Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pentagon Wants Stealth Motorcycles For Special Ops Teams

The Logos Technologies project is based on BRD’s RedShift MX, which retails for $15,000. Photo: BRD

The Silent Hybrid Motorcycles the Pentagon Will Use for Stealth Raids -- Danger Room

Special Forces teams are all about silently penetrating remote areas and executing complex, lightning-fast raids. Now DARPA is developing a new vehicle to soundlessly race commandoes to their missions: stealthy, hybrid-powered motorcycles.

The idea is to develop a hybrid power system that relies on both electric and gas power, allowing special ops to go off-road and zip past enemy forces with the silence of an electric engine, while also being able to handle extended missions and higher speeds with a supplemental gas tank.

In February, DARPA awarded Logos Technologies a $100,000, six-month Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract for a preliminary design to see just how viable the project is.

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More News On The U.S. Military Wanting A Stealth Motorcycle For Special Ops

U.S. Plans to Build a Stealth Dirt Bike -- Defense Tech
Military developing stealth motorcycle to let forces travel fast and silent -- FOX News
Get your motor running, quietly: Military developing a stealth motorcycle --
US military building a stealth motorcycle -- Business Standard
Pentagon Designing Stealth Motorcycles for Special Ops Teams -- The Blaze

The Stalemate In The Syrian Civil War Continues

Syria’s Civil War: The Ebb And Flow Of Horror -- The Economist

While each side makes minor gains and losses, overall a bloody stalemate persists

ACCORDING to President Bashar Assad, Syria’s three-year-old fratricide may soon be over. Speaking at Damascus University on April 13th, he declared that his army’s “war on terror” had reached a turning point. From now on, he implied, it would essentially be a mopping-up operation. His allies echo this rosy view. “The danger of the Syrian regime falling has ended,” was the recent judgment of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, the Lebanese Shia party-cum-militia that has pitched an estimated 5,000 fighters into the battle on Mr Assad’s behalf.

On the ground the picture is much more blurred. Rather than showing an irreversible tilt in favour of the regime’s forces, the latest fighting seems to have consolidated territories held by each side. True, Mr Assad faces a less imminent threat to his strongholds, but he lacks the manpower to extend any of his gains very far. Syria remains in effect partitioned into zones held by the government and a patchwork of opponents. Short of far more potent intervention by outside forces, it is hard to see any early military resolution to the conflict.

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My Comment: The stalemate in this civil war will end if another major power gets directly involved .... or if Syrian President Assad is deposed and/or killed. Otherwise ... this conflict will probably last just as long as the Lebanese civil war ... if not longer.

China Furious At U.S. Marine General's Remarks That The Corp Would Retake The Senkakus From China If Ordered To Do So

Photo: Lt. Gen. John Wissler, the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks on the telephone from an office at Camp Courtney, Okinawa, on Dec. 6, 2013. Anthony Kirby/U.S. Marine Corps

China Boast: U.S. Marines Would Be Like ‘Marching Band’ In All Out Fight -- Washington Times

A casual remark by a U.S. general during a breakfast has made China mad, really mad, and Beijing’s response is far less than civil and humble.

On April 11, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler, commander of the 18,000 Marines in Okinawa, Japan, told reporters at a Washington breakfast meeting that the Marines in the Pacific would quickly retake the Senkaku island group and return it to Japan if China were to invade it.

The statement was nothing new, as U.S. officials from the president on down repeatedly have told the Chinese that the United States would fulfill its defense treaty obligations to help Japan militarily in any conflict with China over the islands.

What apparently incensed the Chinese was what Gen. Wissler said next: “You wouldn’t maybe even necessarily have to put somebody on that island until you had eliminated the threat, so to speak.”

The Chinese military is supremely confident of its invincibility in the Pacific and is taking Gen. Wissler’s remark as a great insult.

The first return salvos were fired by the Communist Party-owned and operated newspaper Global Times.

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My Comment: The general's remarks that got China all upset can be read here. As to what is my own take on this "war of words" .... it is clear that Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John Wissler got under some Chinese skins, and the fact that he is not taking the bait to respond is probably making some of them even more upset.

Japan To Deploy Troops Near Disputed Islands

Image: Yonaguni’s location puts it in the midst of regional disputes. New York Times

Japan to Station Troops on Yonaguni, Near Disputed Islands -- Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat

Japan will station 100 troops and radar on its westernmost island, located 108 kilometers east of Taiwan.

In a move that threatens to reverse the recent signs of a burgeoning thaw in China-Japan relations, Japan will break ground Saturday on a new military lookout station on Yonaguni, Japan’s westernmost inhabited island. Yonaguni, which has a population of around 1,500, is located 108 kilometers east of Taiwan and 150 kilometers south of the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. According to Reuters, with the new outpost, Yonaguni’s military presence will expand from two police officers to 100 soldiers and a radar outpost.

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More News On Japan Deploying Troops Near Disputed Islands

Japan to arm remote western island, risking more China tension -- Reuters
Japan sends troops to remote island, risks angering China -- UPI
Japan to Break Ground on New Base Near Isles Disputed With China -- Bloomberg Businessweek
Japan sets sights on strengthening South China Sea surveillance -- Financial Times
100 Self-Defense Force soldiers to be deployed to island near Senkakus -- JDP

Here Are 19 Different Spy Planes

Lockheed U-2. Photo: U.S. Air Force

The 19 Most Badass Spy Planes -- Gizmodo

There is little in the world that can match the simultaneous awesomeness and mystery of a spy plane. These are the paragon of modern innovation, yet largely pass invisible above us. They decide battles and wars, yet only a few lucky soldiers get to see them. Blah blah blah words. Let's look at some incredible machinery.

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My Comment: A cool list .... and with pictures. Check it out.

Is This The Clearest Picture Yet Of America's Newest Top-Secret Spy Plane?

A mysterious flying object was snapped flying over Wichita, Kansas by Jeff Templin. It resembles a similar unidentified aircraft streaking across the skies of Texas last month

Is THIS America's Newest Top-Secret Spy Plane? Clearest Picture Yet Of Mystery Aircraft Spotted Flying Over Kansas Just Weeks After Being Seen In Texas -- Daily Mail

A new image shows a mysterious aircraft flying over Kansas
The jet appears to be the same one that was spotted over Texas last month
Photographer Jeff Templin says it may have been as high as passenger jets
A retired Marine previously said the mysterious plane is the SR-72
The SR-72 is designed to cross entire continents in less than an hour
Developers at Lockheed Martin say the plane could be operational by 2030

A new photo of a mysterious flying object over Kansas has been revealed.

It appears to be the same aircraft as one that was snapped soaring over Texas last month.

The exact identify of the aircraft remains a mystery, but rumours abound that it could be a secret jet.

'The photo is grainy because it was taken with a hand-held maxed-out 400mm telephoto lens through a cloud layer and then it was severely cropped to bring it up even close,' says Jeff Templin, who took the photo on 16 April.

'There is no way to know the altitude and no way to judge its size as there is no point of reference.

'My sense of it with the naked eye was that it was quite high, at least the altitude passenger jets cruise over but if it were smaller like a "drone" it could conceivably have been lower and smaller.'

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Previous Post:
A New U.S. Spy Plane? (Updated)

My Comment: No one knows who is responsible for this plane or it's purpose .... but someone is definitely testing something up there.

Russsia's Newest Spy Plane Has 'Spooked' The Pentagon

Pentagon Moves To Block Russian Spy Plane In American Skies -- Eli Lake, Daily Beast

Russian surveillance planes already fly over America, thanks to a long-standing treaty. But a new, ultra-sophisticated spy plane has U.S. military and intelligence bosses spooked.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military and American intelligence agencies have quietly pushed the White House in recent weeks to deny a new Russian surveillance plane the right to fly over U.S. territory. This week, the White House finally began consideration of the decision whether to certify the new Russian aircraft under the so-called “Open Skies Treaty.” And now the question becomes: Will the spies and generals get their way?

As the United States and Russia face off publicly over Ukraine, behind the scenes, President Obama’s national security cabinet is having its own quiet feud over a long-standing agreement to allow Russian surveillance flights over U.S. airspace.

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My Comment: The U.S. decision to ban this spy plane over U.S. soil has probably been made more easier by Russia's refusal of a scheduled U.S. spy flight over it's territory this week.

What Russian Sanctions?

Despite Sanctions, Russia Is Getting A $457.9M Check From NASA -- Washington Post

Despite ongoing sanctions, Russia is about to get a big infusion of cash from the U.S. government.

NASA recently renewed a contract that allows Russia to ferry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station.

The U.S. is, essentially, cutting Russia a $457.9 million check for its services -- six seats on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, training and launch prep, landing and crew rescue and limited cargo delivery to and from the International Space Station. This contract also adds additional support at the Russian launch site.

NASA has announced it is cutting some contacts with Russia after the country annexed Crimea, including meetings and teleconferences.

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My Comment: Experts have been warning about this NASA dependency on Russia for years.

Top U.S. General And NATO Commander In Europe: Armed Attackers in Ukraine Are Russian Troops in Disguise

An armed man stands next to a barricade in front of the police headquarters in Slaviansk April 13, 2014. Ukraine's Interior Minister on Sunday told residents in the eastern city of Slaviansk to stay indoors, in anticipation of clashes between pro-Russian militants who have seized official buildings and Ukrainian security forces. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

NATO COMMANDER: Ukraine 'Activists' Are Clearly A Professional Military Force Under Russian Control -- Philip Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander Europe

It’s hard to fathom that groups of armed men in masks suddenly sprang forward from the population in eastern Ukraine and systematically began to occupy government facilities. It’s hard to fathom because it’s simply not true. What is happening in eastern Ukraine is a military operation that is well planned and organized and we assess that it is being carried out at the direction of Russia.

President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister David Cameron, President Fran├žois Hollande, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and many others have publicly stated their belief that Russian forces are behind the events in Ukraine. I would like to provide some observations from our analytical experts to help explain why I strongly agree with these world leaders.

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More News On NATO's Top Commander In Europe Making The Accusation That The Armed Attackers in Ukraine Are Russian Troops in Disguise

USAF 4-star: Armed Attackers in Ukraine Are Russian Troops in Disguise -- Defense News
NATO Commander tells how Russian subversives betrayed themselves -- Charter 97
NATO Commander Offers Evidence of Russian Troops in Ukraine -- ABC News

WNU Editor: General Breedlove's post is here.

How The U.S. Could Be Pulled Into A New European War

How Ukraine Crisis Could Pull U.S. To War -- Graham Allison, CNN

(CNN) -- Despite the ray of good news in Thursday's Geneva agreement on steps to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, President Obama was right to sound a note of caution, observing that "I don't think we can be sure of anything at this point."

The deal, reached by Russia, Ukraine and the West, called for, among other things, disarming illegally armed pro-Russian demonstrators in eastern Ukraine, and the surrender of the government buildings they have seized.

These are good and essential first steps, but unless they can now be implemented as a basis on which the parties can move to further, bolder steps to reverse underlying trends, Ukraine could still slide into civil war. If this happened, how would it affect American national interests? Could Ukraine become a 21st century echo of the Balkans in the 1990s, when the collapse of Yugoslavia saw a decade of war between Serbs, Croatians, Bosnians and Kosovars? (No one should forget that just a century ago Ukraine was sucked into a tragic, bloody civil war shortly after gaining independence in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.)

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My Comment: I doubt that such a conflict will happen .... especially having U.S. forces engaged in a conflict in eastern Europe. But people are talking about it .... and that in itself is unprecedented in.

President Obama: 'We Don't Need A War' With Russia Over Ukraine

Obama: ‘We Don’t Need a War’ With Russia -- Noah Rayman, Time

President Obama downplayed the chance of a military conflict with Russia over the escalating tension in eastern Ukraine, in an interview that aired Thursday, saying it's not up to either country to decide what kind of relationships Ukraine has with its neighbors
Putin: I Would Be Justified Using Force in Ukraine
Putin Tells Snowden Russia Doesn’t Collect Citizens’ Data

President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday that “we don’t need a war” with Russia, downplaying the chance of military conflict between the U.S. and Russia over tensions in Ukraine.

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Update: Is confrontation with Russia inevitable? -- Fareed Zakaria, CNN

My Comment: If history is any indication .... people generally do not want war .... unfortunately .... war has a tendency to rush to us when we least expect it .... even when we do not want it. This crisis has the potential of being one of those times.

Pro-Russian Separatists In Ukraine Are Not Going To Surrender

Putin’s Men in Ukraine: We’re Not Giving In -- Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast

Diplomats reached an agreement in Geneva to defuse the Ukraine crisis, but the people at the heart of it aren’t listening.

DONETSK, Ukraine—A dozen men in motley apparel gathered in a quiet office on the fifth floor of what used to be a state administration building in eastern Ukraine, but is now called the headquarters of the “Independent Donetsk People’s Republic.” Some of the men wore uniforms, others wore track suits, some wore balaclava masks. Their apparent leader, sitting behind the desk, was a round-faced 33-year-old Muscovite who called himself Mikhail Verin, or Misha, holding forth to the small crowd about how he found his Russian nationalist inspiration and why, no matter what deals diplomats might hammer out in Geneva, he would not be giving up or giving in.

But as he spoke beneath the Russian flag, Verin’s rhetoric began to suggest bitter schisms within the pro-Moscow movement as different factions try to claim leadership—divisions that could further complicate any effort to defuse the Ukraine crisis.

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My Comment: The U.S. is looking at Russia to disband these groups .... but I do not see this happening. I know the people in this region .... they are very independent and when they are committed they are not going to back down. After-all .... it is this region that opposition to the Soviet Union first started .... culminating in the disbandment of the Soviet Union over 20 years ago. With such a history even Moscow knows that if they make a demand to these separatists to back down .... they will most likely not.