Category Archives: Military

Navy cuts F-35 order nearly in half

Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half

As the United States prepares plans to downsize its military, the Navy is set to order fewer Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets than previously expected over the next five years.
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Citing an unnamed defense official, Reuters reported that beginning in the 2015 fiscal year, the Navy will request the purchase of 36 F-35C fighter jets, which are designed to land on aircraft carriers. That’s nearly half as many as the 69 originally projected.

The Air Force, meanwhile, is postponing its own request for four F-35A jets for one year. Beginning in 2016, however, it remains on track to move forward with its purchases as planned, an arrangement that will see the Air Force purchase about 238 jets total.

The Marine Corps stands out as the sole player committed to its original plan, still expected to request 69 F-35B jets over five years. These are scheduled to be combat ready and in use by mid-2015.

According to Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, the move to purchase fewer jets does not indicate that the military is underwhelmed with the jet’s performance capability, but rather it was based primarily on budgetary considerations. Defense officials told Reuters that the plan is still to purchase a total of 2,443 F-35s over the next few years.

As RT has reported in the past, however, the F-35 project has suffered from some significant obstacles, notably price. The fleet of 2,443 fighter jets is expected to cost $392 billion, a 68 percent increase over original projections from back in 2001. According to the Washington Post, this has led the military to cut back on the number of planes it first expected to purchase by more than 400. Additionally, the Post noted statements by the Pentagon’s chief tester, who in January said the jet “wasn’t sufficiently reliable in training flights last year.”

Other performance and manufacturing setbacks have also hobbled the program as it unfolded. Last year, a Pentagon report found issues with the jet’s internal software, while leaked budget review documents suggested some within the government would consider cancelling the project.

Still, the military has continued to reiterate its confidence in the program’s ultimate success.

“The basic design of the F-35 is sound, and test results underscore our confidence in the ultimate performance that the United States and its international partners and allies value so highly,” Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who heads the F-35 project, said last year. “Of course, we recognize risks still exist in the program, but they are understood and manageable.”

The decision to purchase fewer jets also comes amid reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is planning an overhaul of the US armed forces in order to fulfill President Obama’s goals of scaling back overseas military operations while remaining capable of waging war when necessary. Under Hagel’s proposal, US troop levels would fall somewhere between 440,000 and 450,000, the lowest level scene since World War II.

According to Reuters, the sequester could also come back to affect the F-35 project. Just last week, Hagel said that if Congress does not revoke or somehow deal with the automatic cuts scheduled for the 2016 fiscal year even fewer jets may be bought.

Source: RT

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima

A new report on the nuclear crisis that started to unfold in Fukushima, Japan almost three years ago suggests that American troops who assisted with disaster relief efforts were exposed to unheard of radiation levels while on assignment.
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Kyle Cleveland, a sociology professor at Temple University Japan, makes a case for that argument in an academic paper published in the Asia-Pacific Journal this week titled Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty.

According to Cleveland, transcripts from a March 2011 conference call obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that United States servicemen on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier experienced radiation levels 30-times above normal during relief operations that week.

During that March 13 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller — the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy — said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.”

“So it’s much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn’t think we would detect anything at 100 miles.”

After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.”He responded yes.

When Poneman later asked Mueller, “how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible,”Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours.

“If it were a member of the general public, it would take — well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “it’s a thyroid dose issue.”

If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands.

When approached for comment by reporters at the website NextGov, however, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty said in an email that the crewmembers aboard the USS Reagan were never at danger of such exposure.

“Potentially contaminated personnel were surveyed with sensitive instruments and, if necessary, decontaminated. The low levels of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear power plant identified on US Navy ships, their aircraft, and their personnel were easily within the capability of ship’s force to remedy,”Flaherty said

The latest report, NextGov’s Bob Brewin wrote, comes only days after the attorneys representing 79 USS Reagan crewmember filed an amended lawsuit in California against Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO., which has been accused of negligent with regards to maintain the Fukushima nuclear facility ahead of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that started the emergency.Attorneys for those servicemen are asking TEPCO for $1 billion in damages, and say that the infant child born of one of the crewmembers since the incident has a rare genetic disorder likely brought on by radiation exposure.

Attorneys in that suit say that “up to 70,000 US citizens [were] potentially affected by the radiation,” and might be able to join in their suit.

Source: RT

US considering new drone bases in Central Asia

Us consider drone base in central asia US considering new drone bases in Central Asia

To continue counter-terrorism operations abroad after the imminent exit of American troops from Afghanistan, the United States is reportedly pursuing plans to put US drones inside air bases in Central Asia.
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The Department of Defense is expected to withdraw all or most of the US soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, significantly shrinking the size of the Pentagon’s physical footprint there for the first time in over 12 years. Along with eliminating boots on the ground, though, the US will also be walking away from the bases that for years have housed the unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, that are responsible for administering lethal missile strikes against suspected insurgents in neighboring Pakistan.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the US is considering moving their drones to air bases elsewhere in Central Asia. Amidst international condemnation, however, relocating the controversial program is likely to come not without opposition.

Citing unnamed US officials, Ken Dilanian and David S. Cloud reported for the Times that the covert American drone strikes carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency could cease as a result of relinquishing bases in Afghanistan near its demarcation line with Pakistan.

Currently, the Times reporters wrote, CIA analysts rely substantially on human intelligence collected by those in the region willing to provide American authorities with information on suspected extremists. Collaborated with other data, that intelligence is used by the CIA to carry out lethal drone strikes against alleged Al-Qaeda members and other targets in the volatile parts of neighboring Pakistan.

“They pay people to place GPS trackers on cars or buildings to help guide the drone-launched missiles,” the journalists wrote.

At the same time, though, the spy agency also needs the Pentagon to stay close to Pakistan because, according to the Times’ sources, “The CIA cannot fly drones from its Afghan drone bases without US military protection.” Once that protection is impossible, the Times reported, “[t]he CIA’s targeted killing program thus may prove a casualty of the bitter standoff with Afghan President Hamid Karzai over whether any US troops can remain in Afghanistan after 2014.”

With the future of the CIA’s abilities in Pakistan now up in the air, the US is reportedly pursuing bases elsewhere in the region that would allow covert drone strikes to still be carried out against area insurgents.

“If the bases are evacuated, the CIA fleet of armed Predator and Reaper drones could be moved to airfields north of Afghanistan,” the Times reported, citing unnamed US officials who did not identify possible locations.

Afghanistan is immediately surrounded on the north by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but the US is likely still unwelcomed in at least one of those locales — in 2005, author Brian Glyn Williams told the Times, Uzbekistan evicted the CIA’s drones from a base there.

Joshua Kucera, an Istanbul-based writer for The Bug Pit website, wrote on Monday that choosing any of those three nations, in his opinion, “would have serious downsides from the US’s perspective.”

“Tajikistan is highly susceptible to Russian pressure, and the Kremlin is surely not inclined to let the US reestablish its military presence in Central Asia,” he wrote. “Uzbekistan might be willing to host a base and is relatively immune to Russian pressure, but is a bit of a bete noire in Washington and setting up a drone base there would surely face resistance from human rights-inclined members of Congress. And Turkmenistan would have some of the same problems as Uzbekistan, but also has a proudly held neutrality that would seem to preclude hosting US drones.”

Despite Kucera’s claims about Tajikistan, though, the LA Times’ reporting suggests there is a very real possibility that the CIA may soon ship its drones there. Just last month, the paper reported, the commander of the US special operations in the Middle East and Central Asia visited Tajikistan for talks on “issues of bilateral security cooperation” and “continued military cooperation,” according to a US Embassy statement from that country’s capital city, Dushanbe.

Coincidentally, Kucera added, the US Defense Intelligence Agency just advertised for a job for an intelligence officer to be posted in Dushanbe to work on “short and long term analysis of military capabilities, infrastructure or political-military issues.”

Regardless of what happens in Afghanistan, however, the CIA’s secret drone program has a chance of coming across another roadblock: President Barack Obama has repeatedly touted a plan that would transfer UAVs away from the spy agency and fully into the hands of the Pentagon, but those efforts have been halted by members of Congress who oppose losing the covert program.

Source: RT

Real-life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

real life iron man armor Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral
 
In an attempt by fact to imitate fiction, the US military’s “Iron Man” armor will take an important step towards reality in June, when multiple prototypes will be revealed and tested.
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According to a report by Defense Tech, Navy Admiral William McRaven said three prototypes of the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – are currently being put together in the hopes that they’ll be ready for testing this summer.

If everything goes according to schedule, McRaven said the TALOS could become operational by 2018.

“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said Tuesday at a military conference in Washington, DC.

Although the prototypes scheduled for June will be unpowered, the military’s wish list of TALOS features is ambitious to say the least. As RT reported last year, the suit is being designed primarily with defense in mind and will likely include liquid armor, a synthetic substance being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This material has the capability to shift from a liquid state to a solid within milliseconds, making the suit’s wearer essentially impervious to gunfire.

ironman 2 Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

 

Should an operator suffer an injury anyway, the suit will be capable of monitoring the individual’s health vitals and other information using a built-in system that rests against the skin and provides its own supply of heat, air, and oxygen. There are additional plans to incorporate a “wound stasis” program that could stop bleeding by spraying some kind of medical foam onto an injury.

In addition to boasting new technology that would enhance the operator’s awareness on the battlefield, TALOS could also be equipped with offensive capabilities, such as the “full-body ballistic projections” noted by the military last year.

According to Defense Tech, these Iron Man suits are currently being developed by a wide range of organizations: about 56 different corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories.

0 Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

If successful, McRaven believes TALOS could potentially give the United States a “huge comparative advantage over our enemies and give our warriors the protection they need.”

This isn’t the only futuristic suit being developed by defense companies, though. Lockheed Martin has also been hard at work on an exoskeleton dubbed HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier), which grants increased mobility and the ability to transfer up to 200 pounds of weight off the user’s body.

Source: RT