30 May 2007

Another CH-47 gets shot down; AFSOC still trying to gobble them up.

Another CH-47 gets shot down today in Afghanistan. The slow, unmaneuverable aircraft is a huge aircraft with a basically a target painted on the side begging insurgents to shoot. USAF's AFSOC is trying to replace the "old" HH-60Gs (which happens to be one of the youngest aircraft in USAF inventory) with the Chinook and I feel there could not be a worse choice. C'mon fellers, these things are dropping like flies. How many lives are we willing to loose over an obviously bad decision. These things are great for one thing and one thing only, heavy lift. They suck at infiltration/exfiltration, and CSAR. Think about the down wash!!


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan —

Five U.S. soldiers were among seven people killed when a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down Wednesday evening in Afghanistan's most volatile province, a U.S. military official said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Initial reports suggested the helicopter was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade, the U.S. military official said on condition of anonymity because the crash was being investigated.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said seven ISAF soldiers were killed after the CH-47 Chinook went down in Helmand province near Kajaki, the site of a major hydroelectric damn and scene of fierce battles in recent months.

The crew of five and two military passengers died, NATO said. It did not release nationalities, but a U.S. official said the two passengers were not American. There were no survivors.


Quote of the Week (30 May 07)

"Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains the victory."
-- General George Patton Jr

29 May 2007

RNZAF's C-130s gets a boost via SPAR

Many of the world's C-130s are in trouble. For one, they were not supposed to be around this long. No one ever thought that you had to make a center wing box last 50 years...but I guess because of its success and the lack of a suitable replacement, many countries including the US are keeping the old warriors. I can not talk about the other nations Wing boxes but I sure as hell can tell you that we (USAF) had major problems with our wing boxes. This has effected our war ready fleets. The poor things were just neglected for so long and they have become very tired.

One company is helping the cause. SPAR Aerospace Limited, a subsidiary of L3 communications up in Canada. Eh.

It costs a lot of money to replace a wingbox and so many countries have elected to either keep flying till they drop, let them sit and rot, replace them with the C-130J or, fix the bloody thing. I was wondering about the USAF fixing our old birds but it looks like they have finally caved in and have decided to fix them as well.

the RNZAF has chosen Spar to do the work for them. They have decided to basically replace the whole wingbox rather than inspect and repair. this is an excellent approach because it will extend the life expectancy of this aircraft. along with the wingbox, Spar is also going to modernize the C-130Hs from the RNZAF making them one of the most modern C-130s flying.

Spar is also offering its Hercules 2020 program that not only extends the life of the wingbox but the whole aircraft. It is supposed to extend the life of the plane 15-20 years and is much cheaper than the cost of a new aircraft. Keep the old birds flying...

Looks like in the last picture if you look at the nose section that there is a also in the background a USAF AMC C-130H from the 317AG from Dyess AFB in Abilene, TX... I know they need Boxes too. Lets hope they get them.

Cindy Sheehan; Good Riddance Attention Whore

Cindy Sheehan has quit...thrown up the white flag if you will.
Cindy Sheehan had made many names for herself over the past few years...none of them good. With even her own people turning against her she decided to pack it up and leave (but where will she go?) "Goodbye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I cant make you be that country unless you want it," she concluded. Her son Casey (killed in Iraq in April 2004) might be able to finally rest in peace. She said that she wants to be the mother of her surviving childern and regain what she has lost...hey Cindy, who watched them while you were down kissing Hugo Chávez's feet? Where was your responsibility to your children then? Why was anything lost? Did they not believe in what you were doing?

"[Bush is] the biggest terrorist in the world and worse than Osama Bin Laden, I would rather live under Venezuela's Chávez than Bush." See ya

OK, I have spent way too much time on this bag...lets move on now and not add any more fuel to her flame.

26 May 2007

Freedom Is Not Free

Freedom Is Not Free
By LCDR Kelly Strong, USCG - Copyright 1981

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Service man saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still,
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin.
Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

25 May 2007

F-15E pilot training on a budget; The BX Warriors...

This is what Pilot training will be like after the Dems slash the military budget...
Smile this weekend folks!!

The Guessing game....

This is intended for Fix4rso but anyone can play.
This might be too hard for anyone who has not handled them before but, we will see.

Without further adu...

MC-130H Combat Talon II Flick

24 May 2007

Torture, Al-Qaeda Style

What I do not understand is how everyone got in a tizzy over Abu Grab. Sure, that was not what I call stellar questioning techniques... but it is not nearly as bad as how our enemies will treat us(or anyone who does not fully support what they do) if we are caught. We are one of the only nations in the world that for the most part treats our captured in any sort of humane fashion. When the major complain out of Gitmo is that there is not enough air in the soccer balls and the food tastes bad...then I know we do it the right way.

Here is the manual of torture from al-Qaeda. They are some sick fuckers... my they burn in Hell.

From The Smoking Gun

Drawings, tools seized from Iraq safe house in U.S. military raid
MAY 24--In a recent raid on an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, U.S. military officials recovered an assortment of crude drawings depicting torture methods like "blowtorch to the skin" and "eye removal." Along with the images, which you'll find on the following pages, soldiers seized various torture implements, like meat cleavers, whips, and wire cutters. Photos of those items can be seen here. The images, which were just declassified by the Department of Defense, also include a picture of a ramshackle Baghdad safe house described as an "al-Qaeda torture chamber." It was there, during an April 24 raid, that soldiers found a man suspended from the ceiling by a chain. According to the military, he had been abducted from his job and was being beaten daily by his captors. In a raid earlier this week, Coalition Forces freed five Iraqis who were found in a padlocked room in Karmah. The group, which included a boy, were reportedly beaten with chains, cables, and hoses. Photos showing injuries sustained by those captives can be found here. (12 pages)

Quote of the year!!

"I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about... this piece of shit bill." -- House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH)

About the Immigration Bill

MQ-8B Fire Scout; Killer copter

© Northrop Grumman
Too bad Northrop/Grumman already dubbed another UAV the Killer Bee because that is what I think of when I look at this (not so) little guy.

© Northrop Grumman

The RQ-8A started life back in 2002 on its first flight during the LRIP (Low-Rate Initial Production) phase. The Navy was impressed but canceled the aircraft not long after but, continues to fund the program. Northrop/Grumman knew they had something special so they moved there test facilities from China Lake to Webster Field, near Patuxent River so more people could see it fly - particularly as it was then in the navy's back yard for UAV.

The RQ-8A is based on the Schweizer 333 light turbine helicopter (which is based on the non-turbine Hughes 300C). The RQ-8A showed a lot of promise but it was lacking in some key areas. The RQ-8s endurance was the major area of lacking. During this time, Northrop/Grumman offered the Navy an updated model dubbed the Sea Scout. The Sea Scout now with its four bladed rotors and more fuel could carry a 500lb load for 5 hours. By July of 2003 funding was continued. The RQ-8A was still being used to test systems and had made several landings aboard the USS Nashville.

© Northrop Grumman
These landings were done completely without input from the pilots. The Navy will use the MQ-8Bs in conjunction with their new LCS (Littoral Combat Ships) for recon and protection.

Seeing the benefits from the Navy’s program, the U.S. Army decided to see about using the MQ-8B for its FCS UAV (Future Combat Systems UAV) system requirement. In total, the MQ-8Bs between the Navy and the Army will come out to about 192 total aircraft. I am sort of excited about these. They will be able to carry the APKWS II rockets as well as the same Viper Strike system currently being tested on the USAF AFSOC AC-130H and AC-130Us. © Northrop Grumman

The U.S. Army’s system conducted its first engine run test on 22 May 2007. "The engine run is a significant milestone for the FCS program. It marks completion of final assembly of the initial manufacturing phase of the first Army Fire Scout," said Joe Emerson, Northrop Grumman's FCS Fire Scout program manager. "We've been diligent in tracking our costs and meeting milestones such as this, which validates our commitment to quality, technical excellence, cost and delivery. We're definitely looking forward to fielding this aircraft."

© Northrop Grumman
We will be seeing more from these two little devils, I am sure.

For more info and pictures...
Northrop Grumman
Navy UAV News

Here is a good write-up by Defense Industry Daily

23 May 2007

Quote of the week (23 MAY 07)

"Infantry must move forward to close with the enemy. It must shoot in order to move…. To halt under fire is folly. To halt under fire and not fire back is suicide. Officers must set the example"
-- General George Patton Jr

22 May 2007

WTF!! Pakistan to get C-130 cockpit kits from US

Ok, I understand that we have to give a little to get something out of this war...and the Pakis require more of the free stuff to keep letting us near their boarders. Even though they are harder to work with than any other nation we are using for help... they throw up the most "road blocks" to finding al-Qaeda and the tallywackers.

First off, WHY NOT FIX OUR OWN PLANES FIRST!! We need upgrades to OUR aging C-130s to help the 'situational awareness' of our crews NOW yesterday!

Screw 'em

Pakistan to get C-130 cockpit kits from US
Islamabad, UNI:

Dawn newspaper quoted a spokesman for the PAF as saying that the air force would be getting the upgrade kits for its current fleet and added that it was one of the components of the 75 million dollars agreement with the US government.

The United States will provide five C-130 plane cockpit upgrade kits to the Pakistan Air Force(PAF) to improve operational capabilities of the ageing fleet of its main transport aircraft.
The United States Air Force has awarded the six million dollars contract to Rockwell Collins for supplying avionics kits to the PAF.
Dawn newspaper quoted a spokesman for the PAF as saying that the air force would be getting the upgrade kits for its current fleet and added that it was one of the components of the 75 million dollars agreement with the US government that also included the sale of six C-130 aircraft to Pakistan.
The upgrade contract will be completed in a year and it is expected that the PAF will start getting the deliveries by the later part of 2008.
''The upgrade project would help us benefit from the technological advancements on C-130s,'' said the PAF spokesman. Although, the details of what would be covered under the upgrade package have not been disclosed, but it has been learnt that the avionics and display systems company is likely to provide communication, navigational and surveillance system including Flight 26X8 inch multi-function displays, AN/ARC-210 radios, SAT-2000, multimode receivers, automatic direction finder and high frequency data link upgrades.
After the upgrades the C-130s are expected to have improved situational awareness, reduced crew workload and enhanced flight safety features.

Ouch.. my back kills just watching this....

I know, I know...
It was a test but still....

Anyone have insight on the last part of the video? I remember seeing that one before and I do not see a tether attached to it... was it a test too or were people onboard?

21 May 2007

When you absolutely, positively have too much money for a Gulfstream V....

But hotdamn, these are sexy!!!
These have Algore both drooling and crying all in one view... I love it!

Even though these look like they were taken from the set of 'Diff'rent Strokes' (does the shows set designer now work for Boeing??)They are impressive.

Boeing Business Jets Sales Momentum Continues with Seven New Orders
All PR Newswire News

GENEVA, May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing BA Business Jets today announced it has won seven new orders this year, bringing total program sales to 135 jets. The new orders are worth $478.5 million at list prices.

The new orders are for six BBJs, high-performance derivatives of the commercially popular Next-Generation 737-700, and one 787-9 VIP jet. The 787 VIP jet is based on the most successfully launched commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner.

"After winning 23 orders for our luxury jets last year, we continue to see incredible demand. Boeing Business Jets could be poised for another phenomenal year," said Steven Hill, president of Boeing Business Jets, during a press briefing on the eve of the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland. "In the time since EBACE 2006, Boeing Business Jets has won 27 new orders including 12 BBJs, two BBJ 2s, three BBJ 3s, four 747-8 VIPs and six 787 VIPs. The total doesn't count the two 787s that were purchased by VIP customers directly from leasing companies."

A Boeing Business Jet is on static display at EBACE May 22 through 24 outside Palexpo, the exhibition and conference center located on the perimeter of Geneva International Airport.

To date, program sales include 107 BBJs, 15 BBJ 2s, three BBJ 3s, four 747-8 VIPs and six 787 VIPs.

Private individuals comprise the majority of the Boeing Business Jets customer base at 44 percent, followed closely by government heads of state at 36 percent. The remaining customer segments are divided evenly between corporate and charter operators.

Boeing Business Jets was launched in 1996 and includes a joint venture agreement between Boeing and General Electric to provide a long-range business jet based on the Next-Generation 737. Boeing manages day-to-day operations, manufactures the airplane, and is responsible for sales and marketing activities with support from General Electric. Since the program's inception, 104 BBJs have been delivered. Ninety BBJs are fully completed and in service, which means 14 are in some stage of interior completion.

The BBJ worldwide fleet has generated more than 241,500 flight hours to date and 93,600 flights. The jet has an industry-leading reliability rate of 99.9 percent.

Late last year, Boeing Business Jets launched VIP versions of the new commercial jetliners, the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8 Intercontinental. Nearly 300 Boeing airplanes are in service in the VIP and business jet market.

For more about Boeing Business Jets, visit BOEING BBJ

Copyright 2007 PR Newswire

18 May 2007

Boeing Prepares Second C-130 AMP Aircraft for Delivery

By: The Boeing Company

ST. LOUIS, May 01, 2007 -- A Boeing [NYSE: BA] employee guides the second C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) aircraft in preparation for a recent flight test. The aircraft, H2.5, successfully completed its maiden flight from Lackland Air Force Base (AFB) in San Antonio, Texas, March 25. Boeing is scheduled to deliver H2.5 to the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, Calif., later this month.

The U.S. Air Force initiated the modernization program to consolidate multiple C-130 avionics configurations in its fleet. The C-130 AMP provides enhanced digital avionics that significantly increase situational awareness for the warfighter. Upgrade commonality brought by the AMP offers additional flexibility in assigning aircrews regardless of the model design type.

440th honors its history with new C-130 tails

After more than five decades in Wisconsin, the 440th Airlift Wing is returning to its roots in North Carolina, and its aircraft are wearing its historic connection to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base on the tails of its C-130s.
Gone as the Reserve wing’s “tail flash” marking is the badger, a mascot long ago adopted by the Milwaukee-based wing. It’s been replaced by a historic airborne troop carrier emblem, “invasion stripes” that recall the unit’s role in D-Day and a silhouetted outline of North Carolina.

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The images are side by side, bordered on the top and bottom by blue and gold bands.
The reserve unit is closing down in Wisconsin as part of the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment decisions.
The 440th was stood up as the 440th Troop Carrier in 1942 at Pope Field, where it trained with Army airborne troops at nearby Fort Bragg. On June 6, 1944, with its wings and fuselage marked with alternating black and white “invasion stripes” to be readily identified by Allied forces, it ferried paratroopers across the English Channel to Normandy.
The tail flash was a collaborate effort, with the principal credit going to Maj. Derek Poellet, a C-130 instructor pilot, Senior Master Sgt. William Westling, a C-130 evaluator flight engineer, and Staff Sgt. Anthony Flores, a C-130 loadmaster, said wing spokesman Dennis Mehring.
The unit’s headquarters officially moves to Bragg on June 10, Mehring said, though training weekends will continue at Milwaukee’s Gen. Mitchell International Airport until September.
“By September all our planes and most of our maintenance people should be at Pope,” he said.

Go visit SUNDAY MORNING COFFEE...a refreshing blog

Go check out Sunday Morning Coffee. Its a nice little blog that is not typical of the ones I have seen lately. She has filled it full of music and videos, pictures and some wonderful posts about our troops. She has also put in there a timeline of terror events that might put things in perspective for those who forget easily...

17 May 2007

A Historic Name for a New Plane; Combat Spear!

AFSOC has sort of been in a bind. How do you replace aircraft lost in combat with something new? The answer is the MC-130W. The first one was a used aircraft from the AFRC at Maxwell AFB C-130H 87-9286.

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AFSOC plans to acquire 12 of these aircraft to replace MC-130E/H Talon I and Talon IIs as well as MC-130Ps (HC-130N/Ps) that have been lost in combat. This is a smart move on their part. It’s a way to get something newer without having to jump into the failing C-130J. The first MC-130W was delivered to the USAF and landed at Hurlburt Field in July of 2006.

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The Aircraft was quickly dubbed “Whiskey” because of the “W” designation but that did not last long… Don't call the plane "Whiskey" anymore. They are now going to be referred to as Combat Spear. (The crews will still call them Whiskey... or Combat Wombat) Combat Spear was the name given to MC-130E Talon Is while flying over Viet-Nam. The Combat Spear program often required the special operations aircraft to fly at night over North Vietnam on classified missions, according to an Air Force history of Vietnam operations. On some flights, the planes would air drop South Vietnamese agents behind enemy lines. While the MC-130Es in the US were referred to as Combat Knife and in Europe they were referred to as Combat Arrows.

The Aircraft will join the 73rd SOS. The 73rd is a new stand up squadron that opened her doors on October 20th 2006. Her sister squadrons at Duke, Hurlburt, and Eglin are the 8th SOS which flies the MC-130E Talon I, 15th SOS flies the Newer MC-130H Talon II, and the 9th SOS flies the MC-130P.

What can the MC-130W do? She will handle the infiltration and exfiltration of Special Forces and air refueling of special operations helicopters. What can they not do? They do not have the Terrain following/terrain avoidance radar like both variants of Talon MC-130s have. But this will ease the pressure off of them and help the Combat Shadows (MC-130Ps) in the refueling portion of the mission.

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So why add a “new” aircraft without the TF/TA radar sets? COST! The MC-130E Talon Is (1960s vintage aircraft) go for a reported $75 Million a piece and the same goes for the Shadow (I have a hard time believing that) and the MC-130H Talon II is a reported $155 Million bucks a piece. The cost of the new MC-130W just a tad under $60 Million… so, for what it does and what it will do, I think that you can leave the TF/TA to the Talons and let this guy clean up the mess on Isle 5.

16 May 2007

US Aircraft's A-67 Dragon; Let the Carnaval begin!

© US Aircraft

As you can tell I am into this Counter-insurgency aircraft competition going on. One of the contenders I was excited about was the A-67 from US Aircraft corp. They suffered a landing gear failure back in October and they decided to redesign the whole aircraft. It looks like they may be getting serious about this competition. They have teamed up with the designer of the EMB-312 Tucano to totally redesign the A-67. She now looks a lot more like the Tucano and a lot less like a homebuilt. US Aircraft will be working with Geometra in Brazil and the aircraft will be based on the General aviation aircraft Kovacs K52 (which happens to look a lot like the EMB-312 Tucano)

Moving away from the Side-by-side sitting aircraft that the original A-67 was this one will feature a more conventional tandem seating configuration.

The aircraft is expected to fly in Brazil within the next 15 months and then the company will seek Part 23 Cert. before production in Ohio will begin.

The aircraft is expected to cost between $4 and $5 million a copy vs. Raytheon’s T-6 which goes for between $6 and $8 Million a copy.

Powered by a 1,250shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-68 turboprop, the 10,200lb gross-weight A-67 has an estimated maximum cruise speed of 381kt (706km/h) at 20,000ft. Endurance will be 10h and external payload 3572 lbs.

Flight Global news article by Graham Warwick