Friday Linkzookery – 06 Jan 2006

New Energy Currents: 2006-01-04
As usual, a great collection of energy-related linkagery at Winds of Change.

A-10 Impact in Afghanistan
Warthogs getting it done.

Getting the F-22A into Action
Give me a ‘D’! Give me a ‘P’! Give me a ‘R’! Give me a ‘K’.

Scientists moot gravity-busting hyperdrive
Can it make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? More details at New Scientist Space. Defense Tech also weighs in and also channels Han Solo.

Keeping the Commandoes In Uniform
$$$ for SF vets. Good.

The Kirkuk Question
Potentially-huge situation in northern Iraq. By David Axe.

Airtronic Takes Over Contract for 14 million M9 Pistol Magazines, Offers Sand Solutions
While the 9mm sidearms are criticized by many, the mags seem to be universally hated. They’re trying to address that.

Anatomy of a care package
The latest from Margaret Friedenauer in Iraq.

Syria, Who Is Next?
Watch Syria closely. There’s no telling what could happen.

Robertson: Ignorant Remarks Caused by God’s Wrath
God sends trials and tribulations to test and strengthen His followers. Pat Robertson is one of them. The tribulations, I mean.

Pace vs. Murtha
Charlie Munn knows who his money’s on. Murdoc agrees.

Search Ends for Missing UAV
The Stryker brigade abandoned the search for a Raven missing for two days. No doubt we’ll soon be seeing jihadis celebrating after their “great victory” over the infidel by dancing around it.

Aggressor Squadron Stands Up at Nellis
Train like you want to fight.

The best Spielberg movies
You get to vote in a poll after the Top Five list, but it’s kind of pointless since you can only vote for one. They should allow you to vote for 3, or your own top 5 with weighted scores, or something. That would be interesting. (BTW, Murdoc voted for “Jaws”.)


  1. Re Agressor Squadrons at Nellis. While I’m glad to see another Aggressor Squadron stood back up, the AF really needs to get a platform for some DACM (Dissimilar Air Combat Maneuvering). didn’t they buy a squadron lot of Mig-29s from Moldova a few years ago? What happened to them, I Wonder?

  2. I suppose F-15Es can do a pretty good job of emulating SU-27s/30s, being a similar sized aircraft with similar thrust and fuel capacity. I agree having actual potential enemy aircraft would be more realistic, but the question is would the benefit be worth re-training the crews, the mechanics, and risking a higher accident rate? With some effort it’s probably possible to train pilots to fly US aircraft in a very similar manner to the way it’s possible to fly a MiG-29 or SU-30. I’m not sure which aircraft would best emulate a MiG-29. Perhaps an F-16 with CFTs and one of the newer, high-thrust engines? The re-activation is good news I think. Aggressor training can be very effective if all the stops are pulled out. You want to practice against an ‘enemy’ which is as tough or tougher than any you are likely to encounter for real.

  3. Syria, Who’s next? — Lets make it SYRIA! That punk Bashar Assad needs to be taught a lesson about beating up on his neighbors. BOOM! POW! BAM! Bye bye syria; now who’s next?

  4. While I am not against the actual military action against these countries, I would have to say that to keep the public opinion of the war/wars better, we should decide to just lay off invasion for a good length of time. The public is already pissed at the whole deal in Iraq, a new attack would be food for the media who are generally anti-war and often unpatriotic.

  5. The F-15 didn’t do such a good job emulating the Su-30 against the IAF, did it? The Su is a lot faster, and has more range. The USAF would buy some, but they might find out something they don’t want to know. In the mean time, let’s depend on long range missiles – just like we did in Vietnam until we got tired of getting blown out of the sky. Yeah, reliance on missiles and a lack of dogfighting skills really paid off well there, didn’t it? Better still, let’s rely on the ultimate long range missile, the UAV. We just never learn.

  6. I don’t think an SU-27 or SU-30 is faster than an F-15C or F-15E. They’re all ~Mach2 planes. The Sukhois can accelerate a bit faster but are penalised with a higher fuel burnup rate than an F-15 at full power. F-15Es have the large CFTs fitted standard, which increases the F-15 range a lot. I can’t find any figures which show noticably different combat radii between the large Sukhois and an F-15E. In reality I don’t think there’s that much difference between the two. I’m also not sure what your statement about the F-15 emulating an SU-30 against the IAF is. I assume you mean IAF = Indian Air Force, not Israeli Air Force. When did F-15s emulate SU-30s against the Indian Air Force? Actually, the USAF did pretty well in Vietnam considering. As usual, the enemy were flying from much closer distances from the combat areas, accounting for most of the difference. The kill ratio still ended up being an advantage for the USAF/US Navy. The Russian aircraft pretty much rely on long-range missiles to survive, too. I wouldn’t fly an SU-27 or SU-30 against an F-15 without any R-77s. Likewise, I wouldn’t fly an F-15 against an SU-37 or SU-30 without an AMRAAM. It sucks to get shot down before you can even take a shot.

  7. let’s depend on long range missiles – just like we did in Vietnam’ — If I recall my history correctly we didn’t rely on long range missiles in Vietnam as BVR combat was against the rules of engagement (another one of the idiocies of the Vietnam war; fighting with both arms tied behind your back). Any way, that, I believe, was the reason for starting the top gun aggressor school in the first place. Our fighters were inferior to the Russians in the dogfight, and since we weren’t going to allow ourselves to use our BVR advantage we had to have pilots who could beat them despite having sub-par aircraft.

  8. The F-15 has more drag than the Su. External tanks are not new technology since the middle of WW2. The F-4 was not inferior to the Soviet aircraft in Vietnam. It would not turn as tightly. Most of our fighters in WW2 would not out turn a Zero too. When our pilots learned how to dogfight again, they started winning the air war over Vietnam. Even so, the F-4 having been designed as a long range missile platform, it had no gun. That was its single biggest deficiency as a fighter. Apparently the USAF didn’t learn anything from Vietnam. They have gotten rid of most of their aggressor squadrons, and as a result got their butts kicked by the Indian Air Force, both with F-15s and the F-16s they are trying to sell to the IAF. No more whining about how they were hanging back. This UAV craze is proof that the USAF is run by idiots. Do they have a place in combat? Sure. Will they ever replace the fighter pilot? Hell no!

  9. That hyperdrive stuff reminds me of nothing so much as the ‘Blieder Drive’ in Eric Frank Russell’s SF novel ‘the Great Explosion’. Oddly enough, some anarchist site has put the whole thing up on the internet since they think it has an anarchist message – try googling for it.

  10. The F-15 has more drag than the Su. External tanks are not new technology since the middle of WW2.’ I doubt it’s significant. Keep in mind the F-15E’s conformal fuel tanks are just that – oonformal – and thus barely qualify as being external. In fact, if you remove the wall between the tanks and the rest of the airframe, they would be part of the airframe. Have you seen the underside of an SU-27 or SU-30 loaded for combat? Please explain to me how all those missiles and pods don’t create a heck of a lot of drag. For more information, perhaps this page might be a good read. Quote:

    One of the features that makes the F-15E a most impressive fighter-bomber is the pair of Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) that run along either side of the fuselage. In addition to providing a considerable fuel supply to the aircraft without the extensive drag penalty of external tanks, the CFTs provide additional hardpoints from which ordnance can be mounted.

    It also includes some pictures of the CFTs. Sounds like a distinct improvement over WW2 technology to me. As for the Indian Air Force beating the USAF – it was hardly in what I would call ‘fair fights’. If you read about the exercises in detail, it’s pretty clear that they were not ‘4 F-15s vs. 4 SU-30s’ or anything like that. In Cope India 2004, many of the combats were between 4 F-15s and 10-12 Indian aircraft. In Cope India 2005, there were no USAF F-15s, only F-16s, and the mix of missions flown was incredibly varied. I have seen no evidence yet that any of the outcomes were particularly surprising, given the way the exercises were set up. If you have such information I think you ought to share it. Will UAVs replace fighter pilots? Quite possibly they will. Why do you think they shall not, when UAVs can theoretically manoeuver much better than an aircraft with a pilot in it? Plus, they can be smaller and lighter due to the lack of the requirement for life support, and can be a lot less redundant too.

  11. F-15’s, SU-30’s aside folks. All you Battle Ship lovers beware: The U.S. Naval Academy has ordered a court-martial for a faculty member who made a ‘crude’ remark in the presence of female midshipmen, even though an investigating officer recommended only administrative action. The three criminal charges against Lt. Bryan D. Black come as the Annapolis school’s superintendent, Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, has announced a ‘zero-tolerance’ campaign to rid the campus of sexual harassment. Lt. Black says he is being unfairly prosecuted as a ‘poster child’ for Adm. Rempt’s campaign. The academy filed criminal charges days after the school’s board of visitors criticized Adm. Rempt after a Defense Department sexual harassment task force scolded the school…. The incident occurred last August during an oceanographic cruise in the Chesapeake Bay. Lt. Black served as safety officer on what is called a yard patrol craft. The charging document states that Lt. Black made ‘a crude remark’ in the presence of a female midshipman, Samantha Foxton, about how a battleship sexually arouses him. He suggested how it might arouse her.’

  12. Wars are not theoretical, they are real. The UAV has not been built that can process the amount of information that a human pilot can, nor can they apply judgement or discretion. UAVs know nothing of decency or honor. What they do really well is hog battle space bandwidth. As for the F-15 conformal tanks, BFD. It amazes me how such a small thing can be made to seem so significant in a press release. I guess all that money they spent has to go somewhere. Another ‘innovation’ our Air Force has implemented since WW2 is that they no longer rely on large numbers of fighters, but instead rely on having small numbers of vastly superior aircraft. After 30 years, I guess some of the vastness is wearing off. If they lose following their own force assumptions, that can hardly be blamed on India, can it? Of course, the MiG-21 costs about the same as a single control surface on one of our fighters, so that would tend to skew numbers too. The fact they changed the Cope exercises to eliminate as much us vs. them competition in the exercise says plenty about their confidence in the F-16. Yeah, the Navy is real sympathetic when it comes to sexual harassment. Personally I don’t think doing social experiments with warship crew complements during time of war is a real good idea, but given that we are, the Naval officers should have to live to the same standars the rest of us do. This is yet another place where much less whining would be appropriate.

  13. In regards to the gravity machine thing… check out the amazing book, ‘The Hunt for Zero Point’. Very good read to anyone interested in aviation and classified technology. I think I read it cover to cover in about 2 days, not that it was so short, but that it was so good.

  14. Of course, the MiG-21 costs about the same as a single control surface on one of our fighters’ That’s because the MiG-21 is made in a country that’s just barely able to feed their population and maintain order. If F-15s or F-16s were made in Russia, they’d be cheap and crappily made like MiG-21s, and if MiG-21s were made in the USA they’d be expensive and better made. Your point is…? ‘After 30 years, I guess some of the vastness is wearing off.’ Hence the B-2 and F-22 and F-35? ‘As for the F-15 conformal tanks, BFD.’ As for everything you mentioned about the Sukhois… BFD? The F-15E really isn’t all that different in terms of capability from an SU-30MK. I don’t think any differences between the aircraft would be significant enough to overcome differences in pilot quality. The F-22 is a lot better than either and is entering service now. Pretty good timing I think? Pity a carrier version is not being made, but I suppose even the F-35 will probably be superior enough compared to an Su-30 in all but a few areas (range?) that the US Navy won’t be quite as screwed as they would be without the F-35. ‘Wars are not theoretical, they are real.’ Actually, there are plenty of theoretical wars around the corner, just as UAVs are slowly increasing in capability. Obviously, nobody is ditching their manned aircraft in favour of UAVs yet (except possible tactical reconnaissance). But as UAVs demonstrate more and more capability, they will take over more and more roles. I wouldn’t have believed that UAVs could replace close air support until they started doing it. Granted their role is pretty limited now, but a few years ago it was non-existant. ‘The UAV has not been built that can process the amount of information that a human pilot can…’ That’s why humans fly UAVs. They just do it remotely. ‘UAVs know nothing of decency or honor.’ What does that have to do with dropping a JDAM or firing an AMRAAM? I’m pretty sure we’ll soon see UAVs which can fire long-range missiles at targets being tracked by AWACS. They’ll then be able to turn really quickly and run away, plus they won’t be easily picked up by the enemy’s radar, being small and probably stealthy. It’ll be a while before they can dogfight but I don’t doubt it can eventually happen. However, that may be the future; it’s not reality yet. That doesn’t make it worth ignoring though. Chances are the F-22 and F-35 may be superior long enough that by the time they are being retired, significant portions of their roles will be flown by UAVs.

  15. Dean: LOL! I’m generally (historically speaking) a Spielberg fan. But I’d have trouble limiting my votes for ‘Worst’ to three…

  16. This just in: Inspired by both the style and content of ‘Bagdad Bob’s’ TV appearances during the early part of OIF, added to the fact that ‘Bagdad Bob’ is currently off the air, Abu Musab al_Zarqawi, has leapt into the breach and produced the following: ‘Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, said in an audio tape put onto the Internet that rockets had been fired at Israel from Lebanon last month ‘on the instructions’ of the network’s overall chief Osama bin Laden. Zarqawi also said the guerrillas had carried out nearly 800 operations against ‘the crusader forces’ since the occupation of Iraq, putting ‘crusader’ casualties at around 40,000 soldiers. ‘Since the start of mujahedeen operations after the fall of the Baathist regime and until today, nearly 800 martyr operations aimed at crusader targets and military convoys have been carried out (…). We estimate casualties among the adorers of the Cross in Iraq at no less than 40,000 soldiers,’ he declared. ‘ Rumors fly that MSN and CNN are in a bidding war to sign him to a contract as their Middle East Correspondent. Barbara Streisand said (after recovering from her *swoon*) I just knew that neocon MSN and CNN were dramatically understating American military casualties. It’s about time the emotional truth came out ( emotional truth = how things should have been. A phrase commonly used in Hollywood USA to defend lies, mistakes and errors that have been pointed out in motion pictures. ie; Senator Joseph McCarthy is a liar and a devil — from ‘Good Night and Good Luck’. Several Hollywood directors scrambled to buy movie rights to Zarqawi’s soon to be revised life story. George Clooney, has been reportedly expressing interest in playing the part of Zarqawi. Recently George Soro’s bid to purchase Dreamworks library and is anxious to bring his old friend Abu into his stable of stars. Okay Okay with the exception of the Zarqawi qoute I made it up. But it is far more believable fiction that Hollywood makes up.

  17. If you think UAVs are simply high tech RC aircraft, then you don’t really understand what they are about.