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Each U.S. Navy Expeditionary Strike Group has one helicopter assault ship and all of the large support ships have at least a landing deck, if not a small complement of their own helicopters.

  The air wing includes helicopters that carry troops, helicopters that bear weapons, troop carrying tilt rotor aircraft, and vertical takeoff attack jets.
 
    Let’s take a look at how the U.S. Marine Corps moves through the air …

   The lifting duties fall to the CH-46 Sea Knight, the CH-53D Sea Stallion, and the CH-53E Super Stallion. The Sea Knight can haul 25 troops, the Sea Stallion can haul 38 troops or four tons of cargo, while the Super Stallion can haul 37 troops and fifteen tons of cargo or 55 troops with a special interior.



CH-46 Sea Knight

CH-53D Sea Stallion

CH-53E Super Stallion


 The Marines have two types of attack helicopters. The AH-1 Super Cobra is a pure helicopter gunship, while the UH-1N Huey is used for command and control, medical evacuation, and fire support.



UH-1N Huey

AH-1 Super Cobra with what appear to be AGM-114 Hellfire missiles attached


   The newest troop mover for the Marines is the V-22 Osprey. This tilt rotor aircraft can haul 24 seated troops, 32 if they load on the floor, or it can carry ten tons of cargo. Capable of 350 miles per hour at 15,000 feet, it more than doubles the maximum speed of the CH-46 Sea Knight that it is slowly replacing. Information is scant, but the V-22 has been fitted with a GAU-17 minigun in a belly turret, permitting it to provide close air support while inserting or extracting troops.

   The Marine Corps operates several types of jets, but the only one that travels by helicopter assault ship is the AV-8B Harrier II. This subsonic vertical take off and landing attack plane provides the sea going equivalent of the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II. This plane can go tank hunting with its GAU-12 25mm Gatling gun, defend the fleet from enemy fighters with air to air missiles, attack surface ships with the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile, or neutralize enemy radar with the AGM-88 HARM.





   The Harrier, while sporting an impressive set of features, was built before computer simulation of weapons damage and live fire testing was required. These aircraft have been found to be more than a bit fragile and they’re aging, so there was a plan to replace them with the F-35B Lightning II.

 However ... this turned up while I was writing this article:


   Lockheed Martin may need to redesign the airframe structure and propulsion system of the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), says US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

  The changes would raise the weight and cost of the variant ordered by the US Marine Corps, Gates says. As a result, the F-35B will be placed on the equivalent of a two-year probation, with termination possible if the programme fails to recover, he says.

  "The Marine Corps made a compelling case that they need some time to get things right with the STOVL and we will give them that opportunity," Gates says.


   Let’s consider this diary in the context of the Progressive Congress mission statement.

Like the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Progressive Congress focuses its efforts around four key policy areas:

Peace and global security;

Energy independence and environmental sustainability;

Civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights;

Public health, education and economic opportunity.



     I’ve published several military systems diaries here over the last year, this is the third in three days, and there has been a lot of unhelpful sniping in comments. Can we please talk about what we, as a nation, actually need for our defense?

Originally posted to Stranded Wind on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:16 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm always amazed at your output in these (19+ / 0-)

    kinds of informational diaries, especially given your general health situation.  Not sure how you do it beyond high focus and self-motivation, but it's impressive.  And, I just learned some things, tonight.

    "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

    by wader on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:39:34 PM PST

  •  Considering that for the past half century, our (19+ / 0-)

    nation has only participated in wars of agression - seriously, Afghanistan a decade later chasing (per the US Gov.) less than 100 possible Al-Qaeda members, and none of them are Osama bin Laden can hardly, at this point, be called anything other than a war of agression - I think the reasonable question here is not what we actually need for our defense...

    because it's obvious that our MIC believes that there are not ever enough weapons in the world.

    I think the real question is, why don't they just rename it the Department of War. We don't have a Department of Defense anymore. That dissapeared, ironically, right about the time they started calling it the Department of Defense.

    See my sigline for my serious answer to your question.

    "in Order to form a more perfect Union"
    Basta de Guerra. No más. Enough War. No more.

    by Angie in WA State on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:40:35 PM PST

    •  It used to be the War Department, (14+ / 0-)

      when war was a bad thing, and it should be again. The War Department issued this warning after WWII about the hate that would bring about more wars:

    •  do you drive an automobile? (7+ / 0-)

      Just thought I'd ask.

      "What's that got to do with war?"

      Everything.  

    •  "Only"? Afghan years 1-3? Yugoslavia? Somalia? (4+ / 0-)

      "only participated in wars of aggression"?

      Afghanistan wasn't a war of aggression in 2001 and the Taliban were overthrown with almost no US casualties because the US just aided the local opposition. The situation has clearly changed there now, but it was almost a successful liberation, and really might have been if so many resources weren't diverted to Iraq.

      Did you oppose the US/NATO war with Yugoslavia or the US/UN military action in Somalia? They both seem like noble responses to injustices in the world and not the results of US "aggression".

      What about the failure to act in Rwanda? Rwanda is the real biggie for anyone remotely anti-war in the USA because the USA dishonestly refusing to call what was taking place there a "genocide" was driven by a fear of military involvement (UN rules). Clinton was still in shock from Somalia where he hadn't gotten the support he should have from the left. Which was a big part of why he didn't want to get involved in Rwanda, which he later deeply regretted, which certainly factored into his decision process when choosing to go to war with Yugoslavia.

      •  We're still aggressors (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jesterfox, drewfromct, JesseCW

        in Somalia today.

        Noble intentions are what the military-industrial-congressional complex uses to milk us and the rest of the world for all we're worth.

        It's conceivable I could support a military intervention to thwart a genocide... although it's hard to see how I could support the present-day USA doing so, given whose ends our government serves today.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:14:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Erm, we actually did thwart a genocide when (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FreedomFighter, buddabelly, palantir

          we went in to Afghanistan:

          The ruling Taliban—mostly fundamentalist Sunni, ethnic Pashtuns—saw Hazaras as infidels, animals, other. They didn't look the way Afghans should look and didn't worship the way Muslims should worship. A Taliban saying about Afghanistan's non-Pashtun ethnic groups went: "Tajiks to Tajikistan, Uzbeks to Uzbekistan, and Hazaras to goristan," the graveyard. And in fact, when the Buddhas fell, Taliban forces were besieging Hazarajat, burning down villages to render the region uninhabitable. As autumn began, the people of Hazarajat wondered if they'd survive winter. Then came September 11, a tragedy elsewhere that appeared to deliver salvation to the Hazara people.

          http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/...

          The sad thing is that virtually nobody in the West paid any attention to the massive ethnic cleansing and budding genocide until 9/11.

          "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

          by Lawrence on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:34:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And today, while thousands of civilians (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus

            in Afghanistan are slaughtered by the US and NATO, not many more are paying attention.

            It doesn't matter how many children are left behind in the race to the top.

            by JesseCW on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:46:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Blah, blah, blah, blah. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Samulayo, Stranded Wind

              You really deserve a HR for that, tbh.

              Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs, so could you please tell me how exactly you have come to the conclusion that "thousands of civilians
              in Afghanistan are slaughtered by the US and NATO"
              today.

              Because I ain't seeing it.  Instead, I'm seeing some of the strictest rules of engagement ever being applied by NATO and the U.S. in Afghanistan.

              And tell me Jesse, do you only care about the 12% of the total in civilian casualties that are atrributable to pro-Government forces or do you also care about the civilians killed by insurgents, which amount to three quarters of all the civilians being killed in Afghanistan?

              "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

              by Lawrence on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:37:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I think you are clueless about somalia (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          palantir, Stranded Wind

          Your Chris floyd/somalia google page link makes me think it didn't even register in your mind what I was talking about:

          "Deteriorating security prevents the UN mission from delivering food and supplies to the starving Somalis. Relief flights are looted upon landing, food convoys are hijacked and aid workers assaulted. The UN appeals to its members to provide military forces to assist the humanitarian operation."
          http://www.pbs.org/...

          Then 24 Pakistani UN peacekeepers were massacred. How do you peacefully deal with that? How do you blame that on the military industrial complex? One could easily find fault with how Clinton (and the UN) dealt with the situation, but they didn't create the problem, and they did have noble intentions.

          Noble intentions are what the military-industrial-congressional complex uses to milk us and the rest of the world for all we're worth."

          By declaring all "noble intentions" tools of the MIC you are doing what I specifically just warned against. We didn't try to stop Rwandan genocide because of people like you.

      •  "Almost succesfull"? When? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State, Timaeus

        When we appointed our Satrap, or when we helped him rig his first election?

        The plan to "fix" Afghanistan through massive slaughter of civilians in a reckless bombing campaign was flawed from the start.  It wasn't fucked up by a "diversion"...it was fucked up from initial conception.

        The war on Yugoslavia which we dragged NATO into was waged with a reckless disgregard for civilian life that caused a great deal of needless death and suffering...for no greater "cause" than to make sure transational banking interests wouldn't see a dictator default on debt.

        We did not have the means to end the genocide in Rwanda - although I suppose we could have joined in the slaughter as we did in Afghanistan.  More people dead in the end, but the Jingoes could have crowed that we'd "done something".

        It's a damned shame that Clinton got so much support for his insistance on military adventurism, not that he got so little.

        Without the encouragement and support of the blood-thirsty interventionist bigots who firmly believe that all brown people need the occasional high-explosive lesson from "civilized peoples", Big Boss Bill might well have refrained from causing the death of a few thousand civilians in Mogadishu in a failed attempt to make himself seem "tough".

        It doesn't matter how many children are left behind in the race to the top.

        by JesseCW on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:45:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You think 9/11 was an inside job too? (0+ / 0-)

          "Almost succesfull"? When?

          In 2001-2003 it looked the country was on track to stabilize.

          The war on Yugoslavia which we dragged NATO into was waged with a reckless disgregard for civilian life that caused a great deal of needless death and suffering...for no greater "cause" than to make sure transational banking interests wouldn't see a dictator default on debt.

          If you believe there was no greater cause there then making sure a dictator didn't default on debt then you are in CT land. You think 9/11 was inside job too?

          We did not have the means to end the genocide in Rwanda - although I suppose we could have joined in the slaughter as we did in Afghanistan.  More people dead in the end, but the Jingoes could have crowed that we'd "done something".

          We didn't have a means to completely end it, but a few troops could have saved a lot of lives. Clinton was later even very upfront about how big of a mistake it had been to not act. There was no perfect solution, but there was an obvious morally required response that didn't happen.

      •  One person's war of liberation is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi

        another person's war of agression.

        Frankly, our allies in the Afghanistan arena are no better than our foes.

        The only difference is that they are "ours"

        •  For example, this is what (5+ / 0-)

          we're doing right now: Deal With a Dictator

          Termez’s dusty freight yards show little evidence of a U.S. presence, which is exactly Washington’s intention. The Pentagon is using, as much as possible, local freight companies to ship goods. This subcontracting dovetails neatly with what Uzbekistan wants. While some countries, like Georgia and Azerbaijan, see the distribution network as a way to strengthen their security ties, Uzbekistan has made clear that its primary interest is in making money, says Andrew Kuchins, a scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Uzbek officials "want to see much more happening on local procurement and us being more flexible on that," he says.

          "Business and state power are basically the same thing here," says one journalist based in the capital of Tashkent who is well connected within the government and also friendly with the country’s beleaguered opposition. He talked freely with me about various internal intrigues, but when I asked about who might be profiting from the freight business, he clammed up. "You have to ask the Americans," he said. "All I can tell you is, it’s impossible to do business clean here. And this transit is filling the budget of Uzbekistan."

          so, what's bad about that?

          Well this is where the money is going:

          Islam Karimov, whose 21-year rule has been marked by massacres of civilian protesters, widespread torture, and the imprisonment of thousands of political prisoners.

      •  Yes, it was. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Angie in WA State

        Afghanistan wasn't a war of aggression in 2001...

        illegal, n. A term used by descendants of European immigrants to refer to descendants of Indigenous Americans

        by ricardomath on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:04:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Actually it's a fine experimental lab (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angie in WA State, Timaeus, Jesterfox

      for operations.

      And an excuse to use live test subjects in military scientific experiments.

      And that chill running down your spine is the proper response.

      Why can't we all just get a blog? :)

      by cskendrick on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:19:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped and rec'd (18+ / 0-)

    on the basis of it being informational. I can't tell if you feel our country needs this gear or not. And if you don't feel one way or the other about it, and/or, simply want the series to be neutral on that point, I respect that even more.

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:40:48 PM PST

    •  it's something we need to discuss. (12+ / 0-)

      For example the inherent mission of the Marine Corps is to go into the hottest of hot zones.  For this they need specialized aircraft.  But the Osprey had serious problems, and some of the alternatives have limits of their own.  

      The more informed we are about these things, the better to fight pork and demand reliable equipment for our sons & daughters in uniform to use when they're going into harm's way.  And the better to demand that the missions they are sent on are truly worthy of the risks they will be taking.  

      •  For those commenting on the MV-22 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        polecat, Simplify, Stranded Wind
        You may find the book, "The Dream Machine" by Richard Whittle of some use. It has improved significantly.

        http://www.amazon.com/...

        The author is a well-respected journalist with a good record for honest evaluations.

        http://www.amazon.com/...

        It would do some posters here well to recall that tiltrotor aircraft are something totally new - and totally new aircraft types generally go through some Hell before they are fully able to prove themselves. The helicopter went through some really bad times before it was fully understood...The tiltrotor will have to do the same.

        "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." Ed Brayton -7.75/-6.05

        by QuestionAuthority on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:31:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  value? (0+ / 0-)

          I agree with this sentiment, but I wonder as to the value. Is the sole objective to have an aircraft that is twice as fast as existing helicopters? I didn't follow the thinking on this closely.

           And what's up with them not pushing the gunship role of the Osprey? I have to look into that ... could be it's too light to do more than pack a minigun.

          •  As far as the armament.... (0+ / 0-)

            ...there was (and still is) some discussion on that. The weight of the bird went up dramtically when they discovered there were serious technical issues with the composite structures. Many had to be rebuilt in aluminium alloy. Hence, a LOT of desirable stuff was cut. There is hope that they will catch up with the learnign curve and be able to lighten future versions.

            Twice as fast = Less enemy reaction time, fatster evac of casualties, just as two examples. In the long run, the USMC sees tiltrotors as the replacement for all helicopters. If they can be built to last and fly as safely as other aircraft are, there are huge possibilities for both military and civilian uses.

            "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." Ed Brayton -7.75/-6.05

            by QuestionAuthority on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:12:03 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ospreys are too loud. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Simplify

              Spec Ops who use them have disembark farther from their objectives -- farther for them to walk.

              The folks I know who have to use them hate them. They like helicopters because they are much quieter -- if you can imagine such a thing.

          •  Also, longer range (0+ / 0-)

            Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

            by Simplify on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 08:37:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Of course we need it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi

      If we weren't make this, we'd have essentially no highly advanced manufacturing capabilities left.

      Plus we get to kill foreigners at will and the MIC profits handsomely?

      So how can you even say that?

  •  "Joint Strike Fighter" (18+ / 0-)

    I always thought it was a bad idea to try for savings through airframe commonality across too many roles.  STOVL option, close air support, carrier operations, supersonic top speed, dogfighting, stealth...  I believe the compromises LockMart and Boeing had to accept when designing the X-35 and X-32 respectively just made them costlier and less capable than would be the case had the military commissioned an assortment of single-purpose aircraft.  For instance, having a single-engine plane perform extended over-water operations just seems like an unsafe idea in general.

    What really cemented it was when I sat in on a Lockheed Martin presentation on the F-35 and listened to the guy rattle off the list of planes it was supposed to replace.  I asked him how a pricey single-engine kite like the F-35 was supposed to have survivability at all comparable to the A-10.  He had no answer for that.  What it means is the military would never risk the plane in a true close air support role.  That in turn means that the grunts are more at risk because the planes won't come near, or civilian and friendly fire casualties go up because the plane is shooting from further away, or both.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:40:54 PM PST

    •  And planes like the A-10 (15+ / 0-)

      F-16 and Hornet are downright inexpensive compared to this new multipurpose crap -- that does everything, poorly.

      It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

      by Fishgrease on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:46:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  F-35 cancellation likely (18+ / 0-)

       The Air Force didn't care for the looks of the A-10 and literally tried to give it to the Army. Now that they've been through the wringer and people understand what a tough bird it is they're much loved.

       Even so, airframes age and those shooting back from the ground are always trying to do a better job. We got caught behind the update eight ball in the early 1940s ... that's part of what colors our national focus on readiness.

      •  And again at the start of the Korean Conflict! (0+ / 0-)

        They never want that to happen again.

        But I always preferred the Boeing model to the Lockheed Martin.  You could just smell the political maneuvering over that one.

        Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
        I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
        -Spike Milligan

        by polecat on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:12:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  better weapons mean fewer casualties. (9+ / 0-)

      Excellent points about the F-35.  "One size fits all" thinking is crazy, especially in cases where life & death are on the line.  

      Agreed, attempting to go for a multipurpose vehicle to replace a bunch of specialized ones is an inherent compromise that increases risks all around.   The idea of fielding a close air support craft that is too vulnerable to use for close air support, is just nuts.  That is not the kind of "disarmament" that leads to peace.  

      There is a subset of the geek universe for every branch of technology, that tends to think in terms of "one size fits all."  In my field (telephony) we are seeing something similar with VOIP, where it's being touted for applications in which it's more expensive and less robust than digital (TDM) technology, for example office PBX where the extensions are in the same building as the switch, and for example residential voice lines.

      There is also a degree to which these things are driven by the blatant desire for pork.  That's bad enough in civilian tech, but it's downright obscene when national defense and lives are at stake.  

      •  I'd be curious to here more about your VOIP (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, G2geek

        statement since my company is currently entering into this field.

        (RKBA) Right to Keep and Bear Arms: interested in a DKos RKBA group? Email in profile. Share Our Wealth

        by KVoimakas on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:13:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, at risk of digressing the thread... (6+ / 0-)

          ... and giving away advice I normally charge $160/hour for...

          A conventional digital (TDM) PBX has station ports that connect through a cross-connect field to category 3 station wires each having 4 pairs thus supporting two 2-pair jacks (RJ-11 or RJ-14) where typically the inner pair is used for analog devices and the outer pair is used for TDM digital keyphones.  

          A VOIP PBX has ethernet ports that are patched into a company's LAN whereby they emerge as ports from the Ethernet switch that are patched with patch cables into the patch panel that feeds Cat 5e or Cat 6 cables to Ethernet jacks at desks, where each Ethernet jack can typically support one device (telephone or computer).  

          First of all the wiring is more expensive: two Cat 5e or Cat 6 runs to each desktop (compared to one Cat5e or 6, plus one Cat 3, unless you pass the computer through the telephone and let the telephone play traffic cop, slowing down the computer).  

          Second, the patch panel ends up being twice as large thereby harder to manage.  Patch panels are inherently more complex and messy to manage, and require more space, than a comparable cross-connect field using type 66 connecting blocks (which are 1965 technology and still can't be beat: the smaller type 110 blocks are much more time-consuming to trace & test on).  

          Third and conclusively, with VOIP you end up adding N elements to a combinatorial relationship between the PBX and the LAN.   Suddenly the PBX is interacting with the LAN, and each new element adds interactions with every other, per the equation i = (p(p-1))/2 where i = interactions and p = participants or in this case devices.  (If you know crypto, you recognize that equation is the same as used for key management in asymmetric-key cryptosystems.)  

          The combinatorial relationship increases complexity and thereby necessarily increases management cost compared to a situation where each of two systems is entirely separate.  

          Pragmatically, in a TDM PBX each station has a port number and an extension number (thus a total of N ports and N extension numbers), but in a VOIP PBX each station also has an IP address (N ports, N IP addresses, and N extension numbers): further complication and management overhead to the tune of the difference between N^2 and N^3.  

          The combinatorial stuff and the N^3 stuff translate to increased cost, and there is no way to avoid this any more than to avoid any other hard numerical relationship.  The math doesn't lie and there's no getting around it.  

          Bottom line is this (25 years' experience speaking):

          VOIP is useful for providing off-prem extensions that need a full keyphone feature-set (for OPXs that don't, I have something else up my sleeve I could discuss via email).  It's also useful as a means of trunking between PBXs in non-contiguous buildings e.g. a network deployed across many cities or states or countries.  

          However it only adds needless cost and complexity for PBX stations that reside in the same building as the PBX cabinet itself.  

          Thus the intelligent way to design a PBX is to enable it to handle all types of trunks (loop start, T1, PRI, and VOIP) and all types of stations (analog, digital/TDM, and VOIP), and then preferentially use TDM stations in contiguous space.  

          Now so far as residential landline telephony is concerned, VOIP is totally unsuitable as the primary line because it replaces central battery service with local battery service, and is thereby highly vulnerable to power failures at the subscriber's premises.  That includes natural disaster and other emergency conditions, under which the failure of the telephone can be a life/death emergency.

          However, VOIP is certainly usable as a secondary line in residential service, where there's a primary analog line associated with central battery telephone sets such as the venerable 2500 type.  That deals with the robustness & reliability issue, and VOIP can be used for purposes such as discount long distance and specialized carrier services & features.    

          Last but not least, VOIP is subject to all of the cybersecurity issues that pertain to any device connected to the open internet.  That entire set of issues is huge.  DOS attacks on central office switches included, which I have personally witnessed in their effects on my clients.  Those types of vulnerabilities are a national security issue, as with similar vulnerabilities in the "smart grid" power grid concept, some of which get into classified stuff I can't discuss in public.  We do not want organized crime gangs or terrorists or hostile foreign actors infesting our telephone switches and power grid control infrastructure or we are going to be sorry.  

          One more thing:  G.729 is evil.  G.711 is good.  G.729 is why cellphone driving is dangerous: it monopolizes too much brain real estate to decipher the shitty audio into intelligible speech (I have designed a controlled experiment to test this as a formal hypothesis).  G.729 over landlines is inexcusable because bandwidth limitations should not be an issue over copper or fiber.  

          Depending on what your company is doing, I might be interested in getting involved.  I'm not greedy and I'm mission-focused.  My public email address is in my dKos profile, so feel free to get in touch.  

          BTW, SW is a telecoms geek too.  I suspect we all have a lot of similar interests and we should get together and chat online or via conf call one of these days.  

          •  an alternative view (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mnemosyne, polecat, raines, G2geek, KVoimakas

             If you have a phone in a large enterprise, and you switch buildings, getting the phone guys to do their part used to take weeks. Now with VoIP you just pack your office and go.

             G.729 bothers the heck out of G2geek but as a cell phone customer I'm quite used to it.

              And this talk about secondary VoIP at home ... who has land lines any more? Last I installed one was for a fax, back in 2006, and it hardly got used. The days of stationary phones are, IMHO, rapidly drawing to a close outside business environments.

             

            •  yes we do have our arguement over some of... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              buddabelly, KVoimakas

              .... these issues.  I should mention, SW and I are good friends and we work together on projects.  However we're quite capable of having feisty debates on certain topics, this being one of them.

              So let's have some flying fur here...

              --

              For most businesses, space is rented on multi-year contracts so any purported advantage of fast moves is far less important than the usefulness of the system when the company is moved in.

              You don't design your home and office bedroom and bathroom the same way you design one for a motor home, do you?  

              As for "taking weeks," getting a building cabled and the carrier circuits installed is what takes the time: and those carrier circuits include the ones for broadband, so there is no advantage there either.  

              I've moved 100-station PBXs with a crew of two in two days.  Bottom line is that your claim of easier moves for VOIP is frankly nonsense.  In fact a PBX move is faster if it's not tied up with the computer network and the combinatorial math involved in coordinating with the LAN.

              --  

              Most cellphone-only users are "used to" G.729, just as most people who live full-time in motor homes are "used to" weak showers and cramped toilets that smell.  And that's supposed to be progress?

              Fact: G.729 reduces intelligibility and removes the majority of the nonverbal vocal cues that humans use to interpret each other's emotions in speech.        

              Fact: variable latency produces problems of conversation hand-off between people speaking, causing them to talk over each other, which is interpreted as rudeness.

              Fact:  G.729 is no more "necessary" than the private health insurance industry is "necessary."  It's a creature of the artificial constraint of bandwidth for the sake of privatizing profits and socializing the "externality" costs of the decision.    

              Testable hypothesis: G.729 is responsible for the hazard of cellphone driving, and I'll bet anyone $10k cash on the outcome of the experiment when it's performed as designed (the design can be submitted for neutral peer review).  

              Fact:  G.729 sounds worse than any landline telephone made in the USA since the original Western Electric E1 handset (type 200 telephone: http://en.wikipedia.org/...  this one being shown with an AE dial and converted to modular plug).   That would be 1927.  If you want to get 1927 sound quality, use the real thing.  I do when I'm in the mood.

              Why do we tolerate technology going backward for the sake of shiny packages?   "Smart phones" with G.729 are like building a tractor that has an aircraft-style cab but can't pull a plow.  The purpose of a telephone is to enable you to have an intelligible conversation; all else is silly fluff.  Chrome & tailfins don't make up for a crappy engine under the hood.  

              --

              Who has landlines?  Anyone who wants to have a conversation that is not interrupted by glitches, dropouts, and random cutoffs.  

              Anyone who wants to have a conversation that is not interrupted by batteries going dead.  If you want a local battery telephone, get the real thing:

              http://www.antique67.com/...

              That would be the wooden one with the crank on the side.

              And as for businesses, business owners are smart enough to know that you can't sell products if your potential buyers have to strain to figure out what you just said, ask you to repeat yourself, ask if you just heard them, and call you back after your phone cuts off.

              But there is one thing "smart phones" can do that landlines can't: enable Big Brother to watch you and listen to you when you think they're turned off.  

            •  one more thing G.729 does. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mnemosyne, buddabelly, KVoimakas

              It breeds racism.

              How many times have you heard someone complain about overseas call centers, that "those f---ing (racial epithet) can't speak or understand English!" ...?

              Yet they don't say the same thing about Indians or Chinese they encounter live & in person for example at their doctor's office or the grocery store, who have exactly the same accents to the same degree, and for whom English is likely a second language.

              Why's this?

              It's because many of those overseas call centers are set up with G.729 to squeeze more calls into less bandwidth, thereby squeezing out a little more profit in addition to the exploitative wage levels.  

              The result is that it becomes more difficult for you to understand what the other person is saying.  And it becomes more difficult for them to understand what you're saying.  

              But most people have no clue that the technology is getting in the way of the conversation.  So they blame the person at the other end, and very often, the blaming gets racial/ethnic.   Chink!  Raghead!   Nice, huh?

              •  very informative (4+ / 0-)

                and for a non-geek, illuminating. I confess to having been frustrated in trying to understand, be understood by, people in call centers far, far away. Although I have refrained from calling them obviously racist names.

                Knowing that it's a tech problem helps a lot, thanks.

                One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.--A.A. Milne

                by Mnemosyne on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 02:39:31 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  most people are surprised. (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mnemosyne, raines, buddabelly, KVoimakas

                  They don't think of the technology as being a problem, after all a phone call is a phone call, right?   But in fact it's not all the same: it can be better or worse depending on the technology.  

                  And there are an awful lot of people out there who do use the racial epithets in conjunction with unintelligible conversations with customer service people overseas.  They may not cuss 'em out over the phone, but they use that language when they complain about it to their friends, and that just spreads the evil memes further.

                  See, from my perspective as an engineer, one has to consider the broader implications of design choices and implementations.  Social implications, ecological implications, all of that stuff.  When we build things for people to use, we are building not only for the person who writes the check, but for all the people who come into contact with whatever it is.  

                  Problem is, there are engineers out there who do not understand any of these issues and will end up designing utter shit as a result.   Some of them truly don't know or understand, some of them are mercenaries, and some of them just don't care.  Sometimes holding the line against that tidal wave feels like being the little Dutch boy holding back the flood but with both hands and both feet at the same time.   And this is happening in one industry after another, across the entire spectrum of the economy, while the plutocrats make out like bandits on casino capitalism.

                  I'm looking forward to a few acres on tribe turf and a radical simplification, just as soon as I can afford to move.  My people are building resilient community in anticipation of the climate crisis, and where I belong is working with them on that.  If the rest of the USA is ready to tolerate living in a state of decline & fall, from shitty telephones to cutbacks in public education and other essentials, to the eventual effects of the climate crisis on the food supply, I can't stop them.  Think globally, act locally.   I can make more of a difference acting locally.  

          •  OK, after reading, I have some comments, some ?s (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek

            and more.

            We use 729a.

            What kind of slowdown are you talking about, when routed through the phones? I just took a laptop and plugged it in a wall jack, ran some pings to a local IP, then plugged it in to a phone and did the same thing. There wasn't really a noticeable different. The VOIP phone we use is a Cisco 7961 and I made a call while doing one of the ping tests.

            Cost of cabling: USB headsets and a softphone would fix that issue, right? For the call center here, we already need internet, so X-Lite seems like a good solution to running two ethernet lines OR the speed issues (which I didn't see.)

            Patch panels....I feel ya there. Giant PITA.

            Central versus local power: most of the VOIP modems we use (if not all) require a battery. (We use an Arris modem that I don't have the model number of right now.) This obviously doesn't work for softphones unless it's a laptop and your inet connection is on an UPS...and the power outage didn't knock out the ISP. ATAs like the pap2t don't have a battery if memory serves, so an UPS would be needed for those.

            As to cybersecurity: don't most POTS systems still use the internet for bandwidth? I thought they ran over fiber from town to town, etc. (In this case, does fiber = internet?)

            I'm at the very very bottom end of the VOIP spectrum but I'm going to put trained as a VOIP tech within the next month or two. I am a blank slate just waiting to be writ upon with knowledge...

            :-D

            I'd love to hear any and all that you have to say about this. Email is not.christ at gmail.com

            (RKBA) Right to Keep and Bear Arms: interested in a DKos RKBA group? Email in profile. Share Our Wealth

            by KVoimakas on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 01:58:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  okay.... (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raines, Jesterfox, buddabelly, KVoimakas

              G.729a is if anything, worse.  I wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole much less a telephone pole.  

              Of course G.729a won't slow down your laptop, because it can "work" with only 8k of bandwidth.  But attempting to squeeze a conversation into 8k rather than 64k (G.711) is really putting the cart before the horse.  

              --

              If you're running an inbound call center, you can get away with USB headsets and soft phones.  But a system designed only for a call center is a specialized case compared to a system designed to handle corporate as well as call center applications.  As soon as you get to anything like full-featured office telephony, soft phones waste screen real estate on computers, and dialing with a mouse or a computer keyboard is obnoxious compared to a standard layout touchtone keypad.  

              --

              Patch panels:  We'll install them where a client requests them, even for conventional TDM telephony, but they increase cost and complexity in a number of ways and require that all station moves be done physically with the patch cords.  

              Minus the patch panel, I normally do station moves virtually, via remote programming tools.   Alice at extension 1102 on PBX port 2-8-06, swaps with Bob at extension 1304 on PBX port 1-09-14: all I have to do is type their extension numbers into the field in the programming tool and click Apply, and it's done.  Compared to fishing out their patch cords (and hoping not to disturb adjacent patch cords & connections) or having them move their physical telephone sets and enter a move code on the phones when they do, and dealing with the consequences when they screw up.  

              --

              Local battery: woe be to whoever has to keep track of battery replacements when batteries reach the end of their rechargeable life in a couple of years.  And woe be to all of us for another arbitrary and unnecessary degree of resource consumption & preventable waste for those batteries when they end up in the landfill.  

              --

              Most POTS systems do not use the internet for bandwidth.  They are on closed networks.  Telcos may be adopting IP trunking between COs, but on closed networks.  CLECs that offer IP transport of dialtone to customer's prem over the public internet, produce frankly shitty quality of service that is not fit for commercial use.  

              --

              Re. blank slate:  No doubt you'll get an earful of chirpy marketeering and buzzwords from people with no background in telephony, who think they've just invented the telephone for the first time.  Sigh.  All I can say is, read up on the history of the industry going back to the late 1800s, and read what people have to say who were in it during the times when telephone service in the US was recognized as the best in the world.  

              From where I'm standing the situation appears like the Decline & Fall, or by analogy, as if automobile makers were bringing back three-speed manual transmissions and crank-started engines, and trying to convince people that using a clutch was like flying a fighter jet, and oh look at all the chrome and the sleek tail fins!  

              --

              About those CIsco 7961 phones:  Where's the Hold button?  

              For those who don't know, it's buried under layers of contextual menus.    

              Now imagine you're an executive trying to talk with an investor, and you need to put them on Hold for a moment.  And you fluster and fiddle to try to find that hidden Hold button.  And your investor is not impressed.

              You can pay Cisco a yearly fee (a form of rent) for the feature pack that allows you to put the Hold function at the top layer of the menu.  I call that being held hostage.

              Cisco hasn't been making phones long enough to know jack shit about designing a viable user interface, and they refuse to listen to those who do.  That's their loss and my gain:  all I have to do to vanquish them from competition with my stuff is ask the prospective customer to find the Hold button.  

              --

              If you want to hear what I have to say about this stuff, you're in for quite the earful.  

              If you have a high-quality line available, I can give you the live demo of actual telephones dating back to 1920 (from the US and a few other countries) so you can hear for yourself what I said about antiques and audio.  What I'd do is randomize them and they you'd tell me whether better or worse than cellular or G.729 VOIP, and then I'd tell you what I was speaking on and from what country and year.  

              And seriously: if you want to save your company from getting darwinized, stay away from G.729a and G.729 in general.  I wouldn't work for a company that was promoting those to its end-users, not just because I'm a "snooty elitist who thinks that telephones should sound good," but because it would be a bigger risk than remaining in private practice, even if it paid twice or three times the salary level.  

      •  does the answer as to whose lives depend (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, G2geek, senilebiker

        on whose we are talking about?  soldiers', or civilians'?

        Too far left to be part of the base anymore.

        by Guinho on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:22:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  all of the above. (5+ / 0-)

          The goal of warfare is to defeat the opposing force's will to fight.  The best way to accomplish that is with deterrent strength, which deters war in the first place.   The second-best way is with the precise application of firepower against the opposing force in a manner that it cannot evade or overcome.  

          Civilian casualties are an effect of imperfect weapons and imperfect humans operating them.  

          Also keep in mind that roughly 1/3 of all friendly casualties (deaths of American and allied soldiers) are friendly fire casualties.  Every senior officer knows this well and has seen it on the ground, which is why they truly are reluctant to go to war if war can be avoided.  

          The purpose of a strong military is to deter aggression.  That's worth paying for.  

          The problem is politicians who have never seen combat, who may not take it quite so seriously.   And the bigger problem is the plutocratic class that has never seen combat but expects its commercial interests to be protected at the expense of American and civilian lives.  

          •  boy it sure hasn't worked (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus, Simplify

            by that logic, we'd have a massive army, and never need to go to war.

            Instead, we have a massive military-industrial complex, which we then need to cook up reasons to fight.

            I would advocate for a vastly smaller military, so that we don't have this boyish temptation to just invade places to justify this massive military.

            The last time the US faced aggression in any military sense 1941, and before that 1861.  

            In military affairs, there is a problem with detering aggrresion, but the problem facing us is detering our own!

            Too far left to be part of the base anymore.

            by Guinho on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:04:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Have you ever seen "The Pentagon Wars?" (8+ / 0-)

      I always thought it was a bad idea to try for savings through airframe commonality across too many roles.  STOVL option, close air support, carrier operations, supersonic top speed, dogfighting, stealth...  I believe the compromises LockMart and Boeing had to accept when designing the X-35 and X-32 respectively just made them costlier and less capable than would be the case had the military commissioned an assortment of single-purpose aircraft.

      Kelsey Grammar and Cary Elwes did a HBO movie about the ridiculous process of designing (and redesigning and redesigning, and...you get the idea) called The Pentagon Wars.  The M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle was the central example of a military project where the final product was a convoluted set of compromises relating to different purposes.  As Cary Elwes' character said, the military wanted the M2 to perform in a bunch of different roles...with the end result was a vehicle vaguely capable of doing a bunch of things, but not capable of doing any of those things well.  It was "a troop transport that can't carry troops, a reconnaissance vehicle that's too conspicuous to do reconnaissance, and a quasi-tank that has less armor than a snowblower, but carries enough ammo to take out half of D.C."

      Fortunately, the end product came out somewhat less convoluted.  But it was stuck in the military equipment equivalent of development hell for decades.  That's all too common in the armament industry, from what I've heard.

      Preaching to the choir and then shooting them when they don't sing loud enough isn't a good strategy for increasing the size of the congregation.

      by Matisyahu on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:10:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And then when individuals (5+ / 0-)

        try to improvise customize things to make them work more safely and effectively, that's a threat to corporate profits that can't be tolerated.  See:  troops in Iraq soliciting donations to up-armor their HMMWVs but then getting shut down by the brass.  That is, until either someone can do some war profiteering on it or the improvisation is so popular that it would be too embarrassing to shut down.

        More to your point, though, there is much value in fielding a simpler device quickly, in terms of getting innovations to the troops faster, field-testing, getting use out of the device before it's obsolete...

        It's pretty hilarious that the military could buy swarms of simpler planes and train a bunch more pilots, at a lower overall price, and in all likelihood they'd have a more effective force.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:27:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  So was it a "good cop, bad cop" type (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi, Stranded Wind

        of show?  'Cuz this sure doesn't sound like anything RW-cheerleader Kelsy Grammar would say:

        As Cary Elwes' character said, the military wanted the M2 to perform in a bunch of different roles...with the end result was a vehicle vaguely capable of doing a bunch of things, but not capable of doing any of those things well.

        Anyways, thanks for the heads up on this - if it's available online I'm definitely going to check it out

        •  Before he jumped on the wingnut welfare train (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          polecat, Roadbed Guy

          grammar wasn't so bad.  He's a bit like dennis miller, as 2001 seemed to push him over the edge into crazzyrightwingland. Like miller, going into crazzyrightwingland also seemed to sap any creativity and humor that he had before.  It shows in his work.  Unfortunately it also shows in his pocketbook since wingnut welfare is quite lucrative.  There's no hope for his redemption.

          A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

          by dougymi on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:20:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Today Gates announced 100 billion in savings, (8+ / 0-)

    which he immediately plowed back into the defense budget, 1984-style.

    What we need for the defense of our nation is sanity.  The slide show above is indeed impressive, as it should be when we spend more on these MIC wet dreams than the rest of the world combined spends on military shit.  You should have heard Gates today talking about how he would take the knife to cherished military programs, as he ladled out the "savings," like chunks of a slaughtered cow to his MIC dog kennel.  

    But sanity isn't going to happen.  That's why I don't read these diaries, SW.  Well over half my taxes go to keeping a neocon nightmare in place.  Call this sniping if you will.  It's the truth that no number of glossies of imperial hardware can paper over.  The four planks of the progressive platform are meaningless (including - and one should say especially - the security item) as we impoverish ourselves at the altar of global domination.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you can succeed." -Nancy Pelosi, 6/29/07.

    by nailbender on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:50:54 PM PST

    •  so if you don't read the diaries... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buddabelly, KVoimakas

      ... why do you stick around to snipe?

      As for American imperialism, you wouldn't happen to drive a car by any chance, would you?

      •  lots of cars in Europe (7+ / 0-)

        yet, they don't see a need to invade countries.  Thye get their oil the old fashioned way:  they buy it on the market.  After all, even Hussein needed to sell the stuff if he wanted any cash.  Dictators are never shy about selling if they get to pocket the money.  

        We should be spending that money on getting off of oil anyway.

        Too far left to be part of the base anymore.

        by Guinho on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:24:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  getting off oil. (5+ / 0-)

          Have you ever seen an oldschool Fiat 500, much less a BMW Isetta?  Those cars got well over 50 mpg and make our "compacts" look like limousines in size comparison.  

          Yes we should be driving those.  I drive a Ford Transit Connect which is a small minivan/panel truck (needed for my line of work, telephony engineering) that gets 30 mpg on the freeway.  (I would be driving the smallest thing on three wheels if I didn't have to carry tools & equipment around to client sites, though my overall fuel consumption is 1/4 of average American due to telecommuting most of the time.)

          We should also be pushing renewables and nuclear as fast as we can install them.  China is going for 40% renewables and 60% nuclear, and building 3000 miles of highspeed rail per year (and also has a robust space program as well, with two live-crewed Earth orbit missions to date and the Moon firmly in view).

          And we should be pushing conservation hard core including with building efficiency standards, fuel efficiency standards, urban light rail, and so on, all the way.   This in turn will require land reform on a large scale.  

          Finally we should be backing away from the cultural addiction to consumer baubles.  Baubles are for babies, it's time we grow up and learn how to use our own muscles, brains, and imaginations for a change.

          BTW, as I write this, the indoor temperature where I am sitting is set to 66 degrees, and I'm toasty warm in long underwear and sweats.    

          •  China doesn't have (4+ / 0-)

            China is . . . building 3000 miles of highspeed rail per year

            New Jersey's new governor Christie, who cancelled that rail tunnel. Or the idiot in wherever--Wisconsin?--who cancelled the program that would have built rail cars and created jobs.

            Absolutely agree re consumer baubles. Indoor temp set at 65 and cozy, although I may be a good bit south of where you are.

            One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.--A.A. Milne

            by Mnemosyne on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 02:45:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Europe (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, delver rootnose

          gets the benefits of American military protection without having to pay for it, as do Japan and Korea. We need to either bring our troops home, or start mailing out bills to our clients.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 05:59:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They hvwnt been getting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus

            that for quite some time.  After all our army is so tied up in our invasions that I doubt we would be able to render much assistance if some one invaded them. Probably the only genuine military threat we face is China and it isn't clea that we could fight them since we have to borrow money from them to support a military that is as big as the rest of the planets combined

            No our military is an anachronism and a collosal and self defeating waste

            Too far left to be part of the base anymore.

            by Guinho on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:20:38 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since the end of the Cold War (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cotterperson, Samulayo, Stranded Wind

              the benefits of American military power going to Europe may have been less direct, but they are still very existent. The global Pax Americana makes for stable conditions that enhance trade on a worldwide basis. Imagine a cop on a beat keeping the peace that allows dozens of merchants to thrive, but only with only one of them paying taxes to train, equip, and compensate that cop. We American taxpayers are effectively subsidizing the global competitors that are undercutting our wages and environmental regulations. It's unsustainable as well as unfair, and it's long past time for moocher nations such as South Korea and others to pay their fair share for the benefits of U.S. taxpayer-funded peace and prosperity.

              Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

              by drewfromct on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:52:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Possibly (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Timaeus, cotterperson

                except it seems unclear that the US military has actually reined in anyone.  Perhaps the better analogy would be a cop who periodically breaks into neighbors houses to pillage.  After all the US is one of the bigger rogue states out there.  In any event the notion that wars would have run rampant but for our big military is under cut by the fact that we have done little to stop most of the wars globally. We did play a role in The former Yugoslavia and in Kuwait but then so did others.  the notion that there is any kind of pax Americana seems not well supported.  Instead I would say that the more powerful force has been diplomacy abs the strength in institutions.  The vast majority of democratic transitions have not invoiced military interventions and those that have have not gone well. It is a very big question whether the massive US military has had a positive or negative effect on the stability of the world economic institutions.  

                Too far left to be part of the base anymore.

                by Guinho on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 08:28:01 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're joking, right? (0+ / 0-)

                  it seems unclear that the US military has actually reined in anyone.

                  Try saying that with a straight face in Seoul or Berlin and you'd be laughed out of any room. Look at what the Soviets did in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan, and then imagine what sort of tricks they would have gotten up to had there been no threat whatsoever of American retaliation. Look at what happens in places like Somalia in the absence of  security.

                  You have a point that the American "cop" is a corrupt one, but there's an argument to be made that even a corrupt cop can be better than no cop at all.

                  It is a very big question whether the massive US military has had a positive or negative effect on the stability of the world economic institutions.  

                  I strongly disagree. Given what we've seen in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviets, it seems very clear that order, even odiously corrupt order, is preferable to chaos. It's awfully hard to have economic stability in a state of constant turmoil. Now, if you were to say that the form of economic stability imposed by Pax Americana has been at best extremely tilted towards the wealthy elites, you'd be on-target. But I don't think it's much of a question at all that having two, and then a single global military superpower has made for a more stable world than we would have had, and might see yet, with a multitude of smaller competing powers.

                  Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

                  by drewfromct on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:54:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  You're not sniping, imho. (9+ / 0-)

      These are the facts of American life that must be recognized. If we could maintain our democracy in the face of globalization, we could decide it for ourselves. But the vast profits of war are not forgotten. It's been going on for decades, and the results are the worst possible in terms of loss of human life and increased human suffering -- not to mention the fate of our planet.

      We impoverish ourselves and fail because "global domination" is the wrong goal. That serves only the transnational corporatist class. We must protect ourselves and one another -- and that is the key to our power. We can trade among ourselves; we've been doing it for millienia. The only ones who need domination are the monopolies. Just think about it for 30 seconds.

      .02

    •  Except you're wrong. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, polecat, KenBee

      Gates managed to find $178 billion in savings, of which $100 billion went into other parts of the defense budget.

      $78 billion are, however, being cut from the total budget over the next 5 years.

      And btw, as a percentage of its GDP, China spends just as much on defense as the U.S.

      "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

      by Lawrence on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:01:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re China - back that up with a link (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stranded Wind, JesseCW

        As I recall, the US now spends more on the miltary than the rest of the world combined.

        as China now has the second largest GDP in the world after the US, I would expect China's military to be a little more visible.

        "your existence arose from a popcorn fart out of nobodies ass." - 2dimeshift

        by senilebiker on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:40:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Got it from here: (0+ / 0-)

          "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

          by Lawrence on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:50:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  if they're not visible, you're not looking (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timaeus, Lawrence, dougymi, Stranded Wind

          they're working on a 5th gen fighter, a space program and building a blue water navy albeit slowly.....plus iirc they still have more men at arms than any country..

          ..plus their missile tech has been growing fast....the Russian Sunburn was our big Naval threat, now the new Chinese antiship missile looks more dangerous than the sunburn to the point where the Navy is phasing out the Phalanx antimissile guns....

          With tensions already rising due to the Chinese navy becoming more aggressive in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy seems to have yet another reason to be deeply concerned.

          After years of conjecture, details have begun to emerge of a "kill weapon" developed by the Chinese to target and destroy U.S. aircraft carriers.

          First posted on a Chinese blog viewed as credible by military analysts and then translated by the naval affairs blog Information Dissemination, a recent report provides a description of an anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) that can strike carriers and other U.S. vessels at a range of 2000km.

          The range of the modified Dong Feng 21 missile is significant in that it covers the areas that are likely hot zones for future confrontations between U.S. and Chinese surface forces.

          The size of the missile enables it to carry a warhead big enough to inflict significant damage on a large vessel, providing the Chinese the capability of destroying a U.S. supercarrier in one strike.

          Because the missile employs a complex guidance system, low radar signature and a maneuverability that makes its flight path unpredictable, the odds that it can evade tracking systems to reach its target are increased. It is estimated that the missile can travel at mach 10 and reach its maximum range of 2000km in less than 12 minutes.

          Supporting the missile is a network of satellites, radar and unmanned aerial vehicles that can locate U.S. ships and then guide the weapon, enabling it to hit moving targets.

          http://www.usni.org/...

          Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
          I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
          Emiliano Zapata

          by buddabelly on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:21:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Those are cuts to expected growth (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, delver rootnose

        of a total of 15.6 billion a year.

        Meanwhile, we're spending over twice as much per year, in real dollars, as we were when Clinton left office.

        That doesn't count the cost of slaughtering Muslims for sport in four countries.  

        I mean "The war on terror".

        It doesn't matter how many children are left behind in the race to the top.

        by JesseCW on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:50:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow, what kind of a cartoonish version of reality (0+ / 0-)

          do you have spooking around your head?

          That doesn't count the cost of slaughtering Muslims for sport in four countries.  

          The very low number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan that are attributable to ISAF troops there would indicate that there are some of the strictest rules of engagement in place there that have ever been in place in a modern war.

          Yet you seriously think that we have a bunch of soldiers there that day in, day out conspire to find new ways of "slaughtering muslims for sport"?

          Where do you get this stuff?!

          "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

          by Lawrence on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 08:38:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suppose, Lawrence, that you also (0+ / 0-)

            strongly support the illegal bombing campaign in Pakistan.

            And I suppose you buy the military propaganda that says that all of the hundreds of civilians slaughtered are terrorists.

            And I suppose you buy the tautology that if the United States kills a foreigner, it must be an evil foreigner.

            Your claim of "very low" civilian casualties in Afghanistan is true only in the sense that we apparently haven't yet slaughtered more than a million civilians as we did in Iraq, but that's not much of a claim.

            It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

            by Timaeus on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 09:19:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nah, I just tend to give credence to the folks (0+ / 0-)

              over at the U.N., who keep a tab on these things.

              The Right always loves to discredit the U.N., but I tend to think that they are mostly just trying to get it right.

              And I also refuse to romanticize a bunch of hardcore religious fanatics who would kill anyone who doesn't align with their views.

              You suppose too much, Timaeus.

              "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

              by Lawrence on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 08:10:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Savings from what? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      delver rootnose, Stranded Wind

      The $300-$400 billion *increase* that's taken place lately?

      Color me less that tickled pink.

  •  What does it mean when a CH-46 has no oil leaks? (14+ / 0-)

    it's out of oil.

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:52:27 PM PST

    •  cool! recycling a Harley joke from my youth! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nathguy

      I like it!

      (lest any Harley riders take offense and attempt to firebomb my apartment complex, I'm talking the AMF years that we all hated).

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:27:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  apparently it's true. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, dougymi

        I knew a guy who was marine reserve, they were supposed to get transported on a CH-46, he took one look at it, didn't see any oil leaks and refused to board.

        Drove his POV to 29 Palms, and he was the only one who showed up.  The rest were sitting at a municipal airport because the bird had declared an in flight emergency and put down.

        George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

        by nathguy on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 05:39:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  AH-1, 1st deployed with the 1sr Air Cav (4+ / 0-)

    They wrote the book, buncha crazy muthers back in '71.

    FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:52:53 PM PST

  •  the Marines, like the Army, need vertical flight (11+ / 0-)

    .... but the technology is inherently problematic.  The Osprey has had its share of problems, and most VTOL or nearly-VTOL jets have as well.  I don't think we're quite there yet, and I think what's needed is a conceptual breakthrough in a direction we haven't seen before.  

    It has to be able to take off & land vertically, hover to enable personnel to load and unload, fly level at as high a speed as can be managed, mount a number of types of weapons platforms from missiles to jammer pods, and have a good operational range.  

    Those kinds of specs were part of the reason the Air Force took an interest in UFOs in the mid 20th century and attempted to produce its own "flying disc" technology.  The most direct outcome of that was the ground-effect vehicle, which in turn became the hovercraft, that has become a standard tool for amphibious landings.  But hovercraft are not replacements for aircraft.  

    Meanwhile the Soviets came up with the Ekranoplan, also a ground-effect machine but operating on an entirely different principle (think of an airplane with short wings that skims over the surface of the water); and also not a substitute for aircraft.  But they're hella' cool nonetheless!

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    Above: 20-second video clip.  Keep in mind that the Orlyonok Ekranoplan was comparable in size to a modern 747.  When Western intel first learned of these things, they called them "Caspian Sea Monsters."  

    •  Tilt rotor on the cover of my Weekly Reader (4+ / 0-)

      circa 1962.

      Not sure the Osprey will ever be the workhorse the Harrier proved to be, thru a dozen iterations, though they finally appear to have the bugs worked out of the Osprey a decade ago.

      I saw a AH-1 at an air show a few years back, sporting a build date of Nov 71. Dem beatches still got it going on 30-35 yrs later, kinda like a B-52, gotta ask yourself why are they flying 53 year old B-52's? No equivalent aircraft has been built that can replace a B-52.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:09:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, well that's good to know. (4+ / 0-)

        Last I heard about the Osprey, they had an unsettling tendency to fall out of the sky, so we were effectively putting our Marines in a deathtrap.   Most of us here want it to work, want it to be formidable and fast and ruthlessly reliable, but it just didn't seem so.  If the bugs have been worked out, that's excellent.  

        Those B-52s just seem to last forever.  It's a wonder they haven't been dying of metal fatigue on their airframes.   Question is, why don't we just keep building more of them to replace the ones that can't be refurbished any further?   And per Wikipedia, how do we expect to keep them flying for another 30 years?  They'll all technically be antiques at that point.  

        •  Steerable landing bogies (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, G2geek, buddabelly, KenBee

          Cant Fly a B-2 thru a cloud absorbs moisture loses stealth.

          B-1 full loaded has border line lift surfaces, in a microburst - landing or take off, very bad.

          As of February 2009, 90 of the original 744 B-52 aircraft were still operational within the U.S. Air Force

          I think they only use like 50.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:51:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You should see the B-52 Repair/Refit facility (6+ / 0-)

          here in OKC at Tinker AFB.
          They strip the planes down to the bare metal, remove all the wiring, servos, actuators, hydraulic, fuel handling, and so on.  Complete inspection and replacement of any corrosion on the airframe or skin, and then rebuild the aircraft.
          It looks like the second half of an assembly line with a mirror held up to it.
          On the other side of the apron, they're doing the same things to KC-135s, E-3s, and B-1s.
          And while they can dramatically increase the service life though these kinds of painstaking tear-down/rebuild cycles, they become more and more frequent as the aircraft age, and like it or not, sooner or later the cost of doing this exceeds the costs of procuring new aircraft.

          Insert cryptic phrase that only means something to select group of insiders here.

          by soonergrunt on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 02:14:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I saw a WW2 P-61 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            soonergrunt

            Black Widow stripped down and on the way to being rebuilt, 'bout 10 yrs ago in Reading Pa, that was cool. I've read about what happens to a B-52, its clear the design is so good the Air Force is willing to go thru this so often.

            Shame the B-1 design got so screwed up, it coulda been a real good one. Wiki says:

            B-1R
            The B-1R is a proposed replacement for the B-1B, created from the existing aircraft.[117] The B-1R (R for "regional") would be a Lancer with advanced radars, air-to-air missiles, and Pratt & Whitney F119 engines. Compared to the B-1B, the B-1R would have a higher top speed of Mach 2.2, but its range would be 20% less

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:35:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  B1-A to B1-B speed decrease (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              soonergrunt

              The first generation were that fast - the second gen lost about a third of their top speed. I've never dug into the rationale.

              •  The rationale had to do with flight profiles (0+ / 0-)

                The original design of the B-1 had it flying high and fast over the entire flight profile.  It takes less energy to push through the thinner air at 60,000 feet than it does down low.  President Carter originally cancelled the B-1 because not only was it way over budget and behind schedule, it was going to be highly susceptible to Soviet air defense systems, which were known to be capable of hitting high mach/high altitude aircraft.
                The aircraft was subsequently redesigned to penetrate heavy air defense belts at low level/nap of the earth.  This takes a lot more fuel because the air is much denser at low altitude, and also because most flight at that level requires a lot of maneuvering.
                Remember that these aircraft do not have updated avionics.  The electronics in the planes is the level of tech that existed when they were designed.  That means late 60's/early-mid 70's in the case of the B-1, and 50's/60's tech in the case of the B-52 and the KC-135.  This is becoming a real problem because even the test equipment is that old, and the Air Force is having significant difficulties keeping that old stuff working to repair/test the avionics.

                Insert cryptic phrase that only means something to select group of insiders here.

                by soonergrunt on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 01:41:55 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  B-52 got some B-1 electronics (0+ / 0-)

                  circa 1989, I remember reading about the contract. I'm pretty sure they were upgraded since then. IIRC B-1's are not running original too.

                  B-52 got electronic upgrades during Nam too, those S200's, would have shot down a stock 1957 B-52 by the boat load.

                  FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                  by Roger Fox on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 10:54:12 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Most recent B-52 ECM upgrades (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Stranded Wind

                  ;09 budget pays to replace the last of the old Legacy ECM.

                  http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

                  2005 budget to improve ECM

                  http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

                  Nam era ECM upgrades

                  http://www.globalsecurity.org/...

                  And the B_1b engine cruises most efficient at around .9 mach, Mach 3 uses a lot of fuel, so its nearly a toss up- fly low and slow, or hi and fast. We know that the fuel tanks tanks were enlarged on the from the A to the B model because range did not meet contract specs.

                  FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                  by Roger Fox on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:38:17 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I work in the facilities (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roger Fox, Stranded Wind

                    where B-52 and B-1 avionics are tested and repaired.  The vast majority of that stuff is 70's and 80's tech.  That doesn't make it bad stuff.  Hell it works, and works exceptionally well.  The problem arises in the testing and replacement of components.  Remember too, that if something was in the B-1 fleet in the early '90s, then that something was designed in the early to mid-80's at the latest, most likely using equipment designed and built in the '70s.

                    Insert cryptic phrase that only means something to select group of insiders here.

                    by soonergrunt on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 01:56:40 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  That reminded me (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      soonergrunt, Stranded Wind

                      I built a testing room @ IIRC-Eaton, Long Island NY back in , umm, '81-'82?... where B-1 avionics were to be bench tested.

                      Eaton had this giant articulated Milling arm that worked on a 15 ft part in a plexi enclosure, that was getting blasted by water from different angles. I guessed at the time that since Eaton was doing work on the Electronics version of the Prowler IIRC the AE-6? Thats what I saw getting milled... was the rear vertical tail frame of an AE model.

                      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                      by Roger Fox on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 03:27:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  I figured something like that (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Stranded Wind

                      and 50's/60's tech in the case of the B-52

                      Which is why I dropped a link that said that during Nam, nearly all 52's had new ECM, thats when the fleet was something like 600+.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say there are at most 17 legacy B-52's in storage that have been kept around because the airframes have relatively few hours. That leaves Nam era or B-1 gen ECM in the rest of the fleet @ a minimum,not 50's and 60's.

                      Thanks for clearing that up

                      where B-52 and B-1 avionics are tested and repaired.  The vast majority of that stuff is 70's and 80's tech.

                      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                      by Roger Fox on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 04:07:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Sub sonic B-1b (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Stranded Wind

                same engine minus the afterburner IIRC. When the B-1 was built, jet engines could cruise efficiently at about Mach1, modern jet engines can cruise at Mach 2 with about the same fuel efficiency.

                At Mach 3 the B-1A gobbled fuel up.Soonergrunt gets the mission profile right, but the B-1a flew @ 75k ft, and Carter cancelled it because:

                1. The Prototype Stealth Bomber was started in 1975, flew in '77.
                1. The B-52 could deliver a Tomahawk (1500 mile standoff).

                There really wasnt a reason to buy the B-1, as beautiful as it was.

                FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:16:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Russian bombers (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timaeus, cotterperson, G2geek, KenBee

        The Tu-160 and Tu-22M freak me out.  I have this awful feeling that someday, somehow, one of those things is going to drop a nuke on us.

        Then again, I also had an awful feeling that there would be a chemical weapons attack on Washington, D.C. in the last decade, and thankfully that never happened.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:10:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  those are impressive aircraft. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, Simplify, drewfromct

          The USSR also built the world's largest helicopter.  In aerospace they were fully our equals, and today our partners in space exploration, soon to be joined by China and India.  

          Chemical weapons attack: sooner or later there will be, on some large city.  The probability of being caught in such an attack is tiny but nonetheless an attack of that type would have major national consequences.

          The thing that I worry about is bugs.  Biologicals.  Because they do something that nuclear fallout and chemicals can't: they multiply.  

        •  Planes and missiles (0+ / 0-)

          I have this awful feeling that someday, somehow, one of those things is going to drop a nuke on us.

          can be tracked by radar to their nation of origin. If an American city ever gets nuked, you can bet that the weapon will be delivered in a rental truck.

          Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

          by drewfromct on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:04:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no actually... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Timaeus

            ...probably a intermodal cargo container.

            We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

            by delver rootnose on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:33:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quibbling... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Timaeus

              the point is that if North Korea launches a missile, we know who did it and where. But when an American city is simply vaporized with no warning, there will be no way to determine who did it, and thus whom to retaliate against. Thus our deterrent is nullified.

              Al Qeada is a faith-based initiative.

              by drewfromct on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:55:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  How about a 30 yr (0+ / 0-)

              old 26 ft wooden pleasure craft with and old 6 cyln motor,  radio control thru a video link. Containers, maybe, but they have to go thru paper work and such, occasionally inspected or run by detectors.

              The odds of anyone stopping such a craft before it gets to the Statue of Liberty is far better than a nuke in a container, IMHO.

              FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

              by Roger Fox on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:10:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The 160 is a fine aircraft (0+ / 0-)

          The Tu-22 not so much. The Tu 160 is what the B-1 was supposed to be, fast and agile.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 03:04:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  V-22 is the best operational effort so far (5+ / 0-)

      at fulfilling the dream of bird-like capabilities, of taking of from a spot, flying at speed, and then landing on a spot again.  It's the culmination of a vision advanced by Stanley Hiller, among others.

      It is a dangerous machine, though — it can't autorotate like a helicopter, and it can't glide like a plane.  It does have engine-out capability, with a cross-shaft for transferring power from the good engine to the dead side, although that's got to be a tough weight penalty to take, when on top of that the wing swivels for storage.  Really, it's amazing the thing works at all.

      Part of the bird-like dream is the hot inbound transition, in which the aircraft swoops out of the sky at high speed, floats in, and lands on a dime.  Unfortunately that's a maneuver that helicopter/airplane hybrids like the V-22 have the most trouble with, to the point that the Marines banned V-22 pilots from doing it in Afghanistan.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:00:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm very pro defense. Unfortunately without this (7+ / 0-)

    Country having a strong military many rouge states will go wild. Having said that I'm also for phasing out weapon systems that we don't need anymore.

  •  we should do a diary on pierre sprey (0+ / 0-)

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 10:54:48 PM PST

  •  The Harrier was very, very flawed: (6+ / 0-)

    a few years ago the LA Times had a series exposing what I hope was an older Harrier and its crash-prone tendencies.  Apparently the vertical take off is problematic.  

    I'm not a fan of any of these machines.  I hope to see a day when they'll never be needed.  But I've mellowed a bit from my "radical pacifist" (sounds oxymoronic, doesn't it?) days.  In the meantime, I hope that the vertical takeoff issue has been resolved.

  •  Updates In The Pipeline..... (6+ / 0-)
    • The CH-53E Super Stallions will likely be replaced by the CH-53Ks late this decade.
    • The AH-1 Super Cobra and UH-1N Huey will be replaced by the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom.

  •  what we actually need for our defense? (5+ / 0-)

    was it last night's on coastal ships?  That would be a great thing to shift from power projection ships like aircraft carriers to actual defensive ships like littorals.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

    by James Allen on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 11:18:03 PM PST

  •  Ask your critics if anyone they care about has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, Stranded Wind

    ever been rescued from a danger close overseas environment by the U.S. military. Chances are, it was one of these outfits that did it.

  •  I get it. You're saying we need a military. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, cotterperson, Mnemosyne

    That's it.  Of course, you're damn right.  Lots of danger out there and if we don't keep up, we'll pay the price.  Of course we could drop it down to about one tenth of what we currently spend, I'm sure you agree.  

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 12:25:43 AM PST

    •  real danger (8+ / 0-)

      We face economic collapse, peak oil, and environmental catastrophe.

      We need to rationalize our forces in the face of these underlying truths.

      The world is about to get a lot more dangerous, but it's not the sort of danger that leads to fat profits for defense contractors. Reduced oil means more conflict, but it won't be another World War, nor will it be a Cold War - it's just going to be constant brush fires.

       I approve of drones, and littoral combat ships, and getting our gunship fleet back into fighting condition. This particular piece is a backgrounder with no attached conclusions. It's intended to be educational - a simple review of what we have now.

  •  I'm sure this is purely anecdotal (4+ / 0-)

    But a weapons designer friend once told that the only reason the Harrier came into existence is because the British couldn't figure out how to build a carrier that they could take off from.

    Of course, he was a Navy guy.

  •  2 Oceans (4+ / 0-)

    a navy, an air force and special forces.

    That would provide defense a potent strikeback force and a surgical strike force.

    You only need armies and marines if you want to hold ground.  Close all non-US bases.

    Holding ground is a bad strategy.  See Korea, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran

    We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

    by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 04:02:24 AM PST

  •  What does it mean if you get sniped? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi

    It means you wrote a diary on Daily Kos.

    Apologies to nathguy (Ch-46 oil leak joke, above).

    Put me in the plus column, thanks for a good, informative diary.

    I have to say about the F-35: remember how the F-16 was supposed to cost less than the F-15? Remember how the F-111 was supposed to save a boatload of money? Newer systems always cost more than older systems, it seems.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 05:33:13 AM PST

    •  F-16 was a big cost saver (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

       The F-16 was quite a bit cheaper than the F-15. Both of those aircraft have more than done their duty, whatever initial lumps we took getting them.

      •  I seem to recall (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stranded Wind

        that the quoted unit cost was higher than that for the F-15, at least after we got to buying a lot of them, but of course perhaps the F-15 would have gone up also. I should probably look into that more closely, but haven't got the time.

        I also remember all the flak the "obsolescent" B-1 got and how the B-2 was supposed to be so much better. Until the B-2 became real, and then it was an expensive dog according to the press. Again just anecdotal, but it seems to be a general pattern that weapon systems go through, at least in the press.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:26:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Question Re: Harrier (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby
    I understand the UK is standing down all their Sea Harriers, as they are scrapping their only carrier, the HMS Ark Royal. Could the USMC look into buying/leasing them to carry them through until the F-35 comes online (if it ever does)?

    The Sea Harrier is a pretty good aircraft for the job and it would buy the USMC some time and capability.

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." Ed Brayton -7.75/-6.05

    by QuestionAuthority on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:24:11 AM PST

    •  politically full of FAIL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      So we derail the gravy train for the builders of the F-35 to pick up used gear from the Brits? That is something a collapsing empire would do. Oh, wait ...

      •  Is it? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby, Stranded Wind
        Or is it a cost-effective way to buy time and keep USMC close support airpower viable until the F-35 shows up? No one is building Harriers anymore. The Boeing production line closed a few years ago. No one else is building anything like the F-35 or the Harrier anywhere in the world.

        If the only choice is operational aircraft on the front lines or not, what do you do? Ask the Marines to cross their fingers and hope that they can hold out through another two-year delay? Or worse (from the USMC point of view), the F-35 is canceled?

        It all comes down to how the argument is framed. It would be a real slap in the face to Lockheed Martin to have to use Harriers as a stopgap, but maybe that's what they need.

        "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success." Ed Brayton -7.75/-6.05

        by QuestionAuthority on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 07:43:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another memory jog on F-15 and Harrier- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stranded Wind

        In my younger days I once interviewed at McDonnell-Douglas (or it might have been just McDonnell....) when the F-15 program was just getting under way real well. I shared the cab to McDonnell with a gentleman from Britain who was helping to get the U. S. Harrier program started there. I remember seeing lots of milling machines busily cutting metal on F-15 fuselage bulkheads (formers? fuselage cross sections, anyway). Also, the Streak Eagle was out on the tarmac at the time. In the event, I decided to go into the Nuclear Power research field instead of aerospace. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, lol!

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 08:05:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  SW, have you ever heard of DarkRoastedBlend.com? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Stranded Wind

    The guys that run Dark Roasted Blend collect pictures of neat things from around the world, from mining equipment to motorcycles to buildings.

    What I think you'd find of particular interest is their collection of pictures on aircraft:

    Part 1 - World's Biggest Aircraft

    Part 2 - Big Helicopters

    Part 3 - Monstrous Airplanes

    There are quite a few military applications in the pictures along with the civilian ones. They also had a series on the Ekranoplans: Part 1, Part 2.

    Here's the category on airplaneswhich you might find interesting as well.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

    by DemocraticOz on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:58:35 AM PST

  •  To correct a couple of posts up thread (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Simplify, Stranded Wind

    The AH1-G Cobra was introduce into Vietnam in 1967. Assigned to the 1st platoon (Playboys), 334th Attack Helicopter Company, 145th Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. I was a crew chief on tail number 0541, 68-69
    I believe this is my ship

    "Pardon me, I've got something sanctimonious to do." The Rude Pundit

    by BOHICA on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 08:27:54 AM PST

  •  Yet more postcards from hell. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA

    I don't think war porn like this is appropriate on this site.

    And I don't care if the diarist thinks this is "unhelpful sniping."  He pretends that this diary series is about "what we, as a nation, actually need for our defense."  I don't believe that.  

    There is no policy discussion here.  It's just showing off military technology.  

    I used to be interested in that stuff and have books in my library on naval vessels, military history, etc.  But after the illegal war on Iraq I just got disgusted with all of it. It's all bullshit and death.

    And as I said yesterday, I'm not a pacifist. I'm anti-war and anti-empire.

    It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

    by Timaeus on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 09:09:38 AM PST

    •  go away (0+ / 0-)

      You don't want to talk about military systems, long term national defense issues, etc, then just go away.

       Seriously, no one is twisting your arm to make you click the link to this diary, are they?

      •  No. I refuse to go away as long as you (0+ / 0-)

        keep posting this kind of offensive content.

        That's the way it works here. You're free
        to post a diary.  I'm free to comment.  You need to have a tougher skin when it comes to criticism. My criticism has been rather calm.

        As to your first sentence, I'm happy to discuss long-term national defense issues. But I don't think your latest series is genuinely about that. Instead, it's about exciting pictures of U.S. military technology.  As you said, that's one of your main hobbies.

        As to your second sentence, glarb.

        You've done lots of good diaries on environmental and energy issues. I think you undercut your own good reputation with this latest war porn series.

        It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

        by Timaeus on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 06:41:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The order is wrong (0+ / 0-)
    Should be:

    Energy independence and environmental sustainability;

    Public health, education and economic opportunity;

    Civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights;

    Peace and global security.

    Otherwise you are putting the cart (and budget) before the horse.

    .

    What about my Daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Jan 07, 2011 at 10:35:18 AM PST

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