Posts filed under ‘Skills and Training’

FRIDAY FOTO (June 23, 2017)

Coming through!

Polish US tanks in Latvia Exercise.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lieutenant Kristine Racicot)

Main battle tanks driven by Polish soldiers and U.S. Marines plow through the sandy Latvian soil during a combined arms, live-fire training event at the Adazi training grounds. The tank in front appears to be a Polish PT-91 Twardy main battle tank. (Armor aficianados: please set us straight if we’re wrong.)   Don’t let that name fool you, Twardy means “hard, tough or resilient,” in Polish.

The tank in the background is a U.S. M1A2 Abrams tank fielded by the Marine Corps. This photo was taken June 9, 2017, as part of Saber Strike, an annual military exercise in the Baltic region and Poland.

June 23, 2017 at 1:20 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 16, 2017)

AquaMarine.

Into the Blue

(U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Sergeant Rodion Zabolotniy)

This photo puts new meaning into the phrase “sea soldier.” A Marine with the 1st Marine Logistics group participates in the water survival advanced course at Camp Pendleton, California. The purpose of the water survival course is to strengthen the individual Marine’s self-preservation and rescue skills in water.

June 16, 2017 at 11:57 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

SHAKO: Flag Day; U.S. Army Birthday

Happy 242nd!

Washington takes command

On this day (June 14) in 1775, the Continental Congress, urged by future U.S. President John Adams, created the U.S. Army by voting $2 million to fund the colonial militias around Boston and New York City. Congress also ordered the raising of ten companies of expert riflemen from Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. Together with the ragtag militias in New England and New York they would form the first Continental Army. George Washington of Virginia, one of the few colonials with military command experience (from the French and Indian War) would take command in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775.

Army installations around the world are celebrating the Big 242. The festivities ranged from a band concert in Georgia to a fun run in Hawaii. Many Army bases featured a birthday cake-cutting ceremony, in which the longest serving soldier on post shares cake cutting duty with the newest soldier, according to the Army website.

To read more about the infancy of the U.S. Army, click here.

Flag Day turns 101.

nation-makers

“The Nation Makers” by Howard Pyle (1908) depicts the Battle of Brandywine in 1777, one of the first appearances of the Stars and Stripes flag.

June 14 is also Flag Day in the United States, to commemorate the day in 1777 when Congress adopted the 13-star, 13-red-and-white-striped flag as the year-old republic’s national flag. Flag day was celebrated on various days in various ways around the United States until the 20th century.

As war wracked Europe and the Middle East in 1916, it looked more and more like the United States would be drawn into the Great War. To inspire unity and patriotism, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress — but it’s not an official federal holiday.

SHAKOSHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

June 14, 2017 at 9:44 pm 2 comments

FRIDAY FOTO (June 2, 2017)

CITIZEN SOLDIER.

FRIFO 6-2-2017

(Army National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Shane Hamann)

We just love the composition of this photo. It looks like a recruiting poster painted by Norman Rockwell. We could imagine the word “LEADERSHIP,” in yellow block letters running across the top. (We sure hope it wasn’t staged).

What this photo does show is Army Captain Andrew Wolfe issuing orders to his unit during a combined arms assault exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California on May 30, 2017. Wolfe is assigned to the Kansas National Guard’s Company C, 2nd Battalion, 137th Infantry Regiment. Oddly enough, this Kansas unit is part of the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Mississippi National Guard.

June 2, 2017 at 2:56 am 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 26, 2017)

Rotor Wash.

170523-N-OI810-1283

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathan Burke)

The shadow of a Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter overlays the water its rotors are roiling during helicopter search-and-rescue training south of Japan.

Barely visible in the water are Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Kaltenbach and Petty Officer 2nd Class Aaron Brush as they prepare a rescue basket before Kaltenbach is hoisted into the Seahawk. This photo was taken May 23, 2017.

May 26, 2017 at 7:53 am Leave a comment

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