Friday, October 31, 2014

Frein captured? He's lucky the Feds got him before the State Troopers.


So they finally captured Frein.  I don't know his motivation but after a 48 day manhunt either he thought he could evade capture...or he changed his mind and didn't want to die.

Did you notice who actually laid hands on him?  Yeah.  One of the two Federal Law Enforcement Agencies that would give me serious pause if I were ever to go over the deep end and start attacking.

One is the FBI Hostage Rescue Team.  They're badass and train with the best around the world.  The other guys (the people that grabbed Frein) is the US Marshals Special Operations Group.  I don't even know if you would classify them as "law enforcement".  They're something else entirely.  They're really like a bunch of badge wearing SOCOM dudes (you can call me a fan boy but they actually ran missions in Iraq..supposedly they were active in Afghanistan but I don't know).

Everyone else I'd feel confident in taking my chances with.  Those two..especially US Marshals SOG?  Not a chance.  Still.  Frein is lucky that the Feds got him first.  If the State Troopers got him, I'd bet body parts that he would be DRT..Dead Right There.

Sidenote:  I don't understand why Frein would stay in the area of his initial assault.  Why didn't he stay in the woods and attempt to get out of the area?  I'm sure we'll find out more but I find that confusing.

Anyone ever heard of Exercise Blue Chromite?

Marines maneuver an assault amphibious vehicle onto the USS Germantown (LSD 42) Oct. 30 in preparation of exercise Blue Chromite 2014. Blue Chromite demonstrates the Navy and Marine Corps’ amphibious and expeditionary capabilities from the sea. The Marines are with Combat Assault Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Thor J. Larson

Anyone ever hear of Exercise Blue Chromite?  Where does it take place, who participates and is this an annual thing?

Super Hornets forever?

via STLtoday.
Boeing’s defense chief remains optimistic about the F/A-18 fighter assembly line in north St. Louis County, saying there's a good chance the line could stay open beyond 2017, according to Bloomberg News.
Current orders will keep the assembly line open until 2016. If approved, a Congressional proposal to buy 12 EA-18G Growlers, an electronic warfare version of the Super Hornet carrier-based fighter, would allow Boeing to keep the line up running end of 2017.
However, the aircraft maker has more than a “50-50 chance” of receiving enough Navy and foreign orders to keep the Super Hornet line open beyond that date, Chris Chadwick, president of St. Louis County-based Boeing Defense, Space and Security, told Bloomberg News today.
Something is going on behind the scenes.  Can I prove it?  Nope, not at all.  Can I sense it?  Yeah...absolutely.

All the announcements about the program being in trouble.  All the talk about the manufacturers making new initiatives to lower cost.  The extremely long development with continued engineering changes...

And finally the biggest booster of the program, the United States Marine Corps, has a new leader that hasn't said squat about the plane since he took office.

Add in the fact that we're looking at the probablility of Republican Senate with a serious mix of "small war" hawks, fiscal hawks, and Democrats that want to slash spending and you have one unmistakable conclusion.

Sequestration will continue and the days of killing programs and cutting personnel to wall off the F-35 from cuts are over.  The F-35 is gonna take a haircut, the Navy will still need to fill those carriers and the F-18 will by default be the only thing that is affordable.

The craziest thing?  We might see it in USAF colors.  There is no way they're gonna get the F-35 in the numbers requested, the next gen bomber and the new aerial tanker in this budget environment.  That means a new hi-lo-lo mix that will be the F-22, F-35 and new build F-18's or F-16's...with the idea of saving money and simplifying the Pentagons procurement, I can see the F-18 getting USAF colors.

Israel's V-22 cancellation. What's the real deal?

via Times of Israel.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the deal during a visit to Israel in April 2013. “The introduction of the V-22 into the Israeli Air Force will give the Israeli air force long range, high-speed maritime search and rescue capabilities to deal with a number of threats and contingencies,” he said during a joint press conference with Ya’alon.

The deal was to include, Hagel said at the time, anti-radiation missiles, advanced radars for Israel’s F-15s, KC-135 refueling aircraft and, “most significantly,” the V-22.
Ya’alon, according to Yoav Limor’s account in Israel Hayom, decided to cancel the acquisition, against the advice of the IDF chief of General Staff and the Israel Air Force’s commander, on account of budgetary constraints and lessons learned in the wake of the 50-day battle in Gaza this summer, during which a need for improved armored vehicles, for instance, rose to the surface.
The reported decision to cancel the deal came three days after Israeli officials said the army would buy a second squadron of US-made F-35 fighter jets.
That news came amid strained ties between Israel and the US. A Tuesday story in The Atlantic magazine reported that senior administration officials had called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “a chickenshit” and alleged the relationship between the countries was in crisis.
My theory?  The extra F-35's are a token of good faith to the Pentagon.  A gift that negates the need to buy the V-22 that they really don't have a need for...but it does clear the decks for them to get the helicopter they really want.

The CH-53K.

The cancellation of the V-22 might be consequential.  No one is buying it and Japan won't save it with their buy.  I see that line coming to a close in the near future.

Despite the furious propaganda for the airplane, the V-22 appears to be viewed as a boutique airplane that doesn't justify its enormous cost.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

F-35 News. Desperation hits...

via The Wall Street Journal.
The Pentagon plans to offer deals to international buyers of the F-35 fighter jet that would undercut the price paid for planes destined for U.S. forces, the program’s military chief said Thursday.
Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan said he planned to offer multiyear deals to overseas buyers, a move that would help boost production of the jet and aid efforts to reduce its average cost.
The Pentagon negotiates deals on behalf of overseas nations with the F-35’s prime contractors, Lockheed Martin Corp. and the Pratt & Whitney unit of United TechnologiesCorp.
However, U.S. weapons-buying rules bar the Pentagon from negotiating multiyear deals for the Air Force, the Marine Corps. and the Navy until 2019 at the earliest.
Gen. Bogdan told reporters that this would allow overseas governments to secure cheaper pricing than the U.S. and others who didn’t sign up for the multiyear deals, though didn’t detail the potential savings.
A contract for the latest batch of F-35s—known as LRIP-8—is expected to be completed with Lockheed by Thanksgiving, said Gen. Bogdan. The two sides have reached a preliminary deal that would reduce the cost of the planes—which are destined for the U.S. and five other countries—by 3.4% from the previous batch.
This article has my spidey sense tingling.

He's going to offer multi-year buys to boost production?  Does he really think allied air forces are going to go for this?


The only thing this will do is to add a bit of clarity to the entire situation.  Everyone is waiting to see how this turns out, and foreign forces will still wait.  No one trusts a fire sale and that's what the Program Manager is offering.  All this will do is take the cost excuse off the table.  Looks like allied generals will need to find a new excuse.

But what really has me jazzed is the blurb that the writer buried.  The Pentagon can't make multi-years buys by law until the plane has finished flight testing..and 2019 is the hoped for date.

I've lost track of the numbers but consider this exhibit XXXX-X to prove that the death spiral has already hit and the program office is scared shitless.

I saw this coming. According to The Nation Magazine, the USMC has an anti-gay agenda.

via The Nation.
With thousands of such walking weapons from the most homophobic of America’s armed services prowling Olongapo’s streets on R&R after testosterone-raising military exercises, the murder of Jennifer Laude was an event waiting to happen. The volatile mix of training in the lethal arts and aggressive homophobic socialization was likely to be among the factors that led Pemberton to cross the line from anger to murder that fateful night. And violence such as that meted out to Jennifer is likely to occur again and again, as the United States stations more and more troops in the Philippines in pursuit of Washington’s grand geopolitical design to contain China.

If you decide to read the entire left wing, dripping with hatred against the military in general and the Marine Corps in particular, sob story...then do yourself a favor and line the walls with pads.

You're gonna be punching hard.

I saw this coming and its for one reason.  The push to allow transgenders to serve openly is about to go full bore.  Why?  Because it seems to me that liberals see it all slipping away and will do whatever it takes to get every one of their agenda items done in the last 2 years of the Obama term.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gabonese Republic set to receive 12 Ararvis Protected 4x4's.

Thanks for the link Jonathan.

via Nexter Press Release.
Versailles, October 29th, 2014 – Philippe Burtin, CEO of Nexter, signed today a contract in the presence of the French and Gabonese Ministers of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Ernest Mpouho Epigat, to supply the Gabonese Republic with 12 highly protected 4x4 vehicles ARAVIS®.
These 12 ARAVIS® will be equipped with Nexter remotely controlled 20mm turret ARX20 and RPG protections PG-Guard, but also with Nexter Robotics reconnaissance UGV NERVA®LG. These vehicles will join a battalion which will be deployed in Central African Republic within the MINUSCA under the United Nations authority.
I've been wondering why Nexter hasn't been selling more vehicles.  After this announcement it looks like they're about to hit their stride.

The Aravis will provide a nice upgrade to the Gabonese armed forces and should be able to handle any ground vehicle they encounter (especially since the most I imagine they'll face is probably Toyota technicals).

Vehicle info here.