US Needs 400 New Nuclear ICBMs to Deter ‘Crazy World’: General

 

NATIONAL Harbor, Md. — “We are in a crazy world” of proliferating nuclear threats that will persist for generations to come and require the U.S. to invest $80 billion to $100 billion in new ICBMs to deter adversaries, Air Force Gen. Robin Rand said Monday.

“There are bad characters around the world” who “need to know we’re ready,” Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said during a strategic deterrence panel at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber convention. Continue reading

Syria is a ‘Laboratory’ for the Air War of the Future

A boom operator, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, prepares to refuel an aircraft from a KC-135 Stratotanker above Southwest Asia, July 20, 2017.

 

US airmen are rapidly developing and remixing new technologies and techniques in the fight against ISIS, but sometimes you can’t beat the tried and true.

ISIS doesn’t have an Air Force, but the Syrian skies are nevertheless a rapidly evolving “laboratory” for air warfare, said U.S. military leaders, who described how the U.S. is fusing cyber attacks with real bombs and using open-source intelligence to find and strike targets.

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U.S. to Remain Dependent on Russian Rocket Engines for Years Despite Billions Poured Into Domestic Alternatives

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is launched / Getty Images

 

Industry officials say military won’t move fully to American-built engines until at least 2024

The Pentagon will remain dependent on Russian rocket engines to launch military satellites into space through at least the mid-2020s, despite the U.S. government allocating billions of dollars to defense contractors to produce an American-made replacement.

The projection adds several years to initial targets laid out in 2014 by lawmakers and senior Air Force officials, who ordered the United States begin phasing out Russia’s RD-180 engines amid national security concerns spurred by the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea. Continue reading

US Nuclear Modernization Plans to Bury Existing Arms Control Regime

Courtesy: Strategic Culture Foundation

 

You may like Donald Trump or not but he will go down in history as the President who made decisions of fundamental importance for his country and the world. Nobody else but Donald Trump will determine the configuration of US future nuclear arsenal, which is to go through massive modernization. Modernizing the US’s entire nuclear arsenal would cost $400 billion by 2026, according to a figure released by the Congressional Budget Office. The United States will modernize nearly every part of its nuclear arsenal, including replacement warheads, upgraded command-and-control systems, and other improvements across the strategic triad. Kicked off in April to be finished by the end of the year, the Nuclear Posture Review is underway and the final decisions are to be taken during the Donald Trump’s tenure. Continue reading

Less than half of the US bomber fleet is ready to ‘fight tonight’

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer prepares to take off for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger/Air Force)

 

WASHINGTON – Less than half of the bombers President Donald Trump would rely upon to be “locked and loaded” against North Korea could launch today if needed, according to the latest Air Force figures available.

That’s not a surprise to the bomb squadrons who have seen firsthand the combined effects of aircraft age, the demand of 15 years of air war operations and reduced budgets. But the numbers can be stark. Of the nation’s 75 conventional and nuclear B-52s, only about 33 are ready to fly at any given time, according to Air Force statistics. Of the 62 conventional B-1s, only about 25 are ready. With the 20 nuclear B-2 stealth bombers, the number drops further. Seven or eight bombers are available, according to the Air Force.

On a nominal basis you don’t have more than single digits of B-2s available to do anything,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, currently the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace.

“If anything good comes out of the North Korea crisis,” it should be a wake-up call, he said.

“It’s not just the nation’s bomber force,” that is so stretched, Deptula said. “It’s the military writ large. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest and least ready it’s ever been in history – that should get people’s attention.”

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South Dakota Airmen arrive ready to ‘Fight Tonight’ from Guam

Two U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, flew from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a 10-hour mission, flying in the vicinity of Kyushu, Japan, the East China Sea, and the Korean peninsula, Aug. 7, 2017 (HST). During the mission, the B-1s were joined by Japan Air Self-Defense Force F-15s as well as Republic of Korea Air Force KF-16 fighter jets, performing two sequential bilateral missions. These flights with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) demonstrate solidarity between Japan, ROK and the U.S. to defend against provocative and destabilizing actions in the Pacific theater. (Courtesy photo)

 

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — Two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, under the command of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces in sequenced bilateral missions, August 7.

This serves as the first mission for the crews and aircraft recently deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota in support of U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence missions. Continue reading

Modernizing America’s Nuclear Capabilities Is a Must

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile in its silo in Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, circa 1980. (Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)

 

 

  • In 1989, America had 1,000 nuclear missile silos, and a small number of additional bomber and submarine bases and submarines at sea, facing 13,500 Soviet warheads. Today, the U.S. has 450 such silos facing 1,750 Russian warheads. That is a switch from a ratio of 13 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo, to a ratio of 4 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. Getting rid of Minuteman ICBMs would reverse that progress and make the ratio even worse, with 175 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. How is that an improvement?
  • The U.S. “cannot afford to delay modernization initiatives” while the “American people and our allies are counting on congressional action to fund our nuclear enterprise modernization efforts.” — General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
  • America’s ability to defend itself is at stake.

In April 2017, the Pentagon launched the U.S. Defense Department’s legislatively mandated quadrennial Nuclear Posture Review to determine American policy, strategy and capabilities. The process now underway involves testimony from experts arguing over how the estimated $27 billion spent annually (growing over the next decade by an additional $10 billion a year) on America’s nuclear arsenal should be allocated. Continue reading

Military building for info warfare

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency will take greater control of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile system from Boeing at the end of this year, according a spokesman. This is a major shift in oversight. (Department of Defense)

 

Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate this week that the military is taking steps to improve its capabilities for countering and conducting information warfare — the use of cyberattacks and influence operations.

The Pentagon “must continue to improve its ability to exploit cyberspace as a pathway for information operations to affect adversary perceptions, decisions and actions in support of strategic ends,” Gen. Selva said in written policy statements to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The four-star general testified at a nomination hearing for a second term as vice chairman. Continue reading

US Ballistic Missile Defense to Enter New Domains

 

Much has been said about the US ground-based missile defense program and the sites in place or to be installed soon in Europe and Asia. But land is not the only domain where the effort it taking place. This is the time the priority is shifting to air- and space-based systems. The US officials and military leaders believe that space is now a warfighting domain on par with air, land and sea. This is one of rare issues the administration and Congress see eye to eye on.

On June 30, President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the National Space Council – an executive agency with Vice President Mike Pence at the helm that will be tasked with guiding US space policy during the administration. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, as well as NASA’s administrator, will serve on the council as well. Continue reading

Preparing for War, US House Wants to Create First New Military Branch Since 1947

 

(ANTIMEDIA) Washington, D.C. —There’s currently a push in the halls of Washington D.C., to establish a new branch of the military by 2019, one whose focus would be operations among the stars. Proposed legislation by House representatives would create a “Space Corps” that would serve “as a separate military service within the Department of the Air Force.” It would be the first branch added to the military since 1947 when the Air Force was officially established.

On Tuesday, the top two lawmakers of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Representatives Mike Rogers and Jim Cooper, added the legislation to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The subcommittee oversees military space operations and works within the umbrella of the House Armed Services Committee.

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The future of the Air Force is fighter pilots leading drone swarms into battle

CONCEPT ART OF MULTIPLE VALKYRIE DRONES IN COMBAT The Valkyrie is designed for an Air Force “Low Cost Attritable Strike UAS Demonstration.” In other words, it’s a drone that’s inexpensive enough to lose sometimes. Image courtesy of Kratos

 

Cheap, unmanned wingmen could add punch and protection to fighter formations.

The future of the United States Air Force is a human-piloted, $100 million stealth jet guiding flocks of $3 million drones that glide effortlessly into position powered by turbo fans. Thanks to the Air Force Research Lab and drone-maker Kratos, that future of combined human/robot formation is already being tested.

There are many good reasons to want a human in the cockpit of a plane, including their judgement, fast-thinking skills, and the capability to respond to unexpected threats. Continue reading

Germany spied on the White House over years: report

The White House. Photo: DPA

Germany’s foreign intelligence service long spied on numerous official and business targets in the United States, including the White House, Spiegel weekly reported Thursday.

The magazine said it had seen documents showing that the intelligence service, the BND, had a list of some 4,000 so-called selector keywords for surveillance between 1998 and 2006.

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US deploys all its nuclear-capable strategic bombers to Britain for the first time amid growing tensions with Russia

Show of force: The B-1 Lancer (left), B-2 Spirit (centre) and B-52 Stratofortress (pictured right) together at RAF Fairford

 

  • Two B-2 stealth bombers arrived at RAF Fairford with three B-25 Stratofortresses and three B-1 Lancers
  • The fleet of nuclear-capable strategic bombers are in Gloucestershire to support planned NATO exercises
  • But they also send a powerful show of strength to Putin’s Russia, in echoes of the Cold War
  • In recent months NATO jets have been repeatedly scrambled to intercept Russian bombers

The US has deployed several nuclear-capable strategic bombers to Britain for the first time as tensions with Russia continue to grow. Continue reading

Russia’s ‘Killer Satellites’ Re-Awaken

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

 

The trio of mysterious spacecraft were idle for at least a year. Now they’re zooming toward foreign satellites again—and no one really knows why.

A trio of mysterious Russian government satellites startled space experts when, shortly after blasting into low orbit between 2013 and 2015, they began dramatically changing their orbits, demonstrating a rare degree of maneuverability for small spacecraft.

Now after being idle for a year or more, two of the mystery-sats are on the move again. On April 20, 2017, one of them reportedly shaved hundreds of meters off its orbit in order to zoom within 1,200 meters of a big chunk of a defunct Chinese weather satellite that China smashed in a controversial 2007 test of an anti-satellite rocket.

By orbital standards, that’s pretty close. Continue reading

Two Chinese fighter jets intercept US plane over East China Sea

Disputed islands in the East China Sea. (Photo: Reuters)

 

WASHINGTON: Two Chinese SU-30 aircraft carried out what the US military described on Thursday (May 18) as an “unprofessional” intercept of a US aircraft designed to detect radiation while it was flying in international airspace over the East China Sea.

“The issue is being addressed with China through appropriate diplomatic and military channels,” said Air Force spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Lori Hodge. Continue reading