Saying of the Day
Navy To Receive More Super Hornets
The new DoD budget passed on 09 February 2018 includes a request for additional Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. Navy Times is reporting a request in President Donald Trump’s new defense budget proposal could add 24 Super Hornets to the Navy’s air fleet and keep a Boeing plant in St. Louis alive, according to a report Thursday by Bloomberg News. The defense budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 is expected to be formally released on Feb. 12. If confirmed, the request for more Super Hornets would be the largest addition since 2012 and would reverse the Obama administration’s decision to stop buying the aircraft. The Trump administration has requested 14 Super Hornets, and House and Senate appropriators have proposed adding 10 more, according to Bloomberg. That total of 24 jets happens to be the key number needed to keep Boeing’s plant in St. Louis running. The plant’s future was believed to be at risk after the Navy committed to adopting the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter to replace the F/A-18E/F Hornets. The Hornets were originally set to retire by 2035, but the Navy was forced to reevaluate that date in 2015 due to persistent delays in the F-35’s development. The F-35Cs are expected to reach initial operational capacity this year, but the Navy needs additional Hornets to fill its inventory shortage until more of the new jets are purchased. The Navy has struggled recently with aviation readiness. As of last October, only one-third of the Navy’s Super Hornets were fully mission-capable and ready to fly. The Super Hornet fleet is scheduled to begin service life extension maintenance this year, and the Navy may take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade the Hornets to the more advanced Block III configuration. Fireball note: the upgraded to Block III is certainly warranted as this is the configuration we need moving forward to ensure fleet interoperability across varied carrier strike groups.) The upgrades would give the Hornets conformal fuel tanks and add to stealth capabilities. Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day February 9th through 11th 2018”
Some Baseball Congrats
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre became the 31st member of the 3,000 hit club on Sunday while facing the Orioles. With his team trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning, he hit a 3-0 fastball off of Wade Miley for a double, putting runners on second and third with one out. He’s the first Dominican-born player to reach 3,000 career hits. And then a rookie who just came up to the LA Dodgers, Klye Farmer, in his very first at bat against the San Francisco Giants Sunday night hit the walk-off hit in the bottom of the eleventh inning to beat the Giants 3-2. Kyle will never forget that first hit and only has 2999 hits to go before he can join the likes of future Hall of Famer Beltre.
Russian President Putin Orders US Diplomatic Staff Reduction
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that he was ordering the United States to reduce its diplomatic staff in the country by 755. In an interview with the state-owned broadcaster Russia 24, Putin said the move was in response to “illegal restrictions” imposed by the United States. Putin (left) claimed that more than a “thousand” U.S. diplomatic employees are in Russia, but “755 will have to cease their activities in the Russian Federation.” Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he didn’t believe Putin’s order targeted only U.S. diplomats. “When I was U.S. ambassador, we didn’t have that many Americans in Russia,” he said. But McFaul called the move a “major escalation” far out of proportion with the Obama administration’s decision to expel 35 suspected Russian spies in December. The Russian order came days after Congress passed a new round of sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for interfering in the United States’ presidential election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. The bill, which also included sanctions against Iran and North Korea, passed overwhelmingly in the House and the Senate, with only five dissenting votes between them. A provision in the veto-proof legislation would limit President Donald Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift the sanctions. On Friday, the White House said that Trump intended to sign the legislation into law.
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 28th through 31st 2017”
ISIS Potential Dirty Bomb Story Published by The Washington Post
When the city Mosul, Iraq fell to ISIS back in 2014, they laid claim to a huge stockpile of weapons including small arms, bombs, rockets and some additional heavy weapons such as artillery pieces and even tanks. Banks were overrun and millions of dollars in hard currency were lost. Mosel’s college was also overrun during that same time frame. The college supported two radiotherapy machines used to kill cancer cells. And contained within the heavy shielding of the radiotherapy machines is cobalt-60, a metallic substance with high levels of radiation and which is highly lethal. One of the goals of Isis leaders in the field has been to develop a dirty bomb or Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD). An RDD is a radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the dispersal agent/conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians. It is however not to be confused with a nuclear explosion, such as a fission bomb, which by releasing nuclear energy produces blast effects far in excess of what is achievable by the use of conventional explosives. Dirty bombs are admittedly difficult to construct as the radioactive material must be sufficiently radioactive so as create radiological damage. It must also be transportable with enough shielding to protect those transporting the device but not so heavy as to make it unmaneuverable. And then of course the radioactive material must be dispersible over a large area so as to contaminate the area around the explosion. If you had highly radioactive material and the ability to disperse it you could create an incident comparable to the Chernobyl disaster . In any event you would create a psychological event, mass panic and terror requiring considerable time and expense to clean up rendering areas of a city perhaps unusable. Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt-60’s presence and watched to see if the militants would attempt to use it. The obligatory studies were conducted and our troops and Iraqi military commanders were appraised of the potential threat. When the Mosel campus was retaken (above right) by Iraqi forces, the radiotherapy were found to be intact. Good news, except the fact The Washington Post has now published a story on the entire incident. Whether the Islamic State has a subscription to The Washington Post is unknown, but they have provided the enemy with knowledge of a source of radioactive materials available in hundreds of cities around the world, some of which ISIS has control over. Additionally there is the potential for US troops or our allies to be directly harmed by this information. The Washington Post’s tagline is “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” but they should remember another line from an earlier conflict, “Loose lips sink ships.”
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 21st through 24th 2017”