Rapid Fire August 17, 2012: Swiss Armament Exports
- Hotspots: yesterday 11 American and Afghan troops died in a UH-60 Black Hawk crash in Afghanistan; Pakistani Talibans killed 22 Shite civilians and attacked a Pakistani air force base; more than 100 people died in a wave of attacks in Iraq.
- This comes as Syrian rebels threaten to ally with Al-Qaeda if no one else helps them first.
- The US Naval War College offers a “war at sea” strategy [PDF] to be able to deter or contain China without escalating into a full-scale conflict a la Air-Sea Battle:
“The capacity for sea denial within the first island chain and executing a distant blockade would provide American leadership graduated options before undertaking the potentially escalatory step of strikes on mainland China.”
- The Chief of Australia’s Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs spoke at the Lowly Institute making the case that we have entered a maritime century [PDF] based on the reliance of global, integrated supply chains on sea lanes. How does that translate for his country’s forces?
“Looking through a maritime rather than a continentalist or expeditionary lens at the naval force structure there is one overriding factor in our strategic circumstance, we must have reach and endurance. If we accept that we may need to have presence at any of the key choke points of the Indian Ocean, then we must be able to deploy and then operate in a sustained way, at a considerable distance from Australia.”
- Armament exports from Switzerland have grown [in French] to 415 million CHF (about $425M) for the first half of 2012. Their biggest customer was their northern neighbor Germany. Both countries have been facing pressure from public opinion to stop selling weapons to oppressive regimes in the Middle East, but so far that has not stopped them from registering record sales with the UAE or Saudi Arabia.
- An F-16 from the Belgian Air Force crashed [in French] yesterday in what looks like a birdstrike.
- DARPA continues to develop its Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program launched in 2010 with an award to SAIC to design, build and test a vessel by mid-2015 for the purpose of tracking quiet diesel electric submarines.
- DOD’s research arm is also working on silicone “soft robots” made of silicone. They’re meant to be cheap and you can change their color by pumping fluilds into them. Video below of what looks like a fumbling early life form crawling out of the ocean. The next thing you know, it will grow legs and a brain. Results of the underlying camouflage research conducted at Harvard and the Wyss Institute have been published in Science.
- Meanwhile MIT has been working on planes that fly themselves indoors without GPS reception. See 2nd video below: