Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban - We Are The Mighty
Articles

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

Intelligence gathered during the Jan. 28 raid on an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula complex in Yemen prompted a new restriction on electronic devices on flights arriving to the U.S. from certain countries.


According to a report by The Daily Beast, the information gathered in the aftermath of the raid — which resulted in the death Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator William Owens and injured several other troops — indicated that al-Qaeda had developed bombs that could fit inside laptop computers. An explosion on a Somali airliner last year was seen as a “proof of concept” for the new bombs, failing due to the low altitude of the plane.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
A Navy SEAL fires an M-60 from the shoulder, because that’s how SEALs roll. (Photographer’s Mate Petty Officer 1st Class Chuck Mussi)

The Daily Beast reported that the bombs must be manually triggered, prompting their ban from the aircraft cabins and carry-on luggage, but not from checked baggage. Wired.com reports that the American ban applies to inbound flights from eight predominately Muslim countries. The Daily Beast reported that the United Kingdom imposed a similar ban in the wake of the American one.

The Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for that airliner attack, which reportedly used PETN, the same explosive used by “shoe bomber” Richard Reid in 2002. As little as three and a haf ounces of PETN could bring down an airplane.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Seen through the greenish glow of night vision goggles, Navy SEALs prepare to breach a locked door in Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Columbia Pictures’ hyper-realistic new action thriller from director Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY.

The Jan. 28 raid was controversial, not only for the death of Owens, but also due to civilian casualties, the unexpected heavy opposition, and the loss of a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, labeled the operation a failure. President Donald Trump, though, called the operation a success, and also claimed that substantial intelligence had been gathered.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has targeted airliners in the past. In 2009, the terrorist group was involved in the plot to use an underwear bomb to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253. The device malfunctioned, injuring the terrorist.

Articles

This Spitfire flaw gave the Nazis an edge in aerial dogfights

The Supermarine Spitfire ranks up there with the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the Messerschmitt Bf-109, and the P-51 Mustang as one of the most iconic planes of World War II. But all aircraft have their flaws — even when they’re at the top of their game.


The Zero’s flaw is well-known. It had no armor to speak of, making it very vulnerable to even the F4F Wildcat when tactics like the Thach Weave were implemented across the U.S. military.

The Spitfire’s problem was in its engine.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
A Spitfire Mk. 1A flies in 1937. (Photo: Royal Air Force)

The Rolls Royce Merlin was a great motor, but the real problem was how the Spitfire got the fuel to the engine. The Spitfire used a carburetor, which is fine for straight and level flight, but when does a dogfight involve staying straight and level?

The Spitfire’s carburetor would, in the course of maneuvering, cause the engine to cut out for a lack of fuel. When it returned to straight and level flight, the Spitfire would have an over-rich fuel mixture, which ran the risk of flooding the engine. It would also create a huge cloud of black smoke, that the Nazis quickly realized as a tell-tale sign of a sitting duck.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
This screenshot of a scene from the 1969 movie The Battle of Britain shows the black cloud of smoke that comes after a Spitfire’s fuel mixture is over-rich. (Youtube Screenshot)

So, what did work? The fuel-injection system used by the Nazis in the Me-109. This gave the Nazis a slight edge in the actual dogfights. This could have been a disaster for the Brits, but when their pilots bailed out, they were often doing so over home territory, and a new Spitfire was waiting for them. German pilots who lost dogfights over England were POWs.

The problem, though, proved to be very fixable. Beatrice Schilling, an engineer, managed to come up with a workaround for the over-rich problem that removed the black cloud of smoke and prevented the engine from flooding. That stop-gap helped the RAF stay competitive until a more permanent fix came in 1942.

Articles

This look inside the B-2 Bomber is so detailed it should be classified

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Photo by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III | U.S. Air Force


Air Force pilots of the 1980s-era stealthy B-2 Spirit bomber plan to upgrade and fly the aircraft on attack missions against enemy air defenses well into the 2050s, service officials said.

“It is a dream to fly. It is so smooth,” Maj. Kent Mickelson, director of operations for 394th combat training squadron, told Scout Warrior in an interview.

In a special interview designed to offer a rare look into the technologies and elements of the B-2, Mickelson explained that the platform has held up and remained very effective – given that it was designed and built during the 80s.

Alongside his current role, Mickelson is also a B-2 pilot with experience flying missions and planning stealth bomber attacks, such as the bombing missions over Libya in 2011.

“It is a testament to the engineering team that here we are in 2016 and the B-2 is still able to do its job just as well today as it did in the 80s. While we look forward to modernization, nobody should come away with the thought that the B-2 isn’t ready to deal with the threats that are out there today,” he said.  “It is really an awesome bombing platform and it is just a marvel of technology.”

The B-2 is engineered with avionics, radar and communications technologies designed to identify and destroy enemy targets from high altitudes above hostile territory.

“It is a digital airplane. We are presented with what is commonly referred to as glass cockpit,” Mickelson said.

The glass cockpit includes various digital displays, including one showing Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) information which paints a rendering or picture of the ground below.

“SAR provides the pilots with a realistic display of the ground that they are able to use for targeting,” Mickelson said.

The B-2 has a two-man crew with only two ejection seats. Also, the crew is trained to deal with the rigors of a 40-hour mission.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

“The B-2 represents a huge leap in technology from our legacy platforms such as the B-52 and the B-1 bomber. This involved taking the best of what is available and giving it to the aircrew,” Mickelson said.

The Air Force currently operates 20 B-2 bombers, with the majority of them based at Whiteman AFB in Missouri. The B-2 can reach altitudes of 50,000 feet and carry 40,000 pounds of payload, including both conventional and nuclear weapons.

The aircraft, which entered service in the 1980s, has flown missions over Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. In fact, given its ability to fly as many as 6,000 nautical miles without need to refuel, the B-2 flew from Missouri all the way to an island off the coast of India called Diego Garcia – before launching bombing missions over Afghanistan.

“Taking off from Whiteman and landing at Diego Garcia was one of the longest combat sorties the B-2 has ever taken. The bomber was very successful in Afghanistan and very successful in the early parts of the wars in Iraq and Libya,” Michelson added.

The B-2 crew uses what’s called a “long-duration kit,” which includes items such as a cot for sleeping and other essentials deemed necessary for a long flight, Mickelson explained.

B-2 Mission

As a stealth bomber engineered during the height of the Cold War, the B-2 was designed to elude Soviet air defenses and strike enemy targets – without an enemy ever knowing the aircraft was even there. This stealthy technological ability is referred to by industry experts as being able to evade air defenses using both high-frequency “engagement” radar, which can target planes, and lower frequency “surveillance” radar which can let enemies know an aircraft is in the vicinity.

The B-2 is described as a platform which can operate undetected over enemy territory and, in effect, “knock down the door” by destroying enemy radar and air defenses so that other aircraft can fly through a radar “corridor” and attack.

However, enemy air defenses are increasingly becoming technologically advanced and more sophisticated; some emerging systems are even able to detect some stealth aircraft using systems which are better networked, using faster computer processors and able to better detect aircraft at longer distances on a greater number of frequencies.

The Air Force plans to operate the B-2 alongside its new, now-in-development bomber called the Long Range Strike – Bomber, or LRS-B. well into the 2050s.

B-2 Modernization Upgrades – Taking the Stealth Bomber Into the 2050s

As a result, the B-2 fleet is undergoing a series of modernization upgrades in order to ensure the aircraft can remain at its ultimate effective capability for the next several decades, Mickelson said.

One of the key upgrades is called the Defensive Management System, a technology which helps inform the B-2 crew about the location of enemy air defenses. As a result, if there are emerging air defenses equipped with the technology sufficient to detect the B-2, the aircraft will have occasion to maneuver in such a way as to stay outside of its range.

The Defensive Management System is slated to be operational by the mid-2020s, Mickelson added.

“The whole key is to give us better situational awareness so we are able to make sound decisions in the cockpit about where we need to put the aircraft,” he added.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Photo by U.S. Air Force

The B-2 is also moving to an extremely high frequency satellite in order to better facilitate communications with command and control. For instance, the communications upgrade could make it possible for the aircraft crew to receive bombing instructions from the President in the unlikely event of a nuclear detonation.

“This program will help with nuclear and conventional communications. It will provide a very big increase in the bandwidth available for the B-2, which means an increased speed of data flow. We are excited about this upgrade,” Mickelson explained.

The stealth aircraft uses a commonly deployed data link called LINK-16 and both UHF and VHF data links, as well. Michelson explained that the B-2 is capable of communicating with ground control stations, command and control headquarters and is also able to receive information from other manned and unmanned assets such as drones.

Information from nearby drones, however, would at the moment most likely need to first transmit through a ground control station. That being said, emerging technology may soon allow platforms like the B-2 to receive real-time video feeds from nearby drones in the air.

The B-2 is also being engineered with a new flight management control processor designed to expand and modernize the on-board computers and enable the addition of new software.

This involves the re-hosting of the flight management control processors, the brains of the airplane, onto much more capable integrated processing units. This results in the laying-in of some new fiber optic cable as opposed to the mix bus cable being used right now – because the B-2’s computers from the 80s are getting maxed out and overloaded with data, Air Force officials told Scout Warrior.

The new processor increases the performance of the avionics and on-board computer systems by about 1,000-times, he added. The overall flight management control processor effort, slated to field by 2015 and 2016, is expected to cost $542 million.

B-2 Weapons Upgrades

The comprehensive B-2 upgrades also include efforts to outfit the attack aircraft with next generation digital nuclear weapons such as the B-61 Mod 12 with a tail kit and Long Range Stand-Off weapon or, LRSO, an air-launched, guided nuclear cruise missile, service officials said.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Photo by Jordon R. Beesley | US Navy

The B-61 Mod 12 is an ongoing modernization program which seeks to integrate the B-61 Mods 3, 4, 7 and 10 into a single variant with a guided tail kit. The B-61 Mod 12 is being engineered to rely on an inertial measurement unit for navigation.

In addition to the LRSO, B83 and B-61 Mod 12, the B-2 will also carry the B-61 Mod 11, a nuclear weapon designed with penetration capabilities, Air Force officials said.

The LRSO will replace the Air Launched Cruise Missile, or ALCM, which right now is only carried by the B-52 bomber, officials said.

Alongside its nuclear arsenal, the B-2 will carry a wide range of conventional weapons to include precision-guided 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, 5,000-pound JDAMs, Joint Standoff Weapons, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles and GBU 28 5,000-pound bunker buster weapons, among others.

The platform is also preparing to integrate a long-range conventional air-to-ground standoff weapon called the JASSM-ER, for Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Extended Range.

The B-2 can also carry a 30,000-pound conventional bomb known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, Mickelson added.

“This is a GBU-28 (bunker-buster weapon) on steroids. It will go in and take out deeply buried targets,” he said.

Articles

7 tips to make your free Veterans Day food more epic

On Veteran’s Day, America’s bastions of consumer consumables give back to the defenders of The Republic by conspicuously offering copious amounts of free food. They know the target audience well – no one loves a discount like service members and veterans.


Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
A pie-eating contest on the USS Maryland, 1922.

So here’s your chance to get out of the house, go dutch with one of the barracks rats, or just take Veteran’s Day for all its worth. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your limited time.

1. Get every last calorie out of it with a “max out meal” on the 10th.

There are a lot of restaurants giving away free stuff. You’ll never be able to make the most of it if you have full meals the day before. At least a day before you start eating is when you have what competitive eaters call the “max out meal.” You are essentially expanding your stomach as much as possible and allowing that food to get through your system in time for Veteran’s Day. This is your last solid food until you arrive at Denny’s at 0030, so keep the water and coffee handy.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
This diet won Michael Phelps 22 gold medals. Think how it could work for you.

Another tip: I did an intense workout the morning I attempted a 72-oz steak and ended up having room for dessert. Try that and you’ll be ready to go all Shock n’ Awe at the Shoney’s on the 11th.

2. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Design a battle plan for this. Some places open early, some are open later. Come up with a scheme that maximizes your food intake while limiting the time spent in line. The line might move fast at Wienerschnitzel – pick up your chili dogs on the way to Famous Dave’s and save them for later.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
That’s not D-Day. They’re seeing how far Max Erma’s is from the Bonefish Grill.

If someone offers breakfast all day, counterprogram: have breakfast for a mid-rats snack! Also, Bob Evans will give you free pancakes for signing up for their email newsletter, why waste the time in line on Veteran’s Day when you could be getting French Toast at Friendly’s?

3. Avoid Carbs. That’s how they f*ck you.

As satisfying as those IHOP Red, White, and Blue Pancakes might be, they fill you up too much, too fast. This is why you shouldn’t eat the curly fries that come with Hooter’s unlimited wings night – they’re a distraction (the unlimited wings are not an option for Hooters’ Veteran’s Day menu, by the way. Sorry).

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Also, fats are good before the workout you’ll have… tomorrow.

This is a marathon, not a sprint. Try taking the buns off your All-American Burger, avoid the tortillas with the Chevy’s fajitas, and wait a day to get the Chocolate Wave cake from Red Lobster… they’ll let you have it for free on the 12th.

4. Use your medal citation as proof of service.

Some places – like Applebee’s and On the Border Mexican Grill– allow veterans to self-identify using their medal citations. What could be more awesome than dragging out the padded green plastic cover of your ARCOM medal? Not only are you a veteran, now your actions reflect great credit on yourself and the United States Army.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Some medal citations earn free meals year-round and country-wide, along with drinks, hugs, and sometimes the waitress’ phone number. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. David M. Sharp)

5. Shorten the line by hiring an actor.

If there’s one thing post-9/11 veterans love more than free stuff, it’s recording stolen valor videos. Pay someone to walk by  the restaurant wearing a poorly-designed uniform combination from a local thrift store, and you’re guaranteed to cut that long line in half. Pro tip: this may not work at Cracker Barrel, Golden Corral, or anywhere else dominated by Vietnam-era veterans. Those guys care more about the food. People used to dress all kinds of stupid in the 60s and 70s.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

6. Hit up the places you can’t afford.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
(FXX)

If you’re hitting up Golden Corral and the Sizzler on the reg because a steak house is just out of your price range, Veteran’s Day is the day to take off your IR flag hat and Ranger Up shirt and slap on a collared shirt to take your battle to McCormick and Schmick’s, Bar Louie, and/or one of CentraArchy’s nicer steakhouses. Running shoes are still perfectly acceptable attire if two of these restaurants are within jogging distance of one another.

7. Deploy to the local Olive Garden.

The VA taught you how to wait all day just to be disappointed. You know how to entertain yourself while waiting around for hours on end. If running around isn’t your thing, the Olive Garden is giving away a Veteran’s Day meal plus unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. Bring a laptop to binge watch your favorite show while camping at a booth on FOB Garden all day.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

Articles

5 epic parties troops threw when the world wars ended

When years of world war come to an end, the troops who fought are going to party hard. From New York to Moscow to Paris, the Allied cities celebrated their victories with abandon.


1. The end of World War II in Europe saw Moscow run out of booze.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Photo: Wikipedia/Bundesarchive Bild

Russia suffered some of the worst devastation of any of the Allies during World War II, possibly even worse than France. So, when the German surrender was announced in Moscow at 1:10 in the morning, the Soviets sure as hell weren’t waiting for the sun to start partying.

Russian soldiers and citizens spilled into the streets in their pajamas and started drinking the town dry. And that’s not an exaggeration, the party got so boisterous that people reported that vodka just didn’t exist in the city by the time the partying ended.

2. Canadian authorities tried to limit drinking at the surrender of Germany and sailors rioted.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
The party in Toronto on VE-Day had nothing on Halifax. Photo: Public Domain/John Boyd

Across the Atlantic, Canadian authorities predicted the drunken antics that would ensue and tried to control it by closing bars and liquor stores. Sailors, soldiers, and civilians broke into the largest two liquor stores and 207 other businesses and stole the contents before burning a police car, a wagon, a tram, and 20 other vehicles.

A federal inquiry later blamed the navy for the sailors’ conduct and fired a senior officer in charge of the men.

3. Paris celebrations started slow and then built to a crescendo.

France tried to hold off the celebrations until noon on May 8 after Germany surrendered, but her people were having none of it. People closed their shops and milled towards the building where Gen. Charles de Gaulle announced the official surrender of Germany and Paris really got the party going.

Aviators from all the allied countries started flying around the city at treetop level as a group of men fired celebratory cannon shots nonstop. Soldiers lined up to receive kisses from French girls. Crowds gathered around Allied flags and sang the anthems of each nation as soldiers stood nearby and joined in.

4. The Polish army got drunk on the front lines.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Photo: Imperial War Museums

For units on the front line, the parties celebrating the end of the war started as soon fighting stopped. For the Polish units “Vodka was supplied for the units in unlimited quantities. Kisses and embraces, salvoes from all arms, marked this great event.”

5. Liquor flowed through Paris after the World War I armistice was signed.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Photo: Imperial War Museum

Paris is apparently the place to be when a world war ends. After the first one, Allied soldiers found themselves plied with liquor, celebrated as heroes, and in some cases, surrounded by mobs singing their praise.

“Honest to goodness,” U.S. soldier Alton Lawrence wrote in a letter to a friend, “I never celebrated so in my life before. I ate, drank, and yelled until I almost gagged. Oh what a head the next morning. France has less wine and cognac than she had a week ago.”

MIGHTY TRENDING

Putin delivered a threatening sermon against Russia’s enemies

Boasting that Russia’s nuclear arsenal has already surpassed its competitors, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a fire and brimstone warning to his nuclear rivals Oct. 18, 2018.

In the event of a nuclear war, “the aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable, and he will be destroyed,” Putin said at an international policy forum in Sochi. “We would be victims of an aggression and would get to go to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead. They won’t even have time to repent.”

“We have run ahead of the competition,” he bragged.


“No one has precision hypersonic weapons. Others are planning to start testing them within the next 1½ to 2 years, and we already have them on duty,” Putin claimed, potentially referencing the Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic missile.

The Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, which Putin said can travel up to 20 times the speed of sound, hitting a target “like a meteorite, like a ball of fire,” is set to enter service in the near future.

This weapon can reportedly carry a conventional or nuclear warhead with an explosive yield ranging from 150 kilotons to one megaton, the Russian news outlet TASS introduced in March 2018.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

The Kh-47M2 Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic missile being carried by a Mikoyan MiG-31K interceptor.

The US military, facing competition from both Russia and China on hypersonic weapons, is scrambling to catch up. The Army, Navy, and Air Force are jointly working to develop advanced hypersonic systems for next-level warfighting. The US is also interested in modernizing its nuclear arsenal.

While Putin delivered his message focused on the nuclear destruction of Russia’s enemies, he insisted that his country would never strike first.

“Only when we become convinced that there is an incoming attack on the territory of Russia, and that happens within seconds, only after that we would launch a retaliatory strike,” he said. “It would naturally mean a global catastrophe, but I want to emphasize that we can’t be those who initiate it because we don’t foresee a preventive strike.”

Russia dropped its “no-first-use pledge” in the early 1990s, writing a new nuclear doctrine with certain loopholes and exceptions.

The Russian “people are ready to defend our sovereignty and independence,” Putin added, “Not in every country are people so eager to sacrifice their lives for the Motherland.”

The Russian president’s tough and damning rhetoric comes amid heightened tensions between Russia and the US and its NATO allies.

Starting late October 2018, US forces, along with NATO allies and partners, will take part in a massive war game involving tens of thousands of troops, as well as numerous vehicles, ships, and aircraft. The drills are designed to send a strong deterrence message to Russia.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Articles

The UK’s MI6 intelligence agency really issues licenses to kill

Or…licences. With a C. Because they’re British.


In any case, it’s probably the coolest thing any movie spy was ever issued. James Bond, with his “00” designation has one, and maybe a whole handful of real-world MI6 agents do too — because they’re real.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
And apparently anything goes.

A 2008 Reuters report on the inquest into Princess Diana’s death covered the testimony of MI6 intelligence operatives. The goal of the inquest was to determine if the Britain’s royal family ordered Diana killed.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

The result was no, of course they didn’t. But what it did reveal was a look at how the intelligence agency operates, especially in regards to targeted killings. It turns out British operatives are allowed to kill their enemies.

But first they need a Class Seven Authorisation and the personal signature of the Foreign Secretary.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

Richard Dearlove, the former head of Britain’s spy agency, revealed this during the inquiry. Diana and her lover, Dodi al-Fayed, were killed in a 1997 car accident in Paris. Ten more agents were required to give testimony in 2008 as the royal family faced accusations of wrongdoing from al-Fayed’s father, Mohamed.

Actually getting the Class Seven Authorisation is easier than it sounds. According to Dearlove’s testimony, once the paperwork is finished, it has to be signed off by a “senior regional official.” Then, it would have to go through the chief of the agency — in Diana’s case, it would have been Dearlove.

After that, it would have to “go down restricted channels to the Foreign Secretary.”

Socialism turns even the smallest tasks into a whole bureaucratic ordeal. I bet the process was much smoother when Maggie Thatcher was in office.

MIGHTY TRENDING

US grounds B-1 fleet over ejection seat precautions

The U.S. Air Force has grounded the entire B-1B Lancer bomber fleet, marking the second fleetwide stand-down in about a year.

Officials with Air Force Global Strike Command said that, during a routine inspection of at least one aircraft, airmen found a rigged “drogue chute” incorrectly installed in the ejection seat egress system, a problem that might affect the rest of the fleet.

“The drogue chute corrects the seat before the parachute deploys out of the seat,” said Capt. Earon Brown, a spokesman with Air Force Global Strike Command.


The issue is “part of the egress system,” or the way airmen exit the bomber in an emergency, Brown told Military.com on March 28, 2019. The problem does not appear to be related to the issues that occurred last year, AFGSC said.

“There are procedural issues of how [the drogue chute is] being put into place,” Brown said.

Officials will “look at each aircraft [para]chute system and make sure they are meeting technical order requirements to employ” the drogue chute appropriately, he added. The B-1 has four seats, for the pilot, co-pilot and two weapons systems officers in the back.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

A B-1B Lancer assigned to the 28th Bomb Squadron, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, maneuvers over New Mexico during a training mission on Feb. 24, 2010.

(U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald)

AFGSC commander Gen. Timothy Ray on March 28, 2019, directed the stand-down for “a holistic inspection of the entire egress system,” according to a press release. “The safety stand-down will afford maintenance and Aircrew Flight Equipment technicians the necessary time to thoroughly inspect each aircraft.”

Brown said the Air Force does not have a timeline for when fleet will be back in the air, but said the fixes are a “high priority.”

The bombers will return to flight “as the issues, any issues, get resolved,” he said, adding that B-1s are not currently deployed overseas.

In 2018, the command grounded the fleet over safety concerns related to the Lancer’s ejection seats. The stand-down was a result of an emergency landing by a B-1 on May 1, 2018, at Midland Airport in Texas.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson confirmed speculation at the time that the B-1, out of Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, had to make an emergency landing after an ejection seat didn’t blow.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban

A B-1B Lancer.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)

The B-1 crew “were out training,” she said during a May 2018 speech at the Defense Communities summit in Washington, D.C.

Local media reported at the time the B-1B was not carrying weapons when it requested to land because of “an engine flameout.” Weeks later, images surfaced on Facebook purporting to show the aircraft with a burnt-out engine. Photos from The Associated Press and Midland Reporter-Telegram also showed the B-1B, tail number 86-0109, was missing a ceiling hatch, leading to speculation an in-flight ejection was attempted.

Officials ordered a stand-down on June 7, 2018, which lasted three weeks while the fleet was inspected. Months after the incident, UTC Aerospace Systems, manufacturer of the bomber’s ACES II ejection seat, said the seat itself is not the problem.

After coordinating with the Air Force, UTC determined “there’s an issue with the sequencing system,” said John Fyfe, director of Air Force programs for UTC.

It had been implied “that the ejection seat didn’t fire, when in fact the ejection seat was never given the command to fire,” Fyfe told Military.com in September 2018.

“This particular B-1, [the sequence system] was not ours,” he said, adding that there are multiple vendors for the sequencing systems.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

MIGHTY TRENDING

How South Korea screwed up and left its secret war plans open to hackers

A “ridiculous mistake” is believed to have compromised the security of South Korea’s defense network, exposing critical military secrets, a South Korean lawmaker revealed Wednesday.


North Korean hackers are suspected to have been behind the theft of a massive cache of classified military documents late last year, including allied war plans. The plans detailed strategic operations to eliminate North Korean leadership in the event of a conflict, among other things, Minjoo Party Rep. Rhee Cheol-hee revealed Tuesday. The South Korean defense ministry initially claimed that nothing important had been compromised.

The hackers first breached the South Korean firm Hauri, Inc., which makes the antivirus software used by the South Korean military, The Wall Street Journal reports. The North’s cyber warriors then embedded malware into the antivirus software, facilitating access to military servers. The security breach was also possible because a connector jack connecting the secure military intranet to the internet was accidentally left in place after maintenance work at South Korea’s new military data center, Rhee explained.

The intranet was connected to the internet for more than a year, leaving secure networks exposed and vulnerable to attack. “It’s a ridiculous mistake,” Rhee stressed to the WSJ Wednesday. “They should have removed the connector jack immediately after maintenance work.”

North Korea has invested in asymmetric warfare capabilities, such as cyberwarfare, to give it a fighting chance against the superior conventional military capabilities of the U.S. and its allies. The North is believed to have several thousand hackers and support staff in its cyber divisions.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Confirmed North Korean Technologies: Phones

The rogue regime reportedly tried to infiltrate the networks of American power companies through peculiar “spearphishing” attacks, NBC reported Wednesday.

The North is believed to have perpetrated the infamous Sony Pictures hack, incapacitated and stolen millions of dollars from top banks, negatively impacted hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide through the spread of ransomware, and disrupted numerous systems across South Korea.

The attacks linked to North Korea appear to have been designed for interference with the distribution of noticeably anti-North Korea productions, the acquisition of funds as the international community increases economic pressure on the regime, espionage, and possible retaliation.

To better counter North Korean cyber threats and avoid costly mistakes like the one that led to the loss of important war plans, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo has ordered the military to take additional precautions. he shifted the blame to the previous administration and announced that the military will complete a review of the situation.

MIGHTY CULTURE

The 13 funniest military memes for the week of March 20

(Meme via Smokepit Fairytales)

It’s time to be real. The world isn’t looking so great at the moment. That’s just the cold hard reality. The coronavirus is spreading and everyone’s losing their minds. But there’s always a bright side to everything. Us veterans should already understand exactly what to do.

Stuck in your house without any way to make money? That’s just like a 45 & 45. Having to make do with just what little bit of toilet paper you had before the panic hoarding? Time to conserve like you’re in the field. Bored out of your mind with absolutely nothing to do? Tell yourself you’re going to start doing online classes before procrastinating to go play video games!

And hey! Another bright side is, from what I’ve seen, people are focusing on buying out all of the foods and leaving all of the beer and liquor! So, just kick back, enjoy your unofficial Quarters slip, and get down on some much-needed you time until this all blows over in… Oh… Eight weeks? Sh*t…


Anyway, here’s another dose of your regularly scheduled memes – delivered to you from a “Socially distant” appropriate distance.[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FHvDYL4BquK3qRR2UwpO5n40evb1nyE0OylUsFQ_p6pHgq22M9-AmiSxQljk6ZowiZu3phEX7kmZGKA7AUy6QzhZ6UPzYVvRluCdp4_TK&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh3.googleusercontent.com&s=765&h=34b3bcbb7e7c5d344d0f4f80b3583d6e4e2a3beed72c4b5ab2fe8db376fddc73&size=980x&c=1819453376 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FHvDYL4BquK3qRR2UwpO5n40evb1nyE0OylUsFQ_p6pHgq22M9-AmiSxQljk6ZowiZu3phEX7kmZGKA7AUy6QzhZ6UPzYVvRluCdp4_TK%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh3.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D765%26h%3D34b3bcbb7e7c5d344d0f4f80b3583d6e4e2a3beed72c4b5ab2fe8db376fddc73%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1819453376%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Army as F*ck)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FvM46hZkSc8qAbRsWheRh8cUz900mPTa2xfO-NeXTtptNM57WbKWzXFCquB5U0iXVaU_SDZjB8BjnZmGsrL1SlRxVsscp9y3Pywb2yR6ftQ7OHRYPjusDj6cePbFzkbxOXgRlbdlIji0bvdeWEw&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=10&h=e9a040819a9211e1f03f1ed6d266c762c777273933952c2441a07e6fd9dfb6dc&size=980x&c=2743295826 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FvM46hZkSc8qAbRsWheRh8cUz900mPTa2xfO-NeXTtptNM57WbKWzXFCquB5U0iXVaU_SDZjB8BjnZmGsrL1SlRxVsscp9y3Pywb2yR6ftQ7OHRYPjusDj6cePbFzkbxOXgRlbdlIji0bvdeWEw%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D10%26h%3De9a040819a9211e1f03f1ed6d266c762c777273933952c2441a07e6fd9dfb6dc%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2743295826%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Smokepit Fairytales)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Frhf3EWB42V7zzfK6GSN05W1YzMGVVB7Sl05TaAroEWCIO357hI1VgPD5Rhaj_UqXOAjI2cGuDwC1DenE-yKWiaambRcFVEEX4p-Y4fxOj_1_-r8a89tuL2ACd2HbM53h52ec5zYRQIEkd04CjA&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=1000&h=80cf4e3bd58fe515ec848a4578450c7dadfbbcd5d2e43be7dac1ccc2b10b2824&size=980x&c=3829327798 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Frhf3EWB42V7zzfK6GSN05W1YzMGVVB7Sl05TaAroEWCIO357hI1VgPD5Rhaj_UqXOAjI2cGuDwC1DenE-yKWiaambRcFVEEX4p-Y4fxOj_1_-r8a89tuL2ACd2HbM53h52ec5zYRQIEkd04CjA%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D1000%26h%3D80cf4e3bd58fe515ec848a4578450c7dadfbbcd5d2e43be7dac1ccc2b10b2824%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3829327798%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via The Salty Soldier)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FuJVxdBM_inXh4w3zyIoSFfnlI4Kyr6sXl-GgmW1_CX3XB_6fndka3T14whSc1D70W0kOaAEjO_M0Ptk4wI-UZ0ayh-d56zo7zFZ-EQNYKPJNUSN2ncRv6zB8BtbRBAXAlvfczV6W33-nZ6PSoA&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=674&h=1bce787d9d3203a1b9925ef5db775701bb3d1838b92d35a2a945f19e931dd846&size=980x&c=3481263278 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FuJVxdBM_inXh4w3zyIoSFfnlI4Kyr6sXl-GgmW1_CX3XB_6fndka3T14whSc1D70W0kOaAEjO_M0Ptk4wI-UZ0ayh-d56zo7zFZ-EQNYKPJNUSN2ncRv6zB8BtbRBAXAlvfczV6W33-nZ6PSoA%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D674%26h%3D1bce787d9d3203a1b9925ef5db775701bb3d1838b92d35a2a945f19e931dd846%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3481263278%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via US Army WTF Moments Memes)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fhce1gUPbbc_6jK2bMRytSu_D1W0rdIf1UjeAJxDquApacQ-9Wsr43SW2lpEVQ7fs64UI_iNqHcdQXfWV2YwNl8va_NESmK0ft9QrJTei&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh3.googleusercontent.com&s=507&h=afd4439313bd2a0a8032151ceeb376f327d4841b2541c06f2c7f5bb4655fb05b&size=980x&c=3752483614 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fhce1gUPbbc_6jK2bMRytSu_D1W0rdIf1UjeAJxDquApacQ-9Wsr43SW2lpEVQ7fs64UI_iNqHcdQXfWV2YwNl8va_NESmK0ft9QrJTei%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh3.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D507%26h%3Dafd4439313bd2a0a8032151ceeb376f327d4841b2541c06f2c7f5bb4655fb05b%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3752483614%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Call for Fire)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F-OLrkSgao-1ldVgnejQnXuinq9c2E9nPuiTxFpDrpYxg-3bZy-aCHGBBodZC-rYuoZXC9htEISJtcjJqstqAIo8Jg-aJOdA2BEVwpgmkjGxDiOGYq7RYZrxQc3de4wyO9nDbmOBbVmAXWiONmw&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=169&h=a1a4bc64d50ea179e2594476004b93f038ca03e0f77979526879a641528b2d66&size=980x&c=33900272 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F-OLrkSgao-1ldVgnejQnXuinq9c2E9nPuiTxFpDrpYxg-3bZy-aCHGBBodZC-rYuoZXC9htEISJtcjJqstqAIo8Jg-aJOdA2BEVwpgmkjGxDiOGYq7RYZrxQc3de4wyO9nDbmOBbVmAXWiONmw%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D169%26h%3Da1a4bc64d50ea179e2594476004b93f038ca03e0f77979526879a641528b2d66%26size%3D980x%26c%3D33900272%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Not CID)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FWYawr5nHNppLrPEgLeZJmCiIOQ4pKPkpTomur7psfqzeYjEexHtqTJQ6iuV5GGvILmh9lv6406E1z3F78eha49vF0c_K1Gkr6NIWwisj&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=809&h=62fd738a649904b3e84151b2f1ac84eb489adf9bda3ee724fcb51ff6198f7650&size=980x&c=3990062764 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FWYawr5nHNppLrPEgLeZJmCiIOQ4pKPkpTomur7psfqzeYjEexHtqTJQ6iuV5GGvILmh9lv6406E1z3F78eha49vF0c_K1Gkr6NIWwisj%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D809%26h%3D62fd738a649904b3e84151b2f1ac84eb489adf9bda3ee724fcb51ff6198f7650%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3990062764%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Infantry Follow Me)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FV7J93V1Hxgq3THXjdzSlFDeWFnTuhMR41eUpSGZNBidvIhVsRcV5loImlwa3-ajfDLjIo4sNrM7r2bfm9e5Q0BtoUDzh9LJNfGkL0tH9qasQr9c3GWzt7fnifHTONTPmuyNb2Q32VQviKmlgIg&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=950&h=1dda1c51a73a25ed817e86eba25f7316a99f6c59af87185a531b7afb73ad33ee&size=980x&c=3590051098 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FV7J93V1Hxgq3THXjdzSlFDeWFnTuhMR41eUpSGZNBidvIhVsRcV5loImlwa3-ajfDLjIo4sNrM7r2bfm9e5Q0BtoUDzh9LJNfGkL0tH9qasQr9c3GWzt7fnifHTONTPmuyNb2Q32VQviKmlgIg%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D950%26h%3D1dda1c51a73a25ed817e86eba25f7316a99f6c59af87185a531b7afb73ad33ee%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3590051098%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Hooah My Ass Off)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F2T87Ln3WM-D_YLja9XWYsv1ZVNX8zlnhoABCoiXJ1OvpKXN0mdFwaDumlDsZ1_Pqo0uBKwZQ-rn3MjoYanJ24EObQKGrwywmGvHus9_hLdiqubiwFJnTnjpewKI200DU5UMA6P_42doKi1Htlw&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=46&h=d45113e1f6508473d6778ba4bfcd23b37435144ea167624d568c985c4f10a409&size=980x&c=725525187 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F2T87Ln3WM-D_YLja9XWYsv1ZVNX8zlnhoABCoiXJ1OvpKXN0mdFwaDumlDsZ1_Pqo0uBKwZQ-rn3MjoYanJ24EObQKGrwywmGvHus9_hLdiqubiwFJnTnjpewKI200DU5UMA6P_42doKi1Htlw%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D46%26h%3Dd45113e1f6508473d6778ba4bfcd23b37435144ea167624d568c985c4f10a409%26size%3D980x%26c%3D725525187%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Coast Guard Memes)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FD_twYa6aSG4ObKHe6-iV3U-KXO_fLuzfmDXFhKFLfM8ToZc4fchjht6SLOKQYRdo3DygHK34X9QHhpN5Qp_9zGyTByii0m7yurXNyxPn&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=938&h=716ef1b01618eb20a03a3b1810de3b7020da82fcd1c31f613a763216dc017a03&size=980x&c=770316026 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FD_twYa6aSG4ObKHe6-iV3U-KXO_fLuzfmDXFhKFLfM8ToZc4fchjht6SLOKQYRdo3DygHK34X9QHhpN5Qp_9zGyTByii0m7yurXNyxPn%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D938%26h%3D716ef1b01618eb20a03a3b1810de3b7020da82fcd1c31f613a763216dc017a03%26size%3D980x%26c%3D770316026%22%7D” expand=1]

(Tweet via @Pop_Smoke7)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fbbep69h6pgmlPDnVgt6TD-SW58WFRdElw9ffUr0-xHpICjfgbYJu3DI9QMOSLk6pMLQKzj4qCrqGvwF0ndUwJT2JcTZEeMGIRX5YPip_&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh3.googleusercontent.com&s=317&h=a6e5ddf527c147254ba10b41f9b6c6359e0a4b49a3f5287632011433ccbc3d65&size=980x&c=4145502671 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fbbep69h6pgmlPDnVgt6TD-SW58WFRdElw9ffUr0-xHpICjfgbYJu3DI9QMOSLk6pMLQKzj4qCrqGvwF0ndUwJT2JcTZEeMGIRX5YPip_%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh3.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D317%26h%3Da6e5ddf527c147254ba10b41f9b6c6359e0a4b49a3f5287632011433ccbc3d65%26size%3D980x%26c%3D4145502671%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Decelerate Your Life)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FmP3dfte0ZjdJf6kshz62Z0TIo9iMWcMUpRtqU4rWzglNNixWiYbN9rLl61fVHq60GRED7ke29egWEmC-1uvxtSthhfCHbU_dv9tg-ItyBv7AOSx9fhk5PnlE4369zIPttm72zB34JASgUVoOsQ&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=496&h=ecb09a20839d000480fb7d2c3fad597c60dbe344045d953d7d441e6748a23d29&size=980x&c=3935814470 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FmP3dfte0ZjdJf6kshz62Z0TIo9iMWcMUpRtqU4rWzglNNixWiYbN9rLl61fVHq60GRED7ke29egWEmC-1uvxtSthhfCHbU_dv9tg-ItyBv7AOSx9fhk5PnlE4369zIPttm72zB34JASgUVoOsQ%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D496%26h%3Decb09a20839d000480fb7d2c3fad597c60dbe344045d953d7d441e6748a23d29%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3935814470%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Air Force Nation Humor)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FrOM4yRI-8MsKA40FdFLIKSJgHrdKBWOLbsQuNZNtifQxixiwZuFWsOnq9Cglm50q87j_NQV2jXkaOjG9NJE1YwB7FxYgVml9HaKdZ7RV7a_zNx09F-pcCVJC_tm8SigJ1h_V8DJONPmgQi0F0A&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.com&s=890&h=60d36e5e2a7b4435f8b79f42e429ad2e3d86dbc15a59ed302c12010cb79d263f&size=980x&c=1195197249 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FrOM4yRI-8MsKA40FdFLIKSJgHrdKBWOLbsQuNZNtifQxixiwZuFWsOnq9Cglm50q87j_NQV2jXkaOjG9NJE1YwB7FxYgVml9HaKdZ7RV7a_zNx09F-pcCVJC_tm8SigJ1h_V8DJONPmgQi0F0A%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D890%26h%3D60d36e5e2a7b4435f8b79f42e429ad2e3d86dbc15a59ed302c12010cb79d263f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1195197249%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Valhalla Wear)

Articles

American commandos are ready for a ‘Toyota War’ of their own

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Special operators gather around an up-armored Humvee. (Photo: DVIDS)


In May, images emerged of American commandos working with the Kurdish YPG rebel group in Syria. Among other things, the pictures highlighted an increasingly popular military method of transportation for special operators – the pickup truck.

Though the Pentagon has spent millions on purpose-built military trucks for its elite troops, U.S. Special Operations Command has a separate project specifically set up to buy more discreet, civilian-style vehicles. Based on readily available models, the top commando headquarters dubbed them “Non-Standard Commercial Vehicles,” or NSCVs

“The NSCV provides … a low visibility vehicle capability to conduct operations in politically or operationally constrained permissive, semi-permissive or denied areas,” U.S. Army Col. John Reim explained in a briefing on May 26 at the annual Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa, Florida. At that time, special operators had a combined fleet of more than 500 Fords, Nissans and Toyotas, with the bulk already deployed around the world.

Commonly referred to as “technicals,” armed pickup trucks are generally associated with terrorists, insurgents and small military forces rather than American troops. When Chadian soldiers piled into these types of vehicles to fight Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddaffi in 1987, observers quickly dubbed the conflict the “Toyota War.”

Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th, 2001, the Pentagon has been working with contractors to develop and field these improved civilian vehicles. After arriving in Afghanistan in 2002, Army Special Forces soldiers were famously spotted riding a red Toyota Tacoma pickup on at least one occasion.

We don’t know whether this or other similar trucks spotted in the field were part of the formal NSCV project. The Army’s special operators only got their latest versions ready to go in September 2014, according to the one review of the ground combat branch’s special operations plans.

In principle, the truck’s main job is to allow elite troops to better blend in overseas. On top of that, the upgraded pickups and sport utility vehicles offer a number of distinct advantages over specially upgraded Humvees and mine-resistant MRAPs.

The most obvious benefit is that the NSCVs are simply smaller and lighter than their military cousins. A basic Toyota LandCruiser Model 78 weighs approximately 4,700 pounds, depending on year and starting configuration.

An up-armored Humvee can be over 11,000 pounds. In comparison, Oshkosh’s “light” M-ATV mine-resistant vehicle is positively gargantuan at over 32,000 pounds.

One 1999 Army manual tells Special Forces troops to “carefully consider weight” when using modified Humvees. “An overloaded vehicle handles poorly, consumes fuel at a higher rate, lacks power, and will experience more maintenance problems.”

The handbook specifically says the M1114 up-armored Humvee is a poor choice for desert operations because of its size. Heavy military vehicles can easily sink and become trapped in sand and other soft ground.

The Humvee’s ever growing size and weight is why the U.S. Marine Corps purchased a number of Growler “internally transportable vehicles” that could squeeze inside the confines of their unique MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors. With similar concerns, the Army has become increasingly interested in smaller military trucks, such as the Jeep J8, for airborne and airmobile troops.

For special operators, even if the added armor and other gear doubled the weight of an NSCV, it wouldn’t be half as big as the MRAP. With payload capacities up to 2,500 pounds, when riding in the plain looking trucks, elite troops don’t necessarily have to leave behind critical gear. The pictures from Syria showed commandos in full kit on pickups armed with weapons like the .50 caliber M2 machine gun and 40-millimeter Mk 47 automatic grenade launcher.

In addition, the upgraded civilian trucks retain their relatively small dimensions. This means the pickup trucks can fit into the main cabin of the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s MH-47 transport helicopters.

All of the modified commercial vehicles can easily drive on and off the Air Force Special Operations Command’s specialized MC-130 cargo planes. These four-engine transports can airdrop unarmored versions, too.

So, unlikely MRAPs, elite troops can quickly get the trucks where ever they might be needed. It’s no surprise that special operators brought NSCVs with them into the complex and hostile Syrian battlefield.

And the commercial starting pattern makes the trucks less of a hassle to maintain in remote areas. American special operations forces routinely work with friendly troops driving similar vehicles – which the Pentagon has often supplied in the first place.

With their NSCVs, the special operators can go where their allies can go and share many necessary supplies. In training exercises, the elite troops could share valuable lessons learned from their own experiences. The otherwise innocuous trucks present a less obvious target to terrorists or criminals when American commandos travel abroad.

Now, the Pentagon is looking to expand and extend the project. On July 18, the top commando headquarters hired the Battelle Memorial Institute to help develop new versions.

The $170 million contract covered modifications to Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger pickup trucks, as well as Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicles, according to the original synopsis the Pentagon posted online in October 2015. Battelle had previous experience supplying the armored NSCVs to the Pentagon, according to Reim’s presentation.

The work outlined in the latest contract included upgrades to the vehicles’ suspensions, armor plating and bulletproof windows and space for communications gear, radio signal jammers and other military equipment. If the defense contractor keeps to the agreed upon schedule, Battelle should deliver the first 20 pickups and SUVs for tests by January 2016.

The Pentagon expects to buy just over 511 of the trucks over the course of their seven-year deal with Batelle. However, Reim’s bullet points said that the contract could cover more than 550 vehicles, some 20 vehicles over what the officer said was needed to achieve “full operational capability.”

These new vehicles are set to replace SOCOM’s existing modified trucks over the next three to five years. Whatever happens, American commandos are prepared to fight their own “Toyota War” for years to come.

Articles

Retired SEAL Admiral turns down National Security top job

The retired admiral whom President Donald Trump wanted to replace Michael Flynn as national security adviser turned down the job, he said Thursday. The Financial Times first reported the news.


Trump offered the position to retired Adm. Robert Harward on Monday, according to Tom Ricks at Foreign Policy. At the time, the former Navy SEAL commander told the president he’d need some time to “think it over.”

Related: Here’s how Mattis reacted to Flynn’s resignation

“It’s purely a personal issue,” Harward told the Associated Press on Thursday evening. “I’m in a unique position finally after being in the military for 40 years to enjoy some personal time.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper reported on Twitter that a friend of Harward said Harward was reluctant to take the job since the Trump White House seemed so chaotic and called the offer a “s— sandwich.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Intel from Yemen raid prompted latest TSA electronics ban
Robert Harward during a visit to Zaranj, Afghanistan, in 2011. | US Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Shawn Coolman

Two administration officials confirmed to The Washington Post that Harward was at the top of Trump’s three-person short list to replace Flynn, who abruptly resigned from the role after it became public that he had discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to the US before Trump’s inauguration. Flynn reportedly urged the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, not to overreact to the latest round of sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, indicating that incoming administration might be more inclined to roll them back.

Harward, who rose to deputy commander of US Central Command before retiring in 2013, wanted to bring in his own staff for an overhaul of the National Security Council, according to Ricks.

One of FT’s sources said Harward was concerned about whether he could carry out such a “housecleaning” of NSC workers, many of whom were loyal to Flynn.

As national security adviser, Harward would have had a close ally in Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whom he served under at Central Command. He also has NSC experience, having served on the council during the George W. Bush administration.

Retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg is serving as acting national security adviser. Trump tweeted Friday morning that Kellogg was “very much in play for NSA — as are three others.”

MIGHTY TRENDING

Everything we know about the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crash

Ethiopian Airlines’ deadly crash on March 10, 2019, was the second disaster involving a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft in the last five months.

The apparent similarities to the crash of Lion Air in October 2018 has sparked an outcry from US lawmakers as other countries — including China, Britain, Australia, and more — ground the plane pending further investigation.

Here’s what we know so far about March 10, 2019’s crash and any similarities to the Lion Air disaster so far:


All of the 157 people on board were killed

When the Ethiopian Airlines plane plunged to the ground shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi, all 149 passengers and eight crew were killed.


The airline’s CEO told journalists that those involved hailed largely from African countries, as well as 18 Canadians, eight Americans, and others from a handful of European countries.

Here’s the full list of nationalities of people killed on board.

One passenger, who accidentally missed the crashed flight by two minutes, said in a Facebook post that he was “grateful to be alive,” despite being angry previously that no staff could help him find his gate.

Boeing’s response

Boeing, the US-based manufacturer of the 737 Max 8 involved in the crash, said March 12, 2019, it will soon roll out a software update in response to the two crashes.

At the heart of the controversy surrounding the 737 MAX is MCAS or the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation system. To fit the MAX’s larger, more fuel-efficient engines, Boeing had to redesign the way it mounts engines on the 737.

This change disrupted the plane’s center of gravity and caused the MAX to have a tendency to tip its nose upward during flight, increasing the likelihood of a stall. MCAS is designed to automatically counteract that tendency and point the nose of the plane downward.

Initial reports from the Lion Air investigation indicate that a faulty sensor reading may have triggered MCAS shortly after the flight took off.

Here’s the company’s full statement:

For the past several months and in the aftermath of Lion Air Flight 610, Boeing has been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer. This includes updates to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight control law, pilot displays, operation manuals, and crew training. The enhanced flight control law incorporates angle of attack (AOA) inputs, limits stabilizer trim commands in response to an erroneous angle of attack reading, and provides a limit to the stabilizer command in order to retain elevator authority.

Still, Boeing’s statement has done little to calm fears of global air travel regulators around the world.

Major countries have banned the plane

On March 12, 2019, a group of European nations, including Germany, France, the UK, and Italy all banned the 737 Max from their airspace until a thorough investigation can be completed.

The US’ air safety regulator on March 11, 2019, said the plane was still safe to fly. And for now, the Federal Aviation Administration does not appear to be following the rest of the world in grounding the plane.

“External reports are drawing similarities between this accident and the Lion Air Flight 610 accident on Oct. 29, 2018,” the FAA said March 11, 2019. “However, this investigation has just begun and to date we have not been provided data to draw any conclusions or take any actions”

A handful of American lawmakers, including at least three senators and a representative, have called on the FAA to ground the plane. Amid those calls, US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and her entourage of staff flew on a 737 Max 8 from Austin, Texas back to Washington D.C. March 12, 2019.

“The department and the FAA will not hesitate to take immediate and appropriate action,” Chao said, according to CNBC.

Pilots in the United States also reported issues with the plane in the months leading up to March 10, 2019’s crash. One pilot said the flight manual was “inadequate and almost criminally insufficient,” according to the Dallas Morning News.

Those complaints were made in the Federal Aviation Administration’s incident database which allows pilots to report issues about aviation incidents anonymously. They highlighted issues with the Max 8’s autopilot system, which had been called into question following the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in October 2018. That incident also involved a Boeing 737 Max 8 plane.

More countries ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after Ethiopian Airlines crash

www.youtube.com

The crisis is already having a big impact on Boeing’s business

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing have fallen more than 12% since the crash on March 10, 2019, as some airlines have reportedly asked to delay the delivery of the 737 Max 8 aircraft they have on order.

The company’s order book — aircraft that airlines around the world have agreed to purchase — is overwhelmingly comprised of the plane in question.

“We are not surprised by the negative stock reaction, as the 737 represents the strongest backlog, free cash flow (FCF and potential upside from further rate increases,” Ken Hubert, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, said in a note to clients on March 11, 2019.

“We view the risk as less about near term expenses, but the full year 737 delivery estimates for BA could be impacted. We do not expect BA to slow the 737 pull from suppliers. Moreover, the larger risk is the reputational concern for BA,” he continued.

Boeing’s plunge also dragged down the Dow Jones industrial average, of which it comprises a large percentage.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg spoke to President Trump on the phone March 12, 2019, the company confirmed to Business Insider. A spokesperson offered no details of their conversation, but refuted the New York Times’ claim that the chief executive tried to persuade Trump to not ground the plane like most other countries.

At least one airline, Norwegian, said it will ask Boeing for compensation due to lost revenue from taking the plane out of service.

More countries ground Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft after Ethiopian Airlines crash

www.youtube.com

Airlines could take a hit too

Southwest is the US airline most exposed to the 737 Max 8, according to calculations by Joseph Denardi, an analyst at Stifel.

The 737 MAX comprised 2.2% of Southwest’s scheduled available seat miles (ASM) for March 2019, and is projected to grow to 2.6% by June 2019. The airline reportedly said March 12, 2019 that it’s “working with Customers individually who wish to rebook their flight to another aircraft type.”

United Airlines and American Airlines also operate the plane in the US, where there are 74 of them registered according to the FAA. Around the world, 59 airlines operate 387 of the 737 Max 8 and 9, the agency said.

Airline stocks and other related aerospace companies stock prices were also taking a hit, Markets Insider reported.

What comes next

The “black box” flight data recorder for March 10, 2019’s crash was found March 11, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines said in a statement. Investigators from the country, assisted by the US’ National Transportation Safety Board, have yet to reach a final conclusion.

Ehtiopian Airlines said March 13, 2019, that it would send the data recorders abroad, possibly to Europe or the US, because the country lacks the capacity to analyze them domestically.

Benjamin Zhang contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information