The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity - We Are The Mighty
Intel

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity

It’s well known that cats will always land on their feet when dropped. According to this clip, those cat-like reflexes are completely lost in a weightless environment.


Along with cats the Airmen also fly pigeons in a weightless state, and some of them wound up flying upside down.

The 1947 video was part of the U.S.  Air Force’s aerospace medical research lab’s bioastronautics research in Dayton, Ohio.

Watch the full 13-minute video here, which includes pretty nifty slow-motion ejection seat footage (not using cats).

 

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Articles

Vladimir Putin’s Extraordinary Path From Soviet Slums To The World Stage

Vladimir Putin may be the wild card in world affairs right now, but he didn’t gain that influence overnight.


The Russian President’s ascension to power is filled with spies, armed conflicts, oligarchs, oil and (of course) judo.

So here’s how a onetime “nobody” climbed up the ranks to become the “World’s Most Powerful Person.”

Vladimir Putin was born in Leningrad on Oct. 7, 1952.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Putin, Age 4. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is the only child of a decorated war veteran and factory worker in the slums of Leningrad. He grew up in a Soviet Union styled communal apartment with two other families — as was typical at the time.

Source: Encyclopedia, TIME

As a teen Putin worked at his school’s radio station, where he reportedly played music by the Beatles and other Western rock bands.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

The photographer Platon — who took Putin’s infamous Time Magazine cover in 2007 — said that Paul is Putin’s favorite Beatle, and “Yesterday” is his favorite song.

However, “by [Putin’s] own account, his favorite songs are Soviet standards, not Western rock. He has been deeply conservative his whole life,” Karen Dawisha wrote in her new book, “Putin’s Kleptocracy.”

Source: Encyclopedia

Early on in life, Putin got into judo. He was his university’s judo champion in 1974.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Jedimentat44/Flickr

Former deputy finance minister and first deputy chairman of the Central Bank Sergey Alaksashenko believes that Putin’s love of judo says something about his foreign policy.

“Unlike chess, a judo fighter should not wait for the opponent’s move. His strategy is to wait until he gets a chance to execute a single quick move — and then take a step back. Successful judo fighters must anticipate their opponents’ actions, make a decisive, preemptive move and try to disable them,” he wrote in the Moscow Times.

Source: Encyclopedia

He also really loved spy novels and TV shows — especially one about a Soviet double agent.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Fictional character Stierlitz, the double-spy, portrayed by Vyacheslav Tikhonov. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin reportedly loved the popular 1960s book series turned TV series “17 Moments of Spring” starring the Soviet double-agent Max Otto von Stierlitz (né Vsevolod Vladimirovich Vladimirov) who rose up the ranks into Nazi elite during World War II.

Putin said about the series: “What amazed me most of all was how one man’s effort could achieve what whole armies could not.”

Source: Putin: Russia’s Choice 

And in a moment of life imitating art, in 1985 the KGB sent Putin to Dresden, East Germany where he lived undercover as a “Mr. Adamov.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
A former KGB prison in Potsdam. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Reportedly, Putin mastered the German language so well that he could imitate regional dialects. Unlike most KGB agents, Putin liked hanging out with Germans. He was particularly fond of the “German discipline.”

But how exactly Putin spent his time in East Germany is relatively unknown. According to the Kremlin, he was awarded the bronze medal “For Faithful Service to the National People’s Army.”

Source: Newsweek

In 1989 the Berlin wall fell, and within a year Putin was back in Leningrad where he took a job under the first democratic mayor of Leningrad, Anatoly Sobchak (who was Putin’s former law professor.)

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
The Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. (Photo: Wikimedia)

By 1991, Putin officially resigned from the KGB’s active reserve.

Sobchak took his former student with him into office, and thus Putin began a life in public government work.

Source: Kremlin

There’s a group of St. Petersburg democrats who believe that Putin was assigned to the mayor’s office by the KGB … but there is no definitive proof.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Anatoly Sobchak, standing. (Photo: Wikimedia)

For the most part, people didn’t really care either way because they knew that they “were under surveillance” in general at the time, according to Newsweek.

Publically, Putin has never tried to deny his involvement with the KGB.

Source: Newsweek

While working under the Leningrad mayor, Putin earned the nickname “Gray Cardinal” and was “the man to see if things needed to get done.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

Putin was always behind the scenes and kept a low profile. Reportedly, he was “the man to see if things needed to get done” and “Sobchak’s indispensable man.”

Source: Barbarians of Wealth: Protecting Yourself from Today’s Financial Attilas

Additionally, Putin was once investigated for “allegations of favoritism in granting import and export licenses.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: World Economic Forum/Flickr

… but the case was dismissed pretty quickly “due to lack of evidence.”

Back in the early 1990s, Putin was in charge of a deal where $100 million worth of raw materials would be exported in exchange for food for the citizens of St. Petersburg. Although the materials were exported, the St. Petersburg citizens never got the food.

Reportedly, Putin was the one who signed off on the deal — but the Kremlin denies this.

Source: Barbarians of Wealth: Protecting Yourself from Today’s Financial Attilas

When Sobchak lost the re-election for mayor, the victor offered Putin a job. However, Putin turned it down saying: “It’s better to be hanged for loyalty than be rewarded for betrayal.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Putin and Yakovlev meeting again in the future, 2000. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin was the campaign manager for Sobchak’s re-election. Vladimir Yakovlev, who had the support of the powerful Moscow mayor, ran against Sobchak and won. He offered Putin a gig in his office, but Putin declined it.

Source: Newsweek

Next up: the big leagues. In 1996 Putin and his family relocated to Moscow, where he quickly climbed up the ladder and became the head of the FSB.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Putin as the FSB director, dated January 1, 1998. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin held a variety jobs in Moscow from 1996 to 1999, eventually ending up as the head of the FSB (aka the KGB’s successor.)

“In July 1998, Yeltsin named Putin head of the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB. It was a job the president would have given only to the most trusted of aides,” according to Newsweek.

Source: Kremlin

Interestingly, Putin isn’t particularly fond of Moscow. He considers it to be “a European city.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

utin has said about the Russian capital: “I can’t say that I didn’t love Moscow. I just loved St. Petersburg more. But Moscow, it’s completely obvious — it’s a European city.”

Source: Kremlin

 

And on top of his rapid career growth, Putin allegedly still found time to defend his economics thesis.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
St Petersburg Mining Institute. (Photo: Wikimedia)

“Despite the workload, in 1997 he defended his Ph.D thesis in economics in the St. Petersburg State Mining Institute,” according to the Kremlin.

However, Putin’s economics expertise has been called into question.

The man who used to be the “Kremlin’s Banker,” Sergei Pugachev, said: “Vladimir Putin does not understand economics. He does not like it. It is dry. It’s boring to hear these reports, to read them.”

Source: Kremlin

In August 1999, President Boris Yeltsin appointed Putin the prime minister. One month later, Putin’s popularity rating was at 2%.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Boris Yeltsin, then-president and Putin, then-prime minister, in December 1999. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin was the fifth Prime Minister in less than two years, and nobody believed Yeltsin when he declared Putin as his successor.

In fact, everyone was expecting Yevgeny Primakov to be the next president because he had a more impressive career and was a “friend of everyone from Madeleine Albright to Saddam Hussein.”

Source: Newsweek

And then — seemingly out of nowhere — Yelstin stepped down as president and named Putin the acting president on New Year’s in 1999.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Boris Yeltsin being awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland 1st Class, 2001. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Many people believed that Yeltsin propelled Putin to presidency in order to protect himself: The war in Chechnya was starting to curdle, and his ratings were starting to drop.

Interestingly, one of Putin’s first moves was to pardon Yeltsin “immunity from criminal or administrative investigations, including protection of his papers, residence and other possessions from search and seizure.”

Source: New York Times

In his first speech as acting president, Putin promised freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of the press, the right to private property …

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Putin’s first public speech as Russia’s Acting President, December 31,1999. (Photo: YouTube)

The exact quote from his speech is:

“I want to warn that by any attempts to go beyond the Russian laws, beyond the Constitution of Russia, will be strongly suppressed. Freedom of speech. Freedom of conscience. Freedom of mass media. Property rights. These basic principles of the civilized society will be safe under the protection of the state.

You can watch the whole speech here on YouTube.

During his first presidential term, Putin focused primarily on domestic affairs. He had two items on the agenda: the war with Chechnya and the Yeltsin-era oligarchs.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Alexei Makhotin, an internal service colonel who fought in Chechnya, being given the title the title of Hero of Russia at a state award ceremony. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Putin inherited Russia during a particularly complicated time. The country was in the midst of a conflict with Chechnya — a region that’s officially considered a Russian subject.

Additionally, Yeltsin-era oligarchs were increasingly interested in expanding their political influence.

Source: The Guardian

Putin recognized that the Yeltsin-era oligarchs had the potential to be more powerful than him … so he struck a deal with them.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Boris Berezovsky. (Photo: AJ Berezovsky/Flickr)

“In July of [2000], Putin told the oligarchs that he would not interfere with their businesses or renationalize state resources as long as they stayed out of politics — that is, as long as they did not challenge or criticize the president,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Source: The Council on Foreign RelationsThe Guardian.

And then Putin established his reputation as a “man of action” with his handling of the Second Chechen War.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
A farewell ceremony for the 331st Airborne Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division withdrawn from Chechnya. (Photo: Wikimedia)

In 2002, a Moscow theatre was seized by 40 Chechen militants, who were led by the warlord Movsar Barayev, and 129 out of the 912 hostages died during this three-day ordeal.

This was a critical moment for Putin, and many expected his domestic approval to plummet. But his “ruthless handling of the siege and his refusal to negotiate with the hostage-takers further shored up his reputation as a man of action.”

His approval rating was up at 83% after it was all over.

Source: BBC

In 2004, Putin was re-elected for a second term. He continued to focus on domestic affairs, but drew major criticisms for his crackdowns on the media.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in her apartment lobby after she wrote about corruption in the Russian army with respect to Chechnya. Many in the Western media criticized Putin for failing to protect the media.

Those accused of the murder “testified that Akhmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovksy (one of the Yeltsin-era oligarchs) could be the clients, who ordered the murder of Anna Politkovskaya,” according to TASS.

Source: Independent

But overall, Putin was well-liked. During his first two terms, the Russian economy grew at an incredible rate.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
The Russian economy since the fall of the Soviet Union. (Photo: Wikimedia)

During Putin’s first two terms, Russia’s GDP went up 70%, and investments went up by 125%.

“Russia’s GDP in 2007 reached the 1990 level, which means that the country has overcome the consequences of the economic crisis that devastated the 1990s,” following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But Putin’s Russia was really lucky in that the country largely relied on oil. (The recent drop in oil prices reflects how much of a difference it makes.)

Source: Sputnik News

In 2008, Dmitry Medvedev was elected president. One day later, he made Putin the new Prime Minister … And then Russia got clobbered by the financial crisis.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Medvedev and Merkel in 2008. (Photo: Wikimedia)

When the global financial crisis hit, things got really got bad. The Russian economy was slammed particularly hard because it relied heavily on Western investment.

Additionally, the financial crisis really showed just how dependent the Russian economy is on oil and gas, and how intertwined the industry was with the country’s political economy, according to the Brookings Institute.

Source: Brookings Institute

In that same year, Russia got involved in a five-day international conflict — the Russo-Georgian War.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Border between Russia and Georgia. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The Russo-Georgia conflict involving Russia, Georgia, and the two regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The two regions have been trying to get formal independence since the 1990s — Russia recognizes the independence, which has been condemned by Western nations.

“After the 2008 conflict, Moscow declared that it would formally recognize the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia’s allies Nicaragua and Venezuela followed suit, as did a number of small Pacific island states,” according to the BBC.

Internationally, South Ossetia is still considered to be “officially part of Georgia.” And Georgia considers Abkhazia to be a “breakaway region.”

Source: BBC

Fast forward to 2012: Putin wins his third presidential election with 63.6% of the vote. (This one’s a six-year term, rather than four.)

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Putin’s 2012 inauguration. (Photo: Wikimedia)

There was some controversy over this election. The constitutionality of his third term was called into question, and critics believed that there was electoral fraud.

However, officially, Putin registered nearly 64% of the vote.

Source: The Guardian

Two years later, in March 2014, Putin annexed Crimea in one of the most complicated and controversial geopolitical moves of the year.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Ceremony signing the laws on admitting Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia, 21 March 2014. (Photo: Wikimedia)

The ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych “sent a letter to” Putin “requesting that he use Russia’s military to restore law and order in Ukraine.”

The Russian Parliament granted Putin “broad authority to use military force in response to the political upheaval in Ukraine that dislodged a Kremlin ally and installed a new, staunchly pro-Western government, the Ukrainian government in Kiev threatened war if Russia sent troops further into Ukraine,” reported The New York Times.

On March 2, Russia took complete control of Crimea, and on March 16, an “overwhelming majority” of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia.

Source: NBC News

Most recently, Putin has started exploring a relationship with China — mostly because Russia needs other trading partners following the Western sanctions.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

Russia has a deal to build a $70 billion gas pipeline with China. The two nations are also considering building “a high-speed rail line thousands of kilometers from Moscow to Beijing.”

“Isolated over Ukraine, Russia is relying on China for the investment it needs to avert a recession,” three people involved in policy planning told Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg News

No one’s quite sure what Putin’s next move will be, but since he’s considering a fourth term, we may be seeing much more from him until at least 2024 …

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

Back when Putin was a deputy mayor in St. Petersburg, his inner circle cronies referred to him as “Boss.” Today, they refer to him as “Tsar,” and Forbes just named him the most powerful person in 2014.

And there’s no telling what people will call him next.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

Thailand Has An Aircraft Carrier With No Aircraft

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy


For a brief period in the late 1990s, Thailand was the only country in southeast Asia that possessed one of the ultimate symbols of military strength: an aircraft carrier.

Its carrier, the HTMS Chakri Naruebet, was meant to be a point of pride for Thailand and symbolize the developing country’s power.

Also Read: 37 Awesome Photos Of Life On A US Navy Carrier

Then the late 1990s Asian financial crisis hit Thailand. Bangkok’s grand plans for its carrier were significantly hobbled. Commissioned in 1997, the same year the financial crisis struck the country, the Chakri Naruebet — which means “Sovereign of the Chakri dynasty,” the Thai monarchy’s ruling family — was mostly consigned to sitting in port due to lack of funding.

Now, according to The Motley Fool, Asia has plenty of aircraft carriers, as China, India, Japan, and South Korea all have carriers of different sizes. Not wanting to be left out, Singapore is on its way to constructing a carrier too.

All this competition has only made Thailand’s once-proud carrier look like a bizarre reminder of the country’s dysfunction, rather than the symbol of growing prestige that it was intended to be.

According to The Diplomat, Thailand’s AV-8S Matador (Harrier) accompanying jet fleet was withdrawn from service in 2006, leaving Bangkok with an aircraft carrier without aircraft. Thailand experienced a military coup that same year, along with a second one in 2014.

Thailand ordered its aircraft carrier from Spain in 1992. The vessel was commissioned five years later, in 1997

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

Almost immediately, Thailand ran into budget constraints. The Chakri Naruebet was put to port for the better part of each month and in 2006 its associated air wing was withdrawn. The Harriers are now over 30 years old.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy

Even while operational, the carrier has been outclassed by the larger vessels of India and China, not to mention the US’s super carrier fleet pictured below. It’s now the smallest functioning aircraft carrier in the world.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: PH3 Alex C. Witte/US Navy

The Chakri Naruebet was built to carry 9 Harrier aircraft and 14 helicopters, with a 605-person crew. Some of those planes are decades old, and the carrier reportedly doesn’t have a functioning anti-aircraft defense system.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Photo: Wikimedia

Still, despite its shortcomings, the Chakri Naruebet has proved useful in humanitarian missions. The Diplomat notes that the carrier was used after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as well as in rescue operations after flooding in Thailand in 2010 and 2011.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

ISIS fighter with a GoPro camera films himself getting shot

We can thank an unlucky ISIS fighter for giving us a firsthand perspective on what it’s like to be shot in the grape.


First-person footage shot on a GoPro worn by the fighter shows the moment he’s shot during a firefight with Iraqi soldiers, according to Funker 530, a military video site.

“The full length video (which was deleted by YouTube) shows evidence that he was struck in the head by the round, and at that moment the world became a slightly better place,” Will writes.

Watch:

NOW: This awesome GoPro video takes you inside an F-16 flying over Alaska

Intel

This guy on roller blades firing an AK-47 is the best combat footage you’ll see all day

If you need to cross a danger area, why run when you can just skate?


That seemed to be the reasoning shown in this video, which purportedly shows a Libyan rebel wearing roller blades in the middle of a firefight. The fighter points his AK and fires off a few rounds as he crosses the street, which the opposing side can probably claim as a drive-by shooting.

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52x9zn79ovE

(h/t Funker 530)

Intel

Russia may be using directed-energy weapons on US troops

At the end of April 2021, intelligence reports indicated the use of directed-energy attacks on American troops over the course of the previous year. Politico reported that two groups of lawmakers were briefed about an investigation into the use of the weapons, both in writing and in person. 

According to those intelligence briefings, the Pentagon believes intelligence points to the energy attacks on American service members in Syria and they believe that Russia is responsible. Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, later told Congress he had seen “no evidence” of the attack.

In the fall of 2020, a number of U.S. troops in Syria began presenting with flu-like symptoms, the Politico report says. Similar symptoms have affected American diplomatic officials in Havana, Cuba since 2016. The “Havana Syndrome,” as it’s come to be called, is believed to be caused by a kind of directed-energy weapon. 

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during the 2015 Directed Energy Summit in McLean, Va. Mabus spoke about the role the Department of the Navy has in energy innovation, as well as the broader relationship between energy and national security. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)

The symptoms of those affected in Cuba not only include flu-like symptoms, but far-ranging and more severe symptoms. American diplomats have reported ringing and pressure in their ears, loss of equilibrium, and persistent headaches. The worst reports confirm long-term brain damage. 

When U.S. troops in the vicinity of Russians began to mysteriously develop the same early symptoms, the Pentagon allegedly set up a task force to investigate. Politico says the details about the attacks and the suspected weapons systems aren’t clear.

What is known is that the attack used concentrated beams of electromagnetic energy, high-frequency radio waves, particle beams, or microwaves to hit their targets.The attacks disrupt electronic equipment and cause neurological and other kinds of injuries. 

In Havana, researchers discovered the effects of the weapons can create air pockets in the fluids near the inner ear. Those bubbles float in the paths that carry blood to the brain. Once the cavities reach the brain, they can cause stroke-like effects.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has declined to comment about the reports but insiders told Politico that Congress has been briefed about Russia’s use of the weapons in Syria, but the only response from Congress came from Sen. Jim Inhofe, who only said that they would be talking about it and that discussion would be classified. 

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Dr. Chris Lloyd – a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) engineer – briefs directed energy capabilities at the second DoD Lab Day held at the Pentagon. Innovations from 63 Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force laboratories and engineering centers were displayed during the collaborative event. Navy leaders have made directed-energy weapons a top priority to counter asymmetric threats.

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, and without any direct intelligence of the weapons involved, it’s difficult to know for certain if the attacks on Americans in Syria are really directed-energy attacks or if they are in any way similar to the Cuba attacks. 

Not much is known about the energy attacks on the U.S. embassy in Havana. Without knowing for certain the weapon exists, it’s unlikely the United States would blame Russia for an attack that could just be an unrelated illness. 

Scientists and researchers conducted thorough tests on more than 100 other embassy personnel in Cuba. Since some of the embassy workers were attacked in their homes, they also tested other people living in their respective buildings. No one else appeared to have been the victim, as they displayed none of the neurological damage or symptoms associated with the mysterious “Havana Syndrome.” 

The team that investigated those attacks ruled out any kind of head injury, instead finding that 100 percent of those who claimed to be affected suddenly began suffering from acute onset balance disorders, cognitive issues, and other neurological problems.

Featured image: Image created for the Directed Energy Weapons section of the “Competing in Space” unclassified report, depicting threats that can temporarily impair or permanently damage space-based systems.

Intel

DARPA’s new jetpack is a flightless sci-fi bummer

When you hear the word “jetpack,” you picture someone zooming through the sky like the Rocketeer. But DARPA and Arizona State University’s version of the jetpack is a complete let down.


“We’re not able to fly with our jetpack,” said graduate engineer Jason Kerestes, in a video from Arizona State University. “We have instantaneous thrust and we can pretty much trigger it to allow for faster movement and agile motions.”

The pack is designed to enable troops to run a mile in four minutes, but it doesn’t look like they’re quite there yet. At 3:07 of the video, the engineers say to a runner that his time improvement with the jetpack was only three seconds.

Watch the jetpack in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=290REmBFuIE

NOW: This teenage genius created the best prosthetic ever

OR: The military department you didn’t know Samsung had

Intel

Rare color footage shows the behind the scenes of the Japanese surrender 70 years ago

The official Japanese surrender ceremony took place aboard the USS Missouri anchored in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.  Here’s some amazing B-roll uncovered by the Naval History and Heritage Command that shows behind-the-scenes stuff like the Japanese delegation coming aboard American warships on their way to the ceremony as well as what it looked like to the hundreds of sailors perched above the main deck when it all went down. The ceremony was a veritable who’s who event with military rock stars of the day like MacArthur, Nimitz, and Halsey in attendance. (There’s no sound on the video, but it’s worth the time.)


Intel

Happy 240th birthday, US Army!

The Army is celebrating it’s 240th birthday today (June 14). Formed in 1775 by an act of the Continental Congress, the Army has grown from a ragtag group of state militias to one of the strongest combat forces in history. Check out this video to learn more about how the Army began and what its missions are today:


NOW: The are the Army’s top five photos of 2014

OR: Watch Stephen Colbert’s hilarious stint in Army basic training

Intel

This video shows that the King Stallion is an absolute beast of a helicopter

A helicopter doesn’t fly; it beats the air into submission.


With the capacity to lift 88,000 lbs, the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a true workhorse. It’s primed to be the premier lift helicopter by leveraging the lessons learned from its predecessors, the CH-53A, D and E.

The new metal beast of the air had its first flight on October 27, 2015. The 55-minute flight at Sikorsky’s West Palm Beach flight test center was a real milestone considering the technical delays since 2014, mainly from the main gearbox.

The King Stallion will replace the current largest and heaviest helicopter in the military, the Marine Corps’ CH-53E Super Stallion, which has been in service since 1980. Like the CH-53E, the King Stallion will also serve in the Corps. Although it’s not a game changer, it’s an overall improvement in power, speed, lift, structure, and more.

Here’s its first performance:

YouTube: Sikorsky Aircraft

Intel

Here’s what it looked like the last time Israeli forces launched a major ground offensive against Hamas in Gaza

  • Israel and Hamas have exchanged a lot of fire in a severe escalation of violence in recent days.
  • The fighting is some of the worst since a 2014 conflict in which thousands were killed.
  • The 2014 conflict involved a major ground offensive, and it’s possible there will be another now.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The deadly exchange of fire between Israel and Hamas that has already killed almost 100 people in recent days is some of the most intense fighting since the 2014 Gaza War.

Simmering tensions boiled over this week as Hamas unleashed hundreds of rockets on Israeli cities and Israel launched hundreds of airstrikes on Hamas positions in response.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Israeli tanks on the Israel-Gaza border, April 24, 2021. 

Israel has started moving troops toward the border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to an Israel Defense Force spokesperson, raising the possibility of an invasion.

“There are troops that are being moved towards the borders,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus explained to the BBC, calling it a “preparatory move” so that Israeli forces will be ready for “all eventualities and an escalation.”NEWSLETTERStart your day with the biggest stories in politics and the economy. Sign up for 10 Things in Politics.Email addressBy clicking ‘Sign up’, you agree to receive marketing emails from Insider as well as other partner offers and accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Israel responded to a barrage of rockets Thursday with more airstrikes and artillery shells as it called up thousands of reservists for a possible invasion, The Associated Press reports.

The last major Israeli ground offensive into Gaza began on July 17, 2014 — 10 days into a serious conflict with Hamas that would last 50. The ground invasion was the expansion of Operation Protective Edge, which began on July 7 in response to Hamas rocket fire following smaller clashes and elevated tensions.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
An Israeli armored convoy outside the central Gaza Strip, July 19, 2014. 

The invasion that summer was the first significant armed incursion into Gaza since 2009, when Israel and Hamas fought a horrible three-week fight that took over 1,400 Palestinian and 13 Israeli lives.

When the Israeli invasion began, casualties from the fighting, which had been limited primarily to rocket fire and airstrikes, were already in the hundreds, The Washington Post reported at the time.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Israeli mobile artillery fires at the Gaza Strip, July 18, 2014. 

“We have hit Hamas hard and we will continue to hit Hamas hard,” the Israeli military said on social media as the invasion began. Hamas said the Israelis had “taken a dangerous step,” warning that “the occupation forces will pay a high price.”

Numerous Israeli infantry and artillery units, supported by air and naval assets, entered the Gaza Strip focused on crippling Hamas ability to fire rockets at Israel and destroying the dozens of tunnels used to infiltrate Israel and launch assaults.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Israeli tanks on the Israel-Gaza Strip border, July 20, 2014. 

Dozens of Palestinians were killed on the first day of the ground offensive, both combatants and civilians, Reuters reported at the time, citing Palestinian and Israeli officials.

Similar to the Biden administration’s official statements on the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, President Barack Obama acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense but said “we are hopeful that Israel will continue to approach this process in a way that minimizes civilian casualties.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Smoke rises from buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood of Gaza City, July 20, 2014 

The fighting that followed caused significant devastation inside the Gaza strip.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Palestinian medics in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood that came under fire amid Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014. 

Almost two weeks into the conflict, the number of fatalities had risen to nearly 400, almost double what it was a few days prior, with Palestinians making up the overwhelming majority of the deaths, The Associated Press reported.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Palestinian medics carry a man killed in Gaza City’s Shijaiyah neighborhood during Israel’s offensive against Hamas, July 20, 2014. 

Among Israel’s casualties, the Israeli military also saw losses in the fighting.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Israeli soldiers carry a wounded comrade on a stretcher during the offensive in Gaza, July 20, 2014. 

Israeli troops remained in Gaza until early August, roughly four weeks after the conflict started.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Israeli soldiers walk outside the Gaza Strip as they proceed towards Gaza August 2, 2014 

The official end of hostilities, however, did not come for almost another month. Israel and the Palestinian militant forces agreed to an unconditional ceasefire on August 26, 2014.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Israeli soldiers look toward Gaza from Israel, August 3, 2014. 

“Palestinians and Israelis were profoundly shaken by the events of the summer of 2014,” a UN report on the bloody conflict said. “In Gaza, in particular, the scale of the devastation was unprecedented.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Palestinian women walk past a mosque and water tower damaged by Israeli strikes in Khuzaa, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014. 

UN investigators said that Israel conducted more than 6,000 airstrikes during the conflict while Palestinian militants fired over 6,600 rockets and mortars at Israel.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Palestinians on the remains of their home in the Shejaia neighborhood, hit by Israeli strikes, in the east of Gaza City, August 5, 2014. 

The report said that 2,251 Palestinians died during the fighting.

Among the dead were 1,462 Palestinian civilians, including 299 women and 551 children. Another 11,231 Palestinians were wounded, with at least 10% suffering some form of permanent disability. Israel was critical of some of the report’s findings.

In Israel, six civilians and 67 soldiers were killed, and 1,600 people, including 270 children, suffered injuries as a “tragic result of the hostilities,” the report said.

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
Palestinians on the wreckage of a home destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 2, 2014 

The UN team acknowledged that the casualty figures collected by the UN, Israel, the Palestinians, and non-governmental organizations vary.

“Regardless of the exact proportion of civilians to combatants,” the UN report argued, “the high incidence of loss of human life and injury in Gaza is heartbreaking.”

The Air Force once tested cats in zero gravity
A Palestinian woman walks past buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 3, 2014 

There are concerns that another ground offensive could also have devastating results.

Speaking to Insider about past and present conflicts, Israel Defense Force spokeswoman Capt. Libby Weiss told Insider Thursday that “after every operation that the IDF has, there is an extensive process of learning, understanding what took place, and applying those lessons to training and to better preparedness for the future.”

She said that the challenge is that Hamas operates in and around civilian infrastructure in a densely populated area, making it difficult for Israeli forces to target Hamas and ensure its own defense without sometimes affecting civilians.

That said, Weiss stressed that “when it comes to our practices in the Strip, we are obviously very concerned about the impact on the civilian population within Gaza.”

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

Intel

Video: The incredible story of the SR-71 Blackbird in 3 minutes

No military aircraft – past or present – can beat the altitude and airspeed performance of the SR-71 Blackbird.


It’s design and performance evolved out of necessity: “We had a need to know what was going on in other countries,” Jeff Duford, a historian at the National Museum of the US Air Force, said. “And the way that we were going to do that was having a photographic aircraft that could fly very high and very fast. And much faster than the U2, which proceeded it. The SR-71 was that answer for the US Air Force and for the United States.”

Here’s the remarkable story of the SR-71 in a 3 minute mini-doc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9hSGGEOd9Y
Intel

Elon Musk’s SpaceX wins 2 Pentagon contracts for nearly $160 million to launch missions with its Falcon 9 rockets

  • SpaceX won two contracts for $159.7 million to launch US military craft with its Falcon 9 rockets.
  • The Department of Defense also awarded the United Launch Alliance two contracts for $224.4 million.
  • They are expected to be take place by the end of 2023.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Pentagon announced Tuesday that it had signed two contracts with Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, for more than $159 million.

Under the agreements, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets will launch two separate missions, the US Department of Defense said in a statement.

The two contracts come to $159.7 million and are expected to be completed by the end of 2023, the Pentagon said. It did not disclose the cost of each individual mission.

The launches will take place in Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Florida, it added.

Another launch provider, the United Launch Alliance, was also awarded two Pentagon contracts Tuesday for $224.2 million, the DOD said.

The ULA, which is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, will also provide its Vulcan Centaur rockets for launch services.

The ULA launches are also scheduled before the end of 2023.

This is the third time SpaceX has signed an agreement with the Pentagon. In October, the company won a $149 million contract to make missile-tracking satellites for the DOD – SpaceX’s first government contract to build satellites.

In July, SpaceX won 40% of an agreement with the US military to launch new rockets for the Space Force. The other 60% went to the ULA.

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

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