Nov 30, 2013 14:24 UTC
B-52H, B-1B & B-2A
The good news? 2006 saw a convergence of opinion within the USAF that a new long-range strike platform was needed. This is understandable given the B-52H Stratofortress fleet’s age (40-50 years), the B-1B Lancer’s internal power and electronics issues, both of these platforms’ low survivability against advanced air defense systems, and the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber’s very small numbers (21, of which 7-12 are generally operational). The unmanned J-UCAS program, meanwhile was seen as having inadequate range and payload (Boeing X-45C: 1,400 mile radius with 8 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs). The USAF decided that J-UCAS wasn’t a solution and pulled out, stalling American UCAV development until the Navy chose to go ahead with the carrier-based N-UCAS.
The bad news? They seemed to have little idea of exactly what they wanted in their bomber. The FY 2010 budget killed those plans anyway, but in September 2010, pressure to field a new bomber began to rise again. By the time fiscal year 2015 budget planning was in motion, both DoD and the Air Force seemed committed to making the program one of the service’s top 3 priorities.
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Nov 28, 2013 00:55 UTC
It’s that time of year again. For those of you celebrating American Thanksgiving, or who just want a feast, the US Defense Commissary Agency has some tips for cooking turkey, and some recipes. Yummly offers some options for your leftovers.
Our big recommendation: if you’re deep-frying your turkey, be safe. Hundreds of years ago, boiling oil was a weapon we would have covered. Treat it accordingly. Common tips include making 100% sure that adding the turkey to the oil will not cause an overflow or near-overflow. The turkey has displacement, and on top of that, oil will boil up a bit when the moisture of the turkey skin hits it. So test displacement first to figure out the fill line, then make sure the bird is fully thawed, and pat that bird dry inside and out. Fire Marshals also advise people to set up the fryer away from one’s house, on a flat, non-wooden surface, and have oil-rated fire extinguishers handy as you monitor the frying. Keep your home safe, and don’t forget to take precautions for yourself and your family, too.
DID offers thanks to all of our readers, and to all American and allied soldiers in uniform. We’ve added a few stories and updates for our international readers today, but won’t be publishing again until Monday.
Nov 25, 2013 18:56 UTC
Polish Leopard 2A4
Germany is almost done selling off one of the world’s most impressive tank fleets, earning itself a solid market around the world in the process, and choking sales of competitive designs. In November 2013, Poland announced that it would buy a 2nd batch of Leopard 2 tanks from Germany, along with assorted other equipment. As usual, the package price was incredibly cheap: just EUR 180 million for 119 more tanks, plus range training fittings, machine guns, radios; and assorted armored tractors, cars, and trucks. Poland’s next question is what to do with the new gear…
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Nov 21, 2013 16:00 UTC
Flip sides of the COIN
- Just hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry had announced a deal had been reached, Afghan President Hamid Karzai postponed the signing of a security agreement with the US until after next April’s elections. American officials were still recently hoping for a very rapid conclusion to these negotiations. Here’s the predecisional draft [PDF], and a letter [PDF] sent by President Obama to Karzai. Much is at stake.
- Former US general and Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry says COIN was a failure there. Military.com takes up the debate, and notes other points of view from McChrystal et. al. Petraeus himself takes up that side in his own Foreign Policy article.
- A report by the Chatham House think tank shares the blame for Britain’s military difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan beyond just politicians, and recommends a more formal approach to policy:
“Although in theory the British model could be flexible and fast-acting, it brought incoherence, inconsistency and opacity. It was not resilient enough to deal with the extraordinary pressures of the Iraq and Afghanistan crises. It contributed to a continuing breakdown of trust between politicians and senior military officers, and disunity and division of purpose within the government.
The ad hoc British approach to political-military relations contrasts strongly with US practice, which is based on a mixture of a formal legal framework, a lively public and specialist debate, and the continuing exercise of civilian authority over the armed forces, including through the dismissal of senior officers.”
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