China’s J-10 Fighter Now “Roughly Comparable” to America’s Lethal F-15 in Battle

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

The F-15 is also being engineered for additional speed and range, along with weapons-firing ability. The weapons-carrying ability is being increased from 8 up to 16 weapons; this includes an ability to fire an AIM-9x or AIM-120 missile. In addition, upgrades to the aircraft include adding an increased ability to integrate or accommodate new emerging weapons systems as they become available. This is being done through both hardware and software-oriented “open standards” IP protocol and architecture.

The Air Force is revving up electronic warfare upgrades for its F-15 fighter as a way to better protect against enemy fire and electronic attacks, service officials said.

Boeing has secured a $478 million deal to continue work on a new technology called with a system called the Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System, or EPAWSS.

“This allows the aircraft to identify a threat and actively prosecute that threat through avoidance, deception or jamming techniques,” Mike Gibbons, Vice President of the Boeing F-15 program, told Scout Warrior in an interview a few months ago.

These updated EW capabilities replace the Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite, which has been used since the 1980s, not long after the F-15 first deployed. The service plans to operate the fleet until the mid-2040’s, so an overhaul of the Eagle’s electronic systems helps maintain U.S. air supremacy, the contract announcement said.

Boeing won the initial contract for the EPAWSS project last year  and hired BAE Systems as the primary subcontractor.

Overall, the US Air Force is vigorously upgrading the 1980s-era F-15 fighter by giving new weapons and sensors in the hope of maintaining air-to-air superiority over the Chinese J-10 equivalent.

The multi-pronged effort not only includes the current addition of electronic warfare technology but also extends to super-fast high-speed computers, infrared search and track enemy targeting systems, increased networking ability and upgraded weapons-firing capability, Air Force and Boeing officials said.

“The Air Force plans to keep the F-15 fleet in service until the mid-2040’s.  Many of the F-15 systems date back to the 1970’s and must be upgraded if the aircraft is to remain operationally effective. Various upgrades will be complete as early as 2021 for the F-15C AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar and as late as 2032 for the various EW (electronic warfare) upgrades,” Air Force spokesman Maj. Rob Leese told Scout Warrior a few months ago.

The Air Force currently operates roughly 400 F-15C, D and E variants. A key impetus for the upgrade was well articulate in a Congressional report on the US and China in 2014. (US-China Economic and Security Review Commission —www.uscc.gov). Among other things, the report cited rapid Chinese technological progress and explained that the US margin of superiority has massively decreased since the 1980s.

As an example, the report said that in the 1980s, the US F-15 was vastly superior to the Chinese equivalent – the J-10. However, Chinese technical advances in recent years have considerably narrowed that gap to the point where the Chinese J-10 is now roughly comparable to the US F-15, the report explained.

Air Force and Boeing developers maintain that ongoing upgrades to the F-15 will ensure that this equivalence is not the case and that, instead, they will ensure the superiority of the F-15.

Among the upgrades is an ongoing effort to equip the F-15 with the fastest jet-computer processer in the world, called the Advanced Display Core Processor, or ADCPII.

“It is capable of processing 87 billion instructions per second of computing throughput, translating into faster and more reliable mission processing capability for an aircrew,” Boeing spokesman Randy Jackson told Scout Warrior.

High tech targeting and tracking technology is also being integrated onto the F-15, Gibbons added. This includes the addition of a passive long-range sensor called Infrared Search and Track, or IRST.

The technology is also being engineered into the Navy F-18 Super Hornet. The technology can detect the heat signature, often called infrared emissions, of enemy aircraft.

“The system can simultaneously track multiple targets and provide a highly effective air-to-air targeting capability, even when encountering advanced threats equipped with radar-jamming technology,” Navy officials said.

IRST also provides an alternate air-to-air targeting system in a high threat electronic attack environment, Navy, Air Force and industry developers said.

The F-15 is also being engineered for additional speed and range, along with weapons-firing ability. The weapons-carrying ability is being increased from 8 up to 16 weapons; this includes an ability to fire an AIM-9x or AIM-120 missile. In addition, upgrades to the aircraft include adding an increased ability to integrate or accommodate new emerging weapons systems as they become available. This is being done through both hardware and software-oriented “open standards” IP protocol and architecture.

The aircraft is also getting a “fly-by-wire” automated flight control system.

“Fly by wire means when the pilot provides the input – straight to a computer than then determines how to have the aircraft perform the way it wants – provides electrical signals for the more quickly and more safely move from point to point as opposed to using a mechanical controls stick,” Gibbons explained.

Along with these weapons upgrades and other modifications, the F-15 is also getting upgrades to the pilot’s digital helmet and some radar signature reducing, or stealthy characteristics.

However, at the same time, the F-15 is not a stealthy aircraft and is expected to be used in combat environments in what is called “less contested” environments where the Air Force already has a margin of air superiority over advanced enemy air defenses.

For this reason, the F-15 will also be increasing networked so as to better support existing 5th-generation platforms such as the F-22 and F-35, Air Force officials said.

The intent of these F-15 upgrades is to effectively perform the missions assigned to the F-15 fleet, which are to support the F-22 in providing air superiority and the F-35 in providing precision attack capabilities, Leese said.

“While these upgrades will not make these aircraft equivalent to 5th generation fighters, they will allow the F-15 to support 5th generation fighters in performing their missions, and will also allow F-15s to assume missions in more permissive environments where capabilities of 5th generation fighters are not required,” Leese added.

Gibbons added that the upgrades to the F-15 will ensure that the fighter aircraft remains superior to its Chinese equivalent.

“The F-15 as a vital platform that still has a capability that cannot be matched in terms of ability to fly high, fly fast, go very far carry a lot. It is an air dominance machine,” Gibbons explained.

This first appeared in Scout Warrior here

News Flash: Closing U.S. Military Bases Might Not Save America Money

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

U.S. Marines fire an M777 Lightweight 155mm Howitzer. Flickr/U.S. Marines

The savings from base closures are important only when an activity is eliminated and forces demobilized.

It is that time again, when all the quick-fix budgeteers call for another Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC), promising billions of dollars in defense budget savings if only those wasteful Congress people give up their rights to oversee defense spending and supposedly their bitter clinger grip on the bases in their communities. It doesn’t matter that it is hard to document real savings from recent BRACs. Rather, they say, here is another way to create magic money—savings in out years—that we all can use as is our preference, either for more defense hardware or taxpayer savings.

In the eyes of the BRAC proponents no one gets hurt. It is all win-win. The military gets to dump some useless and costly bases in order to maintain other facilities. The locals get to put the excess property to more productive use: say, how about a brand new international airport or waterside apartments and a first class golf resort? The vision is that soldiers and sailors are sent off to drive drunk someplace else while the local community attracts highly paid workers and their families from across the country for a new innovation center.

To be sure, good things can happen when bases close. I would have been happy to invest in the Presidio, Governors Island or Fort Sheridan if given the chance. Bases located in the middle of thriving cities or along the coast can find more productive uses than military motor pools and weapons storage facilities. I am all for kicking the Naval War College off its island in Newport and onto Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. Condos with a view of Narragansett Bay would sell quite well.

The savings from base closures are important only when an activity is eliminated and forces demobilized—not when they are relocated and put a in classy new buildings at another facility. Tons of money and years of effort are needed to clean up bases so that they can be reused. Military sites are notorious for their toxic contaminations, the product of past bad habits and the need to deal with weapons testing and training.

The problem is that lots of military bases are located in the middle of nowhere, far from easy conversion to civilian employment. When a base closes and the troops move away, the local economy disappears. Those awful congressional representatives protect the local bases because they represent locals who worry about the fate of their communities. Compensation needs to be provided to the local communities hit by base closures in job-scarce regions.

BRAC was set up in 1988 and aimed to take the politics out of base closing. A presidentially appointed commission would review proposed Defense Department base changes and pick a list that would be subject to only an up or down vote in Congress. But deals are made off-line and out of public view. Bases on the list are stuffed with other government-funded activities. For instance, Pease Air Force Base in New Hampshire lost its bomber wing, but got State Department manned Passport and Visa Processing centers. Fort Devens in Massachusetts lost its Special Forces unit, but got reserve facilities and a Federal Prison Hospital.

The calculation of whether or not base closures and facility shifts actually save taxpayer money needs to include these compensating activities. Shifting defense dollars from one account to another or to other agencies ought to be explicit. The BRACs also hide the fact that the military has moved south, stripping New England and other northern states of their share of the active military. The base closures need to be debated openly and the compensation made clear.

Bases were closed before the BRAC process was enacted and can still be closed after the BRAC process is abandoned. The key is recognizing all the costs involved in the closure of bases, such as relocation and cleanup, but also compensation for federal agencies and the loss of military contact with significant segments of American society. Congress needs to be a direct participant in the process. This may make it harder to close some facilities or to move activities to different regions of the country, but such actions are inherently political decisions and thus require the consent of all those affected.

Harvey M. Sapolsky is Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Director of the MIT Security Studies Program.

Image: U.S. Marines fire an M777 Lightweight 155mm Howitzer. Flickr/U.S. Marines

Why Melania Trump Leading The Public In The Lord’s Prayer At A Rally In Florida Was A Historic Event

February 21, 2017 1 comment

Melania Trump Prayer At Florida Rally - YouTube Screenshot

Michael Snyder

We just witnessed Melania Trump’s finest moment as First Lady so far.  After a week in which her husband declared war on the mainstream media, Melania absolutely electrified a huge crowd at a rally in Melbourne, Florida by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  What Donald Trump had to share afterwards was remarkable as well, but that night will always be remembered for what Melania did.  After beginning with the phrase “let us pray”, Melania stunned the entire world by slowly but carefully leading the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer, and it is being reported that the assembled throng responded to her prayer with “thunderous applause“.

She did not pronounce all of the words perfectly, but that didn’t matter.

What matters is that her courage enabled her to create the most powerful moment that we have seen from a First Lady in decades.  The following is from a transcript of her remarks

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed is your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us.

‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

If you have not seen footage of this incredible moment yet, you can watch it right here

One of the primary reasons why this moment evoked so much emotion is because the Lord’s Prayer is undeniably a Christian prayer.

Over the decades, our politicians have become very adept at speaking of “god” in a very generic sense.  Even when they pray, most of our politicians are careful to use universal language that could apply to almost any religion.

That is why what Melania Trump did was so radical.  By reciting the Lord’s Prayer, she was clearly identifying herself as a Christian, and there was absolutely no question about who she was addressing.

It was such a simple prayer, but needless to say it sent liberals into a social media frenzy.  They started calling her every name in the book and used some of the most foul language imaginable.

Some of the more moderate liberals objected to the prayer on the basis of separation of church and state, but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that our elected officials cannot be Christian.  And nowhere in the Constitution does it say that they cannot speak on matters of faith.

In fact, if we are to have any hope of turning this nation around we desperately need the favor of God, and that is why what Melania Trump did was so important.

In her prayer, she asked for God’s will to be done on Earth just as it is done in heaven.

If we truly were to follow that course, there would be no limits to what we could achieve as a people.

But in order for that to happen, we must completely change direction as a nation, and Melania’s prayer was also a prayer of repentance.

The phrase “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us” was not a perfect quotation of the Lord’s Prayer, but it was immensely powerful.

By asking for forgiveness, that implies that we have done things that we need to be forgiven for.  And without a doubt, that list is very long.  We have killed tens of millions of babies since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, we produce more pornography than the rest of the world combined, sexual immorality of every kind you can imagine is running rampant in our society, our entertainment is mostly pure filth, and we have pushed God and His ways out of almost every corner of public life.

If we want to get on the right track as a country, one of the very first things that should be done is to defund Planned Parenthood.  The Republicans finally have control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and so there are no more excuses.

If Donald Trump and the Republicans truly are “pro-life”, Planned Parenthood will be defunded in 2017.

But if it doesn’t happen, then they will share in the accountability for the Great American Holocaust, and the blood of every baby that is murdered from now on will be on their hands.

That is why this is one of the most important moments in American history.  If we don’t turn around now, I don’t think that we ever will, and choosing to go down the same path that we are currently on will only lead us to judgment.

So that is why I was so thrilled with Melania’s prayer.  By boldly identifying themselves as Christians, the Trumps are giving those of us that also consider ourselves to be Christians hope that a new day is ahead.

But it can’t just be words.  That is why what happens over the next few months is so incredibly important.

And of course the radical left is going to fight Donald Trump and his team every step of the way.  About a week ago, I wrote about the army of more than 30,000 activists that Barack Obama is commanding from his new home less than two miles away from the White House.  Well, now we have learned that Organizing for Action is going to be working with a network of other radical groups to disrupt town hall meetings all over the nation

Progressive activists continue to take a cue from the Tea Party movement with plans to funnel into town hall meetings this week while members of Congress are at home and make a ruckus.

Groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, are turning to a newer organization, Indivisible Guide, to coordinate tactics.

Launched in December by former Congressional staffers, Indivisible is providing activists with training manuals, such as one that explains how to have a ‘successful’ town hall.

The progressives hate Trump and they want to keep this nation going down the exact same road that we were heading under Barack Obama.

We are literally in a battle for the future of America, and the outcome is still to be determined.

But what Melania Trump did when she stepped behind that podium was a major step in the right direction, and hopefully we will be seeing much more of that from her and Donald in the future.

Lawmakers to Request Probe of $418M Arms Sale to Kenya on Obama’s Last Day

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Obama Kenya Reuters

Kristina Wong

A group of lawmakers is planning to request a congressional investigation of a $418 million U.S. weapons sale to Kenya approved by the Obama administration on its last day in office.

The sale, approved by the State Department and privately notified to Congress on January 19, would allow Kenya to buy 14 weaponized crop-duster-like planes — including two trainer planes and services, for missions against terrorist group al-Shabaab.

The deal was publicly announced the Monday after Trump’s inauguration.

A handful of lawmakers, led by Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), are questioning why the contract to produce the planes was awarded to major defense firm L3 Technologies — which has never produced such a plane — while a smaller, disabled veteran-owned company in North Carolina that already make those planes at a lower cost was not considered.

The Mooresville, N.C. company, IOMAX USA Inc., costed out 14 planes at $237 million dollars, according to a Budd aide.

“It looks like politics,” Budd said in a phone interview with Breitbart News on Monday. “Why are they sending it to someone that’s produced zero, for twice the price? This is inappropriate.”

Later this week, Budd and several other GOP congressmen are planning to request the non-partisan investigation.

It is not just Republicans puzzled by the matter. Georgia Democrat Sanford Bishop will join Republicans in signing a letter being sent to the Kenyan ambassador to the U.S. on Tuesday.

The letter, obtained first by Breitbart News, says, “We believe Kenya would benefit by exploring its options in regard to this acquisition.”

“We ask that the Government of Kenya take these facts, in particular the prospect of an ongoing congressional investigation of this sale, under consideration as it decides whether or not to proceed with this arms purchase,” says the letter.

The request for an investigation comes after the lawmakers have unsuccessfully tried to figure out how the New York-based L3 received the “sole-source” primary contract, which means there is only one known source for the equipment requested, or only one single supplier that can fulfill the requirements.

IOMAX was unaware of the contract until the State Department, which approves all foreign military sales, publicly announced it on Jan. 23, the Monday after Trump was sworn in.

Typically, with a foreign military sale, an ally would notify and work with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a Pentagon agency, to request weapons.

DSCA would then work with the nation to specify requirements and write a Letter of Request for the weapons. The letter would be sent to an “implementing agency.” After price and other details are worked out, the Pentagon would issue a recommendation, and the State Department would approve or disapprove the sale. The DSCA would receive about a four percent cut of the total sale.

Lawmakers suspect, though have no evidence, that in this case, the implementing agency — an Air Force acquisition office, known as the “Big Safari” at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, steered the contract to L3.

The Air Force directed all inquiries to DSCA and the State Department, which is in charge of the process.

A State Department official, in emails obtained by Breitbart News, said in justifying L3’s selection that the Kenyan Ministry of Defense “conducted extensive market research.” At the same time, the official said the State Department did not possess that research. An Air Force official also said in an email that it was not provided the market research.

Lawmakers question whether Kenya did its own extensive research. The aide said Kenya initially requested MOOG, an ordnance company, to produce the planes, according an Air Force response to congressional inquiries.

That request somehow got “clarified” to L3, who will modify the requested Air Tractor planes into weaponized versions.

“We believe that the Air Force likely did something that had MOOG get replaced with L3,” the aide said.

The aide said it doesn’t make sense, especially since IOMAX first began producing the weaponized planes in 2009 and has dropped more than 2,000 bombs on al-Shabaab already.

IOMAX had used the Air Tractor airframe in its earlier versions, but switched to Thrush, based in Albany, Georgia. It currently has almost 50 of the planes in service, including in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Jordan, the aide said.

The planes were first designed after the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment requested them for Yemen, the aide said. IOMAX’s founder, Ron Howard, is a retired Army aviator with the unit. He founded the company with his son in 2001.

Budd said he is looking out for jobs in North Carolina. IOMAX, which takes in about $1 billion a year in sales compared to L3’s $10 billion, has 115 employees in his district, with 49 percent of them veterans who make an average of $115,000 a year — many of them special operations forces veterans.

“Our first interest is to look out for jobs in the district. These are guys who are cutting sheet metal and doing rivets at the same time as those who are installing weaponized system…It’s a whole work force down there,” Budd said. “It’s infuriating that they’d be cut out of a deal like this.”

“They have to earn this deal on their own,” he added. “We can’t get the deal for them. But we want them to have a fair shot at it…They shouldn’t catch the brunt of politics.”

The L3 contract would primarily benefit its Platform Integration Division in Waco, Texas. An L3 spokesman did not respond to a phone call asking for comment.

Budd said the current deal is not a good one for the Kenyans either. He met with the Kenyan Deputy Chief of Mission last Monday, who was allegedly “flabbergasted” they were potentially paying almost $200 million more than necessary.

“We’ve had several Kenyans reach out and thank us,” he said.

Several Kenyan analysts also questioned the sale on Twitter, with the accompanying hashtag #KDFWeaponsScam. KDF is short for Kenyan Defense Force.

Although the 30-day notification period for Congress before a foreign military sale can go forth ended Sunday, lawmakers can still halt the sale by passing a resolution of disapproval.

Budd also introduced a joint resolution in the House earlier this month to halt the sale. If the resolution is adopted, it would be the first time Congress has voted to block a foreign arms deal since 1986.

Co-sponsors of the resolution include Reps. Meadows, Jones, Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), and Gary Palmer (R-AL).

Fake News Alert: Viral Story About Refugee Sex Mob Was Completely Fabricated

February 21, 2017 Leave a comment

 

(ANTIMEDIAGerman newspaper Bild has emphatically apologized for an article it ran claiming women had been sexually assaulted in Frankfurt on New Year’s Eve by a “rioting sex mob” of Arab refugees. According to Bild, the accusations are baseless, and neither police reports from that night nor an investigation following the report turned up any  evidence to support the claims made by alleged “victims.”

“The editorial staff of Bild emphatically apologizes for this untrue report and the allegations that it made against those concerned. This reporting in no way reflects the journalistic standards of Bild,” the paper said.

In the February 6th article, Jan Mai, owner of a cafe in Frankfurt, was quoted as saying she witnessed 50 “Arab-looking men” assault women the night of December 31st. A 27-year old waitress, identified as Irina A., claimed to have been one of the women attacked, saying “they grabbed me under my skirt, between the legs and on my breast – Their hands were everywhere.” According to Nadja Niesen, a spokeswoman for prosecutors in Frankfurt, officials opened an investigation into the women’s claims, and authorities searched the waitress’ apartment.

When the Bild story started to spread on social media, other media outlets attempted to corroborate the story but were told by several restaurant owners and regular customers who insisted they had seen no such “sex mob.”

According to police:

Masses of refugees were not responsible for any sexual assaults in the Fressgass over New Year. The accusations are completely baseless. Interviews with alleged witnesses, guests and employees led to major doubts with the version of events that had been presented … One of the alleged victims was not even in Frankfurt at the time the allegations are said to have taken place.”  

Bild removed the article more than a week later, saying the attacks “did not take place.” Bild’s editor for digital news, Julian Reeichelt, tweeted “We apologise for our own work. I’ll shortly announce what Bild will do about it.”

Democrats Go There: Invoke 25th Amendment Unless Trump “Gets A Grip”

February 21, 2017 1 comment

This report was originally published by Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge.com

After questioning President Trump’s sanity earlier in the week, it appears Democrats have found another narrative to cling to – invoke the 25th Amendment unless Trump “gets a grip.”

get-a-grip

With a growing number of Democrats openly questioning President Trump’s mental health.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) in a floor speech this week called for a review of the Constitution’s procedures for removing a president. He warned the 25th Amendment of the Constitution falls short when it comes to mental or emotional fitness for office.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) during a weekend interview with CNN’s “State of the Union” said that “a few” Republican colleagues have expressed concern to him about Trump’s mental health.

And Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) plans to introduce legislation that would require the presence of a psychiatrist or psychologist in the White House.

Justifying their questions by pointing to Trump’s habit of making demonstrably false claims.

“It’s not normal behavior. I don’t know anybody in a position of responsibility that doesn’t know if they’re being rained on. And nobody I work with serially offers up verifiably false statements on an ongoing basis,”

And now that narrative has grown louder as CNN’s State of The Union just discussed invoking the 25th Amendment unless President Trump “gets a grip”

http://fave.api.cnn.io/v1/fav/?video=politics/2017/02/19/sotu-panel-part-2.cnn&customer=cnn&edition=domestic&env=prod

In fact, The Atlantic’s David Frum joked after the election, “Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Article 4. We’re all going to be talking a lot more about it in the months ahead.”

So, what’s Article 4 to the 25th Amendment? In the abstract, the amendment itself is about presidential succession, and includes language about the power of the office when a president is incapacitated. But Digby recently highlighted the specific text of growing relevance:

“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

What does that mean exactly?

Well, it means Congress isn’t the only institution that can remove a president from office between elections. Under the 25th Amendment, a sitting vice president and a majority of the executive branch’s cabinet could, on their own, agree to transfer power out of the hands of a sitting president. At that point, those officials would notify Congress, and the vice president would assume the office as the acting president.

And what if the challenged president wasn’t on board with the plan to remove him/her from the office? According to a recent explainer, “If the president wants to dispute this move, he can, but then it would be up to Congress to settle the matter with a vote. A two-thirds majority in both houses would be necessary to keep the vice president in charge. If that threshold isn’t reached, the president would regain his powers.” All of this comes up in fiction from time to time, and in all likelihood, Americans will probably never see this political crisis play out in real life. And that’s probably a good thing: by all appearances, the intended purpose of the constitutional provision was to address a president with a serious ailment – say, a stroke, for example – in which he or she is alive, but unable to fulfill the duties of the office.

In other words, for the first time, the concept of a “soft palace coup” has been officially brought up on public media; we expect such speculation will only get louder.

The ball is now in Trump’s court.

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