A top secret desert assembly plant starts ramping up to build Northrop’s B-21 bomber

Artist rendering of Air Force’s new B-21 bomber.

Artist rendering of Air Force’s new B-21 bomber. (Northrop Gruman)

 

A once-empty parking lot at Northrop Grumman Corp.’s top secret aircraft plant in Palmdale is now jammed with cars that pour in during the predawn hours.

More than a thousand new employees are working for the time being in rows of temporary trailers, a dozen tan-colored tents and a vast assembly hangar at the desert site near the edge of urban Los Angeles County.

It is here that Northrop is building the Air Force’s new B-21 bomber, a stealthy bat-winged jet that is being designed to slip behind any adversary’s air defense system and deliver devastating airstrikes for decades to come. The Pentagon is aiming to buy 100 of the bombers by the mid-2030s for at least $80 billion, though the exact amount is classified.

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Fighter jets with laser weapons set to take to the skies in 2021 as Lockheed Martin wins $26 million ‘Lance’ high-energy laser contract

 

  • ‘LANCE’ contract will build on technology from the Athena and Aladin lasers
  • $26.3m contract aims to design, develop, and produce system for fighter jets
  • An airborne platform is smaller, presenting more of a challenge, experts say

Lockheed Martin is working to develop a high-power fiber laser for fighter jets.

Under a $26.3 million contract from the Air Force Research Lab, the firm will design and produce a directed energy system for aircraft, with plans to test the technology by 2021. Continue reading

The Home Game Has Arrived: Lessons from the 10th Asymmetric Threat Symposium

 

Last week I was privileged to attend the 10th Asymmetric Threat Symposium. It’s not the first of these I’ve attended but was clearly the best. Maybe the participants felt less restrained by politics and thus spoke more directly to the issues we truly face. Or maybe the quality of experts is rising. For whatever reason, the event was candid and sobering, even for me. The event was held near our nation’s capitol and was sponsored by CACI International, the Center for Security Policy, and ISW (Institute for the Study of War). The title:  What Does It Take to Protect America? Combatting Global Asymmetric Threats.

While the rules of the event require that comments be shared without attribution, I’m pleased to offer a recap for our readers. You can read the agenda and see information about prior versions at www.asymmetricthreat.netThe speakers and panelists were impressive. In fact, I counted 36 stars on the shoulders (Admirals and Generals) of about a dozen participants, both active and retired, not to mention academic and civilian experts.

There were many important points covered and I’ll recap just a few:

First, the question was asked and answered. Are we already at war? Continue reading

US Air Force Admits To Harvesting Russian Tissue

An update from yesterday’s post “Why is Russian DNA Being Collected?

 

 

A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised members of Russia’s human rights council by informing them that some shadowy entity – possibly with ties to the United States – had been collecting biological tissues from Russians from different ethnic groups, the group responsible for harvesting the tissue has revealed itself.

While some initially discounted Putin’s remars as another loony conspiracy theory, as it turns out, he was right: The group responsible for the tissue collection was none other than the US Air Force, proving that yet another conspiracy theory has become a conspiracy fact. Continue reading

Why is Russian DNA Being Collected?

Why is Russian DNA Being Collected?

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the DNA of Russians is being collected by foreign agents, perhaps for the purpose of developing “ethnic bioweapons.”

 

In a recent speech to a human rights gathering, Russian President Vladimir Putin made the claim that “U.S. special services agents” were collecting DNA samples from Russians of different ethnic groups as part of the development of a possible ethno-biological weapon.

“Do you know that the biological material is collected all over the country for different ethnic groups and peoples living in different geographical area of the Russian Federation? The question is why they are doing it, and they are doing it purposefully and professionally,” he said. “We are an object of great interest. Of course, we do not need to have any fear about it. Let them do whatever they want, and we must do what we have to do.” Continue reading

China has practiced bombing runs targeting Guam, US says

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford reviews a Chinese honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP via Pool)

 

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii – China has practiced bombing runs targeting the U.S. territory of Guam, one of a host of activities making U.S. forces here consider Beijing the most worrisome potential threat in the Pacific, even as North Korea pursues a nuclear warhead.

Beyond the well-publicized military build up on man-made islands in the South China Sea, China has built up its fleet of fighters to the extent that it operates a daily, aggressive campaign to contest airspace over the East China Sea, South China Sea and beyond, U.S. military officials here in the region said. China has also taken several other non-military steps that are viewed as attempts to make it much more difficult for the U.S. to operate there and defend allies in the future.

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World War 3: NATO to ‘put PRESSURE’ on North Korea as missile testing program persists

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump

The rogue state has consistently provoked the world with its persistence to test weapons [Getty]

NATO will “put pressure” on other nations to increase sanctions on North Korea as the country persists with its missile nuclear program, the head of the organisation has said.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has emphasised a need to increase the world’s stranglehold on the hermit kingdom in order to ensure that World War 3 does not break out.

He said: “For NATO, it is important to put pressure on North Korea to make sure all nations implement the sanctions to reach a peaceful resolution.” Continue reading

The U.S. Military Has Been Quietly Prepping for a “Space War” with Asia

The Air Force Thunderbirds fly over Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado

 

An elite squad of the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has been quietly preparing for a possible war with Asia.

This war wouldn’t be fought on land, sea, or even in the air.

It would take place in space.

You see, many of America’s most vital – and vulnerable – military targets aren’t cities or bases; they’re GPS satellites. And their protection has become a priority for the USAF. Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE: US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

A 2014 photo of a B-52H Stratofortress based at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTINE GRIFFITHS)

 

If the order comes, the B-52s will return to a ready-to-fly posture not seen since the Cold War.

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. —  The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

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China’s Secret Military Plan: Invade Taiwan by 2020

If you’ve been a close observer of China for the last few years, you would’ve come to realize that a Chinese invasion of Taiwan isn’t only about Taiwan, but war with America. It’s also summarized in a quote on the Global Geopolitics quotes page. When it comes to war with Taiwan, there is no pre-set or definitive date. Wars are based on specific conditions being met that minimize damage against the attacker and maximize it against the defender. Unpredictability and ability to sustain are other keys.

“The central committee believes, as long as we resolve the United States problem at one blow, our domestic problems will all be readily solved. Therefore, our military battle preparation appears to aim at Taiwan, but in fact is aimed at the United States, and the preparation is far beyond the scope of attacking aircraft carriers or satellites.”

– Chi Haotian, Minster of Defense and vice-chairman of China’s Central Military Commission

 

 

Book based on internal documents says Beijing’s invasion plan would trigger U.S.-China conflict

China has drawn up secret military plans to take over the island of Taiwan by 2020, an action that would likely lead to a larger U.S.-China conventional or nuclear war, according to newly-disclosed internal Chinese military documents.

The secret war plan drawn up by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese Communist Party’s armed forces, calls for massive missile attacks on the island, along with a naval and air blockade that is followed by amphibious beach landing assaults using up to 400,000 troops.

The plans and operations are outlined in a new book published this week, The Chinese Invasion Threat by Ian Easton, a China affairs analyst with the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank. Continue reading

The Future the US Military is Constructing: a Giant, Armed Nervous System

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson, gives a keynote address during the Naval Future Force Science and Technology (S&T) Expo, July 21, 2017. This is a slide from his presentation.

 

Service chiefs are converging on a single strategy for military dominance: connect everything to everything.

Leaders of the Air Force, Navy, Army and Marines are converging on a vision of the future military: connecting every asset on the global battlefield.

That means everything from F-35 jets overhead to the destroyers on the sea to the armor of the tanks crawling over the land to the multiplying devices in every troops’ pockets. Every weapon, vehicle, and device connected, sharing data, constantly aware of the presence and state of every other node in a truly global network. The effect: an unimaginably large cephapoloidal nervous system armed with the world’s most sophisticated weaponry.

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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