HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » unhappycamper » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
Number of posts: 60,364

Journal Archives

Royal Navy spends £50bn on new fighter (F-35C) jets.. but they can't even land on aircraft carriers


Problems: The newest version of the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35C, (pictured) has a design flaw which means it cannot land on aircraft carriers.

Royal Navy spends £50bn on new fighter jets... but they can't even land on aircraft carriers
By Anthony Bond
UPDATED: 10:44 EST, 15 January 2012

A new fighter plane which is to be used by the UK and U.S. military has a design flaw which prevents it from landing on aircraft carriers, it has emerged.

The flaw in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will come as a huge embarrassment to the Royal Navy which is expected to take delivery of 50 of the planes by 2020 at a cost of about £5 billion.

Leaked documents from the Pentagon have revealed that the arrestor hook of the JSF - which is used to stop the plane during landing - is too close to the wheels.

According to The Sunday Times, the Pentagon report reveals that eight simulated landings have failed and it says a 'significant redesign' of the aircraft is needed.
Posted by unhappycamper | Thu Oct 25, 2012, 08:35 AM (2 replies)

Romney’s Big Navy Guru Made Millions From Building Ships


John F. Lehman, a former Navy Secretary and current adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign, testifies before Congress in 2004.

Romney’s Big Navy Guru Made Millions From Building Ships
By David Axe
October 23, 2012 | 1:00 pm

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has vowed to boost the size of the Navy by roughly 15 percent as part of a broader defense buildup. “Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917,” he complained in Monday night’s debate. “That’s unacceptable to me.”

But for one of Romney’s most important advisers on Navy issues, a man who oversaw a massive naval expansion for Pres. Ronald Reagan, there’s more at stake than U.S. national security. John Lehman, an investment banker and former secretary of the Navy, has strong and complex personal financial ties to the naval shipbuilding industry. He has profited hugely from the Navy’s slow growth in recent years — raising the prospect that he could make even more if Romney takes his advice on expanding the fleet.


Lehman is the founder and chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity firm. He also sits on several corporate boards.

Lehman invested in a government-backed “Superferry” in Hawaii — a business that ultimately failed, but not before boosting the standing of Austal USA, an Alabama shipbuilder that constructed the ferry service’s ships. Austal USA’s rising fortunes in turn benefited international defense giant BAE Systems, which then bought up shipyards owned by Lehman in order to work more closely with Austal USA.
Posted by unhappycamper | Wed Oct 24, 2012, 08:11 AM (0 replies)

Shrinking Army, Trying To Handle Everything, Spreads Itself Thin


Shrinking Army, Trying To Handle Everything, Spreads Itself Thin
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: October 22, 2012

AUSA: What will the Army do after it gets out of Afghanistan? A little of everything, said senior leaders -- with equal emphasis on both "little" and "everything."

The Marines talk of returning to their expeditionary, seaborne roots; the Air Force and Navy tout AirSea Battle against dense Iranian or Chinese "anti-access/area denial" defenses; but the Army, for good or ill, resolutely refuses to distill its future vision into a single concept.

"We're not going to have bumper stickers," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters Monday at the annual meeting of the Association of the US Army. "We're going to need the capability for the ground force to be part of whatever we want to do [as a military]."

"What I'm focused on is having an Army that can deploy at several speeds, that can deploy at several sizes, and that can respond to several different contingencies," Odierno explained. In other words, after a decade of deploying brigades in a steady cycle to fight the counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army needs to relearn how to dispatch smaller forces to a wider and less predictable array of missions around the world.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 09:04 AM (0 replies)

Billions At Stake As Army Opens Competition For Rifleman Radio


Billions At Stake As Army Opens Competition For Rifleman Radio
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: October 22, 2012

WASHINGTON: The Army took a major step today towards opening up a major radio program to full and open competition, issuing a formal Request For Information today asking industry's input on the Rifleman Radio program.

The hand-held Rifleman Radio and the backpack-sized Manpack Radio are the last survivors of the highly ambitious, deeply troubled, and now largely cancelled Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) program to build new digital radios for all the armed forces. Both radios are now in what's called "low-rate initial production" (LRIP): The Army has ordered 3,726 Manpacks from General Dynamics for more than $250 million and 19,327 Rifleman Radios, half from GD and half from Thales.

Before either radio goes to full-rate production, however, the Army plans to open them to "full and open competition" in which any industry vendor is welcome to take on the incumbents now doing LRIP -- something which lobbyists tried and failed to forestall earlier this year.

This unusual approach is about exploiting opportunities, not about any lack of confidence in General Dynamics or Thales, Army officials insisted to AOL Defense.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 08:59 AM (0 replies)

British military to double its armed drone fleet in Afghanistan; pilots to fly them from UK


British military to double its armed drone fleet in Afghanistan; pilots to fly them from UK
By Associated Press, Published: October 22

LONDON — The British military says it is doubling the size of its armed drone fleet in Afghanistan to 10 with the purchase of a batch of new Reapers.

The Ministry of Defense said late Monday that five recently-purchased unmanned aerial vehicles would be remotely operated from the Royal Air Force base at Waddington, in central England.

Up until now Royal Air Force crews had operated the drones from the United States’ Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. The Guardian newspaper, which first reported the news, said that the British pilots would gradually be moved to Waddington.

unhappycamper comment: A lowball estimate of what these bad boys cost is $36.8 million dollars ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MQ-9_). Hellfire missiles are an extra $160 grand (each).
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 08:33 AM (0 replies)

Pentagon Seeks Air-Combat Brainstorm on Future After F-35


A Lockheed Martin Corp. F-35 fighter jet.

Pentagon Seeks Air-Combat Brainstorm on Future After F-35
By Tony Capaccio - 2012-10-22T04:00:01Z

The Pentagon is inviting the aerospace industry to help brainstorm the next era in U.S. air- combat superiority after the F-35 and F-22 fighters are retired, decades from now.

Reflecting the rise of drone warfare, an 18-month evaluation will consider both piloted and unmanned aircraft working in tandem with a network of weapons, sensors, electronic warfare and command-and-control capabilities, according to a memo by Frank Kendall, the under secretary of defense for acquisition, obtained by Bloomberg News.

The intent of the “concept definition” initiative is to start preparing the Pentagon for a time when today’s F-22 jets and the new F-35s still being developed reach the end of their service lives. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will sponsor the effort, providing $20 million to $30 million in funds, according to Kendall.

Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT)’s F-35 “will provide a decisive advantage” in the “next few decades but it is not too early to begin consideration of the next generation of capability that will someday complement and eventually replace the F-35,” Kendall said in the Oct. 10 memo.
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 08:15 AM (0 replies)

Agent Orange: In Vietnam, a CEO tackles a 'terrible wrong'


A health plan's leader lost her husband, possibly to aftereffects of Agent Orange exposure. Now she seeks to help others in Vietnam.

In Vietnam, a CEO tackles a 'terrible wrong'
Article by: JACKIE CROSBY , Star Tribune
Updated: October 20, 2012 - 9:56 PM


Bob Feldman was 23 when he arrived at the base in Biên Hòa in the spring of 1970 to serve with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Like other major military hubs in Southeast Asia, Biên Hòa was a storage facility for Agent Orange. Army documents show that just months before Feldman arrived, the base was the site of several spills of the dioxin-laced herbicide.

"Bob was behind the lines for the most part, and his day-to-day life was considered 'safe,' " Nancy said. "What he didn't know was that he was washing, drinking and eating Agent Orange."

Agent Orange was a cocktail of herbicides sometimes mixed at 50 times the strength used in farming at the time. American soldiers sprayed nearly 20 million gallons of defoliants across Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia between 1961 and 1971 in a campaign to destroy jungles that provided cover to the enemy.

Pushed for decades by veterans, activists and scientists, the Department of Veterans Affairs has since linked Agent Orange and other herbicides to increased risk of birth defects and more than a dozen diseases, including several forms of cancer and Parkinson's.

on edit to add Biên Hòa pic:

Large stacks of 55-gallon drums filled with Agent Orange. U.S. Army file photo
Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 07:59 AM (6 replies)

Burning "Stuff"

I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of burning a shitter but I can recommend you avoid it, if possible.

Phu Bai, Vietnam:

Camp Victory, Iraq

Djibouti, Republic of Djibouti

Yesterday the airforcetimes announced that new incinerators were being installed in Afghanistan.

New incinerators to aid air quality in Kandahar
By Jeff Schogol - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Oct 22, 2012 8:21:29 EDT

Activated Oct. 5, the incinerators will replace the airfield’s open burn box, which belched plumes of black smoke, according to a news release. The incinerators need time to be broken in, so smoke from burning trash may continue to waft through the airfield for a few more weeks.

Not bad, guys. It only took you 10 fucking years. (40 years if you start counting since Vietnam.)

Baghram, Afghanistan:

Posted by unhappycamper | Tue Oct 23, 2012, 07:36 AM (2 replies)

Charts: Meet Romney's Pork-Friendly Military Entourage


Charts: Meet Romney's Pork-Friendly Military Entourage
—By Adam Weinstein
| Fri Oct. 19, 2012 8:54 AM PDT

Mitt Romney recently released the names of more than 300 retired senior military officers who have endorsed his candidacy for president. The list includes prominent fans of the Iraq War and Don't Ask, Don't Tell. But what can we glean from the names more generally? A whole lot—and I've enlisted Mother Jones' crack data visualization team to help.

Check out the resemblance between the second and third pie charts: While Romney's military advisory council may not resemble the armed forces' overall composition, it closely mirrors how much each respective service spends to buy stuff.

Despite the fact that it's the largest branch of service by body count, the Army can't come close to the Navy and Air Force when it comes to big-ticket tech and coveted pork projects. After all, ships don't sail in deserts and soldiers don't fly jets. Retired flag officers are likelier than civilians to work as "Beltway bandits"—lobbyists and contractors trying to grab military cash for often-bloated and wasteful priorities—and ex-Air Force generals and ex-Navy admirals are the best folks to cajole Congress into buying a new behind-schedule fighter jet or bankrolling an extra Virginia-class submarine.

These monied veterans no doubt hear a nightingale's song when Romney complains about the size of the Navy, rails against the age of US military tanker aircraft, and pledges to spend 4 percent of GDP on defense (a move that could cost Americans another $2.1 trillion dollars). Just last week in a foreign policy speech carefully designed to boost his credibility as a possible commander in chief, Romney vowed that he would "restore our Navy to the size needed to fulfill our missions by building 15 ships per year." That's a nearly 70 percent boost over current shipbuilding levels—hardly the hallmark of a fiscal conservative.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Oct 21, 2012, 08:32 AM (2 replies)

Food Fight: MIC vs. PIC

The Military Industrial Complex is pissed the Prison Industrial Complex can produce stuff more cheaply than they can:

Industry Upset Over Prison Defense Contracts
Oct 19, 2012
Military.com| by Bryant Jordan

Business owners are crying foul over the number of clothing contracts -- including those for military uniforms -- awarded to Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR.

From UNICORs web site:

Mission Statement

It is the mission of Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI) to employ and provide job skills training to the greatest practicable number of inmates confined within the Federal Bureau of Prisons; contribute to the safety and security of our Nation's federal correctional facilities by keeping inmates constructively occupied; provide market-quality products and services; operate in a self-sustaining manner; and minimize FPI's impact on private business and labor.

About FPI Inmate Programs

FPI is, first and foremost, a correctional program. The whole impetus behind Federal Prison Industries is not about business, but instead, about inmate release preparation.... helping offenders acquire the skills necessary to successfully make that transition from prison to law-abiding, contributing members of society. The production of items and provision of services are merely by-products of those efforts.

FPI Program Benefits...

to society - Rigorous research demonstrates that participation in prison industries and vocational training programs has a positive effect on post-release employment and recidivism for up to 12 years following release. Inmates who worked in prison industries or completed vocational apprenticeship programs were 24 percent less likely to recidivate than non-program participants and 14 percent more likely to be gainfully employed. These programs had an even greater positive impact on minority offenders, who are at the greatest risk of recidivism.

to the courts, crime victims, and inmate families - In FY 2011, inmates who worked in FPI factories contributed almost $1.8 million of their earnings toward meeting their financial obligations, e.g., court-ordered fines, child support, and/or restitution. Many inmates also contributed to the support and welfare of their families by sending home a portion of their earnings.

to thousands of incarcerated men and women in federal prisons - For many inmates, working in Federal Prison Industries represents an opportunity to learn a marketable skill and gain valuable work experience that will substantially enhance their ability to successfully reintegrate into society following release from prison. The program teaches inmates pro-social values including the value of work, responsibility, and the need to respect and work with others. Many inmates gain a sense of dignity and self-worth that they had lost or never before experienced.

to private sector businesses - During FY 2011, FPI purchased more than $640 million in raw materials, supplies, equipment, and services from private sector businesses. More than half of these purchases were from small businesses, including women and minority owned and disadvantaged businesses.

to the Bureau of Prisons - FPI contributes significantly to the safety and security of federal correctional facilities by keeping inmates constructively occupied. Inmates who participate in work programs and vocational training are less likely to engage in institutional misconduct, thereby enhancing the safety of staff and other inmates.

FPI is an integral component of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (Bureau or BOP), and the Director of the Bureau serves as Chief Executive Officer "of FPI." The Assistant Director for the BOP’s Industries, Education and Vocational Training Division serves as Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Secretary for FPI.

A Republicon pushes back against the PIC:


More Jobs Lost After The Government Decides To Have Military Uniforms Made By Convicts
Business Insider - September 7, 2012
By: Michael Kelley

Small businesses are struggling to stay afloat because they have to compete with super cheap prison labor.

Federal Prison Industries (FPI), a corporation owned by the federal government, employs more than 13,000 inmates at wages from 23 cents to $1.15 an hour, making everything from military apparel to call center and help desk support to solar panels and selling the products to the Pentagon and other federal agencies.

FPI, also known as UNICOR, operates inside 83 federal prisons and made more than $900 million in revenue last year.

In March Tennier Industries, which also makes military clothing, fired more than 100 employees after losing out to FPI on a new $45 million contract from the Defense Department.

And another Republicon jumps in with Rep. Huizenga:

Roby supports bill to limit use of prison labor
By: Lance Griffin | Dothan Eagle
Published: September 27, 2012

The closing of two Alabama apparel plants that lost work to prison labor has prompted Congresswoman Martha Roby to support a bill designed to limit the practice.

Roby, R-Montgomery, said Thursday that she plans to co-sponsor the Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act, sponsored by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich.

According to Huizenga, the bill would end a provision in current federal law that gives a federal corporation known as Federal Prison Industries (or UNICOR) first right of refusal for certain government contracts. It would also prohibit the company from utilizing prison labor to sell products commercially.

One apparel plant in Selma has closed and another in Fayette has announced plans to close after losing contracts to FPI, which pays inmates at some federal prisons between 23 cents and $1.15 per hour. The plant in Fayette lost a military uniform contract to FPI. The corporation manufactures several other items.

unhappycamper comment: It looks like we have a conundrum here.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Oct 21, 2012, 08:23 AM (2 replies)
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next »