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Clint Eastwood’s ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ in Preproduction

Paul Miller writes: Mayor Clint Eastwood became famous playing fictional tough guys like Rowdy Yates and Dirty Harry. Lately, he’s achieved even greater fame as the director of films about real-life heroes — including Iraq vet Chris Kyle and pilot Sully Sullenberger.

Now, Eastwood is working on his next project, about three friends who stopped a terrorist attack two years ago on a train in France. One of them, a U.S. Air Force enlisted man named Spencer Stone, did something very few people have done and lived to tell about: Without a weapon or anything to defend himself, he charged a fanatical and heavily armed enemy, knocking him to the ground. And then he and his friends, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler, disarmed the man and rendered him unconscious, saving dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent lives in the process.

“It was a very important event, because there were so many people on the train, and the guy had hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and he could have done a tremendous amount of damage,” Eastwood said. “And there’s no reason to think he wasn’t going to.”

At his office on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Eastwood is busy these days refining the shooting schedule, while his casting directors are choosing the actors, costumers are picking the outfits, and set designers are planning the shots — all routine tasks for a major Hollywood picture. But the film, “The 15:17 to Paris,” which Eastwood says will probably be released later this year, has a story that promises to be unprecedented in its heart-stopping impact, yet which carries a timeless message of people putting their lives on the line to protect others.

[Read the full story here, at The Carmel Pine Cone]

“My buddies and I were on a trip around Europe,” Stone told The Pine Cone this week from a family cabin at Lake Tahoe. He’d known the men — Sadler, a student at Sacramento State, and Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard — since their childhood in a Sacramento suburb. “Anthony and I started the trip in Rome, and then we went to Venice, Munich and Berlin. And then Alek, who was coming off a tour of duty in Afghanistan, joined us in Amsterdam.”

Their next destination was to be Paris, and on August 21, 2015, they boarded a high-speed train set to leave Amsterdam at 3:17 p.m. (15:17 on the 24-hour clock used in Europe) for the French capital. “As we boarded,” Stone said, “we noticed there didn’t seem to be any security — no metal detectors, no bag check. Nothing.”

But they didn’t think much about it, and the men — off duty and in civilian clothes — soon settled into their first class seats, had a meal and a little wine, checked the internet, and promptly went to sleep.

“We were always on the go, and for us, trains rides were a chance to take a nap,” Stone said.

A brief stop at the Gare Midi in Brussels woke them up — but for only a moment, Stone said. They had no idea a 25-year-old Moroccan man, Ayub El Ghazzani, had boarded in Brussels carrying a deadly backpack.

A man running and glass shattering

As the train hurtled through the European countryside, the three friends dozed, and the next thing Stone remembers was being awakened when a train crew member sprinted past him toward the front of the train. Taking off his noise-reducing headphones, Stone says he heard glass shatter behind him, and people gasping and screaming. Turning around to look in the direction of the noise, he saw El Ghazzani, shirtless and with a backpack attached to his chest, bend down at the end of the car and pick up an assault rifle.

“It was an AK-47, and he was trying to load a round, and I immediately knew he was a terrorist,” Stone said.

And this was no movie. Suddenly confronted with what was sure to be a life-or-death situation, the Air Force man hesitated for just a moment. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russian Spy Ship Returns to East Coast of U.S.

Feb. 27, 2014: A Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov SSV-175, is seen docked at a Havana port. REUTERS

Russian spy ship that made a foray near a U.S. Navy submarine base in Connecticut in February is once again in international waters off the East Coast of the United States, presumably to monitor activity at American Navy bases.

The Viktor Leonov spy ship is now 50 miles east of the U.S. Navy’s submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia, according to a defense official. The ship traveled there from a port in Havana, Cuba, where it docked for five days.

The Leonov’s earlier visit off the Eastern Seaboard in mid-February drew international attention although American officials noted at the time that the visits have become a regular occurrence in recent years.

Serena Marshall/ABC News The Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 is parked at a Havana port as the US starts talks Cuba, Jan. 21, 2015.

Serena Marshall/ABC News. The Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov CCB-175 is parked at a Havana port as the US starts talks Cuba, Jan. 21, 2015.

For one day in February the ship was offshore of the U.S. Navy submarine base in New London, Connecticut, the furthest north the Russian intelligence ship had ever traveled up the East Coast of the United States.

Following that brief stop off New England, the Leonov headed south where it spent almost two weeks east of the U.S. Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The U.S. Navy is Moving at Warp Speed to Develop Super Lasers 

Mike Fabey and Kris Osborn report: The U.S. Navy is moving at warp speed to develop lasers with more lethality, precision and power sources as a way to destroy attacking missiles, drones aircraft and other threats.

“We’re doing a lot more with lasers,” Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, director, Surface Warfare Division, said earlier this month at the annual Surface Naval Association national symposium.

The Navy plans to fire a 150-kw weapon off a test ship within a year, he said. “Then a year later, we’ll have that on a carrier or a destroyer or both.”

That’s quite a jump from the kw AN/SEQ-3(XN-1) Laser Weapon System (LaWS), which deployed in 2014 on the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce.

And the kind of power needed to power such a weapon won’t come with a simple flip of a switch.

“The Navy will be looking at ships’ servers to provide three times that much power,” says Donald Klick, director of business development, for DRS Power and Control Technologies. “To be putting out 150 kws, they (the laser systems) will be consuming 450 kws.”

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That is more than most currently operational ships are designed to accommodate, at least when they are conducting other tasks. “Few power systems onboard ships can support sustained usage of a high-powered laser without additional energy storage,” noted a recent Naval Postgraduate School paper titled “Power Systems and Energy Storage Modeling for Directed Energy Weapons”.

The paper said, “The new DDG-1000 may have enough electrical energy, but other platforms … may require some type of ‘energy magazine.’ This magazine stores energy for on-demand usage by the laser. It can be made up of batteries, capacitors, or flywheels, and would recharge between laser pulses. The energy magazine should allow for sustained usage against a swarm of targets in an engagement lasting up to twenty minutes.

[Read the full story here, at The National Interest Blog]

The DDG 1000 is built with what’s called a total ship computing environment, meaning software and blade servers manage not just the weapons systems on the ship but also handle the radar and fire control software and various logistical items such as water, fuel, oil and power for the ship, industry officials said.

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The ship’s integrated power system, which includes its electric propulsion, helps generate up to 78 megawatts of on-board electrical power, something seen as key to the future when it comes to ship technologies and the application of anticipated future weapons systems such as laser weapons and rail guns. The ship’s electric drive uses two main turbine generations with two auxiliary turbine generators which power up two 35-megawatt advanced induction motors, developers explained.

Ideally, it would charge up as fast as it discharges, allowing for indefinite use (as long as there is ship’s fuel to expend). Low maintenance, high safety, and long lifespan are other desirable characteristics.

DRS Power and Control Technologies is one of the companies which is developing a specialized energy source. “We have enough for well over 100 shots before we go to recharge,” DRS’s Klick said during a break at SNA, pointing out there’s even a mode for continuous recharge. “If you’ve got power this kind of power, you don’t go Winchester.” Read the rest of this entry »


Popeye the Sailor Man was Originally Popeye the Coast Guardsman

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Blake Stilwell writes: This may seem like blasphemy to some, but Popeye started his professional career as a civilian mariner and then Coast Guardsman. The famous sailor did join the Navy, but as of 1937, Popeye was firmly in the Coast Guard. A two-reel feature titled Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves introduces Popeye serving at a Coast Guard station. The sailor man’s creator did not live to see the United States enter World War II, but it was in 1941 that his creation joined the Navy and the legend of Popeye the rough and tumble U.S. Navy sailor was born.

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Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves wasn’t Popeye’s first feature. He started life as a character in the comic strip Thimble Theater in 1929, a comic actually centered around his off-and-on girlfriend, Olive Oyl. When it became obvious that Popeye was the real star, he made a jump to feature films. In the aforementioned 1937 film is when we see Popeye in the Coast Guard, on guard duty and deploying to intercept “Abu Hassan” (aka Bluto), who is terrorizing the Middle East.

Spoiler alert: Popeye saves the day, but not before telling Bluto to “stop in the name of the Coast Guard.

It was during WWII that Popeye reached his incredible popularity. Read the rest of this entry »


Michael Auslin: China Drone Seizure Throws Down Gauntlet to Obama and Trump

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Michael Auslin is the author of The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region,” which will be published by Yale in January. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

michael-auslin-headshotMichael Auslin writes: In seizing an unmanned, underwater US Navy drone in international waters off the Philippines on Thursday, China has thrown down a North Korean-style gauntlet to both the outgoing Obama Administration and the incoming Trump team.

While media reports are still sketchy, it appears that a Chinese naval vessel was close enough to a US oceanographic survey ship to launch a small boat to grab the scientific drone as the American vessel was preparing to retrieve it. That would mean a ship-to-ship level of intimidation, and not a snatch-and-grab action in isolated waters.

Like in 2009, when the Chinese harassed the USNS Impeccable in the South China Sea, the latest action comes against a similarly unarmed US research vessel. This time, however, the Chinese flagrantly flouted international law, and unlawfully seized US property while possibly endangering the safety of US military personnel on the high seas.

[Order Michael Auslin’s book “The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World’s Most Dynamic Region” from Amazon.com]

Such a dramatic upping of the ante is out of character for China, and American officials should understand that Beijing now appears willing to take increasingly risky actions. This latest provocation may well be at least partly in response to President-elect Trump’s recent comments on China, Taiwan and the One-China Policy.

At the same time, the latest challenge comes on the heels of steadily degrading relations between the Obama Administration and China, including news that Beijing is rapidly militarizing its newly built islands located near the Philippines. On these reclaimed shoals, China has emplaced anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems in what can also be a precursor to fielding offensive weapons capabilities.

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

In response, senior US military leaders have made forthright statements about America’s national interest in maintaining open and uncontested sea lanes. These comments have put Beijing on notice that Washington will not sit idly by if China appears be upending decades of peaceful development in Asia’s waters. Read the rest of this entry »


USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack

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Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy

 reports: The crew of a guided-missile destroyer fired three missiles to defend themselves and another ship after being attacked on Sunday in the Red Sea by two presumed cruise missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi-forces, USNI News has learned.

During the attack against USS Mason (DDG-87), the ship’s crew fired the missiles to defend the guided-missile destroyer and nearby USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) from two suspected cruise missiles fired from the Yemini shore, two defense officials told USNI News.

Mason launched two Standard Missile-2s (SM-2s) and a single Enhanced Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) to intercept the two missiles that were launched about 7 P.M. local time. In addition to the missiles, the ship used its Nulka anti-ship missile decoy, the sources confirmed. Mason was operating in international waters north of the strait of Bab el-Mandeb at the time of the attack.

Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) on April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I)-15) on April 11, 2016. US Navy Photo

According to a defense official on Monday, Mason “employed onboard defensive measures” against the first suspected cruise missile, “although it is unclear whether this led to the missile striking the water or whether it would have struck the water anyway.” The official did not specify that the defensive measure was a missile fired from the ship.

USNI News understands, as of Monday, the crew of the ship was uncertain if the suspected cruise missile was taken out by an SM-2 or went into the water on its own. In the Monday statement, the Pentagon said an investigation was ongoing.

The second missile launched from Yemen hit the water without being struck by a U.S. interceptor, the Pentagon said. Read the rest of this entry »


Naval Drill: US and Korean Navies Simulate Strikes Against North Korean Nuke Facilities 

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U.S. and South Korean naval forces are holding a large-scale military exercise this week.

Franz-Stefan Gady reports: In a show of resolve to underline the United States’ defense commitment to the Republic of Korea (ROK) amidst North Korean saber rattling, the United States Navy (USN) and Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) are conducting a series of naval exercises off the Korean peninsula from October 10 to 15, according to a USN press release.

“This exercise is yet another example of the strength and resolve of the combined U.S. and the ROK naval force. The U.S. and the Republic of Korea share one of the strongest alliances in the world, and we grow stronger as an alliance because of our routine exercises here in South Korea and the close relationship and ties that we forge from operating at sea together.”

— Rear Admiral Charles Williams

The six-day joint exercise, dubbed Invincible Spirit, “will consist of a routine bilateral training, subject matter expert exchanges, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills, communication drills, air defense exercises, counter-mine planning and distinguished visitor embarkations,” the USN notes.

[Read the full story here, at The Diplomat]

According to South Korean media reports, the exercise also involved long-range strike exercises against North Korea’s nuclear facilities, testing the concept of “Korea Massive Punishment & Retaliation” (KMPR) and improving the strike capabilities of USN and ROKN ship-to-ground missiles. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Scrambles Jets as China Warplanes Fly Through Okinawa Strait

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It was the first time Beijing is known to have sent fighter jets through the area, and comes days after Japan’s defense minister announced plans to step up engagement in the disputed South China Sea.

Jesse Johnson reports: The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled aircraft on Sunday as at least eight Chinese fighters and bombers — and possibly more than 40 — passed through a critical international entryway into the Western Pacific.

They used a legal but politically sensitive passage through Okinawa, apparently to send a message to Tokyo.

“This is a response to what Beijing will allege is a provocation by Japan in joining the U.S. in South China Sea drills despite Beijing warning Tokyo against participating.”

— University of Miami political science professor June Teufel Dreyer

It was the first time Beijing is known to have sent fighter jets through the area, and comes days after Japan’s defense minister announced plans to step up engagement in the disputed South China Sea.

The Chinese aircraft, which also included refueling tankers, flew over the Miyako Strait in Okinawa Prefecture but did not infringe Japanese airspace, the Defense Ministry said in Tokyo.

China said more than 40 aircraft were involved. They flew between Miyako Island near Taiwan and Okinawa’s main island on the way to “regular” patrols and drills in the Western Pacific, the Chinese Defense Ministry said in a statement posted to its website.

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People’s Liberation Army Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said the massive show of force, which included H-6K bombers, Su-30 fighters and tanker aircraft, conducted reconnaissance and early warning exercises, attacks on sea surface targets, and in-flight refueling “to test the air force’s fighting capacity on the high seas.”

Chinese bombers and fighters also conducted what Shen called a “regular patrol” in the East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that China unilaterally declared in 2013.

“The regular Western Pacific drills and ADIZ patrols are necessary to safeguard national sovereignty, the country’s security and maintain peaceful development,” Shen said.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

The air force will continue patrolling the East China Sea ADIZ and conduct training to improve its combat capacity in order to “uphold the legitimate rights and interests of China,” Shen added.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the government’s top spokesman, told a news conference Monday that although the aircraft never violated Japanese airspace, Tokyo “will continue to devote every effort to vigilance and surveillance and rigorously enforce steps against intrusions into our airspace based on international law and the Self-Defense Forces law.”

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

While it was apparently the first time for Beijing to send fighter jets on the route, its air force first flew other types of jets over the strait in May 2015, China’s Defense Ministry said.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada angered Beijing with a speech last week, in which she said Tokyo would “increase its engagement in the South China Sea through … Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the U.S. Navy.”

There was a fiery reaction in Chinese state media, but experts said she had not broken new ground in Japan’s approach to the South China Sea.

Still, according to University of Miami political science professor June Teufel Dreyer, the Chinese flights were meant to send a message to Japan not to meddle in the South China Sea issue. Read the rest of this entry »


Royal Navy Unveils Robot Spy Speedboat 

The 34ft boat can skim across the waves at more than 50kts to track high speed targets, while navigating and dodging other ships without the control of a human.

Naval commanders believe the Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) could herald a robot fleet of high-speed craft packed with sensors to carry out spy and scouting missions.

The unarmed test craft is one of 40 prototypes to be tested by the Royal Navy in a major robot war game off the coast of northern Scotland in October.

The dawn of unmanned vehicles is likely to have the same revolutionary effect on naval warfare as the birth of flight and aircraft carriers, according to the navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer.

Cdr Peter Pipkin said: “This is a chance to take a great leap forward in maritime systems – not to take people out of the loop but to enhance everything they do, to extend our reach, our look, our timescales, our efficiency using intelligent and manageable robotics at sea.”

MAST has been built for the MoD’s defence laboratories and is based on an existing Bladerunner speedboat, but fitted with sensors and robotic technology that is still largely classified.

The boat has a sophisticated anti-collision system to avoid hazards and other craft, but current laws meant that when it was unveiled on the Thames, it had to have a human coxswain on board.

While the MAST is only a test platform for new technology and will not enter service as it stands, sources said it could it pave the way for future robots vessels that can track, shadow or spy on other craft as well as loitering off coastlines.

Elizabeth Quintana, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Navy was looking at unmanned vehicles to take on “dull, dirty, and dangerous” jobs.  Read the rest of this entry »


A First Look at America’s Supergun

The Navy’s experimental railgun fires a hardened projectile at staggering velocity—a battlefield meteorite with the power to blow holes in enemy ships and level terrorist camps.

DAHLGREN, Va.— Julian E. Barnes reports: A warning siren bellowed through the concrete bunker of a top-secret Naval facility where U.S. military engineers prepared to demonstrate a weapon for which there is little defense.

Officials huddled at a video screen for a first look at a deadly new supergun that can fire a 25-pound projectile through seven steel plates and leave a 5-inch hole.

“I can’t conceive of a future where we would replicate Cold War forces in Europe. But I could conceive of a set of railguns that would be inexpensive but would have enormous deterrent value. They would have value against airplanes, missiles, tanks, almost anything.”

— Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work

The weapon is called a railgun and requires neither gunpowder nor explosive. It is powered by electromagnetic rails that accelerate a hardened projectile to staggering velocity—a battlefield meteorite with the power to one day transform military strategy, say supporters, and keep the U.S. ahead of advancing Russian and Chinese weaponry.

In conventional guns, a bullet begins losing acceleration moments after the gunpowder ignites. The railgun projectile gains more speed as it travels the length of a 32-foot barrel, exiting the muzzle at 4,500 miles an hour, or more than a mile a second.

“This is going to change the way we fight,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Mat Winter, the head of the Office of Naval Research.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, right, views the hole made in a steel plate by a railgun projectile during testing last year at a top-secret Naval facility in Dahlgren, Va.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, right, views the hole made in a steel plate by a railgun projectile during testing last year at a top-secret Naval facility in Dahlgren, Va. Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

The Navy developed the railgun as a potent offensive weapon to blow holes in enemy ships, destroy tanks and level terrorist camps. The weapon system has the attention of top Pentagon officials also interested in its potential to knock enemy missiles out of the sky more inexpensively and in greater numbers than current missile-defense systems—perhaps within a decade.

The future challenge for the U.S. military, in broad terms, is maintaining a global reach with declining numbers of Navy ships and land forces. Growing expenses and fixed budgets make it more difficult to maintain large forces in the right places to deter aggression.

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

“Chinese hackers in particular have tried to penetrate the computer systems of the Pentagon and its defense contractors to probe railgun secrets, U.S. defense officials said. Pentagon officials declined to discuss the matter further.”

“I can’t conceive of a future where we would replicate Cold War forces in Europe,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, one of the weapon’s chief boosters. “But I could conceive of a set of railguns that would be inexpensive but would have enormous deterrent value. They would have value against airplanes, missiles, tanks, almost anything.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Inside the test bunker at Dahlgren, military officials turned to the video monitor showing the rectangular railgun barrel. Engineer Tom Boucher, program manager for the railgun in the Office of Naval Research, explained: “We are watching the system charge. We are taking power from the grid.”

Wires splay out the back of the railgun, which requires a power plant that generates 25 megawatts—enough electricity to power 18,750 homes.

The siren blared again, and the weapon fired. The video replay was slowed so officials could see aluminum shavings ignite in a fireball and the projectile emerge from its protective shell.

“This,” Mr. Boucher said, “is a thing of beauty going off.”

The railgun faces many technical barriers before it is battle ready. Policy makers also must weigh geopolitical questions. China and Russia see the railgun and other advances in U.S. missile defense as upending the world’s balance of power because it negates their own missile arsenals. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Fighter Jets, Reconnaissance Helicopter Buzzed U.S. Navy Destroyer

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 reports: In the latest incident of aggressive Russian probing of American military assets, a Defense Department official said Wednesday that two Russian military jets engaged in an “aggressive” overflight maneuver of a U.S. Navy vessel sailing in international waters off the Russian coast.

The official, speaking on background, said the two jets flew uncomfortably close to a U.S. guided-missile destroyer in what the official called “simulated attack profiles” in Tuesday’s incident…(more)

Source: Washington Times


U.S. Naval Flight Officer Lt. Commander Accused of Giving U.S. Secrets to China

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin

Sam LaGrone reports: A U.S. naval flight officer with an extensive signals intelligence background was accused by the service of passing secrets to China, USNI News has learned.

Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, who served on some of the Navy’s most sensitive intelligence gathering aircraft, faces several counts of espionage and other charges outlined during a Friday Article 32 hearing in Norfolk, Va.

Lin, originally a Taiwanese national before his family moved to the U.S., had a career as a signals intelligence specialist on the Navy’s Lockheed Martin EP-3E Aries II reconnaissance aircraft, several sources confirmed to USNI News.

China Policeman

Several sources familiar with the case told USNI News the country to which Lin passed secrets was China, however, few other details are known about the case given much of the evidence is classified.

[Read the full story here, at USNI News]

The redacted charging documents say Lin allegedly transported secret information out of the country without permission and then lied about his whereabouts when he returned to duty. The charging documents allege he successfully committed espionage twice and attempted espionage on three other occasions.

Then-Lt. Edward Lin speaking at 2008 U.S. naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. US Navy Photo

Then-Lt. Edward Lin speaking at a 2008 U.S. naturalization ceremony in Hawaii. US Navy Photo

In addition to the accusations related to transmitting secrets to a foreign power, Lin was also accused of violating military law by patronizing prostitutes and committing adultery. Read the rest of this entry »


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

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 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 »


The Top-Secret Flights that Ended the War

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70 years after the atomic bombings, time stands still on the island of Tinian

 writes:Imagine disembarking on the shore of a remote tropical island. Walking cautiously past swaying palm trees into the heavy undergrowth, you soon encounter what appears to be the fossilized bones of an enormous prehistoric creature. The thick parallel lines might have been ribs, and the long straight stretches its spine or appendages. Naturally you’re moved to wonder how it appeared when alive, how it moved about and what it ate.

For dyed-in-the-wool history buffs or those merely looking for an exotic place off the beaten track to relax, Tinian beckons. It’s an easy trip from Japan. If you take a Delta Airlines flight to Saipan during daylight hours, be sure to request a window seat on the right side of the aircraft. On the plane’s approach to neighboring Saipan, you’ll get a fantastic bird’s-eye view of the “ribs” of that prehistoric creature — the four runways of North Field — which in the waning months of World War II was the largest operational U.S. air base in the world.

Home to barely 3,000 people, the 101-sq.-km island of Tinian is one of three inhabited islands of 14 that make up the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. Over a period of half a century — between 1899 and 1944 — Tinian went from being controlled by Spain to Germany, Japan and finally the U.S., which in July 1944 captured the island in an eight-day campaign that was largely overshadowed by the bigger and bloodier battle on Saipan, located just 9 km to the north.

From the late 1930s, Japan had begun to augment its military presence in the Nampo Shoto (groups of islands south of the main archipelago), sending 1,280 convicts from Yokohama Prison to Tinian to expand Hagoi Field, located at the north end of the island, with a 1,450-meter-long runway.

Once in American hands, teams of U.S. Navy construction battalions (known as “CBs” or “Seabees”) swarmed over the island, eventually moving an estimated 11 million tons of coral to build runways, taxiways, buildings and some 145 km of roads. The former Japanese airstrip was extended for use by the U.S. Air Force’s new long-range B-29 bombers, adding three more 2,440-meter runways.

It was from North Field’s runway, “Able,” that a specially modified B-29 christened Enola Gay, took off in the early hours of Aug. 6, 1945, to drop the first atomic bomb ever used in warfare on the city of Hiroshima.

Retracing history

I’d visited Tinian once before in 2007, but left to my own devices failed to find several of the places I’d wanted to see. This time I had much better luck, thanks to an introduction to the island’s resident historian, Don Farrell.

Farrell, who’s married to a native of Tinian, has taken up the story of his new home with gusto. In addition to publishing an illustrated guidebook for visitors in 2012 titled “Tinian: A Brief History,” he’s currently nearing completion of his magnum opus, a detailed history of the atomic bomb project that promises to shed new light on Tinian’s role in the war.

Arriving at the lobby of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel and Casino clad in sandals, Bermuda shorts, aloha shirt and a baseball cap, Farrell appears like a modern-day Robinson Crusoe — if Crusoe had driven a Mazda pickup truck.

“What would you like to see?” he asks me while delivering a firm handshake.

“What do you say we retrace the actual route the bomb parts took from their arrival on the island?” I suggest.

After stopping for bottled water and gasoline, we head north. Our first destination is Tinian’s small port, where the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis, on a top-secret mission, delivered the housing and key components of the uranium bomb on July 26, 1945. (Four days later a Japanese submarine would sink the ship east of the Philippines, with great loss of life.)

No ships, or people, are in port and there’s little left to see. We turn around and head northward on a bumpy, but still negotiable, road marked “8th Avenue.” (The roads in Tinian, named after streets in Manhattan, also include Broadway, Columbus Avenue and Riverside Drive.)

On our way north, we deviate up an overgrown hillside leading to the ruins of the Rasso Jinja, a Shinto shrine at the top of Mount Lasso, which at 171 meters marks the highest point on Tinian. Little remains of the shrine or the B-29 homing tower that stood close by. What can be seen is the concrete foundation of the old U.S. Army hospital. Read the rest of this entry »


Ambush Attack at Recruitment Center: Suspect Identified as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez

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UPDATE: Active shooter situation is over, per Chattanooga Police.  TEMA confirms 5 people are dead, including 4 Marines and gunman, and 2 wounded in shooting at Military Recruitment Center. CBS reports that law enforcement have identified the suspect as Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez

Developing…

[Breaking911]


Meet the P-1 Patrol: Japan’s New Surveillance Jet Expands Scope for Patrols

Japan-Defense-WSJ

Tensions have risen in recent weeks over China’s extensive land reclamation activity in the Spratlys. The U.S. hopes Japan will join its maritime air patrols over the disputed waters to check on what it sees as China’s expansionism.

Chiko Tsuneoka reports: Japan’s next-generation surveillance plane, officially unveiled earlier this week, will enable its military to conduct longer reconnaissance missions at a time when Tokyo is paying close attention to China’s growing presence in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

The P-1, manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., is crammed full of high-performance sensor equipment and the latest data-processing systems to detect P-1submarines and small vessels.

“Mobility to fly out to distant destination waters swiftly and operate for a long time while remaining in operational areas is necessary.”

The new plane, billed as the world’s first production aircraft to use fly-by-light fiber-optic cable technology, has a cruising speed of 830 kilometers an hour (515 mph), 30% faster than the P-3C patrol plane it will replace, and a range of 8,000 kilometers, an increase of more than 20%.

“Mobility to fly out to distant destination waters swiftly and operate for a long time while remaining in operational areas is necessary” for detecting submarines and other targets, said Cmdr. Jun Masuda of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s 511 Fight Unit during a presentation of the new jet at the MSDF’s Atsugi Air Base in Kanagawa prefecture, southwest of Tokyo.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The introduction of the P-1 comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is looking to pass security legislation to expand the scope of Japan’s military activities and bolster U.S.-Japan joint defense operations, partly in response to Beijing’s expanding military footprint in Asia. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Greg Gutfeld: Mindless Media Embrace Absurd Study on Extremism


There’s just one problem with the New America Foundation‘s conclusion…

Greg Gutfeld took on “lazy” media outlets that cited a flawed new studywhich claims that right-wing extremists have killed more people in the United States than Islamic extremists.

The Five” co-host noted that the study by New America omits all the lives claimed in the 9/11 terror attacks. The study only counts deaths that occurred after the terror attack that claimed 3,000 lives.

“That’s like saying, ‘Since Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, attacks on Pearl Harbor by Japan have decreased,’” Gutfeld remarked….(read more)

FoxNewsInsider

 


[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)

 


Experts Say Best Option Now Is Keeping Nation As Comfortable As Possible Till End

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 01:  Dr. Bruce Ribner, an epidemiologist and professor in the School of Medicine's Infectious Diseases Division, confirms that Emory University Hospital will be receiving and treating two American patients diagnosed with Ebola virus during a press conference at Emory University Hospital on August 1, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Ebola infected patients will be transported to Emory University Hospital from Liberia in the next couple of days and receive supportive care and treatment in a isolation unit separate from the general hospital.  (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—Saying there were no other options remaining and that continued intervention would only prolong the nation’s suffering, experts concluded Tuesday that the best course of action is to keep the United States as comfortable as possible until the end.

“We need to accept the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have long—simply helping it pass that time in comfort is the humane thing to do.”

According to those familiar with its condition, the country’s long, painful decline over the past several decades has made it clear that the most compassionate choice at this juncture is to do whatever is possible to ensure America is at ease during its last moments.

“Attempting to stabilize the country in its current enfeebled state would not only be extremely expensive, but it would also cause unnecessary agony as it enters this final stage.”

— Economist Danielle Martin

“We need to accept the fact that the U.S. doesn’t have long—simply helping it pass that time in comfort is the humane thing to do,” said economist Danielle Martin, speaking on behalf of a large group of experts ranging from sociologists and historians to lawmakers and environmentalists, all of whom confirmed they had “done everything [they] could.” “Attempting to stabilize the country in its current enfeebled state would not only be extremely expensive, but it would also cause unnecessary agony as it enters this final stage. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Obama Defense Dept. Forced Soldiers to Sign Non-Disclosure Statements on Turncoat Bowe Bergdahl’s Behavior

General Mullins told Bowe Bergdahl’s closest comrades to sign non-disclosure statements on Bergdahl’s behavior before he deserted his platoon.

 


[VIDEO] Rock & Roll: Memorial Day Tribute to the U.S. Navy

Tribute to the United States Navy in honor for all that have served, and as a tribute to all those currently serving, and those who will soon serve duty in the United States Navy..

via US Navy Tribute – Hell Yeah (Music Video) – YouTube


Maersk Tigris Update: Cargo Ship Seized by Iran released 10 Days Later, its Crew Safe

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Christine Mai-Duc reports: Iran has released a commercial cargo ship more than a week after it was seized by Iranian naval forces, the ship operator confirmed Thursday.

The Maersk Tigris, which was seized on April 28, was freed by Iranian officials after a court order, according to Cor Radings, a spokesman for Rickmers Shipmanagement, which manages and crews the vessel. Iran’s Ports and Maritive Organization confirmed the ship’s release.

Map depicting the MV Maersk Tigris’ original path toward the UAE and diversion after being intercepted by the IRGCN. (Source: marinetraffic.com)

The ship’s 24 crew members are in good condition, the company said in a statement. Radings added that “absolutely no violence” was used by the crew’s Iranian captors during the incident. The ship will now continue on to the port of Jebel Ali in the United Arab Emirates, where company officials will meet and attend to the crew.

“Given the circumstances, they were treated in a fair way,” Radings told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE Strait of Hormuz: U.S. Navy Ships to Accompany US-Flagged Ships in Gulf

USS_Farragut;99_Turn_Burn

U.S. defense officials say U.S. Navy ships will begin accompanying U.S.-flagged commercial ships when they transit the Strait of Hormuz.

The move is in response to what Washington views as provocative Iranian behavior in the Persian Gulf. Earlier this week Iranian naval vessels reportedly fired warning shots near a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship and have detained it and its crew. Iranian officials say the Maersk shipping line owes it money…(read more)

ABC News


UPDATE: Contact Made With Crew of Ship Detained by Iran: Sailors on Maersk Tigris in Good Condition but Confined to Cabins

USS-Farragut-Iran

DUBAI— Asa Fitch reports: The manager of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship Iran seized in the Persian Gulf said its crew members were in good condition, but were confined by guards to their cabins and the ship’s mess area.

“They’re all in relatively good condition, but it’s not a good situation and is still of concern to us.”

Rickmers Shipmanagement, the Singapore-based global shipping company that operates the M/V Maersk Tigris, had brief phone contact with the crew of 24, most of whom are from Eastern Europe and Asia, said Cor Radings, Rickmers’ spokesman.

“They’re all in relatively good condition, but it’s not a good situation and is still of concern to us,” Mr. Radings said. He added that the company was working with “international parties and experts” to secure the ship’s release, although he declined to provide details of that effort.

“Cargo-vessel seizures are a rarity in the Gulf, through which hundreds of ships carrying oil exports travel each day.”

On Tuesday, an Iranian patrol fired warning shots over the bow of the Maersk Tigris and directed it to a rendezvous point close to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, said U.S. officials and Rickmers. Rickmers said the ship was in international waters at the time.

In response to a distress call by the Maersk Tigris, the U.S. sent a Navy destroyer Tuesday to the Strait of Hormuz, the 21-mile-wide passage through which 30% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments pass.

USS_Farragut;99_Turn_Burn

“The seizure comes as conflict in Yemen has heightened tensions with Saudi Arabia, which sits on the southwestern shore of the Gulf, and Iran, which sits across from it.”

On Wednesday, the USS Farragut and three other smaller Navy ships were keeping watch on the strait and sending surveillance planes overhead, said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Under agreements between the U.S. and Marshall Islands, Col. Warren said the military had a treaty obligation to protect the Maersk Tigris, but said the U.S. was pursuing diplomatic options to resolve the confrontation.

Pentagon officials said Iran’s intentions in seizing the cargo ship were unclear. Some officials said they saw the move as an effort by Tehran to demonstrate its ability to control the strait after the U.S. military moved an aircraft carrier through the region as a warning to Iran to turn back a flotilla suspected of carrying weapons bound for Tehran’s allies in Yemen. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Navy Offical Reports: U.S. Warship Heads to Yemeni Waters

SHIP_CVN-71_Theodore_Roosevelt_Indian_Ocean_lg-1

DEVELOPING: U.S. Navy officials say the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen and will join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi rebels fighting in Yemen.

The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of Iranian ships may be headed toward Yemen to arm the Houthis.

The Houthis are battling government-backed fighters in an effort to take control of the country.

There are about nine U.S. ships in the region, including cruisers and destroyers carrying teams that can board and search other vessels. Read the rest of this entry »


When Islamic State Starts Hitting Ships

isis-trucks-wsj

Radical Islamists may soon gain a foothold on the Mediterranean. The U.S. Navy must be ready

Mr. Cropsey, the director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower, served as a naval officer and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Seth Cropsey writes: The slaughter of 21 Egyptian Christians by Islamic State militants on Feb. 15 took place on the Libyan shore of the Mediterranean. Former Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan recently told the Times of London that unless order is restored in his country, ISIS will secure territory on Libya’s Mediterranean coast within two months. This would increase its potential for attacks in Italy, Greece and elsewhere in Europe. An October ISIS publication pictured St. Peter’s Square under a black flag, and ISIS’s sentiments about Christians are clear.

Greater ISIS access to the Mediterranean would be deeply troubling to the region and a large strategic advance for the terrorist group. ISIS’s prospects for significant naval power are remote. But small boats, fishing vessels, smugglers, and merchant craft that carry concealed weapons could hijack, sink, or rake commercial shipping including cruise liners in the central Mediterranean. This would divide the eastern part of the inland sea from its west and expose Europe’s southern littoral to attacks and kidnappings.

[read the full text here, at WSJ]

Tehran today wields considerable power over two landlocked capitals of the region, Baghdad and Damascus. Its sea control is more expansive. Besides Iran’s border on the Persian Gulf it is now the major power in Beirut on the Mediterranean and San’a, the capital of Yemen, on the Bab El-Mandeb, the narrow strait that sits astride the southern gateway to and from the Suez Canal.

Turkish naval combatants’ current incursion in the Eastern Mediterranean—to escort a natural gas exploration vessel operating without permission in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone—has ended the stability that existed in the region since the Cold War standoff between U.S. and Soviet naval forces. And in 2013 Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to establish a permanent squadron in the Mediterranean. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Hookers, Suckling Pigs, Cuban Cigars’: Contractor Admits to Bribing Navy Officials

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A defense contractor who is the central figure in a wide-ranging Navy bribery scandal pleaded guilty on Thursday to providing cash, prostitutes, free hotel rooms and gifts worth millions of dollars to gain maintenance and supply contracts in Asian ports that overbilled the Navy by $20 million.

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[See also – ‘Massive’ Navy Bribery, Hooker Scandal Grows: Third Officer Charged]

In a federal court in San Diego, Leonard Francis, known by his nickname “Fat Leonard,” pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges related to a decade-long conspiracy to gain the contracts that he said involved “scores” of U.S. Navy officials. Francis was the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) a Singapore-based company that provided fuel, supplies, tugboats and sewage disposal to U.S. Navy ships when they woman-cigararrived in ports.

“Francis admitted that he gave millions of dollars in extravagant gifts and expenses to Navy officials including $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution services; travel expenses, including first class airfare, luxurious hotel stays and spa treatments.”

Leonard gave the Navy officials lavish gifts to gain classified information about the scheduled movement of U.S. Navy ships in Asia so he could block out competitors and then overbill the Navy for his company’s services, prosecutors said.

“He also provided officials with lavish meals, including Kobe beef, Spanish suckling pigs, Cuban cigars, designer handbags and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.”

Francis admitted that he gave millions of dollars in extravagant gifts and expenses to Navy officials including $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution services; travel expenses, including first class airfare, luxurious hotel stays and spa treatments. He also provided officials with lavish meals, including Kobe beef, Spanish suckling pigs, Cuban cigars, designer handbags and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.

U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy

U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy

“It is astounding that Leonard Francis was able to purchase the integrity of Navy officials by offering them meaningless material possessions and the satisfaction of selfish indulgences. In sacrificing their honor, these officers helped Francis defraud their country out of tens of millions of dollars. Now they will be held to account.”

—  U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy

prostitute-popster

When sentenced in April Francis could face up to 25 years in prison. In admitting his guilt he and his company agreed to repay the Navy $35 million. He has been cooperating with investigators and additional Naval officials may be implicated.

BRIBERY

So far the investigation has involved eight Navy officials, including a Naval Criminal Services Investigative Services (NCIS) agent who would tip Francis off to ongoing investigations into his conduct.

Read the rest of this entry »


Great Moments: Kennedy, Cuba and Cigars

JFK-cigar2

Pierre Salinger, Autumn 1992: Cigars have been a part of my life. My smoking habit began in my youth, helped me write my own adult history, and now, cigars are in my dreams. Even though the world is rising against smoking, and particularly against cigars, I still feel they are part of my daily world and I have no incentive to stop smoking them.

My cigar smoking started when I was young. I entered the United States Navy in the early days of World War II and when I reached the age of 19 I became commanding officer of a submarine chaser in the Pacific Ocean. But to run a ship that had 25 sailors and two other officers, all older than me, posed a deep psychological problem . How could I convince them that I was a man of authority? Even if the quality of those big cigars was mediocre, they accomplished their purpose–they made a 19-year-old boy really look like the commander of the ship.JFK-cigar4

When I returned to San Francisco after the war, I went back to a job at a daily newspaper where I had briefly worked before entering the Navy. I kept on smoking my cigars while I wrote articles. But the cigars were still bad cigars, and they obviously smelled bad. There was a wonderful woman journalist working for the newspaper who hated the smell. She decided to take up a collection among my fellow workers. She handed me $19.32 and told me it was her contribution for a better quality of cigars. Better cigars, better smell.

Despite the self-interested largess of my colleagues, I still did not advance to the cream of available cigars in those days, the imports from Cuba. Actually, I would have to wait until I was almost 35 years old before I started to work for a rising young American politician named John Kennedy, who liked to smoke Petit Upmann Cuban cigars. Working around him, I felt I had no choice but to upgrade my smoke of choice to a Cuban. I’ve smoked them ever since.

Shortly after I entered the White House in 1961, a series of dramatic events occurred. In April, 1961, the United States went through the disastrous error of the Bay of Pigs, where Cuban exiles with the help of the United States government tried to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. Several months later, the President called me into his office in the early evening.

“Pierre, I need some help,” he said solemnly.

“I’ll be glad to do anything I can Mr. President,” I replied.

“I need a lot of cigars.”

“How many, Mr. President?”

“About 1,000 Petit Upmanns.”

I shuddered a bit, although I kept my reaction to myself. “And, when do you need them, Mr. President?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

I walked out of the office wondering if I would succeed. But since I was now a solid Cuban cigar smoker, I knew a lot of stores, and I worked on the problem into the evening.

The next morning, I walked into my White House office at about 8 a.m., and the direct line from the President’s office was already ringing. He asked me to come in immediately.

“How did you do Pierre?” he asked, as I walked through the door.

“Very well,” I answered. In fact, I’d gotten 1,200 cigars. Kennedy smiled, and opened up his desk. He took out a long paper which he immediately signed. It was the decree banning all Cuban products from the United States. Cuban cigars were now illegal in our country.

JFK-cigar1

The embargo complicated my life. The only time I could get a few Cuban cigars was when I traveled abroad with the President to countries like France, Austria and Great Britain. But then, in late May 1962, I went alone to Moscow for the first time. I met for two days with Nikita Khrushchev, talking face to face with the Soviet leader. As our meeting came to end, Khrushchev turned to me. Read the rest of this entry »


The Navy’s Exoskeleton Could Make Workers 20 Times More Productive


America Chooses a Navy: Competition with China for the Global Future

USSRonald

George Will writes: Russia’s ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State’s erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, the “near seas,” meaning China’s seas. The episodes involving aircraft are relevant to one of Admiral Jonathan Greenert’s multiplying preoccupations — CUES, meaning Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.

“Cascading dangers are compelling Americans to think afresh about something they prefer not to think about at all — foreign policy.”

This is designed to prevent incendiary accidents, a topic of special interest during this month’s centennial commemorations of the beginning of a war that, ignited by miscalculations, ruined the 20th century. Greenert, chief of naval operations, has carrier-based aircraft flying from the Persian Gulf to targets in Iraq. He is, however, always thinking about the far side of the largest ocean.

su-closeup

One hundred years ago, the principal challenge of world diplomacy, which failed spectacularly, was to peacefully integrate a rising, restless power — Germany — into the international system. Today’s comparable challenge is China. Greenert, who knows well his Chinese counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, radiates a serene patience about China. Read the rest of this entry »


Call & Response: U.S. Sends Second Carrier to Asia Amid Tensions with China

Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)

Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) The Vinson will join the Japan-based USS George Washington strike group. 

China demands end to U.S. surveillance flights 

 reports: The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and Navy P-8 surveillance craft.P-8A-buzzed-map

 “We stand by our account of this dangerous and unprofessional incident.”

— Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby

The strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson departed San Diego for the Pacific on Friday, the Navy said in an announcement of what it terms a “planned” deployment.

China’s military on Saturday, meanwhile, demanded an end to all U.S. monitoring flights and called U.S. criticism of  dangerous Chinese jet maneuvers false.

Chinese-Defense-Ministry-spokesman-Yang-Yujun

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that a Chinese fighter jet made a “regular identification and verification” of the Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet during an encounter in an area 135 miles east of Hainan Island.

“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews.”

— Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool

Yang called Pentagon criticism of the incident “totally groundless” and insisted the Chinese pilot operated professionally and kept a safe distance.

A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 is seen in flight over Jacksonville, Fla. (U.S Navy photo by Personnel Specialist 1st Class Anthony Petry

A P-8A Poseidon assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 is seen in flight over Jacksonville, Fla. (U.S Navy photo by Personnel Specialist 1st Class Anthony Petry)

The Chinese spokesman’s account, published in the state-run Xinhua news agency, is at odds with Pentagon officials who called the encounter both dangerous and aggressive. A White House official also said the dangerous intercept was a Chinese “provocation.”

“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law.”

— Rear Adm. John Kirby

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby on Friday called the maneuvers by the Chinese J-11—a Russian design Su-27—a dangerous and unprofessional encounter and said the military has protested the incident to the Chinese military. 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.

ministry-n-d-china

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 »


First Test Flight of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator a Success


Breaking: Navy Releases Map Showing Location of Fleet Positions During Benghazi Attacks

Screen-Shot-2014-02-13-at-11.22.28-AM

[See Full-Size Map]

The Daily Caller reports:  The Navy has released a map showing the locations of its fleet positions near Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 — when terrorists killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

[View the map and the letter from the Navy]

The unclassified map — which was obtained by a retired Air Force veteran investigating the attacks through a public records request and published online by the group Judicial Watch — shows that there were dozens of vessels in the region during the attacks.

NavymapBenghazi

On the day of the attacks, the Navy had two aircraft carriers, four amphibious ships, 13 destroyers, three cruisers, a dozen small Navy boats and a command ship, Judicial Watch noted in its analysis of the map.

Read the rest of this entry »


Analysis: In the East China Sea, Three Broader Policy Lessons for America

U.S. Navy exercises last week in the South China Sea (Naval Surface Forces)

U.S. Navy exercises last week in the South China Sea (Naval Surface Forces)

Tom Rogan writes: When America and China have a falling out, the world tends to take notice.

That’s no surprise, of course. This relationship doesn’t just shape the interests of two nations; it heavily influences the economic, military, and political trajectory of the world. Indeed, because of this reality, the prospective consequences of a serious U.S.-Chinese dispute actually help decrease the likelihood of such a dispute’s occurring.

Still, I think there are three lessons that we can take from the present crisis.

1. In order to be real, American power must be projected.

As I suggested earlier this week, it’s very likely that this new ADIZ flowed from China’s desire to test American resolve. Yet even as the Obama administration has (thus far) acted courageously, the very fact that China decided to launch this challenge should be a serious cause for concern.

For all the imagery of American military power — jets shooting off carrier decks, tanks storming across deserts, vast ground deployments abroad — American power isn’t real unless it’s perceived practically. Just as our aircraft carriers cut waves through the sea, those vessels also cut waves of geopolitical consequence. This is a truth that we must embrace. In order to positively influence American foes and consolidate American friends, the United States must apply its power without apology.

Read the rest of this entry »


Navy Conducts Carrier-Based Testing of Drone In Va.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is shown in this undated handout photo from the aircraft's manufacturer, General Atomics. General Atomics explains that the previous "RQ" designation for this vehicle has recently been changed to "MQ" to reflect the aircrafts multi-functional capabilities. The new designation moves the Predator from a strictly reconnaissance role, to an ability to carry and fire weapons such as the "Hellfire" missile. (Photo by General Atomics/Getty Images)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is shown in this undated handout photo from the aircraft’s manufacturer, General Atomics. General Atomics explains that the previous “RQ” designation for this vehicle has recently been changed to “MQ” to reflect the aircrafts multi-functional capabilities. The new designation moves the Predator from a strictly reconnaissance role, to an ability to carry and fire weapons such as the “Hellfire” missile. (Photo by General Atomics/Getty Images)

The Navy says tests have demonstrated a drone’s ability to integrate with the environment of an aircraft carrier.

The X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator was tested Saturday and Sunday during flight operations aboard the U.S. Theodore Roosevelt.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] U.S. Sells Navy’s First Ever Supercarrier — All 60,000 Tons of it — for 1¢

The U.S. Navy’s first supercarrier, the now-decommissioned USS Forrestal (AVT-59)has been sold for one cent to Texas-based All Star Metals to be taken apart and scrapped.

The Navy awarded the contract to the company on Oct. 22. The net price proposed by the company “considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling,” according to an official statement.

Now, All Star Metals will develop a plan to tow the aging carrier — first launched in 1954 and decommissioned in 1993 — from Philadelphia to Brownsville, Texas.

Read the rest of this entry »


REPORT: Two missing after crash of U.S. Navy helicopter in Red Sea

The SH-60B Seahawk. The MH-60S has the Seahawk's automatic rotor blade folding system and rapid folding tail pylon for shipborne operations.

The SH-60B Seahawk. The MH-60S has the Seahawk’s automatic rotor blade folding system and rapid folding tail pylon for shipborne operations. Source – naval-technology.com

(CNN) — Three crew members aboard a U.S. Navy helicopter that crashed in the Red Sea on Sunday were found alive and in stable condition, the Navy said. Two others remained missing.

The MH-60S Knighthawk was operating with the guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence when it went down in the central Red Sea, which lies between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Search efforts are under way for the two remaining crew members.

The cause of the crash is under investigation; however, the Navy said it “was not due to any sort of hostile activity.”

CNN.com


Aaron Alexis: ‘Anger-Fueled-Blackout’

DC shooting suspect arrested in Seattle in ’04

Aaron Alexis, who police believe was a gunman at the Washington Navy Yard shooting in Washington

Aaron Alexis. Source AP/FBI

SEATTLE – The man identified by Washington D.C. police as a suspect in this morning’s shooting at a U.S. Navy Yard was arrested in Seattle in 2004 after an incident that he later described to police as an anger-fueled “blackout.”

Seattle Police say Aaron Alexis was arrested June 3rd 2004, a few days after shooting out the tires of a car parked in a driveway next to a home where he was staying in the Beacon Hill neighborhood.

Police say the morning of May 6th 2004, construction workers reported a man coming out of a house near where they were working and shooting out the tires of a Honda Accord that they had driven to the site and then returning to a nearby home.

Initially police say they couldn’t find the shooter, but a couple of days later they were able to track him down and arrest him outside his home.  Once they searched that home, police say they found a gun and ammunition in Alexis’ room.  Alexis was booked into the King County Jail for malicious mischief. Read the rest of this entry »


RAW VIDEO: Washington Navy yard helicopter airlift [AP]