Wednesday, August 24, 2016

And the hits just keep Putin offers to host Middle East peace talks.

Thanks to Joe for the link

via WarNewsUpdates.
President Vladimir Putin is pushing to host peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in the latest sign of his ambition for Russia to replace the US as chief powerbroker in the Middle East.
Mr Putin made his overture to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, who said that it would involve a meeting at the Kremlin between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ­Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.
“Putin has told me that he is ready to receive Abbas and ­Netanyahu in Moscow to carry out direct talks to find a solution,” Mr Sisi told the state-owned newspaper Al Ahram.
Gawd Damnit!  I'm really getting tired of our so called best and brightest being out maneuvered by Putin.  Either the guy is a freaking genius or our people are idiots.

Lets take it by the numbers....He props up Assad, brings Turkey to heel, gets Iran to furnish most of the soldiers taking the hits in the fight against the moderate terrorists (is there any such thing?), blunts US strategy against ISIS, curb stomps Kurdish ambition for a state carved out of the carcasses of Iraq/Syria...and now he wants to play peace maker between Israel and Palestine.

The optics on this are terrible.

We are on a serious losing streak in the Middle East and Putin is raping us with a cactus.

US dumps the Kurds, supports the Turks.

The Turkish military supported by warplanes from the US-led coalition launched an operation at 4am on August 24 to clear the town of Jarablus, in Northern Syria, from Islamic State militants, state-run news agency Anadolu reported.
Turkish artillery and warplanes are pounding Islamic State positions in the town but it is not clear whether land forces have crossed the border. Local news channel NTV, however, reported that units from Turkish special forces are now in Northern Syria.
The operation is aimed at clearing the Turkish borders of terrorist groups, helping to enhance border security and supporting the territorial integrity of Syria, Turkish officials told Anadolu Agency. By sweeping Islamic State from the border, Ankara and Washington hope to cut off the extremist group’s vital supply routes.
The military operation was launched after a number of mortar bombs fired from IS-controlled Jarablus landed in the Turkish town of Karkamis on August 23. There were no reported casualties but the local authorities ordered residents to evacuate the town.
This is insanity.  Correct me if I'm wrong (and I probably am) but the score card looks like this now.

*  Russia is supporting Assad.
*  Iran is supporting Assad.
*  Turkey is ok with Assad.
*  Russia is fighting ISIS.
*  Turkey is fighting ISIS.
*  Iran is fighting ISIS.
*  Kurds are fighting Assad.
*  Kurds are fighting ISIS.
*  Moderate terrorists are fighting Kurds.
*  Moderate terrorists are fighting Assad/Russia/Iran
*  US is supporting Turkey.
*  US is supporting moderate terrorists.
*  US is supporting Kurds?

This whole thing is now jumbled.  Turkey is going after the Kurds.  No one doubts that.  The US is supporting Turkey.  Our Special Ops people are on the ground with the Kurds.

This whole thing is fucked beyond recognition.

Side Note:  Does anyone have a legit flow chart of this mess?  I seriously can't keep track of this thing!  Save your drama...I know I screwed up the "who's fighting who"!

USAF now planning on using 4th gen fighters in contested airspace?

Thanks to William for the link!

via Janes IHS
It is intended that the SHiELD pod would better enable the USAF's fourth-generation fighter fleet, such as the Boeing F-15 Eagle and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, to survive in contested airspace. The fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II would probably not carry the pod, as it would negate their stealth characteristics.
So wait one gawd damn minute.

All the F-35 fanboys have been stating that 4th gen fighters won't be entering contested airspace. The F-35 and F-22 would have to clear the way to "make it safe" for them.

Now the Air Force is building a pod so our 4th gen fighters can enter that fight?   It appears that planning for the future USAF fleet is changing.  I wonder what they're not telling us.

Open Comment Post Aug 24, 2016.

Open Comment Post so you can take discussions wherever you want.  I have a question for my readers though.  An reader came by and declared that the Spike is the best anti-tank missile in the world.  I never really thought about it because I considered it a wash. Is he right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Land 400 requirements were poorly written.

Sorry folks.  I need to take another bite of this apple.  Long story short?  If I was Singapore Kinetics I would lodge a protest.  Ditto with General Dynamics.

The more I dig into the specification and wording of the requirement with the Land 400 the more I think the Australian Defence Ministry was smoking crack.

How can you run a contest and not specify a manned or unmanned turret?  How can you run a contest with protection levels so high that they're bordering on damn near MBT level protection and then turn around and talk about the vehicle having to be MOTS when NO ONE IN THE WORLD is operating a vehicle with the protection levels they specified!

The Aussies put out an unrealistic wish list, tried to pare it down by saying that it was off the shelf and are still ending up with a vehicle that is built with yesterday's tech but is suppose to serve well into the future.

I'm getting more and more pissed by what I'm seeing here.  I thought this program would be one to watch because it would deliver the most advanced wheeled vehicle in the world to the Aussies.  Instead it turned into a text book example of how NOT to run a program.

Let me leave you with this parting shot.  They wrote a requirement that meant the Patria XP, General Dynamics LAV 5 and apparently Terrex 3/Sentinel II were disqualified!  Three of the most advanced wheeled IFVs were shot down because they weren't in service yet.  Instead you have vehicles that have been in service for at least 10 years and a few even longer making the down select.  Simply Amazing!

Below The Turret Ring Blog has a must read on Land 400.

via BTTR.
The Patria AMV 35 CRVshould be considered a cheap, but less capable option compared to the Boxer. The Boxer CRV is the "we put everything possible in the vehicle" solution, while the AMV 35 CRV seems to be based on a more reasonable cost-to-benefit ratio. However, aside of lower armor and lack of advanced features, there are a few more aspects about the proposal from Patria and BAE that are not so ideal. Not offering the latest configuration of the AMVXP, but an older chassis with only 30 metric tons of payload (still three more than the original 8x8 AMV could handle) is sub-optimal for a vehicle meant to stay in service for several decades to come. The commander's indepent optronics are integrated into the cupola, making hunter-killer options possible, but more cumbersome than utilizing a proper panoramic sight like the Boxer CRV or the Sentinel II.
This is a very nice overview of the selection process.  What still irks is that I still haven't gotten a proper explanation of why the Terrex 3/Sentinel II didn't make the down select.

I stand by my contention that it was the best vehicle in the competition and had the most growth potential...anyone check out the article.

SOCOM adopting Israeli room clearing tactics?

I got this from a little birdy, a if he swings around and tells me to take this post down then so be it.

With that out of the way, I was told that SOCOM is adopting Israeli room clearing tactics after lessons learned in the Middle East.  The difference is the action at the "fatal funnel".  US tactics were to stack at the door and then move rapidly to clear that choke point while taking up positions of dominance in the room being cleared.

Israeli tactics are to stack at the door achieve dominance at the funnel and then once the threat is suppressed move forward.  Its a poor description but I hope you get the gist.

I personally view this as a good thing.  Its alot less dynamic, alot more methodical but it should reduce casualties on our side.

This is a good sign.  No need to reinvent the wheel.  Innovation comes from many places and if an ally or even an enemy comes up with a better way then we should be all over it.

Marine Tanks to receive upgrade.

Thanks to D90 for the link!

via Tanks and AFV News.
Marine Corps Systems Command is modernizing the tank commander’s weapon station on the M1A1 tank by developing a suite of systems that give tank commanders and their gunners a hunter-killer edge over their enemies.
The new Abrams Integrated Display and Targeting System, Tank Commander Single Handle and slew-to-cue capability make up the modernized trifecta that cuts time to enemy engagement by half while increasing accuracy, range and lethality on the battlefield.
Responding to feedback from Marines, the Abrams Integrated Display and Targeting System, or AIDATS, upgrades the thermal and day sights on the stabilized commander’s weapon station through a state-of-the-art, high-definition camera and permanently mounted color display.
“The most significant benefit—the main reason why AIDATS was started—is the color display,” said Michael Kreiner, AIDATS project officer in MCSC’s Armor and Fire Support Systems. “Users didn’t like the black and white camera that was in the tank before, because they have a hard time distinguishing between different color trucks.”
There is much more at the link.

I don't think this changes my assessment of things.  THEY MIGHT go forward with these upgrades but the future of tanks in the Marine Corps is very much in doubt.

Say it with me.  LESS THAN 60 TANKS (estimate) are left in the active duty Marine Corps.

After the "future" Marine Corps paper comes out later this year I expect that number to go to zero.  I further expect for them to split the baby and move them to the reserves.  That will keep the tribe from howling too loudly and open up boat spaces for the wing to get more maintainers, the new cyber bubbas and a few more spots in the Infantry battalions.

US Army moves forward with ATACMS replacement.

Thanks to William for the link!

via Press Release.
The U.S. Army has awarded Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) a $5.7 million risk-mitigation contract for the Long Range Precision Fires program. The new missile will replace the Army's
aging inventory of long range, surface-to-surface missiles. Fired from mobile launchers, LRPF will fly farther, faster, and feature a new warhead. "As the world's largest missile maker, Raytheon is ideally positioned to develop the Long Range Precision Fires solution the Army needs," said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. "With our wide portfolio of products, proven technology and guided missile expertise, Raytheon can deliver a low-risk, highly effective and affordable solution."

The Army's current inventory of long range, precision-guided,
surface-to-surface missiles dates back to the 1980s. The new LRPF missile will be more affordable, survivable against advanced threats, and more compact, allowing the Army to double the fire power of long-range missiles in its mobile launchers.
I once thought that the Navy was the only service that was truly getting ready to fight the next war.  After a few missteps by the ladies dept I'm thinking that only the Army has a clear view of a future fight with a near peer.

They've latched onto the idea of fighting without air superiority.  They're working on upgrading their armor (kinda stuck with the Stryker but at least they're adding firepower to it...the M1 Abrams upgrades are keeping pace and the AMPV seems on track) and now they're getting their rocket artillery house in order.

ATACMS is the conventional Pershing that we've always needed and its nice to see they're finally getting one.  Now if they could only get cannon artillery fixed.

Armata Universal Combat Platform to receive slat armor package.

The wheels and tracks of the latest armored vehicles constructed on Russia’s Armata Universal Combat Platform, which includes a new tank, will be equipped with additional protective armor. The Russian Research Institute (NII) is developing the new hardware for the platform.

According to the developers, "plate shields," which are similar in appearance to the bars on metal bunk beds, will be installed along the perimeter of the machines. These shields will protect armored vehicles from cumulative grenades and anti-tank guided missiles — the most common threat to them in urban settings. The new shields are intended to deform the head of a grenade when it makes contact with the vehicle and divert part of the energy from the explosion.
This story was slightly confusing.  When the Armata Tank was rolled out it had slat armor around the engine compartment in the usual Western fashion.  My guess is that they're talking about the IFV/APC version (as well as the recovery and engineer models).  This part of the article makes it seem like the designers aren't too happy about the idea though.
Designers are skeptical of the plan, however, pointing out that the shields, or screens, are inferior to dynamic armor in combat performance.
"They are cheaper and technically simpler and increase engine protection and transmission by several times in the conditions of urban warfare,” said Dmitry Safonov, military correspondent for Izvestia, speaking about the shields. “A key drawback is their low versatility. The lattice screen will save the technology only from certain types of hand-held anti-tank grenades.”
I don't see how it could hurt so is the real issue weight?  The IFV/APC are members of a class of two (Namer being the other) heavyweight vehicles.  If Main Battle Tank armor can't stand up to the intended use then they're facing doctrine issues.

Something as minor as adding slat armor suddenly bears watching.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Political Rant. Donald Trump made the black vote relevant.

This is a rant and it isn't for everyone so if you skip it no problem.

Still here?  Then back on task.  Donald Trump, supposedly the most racist Presidential candidate in 30 years has made the black vote relevant.  Even better?  The Democrats are scared shitless!

Follow my thinking here.  For the last 30 years the Democrats have taken the black vote for granted and the Republicans have (it could be said rightfully) ignored it.  Why fight for a demographic that is so aligned with the opposition that they vote in the high 80 percent or higher election after election?  Bush Jr for all his failings made a strong push for the black vote but the machinery came out to try and short circuit his efforts.

But now.  In one week and four speeches Trump has made it relevant.  What is going on here?  I've said for quite awhile that the black community is not pleased with the President.  I've said that support for Hillary might be wide but not deep.  Now we have one week of DECENT (not spectacular) campaigning by Trump and the Dems are going nuts.

We are living in bizarro world.  Black leadership is pushing policy that hurts poor blacks, White racists(!) are pushing policies that will help, and the guy that they say is the most divisive candidate ever is trying to win our vote.

Is it just a campaign tactic?  Maybe.  Is it calculated to make the Dems work to keep their base intact while Trump is doing the same with the Republican elite?  Probably...many people think so.

But the fact remains.  For the first time in my memory, the black vote will be fought for.  Simply amazing.

NOTE:  For the doubters that will inevitably come to my blog, I simply ask this.  When was the last time you remember both parties actively fighting for the black vote?  When was the last time the Democrats DID NOT automatically assume that they would get upwards of 80 percent of that vote? Tump is an egomaniac but if this one thing sticks then he's done at least a portion of the public a big favor.

Army is preparing its medics for a war without medevac helos

via We Are The Mighty.
We’ve had the luxury of air superiority so we could evacuate our casualties at will,” West told WATM at a recent meeting with defense reporters in Washington, D.C. “We’re trying to make sure that in an environment where it’s not as permissive — where we’re going to have to retain casualties longer — we have the ability to do this prolonged care.”
West added that in Afghanistan, for example, there were cases where patients were flown out of the combat zone and back to Bethesda Naval Medical Center and on the operating table within 24 hours. But in future wars, that capability might not exist.
In the wars since 9/11, the Army has benefitted from American air dominance which allowed slow-moving, poorly-armed medical evacuation helicopters to speed to the battle and pick up wounded in a matter of minutes. That’s led to a 93 percent survival rate for wounded soldiers, a 75 percent increase since the Vietnam war.
But the Army is worried that wars in the near future won’t allow a speedy MEDEVAC, so its medics will have to deal with situations like potential limb loss from tourniquets staying on longer than usual to fluid pooling in the brain or organs, West said. That doesn’t mean that all of the sudden 68Ws have to be trained as vascular surgeons, but they do have to be able to get detailed information that’ll help keep their patients alive.
The US Army is acting as if its a foregone conclusion that the US will NOT have air superiority in the next war.  That makes me wonder how the Marine Corps can push the idea of Company Landing Teams ... does the Army have information that the Marine Corps doesn't?

This isn't the first article where the Army is talking about the lack of air superiority in future fights.  Add ground based electronic warfare units of threat nations to the mix and you have a scenario of our ground forces fighting without air or artillery support.  If the Army is right then we're not gonna get beat in the next war...We're gonna get smashed.

Even worse?  If West is right then we're going to see old skool casualty rates.  The days of the horribly wounded but still living American fighting man might be replaced with increased deaths.  Not from the initial wound but from losing the golden hour.