Via China Defense Blog, here’s the highest-resolution photo published so far of China’s new J-20 stealth fighter.
Archive of Apr 2011
It was an event a century in the making. At 2:09 PM Pacific Standard Time on Feb. 4, the first full-scale prototype of Northrop Grumman’s X-47B carrier-capable drone fighter took off on from Edwards Air Force Base in California for its inaugural test flight. “Taking off under hazy skies, the X-47B climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 PM PST,” Northrop announced in a press release. “The flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design.”
The fighting was furious — and entirely one-sided. While on patrol in eastern Afghanistan Paktia province in December 2002, paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division had taken a wrong turn and blundered straight into one of Paktia’s isolated villages. The villagers weren’t Taliban or even Taliban sympathizers. But they were heavily armed — and determined to keep the Americans out.
Robert’s Latin America Round-Up
Drones count among the hottest military technology on the market, and Latin American nations have been buying, according to a report last week by The Christian Science Monitor. UPI also explored the growing influence of Israeli firm Elbit Systems in the region. Elbit drones have a significant presence in Latin America, with both Hermes and Heron drones recently sold to Brazil. Hermes drones have also appeared in Mexico, and the Heron has been seen in Ecuador. The Monitor’s feature follows last month’s news the United States is flying Predator and Global Hawk drones over Mexico to snoop on drug traffickers.
It was as though the Pentagon knew what was coming – and had prepared.
Staff Sgt. Richard Rodriguez was on a mission. On March 27, the stocky military policeman from the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division led a group of American and Afghan security forces on a foot patrol through the town of Baraki Barak, 50 miles south of Kabul. (See video above.)
It took three tries over 10 years, but the U.S. Air Force has finally awarded a contract for new jet-powered aerial tankers. On Feb. 24, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn announced that Chicago-based Boeing had beat European rival EADS in the competition to build 179 new tankers to replace 1960s-era KC-135s. “Boeing was the better offer,” Lynn told reporters.
Peter’s Atlantic Round-Up
The long saga continues. Will the Russian army become professional or not? It is an issue that has dogged the military long before the wall came down. Currently Russia operates a mixed system of professional and conscripted soldiers. Conscription has been described as one of the biggest human-rights scandals in Russia. In dedovshchina, or “rule of the grandfathers,” conscripts are forced to beg, steal and even donate blood to bring in money for their unit. Those who desert are so affected by the experience that they often go on violent rampages. And if that weren’t enough, there are on average over 1,000 non-combat deaths a year within the Russian military.
Sam’s Southeast Asia Round-Up
Thailand and Cambodia
Tuesday was the fifth consecutive day of fighting along the Thai-Cambodian border. The fighting started over a disputed area near two Hindu temples and has since spread to the Preah Vihaer temple, which saw skirmishes in February. At least 12 soldiers have died. The Cambodian Defense Ministry accused Thailand of shelling civilian villages and damaging the temples, and added that 17,000 Cambodians had been evacuated. A Thai foreign ministry spokesman said 30,000 Thai citizens had been relocated from the border area. Also on Monday, Thailand’s foreign minister Kasit Piromya called for bilateral talks with Cambodia. Although Thailand has resisted international observers, Piromya did not rule them out.
It was four in the morning before the guards at Kandahar’s Saraposa prison even knew anything was wrong. By then it was too late: the last of at least 476 prisoners, most of them Taliban and some of them experienced commanders, had escaped the facility through a more than 1,000-foot-long tunnel painstakingly dug into the compound over the course of five months.
The Chinese aviation industry has begun testing a short-takeoff, vertical-landing naval fighter optimized for small aircraft carriers, according to English-language military trade publications. The reports last week cited rumors circulated by Chinese aviation blogs. “It is difficult to substantiate Internet chatter,” U.S.-based Defense News cautioned.