Wednesday, January 29, 2020

TheList 5202


The List 5202 TGB

To All,

I hope that your week has started well.

Regards,

Skip

Today in Naval History

Jan. 28

§ 1865—Confederate torpedo boat St. Patrick strikes the side-wheel gunboat USS Octorara, off Mobile Bay, but her spar torpedo fails to explode.

§ 1944—PB4Y-1 (VB 103) aircraft sink German submarine, U 271, off Limerick, Ireland.

§ 1945—Submarine Spadefish (SS 411) attacks Japanese convoy west of Chuja Kundo, Korea and sinks escort vessel Kume and transport Sanuki Maru.

§ 1962—USS Cook (APD 130) rescues 25 survivors from Panamanian tanker, SS Stanvac Sumatra, which broke in two in the South China Sea.

§ 1986—The Space Shuttle Challenger tragically explodes early in its boost phase, killing all seven astronauts, including Navy Cmdr. Michael Smith.





Thanks to CHINFO



Executive Summary:

• Speaking at a National Defense Industry Association-sponsored discussion, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly highlighted the importance of the U.S.'s intellectual ability in maintaining a technological advantage over Russia and China, reports Seapower Magazine.

• Multiple outlets report that USS Montgomery performed the first freedom of navigation operation of 2020 near the contested Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

• Jane's Navy International covered the continued progress on USS Gerald R. Ford's Advanced Weapons Elevators.





This Day in History



16 January 28



28

The Roman Emperor Nerva names Trajan, an army general, as his successor.


1547

Henry VIII of England dies and is succeeded by his nine-year-old son Edward VI.


1757

Ahmed Shah, the first King of Afghanistan, occupies Delhi and annexes the Punjab.


1792

Rebellious slaves in Santo Domingo launch an attack on the city of Cap.


1871

Surrounded by Prussian troops and suffering from famine, the French army in Paris surrenders. During the siege, balloons were used to keep contact with the outside world.


1915

The U.S. Coast Guard is founded to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.


1915

The German navy attacks the U.S. freighter William P. Frye, loaded with wheat for Britain.


1921

Albert Einstein startles Berlin by suggesting the possibility of measuring the universe.


1932

The Japanese attack Shanghai, China, and declare martial law.


1936

A fellow prison inmate slashes infamous kidnapper, Richard Loeb, to death.


1941

French General Charles DeGaulle's Free French forces sack south Libya oasis.


1945

Chiang Kai-shek renames the Ledo-Burma Road the Stilwell Road, in honor of General Joseph Stilwell.


1955

The U.S. Congress passes a bill allowing mobilization of troops if China should attack Taiwan.


1964

The Soviets down a U.S. jet over East Germany killing three.


1970

Israeli fighter jets attack the suburbs of Cairo.


1986

The space shuttle Challenger explodes just after liftoff.


I will never forget watching that on the TV in Pri fly while watching Flight ops on one of the carriers. The Air Boss and I were talking and looked up at the launch and then the disaster and we were both speechless for a couple of seconds before the Oh S&*@ came out



At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew of the Challenger. She underwent months of shuttle training but then, beginning January 23, was forced to wait six long days as the Challenger's launch countdown was repeatedly delayed because of weather and technical problems. Finally, on January 28, the shuttle lifted off.

Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including Christa's family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.

READ MORE: 5 Things You May Not Know About the Challenger Shuttle

In 1976, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled the world's first reusable manned spacecraft, the Enterprise. Five years later, space flights of the shuttle began when Columbia traveled into space on a 54-hour mission. Launched by two solid-rocket boosters and an external tank, only the aircraft-like shuttle entered into orbit around Earth. When the mission was completed, the shuttle fired engines to reduce speed and, after descending through the atmosphere, landed like a glider. Early shuttles took satellite equipment into space and carried out various scientific experiments. The Challenger disaster was the first major shuttle accident.

In the aftermath of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan appointed a special commission to determine what went wrong with Challenger and to develop future corrective measures. The presidential commission was headed by former secretary of state William Rogers, and included former astronaut Neil Armstrong and former test pilot Chuck Yeager. The investigation determined that the disaster was caused by the failure of an "O-ring" seal in one of the two solid-fuel rockets. The elastic O-ring did not respond as expected because of the cold temperature at launch time, which began a chain of events that resulted in the massive loss. As a result, NASA did not send astronauts into space for more than two years as it redesigned a number of features of the space shuttle.

READ MORE: Reagan Delayed the 1986 State of the Union to Mourn the Challenger Disaster

In September 1988, space shuttle flights resumed with the successful launching of the Discovery. Since then, the space shuttle has carried out numerous important missions, such as the repair and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope and the construction of the International Space Station.

On February 1, 2003, a second space-shuttle disaster rocked the United States when Columbia disintegrated upon reentry of the Earth's atmosphere. All aboard were killed. Despite fears that the problems that downed Columbia had not been satisfactorily addressed, space-shuttle flights resumed on July 26, 2005, when Discovery was again put into orbit.

The Space Shuttle program formally ended on August 31, 2011 after its final mission, STS-135 flown by Atlantis, in July 2011.





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Thanks to Don

Skip,



Not planes but submarines: great video of our brethren under the seas:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU7R-nVaAX4



Hud'n

padre



There are a couple of other good videos available with it.





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6G fighter planes, Star wars on the way

Thanks to Dutch and others



From the net…courtesy of Mike and Rhino and JC …

A look at the future of combative aviation; apparently the days of Sopwith Camels and Fökker Tri-planes are not expected to return..... The Navy's new engine (patent No. below) explores plasma physics and mass conversion; guess it won't have RPM gauges...wonder what the EPR gauges will look like..... No mention is made of when machines might be crafted for exoatmospheric operation.

Stealth Fighter Planes: The Quarterback Of The Kill Web

There are 14 countries working on 6th Generation (6G) fighter planes these days: the US (PCA, F/A-XX, NGAD); the UK, Sweden, Italy, and maybe India (Tempest); France, Germany, and Spain (FCAS); Japan (F-3); Taiwan (ADF); South Korea and Indonesia (KF-X); Russia (MiG-41); and China (J-XX). Before we get into the details, we need to define what a 6G fighter jet is. The F-35 and F-22 are 5G fighter planes. There are six aircraft generation classification charts out there: Hallion, Aerospaceweb, Air Force Magazine, Winchester, Air Power Development Center, and China's Air Force. All these templates have been overcome by advances in technology and evolving mission requirements. So, we'll be breaking new ground in this essay, by adding to the common 6G characteristics from the old charts and building an updated definition. Then, we'll integrate those new aircraft into the Kill Web.

6G Stealth Improvements

There are six spectrums that stealthy aircraft must consider: physical shape (radar signature), IR (infrared or heat) signature, acoustic (sound) signature, visual (visible light) signature, EMR (electro-magnetic radiation) signature, and wake turbulence (vortices) signature. What can we do with shape to further reduce the RCS (radar cross section) on 6G fighters?

From the front, the F-35 (RCS of 0.005 square meters) and the F-22 (RCS of 0.0001 square meters) are already very small. Both carry their weapons in internal bays, since we know that carrying missiles, bombs, or fuel tanks on pylons under the wings increase RCS dramatically. We also know that the engine air intakes below the wings, the tail fins, and the exhaust nozzles also raise RCS numbers. Most of the 6G fighter concept drawings show the air intakes integrated into the fuselage or on top of the wings, the tail fins are removed, and there's a cover plate on the bottom of the exhaust nozzles. In the past, sensors were added to the airframe as bubbles or pods or "warts", that protruded and reflected enemy radar signals. Today, sensors and antennas are now part of the smooth "smart skins" on stealth aircraft. Shapes like flying wings and arrowheads significantly reduce RCS from the sides, bottom, top, and rear.

Our present 5G stealth fighter planes are coated with a ferromagnetic paint containing microscopic iron balls, that absorb the energy in enemy radar signals. Older 4G F-16 fighters were never designed to be stealthy and have an RCS of 3 to 5 square meters. Coating them with the ferromagnetic paint reduces their RCS to about 1.2 square meters. But air friction, rain, and temperature cycles erode the paint requiring continuous maintenance.

The US Navy has created a "laser shock peening" process that makes the surface of the aircraft uniform with no dimples or flaws that could reflect radar waves. Peening also makes the surface panels stronger and reduces warping and cracking from stresses. In 2006, Dr. David Smith of Duke University created a metamaterial that can conceal small objects from microwave radar signals. In 2019, Prof. Luo Xiangang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences engraved microscopic patterns on a piece of metal, and it absorbed a broad spectrum of radar frequencies better than the iron-ball paints. So, expect 6G stealth airframes to be built with some of these advanced radar-absorbing metamaterials instead of painted aluminum.

We also know that when these stealthy jets fly above the speed of sound (MACH 1), the nose and leading wing edges heat-up from air friction. That makes the plane visible to enemy IR (infrared) sensors. 6G fighters will have a cooling system built into the wings and nose to remove the heat. The new B-21 bomber uses this IR-reduction technology. Additionally, a secondary airstream is brought into the engine exhaust nozzles, decreasing the temperature of the exhaust gases and that further reduces the heat signature. 6G fighters will be much harder to detect with IR sensors than present 5G stealth fighters.

Ten there's engine noise. That's the acoustic signature of the aircraft when flying overhead. If you can hear an airplane, you can see it and shoot missiles at it. Prof. Ajay Agrawal at the University of Alabama has created an "acoustic sponge" made from hafnium carbide and silicon carbide. It's a heat-resistant and pressure-resistant ring, about the size and shape of a doughnut, that fits inside the combustion chamber of the engine. It absorbs sound waves and reduces the turbulence of the exhaust gases without affecting thrust or fuel consumption. The B-2 bomber engines have already been modified, and they are very quiet.

Being able to see a stealth jet in the visible light spectrum (visual signature) is another liability. There have been numerous achievements in creating "invisibility cloaks" with metamaterials in the past decade. They are coatings or solid materials that bend light waves around an object, or they act like mirrors reflecting the surrounding colors and shapes. Go watch the movie "Predator" to get an idea of how invisibility cloaking works.

There's also the EMR emitted by systems on the aircraft: radar signals and communication signals. They can tell the enemy ELINT and SIGINT intercept people the plane's location, speed, and course. This vulnerability can be overcome by emitting lower-power signals, sending data by hopping around in the frequency spectrum (including lasers), using different waveforms, and varying the pulse rates. Expect 6G aircraft radio emissions to be very low compared to present fighter planes.

Finally, there's wake turbulence detection: discovering the vortices that remain after a plane flies through the air. You already know that Doppler weather radar can detect microbursts (downbursts of air near an airport) and hook echoes (formation of tornados in storms). There are some esoteric technical papers on the web showing how radar can recognize man-made air turbulence, and that each type of aircraft leaves a unique vortex signature. Radar detection of wake turbulence will also influence the shape of 6G fighter planes. We can already detect submerged enemy submarines with our satellite radar by looking for the pressure wave created by the nose pushing the water up to the surface (the "Bernoulli Hump"), and the turbulence trail they leave behind in the surface water (the "Kelvin Wake"). Same principles apply to fighter planes. Water and air are both fluids.

New Stealth Aircraft Engines

Most 5G stealth fighters can reach supersonic speeds only by using their afterburners. That mode burns a lot of fuel and reduces the combat radius of the aircraft. The F-35 has a combat radius of 680 miles, and can fly at MACH 1.2 for about 150 miles without using afterburners. With afterburners engaged, it can reach MACH 1.6, but that burns much more fuel. The F-22 has a combat radius of about 680 miles at subsonic speeds. But it is powered by supercruise engines that can fly a combat radius of 530 miles at MACH 1.8. With afterburners engaged, it can fly at MACH 2.25 but not for long.

If you are a fervent reader of this series, you already know about jet engine bypass ratios (BPR). That's the amount of air flowing around the engine core compared to the amount of air flowing into the combustion chamber. A typical fighter plane uses turbojet engines with a BPR of 0.36:1 for maximum thrust. Commercial airliners use turbofan engines, that have BPR's of 10:1 for very high fuel efficiency. The new 6G fighter planes in design will use ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology (ADVENT). These are variable cycle engines: they combine the turbojet for high thrust, and the turbofan for high fuel efficiency. The pilot can adjust these engines for maximum speed, or for minimum fuel consumption, depending on the mission requirements.

Traditional fighter planes use movable control surfaces, creating drag in specific places to maneuver the aircraft. The rudder turns the plane left or right, the elevator moves the plane's nose up or down, and the ailerons move the wings tips up and down. However, those control surfaces increase the RCS of the aircraft. 6G fighters have no tail fins so we have already removed the rudder. Next, we will remove the ailerons and the elevator. When the ADVENT engines are refined, 6G aircraft will be steered by thrust-vectoring nozzles that point the exhaust gases in certain directions (left, right, up, down). This concept could also make the aircraft more agile in combat. What kind of engines will fighter planes use after ADVENT? Take a look at US Patent 10144532B2, awarded to the US Navy in 2016. It's an anti-inertial engine with some anti-gravity properties, something that might power a flying saucer. https://patents.google.com/patent/US10144532B2/en

New 6G Weapons

There are two basic problems with all fighter planes: the combat radius is too short and the ordinance load is too small. There are two ways to solve these problems: make the 6G fighter planes bigger, or have one 6G fighter plane control 4 or 5 armed unmanned drones (loyal wingmen) like the XQ-58 Valkyrie. Stealth fighters conceal their ordinance in a weapons bay, inside the fuselage, to keep RCS low. That limits their weapons and fuel loads. The F-35 can carry about 5,700 pounds of bombs and missiles. The F-22 can carry more than twice that weight. Drones can have a combat radius of 1,000 miles, carry more bombs and missiles, they are cheaper to build, and they don't require training pilots. According to a recent RAND Corporation study, it costs more than $10 Million to train an F-35 or F-22 pilot. Go read about an Air Force program called "Skyborg" and you'll see how joining multiple armed drones with one 6G fighter plane makes sense. Writing software is much cheaper than training pilots. https://sofrep.com/fightersweep/the-skyborg-program-the-air-forces-new-plan-to-give-fighter-pilots-drone-sidekicks/

What kind of advanced weapons will the 6G fighters (and wingman drones) carry? First will be long-range hypersonic air-to-air missiles, to knock-down enemy fighters from long distance. Traditional radar used on some of our fighter planes can see for nearly 300 miles. The best missile we have today is the AIM-120 AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air to Air Missile). It has a range of about 100 miles, and a speed of MACH 4 (3,045 MPH). The Brits have the Meteor air-to-air missile. It has a range close to 100 miles, and a speed of nearly MACH 5 (3,800 MPH). The US Air Force is working on the AIM-260 missile, but the specifications are top secret at this point. Expect it to fly at MACH 5 or faster, and have a range of more than 100 miles. Hitting an enemy aircraft 100 miles away with a MACH 5 missile only takes 1 minute 34 seconds.

As technology matures, we'll see 6G fighters armed with high-power laser weapons. To hit an enemy fighter plane 100 miles away with a laser, at the speed of light, only takes 0.00054 seconds. Next, the planes will be armed with powerful microwave EMP weapons (Electro-Magnetic Pulse). Those waves can destroy the sensors (radar, IR, SIGINT, ELINT) and the navigation and flight control computers on enemy aircraft and missiles from a distance. 6G fighter planes will also be able to deploy a swarm of microdrones, to attack land targets. In 2016, a US Navy F/A-18 fighter dropped 103 Perdix drones over the desert in China Lake. They autonomously formed into a swarm and attacked a designated ground target. Before we get all these new weapons, 6G fighters will carry our current bombs and missiles when they first go into service.

6G Electronic Systems

All these new 6G fighter planes will actually be very powerful flying computers. Those systems will be monitoring enemy radar and communication signals to identify threats and find targets in fractions of a second. They will be intercepting enemy radio and radar signals and sending EW (Electronic Warfare) signals to confuse them. The cyber systems onboard will be sending malware packets to enemy sensor systems to disable them. At the same time, the aircraft will be fusing radar/IR/IMINT/SIGINT data from friendly forces on the ground, in the air, on the sea, and from satellites. The pilot will have complete and instant situational awareness of the entire battlefield. Flight control/navigation computers will assist in flying the plane. There are 2 million lines of code running in the F-22's onboard computers. The F-35's computers are executing over 8 million lines of code. Using artificial intelligence (AI) chips, 6G aircraft computers could have fewer lines of code and be many times more powerful. The bigger question to ask here is if any of these new 6G planes really need human pilots in the cockpit.

Integrating 6G Fighters With The Kill Web.

At this point, you have a general Idea about what a 6G fighter plane can do. Here is what the US Navy F/A-XX concept looks like <https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/bye-bye-f-35-navys-fa-xx-6th-generation-fighter-coming-69661>, and this is an artist's conception of the Air Force PCA. <https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/aviation/a25605878/air-force-pca-fighter-jet-cost/> These planes will become both a data processing center in the sky and a deadly weapons platform at the same time. They can assign targets to other weapons systems like the Valkyrie drones, ships at sea, long range bombers (B-2, B-52, B-21), and ground weapons. These new fighter planes will be like the quarterback on the football team, reading the defense and calling the plays. When the airframes, engines, onboard systems, and weapons are perfected and refined, our forces will be able to hit any enemy target on the battlefield in less than 10 minutes just like General John Jumper wanted. Moreover, 6G fighter planes will manipulate space and time on the battlefield, to the degree that enemy commanders will be disoriented, indecisive, and limited in their tactical options.

The Air Force PCA (Penetrating Counter Air) and the Navy F/A-XX are slated to fly in the 2025-2030 time frame. The only way to do that is through the NGAD (Next Generation Air Dominance) program, where both services work together on common elements like airframes, engines, weapons, and electronic systems. It took over 20 years to design and test the F-35. What NGAD proposes to do is build a new fighter aircraft every 5 years, with whatever level of the technologies mentioned above may exist at that time. Why not use the technologies as they develop instead of waiting 20 years for all of them to mature?.

The UK-Sweden-Italy Tempest 6G fighter is planned to fly in 2035. The Germany-France-Spain 6G FCAS (Future Combat Air System) is planned to fly in 2040. Good luck with that. These dates assume that they can actually develop and perfect the technologies mentioned above. It costs over $55 Billion in RDT&E (research, development, testing, and evaluation), and 20 years of engineering effort to make the f-35 fly. It still had a lot of bugs to work out. So far, there's not much money or brain power going into any of these foreign 6G fighter projects. By the time their 6G planes fly, our 7G fighter planes will be using the anti-inertial anti-gravity engines in the Navy patent, and firing photon torpedoes at the speed of light instead of missiles traveling at MACH 5.

In our next adventure, we'll delve into the fundamental mechanism that makes the Kill Web work: time. In a war, history has proven that time can be our master or it can be our slave. If you control time, you also control space. And, that doesn't leave much for the enemy to control.



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Thanks to Dutch

Largely thanks to the Obama administration – Dutch

Panel: China Now Well Positioned to Bully Neighbors in South China Sea

By: John Grady

January 27, 2020 7:07 PM



China's recent activities in the South China Sea, which include bullying Vietnam and Malaysia over ocean drilling and ramming Philippine fishing vessels near Scarborough Shoals, top the list of Asian security concerns, a panel of experts said last week.

"China is in the driver's seat" in the region since it has completed its island-building campaign on coral reefs that can support the persistent deployment of coast guard and paramilitary vessels to back up territorial claims, Gregory Poling, the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said Wednesday during the CSIS Asia Forecast 2020 panel discussion.

"There are literally hundreds of players out there hopped up on nationalism," Poling adding, explaining it's not just China who could spark a crisis growing out of a small incident.

With Vietnam and Malaysia, there are incentives for China to pave over some of the damage from previous disputes, Poling said. However, he added Beijing is currently taking a more adversarial approach, buoyed by its recent success blocking oil and gas exploration by Hanoi and Malaysia in disputed waters. China appears intent on "harassing in blocks [of the ocean] where drilling has begun," shutting down those operations, he said.

The sheer size of the Chinese coast guard and its naval militia make this possible, Poling said. "China has more boats," and no Asian nation can match it when pressure like that is applied "in a war of attrition."

So far, the United States has remained on the sidelines of these disputes, taking a neutral course of conducted freedom of navigation operations to maintain open passage for all nations through contested waters.

If push came to shove, say between Beijing and Hanoi over mineral exploration and drilling, Poling said the U.S. would make loud protests but would likely avoid a military confrontation. If the dangerous incident involved the Philippines, a U.S. ally, the matter would become more complicated for Washington.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has at times tried distancing himself from the United States. But the country's military and the public strongly favor closer ties to the U.S. over ties to China, Poling said. The U.S. denounced China's actions during the previous ramming incident, but Poling said It's unclear what would happen if "another Philippine fishing boat goes down" and "China called our bluff."

In looking at another possible flashpoint, North Korea, Sue Mi Terry, a CSIS senior fellow, expects Kim Jong Un's regime to test the President Donald Trump administration with new provocations — submarine-launched missile and medium-range missile tests. She doubts North Korea will resume open testing of nuclear weapons, keeping the door open to possible talks with Washington.

The North Koreans "want the end of sanctions," which will not happen during the Trump administration without denuclearization. Kim has been working with China, and to a lesser extent with Russia, in getting the U.N. Security Council to ease some of the restrictions on North Korea's buying and selling, Terry said. Seoul is also willing to resume joint economic projects with Pyongyang, which Terry said is another means of skirting sanctions.

The Trump administration's insistence on having annual talks over burden-sharing on the peninsula are complicating matters for the U.S. By telling South Korea to expect its support of America's presence to rise from the current $1 billion annually to $5 billion is a major stumbling block for President Moon Jae-in's government.

The negotiations over this plan "are going nowhere. "Everybody [from elected officials to the South Korean public] is united in pushing back on this Special Measures Agreement. After six rounds of talks and no agreement in sight, Terry said that Seoul is "willing to give [Trump] something — by doing other things" than paying $4 billion more than 2019. So far, the administration hasn't responded to these offers.

She and others noted that as far back as the 1980s the president "has [had] a persistent theme" when it comes to drawing down troops in Korea and having Seoul pay more for the remaining forces. It's a position that "is very concerning" to Koreans because it raises their concerns over Washington's treaty commitments to come to their defense.

Because Tokyo is next in line for burden-sharing talks, Nicholas Szechenyi, the CSIS Japan chair, is paying close attention to what happens in Korea. While the East China Sea remains quiet when compared to what's happening in the South China Sea, he said that doesn't mean Beijing has eased its testing of Japan's defenses. Tokyo scrambled its air defense forces 300 times last year to check Chinese intrusions. "Their operating tempo hasn't changed."

Taiwan's security is also routinely tested by the Chinese. However, Bonnie Glaser, director of the center's China Power Project, said, "I don't think Beijing is going to panic" over the re-election of President Tsai Ing-wen. The talk is "tough," coming from Chinese leaders, but it appears to be a "we're not going to talk to Tsai" approach for the next four years.

"They want to have the carrots" of trying to induce Taiwanese to migrate to the Mainland "and hold the sticks" of a threatened invasion.



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Daily news thanks to Military Periscope for 28 January



USA—Triton Maritime Drones Make 1st Deployment To Pacific U.S. Pacific Fleet | 01/28/2020 The U.S. Navy has deployed its MQ-4C Triton uncrewed aerial vehicle to the Pacific for the first time, reports the U.S. Pacific Fleet. On Sunday, two Tritons from Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 (VUP-19) arrived at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The drones will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the 7th Fleet area of operations, complementing crewed P-8A Poseidon aircraft with increased persistence, capability and capacity through its multisensor payload. The Triton will expand the reach of the U.S. Navy's maritime reconnaissance forces in the Western Pacific, officials said. The deployment is part of the system's early operational capability (EOC) and will be used to further develop the Triton's concept of operations. The MQ-4C will reach initial operational capability when four aircraft can be deployed simultaneously to support 24/7 operations.



USA—6 Firms Selected To Design ERCA Autoloader Defense News | 01/28/2020 The U.S. Army has selected six companies for design and concept work on an autoloader for the service's planned Extend-Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program, reports Defense News. The firms selected include Actuate; Apptronik; Carnegie Robotics; Pratt & Miller Engineering; Neya Systems; and Hivemapper, according to a Jan. 24 Army Futures Command statement. Work began on Jan. 13 and is scheduled to conclude with capability presentations on April 2. The selected firms are expected to develop novel concepts for ERCA. The program aims to field a new self-propelled howitzer in 2023, although the autoloader will not be integrated until the following year. The companies selected for the program have expertise in a variety of areas, including threat-detection cameras, robotic sensors, visualization and analytic tools as well as autonomous systems.



USA—Valkyrie UAV Returns To Flight Air Force Magazine | 01/28/2020 The XQ-58A Valkyrie uncrewed aerial vehicle prototype has successfully completed its fourth flight, its first since a crash in October, reports Air Force magazine. On Jan. 23, the Valkyrie flew at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz, to gather data on the effects of temperature and vibration on the system. The Valkyrie was damaged while landing following a test flight on Oct. 9 when it encountered high surface winds and its provisional flight-test recovery system malfunctioned. Safety recommendations from a report following the accident were implemented ahead of the latest flight. A fifth and final flight is expected later this year. The UAV might also be used in an upcoming joint all-domain command-and-control exercise in April, according to Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics.



France—Armed Forces Minister Pledges Joint Space Exercises With U.S. Defense Post | 01/28/2020 French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly says French and U.S. forces plan to increase their cooperation in space, reports the Defense Post. On Monday, Parly touted the level of communication between the leaders of the U.S. and French space forces and said that the communities would eventually conduct common exercises. She provided no further details. Parly made her comments during a joint conference at the Pentagon with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. France established its space command as part of the air force in September 2019. President Emmanuel Macron has said France should develop a weaponized satellite by 2030. The French government does not intend to engage in a "space arms race" but will develop a "reasoned arsenalization," French officials told the Le Point magazine last year.



Italy—Final Carlo Bergamini-Class Frigate Launched Fincantieri | 01/28/2020 Shipbuilder Fincantieri has launched the last of 10 Carlo Bergamini-class multimission frigates (FREMM) being built for the Italian navy. The Emilio Bianchi was put into the water on Jan. 25 at the Riva Trigoso shipyard in Genoa, according a company release. The ship will now fit out at the Muggiano integrated naval shipyard. She is expected to be delivered in 2021. The Emilio Bianchi and the Spartaco Schergat, the ninth vessel in the Carlo Bergamini class, were ordered in 2015. The Bianchi will be delivered in the general-purpose configuration, of which the Italian navy has ordered six, reported the service. The remaining vessels are in the an anti-submarine warfare configuration.



Croatia—Pilot Dead After Helicopter Crashes Into Adriatic Sea Balkan Insight | 01/28/2020 A Croatian military helicopter has crashed into the Adriatic Sea, reports Balkan Insight. On Monday, the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior went down between the island of Zlarin and coastal town of Zablace, said the defense ministry. The pilot was confirmed dead. A search was ongoing for the second crewmember. The cause of the crash was not immediately known. An investigation into the incident has been opened. Croatia's fleet of 16 Kiowa Warriors has been grounded until the cause of the crash has been identified, reported Total Croatia News.



Russia—Japanese Journalist Accused Of Espionage NHK | 01/28/2020 Russia says it has deported a Japanese journalist accused of trying to obtain secret information on Russia's military capabilities, reports NHK News (Tokyo). The journalist was detained on Dec. 25 in the eastern city of Vladivostok and left the country the next day, said Russian officials. Russian officials said that he was trying to access sensitive military information about Russian forces in the Far East, reported the Tass news agency (Moscow). Kyodo News (Tokyo), which employed the reporter, said that he was conducting normal reporting activities and denied any attempt to conduct espionage. He left the country for his own safety, after authorities gave him 72 hours to depart. Following the incident, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned a Japanese embassy official to lodge a formal protest, reported RIA (Moscow). The incident comes as Japanese police are investigating Russian embassy personnel accused of engaging in espionage.



China—450 Military Medics Arrive In Wuhan Xinhua | 01/28/2020 The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed 450 medical personnel to Wuhan, which has been hard hit by the novel coronavirus, reports Xinhua, China's state-run news agency. On Jan. 24, the personnel from the army, navy and air force were flown into the capital of Hubei province on military aircraft. Commercial flights to the city have been halted due to a travel ban. The Army Medical University in the city of Chonqing sent 135 personnel, and the Second Military Medical University contributed 150 personnel, reported China Daily. The Southern Medical University deployed 24 personnel to the city the night before. The teams included experts in respiratory health, infectious disease, hospital infection control and intensive care. Some of the personnel participating in the deployment have experience combating outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Ebola. The military has also begun shipping emergency medical supplies to the city. On Sunday morning, a train arrived carrying 10,000 sets of Class-C protective clothing and 3,760 bottles of ethyl alcohol, reported China Military Online. The novel coronavirus first emerged in December in Wuhan. As of Monday morning, it was estimated to have infected at least 2,800 people and killed 81, noted the Washington Post. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in the U.S., France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Canada.



Afghanistan—E-11 Comms Relay Aircraft Goes Down In Ghazni Province BBC News | 01/28/2020 A U.S. Air Force communications relay aircraft has crashed in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province, reports BBC News. On Monday, the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Control Node (BACN) aircraft went down, Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief, confirmed, as reported by Military.com. Local journalists said the crash took place about 6 miles (10 km) outside of an unspecified U.S. military base. A spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan said that the crash was not the result of enemy fire. There were less than five crewmembers onboard at the time of the crash, an unnamed U.S. military official told Fox News. The fate of the crew was not immediately known.



Afghanistan—13 Police Die In Taliban Raid In Baghlan Voice Of America News | 01/28/2020 At least 13 police officers have been killed in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province, reports the Voice of America News. Militants attacked a police post in Pul-e-Khumri at dawn and quickly overran the site, a local official said on Tuesday. The attackers were believed to have used a double agent on the inside to assist with the attack. The insurgents first attacked a checkpoint near the base and then gained access through a suspected connection inside, reported the Khaama Press. Three officers are believed to be missing, reported Tolo News (Kabul). A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said killed 17 police. Provincial police said the post commander was killed and both sides suffered heavy casualties, without providing specifics. The attack comes as the Taliban is engaged in talks with the U.S. to reduce hostilities and potentially lead to the withdrawal of American forces.



Iran—Another Satellite Launch Being Prepared NPR News | 01/28/2020 Satellite imagery suggests that Iran may be preparing for another space launch, reports NPR News. Imagery taken on Sunday shows vehicle activity at a rocket assembly building at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. Another group of vehicles was seen at a launch pad that was damaged during a failed launch last year. The activity is consistent with previous Iranian launch attempts, said analysts. Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said on Jan. 18 that Iran was soon planning to launch two small communications satellites, Zafar 1 and Zafar 2. Launch attempts in January 2019 and February 2019 ended in failure. A third attempt in August damaged the launch pad.



Yemen—Dozens Killed As Houthis Push North, East Of Sanaa Agence France-Presse | 01/28/2020 Houthi rebels in Yemen have made significant gains north and east of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, reports Agence France-Presse. On Monday, sources from the internationally-recognized government said that the rebels had captured a route that connects the Marib and Jawf provinces. The rebels, who receive backing from Iran, are now about 3 miles (5 km) outside of Hazm, the capital of Jawf, the sources said. The government acknowledged the Houthi gains, saying its forces had conducted a tactical withdrawal from positions east of Sanaa. Control of Jawf has been split for much of the war, with the government controlling the capital. Dozens have reportedly been killed and wounded in the fighting, said the sources. Fighting in the area has escalated since a Jan. 18 missile strike on a government training camp that killed an estimated 116 recruits. The Houthis have been widely blamed for the attack but have not claimed responsibility.



Israel—Military Strikes Hamas Positions After Rocket, Balloon Attacks Haaretz | 01/28/2020 The Israeli air force has conducted several attacks on Hamas positions in southern Gaza in response to militant rocket and incendiary balloon attacks, reports Haaretz (Israel). On Sunday, a Hamas post was struck after a rocket was fired from Gaza earlier in the day. The rocket landed in an open field and caused no damage, reported the Jerusalem Post. On Saturday, the air force hit a weapons manufacturing site and a military compound for intelligence collection, the Israel Defense Forces said. This attack was said to be in response to incendiary balloons that had been launched at Israeli territory. Two balloons were reported in southern Israel on Saturday. Five other bundles of balloons with explosives were found on Jan. 23. One of the bombs attached to a balloon discovered on Thursday exploded but caused no injuries. The remaining explosives were neutralized by police sappers. Also on Jan. 23, the IDF hit several Hamas outposts following the launch of airborne firebombs into southern Israel.



Algeria—2 Pilots Killed In Fighter Crash Algeria Press Service | 01/28/2020 Two Algerian pilots have been killed after their fighter jet went down during a nighttime training exercise, reports the state-run Algeria Press Service. On Monday, the Su-30 went down in Ain Zitoun, Oum El Bouaghi district, about 220 miles (350 km) southeast of Algiers, the capital. The area was unpopulated, according to a defense ministry statement cited by Agence France-Presse. The cause of the crash is under investigation.



Niger—U.S. Hands Over Hangar To Support C-130 Ops In Agadez Africa Command | 01/28/2020 The U.S. Air Force has handed over a newly built hangar at Nigerien Air Base No. 201 in the central city of Agadez, reports U.S. Africa Command. The hangar was transferred to the Nigerien air force in a ceremony on Jan. 22. The hangar will boost the operational capabilities of the Nigerien military by permitting the deployment of C-130 flights to the region. The hangar is large enough to shelter up to two C-130s, which Niger recently purchased from the U.S. The facility also includes an engine maintenance room, supply storage, training area and battery and tool rooms. Construction of the building was funded by the State Dept. The U.S. has provided US$60 million in "total package support" for Niger's C-130 program. Other support being provided includes a team of maintainers and fuel that will support the first aircraft following its delivery later in the spring.



Nigeria—13 Killed In Suspected Intercommunal Violence News Agency Of Nigeria | 01/28/2020 At least 13 people have been killed in an attack in Nigeria's central Plateau state, reports the News Agency of Nigeria. On Sunday, unknown gunmen opened fire in Kwatas village about 50 miles (80 km) south of the city of Jos, reported the Daily Trust (Lagos). At least five people were seriously injured in the attack, reported Agence France-Presse. Twenty-three houses were burned in the assault. The incident was believed to have involved cattle rustling. Reports suggested that some members of the community may have launched revenge attacks on Fulani villages. Members of the Fulani community are predominately Muslims and largely rely on herding for their livelihoods. Plateau Gov. Simon Bako Ladang ordered community leaders in the area arrested. He called a meeting between locals, Fulani leaders and security forces and warned that community leaders would be arrested if those responsible for the attack were not delivered to authorities. About 7,000 people have been killed over the last five years in communal violence between herders and farmers.

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