The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill - We Are The Mighty
Articles

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

Israel’s Arrow missile defense system managed to get its first kill. This particular kill is notable because it was a Syrian surface-to-air missile.


According to a report by FoxNews.com, Israeli jets had attacked a number of Syrian targets. After the successful operation, they were targeted by Syrian air-defense systems, including surface-to-air missiles.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
An Arrow anti-ballistic missile is launched as part of the on going United States/Israel Arrow System Improvement Program (ASIP). (U.S. Navy photo)

Reportedly, at least one of the surface-to-air missiles was shot down by an Arrow. According to astronautix.com, the system designed to kill ballistic missiles, had its first test flight in 1990 and has hit targets as high as 60 miles up.

Army-Technology.com notes that the Israeli system has a range of up to 56 miles and a top speed of Mach 9. That is about three times the speed of the legendary SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies notes that the Arrow 2 can engage up to 14 targets, with the first battery deployed in 2000, with a second in 2002. A third is reportedly stated for deployment as well.

The surprise, of course, is that the Arrow proved capable of killing the unidentified surface-to-air missile the Syrians fired.

Surface-to-air missiles are much harder targets to hit than ballistic missiles because they will maneuver to target a fighter or other aircraft.

Furthermore, the SAM that was shot down is very likely to have been of Russian manufacture (DefenseNews.com reported the missile was a SA-5 Gammon, also known as the S-200).

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
A SA-5 Gammon on its launcher. Was a similar missile the first kill for the Arrow? (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Most of the missiles are from various production blocks of the Arrow 2, but this past January, Reuters reported that the first Arrow 3 battery had become operational.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
The Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) completed the second successful flyout test of the Arrow-3 interceptor in 2014. (Dept. of Defense photo)

While the Arrow 2 intercepts incoming warheads in the atmosphere, the Arrow 3 is capable of exoatmospheric intercepts. One battery has been built so far, and will supplement Israel’s Arrow 2 batteries. The Arrow 3’s range is up to 2,400 kilometers, according to CSIS.

Articles

Air Force Pararescue Jumper reunites with girl he saved after Hurricane Katrina

When Master Sgt. Mike Maroney was a staff sergeant he rescued 3-year-old LeShay Brown a few days after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. An Air Force Combat Photographer happened to be on the mission, and snapped a now-iconic photo.


The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

“They just happened to snap a photo of this little girl who really, for me, made the day. It was a rough day,” Maroney told the cast of The Real, a nationally syndicated daytime talk show. “It was seven days into Katrina. Earlier in July, I just got back from a deployment to Afghanistan, it was my worst deployment. To see New Orleans under water and destroyed just really took a toll on me, so when she gave me that hug I wasn’t even on the planet at that point.”

Maroney saved 140 people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina but the memory of that hug stayed with him. Maroney, now 40 years old and a 19-year Air Force Veteran kept that photo on his wall for the past decade which he says helped him through a lot of dark times stemming from his service.

He never knew that little girl’s name. One day, he decided to find her and posted the photo on Facebook, hoping it would go viral. Someone reached out to Maroney after noticing the search for the girl had not gone very far.

“I had the idea to put it on Facebook to see if anyone is looking for her,” Maroney said. “It got 42 likes. Nothing. Up ’til last year, nothing. Then a young man named Andrew [Goard] wrote me and said, ‘Hey, its my life’s goal. I’m gonna help you find this little girl.”

Goard is a high school student in Waterford, Michigan whose grandfather served in Vietnam, and he idolized Pararescue Jumpers (he even has an Instagram page devoted to them). He helped the hashtag #FindKatrinaGirl go viral. The story was eventually picked up by Air Force Times and distributed around to smaller news outlets, until it ended up in front of LeShay Brown, who is now 13 and living in Waveland, Mississippi.

“I wish I could explain to you how important your hug was,” Maroney told LeShay Brown. “Your small gesture helped me through a dark phase. You rescued me more than I rescued you.”

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

“In my line of work, it doesn’t usually turn out happily,” Maroney said. “This hug, this moment, was like – everybody I’ve ever saved, that was the thank you.”

Watch the full reunion on The Real.

 

NOW: The definitive guide to U.S. Special Ops

OR: 10 incredible post-9/11 medics who risked their lives to save others

MIGHTY TACTICAL

China pitches cutting-edge weapons to global arms market

[China’s] commitment to new-tech military hardware [is] proof that it’s latest laser weapons have a “bright future” on the international arms market, state media has claimed in multiple write-ups aimed at international arms dealers and nation-state buyers.

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, has developed a road-mobile laser defense system called the LW-30, which uses a high-energy laser beam to destroy targets.


CASIC, China’s largest maker of missiles, has also brought the CM-401 supersonic anti-ship ballistic missile to market, describing it to the China Daily as capable of making rapid, precision strikes against medium-sized or large vessels, or against land targets.

For a closer look at the CM-401, visit Jane’s Defense weekly here.

CASIC claims the weapon uses a “near-space trajectory”, which means it flies up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the ground, maneuvering at hypersonic speeds towards its target.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT7Lod8uylE
China Has A New Hypersonic Anti-Ship Missile That It Claims Could Destroy A US Warship In One Hit

www.youtube.com

Meanwhile, China South Industries Group Corporation (CSIGC) a major manufacturer of military ground weapons, wants to secure buyers for its mine-clearing laser gun.

Carried by a light-duty armored vehicle and together with the laser weapon system, CSICG unveiled the laser weapon during the recent Zhuhai China 2018 air show, creatively called the “light-vehicle laser demining and detonation system.”

The system can destroy explosive devices such as mines through high-power laser irradiation at a long distance, avoiding casualties caused by manual bomb disposal, designers told state-owned media.

Flying off the shelves

According to Global Security, CSIGC is an especially large and internationally operating state-owned corporate established under the State Council, which falls under the purview of Premier Li Keqiang.

With splashes across all the major state-owned foreign language media, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) has begun a strange sales strategy for its newly developed road-mobile laser defense system.

China has pumped money and perhaps a little hyperbole into its laser weaponry research, but according to state media, the LW-30 is going to fly off the shelves.

The LW-30 uses a high-energy laser beam to destroy targets ranging from drones and guided bombs to mortar shells. It features high efficiency, rapid response, a good hit rate and flexibility, according to CASIC.

An LW-30 combat unit includes one radar-equipped vehicle for battlefield communications and control and at least one laser gun-carrying vehicle and one logistical support vehicle.

The laser gun can be deployed with close-in weapons systems and air-defense missiles to form a defensive network free of blind spots, CASIC claims.

According to The People’s Daily, in a typical scenario, the LW-30’s radar will scan, detect and track an incoming target before transmitting the information to the laser gun.

The gun will reportedly then analyze the most vulnerable part of the target and lay a laser beam onto it.

“Destruction takes place in a matter of seconds,” according to People’s.

As part of the sales pitch, People’s cited a Beijing-based “observer of advanced weaponry,” who seemed to suggest that the new laser weapons were a more effective and less expensive way to intercept guided weaponry.

Wu Peixin, the said “observer of advanced weaponry” told China Daily the new weapons would sell well on arms markets.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

The LW-30 laser defense weapon system.

(CASIC photo)

“Therefore, a laser gun is the most suitable weapon to defend against these threats,” he said. “Every military power in the world has been striving to develop laser weapons. They have bright prospects in the international arms market.”

In addition to CASIC, other state-owned defense conglomerates are ready to take their laser weapon systems to market, although science has it’s doubters.

China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation is the world’s largest shipbuilder, and its technology is undoubtedly dual-use. That is to say, one of the reasons China’s navy has been built up so quickly is because of the initial investments made way back by Deng Xiao Ping to revive China’s shipbuilding capacity — all but ignored under Mao Zedong — have resulted in CSIC and other shipbuilders producing both leisure and military naval technology.

CSIC meanwhile, claims has made another vehicle-mounted laser weapon that integrates detection and control devices and the laser gun in one six-wheeled vehicle.

“Observers said the system should be fielded to deal with low-flying targets such as small unmanned aircraft,” state media said.

Showcasing a defense industrial base amid rising global tensions

Before market reforms reinvigorated the People’s liberation Army and the defense industry in China, five corporations and one ministry represented China’s defense industrial base, now each of the five corporations have been divided into two competing corporations in the shipbuilding, aviation, nuclear, ordnance and missile/aerospace arenas.

The current organization of China’s defense industrial base is pretty simple — two competing corporations face one a other in the five key divisions through shipbuilding, aviation, nuclear, ordnance and missile/aerospace.

These include China North Industries Group Corporation (CNIGC) and China South Industries Group Corporation (CSIGC). Each with friendlier subordinate import/export set ups — China North Industries Corporation and China Great Wall Industries Corporation — which facilitate import and sales of commercial and military goods for profit.

Strategic competition with the US is pushing China to speed up the development of new weaponry, from rail gun technology, laser weaponry and hypersonic vehicles and is probably fast tracking and promoting its military inroads amid rising geopolitical tensions.

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

MIGHTY TACTICAL

This Fresco was an aeronautical work of art

In the world of art, frescos are paintings done on walls or ceilings as the plaster sets. In the world of aeronautics, a “Fresco” is a Soviet-made, high-subsonic fighter that could beautifully carve and sculpt the skies.

However, most of these planes ended up looking a lot more like a Jackson Pollock than an ancient Roman masterpiece.


We’re talking about the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17, which had the NATO code name “Fresco.” The MiG-17 first took flight in January 1950 and entered service in 1953, a tad too late to take part in the Korean War. Once development was finished and the MiG-17 was ready for its introduction, the Soviet Union quickly put a halt to all MiG-15 production — likely because the MiG-15 got its ass kicked at MiG Alley.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

A lot of MiG-17s have appeared in gun-camera footage from American and Israeli fighters.

(USAF)

The MiG-17 had a top speed of 711 miles per hour and a maximum range of 1,230 miles. The MiG-17 found some success in the Vietnam War despite being considered obsolete by time it saw combat and using guns as primary armaments (either two 23mm and one 37mm gun or three 23mm guns) in the era of rockets — likely because, after Korea, the United States became overly reliant on missiles.

However, according to a compilation by the Air Force Association, during the Vietnam War, the Air Force shot down 61 MiG-17s while the Navy and Marine Corps shot down 39 more. The North Vietnamese, using Soviet aircraft, shot down a grand total of 83 planes in air-to-air combat.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

The last moments of a MiG-17 Fresco as a F-105 tears it apart with 20mm cannon fire.

(USAF)

In the skies over the Middle East, the story was very different. The Israeli Air Force destroyed a lot of MiG-17s during the Six-Day War. In a 1970 incident, two MiG-17s accidentally landed at an Israeli airstrip. These planes eventually found their way to the Nevada desert, where the Air Force put them through their paces. As a result, several MiG-17s ended up getting involve, in a way, in modern art: They were splattered apart to degree of which Pollock would be proud by American and Israeli planes.

The MiG-17 hung on after Vietnam and the Yom Kippur War. Currently, the North Korean Air Force operates about 100 of the Chinese copy of this plane, the Shenyang J-5/F-5.

Learn more about this plane in the video below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB6h5kGRMjA

www.youtube.com

MIGHTY TACTICAL

Air Force awards $9.2 billion for new fighter, bomber trainer

The Air Force awarded The Boeing Company a contract worth up to $9.2 billion for the Air Force’s new training aircraft Sept. 27, 2018.

The Air Force currently plans to purchase 351 T-X aircraft, 46 simulators, and associated ground equipment to replace the Air Education and Training Command’s 57-year-old fleet of T-38C Talons.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract allows the Air Force to purchase up to 475 aircraft and 120 simulators. The contract is designed to offer taxpayers the best value both today and in the future should requirements change.


“This new aircraft will provide the advanced training capabilities we need to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson said. “Through competition we will save at least billion on the T-X program.”

The original service cost estimate was .7 billion for 351 aircraft.

The T-X program is expected to provide student pilots in undergraduate- and graduate-level training courses with the skills and competencies required to transition to 4th- and 5th-generation fighter and bomber aircraft.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(Boeing photo)

“This is all about joint warfighting excellence; we need the T-X to optimize training for pilots heading into our growing fleet of fifth-generation aircraft,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “This aircraft will enable pilot training in a system similar to our fielded fighters, ultimately enhancing joint lethality.”

The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X. Those bases include: Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

An initial delivery order for 3 million provides for the engineering and manufacturing development of the first five aircraft and seven simulators.

The contract supports the Air Force’s objective of an initial operational capability by 2024 and full operational capability by 2034.

“This outcome is the result of a well-conceived strategy leveraging full and open competition,” said Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. “It’s acquisition’s silver bullet.”

This article originally appeared on the United States Air Force. Follow @usairforce on Twitter.

Articles

The 8 best war cries in military history

When fighting in close quarters combat, the posture which gives a warrior the best advantage is a necessary advantage. What better way to intimidate an enemy than throwing him off balance with an aggressive auditory clash to make him quake in his boots?


The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Even if your enemy is yoga.

Yelling as foreplay to a physical altercation is as old as War itself. Persian warriors in the epic Shahnameh had voices “like an enraged elephant” and howled “like a drum beat.” In the Iliad, one character is literally named “Diomedes of the Loud War Cry.”

It’s now scientifically proven that screaming during physical activity increases energy and power and anecdotal evidence throughout history shows it has a significant effect on both sides of a battle. With that in mind, here are history’s most legendary battle cries.

1. “Uukhai!” – The Mongols

The Mongols controlled one of the largest empires in history, they were really good at winning battles, and even better at just killing people. They defy expectation. The Mongol war cry was a something that amounted to both a cheer and a prayer, like “Amen” mixed with “Hooray.”

Mongol War cries And also “murder.”

2. “Tulta munille!” – Finland

The Finns were notoriously aggressive against the equally anti-Semitic Russians and this battle cry, meaning “Fire at their balls!” was representative of that zeal. For the record, Finland fielded many Jewish troops and had the only field Synagogues on the entire Eastern Front.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
See: Finnish Ball Rifle

Finland calls World War II the “Continuation War” because it was already at war with the Soviet Union well before the greater European war broke out in 1940. Finland fought with Nazi Germany against the Russians, but was never a member of the Axis Tripartite Pact.

3. “Currahee” – U.S. Army 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne

Mount Currahee looms like Mordor over Camp Toccoa, Georgia. The 1,740-foot high foothill is named after the Cherokee word for “Stands Alone,” which would make the Airborne troopers’ use of this phrase an almost self-fulfilling prophesy (see: Battered Bastards of Bastogne).

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Easy Company at Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest residence. You could live to be 1,000 years old and still not be this cool.

As part of their training, the Paratroopers of the 101st would hike and run up and down the hill. When it came to jumping into combat, the rest of the 101st shouted “Geronimo” while Col. Robert Sink had his regiment shout “Currahee” to make them stand out.

4. “Uurah!” – Soviet Union

A kind of “Hooray,” Russian troops shouted this in battle for more than 300 years. Where it originated is of debate, likely borrowed from the Ottoman Empire’s “Vur Ha!” (meaning “Strike”). Russians definitely made it their own. Even as Imperial Russia gave way to the Soviet Union, the Red Army was still capable of an intimidating shout as they turned the Nazi Wehrmacht back from the Soviet frontier.

5. Deseperta Ferro! – Almogavars (Catholic Spain)

Catholic troops reconquering the Iberian Peninsula (where Spain and Portugal are today) from the Muslim Moors shouted this Catalan (the language of the area in and around Barcelona) phrase. It translates to the badass “Awaken the Iron!” – which they shouted as they beat their swords on rocks in predawn raids, to keep the rust off them.

It’s is probably pretty intimidating to the enemy as they watched thousands of Spanish troops who came to kill them shout AWAKEN THE IRON! over and over as their swords created sparks from hitting rocks.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
The Middle Ages were an angry, bearded time.

6. “Tenno Heika Banzai” – Japan

Roughly translated to “Long Live the Emperor,” this was shouted by Japanese soldiers rushing into battle (and civilians as an expression of joy). It became notorious in World War II’s Pacific Theater, when the Japanese would mount their fearsome “Banzai Charges,” human wave attacks they made as final efforts to die with honor.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Actual frame of Japanese troops in a Banzai charge at Guadalcanal… with a sword.

The Japanese Kamikaze pilot is said to have shouted this while flying into U.S. warships as well. The act itself stems from the Bushido tradition of the Samurai —  that it is better to die than to accept a defeat.

7. The Rebel Yell – Confederate States of America

Union Army veteran and journalist Ambrose Bierce called it “the ugliest sound that any mortal ever heard—even a mortal exhausted and unnerved by two days of hard fighting, without sleep, without rest, without food and without hope.”

Historian Shelby Foote said any Union soldier who heard it and said he wasn’t scared by it had probably never actually heard it. Confederate forces  let out this banshee scream during engagements to unnerve the enemy, and were even judged by their officers on how good their Rebel Yell was.

8. “Dieu et Mon Droit” – England

King Edward III shouted this French phrase (“God and My Right”) at the 1346 Battle of Crecy, one of three decisive battle of the Hundred Years War. This battle is known as the beginning of the end of the Age of Chivalry, as infantry became the focus of the English Army (and armed peasants would kill knights who became incapacitated during the battle). “Dieu et Mon Droit” is now the motto of the English Monarchy and appears on the Royal Coat of Arms.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

MIGHTY HISTORY

10 rarely seen photos from the Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War started after the USS Maine suddenly exploded in Havana Harbor in February 1898, an incident that was later found to be caused by faulty ship design but was blamed, at the time, on a Spanish mine. The resulting war was focused on Cuba, but the growing American military contested Spain across its empire, resulting in combat from the Atlantic to Pacific.


Here are 10 photos from the conflict:

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Signal Corps)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

(U.S. Army Heritage Education Center)

MIGHTY TRENDING

What happened when Russian mercs tried testing the US in Syria

More details have emerged from a massive battle in Syria that is said to have pitted hundreds of Russian military contractors and forces loyal to the Syrian government against the US and its Syrian rebel allies — and it looks as if it was a mission to test the US’s resolve.


Bloomberg first reported in February 2018, that Russian military contractors took part in what the US called an “unprovoked attack” on a well-known headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a rebel cohort the US has trained, equipped, and fought alongside for years.

Also read: The threats just keep coming from Russia over Syria strikes

Reuters cited several sources on Feb. 16, 2018, as confirming that Russian contractors were among the attackers and that they took heavy losses. The purpose of the attack, which saw 500 or so pro-government fighters get close to the US-backed position in Syria, was to test the US’s response, Reuters’ sources said.

How the battle played out

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
US forces fire off artillery rounds in Syria. (Photo from U.S. Marine Corps)

Initial reports said pro-government forces launched a coordinated attack that included about 500 troops, 122mm howitzers, tanks, and multiple launch rocket systems.

A source close to Wagner, the Russian military contracting firm, told Reuters that most of the troops were Russian contractors and that they advanced into a zone designated as neutral under a deal between the Russian military and the US-led coalition against the terrorist group ISIS.

The troops reportedly sought to find out how the US would react to the encroachment into that zone.

Forces operating Russian-made T-55 and T-72 tanks fired 20 to 30 tank rounds within 500 feet of the SDF base, which held some US troops, said Dana White, the Pentagon press secretary, according to the executive editor of Defense One.

More: Why Russia is hiring mercenaries to fight in Syria

The US-led coalition responded with “AC-130 gunships, F-15s, F-22s, Army Apache helicopter gunships, and Marine Corps artillery,” according to Lucas Tomlinson, a Fox News reporter. CNN also reported that Himars and MQ-9 drones were used in the attack.

“First of all, the bombers attacked, and then they cleaned up using Apaches,” attack helicopters, Yevgeny Shabayev, a Cossack paramilitary leader with ties to Russia’s military contractors, told Reuters.

The Reuters report cites an unnamed source as describing Bloomberg’s report that 300 Russians died as “broadly correct.”

The US reported more than 100 dead. According to Reuters, Russia says only five of its citizens may have died in the attack.

The Pentagon says only one SDF fighter was injured in the attack.

What might the Russians have learned from the ‘test’?

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Russia’s military aircraft at a base in Syria. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.)

The pro-government forces operated without air cover from Russia’s military. The US-led coalition apparently warned Russia of the attack, but it’s unclear whether Russia’s military passed on notice to the troops on the ground.

“The warning was 20 minutes beforehand,” a source told Reuters. “In that time, it was not feasible to turn the column around.”

Reports have increasingly indicated that Russia has used military contractors as a means of concealing its combat losses as it looks to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad’s flagging forces. Russia has denied it has a large ground presence in Syria and has sought to distance itself from those it describes as independent contractors.

Related: Russia just declared the defeat of ISIS in eastern Syria

According to the news website UAWire, Igor Girkin, the former defense minister of the self-described Donetsk People’s Republic, a separatist region backed by Russia in eastern Ukraine, said that Russian mercenaries operating in Syria who died in combat were cremated on sight to hide the true cost of Russia’s involvement.

As the US’s stated mission in Syria of fighting ISIS nears completion, others have taken center stage. The US recently said it would seek to stop Iran from gaining control of a land bridge to Lebanon, its ally, citing concerns that Tehran would arm anti-US and anti-Israeli Hezbollah militants if given the chance.

The US also appears intent on staying on top of Assad’s oilfields in the east both to deny him the economic infrastructure to regain control of the country and to force UN-sanctioned elections.

Articles

The new SECARMY is killing it with sea turtles, pushups, and Nicki Minaj

Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning has a lot of work ahead of him. Keeping the Army strong enough to counter threats from Russia, China, and international terrorism while facing constant budget questions is tough.


Only time will tell if he can rise to the challenge. If nothing else, though, he will definitely leave his mark on the Twittersphere because he is already killing it there.

Fanning was confirmed on May 17, 2016. Since then, he’s Tweeted a Star Wars GIF to show love for baseball:

… and an “Across the Universe” GIF to talk about Fort Jackson drill sergeants turning citizens into Soldiers:

Of course, it’s not all movies with the new SECARMY. He was scheduled to visit soldiers training in Anakonda 16 during the 241st Army Birthday and tweeted a clip of Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” video to let them know he was coming to Torun, Poland to make sure they were working out:

That turned into a Twitter exchange where he challenged a German general to one-handed pushups (via a GIF of “Kung Fu Panda,” because of course he used “Kung Fu Panda”) and 16th Sustainment Brigade soldiers responded with a video of 0-handed pushups:

While he was in Poland, he visited those same troops and worked out with them, then tweeted a photo of it:

Finally, while Fanning was working out with the troops, the Secretary of the Navy tweeted a happy birthday message to America’s oldest military branch. The Fanning responded with an awesome sea turtle, giving a nod to the sea service and “The Little Mermaid” in the process:

Fanning is going to face a lot of leadership challenges during his tenure as secretary. He’s already had to offer leadership and condolences as Fort Hood lost nine soldiers killed when their truck overturned in floodwaters and the Army Reserve lost a captain in the attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

But while he can’t be physically present every time a soldier is in danger or needs comfort, he can help keep morale up by ensuring troops know that someone smart and capable has their back in Washington D.C. If he can run the beltway half as well as he runs his Twitter feed, then the Army should be okay.

Articles

These 7 photos reveal how secret warriors invaded West Virginia

After Russia’s incursion into Georgia several years ago and the covert operation to take over the Crimea in Ukraine in 2014, the former Soviet Republics along the Baltic coast view the Russian bear as an increasing threat.


More fearful than ever that a replay of Sevastopol could happen in Vilnius or Tallinn, troops from the Baltic states have been working ever closer with the American military to hone their skills, forge stronger bonds and develop tactics and protocols to defend themselves if the Spetsnaz drops in on their doorstep.

While American troops have been deploying recently for joint exercises with NATO’s northern allies in Europe, some of the Baltic countries’ most specialized troops have been coming to the U.S. for real-world training.

In February a joint team of U.S. special operators from the 10th Special Forces Group, National Guard soldiers and commandos from Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia infiltrated a 500,000 acre range in the mountains of West Virginia to practice covert ops, kick in some doors and do some snake-eater sh*t.

Dubbed Range Runner 2017, the exercise includes all the facets of special operations warfare, including counterterrorism, counterinsurgency, stability operations, foreign internal defense and unconventional warfare and allows for dynamic infiltration routes, including water, air and land with support from fixed wing, rotary wing and water rescue groups, the military says.

So how awesome was this joint commando exercise? Take a look.

1. Special operators get some assaulter practice

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Estonian Special Operations Force soldiers, along with U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Soldiers with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and soldiers of the West Virginia National Guard, quickly move to assault a building containing high-value adversary targets during an air-assault training exercise as part of Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 23, 2017 in West Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Smith)

2. The joint commando teams work on infiltration via horseback

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
A U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Soldier assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), conducts an infiltration movement on horseback during Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 12, 2017 in West Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Connor Mendez)

3. The special operators work together on sensitive sight exploitation methods

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Soldiers assigned to 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), search through a cabin room as they conduct sensitive sight exploitation training during Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 18, 2017 in West Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Connor Mendez)

4. They even go through the bad guy’s trash…

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
U.S. Special Operations Forces search for evidence during a sensitive sight exploitation training event as part of Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 18, 2017 in West Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Christopher Stevenson)

5. The special operations troops are hounded by local forces who track their movement

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
A canine unit with the West Virginia State Police assists U.S. Special Operations Forces and interagency joint partners with the West Virginia and Pennsylvania National Guard in partnering with special operations forces soldiers from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in an escape and evasion training exercise event as part of Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 23, 2017 in West Virginia.

6. The Special Forces soldiers use old-school methods to pass messages without radios

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
U.S. Special Operations Forces with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conduct a message pickup with the aid of a DHC-6 Twin Otter airplane as part of Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 6, 2017 in West Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Christopher Stevenson)

7. Once they’ve gotten what they wanted, the commandos exfil via helicopter

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Estonian Special Operations Force soldiers, along with U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Soldiers with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and soldiers of the West Virginia National Guard, quickly move toward an aircraft for exfiltration during an air-assault training exercise as part of Exercise Ridge Runner Feb. 23, 2017 in West Virginia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Smith)

MIGHTY CULTURE

The 13 funniest military memes for the week of April 27th

I know the sh*t has hit the proverbial fan and the world is going through a fairly sh*t time at the moment… But hold the presses because it came to light, via Business Insider, that Gen. James Mattis (Ret.) did some modelling work for a veteran-owned leather jacket company in between his time in the service to his appointment as Secretary of Defense.

Just when you thought the Patron Saint of Chaos could not get any more badass, he can apparently pull off a leather jacket far better than any of us ever could.

After reading that, I just don’t know what to do anymore. Anyway, here’s some memes while I contemplate whether dropping my stimulus check on that $1,300 jacket would be worth the ire of my wife…


[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FR3YccT28gPzQtIzHpsp4317narsE98ce3d6QCayngb4_ojTP6OhU6r5j08kl_iOrBI0ySSn3IoDUzYkpFam17hZ5jun5whBR14-fONl8ZgM6hTzAl2YzKo0YylZqwwBHWWfch4JPtMYpovzIgw&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=797&h=c897c3d567e591cfad93952f21c3d0007b767dfe7d4025bfeae5611642c86039&size=980x&c=2496357750 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FR3YccT28gPzQtIzHpsp4317narsE98ce3d6QCayngb4_ojTP6OhU6r5j08kl_iOrBI0ySSn3IoDUzYkpFam17hZ5jun5whBR14-fONl8ZgM6hTzAl2YzKo0YylZqwwBHWWfch4JPtMYpovzIgw%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D797%26h%3Dc897c3d567e591cfad93952f21c3d0007b767dfe7d4025bfeae5611642c86039%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2496357750%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Army as F*ck)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FC1B0VXrZadoT2OvzQyVS49UTzLipXGcMMlSyFft9RVGmxtTarq3PiWeluFshD71DKv0XuOFaQsLwZsaFjUqjmjT7wPArRAxzDpK_G5U0VlirxLK4rdFVHPxS44bgRpWSxyXkecXbykPxgY9EjQ&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=506&h=5504d31e5b326a340ae56353f9c8081196383c8b341966fde81d34386a44acfa&size=980x&c=2863792711 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FC1B0VXrZadoT2OvzQyVS49UTzLipXGcMMlSyFft9RVGmxtTarq3PiWeluFshD71DKv0XuOFaQsLwZsaFjUqjmjT7wPArRAxzDpK_G5U0VlirxLK4rdFVHPxS44bgRpWSxyXkecXbykPxgY9EjQ%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D506%26h%3D5504d31e5b326a340ae56353f9c8081196383c8b341966fde81d34386a44acfa%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2863792711%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Smokepit Fairytales)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fd1TegbF7yC-Iy1FD_wl20FPK5Z43-92NFVpbV1cZ_S4TTze-_CajH8XvEvV5jmB-LJyXDfu4_IO0_wiL7aylgJ_XIDaGXk3hUFmTGAFzrASbPYXRwFng8BVwm1FbCZBc0dOj-QDHzTl0Z84Q_g&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=639&h=22f6413191495b97d0d2b5feac0767ae028d3e37ad4b48bf432992a6e27aa4f7&size=980x&c=1842827359 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fd1TegbF7yC-Iy1FD_wl20FPK5Z43-92NFVpbV1cZ_S4TTze-_CajH8XvEvV5jmB-LJyXDfu4_IO0_wiL7aylgJ_XIDaGXk3hUFmTGAFzrASbPYXRwFng8BVwm1FbCZBc0dOj-QDHzTl0Z84Q_g%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D639%26h%3D22f6413191495b97d0d2b5feac0767ae028d3e37ad4b48bf432992a6e27aa4f7%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1842827359%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Disgruntled Vets)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Fvsk9pjbGGY0t3MpVZCsi0dS7g4dWAX_uY3oliL_ytsMtcu6ffWUJLDJoz2nkSyvIlbsheRDzqoqgKQmUf6vmhIkHrXxys4GENDRy4zOrvxK9bv_hXik02Mncg9LLRXIQDUMhxEyD3-kjf_-y0A&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=496&h=e9dded176521b91ee4aa409fbccba762a7134cf77c15fef20059e9f0574b25ad&size=980x&c=3938817770 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Fvsk9pjbGGY0t3MpVZCsi0dS7g4dWAX_uY3oliL_ytsMtcu6ffWUJLDJoz2nkSyvIlbsheRDzqoqgKQmUf6vmhIkHrXxys4GENDRy4zOrvxK9bv_hXik02Mncg9LLRXIQDUMhxEyD3-kjf_-y0A%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D496%26h%3De9dded176521b91ee4aa409fbccba762a7134cf77c15fef20059e9f0574b25ad%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3938817770%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via US Army WTF Moments Memes)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FHkOyF5jqj_U8gu5lvU5Iz947cQg95L0ZraLXLJDGSyxZfFematK_Aouz4ld-yWk-fAt3qj5juBBpOaJs1ShcdyXozzoLxRdOkH3Z1GrR&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=509&h=b81ed875b77f5b58148bfdb810e6d99cd45d21fe9114d6f7f43fa7a30845eaf1&size=980x&c=919958823 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FHkOyF5jqj_U8gu5lvU5Iz947cQg95L0ZraLXLJDGSyxZfFematK_Aouz4ld-yWk-fAt3qj5juBBpOaJs1ShcdyXozzoLxRdOkH3Z1GrR%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D509%26h%3Db81ed875b77f5b58148bfdb810e6d99cd45d21fe9114d6f7f43fa7a30845eaf1%26size%3D980x%26c%3D919958823%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Call for Fire)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F9yqKNozLjZW_-EnNglyofUgSzQDqobPa9-UK4a1wuOS2BYqrLaxEDSHYD89Jcp9uBNW9lm7Sf5qk1Va9O1mm1llT9LF0pcl9ZXZda3todq-h57Qd0lyYzuKfQshRMmq8ydjEcpRSR_5UIn9BMQ&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.com&s=1011&h=b4b322a96aacd89367067c46233b09e8cd64015a735b0843c559bada5cbdd7c7&size=980x&c=2311261569 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F9yqKNozLjZW_-EnNglyofUgSzQDqobPa9-UK4a1wuOS2BYqrLaxEDSHYD89Jcp9uBNW9lm7Sf5qk1Va9O1mm1llT9LF0pcl9ZXZda3todq-h57Qd0lyYzuKfQshRMmq8ydjEcpRSR_5UIn9BMQ%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D1011%26h%3Db4b322a96aacd89367067c46233b09e8cd64015a735b0843c559bada5cbdd7c7%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2311261569%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Not CID)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FCUbOdU-cfU8Uw81NAUw41S4sb-XZUaJwMOEQj0XnwY3eOXlui8C-IZkc2h62xG3ahJ0ERZpHDq3Dqj1MzSo-GiVLz–1j0vHXAeLg2df_Y1E_dnALXyJNddtkjtaAzzy0DX_IBXj3SfCjG9-4g&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=1001&h=c3040007fe7da72e219803c43e168224c425f65d8aa3c4e795d98befb95d828a&size=980x&c=1956724043 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FCUbOdU-cfU8Uw81NAUw41S4sb-XZUaJwMOEQj0XnwY3eOXlui8C-IZkc2h62xG3ahJ0ERZpHDq3Dqj1MzSo-GiVLz–1j0vHXAeLg2df_Y1E_dnALXyJNddtkjtaAzzy0DX_IBXj3SfCjG9-4g%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D1001%26h%3Dc3040007fe7da72e219803c43e168224c425f65d8aa3c4e795d98befb95d828a%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1956724043%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Infantry Follow Me)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FKgjrVcjv2YLD5aWNs6o4NQqIzc66qUf4GjEhUBkWBieP7u8ZRsH-EIvlYzFgA1tHDU8r2Ghm9Bc1t9dVc8wLTNtmHNUpEr9OwGhBIYtwIpiv2TuroABREQWnrY7c6LJzYYNPEG6EcHGNo3THjA&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.com&s=268&h=72345d59f02eb84705af1ddd14199161d7b58e2c92f203db0ed52fa55a7e3f3e&size=980x&c=1301376167 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FKgjrVcjv2YLD5aWNs6o4NQqIzc66qUf4GjEhUBkWBieP7u8ZRsH-EIvlYzFgA1tHDU8r2Ghm9Bc1t9dVc8wLTNtmHNUpEr9OwGhBIYtwIpiv2TuroABREQWnrY7c6LJzYYNPEG6EcHGNo3THjA%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D268%26h%3D72345d59f02eb84705af1ddd14199161d7b58e2c92f203db0ed52fa55a7e3f3e%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1301376167%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Coast Guard Memes)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FUkGnNhoXsr3-cBjym-LHupIiB5kAkocRtrztRyZkhACF6j72I5S8TU5eMAcjE2odke_FqhsHia8tQMYYbSlDLdTukO-2m6vhFcV3XdvcM8OP78gKAomSCftGbX7IrBWoG8E1CNNR2J0Pzk0v1A&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh6.googleusercontent.com&s=423&h=e2b4db2ff6768bbee85337332676074474850047a53943e5c9acc0dd32370dee&size=980x&c=3853842634 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FUkGnNhoXsr3-cBjym-LHupIiB5kAkocRtrztRyZkhACF6j72I5S8TU5eMAcjE2odke_FqhsHia8tQMYYbSlDLdTukO-2m6vhFcV3XdvcM8OP78gKAomSCftGbX7IrBWoG8E1CNNR2J0Pzk0v1A%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh6.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D423%26h%3De2b4db2ff6768bbee85337332676074474850047a53943e5c9acc0dd32370dee%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3853842634%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Lost in the Sauce)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2F4llgp4-srJzeeS7TlK5EWUmSlL9QxNd9V63CjGM9l3Y3UOfMctkPFjccImQAj5Yq2UyFtJoy99GCBnHdDrn6ZuQix-mj1z__10QL79nHZiuSRsJY6G6j5WhPh-1ijde3SJF5mGT2cc49X0f0Qw&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=831&h=9607e5e3d79adfcfc3ce4021ca0ee317bc962b77c4cc899582b37b949285bb33&size=980x&c=1101176466 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252F4llgp4-srJzeeS7TlK5EWUmSlL9QxNd9V63CjGM9l3Y3UOfMctkPFjccImQAj5Yq2UyFtJoy99GCBnHdDrn6ZuQix-mj1z__10QL79nHZiuSRsJY6G6j5WhPh-1ijde3SJF5mGT2cc49X0f0Qw%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D831%26h%3D9607e5e3d79adfcfc3ce4021ca0ee317bc962b77c4cc899582b37b949285bb33%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1101176466%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Valhalla Wear)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FA6Dm3WKaCbCWy_sbbrPcqy4Twp0cAB9yfvjk5oNRMpa48f7cq3kyAdsIUj_5At48F4YY5ChCjkPwtsPH6zgk5USDwXxboRWJ4S530X5I&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh4.googleusercontent.com&s=667&h=0d63389fe6466df022b748a7767d6285ba6e6274b3c5fd9705a8ad2ddfa5652f&size=980x&c=3370988669 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FA6Dm3WKaCbCWy_sbbrPcqy4Twp0cAB9yfvjk5oNRMpa48f7cq3kyAdsIUj_5At48F4YY5ChCjkPwtsPH6zgk5USDwXxboRWJ4S530X5I%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh4.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D667%26h%3D0d63389fe6466df022b748a7767d6285ba6e6274b3c5fd9705a8ad2ddfa5652f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3370988669%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Decelerate Your Life)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FGTYcx8-OYrumpO5QPTxc6DIj0hK7QPeGHzohxAC15pmJmFLRVKHpiW2R0pYkR6jL5t8ofYQKW6LEqYNaaXwmNXYOqvZjhDc8jigrdYrb43qWqK9ZXJAIoIo3DKQsas-UMI0XGW8k8qjVQvXY4w&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh3.googleusercontent.com&s=725&h=38171765d57d804059d29ae6e66228f492e53f01e71782b95dd59a3fa0231221&size=980x&c=1538488349 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FGTYcx8-OYrumpO5QPTxc6DIj0hK7QPeGHzohxAC15pmJmFLRVKHpiW2R0pYkR6jL5t8ofYQKW6LEqYNaaXwmNXYOqvZjhDc8jigrdYrb43qWqK9ZXJAIoIo3DKQsas-UMI0XGW8k8qjVQvXY4w%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh3.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D725%26h%3D38171765d57d804059d29ae6e66228f492e53f01e71782b95dd59a3fa0231221%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1538488349%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Air Force Nation Humor)

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2FIA8OrZfbLAMjJ4FuHMXrey4JnmvCDzsdRLPmRBg2g85zp1JsYX_25OQ0O2ttqP8To4BAc6Dp78F1CqanaiNx1pCAG2OiVyRRYG2jhw9qukMkCpdIxkIMRkxak4tvQCZIkGYmEyUuLGDTNswdfQ&ho=https%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com&s=962&h=8a2eb8400043faa565a1d84928804576f47863f25e4d6e43133c11fd54d3a12c&size=980x&c=2196365507 crop_info=”%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252FIA8OrZfbLAMjJ4FuHMXrey4JnmvCDzsdRLPmRBg2g85zp1JsYX_25OQ0O2ttqP8To4BAc6Dp78F1CqanaiNx1pCAG2OiVyRRYG2jhw9qukMkCpdIxkIMRkxak4tvQCZIkGYmEyUuLGDTNswdfQ%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Flh5.googleusercontent.com%26s%3D962%26h%3D8a2eb8400043faa565a1d84928804576f47863f25e4d6e43133c11fd54d3a12c%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2196365507%22%7D” expand=1]

(Meme via Air Force amn/nco/snco)

MIGHTY TRENDING

How the Navy is protecting ships from China’s threats

As China and the US continue to spar over trade and the South China Sea, a Chinese admiral made a bold threat to eliminate one of the US’s primary military advantages, its aircraft carriers — a gaping vulnerability that has concerned US officials as China’s military power grows.

“What the United States fears the most is taking casualties,” Rear Adm. Lou Yuan reportedly said in a speech at the 2018 Military Industry List summit on Dec. 20, 2018, adding that sinking one carrier could kill 5,000 US service members.


“We’ll see how frightened America is,” he said.

Lou, the deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Military Sciences, has academic military rank and does not command troops, but he has gained attention for his hawkish views on the US, as have other officials who’ve called on Beijing to take a more confrontational approach.

Lou said current US-China tensions were “definitely not simply friction over economics and trade” but rather over a “prime strategic issue,” according to Australia’s News.com.au, which cited Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

The US has “five cornerstones” that can be exploited, he said: its military, its money, its talent, its voting system, and its fear of adversaries.

China should “use its strength to attack the enemy’s shortcomings,” he said, according to News.com.au, continuing: “Attack wherever the enemy is afraid of being hit. Wherever the enemy is weak.”

Lou said China’s new anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles were able to hit US carriers despite the “bubble” of defensive measures surrounding them. The US Navy has 11 aircraft carriers.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

The ranges of Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles, air-defense systems, aircraft, and warships.

(Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments)

Not indestructible but certainly defensible

China has clashed with its neighbors over its expansive claims in the East and South China seas.

The US has undertaken freedom-of-navigation exercises in the area to assert the right under international law to operate there — moves that have provoked close encounters with Chinese ships.

Reducing or blocking the US’s ability to operate in those areas is a key part of China’s efforts to shift the regional balance of power in its favor by undermining confidence in US assurances about security to its partners. (Russia has pursued similar efforts.)

Beijing’s development of ballistic missiles — like the DF-21, which can reach Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, and the longer-range DF-26, which can reach most US bases in the Pacific — along with air-defense systems and a more active navy have led to discussions about what the US Navy needs to do to operate in a contested environment, where even its all-powerful aircraft carriers could be vulnerable to attack.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

The amphibious assault ship Boxer firing a Sea Sparrow missile during a missile-firing exercise in the Pacific Ocean in 2013.

(US Navy photo by Kenan O’Connor)

In analyses by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, “we determined that if the Navy pursues a lot of the air-defense capabilities that they’ve been talking about, and some of which have been in development or fielded, they should be able to dramatically improve the carrier strike group’s air-defense capacity,” Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at CSBA who previously worked on Navy strategy as special assistant to the chief of naval operations, said in December 2018 during a presentation at the Heritage Foundation.

At present, Clark said, carrier strike groups operating about 1,000 nautical miles from the Chinese coast using air-defenses assets like interceptor missiles, electromagnetic jamming, directed-energy weapons, and patrol aircraft could expect to hit about 450 incoming weapons, fewer than the at least 600 weapons the CSBA estimated China could fire to that distance.

“So if you shift instead to what the Navy’s talking about doing with its air-defense capacity by shifting to shorter-range interceptors like the [Evolved Sea Sparrow missile] instead of the SM-2 in terms of loadout, adopting directed-energy weapons, using the hypervelocity projectile … you could increase the air-defense capacity of your [carrier strike group] to the point where now you can deal with maybe 800 weapons or so in a particular salvo,” Clark said.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

The USS Ronald Reagan conducting a live-fire exercise of its Phalanx Close-in Weapons System in the Philippine Sea in 2016.

(US Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Burke)

These estimates make numerous assumptions about the effectiveness of Navy air defenses and about how China deploys its weaponry. Moreover, the above scenarios end with the carrier strike group’s interceptor weapons expended.

To compensate for that and allow carriers to operate longer in contested areas, the Navy could use electromagnetic warfare to make enemy targeting harder or by attacking enemy bombers and missile launchers before they can fire, according to the CSBA report.

It wouldn’t be enough to eliminate China’s coastal missile batteries. With China’s and Russia’s improving ability to fire sub-launched anti-ship cruise missiles, changes are needed to the carrier air wing’s composition and operations to work at longer ranges and in contested environments, the report notes.

“There is approach that could yield a carrier strike group that is, if not indestructible, but certainly defensible in an area where it could be relevant to a warfight with a country like China,” Clark said at the Heritage Foundation. “This is the approach that the Navy’s moving down the track toward.”

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill

Sailors on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier Carl Vinson as it departed Naval Air Station North Island for a deployment in the western Pacific.

(US Navy photo)

‘Americans have gone soft’

Lou is in the hawkish wing of the Chinese foreign-policy commentariat, but his remarks invoked what appears to be an increasingly common perception of the US in Chinese thinking: The US is powerful but lacks resolve to fight.

“A far larger number of Chinese believe it than I think is healthy,” Brad Glosserman, a China expert and visiting professor at Tokyo’s Tama University, told Stars and Stripes in January 2019 in regard to Lou’s comments.

Many Chinese believe “Americans have gone soft” and “no longer have an appetite for sacrifice and at the first sign of genuine trouble they will cut and run,” Glosserman said.

Many in the US would dispute that notion. But this was part of the discussion of the aircraft carrier’s future in American power at the Heritage Foundation event on Dec. 11, 2018.

There is a “heightened national aversion to risk,” especially when comes aircraft carriers, according to Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain who now serves as vice president at the consultant Telemus Group.

Carriers have grown in cost and become regarded as a symbol of “national prestige,” Hendrix said at the Heritage Foundation event. He added that in light of the importance with which carriers have been imbued, political leaders may be averse to sending them into battle.

“There is, unfortunately, the heavy potential for conflict coming, but the nation is not ready for heavy battle damage to its navy and specifically not to its aircraft carriers,” Hendrix said. “We need to move these assets back into the realm of being weapons and not being perceived as mystical unicorns.”

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

Articles

‘Vinegar’ Joe Stilwell lost the best WWII assignments twice

Army Maj. Gen. “Vinegar” Joe Stilwell was at the top of the list for high commands as America entered World War I. A 1904 West Point graduate with lots of intelligence experience in World War I and extensive time in the Pacific, he was expected to take on some of the most important commands and win.


And initially, it looked like that would happen, but two of the biggest commands of the war slipped through his fingers. He was assigned to lead the invasion of North Africa when America was ready to deploy forces across the Atlantic, but was recalled to take another mission. He was later assigned to lead the invasion of Japan…until the atomic bombs made it unnecessary.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
General Chiang Kai-shek, Madam Chiang Kai-shek, and Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell celebrate the day after the Doolittle Raid strikes Tokyo. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense Capt. Fred L. Eldridge)

Instead, Stilwell spent most of the war in what was an important backwater, the Chinese-Burma-India Theater. Stilwell was in the middle of preparing Operation Gymnast, the landings of North Africa which would later be conducted as Operation Torch, when he learned that he was on the short list to command U.S. forces in CBI.

Stilwell didn’t want the job. He hoped to invade North Africa. From there, he would have a decent shot at commanding the European theater or at least all troops taking the fight to Italy.

This was a reasonable expectation. Operation Gymnast became Operation Torch and was passed to then-Brig. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s success in North Africa led to an appointment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe. A few years later, he used his status as a war hero to run for president.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell eats C-rations as a Christmas meal in 1943 while not-at-all wishing that he had commanded the invasion of North Africa instead of that punk kid Dwight Eisenhower. (Photo: U.S. Army)

Stilwell, meanwhile, was sent to the CBI theater where he was charged three major jobs. He was to command all U.S. forces in the theater, lead the Lend-Lease program in China, and serve as the chief of staff for Chiang Kai-shek, the Supreme Allied Commander for the China theater.

He was facing a tough job, but Stilwell dove into it. He assumed control of an integrated force in Burma in 1942 and prepared an offensive against the Japanese.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
American forces assigned to GALAHAD rest in Burma during a movement in World War II. GALAHAD would be better known by history as Merrill’s Marauders. (Photo: U.S. Army)

But it was too late for that. Before Stilwell could lay the groundwork, a new Japanese thrust overcame Chinese forces and sent them reeling back. The rest of the Allied forces in the area, mostly Americans under Stilwell, were forced to follow. This caused the loss of Burma and a severing of important logistical corridors.

The overall retreat was so disorderly that important railways were shut down thanks to crashes and traffic jams. Stilwell had to lead a group from his headquarters on vehicles and then on foot after the air corridors were closed. The vehicles eventually had to be abandoned because of the bad roads, and so Stilwell and a select group walked through the jungle out of Burma.

The group has started with 80 members and emerged from the jungle with 114, having picked up 34 strays and suffered no losses — possibly the only large group to do so.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Kachin Rangers stand in formation. (Photo: U.S. Army)

For the next two years, Stilwell had to rely on a small group of Americans leading guerrilla operations in Burma to keep the Japanese off kilter. Army Col. Carl F. Eifler led a small group of U.S. soldiers who recruited the local Kachin people into an insurgency against the Japanese. The force was credited with killing 5,428 Japanese troops and recovering 574 isolated Allied troops, mostly downed aircrews.

But Stilwell didn’t want to disrupt the Japanese in Burma, he wanted it back. In 1944, he was able to lead a force that retook the region. One of the most famous units in the effort was Merrill’s Marauders, led by Maj. Gen. Frank Merrill. Merrill was one of the survivors that left Burma with Stilwell. Merrill had survived the evacuation despite suffering a heart attack.

The Israeli Arrow shot down a SAM for its first kill
Merrill’s Marauders move through the China-Burma-India Theater on the Ledo Road. (Photo: National Archives and Records Administration)

Stilwell was finally removed from CBI in 1944, mainly due to staff and national politics. He was sent to the Ryukyu Islands where he took over the 10th Army on Okinawa. It was in this position that he was tapped to lead the invasion of Japan, Operation Downfall.

Luckily for him and his men, though not for his career and legacy, the invasion was made unnecessary by the Japanese surrendering to MacArthur in 1945.