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Shinzo Abe, James Mattis Reaffirm U.S. Commitment on Senkakus

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Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clearly said during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japan, according to a senior government official who attended the meeting.

At the opening of the meeting, Abe said he hopes and is certain the two countries “can demonstrate in our country and abroad that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unshakable.” In response, Mattis said that he intended to make clear during the meeting that Article 5 of the security treaty will be important five years or 10 years from now, just as it was a year ago or five years ago.

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Mattis arrived in Tokyo on the day to hold talks with the prime minister, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and other members of Abe’s Cabinet to exchange views on the security environment in East Asia and to address mutual security concerns. The new U.S. defense chief’s visit to Japan marks the first by a U.S. Cabinet member under the administration of President Donald Trump. The ministerial meeting with Inada is scheduled for Saturday, after which they will hold a joint press conference.

During these talks, the two sides are also expected to confirm that the United States will firmly uphold the “nuclear umbrella” (see below) over Japan in its defense.

During his presidential election campaign last year, Trump was ambiguous about defending the Senkakus and also suggested that if Japan doesn’t contribute its due share to shouldering the burden of stationing U.S. forces in Japan, it would be acceptable for Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat. These remarks caused apprehension on the Japanese side.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Japan Succeeds in Test Flight of First Stealth Fighter Jet

Development of the stealth fighter comes as Japan faces new security challenges in the form of China’s expanding force posture.

Japan’s first stealth fighter jet successfully took to the skies on Friday as the country joins a select group of world military powers wielding the radar-dodging technology.

Technological super power Japan, despite strict constitutional constraints on the use of military force imposed after World War II, has one of the world’s most advanced defence forces and the development of the stealth fighter comes as it faces new security challenges in the form of China’s expanding force posture.

“The first flight has a very significant meaning that can secure technologies needed for future fighter development. We also expect it can be applied to other fields and technological innovation in the entire aviation industry.”

— Defense Minister Gen Nakatani

The domestically developed X-2 jet took off from Nagoya airport in central Japan on its maiden test flight as dozens of aviation enthusiasts watching the event erupted in applause as it lifted off into the clear morning sky.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 photo, a crew member of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy monitors on the deck of the China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing on the East China Sea for sea trials. The Liaoning departed for its first-ever sea trials in the South China Sea, a mission likely to draw scrutiny amid Beijing's drive to assert its claims to those waters and their island groups. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

A crew member of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy monitors on the deck of the China’s aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing on the East China Sea for sea trials. The Liaoning departed for its first-ever sea trials in the South China Sea, a mission likely to draw scrutiny amid Beijing’s drive to assert its claims to those waters and their island groups. (AP Photo)

Television footage showed the red-and-white aircraft roaring into the air, escorted by two Japanese military fighters that were collecting flight data.

The single-pilot prototype safely landed at Gifu air base, north of Nagoya airport, after a 25-minute flight with “no particular problems,” said an official at the defence ministry’s acquisition agency.

It was an “extremely stable” flight, the pilot was quoted as saying by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the main contractor.

“The control of the aircraft went exactly as in our simulated training sessions,” the pilot added. Read the rest of this entry »


Where Did China Get This F-22 Raptor?

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Why is something that looks just like America’s premiere fighter hanging out parked at a Chinese airport?​

In the images, the fifth generation fighter is clearly parked alongside two rows of what appear to be cropdusting airplanes.

[Read the full story here, at popularmechanics.com]

Located at Shaanxi provinece in central China, Pucheng Neifu Airport is not even remotely a military airport. There is no obvious link between it and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). It has the layout of a rural civilian airport found in any country, with a single runway, large tarmac, and control tower. An examination of satellite imagery indicates anywhere from seven to nine civilian planes are parked there at any one time.

It has none of the characteristics of a military airbase such as other (real) military aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, surface to air missile and gun emplacements, or munitions bunkers. Here’s an example of a typical PLAAF base just outside Weifang for comparison. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Russia Today’ Co-Founder Mikhail Lesin Reportedly Found Dead In D.C. Hotel

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Russian President Vladimir Putin with former Mass Media Minister Mikhail Lesin in Vladivostok, Russia on August 24, 2002. ITAR-TASS / Reuters

WASHINGTON —  reports: A Russian media mogul who helped found the Kremlin-run news channel RT was found dead in his hotel in Washington, D.C., according to reports.

“The Embassy does not have any further comment on the demise of Mr. Lesin out of respect to his privacy. Please refer to the family members or the law enforcement officials.”

— Russian Embassy spokesperson Yury Melnik told BuzzFeed News.

Mikhail Lesin, who was formerly the top media affairs minister for the Russian government, died of a “heart stroke,” a family member reportedly told RIA Novosti.

“Our consular officials had an opportunity to confirm that the Russian national who passed away in DC is indeed Mikhail Lesin. Out of respect to the privacy and sensitivity of the matter we are not at liberty to disclose any other information, and would ask you to refer all further requests to his family and the law enforcement officials.”

— Russian embassy spokesperson, to Sputnik, a Russian state media outlet.

Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Officer Sean Hickman told BuzzFeed News that there had been a death Thursday on the 1500 block of New Hampshire Avenue, where the Dupont Circle Hotel is located. An ABC News article on Lesin’s death reported that the location had been the “Hotel Dupont,” though a hotel by that exact name doesn’t exist in Washington. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Warplanes Buzz USS Ronald Reagan, U.S. Launches 4 Fighter Jets in Response

putin-buzz

 F/A-18 Super Hornets Escort Russian planes Out.

Two Russian warplanes flew within one mile of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, forcing the U.S. Navy to launch four fighter jets in response Tuesday, a Navy spokesman told Fox News.

Two Russian warplanes flew within one mile of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, forcing the U.S. Navy to launch four fighter jets in response Tuesday, a Navy spokesman told Fox News.

The USS Reagan was sailing in international waters east of the Korean peninsulaStars and Stripes reports. It adds that the U.S. is currently engaged in joint military exercises with South Korea. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] SPITFIRE 944 

In 2005, an 83 year-old World War II pilot is surprised to see 16mm footage of his 1944 Spitfire crash for the first time.


F-35 Struggles In Dogfight with F-16, the 1980s Fighter Jet it’s Supposed to Replace

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Pilot at ‘distinct energy disadvantage’ 

Douglas Ernst writes:

The U.S. Air Force’s new F-35 struggled in a dogfight with the plane it is supposed to replace.

“The technique required a commitment to lose energy and was a temporary opportunity prior to needing to regain energy… and ultimately end up defensive again.”

A five-page report obtained by Medium’s War is Boring columnist said a test pilot was at a “distinct energy disadvantage” during the training, The Diplomat reported Wednesday. The author of the piece said the only feasible way to engage the F-16 was to pull off a specific maneuver that usually only works once.

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“The technique required a commitment to lose energy and was a temporary opportunity prior to needing to regain energy… and ultimately end up defensive again,” the author wrote, War is Boring reported.

[SEE ALSO: F-35 comes with $400K helmet; pilot can ‘see’ through plane]

The F-35 pilot also complained that it was difficult to engage the F-16 with 25mm cannon and that his helmet was too cumbersome for a dogfight, The Diplomat reported. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System Tested aboard U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford

NEWPORT News, Va. (June 16, 2015) Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) conducts dead-load testing of the The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) . (U.S. Navy video/Released)

 


China Preparing for Drone Warfare

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 reports: China’s military plans to produce nearly 42,000 land-based and sea-based unmanned weapons and sensor platforms as part of its continuing, large-scale military buildup, the Pentagon’s annual report on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) disclosed Friday.

“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities.”

China currently operates several armed and unarmed drone aircraft and is developing long-range range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for both intelligence gathering and bombing attacks.lijianUAV

“The acquisition and development of longer-range UAVs will increase China’s ability to conduct long-range reconnaissance and strike operations,” the report said.

China’s ability to use drones is increasing and the report said China “plans to produce upwards of 41,800 land- and sea-based unmanned systems, worth about $10.5 billion, between 2014 and 2023.”

“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV.”

Four UAVs under development include the Xianglong, Yilong, Sky Saber, and Lijian, with the latter three drones configured to fire precision-strike weapons.

“The Lijian, which first flew on Nov. 21, 2013, is China’s first stealthy flying wing UAV,” the report said.

The drone buildup is part of what the Pentagon identified as a decades-long military buildup that last year produced new multi-warhead missiles and a large number of submarines and ships.

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“China will likely continue to invest considerable resources to maintain a limited, but survivable, nuclear force to ensure the PLA can deliver a damaging responsive nuclear strike.”

Additionally, the Pentagon for the first time confirmed China’s development of an ultra-high speed maneuvering strike vehicle as part of its growing strategic nuclear arsenal.

“China is working on a range of technologies to attempt to counter U.S. and other countries’ ballistic missile defense systems, including maneuverable reentry vehicles (MaRV), [multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles], decoys, chaff, jamming, and thermal shielding,” the report, made public Friday, states.

“The United States and China acknowledge that the Chinese tested a hypersonic glide vehicle in 2014,” the report noted.

It was the first time the Pentagon confirmed the existence of what is known as the Wu-14 hypersonic glide vehicle, a strike weapon that travels at the edge of space at nearly 10 times the speed of sound.

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The Wu-14, designed to deliver nuclear weapons through U.S. missile defenses, was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon, which reported on three tests conducted in 2014.

“Together with the increased mobility and survivability of the new generation of missiles, these technologies and training enhancements strengthen China’s nuclear force and bolster its strategic strike capabilities,” the report said. Read the rest of this entry »


Israeli Military Shoots Down Syrian Aircraft

A Syrian fighter jet is seen in flames after it was hit by the Israeli military over the Golan Heights on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A Syrian fighter jet is seen in flames after it was hit by the Israeli military over the Golan Heights on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

TEL AVIV—Israel shot down a Syrian fighter jet that entered its airspace over the Golan Heights, the first such strike in nearly 29 years amid heightened fighting between the regime and rebels for control along the sensitive border.

“The Syrian plane, identified by the Israeli military as a Sukhoi Su-24 Russian-made aircraft, penetrated about a half-mile into Israeli airspace and had turned to return to Syrian-controlled territory when it was shot down.”

The intercept is the latest sign of instability along the Golan Heights frontier due to the Syrian war, though former Israeli air force officers said they believed that the Syrian jet crossed into Israeli controlled airspace by accident. The aircraft downing came just hours after the U.S. and Arab allies launched an expansive air offensive against Islamic State fighters and strongholds in Syria, though Israeli experts said there appeared to be no connection. Read the rest of this entry »


China Warns U.S. to Stop Close-in Surveillance

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BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese Defense Ministry here on Saturday urged the U.S. side to stop close-in surveillance of China, and create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.drudge-china-distance

The ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that one U.S. anti-submarine plane and one patrol aircraft flew to an airspace about 220 kilometers east of China’s Hainan Island to conduct close-in surveillance Tuesday morning, and then a Chinese fighter jet took off to make regular identification and verification.

Commenting on relevant criticism made by the U.S. side, Yang said that was “totally groundless,” as the Chinese pilot, with professional operation, kept the jet within a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft.

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Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun

[Also see – Report: Chinese Su-27 Jet Threatened U.S. Navy Intelligence Aircraft Near Japan]

It was U.S. massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China that endanger the two sides’ air and marine security, and is the root of accidents, he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Scrooged: The ‘War on Good Cheer’ Targets NORAD’s Beloved Santa Tracker Tradition

NORAD’s Santa Tracker: Fanciful ‘Fighter Jet Escort’ for Santa Under Fire from Child Psychologists and Public Health Experts?

NORAD’s Santa Tracker is a volunteer effort since 1955, a cherished baby boomer-era Christmas tradition right up there with watching the Charlie Brown Christmas Special.

 (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

(OLIVIER MORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

It was only a matter of time before some humorless finger-wagging scolds indulged their paranoia and accused the government of sponsoring a harmful military-industrial brainwashing campaign against children (to induce them into military service later in life?) and succeeded in getting the media to pay attention.

I think we should celebrate when these imaginary grievances make national news. It reveals how silly the academics, psychologists, and culture warriors can get. When allowed to walk outside of their University offices and talk to members of the press, without supervision, they unintentionally provide us with comedy gold.

Unknown-1One of the advocates of this campaignAmy Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University of Washington, should be fired given a toy airplane, a basket of candy canes, some cupcakes, and a yo yo. Then taken on a trip to the zoo, then taken out for an ice cream, and read a bedtime story. She deserves a happy childhood, but perhaps didn’t get one. I propose that we bury her in love, kindness, and holiday cheer, ’cause she needs it. Send her an email, let her know what you think.

Without NORAD’s official protection, securing North American airspace for Santa and his reindeer, Santa’s annual global delivery route–and Santa himself– could be at risk! I hope the fine men and women at NORAD ignore the Scrooges and screwballs, and continue their volunteer efforts to keep Santa’s supply routes open and safe! Props to Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, for standing his ground in this (manufactured) controversy. A fictional controversy about an imaginary NORAD mission. It’s perfect.

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Some child advocates are upset that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is providing Santa Claus with a fighter jet escort around the globe in this year’s tracking program.

Since 1955, NORAD Tracks Santa has been operated by the joint U.S.-Canada command.  Its purpose is to provide children with information and details about Santa’s whereabouts as he drops off presents around the world.

This year’s program depicts Santa flying over snow-capped mountain peaks with a military aircraft keeping up with him on either side.

Read the rest of this entry »