German military procurement is “one hell of a complete disaster.”

Remember when Trump accused NATO allies of not pulling their weight in the treaty organization? They aren’t. German Navy experiences “LCS affect” in spades as new frigate fails sea trials | Ars Technica

The German Navy has a lot of problems right now. It has no working submarines, in part because of a chronic repair parts shortage. The Deutsche Marine is still flying helicopters older than their pilots—the Sea Lynx entered service in 1981, and the Sea King in 1969—and has long-delayed their replacement. And now the service is facing problems with its newest ships so severe that the first of the class failed its sea trials and was returned to the shipbuilders in December.

Now a ship failing sea trials is most definitely NOT the fault of the NAVY. (Though this is a new design, and that may be the fault of the navy.) But not having any operational submarines due to lack of parts is a logistical problem, and probably has a budgetary cause – as in the politicians don’t want to pay for defense. As witnessed by the age of the helicopters flying off frigates and destroyers.

Of course the problems are not limited to the Deutsche Navy, they are just buying really large items. German military is falling behind, and the US is putting it on notice – Business Insider

A few of things that are wrong:

  • Helicopter pilot training has been outsourced to a private company – most of the Bundeswehr helicopters are out of commission.
  • Only 95 of 244 Leopard 2 tanks are in service.
  • Only 29 of 93 commissioned fighter jets are combat-ready. (Only 66 are operational)
  • In recent NATO war games they were forced to disguise broomsticks as machine guns to hide the fact that they don’t have enough equipment.

Things haven’t been getting better the past 4 years.

All these problems are hurting recruiting. (Gee, you think?) Even German politicians are beginning to bring some heat.

“We should not develop the reputation of being one of the world’s best freeloaders,” Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference and Germany’s former envoy to Washington said.

I don’t believe that the current government of Germany (Angel Merkel was finally able to get a coalition government formed 6 months after the election) will be able to do anything like increase defense spending. Certainly not to the 2% of GDP level that was in an agreement.

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B2 Spirit Bomber

The US Air Force has been forward deploying bombers to the Pacific in the usual “just in case” mode over North Korean insanity. NK is playing nice for now, but The Olympics Won’t Last Forever.

The B2 – usually know as The Stealth Bomber – was included in the mix. Ever since I first saw these things, I thought of all the planes in the US arsenal, they most look like an alien craft. All these years later, I still feel that way.

Here’s a video (part of one anyway) of a B2 dropping a bunch of bombs on some targets. Even the kinetic impacts of dummy bombs impact on a mock airfield is fairly amazing.

The way the bombs are kicked out of the bomb bay is just fascinating. (I can’t recommend the entire video, as it is just too long. But parts of it have interest. At least through the attack on the mock airstrip.)

Posted in War |

Nuclear North Korea. Missile Warnings. Random Thoughts.

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Edmund Burke, (1729-1797)

Bill Clinton’s administration signed a “deal” with North Korea that was supposed to ensure they didn’t get nuclear weapons. (How’s that working out?) The political class loves deals. They love to talk. Because ultimately, it means they don’t have to deal with the issues, but can kick them down the road. This is true of local politics (look at Chicago’s pension crisis as an example) as it is in geopolitics.

The video below is of Clinton. He is so sure that this deal will ensure “peace for our time.” He didn’t say that, exactly. I don’t think any politician will utter those exact words since the travesty of the Munich Agreement, when Neville Chamberlain told the Brits to “go home, and sleep quietly in your beds.” That was right before the Germans kicked off World War II. They didn’t get peace in their time. We didn’t get a nuclear-free North Korea. (And I doubt we will see a nuclear-free Iran, but that is story for another day.)

On the subject of nuclear weapons. Americans never learned the lesson of the Cold War. The US government’s position that any preparation in the face of nuclear war was pointless. Hollywood was ready to lend a hand with that myth. (Actually, I think they just wanted to spend the money in other ways.) Russia didn’t hold that idea. They had (have) substantial shelters – at least near Moscow. And the Swiss have fallout shelters for their entire population. I believe it was written into their building code sometime during the Cold War. (It isn’t tough to build fallout shelters, and not impossible to build blast shelters. Though you do need time.) The Swiss even considered relaxing the requirement for shelters (2005), but ultimately decided it was worth the cost to be prepared for war or terrorism.

In terms of being prepared. It is important – even if you don’t have a prebuilt shelter – to know what to do. The BBC, of all places, has a reasonable article on the topic. How to survive a missile attack: What’s the official advice?

Secondly, don’t try to run. You’re safer inside the closest, most protective building – below ground if possible, somewhere like a concrete basement.

The goal should be to put the maximum space between yourself and potential nuclear fallout.

Not “distance.” Matter. Concrete and earth. Books. Anything. And take some food, and water. While radiation can travel through stuff, fallout is in the form of dust. Breathing it in, or getting it in your eyes, or a cut is bad. I won’t give you info on shelters, because that info is easy enough to find with your favorite search engine. (I hope that’s not Google, but hey…)

A Technology Story That’s Not About CES. Japan Gets Upgraded Missile Defense

Interceptor launchBack during Reagan’s administration people scoffed at the idea of being able to shoot a missile with a missile, but today that tech is a reality. Japan to get latest Aegis ballistic missile interceptors from US.

The US Defense Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on December 9 that the US government plans to allow the sale of four Raytheon Standard SM-3 Block IIA missiles and compatible Mk 29 launch canisters from BAE Systems to Japan.

(The image is of an SM-3 interceptor that was launched from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie – CG 70. Click on the image to get a better view.)

Japan already uses the SM-3 Block IB aboard their Aegis-capable destroyers, but that missile only has a range of 700 kilometers. The Block IIA has a range of 2500 kilometers which will allow Japan to defend against a North Korean missile without having to station ships near the Korean Peninsula. The new systems will be land-based.

Why is this important? Well, mostly I was drawn to the image, but it does show that Japan, at least, is taking the North Korean threat seriously.

Welcome to the Cold War 2.0

Or is that the Korean War Version 1.5? Hawaii attack sirens blare across state for the first time since Cold War

HONOLULU — A siren blared across Hawaii on Friday for the first time since the end of the Cold War in an effort to prepare tourists and residents for a possible nuclear attack from North Korea.

So who is to blame for the current state of the North Korean Nuclear Program? There are a lot of people who did nothing, but there is one administration that could have done something and did very little.

If anyone wants to discuss the similarities between the North Korean nuclear deal under Clinton, and the Iranian nuclear deal under Obama, well the comments are open.

The Bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Three days after “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, a bomb, code-named “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Manhattan Project: The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

After problems with weather, a uranium implosion bomb (similar to the first atomic bomb, The Gadget, detonated on July 15th of that year) was dropped on the industrial city of Nagasaki. It was later determined that it was 21 kiloton equivalent explosion.

A small conventional raid on Nagasaki on August 1st had resulted in a partial evacuation of the city, especially of school children. There were still almost 200,000 people in the city below the bomb when it exploded. The hurriedly-targeted weapon ended up detonating almost exactly between two of the principal targets in the city, the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works to the south, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Torpedo Works to the north.

Water line breaks hampered firefighting efforts, and the damage done to the two Mitsubishi plants was described as “spectacular.” Though the bomb was 40 percent larger than the Hiroshima bomb, it did less destruction. But the destruction it caused was still extreme.

The best estimate is 40,000 people died initially, with 60,000 more injured. By January 1946, the number of deaths probably approached 70,000, with perhaps ultimately twice that number dead total within five years. For those areas of Nagasaki affected by the explosion, the death rate was comparable to that at Hiroshima.

The day after Nagasaki was bombed, Japan surrendered – almost unconditionally.

The Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

Just a few weeks after the first atomic bomb was detonated by the Manhattan Project in the desert Southwest (on July 16, 1945) the US Army Air Force dropped an atomic bomb, code named “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Manhattan Project: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

At 8:15 in the morning local time, a 15 kiloton uranium gun-trigger bomb was dropped on a city of 300,000 people.

The blast wave filled the air with broken glass. The flash from the detonation burned the shadows of people onto the walls left standing. 9 out of 10 people within half a mile of ground zero were dead.

The photo above is of the city center some weeks after the bombing. Click for a larger image.

In those areas most seriously affected virtually no one escaped serious injury. The numerous small fires that erupted simultaneously all around the city soon merged into one large firestorm, creating extremely strong winds that blew towards the center of the fire. The firestorm eventually engulfed 4.4 square miles of the city, killing anyone who had not escaped in the first minutes after the attack.

Those farther away had other problems as they thought their buildings had been bombed. Make-shift rescue parties started working shortly after the blast. Outside relief was slow to arrive, because the Japanese high command didn’t understand what happened. They couldn’t imagine destruction on that scale. It wasn’t until the US announcement 16 hours later that the true nature of what happened came to light.

While some things started to get back to normal in a few days, the effects of radiation sickness started to show itself.

Power in undamaged areas of the city was even restored on August 7th, with limited rail service resuming the following day. Several days after the blast, however, medical staff began to recognize the first symptoms of radiation sickness among the survivors. Soon the death rate actually began to climb again as patients who had appeared to be recovering began suffering from this strange new illness. Deaths from radiation sickness did not peak until three to four weeks after the attacks and did not taper off until seven to eight weeks after the attack.

The effects of radiation poisoning are truly hideous. A high enough exposure and you are dead – you are just waiting for the mechanics of dying to be complete. You can find descriptions of the gruesome details elsewhere. All I will say here is that I would not want to wait around for that end.