China challenging US military superiority in air, space, says senior Pentagon official

China is mounting a serious effort to challenge US military superiority in air and space, forcing the Pentagon to seek new technologies and systems to stay ahead of its rapidly developing rival, Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work said.

The Pentagon’s chief operating officer, speaking to a group of military and civilian aerospace experts, said China was quickly closing the technological gaps, developing radar-evading aircraft, advanced reconnaissance planes, sophisticated missiles and top-notch electronic warfare equipment. Continue reading

US Nuclear Bombers Lack Satellite Terminals for Atomic Emergencies

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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US satellite terminals to ensure communications with nuclear bombers do not yet exist and have been delayed indefinitely, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report said.

“[The] development of key satellite communication terminals for strategic bomber aircraft has been deferred by several years,” the report said. “Further details remain classified.”

The terminals were planned to be part of a massive nuclear command, communications and control (NC3) system, the GAO explained.

Continue reading

US Air Force to End Reliance on Russian Rocket Engines as Soon as Possible

WASHINGTON, December 22 (Sputnik) — The US Air Force will implement sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restricting use of the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine, which is used to deliver US national security payloads into space, an Air Force spokesperson told the Sputnik news agency on Monday.

“The Air Force is committed to ending reliance on the Russian RD-180 as soon as possible and is assessing the specific impacts from restrictions on its use,” Air Force spokesperson Captain Chris Hoyler said. Continue reading

RAF jets scramble to intercept Russian bombers over North Sea as Nato reports dozens of planes in European airspace

  • 26 Russian aircraft ran ‘military manoeuvres’ in 24 hours including two Bear bombers followed by RAF fighters
  • Nato steps up its defences as it says two planes near Britain did not file flight plans or contact controllers
  • Alliance reported ‘unusual’ activity after intercepting 100 Russian planes in 2014 – triple the number in 2013

Nato has sounded a warning after 26 Russian bombers, tankers and fighter jets on military exercises were intercepted around Europe in just 24 hours.

Jets were scrambled by the RAF and allies in Germany, Portugal and Turkey after the ‘unusual’ spike in activity, which saw two giant Tu-95 Bear H bombers fly close to Britain yesterday.

The alliance said Russia had conducted ‘significant military manoeuvres in European airspace’ – though it then added none of the planes had strayed into any specific country’s territory.

The two Bear bombers had been part of an eight-plane formation which was first intercepted by Norwegian F-16s over at 2am yesterday. Continue reading

Inside the Ring: B-2 bombers’ ‘messages’

Three B-2 strategic nuclear bombers completed a tour of duty in Guam this week, as tensions remained high between the United States and China over what the Pentagon called a “dangerous” Chinese fighter-jet intercept of a U.S. surveillance plane last week.

Adm. Haney said in a statement that the bombers are intended to send a message to allies and adversaries.

“It is important for U.S. Strategic Command to continue to project global strike capabilities and extended deterrence against potential adversaries while providing assurance to our allies through deployments such as this,” he said. Continue reading

Air Force security failed nuke test

WASHINGTON — Armed security forces at a nuclear missile base failed a drill last summer that simulated the hostile takeover of a missile launch silo because they were unable to speedily regain control of the captured nuclear weapon, according to an internal Air Force review obtained by the Associated Press.

The previously unreported failure, which the Air Force called a “critical deficiency,” was the reason the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana flunked its broader safety and security inspection.

The security team was required to respond to the simulated capture of a Minuteman 3 nuclear missile silo, termed an “Empty Quiver” scenario in which a nuclear weapon is lost, stolen or seized. Each of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 silos contains one missile armed with a nuclear warhead and ready for launch on orders from the president. Continue reading

The Nightmare of a Defenseless America

Ironically, the blizzard of YJ-82X cruise missiles launched from the Chinese subs lying off the coast of Baja California crossed the beach directly over the SEAL training complex on Coronado. America had decided that its special forces were a cheap substitute for the less glamorous hardware and formations that had traditionally been the foundation of American military power. Now, those elite warriors watched helplessly as the missiles roared overhead north toward the two carriers berthed at North Island.

Only the people lining the downtown San Diego waterfront saw what was happening, though local TV camera crews were filming the carnage live. Their stations tried to upload the footage to the network satellites but they could not connect. The satellites were gone, knocked out by Russian ASAT missiles.

The rest of America was oblivious to the catastrophe in San Diego, and the similar disaster in Norfolk. Continue reading

U.S.: Russian planes spotted near California, Guam

A lot of people might say ‘so what’ and dismiss any threat as the Russians are using Cold War era bombers. The planes themselves may not be the threat, however, the nuclear capable missiles they carry are. Slow and aged Russian bombers don’t even need to be anywhere near the coastal areas of America to launch advanced radar evading missiles from planes that can reach all of the country within minutes. Meanwhile, the United States is down to under 800 nuclear warheads while the Soviet collection ranges from 6,000 – 10,000.

Russians increase air activity as a show of force, gathering intel, says U.S. air forces chief.

The head of U.S. air forces in the Pacific said on Monday that Russia’s intervention in Ukraine had been accompanied by a significant increase in Russian air activity in the Asia-Pacific region in a show of strength and to gather intelligence.

General Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle said the activity had included Russian flights to the coast of California, and around the U.S. Pacific island of Guam. Continue reading

2,000 PLA troops could invade Diaoyutai in 5 hours: WSJ

China has the ability to deploy 2,000 troops to the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan) in just five hours using its four Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft purchased from Russia, according to an Apr. 2 report in the Wall Street Journal.

Although Lieutenant General John Wissler, the commanding general of the US Marine Corps in Okinawa, says that the United States is capable of wiping out invading Chinese forces without mobilizing ground forces, Western military expert have begun to question whether Washington and Tokyo are capable of defending Okinawa from a potential PLA invasion. Continue reading

Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters

The National Guard is following a direct order — but it’s not happy with it. All of the Guard’s AH-64 Apache helicopters are scheduled to go to the active Army, and there’s nothing its top brass can do about it.

“None of us like what we’re having to do,” National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the military website Defense One reported. “My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made.” Continue reading

US Will Cut Deployed Nuke Missile Force by 50

And then there was 400 launch-ready on land — not counting the 336 (soon to be 280) from sea and those that can be deployed by 93 designated planes (soon to be 60). Russia is also nowhere near under the 700 deployed as the article states/whitewashes. A simple search through Google or even here will pull up articles that show they’re both modernizing and increasing their strategic nuclear force. Although not mentioned in the article, the same goes for China.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. will keep its current force of 450 land-based nuclear missiles but remove 50 from their launch silos as part of a plan to bring the U.S. into compliance with a 2011 U.S.-Russia arms control treaty, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The resulting launch-ready total of 400 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles would be the lowest deployed ICBM total since the early 1960s. The decisions come after a strong push by members of Congress from the states that host missile bases – North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana – to not eliminate any of the silos from which the missiles would be launched. Fifty silos will be kept in “warm” status – empty of missiles but capable of returning to active use. Continue reading

9 Air Force Officers Fired in Nuclear Missile Cheating Scandal

The fallout from an Air Force cheating scandal continues to spread, and now a significant portion of the leadership at a Montana nuclear base is getting sacked.

Nine officers in leadership positions were recommended for removal and are being reassigned, with Air Force Col. Robert Stanley, who oversees the missile crew, resigning, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday. Continue reading

Crimea crisis: Nato commander calls for allies to mobilise after Russia prepares ‘incredible force’ on Ukrainian border

Nato’s top military commander has warned that Russia is building an “incredible force” on its border with Ukraine, and said the time has come for Western allies to move its own troops to the east.

There are growing fears that President Vladimir Putin may be preparing to follow up the annexation of Crimea with a move into Moldova’s mainly Russian-speaking separatist Transdniestria.

US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, Nato’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said Russia had used “snap” military exercises apparently as a tactic to shift vast numbers of troops towards the border. Continue reading

90 lieutenant colonels, 131 colonels selected for early retirement

The purge continues:

Ninety lieutenant colonels and 131 colonels were selected for early retirement by the Selective Early Retirement Board that met Dec. 9, according to data provided to Air force Times on Wednesday by the Air Force Personnel Center.

The officers were notified of their selection Jan. 23 and are assigned a July 1 retirement date.

This SERB is one of several force management programs the cash-strapped Air Force is using this fiscal year to try to get down to authorized end-strength levels. Continue reading

‘Culture of toleration’ rampant at U.S. nuke base led to ‘rot’ worse than originally reported

It’s good to know America’s nuclear deterrence received a “D” grade boost as opposed to an “F” because it’s held up by cooks, facility managers and a ‘highly rated training program’ where cheating has been running rampant, as of late.

WASHINGTON — Failings exposed last spring at a U.S. nuclear missile base, reflecting what one officer called “rot” in the ranks, were worse than originally reported, according to Air Force documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Airmen responsible for missile operations at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., passed an inspection in March 2013 with a “marginal” rating, the equivalent of a “D” in school. But it now turns out that even that was only because of good marks received by support staff like cooks and facilities managers, as well as a highly rated training program. Launch officers, or missileers, entrusted with the keys to the missiles did poorly and, on their own, would have flunked, the records show. Continue reading