Low, fast and stupid

This video, apparently dating from 2014, shows a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-24 (a Soviet equivalent to the US F-111) making a very low, very fast pass over other Ukrainian aircraft at the Starokostiantyniv air base. At that speed, and that (lack of) height, one slip and he’d have been a smear of metal and strawberry jam on the earth . . . Peter

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Another cost that’s killing US military budgets

Next Big Future has an interesting article comparing purchase and operating costs of US Air Force and US Navy combat aircraft.  Among its features was this graphic (click it for a larger view). If you do a little basic arithmetic, you find that the cost of buying, say, an F-35 (as cited in the article) will be matched by its operating costs within less than half the aircraft’s expected service lifespan – less, if inflation drives up those operating costs (as it almost certainly will).  Therefore, even after the aircraft have been bought, their ever higher operating costs will continue

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“The warrior’s tale”

Daniel Greenberg reminds us of the reality underlying Memorial Day. The warrior’s tale tells each generation that they stand on the wall against a hostile world. And that the wall is made not of stones, but of their virtues. Their courage, their integrity and their craft.  Theirs is the wall and they are the wall– and if they should fail, then it will fail. And the land and the people will be swept away. What happens to a people who forget the warrior’s tale and stop telling it around their campfires? Worse , what of a people who are taught

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Dusty!

Courtesy of The Aviationist, here’s an amazing video clip of a USAF C-5 Galaxy transport – the largest aircraft operated by that force – taking off from the just over 7,000 foot runway at Ilopango Airport in El Salvador.  For an aircraft that large, carrying an unknown cargo but clearly heavily laden, it’s quite an achievement. The wingspan of the C-5 is about 80 feet wider than the runway, hence the clouds of dust raised during the last part of the takeoff run, when the jet exhaust is angled down towards them. I’d call that dusty in anyone’s language! Peter

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The war in Ukraine and its lessons

Courtesy of a link at Cdr. Salamander’s place, I came across this article by Col. Liam Collins. The situation in eastern Ukraine might best be described as “World War I with technology.” Venturing to the front line today, you would quickly learn the two greatest threats facing Ukrainian soldiers are snipers and Russian artillery. Unlike in 1915, however, soldiers on 2018’s “Eastern Front” receive text messages on their phones telling them their cause is hopeless and they must regularly attempt to avoid being spotted from an unmanned aerial vehicle. The fighting in Ukraine during the past 2½ years provides great

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Catch-and-release drones?

I was interested to see this video clip about DARPA’s Gremlins program for air-deployable, reusable unmanned aerial vehicles.  The technology appears to be advancing by leaps and bounds. When you consider this in the light of “swarm” UAV technology, it looks even more interesting.  The day may not be too far away when almost all aerial activity over a heavily contested battlefield will be UAV’s, launched, recovered and supported from distant platforms, which may themselves be manned or unmanned. Peter

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Sounds like a match made in (the) heaven(s)

It was reported yesterday that the US Coast Guard is looking for a number of long-range reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) for coastal patrol. The US Coast Guard issued a request for demonstrations of long-range, ultra-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in US coastal transit zones that are highly trafficked by illegal drug and migrant smugglers. The requested drone would be land-based, must have the ability to fly for more than 24h and a service ceiling of 15,000ft above sea level, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s RFP. The UAV’s sensor payload must be

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America as naval superpower – are we putting our eggs in the wrong baskets?

I read an article in the National Interest with some skepticism. It’s titled ‘How to Make the U.S. Navy Great Again‘, and harks back to the attitudes of the Cold War, IMHO.  Here’s an excerpt. The United States has critical national interests in eighteen maritime zones identified by warfighting commanders. These maritime regions range in size from the small Gulf of Guinea to the vast northern Pacific and from the northern Arctic Sea to the Indian Ocean. Each zone requires a naval presence to uphold American interests. Some of these zones, like the Baltic Sea, require only a single American

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The dark side of our lack of online and electronic privacy

I’ve spoken often before about the dangers of surrendering our privacy to pervasive monitoring and intrusive advertising by companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and so on.  I’ve also mentioned the risks posed by smartphone apps that demand to know your location, often for no discernible reason.  Of course, they’re selling your personal information to advertisers and other interested parties.  However, most people appear not to care about that – something I still find inexplicable. Karl Denninger warns that such lack of privacy may play into the hands of more than just predatory advertisers. It wouldn’t be hard at all

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Can “quantum radar” expose stealth aircraft?

A Canadian research institute is betting that it can. Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing a new technology that promises to help radar operators cut through heavy background noise and isolate objects —including stealth aircraft and missiles— with unparalleled accuracy. . . . Stealth aircraft rely on special paint and body design to absorb and deflect radio waves—making them invisible to traditional radar. They also use electronic jamming to swamp detectors with artificial noise. With quantum radar, in theory, these planes will not only be exposed, but also unaware they have been detected. Quantum radar uses a sensing

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