Saturday, March 24, 2018

March 24th...This Day in History (Exxon Oil Spill + others)

Exxon Valdez runs aground 1989


One of the worst oil spills in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.
It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill.
Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.

 (More Events on This Day in History)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Fw: TheList 4684

The List 4684

To All,
I hope that you all have a great weekend.
This Day In Naval History – March 23, 2018
March 23
1815The sloop-of-war USS Hornet captures the brig sloop HMS Penguin after a 22-minute battle, with neither ship aware the War of 1812 is over.
1882Secretary of the Navy William H. Hunt (Jan. 7, 1881 to April 16, 1882), creates the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) with General Order No. 292.
1917 - Launching of USS New Mexico, first dreadnought with turboelectric drive
1944USS Tunny (SS 282) sinks the Japanese submarine I 42 off the Palau Islands.
1945USS Haggard (DD 555) is damaged when she rams and sinks Japanese submarine RO 41 in the Philippine Sea. Also on this date, USS Spadefish (SS 411) attacks Japanese Sasebo-to-Ishigaki convoy SAI-05 in the East China Sea about 120 miles north-northwest of Amami O Shima and sinks transport Doryu Maru.
1945 - Carriers begin pre-assault strikes on Okinawa, kamikaze attacks follow
1953During the Korean War, jet aircraft from USS Oriskany (CVA 34) stage a "lights out" program by attacking a waterpower site below the Fusen Reservoir, resulting in four cuts in the penstocks and damaging two buildings housing generators.
1965Navy Lt. Cmdr. John W. Young is a pilot on Gemini III, the first 2-manned spacecraft, that completes three orbits in four hours, 53 minutes at an altitude of 224 km. He is joined by Air Force Lt. Col. Virgil Grissom, command pilot.
March 24
1903Adm. George Dewey was commissioned Admiral of the Navy, the only person to hold this rank.
1919The battleship USS Idaho (BB 42) is commissioned.
1936USS Balch (DD 363), named after Rear Adm. George B. Balch, was launched.
1944USS Bowfin (SS 287) attacked a Japanese convoy, sinking both a transport and army cargo ship.
1977The initial service acceptance trials for the CH-53E Super Stallion were completed at Naval Air Test Center (NATC), Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
1986The first operational use of a Harpoon missile in combat was used by A-6A aircraft from VA-34 against a Libyan Combatant II G-class fast-attack missile craft. The engagement occurred after Libyan armed forces fired missiles at U.S. Navy forces operating in the Gulf of Sidra.
2009Coastal patrol craft USS Chinook (PC 9) arrived at Umm Qasr, Iraq. During this port visit to Iraq, she was the first U.S. Navy ship to stay overnight.
March 25
1813During the War of 1812, the frigate Essex, commanded by Capt. David Porter, took the Peruvian cruiser Neryeda, which was the first capture by the U.S. Navy in the Pacific.
1822USS Shark, commanded by Lt. Matthew C. Perry, raises the first U.S. flag over Key West, FL, and claims the territory for the United States, calling it Thompson's Island to honor Secretary of the Navy Smith Thompson.
1898Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt, recommends to Secretary of the Navy John D. Long that he appoint two officers "of scientific attainments and practical ability" who, with representatives from the War Department, would examine Professor Samuel P. Langley's flying machine and report upon its practicability and its potential for use in war.
1915The submarine, F-4 (SS 23), sinks off Honolulu, HI, with the loss of 21 lives. It is the first commissioned submarine loss for the U.S. Navy.
1944USS Manlove (DE 36) and submarine chaser PC 1135 sink Japanese submarine I 32, 50 miles south of Wotje.
1957The first F8U-1 "Crusader" is delivered to a fleet unit, VF-32, in the record time of two years after the first flight of the experimental model.
2007Congress designates March 25 each year as National Medal of Honor Day. The day is significant as it is the day the first Medal of Honor was presented in 1863.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In national news headlines, media are reporting that China announced Friday a list of U.S. goods it says may be hit by higher tariffs, and that the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 700 points amid a potential trade war with China. The Washington Post reports Congress cleared a sweeping $1.3 trillion spending bill early Friday that doles out enormous increases to military and domestic programs alike. The House passed the 2,232-page bill Thursday on a wide bipartisan vote, and the Senate followed suit early Friday morning, passing the legislation 65 to 32. According to Seapower Magazine, "a long line of Lawmakers" attended a March 22 meeting for the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition to express support for a proposal to block buy the next two Gerald R. Ford-class carriers. The lawmakers were among the 131 representatives and 17 senators who signed letters supporting the Navy's request for information on potential savings from a block buy. Additionally, the Washington Post reports that President Trump announced that former ambassador John Bolton will replace Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as national security adviser.
Today in History March 23
France and England form an alliance against Spain.
Handel's Messiah is performed for the first time in London.
American revolutionary hero Patrick Henry, while addressing the House of Burgesses, declares "give me liberty, or give me death!"
Etta Palm, a Dutch champion of woman's rights, sets up a group of women's clubs called the Confederation of the Friends of Truth.
Hungary proclaims its independence of Austria.
Elisha Otis installs the first modern passenger elevator in a public building, at the corner of Broome Street and Broadway in New York City.
Eleazer A. Gardner of Philadelphia patents the cable street car, which runs on overhead cables.
John Stevens of Neenah, Wis., patents the grain crushing mill. This mill allows flour production to increase by 70 percent.
A group of U.S. Army soldiers, led by Brigadier General Frederick Funston, capture Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Insurrection of 1899.
The Wright brothers obtain an airplane patent.
British Lt. Ernest Shackleton finds the magnetic South Pole.
Theodore Roosevelt begins an African safari sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.
Austrian Emperor Charles I makes a peace proposal to French President Poincare.
Great Britain denounces the United States because of its delay in joining the League of Nations.
Arthur G. Hamilton sets a new parachute record, safely jumping 24,400 feet.
Captain Hawthorne Gray sets a new balloon record soaring to 28,510 feet.
The Reichstag gives Adolf Hitler the power to rule by decree.
The Japanese occupy the Anadaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.
U.S. paratroopers descend from flying boxcars in a surprise attack in Korea.
Pakistan becomes the first Islamic republic, although it is still within the British Commonwealth.
Mafia boss Carlo Gambino is arrested for plotting to steal $3 million.
The United States calls a halt to the peace talks on Vietnam being held in Paris.
U.S. Supreme Court upholds a law making statutory rape a crime for men but not women.
With our thanks to THE Bear at
March 23, 2018   Bear Taylor  
RIPPLE SALVO… #748… "THE STRATEGY OF THE WEAK IS THE CHOSEN STRATEGY OF IDEALISTS AND IDEOLOGUES. It turns the strength of Asia–its capacity for endurance in suffering–against the vulnerability of the strong. It does this by inviting the strong to carry their strategic logic to its conclusion, which is genocide."… but first…
GOOD MORNING: Day SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-EIGHT of History 404: "The role of the fighter-bomber in the Vietnam War and OPERATION ROLLING THUNDER"…
HEAD LINES from The New York Times on a cloudy Saturday, 23 MARCH 1968…
Page 1: "WESTMORELAND TO LEAVE VIETNAM TO HEAD THE ARMY–U.S. MAY ADD 30,000 TROOPS–565,000 TOTAL IS IN VIEW–Strategy Change Weighed–Shift Due In July–President Announces Change For General Who Was Recently Criticized"… "The Administration is moving toward adoption of a plan to send 30,000 more fighting men to Vietnam over the balance of the year. The troop increase is likely to include an Army division or its equivalent, four to six Air Force squadrons and a few thousand Navy men. The increase would be beyond the 525,000 men already approved for Vietnam and 10,500 paratroopers and marines rushed in a reinforcements last month. It would bring the new force level to about 565,000 men."… Page 13: "THE GROUND WAR & KHESANH"... Page 1: "There was little fighting in the operation called Quyet Thang–'determined to win'–on the fringes of Saigon, Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division found 40 tons of food–mainly rice in 100-pound bags–buried and camouflaged 23 miles northwest of the capital. Nearby, they found a pit containing 65 mortar shells… It was the second day this week that Americans in Operation Quyet Thang had uncovered large amounts of enemy supplies. The finds seemingly bore out allied intelligence reports indicating the presence of up to 10,000 enemy troops in the area…. Meanwhile, the crews of Army and Marine helicopters killed 86 North Vietnamese and Vietcong. About 100 North Vietnamese mortar and artillery shells exploded in the Marine outpost of Khesanh and B-52s carried out three missions in the area."… Page 13: "MOBILE GUNS IMPERIL KHESANH"... "The North Vietnamese are using for the first time a mobile antiaircraft gun at Khesanh that threatened the outpost's air lifeline. United States officers consider the presence of the 37-mm antiaircraft guns north and south of Khesanh a serious threat. Guns of this type downed planes trying to resupply Dienjbienphu in the 1954 defeat of French fores. About seven of these guns around Khesanh have been destroyed."… Page 2: "THAI AIDE DEPLORES DEBATE IN U.S."... "The Foreign Minister of Thailand says faith in America in this part of the world is being eaten away by the debate on the Vietnam War in the United States. "Too many politicians, too many in the press, express doubts about the United States, about the Government, the regime, the policy of their own country,' Foreign Minister Thanat Khomnan, a staunch supporter of the United States said in an interview."... Page 13: "HUE LIVES IN FEAR OF A NEW ATTACK–Rebuilding Of City Put Off–Defenses Are Bolstered"…
Thanks to Carl
Prominent Turkish Official: "Europe Will Be Muslim"
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2018    by Selwyn Duke
"Europe will be Muslim," prominent Turkish official Alparslan Kavaklıoğlu recently proclaimed. In this he was echoing his president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said last year that Muslims "are the future of Europe." Interestingly, Kavaklıoğlu also has much in common with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the rest of the Old World's establishment class, saying that his "biggest worry is that there is an explosion of micro-nationalism" on the continent. (Translation: The greatest concern is people who want to preserve their own culture.)
Thanbks to Dr. Rich
This is REALLY gettin' down !!
Thanks to Carl
New Round of Incentives Aims to Keep Navy Pilots in Service |
(Holy crap—look at those number$!!  We did it for love of country and the thrill of flying fighters!  We did NOT have email or SAT phone service during our 8 month plus cruises!  But we did have Officer Clubs with Happy Hours and a macho Ready Room with genuine camaraderie among the GUYS!  And we had never heard of Political Correctness!!)   
New Round of Incentives Aims to Keep Navy Pilots in Service
A pilot prepares for flight on board USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (Kenneth Abbate/U.S. Navy) 21 Mar 2018 By Oriana Pawlyk
The U.S. Navy has expanded three key aviation bonus programs in an effort to keep experienced active-duty and Reserve pilots in the cockpit longer amid a Pentagon-wide aviator shortfall.
The service on Tuesday announced that it has shifted the timeline contract requirements for the Aviation Department Head Retention Bonus and Aviation Command Retention Bonus programs, according to a release. Furthermore, officers eligible for Aviation Incentive Pay could see a rate boost as early as April 15, the release said.
"Our bonus and flight pay programs have proven successful in the past at retaining our best and brightest aviators," Capt. Michael Baze, head of aviation career management at Naval Personnel Command, said in the release. "However, these programs have remained essentially unchanged for well over a decade, and are beginning to lose their effectiveness in the face of growing competition for talent."
Baze said the service asked aviators of all ranks how the Navy should best modernize the programs moving forward.
"Aviators reported they wanted our programs to be more flexible, merit based, and competitive with civilian opportunities," he said. "We took that feedback seriously, incorporating each of these elements in the program changes you see here today."
The latest aviation bonus move comes weeks after Vice Adm. Robert P. Burke, chief of naval personnel, told lawmakers the bonuses are needed to retain more experienced aviators amid a Defense Department-wide pilot shortfall.
"We continue to face challenges within some historically retention-challenged communities, particularly among aviators in specific model/type/series platforms," Burke said in a written statement provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 14.
In accordance with the new policies, aviators eligible for the active-component department head bonus can choose from a five-year contract or a three-year contract. Those who choose an early five-year contract will take more money home annually than those who choose the five-year contract later or a three-year contract.
"The eligibility timeline has shifted from the expiration of the aviator's winging service obligation to their lieutenant commander board" for the bonus programs, the release said.
This applies to officers selected for promotion to lieutenant commander who are within the fiscal year 2018 lieutenant commander statutory board or are being considered for department head in the FY19 Aviation Department Head Screen Board (ADHSB), scheduled to convene on April 30.
Should they take the early versus standard rate, Helicopter Mine Countermeasure (HM), Electronic Attack (VAQ), Strike Fighter (VFA), Carrier Onboard Delivery (VRC/VRM), and Carrier Airborne Early Warning (VAW) pilots are eligible for as much as $175,000 over five years.
The numbers represent a $25,000 increase over last year's budget boost, which topped out at $150,000 over five years. That was up from fiscal 2016, when bonuses over the term maxed out at $125,000.
Meanwhile, the new Aviation Command Retention Bonus, or ACRB, will shift from a two-year, $36,000 total contract to a three-year, $100,000 total contract, the release said.
"Members must select after screening for commander command and the obligation takes them through 22 years of service or the completion of their post-commander command tour, whichever is longer," it said.
ACRB applicants must be screened as commanding officer of an eligible operational command, operational training command, or special mission command in order to apply, according to the policy.
The eligibility window starts now and closes Aug. 31, the policy said.
Lastly, for active or reserve component aviation incentive pay, officers who screen for and serve in administrative milestone billets will see a pay hike.
Based on years of service, those in administrative milestone billets, such as department head and commander or major command, will receive the rate increase beginning April 15, the policy said.
"Aviators who do not screen or serve in milestone billets, but continue to qualify for flight pay, will continue to receive flight pay, but at a different rate than aviators in milestone positions," the release said.
Someone in an administrative milestone position between 10 and 22 years of service is eligible for $1,000 per month -- the most in that bracket, according to the policy. By comparison, an aviator not in an administrative role but still eligible for flight pay will receive $650 a month for the same timeframe, the policy said.
"Aviation has taken a holistic approach that synchronizes targeted increases in both flight pay and bonuses in a mutually supportive fashion with achievement of major leadership milestones," Baze said.
"The end state will be a judiciously applied, merit based, more competitive continuum of pay for our top aviators from department head through post-commander command," he said.
"Coupled with a range of non-monetary incentive improvements we are making, these changes will go a long way toward helping us retain the warfighting talent we need into the future," Baze said.
Item Number:1 Date: 03/23/2018 AFGHANISTAN - U.S., AFGHAN TROOPS TARGET ISIS-K IN NORTH (MAR 23/S&S)  STARS AND STRIPES -- Special operators from the U.S. and Afghanistan have been targeting the Islamic State in Afghanistan, reports Stars and Stripes.   On Thursday, special operations forces from the two countries attacked Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) militants in the northern Jowzjan province.   The assault was latest in a string of operations targeting ISIS-K. A total of 420 missions of the 2,450 conducted in the second half of 2017 targeted the militant group.   U.S. and Afghan forces have killed an estimated 140 ISIS-K fighters in the last two months. In November, U.S. officials estimated that the group had 1,100 fighters in Afghanistan.   ISIS-K has spread from eastern Afghanistan to the northwest recently. Senior U.S. officials say that most of the militants are Pakistani Pashtun. There are also elements from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.   About 10 percent are from a variety of places around the world, said Gen. John Nicholson, the head of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan
Item Number:2 Date: 03/23/2018 CHINA - BEIJING DECRIES U.S. FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION DRILL NEAR MISCHIEF REEF (MAR 23/REU)  REUTERS -- A U.S. Navy destroyer has conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea, reports Reuters.   USS Mustin (DDG 89) sailed within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, unnamed U.S. officials said on Friday.   Mischief Reef is one of many artificial islands built by China to bolster its maritime claims in the region.   China has built an airfield on the island and regularly drills in the area.   Beijing has previously reacted angrily to such moves, calling them provocations.   The Chinese Defense Ministry on Friday said that two naval vessels "took immediate action to identify and verify the U.S. ship, and warned and dispelled it," reported CNN.   Beijing also said that its navy would soon conduct combat drills in the South China Sea.   The PLA website described the actions as "routine
  Item Number:3 Date: 03/23/2018 CHINA - COAST GUARD PUT UNDER MILITARY CONTROL (MAR 23/SCMP)  SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST -- China has put its coast guard under its armed police force, enabling it to more closely work with the military, reports the South China Morning Post.   The maritime body has been under the Ministry of Public Security since it was created in 2013.   On Tuesday, the National People's Congress voted to make the coast guard subordinate to the People's Armed Police Force, a paramilitary organization that began reporting to the Central Military Commission in January, reported Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The State Oceanic Administration will also be dissolved.   China has been strengthening its naval capabilities and seeking to assert authority in the South and East China Seas, which has increased tensions with its neighbors.   Typically, Japan would handle incursions by the Chinese coast guard with its own coast guard, but the blurred line between police and military has made it more difficult to respond, a Japanese government source told the Nikkei Asian Review.  
  Item Number:4 Date: 03/23/2018 FRANCE - MILITANT ATTACKS POLICE, SUPERMARKET IN SOUTH, CLAIMS ALLEGIANCE TO ISIS (MAR 23/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Police say two shootings in southern France may be linked and have ties to terrorism, reports Agence France-Presse.   A policeman was shot while jogging with his unit in the town of Carcassonne on Friday morning.   The gunman then drove to the town of Trebes, where he opened fire at a supermarket, reported the Local (Paris).   One person is presumed dead, said police. Reports have suggested that one other might have been killed as well.   The gunman was alone in the supermarket and in contact with police, according to the latest reports.   He reportedly claimed allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS).   Prosecutors in Paris are treating the incident as a terrorist attack
Item Number:5 Date: 03/23/2018 ISRAEL - 2 SUSPECTS IN CONVOY BOMBING KILLED IN GUNFIGHT WITH POLICE (MAR 23/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- Two men suspected of bombing the convoy of the Palestinian prime minister have been killed in a shootout with police in Gaza, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   Two members of Hamas' security services were killed on Thursday while attempting to arrest the suspects, said Hamas officials.   Anas Abu Khousa, and an accomplice, Abdul Hadi al-Ashab, were critically injured during the shootout and later died, said Hamas Interior Ministry officials.   Hamas officials did not say whether either of the men had any connection to militant groups.   Abu Khousa and Ashab were wanted in connection to the March 13 bombing of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah while visiting Gaza. Several members of Hamdallah's security detail were injured in the blast.   Since 2007, Gaza has been under the control of the Hamas militant group. Hamdallah, a member of the rival Fatah party which rules the West Bank, was visiting the Gaza Strip as part of a series of actions aimed at reconciling the two parties
  Item Number:6 Date: 03/23/2018 MALI - JNIM RELEASES NEW VIDEO, CALLS FOR MORE ATTACKS ON FRENCH (MAR 23/LWJ)  LONG WAR JOURNAL -- The Al-Qaida affiliate in Mali has released a new, high-production value video detailing their activities, reports the Long War Journal.   The Group for Support of Islam and Muslims (JNIM) released the video on Wednesday, showing their camps across West Africa and the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert.   The video features a short speech from Al-Qaida head Ayman al Zawahiri, who incites followers to attack French targets.   Fighters in the video are seen in at least two training camps, one in central Mali and one somewhere in the northern deserts, and mingle in the open, seemingly without fear of aircraft.   Footage from a number of JNIM attacks are highlighted in the video. These include a 2017 raid on a Burkinabe gendarme position near Arbinda; a May 2016 suicide attack at the airport in Gao; and a January 2018 attack near Soumpi, Timbuktu, that killed 14 Malian soldiers.   The video seems to have been filmed with a combination of a head-mounted camera and commercially available drones.  
Item Number:7 Date: 03/23/2018 RUSSIA - AEGIS ASHORE MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEMS AFFECTS RUSSIAN SECURITY, FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS (MAR 23/RT)  RUSSIA TODAY -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Japan's acquisition of two missile defense batteries directly affects Russia's security interests, reports Russia Today.   Lavrov made his remarks on Wednesday during a visit to Tokyo.   "As for our missile defense plan, it is purely defensive and aimed at protecting the lives of our country's people," said Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, as cited by Russia's Tass news agency.   In December, Washington agreed to sell Tokyo two Aegis Ashore systems for roughly US$2 billion. The units are expected to become operational in 2023.   Moscow has expressed concern that Washington could retain operational control over the systems, despite Japan's insistence that it will maintain control of the weapons.   Russian officials have warned that the Aegis system will undermine the global balance of power and could be used against Russia.   Moscow has previously expressed opposition to the deployment of U.S. Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems in South Korea.   The Russian Defense Ministry says that around 400 anti-ballistic missiles will soon encircle Russia as part of a U.S. military buildup
  Item Number:8 Date: 03/23/2018 SOMALIA - AL-SHABAAB CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEADLY CAR BOMBING IN MOGADISHU (MAR 23/ALJAZ)  AL JAZEERA -- A car bomb placed outside of a popular hotel has killed at least 14 people in Somalia's capital, reports Al Jazeera (Qatar).   The explosion rocked the Weheliye hotel in Mogadishu on Thursday, said a government official.   The Somali Interior Ministry said 10 more were wounded in the explosion.   Most of the victims were stopping by for a drink in a teashop in front of the hotel, reported Agence France-Presse.   The Al-Shabab terror group claimed responsibility for the attack, reported Reuters
Item Number:9 Date: 03/23/2018 SOUTH KOREA - SAAB OFFERS AESA RADAR TECHNOLOGY IN BID FOR MARITIME PATROL AIRCRAFT PROGRAM (MAR 23/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Swedish defense firm Saab says it is prepared to make its active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar technology available to South Korea if the Defense Acquisition Program Administration permits the company to bid for its maritime patrol aircraft program, reports Defense News.   The US$1.8 billion program for a new anti-submarine warfare aircraft is expected to go to Boeing, which is offering the P-8A Poseidon.   Saab wants the DAPA to consider its Swordfish maritime patrol aircraft, which is based on the Bombardier Global 6000. The aircraft shares 70 percent commonality with the company's GlobalEye airborne early warning and control aircraft, which made its first flight on March 14.   The indigenous KF-X fighter program is currently developing an AESA radar with assistance from Israeli defense firm Elta Systems. There are concerns in some quarters about the project, since Elta has not previously built an AESA radar, analysts said
  Item Number:10 Date: 03/23/2018 SYRIA - AIRSTRIKES TARGET MARKETPLACE IN IDLIB TOWN, KILLING AT LEAST 35 (MAR 23/NPR)  NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO -- Airstrikes on a town in rebel-controlled northwestern Syria have killed at least 35 people, reports NPR.   The strike on Thursday hit marketplace in the Syrian town of Harim in Idlib province.   The Syrian Civil Defense, a rescue group also known as the White Helmets, said that at least 35 people were killed in the strike and 50 injured.   The White Helmets alleged that Russian planes carried out the strike.   Residents of the town said 12 of the dead were children.   Tensions have escalated in Idlib, the largest area with a rebel presence in Syria.   The Syrian government and its Russian backers have negotiated numerous agreements to evacuate rebel-held area. In exchange, many of the rebels move to Idlib, where rebels have enjoyed a greater presence
  Item Number:11 Date: 03/23/2018 USA - ARMY PURCHASES INTEGRATED NIGHT-VISION GOGGLES FROM BAE (MAR 23/BAE)  BAE SYSTEMS -- The U.S. Army has ordered night-vision goggles (NVGs) and thermal weapon sights that integrate sighting, shooting and battlefield awareness capabilities, reports BAE Systems, which manufactures the systems.   Two orders, worth $97 million, are part of a five-year contract for the Army's Enhanced Night Vision Goggle III and Family of Weapon Sight-Individual (ENVG III/FWS-I) program, the company said on March 21.   The system features a rapid target acquisition module which reduces target engagement time. The module uses a wireless connection to transmit the weapon sight's aim point and surrounding imagery directly into the soldier's goggle.   This enables troops to quickly locate and engage targets from any carry position, without needing to shoulder the weapon.   The integrated system gives soldiers the ability to see and shoot around corners while not exposing themselves to enemy fire, reported the Army Times.   The device currently uses a monocular type eyepiece, but the technology will likely migrate to binocular-type goggles, which provide better depth perception, officials said
Item Number:12 Date: 03/23/2018 USA - MARINE CORPS CONTEMPLATES ARMING MV-22 OSPREY WITH FORWARD-FIRING ROCKETS (MAR 23/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- The U.S. Marine Corps is considering equipping its MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors with forward-firing rockets or missiles, reports the Marine Corps Times.   The Marine Corps has long sought to arm the Osprey so that it can provide its own escort protection based on lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.   The service previously evaluated the Interim Defensive Weapon System all-quadrant weapon system, but it was found to be problematic during trials.   The Marine Corps is looking at a number of potential forward-firing systems to fill the requirement.   These include the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) 2.75-inch (70-mm) guided rocket, Hellfire anti-tank missile and the Joint Air-to Ground Missile (JAGM).   A helmet-mounted display is being developed for Osprey pilots that will integrate weapons targeting as well as enhanced night vision, according to the Marine Corps.   A heavily armed Osprey will serve as a stopgap for the Marine Corps until the planned MUX expeditionary sea drone becomes fully operational by approximately 2034
  Item Number:14 Date: 03/23/2018 USA - NAVY INCREASES BONUSES TO RETAIN EXPERIENCED PILOTS (MAR 23/USNIN)  USNI NEWS -- The U.S. Navy has decided to nearly triple the signing bonus offered to senior aviators in an effort to improve retention, reports USNI News.   The service is concerned that better pay, benefits and lifestyle in the private sector will encourage pilots to leave.   Over the next decade, 4,500 new civilian pilot positions are projected, which will drive up demand for experienced pilots.   The Navy hopes that the financial incentives, along with other new perks, will make continued service an appealing alternative for aviators nearing the end of their contracts.   During congressional testimony in February, Vice Adm. Robert Burke, the Navy personnel chief, said that the Navy did not retain enough O-4 (lieutenant commander) pilots in the strike fighter, electronic attack and helicopter mine countermeasure segments, reported the Stars and Stripe.   The new bonus program increases pay for pilots who screen and serve in career milestone billets, and aviators selected to be commanding officers can receive $100,000 for agreeing to a three-year contract, according to a Navy release
  Item Number:15 Date: 03/23/2018 YEMEN - 2 SOLDIERS, 12 REBELS KILLED IN CLASHES IN SOUTH (MAR 23/ANADOLU)  ANADOLU NEWS AGENCY -- At least two Yemeni soldiers and 12 Houthi rebels have been killed in fighting in southern Yemen, reports Turkey's Anadolu Agency.   On Wednesday, Houthi gunmen opened fire on Yemeni soldiers on the western Marees front in the southern Dali governorate, said a Yemeni army official.   Yemeni forces returned fire and forced the Houthis to retreat, he said.   Three Yemeni soldiers and 12 Houthi fighters were also injured in the firefight.   There was no confirmation from the Houthis regarding the incident.

Breaking News: U.S. Air Campaign in the Middle East Has Become Complicated U.S.Navy Rear Adm. Reports - USS Theodore Roosevelt (Aircraft Carrier)

US pilots in Syria fight at a huge disadvantage — and it could start a major war at any time


A US Navy Rear Adm. recently outlined how the US's air campaign over Syria has become incredibly complicated — and therefore very dangerous. US pilots are flying very closely to a number of other air forces that have different agendas. A recent report from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf and supporting the US-led fight against ISIS contained a startling realization — US pilots are fighting in an insanely complicated space that puts them in danger. "When it first started, ISIS was just steamrolling across Iraq and Syria and there wasn't really much resistance going on … There weren't a whole lot of places you could go where there was no ISIS presence about three years ago," Lt. Joe Anderson, an F/A-18F pilot aboard the Roosevelt, told the US Naval Institute.
But in 2018, the US-led coalition against ISIS has all but crushed the terror army. Now the US troops in Syria, and their backups aboard the Roosevelt, have moved on to other objectives.
"Now where we're at, there's not as much going on … Mostly they've been whittled down to just isolated pockets within Iraq and Syria," Anderson said.
As the fight against ISIS dwindles down, the US has turned its attention to denying Iran influence within Syria and a land bridge to arm Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, as well as denying Syrian President Bashar Assad access to the country's rich eastern oilfields.
US Navy pilots now spend much of their time "doing on-call [close-air support] and doing more defending the US and coalition forces on the ground in the area, and specifically Syrian Defense Forces who are in the mix doing their thing," Anderson said.
That means the US is defending a group of Syrian rebels with embedded US ground troops in one of the most complex fights in history. The US supports the SDF and Kurdish forces in Syria's north, but Turkey, a NATO ally, launched a military campaign against the Kurds. The US's SDF allies opposes Syria's government, but Russia and Iran back them.
US pilots fly the same skies as Iranian, Turkish, Syrian, and Russian aircraft, and they're only allies with the Turks.

Crazy complicated skies put the US at risk

Anderson's commander, Rear Adm. Steve Koehler, told USNI that "the threat picture in Syria is just crazy."

"How many different countries can you cram in one different place, where they all have a different little bit of an agenda? And you put a tactical pilot up there and he or she has to employ ordnance or make defensive counter-air decisions with multiple people - Russians, Syrians, Turks, ISIS, United States," Koehler said.
As a result of the multi-faceted geopolitical complexity, US pilots are now in much more danger than a regular combat mission, according to retired US Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Berke.
"Now the pilots in the airplanes are under stress and using ordnance now have to do interpretations of human behavior and derive the intention of a potential adversary, or at least someone who's not there for the same reasons," Berke told Business Insider.
In normal situations, like over Iraq or Afghanistan, US pilots fly with coalition partners and against enemy aircraft, but the divergent agendas in Syria mean aircraft with potentially bad aircraft can square right up to the US without tripping any alarms.
Berke emphasized that the difference in each country's agenda made the coordination and combat fraught with difficulty. 
If an armed Turkish jet was speeding towards Kurdish forces with US troops embedded, how should a US pilot respond? US pilots and air controllers train endlessly on how to fight, but drawing the line between what constitutes aggression, or self defense, is a different matter.

This could start a war

"If you misinterpret what someone does, you can create a massive problem, you can start a war," Berke said. "I can't think of a more complex place for there to be or a greater level of risk."
As a result, US pilots are somewhat bound to deescalation, and may be tolerating higher levels of aggression from adversaries or non-allies in the skies above Syria. No US pilot wants to make headlines for kicking off an international incident by downing a Russian jet, or failing to defend US forces in a very murky situation.
"The less you know what's going on, the more likely you're going to make a bad decision that you're not aware," Berke said. "The fact that it hasn't escalated beyond what it is now is a testament to the professionalism of the US military, it could have gone sideways any number of times."