Combat drone launches drone. Spare parts for Minuteman system getting scarce.

The XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrates the separation of the ALTIUS-600 small UAS in a test at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground test range, Arizona on March 26, 2021. This test was the first time the weapons bay doors have been opened in flight. (Photo courtesy United States Air Force.)

The U.S. Air Force is working to develop drone fighters. Most recent test flight had the drone launch another drone.

All the original manufacturers for every component of the Minuteman ICBM system are either gone or the assembly lines have long since been shut down. That means USAF is using its own production facility to create the myriad of necessary spare parts.

4/6/21 – New Atlas – Valkyrie combat drone launches another drone during test flight – Imagine a drone fighter that accompanies a cutting-edge manned fighter such as an F-35. The escorting drone could carry a heavy load of bombs to multiply the strike power of a fighter. It could carry an assortment of air-to-air missiles to defend against other planes or air-to-ground missiles to strike radar or other defense assets.

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He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Easter is the high point of the year for Christians.  On this day our Savior rose from the tomb after having suffered a brutal death at the hands of the Roman government, urged on by the religious leadership.

What’s the big deal?

On Good Friday, the death of Jesus paid in full the penalty for my sins, yours sins, and the sins of every person who ever lived or ever will live.

On Easter Sunday, His glorious resurrection proves his sacrifice was accepted by God the Father.

In rising from death, Jesus proved he had ultimate power over death, hell, and the devil.

By that sacrifice, our sins are forgiven, and we will enter heaven for eternity, not because of what we do or how nice we are, but solely because of His sacrifice on the cross.

A few selections of the wonderful and so comforting hymn Jesus Christ is Risen Today to help you celebrate. Go ahead, crank up the volume. First up is an organ only version:

For a beautiful processional:

King’s College Choir, Cambridge

The lyrics:

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Acme to replace Boeing as prime contractor on Space Launch System.

This blog does not discuss politics. Since I do discuss space exploration, I will cover an announcement from the new Biden administration that Boeing will be replaced as the prime contractor on the Space Launch System.

SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for NASA. It will lift astronauts to space so they may explore the solar system.

(Article cross-posted from Nonprofit Update just because.)

Acme

The new prime contractor is Acme. You may have seen the products on television in the past.

The story has not received much publicity, so I’ll try to draw attention to this major change in federal policy.

Continue reading “Acme to replace Boeing as prime contractor on Space Launch System.”

British nuclear forces in 2011.

NE140004002 by Think Defence is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. Royal Navy Vanguard Class submarine HMS Vigilant returning to HMNB Clyde after her extended deployment.

The United Kingdom relies exclusively on submarine launched ballistic missiles for their nuclear deterrent. They have no land-based missiles (ICBMs) or bomber delivered nuclear weapons.

In 2011 the speculation was they had 225 nuclear warheads. Of these, 160 were operationally available with 65 spares to allow for routine maintenance and processing.

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England to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 9, 2019) An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 9, 2019. The successful launch certified the readiness of the SSBN crew and the operation performance of the submarine’s strategic weapons
system following completion of its engineered refueling overhaul before
returning to operational availability. (U.S. Navy photo by John Kowalski/Released)

In a significant policy shift, England is planning to expand its nuclear weapon stockpile. The current guess from outsiders is they have 190 nuclear weapons. The previously announced goal was to draw down the inventory to 180 or less by the mid-2020s.

Instead they will build up to a stockpile of not more than 260.

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This is hyperinflation, Venezuela edition. Courtesy of socialism, as always. Part 1.

Banknotes of Zimbabwe after hyperinflation. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Socialism in Venezuela has produced the expected results – poverty, a collapsing economy, and people fleeing for their lives. Twenty some odd years of socialism has also produced another foreseeable consequence – hyperinflation.

Let’s track the exchange rate of Venezuelan Bolivars to US dollar as an indicator.

According to Exchange-Rates.org, here is exchange rate of the Venezuelan bolivar to dollar from 9/11/20 through 3/5/21. Here is the month end data:

Continue reading “This is hyperinflation, Venezuela edition. Courtesy of socialism, as always. Part 1.”

US is developing new ICBM and new strategic bomber.

The United States is working on developing a new ICBM to replace the Minuteman III and new Stealth bomber to replace the B-2.

1/15/21 – Air Force Magazine – Second B-21 Under Construction as Bomber Moves Toward First Flight Northrop Grumman is building a second B-21 Raider bomber. The first is expected to roll off the production line early in 2020 and fly sometime the following summer. Goal is for the newest bar to operational in 2026 or maybe 2027.

Cost of the first 100 off the production line is expected to be around $80 billion adjusted to 2016 dollars. That is around $800 million a piece.

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Worlds far away– Final though on cost of luxury yacht, support yacht, and supporting equipment. Part 4

Hodor on left, Lonian on right, with harbor cruise ship passing between them. Provides perspective on size of the yachts. Photo by James Ulvog.

Previous posts in this series describe a luxurious 87 m yacht, the 66 m support yacht, and all the ancillary equipment carried on board, such as a personal submarine, helicopter, and five speedboats.

One final thought – curb your envy.

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Worlds far away I will never visit – Cost of supporting equipment on support yacht. Part 3

Photo by James Ulvog.

First post in this series described a luxury yacht and its associated support yacht. Second post made some guesses on the price tag for the two yachts along with a private jet this person owns.

Now this look at some of the auxiliary equipment, referred to as “toys” in the trade magazines, carried on the support yacht.

Helicopter

Articles above describing the Honan say it is rated for a helicopter such as an EC145. Controller website lists several EC 145 for sale with prices shown for three:

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Lakota Sioux Code Talker Clarence Wolf Guts. My newest hero.

Navajo code talkers by United States Marine Corps is courtesy of the U.S. Government. These heroes from Navajo reservation were honored on 2/19/10, the 65th anniversary of the battle of Iwo Jima. I was unable to find a picture of Lakota code talkers.

In June 2010 America and the Lakota Sioux people lost a hero.

Clarence Wolf Guts was born and raised on the Rosebud Reservation in the south-central area of South Dakota. During World War II he served as a code talker with other men from the reservation. There were about a dozen code talkers using the Sioux language.

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Worlds far away I will never visit – Cost of luxury yacht and its support yacht. Part 2.

Foredeck. Photo by James Ulvog.

Previous post described a huge luxury yacht and a slightly smaller yacht used his support to carry the helicopter, submarine, and five small (?) support boats.

Totally wild guesses on costs

The accountant in me is incapable of using a high-powered telescope to glimpse inside this rarefied world without wondering about the costs. So…

Continue reading “Worlds far away I will never visit – Cost of luxury yacht and its support yacht. Part 2.”

Another world far away that I will never visit – Yachts so luxurious they have their own support yacht. Part 1

Photo by James Ulvog.

While on vacation recently in San Diego I saw a huge yacht parked in San Diego harbor. This one looked weird, with a helicopter and several boats on the deck. A few hours later another yacht pulled into the harbor, dropping anchor many hundred feet away.

Photo by James Ulvog.

Noticed the name on the side of the first ship was Hodor. Well, of course I did a quick check on the ole’ internet and learned it is a support yacht.

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On this Veterans Day, it is fitting and proper to honor the sacrifice of Sergeant Alwyn Cashe.

Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army.

While his clothes were on fire after an improved explosive device blew up the vehicle he was riding in, Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe returned to the burning vehicle, pulling out a soldier, then another, then another.

Ultimately he pulled six Americans and one national translator from the burning vehicle. Did I mention that his clothing was on fire as he removed each of the soldiers?

Sgt. Cashe is credited with saving the lives of six American soldiers. The national translator, working to free his people, died from the attack. Ten American soldiers were injured, seven seriously.

With 2nd and 3rd burns spread over 72% of his body, Sgt. Cashe died from his wounds a few weeks later.

America is so blessed that we keep finding men like Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe.

 

He was awarded the Silver Star. It took a while for the chain of command to fully understand the depth of his heroism. He will now finally get an even more appropriate award.

UPI reports on 11/11/20 that the Senate approved awarding Medal of Honor for Sgt. Alwyn Cashe.

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747s, B-52s, and F-35Cs

747 cargo aircraft taking off from Denver airport on 8-22-20. Photo by James Ulvog.

Background articles on:

  • Jumbo jet that opened up international travel to the masses reaching end of production run
  • Background on why B-52 has been around for 50 years and will still be in service after other heavy bombers have long since retired
  • New F-35C deploying to the fleet

9/8/20 – Wall Street Journal – The Jumbo Jet Was the Pinnacle of Air Luxury – Now It’s Days Are Numbered – Boeing will shut its 747 production line in 2022 when the last of the already ordered freighters is completed. Airbus will close its A380 super jumbo line in 2021 when the last dozen planes are finished. The double-decker A380 was designed as the peer-to-peer competitor to the 747.

Article has lots of fun stats on both planes. I will provide some of the fun detail:

The 747 was the revolutionary jumbo jet. It opened up international travel to the masses. It was a major part of the rapid expansion in air travel.

The 747 debuted in 1969. The A380 in 2000 with first commercial flight in 2007.

747 cargo aircraft taking off from Denver airport. Photo by James Ulvog.

Over 50 years there have been 1,556 747s produced. Forecast for the A380 had been 1,200 planes but only 242 have been delivered.

Seating capacity:

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