“Plankton powered rubber duck bombs”???

The new Armed Forces minister in Britain is raising eyebrows (and not before time, IMHO!) with his views on the future of warfare. Special Forces of the future should be planting malware in enemy servers rather than fighting wars with daggers, the new armed forces minister said yesterday. James Heappey, a former Army officer, said … the military needed ‘to think the incredible’ to win wars now and referred to the Alexa smart speaker as a model for innovation, adding: ‘Alexa, fight my war.’ . . . Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) think tank, he said: ‘We have

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I can see how this may backfire spectacularly . . .

The new US Space Force is looking for a descriptive name for its members. The U.S. Space Force is looking for feedback from U.S. military space professionals on what Space Force members should be called – similar to how the Air Force refers to its members as ‘Airmen’ or the Army refers to its members as ‘Soldiers’. Given the significance a name has to the identity and culture of an organization, the Space Force is taking a deliberate approach to ensure Space Force member titles and ranks appropriately convey the nature of the newest Armed Forces branch and the domain in which

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I can see how this may backfire spectacularly . . .

The new US Space Force is looking for a descriptive name for its members. The U.S. Space Force is looking for feedback from U.S. military space professionals on what Space Force members should be called – similar to how the Air Force refers to its members as ‘Airmen’ or the Army refers to its members as ‘Soldiers’. Given the significance a name has to the identity and culture of an organization, the Space Force is taking a deliberate approach to ensure Space Force member titles and ranks appropriately convey the nature of the newest Armed Forces branch and the domain in which

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New Marine Corps rifle qualification

I was interested to read about the new standards being applied by the US Marine Corps to rifle qualification.  The Corps has always had the motto “Every Marine a rifleman”, and it’s good to see they still take that seriously.  Their new standards offer a useful yardstick to evaluate our own weapons skills, and perhaps improve our training accordingly (if we’re young and supple enough to do so, of course!  I’m old and creaky now.  I daresay my days for such athleticism are long past.) As a combat veteran from a different service (and nation, and continent) I’m particularly interested to

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SOCOM and the USAF: the internal politics could get interesting, to put it mildly

I was intrigued to read that the US Special Operations Command is looking into fielding up to 75 light attack aircraft. The US Special Operations Command plans on buying 75 fixed-wing aircraft for its just-announced Armed Overwatch program. The aircraft are intended for close air support of special operations troops, according to a notice announcing an upcoming industry day posted online 3 February. “Armed Overwatch will provide Special Operations Forces deployable and sustainable manned aircraft systems fulfilling close air support, precision strike, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in austere and permissive environments,” says the notice. The program is similar to a faltering light attack

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US naval expenditure: is reality finally beginning to bite?

I’ve long been annoyed and frustrated at the US Navy’s visible incompetence and waste of taxpayers’ time and money in designing, building and commissioning new generations of warships.  The “Little Crappy Ship” imbroglio, the Zumwalt train wreck and the USS Gerald R. Ford’s litany of failures are only the first three programs to come to mind – there are many more.  Therefore, I wasn’t surprised to see the Defense Secretary’s decision about funding a new generation of nuclear missile submarines. After years of warnings from U.S. Navy leaders that replacing the aging Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine will eat the service’s shipbuilding account alive, the year the first Columbia-class submarine is

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Saturday Snippet: The sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in 1941

Americans tend to forget that Japan didn’t only attack Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.  She simultaneously attacked across a wide swath of the Pacific Ocean, including the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies and Malaya.  Britain had just sent to Singapore one of its most modern battleships, HMS Prince of Wales (which had recently played a part in the destruction of the German battleship Bismarck), accompanied by a World War I battle-cruiser, HMS Repulse.  Operating together as Force Z, they attempted to attack a Japanese landing fleet near Singapore a few days later, with disastrous results. This description of what happened was written by then-Sub-Lieutenant (equivalent to

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More F-4 Phantoms at work and at play

This year the Japan Air Self-Defense Force will be retiring the last of its F-4 Phantom aircraft.  It’s one of the last Air Forces to operate the veteran type, which was a mainstay of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s.  It’s always had a reputation as a demanding aircraft to fly, but one that repays piloting skill with superb performance. A Japanese videographer has produced a couple of fascinating videos of the JASDF’s Phantoms over the past year or so.  We’ve seen them in these pages.  Here’s his latest offering, filmed in slow motion at very high resolution. It’s amazing to think that the F-4 first flew

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The radioactive tanks of Chernobyl

There’s a fascinating article at Firearms News titled “The Radioactive ISU-152“.  It describes how some of the biggest, heaviest tanks of World War II returned to the scene of one of their victories, four decades later, to act as saviors rather than destroyers. The SU/ISU-152 was designed specifically to be a part of both the shock and breakthrough elements of the Soviet Deep Battle doctrine. The KV heavy tank chassis would provide the base for the massive ML-20S, a portable version of the standard 152mm howitzer in service. The gun had a range of 10km for indirect fire but was reduced to less

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Heh

Found at Wirecutter’s place: I’d say many of the former military servicemen I’ve met – particularly former Navy personnel – are poster children for the first group.  I can still remember the retired Chief Petty Officer who informed me (very loudly) that coffee wasn’t coffee unless you could stand your teaspoon upright in it, without support.  Also, it had to be as strong and as bitter as possible, “like me!”  As for milk, sugar and that other stuff . . . the less said, the better! It does help one understand why so few millennials, comparatively speaking, will consider military service. 

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