military

North Korea has 30 warheads and is quickly expanding its nuclear arsenal

North Korea’s nuclear arsenal has expanded to 30 warheads and will grow further as Pyongyang produces increased quantities of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, according to estimates. In just three years, the North’s unpredictable leader, Kim Jong-un, will control sufficient fissile material to double that arsenal to as many as 60 weapons, says the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington. To underscore this alarming increase, the U.S. estimated that North Korea owned just one or two nuclear weapons in 1999 and would have 10 or more by 2020, according to a secret Defense Intelligence Agency report obtained by The Washington Times shortly after it had circulated privately last decade. “The bottom line is that North Korea has an improving nuclear weapons arsenal,” said David Albright, founder and director of the Institute for Science and International Security. “The last several years have witnessed a dramatic and overt buildup in North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities.” The numbers show that North Korea is becoming a true nuclear power with the ability to hit its neighbors and, one day, the U.S. Analysts say the North’s objective is simple: Assure the communist state’s, and thus the Kim dynasty’s, survival and coerce U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.

U.S. intercepts 2 Russian bombers off Alaska’s coast

The U.S. military says it intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off Alaska’s coast. Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, says a pair of F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted the Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on Monday. Ross says the intercept was “safe and professional.” North American Aerospace Defense Command monitors air approaches to North America and defends the airspace. Fox News said Tuesday the Russian planes flew within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of Alaska’s Kodiak Island. It said the American jets escorted the Russian bombers for 12 minutes. The bombers then flew back to eastern Russia.

These Russian pilots were just putting their toe in the water…testing boundaries.  Our response was appropriate here.

Rob O’Neill Defends MOAB: ‘You’re Dealing With People Who Only Understand Force’

After U.S. forces used “the mother of all bombs” on an ISIS tunnel complex in Afghanistan, some in the media have criticized the military’s decision to deploy its largest non-nuclear weapon. “Using ‘mother of all bombs’ in Afghanistan to kill 36 militants – at $450,000 each – will not change its reputation as a white elephant,” a Guardian op-ed argued. Rob O’Neill, the man who killed Usama bin Laden, said those who are questioning the use of the 21,000-pound ordnance are missing the bigger point. He said it wasn’t just about taking out ISIS militants or disrupting their underground tunnel system, it also delivers a psychological blow to our enemies in the region and around the world. O’Neill said the strategic effect of the bomb is also important, since the military used to send troops into the cave and tunnel system, which was extremely dangerous. “I don’t think you can put a dollar amount on somebody’s legs, on an American soldier’s life,” he said, noting that just a week ago a Green Beret was killed in the area. He added that this might convince some enemy combatants in the area to actually “lay down their weapons.” “You’re dealing with people [who] only understand force,” he explained. O’Neill also praised President Trump for giving military commanders the latitude they need to deploy weapons like this, something he didn’t see under the Obama administration. “I love the fact that a general made this call,” he said. “It was awesome.”

Agreed, Rob!  Rob is a warrior and understands it.

US drops largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan after Green Beret killed

The U.S. military dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on an ISIS tunnel complex in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News. The GBU-43B, a 21,000-pound conventional bomb, was deployed in Nangarhar Province. The MOAB — Massive Ordnance Air Blast — is also known as the “Mother Of All bombs.” It was first tested in 2003, but hadn’t been used in combat before Thursday. President Trump told media Thursday afternoon that “this was another successful mission” and he gave the military total authorization. Trump was also asked whether dropping the bomb sends a warning to North Korea. “North Korea is a problem, the problem will be taken care of,” said Trump. The MOAB is so massive it had to be dropped out of the back of a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane. “We kicked it out the back door,” one U.S. official said…

Nice!!  To read the rest of the story, click on the text above.   🙂

Next job for US Air Force: Space cop?

The United States Air Force may become a sort of space cop in the not-too-distant future. An off-Earth economy cannot truly take off unless moon miners and other pioneering entrepreneurs are able to operate in a safe and stable environment, said Air Force Lt. Col. Thomas Schilling, of Air University. “The [U.S.] Navy secures the freedom of action for commerce globally for the good of all humankind, and I think it’s going to take a force very similar to that to provide the predictability and security that the marketplace of space will need,” Schilling said April 4 during a panel discussion at the 33rd National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I think that would be the role of the United States Air Force moving into the future.” Somebody needs to secure and protect “strategic choke points,” such as lunar ice deposits and gravitationally stable spots near the moon, where spacecraft can camp out without burning fuel, Schilling added. “Fundamentally, I’d like that to be somebody with a value system that reflects the values that I share,” he said. “I believe in the value of individual property rights and the rule of law.” United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno moderated the panel, which featured Schilling, Offworld CEO Jim Keravala, Made In Space CEO Andrew Rush and former NASA astronaut Sandy Magnus, executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The panel focused on how activities in cislunar (Earth-moon) space could help spur the establishment of a sustainable off-Earth economy — the basic idea behind the ULA-led “Cislunar 1,000” plan. “We have a vision: Within just a couple of decades from this moment in time, there will be 1,000 men and women living and working in space permanently,” Bruno said. “As NASA and other people push deeper into deep space to explore, we want to develop the space between here and the moon.” This vision is not so far-fetched, panelists said. Indeed, humanity may have recently reached an inflection point in the quest for off-Earth settlement, thanks to the combination of advancing technology, a glut of investment money and a coalescing community of customers and end users, Keravala said. Some of this technology is pretty high-profile. Made In Space is already manufacturing products on demand for customers using its 3D printer aboard the International Space Station, for example, and both SpaceX and Blue Origin have landed and re-flown rockets — an approach that could lower the cost of spaceflight significantly. “We have an opportunity to do this now,” Magnus said, referring to the Cislunar 1,000 vision. “It’s going to take some time to build this, but the momentum’s there, and it’s very exciting.” Establishing a secure environment in which such a space settlement can exist is part of the overall effort, Schilling stressed.

Agreed!  To watch the video of the entire panel discussion, click on the text above.

Explosion at Army ammunition plant in Independence, Missouri kills at least 1

An explosion Tuesday at a sprawling ammunition plant near Kansas City, Missouri, killed one person and injured three others, the U.S. Army said. The Army Joint Munitions Command said in a statement that the blast happened at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, just east of Kansas City. A spokeswoman said no other details, including what caused the explosion, were immediately available. Federal workplace safety officials will investigate an explosion that killed one worker and injured four others at an Army ammunition plant near Kansas City, Missouri. Scott Allen with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says he has few immediate details about Tuesday afternoon’s blast at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, just east of Kansas City. But he says OSHA investigators are heading to the scene. The 77-year-old plant sits on nearly 4,000 acres and is the first of a dozen Army-run small-arms factories. The plant makes small-caliber ammunition and tests its reliability. It also operates the NATO test center. The property has more than 400 buildings and nine warehouses, and has a storage capacity of more than 700,000 square feet. Its workforce includes 29 Department of Army civilians and a soldier to provide contract oversight. It has a governmental staff payroll of $2.9 million. Mark Carrick, deputy fire chief in Independence, said the plant has its own fire brigade that is working on the explosion.

US Army testing a device that could give soldiers a ‘third arm’

Traditional weaponry has often been a burden to soldiers, placing added weight on their bodies, slowing reaction at times when all of their facilities are needed. Future troops may wind up having a “third arm” to help offset the weight. The Army Research Laboratory is testing a device that attaches to ground troops’ protective vests, potentially letting Soldiers’ hands be freed up for other tasks. “We’re looking at a new way for the Soldier to interface with the weapon,” Zac Wingard, a mechanical engineer for the lab’s Weapons and Materials Research Directorate told the U.S. Army’s website. “It is not a product; it is simply a way to study how far we can push the ballistic performance of future weapons without increasing Soldier burden.” The goal of the device would put all of the weight on a soldier’s body, allowing them to potentially have a more lethal weapon, perhaps adding as much as 20 pounds to their traditional combat load of more than 110 pounds, while not adding any burden. “With this configuration right now, we can go up to 20 pounds and take all of that weight off of the arms,” added Dan Baechle, a mechanical engineer. The device is made out of carbon fiber composite and it can be used in the prone position on either side of a soldier’s body. It could also improve accuracy and potentially help soldiers deal with recoil, but further testing is needed. Currently, researchers are using an M4 carbine to test the device, but other weapons, such as a M249 squad automatic weapon or M240B machine gun may also be tested.

Interesting..  But, this former soldier is not convinced yet.