This is what this year's US/UK carrier strike group will look like - We Are The Mighty
Intel

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like

Earlier this week, defense officials from the United States and the United Kingdom signed an agreement that will allow the two nations to merge forces into a joint U.S./U.K. carrier strike group in 2021. The joint strike group will be led by the U.K.’s new flagship carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, and will include a U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, as well as a compliment of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters.

“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,” a Pentagon’s announcement on the agreement reads.

Carrier strike groups represent some of the most potent means of force projection in any nation’s military, made up of an aircraft carrier and assorted ships tasked with defending and supporting carrier operations. The standard U.S. Navy carrier strike group is led by one of America’s supercarriers from the Nimitz class of ships (with Ford-class carriers expected to enter operational service in the near future as well). Each carrier maintains a carrier air wing made up of as many as 70 aircraft, allowing a single ship to leverage more destructive power than some entire nations. The U.S. Navy operates F/A-18 Super Hornets and will soon fly F-35C Joint Strike Fighters from the decks of its flat tops.

That carrier is usually accompanied by at least one cruiser, two destroyers or frigates, and other ships that may support specific operations like nuclear submarines or supply ships. All told, a single American carrier strike group usually boasts more than 7,500 personnel and wields enough conventional firepower to achieve tactical and strategic objectives on a broad scale. At any given time, the United States maintains 10 such carrier strike groups around the world.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
U.S. Navy ships assigned to the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group sail in formation in the Atlantic Ocean (U.S. Navy photo)

The U.K. maintains only one carrier strike group, which is smaller in scale than any of America’s. Today’s UKCSG (U.K. Carrier Strike Group) is comprised of nine total ships, including the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier, two frigates, two destroyers, one replenishment ship, and a solid support ship. The Queen Elizabeth, which is the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, is not nuclear powered like America’s Nimitz-class carriers and is notably smaller–displacing 65,000 tons compared to the Nimitz’s 100,000.

While the Queen’s carrier may not be as large as its American counterparts, it still packs one hell of a punch. The HMS Queen Elizabeth is capable of supporting more than 65 aircraft and intends to field between 24 and 35 F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, alongside another 14 helicopters, at any given time.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
Royal Navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray, an F-35 Patuxent River Integrated Test Force test pilot, continues first of class flight trials (fixed wing) developmental test flights aboard the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin by Dane Wiedmann/Released)

“Next year, HMS Queen Elizabeth will lead a British and allied task group on our most ambitious deployment for two decades,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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.”

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
Pictured in formation are, RFA Tideforce (lead), HMS Northumberland (her right), USS Truxton (her far right), HMS Dragon (her left), USS Philippine Sea (her far left) with HMS Queen Elizabeth at the rear during Exercise Westlant 19. (UK MOD)

The UKCSG currently includes the HMS Diamond, HMS Defender, HMS Kent, HMS Richmond, at least one attack submarine, the RFA Fort Victoria supply ship, and a Tide-class tanker for fuel.

The HMS Diamond and the HMS Defender are both Daring-class air-defense destroyers with a suite of onboard weapon systems, including up to 48 Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles. The Kent is a Duke-class frigate with anti-submarine torpedoes, 8 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and 32 anti-air missiles, and the Richmond is an older Type 23 frigate with a similar loadout. The subs used in the carrier strike group hail from either the older Trafalgar or the latest Astute-class of nuclear attack submarines.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
This image of the UKCSG includes destroyers from the Netherlands and U.S. Navy, making it a reasonable approximation of what the joint carrier strike group will look like later this year.
(U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the Royal Navy)

In 2021, the UKCSG will be joined by the USS The Sullivans, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported in Mayport, Florida. The 505-foot ship displaces around 6,800 tons and carries a crew complement of around 280. Each Arleigh Burke-class vessel can carry 56 Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles. Each Tomahawk can strike targets as far away as 1,550 miles.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Halsey firing a Tomahawk cruise missile. (U.S. Navy photo)

The joint strike group will be bolstered in the air by 10 of the U.S. Marine Corps’ short take-off, vertical landing variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. While the U.S. Navy operates F-35C’s off the decks of its own flattops, the F-35B has been considered a better option for the Queen Elizabeth’s sloping deck. The F-35B is the only version of the stealth fighter that can land vertically, eliminating the need for arresting wires during landing. The U.S. Marine Corps has been operating F-35Bs off the deck of amphibious assault ships in recent years in a similar fashion, earning the colloquial name of “Lightning Carriers.”

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

The top 5 bizarre weapons of World War II

The military often concocts some amazingly innovative technologies for use on the battlefield, but that’s not always the case.


As a video from This is Genius shows about weapons developed during World War II, there were plenty of projects that were much more bizarre than they were innovative.

There were the short-range rockets developed by the U.K. that were supposed to snag on enemy planes with cables and the Soviet bomb dogs that were trained to attack German tanks. They didn’t always work out as planned.

Check out the video for more

Intel

Hollywood’s 10 wildest nuclear bomb blasts

These are 10 of the most memorable scenes in movies that feature nuclear bomb explosions.


Ever since the advent of nukes, Hollywood has been fascinated with its destructive force. The big explosion is usually the climax of any movie featuring these doomsday weapons. From 1964’s Dr. Strangelove to the latest installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman, here are some of the best nuclear blasts in movies, according to WatchMojo.

Watch:

Intel

This video vividly shows that the A-10 is all about the BBRRRRTT!

The A-10 Thunderbolt II (AKA Warthog) was designed around its massive GAU-8/A Avenger nose cannon.


The gun and plane were developed in parallel, which resulted in the perfect marriage. In fact, without the nose cannon, the plane is completely off balance and can’t fly.

Developed by General Electric, the 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type cannon was designed to combat tanks and provide close air support. Both the A-10 and its GAU-8/A gun entered service in 1977. This video explains the cannon’s role in today’s battlefield.

Watch:

 

Intel

Thailand Has An Aircraft Carrier With No Aircraft

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
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

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
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.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
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.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
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.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
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

Boxing legend Evander Holyfield is supporting Navy SEAL charities

Last month Evander Holyfield turned 53, but instead of swimming in birthday gifts, it was he who was doing the giving. The former heavyweight boxing champ teamed up with Don Mann, a former Navy SEAL Team 6 member and founder of Frogman Charities, to raise $1,000,000 for SEAL veterans and their families.


The non-profit’s mission is to register participants for a self-paced 5K of either walking, running, biking, or paddling and making a donation.

“They get a medal, award, certificate, and the money goes to support these charities among the SEAL organizations,” Mann said in the NBC video below. “These charities support the active duty folks with PTSD or combat-related injuries and wounds. It supports families who’ve lost husbands and fathers.”

The former champ didn’t just decide to support these charities out of the blue, it turns out his father was a veteran and joining the Navy was plan B if his boxing career didn’t take off.

Watch:

Intel

North Korea wants you to ‘like’ its Facebook page and watch crappy propaganda videos

For a country notorious for its censorship, North Korea has an active Internet presence. It has a state-run website, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook fan page under the username of Uriminzokkiri, which means “on our own as a nation.”


Also read: The 9 most ridiculous North Korean propaganda claims

The Uriminzokkiri Facebook fan page first appeared in August 2010 and currently has over 4,100 followers. There are only 12 posts on the account, the profile claims that its publishing rights have been revoked but managed to include this in the about section:

The imperialist Amerikan censors have blocked publishing rights, please keep up good fight for dear leader!

The Twitter account gained more than 8,500 followers in one week, according to The Telegraph. It currently has more than 18,900 followers. Most of the tweets praise the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and criticize Japan and the United States.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like

The YouTube channel has more than 11,300 videos and is constantly updated with a mix of news, propaganda and children’s shows. The channel’s most popular video is this propaganda film claiming to take 150,000 American hostages during a raid in Seoul, South Korea, according to the Daily Mail:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VQ7NjGeIRw

NOW: 11 things you didn’t know about North Korea

OR: North Korea now has a nuclear-capable missile that can hit the US

Intel

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee

Congress has created a new subcommittee on military intelligence and special operations.

Part of the House Committee on Armed Services, the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations will have jurisdiction over the policy, programs, and accounts that are related to military intelligence, national intelligence, weapons of mass destruction, and conventional weapons counter-proliferation, counterterrorism, sensitive operations, and special operations.

Representative Ruben Gallego (Democrat, Arizona) was chosen to head the subcommittee. Gallego served six years in the Marine Corps (2000-2006), reaching the rank of corporal and deploying once to Iraq for a 12-month deployment. Gallego holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Harvard University.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
Representative Ruben Gallego (in the middle) during his combat deployment in Iraq between January 2005 and January 2006. Gallego is the head of the newly established Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations (Ruben Gallego via Twitter).

Representative Gallego said in a statement on Twitter that “When I walk to the committee room for the House Armed Services Committee, I walk by a wall with names of all service members that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. 24 of those names are men I served with. As the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, I serve in their name and honor. I remember being a young man in war hoping someone was looking out for me. If you are out there, know that I am.”

Representative Stephanie Murphy (Democrat, Florida) will serve as the vice-chair of the subcommittee. Murphy has experience in the field from her stint at the Pentagon office that oversees the Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) office.

It will be interesting to see if the new subcommittee will have any real jurisdiction—and thus power—given the plethora of lawmaking bodies with similar duties already in existence. There are, for example, the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Armed Services

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
Army Special Forces operators plot their next point during a land navigation exercise (DVIDS).

Representative Adam Smith (Democrat, Washington), the chair of the Armed Services Committee stated that the new subcommittee will allow Congress to exert more scrutiny and oversight were needed.

“As the country faces unprecedented threats from our adversaries and competitors, especially the disruptive impact of disinformation attacks, we will ensure that special operations forces and the Defense Intelligence Enterprise are postured to address those threats,” Walsh said.

“It is critical that these highly sensitive areas of the Committee’s jurisdiction receive the time and attention they deserve, and this new subcommittee structure will facilitate exactly that.”

Gallego has indicated that the subcommittee will be reviewing the deployment of special operations forces across the world to ensure that they are utilized for the US’ best national interest.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

Russia’s ‘worst-kept secret’ is its dependence on mercenaries to project power

The days of the United States staring down the evil empire of the Soviet Union are long passed. Today, Russia is a Wal-Mart version of its former self, and it shows. Although it may seem like a military or strategic powerhouse, it’s ability to project real power is seriously limited. 

In the bygone Russian heyday, the communist threat loomed large. It was a threat that was enough to make the United States – the only other global superpower – limit its wars and interventions for fear of sparking another world war. 

Today, Russia’s biggest threat comes in the form of either bungled poisonings of former Soviet-era operatives and dissidents, election interference, and hacking corporate software that allowed it to collect intelligence on government email servers. 

While the SolarWinds hack was definitely threatening and potentially disastrous, it’s not really the great power struggles we’ve come to expect from an increasingly belligerent Russia. In real terms, according to the RAND Corporation, Russia isn’t really able to make a significant threat to forces on the ground… Unless you happen to be within arms reach.

In a March 2021 blog post, the RAND Corporation’s Molly Dunigan and Ben Connable wrote that Russia’s ability to project power on the ground has actually become a strategic vulnerability, and one the Biden Administration could exploit, if it chose to do so.

“It has almost no organic ability to project and sustain ground power more than a few hundred kilometers beyond its own borders. Russian strategic lift is anemic compared to Soviet-era lift. Available forces are often tied down in one of the many frozen conflicts that ring Russia’s western and southern borders,” they write. 

The conflicts they are referring to are most notably the Russian intervention in the Syrian Civil War and backing separatist rebels in Ukraine. 

Russia, they posit, depends on an army full of drafted Russians who are serving one-year enlistments, and that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decreed that drafted Russians will never be deployed outside of Russia. Those forces make up around half of Russia’s total ground force. 

Instead of using its drafted army to project power, Russia instead uses companies that provide military services, some might call them “mercenaries” to reach its foreign policy goals in Libya, Syria, the Central African Republic, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sudan, Ukraine, Yemen, Burundi, and elsewhere. 

Russia
Russia’s Ceremonial Guard still looks polished, but the Russian military’s power is not what it once was.

Russia will contend that its use of mercenaries alongside its special operations and conventional forces allows it to compete with the United States, Dunigan and Connablle wrote, but that narrative is counterfactual. Such a force actually squared off against a force of United States special operators and Kurdish SDF fighters in Khasham, Syria in 2018. The fight did not go well for the Russians, their mercenaries, and their Syrian allies. 

500 Russian, Syrian, and Shia Militiamen with T-72 and T-55 tanks hit a base of 40 special forces troops, backed by United States Marine Corps artillery, U.S. Air Force “Spooky” gunships, and more firepower were quickly routed in Khasham, losing a quarter of the attacking force in the firefight. It wasn’t even close. 

Rather than bolstering the Russian military on the ground, the mercenaries are instead an example in the decline of the former Soviet Union’s ground force, indicative of its increasing dependence on small, special operations missions and sneaky espionage tactics. But these too are things the United States will have to learn to counter as Russia’s skills with them grow.

Intel

Here is what you need to know about Cold War part 2

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua Laidacker, 4th IBCT, 3rd ID


The Cold War ended in 1991, taking the threat of global nuclear annihilation with it. For over 45 years, America and Russia endured a stalemate that spawned the arms race, the space race, land grabs, proxy wars around the globe and more.

But like a bad eighties movie remade for today’s audience, the same elements that shaped the first one are defining the Cold War part two. So far it’s the same plot. For starters, there’s the Russian land grab of Crimea, the forces placed near the Russian border and the proxy war shaping up in Syria.

In Cold War 2.0, VICE does an incredible job making sense of the events leading up to this undeclared conflict. VICE founder Shane Smith meets with Kremlin officials and American leaders, including President Obama, to figure out what’s driving the new standoff.

You can view Cold War 2.0 in its entirety on VICE.com or YouTube. Here is a quick four-minute debrief about the report.

Watch:

Intel

Air Force policy change may give transgender airmen the chance to serve openly

The Air Force took steps to relax the military’s current stance on transgender men and women serving in uniform earlier this month, by requiring a higher authority to authorize discharges for enlisted transgender airmen and airmen who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, according to a news release.


Openly transgender Senior Airman Logan Ireland hopes that this decision will eventually allow transgender servicemen and women to serve openly without the risk of involuntary separation, despite the fact that the Air Force policy itself has not changed .

Ireland joined the Air Force as a woman in 2010, and was featured in “Transgender, at War and in Love,” a documentary short exploring his relationship with fiancee and transgender soldier Laila Villanueva.

Ireland told Air Force Times:

“Day in and day out, you’re constantly worried about a discharge…so every day when I put on my boots and strap on my gun and duty belt, I’m at risk for a discharge — and that’s the least of my worries in my personal job. No one should have to worry about that day in and day out. “

For more, read the full article at AFT

Check out “Transgender, at War and in Love” below:

NOW:  A female Airman pushes back against USAF sexual harassment training

OR: New report shows vets more civic-minded than non-vets

Intel

The Navy Is Scrapping The Aircraft Carrier Once Called The ‘Top Gun Of The Pacific’

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
Photo: Jamie Adam/ Flickr


It will take a miracle to save the USS Ranger from being destroyed.

The battle-worn aircraft carrier received her final orders to report to Brownsville, Texas where she will be dismantled in early 2015, according to a December 22 release from the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Also Read: 13 Tips For Dating On A US Navy Ship

Commissioned in 1957, Ranger is one of four Forrestal-class supercarriers. She earned 13 battle stars before being decommissioned in 1993.

From 1993 to 2004, the Navy kept Ranger on standby for possible reactivation until the carrier was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, and redesigned for donation. During the eight years the ship was available, no group came forward with the necessary funds or plans to convert her into a museum or memorial.

Besides being distinguished for her military service, she also became famous for cameos in shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and Black Sheep Squadron, and films such as Star Trek IV, Flight of the Intruder, and Top Gun.

An organization known as Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach Inc. came up with an online petition to convince the Navy to spare the ship:

“Right now, we just want a stay of execution,” said recently appointed project manager Michael B. Shanahan. “As a brand new team charged with repurposing the USS Ranger, we want to work with Navy, NAVSEA and City of Long Beach for the best possible outcome. We know that saving the USS Ranger would have significantly more far-reaching economic, historic and social benefits than scrapping it. This is our last chance to stop the loss of an irreplaceable cultural and historic asset.”

Here’s a video showing what Ranger could become if the adequate resources were pulled together to save this great ship:

NOW: 37 Awesome Photos Of Life On A US Navy Carrier

AND: Here’s What ‘Top Gun’ Would Look Like In 2014

Intel

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds unveil ‘Super Delta’ flight information

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds unveiled their new “Super Delta” formation during a joint training session over the Imperial Valley in California on Tuesday. The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds are the two services’ flight demonstration squads, known the world over for their spectacular shows and incredible aircraft control.

“The formation grew out of a series of joint training opportunities held in 2020 and 2021, and serves as a symbol of the teamwork, discipline, and skill of the men and women of our United States military forces deployed around the globe,” read the Blue Angels’ Instagram post.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like

The “Super Delta” formation consists of six U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets operated by the Blue Angels flying in their standard delta formation while flanked on either side by six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. Three F-16s flank the Delta formation on either side, forming a massive flying wing made up of some of America’s top-tier 4th generation fighters.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like

This unveiling is of particular import for the Navy’s Blue Angels, who are entering their 75th performance season. 2021 also marks the first year the Blue Angels operate with Super Hornets, as opposed to the team’s previous legacy F/A-18 Hornets.

Over the past year, with many of each team’s performances cut due to Covid, the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels traveled around the country performing complex maneuvers over communities and hospitals struggling to control the spread of the virus. The high-performance jets gave the folks below a small morale boost, while also allowing the pilots to continue honing their skills behind the stick.

This is what this year’s US/UK carrier strike group will look like
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds (U.S. Air Force photo)

However, even amid working together for these morale flights, the two teams have never formed a single formation like the “super delta” before. According to the Thunderbirds Twitter account, the teams plan to unveil this new formation during a nation-wide broadcast of the National Memorial Day Parade later this year.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

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