Rapid Fire 2012-02-10: Energize This

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* The Brookings think tank, on the proliferation of IED attacks in 2011: “[D]anger will not disappear even after the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan ends. […] It is unsustainable to keep throwing billions of dollars to fight a technology that costs the other side tens of dollars. […] We need […] solutions […] that are […]

* The Brookings think tank, on the proliferation of IED attacks in 2011: “[D]anger will not disappear even after the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan ends. […] It is unsustainable to keep throwing billions of dollars to fight a technology that costs the other side tens of dollars. […] We need […] solutions […] that are cheap and scalable.”

* The inherent cost asymmetry imposed by mines is also on the Naval War College Review’s mind in their overview of mine warfare in China’s near seas [PDF]. Duly filed under the fashionable “anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) in Asia” category.

* US Congressman Mike Coffman [R-CO] is urging [PDF] Secretary Panetta to be bolder in applying his own Strategic Guidance and get US troops out of Europe. Coffman sits on the Armed Services Committee and is a former member of the Army Reserve then served in active duty in the Marine Corps.

* Meanwhile Senator Tom Harkin [D-IA] is preemptively striking the proposed decommissioning of the 132nd Fighter Wing in Des Moines: “The 132nd is among the best in the country and we will do everything in our power to keep them flying.” Harkin is a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. Expect a lot more of the same if the Obama administration really intends to push through a base realignment process in an election year. The FY13 President Budget is coming next Monday.

* The US Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely-Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) is going to use a decommissioned A-10A Thunderbolt to conduct weather research through thunderstorms. The plane is going to be refurbished and submitted to tests with a hail cannon before it’s ready for its new role by the end of next year.

* According to Reuters the US State Department is starting to play hardball in its stalled row with French satellite maker Thales Alenia over alleged ITAR violations in sales to China.

* The US Air Force published a 5-year science & technology vision statement on energy [PDF] to complement their energy plan [PDF]. It says:

“The Air Force is the single largest energy user in the DoD. Jet fuel is the predominant form (84%) of energy consumed at over 2 billion gallons every year and creates one of the Air Force’s largest operational expenses (approximately $8B/year). […] The operational improvements of new platforms such as the C-17 and F-35 come with 50% to 125% burn rate increases over legacy platforms such as the C-141 and F-16. Accordingly, the [10% jet fuel burn reduction] 2015 goal cannot be achieved even with all current planned investments until 2029. As of this writing, the goal is under re-examination in an effort to link these enhanced capabilities with the desired fuel burn reduction.”

See the chart of the USAF’s projected fuel burn below:

Air Force fuel consumption by airframe, 2000-2040

Air Force Fuel Burn Projections
(click to view full)

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