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Agiel's all things military


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#41
Agiel

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Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia's take on the LRS-B competition:

 

Dear Fellow New Aircraft Program Enthusiasts,

Time to talk LRS-B. The USAF will decide next month if Boeing/Lockheed Martin or Northrop Grumman will build the next strategic bomber. I can’t handicap this competition. Nobody outside of the selection committee can either. Here’s why.

First, compare LRS-B with the JSF competition. JSF was easy and fun. We knew everything about the three designs, and picking the winner was relatively simple, even if JSF requirements were anything but simple. McDonnell Douglas’s competitor was first eliminated. That was easy to see coming because it was a non-compliant kludge with the word “Sorry” stenciled on the wing. Then, Lockheed Martin’s X-35, which looked like an F-22 single-engine strike derivative, faced off against Boeing’s X-32, which looked like an unhappy bat-guppy. As many of us said at the time, all the X-35 needed to win was to prove it could go vertical. It did, and it won.

Contrast that JSF experience with LRS-B. The closest thing we have to hard information on the LRS-B competitors is Northrop Grumman’s Super Bowl ad, featuring a generic flying wing mockup covered by a large tarp (drooled over by a pilot/actor resembling Agent Smith from The Matrix). We don’t know what the LRS-B competitors look like, or their performance metrics, or what components have been selected, even the engines. We don’t know the financial details of their proposals. We don’t know LRS-B Key Performance Parameters. We don’t even know if LRS-B is one plane, or a family of planes. In short, we got nothing. Almost nothing.

Should we even bother, then, discussing LRS-B? On one hand, as Sherlock Holmes said, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” On the other hand, why should we listen to some fictitious Victorian detective? Here’s what I think about four LRS-B competition secondary factors:

First, there’s Experience. One thing we do know is that the Air Force wants to pay $550 million (FY2010) per bomber. That implies a plane with mature technologies. It will be stealthy, which means it will likely be a flying wing, and it won’t be supersonic, since range is the priority attribute. So, it will be a lot like a B-2. NG built the B-2 (albeit with help from Boeing). That’s a strong advantage, depending on how many people at NG are left from the B-2 days.

To combat NG’s advantage, the B/LM team was formed, pairing LM’s legendary Skunk Works stealth design capabilities with Boeing’s strong record in building large aircraft at an impressively low price. The JSF competition quip was that DoD should choose the LM design but have Boeing build it. This team is that quip come to life.

Second is Past Performance and Risk. It’s the aerospace industry; nobody has a great track record here, and large complex projects are fundamentally risky. But the KC-46 is in the headlines right now. That’s not good for B/LM.

Third is the Industrial Base dimension. This is complicated. Today, there are two companies with the ability to design modern stealth combat aircraft. Boeing, since it disbanded its Silent Eagle design team, has minimal stealth design capabilities (just UAVs). LM Skunk Works and NG are the only fully capable stealth aircraft designers (this part of LRS-B is curiously focused on two facilities in the Mojave Desert). So, if B/LM wins and NG loses, the US may find itself downselecting to just one design team. Of course, if NG wins, the damage done to LM Skunk Works would be bad for the US too, so it’s hard to see anyone having an advantage here.

Looking at industrial base issues from a manufacturing perspective, three companies have the ability to build modern combat aircraft. No matter who wins, that number will fall to two, so LRS-B will decide whether NG or Boeing is the second survivor (along with LM). Also, NG is likely pointing to LM’s Sikorsky acquisition as proof that LM is set to control too much of the total defense procurement pie.

These industrial base concerns are extremely important. But of all the secondary factors, they matter least, as far as the competition is concerned. You could argue that they should matter, but my understanding is that the source selection committee has no mandate to think about these things. There may be high-level intervention (from OSD or even higher) that mandates that industrial base factors change the outcome, but the people involved say that won’t be the case. There’s not much precedent for this kind of intervention; during KC-X, politics weighed in during the criteria definition phase, not in the source selection phase. So, the industrial base factor will probably be irrelevant. Unless it isn’t.

The Politics and Messaging angle is intriguingly one-sided. NG is doing all it can to promote the program, whether through high-profile advertising, political lobbying, think tank seminars, and whatever else. By contrast, B/LM has been quiet on the subject. Depending on your perspective, this means that either NG is desperate, or that they are sending a clever message to the source selection committee that they will do the most to protect the program (and that B/LM have higher USAF budget priorities – KC-46 and F-35A, respectively). The source selection committee might like this.

Add up all of the above four factors and you’ve got…an interesting collection of anecdotes. Some of these considerations may matter; history tells us that the best aircraft doesn’t always win (the YF-23, many believe, should have won over the YF-22 for the ATF competition), and that extraneous factors can tip the scales. Most of these anecdotes point to a Northrop Grumman advantage, but that’s going to be relatively unimportant compared to the technical and cost details associated with the proposals, and those remain highly classified. So, at this point, it’s a tossup.

As soon as there’s a decision, Teal Group will issue its first B-3 (as it will presumably be called) report. Until then, August aircraft reports include our annual World Rotorcraft Overview, plus updates of the F-22, C-130, AW139/189, Il-96, Tu-204, the Citation jets, and HondaJet. Have a great month.

Yours, ‘Til Nuclear-Powered Bombers Make A Comeback,
Richard Aboulafia

 

I have to disagree with Aboulafia... the X-32 was the happiest-looking fighter prototype I'ver ever seen.


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#42
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Russians against pro-West terrorists in Syria.



#43
Gfted1

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Air Force fighters will carry laser cannons, cyber weapons by 2020. :drool:


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#44
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Amazing Gurhka Stories
 
 

In 1815, the British Army tried to conquer Nepal. But it was easily defeated by Nepal's warriors: the Gurkhas. So the British officers decided that, if they couldn't beat them, they'd get the Gurkhas to join them. A peace agreement ceased all British conquest in Nepal, and the Gurkhas agreed to be recruited into the Crown's military. The Gurkhas have fought in several wars, including both world wars and the Falklands War. Known as some of the most skilled and fiercest warriors in the world, the Gurkhas have impressed (and terrified) everyone around them. On the 200th anniversary of their service, here are some of the bravest soldiers and stories to ever come out of the Gurkha ranks.
 
Dipprasad Pun
In Afghanistan in 2010, Acting Sergeant Dipprasad Pun single-handedly fought off 30 Taliban soldiers. As Pun was keeping guard on the roof of a checkpoint, the attackers came at the complex from all sides with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.
It took less than an hour for Pun to kill them all. He went through all of his ammo—400 rounds and 17 grenades, as well as a mine that detonated—to defeat each attacker. When he ran out of ammo, a Taliban soldier climbed up to the roof, only to be hit with a machine-gun tripod that Pun threw at him.
Pun's valor was rewarded with a Victoria Cross, the highest British military decoration awarded for bravery.

Gajendera Angdembe, Dhan Gurung, and Manju Gurung
The Gurkhas leave no man behind. When a squad of troops was ambushed out in the open in Afghanistan in 2008, one soldier, Yubraj Rai, was hit and fatally wounded. But Captain Gajendera Angdembe and Riflemen Dhan Gurung and Manju Gurung carried Rai across 325 feet of open ground under heavy fire. At one point, one of the soldiers resorted to using both his own rifle and Rai's rifle at the same time to return fire on the enemy.
 
Lachhiman Gurung
In 1945, Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was stationed in a trench with only two other men when over 200 Japanese soldiers opened fire. Gurung's comrades were severely wounded. As grenades flew in one after another, Gurung tried to throw each one back.
He was successful with the first two, but the third exploded in his right hand. His fingers were blown off and his face, body, and right arm and leg were badly wounded.
As the Japanese stormed the trench, Gurung used his left hand to wield his rifle, defeating 31 enemies and preventing the Japanese from advancing. Gurung survived, and was awarded with a Victoria Cross later that year.
 
Bhanubhakta Gurung
Bhanubhakta Gurung, who fought against the Japanese in Burma in World War II, was awarded with a Victoria Cross for capturing a bunker almost all by himself.
Starting in a platoon of only 10 troops, Gurung came under heavy fire from machine guns, grenades, mortars, and a sniper. Gurung shot the sniper out of a tree, and then charged uphill alone. He threw grenades into a foxhole where enemies were shooting from and took another three foxholes with his bayonet.
Far ahead of his comrades, Gurung then charged the bunker with two smoke grenades and his kukri knife, the famed curved blade of the Gurkhas. He defeated two Japanese soldiers with the knife, and another one with a rock.
Gurung then held off a counterattack with three other men at the bunker, this time using a rifle.
 
Agansing Rai
In 1944, Agansing Rai led a platoon of Gurkhas up a Burmese ridge in an open field against machine guns and two anti-tank 37 mm guns. Despite suffering heavy casualties, Rai and his men eliminated all the men at each 37 mm gun emplacement, one of which was hidden in a nearby jungle. Rai was later awarded the Victoria Cross.
 
Ganju Lama
As gunfire flew above his head in Burma, Rifleman Ganju Lama withstood a broken left wrist and wounds to his right hand and leg to take on three Japanese tanks in World War II. He crawled in the middle of the battlefield, destroyed each tank one-by-one with anti-tank guns, and defeated the men fleeing from the tanks, allowing none of them to escape. Lama was then taken to a hospital on a stretcher and would earn a Victoria Cross.
 
Gaje Ghale
In another battle against the Japanese on the Burmese front in 1943, Sergeant Gaje Ghale was assigned to take a position that the Gurkhas had twice failed to capture. He led his platoon through heavy fire and suffered injuries in his leg, arm, and torso. But disregarding the injuries, Ghale engaged in hand-to-hand combat with his adversaries, taking the position. He then held off a counterattack with his men before letting his wounds get cared for. Ghale was later awarded the Victoria Cross.
 
Peter Jones
Some of the British men who commanded the Gurkhas showed tremendous bravery as well. In 1943, Colonel Peter Jones led a battalion of Gurkhas against the Germans at the Battle of Enfidaville in Tunisia. As the Gurkhas charged the Germans with their kukri knives under fire from machine gun posts, Jones shot down the emplacements with a Bren gun. Jones was wounded in the neck but still joined the hand-to-hand fighting afterward, where he sustained additional injuries to his eye and thighs. He only accepted treatment after the battle was won. His effort was rewarded with a Distinguished Service Order decoration.
 
Bishnu Shrestha
In 2011, 35-year-old retired Gurkha Bishnu Shrestha was riding a train in India when 40 robbers stopped the train and began stealing passengers' belongings. Still carrying his kukri knife, the Gurkha took on the robbers, themselves armed with knives, swords and pistols. Shrestha managed to kill three robbers and injure eight others, which persuaded the other robbers to flee. The retired soldier also saved another passenger from rape.
 
Rambahadur Limbu
During the Borneo confrontation in 1965, Captain Rambahadur Limbu made three trips into enemy territory. On the first trip, facing heavy gunfire, two of Limbu's men were shot—one killed and another severely wounded. Before the enemy could advance, Limbu pushed them back with grenades. He then crawled 100 yards across the battlefield back into Gurkha territory to alert his comrades of what had happened. Limbu then went back to the wounded soldier, still under fire, and carried the man back across the same 100 yards to safety. With the battle still raging, Limbu returned to the field a third time to retrieve his dead comrade. Limbu's heroics earned him a Victoria Cross. Of all the Gurkhas that have been awarded the Victoria Cross (and there were many), Limbu is the only one still surviving.


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#45
Agiel

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A former Bundeswehr tanker I've spoken to (and is one of those people I can just sit down, shut up, and listen to about tanks) wholeheartedly believes that "nanosteel" composites, alternate propulsion, and electromagnetic and DE-based (with electrochemical or electrothermal in the interim) gun assemblies represent the next stage of evolution for AFVs. Unfortunately he doesn't believe the political will to seriously develop a new tank currently exists in Germany, and means we won't be seeing a production model until ~2040.



#46
Woldan

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Today I saw fighter jets flying over my house, I'm pretty sure those were F-22's, altitude less than 700 meters (to stay under the radar?) I'd guess and the were very LOUD. Heading to the Ukraine I guess. 

 

Thankfully they didn't go supersonic or I'd have lost some windows for sure. 


Edited by Woldan, 21 September 2015 - 02:47 AM.


#47
Gorth

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Amazing Gurhka Stories
Gurung then held off a counterattack with three other men at the bunker, this time using a rifle.


I guess even a Gurkhas need a tea break... :p

Seriously, they have an impressive track record.

#48
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Marines give Google’s latest robot a tryout as “working dog”.


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#49
Agiel

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Mistrals previously earmarked for Russia go to Egypt instead:

 

http://www.defensene...ships/72667012/

 

Didn't see this one coming. Thought a sale to Brazil would have been a slam dunk.



#50
Raithe

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How about this..    The oldest Medal of Honor recipient, next to the youngest Medal of Honor recipient:

 

560888_10150782385834575_1003723180_n.jp


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#51
Woldan

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US Marines train with UK royal Marines at the Follingsby training facility. Thats what I call an explosive entry. 
 
 

Edited by Woldan, 29 September 2015 - 02:11 AM.

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#52
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Russians bomb Al-Nusra ISIS in Syria officially now.



#53
Raithe

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Since the way the pictures are embedded, I can't be bothered figuring out how to link the best ones here.. I'll just throw the link for the whole lot..

 

65 Perfectly Timed Military Photos

 


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#54
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#56
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Marines unveil new gender-neutral standards for 29 jobs

 

I don't understand the hate for this as it seems like a good thing to me

 

At the end of the Marines' nine-month study, only two women in the infantry-trained rifleman platoons were left standing. There were roughly two dozen women in the infantry company when the experiment began, but most were dropped due to injury.

 
The new requirements could be difficult for some men entering into certain MOSs as well. During the experiment, Capt. Mark Lenzi, the commanding officer of the weapons company, which consisted of machine gun, anti-armor and mortar platoons, said some male Marines aren't up to the tasks that come with serving in the infantry.
 
Sometimes, he said, unit leaders are forced to give weaker Marines an administrative or clerical position in order to avoid moving them out of the unit. Gender-neutral standards would prevent that Marine from ever joining a unit with which they can't keep up, he said.
 
"If you're [5 feet, 6 inches tall] and 120 pounds, you have virtually no chance of doing this job, whatsoever," Lenzi said.
 
The Marines' study has led to controversy, however. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called the experiment flawed, and alleged that some male Marines went into it not wanting to see the women succeed. He also criticized the Corps for measuring average performance instead of looking at individual capabilities.
 
But the Marine involved with the study fired back at Mabus' remarks. When the study began, researchers went into it with the expectation that they would see no differences between the all-male teams and those that included women, he said.
 
"The use of averages is merely a way to categorize overall performance of the different groups," the Marine said. "If the study had seen no difference in the 'averages' it would conclude that the introduction of women has no effect — be it positive or negative.  However, given that differences existed, the GCEITF study conducted further analysis at the individual level."
 
It was then that researchers began looking at the traits of each Marine in a crew, squad or team to see whether individual physical characteristics proved essential for all members to be able to carry out a specific mission. That, the Marine said, would help determine what all Marines in that job should be able to prove they can do.
 
"Identifying individual characteristics is important because it would help to establish gender-neutral standards that could be applied to future applicants to those MOSs."

Edited by ShadySands, 05 October 2015 - 10:26 AM.

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#57
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Gender-neutral standards would prevent that Marine from ever joining a unit with which they can't keep up, he said.

 

 

Makes sense to me, I don't see why the Navy Secretary would throw a wrench into this. 



#58
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Marines unveil new gender-neutral standards for 29 jobs

 

I don't understand the hate for this as it seems like a good thing to me

 

At the end of the Marines' nine-month study, only two women in the infantry-trained rifleman platoons were left standing. There were roughly two dozen women in the infantry company when the experiment began, but most were dropped due to injury.

 
The new requirements could be difficult for some men entering into certain MOSs as well. During the experiment, Capt. Mark Lenzi, the commanding officer of the weapons company, which consisted of machine gun, anti-armor and mortar platoons, said some male Marines aren't up to the tasks that come with serving in the infantry.
 
Sometimes, he said, unit leaders are forced to give weaker Marines an administrative or clerical position in order to avoid moving them out of the unit. Gender-neutral standards would prevent that Marine from ever joining a unit with which they can't keep up, he said.
 
"If you're [5 feet, 6 inches tall] and 120 pounds, you have virtually no chance of doing this job, whatsoever," Lenzi said.
 
The Marines' study has led to controversy, however. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called the experiment flawed, and alleged that some male Marines went into it not wanting to see the women succeed. He also criticized the Corps for measuring average performance instead of looking at individual capabilities.
 
But the Marine involved with the study fired back at Mabus' remarks. When the study began, researchers went into it with the expectation that they would see no differences between the all-male teams and those that included women, he said.
 
"The use of averages is merely a way to categorize overall performance of the different groups," the Marine said. "If the study had seen no difference in the 'averages' it would conclude that the introduction of women has no effect — be it positive or negative.  However, given that differences existed, the GCEITF study conducted further analysis at the individual level."
 
It was then that researchers began looking at the traits of each Marine in a crew, squad or team to see whether individual physical characteristics proved essential for all members to be able to carry out a specific mission. That, the Marine said, would help determine what all Marines in that job should be able to prove they can do.
 
"Identifying individual characteristics is important because it would help to establish gender-neutral standards that could be applied to future applicants to those MOSs."

 

this kinda thing happens every couple years with fire and police departments nationwide.  if too many female applicants fail, the test is deemed discriminatory.  nyc recently graduated a woman who repeatedly failed the physical fitness test. one reason given for graduating her despite her failure were that the city wanted to avoid the predictable lawsuit.

 

'course, keep in mind that various minority groups has successful altered fire department testing 'cause o' discriminatory practices related to seeming neutral testing.  nyc recently paid near $100 million to settle such a lawsuit. 

 

one would think that basic physical fitness tests and elementary math skills exams is gender and race neutral, but that ain't the case.  

 

*shrug*

 

is almost ironic, but many organizations use a "gestalt" application process so that they can achieve greater diversity goals, and is the lack o' transparency and objectivity in such application process that then open the fire and police departments up to additional litigation from marginalized groups.  if there is no set "fail" point for a physical test, then, for example, women who are physically marginal can be be passed with the gestalt approach if they do particular well with academics.  such a nebulous approach, implemented to increase diversity, ends up being the reason such hiring practices fail judicial scrutiny.

 

HA! Good Fun!



#59
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Bear with me, I have limited analytical skill. Those police and fire cases are for initial hiring, though, right, I mean these Marines are already hired, but not all of them, male or female, can do every job, so it seems logical to establish gender-neutral physical standards to be able to perform certain military occupational specialties.  



#60
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you are not looking at it from the pov of a female marine... one who, from her perspective, will potential be excluded from combat roles for what she sees as arbitrary reasons.  join marines and then find out that she is deemed only fit for clerical positions? is not quite so easy to quit the marines if you don't get the training you wanted. we suspect is even worse for officers as  when comes time for promotions, and "battlefield experience" is a premium...

 

"discrimination" after being "hired" is not gonna lessen the sense o' being cheated, eh?

 

HA! Good Fun!


Edited by Gromnir, 05 October 2015 - 03:01 PM.

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