Thursday, November 29, 2012

Acquired acquisition taste

An NY Times piece that does in-fact have some interesting info about not only the history of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program but also some interesting signs that don’t go with the prettier parts of this story by AV Week Reuters.

Lockheed has already lost profits, earning only $28 million of a possible $87.5 million in award fees for meeting development goals in 2010 and 2011.

That LRIP-5 contract should be any day now...

Normalization of alternate realities

(from a Steidle paper, 1997 - click image to make larger)

In an editorial by USN Rear Adm. (ret.) Craig Steidle ("Fixing the real JSF problems" p.90 Aviation Week & Space Technology/November 5/12, 2012, subscription), We hear from the former JSF DOD program boss of many years ago.

A bit of history: below is a 1997 paper of his which begs the question: how much of the fairy dust did he believe then?

In the recent AV Week opinion piece he writes about how the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program has lost its way. Here are some of the higlights.

1.1993 goal from then DOD boss “bottom-up review”, was to develop a joint family of systems to reduce life-cycle costs.

2.Following principles established by the 1986 Packard commission, warfighters and technologists worked together to make cost-performance trades, while applying technology to cut costs, not just to add performance. Technology was to be matured before engineering and manufacturing development started, and government and industry would form integrated product teams to incorporate all available best practices. These initiatives were underpinned by a disciplined requirements generation process and rigorous cost-performance trade studies.

3.But as the program moved on, leadership let the focus on affordability atrophy. Both the government and contractor were at fault. What should have been a core pillar did not evolve into a culture that would drive process development, induce change and inform decision-making.

4.While chairing several “independent manufacturing review team" meetings from 2008-10, Steidel and his colleagues were appalled that neither the contractor nor JSFPO mentioned “affordable” or “affordability” during initial presentations.

5.The statements of work he reviewed did not incorporate cost reduction.

6.Recovery of problems was made more difficult by the JSFPO’s arrogance in shutting out the technical authority of the services’ systems commands.

7.Contractors’ rigid adherence to legacy manufacturing practices—to the point of “normalization of deviance,” or “we have always done it that way and it worked.”

8.Results: immature risk-management process; change-control managers could neither define process problems or forecast change volumes; schedules were constantly revised with no integrated program management schedule.

9.Blind optimism.

10.Technical arrogance.

But then the Admiral ends with the following, applying his own “normalisation of deviance" and even faith:

"The current F-35 program leadership has made strides in bringing this system to full-rate production and has embraced the pillar of affordability. Our requirements reviews show that the warfighters will have the best complement to their F-22 and Super Hornet/Growler strike capabilities, with a system performance beyond our initial expectations. We need to remain strongly committed to this joint program. Use these hard-learned lessons, embrace affordability as a core best practice, and together deploy this system to the fleet—or watch our board of directors on Capitol Hill take it away."

The problem with that hope is that it was he who mentioned years ago, that costs on the program don’t “flatten out” until you reach about 1500 aircraft. That would assume no serious technical problems. That was part of the “business plan” that Admiral Venlet, the recent F-35 DOD (JSFPO) boss lost confidence in.

At the rate the program is going, there won’t be 1500 airframes.


Which leads us back to 1993 and the affordability goal of the program. Admiral Stiedle is looking at a death-hospice patient.

Not only "normalization of deviance" sir, but a total indifference to what is real.

--- What Steidle thought back in 1997 ---

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tough days for vehicles and their crews

Reader Blacktail provided a link showing the incredible hard work that the Army has to do to save vehicles when they get into trouble. Nothing new through the history of mechanized warfare but photos like this are always interesting.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

More on the USMC

Solomon has some interesting force-structure thoughts on the USMC.

Me? I just want to use them for what they are good at: being aggressive in boat units. Tough and good. Knock off the extra stuff. Use them for what they are really good at... killing everything they see.

I would not worry about the EFV. Glad it is gone. The M-1 Tank? Well, the first thing I would do with the M-1 is what the Army should do. Give it a no-frills HE round. Stop thinking about the next gold-plated AT round.

I am partial to the AH-1Z/UH-1Y. However I do understand the need to be joint.

I think it is fair to say we have much different views on Marine fast-air.

I would kill the F-35B and press forward with Block 2, Super Hornets. We as a nation are over $16T in the red...

USMC loses firepower as SAW departs

This is worrying for our brave Marines that have to put down fire--Via the Captain's Journal:

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SABIT QADAM, Afghanistan – As full integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle into the Marine Corps’ arsenal becomes complete, the M249 Light Machine Gun, formerly the Squad Automatic Weapon, slowly fades into the history of the Corps.

The SAW has seen action since 1984 and has protected Marines since. Replaced by an automatic rifle of similar size and weight of the M16A4 service rifle already issued to rank and file Marines, the familiarity with the new weapon is almost instant.

“The IAR has fewer moving parts than the SAW does making it a lot more ‘grunt friendly,’” said Lance Cpl. Tyler Shaulis, an IAR gunner with 4th Platoon, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 7. “It has a direct piston system, so there are fewer jams. It stays cleaner, longer with less carbon build up after it’s been fired. The muscle memory stays the same with it as it would an M16. If an IAR gunner goes down, any Marine could grab the weapon and lay down accurate suppressive fire without thinking twice.”

“We’re going back to what we had in WWII with the Browning Automatic Rifle,” Henderson said. “Since the 1980s, we gave the infantry squad the light machine gun, and now we’re having another shift in the Marine Corps to get back to what we were doing right the first time.”

I asked Daniel, my former Marine, what he thought about this.

This is sad. The reason we went with the SAW was because the BAR and its associated concept were inadequate. At times in combat in Iraq, we had all nine SAW gunners firing during engagements, and I’m glad that we did. We needed the fire power. In the thousands of rounds I put down range stateside and Iraq, I never had a single problem … never … had … a … single … problem, with my SAW. I kept it clean. This change to the IAR is a testimony to laziness. What do Marines want to do – take someone out on a date? What else do they have to do when they’re deployed? What’s the problem with cleaning weapons? Mine worked because I maintained it right. All this has done is make the Marines weaker. It may be that this IAR could be used for select circumstances like room clearing, but the death of the SAW will bring nothing good.

F-35 DOD Select Acquisition Report (SAR) FY2012

The latest F-35 DOD Select Acquisition Report (SAR) has been out for almost a year however I am posting it here because some seem to be confused about hopeful, low F-35 prices that just do not exist. This is also the first F-35 SAR where the cost of the airframe and motor were made separate.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Not a cure

Taxpayer funded “analysis” just isn’t working so well in this country when it comes to air power topics.

Take this latest from some that should know better:

Why the US Air Force needs the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter

So according to ASPI, the USAF is in bad shape.

Yeah we know that.

Why someone would suggest a failed program to solve USAF problems makes me wonder.

Only just a little bit.

Am I being too harsh? Not when we are talking about spending tens-of-billions on a faulty product...and tens-of-billions more to fix the mistakes.

But, OK, if I am too harsh, consider another reason for ASPI failings re: air power topics.

They aren't stupid. They just have bad luck when thinking.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Congrats to China's Navy on their J-15 carrier ops tests

Congratulations and a job well done for China's new carrier, crew and their successful launch and trap of the J-15.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hostage crisis

Our unfortunate Air Force

Don't blame the empty suit. He is just doing his job.

In this case it is: show up and issue platitude.

We should worry about the future of the USAF:

Morin said that becoming smaller will allow the Air Force to be a high-quality and ready force, able to modernize and become more capable in the future. To do this, Air Force leaders are focused on three critical programs: the F-35 joint strike fighter, KC-46 tanker, and the long range strike bomber.

No. Sometimes becoming smaller is just that, and nothing more.

"High-quality" doesn't go with mentioning a tanker program that will probably be "OK"; a disaster in recapping fighters; and a half-billion dollar per-aircraft long range bomber-white elephant.

Fiscal disaster. Operational capability failure.

In the making.

"We are doing everything to keep them on track. As a result, we are not doing some other things we would like to do,"

Or maybe that last bit is the equal of a Vietnam War POW trying to put a duress message into the coerced propaganda statement.

Air forces wanting the F-35 doom their nation's defenses

AV Week has a good article on challenges facing air forces that select the F-35. It also mentions F-22 challenges.

I would also like to add:

1. The fact that the F-35 will not fit into existing operations budgets of air forces: this means more parking than flying; and simulators as the tire patch.

2. The fact that with all of its faults, the F-35 mission availability is a flying question mark.

3. The fact that the design is obsolete and will not be able to take on emerging threats. And, that some existing legacy threats can detect it, and kill it.

This leads to the fact that air forces that want the F-35, risk dooming their nation to a loss of air supremacy.

Historically, that has never worked out so well.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Canadian government response to AG report is useless

The Canadian government has put forward a response to a previous Auditor General effort on the countries proposed CF-18 fighter replacement.

This response is basically useless for the following reasons:

-It mentions a 2009  U.S. select acquisition report about the F-35 but does not mention the latest one which is even more troublesome. This includes the fact that the latest SAR has separated costing of the airframe and motor.

-There is no direct reference on flying hour assumptions per year for each aircraft. For example with current ops budgets, Canada might be able to afford flying 30 or so F-35s per year. And that is generous because it allows for a fleet of non-faulty aircraft.

-There is no mention of a severe 2011 report by the U.S. about F-35 engineering difficulty.

-Throughout the response one gets the impression that few, if any, Canadian government decision-makers have any grasp of F-35 risks.

There is more, but in the end, not much has changed. Canada's CF-18 replacement is still in trouble. No one of any credible skill can put forward a reason why the nation should embark on a high risk project to replace current aircraft with faulty aircraft.

Choules to get all propulsion transformers replaced

Here is an update on the HMAS Choules stuff-up.

Defence will spend $10M on repairs to have all of its' propulsion transformers replaced.

The ship should be back in service by April.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faulty F-35s limp to Yuma's Operational Test Community

From a reader in relation to the Yuma fraud:

The funny thing is that all 3 jets hobbled to Yuma, yet were envisioned last month by Amos to arrive together for this ceremony. He even wanted 2 of them to perform a slow landing and a vertical landing, respectively, for the press and Sen McCain. That was vetoed by the test community as they have no test instrumentation with which to telemeter data to ground test stations (which Yuma doesn't have, either). Enough STOVL things still have a limited life on them or can't be trusted without external monitoring, yet "probation" was cleared??? Oh, and the Yuma pilots were not qualified in Mode 4 STOVL operations, either. Details.

Only 1 jet was ready last week, so off it went from Fort Worth with its KC-130 tanker (TX to AZ w/o weapons...tell me about the great range again...) and an F-18 chase plane. The "operational" F-35B still can't squawk an IFF code, thus part of the reason for the F-18 chase. The F-35B encountered clutch heating problems before the halfway point, and was forced to a lower altitude to open up a cooling envelope where the clutch cooling fan could be used. Sounds like the clutch drag problem isn't quite as solved as LM and the USG have told us. Be advised that none of this involved converting to STOVL inflight, it was merely cruising in CTOL-type mode at 20K feet.

The second and third jets were to deliver together today. Alas, one had a flight control problem and had to abort. So one went on its own with its KC-130 and F-18 to Yuma. As it held for the ceremonial arrival, it lost all nav systems. So elegant.

The third one departed hours later after having undergone emergency maintenance (any pressure to perform on a day like today??!!!). And yes, it too had its own KC-130 and F-18 chase. It had yet to arrive and some press releases already stated that 3 jets were on the ramp at Yuma. That's our beloved press, to include the cut and paste aerospace press beholden to their advertisers - as you have pointed out so well, Eric. Can't wait to hear about the state of F-35B #3 when it arrived at Yuma.

Operational...hmmm, I don't think so

LM Buzz

What are the the chances DOD LM Buzz could "report" accurately about the F-35 Yuma Fraud?

Not so good.

They have advert dollars to chase you know:

(click image to make larger)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who told Defence that Wedgetail was ready for IOC and is it true?

Australian Defence has declared initial operating capability (IOC) with the Wedgetail aircraft, so says this this press release.

"The Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) Wedgetail aircraft has achieved Initial Operational Capability,..."

But is it true?

One of the anonymous Internet mind-guards who help to push the message of various tribal elements within the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy isn't so sure:

Originally Posted by Gordon Branch
Did anyone else notice the that The E-7 Wedgetail has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC)?

Depends on how the Proj defined IOC. There is no standard definition and my understanding is that there is still a fair way to go.

Sometimes there is confusion because the Proj may meet "Interim" rarther than "Initial"

the former is a compromise used to get the platform up and about but still work towards meeting OC

All in all, I'm suggesting that the claim about meeting real world IOC may not be so as the press release claims

In fact I know its not so.

Is the Wedgetail ready for IOC? I don't know. I do know that it was delayed for years; and was looking at shooting for a 90 percent capability of the original expectation after experiencing technology problems.

The root cause of Wedgetail problems appeared where they do in many ill-conceived projects: in the beginning. Numerous identified risks were waved away by the program leadership as being workable. Later when those identified risks evolved into show-stopping problems, the Wedgetail became a project management object lesson.

So, either the Defence Minister's office, the DMO and RAAF are wrong and trying to push an alleged success story where none exists or the anonymous mind-guards are wrong.

This has the potential to be a worthy topic of interest at the next Senate Estimates get-together.

I am curious how the Minister's office will address this gross difference in communication?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

RICO flight lands at Yuma

While there is no hard proof that Lenin said it, the term "useful idiots" applies to some of the F-35 fan-base.

For the rest, I suspect fraud is the justification to harness taxpayers to fund a faulty and obsolete weapon system that a country over $16T in the red can ill afford.

Much of the pro-F-35 publicity efforts are stitched up with faith-based arguements, hearsay and meme-theory all rolled up into a thana-marketing package which will hurt DOD combat readiness.

For years.

Consider the lastest effort by the cheerleaders at Second Line of Defense (SLD). Their "Gold Sponsor", Lockheed Martin, also the maker of the troubled F-35, want you to believe that delivering F-35B (short take-off and landing variant) Joint Strike Fighters to Yuma, Arizona is a good thing for the United States Marketing Corps.

The USMC leadership is using the same kind of plan that they used to field the MV-22 Osprey: market, hype, market, and get a woefully undertested aircraft to an operational test squadron as soon as possible.

The F-35B is not ready.

The mission software for the aircraft is not ready. The helmet and its visual cueing, (the aircraft has no heads-up-display) is not ready. The logistics system for maintenance people is not ready. The flight envelop is not fully expanded. There are no working weapons. This would entail a wide range of clearance scenarios and hitting actual air and surface targets.

SLD's big problem with being a zombie marketer of the Joint Strike Failure is that the U.S. DOD just handed an operational test squadron a non-ready aircraft. Operational test squadrons are supposed to figure out how to use a weapon for war and write up the procedure for operational training so other training squadrons have a solid (and safe) training program.

All that is pretty hard to do when the development testers are far from finished. Hard to work on tactics when you are just trying to make the aircraft work.

What we have is another piece of the puzzle of the F-35 fraud:

Produce the appearance of capability; meet "milestones" to get big pay-days and for the military leadership, advance your career.

At any cost.

I am curious when Congress--who have run out of other-peoples money to spend--will realise that their shift to the Pacific is depending on what the U.S. Justice Department and FBI in their world would call: "a criminal enterprise"?

Pinning the RICO Statute on all of this is not hard to do.

As America's combat readiness gets worse because its' "Department of Defense" buys a long line of dud combat systems (LCS, F-35, DDX, obsolete carrier air wings, amphibs with no well-deck, etc) the best strategy for the U.S. is to avoid war because we are not capable of winning.

And, propaganda from the likes of SLD won't improve that situation.

Friday, November 16, 2012

America, such as it is...

I try to give credit where credit is due but so many in Australia do not understand that it is the United States of America not the United Federal Government of America.

And using a defacto one-party extreme-left state like California as proof that America will tolerate more taxes is a huge miss.

Republicans (as dumb as the leadership are) do not need to move toward the "centre" as the author claims. That would make them just like the Liberal Party here: Conservative in alleged name only. Lack of moving toward the center was not the reason for the Republican defeat. If that was so, the Democratic leadership, who won with an extreme left candidate would have lost too.

The empty chair beat the empty suit.

Don't look at the red and blue states. Look at the red and blue counties. Although I doubt any election will ever be won based on total square miles of ownership.

In the end, America has to stop insane spending. Neither party was up for that. So... onward to Greece it is. The big problem is that those in red areas have to work to support those in blue areas.

A most silly statement from the author is this:

Climate change will also return to the US national agenda, in part courtesy due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

So now man can stop the weather? Interesting theory. A carbon tax or any other associated tax-grab stupidity won't pass in the U.S. because of some glaring problems.


Air power

This is an interesting piece on air power in-general and some mentions of strategic bombing in WWII.

The author doesn't mention a few important points.

WWII strategic bombing of Germany:

1.It was in effect yet another front (just like the Soviet Union, Italy and France). The German people and logistics tied up in various facilities, flak batteries and fighters tasked for home defense helped even more, to bleed them white.

2.Bombing Germany was instructive to the German populace of what happens when you put a murder in charge of your country. Retaliation. And, a good object lesson for future generations. You want war? Fine. Here it is. Eat it.

3.These were still early days of combat aviation. Man was still learning technology that was appearing faster than their ability to know how to use it.

3. In 1944, with all that bombing, Germany had a high production year for fighter aircraft. The huge problem (which was the same for Japan) was Germany's lack of understanding of the pilot pipeline. By 1944 Germany had low hour rookies and a small number of highly excperience aces. Where the ace said, "we flew until we got the iron cross or the wooden cross."

The U.S. for example, by this time, could get a huge number of low-to-average pilots to the front who may have had a few hundred flight hours before they even saw combat. A big difference from a German 20-hour (or less) wonder. Pilots with experience--in large quantity--went home to teach rookies. The mismatch by 44 was large.

Air power is not everything in war. Not having it in a peer-to-peer fight means you risk losing.


Rent-seekers use faith in attempt to take high ground

ASPI opines about home-grown submarine naysayers. They ask a fair question or two. Also, reading what is quoted, I would worry.

Warning signs in the Minister for Rent-Seeking and Platitude speech.

"Like any big project there will be naysayers."

Blame the critic. Not always helpful. For the Minister one has to first see if a "naysayer's" argument is valid. Some are.

Then the leap to the Snowy Mountain project where the Minister refers to some words from that time:

"This Government has faith in its engineers, its people and the future of Australia.”

Faith is no substitute for project management skills and sound leadership. My fear is what I am seeing is an avalanche on Bullshit Mountain.

"Those who say just buy submarines from overseas."

Yeah well, we can get a consistant learning curve and long tribal knowledge for crews and logistics management established. All that and have a lethal defensive weapon.

"Those that lack the faith in what Australian workers and Australian industry can achieve."

Faith is irrelevant. When examining the track record of the Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy, the defective ASC and DMO, one has to depend on what is the goal of all properly planned projects: to perform something that can be realistically accomplished. The evidence of Australia being able to do a big home grown submarine project successfully, just is not there.

On paper, what the Minister outlines sounds great. If only he were working with better clay. The only way for a successful home sub project to happen is if there are massive changes. That is, finding people that can lead, manage and understand the language of engineers as opposed

So the taxpayer just spent hundreds of millions to do a future submarine study, all while the rent-seekers had their foot on the brake underneath the roulette table.

That by any definition is fraud.

iPolitics wanders-Group-think-think-tank

Unfortunately, good intentions and fancy titles are no replacement for actual knowledge about Just So Failed F-35.

Funny how editors without a clue, let uninformed nonsense pose as useful information.

Other than PowerPoint, the author has nothing to base their theory on.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How many “free rides”?

There is a lot of talk about Australia getting a free ride by underspending on Defence in relation to the U.S. umbrella of protection.

Let us examine some of this a bit closer.

Currently, the Australian military procurement system is broken. And, not just a little bit. Any increase of Defence spending at this point in time, is just a licence to see more of our tax dollars wasted.

In other words: fix the substance abuser first, before handing them more money.

Also, may we look at some of the other free riders out there? Take the time to look at some of the other U.S. allies.

I am generally a “hawk” on military issues. However, with the current situation, giving the DMO and friends more money to waste means that we will have to spend billions more fixing the procurement of new, yet irrelevant weapons wanted by the corrupt Entrenched Defence Bureaucracy.

Example: field the defective F-35; spend billions more to get something that is actually tactically useful to make up for the colossal mistake.

Ditto: for the troubled RAN. For example: Defence bought a used ship from the U.K. who was having a going-out-of-business sale in relation to their former empire and now the new one: feeding the welfare state. That ship was not properly evaluated; broke recently and went into repair for months.

A sarcastic “thank you” to our imbeciles in senior Defence circles.

And finally for the alleged security wonks out there: knock off the percent-of-GDP-valuation of Defence spending.

It is stupid because it doesn’t address anything of value. What counts is the percentage of Defence spending , in the Federal budget.

Australia not fixing its cancer known as the DMO and friends is like driving a car with a flat tire; buying 3 new tires for the other hubs, and, still driving on the flat tire.

And then calling it progress.


-Some of what ails Defence-

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

AV Week content

What do Aviation Week subscribers pay for?

I am curious. Over the last few weeks we have seen several Reuters articles like this one, thrown in place of space that would usually have a real AV Week reporter covering the beat.

What gives?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Stryker--legacy of lies -- Logistics

The Stryker used by the U.S. Army is a fraud of the highest order.

If you thought the protection and air mobility videos were interesting, consider the logistics issues surrounding this nonsense:

Chapter 6: Logistics-

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8


Stryker--legacy of lies--protection

Stryker--legacy of lies -- air mobility

Friday, November 9, 2012

Stryker--legacy of lies -- air mobility

Hopefully you enjoyed the low tech presentation on the defective Stryker in relation to survivability.

The whole program was a con-artist dream by former and serving military and industry.

Enjoy this installment which shows you how the Stryker failed all of its critical air mobility requirements.

Chapter 5 - Air Mobility

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DMO humour

Quote by Warren King. APDR November 2012.

We have had some failures as an organisation, but I want to put that into context. DMO has many projects that run for 10 years or more – they are big and complex. I have had some work done – that I can't detailed just yet – benchmarking ourselves against the private sector. The preliminary results are very positive.

Typically, we do not have problems remaining within our budgets this seems to be an ongoing method defence projects experience regular budget blowouts. They do not. Around 98% of our work is on or under budget – and that is a better result than industry itself is able to achieve.

How many years did that M-113 upgrade take?


F-117 pilot not surprised when he was shot down

Lack of support...

But on the night of 27 March 1999 he was uncomfortable. Weather conditions meant the stealth fighters would not have their usual escort of "Prowler" electronic jamming planes or F16s firing anti-radar missiles.

"I'd never felt so strongly - if there was ever a night, a mission for an F117 to get shot down, it would be this one. I wasn't surprised when it happened," he says.

Great story. Maybe a bit incomplete on the strategic reason of why their first "meeting" took place.

H/T-CDR Salamander

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Try again, but thanks for playing...


Defence procurement failures have often been explained away on the basis that they are complex, risky, and difficult to achieve without time and cost slippage. For some projects this is certainly true, the Navy’s Future Submarines and the JSF represent cases where for various political and technical reasons options are limited and risks unavoidable. However it would be wrong to assume that this was the case with all defence procurement; simple rules, common sense, and adequate planning can overcome many of these obstacles.

Many risks were avoidable with the Just So Failed. Just consider the history of the project and Australia's severe mistake in getting involved.

For defence procurement, it’s time to go back to basics.

Welcome to the party pal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stryker--legacy of lies

Reader Blacktail has provided a wonderful set of YouTube videos made from 2009, about the U.S. Army's faulty Stryker AFV. There are 8 chapters with multiple parts. I have linked the videos from Chapter 2 below which deals with Stryker protection or the lack of it.

I have been aware of Stryker failings for a long time. No other presentation method you may have seen on Stryker failings tops Blacktail's efforts.

I would go so far to say that these are award winning videos based on the information presented. The non-perfect presentation method has a charm all its own with the frack from a high-school band coronet around the 1 minute and 1 second mark of many videos.

I am a believer in the U.S. Army; to a point. What we can see is that in future real wars against non-dirt insurgents, the U.S. Army Stryker Brigade concept is less survivable than a Sherman tank in Operation:GOODWOOD.

This means all those Stryker Brigades are essentially undeployable against a hardcore threat. Please take the time to view all the videos in Chapther 2 below. And don't forget, there are 7 other chapters that tell of the Stryker fraud.

--Chapter 2 (Stryker protection)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 (best music award)

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Today's Army of little use in the Pacific

Maybe the reason the Army gets a bad rap in the Pacific emphasis by the U.S. DOD is that--as organized today--they bring so little to the table.

AIBANO TRAINING AREA, Japan — In a muddy field full of Japanese media and troops watching American military might in action, the Stryker Mobile Gun System unceremoniously broke down.

The vehicle — a variant of the fast, lightweight Stryker armored troop carrier that’s been deployed throughout Iraq and Afghanistan — was able to fire only three of the dozens of rounds that were planned Tuesday morning.

The mechanical glitch turned the demonstration into a watch-us-fix-it event, but the snafu wasn’t all bad. It underscored the point of Orient Shield, a field training exercise that the two allied armies conduct every year for the sake of “interoperability” — military-speak for teamwork.

“The MGS is a helluva machine, but it can break down at critical times,” Maj. Randall Baucom, U.S. Army Japan spokesman, said. The malfunction wasn’t good, but it was beneficial for the Japanese to see that “things don’t always go according to plan.”

Keep spinning it public affairs guy. Depending on the variant, the Stryker is $5~6M each. Useful against somethings (like low-threat wars) but a death trap against the NORKs or the Chicoms. And, the one pictured doesn't even have its Mel Gibson, Road Warrior cage on.

Fortunately, the 105mm gun reliability has never been a problem for this Stryker variant.

Just kidding.

This from the GAO in 2004:

The Mobile Gun System has a 105mm cannon with an autoloader for rapidly loading cannon rounds without outside exposure of its three-person crew. The principal function of the Mobile Gun System is to provide rapid and lethal direct fires to protect assaulting infantry. The Mobile Gun System cannon is designed to defeat bunkers and create openings in reinforced concrete walls through which infantry can pass to accomplish their missions. According to the Army's Stryker Program Management Office, the autoloader system was responsible for 80 percent of the system aborts during initial Mobile Gun System reliability testing because of cannon rounds jamming in the system. As of February 2004, the Army was planning additional testing and working with the autoloader's manufacturer to determine a solution. A functioning autoloader is needed if the Mobile Gun System is to meet its operational requirements because manual loading of cannon rounds both reduces the desired rate of fire and requires brief outside exposure of crew. In its March 2004 Stryker acquisition decision, OSD required the Army to provide changes to the Mobile Gun System developmental exit criteria within 90 days, including the ability to meet cost and system reliability criteria.

What a joke.

Well maybe things like the opening hours of Korea 1950 only happen once. We know the Army has such a good memory.

Just kidding again. As Colonel Hackworth stated, "The Army suffers from CRS:...

...can't remember shit."

I believe the Army has a place in the Pacific. But only with real combat readiness; with robust weapon's systems.

If not, there is always the Bataan Death March II awaiting.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Indirect clown fire

Think the abilities a team needs to use a mortar or large field artillery piece for indirect fire.

Well, the ANA doesn't have those abilities, even though the have the equipment.

An allied Afghan platoon opened up with their .50-caliber machine gun, spraying bullets all over the valley, and their mortar team went into action. Within seconds, the team of three had run down to their position, yanked the cover off the mouth of the heaviest weapon on the post, unwrapped an 82-mm round and dropped it down the tube. There was a strong metallic clink, followed by a blast as the bomb went zooming out from the mortar. Seconds later a boom reverberated over the surrounding mountains, and the Afghan crew stood on tiptoe, trying to see where it had landed.

And that is the point. Over the course of 10 days in October 2011, the Afghan National Army (ANA) mortar crew never actually aimed their tube. They never took a bearing, never read out elevations, never set up their aiming sticks — though they did continuously clean and oil the weapon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

USAF's dream of all-stealth fighter force--now even more dead

Another damning indictment has appeared showing the United States Air Force (USAF) dream wanting an all-stealth fighter force is even more dead. The November-December 2012 issue of Air & Space Power Journal has an article, (The F-22 Acquisition Program,Consequences for the US Air Force’s Fighter Fleet) by a former USAF test pilot and F-22 squadron commander, Lt. Col. Christopher J. Niemi (PDF below).

It is good reading, although in many areas, not ground-breaking and maybe a bit too historical. The power in it comes from a person with significant operational experience. The timing of it and our future budget disaster era, could pretty much put an end to any claim USAF has on wanting the F-35 because Col. Niemi has provided a very large hammer to be used for more legacy fighter buys to recap USAF "needs".

This is OK in the coming years,  if the threats in the Pacific Rim allow legacy aircraft to operate in an acceptable fashion. I don't believe they will.

Note as always, articles from serving military members end with this:
The views and opinions expressed or implied in the Journal are those of the authors and should not be construed as carrying the official sanction of the Department of Defense, Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Air University, or other agencies or departments of the US government.

Where Niemi is strong:
-He has actual F-22 ops experience; as well as F-15E ops experience.
-He notes all the kinds of conflicts where high-cost (and high operating cost) stealth aircraft are not needed. This includes a mention that history being what it is, one could buy 3 Super Hornets for the cost of one F-22.
-He notes the budget reality including poor procurement thinking at all levels.

Niemi states: F-22 range is less than F-15 range and requires more tanking. This disagrees with another former F-22 squadron commander, (BG Molloy from the Molloy paper (PDF). Niemi also states that super-cruise with the F-22 has limitations but due to his position of not being able to present hard operational scenarios he is unable to explain further.

HOBS heaters and WVR. The F-22 currently does not have this capability; years after it was a known combat need for every other fighter design; years after initial operating capability. Note; the F-35, if it is fielded to real operational squadrons, will have AIM-9x for external carry, in the non-stealth mode (rah, rah).

Niemi brings up the high-end SAM threat but seems less convinced about the high-end air-to-air threats.

For Niemi, the F-22 is superior in air-to-air and survivability vs. high end threats but is inferior to legacy aircraft designs in all other mission sets. Niemi's review of USAF fighter procurement history since the end of The Cold War, like the efforts of Aviation Week's Bill Sweetman, show that, with current U.S. military-industrial-congressional-complex skill-sets, "stealth is not free".

I would wager that if the House and Senate Armed Service Committee types and others, use this Niemi paper as a hard source, then:

-Reopening F-22 production, as an idea is dead.
-The F-35 program is in even more serious jeopardy.

Niemi's most important statements point toward USAF senior-leadership ethics. Those seem to be even more faulty than any aircraft design. And, the future of America's air superiority is still a flying question mark.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Risks ignored with the JSF--2000

Continuing with the "what we knew, way back when" theme, below I have a PDF from Proceedings of the Naval Institute, August 2000. Chuck Spinney puts on his captain obvious hat and well, the rest is history...

In March 1999, the Congressional Budget Office reported to the Senate Armed Services Committee that JSF costs might be underestimated by as much a 50%; in March 2000, the General Accounting Office told Congress the development program should be lengthened to reduce technical/cost risks: "To allow the JSF to proceed as planned-without maturing critical technologies-would perpetuate conditions that have led to cost growth and schedule delays in many prior DoD weapons system acquisition programs."

The GAO claims DoD restructured the program so that the EMD decision will be made with even less information than originally planned, and the program has migrated toward the traditional practice of developing technologies and products concurrently. It is important to remember that the X-32 and X-35 JSF demonstrators are even more limited as concept demonstrators than was the YF-22, so the risks created by concurrency could be even greater. The winner of the JSF "competition" will be determined by a flyoff demonstrating only low-speed handling, STOVL capability, and producibility with at least 70% parts commonality; the YF-22 supersonic cruise demonstrator demonstrated aerodynamics of high-speed, high-G maneuvering, and high alpha, low-speed maneuvering in mock dogfights.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The UK's paper tiger carrier

The negative sounding LOL’s are well deserved when we have something like this:

A typical deployment of one 65,000t vessel outside UK territorial waters would include an embarked air wing of 12 short take-off and vertical landing F-35Bs.

Wars can have a bad way of showing up quickly, in the here and not days from now.

For any deployment.

The Boy Scouts have it right: “Be prepared.”

A 6$,000 ton vessel deploying with 12 faulty, short-ranged strike aircraft that have a horrific cost-per-flying hour.

No on-board tanking or proper fixed-wing AWACs.

And if this kind of “force” was sunk outright, quickly, as an object lesson by an aggressor, what would the UK do?

Not much, because they are now officially, a hollow force.

And, the UK taxpayer is getting taken to the cleaners.

As always, best to make buying decisions when looking at a complete go-to-war product. Every potential F-35 customer / partner won’t have intelligent buying-power knowledge until 2019-2020 at the earliest.

JAST blast from the past

Today, along with some future posts, we will look at historical thinking and compare it against what we are now paying for with the F-35 program.

We will start out with the commentary in the PDF below.

"Yet our community has again embarked upon an expensive design and construction exercise focused on 'form,' which historically breeds powerful technology-business coalitions and political constituencies that become virtually unstoppable."

C.E. Myers, Jr.
November 1995