Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Here is the post which I will try to keep sticky for people to ask questions and share their thoughts which are not on topic. This, I think is known as Open Thread. Fire away.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Which, as we all know, is the top dog, super-pooper, invisible and the best aircraft, like, ever. That is what all those "analysts" with backgrounds in journalism and LEGO design tell us all the time. Yet:
ST. LOUIS — Boeing is preparing to build F-15 fighter planes for the U.S. Air Force at its St. Louis County plant even though the military branch hasn’t bought the jet in over a decade.The Chicago-based company began ramping up its F-15 production line near St. Louis after the Air Force submitted a nearly $8 billion budget request last month that included eight F-15s next year and 72 in the following four years. The request came as a surprise to many since the U.S. military has moved toward stealth fighters, such as Lockheed Martin's F-35, in recent years. Prat Kumar, Boeing International’s vice president, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company is investing before Congress approves the budget request so it can respond quickly should the Air Force seek rapid field deployment.
I will leave commentaries on this "Stealth" thingy to people who never saw basic Radar Equation in their life, but the move by USAF is very telling. If one dismisses the whole cat-fight in Congress regarding who gets what:
Five senators from states where the F-35 is produced, including Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, sent President Donald Trump and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan a letter before the Air Force detailed its budget request that warned against funding F-15 planes at the expense of F-35s.
But the issue here is rather simple: F-35 is a disaster. It is multi-billion dollar combat embarrassment designed, for the astronomical price and meek combat capabilities, to fight third world militaries. It is not survivable in a modern peer-to-peer airspace. F-15, on the other hand, is an old reliable horse which at least flies and costs much less than F-35--thus fewer political ramifications if one is shot down. In general, something is up with this whole US combat aviation thingy and most likely it is just continuation of a "commercialization" of the military technology in US because "investors" want their Returns on Investment (ROI) fast and juicy. And so the saga of USS Zumwalt-class DDG, F-35, LCS and other commercial items continues. Who cares about defense or offense, for that matter. As long as fat cats are happy with their checks, anything goes. You know, like newest, still non-existent Columbia-class SSBN:
There's no risk to the contractors that this program will be canceled. The GAO said the most likely scenario is that the Pentagon will be forced to go back to Congress and ask for additional funds in order to remain on schedule. The agency did not provide an estimate of how much more would be needed, referring instead to a report by the Congressional Budget Office that concluded the Columbia program could end up costing as much as $145 billion.
So, $145 billion/12 submarines=$12.1 billion per single submarine. Lovely! Can I get a cut?
Sunday, April 21, 2019
Which, however, are very important.
MOSCOW — The Kremlin spokesman says a U.S. presidential adviser has traveled to Russia for talks. Spokesman Dmitry Peskov says Thursday that Fiona Hill, Special Assistant to U.S. President Donald Trump, held talks in Moscow on Wednesday with several Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser. A U.S. embassy official who asked to be unnamed because the statements about Hill's visits should be made by the National Security Council confirmed the visit to the Associated Press. Peskov said Hill and Russian officials discussed bilateral issues but did not discuss a potential meeting between Putin and Trump.
Fionna Hill is a typical Brookings Institute and, particularly, late Richard Pipes', "product" (confused neocon that is) with "expertise" in Russia and Former Soviet Union being primarily in her knowledge of Russian language. But it is interesting that she still made it to Moscow in a very non-public manner. Which leads us to two possibilities:
1. She (and she is a perfect candidate for such a role, as any neocon is) may have been sent in a futile attempt to dictate to Russia some US demands. Well, Russia saw bigger and better bullies than her and remained unimpressed whatsoever. In general, trying to pressure Russia doesn't work, plus the United States realistically is not in any position to dictate anything. So, in this case we may assume that she went to Moscow with a different mission.
2. That different mission could be an attempt to arrange some kind of process with Russia which may lead to unfreezing of bilateral relations which would make possible some kind of "deal" in a long run. Strangely, such a mission and whatever this hypothetical deal may be, could be even more difficult than trying to bully Russia because Russians:
a) Fully recognize own strength and the geopolitical trend, they themselves are setting to a large degree;
b) US is not viewed as treaty-worthy subject anymore.
Indeed, try to BS anyone about "democracy" and US being a good partner, especially in Moscow, after what happened in the US in the last two years. One will get this reaction:
So, what could be Hill's mission? A "probe"? Sure! but not only that. But I don't think that Russians treat most US envoys anymore as worthy of paying attention to since current US elites, especially of Hill's "quality", are nothing more than mindless automatons capable to only repeat beaten to death cliches which have as much relation to a reality as US being "democracy" and having freedom of speech. As real American professional (among many others) who did risk his life for the country noted:
It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington.
I agree with Phil Giraldi--it is depressing to see all that, especially understanding that these were such people as Hill and other neocons infesting currently Trump Administration who played a crucial role in bringing the US and the world to the place where it is today, all, mind you, under the misleading false slogans.
No, not the Ukraine electing a certified clown as her President. But the delivery (in Russian) of a first couple of serial production PD-14 engines (first batch numbers 16 engines) to Irkut corp to be installed at the serial MC-21 commercial aircraft. This is huge and I cannot emphasize enough how huge it is. It is a state-of-the-art engine which is very competitive with Western analogues, getting pretty close in terms of bypass ratio, while being better in fuel economy. EASA is due to certify it this year, while in Russia it already received the certificate of type. This is a new era in modern Russian commercial aerospace and implications are gigantic.
No, Boeing-Airbus duopoly will not get crushed immediately but the fact that Russia already has a line of very competitive aircraft, from SSJ-100 to MC-21, to upcoming Il-96 with PD-35 for own market and that of former USSR should give some people a pause when framing global commercial aviation mostly in terms of this duopoly as a constant. But, as we all know, everything changes, all the time.
Friday, April 19, 2019
They always lie but here is an example with not so subtle difference. It is obvious that most current US media are floating now in the cesspool of their own making, probably sensing (most of them are stupid, they cannot think rationally) that they are the very substance they are floating in. But as any drowning person grasps for the last straw, they continue to lie. Here is a title of USA Today.
But even this title lies, since the issue is not that "Vladimir Putin's team doesn't like it", but in the fact that what Peskov said, even before commenting on Russia's "interference", thus framing the whole message, was, speaking in diplomatic language, a humiliating and sarcastic rubbing it in. Here is what he said:
Translation: We are saddened that the documents (Mueller's Report) of such quality influence directly a development of Russian-American relations which are already not in the best of shapes. Peskov elaborated further:
"Speaking on a lighter note, should this Report have been published in Russia, we would have our Accounting Chamber (an analogue of US GAO) be very interested in how the taxpayers' money were spent".
Yes, US media (with very few exceptions) have to get ready to be treated from now on as...pieces of shit, which they are, and in terms of Russia get prepared to follow Sergei Lavrov's advice to write whatever BS they want since nobody with any integrity is going to view them more than whores and lying lowlifes they really are. They fully deserved it. As per this instance--Russians do not "not like it", Peskov merely pointed out that Mueller's Report is nothing more than a...well...BS and that is sentence, not comment. Laura Ingraham was on point. Indeed, Laura, what do we do now? Wear face masks and rubber gloves, with powerful disinfectant and air freshener at hand, when reading or watching CNN, MSNBC or this clown Zakaria--that's what. NYT and WaPo should be on the list of forbidden substitutes for a toilet paper in times of social upheaval and shortages of necessities for a danger of brain cancer developing from an anus wiped with those. As per US "intelligence community", I don't know how they will ever be viewed other than a parody on what otherwise should have been national security institution. Right. Meanwhile I will continue to enjoy one of very few people with integrity, brains and wit left on the ruins of the American so called journalism.