Posts tagged ‘Air Force’

FRIDAY FOTO (September 25, 2015)

Red Sky at Morning.

Ohio National Guard photo by Air Force Senior Master Sergean. Beth Holliker

Ohio National Guard photo by Air Force Senior Master Sergean. Beth Holliker

Last week was so busy, we missed wishing the U.S. Air Force a happy 68th birthday. So we thought we’d make it up to the folks work in the wild blue yonder with this photo.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft sits on the flightline before morning sorties at  Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The aircraft is assigned to the Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing

September 25, 2015 at 2:24 am Leave a comment


Future Flashpoints.

Soldiers fire missiles from a multiple rocket system, during the South Dakota Army National Guard's annual training on Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. (Defense Dept. photo)

Soldiers fire missiles from a multiple rocket system, during the South Dakota Army National Guard’s annual training at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming in August.
(Defense Dept. photo)

UPDATES with link to full story below

Russia continues to act aggressively on land, sea and air from the Baltics to the Black Sea — and now in Syria. China is blamed for massive cyber hacks of U.S. commercial and government computers, while continuing to antagonize its neighbors by a military buildup in the South China Sea. North Korea has nuclear weapons and wants more, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles. Iran has been trying to develop nuclear capability for years, as well as missiles with increasing range.

At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats earlier this year, Senator John McCain of Arizona, the panel’s chairman, noted “the current international environment is more complex and dangerous than at any time in recent memory.”

Here are just a few of the top current and future threats facing America and its partner nations — and the likely challenges they pose to integrated air and missile defense:

Russia – The new chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford and Air Force General Paul Selva – say Russia is the greatest threat to national security because of its nuclear and ballistic missile capability – second only to the U.S. arsenal. Moscow’s bullying tactics towards western neighbors – especially former Warsaw Pact members like Poland and the Baltic states that are now NATO members, is creating tensions in Europe not seen since the Cold War ended. Moscow’s deployment of tanks and combat aircraft have policy makers around the globe wondering what’s next?

Russia has made significant progress modernizing its nuclear and conventional forces and developing long range precision strike capabilities, notes Marine Corps Lieutenant General Vincent Stewart , director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). “In the next year, Russia will field more road-mobile SS-27 Mod-2 ICBMs with multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicles,” he told Congress, adding that development of the RS-26 ballistic missile, the Dolgorukiy ballistic missile submarine and next generation air- and ground-launched cruise missiles will continue.

China – Beijing continues an unprecedented buildup of army, naval and air forces to protect what it sees as its territorial integrity and sovereignty, including Taiwan and a number of islands in the South China Sea, where overlapping claims with at least five other countries — some of them U.S. allies — remain a potential flashpoint. China continues to produce JIN-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, and sub-launched ballistic missiles. It has 50-60 ICBMs, according to the DIA, and is adding more survivable road-mobile launch systems, enhancing its silo-based systems and developing a sea-based nuclear deterrent.

China continues to deploy growing numbers of the DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, which could limit U.S. force projection in Asian waters. And China is developing a tiered ballistic missile defense system. The People’s Liberation Army is augmenting more than 1,200 conventional short-range ballistic missiles.

Proliferation – “Nation states’ efforts to develop or acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their delivery systems or their underlying technologies constitute a major threat to the security of the United States,” according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Among the likely suspects he told a Senate hearing earlier this year: Iran for its continuing quest to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,. Klapper noted that Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.

North Korea has exported ballistic missiles and other materials to several countries including Iran and Syria. “Today, nine nations possess, or are suspected of possessing, nuclear weapons and 22 have ballistic missile capabilities,” says Lieutenant General David Mann, commander of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Army Forces Strategic Command.

To read the complete version of this story, Click here.

The threats these developments pose will be among the topics discussed next week at the Integrated Air and Missile Defense conference in Arlington, Virginia. The three day event, hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA), runs from September 28-30.

September 22, 2015 at 11:13 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September 18, 2015)

Joint Venture.

 (U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena) Click on photo to enlarge image.

Like some sort of giant blossoms, paratroopers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment descend from an Air Force C-130 Hercules over the Malemute drop zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska.

Troops from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Army paratroopers conducted the practice jump utilizing Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Air Force planes as part of Pacific Airlift Rally 2015. The exercise is a biennial, multilateral tactical military symposium designed to enhance military airlift interoperability and cooperation between nations of the Pacific region for future humanitarian missions.

The C-130 is assigned to the 374th Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan. The 1st Battalion is part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division, based in


September 18, 2015 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

LABOR DAY (September 7, 2015)

Important Jobs.

It’s Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer in the United States and the day American working men and women take part in parades and rallies to acknowledge what their predecessors have done to make working conditions safe and compensation fair — while calling attention to how much still needs to be done.  Meanwhile, the rest of the country — perhaps pausing briefly to think about their jobs and the meaning of work — takes one last three-day-weekend at the beach, the mountains or the backyard before the fall season starts in earnest.

At 4GWAR, we thought we’d pause to take a look at some of the jobs people do in the military that don’t get a lot of attention. Not everybody in the military hits the beach, fires a big gun, flies a plane or jumps out of one. So here is a short look at the less glamorous — but still important — jobs to keep the U.S. military ready and able to meet the next challenge — whatever and wherever it is.


U.S. Air Force photo by Racheal E. Watson

U.S. Air Force photo by Racheal E. Watson

Air Force Staff Sgt. Saber Barrera, with 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron firetruck and refueling maintenance, works with a co-worker to replace an engine starter in Southwest Asia. These airmen are working in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led effort with partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the so-called Islamic State.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke

Two sailors, Fire Controlman 2nd Class Roots Semaj, left, and Fire Controlman 2nd Class Sharul Mahdsharif load a missile into a RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The Reagan, and its carrier air wing, provides a combat-ready force protecting maritime interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region.


U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carlos Cruz Jr.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Carlos Cruz Jr.

Staff Sgt. David Hoyt, a KC-130J loadmaster with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152, guides a MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft into place for air-delivery ground refueling training aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. This kind of refueling operation is usually conducted in an austere environment where an air strip or fuel is not available.

U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Rivard

U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan Rivard

Specialist Wright Small, petroleum supply specialist, assigned to Detachment 1, D Company, 1st Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment, refuels a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the Army Aviation Facility, in  South Burlington, Vermont.

September 7, 2015 at 11:33 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 14, 2015)

Apache Dance.

82nd Airborne Division photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull

82nd Airborne Division photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull

U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters provide a demonstration of their firepower during a live fire exercise at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

According to the Defense Department, Operation Dragon Spear included a forcible entry operation with Army and Air Force units showcasing the U.S. global response force‘s ability to deploy, fight and win. If you click on the photo to enlarge the image, you’ll see the flaming vehicles struck by the Apaches. Any questions?

The demonstration, with 1,500 soldiers and airmen participating, included the 82nd Airborne Division, the 75th Ranger Regiment, 10th Special Forces Group and Air Force units supplying transport aircraft. To see more photos, click here.

August 14, 2015 at 12:08 am Leave a comment

TECHNOLOGY: Defense Dept. and Industry Pushing 3-D Printing

No Longer a Novelty.

From pizzas for the troops to small parts for aircraft, the U.S. military is moving ahead with innovations in additive manufacturing. The dual aim: to cut costs and speed up the process from design and prototyping to assembly line production.

Additive manufacturing – also known as 3-D printing – has the potential to revolutionize how manufacturing is done in the United States. With 3-D printing, designers can create a three-dimensional object from a digital file fed into a computer. The printers create the object by depositing thin layers of material – mostly plastic but metal and composite materials printers are also being used – until the component exactly matching the original blueprint is created.

Chart: Courtesy Lockheed Martin

Chart: Courtesy Lockheed Martin

The Department of Energy has estimated that the additive process could cut energy use by today’s manufacturing procedures by 50 percent. And the benefits aren’t lost on the Defense Department, which is looking for ways to cut costs and speed production in this era of tight budgets and rising energy costs.

Additive manufacturing “may profoundly change Army logistics and supply,” says Dale Ormond, director of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM). “Imagine the possibilities of three-dimensional printed textiles, metals, integrated electronics, biogenetic materials and even food,” he wrote in Army Technology magazine’s 3-D Printing issue.

The Army is investigating 3-D printers to make food ranging from simple snacks to nutrient-rich foods that can be tailored to various environments. The Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center is looking at ways the technology can be applied to the battlefield for meals on demand, or for food manufacturing where food is printed and possibly further processed to become shelf stable.

The Army is also exploring additive manufacturing of field and combat clothing to improve flexibility, air flow, and ballistic protection while reducing weight, bulk and the number of seams, which can cause friction and irritation.

The Navy, which has about 70 3-D printing projects underway, has placed one aboard a warship, the amphibious assault ship USS Essex and the crew has been making small objects like medical syringes and caps for oil tanks.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) plans to have an aircraft flying with a flight-critical metal spare part made by 3-D printer within three years. Printing plastic items is one thing but metal parts critical to keeping an airplane aloft is something else again.” We’re not there yet,” William Frazier, NAVAIR’s chief scientist for air vehicle engineering, told a briefing at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space Expo in April.

While the technology has been around for years, additive manufacturing got a big boost in 2012 when the Obama administration created a private-public research institute in Youngstown, Ohio, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), with $30 million in federal funding. The departments of Defense, Energy and Commerce, as well as the National Science Foundation and NASA are all putting money into additive manufacturing.

Major defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Boeing are also investing in 3-D printing technology. Lockheed Martin is using the technology to print titanium satellite parts and reduce cost, cycle time and material waste.

Experts on 3-D printing from the Army and Air Force research labs, industry and the National Institute of Scince and Technology (NIST) will be discussing the latest developments and government requirements at the Third Annual Additive Manufacturing for Defense and Aerospace conference in Washington August 21-September 2, hosted by IDGA.

August 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm Leave a comment

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: Exercise Jade Helm 15 Begins in Seven States — Arousing Conspiracy Theorists

Jaded About Jade Helm.


Chilean and U.S.  Army  Special Forces troops train together in bilateral exchange in April at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Osvaldo Equite)

Chilean and U.S. Army Special Forces troops train together in bilateral exchange in April at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant Osvaldo Equite)

Exercise Jade Helm 15 a massive special operations forces (SOF) exercise involving hundreds of troops across seven states in the Deep South and Southwest got underway this week — after months of speculation by conspiracy theorists and right wing talk radio hosts that it was part of some dark plan to overthrow the Constitution and/or seize locals’ guns.

The Army says its just a big exercise in relatively unpopulated areas with challenging terrain and summer weather conditions to prepare as realistically as possible for whatever overseas crisis comes down the road in the future

According to U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), they will be training with other U.S military units from July 15 through Sept. 15 in the multi-state exercise.

“USASOC periodically conducts training exercises such as these to practice core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies. It is imperative that Special Operations Soldiers receive the best training, equipment and resources possible,” USASOC said in a March press release to counter rising concerns — especially in Texas, where the governor ordered the National Guard to keep a close eye on the Army exercise

“While multi-state training exercises such as these are not unique to the military, the size and scope of Jade Helm sets this one apart,” the March press release noted. To stay ahead of the environmental challenges faced overseas, Jade Helm will take place across seven states. However, Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) will only train in five states: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The diverse terrain in these states replicates areas Special Operations Soldiers regularly find themselves operating in overseas.”

An updated Army press release issued Wednesday (July 15) listed the various military installations where parts of the exercise will take place:
• Arizona: National Guard Training Centers and at an Army Reserve Center
• Florida: Eglin Air Force Base
• Louisiana: Camp Beauregard
• Mississippi: Camp Shelby, Naval Research Laboratory ˗ Stennis Space Center, and U.S. Navy Seabee Base at Gulfport/Biloxi
• New Mexico: Cannon Air Force Base, and tentatively in Otero County
• Texas: Camps Bullis and Swift, and in Bastrop, Burleson, Brazos, Edwards, Howard, Hudspeth, Kimble, Martin, Marion, Real, Schleicher and Tom Green Counties
• Utah: Carbon and Emery Counties

EDITOR’s COMMENT: We find it worth mentioning that the fears of some of the good folks of Texas seem to parallel the plot of the 1964 film, “Seven Days in May.” However, that  scenario described an attempted coup by right wing politicians and military leaders aimed at a liberal president they perceived as weak in dealing with the Soviets. To us that seems a more likely — if far-fetched — movie plot than a military coup to support the “liberal” policies of gun seizure etc.

July 16, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

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