F-35 Program Delayed Again, Costing At Least $500 Million

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program has been delayed again and will cost at least $500 million more, according to correspondence between the Pentagon and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) revealed Tuesday afternoon that the Defense Department had confirmed the seven-month delay in the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase, or SDD. McCain has long been a harsh critic of the F-35 program for its delays and accompanying cost overruns, and President-elect Donald Trump has more recently took aim at Lockheed Martin’s development of the fifth-generation stealth fighter jets for its “out of control” costs. Continue reading

The Pentagon’s New Drone Swarm Heralds a Future of Autonomous War Machines

 

On Oct. 26, 2016, a pair of Hornets flying above an empty part of California opened their bellies and released a robotic swarm. With machine precision, the fast-moving unmanned flying machines took flight, then moved to a series of waypoints, meeting objectives set for the swarm by a human controller. The brief flight of 103 tiny drones heralds a new age in how, exactly, America uses robots at war.

The Pentagon’s worked with Perdix drones since 2013, with the October flight using the military’s 6th generation of the devices. F/A-18 Hornets, long-serving Navy fighters, carried the drones and released them from flare dispensers. The small drones were the subject of an episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, and they move so fast they’re hard to film. Below, in a clip from the Department of Defense, the drones are barely visible as dark blurs beneath the fighters. Continue reading

US Special Forces deployed at Russian border to defend Baltic states ‘scared to death’ by Vladimir Putin

US Special Operations forces will work with Lithuanian special ops troops shown here on a joint exercise PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images

 

The troops will help train local forces and add to intelligence gathering operations carried out by the CIA

US Special Forces have been deployed close to the border with Russia as part of a “persistent” presence of American troops in the Baltics.

Dozens of special ops solders are being stationed along Europe’s eastern flank to reassure Nato allies Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

The move will also allow the US to monitor Russian manoeuvres amid fears of further destabilisation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Continue reading

Ankara threatens to ground US fighters at key Turkish air base

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said Wednesday that his country would consider not allowing the US to use its Incirlik Air Base in light of Washington’s refusal to help the Turkish air force carry out operations in the area of the Syrian city of Al-Bab. He said the US lack of assistance “is leading to serious disappointment in Turkish public opinion” that “is leading to questions over Incirlik.” Continue reading

Pentagon: Iran Seeking New Missiles, War Equipment

Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Joseph Dunford / AP

 

Says American cash has not fueled Tehran’s buildup

Pentagon officials are downplaying declarations by Iran that it is spending some $1.7 billion provided by the United States on new advanced weapons systems, while also acknowledging that the Islamic Republic continues to build its military arsenal at an increasing rate, according to a Defense Department assessment obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed Congress in an unclassified communication last week that the Pentagon does not believe Iran has spent some $1.7 billion awarded by the United States as part of what many described as a “ransom” payment to purchase new military equipment. Continue reading

Pentagon: China Threatened to Bankrupt Defense Contractor

Not only is espionage in the form of technology theft a serious issue, but the Chinese have also been manufacturing microchips Americans use [i.e. Huewei smartphones — founded by a PLA engineer on behest of the CCP (See also HERE)]… and it’s not limited to the average American consumer, but the U.S. military as well.

 

U.S. President Barack Obama walks past Chinese President Xi Jinping / AP

 

Incident involving jet fighter logistics highlights aggressive Chinese cyber espionage

A U.S. defense contractor was threatened with bankruptcy by Chinese hackers seeking jet fighter logistics secrets, according to the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.

A report earlier this month by the Joint Staff’s J-2 intelligence directorate revealed that the American contractor, a company involved in classified defense work, was threatened by Chinese hackers, according to Pentagon officials familiar with the report.

The Chinese demanded access to the company’s intellectual property, and said unless the company secrets were provided, China would steal the data, reverse engineer it, and then sell it internationally in a bid to force the company into bankruptcy. Continue reading

US Defense official: Chinese warship stole US underwater drone

 

(CNN) A US oceanographic vessel Thursday had its underwater drone stolen by a Chinese warship literally right in front of the eyes of the American crew, a US defense official told CNN Friday.

In the latest encounter in international waters in the South China Sea region, the USNS Bowditch was sailing about 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay when the incident occurred, according to the official. Continue reading

U.S. forces bow to Russian response after ISIL seizes anti-aircraft weapons in Palmyra

ISIL regained control of Palmyra on Dec. 11.

 

The U.S.-led coalition will defer to Russia in retaking Palmyra after Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) regained control of the ancient Syrian city on Dec. 11.

“If they don’t, we will do what we need to do to defend ourselves and we’ll de-conflict those actions with the Russians,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who commands the American-led coalition, said on Dec. 14 according to AFP.

ISIL took full control of Palmyra on Dec. 11 after temporarily being stopped by Russian forces. Continue reading

Air Force: U.S. falling behind China, Russia in race for hypersonic weapons

China last tested its hypersonic technology in April. / Artist rendering.

 

China and Russia are winning the race in the development of “game-changing” hypersonic weapons, making the U.S. vulnerable to a future attack, according to a U.S. Air Force study.

The unclassified summary of the report, “A Threat to America’s Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power: High-Speed, Maneuvering Weapons,” was produced by a blue-ribbon panel of experts for Air Force Studies Board at the National Academies of Science. The summary was made public last month. Continue reading

China Prepares for Anti-Satellite Missile Test

DN-3 test contrails

DN-3 missile spotted preparing for launch

China is preparing to conduct a flight test of a new missile capable of destroying satellites in space, one of Beijing’s most potent asymmetric warfare weapons.

Test preparations for the Dong Neng-3 anti-satellite missile were detected at a military facility in central China, according to Pentagon officials familiar with reports of the impending test. Continue reading

Russia Tests Nuclear-Capable Drone Sub

Kanyon UUV / Artist’s rendering

 

 

Unmanned underwater vehicle a strategic threat

Russia conducted a test of a revolutionary nuclear-capable drone submarine that poses a major strategic threat to U.S. ports and harbors.

U.S. intelligence agencies detected the test of the unmanned underwater vehicle, code-named Kanyon by the Pentagon, during its launch from a Sarov-class submarine on Nov. 27, said Pentagon officials familiar with reports of the test.

No details were available about the location or results of the test. Continue reading

Pentagon’s top tester: Littoral ships ‘have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission’

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program is behind schedule, hundreds of millions over budget, and incapable of conducting most of the basic missions it was intended to carry out. Senators on Thursday said they wanted to know why.

“Like so many major programs that preceded it, LCS’s failure followed predictably from an inability to define and stabilize requirements, unrealistic initial cost estimates, and unreliable assessments of technical and integration risk, made worse by repeatedly buying ships and mission packages before proving they are effective and can be operated together,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., told Pentagon witnesses during a hearing.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was more blunt. “The process is completely broken. If you want this to stop, somebody needs to get fired.” Continue reading

Pentagon Links Chinese Cyber Security Firm to Beijing Spy Service

Joint Staff warns of cyber espionage dangers

A Chinese cyber security firm is covertly working with Beijing’s Ministry of State Security intelligence service in conducting cyber espionage operations, according to Pentagon intelligence officials.

The company known as Boyusec, officially the Bo Yu Guangzhou Information Technology Co., is also working with China’s global telecommunications company Huawei Technologies, which has been identified by U.S. intelligence agencies as linked to the Chinese military. Continue reading

Dawn of EU Pentagon: Brussels to build defence agency run by politicians playing soldiers

Donald Trump has called for Europe to take on more of NATO’s funding

 

AN OBSCURE defence agency could play a key role in greater military cooperation as the European Union pushes on with plans for an EU army.

Although virtually unknown, the European Defence Agency could be a vital element if the EU hopes to forge tighter defence links in the future.

Currently, the organisation has a relatively tiny budget, staff of just 130 people, and is run by diplomats not military chiefs.

But there have been suggestions the EDA could become the European equivalent of the Pentagon – the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence. Continue reading

Russia Threatens Retaliation If Washington Engages In “State Cyberterrorism”

In the latest startling revelation that the US and Russia are ever closer to a state of, if not “kinetic”, then certainly cyberwar, overnight NBC reported that U.S. military hackers had penetrated Russia’s electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems, making them vulnerable to attack by secret American cyber weapons should the U.S. deem it necessary. As noted earlier, American officials have long accused Russia, China and other nations of probed probing and leaving hidden malware on parts of U.S critical infrastructure, “preparing the battlefield,” in military parlance, for cyber attacks that could turn out the lights or turn off the internet across major cities.

In any case, Russia responded to the report, and said that it expects Washington to provide an explanation if it is indeed true that Pentagon hackers have penetrated Russia’s power grids, telecommunications networks, and the Kremlin’s command systems for a possible sabotage.

Continue reading