The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed - We Are The Mighty
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The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed

  • The US military delivered the last of its artillery shells carrying VX for destruction this week.
  • VX is a highly lethal and persistent nerve agent outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
  • The US hopes to eliminate all of its chemical weapons by the end of 2023 to meet its treaty goals.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US military delivered the last batch of the nation’s stockpiled 155 mm projectiles carrying VX nerve agent for destruction this week, according to the US Army Chemical Materials Activity.

Blue Grass Chemical Activity crews moved the last of the nearly 13,000 projectiles filled with the highly lethal and persistent VX nerve agent and stored at Blue Grass Army Depot to the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant, which has already destroyed 133.2 tons of chemical agent since 2019.

The Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky is one of only two remaining chemical weapons stockpile locations in the US. The other is the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. Chemical weapons destruction began at the latter in 2015.

The Blue Grass Army Depot originally stored over 500 tons of mustard and nerve agents in 155 mm projectiles, 8-inch projectiles, and M55 rockets. Each 155 mm munition can carry either 6 pounds of VX or 11.7 pounds of a mustard agent.

The facility has already disposed of its 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent, and it began disposing of the 155 mm H mustard rounds in 2019, with more than 64% destroyed by January 2021. Efforts to dispose of the 155 mm VX artillery shells started on January 10, 2021.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
A US Army graphic showing the 155 mm chemical agent projectile. 

A BGCAPP spokesperson explained to Insider that the length of time it takes for the plant to destroy a batch of chemical weapons projectiles varies. The number of weapons the plant can process at a time can range from a handful to several dozen.

To dispose of the VX projectiles, automated equipment first dismantles the munition, and then the chemical agent and weapons components are destroyed separately through chemical and thermal treatments.

The next phase will start this fall, when the plant will start disposing of the M55 rockets, each carrying about 11 pounds of VX, that are still stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

The Department of Defense announced last September that the Pueblo Chemical Depot, once home to more than 780,000 chemical weapons munitions, had successfully disposed of all of its nearly 300,000 155 mm mustard agent projectiles.

The US military is working to eliminate its entire chemical weapons stockpile by the end of 2023 in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. This international treaty prohibits the production and use of chemical weaponry and requires the disposal of stockpiled weapons.

US chemical weapons were once stockpiled at nine different facilities. About 90% of the national stockpile of more than 30,000 tons of chemical weapons were destroyed at the majority of those facilities. All that remains are the weapons in Kentucky and Colorado.

“With the VX projectiles delivered for destruction, the US is one step closer to meeting its treaty goal,” Army Chemical Materials Activity said in a statement.

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

Intel

Taliban interrupts soldiers’ cookout, soldiers care less and keep grilling

Nothing comes between a man and a perfectly-grilled steak. Not even enemy fire.


Though this video is a few years old, it’s been making the rounds once again on various military blogs and Facebook pages (we found this one via Brian Jones at Task Purpose).

The video shows a group of soldiers grilling some steaks at OP Vegas in the Korengal Valley, according to the description. But while they are cooking up their delightful meal, the bad guys decide to start shooting.

While many of the soldiers begin to fire back, at least a couple stick around for the more important task of not overcooking the steaks. “The steaks are fine, that’s all that matters,” one soldier says in the video.

Watch (language warning):

SEE ALSO: The 6 types of people you meet outside of every military base

Intel

This video is the best Force Recon footage you’ll see this week

U.S. Force Recon Marines move ahead of the rest of the force and plunge into dangerous areas where the Marine ground force commander needs to know what’s going on but can’t otherwise gather intelligence.


They strap on scuba tanks, parachutes, and heavy rucks as the mission requires and carry an arsenal just in case they need to tangle with the enemy while reconnoitering the area. Check out the video above to see what these guys are all about.

Articles

This man in Georgia restores WWII airplane turrets in his garage

Plane turrets got their combat debut in World War II but were nearly obsolete by the time the war ended as jet planes could fly too fast for most gunners to hit them.


Most turrets were scrapped after the war, but one enthusiast in Georgia is collecting those that survived and restoring them to working conditions.

In his workshop in Georgia, Fred Bieser has thousands of turret parts and, as of 2013 when this video was shot, had restored seven turrets. Most of them are kept in his workshop, but some have gone on display at military museums.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
American ball turret gunner Alan Magee poses in his station. (Photo: U.S. Army Air Force)

In this video from Tested, Bieser takes a video crew through his workshop and shows the guts of turrets and how they worked.

The video includes a lot of cool history on turrets, like how pilots worked with gunners to ensure accuracy and how Britain and America used different technologies for power and control.

Check out the full video below:

Intel

Meet The Dutch Biker Gang Fighting Against ISIL

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Photo: Peachy Weasel/ Flickr


It’s perfectly legal for Dutch citizens to join the fight against ISIL.

Since late last year, members of the “No Surrender” biker gang have joined Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Klaas Otto, the leader of the group, has confirmed that at least three of the gang’s members were in Syria, according to The Daily Mail.

Also Read: These Incredibly Brave Activists Expose The Terror Of Living Under ISIL Control

“Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it’s no longer forbidden,” public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told AFP.

However, to be clear, you can’t join a foreign force — i.e. ISIL — against the Netherlands.

The story of Dutch citizens wanting to fight against ISIL seems natural, according to The Daily Beast:

So many lunatics from Europe, including from The Netherlands, have joined the head-choppers of ISIS, and here was a group of badasses on choppers out to kill those bastards. It was promoted on what might be called not-quite-mainstream or, indeed, axe-to-grind media. It cropped up on a Kurdish channel and on a local German channel. Then RT, Russian Television, fell in love with it. So did the British tabloids. And a New York one. And the story just keeps rolling.

Here’s a two-minute BBC interview with the leader of “No Surrender” explaining their involvement in the fight against the terrorist organization:

NOW: The Pentagon Is Developing A Dirt Bike That Barely Makes A Sound

ALSO: Hilarious Video Shows What Marines Stationed In 29 Palms Don’t Say

Intel

Donald Trump: ‘I always felt that I was in the military’ by attending a military school

Donald Trump never served a day in the military, but he tells a biographer that he “always felt that I was in the military” with his attendance at a military school in his teenage years, according to excerpts from the forthcoming book obtained by The New York Times.


The book, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” by Michael D’Antonio, will be published on Sep. 22. In interviews with the author, Trump reflects on his five years spent at the New York Military Academy as something akin to actually serving in uniform.

“My [Vietnam draft] number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number,” Trump told D’Antonio. “Anyway so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people.”

Of the academy, which notes on its website that most graduates do not pursue a military career, Trump said he received “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has spoken on military service. In July, he attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his record in Vietnam, saying “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Check out the full report at the Times

Intel

Israeli comics make fun of ISIS with an epic rap battle

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.”

Israel National News writes:

“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):

 

Intel

11 Photos Showing Jordan’s King Abdullah Being A Total Badass

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Jordan’s King Abdullah II (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/ Instagram)


Jordanian F-16s launched 20 airstrikes on Islamic State targets in 2015 following King Abdullah II’s declaration to wage a “harsh” war against militants from the group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or ISIS, after the brutal execution of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbe.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram

Abdullah participating in a military special operations training exercises as Jump-Master.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
The Royal Hashemite Court/YouTube

King Abdullah II, a former commander of Jordan’s special forces, pledged to hit the militants “hard in the very center of their strongholds,” AP reports.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah with military officials during an exercise. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

The Jordanian government has denied the king’s physical involvement in any aerial attacks.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah observing a military exercise in November 2013. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Dubbed the “warrior king,” Jordan’s 53-year-old leader has clocked in 35 years of military service.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah at a military ceremony in Jordan. (Photo: The Royal Court/Instagram)

According to the king‘s bio, he enrolled in the UK’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1980 and went on to become an elite Cobra attack helicopter pilot.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
King Abdullah II pilots his helicopter while visiting different areas in his kingdom. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

In November 1993, then-Prince Abdullah became commander of Jordan’s special forces.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah laughing with troop after a meal in the field. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Three years later he turned Jordan’s small special forces unit into today’s elite Special Operations Command (SOCOM), arguably the best operatives in the Middle East.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah speaking with soldiers after sharing a meal. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Frequently training alongside US special forces, Jordan’s units are approximately 14,000 strong and may further contribute to the fight against ISIS beyond Jordan’s airstrikes.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah observing a military exercise. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

As the head of a constitutional monarchy, the career soldier holds substantial power.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces, at a military exercise. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Members of Congress have asked for an increase in military assistance to the kingdom, AP reports. The US is providing Jordan with $1 billion annually in military assistance.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
King Abdullah II starts his day participating in a military special operations training exercises as Jump Master. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

The fight against ISIS lost a crucial partner, the United Arab Emirates, in December after the Jordanian pilot was captured, The New York Times reported.

The UAE demands that the Pentagon improve its search-and-rescue efforts in northern Iraq before it rejoins the coalition, The Times said, quoting unidentified US officials.

More from Business Insider:

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

Intel

An epic Blue Angels beach flyby sends tents and umbrellas flying

Sometimes a military jet providing the overhead “sound of freedom” brings with it a very strong gust of wind.


A video posted to YouTube recently shows the Navy Blue Angels practicing near a Pensacola, Florida beach, with Angel no. 5 getting so close to the shore that tents, toys, and umbrellas go flying in the air with it. No one was hurt at the time, which was on July 11, according to Fox News.

Most of the beachgoers laugh and cheer after the stunt.

Watch:

NOW: Stunning footage shows pilot’s eye view from inside a Blue Angel cockpit

Intel

Everything you need to know about Iran’s threat in the Middle East

With the United States’ coming withdrawal from Afghanistan it may seem like the focus of the U.S. military is shifting from the Middle East to the Great Powers conflicts brewing with Russia and China. 

But America’s enemies in the region are still very much a threat, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran. A recently published Rand Corporation report detailed just how big a threat Iran is in the Middle East, what its goals are, and how it will seek to achieve those goals. 

rand report on iran
Cover image of the latest report on the Middle East by the Rand Corporation.

The report doesn’t just list Iran as a single entity. Rand Corporation’s research details that Iran’s threat is actually a massive fighting force, a network of potentially tens of thousands of fighters, all willing to answer the call of the Iranian government, the Revolutionary Guards Corps, or the Ayatollah himself. 

Rand breaks the network down into four separate classes: Targeters, Deterrers, Stabilizers, and Influencers.

Targeters’ sole purpose is to bleed the United States in terms of manpower, materiel, and especially money. Iran supports certain groups just to keep up attacks on American forces in the region to increase the costs of keeping them deployed. Beyond attacking U.S. troops, they also make it as difficult as possible for the U.S. to operate in the region, deterring their movements and forcing them to consider an Iranian or militia response when planning operations. 

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Iraqi national police Sgt. Maj. Abu Hayder and U.S. Army Capt. Troy Thomas from Alpha Troop, 3-1 Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, talk about the launch sleds and aimed direction of the four 107 mm Iranian rockets which they found hidden under some woven bamboo sticks, in a small village outside of Patrol Base Assassin, Iraq

The deterrers are similar actors, not affiliated with any state, but designed to increase the costs of other countries in the region to operate. This group targets Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

Stabilizers are paid to do just what the name implies, to stabilize certain countries or major groups within those countries, usually Iranian allies. Stabilizers are used in place like Syria, which is experiencing massive instability due to the ongoing civil war, but also deals with instability based on its ethnic and religious diversity.

Iranian influencers aren’t on instagram snapping photos, they are used by the Iranian network to expand Iranian influence in the region, giving Iran a bigger say in the area’s greater political affairs. 

This means Iran will never directly attack the United States – or anyone else if it can avoid it. Iran’s military goal is to keep the fighting and instability experienced by other countries far from inside Iranian territory. Instead it will use this network to project its power, influence, and physical attacks. 

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Afghan National Army Lt. Col. Mohammad Taheed meets with village representatives of the Afghan border town of Ghurian to persuade them to implement the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration program.

In the meantime, the United States and its regional allies will have to contend with the threat network’s mission, dictated by the government of the Islamic Republic. The cost of that contention will depend on the American military’s desired goals and the political establishment’s willingness to pursue those goals, likely at as high a cost as Iran can inflict on the United States. 

This also means that the U.S. will have to develop a means of countering the network, which blunt force is unlikely to achieve on its own. Rand recommends the U.S. defense apparatus develop a counter for each of Iran’s classes. 

Because of the American desire to cooperate with locals in the region, Rand recommends caution in choosing which groups to cooperate with, as they could be a member of the Iran Threat Network. To bolster its regional partners while countering Iranian influence, Rand recommends  increasing military-to-military partnerships to build the capacity of friendly forces in the Middle East. 

It all sounds easier said than done, but the United States can be a powerful ally to any regional partner. The U.S. military has defeated networks of enemy operations in the past, including in Iraq, where Iran’s threat network holds increasing sway – so victory is still possible.

Intel

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
The base of the stairs of Air Force One as US President Barack Obama arrived at Ruzyne Airport in Prague in 2010. (Photo: The White House)


Taxpayers fork over $206,337 every hour the world’s most famous plane is in flight, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter obtained by the nonprofit Judicial Watch.

Also Read: 11 Killer Photos Of Jets In Full Afterburner

The FY15 cost per flying hour for Air Force One (VC-25A) includes “fuel, flight consumables, depot level repairables, aircraft overhaul, and engine overhaul,” according to the letter from the Department of the Air Force Headquarters Air Mobility Command to Judicial Watch.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Obama with members of Congress on Air Force One after he spoke at an AMA conference in Chicago in 2009 (Photo: The White House)

According to the National Taxpayer Union Foundation, President Barack Obama has traveled internationally more than any other president, and he has done it on the “most expensive-to-operate Air Force One to date.”

Here are some examples from Judicial Watch:

 • Flights for Obama’s 2014 Labor Day weekend fundraising trips to Westchester, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island, cost taxpayers $527,192.50

 • Transportation for Obama’s round-trip flight from Washington, D.C., to Westchester, New York, to attend a wedding cost taxpayers $358,490.90

 • The flight for Obama’s trip to Milwaukee to speak at “Laborfest 2014” cost taxpayers $653,718.70

 • Obama’s June 17-19, 2013, trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost taxpayers $7,921,638.66

Within the US, Obama has visited all but three states during his presidency. According to The Washington Post, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush were the only two presidents to visit all 50 states in the past 38 years.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Obama with the Congressional delegation aboard Air Force One in 2009, during a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Andrews AFB. (Photo: The White House)

The three-leveled “flying Oval Office” has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space and boasts a conference room, a dining room, a private quarters for the president, offices for senior staff members, a medical operating room (a doctor flies on every flight), a press area, two food-preparation galleys that can provide 100 meals, and multifrequency radios for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication, according to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Obama on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aboard Air Force One en route to New Orleans in 2013. (Photo: The White House)

According to the White House, the retrofitted Boeing 747 can fly 6,205 miles from Washington, D.C., to Baghdad without stopping for fuel. The plane can also be refueled while in flight in case of an emergency, The Post reports.

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
Air Force One before leaving Cleveland for Philadelphia in 2013. (Photo: The White House)

More from Business Insider:

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

Intel

The Indian navy is a lot more awesome than you’d think

Quick, what countries have the second- and third-largest carrier forces in the world?


Number one, of course, is the United States with ten carriers and one on the way, even as it scraps as many as eight older ones (Forrestal, Saratoga, Ranger, Independence, Kittyhawk, Constellation, Enterprise, and John F. Kennedy).

The second-largest is . . . Japan, which has three carriers (actually called “helicopter destroyers”) in service and a fourth on the way. The third-largest carrier force belongs to India, with two in service and one on the way.

 

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed
The INS Vikramaditya has the ability to carry over 30 aircraft comprising an assortment of MiG 29K/Sea Harrier, Kamov 31, Kamov 28, Sea King, ALH-Dhruv and Chetak helicopters. The MiG 29K swing role fighter is the main offensive platform and provides a quantum jump for the Indian Navy’s maritime strike capability.

 

Surprised? Don’t be. India’s navy has long been one to reckon with, partially due its heritage under British rule. That Royal Navy DNA makes India a serious naval power, and India has managed to mesh technology from a variety of countries to create their navy.

INS Viraat is the former HMS Hermes, a veteran of the Falklands War. Viraat displaces about 24,000 tons and carries about two dozen aircraft. Viraat is slated to retire soon after the new Vikrant enters service. The Viraat is a V/STOL carrier, along the lines of those in service with Thailand, Spain, and Italy. Viraat is likely to stick around until 2020 —  impressive, given that she was first commissioned in 1959 by the Royal Navy.

The other active carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is the former Russian carrier Admiral Gorshkov. When she entered service with the Soviet Navy as Baku, she was originally designed to operate Yak-38 Forgers and Ka-27 Helix helicopters. After the Cold War, Russia needed cash, and India took the chance to buy the Gorshkov. After a lengthy refit following her 2004 (which was a soap opera in and of itself), the Vikrmaditya entered service in 2013. Vikramaditya displaces 45,000 tons and operates three dozen aircraft.

The carrier on the way, INS Vikrant, is being built in India. Intended to displace about 40,000 tons, she can carry 40 aircraft and will enter service in 2018. She is the second carrier to carrythe name, the previous Vikrant being a British-built light carrier that served with India from 1961-1997. The first Vikrant was a museum from 2001 to 2012 before her deteriorating condition forced the Indian Navy to sell her for scrap.

 

The US military dropped off its last batch of artillery shells carrying deadly VX nerve agent to be destroyed

The INS Viraat is the last British-built ship serving with the Indian Navy, and is one of the oldest aircraft carriers in service in the world.

India’s naval aircraft are quite diverse, as well. India operates British Sea Harriers (the Mk 51 version) from the Viraat, along with Sea King helicopters (an American design customized by the Brits) and Dhruv helicopters designed and built in India. The Vikramaditya operates Russian-designed Ka-28 and Ka-31 Helix helicopters, MiG-29K Fulcrums from Russia, and Indian-built Tejas aircraft, a mix that will also be seen on the new Vikrant when it starts trials later this year and enters service in 2018. From land, India’s maritime patrol inventory features not only the modern P-8, but Russian Il-38 “May” and Tu-142 “Bear F” aircraft as well.

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