When I was in Okinawa talking to the F-22 Raptor jockeys deployed for their first overseas exercise, they giggled at my proposal that they tangle with the nearby Japanese Air Self Defense Force F-4 squadron for practice. Well, guess what? According to Air Force Times, that very encounter has just occured: Two F-22As and two [...]
Archive of Apr 2007
Ready for Primetime? Part Four
One of the greatest advantages of the Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor over existing aircraft is one that many critics might dismiss as irrelevant: because it can tilt its rotors to provide forward propulsion, the Osprey can taxi, unlike conventional choppers, which have to be dragged around the flight decks of amphibious ships. ”It seems a minor point,” admits Colonel Glenn Walters, [...]
Returning to Normal?
But what’s normal in Mogadishu, which has seen the birth of an Islamic proto-insurgency in the wake of Ethiopia’s blitzkrieg to unseat the Islamic courts … and relentless fighting in recent weeks? But now the fighting is on the wane, at least in the southern half of the city, the Associated Press reports, and people are coming [...]
Scouts Take a Hit
A massive, twin truck-bombing killed nine paratrooper scouts in Iraq in the deadliest day for the 82nd Airborne Division since Vietnam. On April 23, a dumptruck full of explosives rammed a patrol base in the Sunni town of Baqubah northwest of Baghdad, exploding and destroying a protective wall. A second truck raced through the gap [...]
Warthogs’ Secret Haunt
The Air Force’s A-10 Warthog squadrons attend a secret training exercise in rural Florida to prepare for combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exercise involves jets, pilots and maintainers deploying to an “austere” airfield and practicing round-the-clock bombing and strafing in difficult conditions. Predeployment training in this vein is nothing new: many units do it [...]
Ready for Primetime? Part Three
After more than 20 years of development – and seven years after two fatal crashes nearly killed the program entirely – the Boeing/Bell V-22 Osprey is finally prepping to actually do its job. This fall Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263 based at New River Marine Corps Air Station in North Carolina will deploy to Al [...]
Saddam’s Databases Help Cop Trainers
Biometric identification systems are one of those technologies that everyone in the military seems to want but that few can make work. Biometrics in theory might solve the problem of how you sort bad guys from throngs of innocent civilians in a place like Iraq: you ID them by their unique iris- or fingerprints or [...]
Tanks Versus Insurgents
Ethiopian tanks bombard insurgent positions in Mogadishu; civilians die in the crossfire.
Rescue Chopper Paper Trail
There’s a lot of paperwork associated with major Pentagon weapons purchases. And the documentation can shed light on power plays and politics inside contested programs. Case in point: the $10-billion CSAR-X program to replace the Air Force’s old H-60 rescue choppers. The Boeing H-47 Chinook won that contest last year, but losers Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky have forced the Pentagon to re-open [...]
Ethiopian rebels — recently active in the Somali insurgency — have killed 74 people at a Chinese oil facility inside Ethiopia.
My graphic novel WAR FIX is a finalist for the Foreword Magazine annual prize. In related news, the second book in my Iraq comics cycle has just gotten the green light: LOVE & TERROR, drawn by Adam Rosenlund, is due out in 2008. It’s set largely in British-occupied southern Iraq in the summer of 2005.