Wednesday, March 24, 2010

22nd MEU shipboard live fire...

Marines from Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, fire their Squad Automatic Weapons during live-fire, close-quarters marksmanship drills on the flight deck aboard the Multi-purpose Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan, March 18. The 22nd MEU deployed to Haiti in response to a devastating earthquake, which struck Jan. 12. Marines and Sailors began delivering relief supplies and providing medical aid in support of Operation Unified Response, Jan. 19. Local leaders with the government of Haiti, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations took over primary responsibilities of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations around Haiti. 
Photo by Pfc. Mariah Duncan
Marines from Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, fire M-16A4 and M-4 rifles during live-fire, close-quarters marksmanship drills on the flight deck aboard the Multi-purpose Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan, March 18. The 22nd MEU deployed to Haiti in response to a devastating earthquake, which struck Jan. 12. Marines and Sailors began delivering relief supplies and providing medical aid in support of Operation Unified Response, Jan. 19. Local leaders with the government of Haiti, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations took over primary responsibilities of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations around Haiti. 
Photo by Pfc. Mariah Duncan
   
Staff Sgt. Jason Rodriguez (right), 3rd platoon sergeant for, Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, checks for any unexpended rounds, March 18. Marines from Lima Company conduct live-fire target practice on the flight deck aboard the Multi-purpose Amphibious Assault Ship USS Bataan. The 22nd MEU deployed to Haiti in response to a devastating earthquake, which struck Jan. 12. Marines and Sailors began delivering relief supplies and providing medical aid in support of Operation Unified Response, Jan. 19. Local leaders with the government of Haiti, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations took over primary responsibilities of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations around Haiti. 
Photo by Pfc. Mariah Duncan
First Lt. Gregory Meyers (tallest), 3rd platoon commander, Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, briefs his Marines on what to expect during live-fire target practice, March 18. Marines from Lima Company conduct live-fire, close-quarters marksmanship drills on the flight deck aboard USS Bataan. The 22nd MEU deployed to Haiti in response to a devastating earthquake, which struck Jan. 12. Marines and Sailors began delivering relief supplies and providing medical aid in support of Operation Unified Response, Jan. 19. Local leaders with the government of Haiti, the United Nations and nongovernmental organizations took over primary responsibilities of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations around Haiti. 
Photo by Pfc. Mariah Duncan

Quote of the Day...

"The Joint Strike Fighter will do everything the military services need it to do, and it will become the backbone of U.S. air combat for the next generation," he said.
The program is projected to cost more than $300 billion over the next two decades for 2,443 planes in three different models for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Secretary of Defense Gates.
 
full article at Reuters.


F-35 and its critics...

This Colonial Space Marine has a message for the F-35 critics...



This video was brought to mind from a post on Ares.  Once again the F-35 is the target and once again comments are being made that are just factually false.  Read it here...Maybe the critics can all build a fire....sing a couple of songs?



J-10 DOWN!

Via China Defense Blog...

Gates on the JSF...



The SecDef remains firmly behind the program.  The Marine Corps is still looking to introduce the airplane into service in 2012...the Air Force is standing up its training squadron...bases are being selected to house the fighter...things are in motion.  Critics are too late.  The program is virtually unstoppable.  The Gripen NG, Typhoon and Rafale aren't getting any new orders and their production lines will have to close soon.

Despite the bombs being thrown, in a few years the F-35 will be the only fighter available.  Things are looking good.

Marine Before the Storm...

A MARSOC Marine takes cover as a sand storm approaches the Village of Ranje Bala, Farah Province Afghanistan Feb 28. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sergeant Nicholas Pilch)

Veto needed if C-17, 2nd Engine funded...

 

via Defense News.com

Gates: Veto Needed If C-17, 2nd JSF Engine Funded

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates today reiterated that he would recommend the president veto any legislation that funds additional C-17 cargo planes or a second F-35 power plant.The Air Force, with the backing of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, has for years not requested funds for new C-17s. The Pentagon and service say they have enough of the Boeing-made Globemaster transport planes.Likewise, the Pentagon and Congress have clashed for several years on whether the F-35 fleet needs an alternative engine - as well as whether it is affordable. DoD says no on both fronts; lawmakers have added funds each year to keep the F-136 engine, being developed by GE Aviation and Rolls Royce, alive.
In testimony March 24 before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, Gates stood his ground on both programs - and hinted a fight is ahead.
"I am fully aware of the political pressure to continue building the C-17 and proceed with an alternate engine for the F-35," Gates told the panel. "So let me be very clear: I will strongly recommend that the president veto any legislation that sustains the unnecessary continuation of these two programs."
More back bone from the SecDef.  I like it.

Why oh why do I get the feeling that the support for the second engine is mostly an effort by some to kill the F-35?  Nah, that couldn't be it.

When the enemy feeds off critics talking points...


Well it was bound to happen.  The concerted and focused attacks on the F-35 by its merry band of lemming like critics has finally been piggy backed on by the Chinese.  Global Times has an article that is singing the same claims about the F-35 that the organized opposition has been shouting about.

Unfortunately, the siren song of those that are opposed to this airplane can prove compelling to those in government that don't have visibility on the program or knowledge of its capabilities.

That's a shame.  What's also a shame is that this cabal of critics has the audacity to take themselves seriously.  What's criminal is that certain members of this cabal are allowed to write articles in well respected newspapers and magazines.

Read the article and consider its source.  Then consider the actions of this programs critics.

LPD's...the most important ships in the Fleet...

In the Navy, the big decks always get the press.  Whether you're talking about aircraft carriers, or big deck amphibs, they always tend to overshadow the ships that are doing the hardwork day in and day out.

This unfortunately applies to our allies as well.  The Mistral is all the rage.  The future Elizabeth class is the source of much discussion.  Meanwhile the workhorses of the amphibious fleet are being ignored...the LPD's. 

That's really a shame too, because many new and exciting designs are hitting the waves.  The following is just a sample of the new designs that are cruising the oceans....
Type 71 from China
Galacia L51 from Spain
Rotterdam LPD from the Netherlands
Albion LPD from the UK
Fourde Class LPD from France
San Antonio Class from the US

This is just a small sampling of these ships.  Ships of this type are part of the triad of new style Amphibs that are replacing 41 different types of amphibious ships that were part of the fleet in WW2.  If you can't understand the utility that is brought by combining many functions onto one hull then you don't understand utility and modernization.....
  • Amphibious Assault Ships (General Purpose) (LHA) 
  • Amphibious Assault Ships (Multi-Purpose) (LHD)
  • Amphibious Assault Command Ships (AGC, LCC)
  • Attack Transports (APA)
  • Amphibious Transports (LPA)
  • Self-Propelled Barracks Ships (APB)
  • High-speed Transports (APD)
  • Small Amphibious Transports (LPR)
  • Attack Cargo Ships (AKA)
  • Amphibious Cargo Ships (LKA)
  • Landing Craft Support(Large)(Mark 3) (LCS(L)(3))
  • Inshore Fire Support Ships (LFR)
  • Landing Platform Docks (LPD)
  • Landing Platform Helicopters (LPH)
  • Landing Ship Docks (LSD)
  • Landing Ship Medium (LSM)
  • Landing Ship Tanks (LST)
  • Vehicle Landing Ships (LSV)
Big deck amphibs are important, but the real muscle of the Gator Navy resides in the LPD.

Strategypage and the Chinese Helicopter...


I was reading StrategyPage this morning and ran across this...

China Goes Solo

March 24, 2010: China's first locally designed transport helicopter, the AC313, made its first flight recently. The AC313 is in the same class as the British AW101 (a 15 ton aircraft that can carry five tons of cargo or 20 troops, with a top speed of 300 kilometers an hour and endurance is about four hours.) The AC313 is a 13 ton helicopter that can carry four tons of cargo or 27 troops. The design can be modified to create 15 ton helicopter that can carry five tons of cargo. China has been very pragmatic in developing its aviation industry. It has licensed, or copied, the design of existing military and commercial aircraft. Licensing is preferred because that brings in foreign technology and specialized tools and machines needed to build world class equipment. Developing this stuff yourself is expensive, time consuming, and prone to error. Thus for the last few decades, China has been building French designs under license. As a result, the AC313 shows many similarities to French helicopters (like the Cougar EC725, an 11 ton aircraft with a useful load of 5.5 tons, a top speed of 324 kilometers an hour, endurance of about five hours), but is purely a local design, using Chinese made components.
At first I was surprised and a little shocked.  China has progressed to building its own heavy/medium lift helicopters?  A little Google searching showed that the story lacked a few pertinent facts (sorta like the F-35 debate)...such as the AC313 is simply the civilian version of the Z-8 which is a copy of the French Super Frelon that's been in Chinese service for years.

This is nothing new, nothing revolutionary and is simply a case of the Chinese reverse engineering a product.  Surprise over.

Update*
Found these pics of the AC313 on the China Defense Blog...

T-129 Crash...


 

 via DefenseNews.com

Prototype for Turkish Attack Helo Crashes

ANKARA - A prototype for the T-129, an attack helicopter being developed by the Italian-British AgustaWestland for the Turkish Army, has crashed during a test flight in Italy but the pilots survived, the program's main Turkish partner announced March 23.
"An [Agusta-made] A-129 Mangusta helicopter, being used for test purposes for our ATAK program, has crash-landed near Verbania in Italy," the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) said in a written statement.
"The two Italian pilots were injured, but their condition is not life-threatening," it said. "The accident is not expected to affect the ATAK program's development timetable."
One Turkish procurement official said the accident took place March 19.
Under Ankara's ATAK program, AgustaWestland signed a multibillion-dollar contract with Turkey in 2007 for joint manufacture with Turkish partners of at least 50 T-129 attack helicopters. T-129 is the Turkish version of Agusta's A-129.
TAI is AgustaWestland's main Turkish partner in the program.
The first T-129 is to be delivered to Turkey in 2015.

Slow motion crash...

Jon (thanks) sent me this video of two Belgian MPPV Dingo 2's rolling over.  No personnel were injured.  But it does show why M-ATVs are such a step forward.