IDF Commanders: Time for decisive war move after IDF victories in Shejaiya, E. Rafah and Khan Younes

Senior IDF commanders said Wednesday July 23 that the time had come for a decisive war move. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks, they said, but the critical encounter for completing their military mission and bringing the war to a close was still to be fought after three key IDF victories: The battle for Shejaiya grabbed the headlines, but the confrontations in eastern Rafah and eastern Khan Younes in the south were just as important.

The commanders are now urging a large-scale assault on the bunker complex housing Hamas’ top military command and infrastructure. They say it is up to national leaders, i.e., the security cabinet, to determine the military’s next move and the disposition of the forces present on the battlefields of the Gaza Strip.

The tank units could undertake the opening moves for the next, critical stage of the Israeli operation at no more than hours’ notice. Continue reading

Gaza conflict: Is US pressuring Israel with airport ban?

Washington: The US denies that a ban on US airliners flying to Tel Aviv and a stark US travel warning are ploys to push Israel to agree a Gaza truce.

“I would wholly disagree with that argument,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, when asked if the two directives were a political move to put pressure on Israelis.

“We issued travel warnings because one of our top priorities is protecting US citizens overseas,” she told reporters on Tuesday. Continue reading

Spy Plane Fries Air Traffic Control Computers, Shuts Down LAX

On Wednesday at about 2 p.m., according to sources, a U-2 spy plane, the same type of aircraft that flew high-altitude spy missions over Russia 50 years ago, passed through the airspace monitored by the L.A. Air Route Traffic Control Center in Palmdale, Ca. The L.A. Center handles landings and departures at the region’s major airports, including Los Angeles International (LAX), San Diego and Las Vegas.

The computers at the L.A. Center are programmed to keep commercial airliners and other aircraft from colliding with each other. The U-2 was flying at 60,000 feet, but the computers were attempting to keep it from colliding with planes that were actually miles beneath it.

Though the exact technical causes are not known, the spy plane’s altitude and route apparently overloaded a computer system called ERAM, which generates display data for air-traffic controllers. Back-up computer systems also failed. Continue reading

FAA: ‘No Experience Necessary’ for Air-Traffic Control

No experience? No problem. You, too, can be an air-traffic controller, guiding hundreds or thousands of flights from airport to airport across the country.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the position offers an “exciting, challenging and rewarding aviation career.”

The qualifications include being a U.S. citizen; starting training no later than age 31; passing medical, security and pre-employment tests; and earning either a bachelor’s degree or three years of progressive work experience.

And be able to speak English “clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment.” Continue reading

U.S. Considers Russian Request to Install Satellite Monitoring Stations

The only thing more alarming than Russia wanting to install monitoring stations within the United States itself is that the U.S. government is actually allowing for it to be considered.

If history has told us anything during the Obama administration’s second term in regards to big changes, is that this has a good chance of being allowed via executive order, effectively bypassing congress and the constitution itself. They’re letting the lion into the sheep den.

The Obama administration continues to review Russian proposals to install up to six monitoring stations on U.S. territory for its satellite navigation system, despite strong opposition in Congress.

In May 2012, Russia made a formal request to install base stations in the United States to monitor its Global Navigation Satellite System, or GLONASS.  Kenneth D. Hodgkins, director of the State Department’s  Office of Space and Advanced Technology, told a space navigation and timing advisory board meeting last Thursday that “U.S. officials have requested more information through discussions led by State in coordination with executive branch departments and agencies.” Continue reading

Air Guard unit authorized to fly MQ-9 Reaper drones in Syracuse region

SYRACUSE (AP) — The commander of the Air National Guard unit that operates remotely piloted drones from its central New York base held a news conference to discuss the expansion of the airspace in which it operates.

Col. Greg Semmel of the Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing spoke to the media Monday morning at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, to announce the Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the use of 20 nautical miles more of air space for training missions, including, for the first time, parts of Onondaga and Madison Counties, and more of Oswego Counties. Semmel says the added airspace means fewer missions will be scrubbed or delayed because of weather, especially in lake effect season, when some parts of the current training range in the Adirondacks and over Lake Ontario get shut down by snow. Continue reading