Posts filed under ‘Navy’

FRIDAY FOTO (November 2, 2018)

‘neath Arctic Skies.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Leitner)

The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), passes under the Northern Lights during exercise Trident Juncture 2018 in the Norwegian Sea, October 26, 2018.

Some 250 aircraft, 65 vessels and up to 10,000 vehicles — as well as an estimated 50,000 troops from 31 countries — are taking part in the biggest NATO exercise since the Cold War.

The massive exercise is taking place through November 7 in central and eastern Norway,  the surrounding areas of the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea — including Iceland and the airspace of Finland and Sweden (two non-NATO members).

NATO officials say the goal of the operation is to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together, and ready to respond to any threat from any direction. While they deny the exercise is aimed at sending a message to an increasingly belligerent Russia, Moscow sees it differently.

“Even if NATO says otherwise,, Trident Juncture is really preparation for large-scale armed conflict in regions bordering the Russian Federation,” Lieutenant General Valery Zaparenko, former deputy chief of the Russian general staff, told RT, Moscow’s government-funded television station, the New York Times reported.

4GWAR’s Arctic Nation series will focus on Trident Juncture and other arctic news this weekend.

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November 2, 2018 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 5, 2018)

Cutting edge.

Recruit Training Command Graduation

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer Spencer Fling)

New sailors march inside Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall during a graduation ceremony on September 28 at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois.

And yes, that weapon held by the parade leader is an honest-to-god cutlass. The Navy jealously guards its traditions and this time-honored sword is one of them.  The cutlass was an official Navy personal weapon until 1949. However, a cutlass is still carried by the recruit designated as the Recruit Chief Petty Officer for each training company  while at Great Lakes, the Navy’s only boot camp.

On March 31, 2010, the Navy said it would permit optional wear of a ceremonial cutlass as part of the Chief Petty Officer dress uniform, pending final design approval. That approval came in January 2011.

For another view of the cutlass in the Great Lakes graduation ceremony, click here.

October 5, 2018 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 21, 2018)

Worth a thousand words.

Florence Flooding in Bladen County

(Nebraska National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Herschel Talley)

Nebraska Army National Guard Spc. Matthew Reidy surveys the flooding from the air on September 19 (Wednesday) in Bladen County, North Carolina.

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 13 Soldiers assigned to a Lincoln-based Nebraska National Guard aviation unit supported the ongoing Hurricane Florence relief operations from the Army Aviation Support Facility at the Raleigh International Airport in North Carolina. The Company G, 2-104th General Aviation Battalion Soldiers are equipped and trained to conduct search and rescue operations, as well as air movement missions.

For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and rivers keep on rising. The storm’s death toll ticked up to 41 people in the Mid-Atlantic region on Thursday (September 20); 31 of them in North Carolina alone, according to NPR.

The disaster sparked a widespread government response from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard units — as well as the Department of Homeland Security and local emergency workers.

September 21, 2018 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 31, 2018)

Prepare to Repel Boarders.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Casey Scoular)

OK, this is not your standard Navy drill — anymore. But in the Age of Sail, these long, spear-like poles with sharpened points on the end were a good way to discourage enemy sailors (or pirates) from trying to force their way aboard your ship.

Boarding in the Age of Sail was more difficult and dangerous than in previous eras of open-decked sailing vessels. Defenders could seek cover in “closed quarters” in the ship’s roundhouse or foredeck, shooting through small loopholes at the exposed boarders.  If not in closed quarters, defenders sometimes resorted to the boarding pike, trying to kill or wound boarders while keeping them at a distance, and of course might use any of the weapons that the boarders themselves used, according to a Wikipedia article on naval boarding.

These sailors, assigned to the historic USS Constitution, are conducting War of 1812-era boarding pike drills during weekly heritage training in Boston, near Old Ironsides’ berth at the Charlestown, Massachusetts Navy Yard. Launched in 1797, the Constitution is the oldest commissioned naval vessel in the world still afloat.

August 31, 2018 at 1:53 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 17, 2018)

Sub Swim Call.

USS Olympia Swim Call

(U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Vien Nguyen)

Sailors assigned to the Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, USS Olympia, participate in a swim call at sea in the Pacific Ocean, July 31, 2018. We’ve seen photos of swim calls before, but never one on a submarine.

Swim Call, as you might imagine, is a period when there is time for some of the crew to jump off the ship — or in this case boat — for a little exercise and recreation.  The tradition dates back as far as World War II, according to an article in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, which includes a bunch of photos of sailors taking a dip from all sorts of U.S. Navy vessels. The Daily Mail piece also notes there is always a few folks keeping watch for sharks from a dinghy or rubber boat near the swimmers.

August 17, 2018 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Light Show, Teaming with Air Force jets; Paris patrol; Assassination Weapon?

A new kind of Fireworks.

Drone Light Show entertains Team Travis

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Conrad)

More than 500 drones illuminated the sky during a light show at California’s Travis Air Force Base on July 5, 2018. Intel’s new lightweight Shooting Star drone — it weighs just 330 grams — is designed to carry only a light that can change colors. Together, the 500 little quadcopters are capable of 4 billion color combinations, reported CBS Bay Area TV station KPIX.

Originally scheduled for the Fourth of July, the drone light show had to be postponed for a day because of high winds. Even so, a glitch required landing the fleet, early in the show, and resetting the drones before they could conduct five minute light show — controlled by one lap top and one operator, according to ABC TV station KGO.

The tiny drones, made of plastic and foam, swooped and swirled in the night sky forming images of the American flag, an airplane, the Golden Gate Bridge and the California Grizzly Bear.

Intel, the silicon chip maker, unveiled its drone light show capabilities in 2015 using just 100 little quadcopters. “The difference between 100 and 500 is mind blowing,” Natalie Cheung, who heads the Intel light show business unit, said in a company video. The drone display integrates computing, communication, sensor and cloud technology.

“All this drone can do is light up the sky, but it is something it can do really, really well,” the light show lead engineer, Daniel Gurdan said in the video.

Teaming Drones with Manned Aircraft

Intel’s flying light show is just one way scientists and engineers are working on ways to operate drones in large numbers. The military, in particular, has been looking at ways large numbers of fast-moving, evasive drones could overwhelm and enemy’s air defense systems.

The Army has looked into pairing its MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with attack helicopters, using the drone as a kind of hunting dog to seek out targets and threats out in front of the manned helicopter. Your 4GWAR editor first wrote about that for Smithsonian’s Air&Space magazine blog in 2011

Now Air Force thinkers are looking at teaming manned aircraft with unmanned drones. In a policy paper released late last month (July 2018), the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies says maximizing the attributes of human operators and aircraft autonomy could boost affordable, effective combat capacity.

The paper notes that as a result of advancements in autonomy, processing power, and collaborative information exchange, the U.S. Air Force may soon be able to fly traditionally manned combat aircraft in partnership with unmanned aircraft.

The paper’s authors urge the Air Force to explore the advantages that could come through collaborative teaming of manned and unmanned combat aircraft. They noted  that the “combination may provide increased numbers of affordable aircraft to complement a limited number of exquisite, expensive, but highly potent fifth-generation aircraft.”

In short, that could mean meeting the requirements of Air Force Combat Command in a sustainable way during a time when there is a shortage of pilots and funds for newer, more expensive aircraft.

In other unmanned aircraft news …

Protecting Paris.

During Bastille Day celebrations in France last month (July 15), two MQ-9 Reaper drones patrolled the skies over Paris and southwestern France.

According to the manufacturer of the unmanned aircraft — San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems — the French Air Force (Armee De L’Air) operated its drones over Paris and the city of Cognac, providing airborne surveillance over the national celebration.

Equipped with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite of sensors, the Paris MQ-9 flew safely over a populated area of seven million people among numerous other military aircraft participating in the airborne parade.

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(Photo of French MQ-9 Reaper courtesy of Business Wire)

Two French MQ-9s are based in Cognac Châteaubernard Air Base, where they perform daily training or ISR support in French airspace. Another six Reapers are operated by the 1/33 Belfort Squadron, providing intelligence and support to Operation Barkhane, the ongoing French anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Assassination Attempt by Drone?

Two drones packed with explosives reportedly flew toward Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Saturday night (August 4) in what his government says was a failed assassination attempt. New York Times site has video here.

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Venezuela in South America (Source: CIA World Factbook)

The attack  occurred while Maduro was making a speech at a huge outdoor event in Caracas to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the country’s national guard, according to USA Today, which detailed what happened.

Maduro blamed the “far right”, Colombia’s outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos, and shadowy forces in Miami for the attack, The Economist reported. He has denounced a score of plots since he took over from the late Hugo Chávez in 2013.

August 17, 2018 at 12:28 am

FRIDAY FOTO (August 3, 2018)

Waaay up high.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Apprentice Joshua Leonard)

Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Donavyn Rogers paints the superstructure of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in Bremerton, Washington on July 20, 2018. The superstructure, also known as the island, is the tower on the starboard (right) side of the carrier flight deck, although in the photo below, it looks like it’s on the port (left) side, because of the angle from which the photo was shot.

In the lower photo, compare the size of the sailors and Marines on the flight deck of another Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier —  the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) — with the ship’s superstructure to get an idea of high high up painter Rogers has to work.

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(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kilho Park)

August 3, 2018 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

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