Operation AI

It was seventy years ago today . . .

Nation pauses to remember Pearl Harbor

Survivors of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor gathered Wednesday to remember the 2,400 people who lost their lives exactly 70 years ago.

“Just as every day and unlike any other day, we stop and stand fast in memory of our heroes of Pearl Harbor and the Second World War,” Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander for Navy region Hawaii, told the gathering.

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus took note of the devastating legacy of the two-hour attack on Pearl Harbor 70 years ago.

“The history of December 7, 1941, is indelibly imprinted on the memory of every American who was alive that day. But it bears repeating on every anniversary, so that every subsequent generation will know what happened here today and never forget,” Mabus said.

See also:
Nation marks 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor Day: Survivors remember attack, pay respects on 70th anniversary
Nation marks 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor
Survivors, veterans mark somber Pearl Harbor remembrance
Pearl Harbor survivor remembers day of infamy
Senator Inouye Recalls Pearl Harbor Attack’s ‘Black Puffs of Explosion’
Pearl Harbor survivors group says it will disband
Veteran Of Pearl Harbor Dies On Anniversary Of Attack
Pearl Harbor survivors return to ships after death
Pearl Harbor survivors who lived until their 90s have their ashes interred in their ships
Overview of The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941
Attack at Pearl Harbor, 1941
Attack on Pearl Harbor

Never forget.

/and more importantly, never let it happen again

Ghost Of The Sea

Is this the U.S. Nay’s follow on to the $195 million Sea Shadow program, the Sea Shadow that’s currently floating on the scrap heap, waiting to be dismantled?

New Stealth Boat Glides Over Gas Layer

A new kind of boat is designed to move quickly and stealthily through water by generating a layer of gas around its underwater surfaces.

The design reduces friction by a factor of 900, according to the New Hampshire company that produced the boat. Its smooth speed makes it ideal for special operations. It could also revolutionize shipping.

Juliet Marine recently unveiled the Ghost, a ship it says can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The shape of the craft is similar to earlier attempts at making watercraft less visible to radar — notably the Navy’s “Sea Shadow” project of the 1980s.

The phenomenon is called supercavitation. Supercavitation occurs when a projectile moving through water generates a low-pressure zone around its surface. Go fast enough and the low-pressure zone becomes a layer of gas. In that respect the Ghost is similar to a Russian-made torpedo (called the “Shkval,” or squall), though the underwater portion of the boat’s twin hulls are a new design.

See also:
Juliet Marine Systems, Inc. Announces the First Super-Cavitating Ship, GHOST
Stealth Boat Glides Over Gas Layer
‘Ghost’ craft comes into view
Ghost ship unveiled: Stealth vessel is ‘virtually unstoppable
GHOST Boats Will Prey on Pirates
Pirate-fighter vessel revealed by Juliet Marine
Juliet Marine Develops Offshore Anti-Piracy Platform
“Stealth” Boat Could Revolutionize Naval Warfare
Juliet Marine Systems

Given the massive debt hole the U.S. is already in and that the Sea Shadow ended up being scrapped, I’m not sure the Navy really needs a new “stealth boat” like the Ghost, especially if it’s primary purpose would be to combat pirates. Pirates, for the most part, don’t have radar. The problem isn’t sneaking up on them, the problem is finding them in the first place and we don’t need a “stealth boat” for that.

/the supercavitation technology does, however, appear to be extremely promising in terms of possible commercial shipping applications where time and fuel are money

Hardly A Fair Trade

Seriously, how could we be sure whether or not we killed the exact Taliban responsible for last Saturday’s deadly attack? If we knew who and where these barbaric cretins were, we probably wouldn’t have lost the Chinook in the first place.

U.S. kills Taliban insurgents who downed SEALs’ helicopter

The retribution wasn’t long in coming.

An American airstrike killed the Taliban insurgents whose attack caused a helicopter crash that killed 22 Navy SEALs and eight other U.S. service members, military officials in Kabul and Washington said Wednesday.

However, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon that the main Taliban leader in the area remained at large. He did not identify that insurgent commander, the hunt for whom set in motion the events that led to the crash of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Saturday.

. . .

Special operations forces tracked down a group of “less than 10” insurgents and called in an airstrike from an F-16 fighter jet, Allen said. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul said the strike took place early Tuesday in the Chak district of Wardak province, close to the area where the Chinook helicopter was shot down.

See also:
U.S. Says It Killed Taliban Who Hit Copter
U.S. forces kill Taliban fighters who downed helicopter
Copter attackers found, killed in strike
US-Led Forces Kill Taliban Militants Behind Helicopter Attack
Strike kills insurgents who downed helicopter in Afghanistan, top commander says
Taliban helicopter shooter killed by United States
Military killed Taliban who downed US helicopter

There’s so many questions yet to be answered regarding this incident, including which CH-47 variant was shot down, why were so many SEALs crammed onto a single helicopter, and why was SEAL Team Six being used on what’s variously, so far been described as a rescue mission, a reinforcement, or an independent, follow on raid?

/this “we got the Taliban that killed our SEALs” makes for a heartwarming tale of revenge but, given how many times this story has already changed, I remain skeptically waiting for the real truth to unfold, if it ever does come out

Twice The Fun

Of all the U.S. armed forces, the Navy seems particularly fascinated with lasers.

Navy combines a high-speed 25mm gun with a laser

What do you get when you combine two of the most deadly weapons out there? No, not a machete duct taped to a nuke. You get the Navy’s new gatling gun/laser hybrid.

The Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System is something you really don’t want to be on the business end of. It combines a M242 autocannon, which is a lovely piece of equipment capable of firing 175 rounds per minute, with a high-energy laser gun.

See also:
Boeing building lasers for Navy machine guns
Boeing, BAE Systems to Develop Integrated Directed Energy Weapon for US Navy
Navy’s Next Wonder Weapon Combines a High Speed 25mm Gun With Deadly Laser
How to Make a Giant Chain Gun Even Deadlier: Give It a Laser Cannon
Navy’s Next Laser Mashes Up Machine Guns and Death Rays
BAE Putting Lasers on Mk 38 Naval Gun
Boeing, BAE Systems Team for Mk 38 Mod 2 Tactical Laser System
Boeing (NYSE:BA) Making Navy Weapon
Boeing and BAE Systems Develop Weapon for the US Navy

An interesting idea, but I’m not sure how cost effective in terms of additional “bang for the buck”.

/I mean, what increased, incremental damage is a laser going to add that the 25mm chain gun isn’t already inflicting at 175 rpm?

Boating With Lasers

It’s nothing earth shattering and certainly not anything a three inch shell couldn’t accomplish, but you need to start somewhere.

Naval laser torches small boat in test

Northrop Grumman’s Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD) is a 15 kilowatt solid state laser specifically designed to be mounted on ships. On Wednesday, the MLD underwent its first test, successfully disabling a small boat by setting fire to its motors. The range on this test was about a mile, and the laser was able to stay locked on its target despite the relative motion of its ship and the target boat in what I’d personally call heavy seas.

This is really just a first little taste of the capabilities of naval laser systems, and in a few years, the MLD is intended to be shooting down incoming missiles. A few years after that, we’ll have an incredibly destructive free-electron laser ready to go. And it can’t be too soon, according to the Navy.

See also:
Navy tests laser gun by zapping motorboat off California coast
US Navy laser cannon used to set boat aflame
Video: In Roiling Seas, Navy Laser Sets a Ship On Fire
U.S. Navy tests laser gun by blasting empty boat
Navy tests on-board laser weapon
Video: Navy Laser Sets Ship on Fire
US Navy fires laser gun from ship for the first time
Naval laser could prove deadly to pirates, incoming missiles
U.S. Navy getting closer to arming ships with lasers
Maritime Laser Demonstration

There’s a big difference between setting a slow moving small boat on fire and defeating incoming missiles at supersonic speed. And then another problem is scaling the laser up to make it more powerful. It’s not like they can plug it into the local power grid at sea, they have to have a self-contained power source.

/the Navy obviously still has a lot of work to do, let’s hope they can figure it out soon

The Navy Gets A Drone . . .

. . . the Navy gets a drone, Fly-Fer the carrier, the Navy gets a drone.

Navy unveils new bat-winged stealth bomber; unmanned X-47B is military’s deadliest new drone

An unmanned, bat-winged stealth bomber made its first demo flight in California, marking the first step in the Navy’s development of a new generation of killer drones.

The experimental warplane, named the X-47B, took off from Edwards Air Force base, shot to 5,000 feet and flew a racetrack pattern over a dry lakebed during the 29-minute demo flight on Friday, the Navy said in a statement.

“Today we got a glimpse towards the future as the Navy’s first-ever tailless, jet-powered unmanned aircraft took to the skies,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the program manager for the plane, said in a statement.

Military leaders see the plane as a major shift from the current fleet of robotic aircraft.

Combat drones are usually controlled remotely by human pilots, but the X-47B can carry out extended missions controlled by a computer and is designed to fly faster and farther than existing jets, like the Predators and Reapers used in Afghanistan.

It’s also the first drone capable of taking off and landing aboard an aircraft carrier in the ocean.

See also:
X-47B Sorties Ramping Up
Northrop’s X-47B robotic jet makes first flight from Edwards Air Force Base
U.S. Navy X-47B unmanned aircraft successfully conducts first flight
X-47B stealth drone takes its first test flight
X-47B Unmanned Stealth Bomber’s Maiden Flight
Lockheed Martin Supports U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman in X-47B UCAS-D Successful First Flight
Unmanned X-47B bomber successfully completes first test-flight
X-47B unmanned Stealth Bomber performs successful maiden flight
GKN Aerospace partners with U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman for X-47B first flight
New, stealthy Navy drone makes its maiden flight
Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
Northrop Grumman Demonstrates Unmanned X-47B Plane
X-47B UCAS
Northrop Grumman X-47B

Well, the X-47B is certainly going to take up a lot of space on board a carrier, without the ability to contribute anything towards carrier defense.

/they’re probably looking forward to using it in conjunction with the CVX Next Generation Aircraft Carrier

South Korea Kicks Somali Pirate Ass

The final score, South Korea; 21 rescued, one wounded ship’s captain, and a recaptured 11,500-ton chemical freighter. Somali Pirates; eight dead, five under arrest, no ransom, and loss of pirate boat.

Commandos attack, and pirates die; South Korean navy show the world how to do anti-piracy

Commandos from the South Korean navy stormed a ship earlier today that had been hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, killed at least eight of the pirates in cabin-to-cabin gunfights, captured five other pirates who wisely chose capture over death, and rescued all 21 hostages aboard the 11,500-ton chemical freighter.

The commando force suffered no injuries. The ship’s captain suffered a non-life-threatening gunshot wound during the operation. The South Korean force had a little help from a nearby U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, which also provided a helicopter to transfer the wounded Korean ship’s captain.

See also:
South Korean forces storm hijacked ship, free hostages
Korea pushes ahead with risky operation
South Korean commandos save crew from pirates
South Korean commando raid kills eight Somali pirates
Eight Somali pirates killed as South Korea rescues freighter crew
South Korean Commandos Rescue Freighter Crew, Killing Eight Somali Pirates
S. Korean Navy Frees Crew of Hijacked Chemical Tanker
South Korea delivers setback to Somali pirates, and a warning to North Korea
South Korean raid frees hostage crew from pirates
S. Korean navy rescues hijacked cargo ship, sailors
In ‘Bold Operation,’ South Korean Commandos Kill Pirates, Rescue Crew
South Koreans Fight Pirates Off Ship
Somalia anti-piracy law: MPs block law banning ‘heroes’

Unfortunately, for every successful operation like this, there’s at least a dozen hijackings that the pirates get away with and get paid for. Sooner or later, unless they want to keep paying ransoms every other week,the Western powers are going to have to send forces ashore, hit these Somali bastards where they live, and destroy their piracy infrastructure.

/calling Stephen Decatur