Information operations · Information Warfare

Strategy / History / Capability Ad Hoc Update (15)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Some very interesting reports on a number of US programs, and some very interesting science / tech reports.

Much reporting on the F-35, and much of it feelgood propaganda – F-35 spin doctors should consider alternate careers in the Troll Factory.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands: India’s Eastern Anchor in a Changing Indo-Pacific

Editor’s Note: This is the nineteenth installment of “Southern (Dis)Comfort,” a series from War on the Rocks and the Stimson Center. The series seeks to unpack the dynamics of intensifying competition — military, economic, diplomatic — in Southern Asia, principally between China, India, Pakistan, and the United

Looking Beyond the Generals in the Room: The Real Cause of America’s Civil-Military Malaise

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from “Policy Roundtable: Civil-Military Relations Now and Tomorrow,” from our sister publication, the Texas National Security Review. Be sure to check out the full roundtable. Generals in American politics are nothing new. George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Ulysses Grant, and Dwight

In 2030, These 5 Nations Will Have the World’s Most Powerful Armies on the Planet | The National Interest Blog

Who made the cut?

The Psychology of Perceiving Uncertainty

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment in “Off Guard,” a series on surprise in war inspired by a new CSIS study. Read the rest of the series here. Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush saw different worlds in early 2003, but shared a common belief: Each was certain that his read of the strategic situation was

Notes of Caution on the Navy’s Forthcoming Force Structure Assessment

What happens when the U.S. Navy’s force structure planning is built on strategic assumptions that are superseded by a change in the Oval Office? In the case of the U.S. Navy, the right answer is to conduct a new force structure assessment, and the Trump administration’s recent release of overarching strategic

Patriot Missiles Are Made in America and Fail Everywhere – Foreign Policy

The evidence is in: the missile defense system that the United States and its allies rely on is a lemon.

Raytheon, DARPA developing technology to control drone swarms

Raytheon says it’s developing technology for soldiers to control unmanned vehicle swarms with voice and gesture commands.

Has Boeing Been Neglecting KC-46? | Defense content from Aviation Week

U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is concerned Boeing is focusing on the commercial side of the house at the expense of the new tanker.

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Reveals MQ-25 ‘Stingray’ | Defense content from Aviation Week

This is how Lockheed Martin intends to best the competition in the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 tanker UAV competition.

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Takes Wraps Off Tailless X-44A UAV | Defense content from Aviation Week

Report: Air Force grounds 30 F-15Cs at Oregon wing

Thirty F-15Cs at Kingsley Air Field in Oregon have been grounded since last week over serious maintenance problems, reported Wednesday.

France tests radar to detect and track ballistic missiles, satellites

France is exploring anti-missile defense by conducting studies with a technology demonstrator for an over-the-horizon radar to detect and track ballistic missile launches.

Brazil’s cruise missile development program enters final phase – Defence Blog

The Brazilian Armed Forces nearing final development stage of cruise missile that is under development by Avibras for the ASTROS 2020 system. The Brazilian cruise missile, the MTC-300 or Matador, with 300 km of range and accuracy in the 50-meter scale, enters the final development stage this year. The first delivery to the Brazilian army is expected to be done by 2020, however, all development stages are expected to be fully cleared by 2023, according to a report of the “O Estado de S.Paulo”. The MTC-30 missile is the most sophisticated vector of the “Astros 2020” development program, the sixth generation of multiple artillery rocket launcher systems, started 35 years ago by the Brazilian company Avibras, of the city of Sao José dos Campos. The MTC-30 missile is designed for to destroy strategic targets at medium range with great accuracy and reduced collateral damage The missiles use solid-fuel rockets for launching, and a turbojet during the subsonic cruise flight.

Russian company release photos of new Orion UAV – Defence Blog

Russian Kronshtadt Group has officially released photos of the new medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned surveillance system on 23 March. The unmanned aerial vehicle named Orion and looks like a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems МQ-9 Reaper and AVIC Wing Loong unmanned aircraft. The Orion unmanned aerial vehicle is capable of conducting air reconnaissance and giving target designation data, making images of terrain and finding enemy communications centers and places of concealed air defense systems.

UAWire – For the first time Turkey tests its own ballistic missiles

Turkey conducted tests of ballistic missiles made within its own borders, and which were previously presented at an exhibition in Istanbul, …

Turkey uses new signals intelligence unmanned aerial vehicles in Syria – Defence Blog

Turkish source confirmed that new intelligence-gathering unmanned aerial vehicles, known as the Anka-I, to have been used during the Turkish military operation in Syrian Afrin, codenamed “Operation Olive Branch”. But Turkish officials said that new Anka-I unmanned aerial vehicle has only started tests at the Akinci Air Base on the northwest of Ankara. The first photo of a new variant of the Anka-I unmanned aerial vehicle, designed for signals intelligence (SIGINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT) missions, was posted on Twitter by Turkey’s Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM). The advanced unmanned aerial vehicle is equipped with synthetic aperture radar systems, precise direction finding and geolocation system, analog and digital modulation recognition and protocol decoding system and module of multi-channel communication signals monitoring and recording demodulated signals.

The Aviationist » Vipers, Fulcrums and Fitters: Tactical Exercise at Poznan-Krzesiny Airbase

On Mar. 13 we visited Poznan-Krzesiny airbase where Polish Air Force fast jets were taking part in a tactical exercise. As Polska Zbrojna reports, the operation involved both 1st and 2nd Tactical Aviation Wings of the Polish Air Force. Noteworthy, what’s unique about the operation in question, is the fact that the said exercise involved the Su-22s and MiG-29s operating from the Poznan-Krzesiny airbase. Usually such operations see the pilots operating from their homebase which made it possible to integrate the planning and briefing processes, which could be considered a simulated deployment of all assets to some undefined operational theatre.

The Army’s newest satellite antenna is remarkably simple

Soldiers can set up the Army’s new tactical satellite communications system in 20 minutes.

The United States’ Next Tank Could Be Protected by ‘Steel Foam’

Researchers have discovered that composite metal foam offers greater protection than traditional armor steel plate at a third of the weight. The discovery has broad implications for armored vehicles, and could result in stronger, lighter vehicles better able to protect occupants from the impact of kinetic weapons, explosive shockwaves, and fires. Scientists at North Carolina State University and the US Army’s Aviation Applied Technology Directorate have invented what they call Composite Metal Foam (CMF). “Metal foam” is exactly what you think it is—metal with sponge-like holes in it. This not only makes CMF lighter than normal metal, but it also makes CMF spongy, allowing it to give slightly under impact, soaking up some of the energy of a collision. In 2016, Popular Mechanics described an early test involving the material and a M2 .30 caliber armor piercing bullet. The bullet, delivering 2,780 foot-pounds of energy against a block of CMF less than one inch thick, shattered on impact. The same bullet was stopped by one half inch of dense armor plate. Here’s the video:

6 planes the Air Force should bring back | We Are The Mighty

The United States Air Force might want to bring back some punch-packing planes from its past to help address growing threats, ranging from ISIS to Russia.

SpaceX rocket carved giant hole in the ionosphere

Rockets can leave a mark on the atmosphere well after they’ve left, and SpaceX may have learned that first-hand. Researchers have determined that a Falcon 9 la…

How China is using military radar technology to wage war on mosquitoes | South China Morning Post

Scientists are developing a device to detect the insect flapping its wings up to 2km away – and it could be used to save millions of lives, researcher says

First IP-Based Standard for Digital TV Could Change the Face of Broadcasting – IEEE – The Institute

ATSC 3.0 promises immersive audio, interactivity, and hyperlocal emergency alerts

Forget private school, it’s all in the genes | Comment | The Times

The good news is you can save on school fees. A new study finds that selective schools add almost nothing to the exam results of students, because the advantages teenagers come out with are mainly ones they arrived with, and are for the most part genetic. The bad news is that this implies genetic st

Differences in exam performance between pupils attending selective and non-selective schools mirror the genetic differences between them | npj Science of Learning


The Culture of ‘Publish or Perish’ Is Hurting Research – IEEE – The Institute

The number of citations an author receives does not directly equate to impact in the field

The Aviationist » On This Day In 1970 An F-4J Shot Down A North Vietnamese MiG-21. It Was The First Kill Scored By A Top Gun Graduate

On Mar. 28, 1970, an F-4J Phantom II (BuNo 155875) belonging to VF-142 off the USS Constellation (CVA 64) aircraft carrier shot down a North Vietnamese MiG-21 from Kien Ann airfield during an aerial engagement. The U.S. Navy fighter, radio callsign “Dakota 201”, was piloted by LT Jerome Eugene Beaulier and LT Stephen John Barkley. Beaulier had attended the Navy Fighter Weapons School’s first Topgun course, run by VF-121 instructors (VF-121 was the West Coast RAG – Replacement Air Group). The NVN Fishbed, piloted by Nguyen Van Truang, aged 28, was shot down using an AIM-9D Sidewinder. The pilot was killed. This was the first Navy kill since 1968 and the first from a pilot graduated at the famed “Topgun” school. According to the National Naval Aviation Museum, the next time Phantom crews engaged MiGs over Vietnam in 1972, it marked the beginning of an intense period of combat in which Navy and Marine Corps F-4 crews shot down 26 enemy airplanes in less than 12 months. According to “U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom II MiG Killers 1965-70” by Brad Elward and Peter Davies, the F-4J BuNo 155875/NJ-201 served with VF-142 until it was destroyed, following an in-flight fire on Apr. 26, 1973: according to records, it had logged 1540 Flight Hours, most of those in combat, and had nearly completed its third WestPac cruise (first one aboard USS Constellation in 1970; second and third one with USS Enterprise in 1971-1972 and 1973 until it was lost).

Air Force Risks Losing Third of F-35s If Upkeep Costs Aren’t Cut – Bloomberg

The U.S. Air Force may have to cut its purchases of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 by a third if it can’t find ways to reduce operations and support costs by as much as 38 percent over a decade, according to an internal analysis.

Air Force May Need to Cut a Third of F-35 Fleet Due to High Operating Costs

An analysis found that the service could be forced to cut as many as 590 F-35As if the jet’s operating costs are not reduced.

US shows off new F-35 fighter jets ahead of US-South Korea drills – CNNPolitics

Roaring off the deck of a 40,000-ton amphibious assault warship, F-35B fighter jets piloted by US Marines soar over the Pacific ocean near Okinawa, southwest Japan.

Air Force May Need to Cut a Third of F-35 Fleet Due to High Operating Costs

An analysis found that the service could be forced to cut as many as 590 F-35As if the jet’s operating costs are not reduced.

How is the F-35 improving its dogfighting skills in Japan?

The F-35 hasn’t always had the best reputation for air-to-air fighting. Could that change?

U.S. Navy Prepares To Declare F-35 Combat-Ready In 2019 | Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S. Navy is gearing up to declare its F-35C carrier variant ready for war in 2019, the director of the F-35C integration office told Aerospace DAILY in his first interview in the role. But the Navy won’t give the Joint Strike Fighter the green light until it successfully demonstrates its full warfighting software, 3F, during the final test period, initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E), Rear Adm. Dale Horan said March 29 at the Pentagon. The Navy has set a goal of declaring initial operating capability (IOC) for Lockheed Martin’s new fighter between August 2018 and February 2019, so the service can sign off early next year and still be within that window. But that window is getting tighter: Due to delays in finishing the F-35’s $60 billion development period, IOT&E is not scheduled to begin until September 2018 at the earliest. “IOC is capability and event-driven, it’s not date-driven,” Horan said. “We think probably next year, sometime in 2019, but we are not wedded to the dates.” However, he stressed that he sees no “showstoppers” in reaching the milestone.

F-35 Sale to Taiwan Not Worth the ‘Risk,’ Experts Warn – Defense One

As the Trump administration takes an aggressive stance on China, senators push an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter deal with Taiwan.

What F-35 Can Learn From F-22 Upgrade Hiccups | Defense content from Aviation Week

Before there was “C2D2,” the Star Wars-evoking acronym for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 upgrade program, there was the F-22 Raptor’s “Scaled Agile Framework,” or SAFe. The F-22 was the first Pentagon weapon system to implement “agile” software and hardware development methods. The Raptor modernization program transitioned from a more traditional approach to the SAFe method in 2014, in an attempt to reduce the number of deficiencies encountered during flight testing and to deliver capabilities to the warfighter faster. Now, as the F-35 shifts to an “agile” development approach for its own modernization road map, the Joint Program Office (JPO) may do well to take some lessons learned from SAFe. Instead of developing software in one large package, or block, SAFe uses 12-to-14 week periods to develop smaller portions of software that contribute to the final product. Under SAFe, software developers perform integrated testing during the development process, which they hope will reduce the number of deficiencies identified during flight testing and the number of unplanned software updates. The upgrade program, which was established in 2003 and will run until 2026, will add critical capabilities to keep the F-22 relevant over its lifetime: Link 16, the tactical communications data link used by most fighter aircraft; enhanced friend-or-foe identification capabilities; sensor enhancements; a Helmet Mounted Display and Cuing System for improved tracking, targeting and weapons controls; and better defenses against jamming. But the Pentagon’s Inspector General was critical of the U.S. Air Force’s management of the F-22 modernization program in a March report, particularly the contracting approach <insert link…. . Specifically, the IG called out the program office for failing to update its contracting strategy for SAFe implementation, which may jeopardize its ability to deliver the upgrades on time.

U.S. Air Force To Kick Off Competition For New A-10 Wings | Defense content from Aviation Week

President Donald Trump’s signature on the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill last week gave the U.S. Air Force the green light to move forward with re-winging the A-10 Warthog so the venerable attack aircraft can fly into the 2030s. The fiscal 2018 appropriations act includes $103 million for the Air Force to restart production of A-10 wings—a necessary step to keep the aging fleet flying for at least the next decade. Out of a fleet of about 280 A-10s that need new wings, Boeing has re-winged about 170, but the remaining 109 aircraft are still flying with their original wings from the 1970s. But Boeing may not get to build new wings for the rest of the fleet. The Air Force plans to launch a new competition for the re-winging work, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee during a March 20 hearing. The service has already issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) and hopes to release a final solicitation by April 3, according to the draft RFP posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. The omnibus includes enough funding to restart the production line and build four additional sets of wings, Wilson said. The service’s fiscal 2019 budget request includes $80 million for A-10 re-winging, which Wilson expects to yield between eight and 12 more wing sets that year. But time is of the essence. The Air Force will be forced to ground a portion of the fleet if the re-winging is not completed soon. Replacing the A-10 wings is all the more urgent as the aircraft continues to be pivotal to operations around the world: Warthog pilots are currently fighting Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria, standing guard south of the DMZ, and most recently were sent back to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban in January.

Report: Israeli stealth fighters fly over Iran – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Two IAF F-35 Adir fighter jets entered Iranian airspace undetected, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida.

The Aviationist » Here’s Why The Claim That Two Israeli F-35 Stealth Jets Entered Iranian Airspace Does Not Make Any Sense

The Jerusalem Post has just published an article, that is slowly spreading through the social media, about an alleged IAF F-35 mission into the Iranian airspace originally reported by the Kuwaiti Al-Jarida newspaper. According to an “informed source” who talked to Al-Jarida, earlier this month, two Aidr stealth jets flew undetected over Syria and Iraq and snuck into the Iranian airspace, flying reconnaissance missions over the Iranian cities Bandar Abbas, Esfahan and Shiraz. Here’s an excerpt (highlight mine): “The report states that the two fighter jets, among the most advanced in the world, circled at high altitude above Persian Gulf sites suspected of being associated with the Iranian nuclear program. It also states that the two jets went undetected by radar, including by the Russian radar system located in Syria. The source refused to confirm if the operation was undertaken in coordination with the US army, which has recently conducted joint exercises with the IDF. The source added that the seven F-35 fighters in active service in the IAF have conducted a number of missions in Syria and on the Lebanese-Syrian border. He underlined that the fighter jets can travel from Israel to Iran twice without refueling.” There are many weird things.