Tuesday, July 25, 2017

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

Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s - ├śrland 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, …

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

US Soldier Killed by Indirect Fire in Afghanistan Is Identified - Taliban mortar attack

US Soldier Killed by Indirect Fire in Afghanistan Is Identified: The Pentagon identified the U.S. soldier Wednesday who was killed in Afghanistan on Monday.

LHD Canberra, Talisman Sabre 2017, report

LHD Bonhomme Richard, Talisman Saber begins, report

U.S. And Australia Start Their Largest Talisman Saber Joint Military Exe...

US,Australia Launch Major Exercise at a Time Of Heightened Regional Tension

Even as North Korea was launching its first ICBM experts deem capable of striking the US mainland and Canada on Independence Day,4 July 2017,the US and Australia were getting their largest joint exercise,Talisman Sabre 2017,off the proverbial launch pad.The drills,a major effort to train their forces in planning and conducting Combined Joint Task Force operations to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between the respective forces,are held every two years,the Australian Department of Defence said.*
TS17 is focused on mid-intensity high-end warfighting.This seventh iteration of the event will involve more than 33,000 US and Australian troops.It will consist of force preparation activities;amphibious landings;parachuting;land force manoeuvres;urban operations;air operations;maritime operations;and coordinated firing of live ammunition and explosive ordnance from both small arms and artillery,as well as naval vessels and aircraft,ADOD continued.*
Most of TS17's field training will occur in Shoalwater Bay Training Area,near Rockhampton,Central Queensland.Other sites include Mt.Bundy Training Area south of Darwin,Northern Territory,as well as Darwin itself,Townsville,Brisbane and Canberra in Australia;and Hawaii,Indiana,Virginia and Washington in the US.The drills began in late June and run through late July.*
Admiral Harry B. Harris,Commander,US Pacific Command,recently noted at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Brisbane that the North Korean threat covers the entire Indo-Asia-Pacific Region since its missiles point in every direction:
North Korea made this clear when it threatened Australia with a nuclear strike just a couple of months ago.*
Other APAC regional threats concerning the US and Australia that were cited by ADM Harris are China's growing militarisation of the South China Sea and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's  alarming expansion into the Philippines.ADM Harris summarised  the current exercise thusly:
TS17 is a realistic,high-end and challenging exercise that provides endless opportunities for our nations to innovatively prepare for our shared regional and global security challenges.*
New Zealand is also sending a contingent to the drills.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mattis Honored at Marine Barracks Evening Parade

Mattis Honored at Marine Barracks Evening Parade: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis makes remarks as the guest of honor at the Marine Barracks evening parade in Washington, D.C., June 30, 2017.