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The Disaffected Lib: When Confidence Fails

Few who lived through the Cold War with its constant threat of nuclear annihilation realize the role confidence played in preventing an outbreak of apocalyptic hostilities.  Even at times when we thought the “other side” might be nearing the point of pre-emptive attack, we had a sufficient degree of confidence that they would do no such thing.  The Red Telephone that connected the White House to the Kremlin was specifically intended as an instrument for maintaining confidence.

The Cuban missile crisis demonstrated the leadership needed to maintain confidence – and peace – in stressful circumstances.  Kennedy was being pulled by (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: My Deepest Apology to Stephen Harper, Military Genius

Yes?

For years I have been openly mocking our prime minister. He believes he’s the combined reincarnation of General Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill, often touting things like the Canadian victory in the War of 1812, even though Canada wouldn’t exist for another 55 years. Pish posh.

In reality, I have criticized Harper for being an international relations buffoon, something more like Ian McKellen’s Richard III.

But despite having criticized war-mongering Harper [who nevertheless abuses and neglects military veterans and their mental health disabilities] for deciding to buy a bunch of F-35 fighter jets, I shouldn’t have.

I criticized the (Read more…)

Alberta Diary: CTF bullying and misinformation: just what’s ‘wacky’ about rape prevention research?

Canadian Taxpayers Association Federal Director Gregory Thomas dressed up as a professor, with a man dressed as a pig, at a CTF news conference trashing government support for academic research. A cameraman can be seen at left obligingly filming. Below: Dr. Melanie Beres, unfairly ridiculed by the CTF for her 2006 thesis; Mr. Thomas when he’s dressed as a grownup.

According to the comedians at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a $17,500 grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to a promising young Alberta-trained sociologist whose research looks for ways to improve rape-prevention education is a waste (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: An F-35 Update From The Mound Of Sound

The Mound of Sound sent along this note, followed by his guest post on the F-35:

I thought an update on the F-35 would be appropriate after reading Bill Sweetman’s latest piece in Aviation Week. He writes that this warplane’s Canadian backers are desperate to convince us that we don’t need to put the F-35 through an actual competition.

Canadian supporters of the F-35 marginally stealthy, light attack bomber are so convinced that the F-35 would trounce its rivals in an actual, head-to-head competition that they argue fiercely we should have no such competition.

Aviation Week says we’re being conned.

(Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Let’s Be Honest – Canada Will Wind Up With the F-35, Largely by Default

It may be the biggest military blunder in Canadian history but all signs point to our country succumbing to the F-35, Lockheed’s first-strike, light attack bomber.  Harper, the ultimate stealth politician, is playing a waiting game.   He knows that the clock is running out on most potential F-35 rivals.  With the market dominated by cash-strapped buyers, costly aircraft production lines are shutting down in short order. 

Boeing had modified ‘stealth’ prototypes of both the F-15 Eagle and the F-18 Super Hornet but without a lead customer both lines will probably be shut down and, once they’re gone, (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: It’s Funny What You Can Pick Up from Watching TV

Last evening I stumbled across a documentary on America’s B-2 stealth bomber on the Smithsonian Channel.  At one point there was an interview with an American engineering expert.   She mentioned that at the heart of stealth technology, it’s all math.  Angles that will reflect radar waves back to the transmitter and give you away.   Angles that will deflect radar waves in helpful directions so they don’t return to the transmitter and you remain radar invisible, that sort of thing.  Then she dropped what was, for me, a bombshell.

Guess where the Americans got all that (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: F-35: Lies from Lying Liars #cdnpoli

The F-35 was going to be a plane made with Chinese parts, despite US law forbidding that.

mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBR… this just adds to the ridiculousness. Russia probably has deal w china to remotely disable these.— jeff cliff (@jeffcliff1) January 04, 2014

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: First Nations Get $0.3M for Solar Research #skpoli

The Conservative government generously gave First Nations in Saskatchewan enough grant money to build one impressively sized solar array that could power a half dozen homes.

Ontario is going with $5,000M.

SaskPower gave 10 times this much to the UofR to research how to put CO2 underground so more oil can be pumped out of the Weyburn area.

Lockheed manufactures illegal weapons, and is part of the F-35 dud stealth bomber boondoggle.

Solar is not “concentrated” in SK as explained in the article, we just have more sun hitting the ground throughout the year than most of Canada. There’s (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Stealth Achilles’ Heel – Numbers

Joseph Stalin is cited as observing that, “quantity is a quality unto itself.”  You can have the best of something and the other guy can have the worst of something but if he’s got 20 of the worst and you’ve only got one of the best, chances are you’re in big trouble.  That’s sort of the predicament air forces committing to the F-35 will face.

Canada, for example, is hoping to buy just 65 of these stealth light attack bombers.  A paltry 65 of these short-range, single-engine warplanes for the second biggest country in the world.   (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: F-35 – Already Getting Obsolete

The authoritative military journal, Janes, reports that Lockheed’s overdue, overpriced and under-performing F-35 Wunderjet is already encountering problems with obsolescence.

The United States has embarked on a technology refresh development track for the electronic warfare (EW) module of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to overcome obsolescence issues before the system has even made it into service. This has seen the US Naval Air Systems Command place a USD149 million contract to Lockheed Martin, as a modification to a previous advanced acquisition deal and covers the “redesign and qualification of replacement F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Electronic (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Shadow Boxing – the F-35

“There may be a universe where it is smart to give your adversaries 25 year’s notice of exactly how you plan to render their defenses obsolete. We just don’t live there.” 

                                                   -  Bill Sweetman

One of the best sources on the F-35, its strengths and its weaknesses, is Aviation Week’s Bill Sweetman.  He’s been following America’s stealth programmes for many years from the F-117 to the B-2, the F-22 and now the (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Lockheed – Arm Twister Extraordinaire?

What Lockheed wants, Lockheed intends to get especially when it comes to the F-35 stealth light attack bomber.

Last week the company tried to stiffen spines here in Canada by warning that Canadian businesses stood to lose over $10-billion in contract work if their government tries to play wise guy and cancels the F-35 purchase.  Nice little place ya got here.  It’d be a shame if anyting was to happen to it.

Now Lockheed seems to be doing a full Wall-Mart on its own contractors.  Seemingly desperate to cut costs that are scaring off potential buyers, Lockheed (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Dutch Trim F-35 Order

At the outset the Netherlands was expected to buy 85 of Lockheed’s light attack stealth bomber, the F-35.   For a nation not much larger in area than Vancouver Island that seemed like a hefty purchase.

Now the Dutch have announced they’ll settle for just 37 of the overpriced, overdue and underperforming warplanes.   That seems to make the F-35 something of a niche buy for the Netherlands.  Not particularly inspirational but it still gives Lockheed something to crow about as the company tries to strongarm South Korea into rethinking their decision to go for an  updated F-15 buy instead.

The Disaffected Lib: Oopsie, Not So Invisible After All. A Laser Jammer for the F-35.

This is the directed laser jammer being developed by Northrop for retrofitting to the F-35 stealth light attack bomber.

These jammers operate by firing laser beams at the sensors of incoming, heat-seeking missiles to break lock.

Presumably this is going to have some sort of pop-up capability so that it remains concealed within the F-35 until the aircraft is attacked. 

And you thought the F-35 was going to be invisible.   Silly you.

The Disaffected Lib: F-35 Could Cost Canada 71-Billion Dollars

It’s only 25-billion more than the current estimates of the Department of National Defence but, hey, it’s only money.

A worst-case scenario of cost risks in a Department of National Defence report on a possible acquisition of 65 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets estimates the airplanes could cost Canada up to $71-billion through acquisition, sustainment and operations over 36 years.

The costs, $25-billion more than the current National Defence estimate, are contained in a section of the department’s latest report to Parliament on the F-35 that outlines “cost risk and uncertainty” and is intended to provide a range of (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Cash Crunch Offers New Insights Into the F-35.

The United States Air Force is scrambling to protect the F-35 light attack bomber from the threat of cancellation.   There has been talk over the past week that the F-35, in the era of budget sequestration, could be a goner.

It’s funny how a cash crunch can shake out straight talk.   This time it’s coming from Major General Steve Kwast who headed the USAF Quadrenniel Defense Review.   General Kwast said the air force has a compelling reason for protecting the F-35 from cost cutters:

“We must be able to project power in contested environments (A2/AD) and (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Maybe We Shouldn’t Put All our Eggs in One Aerial Basket

Britain did something profoundly stupid in the early 30s.  It invested a huge amount of its air force budget in twin-engine, light bombers.   These designs were easily capable of out-running fighter aircraft like the Hawker Fury and the Gloster Gladiator of the day.  That meant bombers could range independently, in daylight, with very little defensive armament or armour plate protection and simply outrun enemy fighters if they showed up.

A decade later the air combat world had been stood on its head.  Fast, agile and heavily-armed fighters like the Hurricane, Spitfire and ME-109 ruled the air (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Canada’s F-35 Blueprints Stolen By China

Among the weapons listed in the report were the advanced Patriot missile system, the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defense systems, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the V-22 Osprey, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The post Canada’s F-35 Blueprints Stolen By China appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Disaffected Lib: Why Not Buy the Chinese Version Just Like Wal-Mart Does?

A confidential Pentagon report leaked to the Washington Post accuses hackers of stealing the designs of many of America’s most advanced weapons systems.

Experts warn that the electronic intrusions gave China access to advanced technology that could accelerate the development of its weapons systems and weaken the U.S. military advantage in a future conflict.  Some of the weapons form the backbone of the Pentagon’s regional missile defense for Asia, Europe and the Persian Gulf. The designs included those for the advanced Patriot missile system, known as PAC-3; an Army system for shooting down ballistic missiles, known as (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Why Does the F-35 Have Just One Engine? Blame It On Those Damned JarHeads.

A huge limiting factor of the F-35 is that it has just one engine.  In a vast, sparsely populated country with extreme weather (yes, that would be Canada), twin-engine reliability is a huge bonus.  One engine goes out – from a bird strike or mechanical failure, whatever – and you’ve still got one to let you limp back to the barn.

The F-35′s vastly more capable big brother, the F-22, has twin engines.   So why just a single, massive jet engine for the F-35?  There is an answer.

When the F-35 was conceived it had to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Crunching the F-35 Numbers. It’s Anything You Want.

There’s one thing F-35 pilots won’t be seeing as much as they’d like – the inside of an F-35.   Instead they’ll be spending a good deal more time pretending to be inside an F-35, in a simulator inside some cavernous hangar.

Now how the balance between actual stick and rudder time and simulator time is struck will depend on a lot of factors, some of them political.

One of the big political issues of the day, at least to prospective purchasers and operators of the F-35 light attack bomber, is the cost of operating the warplanes.   Some critics (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: The Need for Speed, Why Go Anywhere Without It?

When you’re going “state of the art” you always run the risk that the adversaries you have in mind will quickly find the Achilles’ Heel(s) in your latest & greatest technology.  It can be a lot easier and infinitely cheaper to find ways to counter a dramatic new technology than it was to create that advance in the first place.  It’s the sort of thing that makes the boffins go “Doh” just like Homer Simpson.

There are growing signs of just that sort of early obsolescence happening with the overdue, over-priced and under-performing F-35 Joint Strike (Read more…) light attack bomber.

What do our “bad guys” know?  Plenty.  There has been plenty written about the F-35.   They’re also believed to have stolen big chunks of its 9-million lines of code and other manufacturing and design data.  The Iranians snagged one of Lockheed’s RQ-170 stealth drones and the Chinese are . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Need for Speed, Why Go Anywhere Without It?

The Disaffected Lib: Nuclear Fangs for the F-35 – Obama’s Light Bomber

Don’t Worry, This Will Only Hurt for a Second

The United States is refurbishing 200 nuclear bombs for use aboard the F-35 light attack bomber.

The old B-61 gravity bombs are being converted with new tail fin assemblies that will transform them into guided weapons.  They’ll be kept at various bases in Europe from Belgium to Turkey.

Little Bundles of Instant Sunshine

“What will be going back to Europe will be a guided nuclear bomb,” [Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of Nuclear Scientists]  said. “Especially when you combine it with F35 with stealth characteristics, that (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Nuclear Fangs for the F-35 – Obama’s Light Bomber

Alberta Diary: Today’s weather: blue skies, seasonally adjusted temperature of Fahrenheit 78, not 451

You can’t trust anything you read on a website that is not coloured blue. This is important to remember. If you accidentally open a website that is not blue, turn your computer off immediately and dial 1-800-TORYBLU. Technicians like these will come to your house and help you reset it. Anyway, it shouldn’t take a weatherman to tell you which way the wind is blowing…

And now the weather forecast from Environm… I mean from the Harper Government of Canada…

Good mooooorning Edmonton!

It’s going to be another beautiful day today – and I mean beautiful – with clear, Tory-blue (Read more…) and beautiful warm temperatures.

Pack up your winter coats, people! Just put ’em away! Because just like yesterday and the day before and the day before that, the seasonally adjusted temperature is a beautiful 78 degrees Fahrenheit!

And don’t worry, because this is a Conservative . . . → Read More: Alberta Diary: Today’s weather: blue skies, seasonally adjusted temperature of Fahrenheit 78, not 451

The Disaffected Lib: The Netherlands Parks the F-35

The Dutch already have one F-35 and they’re due to get another in just a few months.  They’re the first of what was supposed to be an 85 aircraft purchase.  But the Netherlands government and military are getting cold feet for the over-expensive, overdue and under-performing, partially stealthy light attack bomber.   So they’ve decided to park the F-35s while they explore their options.

Newly appointed defence minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert announced the decision to park the test assets in a letter to the Dutch parliament on 4 April. A first example – delivered in late 2012 – and

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: The Netherlands Parks the F-35