Blackhawk’s Would-Be Demise Ires Congress, Governors

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* The state-by-state politics of basing are expected to flare up, not just with the f-35 basing displacement decisions, but also with the seemingly vulnerable decision by the military to do away with National Guard Blackhawk assets. Because National Guard bases are necessarily state-based and distributed in a more geographically diverse fashion, few congressmen or […]

* The state-by-state politics of basing are expected to flare up, not just with the f-35 basing displacement decisions, but also with the seemingly vulnerable decision by the military to do away with National Guard Blackhawk assets. Because National Guard bases are necessarily state-based and distributed in a more geographically diverse fashion, few congressmen or governors will have weak opinions on the matter. Last year, congress blocked the wholesale removal of Blackhawks until at least 2016. The Army’s original suggestion had the Guard keeping just the Lakota multi-use helicopters. Some see a commission being created to offload the hot potato.

Asia

* Multiple reports, including this one from a conservative South Korean daily, indicate that North Korea is seeking to purchase Russian Su-35 fighters. North Korea has serially approached Russian and Chinese governments over the past few decades, seeking to purchase air-to-air capacity, and appears to have been consistently turned down.

* South Korea, meanwhile, selected IAI’s Heron UAV for a planned corps-level round of upgrades. The Heron has had a good run of late in Asia.

* China continues its drumbeat of beautiful military capability images, releasing still more photos apparently geared to domestic audiences. The optimistic interpretation of this is that it is for recruitment purposes. That appears to be the the case, as other reports continue to show the Chinese at pains to downplay military capabilities.

U.S.

* Raytheon sent out a release regarding a successful flight test of an improved APG-79(V)X AESA radar, but more interesting was the sub-header included: “New Capabilities Designed to Lengthen the F/A-18C-D Hornet’s Relevance.” The comparison and potential threat – if remote – to the complete dominance of the behemoth F-35 program is appearing more explicit.

* Boeing delivered immersive F-22 flight simulators to the Air Force, which feature both 360-degree surround imagery, and also consistent availability of oxygen.

* The U.S. Army issued an RFP for full rate production for its JTRS HMS radio system, with plans to test units over 2015-1016, “off-ramping” multiple vendors who do not meet requirements and going into full production in 2017. This, despite consistent reports that the design is less effective, heavier and much disliked by units who have operationally tested it.

* Today’s video shows the silence of electric motorcycles, something the video slowly conveys as one realizes that the rider’s breathing can be heard…

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