academy graduate to be the next Air Force secretary.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

X-37B OTV-4 landing (close-up) 7 May 2017

2015 Launch of US Air Force's Mini Space Shuttle - X-37B on Atlas V Rocket

Pentagon Identifies US Service Member Killed in Somalia - New England native excelled in special ops

The Pentagon has announced that Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Kyle Milliken,38,of Falmouth Maine,was killed while on a raid with Somali commandos against al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabaab about 40 miles west of the Somali capital Mogadishu.SCSWO Milliken and his team were helicoptered into the raid and immediately took fire from the militants.He was wounded along with two other Americans and medivaced to the neighbouring nation of Djibouti,where he died of his wounds.*
SCSWO Milliken was a husband and father who resided with his family in Virginia Beach,Virginia.He was a member of SEAL Team Six,the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.SCSWO Milliken was a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghan Wars,earning a total of four Bronze Star Medals for his service,among many others.A graduate of the University of Connecticut,he had been in the Navy for 13 years.*
Fifty US Special Warfare Operatives are currently serving in a train and advise capacity with the African Union forces in Somalia.SCSWO Milliken was the first US service member to be killed in action in Somalia since 1993,when 18 US service members died in the Battle of Mogadishu,which was dramatised in the movie "Blackhawk Down."*
According to a Somali official,the special operation was surgically targeting senior members of al-Shabaab hiding in the area and a media outlet supportive of the Islamist extremists.It was considered a success as several of the terrorists were killed.*
SCSWO Milliken will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday, May 5, 2017

U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation - counterterrorist mission

U.S. Service Member Dies During Somalia Operation: U.S. Africa Command issued a news release that said a U.S. service member was killed during an operation against al-Shabaab near Barii, Somalia, approximately 40 miles west of Mogadishu.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

As Battle of Mosul Ebbs,US Army Officer Killed in Iraq

Even as the Iraqi Security Forces near perhaps the greatest victory in their history by having liberated all but a pocket of the longtime Islamist extremist stronghold of Mosul,a young US Army officer was killed in action on 29 April 2017 by an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant IED as he helped secure the outskirts of the city.He was identified by the Pentagon as 1st Lieutenant Weston C. Lee,25,of Bluffton,Georgia.1ST LT Lee was on a patrol in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,providing security as part of advise and assist to partnered forces,when the IED exploded.ISIL militants have heavily mined and booby-trapped all the areas of and around Mosul they withdrew from,making the city and surrounding area extremely hazardous.*
1ST LT Lee was a member of the 1st Battalion,325th Infantry Regiment,2nd Brigade Combat Team,82nd Airborne Division,out of Fort Bragg,North Carolina.An ROTC graduate of the University of North Georgia,he had enlisted in the Army in 2015 and excelled in pistol marksmanship as an ROTC cadet.Commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in December 2014,1ST LT Lee earned his Ranger tab prior to his Parachutist badge.Among his other decorations were the National Defense Service Medal,Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Army Service Ribbon.The paratrooper was on his first tour in Iraq,having deployed there in December 2016,and posthumously received the Bronze Star Medal,Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.*
At this point,the ISF have wiped out most of the 6,000 ISIL fighters that had been holding Mosul.Only 200-300 remain,and they are surrounded in the city's northwest,dug in among about 400,000 civilians running short on food,water and medicine in the historic Old City area.Mostly the US-trained Counter Terrorism Service and Federal Police are fighting inside Mosul;while the Iraqi Army regulars,Shiite volunteers and Kurdish Peshmerga control the perimeter.A total of about 100,000 ground troops supported by OIR coalition airpower and artillery have been battling ISIL in the Battle of Mosul since October 2016,which is expected to be concluded in a maximum of three weeks' time.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pentagon Identifies Two Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Raid - Ranger Regiment members

The Department of Defense has released the identities of the two Special Operations Forces Soldiers killed while conducting a dismounted operation with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces on 26 April 2017.The raid was in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel in Nangarhar Province,Eastern Afghanistan,where they fell to small arms fire from ISIL-K militants.Another Soldier sustained minor injuries in the battle near Achin district.
The engagement began on Wednesday at about 2230 hours local time and lasted over three hours,according to Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis,USN.About 50 US Army Rangers and 40 Afghan commandos participated.Supported by close air support from fighter aircraft,attack helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles,in the event,they killed several ISIL-K leaders and militants,about 35 in total.An investigation into the battle is ongoing,to include a possibility that the Rangers were killed by friendly fire,the Pentagon said.
Both men were assigned to 3rd Battalion,75th Ranger Regiment out of Fort Benning,Georgia.Killed in action were:
Sgt.Joshua P. Rodgers,22,of Bloomington,Illinois and
Sgt.Cameron H. Thomas,23,of Kettering,Ohio.
Both Soldiers enlisted in the Army after High School graduation and were selected for Ranger training.They were on their third tours in Afghanistan.
SGT Rodgers had been decorated with the Army Achievement Medal,Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star,and the NATO Medal.
SGT Thomas had been decorated with the Joint Service Achievement Medal,Joint Meritorious Unit Award,and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star,as well as the NATO Medal.*
The 75th Ranger Regiment describes itself as a unique Special Operations Force,the Army's Premier Raid Force.Its specially selected and well-trained Soldiers are constantly tested for the privilege of serving in the Regiment.The 75th provides a range of capabilities not found in any other SOF or conventional force,conducting large-scale joint forcible entry operations while simultaneously executing surgical special operations raids across the globe.General Creighton Abrams created the Ranger Battalions in 1974 as an elite force setting the standards for the Army.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bulletin:Two More US Soldiers Die in Afghanistan Combat - joint US/Afghan raid

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis,USN,announced that two US Special Operations Forces members were killed in action overnight in Nangarhar Province of Eastern Afghanistan.A third US Soldier was wounded but is expected to survive.They were on a raid with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces members in a village near Achin district.The area has been a hotbed of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan militants,who have been posing a threat to US and ANDSF Soldiers operating in the area.*
ISIL refers to Nangarhar as Khorasan Province.*
The battleground was in the same area where US Army Staff Sergeant Mark R DeAlencar was killed in action on a similar raid on 8 April,just over two weeks ago.In response,the US dropped a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb,or MOAB,formally designated the GBU-43.The 11-tonne weapon was targeted at a complex of ISIL-K tunnels in Achin district,and killed between 36-100 of the Islamist extremists,by Afghan estimates.The US has yet to disclose any bomb damage assessment.*
The American deaths came after a long day of fighting,according to an Afghan military official.US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis had recently made a secret visit to the Afghan capital Kabul to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the country with President Ashraf Ghani and other Afghan leaders.Commander of all US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General John Nicholson,US Army,has told Congress that,in fact,a few thousand more troops are needed for train,advise and assist,as well as counterterrorism operations,in the beleaguered nation,in addition to the 8400 US service members currently serving there and about 5,000 from other NATO and partner nations.GEN Nicholson wants to drive ISIL-K out of Afghanistan by the end of 2017 because it is important for the world,which would leave the Taliban and remnant al-Qaida forces to deal with.
Mr.Mattis has yet to make a recommendation on Afghanistan to President Donald Trump.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Donbass War: Every Day (So Far) - Eastern Ukraine,Russian-backed rebels vs. Ukrainian Army

Holding Ground: battalion defensive training in Ukraine

published 23 April 2017:Soldiers Exchange Fire With Enemy – US Army in Ukraine Extremely Realistic Training...

NATO's Combined Resolve VIII:Building a Rapid and Lethal Combat Force for Central and Eastern Europe

A major NATO exercise is underway at the US Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas in Southeast Germany.The extensive drills are running from 19 April to 16 June 2017,with over 3400 troops from 10 NATO Allies and partners.Those participating include:
Albania;Finland;Hungary;Kosovo;Lithuania;Macedonia;Romania;Slovenia;Ukraine;and the US Army's European Rotational Force,as represented by the Mission Command Element and 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team,4th Infantry Division,out of Fort Carson,Colorado;and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Fort Drum,New York.
CRVIII has three phases:
1.Combined arms live-fire exercises on Grafenwoehr;
2.Command post exercise;
3.Force-on-force manoeuvre training at the US Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels.*
About 1400 4th ID troops were relocated from Zagan,Poland to support the drills.According to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team,4th ID operations officer Major Jon Alexander:
Participation in this multinational exercise not only demonstrates our ability to freely move an armoured brigade around Europe;it provides the best opportunities to train with as many Allies as possible,so that we are collectively stronger as a fighting force.*
The movement of the 3/4 ABCT from Poland to Germany took about two weeks.The ABCT's Tactical Command Post (TAC) was set up by 29 March.Relocating this HQ was to further support the NATO Allies in the combined environment of the Training Areas.Its mission is to support multiple field exercises such as CR VIII and Saber Guardian 17,which are multinational joint operations.
3/4 ABCT is the current heavy brigade in rotation for Operation Atlantic Resolve,the effort to strengthen NATO's battle force in Europe.*
The TAC was set up to control the fight and battle track while the larger Tactical Operations Center (TOC) is being moved.There was 100% accountability of all personnel,equipment and sensitive items in 48 hours.The 3/4 ABCT will repeatedly mass and move around Central and Eastern Europe to demonstrate the ability to freely and rapidly manoeuvre an armoured force across Alliance member-states.The equipment being moved includes the TOCs;M1A2 Abrams tanks;and M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles.Exercising the rapid mobility of a brigade and its more than 2600 pieces of equipment has become muscle memory to the Soldiers involved,noted Captain Alex Carreon,TAC officer in charge with HHC Brigade.

Missile Defense Agency OK’s Next Design Phase For Long-Range Radar - Defense Daily Network

Missile Defense Agency OK’s Next Design Phase For Long-Range Radar - Defense Daily Network: The U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA’s) Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) program completed its preliminary design review in March, clearing the way

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

F-35: The Centerpiece of 21st Century Global Security

Awesome USAF Lockheed F-35As at RAF Lakenheath

U.S. Air Force Deploys F-35A Strike Fighters To England

Strengthening NATO:US Air Force Sends F-35s to Europe

On 15 April 2017,US Air Force F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters deployed to Europe for the first time,landing at RAF Lakenheath,England,US European Command announced.According to General Curtis M. Scaparrotti,US Army,EUCOM commander and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe:
These aircraft,plus more importantly,the men and women who operate them,fortifies the capacity and capability of our NATO Alliance.*
The warplanes are from the 358th and 419th Fighter Wings out of Hill Air Force Base,Utah.They will train with America's European Allies over a period of several weeks,including forward deployment to maximise training opportunities;strengthen the NATO Alliance;and gain a broad familiarity of Europe's defence operating conditions,EUCOM said.Air Force General Tod D. Wolters,commander,US Air Forces Europe and US Air Forces Africa,added:
As we and our joint F-35 partners bring this aircraft into our inventories,it's important that we train together to integrate into a seamless team capable of defending the sovereignty of Allied nations.
EUCOM cited the F-35's state-of-the-art sensors;interoperability;and vast array of advanced air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions as assets that will help maintain the fundamental territorial and air sovereignty rights of all nations.The Lightning II has unprecedented precision attack capability versus current and emerging threats with unmatched lethality,survivability and interoperability,EUCOM pointed out.*
This F-35A mission is part of the Pentagon's European Reassurance Initiative,which was enacted following Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for rebels in Eastern Ukraine.The Initiative is meant to increase the confidence of the NATO Allies in America's commitment to help defend them and deter Russian aggression.*
The number of F-35As involved in the deployment has not been disclosed.Hill AFB has a total of 20 F-35s,which is planned to climb to 78 by 2019.Colonel David Smith,419th Fighter Wing commander,noted that:
This aircraft can collect all kinds of information;give it to the pilot;and we can share that information with our partners.*
Lockheed Martin is prime contractor for the F-35 Lightning II.*
Lockheed Martin (LMT)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

British Army Iraq Tribute - Castle of Glass by Linkin Park - austere environment theme

Ballad of the Green Berets - 2013 - Afghanistan Tribute - in memory of Staff Sergeant Mark R. DeAlencar

US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Firefight Identified

The Pentagon announced that Staff Sergeant Mark R DeAlencar,37,of Edgewood,Maryland,died on 8 April 2017 in Nangarhar Province,Afghanistan,when his unit took small arms fire from ISIL militants during combat operations with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.SSGT DeAlencar was assigned to 1st Battalion,7th Special Forces Group (Airborne),based at Eglin Air Force Base,Florida.
The Green Beret was a graduate of Joppatowne High School in Harford County,Maryland.He was the husband of Natasha DeAlencar and the father of five.His body was flown to Dover AFB,Delaware,where it was received in a dignified manner.He is to be interred in Arlington National Cemetery.
SSGT DeAlencar was serving in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel,the US role in NATO's Resolute Support Mission,which consists of train,advise and assist activities,as well as counterterrorism operations.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Colin Cookman on Shifting ISIS Tactics in Afghanistan - BBC

France Air force Jet Bombs ISIS Command Center

F-22 Raptor Refueling Operations over Iraq and Syria: Night Vision

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

OIR Coalition Forces Engage ISIL in Ground Combat in Syria,Afghanistan - American combat death

Two battles between the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition and militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant on Saturday point up the danger faced by US and British Special Operations Forces in country as well as their indigenous colleagues as they engage the ISIL menace directly or indirectly.A US SOF member was killed in action against ISIL-Khorasan in Afghanistan,according to US Navy Captain Bill Salvin,Spokesman for US Forces-Afghanistan and NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Kabul.In a press release on 8 April 2017,CAPT Salvin said the US service member was killed while conducting operations against ISIL-Khorasan in Nangarhar Province of Eastern Afghanistan.The American was a member of the SOF team fighting ISIL along with Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in Achin District of Nangarhar.No further information was released pending notification of next of kin.
The Afghan War is now,at more than 15 years in length,the longest war in US history.In the course of the war,at least 2249 US troops have died,as well as hundreds of other NATO and coalition troops.Some 20,210 American soldiers have been wounded in the conflict.
ISIL refers to Nangarhar as being its "Khorasan Province."*
Meanwhile in Syria,about 30 ISIL militants staged a raid on an OIR coalition Special Operations Forces base used by both US and British SOFs,as well as OIR-affiliated Syrian rebels.The al-Tanf base,near the Jordanian border,came under attack after US forces had withdrawn into the desert following the launch of 59 cruise missiles against a Syrian government air base,in retaliation for an Assad regime use of chemical weapons against civilians.The Islamist extremists,dressed in Syrian rebel uniforms,stormed the base with suicide bombers who blew the gate up.The surviving militants surged onto the base and opened fire on the inhabitants.A fierce,three-hour firefight erupted when US SOFs and their Syrian colleagues rushed back from the desert to drive ISIL out.Two of the Syrian allies were killed in the battle,despite intensive OIR coalition close air support.No US casualties were reported;nor was information released regarding British SOF participation in the battle,as is customary in the very close-mouthed British special operations approach.
The ISIL assault on the al-Tanf base was described by a US official as having been serious,complex and coordinated.The facility is used for train,advise and assist by OIR coalition SOFs and their Syrian rebel allies.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Navair Progresses Toward Mid-Year VH-92 presidential helicopter Maiden Flight - Rotor & Wing

Navair Progresses Toward Mid-Year VH-92 Maiden Flight - Rotor & Wing: Sikorsky’s U.S. presidential helicopter replacement, the VH-92, is scheduled to make its maiden flight this summer under a plan to replace two legacy fleets of “white top” VIP rotorcraft. Three years into the Naval Air Systems Command program, Sikorsky has delivered two engineering development model aircraft and is ahead of its contractual schedule, according to …

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

British supercarrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

Australian F-18s & British Eurofighters Get Gas Over Iraq

RAF Typhoons Take Off To Head To Cyprus For IS Airstrikes

UK Defence Minister Sets Forth British Posture in Europe,the Middle East and Southwest Asia - extremely watchful

On 31 March,British Minister of Defence Sir Michael Fallon enumerated British military activities in Europe,the Middle East and Southwest Asia at a joint press conference with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis following their London talks:
From Afghanistan to South Sudan,our men and women are working together with our friends and allies to defend the international rules-based system,and we have no closer friend than the United States.We began today by reviewing our efforts to combat international terrorism and global extremism.In Iraq and Syria,we stand shoulder to shoulder as leading members of the counter-Daesh coalition.Today,Daesh - aka ISIL - is failing.In Iraq,Daesh is clinging to its last stronghold,though 40% of West Mosul has been liberated and hundreds of thousands are returning to their homes.*
Meanwhile,our two nations are providing reassurance to our European allies in the wake of Russian aggression.We are leading NATO's enhanced forward presence.By next week,Britain will have 800 troops in Estonia,and 150 personnel in a reconnaissance squadron serving alongside US forces in Poland.In May,we will send four RAF Typhoons to Romania as part of NATO's mission to protect the Black Sea skies.This I part of the biggest deployment in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War.*
The second item on our agenda was about making the NATO Alliance fitter and faster.Fairer burden-sharing is the key here.Only five members have met the two percent target,the US and the UK among them.Our defence budget in Britain is growing every year and remains the biggest in Europe;but Secretary Mattis and I have agreed that others must now raise their game;and those failing to meet their two percent commitment so far should at least agree to year-on-year real term increases.
At the end of this year,we will own 14 F-35 aircraft,and I welcome the commitment by the US to deploy F-35Bs on the HMS Elizabeth on its first operational deployment in 2021.*
On the issue of Russia having perhaps violated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty with the United States,that is something that we think needs to be taken forward,not just by the US,but by NATO generally,once we have those violations confirmed.
There's a pattern now of interference by Russia in different parts of the globe that needs us to be,when we engage with Russia,wary of what Russia is up to,and that is why there cannot be,at the moment,any return to business as usual with Russia.We need to be extremely watchful now of this persistent pattern of Russian interference.*
We're not sending combat troops back to Afghanistan.We last year increased our troops in Afghanistan and we continue to wait for advice on the continuance of Resolute Support for 2018.As you know,we are helping staff the Officer's Academy;we assist on counterterrorism;and we are engaged in supplying the bulk of the Kabul Protection Force;but we're not planning to return back to combat in Afghanistan,UK Minister of Defence Sir Michael Fallon told journalists gathered in London for his meeting with US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.*
In the Middle East,the UK participates in the air campaign of Operation Inherent Resolve both in Iraq and Syria,as well as train,advise and assist efforts in Iraq and also Afghanistan in Southwest Asia.
Britain is as well moving to modernise its nuclear deterrent with the plan to build four new Trident II D5 ballistic missile submarines,and is building a large aircraft carrier,HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inside KSC! for March 24, 2017 - Orbital ATK cargo mission to ISS;Orion umbilical installed

NASA’s Stennis Space Center Conducts RS-25 Engine Test - test 2 of 8 on these upgraded Space Shuttle engines for the Orion Program's SLS rocket

Signing Ceremony and NASA Acting Administrator Statement on the NASA Authorization Act of 2017

President Signs NASA Transition Authorization Act on This Week @NASA – M...

NASA To Build Spaceport Near the Moon-reusable transport spacecraft also planned as agency unveils Deep Space Gateway concept

Yesterday,28 March 2017,NASA posted an article to its website unveiling the most detailed plan yet for the Orion Program.The new projects,which it calls Deep Space Gateway,expand upon the basic concept of using cislunar space,the area in the lunar vicinity,as a testing ground for missions to the Mars system and elsewhere in the solar system.These projects will enable the building and testing of systems needed for the Mission to Mars and other celestial bodies.*
NASA now intends to build a spaceport,essentially a small space station,within the early Orion crewed missions,to serve as a gateway to deep space and the lunar surface as well.It will contain a power bus;a small habitat that would extend crewed mission time;docking capability;airlock;and servicing by logistics modules to enable research.The spaceport,which NASA also calls the gateway,will be propelled by high power electric and chemical propulsion to sustain the station's orbit or transfer it among a family of orbits in cislunar space as needed.The gateway will be made possible by the Space Launch System rocket's cargo capability plus the Orion spacecraft's crewed deep space capability.The project will be developed,serviced and utilised in collaboration with commercial and international partners,NASA pointed out.*
Dr.William Gerstenmaier,NASA Associate Administrator for Human Exploration and Operations,described the Deep Space Gateway thusly:
I envision different partners,both international and commercial,contributing to the gateway and using it in a variety of ways with a system that can move to different orbits to enable a variety of missions.The gateway would move to support robotic or partner missions to the surface of the Moon;or to a higher lunar orbit to support missions departing from the gateway to other destinations in the solar system.*
The agency also intends to build a reusable transport spacecraft powered by electric/chemical propulsion that will depart from the gateway for destinations such as Mars.It will take crews to their destination,then return to the spaceport for servicing and eventual reuse.This transport vehicle will also take advantage of the SLS capability to launch large volumes and mass,as well as advanced exploration technologies now being developed and tested on the ground and in the ISS.*
The first integrated flight of the Orion system,Exploration Mission-1,including the new SLS rocket,Orion spacecraft and ESA Orion Service Module,is currently scheduled for 2018,but would be delayed to 2019,if a NASA study now underway recommends making EM-1 a crewed mission.*
This burst of energy from NASA no doubt reflects the strong commitment of President Donald Trump to the agency and America's continued leadership in aerospace.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

US ARMY launch HIMARS on ISIS VBIED factory-Operation Inherent Resolve.

US Marines Firing the M777 155mm Howitzer

Operation Inherent Resolve:US Marine Corps Artillery Moves into Syria-hefty reinforcements may be staged in Kuwait

About 400 US Marines of the 111th Marine Expeditionary Unit and US Army Rangers of the 75th Ranger Regiment have arrived in Syria,augmenting the 500 US troops already there on a train,advise and assist mission for the Syrian Democratic Forces,a conglomeration of militias led by the YPG Kurds.The Marines are there in a combat role with their light but powerful M777 155 mm Howitzers.This artillery has been assisting the SDF soften up Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant positions in and around Raqqa,the ISIL capital,since at least 9 March 2017.The Rangers have been patrolling around the newly liberated town of Manbij in Northern Syria in their armoured personnel carriers to stabilise the security situation and reassure skittish allies such as Turkey.
Besides the Marines and Rangers,US Army HiMARS rocket artillery is reportedly also in or headed for Syria to participate in the liberation of Raqqa,thus mirroring US on the ground activity in neighbouring Iraq.The extra firepower is part of the Trump administration's plan to accelerate the lasting military defeat of ISIL.Although the deployments are considered temporary,no end date has been set.
Additionally,the Pentagon is contemplating sending at least 1,000 more troops to Kuwait as potential reinforcements for the approximately 1,000 US forces already in Syria.Indeed,the number in Kuwait could go as high as 12,000 US troops being held in reserve for support of the momentous Battle of Raqqa,which could be intitiated within a few weeks' time.*
The M777 is a towed cannon with a range of 32 kilometers/20 miles.It has been used in the Afghan War as well.The HiMARS is already being used against ISIL in Iraq.According to US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian,spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force OIR:
We are going to prepare to liberate the city of Raqqa.This is an important task that has to be accomplished,because liberating that city is going to damage the enemy's prospects.It has a tremendous amount of symbolic importance.It's also a major command and control node for their external operations.
We have what I would describe as a pretty relentless air campaign to destroy enemy capabilities and to kill enemy fighters in that area already.That is something that we are going to continue and intensify with this new capability,COL Dorrian explained.*
On 20 March 2017,coalition military forces conducted 22 strikes consisting of 28 engagements against ISIL in Syria,including:
Near Abu Kamal,three strikes destroyed three wellheads and a pump jack;
Near Raqqa,19 strikes engaged eight ISIL tactical units;destroyed four pieces of oil lubricant equipment;three barges;three fighting positions;three headquarters;two VBIED facilities;two VBIEDs;a VBIED factory;a tunnel;a vehicle;a weapons storage facility;a command and control node;and damaged two supply nodes.*
Strikes are conducted by fighter,attack,bomber,rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft;rocket-propelled artillery;some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets.Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to manoeuvre roles is not classified as a strike,the CJTFOIR says.*
Those who have participated in Syria strikes include Australia;Bahrain;Canada;Denmark;France;Jordan;the Netherlands;Saudi Arabia;Turkey;the UAE;and the UK.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Troops of US Army's 2nd Cav Face Culture Shock:no fast food;this is almost war

Facing an increasingly belligerent Russia and separated from their families in Vilseck,Germany,the Soldiers of US Army Europe's 2nd Cavalry Regiment will face another form of privation when they deploy to Poland shortly:no Burger King or Pizza Hut for the six months of their mission.They are not to expect such fast food amenities as many Soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq had at their Forward Operating Bases.Instead,warned Lieutenant General Ben Hodges,commander,USAREUR,expect potatoes three times a day for the next six months:
We are not going to have an American ghetto inside a Polish garrison,LTGEN Hodges said.That defeats the whole purpose of being with our Allies.*
Besides fraying Alliance unity and unit cohesion between frontline combatant and rear echelon US support troops,it is just not conducive to warfighting to provide US Soldiers such luxuries,USAEUR feels.They will have access to WiFi in order to facilitate communication with their families and continuing Army education.Yet there is a security concern surrounding that very amenity,as Russian hackers are expected to eavesdrop on even low level NATO cyber traffic.USAREUR feels we are in a contested environment along NATO's Eastern Flank,so everyone must maintain their best vigilance.*
The 2nd Cav Soldiers will deploy in early April along with British,Romanian,Croatian and Polish forces to augment NATO's deterrent and defensive posture in Poland and the Baltic States.They will march across the Czech Republic and Western Poland to reach their new Eastern Flank post.

2nd Cavalry Mission Summary - headed for Poland on NATO's Eastern flank

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

HMS Raleigh 24/4/09 Pass Out Parade - Recruit graduation in the Royal Navy

Iran IRGC Tondar class missile craft ناوچه موشك انداز تندر ايران

Iran IRGC Seraj-1 fast attack craft قايق تندرو سراج يك ايران

Iran IRGC Navy receives Ashoura & Zolfaqar Speedboats قايق تندرو ذوالفقا...

U.S. Navy fires warning shots against Iranian vessel - 25 August 2016

Iranian Boats Challenge US and Royal Navy Ships in Strait of Hormuz - can Iran really close the strait?

On 4 March 2017,an Iranian fast attack speedboat got within 600 yards of the USNS Invincible,a Special Missions ship of the US Navy-led Military Sealift Command,a US defence official revealed.The Invincible,which is crewed by civil service mariners,is a missile surveillance ship.It has two radomes:a large one on its stern,and a smaller one on its bridge area.These contain dual band radars that can track ballistic missiles.The US had imposed sanctions on Iran when it tested a new ballistic missile in February,so conceivably this most recent harassment incident was in response to that.
In the first phase of the incident,an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy fast attack speedboat got within 600 yards of the Invincible and stopped dead in the water,blocking the Invincible's path,so that it had to steer around the Iranian boat to avoid a collision.Part two of the drama unfolded when another Iranian fast attack craft got within 350 yards of one of three Royal Navy ships escorting the unarmed Invincible,and the British ship,too,had to change course.Both Iranian obstructive actions were considered unsafe and unprofessional.The Iranian vessels ignored repeated attempts to contact them.*
In addition to its ballistic missile test in February,Iran has also recently installed a Russian S-300 missile defence system that can shoot down third and fourth generation fighter aircraft,but not fifth generation such as the F-35 Lightning II.*
Iran has made several threats to close the Strait,through which about 20% of the world's oil supply flows;but can it actually do so?In 2012,US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey said that Iran has invested in capability that could,in fact,for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz,which narrows at one point to only 54 kilometers/32.4 miles across (one estimate said Iran could close or impede the Strait for up to a month).At the same time,however,we've invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens,we can defeat that.*
The US Military Sealift Command exists to support the warfighter across the full spectrum of military operations.MSC provides on-time logistics;strategic sealift;as well as specialised missions anywhere in the world,under any conditions,24/7,365 days a year.With unified resolve,MSC says,we boldly sail the world's oceans to provide essential assured logistics and service support to the warfighter as the nation's premier maritime transport organisation.*
The current commander of MSC is Rear Admiral Dee L. Mewbourne,USN.Commander,MSC Central is Captain Edwin D. Kaiser,USN.Some of the MSC ships have blended civil service/military crews;others,such as Invincible have purely civil service mariner crews.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Boeing CST-100 to Transport U.S. Astronauts to the International Space S...

Space Launch System Carries CubeSat Explorers During First Mission

From Metal To Masterpiece: Orion's 2016 Progress

Space to Ground: Special Delivery for the Station: 02/24/2017

First Integrated Piece of Space Launch System Hardware Headed for Cape Canaveral AFS - NASA's new deep space rocket

The Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage,or ICPS,which is the upper stage of the massive Space Launch System deep space rocket,is currently being transported by barge and truck to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,Florida from Alabama.Its destination is the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Operation Center at the Cape.The ICPS is the first piece of integrated SLS hardware that will arrive at the Cape for final processing and testing before shipment to Ground Systems Development Operations at Kennedy Space Center prior to launch on Exploration Mission-1 in the 2018-19 time frame.At the request of the White House,NASA began a formal feasibility study on 17 February 2017 of making EM-1 the first crewed mission of the Orion spacecraft,moving that goal up from 2021.In a more informal study of the question the agency conducted on its own,NASA concluded it would be technically possible to meld the first crewed mission with the EM-1 shakedown mission of the integrated Orion/SLS.The formal review,with input from the Astronaut Office and a lot of consideration of crew safety,will be ready in about a month.*
Designed and built by Boeing in Huntsville,Alabama and United Launch Alliance,a Boeing/Lockheed Martin partnership,in Decatur,Alabama,the ICPS will propel Orion and 13 secondary payloads of CubeSats (small satellites) to a point beyond the Moon,into deep space.If EM-1 is crewed,NASA says there would likely be two crew members on an 8-9 day mission to cislunar space,in a high orbit around the Moon farther out than humans have gone before,where the goal of reaching the Mars system will be advanced through a series of Orion missions.*
Eventually,the ICPS will be replaced by the more powerful Exploration Upper Stage,or EUS,which will be capable of taking astronauts far beyond the Moon,to the Mars system or elsewhere.
Boeing (BA),Lockheed Martin (LMT)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Launch of Worlds Largest Rocket Delta IV Heavy with NROL-37 11 June 2016

19 February 2017 - SpaceX Rocket Launch of Falcon 9 from Kennedy Space Center for First Time

US Special Forces Wear Beards In Afghanistan and are still engaged in counterterror operations in 2017

The Afghan War:Mattis Scouts the Way Ahead for NATO

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis,as he prefers being called,spoke with reporters yesterday in Abu Dhabi,UAE:
We anticipated that we might not be able to get into Afghanistan due to weather.We got the weather report yesterday.I was fortunate yesterday,before we left Munich,to speak with Afghan President Ghani at length.We were both there,and we took advantage of that opportunity,knowing I might not be able to see him today as we initially planned.I had a very in-depth discussion about the way ahead in Afghanistan.
And then I spoke by picture-video teleconference-with our NATO commander in the field,General Nicholson,and that went on for several hours,and this is all part of my getting my feet on the deck in terms of getting current on the situation that the coalition forces in Afghanistan face,both politically and strategically,and identifying the way ahead.*
On the situation in Afghanistan right now,again,my point in talking to President Ghani and talking to our field commander,the NATO field commander,is to gain their political and military appreciation of the situation.We're putting our thoughts together now.*
President Trump has been rightly reticent on it,because he's waiting for my assessment and the assessment from the intelligence community.And he's open to my advice on it;but first of all,I've got to formulate where I stand,and so this is the normal collection of the information,and to assess what other countries in the region are doing to help or hinder our efforts there.So we're still sorting that out and here shortly I'll have my thoughts collected.It shouldn't take too long;but I've got a fair number of issues in order to give a good recommendation for the way ahead.*
So I think it was a lot more damaging to the Taliban,and the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces paid a very heavy price to keep the Taliban on their back foot,but they paid it;they've held;and the Taliban is in a worse position today,even though I do not equate that to success on our side.*
I would not in any way contest it has been a hard fight all the way through.I think that's a very accurate point.I would question who came out on the shorter end of the stick.Right now I'd rather be on NATO's-be in NATO's position right now than I would want to be in the Taliban's,the retired US Marine Corps general and new Defense Secretary Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis told the journalists in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why is NATO membership important to Montenegro? - NATO

Montenegro's NATO Membership Bid Going 'Smoothly'

Montenegro Air Force supports NATO Allies during Exercise Adriatic Strik...

Dutch troops training in Poland - NATO

Norway's female tank commander - NATO

Russia Challenges NATO by Deploying New Missile,Violating Treaty

According to Administration officials who spoke anonymously to The New York Times,Russia has now deployed a new land-based intermediate range cruise missile in clear violation of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.The INF Treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.US intelligence has known about Russian testing of such a weapon since 2008 and the Obama administration formally accused Moscow of violating the INF Treaty by testing the missile in 2014.*
Known as the SSC-8 by the Pentagon,the missiles are seen as a direct threat to Europe.Russia has two battalions of the SSC-8.One of them is based at the Russian missile test range at Kapustin Yar;while the other was moved from there in December to an undisclosed location in Russia.Each battalion consists of four missile launchers and more than four missiles,intelligence analysts believe.The short range nuclear-tipped ballistic missile Iskander-M uses a similar type of launcher,but is not itself in violation of a treaty.The Pentagon has drawn up options to respond to the SSC-8 with,such as beefing up European missile defences or developing new US air or sea-based cruise missiles.*
The INF Treaty bans US and Russian missiles that can travel 300-3400 miles.It also forbids the production of launchers for such missiles.*
According to former US Defense Secretary and CIA Director Robert Gates,appearing before Congress in 1985,Soviet deployment of cruise missiles provides them with new multidirectional capabilities against US targets.*
At a 1 December 2015 Congressional hearing,Brian P. McKeon,Principal Undersecretary of Defense for Policy,said that the Joint Staff assessment tells us that the deployment of such a system by the Russian Federation would increase the risk to our allies and be an indirect threat to the US...the Administration determined that we need to consider Russian actions with respect to the INF Treaty in the context of its overall aggressive and bellicose behaviour that flouts international legal norms and destabilises the European security order.Russia is not violating the INF Treaty in isolation from it overall aggressive behaviour.*
Speaking at the same 2015 hearing,Rose Gottemoeller,who was then Undersecretary of Arms Control and International Security,and is now Deputy Secretary General of NATO,saidwe have made it very clear that this is not a technicality,a one-off event,or a case of mistaken identity,but a serious violation of one of the most basic obligations under the INF Treaty.Russian officials have denied violating the Treaty and told us the issue was closed.We do not accept this response.*

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Crew Dragon | In Orbit - SpaceX simulation

Commercial Crew's Role in the Path to Mars

Boeing Suits Up

New Spacesuit Unveiled for Starliner Astronauts

How Serving in the US Marine Corps Helped a NASA Mission Manager-Commercial Crew Program

Trip Healey,a former US Marine Corps sergeant and helicopter squadron door gunner with 550 hours flying time,is one of two Mission Managers for NASA's Commercial Crew Program,which is scheduled to launch its uncrewed test in November 2017 of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket.Healey himself is assigned to the Boeing Starliner spacecraft,which is slated for its uncrewed test launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in June 2018.He described for the NASA website how his four years in the Marines helps him do his NASA work today:
I am a Marine,and as a Marine,it's all about mission accomplishment,taking care of your troops,and getting the job done.I think that background helps me in my position here.
I grew up around helicopters,jets,flying on helicopter missions,and just being on the flight line-aviation became part of my blood.There are so many lessons learned from that environment that translated into the NASA workforce-like teamwork;mission accomplishment;and watching out for one another.
I learned and applied the thought of only focusing on what was within my span of control and not focusing on those things I could not affect.What I did for the team as the daily planner was lay out a battle rhythm to get the work done,which seemed to change in scope and complexity on a daily basis.That is a great trait of a Marine-to be expeditious and get the job done-and a commonality shared with NASA.But the real analog between the Marines and NASA is that everyone is fully committed,no matter what the sacrifice,because the team feels as though what we are doing is bigger than any of us.*
After the Marines,Trip earned a BS in aeronautical engineering and a Master's in technical management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.*
Boeing (BA)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

New Details,Updated Special Report:Navy SEAL Killed in Combat with Al-Qaida - Trump's first ground combat operation

More than 15 years after al-Qaida pulled off the bloody 9-11 attacks on the US mainland,a US Navy SEAL was killed in firefight action in Yemen during a pre-dawn raid against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula,an actively anti-Western organisation,over the weekend,and four others were wounded,the Pentagon said,as President Donald Trump ordered his first ground combat operation.AH-64 Apache helicopters and fighter jets provided close air support during the raid,which was aimed at gathering intelligence on future plans by al-Qaida directed against the US,and indeed did so successfully.Foreign troops assisted the US,as UAE commandos participated in the raid.*
About 14 al-Qaida in the Arabian Penninsula militants were killed in the raid,plus up to several dozen civilian relatives of the Islamist extremists,who had gathered at a headquarters facility in either the Shawba or Bayda governate next door to chew the narcotic plant called "qat,"in accordance with Yemeni tradition.Several civilian homes were possibly destroyed in the pitched battle that raged from nighttime till dawn,beginning with an air assault by the SEALs of Team Six-meaning they arrived by helicopter or possibly tilt-rotor MV-22 Ospreys.One MV-22 indeed crash-landed at a staging area when it undertook a rescue mission for injured troops,resulting in another injury.The plane was destroyed on the ground by friendly aircraft in order to protect sensitive information. *
Both al-Qaida and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant have been active in Yemen in recent years,taking advantage of the civil war in the country between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Houthi rebel tribesmen in order to expand their influence.*
The SEAL killed has been identified as Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens,36,of Peoria,Illinois.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said of CSWO Owens in a statement of condolence:
Ryan gave his full measure for our nation,and in performing his duty,he upheld the noblest standard of military service.The US would not long exist,were it not for the selfless commitment of such warriors.*
In the course of his career,CSWO Owens had been decorated with:
two Bronze Star Medals;Afghanistan Campaign Medal;Joint Service Commendation Medal;Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal;Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal;and the National Defense Service Medal.*
Planning for the raid had begun under former President Barack Obama;but was authorised by President Donald Trump,an anonymous defence official revealed.It was intended to be a clandestine operation,and would not have been disclosed,were it not for the death of CSWO Owens.

Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Call with German Minister of Defense Ursu

Readout of Secretary Mattis’ Call with German Minister of Defense Ursu: Pentagon Spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis provided the following readout: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis spoke today by telephone with German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen to introduce himself

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

LHD Adelaide embarks US Marines, part II

LHD Adelaide embarks US Marines, part I

Australian Army Training alongside U.S. Marines at Talisman Sabre 2015 -...

US Marines Add More Combat Aircraft to Their Rotation in Australia

Having brought their personnel numbers in Australia up from an initial 200 in 2012 to 1250 in 2016,and planning to double this to 2500 by 2020,the US Marines are now more than tripling the number of combat aircraft accompanying their troops from four in 2016 up to 13 in 2017.This year,the complement of aircraft will include:
four MV-22 Ospreys,whose long range and speed make them ideal for Asia-Pacific island-hopping;
five AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters;
and four UH-1Y Venom helicopters.
This Aviation Combat Element will be hosted at RAAF Darwin.It is being described by the Marines as being more diverse and capable than previous deployments.All of the aircraft will be drawn from units in Hawaii.The next six-month rotation begins in April 2017,with most of the Marines coming from 3rd Battalion,4th Marine Regiment,out of Camp Pendleton,California. *
The US has used Australia as a base for many decades and in many different respects,explains Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne,whether it's cyber security information gathering,the Marines in Darwin and the Air Force.Australia has real capability in maintaining and sustaining our aircraft and American aircraft.The Americans know that if they send their aircraft to Australia and they need to be maintained or sustained in some particular way,it can be done here.*
In October,the US and Australia reached a cost-sharing agreement for the 25-year long pact that will improve the Northern Territory infrastructure and pay for ongoing costs,settling a squabble over just how the Marine Corps rotations will be funded.The rotational programme furthers the US aim of rebalancing its forces to the Asia-Pacific,while bolstering Australia's defence against a growing menace from China and North Korea.*
When the Marines reach 2500 troops,they will have a full Marine Air-Ground Task Force with all of its aircraft,vehicles and other equipment in Australia's remote Northern Territory.The pact for this rotational force was signed in 2011 by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former President Barack Obama.*
Overall,the Marines are in the process of redistributing their forces to four major Forward Areas of Operation:Japan;Guam;Hawaii;and Australia.This is their part of the new US strategy of rebalancing the military to the Asia-Pacific region.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump Participates in First Pass in Review as Commander in Chief

Message to the Department of Defense from Secretary of Defense James M

Message to the Department of Defense from Secretary of Defense James M: ***It’s good to be back and I’m grateful to serve alongside you as Secretary of Defense.Together with the Intelligence Community we are the sentinels and guardians of our nation. We need only look to

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

US Army Airborne Paratroopers Jump Into Latvia

Poland welcomes thousands of American troops with open arms - US Army Europe

Iron Brigade Fires Rounds in Poland - US Army Europe

US Army Ratchets Up Combat Power in Europe

The 1st Battalion,68th Armor Regiment,3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team,4th Infantry Division has arrived in Poland for Live Fire Accuracy Screening Tests.The tests,following extensive training at US bases,began on 16 January 2017.The arrival of 3rd ABCT marks the commencement of back to back rotations of an additional armoured brigade for Operation Atlantic Resolve,the US effort to bolster NATO's firepower and confidence.*
More than 2700 pieces of equipment were shipped to Poland for certification before dispersal across the continent for training missions.The equipment includes M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1A2 Main Battle Tanks.*
The rotations of ABCTs will enhance deterrence capabilities;improve the US ability to respond to potential crises;and defend allies and partners in the European community.The focus will be on strengthening capabilities and sustaining readiness through bilateral and multinational training exercises.*
These armour certification tests are taking place at the Presidential Range in Swietozow,Poland.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Midshipman Awarded Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism

Midshipman Awarded Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Heroism: A USNA midshipmen received the highest non-combat decoration awarded for heroism by the Department of the Navy Jan. 10.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


F-16 and Flares Over Afghanistan - Dec 2016 - Operation Freedom's Sentinel

KC-135 Stratotanker Air Refuels a RC-135 Rivet Joint - Operation Freedom...

Military Intelligence:USAF RC-135 Still Active in Afghanistan - classic ISR plane

A longtime US Air Force reconnaissance asset,the RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft,a reconfigured Boeing C-135,continues its intelligence collecting legacy in Afghanistan.A new photo of the aircraft being refueled in Afghan skies was tweeted by the Department of Defense on 10 January 2016 and a video has been released as well.A KC-135 Stratotanker of the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron is shown refueling the Rivet Joint on 3 January 2016.The squadron is actively engaged in tactical air refueling operations which extend kinetic and non-kinetic capabilities,the Air Force said.*
According to Air Force magazine,the RC-135 is perhaps the most potent airborne intelligence-gathering platform in history.It conducts ELINT and COMINT intercept operations out to 150 miles.Later models of the plane are characterised by the variety and complexity of electronic suites,sporting additional antennae,radar platforms,bulges,stings and other less-than-aerodynamic shapes to accommodate the exotic electronics.*
From Vietnam to Operations Urgent Fury in Grenada and Desert Storm in Iraq,on to Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan,and now Operation Freedom's Sentinel,the US roles in NATO'S Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan,the plane's onboard sensor suite has detected,identified and geolocated signals throughout the electromagnetic spectrum,fowarding them to a wide range of consumers via Rivet Joint's extensive communications suite,the Air Force continues,supporting both theatre and national level consumers with near real time in country intelligence collection,analysis and dissemination capabilities.*
The 17 Rivet Joint aircraft,operated by 55th Wing,are based at Offut Air Force Base,Nebraska by crewed by up to 32 Airmen,including the flight crew of up to 3 pilots and 2 navigators;the mission flight crew of a minimum of 3 electronic warfare officers;14 intelligence operators and 4 inflight/airborne maintenance technicians.
Great Britain's Royal Air Force also flies the RC-135 Rivet Joint.*
Boeing (BA)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

French F-2 Rafale Fighters refuel in support of Operation Inherent Resolve

Operation Inherent Resolve: U.S. F-16s Fighting Falcons & AWACS Refuel O...

Battle of Mosul 2016 - US Army Artillery & M142 HIMARS Heavy Fire Suppor...

Mosul Liberation Strategy is Three-Pronged Offensive,CENTCOM Says

According to the latest US Central Command news release dated 29 December 2016,the Iraqi Security Forces have launched a simultaneous three-pronged attack on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's northern stronghold of Mosul,Iraq's second largest city,with a population of 664,221 as of 2015.The offensive is backed by the anti-ISIL Operation Inherent Resolve coalition air and artillery strikes.*
On the North Axis,units of the Iraqi Army 16th Division advanced south to claim more neighbourhoods.
On the East Axis,Counter Terrorism Service units pushed west and south along two fronts.
On the South Axis,federal police units began clearing neighbourhoods to the north.
The advance opens up two new fronts within the city,Iraqi officials said,hindering ISIL's ability to generate forces;move fighters;or resupply.*
Since the Mosul campaign began on 17 October 2016,the OIR coalition has struck the Islamist extremists with more than 7650 munitions.It restruck two Mosul bridges on 27 December and disabled the last bridge crossing the Tigris River in Mosul on 26 December.Such strikes crimp enemy freedom of movement and further disrupt ISIL's ability to reinforce,resupply and use VBIEDs in Eastern Mosul.
Besides air and artillery strikes,OIR provides Iraqi units with operational advice and assistance,as well as intelligence and logistics support at the request of the ISF.US Army Lieutenant General Sean McFarland is commander of OIR.