Thursday, April 13, 2017

US DROPS 'MOAB' GBU-43" MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS ON ISIS

The United States has dropped the 'largest ever non-nuclear bomb' in Afghanistan in a targeted attack against ISIS.

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb — nicknamed the "Mother of All Bombs" (MOAB) — was dropped on a series of cave complexes at 7pm local time today (4pm UK time).

Pentagon spokesman dam Stump confirmed the strike was carried out by Air Force Special Operations Command using a 21,000lb weapon, packed with 11 tones of explosives.

Donald Trump admitted he DIDN’T authorise the strike, admitting in a press conference that he has given the US military "total authorisation."

General John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to military sources.

The attack today targeted ISIS-K, also known as the Khorasan group.

The group is based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and is composed primarily of former members of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban.

U.S. officials say intelligence suggests Islamic State is based overwhelmingly in Nangarhar and neighboring Kunar province.

Estimates of its strength in Afghanistan vary.

U.S. officials have said they believe the movement has only 700 fighters but Afghan officials estimate it has about 1,500.

Islamic State’s offshoot in Afghanistan is suspected of carrying out several attacks on minority Shi’ite Muslim targets.

The Afghan Taliban, which is trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, are fiercely opposed to Islamic State and the two group have clashed as they seek to expand territory and influence.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Growing nuclear tensions, growing US military presence and "Great Leaders" predicted birthday muscle flexing causing war concerns.


With tension growing markedly, the Korean peninsula is the closest it has been to a "military clash" since Pyongyang's first nuclear test in 2006, an influential state-run Chinese newspaper said today.

North Korea should halt any plans for nuclear and missile activities "for its own security", the Global Times said in an editorial.

While widely read in China and run by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily, the Global Times does not represent government policy.

Tension has escalated sharply on the Korean peninsula amid concerns that reclusive North Korea could soon conduct a sixth nuclear test or more missile launches and President Donald Trump's threat of unilateral action to solve the problem.

President Trump, who has urged China to do more to rein in its impoverished ally and neighbour, said on Twitter that North Korea was "looking for trouble" and the United States would "solve the problem" with or without Beijing's help.

Officials from the North, including leader Kim Jong Un, have indicated an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming.

North Korea launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite on April 13, 2012, marking the anniversary of the birth of North Korea's founding president Kim Il Sung.

Saturday will be the 105th birthday of the "Great Leader."

The U.S. also recently sent the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson along with its accompanying strike group to the area to conduct naval exercises with the South Korean Navy. The group was also sent as a show of force directed at the North Korean military.

North Korean state media warned on Tuesday of a nuclear attack on the US in light of US Navy operations. North Korea’s state run Rodong Sinmun newspaper stated, “Our revolutionary strong army is keenly watching every move by enemy elements with our nuclear sight focused on the U.S. invasionary bases not only in South Korea and the Pacific operation theater but also in the U.S. mainland.”

The Carl Vinson Strike Group started its move on Saturday, leaving its deployment to Singapore for patrols of the South China Sea. It includes an aircraft carrier and several destroyers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SPECIAL OPERATION FORCES U-28A crashes in Clovis claims 3.

video



— Colonel Benjamin R. Maitre, spokesperson for the Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, announced Wednesday morning the three airmen on board a U-28A died when the aircraft crashed Tuesday night.

The plane crashed during what the base described as a "training sortie" around 6:50 p.m. Tuesday in a field about a quarter-mile east of the Clovis Municipal Airport. All three crew members were assigned to the 318th Special Operations Squadron and died in the crash.

“We are deeply saddened by this loss within our Air Commando family,” said Maitre, the installation commander. “Our sympathies are with the loved ones and friends affected by this tragedy, and our team is focused on supporting them during this difficult time.”

The crash caused a fire, which was extinguished by local first responders by about 7:40 p.m.

The U-28A is a light aircraft operated by the 34th, 318th and 319th Special Operations Squadrons of United States Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). It is part of AFSOC's Non-standard Aircraft fleet. The aircraft type is also flown by the 919th Special Operations Wing, Air Force Reserve Command.

The U-28A is a militarized version of the commerical-available Pilatus PC-12. It has been fitted with advanced sensors, navigation gear, survivability aids and communications equipment to enable its special operations role.

One of the U-28A roles is the insertion, extraction and resupply of Special Operations Forces (SOF). The single-engine U-28A is small enough to land on small grass or dirt airstrips. It can carry 10 passengers or 3,000lbs of cargo and can operate from the type of short, unimproved airstrip that a larger plane, such as the C-130 Hercules, would be too big and heavy for.

Another role of the U-28A is to act as a tactical airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platform in support SOF on the ground. Sensors aboard the U-28A include a day variable-aperture TV camera, a variable aperture infrared camera and synthetic aperture radar.

Communications systems aboard the U-28A have the capability to relay full motion video, voice and data over secure data links.

Other additions to the basic PC-12 airframe include aircraft survivability equipment i.e. threat detection and counter measures.

The aircraft is crewed by 3: pilot, co-pilot and Combat System Officer (CSO)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Textron bowing out of USAF T-X trainer competition

WASHINGTON — Textron Airland has officially decided against offering its Scorpion jet for the Air Force’s T-X trainer competition, ending speculation about whether the aircraft would emerge as a dark horse candidate.

“We certainly believe the Scorpion can fit a good training role, not only for the U.S. Air Force but around the world, but with the requirements that had been put out there for the T-X, we don’t believe the Scorpion fits all the requirements,” said Bill Harris, the company’s vice president of Scorpion jet sales.

Textron told Defense News in early 2016 that it would probably not pursue the T-X contract unless the Air Force changed its requirements to be less demanding. However, earlier this winter, company officials stated that they had not ruled out a T-X bid and were assessing the final request for proposals.

Harris explained Textron wanted to take a second look at the requirements to evaluate whether Scorpion could fit the service’s needs, but the jet had trouble meeting some of the Air Force’s more aggressive performance characteristics, including a high G threshold of 6.5 — the Scorpion can achieve 6 Gs.

“It basically was very close to what you would see in an F-16 Block 50 aircraft,” he said. “We went over it and over it, and it became clear that we weren’t going to meet these aggressive performance standards.”

READ MORE HERE

SPANISH POLICE UNCOVER ARMS CACHE



NBC LONDON — When a gunman killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels in 2014, police in Spain launched an effort to reduce the number of illegal firearms circulating in Europe.


What they found was a arsenal large enough to supply an army — and all ready to be sold to terrorist groups and gangs.

Spanish police announced Tuesday they had recovered around 10,000 assault rifles, pistols, machine guns, and revolvers, as well as 400 shells and grenades, in raids in the north of the country.

They also arrested five suspects and recovered around $90,000.


The raids, in Girona, Biscay and Cantabria, targeted a gang trafficking firearms on the black market that were destined to be sold to terror groups and gangs in Spain, France and Belgium.

Spain's national police, who worked with cross-border authority Europol on the operation, said the gang "exploited legal loopholes and legislative differences between E.U. countries to divert guns from legal suppliers." They used a workshop to re-brand and reactivate the weapons, which were "being made ready for sale to terrorist groups and organized. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

US TESTING LASER ARMED DRONES AS ANTI-BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENSE



As North Korea marches toward its goal of threatening the United States with nuclear weapons, the Pentagon is racing to add a new component to its missile defense system: a revolutionary drone laser weapon capable of zapping rockets almost as soon as they are launched.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency says it has conducted tests of a “directed-energy airborne laser” fired from a military drone. The weapon, which would be carried by remote-control aircraft loitering high over suspected enemy ballistic missile launch sites, would add an early interception ability to the current system, which relies on “metal-to-metal” missile interceptors guided by an elaborate system of radar and satellites.

“Our vision is to shift the calculus of our potential adversaries by introducing directed energy into the ballistic missile defense architecture,” agency spokesman Christopher Johnson wrote in an email response to a Las Vegas Review-Journal inquiry. “This could revolutionize missile defense, dramatically reducing the role of kinetic interceptors.”

Johnson said five leading defense contractors — Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon — are studying the technology, and the agency expects to award contracts this year to design a multi-kilowatt-class laser weapon for missile defense.

“We will select the best designs, develop a demonstrator system for flight test in 2020, and piggyback on ballistic missile defense tests in 2021,” Johnson said.


Ground testing of a laser weapon called the High Energy Laser, or HEL, took place last year at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The High Energy Laser test is being conducted by the Air Force Directed Energy Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

The first airborne tests are slated to take place by 2021, service officials said.

The developmental efforts are focused on increasing the power, precision and guidance of existing laser weapon applications with the hope of moving from 10-kilowatts up to 100 kilowatts, Air Force officials said.

Service scientists, such as Air Force Chief Scientist Gregory Zacharias, have told Scout Warrior that much of the needed development involves engineering the size weight and power trades on an aircraft needed to accommodate an on-board laser weapon. Developing a mobile power source small enough to integrate into a fast-moving fighter jet remains a challenge for laser technology.

Air Force leaders have said that the service plans to begin firing laser weapons from larger platforms such as C-17s and C-130s until the technological miniaturization efforts can configure the weapon to fire from fighter jets such as an F-15, F-16 or F-35.

Air Combat Command has commissioned the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator Advanced Technology Demonstration which will be focused on developing and integrating a more compact, medium-power laser weapon system onto a fighter-compatible pod for self-defense against ground-to-air and air-to-air weapons, a service statement said.

Air Force Special Operations Command has commissioned both the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren to examine placing a laser on an AC-130U gunship to provide an offensive capability.

READ MORE HERE

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Phone intercepts show Trump sides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence



WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.




American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.


The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.


But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.


The call logs and intercepted communications are part of a larger trove of information that the F.B.I. is sifting through as it investigates the links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russian government, as well as the hacking of the D.N.C., according to federal law enforcement officials. As part of its inquiry, the F.B.I. has obtained banking and travel records and conducted interviews, the officials said.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Special RAM coating plant hints at B-21 production capabilities


WASHINGTON:

By COLIN CLARK

on February 06, 2017 at 11:44 AM
A little Pentagon contract announcement offers the latest indication of the course of the secretive B-21 program.

The announcement last Tuesday of a $36 million modification to an existing contract is the key. It’s for a new 45,900 square foot “coatings facility” at Northrop Grumman’s facility at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, CA.

I’ve confirmed with a source that this plant is part of the B-21 program and that the facility would be key to stealth coatings for the plane. The Air Force plans to buy more than 100 of the long range strike aircraft and to pay Northrop $550 million a copy.

Development of a stand-alone plant for coatings, presumably for stealth, highlights the importance of security to the program. It’s also confirmation that the B-21 will be largely built and integrated at Palmdale, as most observers expected.


Loren Thompson, a defense consultant who’s watched the program closely, said the completion date of Christmas Day 2019 “does seem a little late in the development cycle, but it would give them several years to integrate the bomber and to begin testing it.”

As a reminder, the Government Accountability Office’s report on the unsuccessful B-21 protest filed by the Boeing-Lockheed team noted “some level of Air Force expectation that disruption of schedule may occur.”

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How SEALs were caught in ‘ferocious’ firefight during Yemen counter-terrorism raid



WE ARE THE MIGHTY:


New details have emerged about the Jan. 28 raid on a compound used by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that resulted in the death of a Navy SEAL and the loss of an MV-22 Osprey.

According to a report by the Washington Post, the raid had been intended to nab Yemeni tribal leaders and get intelligence on their ties with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The snatch operation turned into a firefight when terrorists launched a counter-attack.

Among the militants firing at the SEALs were women, an several were believed to have been among the 14 terrorists killed in the raid. The SEALs were forced to call in air support from AH-1Z Cobras and AV-8B+ Harriers based on the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) as the firefight went on, the Post report says.

Additionally, officials with Central Command said Feb. 1 that investigators are looking into allegations that among the dead were civilians in the compound targeted by the SEALs. Officials said in a release that civilians were “likely” killed and “may include children.”

“The ongoing credibility assessment seeks to determine whether any still-undetected civilian casualties took place in the ferocious firefight,” CENTCOM said. “The known possible civilian casualties appear to have been potentially caught up in aerial gunfire that was called in to assist U.S. forces in contact against a determined enemy that included armed women firing from prepared fighting positions and U.S. special operations members receiving fire from all sides, including from houses and other buildings.”
To get the SEALs out, elements of what the report called “an elite Special Operations air regiment,” likely referring to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also called the Nightstalkers. After retrieving the SEALs, the Nightstalkers intended to meet up with a Marine quick reaction force on MV-22 Ospreys to transfer the SEALs to the Makin Island, where the wounded could receive medical treatment.

That meet-up went wrong. One of the V-22s made a “hard landing” – more akin to a crash – which ended up leaving three Marines injured.

In an interview with reporters Feb. 1, Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. John Davis said officials are still investigating what went wrong with the Osprey, adding his suspicion was that brown-out conditions might have played a role.

“They were going into a firefight at night. … But what’s the good news? A lot of people don’t walk away from hard landings, and everybody walked away from this one,” Davis said. “There’s a Marine who kind of bumped his head, but everyone walked away.”

Trump puts Iran "officially on notice" after missile test



The Trump administration has said it was “officially putting Iran on notice” in reaction to an Iranian missile test and an attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but gave no details about how Washington intended to respond.


The threat was made on Wednesday by the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in his first public statement since taking office.

Speaking in the White House briefing room, Flynn said a missile launch on Sunday and a Houthi attack on a Saudi frigate on Monday underlined Iran’s “destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.”.


Flynn did not specify how the new administration would respond. Asked for clarification, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said the president wanted to make sure the Iranians “understood we are not going to sit by and not act on their actions”.

At a White House briefing, senior administration officials repeatedly refused to rule out any options for a US response, including military intervention.

“There are a large number of options available to the administration,” one senior official said. “We’re going to take appropriate action.”


Asked if measures under consideration included a military option, the official replied: “We are considering a whole range of options.”


The official declined to say whether the White House had sent a message to Tehran putting it on notice.


“We are in the second week. We do not want to be premature or rash or take any action that would foreclose options or unnecessarily contribute to a negative response.”
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The announcement was not accompanied by any change in the US military stance in the region, nor any immediate additional deployments.


“We saw the statement as well,” said a spokesman for US central command, which runs operations in the Middle East. “This is still at the policy level, and we are waiting for something to come down the line. We have not been asked to change anything operationally in the region.”

The Pentagon was informed before the announcement and the defense secretary, James Mattis, prevailed upon Flynn to soften his language about Iran from an earlier version. At the time of the Flynn’s statement, Mattis was en route to Asia for an official visit to Japan and South Korea.

Ali Vaez, an Iran expert at the International Crisis Group in Washington, said: “It’s either an empty threat or a clear statement of intent to go to war with Iran. Both are reckless and dangerous ... In an attempt to look strong, the administration could stumble into a war that would make the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts look like a walk in the park.”


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pakistan claims to have tested MIRVs


RAWALPINDI: Pakistan on Tuesday conducted its first successful flight test of surface-to-surface ballistic missile ‘Ababeel’, Inter Services Public Relations said here.

The statement issued by the ISPR, media wing of the military, said the missile has a maximum range of 2200 kilometers and is capable of carrying multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry (MIRV) technology.

The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system.

Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision defeating the enemy’s hostile radars.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain have also conveyed their appreciation to the team engaged and armed forces of Pakistan on this landmark achievement.








Tuesday, January 3, 2017

North Korea continues with "Spy Numbers" broadcasts.

AUTHORS NOTE: The content of these coded messages may have no content at all and are being used to make S.Korea think spies have infiltrated their ranks. 
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state radio station resumed broadcasting mysterious numbers Friday in what could be some kind of coded message to its agents operating in South Korea.
Radio Pyongyang, the North's state-run radio station, started broadcasting messages at 1:15 a.m. (Seoul time), calling out a series of pages and numbers, such as No. 69 on Page 894, before repeating them one more time.
The radio announcer said, "(I'm giving) review works in math lessons of the remote education university for No. 27 expedition agents." The content was the same as those transmitted in the early hours of Dec. 16.
Since June 24, 20 of such encrypted numbers broadcasts have been discovered, with the latest one broadcast Sunday.
Broadcasts of mysterious numbers are considered a kind of book cipher that was often used by North Korea to give missions to spies operating in South Korea during the Cold War era. Spies could decode numbers to get orders by using a reference book, although many intelligence officials believe this form of sending orders to be totally outdated.
Many have said the broadcasts may be some sort of psychological strategy aimed at sparking internal confusion within South Korea.
Pyongyang had initially suspended such broadcasts in 2000, when the two Koreas held their first historic summit.

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