Information operations · Information Warfare

Strategy / History / Capability Ad Hoc Update (12)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting

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Some very interesting reports this week:

  1. More on machine intelligence, quantum computing, and low cost hyperspectral pushbroom imagers;
  2. F-35 program woes continue, more F-35 feelgood propaganda, and LM complain about USG enforcing IP law properly (after many years of turning a blind eye);
  3. Mitsubishi ATD-X ShinShin update;
  4. B-21, MQ-25, KC-46 program updates, USAF experimenting with commercial satcom networks (no mention of jam resistance sadly), US Army Counter-RPV SHORADS effort,
  5. Interesting history reports – including USS Lexington find, the condition of the wreckage is remarkable;


Strategy / History / Capability Publications

A National Machine Intelligence Strategy for the United States | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Machine Intelligence (MI) is poised to create profound changes to our lives, jobs, and economy. In breadth and scale of impact, MI will rival or exceed past technological revolutions while potentially altering centers of economic power and regional and global influence. Many countries are already making significant policy decisions to prepare for the impact of MI and are investing in MI research and development to outpace allies and competitors across economic and national security dimensions. If the United States wants to avoid being left behind in the “MI Revolution” we need to develop a coordinated national strategy that covers research and development, industrial specialization, and the social impacts of these technologies. This report offers a framework for determining which guiding principles should shape U.S. policy in response to the growth of MI applications in defense, education, health care, and the economy. The authors offer recommendations for how the United States can maintain a competitive advantage in MI and navigate the risks and challenges associated with it.

Google is helping the Pentagon learn how to analyze drone footage

While this partnership will help DOD analyze the mountains of data collected by drones, Google employees are not all happy with the collaboration.

Dan Grazier on Twitter: “Isn’t great to hear JSF officials talking about ramping #F35 production up as if IOT&E weren’t an actual legal requirement? “Lockheed Negotiating Tactics Delaying F-35 Deal, Program Director Says” via @Militarydotcom @Oriana0214″

JPO, Lockheed to meet this spring to discuss F-35 software deficiencies |

The F-35 joint program office and Lockheed Martin will hold a “Consideration Summit” in a few months to discuss software deficiencies and make sure the government does not pay for the same product twice. F-35 Program Executive Officer Vice Adm. Mat Winter told reporters during a Feb. 28 roundtable in Arlington, VA, the Joint Strike Fighter’s Block 3F deficiency database contains roughly 200 deficiencies that will be addressed during the post-systems development and demonstration phase and before Block 4. SDD…

Lockheed: Pentagon Negotiators Are Becoming More Unpredictable – Defense One

The company’s CFO says willingness to discard precedent has stalled a new deal for the F-35 — and even affected the C-130.

F-35 Finally Can Use All Its Weapons In Combat | Defense content from Aviation Week

The newest U.S. Air Force F-35s, both stateside at Hill AFB, Utah, and overseas in the Pacific, finally can employ the stealth fighter’s full suite of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons in combat. The F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) has delivered the flight clearances, simulators, threat information, and logistics system required for the Air Force’s F-35As equipped with the latest software load to employ all of its weapons throughout the full flight envelope, according to the JPO, Lockheed Martin and Air Force officials. This milestone gives the Block 3F-configured F-35As assigned to the 34th Fighter Squadron stationed at Hill and those forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan—on North Korea’s doorstep—some lethal capabilities. The aircraft now can fire Raytheon’s short-range AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, the GAU-22 25mm gun, and Boeing’s precision-guided Small Diameter Bomb, all while flying up to 9Gs at 1.6 Mach. The F-35A touched down in Kadena for its first operational deployment to the Pacific in November, a highly anticipated milestone that underlines the U.S. military’s commitment to allies in the region amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

F-35 aboard Navy ship in Pacific as US touts new era of ‘up-gunned’ air-sea capability | Fox News

An F-35B Lighting II—which has been called a ‘beastly airplane—landed Sunday on an amphibious assault ship at an undisclosed location in the Pacific, an event the Navy touted as a new era of “up-gunned” air-sea capability, Stars and Stripes reported.

The US Navy has put to sea the first-ever F-35 aircraft carrier — and it’s a big warning to China and North Korea | Business Insider

The F-35 could dismantle Russia’s Su-57 ‘stealth’ jet program without even firing a shot | Business Insider

Pentagon faces major cost increase on F-35 Block 4 modernisation | Jane’s 360

Key Points The Pentagon is facing a major potential F-35 Block 4/C2D2 cost increase This could add between USD6.9 billion and USD12.5 billion more to the Pentagon’s most expensive platform The Pentagon is facing a cost increase for what was known as Block 4 modernisation of the Lockheed

Some ‘hiccups’ with engine design, but B-21 on track, Wittman says

There have been some challenges with airflow and wing design early in B-21 production, but those shouldn’t be game-stoppers, Rep. Rob Wittman says.

US Navy to scrap scores of fighter jets from its inventory

The Navy is moving to scrap almost 140 older Hornet fighters from its inventory.

Could F-16s In Battle Talk Via Commercial Space Internet? | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force wants to lease commercial bandwidth to build an agile, resilient communications network for the modern battlefield.

For the F-15 enterprise at Kadena Air Base in Japan, it’s an expertise problem

Like many other U.S. Air Force installations, Kadena Air Base’s F-15 squadrons are grappling with a pilot shortage and challenges in growing a corps of skilled maintainers.

The importance of Mitsubishi ATD-X ShinShin to Japan – Defence Aviation

Boeing’s KC-46 Tanker Delayed Again | Defense content from Aviation Week

This Is Boeing’s Play For MQ-25 ‘Stingray’ | Defense content from Aviation Week

Boeing Phantom Works rolled out the “T-1” tanking UAV prototype in November 2014, but kept under wraps until recently. Now, the covers have finally come off.

Army plans to award major EW-drone contract this year

The Army expects to award a contract this year for its multi-function electronic warfare air large program.

US Army prioritizes mobile system to counter drones – Defence Blog

One of the Army’s current priorities is development of a maneuver system to counter short-range air defense threats such as drones, officials said Wednesday, Feb. 28. That was reported by Gary Sheftick, Army News Service. Over the past 15 years, the Army inventory of systems to defend against low-altitude and medium-altitude weapons had dwindled, said Barry Pike, the Army’s program executive officer for missiles and space. He chaired a capabilities development panel discussion at the Association of the U.S. Army’s ‘Hot Topics’ forum on air and missile defense in Arlington, Virginia. During the last decade, the U.S. military felt it had air superiority over potential adversaries, so Army leaders weren’t concerned about having a robust short-range air defense capability. But now, with the worldwide proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems, the Army’s perceived need for SHORAD has changed. While the Army is now fielding new Stinger MANPAD teams to counter drones and cruise missiles, more is needed, Pike said. Stingers have a new proximity fuse which can detonate near a target to destroy small threats such as mini-drones. But in addition to the shoulder-fired Stingers and Avenger Humvees, the Army needs a modern maneuver SHORAD system, he said. It needs a system “on a survivable combat platform like a Stryker, to be able to move out with the maneuver force and protect the maneuver force.” One such system being developed is the Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2-Intercept. IFPC INCREMENT 2-I The IFPC is a mobile, ground-based system specifically designed to defeat UAS and cruise missiles, along with mortars, artillery and rockets. The Block 1 system uses an existing interceptor and sensor along with a new Multi-Mission Launcher, or MML, mounted on a medium tactical vehicle. The launcher, which entered a demonstration phase in 2015, can rotate 360 degrees in order to shoot down UAS or cruise missiles incoming from any direction. The Army has already selected one interceptor for the system, the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile. It has also experimented with a number of other interceptor missiles, since the MML will be able to handle multiple types in its 15 tubes. The Expanded Mission Area Missile, or EMAM, will be what the Army calls the next interceptor selected for the IFPC. Plans call for the missile manufacturer to be selected next fiscal year,and EMAM will be used with the IFPC Block 2 system. The Army is also experimenting with directed energy or lasers on the IFPC to shoot down drones.

Interim short-range air defense solution to be Stryker-based

The U.S. Army plans to make major decisions this year on how it will tackle its interim Manuever-Short-Range Air Defense solution, but the service at least knows it will be Stryker-based.

BAE Systems submits proposal for the U.S. Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower program | BAE Systems | International

BAE Systems has submitted its proposal to the U.S. Army to build and test the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle for use by the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).

Brazilian Air Force to receive first two KC-390 aircraft this year – Defence Blog

The first two KC-390 multi-mission aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) in middle 2018, that was reported by According to a report, the new multi-purpose transport aircraft of the Brazilian Air Force is progressing, with about 97 percent of the project complete and in the first half of year ends the in-flight test and certification phase. The KC-390 to have initial operational clearance by the middle of 2018 and final certification and clearance by the end of 2018. The first KC-390 operational base will be at Ala 2, the old Anapolis Air Base in the state of Goiás. In all, 28 aircraft purchased by the Brazilian government will comprise the FAB transport aviation fleet. The KC-390 is capable of carrying out various missions, such as transporting cargo, troops or dropping paratroopers, and aerial refueling, search and rescue, medical evacuation and aerial firefighting, in addition to supporting humanitarian missions. The aircraft can transport up to 26 metric tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots (870 km/h), as well as operate in hostile environments, including from unprepared or damaged runways.

US agrees to upgrade Qatari air defences despite Gulf crisis – France 24

The United States has approved a request from Qatar to upgrade the emirate’s air force operations center, officials said Thursday, despite the Gulf diplomatic crisis.

Qatar in talks with Russia for procuring Su-35 fighters – Defence Blog

Russian presidential assistant for military-technical cooperation, Vladimir Kozhin revealed his government is in talks with the Qatar Armed Forces about supplying Su-35 multirole fighter jets. According to the TASS, Kozhin confirmed that Qatar is looking at acquiring the Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ multirole combat aircraft. A while ago, on Jan. 25, Qatar’s Ambassador to Russia Fahad bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah told TASS that Doha was holding “advanced negotiations” with Moscow over the purchase of S-400 air missile defense systems. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the Indonesian Air Force have also ordered the Su-35 fighter aircraft.

Russia to develop new wheeled tank based on Bumerang platform – Defence Blog

Director General of the Military Industrial Company (VPK) Aleksandr Krasovitsky said in an interview with Russian TV channel ‘Zvezda.’ that Russian engineers will soon be working on a wheeled tank destroyer based on the Bumerang platform. “It’s going to be a know-how. Based on the same platform [Bumerang], but with a heavy gun,” he said during an interview. The new vehicle will be designed for operating within motorized units or quick reaction forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. More: Pindad develops new light wheeled tank with 105mm high-pressure gun Aleksandr Krasovitsky also noted that bases Bumerang platform is already available in the form of the K-16 armoured personnel carrier and K-17 infantry fighting vehicle, with the possibility of creating an entire family of vehicles based on the Bumerang’s chassis. More: Italian army to buy 50 new Centauro II 8×8 wheeled antitank vehicles The Bumerang is referred to as “a combat wheeled vehicle” because it will serve several different roles, similar to America’s Strykers.

Podcast: The Spear – A 2003 Helicopter Mission Deep into Iraq – Modern War Institute

In this episode of The Spear, MWI Deputy Director speaks to Col. Phil Ryan, the commander of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the US military’s most elite aviation unit. In 2003, Ryan was a pilot in the unit. On March 26, at the very beginning of the invasion of Iraq, he took part in a mission that involved fourteen aircraft targeting a facility deep inside Iraq, further than any coalition ground forces had yet made it. As Chinooks and Blackhawks landed US special operations forces, the aircraft began taking fire. As an intense firefight broke out, Ryan and the other elite aviators flew low over the target, they fired on the enemy forces, using the helicopters’ various weapons and even flying low and engaging single targets with their own M-4 rifles. Listen to the full story of that mission below, and don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

War Books: Defense and the Silicon Valley Way of Innovation – Modern War Institute

More than any other force, technological innovation define the twenty-first century. Even climate change and globalization have not had the same impact on the international, national, local, and individual levels. Technology permeates every aspect of our lives. The internet, popularized in the 1990s, didn’t reach its first billion users until 2005. Now it’s closing in on four billion. Barely a decade after Apple released the first iPhone, there are almost 2.5 billion smartphones around the world. Many of these technologies were developed in Silicon Valley, or funded by the venture capitalists residing there. Fifty-seven percent of all public companies in the United States received venture capital, and five of the top seven companies on the S&P 500 did so. Eighty years ago, Silicon Valley was a relatively sleepy agricultural region. And then a convergence of factors linked to World War II catalyzed something unique. By the 1980s, Silicon Valley had become the single most innovative place in human history. And as defense and technology continue their long association, it is increasingly a place where the innovations that will define the future of conflict are taking place. The following list of books help to make clear why Silicon Valley exists, how it works, who works there, and why it will continue to be relevant for many years to come.

Key Missile Defense Installation Will be Uninhabitable in Less Than 20 Years – Scientific American

A multibillion-dollar military installation in the Pacific that has provided key testing for the U.S. defense against a possible North Korean nuclear strike could become uninhabitable in less than two decades due to climate change. The site, which is threatened by rising sea levels, is also used to track space junk that can cripple spacecraft. The Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on the low-lying Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands is expected to be submerged by seawater at least once a year, according to a new study ordered by the Department of Defense. That marks a “tipping point” that could wipe out the island’s source of fresh water by 2035, says the report, which was quietly released late last week.

Lightweight Hyperspectral Imagers Bring Sophistocated Imaging Capability to Drones

Scientists discover how to make quantum bits ‘talk’ to each other | Daily Mail Online

Scientists are said to have made a breakthrough in quantum computing after they were able to make two atom qubits ‘talk’ to each other. The move is being heralded as a ‘significant milestone.’

Plasma Stealth – Defence Aviation

Plasma stealth technology is what can be called as “Active stealth technology” in scientific terms. This technology was first developed by the Russians. It is a milestone in the field of stealth technology. The technology behind this not at all new. The plasma thrust technology was used in the Soviet / Russian space program. Later the same engine was used to power the American Deep Space 1 probe. In plasma stealth, the aircraft injects a stream of plasma in front of the aircraft. The plasma will cover the entire body of the fighter and will absorb most of the electromagnetic energy of the radar waves, thus making the aircraft difficult to detect. The same method is used in Magneto Hydro Dynamics. Using Magneto Hydro Dynamics, an aircraft can propel itself to great speeds. Plasma stealth is a proposed process that uses ionized gas (plasma) to reduce the radar cross section (RCS) of an aircraft. Interactions between electromagnetic radiation and ionized gas have been extensively studied for a variety of purposes, including the possible concealment of aircraft from radar that plasma stealth theorizes. While it is theoretically possible to reduce an aircraft’s RCS by wrapping the airframe in plasma, it may be very difficult to do so in practice. Various methods might plausibly be able to produce a layer or cloud of plasma around an airframe, from “simple” electrostatic or RF discharges to more exotic possibilities like laser-produced plasmas.

Charged Black Holes Can Erase Your Past And Give You Infinite Number Of Possible Futures : Science : Tech Times

A mathematician said that a particular type of non-rotating black hole with an electrical charge and a cauchy horizon within the event horizon has a reset button. It can reset the past and complicate the future.

In 1963, a Navy Submarine Sank Mysteriously. How the Crew Died Is Horrifying. | The National Interest Blog

It led to big changes for the U.S. Navy.

Wreck of Aircraft Carrier USS Lexington Located in Coral Sea After 76 Years | Paul Allen

USS Lexington, Sunken World War II Aircraft Carrier, Found Off Australia – WSJ

The wreck of an American aircraft carrier sunk during World War II and which President Donald Trump paid tribute to last year has been discovered in deep ocean off Australia’s coast by billionaire Microsoft co-founder and wreck-hunting enthusiast Paul Allen.

The Aviationist » Like a Plot from A Clive Cussler Novel, Billionaire Discovers USS Lexington Aircraft Carrier Lost in 1942

Silence, darkness and cold. Those were the only things surrounding the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) since she plummeted to her deep-sea grave on the sea floor two miles below the surface of the war-torn Pacific on May 8, 1942. Until this week. Like an improbable plot from one of Clive Cussler’s “NUMA Files” adventure novels, billionaire explorer Paul Allen and his own private fleet of deep-sea scientists used a remotely piloted submarine to discover the wreckage of the USS Lexington on Mar. 4, 2018. She lies on the bottom in 10,000 feet of water about 500 miles off the eastern coast of Australia where she sank. Photos show her deck guns still trained at a black liquid sky waiting for phantom Japanese Zeros, Val dive bombers and Kate torpedo bombers that disappeared into antiquity decades ago. The USS Lexington’s wreck was discovered from Paul Allen’s private research vessel, the R/V Petrel, on Sunday morning at about 8:00 am local time in the Pacific. Brilliant color images of the Lexington and some of her aircraft were transmitted to the surface and shared around the world over the last 24 hours.