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21 августа, 11:30

Could Japan Build the Ultimate 6th Generation Stealth Fighter (Better than F-35)?

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Sebastien Roblin Technology, Asia We have some ideas. The new F-3 jets would then begin replacing Japan’s over one hundred home-built Mitsubishi F-2 single-engine fighters—heavily upgraded (and over-priced) F-16s—starting in the mid to late 2030s. Japan’s 2019 Mid-Term Defense review quietly revealed that after years of hesitation, Tokyo has decided to press ahead with development of its own domestically designed sixth-generation Mitsubishi F-3 air-superiority stealth fighter, rather than purchasing an additional foreign stealth design to supplement its growing fleet of F-35s. (This first appeared several months ago.) In February 2019, the Japanese Ministry of Defense explicitly confirmed these intentions to Jane’s. Reportedly, F-3 performance requirements are set to be released in the 2020 budget, with development officially beginning in 2021 and a first flight targeted for 2030. The new F-3 jets would then begin replacing Japan’s over one hundred home-built Mitsubishi F-2 single-engine fighters—heavily upgraded (and over-priced) F-16s—starting in the mid to late 2030s. Later, a Japanese television feature in March 2018 revealed close-up footage of advanced high-thrust XF 9-1 turbofan engines and Active Electronically Scanned Array radars under development for the F-3 program. The special also revealed a projected program development cost of 5 trillion yen—equivalent to nearly $45 billion U.S. dollars. Cost per-plane could easily exceed earlier-cited figures of 20 billion yen ($179 million). Tokyo’s Stealth-Fighter Odyssey Read full article

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21 августа, 11:00

Fire! The U.S. Navy Wants the Littoral Combat Ship To Fight in 'Blue Water Warfare'

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Kris Osborn Security, Asia Can it manage it? While the LCS does not have Vertical Launch Systems, Navy officials tell Warrior Maven that the HELLFIRE can fire from canisters beneath the surface of the ship. Destroying enemy helicopters on the open sea, hitting attacking enemy drones and countering opposing surface ships from safer stand-off distances are all combat missions now being emphasized by the Navy as it prepares its Littoral Combat Ship for massive “blue water” warfare - an effort designed to widen the ship’s attack potential and build upon its expansive scope of shallow water missions. As part of this, the Navy has fired a HELLFIRE missile from an Independence variant of its LCS to better arm the ship for offensive attack. The test-firing, described by Naval Sea Systems Command as a “structural test firing,” involved the shooting of a Longbow HELLFIRE on the Point Mugu Sea Range on June 11. Referred to as the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module, the weapon is being prepared as part of an integrated suite of combat technologies for the LCS. For many years now, the Navy has been working vigorously to evolve the LCS mission scope from an initial focus upon littoral operations including land attack, countermine operations and closer in combat operations -- to include preparation for dispersed, long-range, major deep water warfare against a heavily armed near-peer adversary. (This first appeared in July 2019.) While utilizing speed and shallow draft to access areas less available to larger, deeper draft ships, the LCS is still very much intended to perform closer-in missions. However, giving the ever-evolving “great-power” competition and focus upon near-peer threats, the service has for several years been immersed in a large-scale effort to better arm its surface fleet - especially the LCS - with combat equipment necessary for large-scale war. This adaptation, involves not only adding weapons and sensors but also adjusting and utilizing its existing war assets such as counter-submarine warfare, surface attack and countermine missions. SSMM testing on the flat-bottomed LCS Freedom variant was successfully completed earlier this year. Read full article

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21 августа, 10:45

EPA-Funded Research: Climate Change Will Worsen Lung Disease for Americans

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E.A. Crunden Environment, World By as much as a pack of cigarettes a day. Air pollution, especially one type that is worsening with global warming, can accelerate lung disease as quickly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, new research released Tuesday shows. The study published on August 13 in the journal JAMA by researchers at the University of Washington, Columbia University, and the University at Buffalo, doubles down on the link between air pollutants and lung disease. It also emphasizes the connection between the lung ailment emphysema and pollution from ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog (not to be confused with the ozone layer). Air pollutants have long been associated with both cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Chronic lower respiratory disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and the third leading cause worldwide. But Tuesday’s study, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), showed an increase in emphysema after exposure to pollutants like PM2.5 — fine particulate matter already linked to a staggering number of deaths — as well as black carbon. Most notable was the impact of ozone. While other air pollutants are largely decreasing nationwide, ozone is increasing — with severe public health ramifications. For years, scientists have linked worsening ozone pollution to climate change. Smog is created when pollutants react with each other in sunlight; warmer temperatures can cause air to stagnate, forcing people to breathe in the pollution. So, as ozone becomes more prevalent with climate change, its impact on lungs will become more widespread. Read full article

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21 августа, 10:00

The Ultimate Military Combination: A-10 Warthogs and U.S. Special Forces

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Dario Leone Technology, Americas Here is how they went to war together. The two Hog drivers located one of the snipers position and to confirm that it was the right building, Balz shot a rocket at it. Then Wedge, followed by Stock, fired about two hundreds rounds at the target, destroying the building. The now deactivated 103rd Fighter Squadron (FS) from 111th Fighter Wing (FW) has been among the first squadrons to take part in the war against terrorism after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. In fact its A-10s voluntarily deployed from Willow Grove Joint Reserve Base to Kuwait to support Operation Southern Watch (OSW) over Iraq immediately after the attacks against U.S. soil, then they deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan, where they were involved in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). (This article by Dario Leone originally appeared on The Aviation Geek Club in 2018.) During OEF one of the unit pilots, Capt. Mike “Balz” Stock, performed a Close Air Support (CAS) mission that saved the lives of several Special Forces members, surrounded by Taliban snipers. Read full article

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21 августа, 09:45

The Afghan Taliban's War Against ISIS is Just Beginning

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Ali M. Latifi Security, Asia The next stage of the war in Afghanistan. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — This week was supposed to have been one of celebration in Afghanistan, as this nation of 32 million people marks the centennial of its independence from British rule. But tragedy struck just two days before anniversary observances. A suicide bomber, allegedly a member of the Islamic State group, detonated a vest loaded with explosives in the middle of a wedding attended by more than 800 people on Saturday. Even in this city plagued by years of violence, the attack in western Kabul was a horrific event, claiming the lives of at least 63 people and injuring hundreds more. As often is the case with terror attacks, the bombing struck fear in citizens across Afghanistan’s capital city. “Ever since suicide bombings started here, I always feared that a wedding would be targeted,” said Parwin Popal, a Kabul resident. “Whenever I would go to weddings, I would think ‘now they’re coming’.” Grief and disbelief were redoubled on Monday, when several bombs went off at restaurants and in public squares throughout the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan. That series of Independence Day attacks injured dozens of people, including young children. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombings. Since the Trump administration first began face-to-face talks with the Taliban in Doha, there have been questions about what to do with fighters claiming allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group. Nabeelah Baz, a parliamentarian from the eastern province of Nangarhar, says dealing with the Islamic State — also known as Daesh — may prove much more difficult than the Taliban. “The attack on the wedding hall falls exactly in line with the Daesh motive, which is much more concerned with sectarianism than politics,” he said. The difference between the groups is that: “The Taliban have a political claim, they say that they were a government that was overthrown from power.” In the weeks leading up to Independence Day, extra security precautions had been taken. Festivities would have seen the reopening of a 20th century palace destroyed by years of war. But the wedding hall bombing took the violence to an unimaginable new level, prompting officials to cancel those events. Read full article

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21 августа, 09:00

This Massive C-5 Galaxy Almost Crashed. It Would Have Been a Disaster

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Dario Leone Security, Asia Here is what went down--almost. The crew arrived at Diego at night and in generally visual conditions. However, the only clouds for 100-miles enveloped them as they configured and approached the Final Approach Fix (FAF) for the landing runway. Jay Lacklen is a former C-5 pilot with 12,500 flying hours and the author of two books, Flying the Line: An Air Force Pilot’s Journey and Flying the Line: An Air Force Pilot’s Journey Volume Two: Military Airlift Command. The following story comes the last book of the trilogy, in progress: “Flying the Line, an Air Force Pilot’s Journey,” book three, “Air Mobility Command, 1993-2004,” in progress.” Diego Garcia Stall and Fall In the summer of 1998, a Dover reserve crew C-5 experienced a stall and fall on approach to the tiny atoll of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean. This article by Dario Leone originally appeared on The Aviation Geek Club in 2018. I sat on the initial crew debriefing after they had returned to Dover AFB. Disputes arose almost immediately since this was a reserve crew with an active duty copilot, who also happened to be female. The active duty began a campaign to claim the copilot “saved” the crew. The reserves countered by pointing to possible copilot missteps. This detracted from the process to discover what happened, and why, and to develop procedures to ensure it didn’t happen again. Read full article

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21 августа, 08:15

Lie For Your Freedom? Why A Jailed Saudi Dissident Refused To Say She Wasn't Tortured

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D. Parvaz Saudi Arabia, undefined Saudi Arabia has not been known to treat dissidents kindly. It’s been over a year since women have been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, but several of the activists who brought about that change are still locked up awaiting trial. And now, the family of one of the activists, Loujain al-Hathloul, says that the Saudi government offered to release her if she promises to deny allegations of torture while in prison. Al Hathloul’s siblings took to Twitter on Tuesday to share what they knew about the proposal put forth by the Saudi authorities: Idk what I’m risking by writing this. Maybe it will harm my sister too. But I can’t keep it to myself. Loujain has been proposed a deal : deny the torture and she’ll be free. Whatever happens I am certifying it 1 more time:Loujain has been brutally tortured and sexually harassed. Her brother Walid offered more details in a thread in which he said sister was asked to give filmed testimony denying mistreatment in exchange for freedom. The family had initially agreed, some weeks ago, he wrote, that Loujain would sign a statement to that effect, but the authorities came back demanding a video of the statement as well. Loujain, he writes, rejected the offer: When the state security asked her to sign the document for the video release, she immediately ripped the document. She told them by asking me to sign this document you are involved in the the cover up and you’re simply trying defend Saud Al-Qahtani who was overseeing the torture. Al-Hathloul has been locked up since May 2018, when Saudi authorities rounded up activists shortly before the driving ban was to be lifted. The arrests took place because the authorities didn’t want the activists to take credit for the change in policy. The official line was that the policy changed because of the benevolence of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (also known as MBS), who is a friend and an ally of the Trump administration. The Saudi government has painted these activists as traitors, attacking their characters in state-owned media. Read full article

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21 августа, 08:00

These are the Deadliest .308 Rifles on the Planet

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Gun News Daily Security, Americas Killers. A solid case can be made that the .308 semi-automatic rifle is the most versatile centerfire rifle that you can own today. Are you on the market for a .308 semi-automatic rifle?  If so, you’ll be glad to hear that there are several high quality choices for you available on the marketplace, which each offer excellent performance, accuracy, durability, and reliability. There are three models that stand out in particular: the Century Arms C308, Ruger SR-762, and the Springfield M1A. Each of these choices certainly have their pros and cons, but they also each offer unique advantages that we will dive into in-depth with this article.  We’ll also talk about the best benefits of owning a .308 semi-automatic rifle to begin with. (This article by Will Ellis originally appeared at Gun News Daily in 2019.) THE BENEFITS OF OWNING A .308 SEMI-AUTOMATIC A solid case can be made that the .308 semi-automatic rifle is the most versatile centerfire rifle that you can own today. The reason why is because it can be used for almost any purpose you need a rifle for.  The .308 Winchester is an excellent round for hunting and can bring down almost any North American big game, including deer, elk, and black bear. And as a semi-automatic with a 20 or so round magazine capacity, a .308 semi-auto will also be a good choice for tactical training and for defending your home and property against multiple attackers. Read full article

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21 августа, 07:45

Course Change: President Trump No Longer Wants Enhanced Background Checks

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Zack Ford Politics, United States The violence will continue. It has only been two weeks since President Donald Trump formally addressed the nation in the wake of deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Gilroy, California. But on Sunday, not long after he initially showed support for enhanced background checks, the president suddenly reversed course, suggesting any momentum for passing any meaningful legislation to curb gun violence may have already dissipated. Speaking to the press before returning to Washington from vacation at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump suggested Congress had been considering various proposals in the aftermath of those shootings, but said he is primarily concerned about “mental health” issues, and insisted that the country needs to bring back “mental institutions.” “I’m not talking about as a form of prison,” he said, “I’m saying for help.” He added that, “unrelated,” he also supported voter identification laws, which have proven to serve no purpose but to suppress minority votes. Later during the gaggle, a reporter pressed Trump on his specific position on background checks. He deferred to Congress and defended his support for the Second Amendment. “People don’t realize we have very strong background checks right now,” he said. “If you go in and buy a gun, you have to sign up. There are a lot of background checks that have been approved over the years. So I’ll have to see what it is.” He then referred once more to a “big mental problem.” Asked again about his own position on background checks, Trump replied, “I’m not saying anything.” This is just the latest step the president has taken to downplay expectations on gun violence prevention measures following the latest round of mass shootings. Read full article

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21 августа, 07:15

Stem Cells Could Regenerate Organs – But Only If the Body Won’t Reject Them

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Tobias Deuse Security, Americas Lab-grown organs may not be so easy to transplant into a patient. Many of the most common diseases, like heart failure, liver failure, Type 1 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, occur when cells or whole organs fail to do their job. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it were possible to replace cells in these defunct organs? That is exactly what physician-scientists in the field of regenerative medicine are trying to do. I am a surgeon and stem cell scientist and am interested in regenerating failing organs with stem cells – because for many diseases we don’t have good treatment options yet. In a recent paper, my colleagues and I figured out why stem cells derived from a patient’s own tissue are sometimes rejected by their own immune systems. We also developed a solution that we think may solve the problem: stem cells that are stripped of their immune features and can’t trigger rejection. The Search for the Ideal Starter Cell A few years ago a breakthrough occurred that many scientists believed would help fast-track the goal of regenerating organs. That was the identification of proteins that turn on genes that allowed researchers to reprogram adult cells. These proteins transformed cells back into their embryonic-like stem cell state. This gives them the capacity to turn into almost any cell type – like liver or heart or any other cell of interest. These stem cells can theoretically be used as an inexhaustible source for cells. Scientists believed these cell products could be used to restore the functions of organs and treat diseases. However, regenerating cells and organs from a patient’s own cells and then returning them to that same patient turned out to be trickier than expected. Researchers are still debating what is the ideal starting cell type for regenerative medicine. The cells required for these therapies can be grown in bioreactors in the lab. But for cell therapies to succeed, the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is immune rejection. Like transplanted organs, transplanted cells are susceptible to attacks by the recipient’s immune system. Any cells generated from another individual have different proteins on their surface, called tissue antigens, that tag them as “foreign.” Read full article

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21 августа, 07:00

These are the Strangest SR-71 Spy Plane Missions Ever

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Dario Leone History, Americas Fastest plane, weird missions. Russian and Chinese trawlers patrolled the seas near the base at Okinawa and carefully monitored all U.S. flights. Because of the nature of this particular mission, it was decided that the flight occur with a higher than normal load of 65,000 pounds of fuel, and under radio silence. The following stories appear in John Altson book The Black Line. Four Concurrent Emergencies on Landing Because SR-71 air refueling was both difficult and dangerous, Blackbird pilot Lieutenant Colonel Bredette (BC) Thomas welcomed an assignment that did not require refueling. It should have been easy – A 45-minute flight over North Korea then back to Okinawa. It was his first tour in Okinawa and he had been an SR-71 pilot for about one year. Russian and Chinese trawlers patrolled the seas near the base at Okinawa and carefully monitored all U.S. flights. Because of the nature of this particular mission, it was decided that the flight occur with a higher than normal load of 65,000 pounds of fuel, and under radio silence. This article by Dario Leone originally appeared on The Aviation Geek Club in 2018. Read full article

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21 августа, 05:00

Report: A Sudden Chinese Missile Attack Could Wipe Out U.S. Forces in a War

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David Axe Security, That’s the startling conclusion of an August 2019 report from the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney. A sudden Chinese attack quickly could wipe out U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region and block the United States from intervening in a regional war. That’s the startling conclusion of an August 2019 report from the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney. “America’s defense strategy in the Indo-Pacific is in the throes of an unprecedented crisis,” the study’s authors Ashley Townshend, Brendan Thomas-Noone and Matilda Steward warned. “America no longer enjoys military primacy in the Indo-Pacific and its capacity to uphold a favorable balance of power is increasingly uncertain.” China’s increasingly modern armed forces in some places and categories already match America’s own forces. And with its thousands of non-nuclear ballistic missiles, China with little notice could bombard forward-deployed U.S. forces as well as American reinforcements coming from the continental United States. This “growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a major threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific,” the analysts wrote. As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the [People’s Liberation Army] missile threat challenges America’s ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations throughout the region. Alongside China’s broader [anti-access/aerial-denial] capabilities — including large numbers of fourth-generation fighter jets, advanced [command-and-control] systems, modern attack submarines, electronic warfare capabilities and dense arrays of sophisticated surface-to-air missiles — it permits the PLA to hold U.S. and allied expeditionary forces at risk, preventing them from operating effectively at sea or in the air within combat range of Chinese targets. More broadly, Townshend, Thomas-Noone and Steward blame “four inter-related factors” for America’s worsening position in the Asia-Pacific region. Read full article