Petraeus Retires, with a Warning

NYT – By ELISABETH BUMILLER

WASHINGTON—An era in the American military came to an end on Wednesday when David H. Petraeus, the most influential general of his generation, retired with a 17-gun salute and a warning that coming budget cuts should not lead to the “hollow Army” that occurred after the Vietnam War.

Just 11 days before the 10th anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s attacks on New York and Washington, General Petraeus also implicitly cautioned that the United States should not abandon the troop-intensive and expensive counterinsurgency doctrine that was his hallmark when he commanded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The general spoke as the Obama White House is shifting from a broad counterinsurgency strategy of trying to build roads, schools and good government in Afghanistan to a narrower and more secretive counterterrorism mission of hunting down terrorists.

General Petraeus said that the United States should keep counterinsurgency as a doctrine – he helped write the military’s updated manual on it in 2005 and 2006 – if only because war is unpredictable and the military needs to be trained for all possibilities.

“We have relearned since 9/11 the timeless lesson that we don’t always get to fight the wars for which we’re most prepared or most inclined,’’ General Petraeus said at the retirement ceremony, held in the bright sunshine of the parade ground at Fort Myer, near Arlington National Cemetery. “Given that reality, we will need to maintain the full-spectrum capability that we have developed over this last decade of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.’’…]

Shipboard prototype tactical laser weapon engages swarms of small, fast attack boats in Navy tests

Military & Aerospace – By John Keller

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., 31 Aug. 2011. Laser weapons experts from the Boeing Co. Directed Energy Systems segment in Huntsville, Ala., the BAE Systems U.S. U.S. Combat Systems segment in Minneapolis, and the U.S. Navy have tested a shipboard prototype tactical laser weapon based on the Navy’s Mk 38 MOD 2 deck gun, during which experts tested the laser weapon against a simulated attack by fast, maneuvering small attack boats, intermingled with neutral boat traffic.

The tests of the Mk 38 MOD 2 Tactical Laser System (TLS) concept were at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The Mk 38 tactical laser system is a proposed high-energy laser addition to the Mk 38 25 mm heavy machine gun deployed on most of the Navy’s surface warships. Tests demonstrated a capability to identify and classify hostile targets and provide rapid hand-off to the Mobile Active Targeting Resource for Integrated Experiments (MATRIX) system for attack, officials say.

The test system fired against surface vessels and aircraft to demonstrate a range of target effects — including swarm tests against fast, maneuvering small boats, which demonstrated a consistent ability to detect, track, classify and engage threat vessels at tactically relevant ranges, officials say.

The tests used the Air Force Research Laboratory MATRIX laser test bed and Boeing’s 10-kilowatt International Photonic Group (IPG) fiber laser.

“The Mk 38 Tactical Laser System concept was able to discriminate specific target features while tracking fast moving small boats. It was able to engage precise targets with laser energy at tactically relevant ranges,” says Chris Abbott, science advisor for commander of the U.S. Second Fleet.

For more information contact BAE Systems U.S. Combat Systems online at www.baesystems.com, or Boeing Directed Energy Systems at www.boeing.com/defense-space/ic/des.

“Stealth” Boat Could Revolutionize Naval Warfare

Designer is working with defense contractor on 150-foot model

NBC Chicago – By Greg Wilson

A stealth boat that moves through water at high speeds and with near invisibility could revolutionize the Navy’s ability to carry out special operations on water.

The craft, called The Ghost, moves by generating a layer of gas around submerged surfaces, greatly reducing friction. It’s unique design makes it ideal for special operations, according to DiscoveryNews. The ship can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour and has a shape designed to reduce its visibility to radar, similar to the Navy’s “Sea Shadow” project of the 1980s.

Gregory Sancoff, president and chief executive officer of Juliet Marine, said the  U.S. government is interested and his company is working with a defense contractor to build a 150-foot model. The friction reducing gas technology, called supercavitation, works by generating a low-pressure zone around the ship’s surface.

The Ghost keeps a low radar profile the same way stealth planes do, by making the radar waves bounce off of its surface.

Sancoff said The Ghost is ideal for missions close to coasts, such as getting special operations teams into and out of areas quickly. It could also be deployed against pirates and even used to attack on aircraft carriers and destroyers…

F-35 grounded after electrical system failure thus joining the F-22

For the third time in less than a year, the Pentagon has grounded all F-35 joint strike fighters because of a mechanical problem. The F-35s thus join the F-22 Raptors in stand down mode.

F16.Net – By Lieven Dewitte

All flight and ground operations for the Joint Strike Fighter were ceased after the integrated power package (IPP) on a U.S. Air Force variant test aircraft failed on August 2nd during a ground maintenance run at Edwards Air Force Base.

The 20 operational test and training aircraft were parked and will stay that way until engineers and technicians can find why a power system that starts and cools the aircraft failed during an engine ground test Tuesday at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Flight and ground tests could potentially be suspended for a few weeks.

Suspending flights “is the prudent action to take at this time until the F-35 engineering, technical and system safety teams fully understand the cause of the incident,” the F-35 Joint Program Office said in a statement. The program office oversees contractors and military test teams.

Few details of the incident were released, but the program office said that once the power system failed “the engine was immediately shut down and the jet was secured. No injuries to the pilot or ground crew occurred.”

The F-22 Raptors have been grounded since May after several pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms. Air Force officials do not yet know the cause but suspect carbon monoxide and toxins seeping into the cockpits…

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