Thursday, May 11, 2017

TheList 4452

The List 4452

To All,
A bit of history and some tidbits.
This Day In Naval History - May 10,
1862: The Norfolk Navy Yard is burned before being evacuated by Confederate forces in a general withdrawal up the peninsula to defend Richmond. Also on this date, Pensacola is re-occupied by Union Army and Navy forces. Confederate forces destroyed the Navy Yard the day before.
1972  LT Randy Cunningham and LTJG Willie Driscoll shot down three North
Vietnamese MiGs in one engagement to become the United States' first "aces"
of the Vietnam War.
What the write up missed about Cunningham's 3-MiG kills on that mission was (1) his squadron mate, Matt Connolly & Tom Blonski, shot 2-MiG's off his 6 o'clock; & 2) Cunningham got shot down, ejected, and got picked up and returned to the Connie. All 4 got Navy Cross'. 
Best regards,
Hot Dog sends
Today in History May 10
Philip III of Spain is succeeded by Philip IV ("the Fair").
Christopher Columbus discovers the Cayman Islands.
Bacon's Rebellion begins in the New World.
To keep the troubled East India Company afloat, Parliament passes the Tea Act, taxing all tea in the American colonies.
Louis XVI succeeds his father Louis XV as King of France.
American troops capture Fort Ticonderoga from the British.
Elizabeth, the sister of King Louis XVI, is beheaded.
Napoleon Bonaparte wins a brilliant victory against the Austrians at Lodi bridge in Italy.
Mormon leader Joseph Smith moves his band of followers to Illinois to escape the hostilities they experienced in Missouri.
The Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah.
French emperor Napoleon III leaves Paris to join his troops preparing to battle the Austrian army in Northern Italy.
Victoria Woodhull becomes first the woman nominated for U.S. president.
Allied ships get destroyer escorts to fend off German attacks in the Atlantic.
J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
WGY-TV in Schenectady, New York, begins regular television programming.
Nazis begin burning books by "unGerman" writers such as Heinrich Mann and Erich Maria Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front.
German forces begin a blitzkrieg of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, skirting France's "impenetrable" Maginot Line.
Winston Churchill succeeds Neville Chamberlain as British Prime Minister.
England's House of Commons is destroyed during the worst of the London Blitz: 550 German bombers drop 100,000 incendiary bombs.
The USS Nautilus completes the first circumnavigation of the globe underwater.
Nelson Mandela is sworn in as South Africa's first black president.
Thanks to Dr. Rich….The F-8 had a habit of generators dropping off line. When he mentioned that he had to look in his flight bag for his flashlight I could not believe it. Mine was always on my chest pointed at the instrument panel and on for all cats and traps and landings and take offs at night.
Thanks to Ken and Jim … for this puckerupper …

When I was at Pax River I had the thrill of flying right seat (BN) in one of these at night (VERY dark night), up the Patomac River VERY low, with one of the TPS instructors, with a lot of A-6 combat flight time …. which I will never forget !!  Quite a plane … zero/zero from launch to recovery .. the entire bombing mission .. in valleys and around mountains … talk about trusting your instruments!!   Rich

For some inexplicable reason, I recently felt an urge to explain some of the details of one of the combat missions a buddy and  I flew in Vietnam. My guess is that I will write about other missions in the future ...
show image slideshow

The Island:
In combat, things often go awry.

A portion of the Flight Schedule for Marine all weather Attack Squadron 225 dated 28 Oct 69
CREW                        BRIEF    T/O       LAND    MISSION        ORD            TOT
LT GARING                 1600      0330     0500        A/R              22 D-2Y       0400
LT JACOBSEN                                                                            4 D-8
October 30, 1969 
Our mission is an armed reconnaissance into Laos. Takeoff at 0330, time on target 0400.
Up at 0100, I brush my teeth, put on my flight suit and flack jacket, catch a jeep ride to the Flight Line.
This will be the 48th combat mission I have flown, of those, seven have been with Randy Jacobsen as mission Bombardier Navigator. Randy is a great B/N, he knows how to get the best out of the A-6 system. He will get us to target and back to Da Nang.
I prefer flying combat missions at night. There are advantages to night combat missions, not the least being that the tracers are visible, for all the world like red hot golf balls streaming up toward the airplane. Most of the time, a few "G"s on the airplane is all it takes to fly out of their path.
So long as I can see them coming.
It has been raining only like it can rain in Vietnam. More than a inch an hour for the last eight hours.
Tonight we will not see any tracers. Once airborne, the rain and clouds will prevent seeing much beyond the Plexiglas of the canopy.
For the most part, the night makes us invisible, unless the bad guys get a radar lock on us. If they do, we will be visible to them.
I have been flying night missions for a month and a half, and I'm more comfortable at night. Better than day missions as far as I am concerned.
At the flight line, the Marine in the Para Loft helps Randy and me put on our "G" suits, torso harnesses, survival vests, guns and helmets.
Before going out to the airplane, I examine its maintenance history, review any "squawks" by previous crews. In the box labeled Destination, I write "Other" and sign the yellow sheet. If our destination were inside South Vietnam, I would write "RVN" in the box. Laos is a classified destination.
In the revetment, the ground crew has a canvas canopy over the airplane to keep us dry while we preflight and after we climb into the cockpit. The Crew chief removes the ejection seat safety pins and helps us strap in.
A signal from Randy to the Crew Chief below gets the airplane plugged in to auxiliary ground electric power. The airplane has a battery, but battery power won't last but a few minutes with the entire A-6 attack system on it.
I sit quietly while Randy initializes the inertial platform and types coordinates into the computer. Finally we are ready to start. I look at the Crew Chief, hold one gloved finger in the air to signal compressor air to Number 1 engine. Number 1 slowly winds up under air pressure, and when it reaches minimum RPM I bring the throttle around the horn triggering the igniters. After Number 1 is up and running, Number 2 is started.
After startup, we sit with the soft whine of the engines at idle, the canopy closed. We switch to the generators and Randy makes sure the platform and system remain stable on internal power, then signals the Crew Chief to unplug the ground power unit.
A continuous pater goes on between Randy and me while I unfold and lock the wings, check controls and watch the Crew Chief's signals for speed brakes, flapperons and flap settings.
Finally Randy says "We're ready."
I respond with- "Da Nang Ground, Manual 77 ready to taxi."
Ground- "You guys going out in this?"
I answer- "That is affirmative."
A-6 Intruders are the only planes flying combat missions in weather like this. From liftoff to 100 feet above the runway on landing, we will see no further than our wing tips.
This is our element, a black rainy night where we cannot be seen and the rain muffles our approach. It will take a powerful, close enemy radar for them to get a lock on us tonight.
Ground comes back with "Manual 77, Wind 180 at 10, altimeter 28.85. Taxi Runway 17 Right."
In the run-up area for 17 Right, Randy and I go through pre takeoff procedures and aircraft configuration. When we are ready I call Tower- "Da Nang, Manual 77 ready for departure on 17 Right."  Tower comes back with- "Manual 77, cross 17 Right, cleared for takeoff on 17 Left."
Lining up on 17 Left, I hold the brakes and advance both engines to 100% power. When the power comes up, the airplane shakes and shivers from the thrust and a distant roar can be heard through our helmets. After a final check of the engine instruments and a nod from Randy I release the brakes. Looking ahead through the heavy rain, maybe two white centerline stripes are visible in the glare from the landing light. Beyond that the runway disappears into the rain and night.
As usual  we are heavy, carrying twenty two 500 pound bombs and four Rockeye cluster bombs. Each Rockeye weighs about 550 pounds, so including bomb racks, the total ordinance load is a little over 14,000 pounds. The empty airplane weighs about 29,000 pounds and we started engines with about 15,000 pounds of fuel in the fuselage tank. Accelerating down the runway, we are almost 58,000 pounds all up.
I watch centerline stripes as they appear ahead, keeping one eye on engine gauges. Oil and hydraulic pressures are good, fuel flow is 15,000 pounds an hour, the Master Caution Panel is silent. Randy calls runway remaining markers as a check on engine performance. At 150 knots I gently raise the nose. After a brief hesitation, we are airborne and the runway disappears, black night and rain closing around us. I am immediately on instruments. Landing gear up, I start a left turn.
We never fly straight ahead after departing to the South from Da Nang.  Especially at night. Especially in bad weather. There are bad guys down there in no man's land who shoot at airplanes.
We don't know it now, but on a rainy night like this just 17 days from now, 30 seconds after lift off, squadron mates Jess Jessen and Dean Tutor's A-6 will take a hit, shutting down one engine and causing battle damage. Jess will jettison all the ordinance and on instruments and one engine, start back for Runway 17. Approach control will vector them in the shortest possible pattern, but fuel will pour out of the airplane at almost 2,000 pounds per minute. They won't quite make it back, the remaining engine will flame out from fuel starvation and both will eject over Da Nang Bay, to be subsequently rescued.
We never fly straight ahead after departing to the South from Da Nang.
The left turn takes us over China Beach and past Monkey Mountain, a Marine outpost on a limestone karst which guards Da Nang Bay, invisible in the black below. At 2000 feet, I raise the flaps and Randy switches radio frequency to  local radar control, Panama. Panama monitors our progress for a few minutes and then sends us to Da Nang Direct Air Support Center to check for artillery firing along our route West into Laos.
It is a good idea to check. A midair with a 155 mm howitzer shell could ruin our night.
Da Nang DASC says we are clear.
The monsoon season should be over, but heavy rain is hissing on the windscreen and Plexiglas side panels, unstable air making the climb toward Laos bumpy. With the airplane heavy, climb speed is slow at 250 knots indicated, heading 290 degrees. During the climb, Randy is busy monitoring the search radar and attempting to update the system by selecting known points on the ground which have a precise radar signature and exact known position.
Updating the system is important. The inertial platform and computer may think they know where we are, but the equipment isn't perfect and can drift. A good update will tell the computer exactly where we are and it can then adjust for actual winds aloft and errors in detecting ground speed, vertical and horizontal acceleration.
Randy is not happy. He comes up on the intercom - "I can't get a good update. I think the rain is too heavy and is interfering with the search radar."
"Roger that" is all I can say. Maybe the weather will get better further West.
I love the challenge of instrument flying. Not that instrument flying is difficult in the A-6. After all the airplane has a highly advanced integrated radar and computer system as well as pilot friendly flight instruments. The primary attitude indicator is essentially a small TV screen (Visual Display Indicator or VDI) that displays flight and attack data and allows precise weapons delivery straight and level or up to four "G"s on instruments, delivering reliable attitude representation right through the top of a loop in solid cloud.
There are back-up instruments to the upper right of the VDI including a small electric attitude indicator, horizontal situation indicator and what would seem to be an anachronism, an air driven turn and slip indicator powered by engine compressor air. Another seeming anachronism, a magnetic wet compass hangs from the center of the canopy bow.  I have never had to use the backup instruments, everything I need to know about navigation and airplane control is either on the VDI, the altimeter or the repeater radar screen below the VDI.
Leveling at 14,000 feet Westbound, I switch radio frequency to "Moonbeam". Moonbeam is an airborne command center monitoring activity on the ground in Laos, particularly enemy truck traffic on various segments of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. If Moonbeam detects enemy movement, they will call us with the suspected type of traffic and give coordinates for Randy to enter into our computer.
Approaching Tchepone from the East I call "Moonbeam, Manual 77 with you." Moonbeam has been expecting us and is sweeping us with their radar, so they know where we are. Moonbeam comes back, "Manual 77 Moonbeam, cleared into your route as fragged, say your operating altitude." I come back with "Manual 77 will be at base minus point five. Any Bat activity?"
There usually is an airborne forward air controller patrolling various Ho Chi Minh Trail segments over Laos, call sign "Blind Bat", usually "Bat" for short. Moonbeam comes back "That is negative."
No point in a Bat being out here tonight, it is solid black cloud and rain.
Randy comes up on the intercom- "Here is your steering to the route." The pointer on the repeater radar screen and the VDI are indicating a Northerly course, so I turn to the right from Tchepone and drop down to our recon altitude, just above surrounding invisible mountain peaks. Randy comes up again on the intercom "Switching to AMTI."
Airborne Moving Target Identifier is a computer modified radar mode that shows anything moving on the ground as a bright blip on Randy's radar scope.
For the next 20 minutes, we track Northerly and Southerly over various Ho Chi Minh Trail segments in AMTI mode, looking for movers. I keep one eye on my radar repeater scope, just below the VDI. Steering is indicated by a bright V shaped pointer on the periphery of the scope, as well as on the VDI above. I am particularly interested in bright radar returns along our course, especially if they have long shadows beyond them. A long shadow beyond a bright return dead ahead is an indication of terrain ahead that is at or above our altitude.
Finally Randy comes up on the intercom- "We might as well go to our alternate target, I can't get a track radar lock or pick up much in this rain." I agree. Randy selects a different computer mode and  says- "There is your steering to the target."
Our alternate target is a "Suspected truck park". Maybe there is something there, maybe not.
I take up steering to the target, about 25 miles North of our position. Once I have us on course, Randy puts the system into attack mode and turns on the master arm switch. VDI steering indicators become sensitive and the VDI displays a symbol, a small black box at  the top center of the scope. I squeeze the commit switch on the control stick, telling the computer that it is authorized to drop when it reaches a solution. As we approach a solution, a tone comes on over our headsets and the black box starts down the scope toward  its center. When the black box reaches scope center, twenty two 500 pound bombs begin rippling off of the airplane.
As each 500 pound weight is suddenly released, the airplane shudders and jumps. Twenty two bombs are gone in about four seconds.
But, just after the last bomb is gone there is an audible "CLICK" over the intercom and everything goes BLACK.
What the?!!! 
As one, Randy and I reach into our flight bags for our flashlights.
Turning on our flashlights, we scan the instrument panels, front, center between us and sides. The engines are running, but everything electrically powered is off, no lights, no backlighting of switches or dials, no radar, no VDI, no navigation. The turn needle still works because it is powered by engine compressor air. And the magnetic compass. It is powered by the earth's magnetic field.
It would be very easy to lose control of the airplane with no reference to up or down, or where the ground or horizon is. With the airplane trimmed for one "G" level flight, it feels like it is perfectly level and straight even if it is in a steep turn or even upside down- for the first few seconds.
So I center the turn needle and climb to get above whatever might be ahead.
The intercom is off also, so Randy and I take off our oxygen masks to holler back and forth.  We go through the generator failure checklist, cycling both generators-
Turning on the battery gets us a few very dim panel lights, nothing else. I turn the battery back off. We will need it to know that we have three green landing gear down lights if we can find Da Nang.
Finding Da Nang won't be easy. We are in a black rainy night in solid cloud over mountainous enemy territory. Probably 150 miles from the coast, partial panel, dead reckoning.
Hollering back and forth, Randy and I decide to turn East, to about 090 degrees and hold 15,000 feet for 45 minutes. That should put us over the Gulf of Tonkin.
Then we will have to start down.
The heading is one that we think will cause us to cross the coast well North of Da Nang. That way, when we break out of the clouds over the ocean during the decent, I can turn South after we come back underneath the clouds and find the coast.
Forty five minutes is longer than it should take. But we don't know exactly where we are or what the winds are. And the mountains go right up to the coast in many parts of Vietnam. Mountain peaks near our last known position rise to near 6,000 feet.
The flashlights we carry are standard olive drab units with a 90 degree angle at the end with the lens. On the side away from the lens there is a clip so that the flashlight can be clipped to a chest strap on our survival vests or torso harness, allowing hands free use to illuminate the instrument panel. We are using the red lens filters to preserve night vision for the time when there might be something to see outside the airplane.
Flying the A-6 partial panel on just the altimeter, turn needle and wet compass is not really all that difficult, but there are some challenges. The magnetic compass is only accurate when the airplane is in straight and level unaccelerated flight. Tonight it is bumpy and the compass is slewing back and forth 20 degrees or more either side of my heading and I have to average the readings. The magnetic compass is also wildly inaccurate in a turn. To make course corrections, I mentally divide the number of degrees of turn I need to make by three, and then make a standard three degree per second turn using the turn needle and calculated time required. Roll out of the turn, wait for the wet compass to settle, make another correction.
From time to time, I turn on the battery long enough to adjust pitch trim.
Forty five minutes pass, and it is time to start down. We are still in solid black cloud and rain, but I power back, extend speed brakes and trim for 250 knot decent.
If we hit anything, we won't feel a thing.
At first, I am fairly calm, but as the decent continues in black cloud and rain, I get a little tense. Especially passing through 1,000 feet still in cloud. But finally at 500 feet, grey black ocean appears below and we are underneath the cloud layer.
Now that we are underneath the clouds, I turn 180 degrees back to the right to go find the coast. No sooner than the airplane is wings level on the reciprocal heading, we pass a good sized island just off the right wing, the top of which is well up into the clouds. We must have just missed the top on the way down.
A close call.
After about five minutes on the reciprocal heading a dark, rocky coast appears ahead, rising up into the clouds. I turn left or Southerly where Da Nang should be. Twenty minutes later the familiar mountains around Da Nang Bay come into sight, along with a hint of morning twilight.
The guys in Da Nang tower are keeping a sharp lookout it seems. I go by the tower at 400 feet rocking my wings, hoping they see us with no navigation lights on, then into a low break, power back, speed brakes out, gear, flaps down, battery on- Three Green Gear lights.
On final approach to 17 Right, tower gives us a green light- cleared to land.
Back in the squadron living area, I put on my flack jacket to walk to the mailbox to mail the letter to Kathy that I had written earlier in the day. I never mail a letter to Kathy until I am safely back on the ground.
I have been in Vietnam for a little over three months. Over the next nine months, I will fly another 90 combat missions, most at night and spend three of the nine months on the ground with Second Battalion, First Marines, as their FAC  (Forward Air Controller). There, I will carefully step in the footprints of the Marine ahead of when on patrol.
Item Number:1 Date: 05/10/2017 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN, SECURITY FORCES AGAIN BATTLE FOR KUNDUZ (MAY 10/REU)  REUTERS -- Afghan government forces continue to battle with Taliban fighters close to the northern city of Kunduz, say officials cited by Reuters.   The city and surrounding area has seen heavy fighting after the Taliban announced the start of its spring offensive last month. The Taliban controls much of the countryside around Kunduz.   On Tuesday, Taliban fighters blocked a main route into the city with improvised explosives, said defense officials.   At the time, three operations were underway, said a Defense Ministry spokesman. "We have the capacity and enough reinforcements to tackle them," he added.   The Taliban has concentrated most of its fighters on Khanabad district to Kunduz's southeast, said a police spokesman.   "The enemy has planted bombs everywhere and it has caused the operation to go slowly," the spokesman said.   The government also lost control of Kunduz to the Taliban previously -- in September 2015 and last year, noted Fox News.  
Item Number:2 Date: 05/10/2017 CHINA - ISRAELI SATELLITE SPOTS BEIJING READYING ANTI-SHIP MISSILES IN S. CHINA SEA (MAY 10/DN)  DEFENSE NEWS -- Imagery from an Israeli satellite indicates that the Chinese army is preparing to field new land-based missile systems at a naval base in the South China Sea, reports Defense News.   Photos taken by an ImageSat International (ISI) EROS-B satellite on Monday show recent changes in the Yulin Naval Base at the tip of Hainan Island in the disputed South China Sea.   In less than two months, the army has installed multiple missile launchers on the western side of the base. An analyst with ISI says that the systems are likely for anti-ship missiles.   Similar systems were seen in satellite images about two years ago, but had been removed recently for infrastructure upgrades, said the analyst, Amit Gur.   It is not clear if new systems are being deployed, or they are the same as those seen earlier, which were stored during renovations, said Gur.   On the eastern side of the Yulin base, infrastructure is also being built, which appears to be similar to that for anti-ship missiles on the western side, said a spokesman for ISI.   According to Gur, the expansion of the Yulin base fortifies Beijing's strategic triangle of forward bases that allow it to rapidly project power beyond the Philippines and Vietnam.  
  Item Number:3 Date: 05/10/2017 CHINA - XI ISSUES DECREE ON MILITARY LEGISLATION (MAY 10/XIN)  XINHUA -- President Xi Jinping has signed a decree covering Chinese military legislation, reports Xinhua, China's state news agency.   The decree, which went into effect Monday, defines rules for establishing military laws and regulations.   The move also standardizes how such legislation is drafted, submitted, modified and issued, the news agency said on Wednesday.   The decree covers the review and compilation of records and potential measures to improve the management system for documents.  
 Item Number:4 Date: 05/10/2017 COLOMBIA - 8 HOSTAGES RELEASED, SAYS PRESIDENT (MAY 10/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says eight people kidnapped over the weekend have been released, reports Agence France-Presse.   Seven men and one woman were kidnapped Sunday in the village of Sesego, close to the town of Novita about 540 km (335 mi) west of Bogota. The government blamed the ELN rebel group and launched a rescue operation.   The president announced on Twitter that the hostages had been released, crediting "public pressure."   Details about the kidnapping remain murky. The army said the eight were forced into a boat and taken deep into the jungle, reported the BBC.   Bogota and the ELN have been holding peace talks in Ecuador since February. The next round is scheduled to begin on May 16, and the chief negotiator for the government has said the kidnappings "hamper enormously" the talks
Item Number:5 Date: 05/10/2017 GERMANY - 2ND SOLDIER ARRESTED IN 'FALSE FLAG' PLOT (MAY 10/INDEP)  INDEPENDENT -- Germany authorities have arrested a second soldier for allegedly planning a "false flag" plot to assassinate left-wing politicians, with the blame falling to refugees, reports the Independent (U.K).   The alleged plot has been linked to what has been called a neo-Nazi network in the army.   Army Lt. Franco Albrecht was arrested on April 26 in the Bavarian city of Offenbach. He is charged with posing as a Syrian refugee and planning an attack on politicians, noted the Local (Germany).   The second soldier arrested Tuesday was identified only as Maximilian T. The arrest was first reported by Spiegal Online.   Maximilian T., also a lieutenant and a friend of Albrecht, was stationed at the same Franco-German base near Strasbourg, said federal prosecutors.   Authorities say he made excuses for Albrecht's absence from the base, helped him procure a handgun and came up with a hit list of politicians.   A third friend, Mathias F., was arrested in April.  
 Item Number:6 Date: 05/10/2017 GERMANY - LOOKING FOR ISIS MEMBERS, POLICE MAKE PRE-DAWN RAIDS OF HOMES IN 4 STATES (MAY 10/DEWELLE)  DEUTSCHE WELLE -- Police in Germany have raided homes in four states searching for terrorists, reports Deutsche Welle, citing the federal prosecutor's office.   Security forces carried out a series of pre-dawn raids in the eastern city of Leipzig. Other raids were conducted Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, Berlin and Bavaria, said a police spokesman.   Those targeted included at least two suspected Islamic State members and a supporter of the terror group, according to prosecutors.   No arrests were made, said a statement from prosecutors, contradicting earlier media reports.  
GHT AMID STRENGTHENING DEFENSE COOPERATION (MAY 10/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- Defense Minister Arun Jaitley says India wants to strengthen military cooperation with Japan, particularly in the area of defense technology, reports the Press Trust of India.   New Delhi and Tokyo share "a very strong relationship between (their) defense forces" and the two nations will pursue strategic partnership for regional peace and stability, Jaitley told PTI in an interview.   The Indian defense minister met his Japanese counterpart, Tomomi Inada, on Monday, as part of a three-day trip to Japan.   Jaitley, who doubles as finance minister, was in Tokyo for a meeting of the Asian Development Bank, noted the Diplomat (Tokyo).   India is interested in obtaining defense technology from Japan to support indigenous defense production, said Jaitley.  
  Item Number:8 Date: 05/10/2017 LIBYA - HAFTAR'S FORCES PUSH AGAINST MILITANT STRONGHOLDS IN BENGHAZI (MAY 10/LIBHER)  LIBYA HERALD -- The Libyan National Army (LNA) has launched a long-awaited attack on militant enclaves in the Sabri and Suq Al-Hout areas of Benghazi, reports the Libya Herald.   At least 11 Libyan troops have been killed and 55 wounded in the operation, which began on Monday, said the Tripoli-based publication, though without citing its sources.   The LNA has reportedly made progress in Sabri despite a significant number of mines and improvised explosive devices, said the paper. Snipers and IEDs have been blamed for most of the casualties.   Led by Khalifa Haftar, the LNA has been fighting for three years to take control of Benghazi from Islamists and other opponents, noted Reuters. Haftar does not support the U.N.-endorsed Government of National Accord (GNA), but is aligned with the eastern government based in Tobruk.  
Item Number:9 Date: 05/10/2017 NEW ZEALAND - AIR FORCE LOOSENS FLIGHT LIMITATIONS ON NH90 HELICOPTERS; RESTRICTIONS WERE IMPOSED AFTER EMERGENCY LANDING (MAY 10/NZDF)  NEW ZEALAND DEFENSE FORCE -- The Royal New Zealand Air Force has relaxed some of its flight restrictions on its fleet of NH90 helicopters following an engine issue last month, reports the New Zealand Defense Force.   A helicopter with nine aboard had to make an emergency landing after losing power in an engine while flying to its base at Ohakea on April 16, noted Australian Aviation.   The limitations that prevented the aircraft from flying over water, at night or over mountainous terrain were implemented on April 20, after an NH90 experienced that engine failure, the NZDF said in a Monday release.   An ongoing investigation has provided confidence that the helicopters can be operated safely following similar single engine failures, said Air Vice Marshal Tony Davies, the RNZAF chief.   The NH90 has been approved for normal flying operations, except where it is operating at its upper weight limits, Davies said.   Full operations are expected to be authorized as soon as the engine manufacturer determines the reasons for the initial failure, he said.  
  Item Number:10 Date: 05/10/2017 NIGERIA - GOVERNMENT EYES MORE TALKS WITH BOKO HARAM, HOPING TO END SUICIDE ATTACKS (MAY 10/VANGUARD)  VANGUARD -- The Nigerian government is expected to initiate talks with a faction of the Boko Haram terrorist group in an effort to end suicide bombings, reports the Vanguard (Lagos).   The negotiations will also seek to free more of the Chibok schoolgirls. The government recently obtained the release of 82 of the girls in exchange for five senior Boko Haram commanders.   Boko Haram kidnapped almost 270 school girls from the town of Chibok in 2014. Two years later, about 200 were still missing.   The talks for the 82 were conducted with the Abubakar Shekau faction of Boko Haram, which is holed up in remote parts of northeastern Nigeria, said an unnamed senior government source.   Beyond the kidnapped girls, the militant group also holds thousands of Nigerian women captive, the source said
Item Number:11 Date: 05/10/2017 PAKISTAN - IRANIAN ARMY CHIEF'S THREAT TO HIT TERRORISTS IN PAKISTAN PROMPTS FORMAL PROTEST BY ISLAMABAD (MAY 10/PTI)  PRESS TRUST OF INDIA -- Pakistan's Foreign Ministry has summoned the Iranian ambassador following provocative comments made by Iran's army chief that suggested Iran could make attacks against terrorists in Pakistani territory, reports the Press Trust of India.   On Monday, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Baqeri said that "unless Pakistan controls the borders, arrests the terrorists and shuts down their bases...we will hit their safe havens and cells wherever they are."   The general made his remarks after 10 Iranian border guards were shot and killed by terrorists with long-range guns from inside Pakistan.   Pakistan's Foreign Office said on Tuesday that it had summoned the Iranian ambassador to express its concerns about the comments.   "The Iranian side was urged to avoid issuance of such statements that could vitiate the environment of fraternal relations," the statement said.  
  Item Number:12 Date: 05/10/2017 PHILIPPINES - U.S. WARNS OF POTENTIAL KIDNAPPING; ARMY UNIT IN PALAWAN CALLS AREA 'SAFE' (MAY 10/AFP)  AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE -- The U.S. Embassy in Manila has warned of potential terrorist kidnapping on a popular tourist island in the Philippines, reports Agence France-Presse.   The embassy published an advisory on Tuesday from the U.S. State Dept. warning Americans to "carefully consider" travel to Palawan, in the Mimaropa region.   There was "credible information that terrorists groups may be planning to conduct kidnapping operation targeting foreign nationals" in that area, said the advisory.   Potential kidnappers were specifically targeting the capital city of Puerto Princesa and a nearby underground river listed as a World Heritage site, said the warning.   The Philippine military on Wednesday said that it "shared the same concerns" and had increased security at tourist sites on the island.   Nevertheless, the military in the region downplayed the danger, saying Palawan, "being one of the most beautiful places in the world, is safe for both local and foreign nationals," as quoted by ABS-CBN News (Philippines).   Last month, the U.S. Embassy warned of potential kidnappings on Bohol Island, also a popular tourist destination. Days after the advisory, Abu Sayyaf militants, who typically operate hundreds of miles to the south, were found on the island and pursued by police.  
  Item Number:13 Date: 05/10/2017 RUSSIA - ISIS VIDEO SHOWS BEHEADING OF ALLEGED RUSSIAN INTEL OFFICER (MAY 10/WP)  WASHINGTON POST -- The Islamic State has released a video purportedly showing the execution of a Russian intelligence officer, reports the Washington Post.   The video was released Monday on media accounts associated with the terrorist group.   The recording appears to show the beheading of Yevgeny Petrenko. ISIS said he had infiltrated Islamist groups in Kazakhstan and the North Caucasus region before being caught last year in Syria.   The terrorist group first claimed to have captured Petrenko in September 2016, but called him a captain at the time, not a colonel, his actual rank, noted the Daily Mail (U.K.).   The authenticity of the video has not been verified, nor is it clear where the alleged killing occurred.   Petrenko, apparently under duress, said that he had been abandoned by the Russian government and urged Moscow to end its military campaign in Syria.   He claimed to be a member of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and said his mission was to gain access to Omar al-Shishani, a Georgian Chechen ISIS commander who was believed to have been killed in 2016.   Russia's Defense Ministry denied that any of its servicemen has been captured or killed by ISIS in Syria, reported France 24
  Item Number:14 Date: 05/10/2017 RWANDA - TRAINING BEGINS FOR POLICE FROM 7 COUNTRIES IN PREPARATION FOR EAST AFRICAN STANDBY FORCE (MAY 10/NEWT)  NEW TIMES -- Rwanda is hosting a two-week peacekeeping course for police officers at the Peacekeeping Training Center in the eastern part of the country, reports the New Times (Kigali).   Forty-five officers from Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda are taking part in the United Nations Police Officers Course (UNPOC), which began on Monday.   The center is located in Gishari, in Rwamagana district.   The course is intended to prepare more police officers for deployment with the regional East African Standby Force (EASF), said Vianney Nshimiyimana, the commandant of the police training school.   The training covers U.N. systems, polices and values, mission structures and operating environment, he said.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 05/10/2017 SOUTH SUDAN - PRESIDENT FIRES ARMY CHIEF; OFFICIAL CONVOY HIT BY GUNFIRE (MAY 10/SSNA)  SOUTH SUDAN NEWS AGENCY -- South Sudan President Salva Kiir has fired his army chief.   Long-time army chief Paul Malong was fired via a presidential decree broadcast live on state television, reported the South Sudan News Agency.   Malong was replaced by Gen. James Ajongo Mawut, the former deputy chief of general staff for administration and finance.   Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk said the move was "routine." No reason was given for the decision.   The army has been in disarray, with numerous resignations among senior generals who have alleged tribal bias, noted Reuters. Melong is a Dinka, as is the president; the new chief is a member of an ethnic minority, a Luo from Aweil in the northwest.   Also on Tuesday, gunmen attacked the convoy of South Sudan's vice president, wounding three guards, reported the Sudan Tribune.   The convoy was attacked as it headed north from the capital Juba to the town of Bor, said a government spokesman. There were conflicting reports on casualties.   First Vice President Taban Deng Gai was not in the convoy at the time because he was traveling by plane, the spokesman said, as reported by Reuters. Gai joined the government after defecting from the main rebel group last year.  
  Item Number:16 Date: 05/10/2017 TURKEY - ASELSAN SHOWS OFF ITS RAILGUN CONCEPT AT IDEF EXHIBITION (MAY 10/SHEPHARD)  SHEPHARD MEDIA -- Aselsan, a Turkish electronics firm, is displaying a new railgun concept at this week's IDEF show in Istanbul, reports Shephard Media.   The Tufan (Turkish for storm) is capable of being integrated into different platforms, such as naval vessels or ground vehicles, as well as be employed in a static, ground-based configuration.   Potential missions include indirect and direct-fire missions against ground and maritime targets as well as anti-aircraft, officials said.   The program is still in the research and development phase, with a lab-based launcher currently being evaluated, said an Aselsan spokesman.   Railguns send electric current down two rails, which creates a magnetic field to launch a solid, non-explosive projectile. This results in a muzzle velocity of around Mach 5 and a potential range of hundreds of miles.   Company officials acknowledged to Shephard that there are a number of technological hurdles, including the large amounts of energy needed to propel the projectile; extremely high temperatures; and the short lifespan of the rails.   Current testing is focused on incrementally boosting the muzzle velocity as well as the overall efficiency of the system, said the spokesman.  
R PRODUCTION RADAR FROM NORTHROP GRUMMAN (MAY 10/NG)  NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP. -- Northrop Grumman has delivered the first low-rate initial production AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task-Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) to the U.S. Marine Corps.   The system successfully completed system acceptance, the last of the required milestones in the production test phase, ahead of schedule, said a Northrop Grumman release on Tuesday.   Five more radars will be delivered under the initial low-rate initial production contract awarded in October 2014.   The G/ATOR will replace five existing radar systems operated by the Marines, while providing significant performance improvements, the company said.  
  Item Number:18 Date: 05/10/2017 USA - MARINES IN AFGHANISTAN IN COMBAT ZONE, EXPOSED TO DANGER, BUT NOT ON 'FRONT LINES,' SAYS GENERAL (MAY 10/MCT)  MARINE CORPS TIMES -- The head of the Marine Corps mission in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province says his troops are not operating on the front lines, but are assuredly in a combat zone, reports the Marine Corps Times.   "The whole thing is a combat zone," said Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr., the commander of Task Force Southwest, which includes about 300 Marines.   The general acknowledged that the troops have been exposed to danger during operations.   Turner said he has no concerns about the restrictions placed on his forces to remain out of danger or reduce the risk of civilian casualties.   "We have the ability to put Marines where we need to put them in order to make the Afghan forces more capable and effective," said the general.   Turner said he does not now see any need for the Marines to accompany their Afghan partners into combat.   One of the task force's main objectives over the next nine months is to help rebuild the 215th Corps, which has deteriorated since 2014, said the general
Item Number:19 Date: 05/10/2017 USA - OVER TURKEY'S OBJECTIONS, TRUMP APPROVES PLAN TO ARM SYRIAN KURDS (MAY 10/CNN)  CABLE NEWS NETWORK -- The White House has approved a plan to directly arm Syrian Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, as reported by CNN.   The decision is likely to strain relations with Turkey, noted the Washington Post.   The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has been involved in a multi-phase operation aimed at seizing control of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State.   "Yesterday, the president authorized the Dept. of Defense to equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as necessary to ensure a clear victory over ISIS in Raqqa, Syria," said a Pentagon spokesman.   The equipment will include small arms, machine guns, construction equipment and armored vehicles, said a U.S. official. The amount supplies delivered will be just enough for the force to accomplish specific objectives related to Raqqa, the official said.   Much of the equipment is prepositioned and can be quickly delivered, said an official cited by NBC News. Ground convoys, C-130s, and air drops were said to be all possible.   Turkey views the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG), the main element of the SDF, as a terrorist group.   A spokeswoman from the Pentagon said that the U.S. is "keenly aware of the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey. We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the U.S. is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally," as noted in a statement.  
  Item Number:20 Date: 05/10/2017 USA - SENATE CONFIRMS HEATHER WILSON AS AIR FORCE SECRETARY (MAY 10/AFNS)  AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE -- The U.S. Senate has confirmed Heather Wilson as the next secretary of the Air Force, reports the Air Force News Service.   The vote was 76-22 to approve.   Wilson, who is leaving her position as president of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, is expected to be sworn in within a week.   The former New Mexico representative in the House of Representatives is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. She served in Europe during the Cold War and on the National Security Council staff of President George H.W. Bush.   Wilson is the second confirmed Trump appointee in the Defense Dept. She replaces Lisa Disbrow, who has been serving as acting secretary since Jan. 20.

No comments:

Post a Comment