Not built in a day
- Iran’s Condor Legion, Hezbollah, has been fighting and even running large sections of Assad’s war in Syria for some months now. With the USA on the sidelines and ineffective, the Gulf Arab states are reportedly recruiting a Sunni counterforce in places like Pakistan. That should provide lots of good training for future bad actors – but the logic of the war compels it. The thing is, it takes way more than recruitment to build an effective counterforce, including media outlets, and consistent revenue/operative training via components like criminal enterprises with global reach. Hezbollah wasn’t built in a day.
Israel: Blowing up the box
- Israel’s Air Force just finished hosting the multinational “Blue Flag” exercise at Ovda AB, with participation from the USA (F-15E), Italy (Tornado IDS, AMX), and Greece (F-16C/D Block 52), plus delegates from 22 countries who may show up in future years. It’s a good location. After an interrupted history, the Cheyl Ha’Avir’s “Flying Dragons” Aggressor training squadron has been operating from Ovda since 2005.
- While the Air Force units and dignitaries visit, they should look into a more visionary idea: Israel’s 3-day military Technocamp at Ramon AB. Why think outside the box, when blowing it up is sooo much more fun?
- USAF Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh III will be giving a talk about the USAF’s future on Dec 11/13, at the American Enterprise Institute. RSVP here.
- Perhaps he’d care to offer some insight regarding the modernization of the USAF’s B61 nuclear bombs. There isn’t much clarity coming from political leaders.
China: Building blowback
- Foreign Policy magazine asks: “Is China planning more air defense zones as Biden heads over?” Duh – they said they would when they set up the 1st one.
- The biggest fallout may not be that South Korea being pushed to invest in advanced military gear – but that Abe’s Japan is being given political space and impetus to begin selling it within the region.
- T.X. Hammes has some thoughts re: a military strategy to deter China, but he starts from the premise that AirSeaBattle is a likely strategic failure: “Perhaps the biggest weakness of the ASB concept is that it scares our allies without deterring China. Since most ASB technology is top secret, U.S. officials are unable to discuss it with our allies. As a result, many allies assume the United States will… initiate immediate, extensive attacks on Chinese territory… [but] are obviously concerned that China will see such attacks as emanating from allied territory and respond in kind.”
Embraer in Africa
- Nigeria is the latest African country to express interest in Embraer’s EMB-314/ A-29 Super Tucano light attack turboprops. If a sale goes through, they’d join African Super Tucano operators in Angola, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania.
- If they buy some, they may have some room at their air base in Maiduguri. It just suffered a heavy company-sized attack by Boko Haram Islamists, which reportedly included a stolen armored personnel carrier. Of course, the NAF will have to do some rebuilding first…
Videos: Inside, Outside
2 videos today, one from within the Pentagon procurement system, and 1 from outside it. Textron AirLand has begun taxi tests of its Scorpion light attack/ reconnaissance/ counter-insurgency jet prototype, but there is no US requirement. We agree that the real question is whether there’s a viable international market by the time Scorpion is ready. Is Nigeria a positive sign, or a signal that the market will be closed by a dominant player?
The 2nd video is Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s farewell ceremony. Before holding that job, he was Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (AT&L):