Sunday, February 01, 2015

China developing J-18 Stealth VTOL Fighter.

Thanks to Pietro_nurra for the link

via Janes (read the entire article!).
The aircraft in the photo is China's J-18 VTOL stealth fighter jet.
Japanese and US media have lots of speculation about China’s third fourth-generation stealth fighter jet J-18 in addition to the J-20 and J-31 already widely known,
Japan’s Asahi Shimbun was the first to publish a report on the successful test flight of J-18 at the beginning of 2013. It said that China began to develop its own catapult for the aircraft carrier it planed to build but lacked key technology to make such catapult; therefore, China scrapped its original plan for a carrier for horizontal taking off of aircrafts and began instead to develop VTOL aircrafts.
Soon afterwards, US Defense News weekly published an article that believed that China was developing short-distance vertical taking-off and landing stealth fighter jet, i.e. J-18 Red Eagle VTOL fighter jet, with superb stealth function and installed with laser active phased array radar, internal weapon bays and two vector engines with great thrust.
The Japanese and American reports, though sensational in nature and supplemented by later reports, are but speculation. There had been no evidence on the existence of J-18 whatever until now when Britain’s Jane’s Defense Review published a report on the fighter containing a recent photo copied from a post at a Chinese military forum on the Internet.
Judging by the photo given by Jane’s, J-18 looks almost the same as J-31 except its canard structure. This gives people the impression that it is a VTOL version of J-31. It sounds reasonable as developing a VTOL version saves money than the development of an aircraft from nothing. This is also the case with US F-35 stealth fighter jet. It has three versions including a VTOL version.
However, J-31 is developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation who has no experience in developing canard aircrafts. It is suspected that the aircraft is a national project participated by Shenyang and other aircraft manufacturers.
One thing is becoming increasingly clear.  China has its sights set on challenging the US militarily...and on equal footing.

NOTE:  Yes the article is from last year but I've only heard it speculated, never confirmed that China is building a VTOL fighter.  The fact that the Pentagon hasn't referred to this airplane is telling.

China's L-15 Jet Trainer. via 人民解放軍 画像bot

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Poland launches civilian military training.

Thanks to John for the info!

via RT
Poland plans to allow civilians to sign up for military training. With anti-Russian hysteria spreading like wildfire, Warsaw has rushed to step up its defense systems amid fears over the ongoing military conflict in neighboring eastern Ukraine.
"All citizens interested in taking part in military exercises will be able to sign up starting March 1" at regional recruitment centers, Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak told reporters on Thursday.
Although Poland, Central Europe's largest country, ended conscription in 2008, Siemoniak said that some 38,000 reservists would be called up to take part in exercises in 2016, compared to the 12,000 this year. The ministry also plans to involve paramilitary groups in its new defense policy, AFP reported.
Since the crisis broke out in eastern Ukraine, Poland, a NATO member state, has been busy revamping its armed forces. Warsaw plans to spend 33 billion euros ($37 billion) over a decade on the overhaul.

"The chances of a peaceful resolution to the Ukrainian crisis are increasingly slim. Russia’s obvious goal is to block Ukraine's path toward Europe," Siemoniak said, adding that Russia's use of "military means" poses "a long-term threat to Europe."
Make no mistake about it.

This is a baby step toward civilian militarization.  Its voluntary now, but we all need to keep our ear to the ground for word that suddenly all men between the ages of 18 to 65 are required to report for physicals...or training.  Not necessarily induction into the military.

Why do I believe that?

Because while Russia can play the card of acting to protect its nationals in Ukraine, Poland can too.  What is the play here?  Is this a signal to the populace regarding a more active role in the fighting in Ukraine?  Will the support they're giving turn from being "humanitarian" to one involving sending combat units to fight?  Is this why the US Army moved to send trainers and advisors to Ukraine in order to prevent the Poles from doing so?

This thing in Ukraine can get worse.  It could spill over borders and infect all of Europe.  This crisis needs to be walked back with a quickness. 

Ukraine War takes an insane turn. Russia is sending T-34 (WW2 era) tanks to the front? UPDATED!

Thanks for the vid Info-Infantrie

If this is true then two things are happening.  The first is that Russia is going from covertly to overtly supplying the Rebels.  That alone is ominous.  The second is that this is crazy in a handbag.  Who would think that Russia would have that many serviceable T-34 tanks in inventory!  But the thought that WW2 level armor protection is a sought after commodity in a modern conflict should be stunning.

Never ignore the value of armor protection and shock value.

UPDATED:  One of the readers pointed out that Putin proposed the following via USOSCE website.
President Putin proposed a cease-fire and a withdrawal of weapons exceeding 100 mm in caliber from a defined area.
The largest gun mounted on the T-34 was, if I remember correctly, a 85mm gun.  These tanks would fall in line with his proposal.  The people that posted this video and the Russians who commented on it believe that these tanks are headed to Ukraine.  I agree with them.  As crazy as it might sound, these vehicles are in line with Putin's plan.  Funny.  The "crazy" Russian seems to have a game plan while the US and EU are lost in the woods.

Think Defense Blog slams RAF Operations against ISIS.

via TD...
Just shy of a months worth of operations and the RAF has expended;
  • Hellfire; 20
  • Brimstone; 5
  • Paveway IV; 12
The target descriptions are equally interesting, a truck, a heavy machine gun position, an armoured personnel carrier and excavator. These targets fall definitely into the ‘tactical’ column rather than attacking ‘strategic’ targets.
What conclusions can we draw (if any) from the number of targets, types of target, launch platform and weapons expended?
  • Reaper is doing just as much of the heavy lifting as Tornado without the massive logistic effort involved with refuelling Tornado?
  • Paveway IV seems to be the referred option for those sorties flown by Tornado?
  • How many Reapers can we buy for a single F35?
  • The effect delivered (destroying an excavator or trucks in singles) are insignificant compared to the cost?
  • Air power used in this manner satisfies the ‘something must be done’ brigade but not much else?
  • Any others?
Now you know why the effort against ISIS is .... a joke.

The US, UK and our allies are all involved in tank plinking.  This air campaign is NOT designed to provide a decisive outcome to the war.  Its just a political game being played with peoples lives.  Why commit a pilot to combat if you're not serious about winning the war?

An interesting sidenote for me is the use of Hellfire vs. Brimstone.  Hellfire is much more popular it seems.

My guess for the ISIS conflict?  Someone in leadership is hoping that they burn themselves out and then attempt a political resolution.

790 pound hog? Yeah...and they captured it alive.

Something strange is going on with wild pigs in this nation.

They're getting big.

Real big.

And no, the one-off Hogzilla's that people run into every now and then don't concern me.  They're too massive to pose a real danger to anyone and generally stay real deep in the woods...places no one goes much.  Its whats happening down the line that's disturbing.  We're seeing 300 pound hogs in my neck of the woods with a bit of regularity now and they're fast, fierce, fear nothing and will eat practically anything.

I don't know the answer to controlling them but read the story of how some good ole' boys captured a 790 pound

31st MEU Flight Ops. Photos by Unknown.

Friday, January 30, 2015

509th Airborne does the winter package at Bridgeport...Photo by Sgt. Sean Callahan

BRIDGEPORT, Calif (Jan. 26, 2015) - Paratroopers assigned to Able Company, 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry execute high-altitude mountain mobility operations at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. The joint training opportunity is part of U.S. Army Alaska's initiative to enhance partnered high altitude cold regions training.

Ukraine News. Ukrainian North Operations Command reports 6 armored vehicles destroyed.

via Mil.Gov.UA
Friday, January 30, DONBAS — According to the press center of the North Operations Command, the terrorists make attempts of break-through in Schastya, Krymske.
Military equipment is moved from RF in Lugansk direction and the illegal armed forces increase their forces. The combat tactics of the rebels: multiple rocket launcher attacks, shelling attacks, armor groups supported by infantry.
Artillery units of the North Operations Command accomplished 12 tasks in order to destroy the rebels’ fire emplacement and inflict losses. In the last 24 hours they have destroyed 6 armored vehicles.
The rebels have completed 24 attacks against the sector positions. The rebels traditionally mount their weapons in communities.
This news is from the Ukrainian military website.  How accurate is it?  Again, I don't know.  But it is another source of info.  Click the above link to go to the site.

F-35 News. The USAF tries to control the message.

via Breaking Defense.
“This organizational change will help ensure a unified voice for operational integration of the F-35 across the Air Force as we collectively work towards bringing this remarkable new aircraft into our combat inventory.” Harrigian said in a statement.
Harrigian is the Air Force’s assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements. He replaces Col. Carl Schaefer, who heads to Edwards Air Force Base in March to command the 412th Test Wing in March.
Perhaps the most important but obscure bit of this change is that the Air Force’s voting authority in the JPO moves from Air Combat Command to the F-35 Integration Office. That gives the service’s senior leadership a tighter rein on the program. As the statement notes, “all senior leader communication within the Air Force will flow through the integration office.”
“Assigning a general officer on the Air Staff will ensure we have a single point of contact with the Joint Program office empowered to speak on behalf of the Air Force for any aspect of the F-35 program,” Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff, said in the statement.

Air Combat Command has been booted as the voting authority?

There is now a single point of contact for the USAF on this program?

I fully expect all news to be even more sanitized than it has been.  We will hear nothing but sunshine, rainbows and unicorns are being produced.  They will lie in an attempt to blunt criticism of this airplane.

I thought it was in trouble before.

Now I'm convinced.