Tuesday 7th of July 2020



expensive donkey

The US military says it has grounded its F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet following a fire on board one of the multi-million-dollar jets.

Directives ordering the suspension of all flights were issued after the fire at Eglin air force base in Florida.

The Pentagon said officials had not been able to pinpoint the cause of the fire, which occurred as a pilot was preparing for takeoff. The pilot was not injured.




Indonesia's Sukhoi Su-30 'Flanker'

  • Russian-made multirole strike fighter
  • Max speed: 2,000kph
  • Range: 3,000km
  • Wing span: 14.7m
  • Weapons: Eight-tonne payload can include guns, missiles, and bombs
  • Indonesia also has Sukhoi Su-27s as well as ageing US-built F-5 Tigers.

Australia's F-35 Lightning II

  • Jointly developed with US and other countries
  • Max speed: Mach 1.6 (1,960kph)
  • Range: 2,200km
  • Wingspan: 10.7m
  • Weapons: 25mm GAU-22/A cannon, air-to-air missiles, guided bombs
  • Stealth capabilities: Electronic radar jamming, advanced sensors, radar absorbing external coating

If one compares both planes, which are said to be the most advanced fighter planes available, the Sukhoi is already operational and by all count already superior to the distant future F-35. Further more, the Sukhoi is also being improved and by the time the F-35 is operational, the Sukhoi will have outclassed itself and of course the F-35 in all areas. 


department of supply...

old armament

"The old armament you have is better than the weapons on the drawing board" — an old Kommunist saying. Picture above and at top from Gus' collection of old stuff...

confidence in the paper plane...

The Defence Minister, David Johnston, is expected to travel to the US shortly to receive the first of the planes officially.

A spokesman for Senator Johnston said the government was made aware of the fire "immediately", and said the engine difficulties would not alter Australia's acquisition timetable.

"The 'engine concerns' you refer to will not affect the purchase of 58 aircraft," the spokesman told Fairfax Media in response to questions.

He said the Pratt & Whitney-powered aircraft was performing well and would be highly suited to Australia's needs.

"To date the JSF aircraft has accrued 15,000 flight hours. While the F35 engine has successfully completed nearly 32,000 hours of testing, availability has remained steady at about 98 per cent.

"Single-engine fighters are operated by many air forces and Defence remains confident the F-35 JSF will be reliable and safe."

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/f35-joint-strike-fighters-grounded-after-engine-fire-20140704-3bdpy.html#ixzz36VRlHthF

the secrets are out?...

US authorities have charged a Chinese businessman with hacking into the computer systems of companies with large defence contracts, including Boeing, to steal data on military projects including some of the latest fighter jets, according to officials.

Su Bin worked with two unnamed Chinese hackers to get the data between 2009 and 2013, then attempted to sell some of the information to state-owned Chinese companies, prosecutors said.

The three hackers targeted fighter jets such as the F-22 and the F-35 as well as Boeing's C-17 military cargo aircraft programme, according to a criminal complaint filed in US district court in Los Angeles that was unsealed on Thursday. An attorney for Su could not be reached for comment.

Su was arrested in Canada on 28 June and remained in custody there, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller in Los Angeles. A bail hearing was set for 18 July.

US justice department spokesman Marc Raimondi said the conspirators were alleged to have accessed the computer networks of US defence contractors without authorisation and stolen data related to military aircraft and weapons systems.

"We remain deeply concerned about cyber-enabled theft of sensitive information and we have repeatedly made it clear that the United States will continue using all the tools our government possesses to strengthen cyber security and confront cybercrime," Raimondi said.



One of the tools to foil hackers certainly is to hide some credible douzies, or what's called in spookland — "disinformation" that they believe to be the real thingy.......

...a black eye and a PR nightmare...


"It's a black eye and a PR nightmare, but it's not going to change the outcome," said aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia, from the Virginia-based Teal Group.

He said the jet's absence from the British show was unlikely to affect buying decisions by foreign military forces, but could prompt Canada and Denmark to opt for a competition instead of an outright F-35 purchase.

The reaction from Lockheed Martin was muted.

"While we were looking forward to the F-35 demonstration at Farnborough, we understand and support the DoD and UK Ministry of Defence's decision," spokeswoman Laura Siebert said.

Rear Admiral Kirby said as well as the requirement for inspection of the fighter jet's engines, restrictions on the plane's return to flight also include limited its speed to 0.9 Mach and 18 degrees of angle of attack.

"That was a pretty significant limitation in terms of being able to fly them across the Atlantic," he said.

The decision is sure to disappoint top executives from the biggest contractors involved in the F-35 program, who had travelled to Britain for the plane's foreign debut.

F-35's grand debut plugged for months

Billboards all over London have been heralding the F-35's grand debut for months.

The planes had been slated to follow a route relatively close to the US and Canadian coast, up past Greenland before heading to Europe, rather than a direct flight across the Atlantic Ocean, according to sources familiar with the plans.

US authorities say they still haven't determined the cause of a fire on an F-35 last month which lead to the grounding.



I could be wrong...

This is the atmosphere in the “Let’s Shop Airbus” boutique, where an increasingly diverse product line of Airbus-branded merchandise is available for purchase throughout the week-long aerospace event at Farnborough Airport

During both the professional and public days, business has been brisk as industry managers, specialists and aviation enthusiasts of all ages buy everything from Airbus jetliner scale models and key chains to self-adhesive wall tattoos with the A380 silhouette

Among the hot-sellers are pens and iPad covers made of graphic composite – reflecting the extensive use of such material on Airbus’ new A350 XWB jetliner.



Gus: Hello? Graphic composite?... I believe that they mean GRAPHITE COMPOSITE... But I could be wrong. Having worked in many areas of stuffs and stuff ups, including graphics and engineering, I am at a loss to explain what is "graphic composite..."... I know spiels such as that above are written by public relations hacks who sometimes can get ignoramused in their excited enthusiasm... I am sure they mean:

Carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer



a lot of money for a show pony in mooselandia...


O, Canada, land of “peace, order and good government.” Land of compromise and polite politics. Land of turmoil over whether to buy the F-35.

As in the United States, the fighter plane has become a rancorous political issue. What once looked like a sure buy of 65 planes has been bogged down by infighting and un-Canadian vitriol, and the purchase is on hold while Canadian officials consider whether to buy another plane.

The F-35 Lightning II is a U.S. plane, made by a U.S. company for the U.S. military. But if the cost for U.S. taxpayers is going to come down to levels that make the plane affordable in the long term, the Pentagon is depending on foreign governments to buy the F-35 as well.

From the beginning of the program, Defense Department officials signed up eight international partners, including Canada. Since then, they’ve crossed the globe looking for additional foreign government customers with some success. Japan and Israel have agreed to buy some of the planes, while South Korea appears likely to make the F-35 its next fighter jet as well.

But as Canada shows, not everyone is sold on what has become the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history. In addition to being a symbol of power, might and mind-bending technology, the next-generation Joint Strike Fighter has, to some, come to represent waste and unwieldiness — in the United States and abroad.

read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/canadas-second-thoughts-on-f-35-lightning-show-concerns-about-planes-high-cost/2014/08/18/3349a1ba-1e37-11e4-ab7b-696c295ddfd1_story.html?hpid=z1

See articles from top...


russian engines...

China showed off its new stealth fighter jet at an air show on Tuesday, just as Barack Obama was visiting Beijing for a summit of Pacific nations - and the timing is no coincidence, analysts say.

Obama is now in Myanmar for a US-Asean meeting but the decision to unveil the J-31 jet when he was in the country sends a clear signal to the US: China is increasing in confidence and military clout, says CNN.

The jet was flown publicly for the first time at the Zuhai air show, without weapons being loaded. It was not left on the tarmac for inspection, unlike other exhibits. While it is Chinese-designed and made, the engines are Russian.

Analysts predict China will sell the jet to countries who are not able to buy the American-made F-35 fighter.

The Financial Times quotes Li Yuhai, deputy general manager of the corporation who produced the plane. He said: "It is our dream to break the monopoly that foreign countries have on new-generation jet fighters. The J-31 will also be a flagship product for us in the international arms market."

Read more: http://www.theweek.co.uk/world-news/61329/china-unveils-stealth-fighter-as-barack-obama-visits-beijing#ixzz3Iyzl7prW

worrisome war of war equipment and choosing targets...



Speak to those who are in charge of the West's defence or have recently stepped down, as I did for Radio 4's programme The Edge, and you will find a very worried group of people.
They wax lyrical about the decline of their own forces, explain the growth of those of their challengers, and worry about the long term consequences for stability in many parts of the world."What we have seen in the last two decades is a form of physical and moral disarmament… we're in a very dangerous place," said General Sir Richard Shirreff, number two in Nato's military structure until last summer.
And the former deputy chief of the US Air Force Lt Gen David Deptula, explaining how America has bought far too few combat aircraft during the past decade, opined, "we have a geriatric air force".
But how can this be true when Nato and the US spend such vast sums of money on the military?As Michele Flournoy, formerly number three in the Pentagon, told us, more than half the money goes on wages - whereas emerging powers like Russia, China, and India, spend far less on those in uniform.
The military have also contributed to their own misfortunes by conspiring with defence contractors to build ever more expensive weapons that can only be afforded in much smaller numbers than those they are supposed to replace.
Pierre Sprey, chief designer on the F-16 fighter noted the ruinous consequences of buying stealth aircraft at hundreds of millions of dollars a copy.
"It's a triumph of the black arts of selling an airplane that doesn't work," he said."Basically we've ruined American air power."


read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32290224



Russian Helicopters showcases light multirole helicopters at ABACE 2015, Shanghai14.04.2015 / Shanghai

Russian Helicopters (part of State Corporation Rostec) will showcase its latest light multirole helicopters – the Ka-226T and the Ansat – at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition ABACE 2015, which runs from 14 to 16 April at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, China. Russian Helicopters' display can be found at Stand H437.

“We see excellent prospects for promoting our light helicopters in China now that low altitude airspace has been opened up for civil aviation,” said Russian Helicopters CEO Alexander Mikheev. “I am confident that, thanks to their high flight capabilities and ease of use, our helicopters will generate significant interest among our partners in Asia.”

The light twin-engine multirole helicopter with coaxial main rotor Ka-226T has significant advantages in flights in mountainous and heavily built up urban areas. The helicopter boasts outstanding manoeuvrability and the latest avionics suite. The lack of a tail rotor and its compact size mean that the Ka-226T can land at small sites, it can also operate in temperatures ranging from -50°С to +50°С. The Ka-226T does not need to be stored in a hangar, which significantly expands its operational range away from base. The helicopter is designed for commercial operation and operation by law enforcement agencies.

read more: http://www.russianhelicopters.aero/en/press/news/ABACE_2015/


Another week, another war. And yet another American alliance with the forces of Islamic extremism. Washington is clearly the guiding force between the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen -- a move that will almost certainly lead to a protracted and ruinous conflict, spilling over many borders and, as usual, creating fertile ground for more extremism. In other words, America's war profiteers and military imperialists have given themselves another rich seam of loot and power. And in Yemen, as in Syria, the Yanks are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with their old allies, al Qaeda, once again.

Read more ...Another Week, Another War: The Iron Logic of America's Middle East Madness



Houthi rebels have condemned Tuesday's UN Security Council arms embargo imposed on them and their allies.

They called for protests against what they termed UN support of "aggression".

The Houthis have made rapid advances across the country, sparking air strikes on their strongholds by a Saudi-led coalition.

The UN says at least 736 people have been killed and 2,700 injured since 26 March, but officials believe the actual death toll may be far higher.

The Houthis' Supreme Revolutionary Committee "called on the masses of the Yemeni people to rally and protest on Thursday to condemn the Security Council resolution in support of the aggression".

Saudi Arabia's UN Ambassador, Abdallah al-Moualimi, said the resolution was "a very clear endorsement" of the air strikes.

When asked about a possible ground offensive, he warned that the air strikes were a response to Houthi military action and if the Houthis failed to comply with the resolution, "they will continue to face more of the same".

read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32311809


WASHINGTON — An American drone strike has killed a top ideologue and spokesman for Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, the terrorist group announced Tuesday. The spokesman, Ibrahim al-Rubeish, a 35-year-old Saudi citizen, had been held for five years in the United States military prison at Guantánamo Bay.

A statement from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, posted on Twitter, said that Mr. Rubeish was killed Monday in what it called a “hate-filled Crusader strike” near Al Mukalla, a city on Yemen’s southern coast.

Since 2009, Mr. Rubeish has been the group’s voice in many important pronouncements, including a video eulogy for Anwar al-Awlaki, the American cleric killed in a drone strike in 2011.

read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/15/world/middleeast/us-drone-kills-a-top-figure-in-al-qaedas-yemen-branch.html


See picture at top...






This definition of militarism is alive, well, and running the show on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon. As Vagts warns, the result is not merely the waste of some hundreds of billions of dollars. Much of that money is spent in ways that work against military effectiveness, against the ability of our armed forces to win. Vagts reminds us: “The acid test of an army is war—not the good opinion it entertains of itself. …War is the criterion, and war only. The rest is advertisement.” 

As it happens, the U.S. armed services are sponsoring the poster child for such “advertisement” and for the militarism that undermines Vagt’s military way. Its name is the F-35.

The F-35 airplane, a fighter/bomber, is the most expensive weapons program in American history. In April, the GAO released its latest report on the F-35 program. Its findings, which are—or should be—devastating, include:

  • Procuring the F-35 will cost nearly $400 billion and require annual funding of, on average, $12.4 billion a year through 2038. “In addition, DOD and program office estimates indicate that the F-35 fleet could cost around $1 trillion to operate and support over its lifetime, which will pose significant affordability challenges.”
  • The program has been restructured three times since 2001. We were originally to procure 2,852 airplanes for $196.6 billion. The latest “baseline,” that of 2012, shows we will now buy 2,443 F-35s for $335.7 billion.
  • “As development flight testing continues, DOD is concurrently purchasing and fielding aircraft.” In other words, we are buying F-35s before we know whether they will work. Almost half of developmental testing remains to be done, and operational testing—determining if the plane works in combat, not just technically—has barely begun. By the time that testing is done, we will have bought 518 F-35s. (We’re already stuck with 110.) Uncle Sam is being played for Uncle Sucker.
  • The manufacturer of the F-35 reports that less than 40 percent of its critical manufacturing processes can consistently produce parts within quality standards.
  • “Program data shows that the reliability of the engine is very poor.” Two of the F-35’s three variants are obtaining only about 25 flight hours between engine failures—about what the primitive engines of the world’s first jet fighter, the German Me-262, were getting in 1944.

read more: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/what-militarism-means/



laurel and hardy got ejected...


A spokesperson for the Australian Defence Department said the US program for the JSF - or Lockheed Martin F-35 – had "identified an increased risk of neck injury during ejection for pilots of low weight".

"As a precaution, pilots weighing less than 62 kilograms have been restricted from flying the F-35 until a solution is reached."

Australia has already bought two JSFs and the former Abbott government pledged to buy 70 more at a cost of up to $14 billion over the 30-year life of the program.

Australia currently has two male pilots training in the US on the JSF, neither of whom are affected by the weight restriction.

The latest ABS figures show the average weight of Australian women aged 18 to 25 is about 67 kilograms. For men in that age group it is about 80 kilograms.

This is the latest problem in the F-35 program, which is years behind schedule and well over initial cost estimates. Canada will pull out of the program after its change of government this week, which is expected to raise the cost for other countries including Australia slightly.

The US Air Force officer who heads the JSF program, Lieutenant-General Chris Bogdan, told a congressional hearing this week that the problem was caused by the helmet throwing the pilot's head back and forth during the high-speed ejection.

A test carried out in late August revealed the initial catapult from the cockpit forced the pilot's chin down, with unacceptable force in the case of pilots who weighed less than 62 kilograms.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/joint-strike-fighter-ejector-seat-could-break-lightweight-pilots-neck-20151023-gkh480.html#ixzz3pQHQe5F5
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

Still not there yet... and the Tony/Joe Laurel-and-Hardy Duo got ejected while Canada is getting out of the programme... But do I see this ejector seat problem as another dubious reason for the interminable delay for the programme?
Meanwhile the SU-35 has been flying and improving..

In 2002, Sukhoi offered Su-30 family aircraft to Australia, including the Su-35.[142][143] However Australia opted for the F-35 to replace the F-111 and F/A-18... [why buy something good and cheap when you can buy something less good for ten times the price?... I know it's our US loyalty programme with fly-bys]

In 2010, Libya was expected to sign a contract for twelve Su-35s as part of a bigger military transaction that would have included S-300PMU-2 surface-to-air missilesKilo-class submarines, and T-90 tanks.[146] The civil war in Libya and the resulting military intervention caused Rosoboronexport to miss out on US$4 billion in arranged contracts as they were never signed... 

Now YOU KNOW WHAT THE WAR IN LIBYA WAS ALL ABOUT... : STOPPING THE RUSKIES selling weapons and doing whatever else... 

“If the Cold War is over, what’s the point of being an American?” said Rabbit Angstrom, the protagonist of the John Updike novels. A haunting remark, since, for 40 years, America was largely united on the proposition that our survival depended upon our victory over communism in the Cold War.
read more: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/america-without-a-cause/
See toon at top


a dud in progress...

The Joint Strike Fighter was supposed to be here four years ago, but it's still unfinished, and the latest test reports out of the US detail a long list of problems. Sarah Dingle reports.

When it comes to the Joint Strike Fighter jet, our most expensive defence acquisition yet, Australia is either a nation of rich optimists or fools, according to the man who until recently was the head of test and evaluation for the Australian Defence Force.

A Background Briefing investigation has been told not only does Australia not participate in the testing of the troubled jet, we don't even have our test agencies read the US test reports.

Even the Australian program manager for the JSF, Air Vice Marshal Chris Deeble, is unsure how many of our latest order of these multi-billion-dollar jets are currently in production.

Australia bought into the JSF program 14 years ago, but the jet—billed as an advanced stealth fighter with cutting edge technology—is still in development.

The latest US test reports describe a litany of problems. For instance, at temperatures of 32 degrees or higher, when internal stores are loaded, the JSF has to open its weapons bay doors every 10 minutes on the ground, and sometimes in the air, to prevent overheating.

Chris Mills, a former wing commander with the RAAF, says this causes real problems.

'When they open the weapons bay doors, it loses its low observability,' he says. 'So you get a great big flare saying "Oh, guess what, we've got a JSF here."

'In addition, every time you open the weapons bay doors you heat and cool the weapons, and electronics hates that, so you get a very high failure rate.'

If the pilot weighs less than 75 kilograms, and needs to eject, there's a 23 per cent chance the software-heavy helmet will snap their neck and kill them.

Mills says the JSF has a nickname among the top guns of the US Air Force: 'the little turd'.

But the man who until a year ago was in charge of test and evaluation for the whole of the Australian Defence Force says the worst part about the JSF is its software.

Dr Keith Joiner, who spoke exclusively to Background Briefing about his concerns, says the JSF is a completely software-driven aircraft, but is yet to be properly tested.

'[The aircraft] hasn't done any cybersecurity testing yet,' he says.

'The only system that has done cybersecurity vulnerability and penetration testing is the logistics software, so ordering spares. And it didn't go very well.

READ MORE: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/australia-needs-to-show-spine-over-joint-strike-fighter-expert/7218478
See toon at top...

spotted by WWII antique radar technology...

Jet Designer: The F-35 Would Have Been Defeated Even During World War II

As the Senate Armed Services Committee holds hearings on the controversial F-35 program, Radio Sputnik hears from Pierre Sprey, one of the designers of the F-16, to discuss how the beleaguered fighter jet is emblematic of the US military industrial complex.

"I would say that the cost will come out to $200 million per airplane," Sprey tells Loud & Clear, referring to the F-35 Joint Strike fighter developed by defense giant Lockheed Martin.

"Maybe more. Maybe the bills will be even larger, because this airplane is in the middle of testing, and every time they test it they find another failure, and another failure means an expensive fix that has to be put into the production line."

While the F-35’s developers tout its stealth capabilities, Sprey finds that to be a misleading description.

"[Stealth] was an advertising hook when it was first developed as a multibillion dollar program in the early 80s," he says. "Stealth itself dated all the way back to World War II, but was a relatively cheap and low-level operation until [former US Defense Secretary] Bill Perry saw it as a hook for selling a whole new generation of missiles and very expensive bombers and fighters.

"They managed to put across the idea that if you didn’t have stealth, you were obsolete."

Stealth technology relies on the reshaping and coating of aircraft to deflect radar pulses away from the sender, rendering an object "invisible." But while these techniques may work against high-frequency radars, it does nothing against low-frequency devices.

"Every Battle of Britain radar would be able to see every stealth airplane today, loud and clear," Sprey says, describing how low-frequency radar was used during the 1940 air battle over the UK. "That’s the irony. Stealth is supposed to be the latest hook that obsoletes everything that came before it, but WWII radar sees it perfectly."

While the US military moved away from low-frequency radar after World War II, many of America’s adversaries did not.

"Other countries did not walk away from the long-wave [low-frequency] radar, [including] notably, Russia, which from World War II on to this day, and every generation, has produced radars of increasing sophistication and increasing ability in that range."

But the effectiveness of the F-35’s stealth may be immaterial, since the true goal of the program is to funnel government money to Lockheed Martin.

"[The military industrial complex] is not working in the interest of improving [the] national defense of the United States, which I very much favor. It is working in the interest of a small group of companies that are making a huge amount of money out of very expensive airplanes and missiles and radars and so on."

The huge sums of money invested in projects also make it impossible to abandon programs, even after they have been deemed failures.

"The political difficulties of canceling the F-35 were designed into the airplane right at the start," Sprey says. "This is called political engineering. It’s part of every major new procurement in all our services. It’s enormously costly, unsafe, and an effectiveness-crushing practice that nobody is able to root out.

"So the question is, ‘Should the F-35 be canceled?’ Of course, it should have been canceled yesterday. Will it be canceled? No. Not until it becomes such a public disgrace because of crashes and failures in combat that the services will have to walk away in embarrassment."

Read more: http://sputniknews.com/us/20160427/1038666437/loud-clear-f-35-failures.html#ixzz47XzrZ9Qj

wiping the snort...

Donald Trump scolded military jet manufacturer Lockheed Martin on for “out of control” costs on Monday, sending the defence contractor’s stock plummeting.

“Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th,” when he will officially take office, the president-elect wrote on Twitter. The subsequent share price drop cut $4bn from the company’s value and is the latest of a series of attacks on businesses made by Trump.

read more:



see from top...

financing a dud...

Becker offered, "It’s a perfect storm. There’s a lot of money to be made by the manufacturer [and] the military industrial complex, so the F-35 and all of its subcontractors are spread out all over the country, in other words all these politicians in Congress have some stake in the maintenance of this project that doesn’t work. At the same time, once you’ve spent a lot of money it’s hard to stop spending money and declare a program a failure."

Sprey agreed, saying, "That’s exactly what Donald Trump is against. My prediction is that he will not be able to prevail. When you’re facing a $1.5 trillion juggernaut, even if you’re as determined a man as Donald Trump, you’re not going to make a very big dent in this program."

Read more:



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oxygen deprived f35...

The airmen had to get out of the sky at the point, landing on a rocky area in the Sierra Nevada Mountains where peaks can reach 6,000 feet. “So the problem is, how low can you go? And you’re doing this hypoxic,” the pilot said anonymously, afraid of jeopardizing his 10-year flying career in the Navy.

Hypoxia is the biggest fear for Super Hornet aviators, the Navy Times reported. That concern may soon spread to Joint Strike Fighter pilots too.

The military continues to downplay concerns publicly. "In all cases, pilots were able to safely recover the aircraft via established procedures," Graff said in an email to Military.com. "Overall, physiological events occur at low rates in all Air Force aircraft."

read more:


alf's happy fun time...


A mystery hacker who was given the alias of an Australian soap opera character has stolen sensitive information about Australia's warplanes and navy ships from a Defence subcontractor.

Key points:
  • Malicious actor infiltrated the system last July, authorities were only alerted in November 2016
  • Engineering firm that subcontracts to the Defence Department had one person managing IT functions
  • Data on F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, C-130 transport plane was stolen


About 30 gigabytes of data was stolen, including information on Australia's $17 billion Joint Strike Fighter program, and $4 billion P-8 surveillance plane project.

As first reported by ZDNet, the hacker infiltrated the system July 2016 and authorities were only alerted in November.

The Federal Government said it was a "stretch" to blame it for the incident and defended not yet knowing who stole the information.

Experts at the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) spy agency codenamed the hacker "Alf" after the Alf Stewart character from the television drama Home and Away.

Government cyber officials started fixing the system in December and referred to the period before they responded as "Alf's Mystery Happy Fun Time".

read more:




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successful stealth of cash in the "cloud"...

WASHINGTON — They call Washington a bubble. A la-la land. Home of the “Deep State.” A long-forgotten 1980’s television series, ‘Tales of the Darkside,’ once described “a place that is just as real, but not as brightly lit” as our own world. Sounds a bit like Capitol Hill.

Nowhere was that more evident than yesterday, as defense industry giant Lockheed Martin hosted an auspiciously-timed reception on the Hill to tout its multi-billion dollar F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, which as anyone reading in this space would know has been more than 16 years in development, and plagued by everything from poor performance reviews and cost overruns, to grounding over a lack of spare parts and tussles over technical data and cybersecurity concerns.

Then there is the expense to the taxpayer, which as of June is projected to be more than $406 billion to complete, and another $1.4 trillion over the life of the program to be maintained.

read more;



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US versus europe continued...

The German army is setting up in Rostock both a Nato headquarters (photo), tasked with coordinating a potential naval war against Russia and the joint headquarters of the German and Polish fleets.

Poland, which has a coast on the Baltic Sea, has entrusted the management of its navy to Germany.

The German firm, Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems, should sell three new submarines to Poland for about 2.4 billion euros. However, the European rules on tender offers force Poland to take into consideration the French proposals (Naval Group, ex-DCNS) and the Swedish proposals (Kockums, a subsidiary of Saab).

In January 2002, thanks to advice from Christine Lagarde, who was then a lawyer with the law firm Baker & McKenzie, Poland had withdrawn from negotiations with Airbus and Dassault, preferring to negotiate instead with the US firms, Boeing and Lockheed-Martin. The result? The European funds which had been granted to increase Polish agriculture to the European Union level ended up being used to purchase US aircrafts and to pay for the Polish contingent of the US operation against Iraq.

At the end of 2016, the Polish army suddenly broke off negotiations with Airbus Helicopters on the deal to buy 50 Caracal helicopters, preferring instead to deal with Boeing, the US manufacturer. As Airbus considered the tender offer to be rigged, it brought the matter before the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce’s Institute of Arbitration, claiming that there had been a breach of due process.

Anoosha Boralessa


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of empirical and cash diplomacy...

sacked for F35 advocacy...

"Luftwaffe sources tell me, if Germany's air force chief says ‘F-35' once again, he will likely be fired," German defense expert Christian Thiels said in late January, adding that it "seems political leadership is still leaning towards EU-solution."

It's not clear if Müller once again broadcasted his support for the F-35, but Jane's has reported that the general will be dismissed from his position as head of the air force specifically because of his advocacy for the joint strike fighter.

"The Luftwaffe considers the F-35's capability as a benchmark for the selection process for the Tornado replacement, and I think I have expressed myself clearly enough as to what the favorite of the air force is," Müller told reporters in November 2017.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen started her second term March 17. According to local media, Leyen kicked off the term with a major military reshuffle. In addition to sending Müller into retirement, more than half a dozen high-ranking officials across Germany's military leadership are being shown the door at the end of May.


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cooking the test...

The US Air Force’s F-35s and A-10s engaged in a flyoff recently to determine which airframe is superior in providing close air support – and there is a growing anxiety that the competition has been distorted to make the F-35 look better at this type of mission than it really is.

Critics are skeptical because the Air Force has hidden the exercises from public review and, according to a Wednesday report by Popular Mechanics, the service branch is "also heavily skewing the testing to ensure the new F-35 is presented in the best possible light."


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120 millions up in smoke in las vegas...

Two Australian Air Force pilots are being praised for their expert response to a dramatic engine malfunction that saw their advanced electronic warfare plane skid across a US runway before catching fire.

The RAAF's newly delivered EA-18G Growler was taking part in military exercises and was just about to take off from the Nellis Air Force base outside Las Vegas when the emergency occurred on January 28.

Six months on from the fiery mishap, the Defence Department has confirmed the damaged Growler has since been "withdrawn from service" and the department has begun examining how it can recover the cost of the aircraft, believed to be worth $120 million. 

"The investigation into the EA-18G Growler aircraft incident at Nellis Air Force Base has been completed and was provided to the Chief of Air Force on July 30, 2018," the Defence Department said in a statement.

Now senior military figures with knowledge of the investigation have detailed the circumstances of what has been described as the "most serious incident of its kind for the Australian Air Force in more than 25 years".

One officer who spoke to the ABC on the condition of anonymity revealed the aircraft's engine "destroyed itself" while in full power during the attempted take-off.

"The two pilots did an incredible job to stay with the jet and keep control to avoid hitting other aircraft parked nearby," the RAAF officer told the ABC.

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better built in aussieland... or russia.



The Hawkei is built out of Bendigo, and Thales said it had created more than 400 jobs. The rival JLTV had experienced significant delays and problems, it added.

“The ANAO report takes no account of the value of export sales and the report’s flawed analysis is likely to be extremely damaging to export prospects,” the response said.

“Hawkei provides life-saving capability to the ADF in a vehicle designed and manufactured in Australia. It is disappointing that the ANAO places zero value on the maintenance of a life-saving defence industry capability in Australia, zero value on Australian content and zero value on Australian jobs.”

Australia budgeted $2.2bn for the Hawkei project. That budget included the $1.3bn contract with Thales. The auditor general was critical of Australia’s decision to withdraw from the JLTV program because it left Thales as the sole bidder for the work, removing competitive pressure and any benchmark for the government.

His redacted report also found the government had not been made aware of a Monash University study commissioned by defence, which found the local benefits of the Hawkei were limited. The study found Thales would send most of its profits offshore in the long term, the job multiplier effect was relatively small and that the government faced a $452m premium for building the vehicles in Australia.

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Here we must look at the big picture of what's what. For example the F35 is a crappy second rate fragile little plane with a bit more than half the capabilities of similar Russian SU35 or SU50, for 10 times the cost — not counting that MAJOR teething problems have grounded 50 per cent of the already made F35. Is there an inquiry in this COSTLY FIASCO?

The Hawkeis would have been "commissioned by the then Labor government" while the F35 have been commissioned by the Liberal (CONservative) government. Meanwhile Le French Sub build in Australia (commissioned by the Libs (CONs) under duress) is having contractual tiffs and so far not a cent has been spent on building something but oodles of cash has been wasted on guess who: LAWYERS.

The little Hawkeis look better and sexier than the damned US Humvees (lacking the cadillac fins) — now used by IS — and are possibly more suitable for the Aussie conditions. Built locally means employment and please don't tell me that the USA can provide stuff "cheaper" without some neat strings attached — like CHEAP ink-jet printers for which the "spare part" ink cost more than the price of gold. When I was poor, it was better to buy a new printer rather than get a new set of ink cartridges. But the morons get you in the long run. The new printers are incompatible with your old computers. Boom. They know you, inside out. 

So the test, cost and proof of the pudding is always to compare the stuff with the Russian arsenal. Presently the Russian stuff is far cheaper (ask the Indians who just bought some 400 something) and more reliable but might burn more oil than the Aussie version of this sexed up French Humvee... Imagine the saving should you make these babies run on solar power! Batteries not included in the contracts... of course.

Actually, the German built machines could be more efficient, powered by Russian gas and already set up to salvage the wounded... Picture by Gus Leonisky.

german car...

poor petal has a conscience...

The sale of arms to Saudi Arabia by Germany cannot take place under the current circumstances, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced, referencing the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Merkel's statement comes just hours after Germany, the UK, and France issued a joint statement in which they said there is an "urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened" to the Washington Post journalist, adding that "hypotheses"proposed in the Saudi investigation must be backed up with facts.

"First, we condemn this act in the strongest terms," Merkel said.

Second, there is an urgent need to clarify what happened - we are far from this having been cleared up and those responsible held to account...as far as arms exports are concerned, those can't take place in the current circumstances.

Germany has approved arms exports worth €416.4 million this year, the country's Economy Ministry confirmed on Friday. That number makes Saudi Arabia its second-best arms customer, after Algeria, according to Deutsche Welle.

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. After weeks of denial, Riyadh later admitted that he died during a "fistfight" in the building, and authorities announced that 18 people had been detained. However, on Sunday the country's foreign minister told Fox News that Riyadh does not know how Khashoggi was killed or where his body is.


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Read from top... Don't worry, Angela, Trump will fill in the gap with Abrams tanks... Meanwhile you did not have any qualms selling German weapons to the Saudis in their war on Yemen, did ya? 

overcoming the shortcomings of HFSWR...

Chinese military researchers have reportedly mastered a type of radar they say can detect stealth aircraft, which are designed to be invisible to normal radars. What’s more, they say the radar is protected against anti-radiation missiles, too.

The lead researcher on a maritime radar team who developed the radar system, Liu Yongtan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, told Naval and Merchant Ships magazine in an interview last month that their high-frequency surface wave radar (HFSWR) can detect stealth aircraft over the horizon and under any weather conditions.

It’s actually not a new type of radar at all, but among the oldest that exist. However, militaries abandoned them in the 1950s as airborne early warning and control system (AWACS) radar became more popular and scientists struggled to overcome the shortcomings of HFSWR, which includes high signal-to-noise ratio and low system mobility.

However, Liu claims to have overcome all that.

Because modern stealth aircraft, like the US’ F-35 and F-22, or China’s J-20 and J-31, were designed to hide from the predominantly-used microwave radar systems, they have zero protection from long-wave radars, he told Naval and Merchant Ships, according to the Global Times. That same property also protects the radar stations from anti-radiation missiles, which are designed to home in on radar emissions and destroy them.


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Gus knew that... WiFi noise suppressing system comes to mind... I believe the Russians have been onto this for a while... As well, a system of radar triangulation eliminates the possible noise errors.

troubles at the F35 cafe...


Why the $1.45 Trillion F-35 Still Can’t Get Off the Ground

Is there any hope of salvaging something from this 17-year nightmare?

By DAN GRAZIER • August 16, 2019

The fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters flying in the critical operational testing phase is struggling to stay airborne, which could delay the troubled program’s great leap forward into mass production.

As I recently reported for the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a document from the program’s test force shows that the fleet’s test aircraft, housed at California’s Edwards Air Force Base, have netted an average 11 percent “fully mission capable rate”—the key measure of how often an aircraft can perform all of its assigned missions—since the process began last December. 

To put this into context, the Pentagon’s former operational testing director, Michael Gilmore, has said the fleet needs an 80 percent availability rate to successfully complete the combat-testing phase.

The F-35, by the way, is already the most expensive weapons system in history. As of March, its acquisition price tag was $400 billion. However, the cost of operating and maintaining the fleet over the next several decades stands at an estimated $1.45 trillion.

The 17-year-old program reached an important milestone when, after many delays, officials started the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) process on December 5, 2018. This is the phase in which the completed product is put through its paces in realistic combat scenarios to determine whether it can fulfill its intended role and is suitable for pilots’ use. 

This is supposed to take place after the former design phase. But because the F-35 program hasn’t actually finished the design process, the program effectively created extra obstacles to successful completion of this legally required testing phase. That the test fleet struggles even to get off the ground only compounds these challenges.  

The 23-aircraft fleet had a bad start, with a fully mission-capable rate of just 11.5 percent in December, and the situation has only worsened since. The “IOT&E Aircraft Readiness Rates” chart obtained by POGO shows that the fleet’s June 2019 fully mission capable rate was just 8.7 percent. Sure, it was an improvement over May—because then it was an even more dire 4.7 percent. 

The chart shows three categories: fully mission capable, “partially mission capable,” and “non-mission capable.” Partially mission capable (commonly called “mission capable”) aircraft can perform at least one of their missions; non-mission capable is self-explanatory. Fully mission capable status is an especially crucial metric of readiness for multi-mission programs like the F-35. 

Major defense acquisition programs are legally required to complete operational testing, with the results reported to the secretary of defense and Congress by the operational testing director before progressing to full-rate production. 

The clock is ticking. A full-rate production decision is expected in October. It’s hard to imagine that the program will be able to finish operational testing by the deadline. 

Careful readers will be surprised to learn that the operational test fleet is actually performing worse than the F-35s in the active Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy squadrons. The test fleet is made up of 23 F-35s equipped with specialized instruments to record flight and combat data for later analysis to determine the program’s overall effectiveness. According to the latest available figures, the F-35s in the active forces managed a fully mission capable rate of only 27 percent. Nothing to crow about either.

Meanwhile, as the Air Force Times recently reported, the Air Force is contending with a readiness crisis. Data for 2012 through 2018 shows declining mission-capable rates across all aircraft programs—encompassing 5,400 aircraft—from an overall average mission capable rate of 77.9 percent seven years ago to 69.97 last year. 

Responding to the sorry state of aircraft readiness, last September then-secretary of defense James Mattis gave the services a year to get to an 80 percent mission capable rate. The Air Force may need a miracle.

The Air Force’s struggles notwithstanding, 80 percent mission capable throughout all programs is a pretty modest goal—though a worthy one. Mattis’s directive focused on mission capable rates, rather than fully mission capable rates, a much more important measure of combat-effectiveness.

A spokesman told the Air Force Times that the low readiness rates are mostly due to the fleet’s age. All you have to do is glance at the numbers to see that’s just not true. Next to the legacy aircraft they’re meant to replace, newer aircraft like the F-22 and F-35 don’t look so hot. While the F-22’s average mission capable rate last year was 51.74 percent, the older F-15E’s was 71.16 percent. The F-35A’s average mission capable rate was 49.55 percent, about 16 percent lower than the F-16D’s and nearly 23 percent lower than the A-10C’s. 

Colonel Bill Maxwell, head of the Air Force’s maintenance division, also downplayed concerns to the Air Force Times, calling the overall mission capable rate just a “snapshot in time.” 

The F-35 operational test fleet readiness chart that POGO published offers six months’ worth of data for the most expensive weapon system in history, and shows dependably low readiness in the legally required combat-testing phase. 

Now it’s up to Robert Behler, the current director of operational testing. 

He could give in to pressure to keep to the Pentagon’s arbitrary schedule, call a halt to the tests in October, and allow the program to move to full-rate production without completing the testing plan. But that would be a mistake. At this point, there’s far more at stake: the public’s trust and the troops’ trust, not just in the F-35 but also the integrity of the testing process and the business of acquiring the right tools for the military. 

If there is to be any hope of salvaging something from the nightmare that has become the F-35, the design needs to be adequately tested. Only then will the full extent of the program’s shortcomings be revealed and fixes implemented to prevent more taxpayer money from being wasted on flawed aircraft.

Dan Grazier is the Jack Shanahan Military Fellow at the Project on Government Oversight. He is a former Marine Corps captain who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan during the war on terror. His various assignments in uniform included tours with 2nd Tank Battalion in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and 1st Tank Battalion in Twentynine Palms, California.



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Is this a trick to make the Russians overconfident with their new SU57?

highest song of praise...

In 2015, things weren’t looking great for the Marine Corps’ F-35B fighter jet. Reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Department of Defense inspector general had found dozens of problems with the aircraft. Engine failures, software bugs, supply chain issues, and fundamental design flaws were making headlines. The program was becoming synonymous in the press with “boondoggle.” 

Lockheed Martin, the program’s lead contractor, desperately needed a win. 

Luckily for Lockheed, it had a powerful ally in the commandant of the Marine Corps, General Joseph Dunford. Five years later, Dunford would be out of the service and ready to collect his first Lockheed Martin paycheck as a member of its board of directors.

Back in 2015, the F-35 program, already years behind schedule, faced a key program milestone. The goal was to have the F-35B ready for a planned July initial operational capability (IOC) declaration, a major step for the program, greenlighting the plane to be used in combat. The declaration is a sign that the aircraft is nearly ready for full deployment, that things are going well, that the contract, awarded in 2006, was finally producing a usable product. The ultimate decision was in Dunford’s hands. 

About a week before the declaration, some in the Pentagon expressed serious doubts about the aircraft. The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) obtained a memo from the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation that called foul on the test that was meant to demonstrate the ability of the F-35B to operate in realistic conditions. 

Dunford, however, said he had “full confidence” in the aircraft’s ability to support Marines in combat, despite the testing office’s report stating that if the aircraft encountered enemies, it would need to “avoid threat engagement”—in other words, to flee at the first sign of an enemy.

Ignoring the issues raised internally, Dunford signed off on the initial operational capability. Lockheed Martin was thrilled. “Fifty years from now, historians will look back on the success of the F-35 Program and point to Marine Corps IOC as the milestone that ushered in a new era in military aviation,” the company said in a statement.

Lockheed’s CEO was apparently elated, declaring it “send a strong message to everyone that this program is on track.”

But problems continued to plague the “combat ready” aircraft in the months afterwards. And Dunford downplayed cost overruns and sang the aircraft’s praises at a press event in 2017. When the moderator asked routine questions submitted by the audience (Will the aircraft continue as a program? Is it too expensive to maintain?), Dunford responded by calling the questions loaded and accusing the audience member of having an “agenda.” 

Retirement and a Reward

On September 30, 2019, Dunford, the military’s highest ranked official, stepped down from his position as chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He had served in the Marine Corps since 1977, working his way up to the highest tier of the armed services over 42 years.

Just four months and 11 days later, he joined the Pentagon’s top contractor, Lockheed Martin, as a director on the board.

In announcing Dunford’s hire, a January press release from Lockheed Martin quotes CEO Marillyn Hewson: “General Dunford’s service to the nation at the highest levels of military leadership will bring valuable insight to our board.”

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