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.

Continue reading “Combat drone launches drone. Spare parts for Minuteman system getting scarce.”

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.

Continue reading “British nuclear forces in 2011.”

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.

Continue reading “England to increase its nuclear weapons stockpile.”

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.

Continue reading “US is developing new ICBM and new strategic bomber.”

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:

Continue reading “747s, B-52s, and F-35Cs”

Bombers and fighters.

Two B-52 Stratofortresses fly over Royal Air Force Station Fairford, United Kingdom, Aug. 22, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eugene Oliver)

More background on the U.S. bomber forces and some info on prices for new fighters. Oh, some really nice photos too, courtesy of the U.S.A.F.

6/24/20 – Popular Science – Inside a training mission with a B-52 bomber, the aircraft that will not die. Author goes along on a training flight, weaving together history of the B-52, description of future structure of manned bomber force, and tale of the flight.

Fun read. Check it out.

Some interesting tidbits:

Every four years each B-52 goes through a massive maintenance routine which takes 40,000 hours of labor and replaces about 3,000 parts. This extensive maintenance along with major upgrades means the B-52 fleet is likely to stay in use until the year 2050.

Current inventory of the manned bomber fleet:

Continue reading “Bombers and fighters.”

MQ-1B Predator on display at March Field Air Museum.

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

The March Field Air Museum has an MQ-1B Predator on static display. A few pictures of the drone for your viewing pleasure:

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

Narrative on the placard:

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Airplane Photos: B-17G on display at March Field Air Museum.

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

 

B-17G Starduster, #44-6393, is on static display at the March Field Air Museum. For your viewing pleasure here are photos of the magnificent plane as it appeared in June 2020.

This is my tiny tribute to all those who fought to end actual fascism 80 years ago, especially the hundreds of thousands who never came home.

For a better view, click on any picture.

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

The placard reads:

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Airplane pictures: F-4s on display at March Field Air Museum.

 

March Field Air Museum has three, count ’em, three of the magnificent F-4 Phantom fighter jets on static display. Two of the three have gorgeous paint jobs, while one is looking a bit more ragged. All three a delight.

For your visual enjoyment, join me on a walk-around of the aircraft.

All photos by James Ulvog. Continue reading “Airplane pictures: F-4s on display at March Field Air Museum.”

Airplane photos: B-29 Superfortress on display at March Field Air Museum.

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

March Field Air Museum has a B-29A Superfortress on static display.  For your viewing pleasure, join me for a walking tour around the plane:

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

 

Photo by James Ulvog at March Field Air Museum.

Placard reads:

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The horrible effects of nuclear weapons.

Atom Bomb Nuclear Explosion by Burnt Pineapple Productions is in the public domain:  CC0 1.0

For years I’ve been looking for a table that illustrates the horrid effects of nuclear weapons. Have not seen anything that matched what I had in mind.

My poking around for information on this current series of nukes has led me to many places on the good ol’ net. After looking at several articles, I thought to check on Wikipedia. Guess what? Found a reasonable approximation of what I have been wanting.

 

The lesson from this data for those on active duty is that nuclear safety is imperative.

The lesson for the rest of us is that we and our leaders must strive to make sure nuclear weapons are never used.

 

The Wikipedia article is Effects of nuclear explosions.

The following table is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. The original author is not visible, so I cannot give further attribution.

In short version, that means I can use the information, modify it, adapt it, share it, or distribute it, even commercially if so desired.

The requirement of doing so is that anything created from this data must be shared with others under the same license.

So, the information in this blog post, but only this specific blog post, may be used by anyone under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

 

The frightening effects of nuclear weapons:

Continue reading “The horrible effects of nuclear weapons.”