Religion & Society
The first MV-22 Ospreys to make a combat deployment are on an amphibious assault ship heading for Iraq, according to a Marine Corps headquarters spokesman.
Ten Ospreys and roughly 200 leathernecks and sailors with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 flew out of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., and landed aboard the Wasp on Monday, Maj. Eric Dent said.
He did not know where the Norfolk, Va.-based ship was when the Ospreys boarded. The ship was diverted from an international exercise in Panama on Sept. 5 to the Nicaraguan coast to assist with disaster-relief efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Felix.
VMM-263 is heading for Al Asad Air Base for a seven-month deployment; the Ospreys will provide tactical assault support for Marines and soldiers.
The US Air Force (USAF)’s plan to seize control of almost all American flying killbots has been rebuffed, according to reports.
At present, a wide variety of remote-controlled and/or autonomous aircraft are operated by all four branches of the US military*. The USAF has been pointing out for some time that this can lead to inefficiencies, as it might be possible to buy fewer types in larger numbers.
Strangely enough, the USAF’s plan for a more efficient future involved an air force takeover of all drones/robots etc operating above an arbitrary ceiling of 3,500 feet. This could have given the men in light blue control of the navy’s future carrier wings and maritime patrol planes, not to mention the many aerial flesh-harvesters so beloved of Army and Marine grunts and special ops types.
In effect, it would have been a massive skybot power grab, by a service which is institutionally far from sympathetic to aerial drones.
The Black Sea Partnership 2007 international naval exercises that were held beginning April 24 ended on Saturday, May 5, the Russian Black Sea Fleet information service told Itar-Tass.
The Russian, Turkish, Romanian and Georgian navies participated in the manoeuvres. The warship Kasimov from the Novorossiisk naval base represented Russia in the exercises.
Naval forces of the four countries carried out tasks to lead ships following a mine-sweeper from a bay, fire at sea targets and repulse air attacks and conducted an operation to detain a suspicious vessel, with a group getting aboard the vessel for examination.
All the operations were planned in accordance with cooperation to maintain peace and stability in the Black Sea, prevent terrorist attacks, ensure shipping security, conduct search and rescue operation in the sea and provide aid in case of natural disasters, the information service said.
This is the real essence of New Zealand’s defence strategy: finding ways to make ourselves useful. And Mr Rolfe’s analysis of the NZDF for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has found that by and large we are managing to do it, despite distance, size, and lingering tensions with our two major security partners, Australia and the United States.
The Navy, with its two frigates and soon-to-be-delivered multi-role ship and offshore and inshore patrol vessels, will soon be a more flexible and much more versatile force, although it is having trouble finding and keeping enough sailors and coping with the rapid introduction of the new fleet.
The Air Force, although losing its combat role, will have a fleet of almost new aircraft when upgrades and purchases are completed. Its Orions, for example, will be as capable as any in the world for watching the surface of the ocean, although they will be of little use in tracking the growing number of submarines in our region.
Intelligence management systems are limited, and major units cannot defend themselves. The Navy’s torpedoes are almost obsolete – with no replacement in sight before 2015 – and the frigates are becoming more vulnerable to attack from both air and sea.
Federal court Friday upheld the U.S. Navy in a 16-year legal battle with two defense contractors over a contract for stealth attack jets.
Barring an appeal, the decision from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims means McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics will have to repay the government $1.35 billion plus interest exceeding $2.6 billion, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
The case involved a 1988, $4 billion contract to develop the A-12 stealth attack aircraft. In 1991, then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney canceled the A-12 program because it was over budget and behind schedule, and the Navy eventually terminated the contract for default, the Justice Department release said.
Defense officials are refereeing a control-and-culture clash between the Air Force and its sister services over a requirement to create 12 joint bases out of 25.
The mandate for joint bases is part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure plan which became law in November of that year. The Air Force is to manage six joint base sites, the Navy four and the Army two.
But the Air Force, which for decades has spent more proportionally on quality of life programs and facilities, is wringing its hands and, critics contend, dragging its feet over the prospect of giving the Army control of McChord Air Force Base in the Tacoma area and the Navy control of Hickham AFB, Hawaii; Bolling AFB, Washington D.C.; and Anderson Air Base in Guam.
Air Force officials argue, at every opportunity, that their bases alone are fighting platforms for their aircraft and thus must be maintained in top form as the Navy strives to maintain its ships and the Army and Marine Corps sustain their deployed ground forces.
The Army, Navy and Marine Corps, on the other hand, are known to defer base maintenance from time to time when dollars are needed for other priorities. The Air Force fears that might occur under joint basing arrangements, reducing the quality of life and harming readiness at bases where the Air Force has lost control