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Topic: Military Science and Military Issues (Read 112142 times)
WSJ: Donnelly and Schmitt
Reply #100 on:
April 08, 2009, 05:01:25 PM »
Third post of the day:
By THOMAS DONNELLY and GARY SCHMITT
On Monday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a significant reordering of U.S. defense programs. His recommendations should not go unchallenged.
In the 1990s, defense cuts helped pay for increased domestic spending, and that is true today. Though Mr. Gates said that his decisions were "almost exclusively influenced by factors other than simply finding a way to balance the books," the broad list of program reductions and terminations suggest otherwise. In fact, he tacitly acknowledged as much by saying the budget plan represented "one of those rare chances to match virtue to necessity" -- the "necessity" of course being the administration's decision to reorder the government's spending priorities.
However, warfare is not a human activity that directly awards virtue. Nor is it a perfectly calculable endeavor that permits a delicate "balancing" of risk. More often it rewards those who arrive on the battlefield "the fustest with the mostest," as Civil War Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest once put it. If Mr. Gates has his way, U.S. forces will find it increasingly hard to meet the Forrest standard. Consider a few of the details of the Gates proposals:
- The termination of the F-22 Raptor program at just 187 aircraft inevitably will call U.S. air supremacy -- the salient feature, since World War II, of the American way of war -- into question.
The need for these sophisticated, stealthy, radar-evading planes is already apparent. During Russia's invasion of Georgia, U.S. commanders wanted to fly unmanned surveillance aircraft over the region, and requested that F-22s sanitize the skies so that the slow-moving drones would be protected from Russian fighters or air defenses. When the F-22s were not made available, likely for fear of provoking Moscow, the reconnaissance flights were cancelled.
As the air-defense and air-combat capabilities of other nations, most notably China, increase, the demand for F-22s would likewise rise. And the Air Force will have to manage this small fleet of Raptors over 30 years. Compare that number with the 660 F-15s flying today, but which are literally falling apart at the seams from age and use. The F-22 is not merely a replacement for the F-15; it also performs the functions of electronic warfare and other support aircraft. Meanwhile, Mr. Gates is further postponing the already decades-long search for a replacement for the existing handful of B-2 bombers.
- The U.S. Navy will continue to shrink below the fleet size of 313 ships it set only a few years ago. Although Mr. Gates has rightly decided to end the massive and expensive DDG-1000 Zumwalt destroyer program, there will be additional reductions to the surface fleet. The number of aircraft carriers will drop eventually to 10. The next generation of cruisers will be delayed, and support-ship projects stretched out. Older Arleigh Burke destroyers will be upgraded and modernized, but at less-than-needed rates.
The good news is that Mr. Gates will not to reduce the purchases of the Littoral Combat Ship, which can be configured for missions from antipiracy to antisubmarine warfare. But neither will he buy more than the 55 planned for by the previous Bush administration. And the size and structure of the submarine fleet was studiously not mentioned. The Navy's plan to begin at last to procure two attack submarines per year -- absolutely vital considering the pace at which China is deploying new, quieter subs -- is uncertain, at best.
- Mr. Gates has promised to "restructure" the Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, arguing that the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan have called into question the need for new ground combat vehicles. The secretary noted that the Army's modernization plan does not take into account the $25 billion investment in the giant Mine Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles. But it's hard to think of a more specialized and less versatile vehicle.
The MRAP was ideal for dealing with the proliferation of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq. But the FCS vehicle -- with a lightweight yet better-protected chassis, greater fuel efficiency and superior off-road capacity -- is far more flexible and useful for irregular warfare. Further, the ability to form battlefield "networks" will make FCS units more effective than the sum of their individual parts. Delaying modernization means that future generations of soldiers will conduct mounted operations in the M1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles designed in the 1970s. Finally, Mr. Gates capped the size of the U.S. ground force, ignoring all evidence that it is too small to handle current and future major contingencies.
- The proposed cuts in space and missile defense programs reflect a retreat in emerging environments that are increasingly critical in modern warfare. The termination of the Airborne Laser and Transformational Satellite programs is especially discouraging.
The Airborne Laser is the most promising form of defense against ballistic missiles in the "boost phase," the moments immediately after launch when the missiles are most vulnerable. This project was also the military's first operational foray into directed energy, which will be as revolutionary in the future as "stealth" technology has been in recent decades. The Transformational Satellite program employs laser technology for communications purposes, providing not only enhanced bandwidth -- essential to fulfill the value of all kinds of information networks -- but increased security.
Mr. Gates justifies these cuts as a matter of "hard choices" and "budget discipline," saying that "[E]very defense dollar spent to over-insure against a remote or diminishing risk . . . is a dollar not available to take care of our people, reset the force, win the wars we are in." But this calculus is true only because the Obama administration has chosen to cut defense, while increasing domestic entitlements and debt so dramatically.
The budget cuts Mr. Gates is recommending are not a temporary measure to get us over a fiscal bump in the road. Rather, they are the opening bid in what, if the Obama administration has its way, will be a future U.S. military that is smaller and packs less wallop. But what is true for the wars we're in -- that numbers matter -- is also true for the wars that we aren't yet in, or that we simply wish to deter.
Mr. Donnelly is a resident fellow and Mr. Schmitt is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. They are co-editors of "Of Men and Materiel: the Crisis in Military Resources" (AEI, 2007).
Re: Military Science
Reply #101 on:
April 08, 2009, 06:28:13 PM »
Who needs a military? Obama is gonna make sure everyone wuuuuuvs us!
IBD: Israeli BMD
Reply #102 on:
April 09, 2009, 09:27:58 AM »
Israel Steps It Up
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, April 08, 2009 4:20 PM PT
Defense: On the same day a plot to supply Iran with nuclear materials is revealed, Israel conducts a missile defense test. Nothing concentrates the mind quite so wonderfully as the threat of imminent extinction.
Read More: Military & Defense
On Tuesday, word came that the Manhattan district attorney's office had smashed a plot to smuggle nuclear weapons materials to Iran through unwitting New York banks. A 118-count indictment accuses Chinese financier Lei Feng Wei of setting up fake companies to hide that he was selling millions of dollars in potential nuclear materials to Tehran.
As the New York Daily News reports, among the materials involved were 33,000 pounds of a specialized aluminum alloy used almost exclusively in long-range missile production, 66,000 pounds of tungsten copper plate used in missile guidance systems, and 53,900 pounds of maraging steel rods, a super-hard metal used in uranium enrichment and to make the casings for nuclear bombs.
We have commented on Iran's cooperation with North Korea on missile technology. The pledge by Iran's mad Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe Israel off the map remains in full force.
Unlike the U.S., Israel is moving full speed ahead on missile defense, and even if Iran's missile threat went away tomorrow, Israel's determination to defend itself would not.
The Israelis aren't waiting for missile defense to be proven "cost-effective." They know the cost of defending themselves against nuclear missile attack pales in comparison to the cost of losing a nation.
As Lei's indictment was announced, the Israeli air force conducted its 17th test, a successful one, of its newly upgraded Arrow 2 missile defense system. It hit a Blue Sparrow missile, modified to mimic an incoming Iranian Shahab-3 missile, fired from an F-15.
The test was conducted jointly by the IAF and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It was the first Arrow test in conjunction with a high-powered American X-band radar deployed in Israel's Negev desert. X-band was a parting gift to Israel from President Bush.
The Jerusalem Post reports that an Arrow interceptor was launched from the Palmahim air base after the target missile was detected. The target missile carried a multiple warhead with radar-evading capabilities that Iran does not possess.
Iran is working hard to improve its missile capabilities. In November, it successfully test-fired the Sajjil, a solid-fueled high-speed missile with a range of 1,250 miles. It recently showed its global reach with the launching of its Omid satellite.
In January 2007, Germany's Bild magazine reported that Iran had bought 18 BM-25 land-mobile missiles from North Korea. The BM-25 is a variation of the Russian SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile, with a range of 1,800 miles.
According to Uzi Rubin, former head of the Arrow anti-missile program, the BM-25 "is a nuclear missile. . . . There is no other warhead for this other than a nuclear warhead."
The Arrow project is being jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries and Chicago-based Boeing, which recently saw its airborne laser missile-defense system put on hold. Several operational Arrow missile batteries have already been deployed.
"This was the most advanced version of the Arrow weapons system in terms of the ability to perform the type of intercept that would be necessary to destroy a ballistic missile target," said Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Israel has now "deployed a layered defense," he added. This is something the U.S. needs but which recent budget cuts prevent.
Israel is also developing a defense against short-range Katyusha and Qassam rockets called Iron Dome, which uses an early-warning system known as Red Dawn.
While the U.S. dawdles on its own missile defense, Israel isn't waiting until its enemies' missiles are proven and cost-effective.
US Navy budget
Reply #103 on:
April 09, 2009, 03:49:10 PM »
Part 4: The 2010 U.S. Defense Budget and The Future of the Fleet
Stratfor Today » April 9, 2009 | 1010 GMT
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled his department’s proposed 2010 defense budget on April 6. His additions and cuts from the budget included a series of decisions on the focus of shipbuilding in the years ahead. Gates has emphasized the U.S. Navy’s long-recognized need to improve its mission and functionality in the littoral regions of the world. As a result, Gates is pushing the acceleration of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program — ships that have a multi-mission functionality and are particularly attractive to the current Pentagon leadership. Overall, the shifts will help define the shape of the future U.S. surface combatant fleet.
Among the proposed changes to the Pentagon’s 2010 budget that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates laid out April 6 was a series of significant decisions that will affect U.S. shipbuilding and the shape of the surface fleet in the years ahead.
If there was a theme to these changes, it was prioritizing the littoral, near-shore environment over the ‘blue water’ — the open ocean — and proven, affordable ship designs over ambitious, new and long-term designs. The shifts include:
Slowing the rate at which an aircraft carrier is built by one year, to five years. This build cycle will ultimately reduce the size of the U.S. carrier fleet from 11 to a still-impressive 10.
Delaying the next-generation guided missile cruiser, a long-range program to replace a mainstay of the blue-water fleet.
Pushing forward with the already-planned truncation of the enormously over budget and delayed DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer, which will be limited to three very expensive hulls or less — effectively making the ships technology demonstrators.
Restarting Arleigh Burke-class (DDG-51) guided missile destroyer production. Widely considered one of the most capable and successful warship designs in the world today, the last units are still being completed.
Accelerating the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, which consists of two designs (the Pentagon has yet to select one) intended to employ interchangeable “mission modules,” so that one hull can support a variety of missions — from anti-submarine warfare to hunting mines or supporting special forces. These smaller, faster, more agile ships, as their name implies, will often be used closer to shore, freeing larger, more expensive ships designed to operate in the blue water from the potentially treacherous near-shore environment.
The first three are consistent with Gates’ priorities for the Pentagon as a whole. Some of the high-end technology for the next-generation Ford-class aircraft carrier is already creating concerns about the program’s timeline, and though the aircraft carrier continues to be a critical element of U.S. power projection, it is difficult to overstate the extent to which America already has utter dominance in carrier-based aviation.
The DDG-1000 is, in part, now acting as a technology demonstrator for the next-generation cruiser. Both are high-end, expensive warships expanding American naval capability largely in areas where the U.S. already enjoys a considerable lead. Delaying or slowing the next-generation cruiser program does not kill research and development, but it shifts resources and attention to more immediate needs — ones that address the slowly emerging refocus of the U.S. Navy.
The United States remains the undisputed dominant power in the world’s oceans, and while potential regional competitors from China to India to Russia are enhancing their own naval capability and working on systems to counter or at least lessen the U.S. lead, the U.S. Navy still remains the dominant force in the blue-water realm. The department has long recognized the need to push into the littorals and better function there, though many of its initiatives — like LCS and what ultimately became the DDG-1000, faltered.
The proposed defense budget would put the department’s money back into LCS and the Arleigh Burke restart. Not only are the additional Arleigh Burke hulls attractive because they are upgradeable to ballistic missile defense capability capable of addressing the new anti-ship ballistic missile threat from China, but the fabrication process is now highly refined (with some 60 hulls) and the ships have a multi-mission functionality that is particularly attractive to the current Pentagon leadership.
Photo by U.S. Navy courtesy of Lockheed-Martin
The USS Freedom (LCS-1)But the more important shift in terms of the shape of the fleet is the LCS. By accelerating acquisition in 2010, Gates is clearly committing to the program. LCS promises to expand the Navy’s global presence — with more ships in more places — as LCS will be one tool in allowing more dispersed operations. (The LCS program is expected to eventually entail 55 hulls.) Indeed, such lower-tier efforts like expanding international cooperation on maritime security could see further improvements in the overall security of the environment.
The LCS is also one of the first ships designed from the start to integrate unmanned systems into its operations, from unmanned helicopters to unmanned surface and underwater vessels, designed to carry out reconnaissance and assist in operations at sea — providing new types of functionality for the Navy in much the same way that unmanned aerial vehicles have revolutionized intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance over combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(click image to enlarge)
Overall, the shifts in priorities will hardly endanger U.S. naval dominance in the near-term. But naval dominance is of absolutely fundamental importance for American geographic and geopolitical security. And as STRATFOR has noted in this series, such dominance does not maintain itself. Though they will not be a threat tomorrow, countries like China are seeking to expand their sphere of influence on the high seas, and the world’s oceans are too valuable for too many countries to think that the current American lead — even in blue water — cannot be eroded.
Re: Military Science
Reply #104 on:
April 10, 2009, 10:30:49 AM »
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a man not known for having his head in the stars, announced his strategic Pentagon blueprint this week, saying his proposals "will profoundly reform how this department does business." We hope he informed Congress, home to 535 procurers in chief.
The Defense procurement system is a mess, and previous Pentagon reforms have faltered thanks mostly to the micromanagers on Capitol Hill who are often more interested in funneling money to their home states than in spending dollars most effectively. Democrats and Republicans both belly up to this bar, usually while castigating the executive branch for failing to make "tough choices."
So give the Defense Secretary an A for optimistic effort, even if we have our disagreements with some of his strategic choices. In announcing his spending priorities, Mr. Gates said he wants to focus on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than on the unknown wars of the future. Among his cuts are the Army's Future Combat Systems and a gold-plated new Presidential helicopter that is late and way over budget. Meanwhile, he added money for unmanned aerial vehicles, increased the number of special forces and announced plans to recruit more cyberwarfare experts.
These seem like reasonable judgment calls, and the focus on combating asymmetrical threats will help the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it's worth remembering that the reason our enemies have resorted to terrorism and insurgency is because U.S. conventional forces overwhelmingly dominate on the ground, in the sea and in the air.
That's not an advantage we can take for granted as the Clinton Administration did in the 1990s, when it slashed defense spending to 3% from nearly 5% of GDP. China and Russia are upgrading their conventional forces, and China in particular is aiming to build a navy that can neutralize U.S. forces in the Western Pacific.
Mr. Gates's strategy implies a shrinking Navy with fewer ships and perhaps one fewer carrier group. It's good that he wants to build more Littoral Combat Ships, which are handy for operations such as tracking pirates. Even so, the Navy is left with a fleet of fewer than 300 ships, which strikes us as perilously small. When a U.S.-flagged container ship was briefly taken by pirates off Somalia this week, the Navy's nearest vessel was hours away.
Mr. Gates's decision to kill the stealthy F-22 fighter jet, which outclasses everything in the sky, is also troubling. We already have 183 F-22s -- original plans called for 750 -- and Mr. Gates wants to order just four more before shutting down the production line. His proposal to double the number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters the Pentagon buys next year -- to 30 from 14 in 2009 -- is no quid pro quo. The F-35 is a cheaper, more multipurpose plane but it can't begin to compete with the F-22 as a fighter jet.
Pentagon spending is now about 4% of GDP and is expected to decline, which means too little investment against potential threats. In particular, Mr. Gates's budget priorities give no indication of how the Pentagon will ensure that U.S. military dominance extends to the battlefield of the future, outer space. President Obama has said he opposes the "militarization of space," but space is already a crucial area of operations and China is looking for advantages there.
The $1.4 billion in cuts to missile defense are especially worrisome, with losers including the Airborne Laser, designed to shoot down ballistic missiles in the boost phase, and additional interceptors planned for the ground-based system in Alaska. Instead, Mr. Gates favors theater defenses for soldiers on the battlefield with $700 million more in funding, arguing that this will address the near-term threat of short-range missiles. But as North Korea's weekend launch showed, rogue regimes aren't far away from securing long-range missiles that could reach the U.S.
Mr. Gates shrewdly made no budget recommendations on nuclear forces, except to say that he'll defer judgment until after the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review. Perhaps he's counting on being able to change President Obama's mind on the need for updating U.S. strategic weapons and going forward with the Reliable Replacement Warhead for America's aging nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Gates's budget proposals now go to Congress. Since the end of World War II there have been more than 130 studies on procurement reform. Good luck.
Chinese anti-carrier missile
Reply #105 on:
April 10, 2009, 08:33:26 PM »
New Concerns Over Chinese 'Carrier-Killer'
April 01, 2009
U.S. Naval Institute
With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.
After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.
First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.
The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.
The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.
Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.
Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.
While the ASBM has been a topic of discussion within national defense circles for quite some time, the fact that information is now coming from Chinese sources indicates that the weapon system is operational. The Chinese rarely mention weapons projects unless they are well beyond the test stages.
If operational as is believed, the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea. Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.
Along with the Chinese naval build-up, U.S. Navy officials appear to view the development of the anti-ship ballistic missile as a tangible threat.
After spending the last decade placing an emphasis on building a fleet that could operate in shallow waters near coastlines, the U.S. Navy seems to have quickly changed its strategy over the past several months to focus on improving the capabilities of its deep sea fleet and developing anti-ballistic defenses.
As analyst Raymond Pritchett notes in a post on the U.S. Naval Institute blog:
"The Navy's reaction is telling, because it essentially equals a radical change in direction based on information that has created a panic inside the bubble. For a major military service to panic due to a new weapon system, clearly a mission kill weapon system, either suggests the threat is legitimate or the leadership of the Navy is legitimately unqualified. There really aren't many gray spaces in evaluating the reaction by the Navy…the data tends to support the legitimacy of the threat."
In recent years, China has been expanding its navy to presumably better exert itself in disputed maritime regions. A recent show of strength in early March led to a confrontation with an unarmed U.S. ship in international waters.
© Copyright 2009 U.S. Naval Institute. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
Re: Military Science
Reply #106 on:
April 10, 2009, 10:28:38 PM »
I guarantee that the current pirate hostage scenario will hold the seeds of future wars within it, if Obama acts the way I expect him to.
WSJ Star Wars
Reply #107 on:
August 15, 2009, 08:36:46 AM »
Never has Ronald Reagan's dream of layered missile defenses—Star Wars, for short—been as politically out of favor as in the Age of Obama. Nor as close, at least technologically, to becoming realized.
The latest encouraging news came Thursday courtesy of the Misssile Defense Agency. The Airborne Laser prototype aircraft this week found, tracked, engaged and simulated an intercept with a missile seconds after liftoff. It was the first time the Agency used an "instrumented" missile to confirm the laser works as expected. Next up this fall will be the first live attempt to bring down a ballistic missile, but this test confirms how far along this innovative effort has come.
Along with space-based weapons, the Airborne Laser is the next defense frontier. The modified Boeing 747 is supposed to send an intense beam of light over hundreds of miles to destroy missiles in the "boost phase," before they can release decoys and at a point in their trajectory when they would fall back down on enemy territory. It's a pioneering use of directed energy in defense. The laser complements the sea- and ground-based missile defenses that keep proving themselves in tests.
Yet the Obama Administration isn't buying it. Funding for missile defense was cut in the 2010 budget by some 15%—$1.2 billion to $1.6 billion, depending on how you calculate it. The number of ground-based interceptors was reduced. The Missile Defense Agency's budget for the Airborne Laser is to be slashed in half, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pulled the plug on buying a second plane. The Pentagon says the program will have three tries to hit a live missile, or be killed altogether.
As the Administration keeps defense spending growth flat, while breaking the bank on its domestic priorities, Secretary Gates has to make hard choices. But he might try harder to convince his boss at the White House that Star Wars isn't a sci-fi fantasy. That's what critics used to say about stealth aircraft as well.
With time, and inevitable setbacks, the technology to make layered missile defenses a reality is being proven to work. The Airborne Laser could be—unless prematurely vaporized—an important part of a system to protect America and its allies from rogue states and their nuclear missiles.
Re: Military Science : Ripsaw
Reply #108 on:
August 15, 2009, 09:37:41 PM »
I am excited about this vehicle. It is now being developed as an unmanned remote controlled vehicle for the military.
Reply #109 on:
August 25, 2009, 07:39:11 AM »
By ILAN BERMAN AND CLIFFORD D. MAY
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently in Thailand that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, the U.S. will offer allies in the Middle East a "defense umbrella" to prevent Iranian intimidation. That's a fine sentiment, but it raises the question: Are we capable of doing so?
The answer is more complicated than most people think.
The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated delivery systems since the collapse of the Soviet Union means that any "defense umbrella" will require the deployment of missile defense technologies capable of neutralizing a potential salvo of nuclear-tipped missiles—whether from Iran or another rogue such as North Korea.
Yet America's missile-defense efforts are being scaled back. Congress is contemplating a $1.4 billion reduction to the Pentagon's budget for antimissile capabilities.
Advocates of missile defense are seriously concerned that this is just the beginning, and that the Obama administration seeks to kill the system with a thousand cuts. During the presidential campaign last year, Barack Obama promised to strip $10 billion from the Pentagon's budget for missile defense. (Actually, the U.S. currently spends only $9 billion in this area.)
The Bush administration began work on a linked network of individual missile-defense systems capable of intercepting ballistic missiles in all stages of flight. But it built only the capabilities necessary to counter simple rogue-state threats, such as a single missile launched from North Korea and aimed at the West Coast. The administration's efforts stopped short of a comprehensive architecture that would include antimissile systems on land, on the seas, and in space.
The Obama administration wants to scale back from Bush's modest beginnings. In addition to slashing the overall budget for missile defense, it has terminated promising projects such as the multiple-kill vehicle (MKV) program—in which multiple interceptors on a carrier vehicle (essentially a satellite) would improve our chances of hitting enemy missiles. Another project terminated is the airborne laser (ABL), an aircraft-based high energy laser that could be flown near potential enemy ballistic-missile hotspots.
Mr. Obama has also targeted the Bush administration's premier missile-defense venture, the deployment of ground-based interceptors and radars in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against the growing ballistic missile threat from Iran. Instead, because of the Kremlin's objections, the Obama team is preparing to sacrifice this planned deployment as part of a "reset" of U.S. relations with Russia.
Space-based missile defense likewise has been met with a cold shoulder from the Obama administration. Opponents of missile defense charge that a space layer would somehow "militarize" space. This is dead wrong. A space-based missile defense capability would instead block and destroy weapons that enter the Earth's orbit on their way to their targets.
The most promising idea would be to develop a program for the deployment of space-based kinetic interceptors capable of targeting intercontinental ballistic missiles in their boost, midcourse and terminal phases of flight. In other words, let's revive the useful idea of building a system that gives us multiple chances to knock out every enemy missile.
Sadly, in the current political atmosphere, missile defense has become an ideological football. Republicans and Democrats alike ought to be united in the effort to develop a serious system capable of protecting the American people, our armed forces and our allies abroad from ballistic missile attack. A half-hearted missile defense effort only encourages investments in missile technologies on the part of our adversaries, making them believe that with additional resources they will be capable of overwhelming American defenses.
U.S. missile-defense policy should be designed to elicit the opposite response. Our enemies and competitors should be forced to conclude that energy and funds spent developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them will be wasted because Americans have the know-how and hardware to prevent them from reaching their intended targets.
During the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, the U.S. government made major investments in the types of technologies (space-based sensors, interceptors and propulsion) necessary to field a robust defense against foreign ballistic missile arsenals, irrespective of origin. The capability to make Iranian, North Korean and other foreign missiles useless has already been developed and field-tested. Only America has it, and we should deploy it.
Mrs. Clinton has the right idea. The U.S. should offer a comprehensive and impenetrable "defense umbrella" to protect itself and its allies. But first we need to match rhetoric with concrete action and get the job done.
Mr. Berman is vice president for policy of the American Foreign Policy Council. Mr. May is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Reply #110 on:
August 28, 2009, 12:17:23 PM »
Some game changing abilities mentioned here. The ability to rewind an event and isolate its precursors will ruin a lot of days for our enemies.
Coming Soon: An Unblinking "Gorgon Stare" For Air Force Drones
The next-generation surveillance package for the Air Force's MQ-9 Reaper drones, named for Medusa's stony glare, will provide an unprecedentedly broad view of the battlefield spanning time and space
By Eric HagermanPosted 08.26.2009 at 2:21 pm7 Comments
MQ-9 Reaper: USAF
The military’s unblinking eye in the sky, which keeps watch over operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, is about to get even beadier. A new multi-camera sensor the U.S. Air Force is adding to its killer spy drones will exponentially broaden the area troops can monitor, and the technology lets a dozen users simultaneously grab different slices of the image. Called the Gorgon Stare, it represents the next big step in unmanned combat aircraft.
Two MQ-9 Reapers retrofitted with the new $15 million wide-area aerial surveillance sensors, or WAAS, will fly test missions later this year, and the Air Force plans to have ten such planes in battle by next spring, in rotation on a 24/7 patrol. “It’s an incredible force enhancer,” said Colonel Eric Mathewson, Director of the service’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the Pentagon. Sierra Nevada Corporation, makers of the WAAS, chose the name, a spooky reference to the cursed sisters from Greek mythology—Medusa being the Beyoncé of the trio—whose gaze turned men to stone.
The Gorgon Stare: Using multiple infrared and conventional cameras, the Gorgon Stare sensor package will provide a significantly larger area view of the battlefield than the single-camera view on of today's drones USAF
The system uses an array of five electro-optical and four infrared cameras to capture day and night images from different angles, which are stitched together in a single mosaic scene much broader than what any single lens could deliver. At command central, tiled screens will display the composite picture, so that if an insurgent runs out of view on one, he’ll simply pop up on the next. Field commanders can pull a piece of the picture encompassing their surroundings, and pan, tilt or zoom if they see something suspicious.
Military, Aviation & Space, Feature, Eric Hagerman, air force, aviation, drones, gorgon stare, military, sensors, uav, unmanned aerial vehiclesThe cameras are fitted into a pod under one wing, with the communications gear on the other. The entire package weighs 1,100 pounds, which will still allow the Reaper to carry weapons. (It will work in addition to the Multispectral Targeting System, or MTS ball, which is mounted on the chin of the plane and provides more traditional real-time tracking. See the current sensor package in action in our annotated gun-camera attack video from a Predator strike in Afghanistan.)
“This would have been relatively easy on a manned platform,” said Mike Meermans, Sierra’s vice president of strategic planning. “But with the size and weight limitations, I would almost say we were trying to beat up on the laws of physics with this one.” Still, the package came together in less than 18 months.
To deliver the high data rates the Air Force wanted, the Gorgon’s cameras transmit images at just two frames per second, rather than the 30 fps of full motion video delivered by the MTS. According to Mathewson, that utility is enough to notice if anything changes in a given environment. He says the strategy is to park a Reaper over an area and monitor anything that moves within a four-kilometer square zone, versus the less-than-one-square-kilometer covered by the MTS ball.
The existing cameras obviously work, judging by stories such as the unsuspecting fate of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed by a UAV-launched Hellfire in Pakistan as his wife administered his final rubdown. Yet the MTS alone is taxing to use. Zooming in for positive identification creates a “soda straw” view, forcing sensor operators to visually sweep a town along the street grid. But that same operator can use the Gorgon Stare’s image to direct the MTS’ full motion video cameras to a particular spot. “I put a WAAS on, and I can see it all now” said Mathewson.“All of it.”
And because all the digital imagery is stored, the Gorgon Stare allows for what you might call forensic surveillance—looking back to reconstruct an event after the fact, à la the time-folding surveillance system seen in the film Déjà Vu. If an IED goes off in a certain quadrant within the Gorgon’s gaze, analysts could re-examine the rest of the footage to see if anyone had visited that site, and where he had gone. Perhaps for a backrub on the roof of his apartment? If a Gorgon-Stare-equipped drone is on the scene, there’s no happy ending in sight.
For more on the Air Force's frantic unmanned reinvention, see our September 2009 issue cover story here, also by Hagerman.
Reply #111 on:
August 31, 2009, 11:36:12 AM »
"Now more than ever it is vital that the United States not back down from its efforts to develop and deploy strategic defenses. It is technologically feasible, strategically necessary and morally imperative. For if our nation and our precious freedoms are worth defending with the threat of annihilation, we are surely worth defending by defensive means that ensure our survival." --Ronald Reagan
Reply #112 on:
November 28, 2009, 10:59:55 AM »
Portable 'E-Bombs' Could Take Down Jetliners
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Weapons experts and techno-thriller fans are familiar with the concept of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) — a supermassive blast of electricity, usually from a nuclear blast high above ground, that fries electronic circuits for miles around, crippling computers, cars and most other modern gadgets.
Now comes word that a much smaller EMP device, or "e-bomb," could be carried in a car, or even on someone's person — and be used to take down an airliner.
"Once it is known that aircraft are vulnerable to particular types of disruption, it isn't too much of a leap to build a device that can produce that sort of disruption," Israeli counter-terrorism expert Yael Shahar tells New Scientist magazine. "And much of this could be built from off-the-shelf components or dual-use technologies."
Shahar says she's especially worried about two devices — one called a Marx generator, which beams an EMP at a target, and the other with the "Back to the Future"-like name of flux-compression generator.
The latter was developed by the Soviets during the 1950s when Marx generators proved too expensive. Basically, an explosive charge is set off at one end of a cylinder of charged copper coils, and the resulting shock wave sends out a powerful electric pulse as it travels down the tube.
It might take a big flux-compression generator to darken a city neighborhood. But a smaller one could take out the steering, navigation and communication systems of a jetliner, especially if pointed at the cockpit.
As for Marx generators, which are used by power companies, medical researchers and labs, you can buy the plans to build one online for $10, or a fully assembled commercial unit for several hundred dollars.
Shahar adds that as aircraft manufacturers switch to lighter, stronger composite materials in place of aluminum, they're actually making the planes more vulnerable.
"What is needed is extensive shielding of electronic components and the vast amount of cables running down the length of the aircraft," she tells New Scientist.
Naval war games
Reply #113 on:
November 30, 2009, 04:50:06 PM »
Reply #114 on:
December 06, 2009, 12:47:45 PM »
From Doug's favorite theorist/educator. Mr. Hanson outlines quite well the problems with modern Western approach to war to a large extent.
He outlines the problems.
But I am not clear what he prescribes to do about them. Now what do we do about it?
I say this - I agree with the premise that war will always be with us - unless one subscribes to a single "world government" with total control over all of us around the world by one single entity (with of course the Chosen One in charge leading mankind to Eden) . I don't beleive or want a single government controlling the world.
So instead, like the Roman general said, "you want peace we will give you peace, you want war we will give you war, it makes no difference to us", I say we do everything possible to destroy all of Irans nuclear sites even using nuclear weapons if needed to do the job right. IF we don't do this it seems evident we will be sorry when we do have a nuclear armed Iran and the situation will be far worse.
Yes we will likely make generations of US hating Muslim radicals. But these people are never going to love us anyway so I say we stop them now and the sooner the better.
The only other two alternatives though neither any good when one thinks them through:
1) We somehow promote regime change in Iran. There is clearly some seeds of that already but I don't know how we can speed it up or if we can. I suspect Nationalism will trump the desire for Western materialism.
2) Only other thing I can envision is that we go all out to become *energy self sufficient* so we don't keep funding Iran's regime with free dollars. The two problems with this is it would take a decade and it is already too late for this. Second thing is other countries like China, India, and the rest of the Stans would simply fill the void and send money to the Tollahs of Iran and are aleready doing this.
So really, we either accept a nuclear Iran - which to me is NOT acceptable - or we make their military/nuclear capabilities parking lots.
Yes it will cause financial turmoil. Yes the horror of the carnage to those on the receiving end. But sitting back and letting Iran have nucs would in my opinion (I am a world class genius here in arm chair) be far worse. We either deal with it now or pay a higher price later.
As for Israel there really is NO choice. Either deal with it militarily or expect to be annhilated. The Iranian regime is quite explicit in their goals. They are saying it up front. AND their actions *prove* they mean what they say.
If anyone has any other solutions please chime in. Rachel how about you for starters. You are clearly, like me a supporter of Israel, and (not like me) Obama. As O'Reilly would ask, "what say you?"
Victor Davis Hanson
Distinguished Fellow in History
The Future of Western War
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON, the Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History at Hillsdale College, is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a professor of classics emeritus at California State University, Fresno. He earned his B.A. at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. in Classics from Stanford University. He is a columnist for National Review Online and for Tribune Media Services, and has published in several journals and newspapers, including Commentary, the Claremont Review of Books, The New Criterion, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Hanson has written or edited numerous books, including The Soul of Battle, Carnage and Culture, and A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.
The following is adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on October 1, 2009, during the author's four-week teaching residency.
I want to talk about the Western way of war and about the particular challenges that face the West today. But the first point I want to make is that war is a human enterprise that will always be with us. Unless we submit to genetic engineering, or unless video games have somehow reprogrammed our brains, or unless we are fundamentally changed by eating different nutrients—these are possibilities brought up by so-called peace and conflict resolution theorists—human nature will not change. And if human nature will not change—and I submit to you that human nature is a constant—then war will always be with us. Its methods or delivery systems—which can be traced through time from clubs to catapults and from flintlocks to nuclear weapons—will of course change. In this sense war is like water. You can pump water at 60 gallons per minute with a small gasoline engine or at 5000 gallons per minute with a gigantic turbine pump. But water is water—the same today as in 1880 or 500 B.C. Likewise war, because the essence of war is human nature.
Second, in talking about the Western way of war, what do we mean by the West? Roughly speaking, we refer to the culture that originated in Greece, spread to Rome, permeated Northern Europe, was incorporated by the Anglo-Saxon tradition, spread through British expansionism, and is associated today primarily with Europe, the United States, and the former commonwealth countries of Britain—as well as, to some extent, nations like Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, which have incorporated some Western ideas. And what are Western ideas? This question is disputed, but I think we know them when we see them. They include a commitment to constitutional or limited government, freedom of the individual, religious freedom in a sense that precludes religious tyranny, respect for property rights, faith in free markets, and an openness to rationalism or to the explanation of natural phenomena through reason. These ideas were combined in various ways through Western history, and eventually brought us to where we are today. The resultant system creates more prosperity and affluence than any other. And of course, I don't mean to suggest that there was Jeffersonian democracy in 13th century England or in the Swiss cantons. But the blueprint for free government always existed in the West, in a way that it didn't elsewhere.
Just as this system afforded more prosperity in times of peace, it led to a superior fighting and defense capability in times of war. This is what I call the Western way of war, and there are several factors at play.
First, constitutional government was conducive to civilian input when it came to war. We see this in ancient Athens, where civilians oversaw a board of generals, and we see it in civilian control of the military in the United States. And at crucial times in Western history, civilian overseers have enriched military planning.
Second, Western culture gave birth to a new definition of courage. In Hellenic culture, the prowess of a hero was not recognized by the number of heads on his belt. As Aristotle noted in the Politics, Greek warriors didn't wear trophies of individual killings. Likewise, Victoria Crosses and Medals of Honor are awarded today for deeds such as staying in rank, protecting the integrity of the line, advancing and retreating on orders, or rescuing a comrade. This reflects a quite different understanding of heroism.
A third factor underlies our association of Western war with advanced technology. When reason and capitalism are applied to the battlefield, powerful innovations come about. Flints, percussion caps, rifle barrels and mini balls, to cite just a few examples, were all Western inventions. Related to this, Western armies—going back to Alexander the Great's army at the Indus—have a better logistics capability. A recent example is that the Americans invading Iraq were better supplied with water than the native Iraqis. This results from the application of capitalism to military affairs—uniting private self-interest and patriotism to provide armies with food, supplies, and munitions in a way that is much more efficient than the state-run command-and-control alternatives.
Yet another factor is that Western armies are impatient. They tend to want to seek out and destroy the enemy quickly and then go home. Of course, this can be both an advantage and a disadvantage, as we see today in Afghanistan, where the enemy is not so eager for decisive battle. And connected to this tradition is dissent. Today the U.S. military is a completely volunteer force, and its members' behavior on the battlefield largely reflects how they conduct themselves in civil society. One can trace this characteristic of Western armies back to Xenophon's ten thousand, who marched from Northern Iraq to the Black Sea and behaved essentially as a traveling city-state, voting and arguing in a constitutional manner. And their ability to do that is what saved them, not just their traditional discipline.
Now, I would not want to suggest that the West has always been victorious in war. It hasn't. But consider the fact that Europe had a very small population and territory, and yet by 1870 the British Empire controlled 75 percent of the world. What the Western way of war achieved, on any given day, was to give its practitioners—whether Cortez in the Americas, the British in Zululand, or the Greeks in Thrace—a greater advantage over their enemies. There are occasional defeats such as the battles of Cannae, Isandlwana, and Little Big Horn. Over a long period of time, however, the Western way of war will lead us to where we are today.
But where exactly are we today? There have been two developments over the last 20 years that have placed the West in a new cycle. They have not marked the end of the Western way of war, but they have brought about a significant change. The first is the rapid electronic dissemination of knowledge—such that someone in the Hindu Kush tonight can download a sophisticated article on how to make an IED. And the second is that non-Western nations now have leverage, given how global economies work today, through large quantities of strategic materials that Western societies need, such as natural gas, oil, uranium, and bauxite. Correspondingly, these materials produce tremendous amounts of unearned capital in non-Western countries—and by "unearned," I mean that the long process of civilization required to create, for example, a petroleum engineer has not occurred in these countries, yet they find themselves in possession of the monetary fruits of this process. So the West's enemies now have instant access to knowledge and tremendous capital.
In addition to these new developments, there are five traditional checks on the Western way of war that are intensified today. One of these checks is the Western tendency to limit the ferocity of war through rules and regulations. The Greeks tried to outlaw arrows and catapults. Romans had restrictions on the export of breast plates. In World War II, we had regulations against poison gas. Continuing this tradition today, we are trying to achieve nuclear non-proliferation. Unfortunately, the idea that Western countries can adjudicate how the rest of the world makes war isn't applicable anymore. As we see clearly in Iran, we are dealing with countries that have the wealth of Western nations (for the reasons just mentioned), but are anything but constitutional democracies. In fact, these nations find the idea of limiting their war-making capabilities laughable. Even more importantly, they know that many in the West sympathize with them—that many Westerners feel guilty about their wealth, prosperity, and leisure, and take psychological comfort in letting tyrants like Ahmadinejad provoke them.
The second check on the Western way of war is the fact that there is no monolithic West. For one thing, Western countries have frequently fought one another. Most people killed in war have been Europeans killing other Europeans, due to religious differences and political rivalries. And consider, in this light, how fractured the West is today. The U.S. and its allies can't even agree on sanctions against Iran. Everyone knows that once Iran obtains nuclear weapons—in addition to its intention to threaten Israel and to support terrorists—it will begin to aim its rockets at Frankfurt, Munich, and Paris, and to ask for further trade concessions and seek regional hegemony. And in this case, unlike when we deterred Soviet leaders during the Cold War, Westerners will be dealing with theocratic zealots who claim that they do not care about living, making them all the more dangerous. Yet despite all this, to repeat, the Western democracies can't agree on sanctions or even on a prohibition against selling technology and arms.
The third check is what I call "parasitism." It is very difficult to invent and fabricate weapons, but it is very easy to use them. Looking back in history, we have examples of Aztecs killing Conquistadors using steel breast plates and crossbows and of Native Americans using rifles against the U.S. Cavalry. Similarly today, nobody in Hezbollah can manufacture an AK-47—which is built by Russians and made possible by Western design principles—but its members can make deadly use of them. Nor is there anything in the tradition of Shiite Islam that would allow a Shiite nation to create centrifuges, which require Western physics. Yet centrifuges are hard at work in Iran. And this parasitism has real consequences. When the Israelis went into Lebanon in 2006, they were surprised that young Hezbollah fighters had laptop computers with sophisticated intelligence programs; that Hezbollah intelligence agents were sending out doctored photos, making it seem as if Israel was targeting civilians, to Reuters and the AP; and that Hezbollah had obtained sophisticated anti-tank weapons on the international market using Iranian funds. At that point it didn't matter that the Israelis had a sophisticated Western culture, and so it could not win the war.
A fourth check is the ever-present anti-war movement in the West, stemming from the fact that Westerners are free to dissent. And by "ever-present" I mean that long before Michael Moore appeared on the scene, we had Euripides' Trojan Women and Aristophanes' Lysistrata. Of course, today's anti-war movement is much more virulent than in Euripides' and Aristophanes' time. This is in part because people like Michael Moore do not feel they are in any real danger from their countries' enemies. They know that if push comes to shove, the 101st Airborne will ultimately ensure their safety. That is why Moore can say right after 9/11 that Osama Bin Laden should have attacked a red state rather than a blue state. And since Western wars tend to be fought far from home, rather than as a defense against invasions, there is always the possibility that anti-war sentiment will win out and that armies will be called home. Our enemies know this, and often their words and actions are aimed at encouraging and aiding Western anti-war forces.
Finally and most seriously, I think, there is what I call, for want of a better term, "asymmetry." Western culture creates citizens who are affluent, leisured, free, and protected. Human nature being what it is, we citizens of the West often want to enjoy our bounty and retreat into private lives—to go home, eat pizza, and watch television. This is nothing new. I would refer you to Petronius's Satyricon, a banquet scene written around 60 A.D. about affluent Romans who make fun of the soldiers who are up on the Rhine protecting them. This is what Rome had become. And it's not easy to convince someone who has the good life to fight against someone who doesn't.
To put this in contemporary terms, what we are asking today is for a young man with a $250,000 education from West Point to climb into an Apache helicopter—after emailing back and forth with his wife and kids about what went on at a PTA meeting back in Bethesda, Maryland—and fly over Anbar province or up to the Hindu Kush and risk being shot down by a young man from a family of 15, none of whom will ever live nearly as well as the poorest citizens of the United States, using a weapon whose design he doesn't even understand. In a moral sense, the lives of these two young men are of equal value. But in reality, our society values the lives of our young men much more than Afghan societies value the lives of theirs. And it is very difficult to sustain a protracted war with asymmetrical losses under those conditions.
My point here is that all of the usual checks on the tradition of Western warfare are magnified in our time. And I will end with this disturbing thought: We who created the Western way of war are very reluctant to resort to it due to post-modern cynicism, while those who didn't create it are very eager to apply it due to pre-modern zealotry. And that's a very lethal combination.****
Re: Military Science
Reply #115 on:
December 07, 2009, 04:00:54 PM »
I certainly voted for Obama though he is currently off the New Year's Card list. I wouldn't get your hopes up about my redemption though I would still prefer Clinton to McCain let alone Palin.
I don't have a good solution for the Iranian problem. Regime change would be great. Iran voluntary giving up nuclear capability would be great. However the best solution we are possible going to get is is a military attack on Iran. Best solution as is amputation is the best solution when your other option is death by gangrene. If the US or Israel attaches Iran barring miracles there will be a very high price to pay economically and in the lives of our troops, Jewish populations around the world and Iranian civilians.
I don't always or even usually agree with him but I actually like VDH's writing. He is intelligent, eloquent , has a panoramic view, and makes classical allusions. What more could you want. I mean other than the whole conservative problem. From 2002-2004 I actually read a lot of conservative sites because they were the only ones consistently talking about Israel in a way that made sense to me. I use to regularly read LGF and NRO and I was on Richard Baehr's mailing list before he started American thinker. Richard use to lecture in Chicago pretty regularly and I have heard him speak a few times. I either moved to the left or they moved to the right or both but we are no longer on the same wave length.
Re: Military Science
Reply #116 on:
December 07, 2009, 05:07:25 PM »
thanks for the response.
I guess one could argue that war is NOT an inevitable outcome of mankind's flaws.
Fareed Zakharia admits that Obama is taking a "risk" with his policies. I don't see how Israel, or we, can do the same with regards to Iran. Obama seems to bet the farm in several ways. What if he is wrong (as I believe) on all counts? Or even one?
I don't know about Afgan-pakistan. That situation seems less clear cut to me with regard to what we should do.
"I certainly voted for Obama though he is currently off the New Year's Card list"
Just curious. Is this because of his domestic or / and foreign policy?
You certainly sound open minded and I gotta like the evidence that shows you study BOTH sides of the political spectrum.
Re: Military Science
Reply #117 on:
December 09, 2009, 07:45:50 PM »
Mostly Israel because that is core for me.
There is a long list of other things that I'm sorry that I'm not really interested in discussing. There are some issues that I won't be discussing and other issues that I don't feel that I have thought or read enough on the topic to feel comfortable discussing it. In general picking my topics carefully has worked best for me lately.
US Drones hacked for $26
Reply #118 on:
December 17, 2009, 08:49:26 AM »
DECEMBER 17, 2009
Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones
$26 Software Is Used to Breach Key Weapons in Iraq; Iranian Backing Suspected
By SIOBHAN GORMAN, YOCHI J. DREAZEN and AUGUST COLE
WASHINGTON -- Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.
Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes' systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber -- available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet -- to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.
U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Still, the intercepts could give America's enemies battlefield advantages by removing the element of surprise from certain missions and making it easier for insurgents to determine which roads and buildings are under U.S. surveillance.
The drone intercepts mark the emergence of a shadow cyber war within the U.S.-led conflicts overseas. They also point to a potentially serious vulnerability in Washington's growing network of unmanned drones, which have become the American weapon of choice in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Obama administration has come to rely heavily on the unmanned drones because they allow the U.S. to safely monitor and stalk insurgent targets in areas where sending American troops would be either politically untenable or too risky.
The stolen video feeds also indicate that U.S. adversaries continue to find simple ways of counteracting sophisticated American military technologies.
U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered the problem late last year when they apprehended a Shiite militant whose laptop contained files of intercepted drone video feeds. In July, the U.S. military found pirated drone video feeds on other militant laptops, leading some officials to conclude that militant groups trained and funded by Iran were regularly intercepting feeds.
In the summer 2009 incident, the military found "days and days and hours and hours of proof" that the feeds were being intercepted and shared with multiple extremist groups, the person said. "It is part of their kit now."
A senior defense official said that James Clapper, the Pentagon's intelligence chief, assessed the Iraq intercepts at the direction of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and concluded they represented a shortcoming to the security of the drone network.
"There did appear to be a vulnerability," the defense official said. "There's been no harm done to troops or missions compromised as a result of it, but there's an issue that we can take care of and we're doing so."
Senior military and intelligence officials said the U.S. was working to encrypt all of its drone video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but said it wasn't yet clear if the problem had been completely resolved.
Some of the most detailed evidence of intercepted feeds has been discovered in Iraq, but adversaries have also intercepted drone video feeds in Afghanistan, according to people briefed on the matter. These intercept techniques could be employed in other locations where the U.S. is using pilotless planes, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, they said.
The Pentagon is deploying record numbers of drones to Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration's troop surge there. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who oversees the Air Force's unmanned aviation program, said some of the drones would employ a sophisticated new camera system called "Gorgon Stare," which allows a single aerial vehicle to transmit back at least 10 separate video feeds simultaneously.
Gen. Deptula, speaking to reporters Wednesday, said there were inherent risks to using drones since they are remotely controlled and need to send and receive video and other data over great distances. "Those kinds of things are subject to listening and exploitation," he said, adding the military was trying to solve the problems by better encrypting the drones' feeds.
The potential drone vulnerability lies in an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said.
Last December, U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered copies of Predator drone feeds on a laptop belonging to a Shiite militant, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter. "There was evidence this was not a one-time deal," this person said. The U.S. accuses Iran of providing weapons, money and training to Shiite fighters in Iraq, a charge that Tehran has long denied.
The militants use programs such as SkyGrabber, from Russian company SkySoftware. Andrew Solonikov, one of the software's developers, said he was unaware that his software could be used to intercept drone feeds. "It was developed to intercept music, photos, video, programs and other content that other users download from the Internet -- no military data or other commercial data, only free legal content," he said by email from Russia.
Officials stepped up efforts to prevent insurgents from intercepting video feeds after the July incident. The difficulty, officials said, is that adding encryption to a network that is more than a decade old involves more than placing a new piece of equipment on individual drones. Instead, many components of the network linking the drones to their operators in the U.S., Afghanistan or Pakistan have to be upgraded to handle the changes. Additional concerns remain about the vulnerability of the communications signals to electronic jamming, though there's no evidence that has occurred, said people familiar with reports on the matter.
Predator drones are built by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of San Diego. Some of its communications technology is proprietary, so widely used encryption systems aren't readily compatible, said people familiar with the matter.
In an email, a spokeswoman said that for security reasons, the company couldn't comment on "specific data link capabilities and limitations."
Fixing the security gap would have caused delays, according to current and former military officials. It would have added to the Predator's price. Some officials worried that adding encryption would make it harder to quickly share time-sensitive data within the U.S. military, and with allies.
"There's a balance between pragmatics and sophistication," said Mike Wynne, Air Force Secretary from 2005 to 2008.
The Air Force has staked its future on unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones account for 36% of the planes in the service's proposed 2010 budget.
Today, the Air Force is buying hundreds of Reaper drones, a newer model, whose video feeds could be intercepted in much the same way as with the Predators, according to people familiar with the matter. A Reaper costs between $10 million and $12 million each and is faster and better armed than the Predator. General Atomics expects the Air Force to buy as many as 375 Reapers.
Write to Siobhan Gorman at
, Yochi J. Dreazen at
and August Cole at
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1
Re: Military Science
Reply #119 on:
December 17, 2009, 06:11:23 PM »
NOTE the UAV capability upgrades: "By next spring, a single pod on a UAV could track 13 separate people as they leave a meeting place. The capability will expand to 65 people by 2012 and eventually to perhaps as many as 150 image feeds from a single UAV combat air patrol."
Black UAV Performs In Afghanistan
Dec 11, 2009
David A. Fulghum and Bill Sweetman
The U.S. has been flying a classified, stealthy, remotely piloted aircraft in Afghanistan. That single fact reveals the continued development of low-observable UAVs, hidden aspects of the surveillance buildup in Afghanistan, the footprint of an active “black aircraft world” that stretches to Southwest Asia, and links into the Pentagon’s next-generation recce bomber.
The mystery aircraft—once referred to as the Beast of Kandahar and now identified by the U.S. Air Force as a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works RQ-170 Sentinel—flew from Kandahar’s airport, where it was photographed at least twice in 2007. It shared a hangar with Predator and Reaper UAVs being used in combat operations. On Dec. 4, three days after declassification was requested, Aviation Week revealed the program on its web site. Like Predator and Reaper, the Sentinel is remotely piloted by aircrews—in this case the 30th Reconnaissance Sqdn. (RS) at Tonopah Test Range Airport in the northwest corner of the Nevada Test and Training Range.
The confirmation came the same week as the Air Force’s top intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) officer called for a new, stealth, jet-powered strike-reconnaissance aircraft that can meet the requirements of both irregular and conventional conflicts and strategic, peacetime information-gathering.
The demands of fighting an irregular war do not change the critical operational need for a stealthier, strategic-range, higher-payload, strike-reconnaissance aircraft, says Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, deputy chief of staff for ISR.
The battle will be to balance the way the military wants to fight in Afghanistan now against how it wants to fight elsewhere in the future. Air Force officials want to keep those two needs from becoming widely divergent points in geography, technology and operational techniques. For the next 18 months, about 150,000 U.S. and allied troops will try to break the offensive capabilities of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghan istan, and new technologies will be brought into play.
“Don’t get enamored with current conditions,” Deptula cautions. “We don’t know what the future will bring.” While operations in Afghanistan will be “more complex than ever,” the future is “not only going to be about irregular warfare.”
Beyond 2011, the Air Force’s first priority and the destination of the next dollar to be spent “if I were king for a day,” Deptula says, “would be for long-range [reconnaissance and] precision strike. That’s the number-one need.
“We cannot move into a future without a platform that allows [us] to project power long distances and to meet advanced threats in a fashion that gives us an advantage that no other nation has,” he notes. “We can’t walk away from that capability.”
A next-generation design would be equally important as a stealthy ISR platform to greatly extend—through speed, endurance and stealth—the capability produced by putting electro-optical and infrared sensor packets on the B-1 and B-52 bombers for precise attacks on fleeting targets in Southwest Asia.
Surveillance aircraft can see a lot more (farther and better) with long-wave infrared if the platform can operate at 50,000 ft. or higher. The RC-135S Cobra Ball, RC-135W Rivet Joint and E-8C Joint Stars are all limited to flying lower than 30,000 ft. Moreover, the multispectral technology to examine the chemical content of rocket plumes has been miniaturized to fit easily on a much smaller aircraft. Other sensors of interest are electronically scanned array radars, low-probability-of-intercept synthetic aperture radars and signals intelligence.
In fact, combat in Afghanistan could have—if well planned—direct benefits for conventional wars. The target set for the new surge campaign includes “cohesive units without chains of command” that the U.S. and its allies need to “dominate and win [against] across the spectrum” of conflict, Deptula says.
That then brings the focus back to what has been going on at Tonopah.
The 30th RS falls under Air Combat Command’s 432nd Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., home of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 training and remote operations facilities. Tonopah is where classified projects—such as the F-117 fighter—are kept when they are still secret but have grown to a point where they cannot be easily accommodated at the Air Force’s “black” flight-test center at Groom Lake. Its operations are restricted by the need to prevent personnel cleared into any one program from observing other “sight-sensitive” test aircraft. The squadron was activated as part of the 57th Operations Group on Sept. 1, 2005, and a squadron patch was approved on July 17, 2007. The activation—although not the full meaning of the event—was noted among those who watch for signs of activity in the classified world.
The RQ-170 is a tailless flying wing design from Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs. It has a single engine and pronounced compound sweep on the leading and trailing edges. It is difficult to estimate the aircraft’s size, but one report suggests that the wingspan is similar to that of the Reaper at 66 ft. The high degree of blending and center-body depth would suggest a greater takeoff weight and thrust than the RQ-3 DarkStar, Lockheed Martin’s earlier stealth UAV, which was powered by a 1,900-lb.-thrust Williams FJ44 engine and weighed 8,500 lb.
A number of features suggest that the RQ-170 is a moderately stealthy design, without the DarkStar’s or Northrop Grumman X-47B’s extreme emphasis on low radar cross section (RCS). The leading edges do not appear to be sharp—normally considered essential for avoiding strong RCS glints—and it appears that the main landing gear door’s front and rear edges are squared off rather than being notched or aligned with the wing edges.
In addition, the exhaust is not shielded by the wing, and the wing is curved rather than angular. That suggests the Sentinel has been designed to avoid the use of highly sensitive technologies. As a single-engine UAV, vehicle losses are a statistical certainty. Ultra-stealthy UAVs—such as the never-completed Lockheed-Boeing Quartz for which DarkStar was originally a demonstrator—were criticized on the grounds they were “pearls too precious to wear”—because their use would be too restricted by the risk of compromising technology in the event of a loss.
The medium-gray color, similar to the Reaper’s, is a clue to performance. At extreme altitudes (above 60,000 ft.), very dark tones provide the best concealment even in daylight because there is little lighting behind the vehicle while it is illuminated by light scattered from moisture and particles in the air below it. The RQ-170 is therefore a mid-altitude platform, unlikely to operate much above 50,000 ft. This altitude also would have simplified the use of an off-the-shelf engine. General Electric has been working on a classified variant of its TF34 engine that appears to fit the thrust range of the RQ-170.
The overwing housings for sensors or antennas are also significant. One could accommodate a satcom antenna; but if both housed sensors, they would cover the entire hemisphere above the aircraft.
An Air Force official tells Aviation Week that the service has been “developing a stealthy, unmanned aircraft system [UAS] to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward-deployed combat forces.
“The fielding of the RQ-170 aligns with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’s request for increased . . . ISR support to the Combatant Commanders and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz’s vision for an increased USAF reliance on unmanned aircraft,” says the memorandum prepared for Aviation Week by the Air Force.
The RQ-170 designation is a correct prefix but numerically out of sequence to avoid obvious guesses of the program’s existence. Technically, “RQ” denotes an unarmed aircraft rather than the MQ prefix applied to the armed Predator and Reaper. A phrase in the memorandum, “support to forward-deployed combat forces,” when combined with visible details that suggest a moderate degree of stealth (including a blunt leading edge, simple nozzle and overwing sensor pods), suggests that the Sentinel is a tactical, operations-oriented platform and not a strategic intelligence-gathering design.
With its moderately low-observable design, the aircraft would be useful for flying along the borders of Iran and peering into China, India and Pakistan to gather useful information about missile tests and telemetry, as well as garnering signals and multispectral intelligence.
The RQ-170 has links to earlier Skunk Works designs such as the experimental DarkStar and Polecat. “DarkStar didn’t die when Lockheed Martin [retired the airframe],” said a former company executive last week. “It just got classified.”
Following the landing of a damaged Navy EP-3E in China in early 2001, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called a classified, all-day session of those with responsibilities for “sensitive reconnaissance operations” (AW&ST June 4, 2001, p. 30). They discussed how to avoid embarrassing and damaging losses of classified equipment, documents or aircrews without losing the ability to monitor the military forces and capabilities of important nations such as China. Their leading option was to start a new stealthy, unmanned reconnaissance program that would field 12-24 aircraft. Air Combat Command, which was then led by Gen. John Jumper, wanted a very-low-observable, high-altitude UAV that could penetrate air defense, fly 1,000 nm. to a target, loiter for 8 hr. and return to base.
During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a UAV described as a derivative of DarkStar was being prepared and was said by several officials to have been used operationally in prototype form (AW&ST Mar. 15, 2004, p. 35; July 7, 2003, p. 20).
“It’s the same concept as DarkStar; it’s stealthy and it uses the same apertures and data links,” said an Air Force official at the time. “Only it’s bigger,” said a Navy official. “It’s still far from a production aircraft, but the Air Force wanted to go ahead and get it out there.” The classified UAV’s operation caused consternation among U-2 pilots who noticed high-flying aircraft operating within several miles of their routes over Iraq. Flights of the mysterious aircraft were not coordinated with those of other manned and unmanned surveillance units.
There is great interest in how the U.S. now leverages its black- and white-world UAVs and remotely piloted aircraft to maintain a watch over the vast and rugged areas of Afghanistan that NATO’s force of about 100,000 troops will be unable to patrol. The revitalized conflict in Afghanistan will be largely a ground war with airpower serving as flying artillery and as a wide-ranging reconnaissance force.
Emphasis will be attached to manned MC-12W and unmanned surveillance and light-attack aircraft. New technologies such as the Gorgon Stare ISR pod will address ground commanders’ insatiable desire for full-motion video. By next spring, a single pod on a UAV could track 13 separate people as they leave a meeting place. The capability will expand to 65 people by 2012 and eventually to perhaps as many as 150 image feeds from a single UAV combat air patrol.
Along with its new ISR products, the U.S. will be providing close air support and helicopter airlift to its allies.
“I don’t know exactly when the NATO forces or non-U.S. forces will be flowing,” says Gates. “We do have some private commitments. There will be some additional announcements, I expect, [after the] London conference in January on Afghanistan.”
The rough plan so far is to divide operational responsibilities between the allies in the north and west and the U.S. in the east and south. The allies are expected to total “a brigade or two” comprising about 3,500-4,000 troops each, says Gates. Training of the Afghan troops will focus on partnering in combat with international personnel, rather than on basic training.
With Guy Norris in Los Angeles.
Illustration by Gregory Lewis/AW&ST
Gays in the military
Reply #120 on:
January 29, 2010, 12:57:34 PM »
I see that our CinC has proposed ending "Don't ask, don't tell" and allowing open gays in the military.
Although I am opinionated, as a lifelong civilian I must be humble here. Thoughts from our military friends especially appreciated.
Lets kick things off with this:
Re: Military Science
Reply #121 on:
January 29, 2010, 09:03:38 PM »
I was in the Marines before
don't ask don't tell
came to be and during my service I knew of a few guys and gals that were openly gay at least to the folks they worked with and there were no problems that I was aware of. No one turned them in or harassed them and part of that was due to the fact that these obviously gay folks behaved with respect and dignity toward themselves and others. They were not flaming, in your face, radical gay activist, trying to shock and awe the masses, these Marines showed restraint. My problem with the services becoming openly gay is that without that level of restraint keeping people respectful of eachother, is that the
in your face crowd
the don't rub it in my face crowd
, are going to cause a disruption that our military doesn't need.
Last Edit: January 29, 2010, 10:06:28 PM by prentice crawford
Re: Military Science
Reply #122 on:
January 30, 2010, 09:22:40 AM »
Question: Contrasting a base at home or a safe base abroad; does the balance change the closer one gets to combat zones/the front lines? Would you want to have a NCO who thought you had a cute butt and wanted you to polish his rifle deciding whether you had to take extra risky missions?
Re: Military Science
Reply #123 on:
January 30, 2010, 07:30:50 PM »
That is where the restraint of not being openly gay without repercussions comes into play. If you know that your going to face charges for just being identified as gay then that prevents a lot of untoward behavior by people. If it's just a he said, he said, kind of deal then there would be plenty of that going on the same as with women in the military.
Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 05:15:28 AM by prentice crawford
Re: Military Science
Reply #124 on:
January 30, 2010, 07:42:07 PM »
So, the answer to my question is "Yes" or "No"?
Re: Military Science
Reply #125 on:
January 30, 2010, 08:54:37 PM »
Yes, but having said that, who could blame someone for admiring my cute butt?
However, I would not want someone with authority over me doing things to get it shot off, just because I told them hands off.
Last Edit: January 31, 2010, 05:16:03 AM by prentice crawford
Re: Military Science
Reply #126 on:
January 31, 2010, 09:46:25 AM »
So, therefore , , , you disagree with BO's new policy?
Re: Military Science
Reply #127 on:
February 02, 2010, 09:54:03 AM »
Ummm , , , "polishing the rifle" was intended as a euphemism for fellatio.
Israeli Army policy on gays
Reply #128 on:
February 02, 2010, 08:17:19 PM »
Israeli experience may sway Army policy on gays
In U.S., "don't ask, don't tell" is losing ground.
By SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN
Published January 8, 2007
In 1993, Congress banned known homosexuals from the military, convinced their presence could undermine morale and discipline. That year, Israel took exactly the opposite approach.
All restrictions on gay and lesbian soldiers were dropped. Homosexuals in the Israel Defense Forces could join close-knit combat units or serve in sensitive intelligence posts. They were eligible for promotion to the highest ranks.
Fourteen years later, Israelis are convinced they made the right decision.
"It's a non-issue," said David Saranga, a former IDF officer and now Israel's consul for media and public affairs in New York. "There is not a problem with your sexual tendency. You can be a very good officer, a creative one, a brave one and be gay at the same time."
Israel is among 24 countries that permit known gays to serve in the military, and its experience is giving fodder to opponents of the United States' controversial "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In a recent opinion piece in the New York Times, Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that admitting gays had not hurt the IDF or any of the 23 other foreign militaries. With troops stretched thin by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should drop its ban on known gay service members after the new Congress has time to seriously consider the issue, Shalikashvili wrote.
The retired general's view has drawn wide attention because he supported "don't ask, don't tell" when President Clinton devised it in 1993 as a compromise to the tough law Congress passed that year. Acknowledging that the issue still stirs "passionate feelings" on both sides, Shalikashvili said the debate about gays in the military "must also consider the evidence that has emerged over the last 14 years" - including that in Israel.
As a country almost continuously at war, the Jewish state has always had mandatory conscription although known homosexuals were usually discharged before 1980. The IDF's first official statement on the matter, in 1983, allowed gays to serve but banned them from intelligence and top-secret positions.
Opposition to the policy came to a head 10 years later when the chairman of the Tel Aviv University's chemistry department revealed the IDF had stripped him of his officer rank and barred him from sensitive research solely because he was gay. His testimony before a parliamentary committee created a public storm and forced the IDF to drop all restrictions on homosexuals.
Since then, researchers have found, Israel's armed forces have seen no decline in morale, performance, readiness or cohesion.
"In this security-conscious country, where the military is considered to be essential to the continued existence of the nation, the decision to include sexual minorities has not harmed IDF effectiveness," wrote Aaron Belkin and Melissa Levitt of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
A brigadier general quoted in the pair's study said Israelis show a "great tolerance" for homosexual soldiers. One lesbian soldier said she was amazed that "people either thought my sexual orientation was cool or were indifferent to it."
The California study also cited a survey of 17 heterosexual soldiers, two of whom said they would have a problem serving under a gay commander and three expressing concern about showering with a gay colleague. None, though, objected to gay soldiers in general, and as one officer put it, "They're citizens of Israel, like you and me. The sexual orientation of the workers around me doesn't bother me."
As in the United States, though, many Israeli gays, including those in the military, are reluctant to come out of the closet until they think it is safe to do so.
"All available evidence suggests that the IDF continues to be a place where many homosexual soldiers choose not to disclose their sexual orientation," the researchers found, noting that a psychiatrist said soldiers in her care still "suspect that if they come out they won't get a good position."
Publicly, the IDF says that gay soldiers - estimated to be about 2 percent of the force - are screened the same as heterosexuals for promotions and sensitive positions. One officer said she had no problems rising through the ranks as an open lesbian.
Despite obvious differences between the two countries, Israel's experience provides a relevant and encouraging lesson in what might happen if the United States lifted its ban on known gays in the services, the California researchers concluded. Not everyone agrees.
Elaine Donnelly, president of the Michigan-based Center for Military Readiness, notes that American troops, unlike Israelis, are often deployed for long periods thousands of miles from home.
"People who live in conditions of forced intimacy should not have to expose themselves to persons who might be sexually attracted to them," Donnelly said. "We respect that desire for human modesty and we respect the power of human sexuality."
However, a recent poll of U.S. soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan found that 75 percent said they would feel comfortable serving with gays. Of those who knew they had a gay colleague, two-thirds said it had no impact on their unit or personal morale.
Americans in general are far more amenable to gays in the military since "don't ask, don't tell" was adopted in 1993. Polls in the last few years have shown at least 58 percent and as much as 70 percent favor repealing the ban on known homosexuals.
"Of the minority of the public that still support the policy, that support is not about anything other than simple moral discomfort," said Belkin, director of Santa Barbara's Michael D. Palm Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military.
"It's really about morality and religion and politics, and it's not about what's good for the military at this point."
Susan Martin can be contacted at
Countries that allow gays to serve in the military:
Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland
Countries that ban gays from the military:
Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Croatia, Greece, Poland, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, United States and Venezuela.
The list does not include those countries in which homosexuality is banned outright, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and several other nations in the Middle East. These countries generally have no stated policy on gays in the military because they do not allow or acknowledge the presence of gays at all.
Re: Military Science
Reply #129 on:
February 03, 2010, 03:56:25 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on February 02, 2010, 09:54:03 AM
Ummm , , , "polishing the rifle" was intended as a euphemism for fellatio.
Exactly, the price for polishing the rifle has dire consequences if it is a same sex issue tied to promotion......... some time different sex too. While the incident I had contact with was during peace time, it did cost at least 3 carreers that I know of. During wartime and availability of non-traceable enemy weapons I am sure the outcome would have been more extreme.
Re: Military Science
Reply #130 on:
February 03, 2010, 05:26:34 AM »
I'm not sure yet if we are understanding each other.
The question I seek to raise is of a gay NCO or officer exerting sexual pressure (subtle or not) in an environment where he/she is in a position to put those who resist that pressure more in harm's way.
Re: Military Science
Reply #131 on:
February 03, 2010, 07:56:11 AM »
Ah, now I get it, fragging.
So if I understand correctly (and given our conversation on this point that may well be a first
) you argument is that not to worry about the issue because those endangered by rejected advances can always frag?!?
Re: Military Science
Reply #132 on:
February 03, 2010, 11:36:45 AM »
Any concerns over the creation of a new "protected class"? IMHO the history of PC (see e.g. the Fort Hood affair where tons of people knew the jihadi killer was exactly that yet said nothing) gives me concerns.
Separate question: How would you feel to share a foxhole with someone who got a woodie for you or was flashing a soaped up butt at you in the showers?
Separate question: What if there are a coupled pair of gay soldiers in the same unit? Do "coupled gays" get housing for married couples?
Separate question: What happens if a unit becomes a predominantly gay unit? What happens to military discipline if the barracks become a SF bath house or a branch of the YMCA? How does the straight soldier handle that?
Reply #133 on:
February 12, 2010, 02:22:48 PM »
Hat tip to BBG-- pasting this here from the WMD thread.
U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. high-powered airborne laser weapon shot down a ballistic missile in the first successful test of a futuristic directed energy weapon, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Friday.
The agency said in a statement the test took place at 8:44 p.m. PST (11:44 p.m. EST) on Thursday /0444 GMT on Friday) at Point Mugu's Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range off Ventura in central California.
"The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile" the agency said.
The high-powered Airborne Laser system is being developed by Boeing Co., the prime contractor, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Boeing produces the airframe, a modified 747 jumbo jet, while Northrop Grumman supplies the higher-energy laser and Lockheed Martin is developing the beam and fire control systems.
"This was the first directed energy lethal intercept demonstration against a liquid-fuel boosting ballistic missile target from an airborne platform," the agency added.
The airborne laser weapon successfully underwent its first in-flight test against a target missile back in August. During that test, Boeing said the modified 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and used its infrared sensors to find a target missile launched from San Nicolas Island, California.
The plane's battle management system issued engagement and target location instructions to the laser's fire control system, which tracked the target and fired a test laser at the missile. Instruments on the missile verified the system had hit its mark, Boeing said.
The airborne laser weapon is aimed at deterring enemy missile attacks and providing the U.S. military with the ability to engage all classes of ballistic missiles at the speed of light while they are in the boost phase of flight.
"The revolutionary use of directed energy is very attractive for missile defense, with the potential to attack multiple targets at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers (miles), and at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies," the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf and David Alexander, Editing by Sandra Maler)
Re: Military Science
Reply #134 on:
February 14, 2010, 09:21:36 AM »
My understanding is that our military capabilities are heavily dependent upon our dominance in space , , , and that the Chinese are hard at work at satellite killer capabilities. If our satellites are blinded/destroyed, things could go badly for us quite quickly. There are also the closely related matters of lasers in/from space and solar panels in space (where they just might be economically logical) For a full discussion of all this, see George Friedman's (he of Stratfor) new book "The Next 100 Years".
U.S. Surrenders New Frontier Without Fight
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Posted 02/12/2010 05:52 PM ET
'We have an agreement until 2012 that Russia will be responsible for this," says Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian space agency, about ferrying astronauts from other countries into low-Earth orbit.
"But after that? Excuse me, but the prices should be absolutely different then!"
The Russians may be new at capitalism, but they know how it works. When you have a monopoly, you charge monopoly prices. Within months, Russia will have a monopoly on rides into space.
By the end of this year, there will be no shuttle, no U.S. manned space program, no way for us to get into space.
We're not talking about Mars or the moon here. We're talking about low-Earth orbit, which the U.S. has dominated for nearly half a century and from which it is now retiring with nary a whimper.
Our absence from low-Earth orbit was meant to last a few years, the interval between the retirement of the fatally fragile space shuttle and its replacement with the Constellation program (Ares booster, Orion capsule, Altair lunar lander) to take astronauts more cheaply and safely back to space.
But the Obama 2011 budget kills Constellation. Instead, we shall have nothing. For the first time since John Glenn flew in 1962, the U.S. will have no access of its own for humans into space — and no prospect of getting there in the foreseeable future.
Of course, the administration presents the abdication as a great leap forward: Launching humans will now be turned over to the private sector, while NASA's efforts will be directed toward landing on Mars.
This is nonsense. It would be swell for private companies to take over launching astronauts. But they cannot do it. It's too expensive. It's too experimental. And the safety standards for actually getting people up and down reliably are just unreachably high.
Sure, decades from now there will be a robust private space-travel industry. But that is a long time. In the interim, space will be owned by Russia and then China. The president waxes seriously nationalist at the thought of China or India surpassing us in speculative "clean energy." Yet he is quite prepared to gratuitously give up our spectacular lead in human space exploration.
As for Mars, more nonsense. Mars is just too far away. And how do you get there without the stepping stones of Ares and Orion? If we can't afford an Ares rocket to get us into orbit and to the moon, how long will it take to develop a revolutionary new propulsion system that will take us not a quarter-million miles but 35 million miles?
BTW, where are the Republicans on all this? Silent.
New ammo for Afpakia
Reply #135 on:
February 16, 2010, 09:40:54 PM »
Corps to use more lethal ammo in Afghanistan
By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 16, 2010 9:29:10 EST
The Marine Corps is dropping its conventional 5.56mm ammunition in Afghanistan in favor of new deadlier, more accurate rifle rounds, and could field them at any time.
The open-tipped rounds until now have been available only to Special Operations Command troops. The first 200,000 5.56mm Special Operations Science and Technology rounds are already downrange with Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, said Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command. Commonly known as “SOST” rounds, they were legally cleared for Marine use by the Pentagon in late January, according to Navy Department documents obtained by Marine Corps Times.
SOCom developed the new rounds for use with the Special Operations Force Combat Assault Rifle, or SCAR, which needed a more accurate bullet because its short barrel, at 13.8 inches, is less than an inch shorter than the M4 carbine’s. Using an open-tip match round design common with some sniper ammunition, SOST rounds are designed to be “barrier blind,” meaning they stay on target better than existing M855 rounds after penetrating windshields, car doors and other objects.
Compared to the M855, SOST rounds also stay on target longer in open air and have increased stopping power through “consistent, rapid fragmentation which shortens the time required to cause incapacitation of enemy combatants,” according to Navy Department documents. At 62 grains, they weigh about the same as most NATO rounds, have a typical lead core with a solid copper shank and are considered a variation of Federal Cartridge Co.’s Federal Trophy Bonded Bear Claw round, which was developed for big-game hunting and is touted in a company news release for its ability to crush bone.
The Corps purchased a “couple million” SOST rounds as part of a joint $6 million, 10.4-million-round buy in September — enough to last the service several months in Afghanistan, Brogan said. Navy Department documents say the Pentagon will launch a competition worth up to $400 million this spring for more SOST ammunition.
“This round was really intended to be used in a weapon with a shorter barrel, their SCAR carbines,” Brogan said. “But because of its blind-to-barrier performance, its accuracy improvements and its reduced muzzle flash, those are attractive things that make it also useful to general purpose forces like the Marine Corps and Army.”
The standard Marine round, the M855, was developed in the 1970s and approved as an official NATO round in 1980. In recent years, however, it has been the subject of widespread criticism from troops, who question whether it has enough punch to stop oncoming enemies.
In 2002, shortcomings in the M855’s performance were detailed in a report by Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, Ind., according to Navy Department documents. Additional testing in 2005 showed shortcomings. The Pentagon issued a request to industry for improved ammunition the following year. Federal Cartridge was the only company to respond.
Brogan said the Corps has no plans to remove the M855 from the service’s inventory at this time. However, the service has determined it “does not meet USMC performance requirements” in an operational environment in which insurgents often lack personal body armor, but engage troops through “intermediate barriers” such as windshields and car doors at security checkpoints, according to a Jan. 25 Navy Department document clearing Marines to use the SOST round.
The document, signed by J.R. Crisfield, director of the Navy Department International and Operational Law Division, is clear on the recommended course of action for the 5.56mm SOST round, formally known as MK318 MOD 0 enhanced 5.56mm ammunition.
“Based on the significantly improved performance of the MK318 MOD 0 over the M855 against virtually every anticipated target array in Afghanistan and similar combat environments where increased accuracy, better effects behind automobile glass and doors, consistent terminal performance and reduced muzzle flash are critical to mission accomplishment, USMC would treat the MK318 MOD 0 as its new 5.56mm standard issue cartridge,” Crisfield wrote.
The original plan called for the SOST round to be used specifically within the M4 carbine, which has a 14½-inch barrel and is used by tens of thousands of Marines in military occupational specialties such as motor vehicle operator where the M16A4’s longer barrel can be cumbersome. Given its benefits, however, Marine officials decided also to adopt SOST for the M16A4, which has a 20-inch barrel and is used by most of the infantry.
In addition to operational benefits, SOST rounds have similar ballistics to the M855 round, meaning Marines will not have to adjust to using the new ammo, even though it is more accurate.
“It does not require us to change our training,” Brogan said. “We don’t have to change our aim points or modify our training curriculum. We can train just as we have always trained with the 855 round, so right now, there is no plan to completely remove the 855 from inventory.”
Marine officials in Afghanistan could not be reached for comment, but Brogan said commanders with MEB-A are authorized to issue SOST ammo to any subordinate command. Only one major Marine 5.56mm weapon system downrange will not use SOST: the M249 squad automatic weapon. Though the new rounds fit the SAW, they are not currently produced in the linked fashion commonly employed with the light machine gun, Brogan said.
SOCom first fielded the SOST round in April, said Air Force Maj. Wesley Ticer, a spokesman for the command. It also fielded a cousin — MK319 MOD 0 enhanced 7.62mm SOST ammo — designed for use with the SCAR-Heavy, a powerful 7.62mm battle rifle. SOCom uses both kinds of ammunition in all of its geographic combatant commands, Ticer said.
The Corps has no plans to buy 7.62mm SOST ammunition, but that could change if operational commanders or infantry requirements officers call for it in the future, Brogan said.
It is uncertain how long the Corps will field the SOST round. Marine officials said last summer that they took interest in it after the M855A1 lead-free slug in development by the Army experienced problems during testing, but Brogan said the service is still interested in the environmentally friendly round if it is effective. Marine officials also want to see if the price of the SOST round drops once in mass production. The price of an individual round was not available, but Brogan said SOST ammo is more expensive than current M855 rounds.
“We have to wait and see what happens with the Army’s 855LFS round,” he said. “We also have to get very good cost estimates of where these [SOST] rounds end up in full-rate, or serial production. Because if it truly is going to remain more expensive, then we would not want to buy that round for all of our training applications.”
Before the SOST round could be fielded by the Corps, it had to clear a legal hurdle: approval that it met international law of war standards.
The process is standard for new weapons and weapons systems, but it took on added significance because of the bullet’s design. Open-tip bullets have been approved for use by U.S. forces for decades, but are sometimes confused with hollow-point rounds, which expand in human tissue after impact, causing unnecessary suffering, according to widely accepted international treaties signed following the Hague peace conventions held in the Netherlands in 1899 and 1907.
“We need to be very clear in drawing this distinction: This is not a hollow-point round, which is not permitted,” Brogan said. “It has been through law of land warfare review and has passed that review so that it meets the criteria of not causing unnecessary pain and suffering.”
The open-tip/hollow-point dilemma has been addressed several times by the military, including in 1990, when the chief of the Judge Advocate General International Law Branch, now-retired Marine Col. W. Hays Parks, advised that the open-tip M852 Sierra MatchKing round preferred by snipers met international law requirements. The round was kept in the field.
In a 3,000-word memorandum to Army Special Operations Command, Parks said “unnecessary suffering” and “superfluous injury” have not been formally defined, leaving the U.S. with a “balancing test” it must conduct to assess whether the usage of each kind of rifle round is justified.
“The test is not easily applied,” Parks said. “For this reason, the degree of ‘superfluous injury’ must … outweigh substantially the military necessity for the weapon system or projectile.”
John Cerone, an expert in the law of armed conflict and professor at the New England School of Law, said the military’s interpretation of international law is widely accepted. It is understood that weapons cause pain in war, and as long as there is a strategic military reason for their employment, they typically meet international guidelines, he said.
“In order to fall within the prohibition, a weapon has to be designed to cause unnecessary suffering,” he said.
Sixteen years after Parks issued his memo, an Army unit in Iraq temporarily banned the open-tip M118 long-range used by snipers after a JAG officer mistook it for hollow-tip ammunition, according to a 2006 Washington Times report. The decision was overturned when other Army officials were alerted.
Cruise missiles in a box, from Russia with love
Reply #136 on:
April 26, 2010, 12:10:33 AM »
A cruise missile in a shipping box on sale to rogue bidders
Defence experts are warning of a new danger of ballistic weapons proliferation after a Russian company started marketing a cruise missile that can be launched from a shipping container.
By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Published: 6:30PM BST 25 Apr 2010
Club - K container missile system. Stills from an animated film being used to market a missile system that allows cruise missles to be launched from a freight container. this can be loaded onto a lorry, ship, or train as desired tomove into position before launching missiles
It is feared that the covert Club-K missile attack system could prove "game-changing" in fighting wars with small countries, which would gain a remote capacity to mount multiple missiles on boats, trucks or railways.
Iran and Venezuela have already shown an interest in the Club-K Container Missile System which could allow them to carry out pre-emptive strikes from behind an enemy's missile defences.
Defence experts say the system is designed to be concealed as a standard 40ft shipping container that cannot be identified until it is activated. Priced at an estimated £10 million, each container is fitted with four cruise anti-ship or land attack missiles. The system represents an affordable "strategic level weapon". Some experts believe that if Iraq had the Club-K system in 2003 it would have made it impossible for America to invade with any container ship in the Gulf a potential threat.
Club-K is being marketed at the Defence Services Asia exhibition in Malaysia this week. Novator, the manufacturer, is an advanced missile specialist that would not have marketed the system without Moscow's approval. It has released an emotive marketing film complete with dramatic background music. It shows Club-K containers stowed on ships, trucks and trains as a neighbouring country prepares to invade with American style military equipment. The enemy force is wiped out by the cruise missile counter attack. Russia has already prompted concern in Washington by selling Iran the sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft missile system that would make targeting of Iranian nuclear facilities very difficult.
"This Club-K is game changing with the ability to wipe out an aircraft carrier 200 miles away. The threat is immense in that no one can tell how far deployed your missiles could be," said Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, who first reported on the Club-K developments.
"What alerted me to this was that the Russians were advertising it at specific international defence event and they have marketed it very squarely at anyone under threat of action from the US."
Reuben Johnson, a Pentagon defence consultant, said the system would be a "real maritime fear for anyone with a waterfront".
"This is ballistic missile proliferation on a scale we have not seen before because now you cannot readily identify what's being used as a launcher because it's very carefully disguised. Someone could sail off your shore looking innocuous then the next minute big explosions are going off at your military installations."
Re: Military Science
Reply #137 on:
April 26, 2010, 10:46:50 AM »
See entry number 169 from July 2008
WSJ: Littoral Combat Ships
Reply #138 on:
July 12, 2010, 09:43:14 AM »
By NATHAN HODGE
WASHINGTON—This summer, the Navy expects to choose between two competing designs for the Littoral Combat Ship, a fast, shore-hugging warship that will take on 21st century missions like chasing pirates and intercepting drug smugglers.
The Littoral Combat Ship, produced by General Dynamics, underway during builder's trials.
.At issue is more than a shipbuilding contract. The contest underscores a broad discussion taking place inside and outside the Navy about the future size and shape of the service's fleet.
U.S. naval power is built in large part around carrier strike groups, a costly armada of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and escort ships that project American power around the globe. Littoral Combat Ships are pint-size in comparison. They will be roughly the size of a frigate—smaller than a destroyer, larger than a patrol boat—but with more automation.
Fully loaded for combat, they will have about 75 people aboard, about a third a frigate's crew. In often outsize Pentagon terms, the craft will be relatively cheap: roughly half a billion dollars each. A new carrier is projected to cost around $10 billion.
The Navy is choosing between designs offered by Lockheed Martin Corp. and the U.S. unit of Australia's Austal Ltd., which has teamed with General Dynamics Corp. Both models have innovative features. The Lockheed variant, 378 feet long and built at Fincantieri Marine Group LLC's Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard in Marinette, Wis., has a high-speed steel hull that lets it travel at over 40 knots (about 50 miles an hour).
The Austal/General Dynamics ship is built around an aluminum trimaran design, a configuration never before used in a U.S. warship. Derived from a high-speed commercial ferry, the 419-foot ship features a 7,300-square-foot flight deck and a spacious mission bay for combat equipment.
One of each ship design is already in service, and the Navy expects to award a fixed-price contract to a single winner for 10 of the new warships. Another order of five ships is to be awarded to a competing shipyard sometime in 2012.
The Littoral Combat Ship award comes at a crucial time for the sea service. An austerity drive at the Pentagon, fueled in part by slowing growth in the Defense Department's budget, is placing new pressure on Navy spending and raising questions about whether the service will have to scale back an ambitious long-term shipbuilding plan.
In a recent speech, Adm. Gary Roughead, the Navy's top admiral, pointed to the "potential for a procurement squeeze," saying that operations, maintenance and manpower costs had the potential to cut into money available for equipment purchases.
Further adding pressure, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has publicly asked whether the Navy needs to stick with plans to keep 11 aircraft carrier strike groups for the next three decades, saying the U.S. already enjoyed "massive overmatch" against any other navy.
And in a recent analysis of the Navy's current 30-year shipbuilding plan, the Congressional Budget Office warned that the Navy wouldn't be able to afford all the ships on its wish list, even if it continues to receive the same amount of funding for ship construction—an average of about $15 billion a year in 2010 dollars.
Maren Leed, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, says the Navy faces a much tighter budget in coming years, which may force it to make choices, trading purchases of expensive ships like carriers for more investment in ships like the Littoral Combat Ship.
The smaller and cheaper Littoral Combat Ship may help the Navy stick to a goal important to its top officials. For several years, they have argued publicly for a shipbuilding program that would allow them to build out to a 313-ship fleet, up from 288 ships today.
Lawmakers involved in the defense spending process are also keen to boost ship numbers. Rep. Ike Skelton (D., Mo.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, recently told reporters that "numbers make a difference" when it comes to maintaining a global naval presence, and the current fiscal year 2011 budget request includes nine new ships that count toward that 313-ship goal. But Rep. Gene Taylor (D., Miss.), chairman of the seapower subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, said the Navy was retiring older ships more quickly than it was buying new ones.
"This is the third CNO [chief of naval operations] I've dealt with who's said the 313 ship is a floor, not a ceiling," he said in an interview. "And yet they send over a ship retention plan that goes the wrong way."
The service also canceled two earlier shipbuilding contracts for Littoral Combat Ships, because the prices had become too high. The Navy's decision to pare down the Littoral Combat Ship to a single design is supposed to yield a more affordable ship.
Chinese anti-carrier missile
Reply #139 on:
August 06, 2010, 06:04:54 AM »
Hat tip to PC who posted this in the China thread:
By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer Eric Talmadge, Associated Press Writer – Thu Aug 5, 5:43 pm ET
ABOARD THE USS GEORGE WASHINGTON – Nothing projects U.S. global air and sea power more vividly than supercarriers. Bristling with fighter jets that can reach deep into even landlocked trouble zones, America's virtually invincible carrier fleet has long enforced its dominance of the high seas.
China may soon put an end to that.
U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China — an unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D that could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).
EDITOR'S NOTE — The USS George Washington supercarrier recently deployed off North Korea in a high-profile show of U.S. sea power. AP Tokyo News Editor Eric Talmadge was aboard the carrier, and filed this report.
Analysts say final testing of the missile could come as soon as the end of this year, though questions remain about how fast China will be able to perfect its accuracy to the level needed to threaten a moving carrier at sea.
The weapon, a version of which was displayed last year in a Chinese military parade, could revolutionize China's role in the Pacific balance of power, seriously weakening Washington's ability to intervene in any potential conflict over Taiwan or North Korea. It could also deny U.S. ships safe access to international waters near China's 11,200-mile (18,000-kilometer) -long coastline.
While a nuclear bomb could theoretically sink a carrier, assuming its user was willing to raise the stakes to atomic levels, the conventionally-armed Dong Feng 21D's uniqueness is in its ability to hit a powerfully defended moving target with pin-point precision.
The Chinese Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to the AP's request for a comment.
Funded by annual double-digit increases in the defense budget for almost every year of the past two decades, the Chinese navy has become Asia's largest and has expanded beyond its traditional mission of retaking Taiwan to push its sphere of influence deeper into the Pacific and protect vital maritime trade routes.
"The Navy has long had to fear carrier-killing capabilities," said Patrick Cronin, senior director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the nonpartisan, Washington-based Center for a New American Security. "The emerging Chinese antiship missile capability, and in particular the DF 21D, represents the first post-Cold War capability that is both potentially capable of stopping our naval power projection and deliberately designed for that purpose."
Setting the stage for a possible conflict, Beijing has grown increasingly vocal in its demands for the U.S. to stay away from the wide swaths of ocean — covering much of the Yellow, East and South China seas — where it claims exclusivity.
It strongly opposed plans to hold U.S.-South Korean war games in the Yellow Sea off the northeastern Chinese coast, saying the participation of the USS George Washington supercarrier, with its 1,092-foot (333-meter) flight deck and 6,250 personnel, would be a provocation because it put Beijing within striking range of U.S. F-18 warplanes.
The carrier instead took part in maneuvers held farther away in the Sea of Japan.
U.S. officials deny Chinese pressure kept it away, and say they will not be told by Beijing where they can operate.
"We reserve the right to exercise in international waters anywhere in the world," Rear Adm. Daniel Cloyd, who headed the U.S. side of the exercises, said aboard the carrier during the maneuvers, which ended last week.
But the new missile, if able to evade the defenses of a carrier and of the vessels sailing with it, could undermine that policy.
"China can reach out and hit the U.S. well before the U.S. can get close enough to the mainland to hit back," said Toshi Yoshihara, an associate professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He said U.S. ships have only twice been that vulnerable — against Japan in World War II and against Soviet bombers in the Cold War.
Carrier-killing missiles "could have an enduring psychological effect on U.S. policymakers," he e-mailed to The AP. "It underscores more broadly that the U.S. Navy no longer rules the waves as it has since the end of World War II. The stark reality is that sea control cannot be taken for granted anymore."
Yoshihara said the weapon is causing considerable consternation in Washington, though — with attention focused on land wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — its implications haven't been widely discussed in public.
Analysts note that while much has been made of China's efforts to ready a carrier fleet of its own, it would likely take decades to catch U.S. carrier crews' level of expertise, training and experience.
But Beijing does not need to match the U.S. carrier for carrier. The Dong Feng 21D, smarter, and vastly cheaper, could successfully attack a U.S. carrier, or at least deter it from getting too close.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned of the threat in a speech last September at the Air Force Association Convention.
"When considering the military-modernization programs of countries like China, we should be concerned less with their potential ability to challenge the U.S. symmetrically — fighter to fighter or ship to ship — and more with their ability to disrupt our freedom of movement and narrow our strategic options," he said.
Gates said China's investments in cyber and anti-satellite warfare, anti-air and anti-ship weaponry, along with ballistic missiles, "could threaten America's primary way to project power" through its forward air bases and carrier strike groups.
The Pentagon has been worried for years about China getting an anti-ship ballistic missile. The Pentagon considers such a missile an "anti-access," weapon, meaning that it could deny others access to certain areas.
The Air Force's top surveillance and intelligence officer, Lt. Gen. David Deptula, told reporters this week that China's effort to increase anti-access capability is part of a worrisome trend.
He did not single out the DF 21D, but said: "While we might not fight the Chinese, we may end up in situations where we'll certainly be opposing the equipment that they build and sell around the world."
Questions remain over when — and if — China will perfect the technology; hitting a moving carrier is no mean feat, requiring state-of-the-art guidance systems, and some experts believe it will take China a decade or so to field a reliable threat. Others, however, say final tests of the missile could come in the next year or two.
Former Navy commander James Kraska, a professor of international law and sea power at the U.S. Naval War College, recently wrote a controversial article in the magazine Orbis outlining a hypothetical scenario set just five years from now in which a Deng Feng 21D missile with a penetrator warhead sinks the USS George Washington.
That would usher in a "new epoch of international order in which Beijing emerges to displace the United States."
While China's Defense Ministry never comments on new weapons before they become operational, the DF 21D — which would travel at 10 times the speed of sound and carry conventional payloads — has been much discussed by military buffs online.
A pseudonymous article posted on Xinhuanet, website of China's official news agency, imagines the U.S. dispatching the George Washington to aid Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
The Chinese would respond with three salvos of DF 21D, the first of which would pierce the hull, start fires and shut down flight operations, the article says. The second would knock out its engines and be accompanied by air attacks. The third wave, the article says, would "send the George Washington to the bottom of the ocean."
Comments on the article were mostly positive.
Re: Military Science
Reply #140 on:
August 06, 2010, 11:43:50 AM »
Remember this story?
Clinton and Chinese Missiles
Charles R. Smith
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2003
Chinese Army Gets U.S. Missile Technology for Money
A newly released document from the U.S. State Department reveals that the most successful Chinese espionage operation in recent history occurred during the Clinton administration.
The document accuses Hughes Space and Communications Company of violating U.S. national security 123 times by knowingly sending detailed missile and space technology directly to the Chinese army.
According to the State Department, the most serious violations occurred when Hughes gave the Chinese army information that supported its analyses of the investigation of the January 1995 failure of the launch of a China Long March 2E (LM-2E) rocket carrying the Hughes-manufactured ASTAR II commercial communications satellite.
On Jan. 26, 1995, approximately 52 seconds into flight, a Chinese LM-2E carrying the Hughes APSTAR II communications satellite failed. This was the LM-2E's second failure. The first failure of the LM-2E in December 1992 involved an attempted launch of the Hughes OPTUS B-2 commercial communications satellite.
"Respondents decided to form and direct a launch failure investigation beginning in January 1995 and continuing throughout much of that year. The investigation involved the formation of several groups of leading technical experts from China and the U.S., which throughout the investigation engaged in an extensive exchange of technical data and analysis, producing a wide range of unauthorized technology transfers," noted the State Department charge document.
"At no time did the Respondents seek or receive a license or other written approval concerning the conduct of their APSTAR II failure investigation with PRC authorities," states the charge document.
According to the State Department, "this strategy was further influenced by Respondents' business interests in securing future contracts with the PRC and with Asian satellite companies in which PRC influence figured prominently, and concern that U.S. Government policy constraints on technology transfer as administered by ODTC were an impediment to achieving these interests."
Chinese Rocket Failure Blamed on U.S.
According to a 1998 Defense Department investigation, the reason for Hughes passing the technical information to China was because the Chinese army blamed Hughes for the rocket failure.
"Following the APSTAR II failure, there was disagreement between Hughes and the Chinese about whether the principal cause of the failure was the launch vehicle or the satellite. The subsequent joint Hughes-Chinese failure investigation was apparently intended, at least in part, to resolve this dispute," states the 1998 Defense Department report.
"According to the Hughes/Apstar materials, the disagreement between Hughes and the Chinese focused on two views of the cause of the launch failure: (1) the Chinese claim that the satellite was defective as evidenced by satellite fuel igniting; and (2) Hughes' claim that the satellite was a contributing factor only after the launch vehicle fairing had failed which exposed the satellite to catastrophic conditions."
"DoD believes that the scope and content of the launch failure investigation conducted by Hughes with the Chinese following the January 1995 APSTAR II failure raises national security concerns both with regard to violating those standards and to potentially contributing to China's missile capabilities," states the Defense Department report.
PLA General Shen Rongjun
Chinese General Shen Rongjun led the penetration of U.S. missile and space technology during the Clinton administration. The 2002 State Department letter makes it clear that they believe Gen. Shen led the successful penetration of the Clinton administration and Hughes.
In 1994, Gen. Shen was second in command of a Chinese army unit known as COSTIND, or the Commission On Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense. Shen, and his COSTIND operatives in front companies, secured a wide range of advanced missile and space technology from Hughes after a 1994 meeting with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.
Commerce documents obtained using the Freedom of Information Act show that Brown met with Gen. Shen in 1994 during a trade trip to Beijing. President Clinton personally authorized the meeting between the Chinese general and Brown.
Before moving to Commerce, Brown headed the Democratic National Committee. The Federal Election Commission fined the DNC in 2002 for "knowingly and willingly" accepting donations from Chinese army sources.
Gen. Shen did obtain help from the White House by pressuring Hughes with satellite contracts. Hughes CEO Michael Armstrong wrote President Clinton in 1993 threatening to pull support for Clinton if he did not allow the space technology transfers to China. In 1994, Clinton approved a waiver for Hughes to transfer advanced satellite encryption systems to China.
According to a Sept. 20, 1995, memorandum, Hughes regarded Gen. Shen Rongjun as "the most important Chinese space official."
The Chinese army penetration of Hughes was so successful that Gen. Shen managed to get his son, Shen Jun, a job at Hughes as the lead software engineer for all Chinese satellites. According to Hughes, Shen Jun had access to "proprietary" satellite source code.
"On July 9, 1996, Respondents submitted a munitions export license application to ODTC seeking authorization for one of its employees, Shen Jun, described as a dual Canadian Chinese national, in order to provide Chinese-English language translation and interpretation support for the preliminary design phase of the APMT satellite project," states the 2002 charge letter.
"In no place in that submission nor otherwise did HUGHES SPACE AND COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY inform ODTC that this individual was, in fact, the son of PLA General and COSTIND Deputy Director Shen Rongjun, which fact was material to the U.S. Government's consideration of whether the license application should be approved or denied."
"The record indicates that Shen Jun's role for Respondents went well beyond that of an interpreter/translator and more closely resembled that of an intermediary with his father, General Shen, and other PRC space authorities, in order to cultivate their support in various matters of interest to Hughes, including the handling of the APSTAR II launch failure investigation and the APMT contract," noted the State Department 2002 charge letter.
According to the State Department, Hughes contends that it followed the law with regard to hiring Gen. Shen's son.
"Respondents have maintained as of December 3, 2002, that this information was not material and that its omission was proper because there is no place in the munitions license application for them to disclose father-son relationships between General officers at the People's Liberation Army who are overseeing a project they are working on and their foreign national employees working in U.S. facilities on the same project."
Clinton Overrules Secretary of State
The alleged improper export by Hughes of satellite technology was cited as a key reason when Clinton's secretary of state, Warren Christopher, rejected a plan to give the Commerce Department full authority to control satellite exports.
According to a Sept. 22, 1995, memorandum, Christopher rejected plans to give Commerce the authority to approve satellite exports after an interagency study noted that "significant" military and intelligence capabilities could be lost.
The memorandum stated the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies strongly opposed the policy change because Hughes exported two satellites with sensitive cryptographic technology without first getting a State Department munitions license. Cryptographic technology is used to scramble communications sent to satellites to prevent unauthorized access.
President Clinton, who transferred the power to regulate sensitive satellites to Commerce, under Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, ultimately overruled Christopher.
Clinton's transfer allowed the Chinese army to acquire advanced U.S. technology for military purposes. Hughes satellites currently provide the Chinese army with secure communications that are invulnerable to earth combat and highly accurate all-weather navigation for strike bombers and missiles.
Hughes satellites purchased by Shen also provide direct TV and cable TV broadcasts to most of Asia. Thus, cable and pay-per-view services help pay for the Chinese army satellite communications. The brilliant planning and logistics mean that Chinese military communications pay for themselves.
Clinton Legacy – A New Arms Race
The satellite and missile technology obtained from Hughes by the Chinese army is critical for the design and manufacture of missile nose cones and electronic missile control systems. The technology clearly helped the Chinese army field a new generation of ICBMS, including the Dong Feng 31 missile, which can drop three nuclear warheads on any city in the U.S.
The success of Shen is a story of missiles, politics and greed. Gen. Shen succeeded in using Hughes and President Clinton as valuable tools to obtain weapons that are now pointed at the United States.
China won and the U.S. lost what may very well be the first round of World War III. Gen. Shen led that victory and he did it with a checkbook. The Clinton legacy for the 21st century is a new arms race.
Read more on this subject in related Hot Topics:
Chinese Military Manual Calls for "Unrestricted" War Against America
Re: Military Science
Reply #141 on:
August 06, 2010, 11:59:39 AM »
Outstanding recall on your part! The article you post has many details that I did not know.
Please refresh my memory if you can: wasn't this the same cluster that had Bernie Schwartz of Loral Satellites donating $345,000 to President Clinton (perhaps a personal meeting was involved?)
Re: Military Science
Reply #142 on:
August 06, 2010, 02:41:41 PM »
Wish I knew more about it. I was the only one in my circles to pick up on this when it happened. It was just a blip on the news for about one day. It was washed away in the ebb and flow of meaningless news. I thought then and still do think it smacks of treason, aid and comfort to our enemies. When I read your posting about the accuracy of the Chinese missiles I flashed back to this story. A little googling and came up with this old article. If anyone else can flesh this out I for one would be appreciative.
Clinton Gives Missile Tech. to China
Reply #143 on:
August 06, 2010, 11:29:15 PM »
Here's a timeline of articles:
Does this help, Freki?
And then to the clueless out there;
YOUR VOTE HAS CONSEQUENCES! AND CHARACTER MATTERS!
Last Edit: August 06, 2010, 11:39:23 PM by prentice crawford
Re: Military Science
Reply #144 on:
August 07, 2010, 07:22:00 AM »
Nice find P.C. .....thanks
Re: Military Science
Reply #145 on:
August 13, 2010, 01:23:26 AM »
The site wanted to run something on my computer but I wouldn't let it do so. Coincidentally, the page is coming up blank for me. May I ask for a summary of the material at p. 12 et seq?
Re: Military Science
Reply #146 on:
August 14, 2010, 01:31:55 AM »
Thank you very much for taking the time to put that post together.
I note that one of the legs of Stratfor's analysis of the US's geopolitical position in the world includes the ability to project serious force anywhere in the world with impunity via our aircraft carrier groups.
Re: Military Science
Reply #147 on:
August 19, 2010, 02:51:21 AM »
China going for a big stick on the high seas.
Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 02:54:00 AM by prentice crawford
LA Times: Combat by Camera
Reply #148 on:
November 12, 2010, 05:10:15 PM »
COMBAT BY CAMERA
The changing face of aerial reconnaissance
Aerial spying is 'now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism.' And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business even as the Pentagon looks at cutting back on big-ticket items.
A Global Hawk robotic plane, hovering more than 11 miles above Afghanistan, can snap images of Taliban hide-outs so crystal clear that U.S. intelligence officials can make out the pickup trucks parked nearby — and how long they've been there.
Halfway around the globe in a underground laboratory in El Segundo, Raytheon Co. engineers who helped develop the cameras and sensors for the pilotless spy plane are now working on even more powerful devices that are revolutionizing the way the military gathers intelligence.
The new sensors enable flying drones to "listen in" on cellphone conversations and pinpoint the location of the caller on the ground. Some can even "smell" the air and sniff out chemical plumes emanating from a potential underground nuclear laboratory.
Get a daily snapshot of market numbers and trends, delivered right to your mobile phone. Text BUSINESS to 52669.
Reconnaissance is "now the centerpiece of our global war on terrorism," said David L. Rockwell, an electronics analyst with aerospace research firm the Teal Group Corp. "The military wants to have an unblinking eye over the war zone."
And that has meant a growing and potentially huge business for the defense industry at a time when the Pentagon is looking at cutting back on big-ticket purchases such as fighter jets and Navy ships.
The drone electronics industry now generates about $3 billion in revenue, but that's expected to double to $6 billion in the next eight years, Teal Group estimates.
The industry's projected growth has fueled a surge in mergers and acquisitions of companies that develop and make the parts for the sensor systems, many of them in Southern California.
"There has been an explosion in the reconnaissance market," said Jon B. Kutler, founder of Admiralty Partners, a Century City private investment firm that buys and sells small defense firms."It's one of the few remaining growth areas."
Kutler's company recently acquired Torrance-based Trident Space & Defense, which manufactures hard drives that enable drones to store high-resolution images.
Trident, which has about 70 employees, has seen its sales more than double to about $40 million over the last five years.
The demand for sensors is growing as the Pentagon steps up use of drones for intelligence gathering.
More than 7,000 drones — ranging from the small, hand-launched Raven to the massive Global Hawk — are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though some have been outfitted with laser-guided bombs or missiles — grabbing most of the news headlines — all are equipped with sensors for reconnaissance and surveillance work.
The most advanced cameras and sensors are on the Global Hawk, a long-endurance, high-altitude drone that can fly for 30 hours at a time at more than 60,000 feet, out of range of most antiaircraft missiles and undetectable to the human eye.
Peter W. Singer, author of "Wired for War," a book about robotic warfare, compares the technology to the popular "Where's Waldo" children's books, in which readers are challenged to find one person hidden in a mass of people.
The latest detectors not only can pick out Waldo from a crowd, but know when Waldo may have fired a rifle. Such sensors can detect the heat from the barrel of a gun and estimate when it was fired.
Many of the sensors have been developed by Raytheon engineers in El Segundo, where the company has had a long history of developing spy equipment, including those found on the famed U-2 spy plane.
Some of the more advanced cameras can cost more than $15 million and take 18 months to make. Raytheon develops the cameras in a humidity-controlled, dust-free laboratory to ensure that they are free of blemishes.
Each basketball-sized camera "must be perfect," said Oscar Fragoso, a Raytheon optical engineer. "If it isn't, we know we're putting lives at risk."
Raytheon has begun to face stiff competition as other aerospace contractors vie for its business.
Sparks, Nev.-based Sierra Nevada Corp., which is known for its work on developing parts for spy satellites, has developed a sensor system, named the Gorgon Stare, that widens the area that drones can monitor from 1 mile to nearly 3 miles.
Named for the creature in Greek mythology whose gaze turns victims to stone, the sensor system features 12 small cameras — instead of one large one. It is to be affixed to Reaper drones before the end of the year.
With the multiple cameras, the operator can follow numerous vehicles instead of just one, said Brig. Gen. Robert P. Otto, the U.S. Air Force's director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. "By the end of the year, we're going to be fielding capabilities that are unlike anything we've used before."
But with an increase in the number of drone patrols and new sensor technology, the Air Force will be "drowning in data," Otto said. "That means we're going to need a lot more people looking at computer screens."
The Pentagon has said that drones last year took so much video footage that it would take someone 24 years to watch it all.
By this time next year, the Air Force expects to have almost 5,000 people trawling through the images for intelligence information. That's up from little more than 1,200 nine years ago.
"The reconnaissance work that's being done now takes seconds, where it used to take days," Otto said. "We're pushing the edge of technology."
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times
Cool building tech for front line
Reply #149 on:
November 14, 2010, 10:21:29 AM »
This is a great idea not just for front line but civilian use as well. I would like to know the costs involved.
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