On 5 August 2016, anti-government forces from the Free Syrian Army and the Islamist coalition Jaish al-Fateh stormed and captured a Syrian Arab Army (SAA) artillery school facility during operations aimed at breaking the Syrian regime siege of Eastern Aleppo. The following day, rebel group Ahrar al-Sham posted photos of materiel in the facility’s ‘Ordnance Square‘. Apart from a number of artillery pieces more commonly seen in the Syrian conflict, a photo showed a Soviet 180 mm S-23 artillery gun in the travelling position.
An interesting look at one of the more obscure Soviet artillery pieces.
What’s your favorite plane? What’s your favorite plane picture?
That’s an F-4E, and I belive the MY tail code is Seymour Johnson AFB, sometime in the mid 1980s.
BTW, there’s an interesting difference between how the Navy and the Air Force developed the various sub-types of F-4.
The Navy F-4B and F-4J (and their F-4N and F-4S mods) always had a limited ground attack capability, but were always optimized for the air to air role.
The Air Force, on the other hand, would modify some parts of the C, D, and E fleets to be optimized for the air to ground role, with sensors and navigation equipment that made some of their jets very formidable precision strike aircraft. Meanwhile, other parts of the Air Force fleet were still very optimized for the air to air role.
New Zealanders are famous for tinkering in the shed, and restoring old stuff. Like, say, an 88mm flak cannon? H/T to ijkvmi88
Via CDR Salamander- since we’re on an Antipodean kick, here’s the Aussies and Kiwi’s at the Battle of Long Tan.
I was looking up some obscure old US aircraft, and ended up re-reading the wiki entry for the Curtiss SOC Seagull floatplane. Which lead to this personal history of an aircrewman who served in World War II flying from the USS San Francisco. There are a few minor inaccuracies in the telling, but it is a good read. And how about starting the war as a Seaman, and making Chief, and then Chief Warrant Officer?
We all know that some guy in a missile bunker can’t just start a nuclear war on his own. What’s scary is, it hasn’t always been that way.
Two hours, but very interesting, and informative. Grab a cup of coffee.
The massive recall of prisoner-made combat helmets for the Army and Marine Corps was actually three times as big as initial reports indicated, a new investigation has found.
The Defense Department recalled 129,000 Advanced Combat Helmets and Lightweight Marine Corps Helmets in 2010 due to a number of defects and fears soldier and Marines' lives were at risk. Initial reports put that number at only about 40,000-plus.
The U.S.Department of Justice Inspector General conducted two joint investigations into the controversy and a new report issued Wednesday details a number of disturbing findings:
So, for two different contracts, one from the Department of the Army, and another, by the Defense Logistics Agency, on behalf of the Marine Corps, the government solicited bids to make combat helmets for our troops.
ArmorSource, LLC successfully bid for the contracts.
But rather than making the helmets, ArmorSource turns around and subcontracts the production to UNICOR, also known as Federal Prison Industries.
FPI did spectacularly poor work, and failed to provide the prisoners proper tooling and processes to manufacture the helmets. And FPI jiggered the paperwork to try to conceal just how shoddy their work was.
But ArmorSource gets hammered with the civil settlement. Which, don’t get me wrong, that’s fair. They have an obligation to ensure the quality of subcontracted work.
But notice that there will be no accountability at FPI. No management at FPI will face criminal charges, and I’d be stunned if anyone was fired.
I’ve read quite a bit about the epic Battle of Midway, and even seen a movie or two.
But I’ve never had a chance to read the Japanese after action reports.
Ammunition rooms were immediately ordered flooded, and all hands were ordered to fire-fighting stations. The pump system aboard, however, failed to function and it became apparent that the fire would not be extinguishable in the immediate future. The headquarters, therefore, was moved to the Nagara at 0746. Subsequent to this, every effort was made to bring the fire under control but it became increasingly evident that there would be little hope of success.
At 1038, the Emperor's portrait was transferred to the destroyer Nowake. By 1620, the situation was deemed hopeless, and the captain of the Akagi decided to order all hands to abandon ship. A report to that effect was made to the commander of the Mobile Force and the order was issued at 1625. Personnel began transferring to the destroyers Arashi and Nowake at 1700. At 1925 CinC Combined Fleet ordered: "Delay disposition." While standing by awaiting further orders, CinC Combined Fleet ordered: "Dispose," at 0150 on the 6th. In accordance with this order, the ship was scuttled at 0200, in position 30-30N, 178-40W.
Airbus Defence and Space imagery captured on 11 August 2016 shows significant activity related to China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) projects at Dalian Shipyard, including the assembly of the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier (CV), the Type 001A, and the production of Type 052D guided-missile destroyers (DDGs).
The imagery shows that, with the addition of the bow section and other exterior components, the assembly of the Type 001A CV is nearly complete. Two of the component fabrication areas adjacent to the dry dock are largely clear of materials, indicating that work on the Type 001A hull is nearing an end. Few uninstalled components remain present, including the forward aircraft elevator.
It will take probably another year and a half of fitting out after launch before she's ready for sea, but it has been a remarkably quick build.
The leak of what purports to be a National Security Agency hacking tool kit has set the information security world atwitter - and sent major companies rushing to update their defenses.
Well, what do you know.
The tool kit consists of a suite of malicious software intended to tamper with firewalls, the electronic defenses protecting computer networks. The rogue programs appear to date back to 2013...
The auctioneers claim the tools were stolen from the Equation Group, the name given to a powerful collective of hackers exposed by antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab in 2015. Others have linked the Equation Group to the NSA's hacking arm, although such claims are extraordinarily hard to settle with any certainty.
The leaked tools "share a strong connection" with the Equation Group, Kaspersky said in a blog post late Tuesday. The Moscow-based company said the two used "functionally identical" encryption techniques.
The leaked tools also appear to be powerful, according to a running analysis maintained by Richmond, Virginia-headquartered Risk Based Security. The group said several of the vulnerabilities targeted by the malware - including one affecting Cisco firewalls - were previously unknown, a sign of a sophisticated actor.
And an early candidate for the Understatement of the Year:
Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, California, said that the news was terrible for the NSA no matter the circumstances behind the leak because companies like Cisco guard critical U.S. infrastructure.
"If the NSA discovered breach in 2013 and never told Cisco/Fortinet, this is VERY BAD," he said in a message posted to Twitter . "If they didn't know, this is VERY BAD."
The NSA has not returned repeated messages seeking comment.
Ya don't say. The description of the "auction" in the article seems intended to make the reader think the perpetrators are somewhat incompetent. They aren't. The "auction" is a smoke screen, though undoubtedly money will change hands. These hacking tools, although 2-3 years old, will be reverse engineered, pulled apart, repackaged, and modified to avoid detection and scanning, and will be used against all manner of US public and private sector systems, just as portions of the STUXNET code was (and still is).
The US Government in general (and DoD in particular) shows itself time and again to be incredibly arrogant when it comes to network security. Because they can see and track certain hackers, they think they can see them all. They assert that attribution by technical means alone is possible. It is not. There is no real consideration that the breaches seen by NSA are, in part, deliberately made visible so that the adversary can study the techniques used in forensic investigations. Or that the most talented of the Black Hats are all but undetectable.
Also, there seems little real understanding of the immense number of gateways possible for entry into critical networks, and what REAL damage can be done by someone with institutional or operational knowledge of the network structure and intended function. Or that exploits can be (and are) nested in networks already, without the knowledge of users or managers. Nor does there seem to be an understanding of how rapid the response to a network breach must be. To the government, a "rapid" response to such a breach happens in hours or days, whereas the damage of a malicious hack occurs in seconds, or at most, minutes.
And they wonder why the Private Sector views government "help" with such a jaundiced eye?
I spose I ought to finish my "cyber awareness" training. In two-plus years, I have been made to do this "annual" training five times. Why? Reflective Belt Technique.
The USAF has issued a Request for Information (FRI) as it studies the possibility of increasing the use of contractor owned, contractor operated (COCO) adversary aircraft. Air Combat Command (ACC) is conducting an analysis of Adversary Air (ADAIR) capabilities to fill a ‘significant gap’ in its training requirements. The service reportedly suffered from a shortage of adversary 3,000 sorties at Nellis AFB, Nevada, during 2016 and that number is expected to rise as F-35 training ramps up.
The USAF currently only operates two aggressor squadrons; the 18th AGRS at Eielson AFB, Alaska, and the 64th AGRS at Nellis. The 65th AGRS, that flew F-15C/Ds, disbanded in 2014. Draken International and Discovery Air Defence Services are both offering contractor air services, along with Textron, which has recently purchased the former ATAC (Airborne Tactical Advantage Co).
It's a growth industry, using low cost aircraft- contractor owned, contractor operated, or COCO- to provide low end adversary services.
That saves the high end USAF and USN Adversary Squadrons for high end missions.
I’m a leg, so I’m not celebrating, but quite a few of my friends have graduated from the Basic Airborne Course at Ft. Benning, and some have served in a jump status in various units.
Here’s what happens when a stick gets caught in a thermal updraft.
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps has begun a full reset of its CH-53E helicopters to address an issue that came to light after a fatal 2014 crash, the Navy said Wednesday.
The work on 147 of the aging Super Stallion heavy lift aircraft is aimed at increasing the number of operationally fit aircraft and addressing systemic issues that have in recent years driven the platform's readiness to unsustainable depths, Naval Air Systems Command said in a statement.
This is what happens when aircraft designed for a 20 year life have to soldier on for 40 years.
The SuperStallion's replacement, the CH-53K, is progressing through flight testing right now, but it will be quite a few years before it reaches the fleet in any numbers. And without the CH-53E, the Marine Corps is out of the assault business.
Plans are progressing to extend online military exchange shopping privileges to all honorably discharged veterans, Military Times has learned.
The Defense Department’s Executive Resale Board voted unanimously Aug. 9 to recommend the policy change, sources said. Extended shopping privileges would apply only to the exchange system's online stores — not brick-and-mortar facilities located on military installations.
The Pentagon did not immediately confirm the's board move, and its unclear what its next steps will be. Officials have said previously that they'd like to implement the expanded benefit on Veterans Day 2017.
Who knew AAFES had an online service?
While I suppose it is possible someone somewhere would benefit from this, it is hard to see how it would compete with Amazon.
On the other hand, implementation should be relatively inexpensive. Of course, the goal here is not to actually provide a benefit to veterans, but rather increase the profits of the exchange systems. Which, I don't really have to great an issue with that, as the profits are the major source of funding for Morale Welfare and Recreation funds, which do tangibly benefit servicemembers.
Currently, the estate tax exemption per individual for 2016 is $5.45 million. For a married couple, after the death of the second spouse, that amounts to a total exemption of $10.9 million. That’s right smack in the heart of a successful small business or farm.
I used to make a lot of money working with families to mitigate the harm the estate tax would do to their families. There’s an entire industry devoted to that. Between paying lawyers and those of us in the financial industry considerable sums, they could, with some care, completely avoid paying any estate tax. So the government got nothing. But the capital of the families was reduced by the regulatory burden of having to mitigate government interference with their livelihoods.
Finally, the estate tax is perhaps the most clear case of the government mentality that all wealth belongs to the state eventually, and the citizen is merely allowed to have some small share of it some of the time.