Russia Places Its ‘White Swan’ Strategic Bombers in Venezuela

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(Photo Credit: Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry)

 

The tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to escalate.

Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers, dubbed the “white swan,” was part of a fleet of aircraft that arrived at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maichetia, Venezuela, today after a flight of more than 6,200 miles. Continue reading

A Russian spy plane with 14 aboard missing. Moscow cites Israeli fighters, French frigate in Latakia missile strikes

 

Hours after a missile attack on Syrian and Iranian military targets in Latakia Monday night, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a military Il-20 spy plane with 14 aboard went off the radars. It was 35km off the Syrian coast when its air base air traffic control “lost contact.”

No word has come from Israel on the incident. Some Syrian and Russian sources earlier reported that unidentified missiles had struck a military industry facility which develops missiles and chemical weapons, very close to Russian assets. Other sources reported that Iranian forces had set up a base close to the Russian assets for protection against Israeli attack. Continue reading

Beijing Warns New Stealth Fighters Will Conduct Patrols In Taiwan’s Airspace

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Beijing has once again hinted that its new J-20 stealth fighter jets will conduct patrols around, or above, Taiwan’s airspace to pressure the island nation to reunify with China.

The warning message recently announced by Wang Mingliang, a Chinese military strategist with the China National Defense University during special programming on China Central Television program about Taiwan.

“J-20s can come and go at will above Taiwan,” said Mingliang, adding that Taiwan was frightened about “precision strikes on the leadership or key targets.” Continue reading

Pentagon Accelerates Testing Of New B61 Nuclear Gravity Bomb

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President Donald Trump’s promises to rebuild the American nuclear arsenal are starting to bear fruit, and according to a US Air Force general update from May 1, the US has already conducted more than two dozen tests of its new B61-12 guided nuclear gravity bomb.

As Military.com reports, plans to spend over $1 trillion to modernize the US “nuclear triad” – nuclear bombers and missiles launched from land-based silos and submarines – have been fast-tracked thanks to the new Nuclear Posture Review, as well as increased military spending authorized during the Trump administration. Continue reading

Israel Attacks Syrian, Iranian Posts as Border Region Boils

Photographer: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images

 

  • Strikes follow Iranian drone’s reported infiltration to Israel
  • Israeli F-16 crashes as situation threatens to escalate

Israel launched attacks on Iranian and Syrian positions after it said Iran sent a military drone into its airspace Saturday, as the tense situation along the border threatened to escalate into wider violence.

Israel struck 12 targets in Syria, including three air-defense batteries and four Iranian targets, in a “large-scale attack” responding to the drone intrusion, the Israel Defense Forces said. An F-16 fighter plane crashed in northern Israel after coming under fire from Syrian anti-aircraft missiles, the Israeli army spokesman said in a text message; the pilots were hospitalized with moderate to severe injuries.  Continue reading

Caught On Video: Russian, NATO Jets In Near Standoff After F-16 Buzzes Defense Minister’s Airplane

 

A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.

In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area. Continue reading

Growing readiness woes: Only 7 in 10 Air Force planes are ready to fly

Staff Sgt. Shane Dewyar of the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron, inspects an engine while deployed to Southwest Asia. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Eboni Reams/Air Force

 

On March 22, as North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un prepared to test-launch a missile and tensions rose on the volatile Korean peninsula, a lone B-1B Lancer bomber took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and flew across the Pacific on a Continuous Bomber Presence sortie.

It rendezvoused with Japanese F-15J Eagles for a training mission, before flying on to South Korea to further train with their F-15Ks and F-16s.

But there were supposed to be two B-1Bs there that day. The second bomber that was “scheduled to respond to a clear and present danger in North Korea,” as Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., said in a hearing later that day, was unable to take off. Pacific Air Forces later said a maintenance issue kept the second Lancer on the ground. Continue reading

F-35 May Never Be Ready for Combat

The F-35’s cannon door causes the plane to pull to one side, reducing the accuracy of the gun. (Photo by http://www.jsf.mil)

 

Testing Report Contradicts Air Force Leadership’s Rosy Pronouncements

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.

Dr. Michael Gilmore’s latest memorandum is damning. The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.” The 16-page memo, first reported by Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg and then by others, details just how troubled this program is: years behind schedule and failing to deliver even the most basic capabilities taxpayers, and the men and women who will entrust their lives to it, have been told to expect.

The Pentagon’s top testing office warns that the F-35 is in no way ready for combat since it is “not effective and not suitable across the required mission areas and against currently fielded threats.” (Emphasis added) As it stands now, the F-35 would need to run away from combat and have other planes come to its rescue, since it “will need support to locate and avoid modern threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs and two air-to-air missiles).” In several instances, the memo rated the F-35A less capable than the aircraft we already have. Continue reading

China’s Covert Weapons Procurement Revealed in Florida Case

‘Technology spy’ sought advanced jet engines, Reaper drone for reverse engineering

China’s government covertly tried to obtain advanced U.S. fighter jet engines and a Reaper drone in a high-technology spying operation uncovered by federal authorities in Florida.

A Chinese-born woman, Wenxia Man, was sentenced to 50 months in prison on Friday following her conviction for conspiracy to export restricted American defense articles, namely engines for F-35, F-22, and F-16 jets, and the Reaper, a front-line unmanned aerial vehicle used by the military and intelligence agencies. Continue reading

Non-Firing Guns & Killer Ejection Seats – UK Celebrates F-35 Fighter Jet

Keep in mind the F-35 has over 400 “deficiencies” — 419 deficiencies to be exact. This comes from the Defense Department. It’s not an internet rumor.

 

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© Flickr/ Samuel King Jr

 

 

The fighter jet has come under scrutiny in recent years as the budget for the fighter jet continues to creep perilously higher. The F-35 comes in at a cost of $150 million (£ 100 million) per aircraft, but has been saddled with continuous delays, system malfunctions, and safety issues.This week a report was issued that the aircraft’s Martin-Baker ejection seats would instantly snap the neck of any pilot weighing under 135 pounds while those between the weight of 135-160 pounds are considered to be highly susceptible to immediate death upon opting to eject.

Continue reading

Asia Times: Chinese Espionage and Intelligence Activities at All Time High, Experts Say

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The US announced criminal charges in 2014 against five Chinese army hackers for stealing trade secrets from American companies

 

Chinese intelligence operations worldwide to steal important information both through human agents and cyber attacks are a growing threat, according to experts who testified at a US congressional commission last week.

Beijing’s spies, operating through the civilian Ministry of State Security and People’s Liberation Army Intelligence Bureau (IB), have scored impressive gains against the United States in particular, where economic espionage — the theft of trade secrets and high technology — remains at unprecedented levels.

Technology espionage by China was highlighted by the conviction in California last week of Wenxia Man of San Diego who was convicted of illegally conspiring to export fighter jet engines and an unmanned aerial vehicle to China. Continue reading

U.S. flies B-52 over S. Korea after North’s nuclear test

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A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Sunday, Jan. 10. (AP Photo)

 

SEOUL–The United States deployed a B-52 bomber on a low-level flight over its ally South Korea on Jan. 10, in a show of force following North Korea’s nuclear test last week.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un maintained that the test on Jan. 6 was of a hydrogen bomb and said it was a self-defense step against a U.S. threat of nuclear war.

North Korea’s fourth nuclear test angered both China, its main ally, and the United States, although the U.S. government and weapons experts doubt the North’s claim that the device was a hydrogen bomb.

Continue reading

America first –- or World War III

Pat Buchanan: GOP hawks shouldn’t assume President Putin is a coward

“If you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.”

So said Rand Paul, looking directly at Gov. Chris Christie, who had just responded to a question from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer as to whether he would shoot down a Russian plane that violated his no-fly zone in Syria.

“Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it,” blurted Christie: “I would talk to Vladimir Putin … I’d say to him, ‘Listen, Mr. President, there’s a no-fly zone in Syria; you fly in, it applies to you.’

Continue reading

1st large-scale exercise set in military air training area

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Fighter jet training is planned for Wednesday and Thursday. (Photo: U.S. Air Force photo)

 

BISMARCK, N.D. — Military airplanes are taking to the skies this week for the first large-scale exercise in a training area over the Northern Plains.

The exercise in the 35,000-square-mile Powder River Training Complex is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Bombers, fighter jets and refueling tankers will be practicing maneuvers in the airspace over the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming. Continue reading

US Air Force Struggling to Come Up With Cash For New F-35s

The US air force cannot now take delivery of the planned number of F-35 fighter jets due to budget restraints, so current airplanes will continue to fill the gap for the next few decades.

The US Air Force may soon open the bidding on 72 new Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin F-16s or Boeing F/A-18 airplanes because of budget cuts which handicap the production of the required number of airplanes, according to Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.  Continue reading