Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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

B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber

US Nuclear Forces Upgrade Momentum - deep strike war plans

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

Friday, August 25, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Afghan War Plan Unveiled - what to expect now

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

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

Update:Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Identified - Special Forces member

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

US Soldier Killed in Afghanistan - counterterror operation

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Iraq Update:Fallen Soldiers Identified - Iraq Campaign continues

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

USAF Refuels French Mirage 2000 Fighter Jets Over Iraq

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Orion and the European Service Module - ESA

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Update:Nationality of Afghanistan Suicide Blast Victim Revealed

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

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

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Pence Condemns 'Russia's Occupation' Of Georgian Soil

Rocket Fire • NATO

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

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

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

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