Friday, April 20, 2018

Fw: TheList 4704

The List 4704

To All
I hope that you all have a great weekend. Here is some extra reading.
This Day In Naval History – April 20, 2018
April 20
1861—Union forces burn screw frigate Merrimack and Gosport Shipyard, Portsmouth, VA, to prevent Yard facilities and ships from falling into Confederate hands during the Civil War.
1914—The first call-to-action of naval aviators is given, creating an aviation detachment of three pilots, 12 enlisted men, and three aircraft to join the Atlantic Fleet forces operating off Tampico during the Mexican crisis.
1942—USS Wasp (CV 7) launches 47 British aircraft to reinforce Malta, repeating the exercise May 9.
1944—USS Seahorse (SS 304) torpedoes and sinks Japanese submarine RO 45 off the Mariana Islands.
1947—Navy Capt. L.O. Fox, backed by 80 Marines, accepts surrender of Japanese Lt. Ei Yamaguchi and 26 Japanese soldiers and sailors, two and one half years after the occupation of Peleliu and nearly 20 months after the surrender of Japan.
1953—USS New Jersey (BB 62) shells Wonsan, Korea, from inside the harbor during the Korean War.
1964—USS Henry Clay (SSBN 625) launches a Polaris A-2 missile in the first demonstration to show that Polaris submarines could launch missiles from the surface as well as from beneath the ocean.
2007—USS Saipan (LHA 2) is decommissioned at Norfolk, VA, after serving the Navy for 30 years, including operations Urgent Fury, Sharp Edge, Desert Storm, Deny Flight, and Iraqi Freedom.
April 21
1861—Sloop-of-War Saratoga, commanded by Alfred Taylor, captures Nightingale, a clipper slaver, at the mouth of the Congo River at Cabinda, Angola, with 961 slaves on board.
1898—President William McKinley orders the Navy to begin a blockade of Cuba and Spain, the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Congress responds with a formal declaration of war April 25, made retroactive to the start of the blockade.
1914—President Woodrow Wilson orders intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, after the Tampico Affair where Sailors from USS Dolphin were detained. The U.S. Atlantic Fleet, under the command of Rear Adm. Frank F. Fletcher, land the first Marines and Sailors from USS Florida and USS Utah and engage in battle.
1944—Task Force 58 begins the bombing of Japanese airfields and defensive positions at Hollandia, Wakde, Sawar, and Sarmi, New Guinea, in preparation for the U.S. Army landing operations Persecution and Reckless.
1972—Navy Capt. John W. Young, commander of Apollo 16, is the ninth man to walk on the moon. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas K. Mattingly II is the command module pilot for the 11-day, 1-hour and 51-minute mission where 213 pounds of lunar material is collected.
1990—USNS John Ericcson (T-AO 194) is launched at Chester, PA. The Henry J. Kiser-class replenishment oiler is named for John Ericcson who designed USS Monitor.
2001—USS Lassen (DDG 82) is commissioned at Tampa, FL, prior to sailing for her homeport in San Diego as part of Destroyer Squadron 23. The Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer is named after Lt. Clyde Everett Lassen, a Medal of Honor recipient for recusing two downed aviators while he was the commander of a search and rescue helicopter in Vietnam.
April 22
1778—During the American Revolution, two boats of volunteers from the sloop-of-war Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, go ashore at Whitehaven, England, burning ships in the harbor and spiking the guns of the fort.
1898—Rear Adm. William T. Sampson leaves Key West, FL, with the North Atlantic Squadron to begin the blockade of the northern Cuban ports, the beginning of the Spanish-American War.
1945—USS Carter (DE 112) and USS Neal A. Scott (DE 769) sink German submarine U 518 south of the Azores.
1945—USS Hardhead (SS 365) sinks Japanese cargo vessel Mankei Maru off Chimpson and USS Cero (SS 225) sinks the Japanese guardboat Aji Maru west of Tori Jima and damaged the guardboat No.9 Takamiya Maru.
1989—USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) is commissioned at Avondale Shipyard, New Orleans, LA.
Thanks to CHINFO
Executive Summary:
In national news, today's headlines are dominated by reports that a series of memos prepared by former FBI director James Comey about his encounters with President Trump, that two sheriff's deputies were shot and killed Thursday in an apparent ambush in a restaurant in Florida, and that Arizona teachers voted for a statewide walkout next week moving for higher pay and increased school funding. Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, CNO Adm. John Richardson said that the Navy should be able to restore readiness to pre-sequestration levels by 2022 reports USNI News. "It took some time, a decade, to get into this. We anticipate getting out in about half the time. So I look to the early 2020s – '21 and '22 – to start getting back to that level of readiness," Richardson told the committee. USNI News also reports that the Navy will release a new Arctic strategy this summer to reflect the potential for "blue-water" Arctic operations. Speaking with reporters after a congressional hearing, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and CNO Adm. John Richardson cited the strategic changes that a shrinking Arctic ice cap bring as the catalyst for updating the Navy's Arctic strategy. Additionally, Richardson responded to concerns from Congress about a lack of LCS deployments by saying that 2018 is a planned gap year that is part of an effort to reform the program and that 24 deployments have been planned between 2019 and 2024.
On this day in history (April 20):
1961: FM stereo broadcasting was approved by the FCC.
1988: The Baltimore Orioles lost 8-6 against Milwaukee to set a
major-league record with their 14th consecutive defeat to start the season.
The Birds did their best to make sure no one in time would touch their
infamous record, losing seven more before collecting their first win.
1999: 13 people were killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO, when
two teenagers opened fire on them with shotguns and pipe bombs. The two
gunmen then killed themselves.
And today is:
National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day
April 20
The Second Lateran Council opens in Rome.
English Admiral Robert Blake fights his last battle when he destroys the Spanish fleet in Santa Cruz Bay.
Ottawa Chief Pontiac is murdered by an Indian in Cahokia.
Captain Cook discovers Australia.
British troops begin the siege of Boston.
France declares war on Austria, Prussia, and Sardinia.
Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austria at Battle of Abensberg, Bavaria.
The Territory of Wisconsin is created.
Edgar Allen Poe's first detective story is published.
Robert E. Lee resigns from the U.S. Army.
The first mobile home (horse-drawn) is used in a journey from London to Cyprus.
The first National League game is played at Chicago's Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park. The park was renamed Cubs Park in 1920 and Wrigley Field, for the Chicago Cubs owner, in 1926.
The Polish Army captures Vilno, Lithuania from the Soviets.
The first electron microscope is demonstrated.
Pierre Laval, the premier of Vichy France, in a radio broadcast, establishes a policy of "true reconciliation with Germany."
Soviet troops begin their attack on Berlin.
General Douglas MacArthur addresses a joint session of Congress after being relieved by President Harry Truman.
Operation Little Switch begins in Korea, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners of war.
The New Orleans Citizens Committee gives free one-way ride to blacks to move North.
U.S. planes bomb Haiphong for first time during the Vietnam War.
Two students enter Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado and open fire with multiple firearms, killing 13 students and teachers, wounding 25 and eventually shooting themselves.
Thanks to Bill
   Here Are All the Submarines of the Russian Navy in One Infographic (Russia)
   By Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 19 April
Once again, the excellent website Naval Analyses, creator of the United States Navy Submarines 2018 infographic, has released a new image that shows off the various classes of submarines in service with the Russian Navy.
The graphic starts off with some of the newest submarines at the top, the four ballistic missile submarines of the Borei class. These nuclear powered submarines each carry sixteen Bulava submarine launched ballistic missiles, each with a range of 5,800 miles and armed with six 150 kiloton nuclear warheads. Eventually, Russia will build eight Borei submarines. Rounding out Russia's ballistic missile submarine force are seven Delta III/IV submarines carrying Sineva missiles and the last gigantic Typhoon-class submarine, Dmitri Donskoy, currently serving as a missile test boat.
Next up are the eight enormous Oscar-II-class guided missile submarines. Five hundred feet long and displacing 24,000 tons underwater, Oscar-IIs were originally commissioned by the Soviet Union to destroy U.S. Navy aircraft carriers with swarms of large, powerful cruise missiles. Each carries 24 P-700 Granit anti-ship missiles.
Unlike the United States, Russia has both nuclear-powered and diesel electric-powered attack submarines. Russia has twelve Akula I, II, and III-class, three Victor III class, and four Sierra I and II class nuclear attack submarines. All three classes date back to the Soviet Navy and the Cold War, although a handful were built after the fall of the USSR. More recently Russia has commissioned a pair of Yasen-class submarines, cruise missile submarines that could eventually replace the aging Oscar boats.
On the diesel electric submarine front, Russia has 21 Kilo-class submarines and one Lada-class submarine. Kilos are meant to operate closer to home, in places like the Black Sea and Mediterranean, and the boats in service range from Cold War-era builds to boats like the Rostov-on-Don, commissioned in 2014. The Lada class was built to replace the Kilos and submarine expert HI Sutton claims Russia is planning at least five boats.
Russia has a comparatively large fleet of special mission submarines. The Russian Navy has two enormous "motherships," based on the Delta III and Delta IV hulls, for ferrying deep diving midget submarines. It also has one Losharik, three Nelma, and three Kashalot-class submarines designed for deep ocean ocean engineering work.
One submarine on this list is particularly ominous, the Sarov, a test platform for the Kanyon/Status-6 apocalypse torpedo, a nuclear-powered torpedo designed to attack coastal targets such as ports and cities with an enormous 100 megaton thermonuclear warhead. Status-6 is designed to bypass U.S. missile defenses, destroying entire coastal regions with nuclear blast, tsunamis, and rendering the area uninhabitable with long-lasting nuclear fallout.
The Russian Navy, at least on paper, has one more submarine than the U.S. Navy, although the U.S. submarine force is composed entirely of ballistic missile, cruise missile, and attack submarines. In other words, a pure fighting force. The U.S. Navy's submarine fleet, unlike the Russian Navy, is entirely nuclear powered, although if the U.S. had neighbors as potential adversaries it would probably invest in non-nuclear submarines also.
SWA's Tammie Jo is a hero
Thanks to JN  
The ​author, Fred Lange went to pilot training class 77-06 at Williams AFB and Fred is now a Captain for American Airlines. Fred takes all the fluff off of the media write ​ ​ups and presents the situation those pilots faced.
"I don't know of ANY airline that trains for MULTIPLE emergencies (catastrophic engine failure, fuselage penetration, structural issues, passenger being sucked out a window, and rapid decompression ALL AT ONCE). Read and make your own decision...
Total respect for the captain and crew of the recent SWA aircraft event. From a rapid depressurization at 30,000', simultaneously loosing an engine (and its associated ​generator, pneumatics, hydraulics, fuel imbalance), assessing what is happening, thrust asymmetry, airspeed loss, aircraft shaking, master caution/warning lights illuminating, cabin altitude warning horn blaring, donning of Oxygen masks before you pass out, getting the communications (intra-flight deck, intra-cabin, ATC) flowing, executing an emergency descent with structural damage before the passenger oxygen supply expires (12 minutes), selecting an appropriate emergency airport for recovery, becoming aware of critical injuries in the back, setting up for a single engine landing (probably over normal landing weight) to an airport you didn't plan to go to, marshaling emergency support equipment on arrival, prioritizing and methodically completing throughout about 6 different emergency checklists, remaining calm and methodical (as evidenced by ATC communications and timely recovery) - great leadership and teamwork, the other pilot was working his butt off to pull this all together as well.
From passenger feedback, it sounds like the Flight Attendants had their act together and dealt with the challenges of the rubber jungle (deployed oxygen masks), breaking out their portable oxygen bottles, dealing with the noise and air blast of missing window, passenger being sucked toward blown out window, severely injured passenger, marshaling medical resources to support the injured, breaking out the medical kits and AED, managing crowd control after landing to expedite paramedic access to the critically injured. It sounds like the passengers stepped up too, keeping the window seated passenger from getting sucked out, generally not flipping out and providing the best medical care possible under challenging circumstances.
I offer my insight and personal reflections without all the facts - I know my aviation peers fully appreciate that this "no-notice/come as you are" scenario was handled with an extremely high level of skill and professionalism...."
With our thanks to THE Bear at
April 20, 2018   Bear Taylor  
HUMBLE HOST NOTE: rollingthunderremembered for 19 April 1968 (Ripple Salvo #775) was posted PM 19 April …Available on website…
RIPPLE SALVO… #776… CLIP II OF STRAUSS AND HOWE'S "THE FOURTH TURNING"… "It's all happened before…The reward of the historian is to locate patterns that recur over time and to discover the natural rhythms of social experience."… One reviewer of the 1997 masterpiece by "soothsayers" William Strauss, who passed in 2007, and Neil Howe, said this: "I put down The Fourth Turning with a mixture of terror and excitement…. If Strauss and Howe are right, they will take their place among the great American prophets."… Humble Host read the book in 1997 and like David Kaiser of the Boston Globe concluded the forecasts of The Fourth Turning were definitely scary, and now, with twenty years to follow the prophecy, the future IS very scary…  but first…
GOOD MORNING: Day SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY-SIX of remembering the events and brave souls who fought the air war called Operation Rolling Thunder…
THE WAR: Page 1: "YANK JETS CONTINUE TO HIT TARGETS IN PANHANDLE"… "U.S. warplanes set a 1968 record for the second straight day Friday as they flew 160 missions to blast supply targets in North Vietnam's southern panhandle. American fliers had set a record for the year Thursday when they flew 145 missions, the largest number in nearly four months. The Air Force, Navy and Marine pilots on Friday's raids said they encountered light ground fire and evaded several antiaircraft missiles fired at them in the coastal area between Vinh and Dong Hoi. They hit bridges, roads, trucks and supply points in the area left open to them under President Johnson's bombing curtailment order, designed to draw Hanoi into peace talks. The northeast monsoon over North Vietnam is almost over and with the rapidly improving weather, the number of American air strikes is expected to increase unless the President orders further curtailment. Although Friday's 160 missions set a record for 1968, the number is well below the all-time Vietnam war record of 209 set last August 19 before the monsoon season began. The U.S. Command said the deepest penetration Friday was about 168 miles above the demilitarized zone against a railroad spur near Vinh. This was below the 19th Parallel, a boundary U.S. planes have been observing even through Johnson's public statements gave the northern limit as the 20th Parallel…No American airplanes were reported down, but in a weekly report the United States Command said 1,070 American warplanes had been lost in combat as of Tuesday–823 over North Vietnam and 247 planes lost in the South. Another 1,002 planes have been announced lost in accidents not involving direct enemy action….The command also announced that 643 helicopters have been shot down, all but nine in South Vietnam, and another 928 choppers have been lost to non-hostile causes
Thanks to Carl
Legendary Special Forces veteran 'Iron Mike' has died
Posted Apr 17, 2018 at 5:22 PM
An icon of special operations and a man who at one time was the Army's most battle-tested officer has died.
Maj. Gen. Michael D. Healy, 91, died Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, according to officials. The general served in the military for 35 years, spending much of his career at Fort Bragg.
When he retired in 1981, Maj. Gen. Healy was the nation's most senior Special Forces soldier. He was a veteran of wars in Korea and Vietnam, with his service in the latter spanning a decade and ending with him overseeing the withdrawal of troops from the country. And he was the inspiration for John Wayne's character, "Col. Iron Mike Kirby," in the 1968 film "The Green Berets."
Maj. Gen. Healy is also a former commander of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg. On Tuesday, the current commanding general of SWCS said Maj. Gen. Healy left an indelible mark on the organization.
"Maj. Gen. Mike Healy is a true Special Forces legend, not only for his actions during war, but for his leadership and vision during a pivotal time in the Regiment's history," said Maj. Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag. "As the commander of the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, then called the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, he streamlined training, and aligned it to deal with modern threats. During his tenure, he solidified the role and value of Army Special Operations to the Army and the Nation."
"We owe a debt of gratitude to him for his vision, leadership, and for the professionalism he brought to the force," Maj. Gen. Sonntag added. "His passing is truly a loss that we all feel, and we're keeping his loved ones are in our thoughts."
Maj. Gen. Healy is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jacklyn, and their sons Michael Jr., Daniel, Timothy, Sean, Kirk and Patrick. He also has 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.
His son, Sean, told the Florida Times-Union that he enjoyed hearing others speak of his father.
"I would talk to people, and especially if they brought something up about the military, I would ask them if they had heard of Iron Mike," Mr. Sean Healy said. "If they knew who that was I would let them go on for a while, and then I would say 'that's my dad.'"
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Cliff Newman, executive director of the Special Forces Association headquartered in Fayetteville, said Maj. Gen. Healy's legacy would not be forgotten in the close-knit Special Forces community.
"He was one of the first Americans to go into Vietnam and one of the last to leave," he said.
Sgt. 1st Class Newman said he was fortunate to meet Maj. Gen. Healy.
"He just did some amazing things," he said. "He was just an icon in Special Forces. Everyone knew who he was and he was just a presence — you knew you were talking to somebody who was somebody."
Special Forces Association Chapter 37 in Chicago is named in Maj. Gen. Healy's honor.
Maj. Gen. Healy earned the nickname "Iron Mike" while serving as a young officer leading Army Rangers on combat patrols deep behind enemy lines in Korea in the early 1950s.
According to the SWCS, then-Lt. Healy was commander of the 4th Airborne Ranger Company during an airborne operation at Munsan-Ni in South Korea. When a platoon under his command was pinned down and under heavy fire, he and four others weaved their way through trenches to hold the high ground until reinforcements arrived.
The monicker would follow Maj. Gen. Healy throughout his career, including during five tours — nearly eight years in all — in Vietnam.
"I asked him once how he got the Iron Mike nickname," Bruce Pastorini, a Jacksonville, Florida, resident who got to know Maj. Gen. Healy in his later years, told the Times-Union. "It was his stamina that he was able to take heavy loads and help other guys with their loads. He was that kind of soldier. It didn't come from an iron will or anything like that, it came from his stamina and his willingness to help others."
By the end of his career, Maj. Gen. Healy had earned numerous awards and decorations, including a Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Star Medals, a Legion of Merit with three oak-leaf clusters, a Distinguished Flying Cross, a Bronze Star Medal with valor device, an Air Medal with Valor device, a Navy Commendation Medal with valor device and two Purple Heart Medals. He is also a member of the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.
According to SWCS, Maj. Gen. Healy was "known by his men for his loyalty, compassion and love, as much for his tenacity in war."
Maj. Gen. Healy was a native of Chicago who enlisted in the Army at the age of 19 at the end of World War II.
He served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan before taking command of the 4th Airborne Ranger Company as a lieutenant.
After serving with the company in Korea, Maj. Gen. Healy attended several military schools before being recruited to serve as chief of the Special Warfare Operations and Foreign Intelligence Branch for the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence.
Maj. Gen. Healy served the first of five tours in Vietnam in 1963 as a Special Forces major, serving as operations officer and senior advisor to Vietnamese special forces, building a force of mobile guerilla battalions that fought alongside American troops.
In 1964, Maj. Gen. Healy became a liaison officer to South Vietnamese special forces and then served in numerous roles with the 5th Special Forces Group. In August, he assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
Two years later, Maj. Gen. Healy delayed his attendance at the U.S. Army War College to lead the battalion back to Vietnam.
In 1967, Maj. Gen. Healy returned to the states for the War College. He would return to Vietnam two years later as commander of special troops and assistant chief of staff, G1, for the 24th Corps and later served as commander of the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta.
Three weeks after leading the brigade back home from Vietnam, Maj. Gen. Healy — then an Army colonel — was recalled to Vietnam for his fourth tour in the country. He assumed command of the 5th Special Forces Group, which he would lead for 20 months before redeploying in 1971.
Upon returning to Fort Bragg, Maj. Gen. Healy was promoted to brigadier general and assigned as the assistant division commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.
His fifth and final tour in Vietnam came in 1972, when then-Brig. Gen. Healy served as commanding general of the 2nd Regional Assistance Command, Military Region Two as U.S. forces prepared to withdraw from the war.
After Vietnam, Maj. Gen. Healy was charged with dismantling the Army's special operations, according to SWCS. But instead, during a three-year tour as commander of the John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, Maj. Gen. Healy instead further cemented the role of special operations forces in the modern Army.
For his efforts, SWCS officials honored Maj. Gen. Healy as a Distinguished Member of the Special Forces Regiment near his home in Jacksonville in 2015.
"He not only ensured the continued sustainment of Special Forces, Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs, but also increased its value," SWCS officials said in 2015. "Furthermore, he raised morale and competencies of the soldiers, cadre and students."
Following his command at SWCS, Maj. Gen. Healy served as Chief of Staff of Combined Military Planning in Ankara, Turkey, leading all joint maneuvers in the Middle East. He ended his Army career in 1981 as commander of the Army Readiness Region V at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
That year, Maj. Gen. Healy noted that Fort Sheridan was the same installation where he had enlisted as a private 35 years earlier.
Looking back on his career, he thanked his family and the soldiers he served alongside.
"My wife and family have been tremendously supportive of me. That's No. 1," he told the Associated Press. "Next is the comradery provided me by the American soldier. I just acted functionally — like I was trained to perform."
During the interview, Maj. Gen. Healy said his only regret was that he couldn't start all over again.
"I would like to walk in the back gate at Fort Sheridan like I first did and say, 'Yes, sir, I'll go.' But today, I'm in civilian clothes. My uniform is packed away," he said.
"I'm no hero," the general added. "I'm just a very fortunate and lucky officer who has had the privilege to take care of that ultimate weapon, the American soldier."
Officials said Maj. Gen. Healy will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the coming months. It was his desire to be buried near his mentor, the late Gen. Creighton Abrams.
Item Number:1 Date: 04/20/2018 AFGHANISTAN - TALIBAN SHUTS DOWN CIVILIAN COMMUNICATIONS IN HELMAND (APR 20/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- Taliban fighters have shut down the private telecommunications services in parts of Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, reports the Voice of America News.   Residents have been without service for five days after the militants threatened companies in the area, sources told the news service on Thursday.   Local officials in the southern Uruzgan and Zabul provinces said similar efforts limited telecommunications services to a few hours daily.   The Taliban believes "the Afghan government is utilizing private communication systems for military and intelligence operations," said the communications director of Helmand province.   At least 120 communications towers were reportedly forcibly shut down by Taliban militants.   Afghan defense officials denied this, saying they use a communication system separate from civilian lines.   The situation "would only create problems for local residents," said a spokesman for the Afghan defense ministry.   Th Taliban could be worried about witnesses alerting police to the insurgents' opium harvest, he said.   The Taliban obtains close to 60 percent of its revenues from narcotics.  
  Item Number:2 Date: 04/20/2018 AUSTRALIA - NAVAL VESSELS FACED OFF WITH CHINESE FORCES IN S. CHINA SEA (APR 20/AUSBC)  AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION -- Australia has revealed that three of its ships were confronted by Chinese naval vessels in the South China Sea earlier this month, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corp.   The ANZAC-class frigates HMAS ANZAC and HMAS Toowoomba and the oiler HMAS Success were headed to Vietnam for a goodwill visit when they were challenged by ships from the People's Liberation Army Navy, the television channel reported on Friday.   The interception was polite but "robust," said an anonymous Australian defense source.   The Australian Dept. of Defense confirmed that the ANZAC and Success recently travelled through the disputed South China Sea from Subic Bay in the Philippines. The Toowoomba also sailed through the area after leaving Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, it said.   No details were provided on the alleged confrontation.   Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull did not confirm the incident, but maintained Australia's right to freedom of navigation in international waters.   "We maintain and practice the right of freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the world, and in this context, naval vessels on the world's oceans including the South China Sea," he said on Friday.   Descriptions of an aggressive confrontation were overblown, said Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, as cited by the Australian Financial Review.   China asserted that the encounter was legal and safe.   "On April 15, China's naval vessels encountered Australian naval ships in the South China Sea. China's ships used professional language to communicate with the Australian side. China's operation is lawful and conforms to conventions," the Defense Ministry said in a statement
  Item Number:3 Date: 04/20/2018 BELARUS - POTENTIAL SALE OF MULTIPLE ROCKET LAUNCHERS TO AZERBAIJAN OPPOSED BY ARMENIA (APR 20/)  -- Belarusian plans to sell multiple rocket launch systems to Azerbaijan has angered its ostensible ally, Armenia, reports Eurasia Daily.   Armenia and Belarus are both members of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).   News of the potential sale first appeared in February and led to an Armenian protest   Russian business daily Kommersant reported on April 18 that Azerbaijan would buy 10 Polonez truck-mounted multiple rocket launch systems, with deliveries potentially beginning as soon as this year.   The Azerbaijani defense minister has previously visited Belarus and inspected the weapon's assembly facility.   Baku has been evaluating the Polonez since 2016 as a response to Armenia's acquisition of Iskander tactical ballistic missiles, reported   An Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman emphasized his government's opposition to arms sale to Azerbaijan. The matter could be taken up at the CSTO level, analysts said
Item Number:4 Date: 04/20/2018 CAMEROON - 8 VILLAGES RAZED IN NORTHWEST; RESIDENTS BLAME ARMY (APR 20/VOA)  VOICE OF AMERICA NEWS -- At least eight villages have been burned in northwestern Cameroon, where English-speaking separatists are fighting government troops, reports the Voice of America News.   A resident of Ajin said he fled the village on Tuesday after hearing gunfire. He saw several bodies lying on the ground as he fled.   The village is now deserted, he said.   The military has accused rebels of burning the villages.   Residents, however, said the military set fire to the villages after the militants fled.   Gen. Agha Robinson, who commands the troops operating in the region, denied the accusations.   Tensions in northwest Cameroon boiled over in November 2016 after lawyers and teachers organized a strike to protest alleged marginalization at the hands of the French-speaking majority. Separatists have been demanding independence for the English-speaking parts of the country.   Since then, 38 soldiers and hundreds of militants have been killed, according to the Cameroonian defense ministry. Tens of thousands of people have fled the fighting, with more than 20,000 crossing the border into neighboring Nigeria.  
  Item Number:7 Date: 04/20/2018 MALAYSIA - NAVY ORDERS NORWEGIAN ANTI-SHIP MISSILES FOR NEW LITTORAL SHIPS (APR 20/KDA)  KONGSBERG DEFENCE AND AEROSPACE -- The Royal Malaysian Navy has awarded Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace a contract for surface-to-surface missiles, reports the Norwegian defense firm.   The 124 million euro (US$153 million) contract announced on Wednesday is for an undisclosed number of Naval Strike Missiles (NSM) that will be installed on the navy's six new Maharaja Lela-class littoral combat ships.   The NSM will be deck-mounted and integrated with the SETIS combat management system, Kongsberg said.   The NSM has a maximum range of over 200 km (108 nm), reported IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.   No delivery details were provided
  Item Number:8 Date: 04/20/2018 PHILIPPINES - GROWLER PILOT REPORTS JAMMING EFFORTS BY CHINA IN S. CHINA SEA (APR 20/GMA)  GMA NEWS -- U.S. Navy electronic warfare aircraft may have experienced jamming from Chinese military equipment during operations near the Philippines, reports GMA News (Philippines).   USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and her air wing arrived in Manila on April 11 for a scheduled port visit.   On April 9, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that China was moving communications and radar jamming equipment at two fortified locations in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.   "The mere fact that some of your equipment is not working is already an indication that someone is trying to jam you," an EA-18G Growler pilot told the television channel. "We have an answer for that," the pilot said.   If China is jamming U.S. Navy aircraft operating in international airspace at sea, it may indicate that Beijing might ignore international law and norms to defend its territorial claims in the South China Sea, said analysts cited by Business Insider
  Item Number:10 Date: 04/20/2018 RUSSIA - U.S. STRIKE REMOVES OBJECTIONS TO SUPPLYING S-300 AIR DEFENSE SYSTEM TO SYRIA, SAYS LAVROV (APR 20/REU)  REUTERS -- Top Russian officials say Moscow is prepared to sell S-300 air defense systems to Syria after U.S.-led airstrikes on suspected chemical weapons facilities, reports Reuters.   The April 13 strikes on sites near Damascus and Homs removed any Russian hesitation about supplying the missile systems to Assad, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told RIA Novosti on Friday.   The strikes violated previously respected red lines set by Moscow and communicated to Washington, he said.   "Now, we have no moral obligations. We had the moral obligations, we had promised not to do it some 10 years ago, I think, upon the request of our known partners," he said.   Lavrov's comments echo those of a Russian army commander, who said that Russia was considering the potential sale.   Israel has repeatedly expressed concern about such a deal. Israeli protests stopped a proposed sale in 2013, but Russia said it reserved the right to go through with the sale in case of a U.S. strike, reported Bloomberg News.   If the S-300 system is deployed in Syria, Israel could quickly launch a strike to destroy it, said Israeli analysts.    
Item Number:12 Date: 04/20/2018 SPAIN - ETA APOLOGIZES TO VICTIMS AHEAD OF ANTICIPATED DISSOLUTION (APR 20/REU)  REUTERS -- The Basque separatist and terrorist group ETA has issued an apology to its victims as the group appears ready to dissolve, reports Reuters.   "We are aware that during this long period of armed struggle we have created a lot of pain, including many damages for which there is no solution," the group said in a statement published by Basque newspaper Gara on Friday.   "We truly apologize," the statement continued.   The group is widely expected to announce its dissolution next month.   The group unilaterally declared a cease-fire in 2011 and turned over its weapon stockpiles in 2017.   "Looking forward, reconciliation is one of the tasks that has to be carried out in the Basque country," the group said in the statement.   The Spanish government welcomed the move, saying the terrorist movement was defeated "with the weapons of democracy."   ETA was founded in 1959 to fight for the rights of Basque of people against the government of Francisco Franco, who was perceived as threatening the ethnic group's culture and language. The group sought to create an independent Basque state in northern Spain and southern France.   More than 800 people died in decades of conflict with the Spanish state, noted the BBC
Item Number:13 Date: 04/20/2018 SYRIA - 38 KILLED IN ISIS ASSAULT IN DEIR EZZOR (APR 20/SOHR)  SYRIAN OBSERVATORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS -- An attack by Islamic State militants has killed at least 25 members of Syrian government forces and allied militias in the eastern part of the country, reports the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group.   On Thursday, ISIS militants launched an attack on regime forces in Mayadin, in the eastern Deir Ezzor province.   At least 13 ISIS members were killed, reported Agence France-Presse.   Situated on the western bank of the Euphrates River, Mayadin was recaptured from ISIS militants by government forces six months ago.   Syrian military sources denied any direct attacks on Syrian army positions.   Shelling of Syrian army positions prompted a response, the sources said.   It was the largest ISIS attack in the area since the terrorist group was ousted from the town in October 2017.   ISIS has been trying to advance from the few towns still under its control in the Badia desert, on the edge of Mayadin, said the observatory.     
  Item Number:14 Date: 04/20/2018 USA - ARMY DEVELOPING FACIAL RECOGNITION CAPABILITY USING THERMAL IMAGERY (APR 20/)  -- The U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is applying artificial intelligence to thermal imagery in order to identify faces in near total darkness, reports the Next Web website.   The project has shown early promise, demonstrating the ability to match faces to those stored in a small database. The next steps will be to conduct the recognition in real-time, against a larger database.   Army researchers employed a convolutional neural network, a deep-learning method that uses specific nodes similar to the brain's, and set it to infer faces from limited information, reported Defense One.   The method breaks a thermal image of a face into specific regions and compares them to an optical image of the same face, estimating where important features are in the thermal image in relation to the regular picture.   The project will also try to implement technology recently showcased by the Marine Corps, which uses sensors to "see" through walls.   If successful, the system would provide U.S. troops the ability to secretly identify high-value targets or individuals on watch lists without arousing suspicion.  
  Item Number:15 Date: 04/20/2018 USA - LOCKHEED TO BUILD HYPERSONIC CRUISE MISSILE UNDER $928 MILLION DEAL (APR 20/BREAKDEF)  BREAKING DEFENSE -- The U.S. Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to design and develop a hypersonic, conventionally armed, air-launched stand-off weapon, reports Breaking Defense.   The $928 million contract covers the "design, development, engineering, systems integration, test, logistics and aircraft integration support of all the elements" of the hypersonic missile, said a Pentagon release.   The Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon will travel at speeds of at least Mach 5. No details were provided on the missile's range or warhead.   Development will take place in Huntsville, Ala. No timeline for deliverables was provided.   The program is one of two hypersonic prototype efforts being managed by the Air Force, a service spokeswoman said. The second, the Tactical Boost Glide program, expects to produce a prototype by 2023.   If successfully developed, a hypersonic weapon would be able to avoid existing air defenses and hit targets from great range, noted Defense News.  

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