Sometimes landing a plane looks much different than a smooth glide in until the wheels touch down.
During a “combat landing” that U.S. pilots perfected in Vietnam, the plane basically nose-dived in at a high-rate of speed and pulled up at the last second. The maneuver helped them avoid enemy fire. Now, it’s known as the “Sarajevo Approach” — so named for a similar landing pilots had to make in the war-torn nation of Bosnia so they could avoid missile strikes, according to Der Spiegel.
It sounds pretty terrifying, and it looks that way from the ground. But seeing it from the pilot’s perspective is even worse. In a video posted to the Facebook page Airplane, we get a sense of what one of these approaches looks like, which takes only about 30 seconds:
Barracks life is far from luxurious. A typical room resembles a college dorm, minus functioning amenities, such as hot water. However, this self-reliable Marine proves that he can bring luxury to himself.
The submarine was spotted at the Sinpo South Shipyard in North Korea, which has seen significant infrastructural improvement recently.
Officials at the U.S. Korea Institute at SAIS speculate that a “shorter naval version of the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile, a Nodong medium-range ballistic missile, or naval versions of the solid-fuelled KN-02 short-range ballistic missile” could be the missile used aboard the submarine.
Of course, a ballistic missile submarine would pose a new risk to South Korea. However, the analysts at Johns Hopkins pointed out that the imagery doesn’t mean the North Koreans are necessarily close to completing the project.
Much like North Koreas ICBM program, experts believe this sort of technology is still lacking north of the 38th parallel.
A masked ISIS fighter speaking perfect Hebrew threatened to “eradicate this disease [of Jews] from the world” last month, so a group of Israeli comedians have responded — with mockery.
“You ran to Syria because you couldn’t find work,” one comic says in a YouTube video response, which is shot much like a rap battle.
The comedians were responding to a video released by ISIS (also known as ISIL, Islamic State, or Daesh), in which a fighter addresses the Jewish state speaking in what The Washington Post referred to as “impeccable Hebrew.”
The real war between ISIS and Israel, the militant claimed, “hasn’t started yet, and what has happened to you in the past is child’s play in comparison with what will happen to you in the near future, God willing.”
In the response video titled “Escalation 2015 – Battle Daesh (ISIS), five Israeli comics dress in the uniforms of the Israeli Defense Forces and poke fun at the amateur way he holds his AK-47, and that he is threatening the powerful Israeli army “with a knife you stole from your mother’s kitchen.”
“You ran to Syria because you couldn’t find work,” one raps. “You want to be Abu Ali? Don’t speak behind our backs, tell it to the faces of five border police,” he continues, referring to the impressive record of border police officers in dispatching terrorists.
“Don’t come with your jihad – a year ago you served me hummus!” he adds.
You can watch the video below (it’s all in Hebrew):
What started out as a lone dusty airfield in the middle of a remote desert in China is being built up at a furious pace. The airstrip raised eyebrows when the Chinese government landed its first unmanned space aircraft there in 2020. Now intelligence analysts are wondering: is this the Chinese “Area 51?”
Somewhere near Nevada’s Groom Lake and the Nevada Test and Training Range is a top secret U.S. Air Force installation where the most advanced aviation and weapons testing takes place. It was where the U.S. Air Force built and tested the U-2 spy plane used to conduct photographic reconnaissance over the Soviet Union during the Cold War, as well as any number of other unheard-of technologies.
Because of its secretive nature and the wonder tech (likely) developed there, it acquired a reputation and mythology that involved conspiracy theories, UFO sightings, and of course, allegations of alien activity. How much of that is true is open for debate, but what is certain is that some of the greatest Air Force aircraft of the Cold War (and beyond) got their start at Area 51.
The U-2, the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-2 Spirit and the F-117 Nighthawk were all developed at Area 51. Not a bad track record for any facility. It’s no wonder the area is so top secret the United States wouldn’t even officially admit it existed for around 70 years.
When China landed a reuseable, unmanned spacecraft at a remote area in the Taklamakan Desert, in China’s Xinjiang province, it was the first notable activity anyone ever saw in the area. Now, reconnaissance satellites are detecting a frenzy of activity and new buildings at the site, leading many to believe that it’s a facility designed for China to create and build its own wonder weapons.
The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) outlined a plan to develop commercial satellite launch services and to perfect a reusable space plane at a conference in October 2020. The announcement included plans for lowering the costs and increasing the frequency of space launches.
The month before, China launched an experimental space aircraft with a two-stage Long March 2F launch vehicle that was successfully delivered into orbit. The concept is similar to the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B space plane, which was currently in orbit at the time of the Chinese launch. Not much else was known about the mission until the aircraft landed in Xinjiang.
Like the USAF’s X-37B, no one really knows what the aircraft did while in orbit, but some believe it may have launched a secret satellite or other spacecraft. When the aircraft landed, the Taklamakan Desert facility was little more than the landing strip, but more recent photographs provided to NPR show built up facilities in the form of an equilateral triangle.
Once large hangars that could house experimental aircraft are built, the world may have a better idea of what’s going on in Xinjiang. Until then, everyone outside of the Chinese government is left to speculate.
China has a lot of catching up to do in terms of military power and prowess – and it’s been working on it. On top of creating its own homegrown aircraft carrier and its own fifth-generation fighter, it’s rumored to be creating its own stealth bomber (dubbed the H-20). A remote desert airfield might be exactly what the Chinese Communist Party needs to keep its developments a secret.
Feature image: satellite image of Taklamakan Desert/ Wikimedia Commons
Encounters far from home in April underscored the US Coast Guard’s growing overseas role, which is set to expand as more attention and resources are dedicated to countering China.
On April 2, an Iranian ship repeatedly sailed in front of Coast Guard patrol boats Wrangell and Monomoy at “an unnecessarily close range” as they operated in the Persian Gulf, which the US deemed “unsafe and unprofessional.”
Three weeks later, Iranian vessels again approached US ships — Navy patrol boat Firebolt and Coast Guard patrol boat Baranof — in the Gulf. After verbal warnings to the Iranian ships went unheeded, Firebolt fired warning shots.
Wrangell, Monomoy, and Baranof are all based in Bahrain as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside the US, which was set up in 2002 to support operations in the Middle East.
Hamilton had escorted two cutters sailing from the US to join Patrol Forces Southwest Asia but remained in Europe, sailing into the Black Sea on April 27. Russia’s Defense Ministry said that day that its Black Sea Fleet was monitoring Hamilton’s “actions.”
Hamilton is the first Coast Guard vessel to enter the Black Sea since 2008 and is “emblematic of our presence in the Black Sea,” Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia, said in response to a question from Insider at an Atlantic Council event on April 29.
The Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Defense Department, but it often works with other branches of the US military and with foreign militaries.
“We particularly appreciate the Coast Guard’s ability to cooperate with other equivalent services … around the world, but in this case in the Black Sea,” Cooper said.
Cooper echoed Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, who said in March that while the service hadn’t operated in Europe “in a good number of years,” the deployment suited its ability to cooperate and compete.
“I think the Coast Guard brings access. The Coast Guard brings a different look. The Coast Guard brings some unique, complimentary capabilities,” Schultz told reporters after his annual address to the service.
‘We’re going to push them out’
The Coast Guard often ventures long distances to enforce US laws and help other countries assert their own.
Coast Guard ships patrol the eastern Pacific Ocean to intercept drug smugglers. Cutters were deployed to Africa’s Atlantic coast to assist countries there in 2019 and 2020 for the first time in nearly a decade. In late 2020, a cutter was deployed on a South Atlantic patrol for the first time “in recent memory.”
The Coast Guard’s presence in the western Pacific Ocean is also increasing amid broader competition with China.
Since mid-2020, the service has stationed three new fast-response cutters in Guam, a US territory. Those ships have “about a 10,000-mile reach,” Schultz said in March.
“We’re going to push them out to some of the outer reaches of Oceania. We’re going to team them up with national security cutters on occasion,” Schultz added, referring to the service’s largest cutters, which include Hamilton.
Many recent Coast Guard operations have focused on countering illegal fishing, a growing source of friction with China. In December, a Coast Guard cutter helped Palau apprehend a Chinese vessel suspected of illegal fishing.
Coast Guard ships also work with the US Navy in the region. In May 2019, a Coast Guard cutter transited the Taiwan Strait for the first time, sailing alongside a Navy destroyer.
“I just think those lines are going to thicken,” Schultz said of Navy-Coast Guard cooperation.
The Navy’s operational tempo “has been very high for a considerable period … so it’s not surprising that they’d reach out and try to supplement” with the Coast Guard, said Michael Desch, a professor and international-security expert at Notre Dame.
But the Coast Guard’s more overt role comes as the US military’s service branches balance resources between current missions and modernization.
While the Coast Guard is very capable and often better suited than the Navy to work with foreign forces, the growing workload should raise questions about the scope of US commitments, Desch said.
The recent encounters “seem to be indicative of the fact that we’re being stretched by all the things that we’re doing,” Desch told Insider. “Rather than throwing everything we’ve got but the kitchen sink at some of these missions, we ought to ask ourselves, are these missions really essential?”
Top U.S. and United Kingdom defense officials signed an agreement this week to merge some military forces in 2021 to form a combined carrier strike group.
Marine CorpsF-35B Joint Strike Fighter aircraft and the Navy destroyer The Sullivans will deploy as part of the strike group, former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller announced Monday. The U.K.-U.S. combined strike group will be led by the U.K. aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth.
The agreement was signed by Miller and U.K. Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace. The strike group is scheduled to sail out of Portsmouth, U.K., later this year.
“This deployment underscores the strength of our bilateral ties and demonstrates U.S.-U.K. interoperability, both of which are key tenets of the U.S. National Defense Strategy,” the Pentagon’s announcement on the agreement states.Advertisement
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in November that the task force will operate in the Mediterranean Sea, Indian Ocean and East Asia.
“Next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will lead a British and allied task group on our most ambitious deployment for two decades,” he said. “… We shall forward-deploy more of our naval assets in the world’s most important regions, protecting the shipping lanes that supply our nation.”
Ten Marine F-35B Lightning II fighter jets embarked on the Queen Elizabeth in September as part of a training deployment. The embark was in preparation for this year’s full-length deployment, Marine officials said last year.
Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder, the former head of Marine Corps aviation, said in 2019 that the F-35 embark would serve as a “new norm” for how the U.S. will conduct operations with maritime partners.
Wallace said the deployment embodies the strength of bilateral ties between the U.S. and U.K., and reflects the depth of the vital defense and security partnership.
“I am delighted that the U.K. now possesses a 21st-century carrier strike capability, which has been greatly assisted by the unswerving support and cooperation of the United States at all levels over the past decade,” he said.
It’s just one of those things – Israel didn’t take responsibility, but everyone seems to know it was Israel. Iran’s nuclear scientists seem to keep dying in explosions. The Natanz centrifuges keep finding ways to go out of commission, either from computer viruses, mysterious explosions, or this time, due to a blackout.
It happens so often, even Israeli media back in Tel Aviv seem to know Mossad’s work when they see it.
On April 11, 2021, centrifuges at Natanz, Iran’s main nuclear material production site suffered a catastrophic blackout, which may have been caused by an explosion. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Israeli government of sabotaging the plant with an act of “nuclear terrorism.”
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied any responsibility for the incident. Nor has it ever confirmed or denied responsibility for any one of the many Iranian nuclear scientists who have died from explosions, poisonous gas leaks, or a one-ton automated gun. At least seven Iranian nuclear scientists have met a mysterious fate since 2007.
But killing nuclear scientists haven’t been the only setbacks for the Iranian nuclear program. Aside from their deaths and the latest setback, a fire at the facility in August of 2020 caused the temporary shutdown of the Iranian enrichment program. In 2010, a virus called Stuxnet caused chaos at the facility, forcing sensitive equipment to spin out of control and overheat.
The blackout, which may sound harmless, may still have done untold damage to the centrifuges at the facility.
“Since the first-generation centrifuges are very sensitive and precise devices, it is likely that the sudden power outage damaged 5,000 of them and made them unusable,” Behrooz Bayat said in an interview with VOA Persian on Monday. Bayat is a consultant with the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. “This does not mean that they cannot be repaired, but it will take months, and Iran’s enrichment program will be postponed.”
The incident comes just days before the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin landed in Israel for a historic meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Benny Gantz. It also comes at the heels of talks between the U.S. and Iran for rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal.
“The diplomatic discussions that have been taking place … we expect them to be difficult and long,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki told Voice of America. “We have not been given any indication about a change in participation for these discussions.”
Iran stopped short of officially blaming Israel for the blackout, but has promised future retribution for the repeated attacks. Originally built in a bunker to protect it from an air attack, external forces have to get creative in hitting the Natanz facility. Iran is now rebuilding the entire facility deep inside a nearby mountain, south of the capital of Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has often described Iran as the premier threat to the nation of Israel, a sentiment echoed by many Israeli officials
“The Tehran of today poses a strategic threat to international security, to the entire Middle East and to the state of Israel,” Gantz said. “And we will work closely with our American allies to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will secure the vital interests of the world, of the United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region, and protect the state of Israel.”
Attacks on the Natanz facility or any part of Iran’s nuclear program are not likely to stop anytime soon.
Designed by a former toy maker, the Black Hornet UAV fits in a human palm and weighs the same as three pieces of paper. But don’t be fooled by its size. It has impressive capabilities as a reconnaissance drone, which is why Special Forces and U.S. infantry have begun testing it.
The tiny drone feeds surprisingly clear video to the pilot from as far as kilometer away and can bear different sensors including thermal cameras for night assaults. The video is stored on the small user station on the operator’s belt, so enemies lucky enough to catch the Hornet will not be able to see what video the pilot has captured.
See this amazing little drone in action in this video:
China has been implementing a system that looks something out of George Orwell’s 1984 called a social credit score. Yet, it has been widely accepted across the territories it operates in and applauded by the population. How can something that on paper sounds terrifying be championed by the public? Is it propaganda or does it really work?
You instantly know who will never pay back a loan
It’s hard to trust people, its harder to trust civilians when you’re a vet. We’ve all been burned by a friend or family member who needed money and tugged at our heart strings. So, we came to their aid only to be met with excuses. Now, I’m not talking about those who are genuinely having a hard time and it is hard to say when they will actually be able to pay you back. No, I’m talking about those who willingly misled people with no intention of ever paying you back. There’s a reason they couldn’t go to the bank and you should be able to know why. It’s a loan, not a gift, especially if it’s interest free.
The police can identify criminals easier
Surveillance is not uniquely communist or capitalist. Federal agencies already know everything about you. In the United States, it may not be actively observed by a person but if the need arises to investigate what you’ve been up to, the U.S. Government sure as hell has logs on your data. VPNs and The Onion Router network won’t help you against Uncle Sam. He practically invented the game of surveillance.
Using a system that knows where everyone is at all times is only a threat to criminals. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Contrary to popular belief, Joseph Goebbels did not come up with the phrase, we did. Upton Sinclair used it in 1918 in The Profits of Religion: An Essay in Economic Interpretation. The Social Credit System can reduce both violent and white-collar crimes by action or deterrent.
The government will reward you for being a good citizen
Once the person had enacted the “honest” behavior, which happened in all the “positive” reports we analyzed, the narratives ended with a virtue cascade. Take, for example, cases in which individuals found and returned lost property to an owner. Here, all four cases assigned to the topic “return lost property to owner” ended by further attributing “self-discipline”, “helpfulness”, “care-taking for others”, and a “sense of responsibility” to the protagonist as part of a virtue cascade.
University of Munich, How China’s Social Credit System Currently Defines “Good” and “Bad” Behavior
Veterans are a selfless group of people, albeit, not always approachable. We have a moral compass that points true. Veterans have integrity. The public trusts us. Veterans are law abiding citizens, even if we get into mischief from time to time. The Social Credit System rewards people who donate money to charity, return lost items to the police, and engage in selfless acts of heroism. The SCS shows who is trustworthy, honest, and hardworking. Many of the virtues valued by the CSC are virtues that beat inside the hearts of veterans anyway.
You can better gauge if someone is a potential spouse
Divorce rates for military members who have been deployed are higher: It’s 12.52% for those in the U.S. Navy, 8.9% in the Marines, 8.48% in the Army and 14.6% in Air Force, according to Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch data.
When I was in Afghanistan, I could only use the satellite phone once a month when it came to the patrol base if we were lucky. I could either call my mother or my girlfriend. They lived together while I was deployed so I could call one and speak to them both. Most deployed troops do not have the luxury of such an arrangement.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of cheating spouses. Some of you reading this may have been victims of disloyal spouses. Looking at your spouse’s Social Credit Score can give you peace of mind. When you see hers plummeting because of immoral behavior, you’re going to know why in real time.
When dating someone and getting to know them you can scan them and see immediately if they’re going to screw you over. Only unethical people would be opposed the system. With a quick scan you can see if your tinder date is just using you to score a meal or if they’re financially independent. A profile on your phone will show you if they’re in soul crushing debt or have a prison record.
You get priority access to privileges and reputable companies
As a model citizen you will get privileges like favorite interest rates on loans, first class travel tickets at better prices, rentals without a deposit and much more financially speaking. For employers, it works better than a background check. For investors, the government will show you how reputable a company is and if they’re operating in good faith. Consumers can avoid companies that are dishonest about their food safety protocols, fraudulent, and downright illegal.
A Social Credit Score is actually a good idea in theory. The system is about trust – but verify.
Destiny Monique is a Marine Corps veteran who used her military experience to break into modeling and acting. She has appeared in tons of magazines domestically and abroad and now owns her own modeling company.
In this Spotlight episode, Marine Corps veteran turned professional photographer Cedric Terrell tells Destiny Monique’s unusual transition story.
Destiny spent four years in the Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, with her service also taking her to Iraq and Kuwait. When she entered the acting and modeling industry, she knew that there was plenty of competition. So she used her military resume to her advantage, and booked plenty of magazine spreads, taking her as far as Spain, over the following years.
She took her experience with her career to start a company called Models for America. With her modeling network, she photographs models for trading cards and posters and sells the works online, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity.
Although “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart pulls no punches when talking foreign policy, specifically that which pertains to the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, he’s a strong supporter of the people serving in the military. When American Corporate Partners approached him about mentoring a veteran, he responded by creating the Veteran Immersion Program and taking on 24 veterans instead of one, according to ACP.
The program is a five-week boot camp for veterans looking to break into the entertainment industry. Participants learn first hand about the technical and creative opportunities that exist by working at The Daily Show. The program ends with a career fair with over twenty influential production organizations.
Even though Jon Stewart is ending his run with “The Daily Show,” rumor has it that he’s just getting started with helping veterans.
In the meantime, this video hosted by our very own August Dannehl and Veteran Immersion Program alumni shows the impact the program has had on those who’ve attended.