Iran confirms clash with US drone, claims it was in Iranian airspace (+video)



Iranian commanders said they are ready for "any threat" to Iran's borders, just days after Iranian military jets shot at an unmanned American drone conducting clandestine surveillance off Iran's southwest coast.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that an unarmed MQ-1 Predator drone engaged in a routine but "classified surveillance mission" was shot at by two Iranian Su-25 jet fighters over international waters, 1n shore.
Iran says it will deal decisively with any foreign encroachment of its airspace.

 Iran’s Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi confirmed the incident today, but stated explicitly that the “unidentified aircraft” was in fact flying over Iranian waters – less than 12 nautical miles from the coastline.

USAF Releases UAV Strike Stats



Air Force UAVs average more than one strike per day in Afghanistan and are on pace to have more 2012 strikes in that country than the U.S. has launched against Pakistan over the past decade. Here, an MQ-9 Reaper taxis at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in 2009.
Air Force UAVs average more than one strike per day in Afghanistan and are on pace to have more 2012 strikes in that country than the U.S. has launched against Pakistan over the past decade. Here, an MQ-9 Reaper taxis at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in 2009. (DOD)

China's New Navy: Threat or Power Grab?



In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Chinese President Hu Jintao waves as he arrives for the Leaders Meeting at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia. As the technocratic, reserved Hu prepares to step down as party chief later this month after 10 years in power, China’s ever more entangled in the global economy, its people consume the latest trends in movies, finance and luxury goods via smartphones, yet its politics remain a world apart.
In a recent statement, Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed his nation initiating a more rigorous sea presence.
The announcement that China seeks "to be a maritime power" should raise eyebrows worldwide, experts say, as Communist Party leaders strive for a stronger nation to pass on to their successors, and regional countries struggle in the rising superpower's wake.

Saudi Arabia set to buy 25 US army planes in $6.7b. deal


Pentagon announces proposed sale of 20 C-130J military transport planes, 5 KC-130J refueling aircraft; deal follows report Qatar, UAE seeking $16.4b. missile defense sale; Lockheed: Largest foreign sale in program's history.
Saudi Arabia plans to buy 20 C-130J military transport planes, five KC-130J refueling aircraft (Hercules) and related equipment from Lockheed Martin Corp. valued at about $6.7 billion, the Pentagon said Friday in a statement.

The Air Force's Flight to Weakness



Serious talk of America's defense budget was largely absent from the final weeks of the presidential campaign, once President Barack Obama likened Gov. Mitt Romney's concerns to an anachronistic focus on "horses and bayonets." But when Mr. Romney lamented that (among other things) the U.S. Air Force has the fewest airplanes it has ever had, he was correct. At its founding in 1947, it had more than 12,300 planes. Today: approximately 5,200.

Move over, drones: U.S. Navy tests new robotic boat for firing missiles from afar




 An unmanned surface vehicle patrols for intruders during the Trident Warrior 2011 experiment. 

MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST SEAMAN SCOTT YOUNGBLOOD/U.S. NAVY

“Having an unmanned service vehicle out there that could have interceded before the bomb got as close as it did would have helped prevent that situation,” said Moses of the USS Cole bombing in 2000.

Future commanders might hunt for Robot October, now that the Navy has developed a fully automated missile-launching boat.

Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast



Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast
The U.S. Navy detected and tracked a Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine less than 300 miles from the southern U.S. East Coast last month, according to U.S. defense officials.
While the submarine did not enter U.S. territorial waters or follow any U.S. Navy ships, its arrival came while a Navy carrier strike group was training off Florida, according to defense officials who could not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the issue.

US Navy Faces $12 Billion in Possible Budget Cuts





The Navy stands to lose $12 billion next year in across-the-board cuts if Congress can't agree to a deficit-reduction plan by the end of the year.

Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, wrote Sept. 23 that the reductions, through a mechanism called sequestration, would mean fewer flying hours for Navy aircrews, fewer training days for ships and submarines, and less fleet maintenance.

US military: Recent upgrades in Korea not preparations for war



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A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle rolls off a C-5 Galaxy at Osan Air Base, South Korea, on July 7, 2012. Five MRAPs were flown to Osan then delivered to the 2nd Infantry Division, which will test the vehicles to see how they might be used by American troops on the Korean peninsula.
SEOUL — The U.S. military says recent upgrades to manpower and materiel in South Korea are prudent improvements to capabilities, particularly as new technology becomes available, rather than special preparations for a possible North Korean attack or provocation.
In recent months, the military has reported it is moving Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, Excalibur artillery shells and an Army chemical battalion into South Korea. The moves, according to 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Sennett, are simply “part of the Army’s continuing rebalancing efforts in the Pacific region,” and not a coordinated response to anything happening north of the Demilitarized Zone.
“Eighth Army continuously upgrades its weapons systems and equipment as new technologies are developed and fielded,” he said.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly took North Korean officials to task last month for continuing “to behave in a provocative way.”The U.S. has also made a deal with Japan to enhance its missile capabilities in the region — reportedly in part because American officials continue to be wary of what the North might do — and agreed to allow South Korea to use missiles capable of hitting anywhere in North Korea.
“Make no mistake: We will provide the forces and the military capabilities needed to help maintain security on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
The recent spate of reported upgrades began in July with the announcement that more than 80 MRAPs were being delivered to the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. They will be tested for up to a year to determine if they should permanently be incorporated into the U.S. military’s plans on the peninsula.
Two pro-North groups responded with a statement claiming: “This is clearly aimed at practicing an invasion of (North Korea) by rushing across the minefields of the Demilitarized Zone and launching a frontal assault on (the North).”
Lt. Col. Joe Scrocca, a 2ID spokesman, said at the time that the MRAPs improve the division’s “force protection capabilities and enhance our ability to preserve peace and deter aggression on the Korean Peninsula.”
About a month ago, South Korean media reported the U.S. military was bringing in GPS-guided Excalibur shells in to improve its ability to counter North Korean artillery batteries.
The 155 mm artillery projectiles have a range of up to 35 miles — more than twice that of conventional artillery — and have earned a reputation for pinpoint accuracy since first being used in Iraq in 2007.
While not confirming those reports, 8th Army spokesman Col. Andrew C. Mutter said, “The U.S. Army in Korea is constantly improving its capabilities through the timely upgrade of weapon systems and ammunitions.
“Our ability to ‘fight tonight’ and assist in the defense of the Republic of Korea are renewed and improved every year,” he said.
At about the same time as the Excalibur news came to light, the U.S. Army announced that the 61st and 62nd chemical companies, as well as the headquarters and headquarters detachment of the 23rd Chemical Battalion — nearly 300 soldiers in all — would be moved back to South Korea by early next year.
A 2ID statement called it a “strictly defensive” move while adding: “In Korea, like no other place on the globe, the potential for large-scale, full-spectrum conflict against the U.S. and its allies exists on a daily basis.”

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Iran confirms clash with US drone, claims it was in Iranian airspace (+video)


Iranian commanders said they are ready for "any threat" to Iran's borders, just days after Iranian military jets shot at an unmanned American drone conducting clandestine surveillance off Iran's southwest coast.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that an unarmed MQ-1 Predator drone engaged in a routine but "classified surveillance mission" was shot at by two Iranian Su-25 jet fighters over international waters, 1n shore.
Iran says it will deal decisively with any foreign encroachment of its airspace.

 Iran’s Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi confirmed the incident today, but stated explicitly that the “unidentified aircraft” was in fact flying over Iranian waters – less than 12 nautical miles from the coastline.

Friday, November 9, 2012

USAF Releases UAV Strike Stats


Air Force UAVs average more than one strike per day in Afghanistan and are on pace to have more 2012 strikes in that country than the U.S. has launched against Pakistan over the past decade. Here, an MQ-9 Reaper taxis at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in 2009.
Air Force UAVs average more than one strike per day in Afghanistan and are on pace to have more 2012 strikes in that country than the U.S. has launched against Pakistan over the past decade. Here, an MQ-9 Reaper taxis at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in 2009. (DOD)

China's New Navy: Threat or Power Grab?


In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Chinese President Hu Jintao waves as he arrives for the Leaders Meeting at the APEC summit in Vladivostok, Russia. As the technocratic, reserved Hu prepares to step down as party chief later this month after 10 years in power, China’s ever more entangled in the global economy, its people consume the latest trends in movies, finance and luxury goods via smartphones, yet its politics remain a world apart.
In a recent statement, Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed his nation initiating a more rigorous sea presence.
The announcement that China seeks "to be a maritime power" should raise eyebrows worldwide, experts say, as Communist Party leaders strive for a stronger nation to pass on to their successors, and regional countries struggle in the rising superpower's wake.

Saudi Arabia set to buy 25 US army planes in $6.7b. deal

Pentagon announces proposed sale of 20 C-130J military transport planes, 5 KC-130J refueling aircraft; deal follows report Qatar, UAE seeking $16.4b. missile defense sale; Lockheed: Largest foreign sale in program's history.
Saudi Arabia plans to buy 20 C-130J military transport planes, five KC-130J refueling aircraft (Hercules) and related equipment from Lockheed Martin Corp. valued at about $6.7 billion, the Pentagon said Friday in a statement.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Air Force's Flight to Weakness


Serious talk of America's defense budget was largely absent from the final weeks of the presidential campaign, once President Barack Obama likened Gov. Mitt Romney's concerns to an anachronistic focus on "horses and bayonets." But when Mr. Romney lamented that (among other things) the U.S. Air Force has the fewest airplanes it has ever had, he was correct. At its founding in 1947, it had more than 12,300 planes. Today: approximately 5,200.

Move over, drones: U.S. Navy tests new robotic boat for firing missiles from afar



 An unmanned surface vehicle patrols for intruders during the Trident Warrior 2011 experiment. 

MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST SEAMAN SCOTT YOUNGBLOOD/U.S. NAVY

“Having an unmanned service vehicle out there that could have interceded before the bomb got as close as it did would have helped prevent that situation,” said Moses of the USS Cole bombing in 2000.

Future commanders might hunt for Robot October, now that the Navy has developed a fully automated missile-launching boat.

Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast


Navy detects Russian sub off U.S. East Coast
The U.S. Navy detected and tracked a Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine less than 300 miles from the southern U.S. East Coast last month, according to U.S. defense officials.
While the submarine did not enter U.S. territorial waters or follow any U.S. Navy ships, its arrival came while a Navy carrier strike group was training off Florida, according to defense officials who could not speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the issue.

US Navy Faces $12 Billion in Possible Budget Cuts




The Navy stands to lose $12 billion next year in across-the-board cuts if Congress can't agree to a deficit-reduction plan by the end of the year.

Adm. Mark Ferguson, vice chief of naval operations, wrote Sept. 23 that the reductions, through a mechanism called sequestration, would mean fewer flying hours for Navy aircrews, fewer training days for ships and submarines, and less fleet maintenance.

US military: Recent upgrades in Korea not preparations for war


null
A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle rolls off a C-5 Galaxy at Osan Air Base, South Korea, on July 7, 2012. Five MRAPs were flown to Osan then delivered to the 2nd Infantry Division, which will test the vehicles to see how they might be used by American troops on the Korean peninsula.
SEOUL — The U.S. military says recent upgrades to manpower and materiel in South Korea are prudent improvements to capabilities, particularly as new technology becomes available, rather than special preparations for a possible North Korean attack or provocation.
In recent months, the military has reported it is moving Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, Excalibur artillery shells and an Army chemical battalion into South Korea. The moves, according to 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Sennett, are simply “part of the Army’s continuing rebalancing efforts in the Pacific region,” and not a coordinated response to anything happening north of the Demilitarized Zone.
“Eighth Army continuously upgrades its weapons systems and equipment as new technologies are developed and fielded,” he said.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly took North Korean officials to task last month for continuing “to behave in a provocative way.”The U.S. has also made a deal with Japan to enhance its missile capabilities in the region — reportedly in part because American officials continue to be wary of what the North might do — and agreed to allow South Korea to use missiles capable of hitting anywhere in North Korea.
“Make no mistake: We will provide the forces and the military capabilities needed to help maintain security on the Korean Peninsula,” he said.
The recent spate of reported upgrades began in July with the announcement that more than 80 MRAPs were being delivered to the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea. They will be tested for up to a year to determine if they should permanently be incorporated into the U.S. military’s plans on the peninsula.
Two pro-North groups responded with a statement claiming: “This is clearly aimed at practicing an invasion of (North Korea) by rushing across the minefields of the Demilitarized Zone and launching a frontal assault on (the North).”
Lt. Col. Joe Scrocca, a 2ID spokesman, said at the time that the MRAPs improve the division’s “force protection capabilities and enhance our ability to preserve peace and deter aggression on the Korean Peninsula.”
About a month ago, South Korean media reported the U.S. military was bringing in GPS-guided Excalibur shells in to improve its ability to counter North Korean artillery batteries.
The 155 mm artillery projectiles have a range of up to 35 miles — more than twice that of conventional artillery — and have earned a reputation for pinpoint accuracy since first being used in Iraq in 2007.
While not confirming those reports, 8th Army spokesman Col. Andrew C. Mutter said, “The U.S. Army in Korea is constantly improving its capabilities through the timely upgrade of weapon systems and ammunitions.
“Our ability to ‘fight tonight’ and assist in the defense of the Republic of Korea are renewed and improved every year,” he said.
At about the same time as the Excalibur news came to light, the U.S. Army announced that the 61st and 62nd chemical companies, as well as the headquarters and headquarters detachment of the 23rd Chemical Battalion — nearly 300 soldiers in all — would be moved back to South Korea by early next year.
A 2ID statement called it a “strictly defensive” move while adding: “In Korea, like no other place on the globe, the potential for large-scale, full-spectrum conflict against the U.S. and its allies exists on a daily basis.”

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