Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration gives 20 upgraded F-16D fighter aircraft to Islamists in Egypt

Egyptian F-16D Falcon: A gift for Morsi from Obama

Egyptian F-16D Falcon: A gift for Morsi from Obama

Dad sent me this article from Fox News.

Excerpt:

Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over an angry population, isn’t enough to stop the U.S. from sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

[…]“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute. “Given Washington’s fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”

[…]The $213 million order, which is paid for by U.S. taxpayers and is part of Egypt’s foreign aid package from America, had to be approved by lawmakers in Washington.While the basic F-16 has been a military workhorse for top air forces for more than 25 years, the cockpit electronics are constantly updated and the models Egypt is getting are the best defense contractor Lockheed Martin makes.

I’m not a big fan of F-16 Falcons in the air superiority role, but they do a fairly good job at air-to-ground strike missions. Egypt is getting the latest “D” variant, which has upgraded sensors and fire control. You don’t just hand these out to Islamic dictators for free, especially during a recession.

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Israel reports first use of shoulder-fired surface-air-missiles by Gaza terrorists

SA-7 Grail with Russian Strela-2 missile

SA-7 Grail with Russian Strela-2 missile

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

In a new sign of the growing dangers facing Israel, security officials have confirmed that terrorists in the Gaza Strip for the first time have fired an anti-aircraft missile at an Israeli aircraft.

Officials told the Yedioth Ahronothdaily that the weapon, apparently a Strela shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile, targeted an Israeli military helicopter over the Hamas-ruled territory last week but missed.

Israel has long suspected Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza of having such weapons, and amid the chaos accompanying the downfall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya many went missing, and more are believed to have been smuggled into the Strip, via tunnels from the Sinai peninsula.

Soviet-designed Strela-2 missiles (known by NATO as SA-7 Grail) have been used in various insurgencies around the world, including the mujahedeen’s fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and the anti-coalition insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

The threat posed by such missiles – also known as “man-portable air defense systems” (MANPADS) – has been cited for years by Israeli security officials in expressing concerns about the risks of Palestinian militants using them against passenger aircraft approaching of leaving Israel’s main international airport. Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv is located less than five miles from the nearest territory the Palestinians want included in a future state.

[…]MANPAD’ ease of operation, portability and relatively low cost make them a weapon of choice for terrorists wanting to target civilian or military aircraft.

According to U.S. government data, more than 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by such weapons over the past four decades, resulting in some 800 deaths. Rebels used the weapons to shoot down a plane carrying the presidents of Burundi and Rwanda in 1994, an act that helped to trigger the genocide that claimed more than 800,000 lives.

In one known al-Qaeda use, terrorists tried unsuccessfully to down an Israeli airliner shortly after it took off from an airport in Kenya in 2002.

The reported use of a MANPAD by Gaza-based terrorists came during the same week as Hezbollah, the Shi’ite Iranian proxy in Lebanon, deployed a drone aircraft over Israel. The unmanned plane was shot down over an uninhabited area in southern Israel, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in a speech said it had been designed in Iran and assembled by his group in Lebanon.

The Strela-2 has a maximum range of about 5 KM. You can read more about them here. Keep in mind that Hezbollah has used Chinese missiles to sink Israeli surface vessels. The missiles were provided to the Syria-based terrorists by Iran.

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V-22 Osprey gets rave reviews from deployed US Marines

Here’s a photo of the V-22 Osprey – it can change from a helicopter to a plane:

V-22 Osprey Joint Service Aircraft
V-22 Osprey Joint Service Aircraft

Here’s a quick run-down on what the V-22 Osprey can do.

Excerpt:

The V-22 is a tiltrotor aircraft, taking off and landing like a helicopter, but, once airborne, its engine nacelles can be rotated to convert the aircraft to a turboprop airplane capable of high-speed, high-altitude flight.

It can carry 24 combat troops, or up to 20,000 pounds of internal or external cargo, at twice the speed of a helicopter. It includes cross-coupled transmissions so either engine can power the rotors if one engine fails.

The rotors can fold and the wing rotate so the aircraft can be stored aboard an aircraft carrier.

[…]The Osprey has two, large, three-bladed rotors that rotate in opposite directions and produce lift. Because the rotors turn in opposite directions, there is no need for a tail rotor to provide stability as in a helicopter. The wing tilts the rotors between airplane and helicopter modes and generates lift in the airplane mode. The Osprey can convert smoothly from helicopter mode to airplane mode in as few as 12 seconds.

The major advantages of the Osprey over a helicopter are:

  • Longer range – The Osprey can fly from 270 to 580 miles (453 to 933 km).
  • Higher speed – The Osprey’s top speed is 315 mph (507 kph), which is twice as fast as a helicopter’s top speed.
  • Increased cargo capacity – The Osprey can carry 20,000 pounds (4,536 kg) of cargo or 24 troops.

The advantage of the Osprey over an airplane is that it can take off, hover and land like a helicopter. This makes is more versatile than an airplane for such missions as moving troops to remote areas, especially those without landing strips, or conducting long-range rescue operations at sea.

The Hill has battlefield reports about the performance of the USMC V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

Excerpt:

Military and industry officials rave about the V-22 tiltrotor’s performance in Afghanistan but know they need to show the aircraft is worth its high price tag.

The Marine Corps are flying V-22 Ospreys in theater and “it’s more effective than we expected,” Maj. Gen. Jon Davis, Second Marine Corps Air Wing commander, told reporters here recently. “We have only scratched the surface with this aircraft. … “We’re doing things with the V-22 we did not plan to do.”

The V-22 takes off vertically but can fly like a plane, allowing it to travel faster than traditional helicopters. The military is using the craft to haul teams of Marines, special operators, combat rescue personnel and cargo.

But there are questions in defense circles about whether — after years of technical delays and cost spikes —such glowing reviews will be enough to avoid future cuts as White House, Pentagon and congressional officials look for ways to trim the annual Defense budget.

Despite rave reviews from war fighters, the program is among the most expensive at the Pentagon.

Each Osprey has a flyaway cost of $65 million. The Pentagon already has spent over $30 billion on the V-22 program, according to the Congressional Research Service.

But some people would rather cut the V-22 than cut Obamacare:

Liberal lawmakers often come after the Osprey initiative when looking for places to trim Pentagon spending.

Last month, Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to a Pentagon policy bill that would have directed the department to spend no monies on the program in 2012.

Woolsey dubbed the program a “boondoggle” for the “military-industrial complex.” Terminating the program would save more than $12 billion over 10 years, and $2.5 billion in 2012 alone, she claimed.

The House overwhelmingly defeated her amendment, but not before Woolsey said the aircraft has gotten “mediocre marks” from independent auditors and “underperformed across the board.” There are reports the V-22 has struggled in “high-threat environments,” she said.

She also said it has failed to “prove its worth” operationally and has had a number of major crashes. But Davis says it has proven its value, citing the fleet’s strong record in a rugged war theater.

Program officials and advocates are ready to fight back as Washington continues talking about an era of federal spending cuts.

Their embryonic message, as Davis put it: “Why would we terminate something that works?”

Marine Corps and Bell-Boeing officials also say to avoid budget cuts or a reduced buy, they will have to show critics like Woolsey that the fleet is reliable.

Right now, the Osprey’s closely monitored reliability rate in Afghanistan is around 73 percent, according to program officials.

Davis wants to push that figure to 80 percent, saying that would make the V-22 among the military’s most reliable aircraft.

I love the V-22 Osprey. It is a force multiplier, in my opinion. And can you imagine that some people wanted to cancel it just because of some difficulties they had early on in testing?

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What are the consequencs of treating terrorism as a law enforcement issue?

Story from the UK Telegraph. (H/T Weasel Zippers via ECM)

Excerpt:

The chance to secure crucial information about al-Qaeda operations in Yemen was lost because the Obama administration decided to charge and prosecute Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as an ordinary criminal, critics say. He is said to have reduced his co-operation with FBI interrogators on the advice of his government-appointed defence counsel.

[…]”He was singing like a canary, then we charged him in civilian proceedings, he got a lawyer and shut up,” Slade Gorton, a member of the 9/11 Commission that investigated the Sept 2001 terror attacks on the US, told The Sunday Telegraph.

[…]Abdulmutallab could have been held and interrogated in military custody under existing US legislation before a decision was taken whether to charge him before a military tribunal or a civilian court, according to Michael Mukasey, the last Attorney General under President George W Bush.

Mr Mukasey argues that it was crucial to gain intelligence from him immediately as details about locations, names and other plots is subject to rapid change. For the same reason, he dismissed the argument by John Brennan, Mr Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, that investigators will garner valuable data during any plea-bargaining talks.

Democrats are not serious about counter-terrorism.

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How the British government funds radical Islam

Story from National Review. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The East London Mosque is one of the largest and most influential of Islamic institutions in Britain. It has a Muslim Centre, a meeting place which acts a bit like a college, offering lectures and sermons at which like-minded people may meet. One who gave lectures there was Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Islamist imam whose fingerprints have turned up in more than one place. He groomed Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood killer, and we now learn that the Detroit would-be bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab, while a student in London between 2005 and 2008 listened to a number of video-link lectures given by al-Awlaki at this mosque’s Muslim Centre. By then, al-Awlaki was communicating at long distance from Yemen where he had taken refuge, and become affiliated to al-Qaeda. And when Abdul Mutallab himself went to Yemen where he was trained and equipped as a suicide bomber, he had personal contact with al-Awlaki, evidently his mentor.

The authorities ought to have been able to pick this up. Far worse than their laxity, however, is the fact that in the past two years, according to the Sunday Telegraph, the Muslim Centre has received at least 60,000 pounds from a government initiative known as Preventing Violent Extremism. The intention is to fund moderates to oppose extremists, but the very opposite has happened. Violent extremism has been subsidized. In the last two years, al-Awlaki has addressed at least two gatherings at the Centre via video-link, including one last year called “The End of Time,” advertised with a poster showing the destruction of New York.

This is why you don’t elect secular leftists from the British Labour Party to run national security.

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