Wednesday, December 17, 2014

F-35 News. Close air support will not improve with Sensor Fusion.

via DefenseNews.
Q: Are you seeing any concerns about using the F-35 for CAS?
A. [The F-35] is going to be able to do the CAS mission effectively. We’ve already executed on the ranges at night and at day, able to receive targets from terminal air controllers on the ground and able to attack and prosecute targets within timeframes that are well acceptable in a battlefield situation. So we’ve already seen that. Which means, if we’re already seeing it now, I know it’s going to get better.
The beauty of fusion is — it brings all the data together and it fuses it, but what that really does for you is time. I didn’t have to process it between my ears, but the airplane can now fuse it all together. And much [more quickly], the data fusion is available on a target, it can be targeted, a munition can delivered much, much quicker than in a 4th-gen where you would have to interpret the data, move it to another sensor, move it to a targeting system, then determine a target. The fusion makes it much quicker. So if we’re doing it now, the fusion is going to only make it much quicker.
Q: How much time do you gain from fusion?
A. That’s a harder question… Here’s a better way to describe it: in this airplane, in the F-35, I’ve done some CAS in the daytime with an A-10 weapons school instructor who is an F-35 instructor now. He gets me pointed in the general direction of a target on the ground and I use my helmet. I put my helmet over there, and with one-switch actualization all my sensors now look at that spot. Just like that, instantly.
Now, in a 4th-gen plane, I would have to get a sensor worked over to there. I would have to get information off of that sensor. I would have to move that information somewhere else in the airplane and then I would target it. So when I put my helmet over there and I went one-switch actualization, all of my sensors went to that spot and everything in the airplane said, “OK, we’re ready to go.” So all I had to do was get in a weapons solution and release on that spot I found on the ground.
Whereas if I was in an F-16, if I got a sensor on there, whether I got a targeting pod or something else, I would have to take that information and then turn it into a target in the system.
We’re talking about minutes. Which matters a lot. Seconds are going to count in a close air support situation, so it’s much faster.

Q: Is your assumption that most CAS will be done with an external weapons load?
A. We’re not necessarily making assumptions in the CAS on the weapons load. We are developing tactics on how best to prosecute a target on the ground. But clearly when we write those tactics, external payloads, we’ve had the tradeoff discussion here; external payloads come with a tradeoff of LO [low observability], of weight, etc.
It depends on the scenario. If you’re in a scenario, say early in a conflict where you expect air to air threat and surface to air threat, then you are going to use and rely on your internal carriage and your LO capabilities of the airplane. And the fact your weapons load is less because it doesn’t have external, you’re gaining that tin the early parts of a conflict. Then in the scenario I described the surface to air threats or air to air threats are held back and contained, so now an air component commander doesn’t necessarily need the LO capability of the airplane and then may decide to configure it differently in that situation. So I think what the airplane will do will then provide that LO when you need it and when you don’t obviously you can do something different.
We’re not there yet. We’re not developing [tactics] on the external load.
Just plain freaking wow.  You heard it at Defense News first but they buried the lead.

Sensor Fusion as described above will be meaningless in the one fight that Marine Air is supposed to be organized, equipped and required to fight...Close Air Support.  Sensor fusion will add very little to what we're already doing.

Considering what the Tactical Air Control Party Association has said, its time to fully work this problem.  Perhaps Marine Air should stop lining up to fight the deep battle and work out the problems that fellow Marines will face on the battlefield.  The ironic thing?  We might one day reach a time when Marine Infantry is begging for Navy Air in F/A-18E's to ride to the rescue instead of fellow Marines in F-35's.

You missed a world changing development. N. Korea fired the first shots of cyber war....

via BBC.
The New York premiere of The Interview, a comedy about the assassination of North Korea's president, has been cancelled amid threats from hackers.
A spokesman for the cinema chain due to host the screening said it had been shelved.
Hackers targeting Sony Pictures had threatened to attack US cinemas showing the studio's film.
They belong to the same group which has released emails and data stolen from Sony.
Calling themselves Guardians of Peace, the hackers mentioned the 9/11 attacks in a recent warning, claiming "the world will be full of fear".
"Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time," the hacker group wrote in a message on Tuesday. "If your house is nearby, you'd better leave," they add. "Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment."
The Department of Homeland Security said there was "no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot" against cinemas, but noted it was still analysing messages from the group.
If you've been caught up in the silliness that is Cuba policy then you're dealing with old world problems that are finally being cleaned up in the new world.

The real show is the cyber attack/blackmail that is probably being carried out by N. Korean operatives.

And they won.

The world changed today.  For the first time publicly, terrorist have forced a major corporation to bow to their wishes.  This time it was a movie.  What is going on behind the scenes or what will be demanded next?  

N. Korea is cash strapped.  Could we see a ransom being paid to NOT release even more information?  Could we see some type of move by Sony's home base govt, Japan, to act in a certain way to aid a beleaguered home corporation?

Cyber terrorism is different but its obviously real.  Ignore the old stuff.  In the grand scheme of things its irrelevant.  This new age stuff will change your world.

Sidenote:  Hackers have infiltrated our power grid.  How long before they test the mettle of the current administration after this success?  We MUST be ready to launch full scale war in the event of cyber attacks.  The public MUST be educated to the dangers now...before its too late.

Final flight of the A-7

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — The last U.S. Navy A-7 Corsair aircraft retired from service in Greece on Oct. 17, after 39 years of flying with the Hellenic Air Force (HAF) – the final operator of the aircraft. The Naval Air Systems Command’s Specialized and Proven Aircraft Program Office (PMA-226) supported the Foreign Military Sale and maintenance of the A-7s for the HAF beginning in 1975. The A-7 retired from U.S. Navy service in 1991, the U.S. Air National Guard in 1993 and Portugal in 1999.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Really? Seriously? 25th ID Contingency Response by Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (Dec. 10, 2014) - Airman 1st Class Sean Bannan (middle right), from Seattle, Wash., a load master assigned to 535th Airlift Squadron, 15th Wing, ground guides a M1126 Stryker onto a C-17 aircraft to support of the 25th ID Contingency Response Force mission (CRF). The CRF mission is designed to rapidly deploy Soldiers within the Pacific's area of responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance and or combat operations. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis)

Excuse me.  Are they serious?  Really?  Now the 25th Infantry Division has a "contingency response force"?  I can't help but think that even flying from Bragg, the 82nd would be a more useful force.  I bet this is just HQ Army grandstanding.  Time will tell.

Global Defense Technology's take on Aeroscraft modern day airships...

Global Defense Technology cover Aeroscraft this month in a must read piece.  Check it out here.

Off-load from a CH-53E ...pic by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan

Marines with Golf Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), off-load from a CH-53E Super Stallion with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced), 11th MEU, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), Dec. 12. The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.(U.S. Marine Corps photos by Cpl. Demetrius Morgan/Released)

Griffin B is forward fired from the V-22.

Press release from Raytheon.
TUCSON, Ariz., Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) and Bell Helicopter completed two successful launches of the Griffin B missile from a Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey multi-mission aircraft at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. As an industry funded effort with Bell's Xworx, Raytheon demonstrated the simplicity of integrating the Griffin B missile onto the V-22 platform.
"This is the first time a forward-firing missile has been launched from the V-22," said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon's Air Warfare Systems. "It's an important aspect of the V-22's capability that integrates a simple to operate, low-cost, precision strike missile – something in which the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command has shown significant interest."

Bell flight test crews launched two Griffin B missiles, scoring direct hits from both hover mode and during conversion mode at 110 knots. The results highlight the Griffin B's versatility with its unique ability to engage static and moving targets through a significant range of launch speeds. The Griffin B missile has a significant off-axis launch capability, allowing aircrews to precisely strike targets to the left or right of the aircraft flight path.
"The results of this test show how the defense industry can partner to quickly put a new, needed capability in the hands of frontline operators," said Jarrett. "Griffin B's successful shots from the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey demonstrate that the missile is flexible and able to integrate on a variety of platforms."
Interesting.  But I have to ask.  The Griffin is "lightly" used by US forces.  I wonder why they didn't move to the Hellfire first?  Is their a weight limit that is placed on the pylon?

Additionally I wonder why they aren't trying to place some type of podded gun in that position?  That would seem a no-brainer.

Revolution in Russia?

Monitoring CNBC with one ear and I heard the craziest speculation I've heard in a long time.

The talking heads were actually debating the possibility of a revolution in Russia!

That's goofy in a handbag...but it points to something serious.  Russia is in trouble.

My take?

Russia will muddle along with Putin in charge.  Its noteworthy that the SecState had good things to say about Russian activity.  The door is being opened to ease the sanctions.  It will be truly ironic if historians put two and two together and blame the Obama administration for an economic crisis in Europe because he pushed the passive-aggressive stance of pushing sanctions which are crippling the continent.

Oil hasn't found a bottom and people are desperately trying to set one.  Many will take a blood bath for not reading the tea leaves properly.  But the biggest news will be the stronger dollar.  By accident the economy is reverting back to consumer based metrics.

UPDATE:  As I'm typing this the market has gone down again....losing 180 pts in the matter of the news show I'm watching!  Putin is giving a speech so I'm off to CNN.  More to come.  The market is fun to watch from the sidelines.