Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Strategy / History / Capability Ad Hoc Update (16)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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AI debate continues, US army resuscitates SHORADS, updates on a multiplicity of programs, and a deluge of feelgood propaganda from the alternate reality world of the F-35 camp.


Strategy / History / Capability Publications


How artificial intelligence went from an advantage to a worldwide threat
Once considered one answer to preserving U.S. military superiority, AI is now seen by national security leaders as a danger to military operations — and the need to invest in decision-making technologies is accelerating.
In AI, Russia Is Hustling to Catch Up – Defense One
Putin is spurring frenetic efforts to marshal the country’s academic and industrial resources for breakthroughs in the field — and just might achieve them.
South Korean institute denies it makes killer robots amid boycott – NY Daily News
Be warry of a class project that can literally blow up in your face.
Google employees protest Pentagon AI program
Thousands of Google employees signed a letter protesting Project Maven, the Pentagon’s program to use artificial intelligence with drone footage
Soldier Swarm: New Ground Combat Tactics for the Era of Multi-Domain Battle – Modern War Institute
Just to survive, our formations, whatever the wire diagram looks like, will likely have to be small. They will have to move constantly. They will have to aggregate and disaggregate rapidly. – General Mark A. Milley, Army Chief of Staff When the US military prepares to fight its next major war, it won’t be planning to fight the insurgents it has faced over the last fifteen years. As China and Russia begin to aggressively project their military might and revisionist ideas, the Pentagon must develop operational concepts aimed at outpacing technologically sophisticated nation-states. In fact, the alarming reality is that the US military may operate at a local disadvantage in future conflicts. America can no longer assume the military advantage over its enemies on land or at sea—once the bread and butter of US power. China, Russia, and other potential enemies now boast an arsenal of advanced area denial capabilities, electronic warfare tools to disrupt communications, and precision-guided munitions that could stop American aircraft carriers or fighter jets from disabling high-value assets and enabling ground troops to enter the fray. American troops will also face massed precision fires that will threaten US assets in a future war.
Army Accelerates Air & Missile Defense Five Years: MSHORAD, MML, Lasers « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
Today, Brig. Gen. McIntire told me, Army field artillery and air & missile defense are like two boxers, one who can only punch and the other who can only block. “We’ve got to have one boxer that has the ability to strike and block simultaneously,” he said. “That’s the speed that we’re going to need in the future.”
U.S. Army eyes new short-range air defence system contract – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army could sign a contract around August 2018 for new short-range air defence (SHORAD) systems. The alleged deal could be including packages to convert Stryker armored vehicles into short-range air defense systems. According to the Defense News, prototypes expected the spring of 2019. The Stryker Maneuver SHORAD Launcher (MSL): This short-range air defense (SHORAD) solution meets the Army’s emerging operational need to counter unmanned aerial systems, rotary wing, fixed wing and cruise missile threats. Boeing and General Dynamics Land Systems have teamed up to equip the U.S. Army’s Stryker armored fighting vehicle with missiles, guns to bring offensive and defensive fire-power close into the fight where armored Strykers can operate more effectively than tactical vehicles.
Lockheed Martin to integrate its tank protection technology for testing on U.S. Army vehicles – Defence Blog
The U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has awarded Lockheed Martin a next-phase contract to continue maturing the Modular Active Protection Systems (MAPS) controller base kit hardware and software and to support government integration efforts ahead of platform demonstrations scheduled to take place through 2019. MAPS is designed to enable protection of vehicles and their occupants by integrating sensors and countermeasures in a common framework to detect and defeat existing and emerging threats. Lockheed Martin delivered five MAPS controllers to TARDEC in 2017. As part of the 16-month follow-on effort, its engineers will work with TARDEC to mature the base kit hardware and software and to support integration of the MAPS Base Kit with existing sensors and countermeasures for U.S. Army virtual and range demonstrations on combat vehicles.
General Atomics Claims ‘Huge Advantage’ Over Big Rivals For MQ-25 | Defense content from Aviation Week
In California’s High Desert region, straddled between Palmdale and Victorville, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI) has been developing what could become the U.S. Navy’s first large, carrier-based UAV. A World War II-era Army airfield and former McDonnell Douglas radar cross-section test facility, Gray Butte is one of two local flight operations centers where GA-ASI develops and tests its latest products; the other is nearby El Mirage Field. A dry, isolated place, Gray Butte airfield was where the company’s turbofan-powered Predator C “Avenger” first took flight on April 4, 2009. Nine years later, Gray Butte is supporting development of a completely new member of the Avenger family, a first-of-its-kind aerial tanker for the Navy’s carrier fleet. One of three air vehicle designs competing for the Navy’s multibillion-dollar MQ-25 Stingray program, GA-ASI has invested in a full-scale engine test stand to validate performance models rather than constructing a full-scale prototype. General Atomics proposes massive whale-body Avenger derivative for MQ-25 Full-scale testing of PW815 turbofan with custom inlet and exhaust now underway The Navy is seeking an aircraft that can, at a minimum, offload 14,000 lb. of fuel to receiver aircraft at a range of 500 nm from an aircraft carrier at sea and relieve the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from the “buddy tanking” mission. General Atomics believes its design, when armed with the Navy’s Cobham drogue aerial refueling pod, can not only meet that baseline requirement for fuel offload and range, but even surpass the Navy’s higher, undisclosed “objective requirements.”
The Army and Navy Have a Plan to Fire Ground Artillery from Navy Ships | The National Interest Blog
Should China or Russia be worried? 
BAE confirms delivery all of AMPVs built under the EMD phase – Defence Blog
BAE Systems has confirmed delivered all of the AMPVs built under the Engineering and Manufacturing Design (EMD) phase to the U.S. Army to begin the testing phase of the program. According to the company, BAE Systems was awarded a contract worth up to $1.2 billion from the Army in December 2014 for EMD and Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phases of the AMPV program. The initial award of $383 million under the EMD phase was for the development and production of vehicles across all of the variants: general purpose, mission command, mortar carrier, medical evacuation, and medical treatment. “The AMPV is essential to the future of the Armored Brigade Combat Team,” said Bill Sheehy, AMPV program director for BAE Systems. “Delivering all EMD vehicles to the Army is a proud moment for us – it means we’re another step closer to delivering the next generation of power, mobility, and survivability to our Soldiers in our combat formations.” BAE Systems’ five variant AMPV is a fully modern, highly flexible vehicle designed to replace the Vietnam War-era M113 family of vehicles. It is a mature, cost-effective solution that leverages proven designs from the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, a key component of the ACBT, and the M109A7 Self-Propelled Howitzer. It meets the Army’s force protection and all-terrain mobility requirements, enabling the AMPV to maneuver with the rest of the ABCT. Maximizing commonality within the ABCT reduces developmental risk and streamlines maintenance, providing significant cost savings to the Army.
Is Russia’s Planned ‘Combat Icebreaker’ a Serious Threat? | The National Interest
Despite this innovative platform, the Russian Arctic “threat” is mostly hype.
After Failed Search for Jammer Drones, US Army Takes Unusual Step – Defense One
The service is switching to a little-understood and lightly regulated contracting method to get them.
Crew remotely lands jet on carrier using ATARI joystick
Navy crew members remotely landed a 40,000-pound jet on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
United Kingdom: British army is rejoining the Boxer 8×8 armored program | March 2018 Global Defense Security army news industry | Defense Security global news industry army 2018 | Archive News year
United Kingdom According a statement from the British Ministry of Defense published on March 31, 2018, British army is rejoining the Boxer 8×8 armored program
Virgin Galactic spaceship Unity takes first supersonic rocket flight
Virgin Galactic successfully completes the first rocket-powered flight of its spacecraft Unity.
The Aviationist » Italian Air Force Tornado ECR Jets Are Deployed To California To Test Their New AGM-88E Advanced Anti Radiation Guided Missile
The Italian “Tonkas” are currently deployed to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake along with four Eurofighter Typhoons and a C-27J Spartan. A small contingent of nine Italian Air Force aircraft is currently deployed to California. Four Tornado ECR (EA-200B in accordance with the Italian MoD Mission Design Series), belonging to the 6° Stormo (Wing) from Ghedi; four Eurofighter Typhoon jets (F-2000A), belonging to the 4°, 36° and 37° Stormo respectively from Grosseto, Gioia del Colle and Trapani; and one C-27J Spartan with the 46^ Brigata Aerea (Air Brigate) from Pisa, have been operating out of NAWS China Lake, California, since the end of February as part of an operation dubbed “Blazing Shield” that saw the aircraft cross the Pond via Lajes, Azores, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, accompanied by two KC-767A tankers of the 14° Stormo and a C-130J of the 46th Air Brigade that provided oceanic SAR support along the route.
The Aviationist » Amazing Video Shows Ultra-Low Level Flying From The Cockpit Of A U.S. F-16. And Here’s Why This Kind Of Training Is Still Important Today.
An amazing video shows what it’s like to fly at ultra-low altitude over Japan. Is this kind of training is still relevant? The footage you can find below was just released by the 35th Fighter Wing. It shows a low-level sortie flown by an F-16 out of Misawa Air Base, located some 400 miles north of Tokyo, in the northern part of the island of Honshū of Japan. The clip is quite amazing. Take a look.
The Aviationist » U.S. Marines Suffer Losses Over Last Two Days in Super Stallion and Harrier Crashes
CH-53E Super Stallion Crashes in California: Four Casualties Reported. Harrier Lost in Africa, Pilot Ejected. The U.S. Marine 3rd Aircraft Wing has reported that a CH-53E Super Stallion heavy lift helicopter has crashed at approximately 1435 Hrs. local north of the Mexico/California border on Apr. 3, 2018. Four fatalities are being reported. The aircraft was on a training mission near the city of El Centro, California when it went down. No cause for the crash has been reported. A crash investigation is reported to be underway. Identities of the four crash victims have not yet been released pending official notification of families. The Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion is the largest heavy lift helicopter in the U.S. arsenal. It is a three-engine aircraft with a lift capacity in excess of fifteen tons and uses a large, seven-blade main rotor. Developed from the U.S. Navy’s CH-53 Sea Stallion that first flew in 1966, the U.S. Marine CH-53E Super Stallion was introduced in 1981 as the CH-53 Sea Stallion. Other notable losses in the history of the CH-53 heavy lift helicopter family include a total of four CH-53s lost during the May 1975 Mayaguez Incident. Three of the helicopters were shot down by Khmer Rouge guerillas resulting in the deaths of 10 Marines, 2 Navy Corpsmen and 2 Air Force crewmen. A fourth CH-53 from the 21st Special Operations Squadron, aircraft #68-10933, using the callsign “Knife 13” went down in an accident while transiting to U Tapao Airbase in Thailand in support of the operation, killing all 23 onboard. Another early version of the aircraft, the U.S. Navy RH-53D, became infamous during the failed Iran hostage rescue mission in 1980 when it collided with another aircraft in a sandstorm, killing 8 U.S. servicemen. Early incidents with heavy lift helicopters including the CH-53 family underscored the need for the development of advanced tilt-rotor aircraft like the current MV-22 Osprey. Tuesday’s fatal helicopter crash in California came just before a USMC AV-8B Harrier aircraft crashed that same day in Africa. The pilot of a USMC Harrier ejected from his aircraft and was reported to have walked to an ambulance for medical care according to a report on USNI News by Sam LaGrone and Megan Eckstein.
How Winston Churchill stole from India for Britain’s war — Quartz
“I am glad to learn from the Minister of War Transport that a strict line is being taken in dealing with requests for cereals from the Indian Ocean area. A concession to one country at once encourages demands from all the others,” the prime minister commented in a memo on 10 March 1943. “They must…
The Inside Story of How Israel Built Nuclear Weapons | The National Interest Blog
Some facts you may not know. 
Military identities, conventional capability and the politics of NATO standardisation at the beginning of the Second Cold War, 1970-1980 – Defence-In-Depth
DR ALEX GOULD & DR MATTHEW FORD The need to standardise equipment, weapons and doctrine in NATO was recognized as a strategic imperative from the onset of the Cold War. As Eliot Cohen noted in an article published in Foreign Policy in 1978, ‘non-standardised armies require unique and separate supply lines, making wide-ranging manoeuvres difficult…neighbouring troops…
An Enormous Crack Just Opened Up In Africa, Evidence Africa Is Literally Splitting In Two
A massive crack suddenly appeared in Kenya, prompting new discussion on the breakup of Africa into two land masses. The crack continues to grow in size as heavy rainfall in Kenya’s Narok County exacerbates the kilometer-sized chasm.
The Great American Eclipse Created a Giant Wave in Earth’s Atmosphere
This is the second type of atmospheric wave scientists have identified using data from the August eclipse.

F-35 Sustainment Challenges Mount As Global Fleet Grows | Defense content from Aviation Week
Lockheed Martin and the JPO are struggling to get maintenance problems under control as the F-35 fleet triples in size.
Will U.S. Navy’s F-35 Be Ready On Time? | Aviation Week & Space Technology content from Aviation Week
The director of the Navy’s F-35C integration office sees no “showstoppers,” but challenges remain before the service can field the fighter operationally.
F-35s Are Now Practicing Their Dogfighting Skills Over Okinawa
Fighters from Utah’s Hill Air Force Base are gaining valuable skills not far from potential war zones.
Aussie F-35A Drives Historic Shift To USAF Focus From USN « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
By MURIELLE DELAPORTE RAAF BASE WILLIAMTOWN: The unique capabilities of the 72 F-35As Australia will buy are driving the close US ally to rethink and build new infrastructure to protect the aircraft’s highly classified stealth capabilities, as well as its data, Air Commodore Michael Kitcher said during a visit here. The Royal Australian Air Force Air Combat Group Commander is guiding his country’s fundamental transition from a legacy fleet of fourth generation Hornets to the fifth generation F-35A fleet. And that transition is taking place within an even broader shift for the Aussies as they’ve added C-17s, KC-30As and Wedgetails over the past few years. The pace of transformation is rather breathtaking: if you thought that the five past years brought quite a change, wait to see what the next three years are about to bring about! The challenges to transition and stand up two F-35A squadrons here over three years are enormous.  That’s why Kitcher emphasizes a realistic and focused approach. “We do not have to connect every player at all times with each other, but remain mission-oriented,” he reminds us. Infrastructure Welcoming F-35As has meant creating a brand new infrastructure whose main constraint is secrecy and data protection : “We started to address advanced capabilities and the associated security issues with the introduction of the Super Hornet, but the F-35 brings a whole new level in the required need to protect an information-centric platform.” Training To generate a purely Aussie F-35A capability, it is necessary to develop what Kitcher refers to as a “healthy training system.” They will take lessons learned and years of embedding with the US Navy, but they are also incorporating their much shorter work with the US Air Force. In that sense, the F-35A is a major – -and unexpected — game changer as far as the traditionally Navy-centric military relationship between the United States and Australia is concerned. While they’re taking much information from the US, the end-result is that Australia is to use its new air assets in a different way from any of the US services. RAAF aircrew and maintenance personnel training takes place at Luke AFB, where pilots and maintainers from various parts of the world are embedded for three to four month periods. “This,” the air commodore says, “is key to creating the RAAF F-35A IOC capability,” as this blend of cultures and the ability to learn from US F-35 experience represent a fundamental change compared to the past decades that allows  each F-35 country to develop its own tailored modus operandi. Maintenance and sustainability The third major challenge, one that may affect sortie generation, is the ability to sustain the F-35, more an information system than simply an airplane. The approach is once again to focus on what is real, i.e. to project the same type of manpower from the legacy fleet to the next gen, building the RAAF F-35 capability from a current base of  35 to 40 maintainers and six to eight pilots.  “The idea is to adjust as we move along. But transitioning with the same level of manpower, that, in itself, is a major challenge,” he concludes.   In addition to being in itself a very different animal, the F-35A brings therefore a genuine transition to the Australian armed forces from multiple standpoints.  The shift from primarily working with the US Navy to working with the USAF. The rapid shift from legacy fighters to F-35A, whereby the Hornet is being transitioned out and the F-35 transitioned in a very short period of time. Put all of Australia’s air capabilities together — Wedgetail, Super Hornet, Growler, KC-30A and the F-35A  with Royal Australian Navy assets such as the new Air Warfare Destroyer and it’s clear the Aussies will be blazing a path of innovation that the United States and other allies can learn from.
Can Russia and China Detect the F-35 Stealth Aircraft? – YouTube