Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Neptunus Lex nails it!

NL nailed it with his post...this is a tidbit but please go to his site for the whole thing.  I'm glad to see others are as outraged by ATF actions as I am.
To recap in brief, the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – which many wags have said ought more to be a privately owned convenience chain than a federal office – allowed the sale of AK-47s through known gun runners to Mexico in order to round up the “big fish” south of the border, irrespective of how many “little fish” had to pay with their lives.

BREAKING:Marine Helicopter Crashes at Camp Pendleton

via FoxNews...

Marine Helicopter Crashes at Camp Pendleton

Published July 06, 2011| Associated Press
A Marine Corps helicopter crashed Wednesday afternoon at the sprawling coastal base of Camp Pendleton, injuring the six personnel aboard.
The helicopter belonging to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing at Camp Pendleton went down at about noon in the northern section of the San Diego County base, said 1st Lt. Maureen Dooley, a spokeswoman at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. The section is a remote mountainous area where the Marine Corps conducts air trainings.
Officials didn't immediately release details about the injuries, or say whether any were life-threatening.
At least three of the injured were taken to nearby Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in San Diego, about 30 miles south of the base, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Ohmstede said. She said she also couldn't discuss their injuries and she didn't know what other hospitals took in patients from the crash.
Wednesday was sunny and hot in the county so it was unclear if weather played a role. Dooley said there will be an investigation into the cause of the incident.
The UH-1Y helicopter, known as a Yankee Huey is a modernized variant of the decades-old UH-1 design by Bell Helicopter. Among survivability features on the UH-1Y are "crashworthy" crew seats and fuel tanks, according to a description of the aircraft on the Bell Helicopter website. The UH-1Y is described as a medium helicopter with two engines and one four-bladed main rotor.

They've barely hit the Fleet and we've already lost one.  Thank goodness no one was killed.

I spoke too damn soon.  Unfortunately is reporting that one Marine died in this crash.  Many don't realize it but our first year in Iraq, more service members died from training than in combat.  Military life can be a bitch.

Israeli Reps inspect MV-22.

Israeli Air Force looks at MV-22 capabilities 

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. (July 6, 2011)  — For the second time in two months, a team from the Israeli Air Force visited 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing units at Marine Corps Air Station New River to evaluate the Marine Corps' MV-22 Osprey, and aircraft that the Israelis, according to some reports, see as a possible platform for search and rescue operations, and for covert special operations. The first IAF visit, May 16-26, was conducted by Lt. Col. Nimrod Golan, a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and Lt. Col. Avi Carmeli, a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter pilot and Navy graduate test pilot, both with the Israeli Air Force.  That was followed June 13-23 by a seven-man team led by Golan and Carmeli.
"An invitation came from the Marines to the Israeli Air Force to explore this aircraft and though currently, there is no procurement process on the table, we were very happy to follow this invitation," said Golan. "We are looking at the aircraft, trying to understand how the Osprey can contribute to our operational requirements and also have an understanding of its implementation.  In addition, this is a great opportunity to enhance our relationship and cooperation with the Marines."
The Israeli pilots spent their first visit with Marines of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Training Squadron 204 gaining an overall familiarization of the Osprey and examining its capabilities related to reducing the risks to pilots, aircrews and passengers on the battlefield.  The overall intent of the visit was to learn about MV-22 systems and performance, and to become "well oriented" with the aircraft.
"In order to be prepared for our June visit, we had to get some basic knowledge and basic skills, which is what '204 gave us," said Golan. "We were exposed for the first time to this technology called tiltrotor, and not just exposed academically ... it was an amazing experience."
Their second visit, with Marine Tiltrotor Test and Evaluation Squadron 22 and Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365, "... was the core of the whole evaluation process," said Golan, as the Israelis looked more deeply into the aircraft's capabilities and maintenance process.  "We conducted a variety of flights in order to operationally evaluate the aircraft.  We got the tools the last time we were here," said Golan.  "Now we are flying to learn to operate."
After spending time in simulators, the visitors experienced the full capabilities of the aircraft with training flights that included familiarization, tactical approaches, confined area landings, low altitude tactics, formations and night flights with the goal of assessing the aircraft's potential value to the IAF.  With only 10 hours of MV-22 flight time, one of the visiting CH-53 pilots, flying a VMM-365 Osprey, conducted aerial refueling with a KC-130J from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 252, where he was rated as "on par with any other transition pilot."
Perhaps most importantly, the visiting pilots experienced the MV-22's trademark features of speed, range and maneuverability - proven advantages over the helicopters that the Osprey has replaced.  They learned, first hand, how the Osprey can keep its crews and passengers above the threat of ground fire during flight, and how its maneuverability, particularly its ability to rapidly accelerate and decelerate, reduces exposure to threats during approach and departure.  As 2nd MAW Commanding General Maj. Gen. Jon Davis has been known to say, "By the time the bad guys know you're there, you're already gone.
As with any military personnel exchange, other benefits were realized.  Both visits were a learning experience for the seasoned Israeli pilots on how U.S. Marines operate, and for the Marines who worked with them.
"We are not too different from each other, we think the same and understand each other very well," said Carmeli.
"We came to agree on most topics and how to accomplish the missions."  Golan added, "The Marines did a marvelous job with their hospitality and professionalism, it took a lot of effort and they are very good people here."

Absolutely brilliant.

If they buy the MV-22 and then piggy back on a purchase of the CH-53K then the Israeli's will continue to have the most capable and technologically advanced air force in the region.  Good for them.

VX-31 Dust Devils showcase Centennial of Naval Aviation (CoNA) retro-painted Hornet

Active Shooter practice in a war zone.

No knock on the USAF on this one.  They might need a pat on the back...but it still mystifies me how in an active war zone, there can be areas where you can have a weapon but no magazine in it.  At least they're taking action to deal with the issue if it comes up again.  via Air Force Magazine.

Kandahar Holds Live-Fire Drills to Deal with On-base Shooters: Airmen with the 443rd Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, recently conducted the first live-fire training to teach unit members how to respond to a shooter on base. NATO Training Command-Afghanistan initiated this training in response to the tragic shooting at Kabul International Airport in April that cost the lives of eight US airmen and one US contractor at the hands of an irate Afghan air force officer. The three days of instruction were meant to help improve adviser reaction to such a scenario with activities like rapid-fire drills, quick-fire reaction drills, and seated reaction drills. MSgt. Terry Gilbert of Kandahar's 738th Air Expeditionary Advisory Group, said future plans include incorporating "some building clearing techniques, assault maneuvers, and more advanced weapons handling." (Kabul report by Capt. Jamie Humphries)

And the F-35 critics are coming out of the woodwork.

Out of the woodwork I tell ya!

DoDBuzz came up with this post and the first thing I asked myself was who the hell are these guys! Well this is what Wikipedia has on them...

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) is a Washington, D.C.-based non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1975. In its own words, it was established to "promote the common interests of the [Western] hemisphere, raise the visibility of regional affairs and increase the importance of the inter-American relationship, as well as encourage the formulation of rational and constructive U.S. policies towards Latin America." [1]COHA is dedicated to monitoring Latin American affairs, especially within the context of United States and Canadian foreign policy and its effect on the region. Working with a large number of unpaid research associates (undergraduate and graduate interns) and a small core of professional research fellows to improve hemispheric relations and advance the public good. Cohistas, as COHA staff is sometimes known, constantly analyze a number of ongoing themes including social justice, equal rights, anti-corruption measures, and the enhancement of democratic rights.
How these bubba's wound up talking about the F-35 is beyond the whole thing but here's a tidbit that raised the hair on the back of my neck...
 Although the F-35 is a remarkable aircraft, it is unsuitable for the Canadian military. According to Steven Staples from the Rideau Institute, the current CF-18 fulfills two important roles of the Canadian Forces: surveillance and control of the Arctic, along with expeditionary operations including “air-to-air combat, precision guided munitions/bomb delivery, and close air support of the ground.”[xviii] The traditional Cold War concept of Arctic sovereignty applies to defending Canadian airspace against Russian bombers. Yet, supporters of the F-35 still maintain that this threat is real and that Canada needs the F-35 to protect Canadian and American airspace. Defense Minister Peter MacKay highlighted the Russian threat in 2010, when he praised two CF-18s for intercepting the two Russian TU-95 long range bombers on the edge of Canadian air space. However, critics like defense and foreign affairs analyst Eric Margolis, said that this incident was routine and that “it’s nothing to get excited about, [because] there’s much less to this than meets the eye.”[xix] In addition, Staples points out that if Russia were to go to war with the United States, “air defense would be irrelevant in any case, since the primary delivery vehicle would be intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.”[xx] 
The Russians and Chinese are forming "Arctic Troop" formations (The USMC should be first on this in the US military...we already have extensive training in Mountain Warfare, the next step should be to either copy the Brits and have Mountain Leaders/Arctic Warfare Specialist assigned to every Battalion or to have a SPMAGTF formed and positioned in Alaska.  Either way we'd be in the race for the poles...and this should be a Marine Corps mission!) and the Canadians are using there Rangers to have a permanent force in the area.  To say that sovereignty patrols are unnecessary is to ignore the obvious.

This is a left leaning group and this is a red herring.  This debate in Canada is over.  I smell a rat.  An Australian based Think Tank rat.  

Rough weather and Libya strike ops.

Bjørnar sent me this article on Sunday and I sat on it because I didn't know what to think (thanks guy!)...anyway Sharkey Ward of Falkland Islands fame and author of Phoenix Think Tank picked up the challenge and posted this response in a letter to the editor...
Your article, “RAF deploy extra warplanes over Libya as rough seas hit French aircraft carrier” by Mail On Sunday Reporter, 3rd July 2011, cannot by any strength of the imagination be considered fair and balanced.
Naval fighters from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier have carried out 2000 of the 5000 strike sorties so far conducted over Libya.  Our land-based Tornado and the Typhoon aircraft have managed to contribute no more than 500 sorties – at disproportionately high cost.
Yes, severe weather conditions at sea can sometimes limit flying opportunities.  But that is more frequently the case with land-based air than sea-based air – as was experienced during the Bosnian crisis when carrier borne Sea Harrier aircraft often conducted the ground attack missions that the Tornado in southern Italy could not fulfil because of weather.
In the interest of being fair and balanced, you might wish to publish this letter and the photograph below showing the appalling conditions in which carrier borne aircraft operated during the Falklands war. My 801 Naval Air Squadron of eight aircraft flew 600 missions in six weeks in the most challenging weather conditions – and never missed a single tasked mission.
The pic that he references is above this posting.  We are obviously seeing a manipulation of the press in this ongoing turf battle between the RAF, the Royal Navy and the institutional fear that the RAF has of Harriers.

More to come I'm sure.