Lone Helo

Lone Helo

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Micro Force: Small Combatants for the Littorals

We need a bigger U.S. Navy - but the fleet can be grown in many different ways. One way is to develop a "micro Navy" (as opposed to "Big Navy" gray hulls) buidling on the lessons learned and discarded from U.S. and allied patrol torpedo boat operations in WWII.

Update these boats with anti-ship missiles, mines, and unmanned drone vessels to be deployed from the boats - you've created a potentially deadly small combatant force for use in the littoral for a faction of the cost of larger ships.

More on this later.

Monday, October 16, 2017

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 11 September - 11 October 2017 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/ SOUTHEAST ASIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 5 - 11 October 2017

Australia ‘wait and see’ on China's "Belt and Road" Fantasy - ur - Initiative? Akbar's Warning

Interesting piece from the Aussie Lowy Institute's "The Interpreter" Belt and Road: The case for ‘wait and see’
. . . BRI raises bigger questions about the kind of regional economic and security order we would like to see in the Indo-Pacific. It is telling that BRI is organised on a 'hub-and-spokes' model, despite Chinese claims that it is somehow 'multilateral' in form. The 'One Belt' and 'One Road' run back to One Capital – Beijing – and joining BRI would require signing a bilateral memorandum of understanding with China rather signing up to some kind of internationally negotiated, rules-governed, multilateral institution. This speaks volumes about China's ambitions under Xi, particularly the desire for a Sino-centric economic order in which Beijing decides who gets trading and financial privileges from China, and who does not.
Sounds a lot like flypaper.

Or, as Admiral Akbar put it:

It all makes sense if you think of China as the "Middle Kingdom" and the rest of the world as tribute-paying barbarians.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Dimension X "The Professor Was A Thief" (1950)

L. Ron Hubbard ( yes, that guy) wrote this.

On Midrats 15 October 2017 - Episode 406: America's First General Staff, with John Kuehn

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 15 October 2017 for Midrats Episode 406: America's First General Staff, with John Kuehn
The General Board of the Navy existed for the first half of the 20th Century. In his latest
book, America's First General Staff: A Short History of the Rise and Fall of the General Board of the U.S. Navy, 1900-1950, our guest Dr. John T. Kuehn describes how the Board, a creature of its time born from a defined need following the "last war," became the organization that drove the growth of a world class navy and brought together the best in naval thought and strategic thinking.

For the full hour we'll examine its rise and fall, successes and failures, as well as the lessons it may teach us today.

Dr. Kuehn is the General William Stofft Chair for Historical Research at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He retired from the U.S. Navy 2004 at the rank of commander after 23 years of service as a naval flight officer in EP-3s and ES-3s. He authored Agents of Innovation (2008) and co-authored Eyewitness Pacific Theater (2008) with D.M. Giangreco, as well as numerous articles and editorials and was awarded a Moncado Prize from the Society for Military History in 2011.

His previous books include Napoleonic Warfare: The Operational Art of the Great Campaigns and A Military History of Japan: From the Age of the Samurai to the 21st Century as well as numerous articles and editorials. He was awarded a Moncado Prize from the Society for Military History in 2011.
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

U.S. Navy Has a Coastal Mine Detection System

U.S. has a coastal mine detection system reports Megan Eckstine at USNI News
The Navy completed the first phase of its initial operational test and evaluation on the AN/DVS-1 Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) airborne mine detection system and is awaiting Littoral Combat Ship availability to complete the remaining testing.

COBRA is a sensor payload that operates onboard the MQ-8B Fire Scout and can detect beach zone mines in the daytime to help plan amphibious landings. An eventual block upgrade would add nighttime and surf zone detection capabilities.
Using air vehicle operators and mission payload operators from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 1, maintainers from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 and operators from USS Independence (LCS-2) and the LCS Squadron (LCSRON) 1, the LCS program proved to the Operational Test and Evaluation Force that COBRA can effectively and reliably meet its mission requirements.

“Right now, in order for us to do the kind of reconnaissance you need in advance of an amphibious landing, you’ve got to put sailors and Marines, you’ve got to put somebody in there with eyes on target to see what’s there, see if there’s any obstacles. People are involved in it,” Taylor said.
“With this capability, you’re able to go from the LCS with an unmanned vehicle, you’re able to recon a whole line of beach – not just one or two areas, you can look at the whole beach, you can look at all the lanes that are possible without putting somebody there – which allows you to come back and look at that and choose which lane or lanes are available and which are not.”
COBRA aircraft component (U.S. Navy photo)

More on COBRA here:
The COBRA airborne payload will be carried on the MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned air system. This allows operators and other personnel to remain at a safe distance from the mine and obstacle belts and enemy direct and indirect fire. COBRA will be embarked in the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) as part of the mine countermeasures (MCM) mission package (MP).
Wonder who will protect the LCS at its "safe distance." And what is that distance in today's battlespace?

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

U.S. Oil and Gas Building National Security

The good news - Lower Costs, Shale Growth Restrict Oil Price in Long Termfrom FItch Ratings:
Lower global production costs, considerable U.S. shale growth potential and shale's ability to quickly respond to changing market conditions should keep average annual oil prices below USD60 a barrel in the long term, Fitch Ratings says. But oil prices will remain volatile and could periodically exceed our assumptions.
We remain sceptical about the effectiveness of OPEC's production cuts to rebalance supply and demand in the near term, as well as to materially reduce crude stocks given the exclusion of Libya and Nigeria (both producing at higher levels since the cut), weak enforceability, and poor track records of adherence. OPEC's average compliance rate slipped to 75% in July from almost 100% at the beginning of the year, according to the International Energy Agency. It improved to 82% in August, but overall we expect average compliance rates in 2H17 and beyond to be weaker than in 1H17.
So relatively low fuel prices should continue, keeping more money into the U.S. economy.

But more good news from the Oil and Gas Journal of Oct 9, 2017, reporting on remarks by Interior Secretary Zinke commenting on efforts to help U.S. oil and gas producers:
“Regulations should be ground in science—not a political agenda,” the secretary indicated. “This is why we’re reviewing and possibly revoking rules that are overly punitive. We’re trying to find the quickest way to get to ‘yes’ without sacrificing our environmental and other responsibilities. With our joint model, we’ll make sure that agencies from many parts of the federal government can work together and involve states, tribes, and other stakeholders earlier in the process.”

Zinke said that more federal oil and gas resource development will improve US security and provide more jobs and economic growth. “I don’t want to see our country held hostage by a foreign oil producer or US troops sent into combat to protect supply routes,” he maintained. “Every drop of US oil that’s produced supplants one from Iran. That’s effective leverage.”
There is an interesting issue that lurks behind efforts to reduce or ban the use of petroleum powered vehicles- well posed by BOb Tippee of the Oil and Gas Journal:

The greenest means of efficient and large elecrical power generation is nuclear, not wind or geothermal or solar or water current.

See Electric Cars Are Not Necessarily Clean: Your battery-powered vehicle is only as green as your electricity supplier and Electric car growth sparks environmental concerns: Mining of raw materials and recycling of lithium-ion batteries in spotlight.

Of course, if the goal is reducing CO2, I guess other types of environmental concerns melt away.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Disaster Relief (and Other Uses) "Flying Cell Phone Towers"

"Flying Cell Phone Towers Go Mainstream" says Martin UAV and Fenix Group:

Fenix Group, a private VA based technology firm, has partnered with Martin UAV, a Texas based manufacturer of rugged utility drones to launch the world’s first drone capable of providing fully functional 4G cell phone service.

The feat may be a world’s first, and the company sees huge potential for government and industry with the flying cell phone tower, weighing in at under 55 pounds.

“When we first conceived the project, we knew we had to make it a priority,” said Dave Peterson, Fenix Group’s President & CEO.

“The market is just there for this right now and Martin UAV immediately understood that.”

“Beyond tactical closed networks for DoD at huge cost savings over what is currently being fielded, the marriage of unmanned systems with LTE core networks is representative of what Google was trying to do with their Loon program.”

“We beat Google at something, for very little money, and that feels great.”
In addition to providing a coverage area on the ground, the payload is also able to stream encrypted video from the drone’s camera system to anyone on the network.

In the future, soldiers, search and rescue teams, and first responders will have access to drone video from their phones. The Fenix team even went so far as to enable Internet access so that command centers could access the feed from anywhere in the world.

Yes, it's advertising, but the tech idea is great.