Sen. Wyden on being John McCain"s wingman, Portland WNBA and more

Sen. Ron Wyden, in Portland on a Congressional break, covered a lot of ground in a PBJ interview......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 26th, 2023

How the F-16 pilot nominated to be the US military"s top officer earned the callsign "Swamp Thing"

Distinguished Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown, Jr. has logged thousands of hours, including 130 in combat, mainly flying in F-16 Fighting Falcons. Air Force Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. receiving a Wolf Pack patch during a visit at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Oct. 18, 2019. Brown previously led the Wolf Pack as "Wolf 46."US Air Force photo President Biden has nominated Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown, Jr. to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Brown has logged thousands of hours, including over 100 in combat, flying F-16 fighters. His escape from a burning jet earned him the callsign "Swamp Thing." The US Air Force general President Joe Biden has nominated to serve as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation's top military officer, is a former fighter pilot with an interesting callsign.Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown, Jr., the current Air Force chief of staff and former F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, is a distinguished four-star general. He has also logged more than 3,000 flying hours — including 130 in combat, yet his callsign is, perhaps unexpectedly, "Swamp Thing.""He knows what it means to be in the thick of battle and how to keep your cool when things get hard. Like when your F-16 was on fire," Biden said during speech announcing his nomination outside the White House on Thursday. "That's a lot of fun, huh? Well I tell you what — he was back in the cockpit the next week with a new callsign: Swamp Thing." The origins of Brown's callsign date back to January 1991, when Brown — then an Air Force captain — was flying an F-16 during a training mission over the Everglades in Florida. Mid-flight, Brown's wingman called attention to a gas tank explosion that had caused a fire on his aircraft. Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum last year, Brown said his wingman described the fire as small at first, but it grew larger. Out of options, he ejected from the aircraft, he said, and while he was floating down to earth in a parachute, he had just enough time to think: "Hope there's nothing down there."President Joe Biden shakes hands with U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., after nominating Brown as the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 25, 2023.AP Photo/Susan WalshHe landed on his left side, which was left covered in swamp mud. Brown then spent about 15 minutes on the ground before a Coast Guard helicopter came to rescue him. After being picked up, he spent the night in a hospital.Brown told the Aspen Security Forum that he was frustrated because the incident happened right before selections to weapons school, but he didn't think at any point that it was going to be the end of his Air Force career. The following week, he flew seven times, so "it was actually still a good week," he said. After the incident, Brown went on to receive several more promotions and assignments all around the world, and also commanded fighter squadrons and fighter wings. In June 2020, he made history by becoming the first Black officer to lead a military branch when he was confirmed by the Senate to be the Air Force's next chief of staff. Before that, Brown, who has been in the Air Force for nearly four decades, served as the head of US Pacific Air Forces."While General Brown is a proud, butt-kicking American airman, first and always, he's always been an operational leader of the Joint Force," Biden said during Thursday's announcement. "He gained respect across every service, from those who have seen him in action and have come to depend on his judgment.""More than that," Biden continued, "he gained the respect of our allies and partners around the world, who regard Gen. brown as a trusted partner and a top-notch strategist."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2023

The US Air Force has big plans for the next-generation drones that will fight alongside its fighters and bombers

To bulk up its fleet without breaking the bank, the US Air Force is developing drones that can work alongside piloted aircraft or fight on their own. A US Air Force F-22 and F-35A fly with a XQ-58A Valkyrie during a test over Arizona in December 2020.U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Cason Over the past 30 years, the US Air Force's fighter fleet has shrunk. As the service focuses on competition with China, it wants an affordable way to expand that fleet. It's now developing collaborative combat aircraft, which can fight alongside piloted jets or on their own. On April 11, General Atomics announced that AI and human pilots had successfully done combat maneuvers with the company's MQ-20 Avenger unmanned combat aerial vehicle.The test involved human operators sending commands to the aircraft through a satellite in low earth orbit. The aircraft were also tracked and maneuvered by AI pilots operating autonomously. Data was collected and used to retrain and redeploy AI pilots via satellite connection while the aircraft was still airborne.The test is one of the latest developments in the US Air Force's efforts to acquire collaborative combat aircraft — unmanned aircraft capable of operating alongside piloted aircraft or autonomously for all kinds of missions.The collaborative combat aircraft is one of the Air Force's biggest priorities, one that will shape the future of its inventory and influence how it uses its aircraft."We're headed down the path to have much more capability for uncrewed aircraft," Gen. Charles Brown Jr., the Air Force chief of staff, said in February. "As you look at collaborative combat aircraft, it can be the sensor, it could be a shooter, it can be a jammer."A need for 'affordable mass'MQ-9s on a runway at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in April.US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Victor J. CaputoCollaborative combat aircraft, or CCA, are a solution to a problem the Air Force faces as it prepares for an era of great-power competition with China: the size of its fleet.Budget cuts, the unexpectedly high cost of the F-35 stealth fighter, and the focus on low-intensity counterinsurgency operations for much of the past three decades led that fleet to shrink.In 1989, the Air Force's total fighter inventory was 4,321 aircraft. That fell to 2,584 by 1999 and to 1,176 in 2022, according to the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. The number of mission-capable fighters — those that can fly and perform at least one mission — is even lower. Worse, the Air Force faces a pilot shortage and its overall number of flight hours has been decreasing.The Air Force has tried to address those issues in several ways. It is acquiring the F-15EX, a modernized version of the F-15 that will replace older models, and it has invested in simulators to accelerate pilot training.The Air Force also continues to develop top-tier assets like the F-35, the B-21 stealth bomber, and the Next Generation Air Dominance program, or NGAD.However, those aircraft are very expensive, their development may still be delayed, and acquiring them doesn't address pilot retention and generation issues. Consequently, the Air Force wants cheaper, capable airframes to provide "affordable mass."Collaborative combat aircraftAn MQ-1 Predator prepares to land at a base in Iraq in November 2008.US Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Erik GudmundsonThe Air Force has used drones for intelligence-gathering and airstrikes for decades, but its premier unmanned combat platforms, the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, are still operated remotely by humans.CCAs, however, are meant to function remotely or autonomously and to perform a range of missions, including air-to-air combat, airstrikes, and intelligence-gathering. They will be able to operate alongside piloted aircraft in manned-unmanned teams, in which pilots will assign tasks that the CCAs complete on their own. The CCAs will also be able to operate completely autonomously with other CCAs.CCAs are an integral part of NGAD, which seeks to create "a family of systems," not just a single fighter."One way to think about it is that the pod or the weapon that might have been under the wing of crewed aircraft is now flying in separate aircraft and managed by that commander of that aircraft," Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, the service's top civilian official, told lawmakers on May 2."The analysis that we've done shows that the adversary has to honor each of those aircraft, as it is a full threat, and that gives you a great advantage relative to the cost of having those things in the air," Kendall added.An XQ-58A is launched at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in December 2020.US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua KingCCAs will be piloted by systems that are in development. The Air Force's Skyborg program, which is pursuing an AI-enabled system to control unmanned aircraft, has successfully demonstrated its capabilities. DARPA's Air Combat Evolution program has demonstrated its ability to beat human pilots in simulated dogfights.Kendall said in early March that the Air Force may acquire at least 1,000 CCAs — two each for some 500 NGAD aircraft and F-35s — but has since said that was just a starting point meant to show the Air Force was serious about the program."We're starting out with the intent to have at least two per fighter working together, but it could be more than that," Kendall told reporters at the Air and Space Forces symposium on March 7. "It's going to be a question of what the technology will support and what works out best operationally."Kendall has said the cost of each CCA could be one-quarter to half the cost of an F-35. With F-35s running about $82.5 million, CCAs could cost between $21 million and $41 million."We can sacrifice one of these aircraft, put it well out in front, use it to draw a fire, and force the other side to expose itself and then be subject to engagement," Kendall told lawmakers this month. "We call them attritable. They're not expendable, but we can afford to lose some of them operationally."Valkyrie, Avenger, and Ghost BatAn MQ-20 Avenger over California in June 2021.General AtomicsAir Force officials have indicated that because of the array of missions CCAs are expected to conduct, there likely won't be a single model.At least three UCAVs in development could be candidates for the Air Force's program: the XQ-58 Valkyrie from Kratos Defense, the MQ-20 Avenger from General Atomics, and the MQ-28 Ghost Bat from Boeing.The XQ-58A has a maximum launch weight of 6,000 pounds and can cruise at 550 mph. Its operational altitude is 45,000 feet and it has a range of 3,000 nautical miles. Since first flying in 2019, it has done multiple test flights for the Air Force, including being used as a datalink for F-22s and F-35s and work with the Skyborg program.The Valkyrie's unique rocket-assisted takeoff system also gives it what Kratos and the Air Force call "runway independence." It uses parachutes and airbag cushions to land.The MQ-20 Avenger first flew in 2009 and an upgraded version with increased fuel capacity flew in 2016. It has a top speed of about 460 mph and a 20-hour flight endurance and can reach altitudes over 50,000 feet. It can carry 6,500 pounds of ordnance, including missiles and precision-guided bombs. The MQ-20 can also be fitted with sensors and cameras, making it suitable for intelligence-gathering and electronic warfare.An MQ-28 Ghost Bat at the Australian International Airshow in February.REUTERS/Jamie FreedThe Avenger's angular shape and internal weapons bay give it stealth properties. Only a few have been built, but it has been heavily involved in the Skyborg program.The MQ-28 was developed by Boeing Australia for the Royal Australian Air Force and was originally known as the Airpower Teaming System, a nod to its intended role as a "loyal wingman" to manned aircraft.Boeing has been very secretive about the Ghost Bat, which first flew in 2021. The company has said the drone can fly more than 2,000 nautical miles and carry sensor packages for intelligence-gathering and early-warning missions.Australia has signed contracts for 10 MQ-28s, which are expected to enter service between 2024 and 2025. The US Air Force has acquired at least one MQ-28 for testing.Kendall has said a formal competition for CCA acquisition could begin as soon as late 2023, and Air Force officials say the first CCAs could arrive in the late 2020s and enter service before the NGAD fighter."I think the CCA is not just desirable. It's essential" to meet the global challenges the Air Force faces, Kendall told lawmakers on March 28. "Without it, it's very difficult to envision how we could keep the Air Force at the size it currently is."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 3rd, 2023

A German company is offering Ukraine the benefit — and burden — of being the first military to get its brand-new tank

If Ukraine is the first to field the new Panther tank, then it will likely be the first to deal with any bugs that it has. A Rheinmetall Panther KF51 main battle tank at the Rheinmetall plant in Lower Saxony in July.Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images Prominent German defense firm Rheinmetall is offering Ukraine its new Panther Kf51 tank. The Kf51 would leapfrog the other older Western-made tanks that are being sent to Ukraine. While the Kf51 has advanced capabilities, its newness may create more headaches for the Ukrainians. While Ukraine waits on the older Abrams and Leopard tanks that the US and European countries have promised to deliver, it may have the opportunity to buy a cutting-edge German tank.Acquiring the next-generation Panther Kf51 would give Ukraine the chance to leapfrog the older tanks that Western donors are sending — as well the mostly Cold War-era tanks that Ukraine already uses — but taking on an unproven vehicle could further tax Ukraine's military as it struggles to incorporate older Western tank models.Rheinmetall, the prominent German arms firm that developed the Kf51, seems confident the idea could work. Its CEO, Armin Papperger, told German business newspaper Handelsblatt that the Panther could be delivered to Ukraine "in 15 to 18 months.""We are talking to Kyiv about exporting the Panther," Papperger said. Interestingly, Papperger said that Ukraine had also expressed interest Rheinmetall's next-generation Lynx infantry fighting vehicle.An illustration of Rheinmetall's Panther KF51.Rheinmetall DefenceRheinmetall is reportedly negotiating with Ukraine to build a tank factory there, though it's not clear whether it would produce the Panther or the older Leopard 2 tank.The Kf51 Panther is a new tank with some old features. Its hull is based on the Leopard 2, which debuted in 1979. But the turret contains Rheinmetall's next-generation Future Gun System, a 130 mm smoothbore cannon that replaces the standard 120 mm found on Western tanks such as the M1 Abrams, Leopard 2, and the Challenger 2.The Panther also has advanced features, including launchers for HERO 120 loitering munitions that give the tank an on-board kamikaze drone capability. Sophisticated networking capabilities allow it to be integrated into detect-and-shoot kill chains and the ability to control "wingman" unmanned ground vehicles that provide capabilities "such as platoon-level air and drone defense," according to Rheinmetall, which describes the Panther as a "truly software-defined tank."Rheinmetall presented the Panther at a Paris trade fair last summer and "touted it as the strongest battle tank in the world," according to Handelsblatt.A German Leopard 2 tank in Munster in May 2019.Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty ImagesTwo aspects of the Kf51 stand out. One is the autoloader that replaces the crew member who loads shells into the main gun, enabling the tank to have a crew of three rather that the four usually found in Western tanks. (Russian tanks also use an autoloader for a crew of three.)Like the next-generation Abrams tank, the Panther's turret can be unmanned, with its crew operating the vehicle behind the thicker armor of the tank's hull.Perhaps not coincidentally, an unmanned turret and on-board drones are also a feature of Russia's next-generation T-14 Armata tank, which first appeared in 2014. Russia's army has only bought a few T-14s, possibly because of the high price as well as production and mechanical issues. The Kremlin also appears reluctant to commit T-14s to combat in Ukraine.It's also notable that the Panther has a combat weight of just 59 tons. This is lighter than the latest Leopard 2A7, which is 67 tons, and Abrams and Challenger, which weigh 70 to 80 tons, both of which Ukraine is slated to receive. Lighter vehicles can more easily cross bridges or muddy terrain, which are key considerations on Ukrainian battlefields.An illustration of the Panther KF51.Rheinmetall DefenceBut tank design is about tradeoffs, especially when it comes to weight.One reason the Kf51 is slimmer is because just like the Leopard 2, it is not as thickly armored as the Abrams and Challenger. Instead of bulky armor plate, the Panther relies more on active and passive protection systems, such as jammers, smokescreens, and projectiles to destroy incoming anti-tank rockets.There is no doubt that Ukraine needs more tanks. Russia has lost almost 2,000 tanks since the war began a year ago, according to a tally by the open-source website Oryx, but Ukraine has lost almost 500 tanks.While Ukraine has been able to replenish some losses by putting more than 500 captured Russian tanks into service, it is still going to need foreign vehicles as the Soviet-era designs it had before the war are destroyed or worn out.Nonetheless, one consideration for Ukraine — and any foreign donors who would subsidize its purchase — is that no military has yet bought the Kf51.Even the best new weapons have teething problems. If Ukraine becomes the first to field the Panther, then it will become the first to deal with the inevitable bugs. With all the challenges that Ukraine already faces, that's a gamble.Michael Peck is a defense writer whose work has appeared in Forbes, Defense News, Foreign Policy magazine, and other publications. He holds a master's in political science. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMar 9th, 2023

Audio Of US Fighter Pilot Who Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon Reveals Lake Huron Strategy

Audio Of US Fighter Pilot Who Shot Down Chinese Spy Balloon Reveals Lake Huron Strategy Authored by Andrew Thornebrooke via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Audio recordings of radio chatter taken during the United States’ shoot down of a Chinese spy balloon earlier this month may provide insights into how the military later shot down an unidentified object over Lake Huron. A U.S. F-22 Raptor fighter flies during an aerial display at Farnborough Airshow, Hampshire, on July 14, 2008. (Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty Images) In over 20 minutes of radio chatter, U.S. pilots and ground teams can be heard discussing their approach and shoot down of the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina. The audio was captured by aviation radio enthusiast Ken Harrell and first published by The Drive. The Air Force declined to share its own audio files but confirmed the authenticity of the recordings to The Epoch Times. In one exchange, the lead fighter pilot and his wingman can both be heard preparing their missiles to fire on the balloon, suggesting that the wingman was prepared to take down the balloon immediately following a failed attempt by the lead pilot. The primary players you will see in the transcript and hear in the audio are: FRANK01 is the lead F-22 that took the kill shot. FRANK02 is its wingman. As we reported Saturday, those call signs were an homage to World War One flying ace and U.S. Army Air Service First Lieutenant Frank Luke Jr, a Medal of Honor recipient better known as the "Arizona Balloon Buster" who destroyed 14 German balloons and four aircraft. HUNTRESS is the U.S. Air Force's Eastern Air Defense Sector, or EADS, part of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which was controlling the operation from the ground in Rome, New York. EAGLE01 is an F-15C and EAGLE02 is its wingman. The Eagles backed-up the F-22s and used their SNIPER targeting pods to record the shootdown and mark areas of debris for recovery. TIGER09 is a Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.  TOI is Target Of Interest, in this case the Chinese spy balloon. Author's notes are seen in italics. -The Drive “FRANK01 is switches hot,” the lead pilot says. “FREANK02 is switches hot,” the wingman follows. The two F-22 stealth fighters’ call signs, FRANK01 and FRANK02, were named after World War I flying ace Frank Luke Jr., who earned the epithet of “Arizona Balloon Buster” for his successful shootdowns of 14 German balloons during the conflict. Notably, the brief exchange may reveal exactly what happened during the United States shoot down of an unidentified object over Lake Huron on Feb. 12. During that encounter, the lead pilot fired an AIM-9X missile at the object, the same type of missile used on the Chinese spy balloon and two other unidentified objects this month. In one portion of the recording, an F-15C pilot can be heard expressing frustration over actually locking onto the balloon. "I’m having trouble keeping a radar lock for any more than a second on him," said the pilot, adding "I will keep trying." Read the entire transcript here via The Drive. Tyler Durden Thu, 02/16/2023 - 21:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytFeb 16th, 2023

Decades after winning the world"s first jet-powered dogfights, US fighter pilots are still flexing their muscles over Korea

An area along the North Korea-China border known as "MiG Alley" was the site of intense dogfights for much of the Korean War. US Air Force F-80C Shooting Stars during the Korean War in 1950 or 1951.US Air Force/B. Butcher By late 1950, US pilots were frequently battling North Korean and Soviet pilots over Korea. That November, US Air Force and Navy pilots notched the first victories between jet-powered aircraft. More than 70 years later, US fighter pilots are still flexing their muscles around the Korean Peninsula. November marked the 72nd anniversary of the first dogfight between jet-powered fighter aircraft in history.The specific date of that first dogfight is still hotly debated, with both the US Air Force and US Navy taking credit for the milestone in two Korean War air battles.The first, involving an Air Force Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star piloted by Lt. Russel Brown, occurred on November 8, 1950. The second, involving a Navy Grumman F9F Panther piloted by Lt. Cmdr. William Amen, took place on November 9.Both took place in the same area and involved the same opponents — MiG-15 fighter jets flown by Soviet pilots who had been secretly deployed to aid North Korea's military.While the date of the first dogfight still isn't clear, the battles were the beginning of a new era of aerial warfare.Air superiorityUS Air Force F-80C fighters return from a mission in August 1952.US Air ForceUnited Nations forces, led by the US, quickly established air superiority after the Korean war started on June 25, 1950.The North Korean People's Air Force (KPAF) was considerably smaller than those of the US and its allies, had almost no combat experience, and was mainly equipped with Soviet-made propeller planes, mostly Yak-9s, Yak-11s, La-7s, and Il-10s.US and UN forces, on the other hand, had aviators and mechanics with combat experience from World War II, better propeller planes, and, most importantly, new jet aircraft. The backbone of the US Air Force's fighter fleet was the F-80C Shooting Star, while the US Navy relied on the carrier-based F9F Panther.The war was the first major engagement for the US Air Force, which had been formed in September 1947, and it would be the first time that jet-powered aircraft were major players.American aircraft based in Japan were scoring kills within a day of the war's start, and on June 27, the F-80C scored its first kill when 1st Lt. Robert H. Dewald shot down a KPAF Il-10.A US Navy F9F-2 Panther on the deck of aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea in 1951.US NavyAir Force F-80Cs conducted more than 15,000 sorties in the first four months of the war. Along with Navy carrier aircraft, they engaged in dogfights, assisted long-range bomber raids, and intercepted KPAF fighters wherever and whenever they appeared.Allied air supremacy helped reverse the tide of the war on the ground, and on October 1, UN forces had crossed the 38th Parallel, taking the war into North Korea itself.Unnerved by those developments, China and the Soviet Union stepped up their support for North Korea. China entered the war on October 19 with hundreds of thousands of troops who clashed with UN forces. The Soviets sent dozens of their newest fighter jet, the MiG-15, and pilots to fly them.Operating from Chinese bases across the Yalu River, the Soviet MiGs had Chinese or North Korean markings and engaged in dogfights with US and allied aircraft.On November 1, the first day MiG-15s fought allied aircraft, the Soviets claimed to have shot down an American F-51 Mustang and an F-80C fighter jet, but Air Force records for that day do not show any losses to enemy aircraft.The Air Force's 'first'A US Air Force F-80C armed with napalm bombs takes off from a Korean airfield in February 1951.US Air ForceAccording to the Air Force, the first real jet vs. jet dogfight occurred seven days later, on November 8.During a large bombing raid on the KPAF airfield at Sinuiju, four F-80Cs were finishing strafing attacks on anti-aircraft guns when the lead jet, piloted by Lt. Col. Evans Stephens, noticed 12 MiG-15s approaching from nearby Chinese territory.Two of the MiGs dove for Stephens and Lt. Russel Brown, breaking right in front of them as the Americans turned to meet them. Stephens trailed the first MiG while Brown trailed the second. Stephens managed to fire on his MiG and damaged its left wing, causing it to head back to China.Brown, meanwhile, was in hot pursuit, but the MiG was a faster aircraft. Brown's F-80 began buffeting as it exceeded 0.80 Mach. As the MiG attempted to turn, Brown fired four busts, causing the MiG pilot to roll over and dive.Brown continued his pursuit. Going as fast as 600 mph, the MiG was still about 1,000 feet away. Brown fired another four bursts, causing the MiG's fuselage to spew black smoke. A final burst exploded the MiG in mid-air.Just 2,000 feet off the ground, Brown pulled out of the dive. The dogfight had lasted about 60 seconds.The Navy's 'first'US Navy F9F-2 fighters launch from USS Philippine Sea for a mission over Korea in 1952 or 1953.US NavyFor decades, Brown's engagement was believed to be the first kill in a jet vs. jet dogfight.After the Cold War, Russian documents claimed that the MiG engaged by Brown had actually returned to its base. If this is true, then the first kill in a jet vs. jet dogfight belongs to a Navy jet flying in the same place just a day later.On November 9, fighter-bombers and attack aircraft launched from the carriers USS Valley Forge and USS Philippine Sea to strike bridges on the Yalu River between Sinuiju and China. The strike aircraft were escorted by F9F Panthers, which conducted combat patrols during the bombing missions.As the US aircraft began their attack, a squadron of Soviet MiG-15s attempted to intercept them. Aware of the approaching MiGs, Lt. Cmdr. William Amen ordered his Panthers to join the fray.Amen soon found himself trailing a lone MiG-15. Although faster than the Panther, the MiG inadvertently allowed Amen and his wingman to close the gap by turning and yawing in an attempt to shake them. As a result, the US Navy pilots hit the MiG with their 20mm guns.The MiG then went into a steep dive. Amen followed. Despite the Panther buffeting as it approached its maximum velocity, Amen managed to fire more rounds into the MiG-15. At about 3,000 feet, Amen broke off and began to pull up, leveling off and turning upward with just 200 feet to spare.The damaged MiG was not as lucky and smashed into the side of a hill. It was piloted by Capt. Mikhail F. Grachev, the leader of the Soviet squadron, and was the first MiG-15 loss acknowledged by the Soviets.Importance of airpowerUS Air Force F-16s and B-1B bombers with South Korean F-35As during Vigilant Storm 23 in November 2022.US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Dwane YoungDespite the early victories by UN pilots, the MiGs became a significant problem as they arrived in force, causing the US Air Force to cease daylight bombing raids almost entirely.UN forces began to check the MiG menace when the US introduced the F-86 Saber in December 1950. The F-86 soon became the primary fighter aircraft for US and allied air forces in Korea, with other jet fighters moving to attack or reconnaissance roles.The area along the North Korea-China border where Brown's and Amen's engagements occurred continued to see intense dogfights until the end of the war, earning it the nickname "MiG Alley."Seventy-two years later, military planners still value airpower on the Korean Peninsula.A US Marine Corps F-35B takes off in South Korea during Vigilant Storm 23 in October 2022.US Marine Corps/Sgt. Jose AngelesUS and South Korean forces recently conducted their largest air exercise ever, reflecting their ongoing reliance on air superiority as well as recent tensions.The exercise, called Vigilant Storm, involved roughly 100 US aircraft and some 140 South Korean aircraft flying more than 1,600 sorties. Attack aircraft, fourth- and fifth-generation fighter jets, and strategic bombers took part.Vigilant Storm was extended in response to North Korean missile tests in November. It included mock attacks, aerial maneuvers, close air support drills, and emergency air operations, which were conducted 24 hours a day for almost a week.In December, US B-52 bombers and F-22 stealth fighters flew alongside South Korean F-15s and F-35s in a show of force. It was the first time F-22s had been deployed to South Korea in four years.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytFeb 6th, 2023

Here"s how a wildly outgunned US Navy pilot outfoxed one of the Soviet Union"s best jets, scoring a string of kills in a legendary dogfight

Royce Williams was recently awarded the Navy Cross for his display of "extraordinary heroism" during the Korean War air battle. Close view of an F9F Panther jet touching down on the deck of the USS Oriskany, tail hook engaging the arresting wire, smoke coming from impact of tires. Nov. 1952.CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images An outgunned US Navy pilot downed four Soviet MiG-15 jets in a legendary dogfight over 70 years ago. Royce Williams was flying an inferior F9F Panther. Military aviation experts say that Williams' success that day was a result of his training and readiness. More than 70 years ago, a US Navy pilot took on seven Soviet aircraft then among the world's best interceptor fighters and shot down four of them in a legendary dogfight that was classified for decades.The Korean War air battle is no longer a secret, and the pilot, Royce Williams, was recently awarded the Navy Cross for his display of "extraordinary heroism."Williams was outmatched that day, fighting in an inferior plane with the numbers clearly on the enemy's side. Insider asked naval aviation experts how he pulled off a win with the odds stacked against him. They said it was his training and readiness that saw him through that.On Nov. 18, 1952, the day of the battle, Williams was flying a F9F Panther, the Navy's first carrier-based jet fighter, as part of a team of three planes from fighter squadron VF-781 during a combat patrol mission over the Sea of Japan when they encountered seven Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 jet fighters. This swept-wing Soviet aircraft was considered to be superior to the straight-wing American Panther in terms of overall performance.The Soviet jets engaged the American team, and it wasn't long before Williams found himself fighting alone. An unexpected fuel pump issue forced the team's flight leader to return to the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany, leaving just the young lieutenant and his wingman. Then when Williams shot down one of the enemy planes, his wingman pursued it, and Williams was left to take on the six remaining Soviet aircraft on his own. Williams was outgunned and outnumbered as he took on the Soviet jets in what became the longest dogfight in US military history, but he held his own. According to Pacific Fleet, during the 35-minute battle, he shot down four MiG-15s in a single fight, something no American pilot had ever done before. But as the US and Soviet Union were not engaged in open conflict, his exploits were kept secret.According to his Navy Cross citation, Williams' plane was "severely damaged" by a direct hit from one of the Soviet MiG-15s, but he continued to engage the Soviets until he managed to escape through the clouds and land a "nearly uncontrollable" plane back on the USS Oriskany. A Grumman F9F Panther fighter jet fires its guns during an attack on the North Korean port of Hungnam.CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images'The only thing I could do was out-turn them'Manufactured by Grumman, the F9F Panther first flew in 1947 and became the backbone of US Navy and Marine Corps air fleets during the Korean War, according to the National Museum of the US Navy. They were armed with four 20 mm cannons and also carried air-to-ground munitions. Hill Goodspeed, the deputy director at the National Naval Aviation Museum, told Insider that during the Korean War, the Panther primarily conducted ground strike missions as opposed to engaging in air-to-air fighting. The MiG-15, meanwhile, first entered service in 1949 and operated against United Nations forces during the Korean War, according to the National Museum of the US Air Force. This aircraft was armed with 23 mm cannons and a 37 mm cannon.A Soviet Union MiG-15.Photo by: Images Group via Getty ImagesAlthough the MiG-15 could fly faster and climb to a higher altitude, the Panther had the advantage in turning ability. When an aircraft is able to out-turn another, it can prevent an enemy from getting a good shot. The Panther also had certain firepower advantages with a more stable firing platform than the MiG-15, Goodspeed said.Williams told the American Veterans Center in a 2021 video interview that the MiG-15 was the "best fighter airplane in the world" at the time and that "plane on plane," he was at a clear disadvantage."In the moment I was a fighter pilot doing my job," Williams said in an account of the fight, according to Pacific Fleet. "I was only shooting what I had," he recalled. "They had me cold on maneuverability and acceleration — the MiG was vastly superior on those counts to the F9F. The only thing I could do was out-turn them." Goodspeed said human factors and the ability to understand the enemy are critical in a fight like this, explaining "it all comes down — first and foremost — to the person in the cockpit and the training they've received."During the Korean War, two United States Grumman F9F Panther jet fighters are refueling after having been armed with rockets under their wings in 1951.Photo by Interim Archives/Getty ImagesThis dogfight was 'a very rare feat'Williams' engagement "justifies" the role of institutions like the US Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program — also known as TOPGUN, Guy Snodgrass, a career Navy fighter pilot and former US defense official, told Insider. It's not always possible to change the equipment that the US has in its arsenal, but military institutions can help shape training and readiness levels.  "Having a better piece of equipment can lull you into a false sense of security that your equipment is going to take care of the engagement for you. And that's not the case," said Snodgrass, a former TOPGUN instructor. "Once you get inside that visual arena, then you're in a position where your skills, your dedication, your hard work, staying in the fight — all those things become outsized factors that can really turn the tide of the conflict."Snodgrass said one element of the TOPGUN training is studying "adversarial" aircraft made by countries that the US might have a greater chance of going up against in the future — like Russia or China. These are then compared with the strengths and weaknesses of US aircraft.Williams' dogfight isn't the only example of US planes battling enemy aircraft that are superior on paper. During World War II, for example, the Navy's F4F Wildcat went up against Japan's Mitsubishi A6M Zero, which was considered to be the more capable plane in part because of its maneuverability, Goodspeed said.  That said, "in the jet age, to shoot down multiple jets in air-to-air combat was a very rare feat," Goodspeed explained, comparing later fights to those during World War II, when an aviator might shoot down several planes in one day. Snodgrass said there's lots of big picture lessons to extract from large-scale wars like Korea or Vietnam, and specific engagements — like Williams' dogfight — demonstrate how a pilot can use their strengths in a situation where they may be outmatched. "The machines have advanced. The tactics have advanced," the former aviator said. "So it's really more the principle that you're going after rather than the specifics of this case." Williams receiving the Navy Cross at the age of 97.US Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Daniel ChildsThe US government classified the legendary 1952 dogfight, and Williams, who was awarded the Silver Star in May 1953 and retired from the Navy in 1980, was sworn to secrecy about what happened until his story was finally declassified about 20 years ago. Because Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro has the authority to upgrade awards, he decided to review Williams' case and said that it stood out among the rest. On January 20, he presented Williams with Navy Cross, which is the service's second-highest military honor. "It was very clear to me that his actions were extraordinary, and more closely aligned with the criteria describing a higher award," Del Toro said of Williams during a ceremony in San Diego. "And sir, what a tremendous honor it was to tell you in person, that after all these years, your courageous actions would finally get the recognition they deserve."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 31st, 2023

Former US Navy fighter pilot explains why TOPGUN fines aviators $5 each time they quote the iconic 1986 film "Top Gun" starring Tom Cruise

If a TOPGUN student says they are feeling "the need for speed," it'll cost them, but probably not for the reason you think. F/A-18E Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron 136 "Knighthawks" fly in formation over California.U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe The US Navy's premiere fighter pilot training school, commonly known as TOPGUN, fines people for various infractions. Quotes from the classic 1986 film "Top Gun" starring Tom Cruise cost those at fault $5, Guy "Bus" Snodgrass, a retired Navy commander and former TOPGUN instructor, says in his book, "TOPGUN's Top 10: Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit." The reason for the rule against "Top Gun" quotes is not that people are tired of them but because the pilots that attend the school are at the top of their game, so no one is allowed to make a joke out of the school by referencing the movie, Snodgrass told Insider. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. If you feel "the need for speed" at the US Navy's elite fighter pilot school, you'd best not say it out loud, or be prepared to pay the price.At the Navy's decades-old tactical air combat training center commonly known as TOPGUN, there are fines for various infractions. Any quote from the iconic 1986 film "Top Gun" starring Tom Cruise as the hotshot naval aviator Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell will cost you $5, former fighter pilot and TOPGUN instructor Cmdr. Guy "Bus" Snodgrass reveals in his book, "TOPGUN's Top 10: Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit."Snodgrass' book shares lessons on successful leadership from his career as a naval aviator while offering unique insight into the TOPGUN experience, everything from dogfighting to daily life at this prestigious training center.While assuming that the reason for the rule against "Top Gun" quotes is that TOPGUN instructors are tired of hearing "you can be my wingman any time" or "your ego is writing checks your body can't cash" is reasonable, there is actually more to it than that, Snodgrass explained. It's about preserving the seriousness and significance of the institution.Snodgrass says in his new book that he fell in love with aviation at a young age. He had posters of planes on the walls of his room, and watching air shows as a kid with his Boy Scout troop in Texas fueled his interest in flying."I watched with utter fascination as the US Air Force Thunderbirds and US Navy Blue Angels amazed crowds with their precise maneuvers and out‑of‑this-­world skill level," he wrote. "The energy, excitement, and jet noise were all I needed — I was hooked."But, the movie "Top Gun" was also an inspiration. "I think that's where my real true initial love for naval aviation started," Snodgrass told Insider. "I loved the flying scenes. It was exciting. I felt myself going, 'Man, if I could ever do that, it would be a dream come true.'"Guy "Bus" Snodgrass.Courtesy photo'You don't turn TOPGUN into a joke'Looking back on the action film as someone who had the opportunity to serve as a Navy fighter pilot, he said, "The 'Top Gun' movie had such an impact on most of our lives."He revealed that as a junior officer, it was common for pilots to make jokes and throw out lines from the movie. "It's ingrained in our culture to a certain extent," he said."But," Snodgrass explained to Insider, "when you get to TOPGUN, because it is such a professional organization and you want to emphasize that you are at the top of your game, that it's about professionalism, about good leadership, you don't turn TOPGUN into a joke by referencing the movie."The Navy's advanced Fighter Weapons School was established on March 3, 1969, during the Vietnam War at Naval Air Station Miramar in California with one very important mission: "To teach aircrew how to not just survive in dogfighting — but to win," Snodgrass wrote of TOPGUN's origins.Decades later, the school, since relocated to Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada, is still producing some of the world's top combat aviators. And, the Navy pilots selected to attend the institution take it seriously."So, it is a part of our bylaws that if someone overtly references the movie — it could be a direct quote, it could be something that is really close to a direct quote — that's an automatic $5 fine. And it's enforced. And you are expected to pay right then. You pull out your wallet and pay the $5," Snodgrass said.Old habits die hard though. "I think at some point we were all fined because it's so ingrained in our aviation culture," he told Insider. Snodgrass declined to reveal his favorite "Top Gun" film quote but did say he loved the movie and is looking forward to the sequel.Although he never quotes it, Snodgrass does reference the "Top Gun" movie in his book, calling attention to the scene where Maverick abandons his wingman and flight lead, Hollywood, in a dogfighting training situation to chase an "enemy" fighter.By acting impulsively and looking out only for himself, Maverick gets his wingman "killed" and falls right into the trap of the "enemy" aircraft."There's a reason why the actual TOPGUN instructors consulting on the movie insisted on this scene being included: it accurately reflected real combat," Snodgrass wrote."When you fly the skies alone and unafraid, bad things can — and do — happen," he said, explaining in his book that both in the air and in life, it's good to "always have a wingman." This is something Snodgrass learned himself in the Navy and one of a number of lessons he picked up from his time at TOPGUN.Snodgrass served in the US military for two decades. He is a TOPGUN graduate and former instructor, as well as a retired naval aviator who flew combat missions overseas. He is also a former Pentagon official who worked closely with the secretary of defense and authored the 2018 National Defense Strategy. This post was originally published on 9/16/2020.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 2nd, 2023

A-10 pilot reveals what it was like trying to land an attack aircraft that was literally falling apart around her

"I have never been so focused on a landing in my entire life," Capt. Taylor Bye told Insider of the belly landing that earned her multiple awards. Capt. Taylor "Petrie" Bye standing in front of her A-10 attack aircraftCourtesy photo In spring 2020, Capt. Taylor Bye's A-10 attack aircraft started falling apart on a training flight. She had to land with no cockpit canopy, panels falling off, and landing gear up. Bye spoke to Insider about the experience and what it was like getting back in the air afterwards. The last thing any pilot wants to see is their plane falling apart while they are trying to fly it, but that was the nightmare scenario US Air Force A-10 attack aircraft pilot Capt. Taylor "Petrie" Bye found herself in.On April 7, 2020, a routine training flight suddenly was anything but when the 30 mm GAU-8/A Avenger cannon on Bye's A-10C Thunderbolt II malfunctioned during a gun run at Grand Bay Range at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia.Problems with the powerful gatling gun triggered a series of catastrophes that ultimately forced her to land her plane with no cockpit canopy, missing panels, and landing gear up.This 75th Fighter Squadron pilot talked to Insider about the skillful flying and impressive crash-landing, for which she received not one but two prestigious service awards.'Never been so focused on a landing in my entire life'Bye's A-10 sits on the runway after making an emergency landing on April 7, 2020 at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.US Air Force photo by Andrea JenkinsWhen Bye attempted to fire the cannon on a strafing run, she heard a troubling pop. Then a light came on warning her that the gun was "unsafe." Concerned, she quickly climbed to a safer altitude to assess the situation.Looking over the gauges that relay critical aircraft health information, "everything showed me that my jet was still flying and functioning like normal," she said, adding that her "immediate response was, 'Ok, good, I'm not going to fall out of the sky.'"But while the plane could fly, it was not in great shape. Further assessments with the help of her wingman found that some exterior panels were either missing or hanging off the aircraft, indicating that the gun malfunction had caused damage.Bye began making preparations to land the plane, which is when she discovered another problem. Part of the plane's landing gear was inoperable, making a safe landing impossible."When it happened, I didn't panic. I didn't freak out. I didn't fear for my life because I knew that I had the training," she recalled. "My adrenaline was up. I could tell my heart was racing. And I consciously knew that it was a severe situation, but there wasn't ever panic.""I think my body just went into survival mode," she said, explaining that the extensive emergency response training that all Air Force pilots receive kicked in, helping her remain calm in a difficult situation.After going over possible options with support personnel, Bye made the decision to belly land the plane, something the aircraft was built to be able to do if necessary but is still a risky move.In that moment, the cockpit canopy on Bye's aircraft suddenly separated with what she described as a loud pop followed by an even louder rush of wind that sounded like roaring thunder. As Bye lowered her seat to shield herself from the wind blast, she knew that she needed to act."It is time to get this jet on the ground," Bye remembered saying over the radio, her mind made up. "My jet was literally falling apart around me," she recalled, adding that she "didn't want anything else to come off."Bye, 75th Fighter Squadron pilot and chief of standardization and evaluation, poses on the flight line.US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Briana BeaversThough the Air Force does not train its pilots to do this, Bye was not completely unfamiliar with this kind of landing. Not only did she know another pilot who made a gear-up landing, but during her first operational assignment as an A-10 pilot at Osan Air Force Base in South Korea, she belly-landed a jet in a simulator.That said, pulling something like that off in a simulated training environment is quite different from having to do it in the real world, when life and limb are on the line."When I made the decision, I knew it was just like, this is game time," Bye remembered thinking at the time. "I have to do this, and I only get one shot at it.""I'll be honest with you, I have never been so focused on a landing in my entire life," she said, recalling "there was hardly anything familiar about that approach and landing."She received guidance from her wingman, director of operations, and others, helping her avoid various potential hazards, but nothing really looked or felt the way it normally would, making landing a challenge."About to touch down, that was the first time I realized that it was actually a pretty dangerous and severe situation," she said.It wasn't until she was back on the ground though that it crossed her mind that "something absolutely terrible could have happened," she said. In flight, there simply wasn't time for that kind of thinking.Observers told Bye that when her plane touched down, sparks went flying. Unsure if the fuel lines were still intact, she got out as fast as possible once the aircraft slid to a stop, executing emergency egress procedures.Back on the ground after that rough landing, "it took me a while actually to process what was happening," Bye said. "My adrenaline was still up for like the rest of the day, and I did not really sleep because I was just trying to process it," she recalled, "but it didn't really hit me initially.""It didn't really truly hit me until almost a year later when I was unfortunate enough to listen to the tape," she said, explaining that "hearing my voice when my canopy blew off actually caused a significant emotional event. I was like, 'Wow, that was actually kind of traumatic.'"'Meant to be in the Air Force'Bye stands next to a training aircraft.Courtesy photoWhen talking to Bye about her military service, it is very clear that this 29-year-old pilot from North Carolina is all in for the US Air Force, but her first choice, which was inspired by her grandfather's service in World War II, was actually the Navy."I wanted to fly an F-14 Tomcat, and I wanted to take off from of a carrier," she said, recalling learning about the jet from a recruiter. "It is a very classic, like 'Top Gun'-type pipe dream, but that's what originally got me started wanting to fly."Aside from the fact the Navy stopped flying Tomcats, swapping them out for Hornets, there was another problem. "The Navy did not want me," Bye said. "It turned out I wasn't meant to be in the Navy. I was meant to be in the Air Force."Bye commissioned into the Air Force in 2015 straight out of the United States Air Force Academy, where she first flew.The first aircraft she flew was a small Cirrus SR22, but "flying did not come natural," Bye said, explaining that although the program offered cadets the opportunity to fly solo, she "did not show the skill required" to do so during that program.Her first ever solo flight was in a DA20 in Colorado during Air Force pilot training, and the experience, she said, "was so much fun.""It was so cool to be in the Rockies and getting to fly around by myself. It was so surreal and gave me so much confidence," she said. "It is so funny saying that now because I fly solo every day, but back then, when I hadn't done it before, it was just, I don't know, my adrenaline had never been higher in my life."Bye's interest in the A-10 began when she was a student at the United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School, where she first learned about this "awesome" plane "that was just like a tank killer." Later, at the academy, a professor who had worked as an engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in California when the aircraft was first going through testing furthered that interest.But what really sold her on the A-10 was a mentor, now a senior leader at Moody who flew the A-10. "He told me so many war stories," she said. "And the ones that stuck out to me were when he got to talk with the guys on the ground that he helped protect.""The rush of emotions I felt listening to him, I was just like 'Yep, that is what I want to do,'" Bye said. "Like shooting the gun is cool, but supporting the men and women on the ground who are in a lot more of harm's way than I am, that was how I wanted to serve.""As a cocky cadet, I was just like, 'Yeah, I want to go fast. I want to blow things up.' But that was really when I found what I wanted my career to be, just serving the men and women on the ground," she said. The A-10 was first introduced in the 1970s and is the first Air Force plane that was specifically built for close-air support missions and engaging ground targets, including tanks and other armored vehicles. In conflicts, the A-10 has been a saving grace for troops on the ground.Bye said that she still gets excited about dropping weapons, firing the plane's powerful cannon, and flying, even if she sometimes wishes her slower-moving close-air support plane could fly a little bit faster, but that essential support mission is "absolutely" what she loves most about the jet.'Can't imagine flying anything else'Bye sitting in the cockpit of an aircraftCourtesy photoThe unfortunate incident in spring 2020 could have easily shaken Bye's confidence in herself as a pilot, as well as in her plane of choice, but she was back flying a week after the accident."When it first happened, I, of course, started Monday night quarterbacking myself, asking: What could I have done better? What did I do wrong? Did I cause it to happen?"As these questions swirled around, Bye reached out to other pilots in her community who had been through stressful events, and they provided the support and reassurance she needed.Bye is the only female A-10 pilot in her squadron, but, she explained, "it is not very often that I actually think about the fact that I'm the only woman. I've been incredibly blessed with the people that I work with, and I never feel isolated."Talking about when she first got back into a plane after the incident, Bye said, "I was nervous in the sense of like, I did not want that to happen again, but it also built my confidence so much.""I was like, 'Bring it on. If I can land gear up, I can handle whatever this flight is going to bring,'" she said. "I'm not saying I wasn't nervous. I definitely was nervous, but it wasn't enough to keep me out of the cockpit."She also said that the unusual incident gave her added confidence in the A-10, a tough jet built to take a beating."That situation actually just showed me how reliable the jet is," Bye said, explaining, "Yes, something went wrong, but it was still reliable. The jet was put together well enough that I was able to land it in the condition it was in. If anything, it gave me more confidence in the jet."She said that she still loves the A-10, telling Insider, "I can't imagine flying anything else."In November 2021, Bye flew her mishap A-10, tail No. 995, for the first time since the Air Force maintenance and repair teams finished putting it back together.Reflecting on her many unique experiences, she said, "I didn't know that I would love flying, but I love it. I think being a fighter pilot is absolutely the coolest job in the world."Editor's note: This post was first published on December 14, 2021.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 19th, 2022

The British navy"s aircraft carriers are back after "a bit of a hiatus," but one of them has an uncertain future

The Royal Navy has been rebuilding its "big, corporate knowledge" of carrier operations, an officer told Insider aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at Portsmouth Naval Base on May 19, 2021.Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images Since 2017, the British Royal Navy has commissioned two new aircraft carriers into service. HMS Queen Elizabeth, deployed for the first time last year, sailing to the Pacific and back. But its sister ship may need major repairs after an "unusual fault" damaged a propeller shaft. ABOARD HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH — The British Royal Navy has spent five years getting used to operating aircraft carriers again after a brief but notable absence of carriers from the fleet.The Royal Navy now has two carriers in service. Its flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned in 2017 and is preparing to deploy with the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force. But HMS Prince of Wales, commissioned in 2019, is now in a dry dock awaiting what may be months of repairs after an "unusual fault" in one of its propeller shafts, leaving its future less certain.HMS Queen Elizabeth's commissioning came three years after the retirement of HMS Illustrious and ended the Royal Navy's longest period without a carrier in service in nearly a century.A year later, two F-35Bs landed on the ship, becoming the first fixed-wing jets to land on a British carrier since the UK retired its Harrier jets in 2010 and marking "a rebirth of our power to strike decisively from the seas anywhere in the world," the British defense secretary said at the time.In the years between Illustrious' retirement and the commissioning of HMS Queen Elizabeth, British sailors and airmen continued training for carrier operations, preparing to fly the F-35B from a ship designed with the jet in mind.HMS Queen Elizabeth, bottom, alongside HMS Illustrious in July 2014.Aircraft Carrier AllianceThe UK began a "long-lead skills program" in 2010, sending 300 aircraft handlers, aircraft controllers, and aircrew to embed with US Navy and Marine Corps units, said Cmdr. Neil Twigg, air operations commander aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth."I flew F/A-18s with the US Navy for three years, embarked on US carriers, so that when I came back to the UK, I then helped to learn how to integrate the F-35 onto this ship," Twigg told Insider as the carrier visited New York City to host the Atlantic Future Forum on September 29.The Royal Navy's "subject-matter" expertise in carrier operations shrunk but wasn't lost, Twigg said."We always had people there, but we didn't have the big, corporate knowledge during that 10-year period" between the departure of the Harriers and the beginning of workups with the new carrier and jets, Twigg added.HMS Queen Elizabeth and its jets are more advanced their predecessors, but the Royal Navy has experience with short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing operations and is "really comfortable" conducting them, Cmdr. Sam Law said alongside Twigg during an interview in the ship's hangar bay."So, yes, there was a bit of a hiatus," added Law, the carrier's logistics commander, "but it's something we're used to."Not just a floating airfieldHMS Queen Elizabeth in New York on October 19, 2018.GettyFollowing exercises around the UK — including the first time British jets had fired missiles at sea in 15 years — HMS Queen Elizabeth departed on its maiden deployment in May 2021.The seven-month mission took the ships as far as Guam, with visits to 40 countries and exercises with dozens of militaries.The carrier embarked with 18 F-35Bs — 10 from the US Marine Corps and eight from the Royal Air Force — which the Royal Navy touted as "the largest contingent" of fifth-generation jets "ever seen at sea." It required "a pretty sizable" logistical chain to sustain the 1,700 sailors and aircrew, the jets, and the ship itself, Law said."You can imagine the number of rations we put across the counter every day," Law added. "I have 97 chefs doing the feeding, and I've got a stock inventory on board, not food but spare parts [worth] about 4.5 billion pounds."The strike group included RFA Tidespring, a replenishment tanker, and RFA Fort Victoria, a solid-support ship carrying food and ammunition. The UK plans to build three more solid-support ships, and the deployment "absolutely confirmed" the need for them, Law said.RFA Tidespring after a replenishment at sea with HMS Queen Elizabeth on May 9, 2021.LPhot Unaisi LukeThe mission was "made slightly more complex" by the F-35B's unique logistical requirements, and a Lockheed Martin field service representative was aboard to assist, Law added.The US and UK worked closely together to prepare the jets for deployment, and while at sea their squadrons not only shared spare parts but exchanged pilots.The British aircrews began "synthetic training" in the US in 2020 and then returned to the UK, where both units — the Royal Air Force's No. 617 Squadron and US Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 211 — spent four weeks ashore and four weeks at sea, "working side by side" Twigg said.Upon embarking in April 2021, he added, "it was like we'd already done the training, done the workups, and then we were able to deploy."While US Marines use the F-35B slightly differently, focusing on littoral operations, their aircraft and squadrons were "interchangeable," Twigg said. "If a UK aircraft broke, couldn't start for whatever reason, a US aircraft and a US pilot would go and be his wingman instead, so that's the sort of integration that we got to."An F-35B takes off of HMS Queen Elizabeth during training with South Korea's navy in September 2021.British Royal NavyThe British F-35Bs had qualified for all their missions from shore in 2018, and the deployment was meant to test their ability to do them from the carrier and in conjunction with other ships and aircraft."It's not just about being a floating airfield," Twigg said. "It's got to integrate with the ship, with all the other squadrons, and then the rest of the strike group, and everywhere we go. So that's what we were trying to prove."Flight operations were aided by the "versatility" of the carrier's short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing design, which allows aircraft to take off and land simultaneously. Without catapults and arresting gear, Twigg added, "a lot of the burden" of launch and recovery is on the aircraft rather than the ship, and fewer people are needed on the deck."I have a team of just 27 on the flight deck" compared to about 200 on the deck of a US Nimitz-class carrier, Twigg said. "It's a lot quieter, and there's less moving parts of the deck itself."'Big lumps of metal'HMS Prince of Wales, foreground, and HMS Queen Elizabeth meet at sea for the first time on May 18, 2021.Royal Navy/POPhot Jay AllenHMS Queen Elizabeth's maiden deployment was an international endeavor in many ways. In addition to US jets, the strike group included a US Navy destroyer and a Dutch navy frigate.The multinational makeup was "about getting beyond interoperability to interchangeability" and to find "would the captain of this ship feel comfortable with a foreign partner-nation defending his ship?" Law said.The carrier and its escorts conducted dozens of exercises with partners and allies, including a first-of-its-kind cross-deck landing drill with a US amphibious assault ship and with Italian F-35Bs.The ability of US, UK, and Italian F-35Bs to operate from each other's ships "offers tactical agility and strategic advantage to NATO," the strike group commander, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, said last year.An Italian F-35B lands on HMS Queen Elizabeth, with a US Marine Corps F-35 in the foreground, on November 20, 2021.LPhot Unaisi LukeThe attention was not all friendly. While conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, the carrier's jets encountered Russian aircraft operating from Syria, leading to "cat-and-mouse posturing," a British officer said at the time.In the Pacific, the strike group's ships and helicopters kept track of Chinese submarines to allow the carrier to avoid them, Moorhouse said last year.Twigg wouldn't comment on those interactions but said British pilots were prepared for incoming threats. "We went round very confidently," he told Insider. "We could defend ourselves if it was necessary."Nor were the milestones all positive. While in the Mediterranean in mid-November, a British F-35B crashed at sea. The pilot was recovered, but the lost jet was one of the newest ones in the fleet.The carrier and its crew returned to the UK in December and spent four months repairing the ship, updating procedures, and training new crew.HMS Queen Elizabeth anchored in New York Harbor on September 28, 2022.Christopher Woody/Insider"Mainly our focus was getting them trained up," Twigg said of the new crew members. "They were civilians last year and now they're serving aboard, so it was a lot of training that we've done this year."The carrier has spent much of 2022 on very-high readiness status, ready to deploy on short notice if needed — and it was needed in late August, when its sister ship, HMS Prince of Wales, broke down as it departed for New York City.HMS Prince of Wales was supposed to host the forum as part of a longer deployment to North America, but HMS Queen Elizabeth was instead sent to New York, which turned out to be a relatively easy task.Prince of Wales handed over the three helicopters it had prepared for the event. "I had to do a day of training with my team with the helicopters and we were good to go flying," Twigg said.Other material just had to be moved from one carrier to the other. "Because we have adjacent berths back in Portsmouth, it was literally just crane it all off, down the jetty, back on here, and off we go," Law said.HMS Prince of Wales at Portsmouth Naval Base on October 7, 2022.Finnbarr Webster/Getty ImagesMoorhouse said in September that an inspection found an "extremely unusual fault" in Prince of Wales' starboard propeller shaft and that there was "significant damage to the shaft and the propeller and some superficial damage to the rudder."The propeller was removed and the carrier taken to the shipyard where it was built, where it entered a dry dock in mid-October.Adm. Ben Key, first sea lord and chief of the British naval staff, praised HMS Queen Elizabeth's crew for taking on host duties "with considerable alacrity" and called the damage to HMS Prince of Wales "a great shame."But the carrier's future wouldn't be clear until it was in a dry dock and "we can actually inspect properly what has gone wrong," Key told reporters aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth on September 29. "These are big lumps of metal that have failed, so this is not necessarily going to be a quick fix."The death of Queen Elizabeth II shortly after her namesake carrier was assigned to host the forum "brought an additional poignancy" to the event, Key added, "but in the grand scheme of things, I wish it was Prince of Wales here, because that would mean that she hadn't got a problem with her starboard shaft, frankly."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2022

U.S. basketball star Griner"s 9-year drug sentence upheld in Russia

A Russian court on Tuesday dismissed U.S. WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner's appeal against a nine-year sentence for possessing and smuggling vape cartridges containing cannabis oil, paving... #basketballstar #colony #wnba #brittneygriner.....»»

Category: europeSource: cnnOct 26th, 2022

South Korea is building stealth drones that could take out North Korea"s air defenses

South Korea is pursuing stealth drones that could take out North Korean air defenses as part of a "manned-unmanned teaming system." North Koreans in Pyongyang in 2011.Getty Images Korean Air will develop stealth UAVs for use in a "manned-unmanned teaming system." The UAVs could also perform their own missions, including surveillance, electronic interference, and precision strikes. The stealth military drones could also help take out North Korea's dense anti-aircraft defense system. Fresh from the successful development of its home-grown KF-21 fighter jet, South Korea has set its sights on developing "stealth" unmanned military drones that could contribute to neutralising North Korea's dense anti-aircraft defence system.The Korean Agency for Defence Development (ADD) selected Korean Air earlier this month as the preferred bidder over Korea Aerospace Industries, developer of the indigenous KF-21, for its "stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron development project," Korean Air said last week."ADD began developing the UAV squadron in November last year and has completed the basic design. The agency plans to work on the detailed design with Korean Air," the company said.Korean Air will develop a "manned-unmanned teaming system" in which one manned aircraft is backed by three to four stealth UAVs in jointly carrying out various missions including air combat, air-to-ground attacks and surveillance."The squadron of UAVs will not only support and escort a manned aircraft, but will also be able to perform its own missions including surveillance, electronic interference tactics and precise strikes," it said.The announcement comes as the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine makes it clear that drones are becoming an integral part of war machines, with thousands of military UAVs used in the conflict by both sides to hit targets or to direct artillery fire onto them.The Korean Agency for Defense Development began working on a UAV squadron in November 2021.Korean Air"UAVs will obviously serve as a decisive factor in every war and all countries including the superpowers — the United States, China and Russia — are all out to develop such man-unmanned teaming systems," said Shin Jong-woo, a defence analyst at the Korea Defence Forum.South Korea has been developing UAVs including unmanned attack helicopters and surveillance planes in the past decade or so."But it's another matter to develop highly-sophisticated manned-unmanned teaming systems that will employ top-of-the-line artificial intelligence and extremely complicated software that will take a lot of time and effort," he told This Week in Asia. "It's anyone's guess when South Korea can develop such a system."Another defence analyst, Lee Il-woo at the Korea Defence Network, said the concept of "loyal wingman" aircraft — unmanned vehicles accompanying manned aircraft into combat missions — had gained traction globally. This includes the US Air Force's Skyborg programme that envisages expendable unmanned aircraft assisting manned fighters.Unmanned aircraft such as the Kratos XQ-58 Valkyrie and Boeing Australia MQ-28 Ghost Bat had been developed in accordance with this concept, Lee said."The massive use of UAVs has a clear appeal to South Korea as well, because it has no reliable means of its own to electronically neutralise North Korea's dense anti-aircraft defence system," Lee said, adding South Korea currently relied on US assets for this purpose.The merits of drones included negligible maintenance costs and the exemption of years of pilot training necessary for manned aircraft, he said.Military airplanes and ammunition on display at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition on October 14, 2019.AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon"They can carry out combat missions in the front while manned vehicles can stay back safely from hostile firing. This could drastically increase the air force's operational range," Lee said."But I think it will take at least 10 years for South Korea to combine its KF-21 (manned fighters) with workable UAVs for a manned-unmanned teaming system." The US could integrate its stealth F-35s with UAVs in a few years' time, he said.South Korea currently has 40 F-35A fighter jets and will buy 20 more from the US as part of its F-X project focused on acquiring foreign stealth fighter jets from 2023 to 2028.However, both Lee and Shin raised questions over suggestions that stealth UAVs could be used to "decapitate" North Korea's leadership.South Korea's conservative government has made no secret that it would consider pre-emptive strikes against the North's missiles and possibly its senior leadership if an imminent attack is detected."UAVs are too small to carry bunker-busting bombs while one F-35 can carry two 900kg bombs to destroy concrete bunkers," Lee said, adding stealth fighters did not need to be accompanied by slow drones for striking targets behind enemy lines.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 26th, 2022

Pro-impeachment Republican Rep. Peter Meijer introduced and congratulated his Trump-backed primary challenger for a "hard-fought race" at GOP unity event

One of 10 GOP Reps. that voted to impeach Trump, Meijer highlighted his opponents' extreme comments and 2020 election denialism during the primary. Republican Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan outside the Capitol on November 4, 2021.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images Rep. Peter Meijer was defeated by primary challenger John Gibbs after voting to impeach Trump after Jan 6. Despite chiding Democrats for aiding his "extreme" opponent, Meijer introduced him at an event on Wednesday. He told Gibbs he wanted to "send my congratulations and wish you the best of luck and all that is to come." After losing this week to a primary challenger endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Republican Rep. Peter Meijer congratulated his opponent on his victory."This was a hard-fought race," said Meijer at a unity reception held by the Kent County GOP in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday. "You know, it was a long race but a race that john ran very well."He then introduced John Gibbs, who served in the Trump administration in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Meijer had criticized Gibbs just last week for questioning the results of the 2020 election while highlighting his baseless claims that John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign chairman, took part in Satanic rituals."Just want to now officially introduce, send my congratulations and wish you the best of luck and all that is to come," he said, gesturing towards Gibbs. "Your Republican nominee for Michigan's 3rd congressional district, Mr. John Gibbs."Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans that voted to impeach Trump for incitement of an insurrection following the January 6 attacks.He was the only freshman legislator in American history to vote to impeach a president from his own party, and he remained critical of Trump following his vote.Ahead of the primary, he joined many in criticizing House Democrats' campaign arm for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars boosting Gibbs; following redistricting, Meijer's district is a potential pick-up opportunity for Democrats, and they argued Gibbs was a weaker candidate to face Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten.In an interview on Sirius XM on Thursday, Meijer said he has no regrets."I would rather lose office with my character intact than stay re-elected, having made sacrifices of the soul," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 4th, 2022

Taibbi: How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise And "Top Gun" Saved America

Taibbi: How Crazy-Ass Tom Cruise And "Top Gun" Saved America Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, In a classic Beavis and Butt-Head episode the boys watch a video of U2’s One. They hear Bono’s lyrics: Is it getting better?Or do you feel the same? They see a blurry buffalo running in slow motion through a field of tall grass. “Whoa!” says Beavis. “That’s a big dog!” Next, shots of the word “One” written in various languages flash on TV — Une, Aon, 하나 — followed by cuts to a still shot of a sunflower field, which zooms out, eventually fading back to the slo-mo buffalo. “Is this like a quiz?” asks Butt-Head. “This is like school,” says Beavis. “This means something.” Over the weekend I saw the much-hyped Top Gun: Maverick. Two hours of bad-ass plane battles. It wasn’t art. It didn’t mean anything. And it was awesome. I left the theater genuinely sad to be back in 2022 America. In a gutsy call, considering how high-tech the movie’s effects and roller-coaster direction were, the film opened with a scruffy-looking Tom Cruise — his “real life” costume — looking like he’d eaten a canister of happy pills as he delivered an 50s-style apostrophic intro to the long-awaited sequel. Sounding like a proud Dad, he told audiences to buckle up for “real Gs” and the “most immersive and authentic film experience” they could muster. Cut to: the most unapologetically corny script ever, but one that works all the way. It’s every film cliché in history! It’s “Washed up hero gets one last chance at glory” meets “Fulfilling a dying friend’s last request” meets “Hand over your gun and badge!” (it’s a movie about pilots, so the actual line is, “You’re grounded!”) meets “Slow-running man impossibly escapes fusillade of helicopter-fired automatic weapons” meets “Boy and girl ride off into the sunset.” Is it brainless propaganda? Hell yes! In the one scene where an atavistic sourpuss reflex kicked in for me, Admiral Beau “Cyclone” Simpson — played by dialed-down Mad Men survivor Jon Hamm — explained the Top Gun “mission”: Let’s get to the goal. An unauthorized uranium enrichment plant. It was built in violation of numerous NATO agreements. The uranium produced there poses a direct threat to our allies in the region. The Pentagon has given us the task of forming an assault team to destroy it before it is fully operational… If you want to be a dick about it, and apparently at least one reviewer was, you can do the math and conclude the best candidate for the enemy described is Iran, which not only didn’t violate our joint agreement with them, but apparently kept adhering to it after we ourselves violated the deal in the Trump years. But the premise is fictional, the landscape ends up looking more like Russia or China,they never come back to the politics, and beyond that, the situation is so totally absurd that you’d have to be nuts to be offended by it. The whole premise is ripped directly from Star Wars anyway, right down to the ticking clock before the deadly weapons station is “fully operational,” and the impenetrable enemy air defense whose one fatal mistake is not accounting for the gifted super-pilots of Our Team zig-zagging under the radar to bullseye a one-in-a-million shot at blinding speed. It’s “just like Beggar’s canyon back home,” or in this case just like the dartboard at the famous I Bar Navy hangout in San Diego, where Cruise’s Pete Mitchell watched flyboys throw bullseyes one after another, even with hands over their eyes. How accurate does the real attack team have to be? “Your target is in an area of ​​less than 3 meters,” the Top Gun pilots are told solemnly in training, at which every last perfect-looking actor exhales in relief: that’s a whole meter wider than the Death Star shot! (“The target area is only 2 meters wide,” General Dodona said back in 1977). The action-movie allusions are this bald throughout and you’re all for it. The pre-flight ritual dialogue between ground-bound Bernie “Hondo” Coleman (“I don’t like that look, Mav”) and airspeed record-smasher Mitchell (“It’s the only one I’ve got”) feels shot-for shot like Levon Helm’s Ripley character ritualistically offering Sam Shepard’s Chuck Yeager his last stick of Beemans before he broke the airspeed record in The Right Stuff. Ed Harris, who’s in both movies, does a great job in Maverick of pretending he’s never seen a hot-shit test pilot defy orders, blast past an impossible Mach barrier, incinerate a gazillion-dollar plane, and show up in the next scene walking in a daze with a grease-covered face after ejecting at high altitude. The only other time my cerebral cortex even flickered during Top Gun: Maverick was during the hilarious swipe at Lockheed-Martin screenwriters inserted mid-movie. The whole film is a Boeing ad, so it made sense, but it was still genius. In fact, the tale of an aging but still impossibly fit Cruise/Mitchell being called back into service for a crucial mission after being deemed a dinosaur by colleagues is a naked metaphor for the career path of the movie’s other main character, the Boeing F-18. In real life the Super Hornet has been written out of the defense budget two years running, only to be re-inserted at the last minute by congressional Rabbis (the legislative equivalent of Mitchell’s sole friend high in the Navy brass, Val Kilmer’s Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky, who keeps intervening to prevent Cruise’s decommissioning). Given all that backstory, the Boeing/Lockheed subplot works as priceless corporate pettiness. When Cruise/Mitchell is asked to assess the low feasibility of the proposed mission, he goes out of his way to dump on Lockheed-Martin’s next-generation F-35: Sir, normally, with the F-35s flying in silent mode, this would be child’s play. But GPSjamming throws it away… I think it’s achievable with an F-18. This line apparently generated controversy among people who care about fighter jets, and I’ve since seen humorously earnest articles about how a Top Gun: Maverick featuring F-35s would have been “boring” because the plane kills too easily, from a distance. It doesn’t matter. The rest of the movie is gasp-inducing shots of actors and actresses perched on vomit-edge as they pilot fearsome-looking planes through supersonic versions of the World War II dogfights that of course never happen anymore. (It’s not an accident that Mitchell’s downtime hobby involves working on a P-51 Mustang Cruise actually owns, or that he and Jennifer Connelly end the film by literally riding off into the sunset in the thing). The audio booms out of this world and really makes the movie in parts, particularly the CLANG!-swerve-CLANG! scenes where Mitchell slams the stick as he grimaces his way through the test course. The plot is so vague and trite and so nakedly an ad for military hardware that it’s impossible to be mad at. It’s just fun. How many things in the last seven, eight years in America have just been fun? I wasn’t a fan of the original Top Gun. In fact, the only scenes I could even remember from the first movie were the Righteous Brothers bar serenade of Kelly McGillis and the death of Maverick’s mustache-wielding wingman “Goose,” and when Top Gun: Maverick replayed the latter scene I realized I didn’t even remember that correctly. I’d filed away the far more ridiculous Hot Shots version of Goose’s death — he’s called “Dead Meat” in the spoof, where his pen runs out before takeoff, but no problem, he tells his loving wife, he’ll sign his life insurance “when I get back” — and mistaken it for the real thing. When I went back and looked that scene up, I realized it, too, had a “lucky gum” reference, making the heroic test-pilot-movie confusion total: When the original Top Gun came out in the eighties, America’s culture-war dynamic was still plenty hot but ran in a different direction. Anti-Reagan malcontents (I was one) stewed over the Hollywood-Pentagon partnership and quietly seethed at the film’s makers for plunging millions into a script that read like a two-hour” not just a job, an adventure” Navy ad written over a single Burger King lunch (the legendary “500% recruitment increase” the film supposedly triggered is apocryphal, by the way). That movie did monster box office, grossing $357 million, but even in hindsight I’m not convinced it was all that. Val Kilmer’s abs were probably more of a draw than the dogfight scenes (I’d argue it wasn’t near the second-best Kilmer movie of the period, being clearly behind Top Secret! and Real Genius. If drunk enough I might even argue for Willow). Moreover the era was packed with other great movies like Blade Runner and Full Metal Jacket, so there were reasons to scoff at a jingoistic Cruise vehicle shot with a Navy PR officer on set with veto power over its wooden script. Fast forward 36 years. Not only are we on the brink of what feels like civil war, and as of this week flirting with real war with two different superpowers, we’re nearly a decade into a crippling fun shortage. We have complexes about every holiday from Christmas to Thanksgiving to the Fourth of July, the president has been severely disordered or clinically dead for at least six years, and the most famous standup performance in a generation involved Chris Rock getting man-slapped by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. America used to be a global leader in brainless entertainment, particularly featuring explosions, boobs, and weightlifters, but since Trump’s election Hollywood’s been in a funk and spent years trying to bury its baser instincts and reinvent itself as Highbrow and Caring. This resulted in a thousand iterations of self-serious films straining to make the miserable entertaining (Bill Maher’s take on the perfect modern Oscar hopeful was The Immigrant Who Shit in a Coffee Can). Of all the negative by-products of Trump’s election, one of the most subtly destructive was alienating America from the one thing we’ve consistently done well, the lowest common denominator. For no good reason, politics has made a big chunk of the country wary of Cheez Whiz, mud wrestling, commercials about pickup trucks carrying other pickup trucks up mountains of boulders, and a hundred other mindless awesome things in our blood. This country sucks at highbrow, we’re great at stupid, and since there’s nothing more stupid than stupid highbrow, we’ve spent the last half-decade exporting the most embarrassing conceivable content on a grand scale. This has just made everybody, left and right, more uptight and pissed at each other. When we get back to embracing shark panics, Hang in There Baby office posters, and weightlifters/models blowing each other out of the sky with billion-dollar weapons, my guess is we’ll all start feeling better. Thank you, Tom Cruise, you lunatic. You’ve helped the healing begin. Subscribe to TK News here... Tyler Durden Wed, 08/03/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 3rd, 2022

Colorado, Utah, Idaho metros had the biggest share of sellers dropping home prices in June

Perspective buyers are less willing to bid over asking price jll americas markets john or even entertain homes that are overpriced due to high mortgage rates and fears of a potential recession......»»

Category: realestateSource: foxnewsJul 27th, 2022

Matt Gaetz, under investigation for possible sex trafficking, was among 20 Republicans to vote against reauthorizing a sex-trafficking law

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, along with Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Beobert, were among those opposing the anti-sex trafficking measure. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021.J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press Rep. Matt Gaetz was among 20 Republicans to vote against the renewal of an anti-trafficking bill.  The bill, renewed without fuss since 2000, offers protections against sex trafficking.  Gaetz is under investigation for possible sex trafficking. He denies all wrongdoing.  Rep. Matt Gaetz was one of 20 Republicans who voted "no" to reauthorizing an anti-human trafficking law on Wednesday.The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 was approved in the House for reauthorization with a massive majority of 401 votes to 20. The act combats human trafficking — particularly sex trafficking — through severe penalties for perpetrators and support services for victims. It first came into law as the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, when it passed the House and Senate with almost no opposition, and has been reauthorized multiple times without significant challenge. Gaetz has been under federal investigation since 2020 over the question of whether he had sex with a minor, and whether he paid for her to cross state lines, as The New York Times first reported. Paying for a minor to travel interstate for sex would count as sex-trafficking.Gaetz has not been charged with anything and has consistently denied any wrongdoing.A former associate, Joel Greenberg — whom Gaetz once called his "wingman"— has pleaded guilty to six charges, including sex trafficking a minor, Politico reported. Greenberg's sentencing has been delayed in order to cooperate with the investigation into Gaetz, per the outlet. Gaetz did not immediately respond to Insider's query about the vote, made outside normal US working hours, about why he voted no.In comments to Insider on Wednesday in response to a quip by a Mike Pence aide about the matter, a Gaetz spokesperson described the idea that he had engaged in sex-trafficking as a "debunked conspiracy theory." Gaetz did not speak in a 40-minute debate on the day of the vote.In 2017, Gaetz cast the only "no" vote on another anti-trafficking law, as the Pensacola News-Journal reported at the time. The law enshrined the creation of anti-trafficking resources within the Department of Transportation. In that instance, Gaetz pointed to his own actions in Florida which he said improved prosecutors' ability to bring cases against sex traffickers, the paper reported.He also said that handling this at the federal level was "mission creep" on issues that states should handle, per the paper. The full list of those who voted "no" on Wednesday is:Brian Babin (TX)Andy Biggs (AZ)Lauren Boebert (CO)Mo Brooks (AL)Ken Buck (CO)Andrew S. Clyde (GA)Matt Gaetz (FL)Louie Gohmert (TX)Paul A. Gosar (AZ)Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA)Andy Harris (MD)Jody B. Hice (GA)Thomas Massie (KY)Tom McClintock (CA)Mary E. Miller (IL)Troy E. Nehls (TX)Ralph Norman (SC) Scott Perry (PA)Chip Roy (TX)Van Taylor (TX)Roy was the only "no" voter to speak at the debate. He called the issue "critically important" but suggested he hadn't reviewed the bill and that "other factors at play, involving the floor and spending and other stuff" affected his decision. He said he did not want his vote to be taken as "an indication of not supporting the purpose of the bill."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJul 27th, 2022

Colorado, Utah, Idaho metros had the biggest share of sellers dropping home prices in June

Perspective buyers are less willing to bid over asking price jll americas markets john or even entertain homes that are overpriced due to high mortgage rates and fears of a potential recession......»»

Category: realestateSource: foxnewsJul 23rd, 2022

Fast & Curious: Kinzinger Holds Up Holder As Paragon Of Integrity & Independence In An AG

Fast & Curious: Kinzinger Holds Up Holder As Paragon Of Integrity & Independence In An AG Authored by Jonathan Turley, The hearings on January 6th have had many riveting moments where former Trump officials detailed their efforts to convince former president Donald Trump that legal and factual claims of a stolen election were unfounded and unsupportable. From Vice President Michael Pence to Attorney General Bill Barr to an array of Justice and White House lawyers, there were many profiles of courage that emerged from the testimony. There have also been glaring disconnects like Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) chastising those who refused to accept the results of the 2020 elections and sought to challenge the certification in Congress. Thompson challenged the election of George W. Bush. (His fellow Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) sought to challenge Trump’s certification in 2016),  However, one of the most glaring disconnects came yesterday when Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) cited former Attorney General Eric Holder as an example of the ideal of an apolitical and independent Attorney General. Holder was one of the most political attorneys general in history and Kinzinger previously denounced him for his abuse of office as a partisan. He was held in contempt over his obstruction of the Fast and Furious investigation. Kinzinger featured Holder as an example of integrity and independent, showing a clip from his confirmation hearing in 2009, telling Congress: “I will be an independent attorney general. I will be the people’s lawyer. If, however, there were an issue that I thought were that significant that it would compromise my ability to serve as Attorney General in the way that I have described it, as the people’s lawyer, I would not hesitate to resign.” Many of us are familiar with the clip because it was often played to highlight the hypocrisy in how Holder actually carried out his office. Holder would later described himself as President Barack Obama’s “wingman” and was later held in contempt by Congress for contempt. Holder has demanded that Attorney General William Barr release the report despite the contrary precedent of Holder himself in refusing to disclose critical information in the “Fast and Furious” scandal. Holder previously declared that Mueller was certain to find criminal obstruction by Trump. I have been a long critic of Holder whose tenure at the Justice Department was marred by political influence from his role in the Clinton pardon scandals to his defiance of Congress (leading to his being held in contempt). Whether it is his call to “kick” critics or his political actions, Holder’s record is at best checkered. Fast and Furious was a legitimate matter for congressional oversight after the ATF arranged for illegal gun sales to Mexican drug cartels for the moronic purpose of tracking weapons. Instead, it simply gave criminals low-price, high-powered weaponry– over 2000 in number including the one used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. There should have been no question about the obligation to share information with Congress, but Holder was defiant and encouraged Obama to assert sweeping executive privilege claims. It was part of an overall assertion of privilege by Obama that went far beyond what has been asserted thus far under the Trump Administration. Moreover, the current Democratic leadership supported Holder after his defiance of congressional oversight authority. Citing “substantial separation of powers concerns,” Holder insisted: “I am very concerned that the compelled production to Congress of internal Executive Branch documents generated in the course of the deliberative process concerning its response to congressional oversight and related media inquiries would have significant, damaging consequences.” Imagine if Bill Barr were to quote the same language to the Congress on the current report. Notably, Kinzinger called out Holder for his obstruction. He signed a “no confidence” motion in 2011. The motion included the charge that Holder “has been intransigent, obstructionist, and obdurate” in fighting disclosure of the evidence in the scandal. Tyler Durden Fri, 06/24/2022 - 12:25.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 24th, 2022

Saber Capital: Mental Tension And The Value Of Falling Stock Prices

Saber Capital Management’s commentary for the month of May 2022, titled, “Mental Tension and the Value of Falling Stock Prices.” Dear Investment Partner, In a recent interview, Ted Weschler described his investment process as an eclectic collection of different reading material that is likely unique to him. For example, he mentions reading USA Today, Furniture […] Saber Capital Management’s commentary for the month of May 2022, titled, “Mental Tension and the Value of Falling Stock Prices.” Dear Investment Partner, In a recent interview, Ted Weschler described his investment process as an eclectic collection of different reading material that is likely unique to him. For example, he mentions reading USA Today, Furniture Daily, and Uranium Weekly, three completely different types of publications with very different audiences. He says the combination of those three very different sources (among many others) gives him a unique perspective on certain companies that occasionally results in a differentiated insight — a way of thinking about a company in a way that varies from the conventional view. These unique insights are what we all need as investors. Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more I like Ted’s approach, partly because it justifies my own preference for reading a variety of different topics, from business filings to trade magazines to global news to sports to health and exercise, and more. Weschler said that he believes he can gain these insights because his reading material is unique only to him. Each publication he reads has many other readers, but there is no other person who reads exactly the same combination of his reading material. It’s like he’s creating his own unique code base inside his brain that only he has access to. I got to thinking about how not only do we create a unique database in our minds based on the specific collection of material we study, but also how this code base is continuously getting updated every time we read something (or have a conversation, or join a meeting, or listen to a podcast, etc…). And what’s interesting about this is because the mental database is constantly changing, you can actually read the same thing you’ve read previously (re-reading a book for example) and come away with a completely different understanding, sometimes even an opposing view from what you held before. I’ve noticed this numerous times, as I happen to (weirdly) like rereading the same books numerous times. Emboldened by this newfound justification for my strange habit of rereading the same thing, I am steadily working my way through the old Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) annual meeting transcripts (videos are also on Youtube). The Berkshire meeting videos and the Buffett shareholder letters are definitely examples of things you can reread multiple times and continue to learn something new. Each time I reread the letters, I always find something relevant to a current company I’m researching or a current investing or business topic I’m thinking about. And since history often repeats itself (or at least rhymes), sometimes these old letters reference a situation that is very applicable today. As an example: I’m currently reviewing the 1997 shareholder letter, and Buffett has this elegant description of how to think about market declines, which is obviously relevant to today’s environment. The Value of Falling Stock Prices I recently shared this paragraph here: To summarize what Buffett is saying: as consumers, we would always rather see lower prices of things we regularly buy, from hamburgers to gasoline. But when it comes to stocks, we feel better when stocks are rising, not falling. But rising prices are counterproductive if we are planning to be net buyers of stocks. What is so interesting about Buffett’s idea here is that it makes so much sense, yet very few people feel this way. Rooting for lower stock prices when you own stocks creates significant mental tension. But, if you make more money than you spend and thus have excess capital to invest, you are a net buyer of stocks. And that means — at least during those years when you are working and your earnings exceed your spending — you benefit from and should root for lower stock prices. Note: Some will point out that this concept is oversimplified because there is a reflexivity component to stock prices (higher stock prices lead to people “feeling richer”, which drives real spending and thus real growth in earnings; in other words, stock prices can influence real fundamentals). But the reason it is so hard for us to internalize this concept is not because we are aware of the reflexivity aspect. It’s much less rational than that — most of us are happier when our stocks are rising and upset when they are falling. This emotion has nothing to do with fundamentals; it’s just human nature. So Buffett’s point: if you are planning to buy stocks for a while, you should prefer lower stock prices, regardless of the size of your existing stock holdings. I wanted to also add two more points: Buybacks Not only do we want lower prices if we are net buyers of stock; but if our companies are net buyers of their own stocks (as many of our holdings are), we should want lower stock prices simply because that means our companies are creating more value when their stock prices are low. NVR, Inc. (NYSE:NVR) has retired 78% of its shares over the past 3 decades. AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) has reduced its shares by a similar amount in the past 2 decades. NVR, AZO and every other company that produces excess free cash flow — i.e. they spend less than they earn and thus are corporate net savers — they benefit if their share price goes lower. Their free cash flow will buy more shares as the stock price falls. The great thing about owning a portfolio of companies that earn excess free cash flow that is used to buy back shares is that you benefit from lower share prices even if you are fully invested. Even if you’re not adding to your account, the companies are adding for you. You’re acquiring a greater percentage ownership of your portfolio holdings when your companies are buying back shares, and this value creation increases when the market value of your portfolio declines. Taking Market Share The final way we benefit from lower stock prices is when we own companies that are taking market share. Floor & Decor Holdings Inc (NYSE:FND) is a company that in my view has a very strong moat in the retail hard surface flooring industry. The company has been taking market share since its founding two decades ago. While home improvement is a cyclical industry and Floor and Decor’s own business volumes will be impacted during the next housing downturn, it will also have the opportunity (and in my view, likelihood) of taking significant market share as the majority of the market is small mom-and-pop local flooring shops, many of which will struggle to survive the next downturn. Floor and Decor offers a far better value proposition for customers: lower prices, far greater in-stock selection, which is much more convenient for professional installers whose time is money — they need inventory in stock to be able to complete jobs and get paid. The unfortunate reality for many local distributors is they can’t compete with this value proposition (as the husband of an interior designer who cannot locate in-stock inventory, I can attest firsthand to the huge advantage that Floor and Decor provides and the market share that it is taking). Floor and Decor will see slower growth during a downturn, but it will emerge in a much stronger position when the dust settles. If you are a long term owner of these types of companies that can expand their market share, you shouldn’t be concerned with where the share price goes next year. Sometimes a lower share price and a tough environment in the near term leads to greater market share and more future earning power (and thus a higher stock price) in the long term. So the takeaways from the 1997 letter: If you’re a net buyer of hamburgers, you want a lower price of burgers. If you’re a net buyer of gas, you want lower gas prices. If you’re a net buyer of stocks, you should want lower stock prices. It really is that simple, and the fact that this mindset is so foreign to most investors is what gives those with the right mindset a big advantage, similar to the time arbitrage concept. Companies that are buying back shares are the corporate equivalent of net savers. They earn more than they spend and thus benefit from a lower stock price as each dollar spent on buybacks acquires more value with a lower share price, benefiting the long-term owners of the company To the extent that lower stock prices coincide with difficult economic conditions, the best companies often benefit indirectly from lower share prices as they are able to take market share, thus improving the long-term earning power of the company (and ultimately the long-term share price) So shareholders benefit from lower prices in three ways (two directly and one indirectly): the simple fact is that when you’re buying something, you should prefer a lower price. This directly applies to individuals or companies buying shares of stock. And companies indirectly benefit through improving their long-term position through market share gains. Disclosure: John Huber and clients of Saber Capital own shares of NVR and FND. About John Huber John Huber is the founder of Saber Capital Management, LLC. Saber is the general partner and manager of an investment fund modeled after the original Buffett partnerships. Saber’s strategy is to make very carefully selected investments in undervalued stocks of great businesses. John can be reached at Updated on May 31, 2022, 3:23 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkMay 31st, 2022

A better goal than inclusion is simply "belonging" — and it can improve both our economy and the workplace

Professor john a. powell says belonging is about equal ownership. Meanwhile, many economic and social policies focus on mere participation. Demonstrators join hands Thursday, May 28, 2020, in St. Paul.AP Photo/John Minchillo Paul Constant is a writer at Civic Ventures and the cohost of the "Pitchfork Economics" podcast. He spoke with professor john a. powell of UC Berkeley's Othering & Belonging Institute. powell says "belonging" carries more weight in economic policy than terms like "inclusion." This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. The language that Americans use to describe living together in one nation has changed over time. "Tolerance" was the buzzword from the 1960s through the 1990s, but as author Kavita Das pointed out during the racial reckoning in summer 2020, "Tolerance is an underwhelming goal for a truly vibrant and just American society" and suggests that togetherness is a pain or struggle to be endured. For most of the 21st century, just about everyone — from economists to politicians to CEOs — has instead talked about the importance of "diversity" and "inclusion" in the workplace and in communities. But like tolerance, the term diversity has simply suggested that we should be, as Das put it, "satisfied by the mere presence of those with different experiences and perspectives." In other words, just having non-dominant perspectives in the room is the goal — but the rules and social orders in those rooms can still be owned, and largely controlled, by the groups that hold the power.john a. powell, a professor at the University of California Berkeley and the director of the school's Othering & Belonging Institute, uses another word to describe the importance of including people of different races and backgrounds in civic and economic life: "belonging."On the latest episode of "Pitchfork Economics," powell explained how shifting to this mindset will help create a more equal and just society. "The world is organized largely around some groups being considered not full people," along lines of race, gender identity, disability, religion, and more, powell said. This othering allows one group to claim dominance over another, exploiting and marginalizing the subgroup. We've seen it again and again in the history of the US, with the theft of land from Native Americans, with slavery, and with the subjugation of women and immigrants."If I give a party, all of you are invited, but it's my music, my friends, my food," powell said, explaining how he believes the world currently views inclusion. "Don't come in messing with the furniture — have a good time and then leave."Belonging, by contrast, would mean that "it's not my party. It's not your party. It's our party," he said.In economic terms, powell described poverty in the US as "not simply a lack of stuff," but rather a "lack of belonging." Neoliberal thought leaders like Representative Paul Ryan have long embraced the othering technique by arguing that the economy is powered by a small subgroup of "makers" who create jobs and prosperity, while the majority of Americans — 60%, Ryan estimated in a 2010 speech — are "takers" who contribute nothing to the economy and instead leech off the efficiency of the elite few. (In a 2016 speech, Ryan publicly recanted the "makers and takers" ideology, admitting "I realized that I was wrong. 'Takers' wasn't how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, trying to take care of her family.")"The promise with neoliberalism and globalization was that we grow the economy and everybody would be better off," powell said. "Half of that was apparently true, as the size of the economy since the 1970s, depending on how you count it, is three or four times larger." "But people are not three or four times better off, unless you're Elon Musk," powell added. To combat the alienation and criminalization of the other, powell said policies should encourage "belonging in terms of economy, in terms of health, in terms of schools, in terms of civic participation, in terms of money." Policies that promote belonging would differ from prodiversity policies, he added, by changing the goal from mere participation to co-ownership. Universal healthcare and homes guarantees, which would ensure everyone has access to housing that's safe, sustainable, and affordable, for instance, are probelonging policies because everyone has an equal stake in them. Meanwhile, policies that require participants to maintain certain employment or income levels or meet other means-testing requirements are not. It's fairly easy to imagine a simple sniff test for probelonging legislation based around a few easy questions: Is the policy truly universal? Does the policy penalize a subgroup with diminished rights? Does the policy reinforce status-quo ideas of ownership and power?The language around responsible governance is always shifting. As peoples' experiences change and as more people participate in the conversation, we develop a clearer picture of who gets what and why in our economy, government, and legal systems. The work that powell and dozens of others at the Othering & Belonging Institute are doing suggests that simply encouraging diversity and inclusion isn't enough anymore — for a government to be truly free and prosperous, everyone needs an ownership stake.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 28th, 2022

Hundreds of military families in Hawaii were forced into hotels by apparent leak of Navy fuel into their water supply

A mother who said she bathed her 1-year-old in contaminated water asked officials, "Why you weren't there protecting my family?" Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro visited the site of a petroleum leak on Monday that has left hundreds of military families without clean water for over a week.US Navy/Chief of Naval Operations The Navy has confirmed the presence of petroleum in the water system that services Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.  Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro apologized to families for any "angst" the water crisis has caused them.  Over 700 families are now being housed in hotels to escape the water contamination, according to Pacific Fleet.  Military residents near Hawaii's Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam began to find something distasteful: their tap water smelled like gasoline. On Friday, Navy officials confirmed that petroleum had contaminated a well serving the Navy water system.Navy leaders fielded questions from residents for over four hours on Sunday night in the latest of a series of town halls concerning the developing water crisis at the base, where a nearby fuel reservoir has apparently leached into the water supply. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro apologized to Hawaii's military families and said the Navy is "already working extremely hard" to find a solution to the water crisis.  Del Toro said while he initially travelled to Hawaii for Pearl Harbor commemorations, being at the town hall "is the most important thing I can be doing." "My promise to you is we don't just leave here and forget about you," Del Toro said.  During Sunday's townhall, Rear Adm. Blake Converse, deputy commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said over 700 residents are being housed in hotel rooms to get away from the contamination. Some families have reported symptoms including rashes, stomach problems, dizziness and sore throat throughout the last week.—USNavyCNO (@USNavyCNO) December 6, 2021 Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam houses about 7,000 families and a base spokesperson said about 1,400 of those families are in areas affected by the water issues. During the town hall, Navy leaders received questions from families of all service branches concerning the health of their children, pregnant women, animals and the safety of the environment as the Navy searches for a solution to the crisis. "I'm here to ask you why you were not my a wingman to protect my 13-month-old son when I was bathing him and I was giving him a sip cup full of water from my faucet, when he was throwing up for days on end," said one Air Force spouse. "I'm here to ask why you weren't there protecting my family when we made the heartbreaking choice to put my beloved dog down." The spouse said the family has had multiple visits to the emergency room and spent thousands of dollars to discover why their healthy dog was vomiting and having trouble breathing. Officials said they have identified three Air Force housing communities, five Navy communities and two Army communities that have been directly affected by the contamination. During the town hall, residents praised the actions of the Army — who deployed soldiers to deliver water door to door at Aliamanu Military Reservation. On Monday, Armed Forces Housing Advocates, a group that services military families, sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting he declare a state of emergency in Hawaii. The group has reported receiving nearly 500 complaints from families having water that smelled like fuel. The suspected site of the leak is the Navy's bank of underground fuel storage tanks built into a volcanic mountain ridge. The Red Hill facility can store up to 250 million galloons of petroleum and its lines run down the piers at Pearl Harbor to refuel ships. The site has prompted decades of concerns about water contamination.U.S. Representative Ed Case, Hawaii Democrat, told reporters from the Honolulu Star Advertiser that the Navy "has not been forthcoming" with test results requested by the state's Department of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency.  "The Navy's handling of Red Hill has not inspired public confidence," Case said. "If the calculation of preserving a national security asset presents unacceptable risk to us, to our drinking water, to our lives, that's not a risk that I or anybody else is willing, or should be asked, to accept." On Sunday, Hawaii's entire congressional delegation and its governor, David Ige, released a joint statement calling on the Navy to immediately suspend its operations at Red Hill until they "remedy this crisis."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2021