Thursday, October 23, 2014

Catamaran 2014

Catamaran 2014 by Marine-Nationale

UK beware. Brazil & Argentina are cooperating more, arguing less....

I knew that Argentina was buying more and more gear from Brazil...from the VBTP-MR wheeled infantry fighting vehicle to the KC-390...but I didn't know that this was in the works.  Check this out from UPI...
Brazil and Argentina are to begin negotiations over the purchase of Swedish-designed Gripen fighters to be manufactured in Brazil.The decision was announced in Brazil by visiting Argentine Defense Minister Agustín Rossi.
Brazil's Ministry of Defense said the talks over the possible purchase of 24 Brazil-produced Gripens would include not only the conditions of purchase but also Argentina's participation in the production of the Saab-designed aircraft.
"Our willingness to cooperate with Argentina, our neighbor and ally, is total," said Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim.
Brazil and Argentina already cooperate on a number of defense projects and during the Argentine minster's visit signed a new cooperative agreement to strengthen ties between their defense industries.
Brazil is expected to sign an agreement with Sweden later this year for the procurement of as many as three dozen Saab-made Gripen multi-role fighter aircraft, with provisions for technology transfer and local manufacturing.
Yeah.  In a landscape filled with high priced fighters...most approaching 100 million dollars each...the little monster from Saab is about to pick up another customer.

How long before the reality of the F-35 and its sky high maintenance costs finally force air forces around the world to look for alternatives?  By 2020 the choices will be stark.  Either you buy the F-35 (which I believe no one will be able to afford), Chinese or Russian airplanes.

Saab is going to win by default and Brazil is placing itself in the cat bird's seat of being a licensed producer of the Gripen.  

But what should worry the UK are the close ties forming between Argentina and Brazil.  I might be way off base but I can see a Brazilian form of the Monroe Doctrine appear in the near future....and the Falkland Islands being the test case.

Sometimes you have to mourn and move on...

via The Washington Times
In one of the U.S. military’s worst “friendly fire” tragedies, the JTAC, who the service did not identify, authorized the B-1B Lancer crew to drop bombs on a location he incorrectly reported was 300 meters from the closest friendly troops. In fact, the soldiers were much closer and suffered a near-direct hit.
The military’s investigation said the ground team selected the target “based solely” on the fact that the B-1B crew saw no friendly infrared signals at that spot. In a colossal misunderstanding, the air crew’s “sniper pod” had no technical ability to see the flashes, but the pilots and weapons officers believe it did.
U.S. Central Command released the investigative report last month. Headed by Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the investigation concluded that a string of technical errors and misunderstandings, on the ground and in the bomber, led to the misplaced satellite-guided bombs.
Most striking: The B-1B’s “sniper pod” lacked the capability to detect flashing infrared signals worn by each American to designate them as “friendly” and to distinguish them from the enemy. The doomed soldiers even placed an infrared strobe directly on their equipment, at the center of their position, to make certain the B-1B would see them.
The strike came as an Army Green Beret “A” team and Afghan soldiers had completed a village-to-village clearing operation in Zabul province in preparation for the country’s presidential runoff elections.
Under darkness, the team was about to board Chinook helicopters to take them back to a forward operating base when soldiers came under attack.

A group of soldiers moved to higher ground to confront the Taliban, and the team called in a close-air support strike by the B-1B. The bomber had come on the scene to cover the chopper extraction.
The investigation also was critical of decisions made by the Green Berets.
The entire article is just...sad.

Have you ever heard of the training incident named Exercise Tiger?  Read the Wiki entry but the quick and dirty is that plain bad luck caused almost 1000 service members to be killed.

Maybe its our culture today but an Air Force Combat Controller has been separated from the service and the decisions made by men under fire (talking about the Green Berets...what I don't know is if they're talking about the survivors, the dead or both).

Maybe the military should shed some of its bureaucracy and adopt the WW2 (and common sense) attitude that in war...bad shit happens.

Will sensor fusion be enough?

via Defense Talk.
J-16, a new model of 3.5th-generation multi-functional dual-seat warplane evolved from J-11, uses Russian Su-30 fighter for reference. J-16 is equipped with AESA and can attack multiple targets at the same time and recognize the information about the targets.
The biggest feature of J-16 is its long-range and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) strike capability and its strong air-to-ground and air-to-sea strike capability.
In May 2014, the new batch of J-16 fighters was delivered to the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLAAF) and it is well-reasoned for it to show up in Zhuhai.

A quick note before I start my spill.  The Chinese label their "generations" differently than the West.  Generation 3.5 is the equivalent of our Gen 4.5 fighters.

Having said that, has anyone noticed that outgoing ACC, General Hostage has switched from talking about stealth as being the reason for the F-35 and now he's emphasizing sensor fusion?

The reason for this I believe is that all those reports we've gotten about the Chinese, Russians, French, Brits, and others having developed the capability to target stealth aircraft is probably true.  Another theory is that they can no longer emphasize stealth because the opposition is now developing their own stealth airplanes.

Either way, you have to wonder.

Will sensor fusion be enough?

When I was a fan boy of the F-35 program I was constantly asked about the quantity vs. quality thing.  The example of WW2 with the allies flying great fighters but none the less were a step behind the best that the Luftwaffe had to offer (talking about their early jets).

Our stuff was good, but they had better and yet we beat them.  How?  Better pilots.  We had the WW2 version of sensor fusion.  We had taught our pilots to utilize the proper tactics, get the most out of their airplanes and use their number to advantage.

But in the future we're going to be faced with the same issue but on the other end.  We're going to have (supposedly) technological marvels but will be outnumbered and it can be assumed that the Chinese will produce some pilots of exceptional skill (remember they did during the Korean War...too many stories exist that state that Chinese pilots flying for the N. Koreans performed exceptionally well), will be flying jets that MIGHT not be as good but will be good enough and they'll have the NUMERICAL advantage.

So I ask again.  Will sensor fusion be enough?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

KC-390 Military Transport Aircraft Rollout Vid...

One possible future outcome from the Ottawa Incident.

Canada got hit today.  Some will say that it wasn't a particularly effective attack but it has rattled law makers in Canada and the US.

Which leads me to the next issue.

After the fact, terrorist leaders will realize that they missed a prime opportunity to take out the Canadian legislative branch.

I'm betting that terrorist are going to go after political leadership in the future.  Politicians, military leaders, judges etc...Once you get past a couple of security/law enforcement personnel at the checkpoint/metal detector its clear sailing.  Consider it a Jihadist Matrix scene...only this will be real...and the victims might be Congressmen, Dept Heads, Generals/Admirals and Judges...

Do you like dogs?

Do you like dogs?  If you do then you should head here to read this article and check out the pics.


People died today in Canada and it didn't move me in a particular way.  A story about dogs made me pause.  Either I'm fucked up or we live in fucked up times...I'd like to think the times are fucked up...and so are people.