Posts filed under ‘Air Force’

FRIDAY FOTO (July 21, 2017)

See Paris and … Fly!

FRIFO 7-21-2017 Thunderbirds Over Paris

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Christopher Boitz)

The Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force air demonstration squadron, streaks by the Eiffel Tower on July 11, during a practice for the 2017 Bastille Day celebration in Paris. The Thunderbirds’ F-16s were among than 90 aircraft that participated in the July 14 festivities.

We usually pass on photos of the Thunderbirds. While they are some of the world’s best military aviators and their aerial derring do is breathtaking, they, like their Navy counterparts, the Blue Angels, are doing what they do to provide publicity for the Air Force and aid recruitment. Here at 4GWAR we prefer the FRIDAY FOTO to shed some light on the amazing feats performed by all the other service members that don’t routinely draw crowds and flocks of photographers.

But hey, it’s Paris!

Like Henry of Navarre put it: “Paris vaut bien une messe.”

July 21, 2017 at 12:42 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 14, 2017)

Lafayette, We Are Here, Encore.

U.S. Forces Honored During Bastille National Day Parade

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb)

U.S. service members march in the Bastille Day parade in Paris as blue, white and red smoke trails billow overhead from a flyover conducted by French Alpha jets. U.S. troops led the parade in a historic first to commemorate the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, as well as its long-standing partnership with France.

ww1soldiersdock Bastille Day 2017

U.S. soldiers on the dock in France. (Courtesy TeeJaw Blog)

In all, 4.7 million Americas served in uniform in the Great War, more than 116,000 died.

U.S. Forces Honored During Bastille National Day Parade

(U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Michael McNabb)

Here’s a closer look at the U.S. contingent marching in the 2017 Bastille Day parade. The color guard are dressed in World War I helmets and uniforms. Behind them, in order march the U.S. Army contingent, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. Interesting to note the U.S. Army now wears berets instead of the Smoky the Bear campaign hats in the archive photo above.

July 14 marks the storming of the Bastille, a notorious prison in Paris, sparking the French Revolution in 1789. Every year on that date, there is an enormous military parade in Paris with Foreign Legionnaires in their white kepis and red and green epaulettes, sabre-brandishing cavalry of the Republican Guard in plumed helmets, sailors in white caps topped by red pompoms, pilots in flight suits and all manner of military cadets, national police and specialty troops.

July 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm Leave a comment

Missile Defense: Latest North Korean Missile Launch Increases Threat.

Raising the Stakes.

After more than 20 years spent focusing on global terrorism and counterinsurgency, the United States and its allies are confronting the Cold War threat of nuclear missile attack again.

FRIFO EXTRA-dAKOTA MISSILES 8-21-2015

North Korea launched another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test this week (July 4) and it’s getting a lot of attention, analysts say, because the missile was powerful enough to reach Alaska.

The United States detected the ICBM and tracked it for 37 minutes, the longest time of flight for any ballistic missile North Korea has launched to date, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The ICBM launched from North Korea’s Banghyon Airfield, which is about 62 miles from Pyongyang, said the spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis. The North Korean missile landed in the Sea of Japan.

U.S. Army-ROK launch missiles July 2017

An M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System from U.S. Army’s 18th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, fires an MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile into the Sea of Japan on July 5, 2017. In the foreground, two mobile carriers prepare to launch South Korean Hyunmoo II missiles.  (Army photo)

The U.S. and South Korean military launched their own missile tests Wednesday (July 5). The exercise utilized the Eighth U.S. Army’s Tactical Missile System and South Korean Hyunmoo II missiles. U.S. and South Korean personnel fired missiles into territorial waters along South Korea’s east coast.

Officials said the missile launches demonstrated the combined deep strike capabilities which allow the South Korean-U.S. alliance to neutralize hostile threats and aggression against South Korea, the United States and other allies.

In Poland on Thursday (July 6), President Donald Trump said the time has arrived to confront North Korea.  “I don’t like to talk about what I have planned, but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” Trump said, the Associated Press reported. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to do them,” Trump added.

Meanwhile, Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters in Washington Thursday July 6 that the U.S. military stands ready to provide Trump with options, but that diplomatic and economic efforts remain the tools of choice to convince North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile programs, according to DoD News.

“The president’s been very clear, and secretary of state’s been very clear that we are leading with diplomatic and economic efforts,” Mattis said during an impromptu news conference in the Pentagon. “The military remains ready in accordance with our alliance with Japan, with Korea,” he added. The North Korean launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4 is a very serious escalation and provocation, Mattis said, and also an affront to the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Just last month, Mattis told the Senate Armed services committee that the “most urgent and dangerous threat” to peace and security is “North Korea’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.”

Your 4GWAR editor addressed North Korea’s belligerence and other threats for an upcoming integrated air and missile defense conference. To read more about missile threats facing the United States and its allies, click here.

 

July 6, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: Using Lasers on Drones and Against Them.

Directed Energy Weapons.

Each branch of the U.S. military is developing directed energy technology — largely for defense against small, weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones.  But the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) wants to mount a laser on a drone to attack enemy ballistic missiles.

DIRECTED ENERGY-DARPA-MobileForce

An artist’s rendering of a vehicle-mounted small laser defense against attacking drones being studied by DARPA. (DARPA photo).

Since the Air Force manned Airborne Laser system was cancelled as too expensive and impractical in 2012, the MDA has looked for a way of combining a compact, high-power laser with a high-flying aircraft that can stay aloft for extended periods. Such an aircraft, ideally a drone, would be able to destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in the boost stage — shortly after launch — when it is most vulnerable.

“Our goal eventually is to integrate a high-powered, solid-state laser on a long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicle operating in the stratosphere where the atmospheric disturbance of the aircraft and the laser is significantly reduced,” Richard Matlock, MDA’s program executive for advanced technology told a missile defense conference last December.

Meanwhile, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)  is working on a counter drone laser system to protect moving ground vehicles. The agency’s Mobile Force Protection Program is seeking industry solutions for protecting high value ground assets from the growing threat of small weaponized drones.

C-130 Gunship.JPG

The Air Force wants to supplement the Gatling gun on the AC-130 gunship with a silent laser weapon. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter)

The Navy, which is the farthest along in weaponized laser development, is also helping Special Operations forces mount a directed energy weapon on Air Force AC-130 gunships. In addition to the big plane’s flying Gatling gun with a finite load of ammunition, directed energy would bring a silent, invisible capability that will be a game changer, according to Air Force Lieutenant General Bradley Heithold. Heithold, the principal deputy director for cost assessment and program evaluation at the Pentagon, is expected to outline the Defense Department’s roadmap for offensive and defensive directed energy weapons capabilities when he and Matlock speak at IDGA’s Directed Energy and Next Generation and Munitions conference later this month in Washington.

June 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

ARCTIC NATION: NATO Air Exercise in Arctic, A-10s to Alaska, New Russian Base.

Military Update.

With an increasing number of intercontinental ballistic missile test launches by North Korea, Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic and continuing aggressive behavior toward former Soviet satellite nations that have joined NATO, the countries that ring the Arctic are increasing their defense budgets and stepping up training exercises in the Far North, as well as Eastern Europe.

Mildenhall and Lakenheath aircraft on way to Arctic Challenge

Two F-15 Eagle fighter aircraft from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, fly in formation next to a KC-135 Stratotanker on May 19, 2017. The aerial refueling tanker is assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England. All three aircraft were flying in Arctic Challenge 2017, a multinational exercise that ended June 2 in Finland and Sweden. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant  David Dobrydney)

ARCTIC CHALLENGE.

The U.S. Air Force and the air services of ten other nations are winding up Arctic Challenge a training exercise that began May 19 in Scandinavia and ends Friday (June 2).

The gathering sought to build relationships and increase technical inter-operability among NATO and non-NATO member partner nations. Participants included NATO members Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as non-members Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Zumwalt, commander of the U.S. 493rd Fighter Squadron, said the exercise presented practice opportunities and experiences that allow Air Force pilots and aircraft maintainers to work “side-by-side with our partners and allies to plan, execute and debrief some very complex missions.”

The 493rd sent 12 F-15C Eagle fighter jets and 200 personnel from their base in England. Two  KC-135 aerial refueling tankers and 30 airmen from the 351st Air Refueling Squadron, also based in England.

*** *** ***

RED FLAG ALASKA.

CORRECTS: A-10 Lightning II to A-10 Thunderbolt II (What were thinking?!!)

Meanwhile, a dozen Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft based in South Korea, have flown to Alaska to participate in an exercise his summer. The move is an indication that the U.S. military is carrying on with business as usual despite rising tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, according to the Stars and Stripes website.

A-10 Thunderbolt

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Michael Battles)

The planes and additional air crew and support personnel and will join the Red Flag Alaska 17-2 drills out of Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, also in Alaska, through early July, according to an Air Force spokeswoman.

The exercise will simulate the first 10 days of combat with a near-peer adversary. The A-10s, also known as “Warthogs because of their homely appearance, heavy armor and fierce attack capabilities, are designed to provide close support to infantry and destroy enemy tanks.

The A-10s are based at Osan Air base in Korea, where the rest of the 25th Fighter Squadron remains to handle mission requirements.

*** *** ***

NEW RUSSIAN ARCTIC BASE.

The Arctic, is expected to grow more accessible as melting sea ice opens up shipping lanes and, as 4GWAR has noted since 2014, Moscow has engaged in a military buildup in its Arctic Regions, including more than a dozen new operational airfields as well as future deployments of drones, ships and submarines and future construction of mobile nuclear power plants.

The Russians recently opened their sprawling Trefoil base, located just outside the Arctic Circle, according to CBS News. The post can house 150 troops and aircraft. While parts of the base remain top secret, Moscow offered a virtual video tour of the building, CBS reported in April.

arctic-circle-svg

Arctic Circle Nations Click on image to enlarge.

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ARCTIC NATION is an occasional 4GWAR posting on the Far North. The U.S. “National Strategy for the Arctic Region” describes the United States as “an Arctic Nation with broad and fundamental interests” in the region. “Those interests include national security needs, protecting the environment, responsibly managing resources, considering the needs of indigenous communities, support for scientific research, and strengthening “international cooperation on a wide range of issues.”

June 1, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 19, 2017)

The Starting Lineup.

US, Italy and Jordan special operations conduct combat search and rescue

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Conroy)

We haven’t had many photos of special operations forces lately, and since Special Ops is one of the topics we focus on here at 4GWAR, we’re glad to share this photo.

Here U.S. Air Force special tactics airmen, Italian special operations forces and members of the Jordanian Armed Forces Special Task Force conduct a simulated assault on a compound during exercise Eager Lion 17.

Eager Lion is being conducted at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Amman, Jordan. This photo was taken May 11, 2017.

Air Force special tactics airmen are highly skilled operators trained and equipped to operate in difficult conditions with stealth, speed and teamwork. Their specialties include: combat controllers, para-rescuemen (or PJs), Special Operations Weather Team members, Tactical Air Control Party members and the Special Operations Surgical team.

To see what people with these specialties do, click on the highlighted words above.

May 19, 2017 at 3:44 am Leave a comment

CALENDAR: Unmanned Systems; Veterans’ Healthcare and Close Air Support.

May Events.

Calendar1

Here at 4GWAR we’re reviving our monthly calendar of newsworthy military, aviation, unmanned systems and homeland security events. May is shaping up to be a busy month starting with the annual unmanned systems industry event meeting and trade show in Dallas May 8-11.

New treatment techniques and new technology will be among the topics discussed May 15-18 at VA Healthcare 2017 in Arlington, Virginia.

And from May 22-24 the best ways to support and protect ground troops from the air will be discussed at the Close Air Support Summit in Washington, D.C.

Robots, Drones and Droids.

More than 7,000 industry leaders and professionals from over 55 countries are expected to attend XPONENTIAL 2017, the annual unmanned systems and robotics trade show and conference, at the Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas next week.

AUVSI Atlanta 2015

AUVSI’s 2015 conference and trade show in Atlanta. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

The exhibit hall will showcase more than 600 companies from around the world, representing more than 20 industries, including energy and construction, defense, automated vehicles and cinematography. Speakers slated to attend include: Intel CEO Brian Krzanich,  FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and executives from Airbus Defence and Space, GE Oil & Gas, and Northrop Grumman.

The event is hosted by Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).

VA HEALTHCARE.

Government officials, healthcare executives, medical educators and technology experts and companies will meet at the Sheraton Pentagon City hotel in northern Virginia (May 15-18).

VA Healthcare 2017 comes as the VA health care system copes with a surge of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts seeking physical and mental health services. The number of veterans enrolling for VA healthcare grew from 7.9 million in 2006 to nearly 9 million last year.

Topics will include the VA nursing shortage, training personnel, the effect of combat deployments on women vets and their healthcare needs, advanced medical simulation systems and alternative medical treatments for chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The event is organized by Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA).

CLOSE AIR SUPPORT.

Top Air Force officials from the United States, Germany and other NATO nations will  discuss the future of close air support in an era of unconventional warfare that could see conventional conflicts break out in the Middle East, Eastern Europe or the Korean peninsula.

300px-A-10_Thunderbolt_II_In-flight-2

The A-10 Lightning II, better known as the “Warthog.

The event is sponsored by IDGA, a division of IQPC.

Topics of discussion at the Close Air Support Summit will include future use of the AC-130 gunship, A-10 ground attack jet and F-35 fifth generation fighter/bomber. Also of concern: the U.S. Air Force’s close air support strategy in future operations; the challenge of conflicts in urban environments; training tactical air traffic controllers, developing light attack aircraft to fill the gap between the heavily armored, slow-moving A-10 and the supersonic F-35, which is more lightly armed for ground attack.

The event was organized by IDGA, a division of IQPC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 4, 2017 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

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