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Winston

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Air Force To Build Alternate Airbase On Tinian Island In Case Guam Gets Knocked Out
With the threat of China rising, the Pentagon is looking for new airfields and to expand existing ones for distributed operations in the Pacific.
DECEMBER 1, 2020


According to reports, the Department of Defense is moving ahead with plans to formally build a backup air base at Tinian Island, located just 100 miles to the north of its giant and highly strategic U.S. military airbase on Guam, known as Andersen Air Force Base. This comes as the Pentagon is working to expand its existing airfields located deep in the Pacific and even create new ones that it could use during a major peer-state clash, namely with China, in the vast region. It is all part of an emerging distributed combat operations strategy that will likely be as much about survival as about getting an advantage on the enemy, at least during the opening stages of a potential conflict in the Pacific Theater. Anderson Air Force Base is so key to U.S. strategy that the possibility that a natural disaster could knock out flight operations in the entire region is also a driving factor behind this initiative.

While Guam isn't as at risk of adversary missile attacks as America's military outposts located in Japan, or even South Korea, its ability to continue operating during a barrage of ever more plentiful and capable Chinese ballistic missiles is highly questionable at best, leaving alternative airfields both nearby and far away, absolutely critical to a sustained a war effort. Wake Island, which is located 1,500 miles east of Guam, is the largest such installation. You can read about the upgrades to that remote island outpost in this recent feature of ours.

However, that base on Wake Island will be more about staging airpower as a conflict heats up, not just with dealing with dislocated airpower in the opening stages of an attack. This is where new developments at Tinian Island will come into play.

Tinian, which is now part of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI), a U.S. territory, was seized from the Japanese by U.S. forces in the summer of 1944 during the twilight of World War II. It became home to a huge and historic airfield located on the northern stretch of the island. It is from this base, called North Field, that two B-29 bombers, modified to carry atomic bombs as part of Operation Silverplate, flew separate sorties that would comprise the only operational uses of nuclear weapons to date. These missions were in addition to waves of bomber and reconnaissance runs that flew over Japan and around the Western Pacific from the island during the later stages of the war.


Tinian 1945:



Tinian now:



Looks a bit like a diorama because of the foreground being in focus and the distant items blurred, but they are blurred by hot jet exhaust, not due to camera depth of field issues:





Major Airfield Expansion On Wake Island Seen By Satellite As U.S. Preps For Pacific Fight
America's remote island outpost in the Pacific is an essential fallback point for pushing airpower west during a major conflict.
JULY 3, 2020


 

Winston

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This Relatively Young Military Sealift Command Ship Is Absolutely Caked In Rust
The Pentagon is pushing its naval fleet to the brink and this is manifesting itself in its vessels appearing run-down after sustained operations.
Dec 5, 2020


The Lewis and Clarke class dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE-11) pulled into San Diego Bay on Friday, December 4th looking remarkably worse for wear with the length of its hull and superstructure streaked with dark rust stains. The poor appearance of the ship, which was put into service less than a decade ago, is more evidence of a troubling trend that has manifested across America's naval forces. Vessels marred with 'running rust,' especially after particularly long deployments or generally high operational tempos, have become a far more common sight in recent years.

We recently reported on the very rough outward appearance of the Arleigh Burke class destroyer USS Stout after its record-setting deployment, but the USNS Washington Chambers looks markedly worse. You can read about the various factors that are contributing to the depleted condition of U.S. naval vessels, as well as the Stout's own ordeal, in this recent piece of ours. Suffice to say, the fleet is being pushed to its limits, with no real end in sight. This has major downstream effects, including longer and more expensive maintenance periods, decreased overall readiness, as well as the less easily quantifiable impacts on the crews that man the vessels themselves.


In 2011:



Now:

 

Winston

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WW2 Germany Military Statistics and Casualties by Service, Year, and Campaigns


Total in Wehrmacht Service 1939-1945: 17,893,200
Total Wehrmacht Casualties 1939-1945: 10,340,728

As would be expected, the air force was a place to be:

Total in Luftwaffe Service 1939-1945: 3,400,000+
Total Luftwaffe Casulaties 1939-1945: 485,000+

Same for a navy that, with the exception of U-boats, couldn't do much due to being horribly outgunned with lousy access to the open sea:

Total in Kriegsmarine Service 1939-1945: 1,500,000+
Total Kriegsmarine Casualties 1939-1945: 191,287+

Total in Waffen-SS Service 1939-1945: 1,000,000+
Total Waffen-SS Casualties 1939-1945: 650,000
 

Winston

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Many photos at link:

DEWLine Training Site: Streator Illinois


A prototype station was set up in a cornfield outside Streator, Illinois, where technical functions of the radar equipment could be tested and human operators were sent to be trained. Below are views of the facility in its heyday and just below that, the current remnants.

 

Winston

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This Navigator Aboard A Russian Il-76 Looks Like A TIE Fighter Pilot From Star Wars
There is a reason for the similarity. George Lucas designed his starships with elements of World War II aircraft, including glazed noses.
DECEMBER 14, 2020




 

Winston

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Chasing Soviet Missiles In The Cobra Ball From A Desolate Rock In The Aleutian Islands
During the Cold War, RC-135 Cobra Ball missile test tracking jet crews sat alert at one of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth.
8 Dec 2020


The horn went off at 0330. Groggy, the pilot pulled on his flying suit, stuffed his feet into his boots, and headed down the stairs to Hangar 6. He was not alone.

As he clambered up the stairs through the jet’s gaping cargo door, he saw the alert mission crew getting settled into their seats. In the cockpit, he passed the two navigators already at work. The Nav 1 was spinning up the LN-20 stellar-inertial doppler system as the Nav 2 was prepping the SATCOM and her mission materials.

He slid into the left seat just as the copilot arrived. Both put on their headsets while strapping in.

“Pilot? Ground. Air stairs clear, ready to back.”

“Roger, brakes released.”

The copilot keyed the radio. “Six weather.” Transmitting in the blind, ground control broadcast the current weather conditions.

Now pushed outside of the huge hangar, the pilot began the engine start.

“Turning three.” The number three engine quickly came to life, followed by four, one, and then two. The crew entry chute closed and the airplane blinked as the copilot switched to internal power while the ground crew disconnected the ground power cart.

The jet moved onto the runway, turning left. Illuminated by the taxi lights, the pilot could barely see the edge of the runway in the fog and blowing snow. As the end of the runway disappeared under the nose, the pilot turned the airplane around sharply to align it with the centerline of Runway 28. The copilot turned off the taxi lights and the jet came to a stop. Flaps set, takeoff data reviewed, Before Takeoff Checklist complete. The pilot nodded in the dim red glow of the cockpit and the copilot switched on the landing light. Throttles set, all four engines steady, brakes released. Slowly, 285,000 pounds of airplane, crew, and jet fuel accelerated to 165 knots before rotating and disappearing into the frigid darkness.

The Cobra Ball was airborne.










VHS quality (oxymoron?) amateur video:


Shemya Air Force Base now called:

Eareckson Air Station


Eareckson Air Station (IATA: SYA, ICAO: PASY), formerly Shemya Air Force Base, is a United States Air Force military airport located on the island of Shemya, in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands.

The airport was closed as an active Air Force Station on 1 July 1994. However, it is still owned by the USAF and is operated by the USAF 611th Air Support Squadron at Elmendorf AFB for refueling purposes. It also serves as a diversion airport for civilian aircraft. The base previously hosted the AN/FPS-17 and AN/FPS-80 radars and since 1977 the more powerful AN/FPS-108 COBRA DANE phased-array radar.
 

Winston

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US Embassy Comes Under Rocket Attack In Baghdad, Anti-Missile Defenses Active
20 Dec 2020

What you are seeing in the video is a dense string of M-940 20mm Multipurpose Tracer-Self Destruct (MPT-SD) rounds. The ammunition is specially engineered to self-destruct at a certain distance so that the string of shells doesn't take out a city block miles away.

However, there is inevitably a certain percentage that don't self destruct and those 20mm rounds land somewhere in Baghdad. The only fix for that? Don't launch rocket attacks on the Green Zone.


Centurion Counter-Rocket, Artillery, Mortar (C-RAM) system which protects the embassy compound and Green Zone

 

Winston

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Early On, The A-10 Warthog's Legendary Gun Was Both a Blessing and a Curse
The Air Force had to make sure the massive cannon wouldn't blind the pilot, knock out the engines, and shake the plane apart.
AUGUST 8, 2017

 

Winston

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National Museum of the U.S. Air Force - Missile Gallery


Opened to the public in 2004, the Missile Gallery is contained in a silo-like structure that stands 140 feet high. Visitors can view missiles such as the Titan I and II and Jupiter from ground level or can take in an aerial view from an elevated platform that hugs the inside circumference of the gallery.
 

Winston

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New Low-Yield Nuclear Warheads That Biden Calls A "Bad Idea" Have All Been Delivered
Biden has opposed the Trump Administration's deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads on the Navy's Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
DECEMBER 29, 2020


It is notable that NNSA was able to deliver the entire planned production run of W76-2s to the Navy within 17 months. Production and delivery of the W76-1 warheads took more than a decade to complete, though that effort did also involve a larger number of total warheads.

The speed with which the W76-2s were produced would also seem to bolster previous reports that have posited that this warhead is a version of the W76-1 with its second stage removed to dramatically lower its yield. That some W76-1s were directly converted into W76-2s would seem to add further weight to that existing analysis. The W76-1, as well as the original W76, are understood to be two-stage thermonuclear weapons wherein an initial atomic reaction triggers a second, more powerful one.

Beyond the W76-2's design and capabilities, that the Navy now has the full quantity of these warheads in its inventory is significant by itself. President Donald Trump's Administration initiated the development of this weapon following the completion of the last Nuclear Posture Review in 2018.

The ostensible reasoning behind its development was a need for added flexibility to respond to certain contingencies, especially a limited nuclear strike by a hostile adversary. This requirement was driven in no small part by concerns that the Russian government had adopted a so-called "escalate-to-deescalate" policy wherein it might use a small number of low-yield nuclear weapons to effectively force the end of a conflict on terms favorable to Moscow. At least in theory, the idea would be to shock an opponent or opponents, such as the United States and NATO, into seeking some sort of negotiated settlement rather than further escalating the situation.

The W76-1 has an estimated yield of approximately 100 kilotons, while that of the W76-2 is believed to be around just five kilotons. If that latter estimate is accurate, the W76-2 would have only one-third of the yield of the Little Boy bomb that the U.S. dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during World War II.

It's also worth noting that the Navy's Trident D5s can be armed with W88 warheads, which have a reported approximate yield of 475 kilotons, as well. Each one of these missiles is capable of carrying up to 14 warheads, as well, but successive arms control agreements with Russia mean that they typically only have five or six loaded inside at a time. Of course, the stated strategy behind the W76-2 means that it would defeat the purpose of those warheads if there were loaded together with W76-1s or W88s and it's unlikely that more than one or two of them would be fitted to any one missile.

The maps below were created using NUKEMAP, an online tool created by nuclear weapons historian Alex Wellerstein, presently a professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey. They show the approximate extent of various effects on the Washington, D.C. area from the detonation of, from right to left, a W88, a W76-1, and a W76-2, based on their estimated yields.
[showing a best use scenario? 😁 - W]



Mk4 reentry vehicle



 

Winston

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Imagine Following This On The Highway: A Truckload Of Nuclear Training Bombs
It's highly unusual to see even inert nuclear bombs being transported so openly.
DECEMBER 29, 2020


It's no secret that America's nuclear weapons, or components thereof, sometimes travel along the country's roads, typically inside heavily modified, armored, and booby-trap-laden tractor-trailer trucks. So we at The War Zone were surprised to see a picture recently of a load of B61 and B83 nuclear gravity bombs on an open flatbed trailer, even though they turned out to be inert ones bound for a test.

Sandia National Laboratories released the picture, a full version of which is seen below, as part of a review of its accomplishments in the 2019 Fiscal Year. The image, which shows what appears to be six B61 trainers, including one with an orange-colored body section and tail unit representing the newest B61-12 variant, and two B83 trainers, loaded on the trailer is undated. So, although we know it was taken between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2019, we don't know exactly when or where it was shot.


That's a building I recognized as being one of the Sandia National Labs buildings on Kirtland AFB, NM.


2020 SNL Accomplishments


Within that document, we amazingly find a photo of this part from the W88, our most advanced warhead:



W88 warhead


The value of an egg-shaped primary lies apparently in the fact that a MIRV warhead is limited by the diameter of the primary—if an egg-shaped primary can be made to work properly, then the MIRV warhead can be made considerably smaller yet still deliver a high-yield explosion—a W88 warhead manages to yield up to 475 kt with a physics package 68.9 in (1.75 m) long, with a maximum diameter of 21.8 in (0.55 m), and by different estimates weighing in a range from 175 to 360 kg. The smaller warhead allows more of them to fit onto a single missile and improves basic flight properties such as speed and range.

The calculations for a nonspherical primary are apparently orders of magnitude more difficult than for a spherical primary. A spherically symmetric simulation is one-dimensional, while an axially symmetric simulation is two dimensional. Simulations typically divide up each dimension into discrete segments, so a one-dimensional simulation might involve only 100 points, while a similarly accurate two dimensional simulation would require 10,000.


 
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Winston

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Watch This F-15 Take Out A Target With A Sidewinder Missile At Very Close Range
We don’t often get the chance to see such a close-quarters aerial engagement with live weapons.
DECEMBER 29, 2020


The “special air training missile” was specifically the NATM-9M version, a dedicated training round that carries the usual motor and infrared guidance package, but which has an inert warhead and also adds special test and evaluation equipment to check the parameters of the engagement and the missile’s reliability.

A kinetic kill via direct impact.


 

Winston

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How Hitler's Flatulence Helped End World War II


Why Coca-Cola Invented Fanta In Nazi Germany

 

Winston

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In 1944, U.S. POWs Got the Best X-Mas Gift of All—An Escape Map
How British and American intelligence snuck secret maps between layers of playing cards.
24 Dec 2020


While the map deck may have been part of the special Red Cross Christmas package, MIS-X was sending up to 100 care packages daily from its secret PO Box 1142 location at Fort Hunt in Alexandria, Virginia, a National Park Service site the Army took over during World War II. Additional decks of cards likely were included in these “loaded” packs. MI9 was also sending packages from London addresses that no longer existed because of the bombing.

At least 32 prisoners used the map to escape from Colditz Castle and the thousands of decks distributed likely led to over 300 additional escape attempts around Germany.

“I believe they were used for a variety of different escapes,” says Hammond. “Colditz Castle is the most high-profile one. There was quite a significant breakout from the deck of cards. Anywhere you found some successful escape, there is a decent chance these decks were involved.”

The map deck effort was kept as secret as possible during the war to avoid German detection. Because the map deck was a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, the effort was held as top secret for decades following the war, not coming to the light until the 1970s.


 

Winston

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How Sonar Works - Smarter Every Day 249


US20100188931A1 - Design and method for improving the performance of submarine and other water craft sonar sensors, arrays and/or hydrophones


Image in patent:



Found this, don't know if it's authentic:

 

Winston

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Fighter Pilots Are Taking Full Advantage Of The Air Force's Lifted Ban On Custom Helmet Art
While it's long been a fixture of naval aviation, recently relaxed Air Force rules mean its flyers now have some of the coolest helmet art we've seen.
DECEMBER 23, 2020








 

Winston

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Boeing Uncrewed Loyal Wingman Conducts First High-Speed Taxi Test

 

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Family Digs Up One-Ton Shell From the Battleship USS New Jersey
Fortunately, it was a dud, but it still packed 150 pounds of high explosive.
8 Jan 2021


An unexploded 406mm Mk. 13 High Capacity shell fired from a 16"/50 cal Mark 7 gun of the Iowa-class USS New Jersey (BB-62) discovered in Quang Tri Province (Vietnam).





 

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Stinger missiles with proximity fuzes destroy UAVs

 

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A lot more going on there than I thought.

Testing at White Sands (Circa 1997)

This undated video documents the history and current activities of White Sands Missile Range at the time of the film. The label on the film indicates it was produced by WSMR's Public Affairs Office. A serial number on the label suggests it might have been released in 1997; the footage of the DC-XA failure on May 18, 1996 supports that suggestion.

 

Winston

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Launch and other count-downs back then at Redstone Arsenal apparently went ...five, four, three, two, one, BLAST! That's what is heard in this excellent video anyway.

BTW, Redstone Arsenal has just been designated as the future Space Command HQ.

Vintage Technology circa 1956: Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Redstone Arsenal

Computer History Archives Project (film in great condition)

Vintage 1950’s technology: An excellent documentary on the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (“ABMA”), filmed at its headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, near Huntsville, Alabama. This full, unedited version, circa 1956, runs 28 mins. Various different types of technology are shown, including [and much more - W]:

-Redstone Missile launch; missile transports,
-Supersonic Wind Tunnel for Aerodynamic Testing
-Electronic testing equipment
-IBM computer equipment
-RCA model EMU Electron Microscope
-Spectrographic Analyzer; Lab equipment
-Oscilloscopes (Dumont model 274-A & others)
-High altitude pressure testing equipment
-IBM plug board programming panel
-Missile tracking and recording equipment
And others.

Also very nice vintage footage of life around Huntsville, Alabama, at that mid-1950’s time period.
Film courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) - ARC ID 2569626.


 

Winston

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A B-47 crew member literally hung by his hands in an open bomb bay at 15,000 feet.

1958 Mars Bluff Nuclear Bomb Incident and the B-47


Modern aerial view with video of water filled crater:


B-47 Stratojet Development and Operational Issues (excellent video)

By 1957, 1285 were deployed in 85 bomber wings! 2,032 were built, 21 still exist.


Stratojet: Meet Your Boeing B-47 - Restored Color - 1954

 

Winston

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Air Force Museum Spectacular Drone Views of Experimental, Space, and Transports


Air Force Museum Cold War Gallery Drone's Eye View

 

Winston

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How To Safely Defuse A WW2 Bomb | James May's Man Lab | Spark

Only at 3:30, 22:36, 48:00 -


Unexploded Bombs off the British Coast: the SS Richard Montgomery



366th CES EOD (Mountain Home AFB, ID) detonate explosives


I wondered why they were destroying the grenades. Bad lot? No shelf life limits. They are more expensive than they should be IMO. From the NSN seen in the video:

NSN 1330-01-563-0592


What are the historical prices recorded for this stock number?: Historical data shows pricing from $139.85 to $233.08.

Does NSN 1330-01-563-0592 have a shelf life?: No. There is no shelf life applicable for this NSN.

What NATO entities are users of this NSN?: Department Of The Army, Department Of The Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Nadb (nato Ammunition Data Base), and Australia


The white things are in boxes marked with this company's name:

Titan Dynamics Systems, Inc


Titan Dynamics Systems, Inc. engineers and manufactures military-related products. The Company manufactures and markets battlefield effects simulators which are used to simulate the flash, smoke, and sound of fired or exploding shells.
 

Winston

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A CIA spyplane crashed outside Area 51 a half-century ago. This explorer found it.
How urban explorers uncovered the site—and the memory—of a covert Cold War–era accident.
January 5, 2021


A-12s at Groom Lake:

 

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I remember reading Tom Mahood's account of his search efforts when they were first published. Unfortunately technology and available time were working against me. Flash forward to this weekend, using Google Maps, a keen eye, and time available by being stuck at home hiding from COVID I was able to locate the crash site using Ray Nixon's YouTube video

Walter Ray's Memorial is listed as being 37.25700, -114.351167, but if you look at Google Earth you can see what appears to be the plaque at 37.256810, -114.351250, these two locations are only 80 feet apart.
 
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