Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog) - Close air Support specialist.

The Flying Warthog
The A-10 Thunderbolt is also known as the Warthog, the Flying Gun and the Tankbuster. The aircraft was used extensively during Operation Desert Storm, in support of NATO operations in response to the Kosovo crisis, in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The A-10 is a high-survivability and versatile aircraft, popular with pilots for the 'get home' effectiveness. The mission of the aircraft is ground attack against tanks, armoured vehicles and installations, and close air support of ground forces

The aircraft is suitable for operation from forward air bases, with short take-off and landing capability. The aircraft has a long range (800 miles) and endurance and can loiter in the battle area.
The manoeuvrability at low speed and at low altitude (below 1,000ft) allows accurate and effective targeting and weapon delivery over all types of terrain.

The first flight of the A-10 was in May 1972, and a total of 707 aircraft have since been produced. Originally manufactured by Fairchild, since 1987 the prime contractor for the A-10 has been Northrop Grumman, which carries out support and structural upgrade programmes from the Integrated Systems and Aerostructures Divisions at Bethpage, New York and at St Augustine in Florida. Over 350 A-10 aircraft are in service with the US Air Force, Air Combat Command, the US Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard. In June 2007, Boeing was awarded a contract for the A-10 wing replacement program. Boeing will supply 242 replacement wing sets by 2018.

A–10c Precision Engangement upgrade program
The Precision Engagement upgrade program for the A-10 includes
enhanced precision target engagement capabilities, which will allow the deployment of precision weapons such as JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) and Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD), as well as enabling an extension of the aircraft's service life to 2028.
Improvements include: hands-on throttle and stick control, two new Raytheon Technical Services 5in x 5in multifunction cockpit displays, Situational Awareness Datalinks (SADL), digital stores management system, Integrated Flight and Fire Control Computer (IFFCC) from BAE Systems Platform Solutions for automated continuously computed weapons delivery, Sniper XR or Litening targeting pods for precision-guided weapons and helmet-mounted sighting system. "Up to 125 A-10 aircraft are to be upgraded by 2009."
Lockheed Martin Systems Integration-Owego is prime contractor for the program. First flight of the upgraded A-10C was in January 2005. A contract for Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) of 72 units was awarded in March 2005. The first was delivered to Baltimore Air National Guard in August 2006.
A contract for full-rate production of 107 units was placed in August 2006. The A-10C achieved Initial Operating Capability in August 2007. 100 A-10s had been upgraded by January 2008. The A10C began operational deployment in Iraq in September 2007. 356 A-10 aircraft are planned to be upgraded by 2011.
A parallel program will give the A-10 new engine pylons. It is possible that the A-10 engine will also be upgraded if funding is made available.
In February 2004, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for the integration of the Sniper XR targeting pod on the A-10 as part of the PE program. Sniper XR includes mid-wave FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared), dual mode laser, CCD-TV, laser spot tracker and IR marker.

The single-seat cockpit is protected by all-round armor, with a titanium 'bathtub' structure to protect the pilot that is up to 3.8cm thick. The cockpit has a large bulletproof bubble canopy, which gives good all-round vision.
The cockpit is equipped with a head-up display, which is used for targeting and weapon aiming, a Have-Quick secure radio communications system, inertial navigation and a Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN) system.
"The single-seat cockpit is protected by all-round armor, with a titanium 'bathtub' structure."
Lockheed Martin has begun delivery of 21 USAF A-10 aircraft with the embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation system (EGI), which pinpoints the exact location of the aircraft. The aircraft are also to be fitted with BAE Systems Terrain Profile Matching systems (TERPROM).
The pilot is equipped with night-vision goggles and also the infrared imaging display of the Maverick AGM-65.

The aircraft has 11 stores pylons, providing an external load capacity of 7,260kg. There are three pylons under the fuselage and the loads can be configured to use either the centre-line pylon or the two flanking fuselage pylons.
For weapon guidance, the aircraft can be fitted with Pave Penny laser guidance / electronic support measures, pod installed on the starboard fuselage pylon. Each wing carries four stores pylons: three outboard and one inboard of the wheel fairing.
The A-10 can carry up to ten Maverick air-to-surface missiles. The Raytheon Maverick AGM-65 missile uses a variety of guidance systems, including imaging infrared guidance and warheads, including a high-penetration, 57kg conical-shaped charge warhead. Range is more than 45km. The A-10 can also carry the Sidewinder air-to-air missile, which is an all-aspect short-range missile with maximum speed over Mach 2.
The A10 is capable of deploying a wide range of ordnance: for example, the LDGP Mk 82 226kg, 500lb general-purpose bombs, BLU-1 and BLU-27/B Rockeye II cluster bombs and the cluster bomb unit CBU-52/71.
The Northrop G
rumman Litening ER (Extended Range) targeting pod has been successfully integrated on an A-10. Litening ER features a 640 x 512 pixel thermal imager, CCD TV, laser spot tracker / rangefinder, IR marker and laser designator.
The aircraft is armed with a General Dynamics GAU-8/A Avenger 30mm cannon, mounted in the nose of the aircraft.
"The A-10 has 11 stores pylons, providing an external load capacity of 7,260kg."
Using the cannon, the A-10 is capable of disabling a main battle tank from a range of over 6,500m. The cannon can fire a range of ammunition, inc
luding Armour-Piercing Incendiary rounds (API) weighing up to 0.75kg, or uranium-depleted 0.43kg API rounds. The magazine can hold 1,350 rounds of ammunition. The pilot can select a firing rate of 2,100 or 4,200 rounds per minute.
The two non-afterburning turbo fan engines, TF34-GE-100, supplied by General Electric, each supply 9,065lb thrust. The location of the engines, high on the fuselage, allows the pilot to fly the aircraft fairly easily with one engine inoperable.

Crew 1 pilot
Wingspan 17.53m
Length 16.26m
Height 4.47m
Empty Weight 25,000lb
Maximum Take-Off Weight 50,000lb
Non-Afterburning Turbo Fan

Engines 2 x General Electric TF34-GE-100

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lord Horatio Nelson : Act of Courage

Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) had been through it all. He had lost his right eye in the siege of Calvi and his arms in battele of Tenerife. He had defeated the Spanish at Cape St . Vincent in 1797 and had routed Napoleons Egyptian campaign by defeating his navy at the battle of the Nile on the following year. But none of the triumphs prepared him for the problems he faced from his own colleagues in the British Navy as they prepared to go to war against Denmark in February 1801.

Nelson, England's most glorious war hero , was the obvious choice to lead the fleet . Instead the admiralty choosen Sir Hyde Parker, with Nelson second in command. This war was a delicate bussiness; it was intended to force the disobedient Denmark to comply with a British embargo on the shipping of the military goods to france. The British navy at that time considered Parker as more stabile, older officer that would be better to lead the mission than Nelson.

Nevertheless Nelson took the assignment, but he saw a trouble ahead. He knew that time was essential. The faster British navy launched its fleet to attack the better. The Danes ( Denmark people) would have insufficient time to established their coastal defenses. The British fleet was ready to sail but Parker was a man with details...,everything must be in order. It wasnt his style to hurry . Nelson hated this unnecessary delay and cant wait to see action. Nelson reviewed intelligence reports, studied map and finally came up with the detailed plans for attacking Danes. He wrote letters to Parker urging him to seize an initiative for an early attack but Parker ignored him.

At Last, on March 11 , The British fleet set sail. Instead heading to Copenhagen , Parker harboured north of the city and called a meeting to his captains. He explained according to intelligence reports the Danes has prepared well built defense for Copenhagen. Danes fleet patrol from the north and south and their mobile artillery batteries could blast english ships to pieces. How could they win without suffering terrible loss to Danes fleet. To makes things seemed worse Parker was also receiving reports from most of the ship of navigators that the waters in Copenhagen were quite treacherous, places of sandbars and the winds would often changing side unpredictly.Navigating under bombardment in this waters would be dangerous.With all of these difficulties he offeres perhaps it was best to wait for Danes to leave harbor and to fight in the open sea.

Nelson can no longer be quiet.Finally he struck into the conversation "No war" he said "had ever been won by waiting". For him the Danish defenses looked very strong only for children at war. But he had worked out the strategy weeks earlier :he would attack from south , the easier approach, while Parker and a reserve force would stay to the city north . Nelason would use his mobility to take out the Danish Artillery batteries. He had studied the maps sandbars were no threat . aggresive action was more important. Nelson speech burned the captains motivations. He was still respected as Englands most respected leaders and his performance was catching . Even Sir Hyde Parker was impressed , and the plan was approved.

The next morning Nelson;s line of ship advanced on Copenhagen and the battle began. The Danish guns, firing British ship at close range and bring casualities on british side . Nelson lead from the deck of this main ship , HMS Elephant , urging his men to keep on pushing forward. He was in an excited, almost ecstatic state. A shot nearly killed him ."It is a warm work, and this day maybe the last to any of us at any moment. but marked you, i would not be elsewhere for thousands" . He wanted to there, in the heat of the battlefield.

Parker followed the situation development from the north. Now he regretted that he has agreed Nelson's plan. A defeat in here could ruin his career and he had seen enough. After four hours of fighting and bombardment the fleet had taken hard hits and gained no advance. Nelson still seemed to keep on pushing forward. And then Parker decided to hoist the flag number 39. A flag signal to retreat. Every ship that noticed must raised the same flag and pass the message to another ship. Once the flag is raised it signals that the attack was over ,British ships must was an order. The battle was over.

But a different scene happens on HMS Elephant ,Nelson's ship . A lieutenant told Nelson about the Flag no 39 . But Nelson ignored it. Instead he called his officers to raise flag no 16 which means " Attack enemy more closely". A few minutes later with Nelson flag's no 16 still flapping in the air. he said " You know men, i have only one eye - i have a right to be blind sometimes!!"And raising his telescoped to his blind eyes he remarked " i really couldnt see the signal.

Torn beetwen obeying Parker and obeying Nelson , the fleet captains chose Nelson . They would risk their careers along with his. But soon the danish defenses beginning to crack , some of british ships landed onshore. and the harbor surrendered and the Artilery guns began to slow their fires. Less than an hour from Parkers ordered to withdraw.
The next day Parker congratulated Nelson for the victory. He didnt mentioned nelson's disobedience. he hopes that his lack of courage would quietly be forgotten.


British navy choice on Parker, a man who was careful and methodical . such men may seem calm even strong, in times of peace.But they are hiding weakness, they think carefully and so afraid of making mistakes.

Lord Nelson instead operate accordingly to the opposite principal. Even though he is handicapped but he enter the battle with fierce determination. Other Sea lords are worrying about wind, enemy formation . but Nelson concentrate on his well planned strategy and his intuition to keep on pushing to victory .He sense that enemy is beginning to crumble. In the end his intuition was right.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Arab revolt 1917, Lawrence of Arabia : Art of Maneuver and Insurgency

Map : Aqaba location nowadays

The Turks enter WW I on the side of Germany . Their main enemy in the Middle Eastern theater were British , who were based in Egypt, but by 1917 they had arrived at a comfortable stalemate : The Turks controlled a strategic 800 miles stretch of railway that ran from Syria to Hejaz (the southwestern part of Arabia). Due west of the central part of this railway was the town of Aqaba , on the Red Sea , a key Turkish position from which they could quickly move armies north ans south to protect the rail way.

The Turks had already beaten back the British at the famous battler of “Gallipoli , a huge boost to their morale. Their commanders in the middle east felt secure. The English had tried to stir up a revolt against the Turks among the Arabs of Hejaz , hoping the revolt would spread north : the Arabs had managed a few rides here and there but had fought more among themselves than against the Turks. The British clearly coveted Aqaba and plotted to take it from the Sea with their powerful navy , but behind Aqaba was a mountain wall marked by deep gorges. The Turks had converted the mountain into a fortress. The British knew that even if their navy took Aqaba, they would be unable to advance inland, rendering the cities captured easily. Both the British and the Turks saw the situation the same way, and the stalemates endured.

In June 1917 The Turkish commander of the fort guarding Aqaba received reports of strange enemy movement in the Syrian dessert to the north east. It seemed that a 29 years old British British Liaison officer to the Arab name T.E Lawrence had trekked across hundreds of miles of desolate terrain to recruit an army among the Howeitat , Syrian tribes renowned for fighting on camels. The Turks dispatched scouts to find out more. They already knew a little about Lawrence : unusually for British officer of the time , he spoke Arabic, mixed well with the local people, and even dressed in their style. He had also befriended Sherif Faisal, later of the Arab revolt. Could he be raising an army to attack Aqaba? To the extent that this was possible, he was worth watching carefully. Then word came that Lawrence had imprudently told an Arabic chief , secretly in , that he was heading to Damascus to spread the Arab revolt . This was Turk’s great fear, for a revolt in the more populated area of the north would be unmanageable.

The army Lawrence had recruited could not have numbered more than 500 , but the Howeitats were great fighters on camel , fierce and mobile. The Turks alerted their colleagues in Damascus and dispatch troops to hunt Lawrence down , a difficult task given to the mobility of Arabs and the vastness of the dessert.In the next few weeks , the Englishman;s movement were baffling. To say the least :his troops move north toward Damascus but south toward the railway town of Ma’an, site of a storage depot used to supply Aqaba forty miles away . No sooner had Lawrence appeared in the area of Ma’an , however , than he disappeared , reemerging over a hundred miles north to lead a series of raids on the railway line between Amman and Damscus. Now the The turks were doubly alarmed and sent 400 cavalries from Amman to find him.

For a few days there were no sign of Lawrence . In the mentime an uprising several miles to the south of Ma’an surprised the Turks . An Arab tribe called the Dhumaniyeh had seized control of the town of Abu el Lissal , directly along the route from Ma’an to Aqaba .A Turkish battalion dispatched to take the town back found the blockhouse guarding it destroyed and the Arabs gone . Then suddenly something unexpected and quite disturbing occurred : out of nowhere Lawrence’s Howeitat army emerged on the hill above Abu el Lissal.

Distracted by the local uprising the Turks has lost track of Lawrence . Now linking up with the Dhumaniyeh , he had trapped a Turkish army at Abu El Lissal . The Arabs rode along the hill with enormous speed and dexterity., goading the Turks into wasting ammunition by firing on them. Meanwhile the midday heats took its toll on Turkish riflemen., and having waited until the Turks were sufficiently tired. The Arabs , Lawrence among them, charged down the hill, the Turkish closed their ranks, but the swiftly moving camel camel Cavalry took them from the flank and rear. It was a massacre :300 Turkish were killed and rest were taken prisoner.
Now Turkish commander at Aqaba finally saw Lawrence’s game : he had cut them off from the rail way line on which they are depended for supplies . Also seeing Howeitats’s success ,other Arab tribes around Aqaba joine up with Lawrence, creating a powerful army that began to wend its way through the narrow gorges toward Aqaba.
The Turks had never imagined an army coming from that direction. Their fortifications faced the other way, toward the sea and Arab fighters had a reputation for ruthlessness with enemies who resisted , and the commanders of the forts back in Aqaba began to surrender . The Turks sent out their 300- man garrison from Aqaba to put a stop to this advance but they were quickly surrounded by the swelling numbers of Arabs.
On July the 6th the Turks finally surrendered, and their commander watched in shock as Lawrence’s ragtag army rushed to the sea and takewhat had been thought to be an impregnable position . With this one blow T.E Lawrence had completely altered the balance and power in the middle east. His mission was a perfect example on the successful Insurgency / Guerilla warfare and an efficient use of Manouver tactics.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Inside S.A.S: Great Britain’s Elite Special Air Service

Men of the Special Air Services

When David Stirling formed the Special Air Services (SAS) in the Western Dessert during World War II, he knew he was creating a unique military unit – unique in both mission and composition. The SAS would assume all sorts off behind the lines mission such as airfield raids : Destroying more than two Luftwaffe geschwader ( 100 planes) during WWII in north Africa, Insurgence mission : infiltrated to enemy territories and worked with French resistance towards D-day preparation. As the war progressed Stirling’s concept evolved .Through selections the unit demand sheer individual quality but could still function as a member of a team. Men with the versatility to accomplish mission assigned to them.

Units mission
Through the half century since the formation of the SAS, the regiment mission has expanded to include counterterrorism , counter insurgency , deep penetration raids and intelligence gathering , bodyguard head of the state,acting as trainers for foreign special forces , designating targets for smart weapons and providing the “teeth” for British intelligence operations.

To be SAS operator ?

Psychological requirements

The SAS selection course does not rely on a battery of psychological tests or high tech computer profiles but on a procedure that has been used with slight modification for decades . Brecon beacons and Black Mountains of Wales are the site of this selection procedure. The location was choosen because they tested skills necessarily for SAS operations in the jungles of Asia , Hostile desserts and mountaneous terrain. Brecon beacons required a combination of outstanding land navigation skill and stamina to traverse. In virtually every conflict in which they’ve been enganged the SAS has had to survive in a hostile environment. By overcome Brecon beacon will select psychological profile of those who successfully complete the selection process . They will normally be intelligent, assertive , self sufficient , emotionally stable , forthright and alert. They will neither be excessively introverted nor extroverted and will not be dependant on orders to know what to do ( individual sustainable).

SAS Candidates

For 22nd SAS Regiment may apply from any regiment of the British army in cluding T.A territorial army. Royal Air forces and Royal Navy for the 21st and 23rd SAS regiment may apply directly from civilian lives .For officers must be between ages 22 to 34, while non commissioned officers between 19 to 34. Either must have a 3 years minimum experience in the regular troops. Before enduring selection course ,candidates will be briefed in the “Stirling Line” home of the 22nd regiment on what expected from them during the selection process.

Selection course : Who Dares wins
Selection courses will be held for four weeks long. Candidate will have the chance to take the course either in winter or summer season each year.They must undergo a physical examination and Army Physical Fitness test (APFT). Officers do their test on the third week while other ranks do their test on the fourth week. As officer candidate must undergo additional test for officers (usually called officer’s week) would be run by experience Non commissioned officers from the SAS training wing.

Leadups period

This period would stress on map reading and navigation using watches and compasses. Members from non infantry will have to put extra effort in this period in order to gain the speed rapidly. During this period candidates are well fed, with diets rich in high protein food to give them extra stamina for what they will face. Training is progressive :distance and load carrier. Needs for the individual to get tougher as the weeks progress to move from one RV ( rendezvous point )to another. NCO trainers would wait for them in each RV. By the end of leadup period , remaining candidates will be doing 15 hours march per day. At this point there is a humor saying that SAS stands for “Savage and sadistic”

Physical examination phase

In the third week for officers and fourth for the NCO candidates will face the famous “Long Drag” covering 60 km , carrying 25 kg rucksack and 5 kg more for the riffle and their belts. No matter what the weather, however the selection course go on. RV to RV. The SAS attitude is that war isn’t postponed for rain or snow, and neither is the selection course.

Officer’s week

During this week , officers who have already successfully completed the long drag must demonstrate their leadership , tactical planning ability , and briefing skills. They must plan an SAS style raid and brief experienced Nco on it, then take their question based on the NCO’s experience of such operation. The regular SAS NCO will test an officers poise and self confidence as well as planning ability.So tough the process so that only six percent of the officers candidate remain to pass the test. Not only this system ensure good officers, but the fact that the officers can normally take the lead in the basic selection course, having even already completed the tougher, gains the respect of those they will command.

Continuation trainining

Once they have successfully completed the selection course , candidates will move on a continuation training, where they will learn the basic of a special forces soldier and continue to be evaluated. As they leave the basic training wing, members of the regiment will see a sign reading “Death is nature’s way of telling you that you have failed the selection”
The continuation training lasted for fourteen weeks , added six week of jungle training and for those not already parachute qualified , four weeks of parachute training. Only after successful completion of these 24 weeks does the soldier become fully “badged” as a member of SAS and entitled to wear the sand colored beret and winged dagger badge.

SAS training is a tried and successful combinations of theory , practical demonstration and hand to hand practice.
Four man patrol concept. Are one of the first and critical learned in the standard SAS patrol. This concept is battle proven and has been practically used in Falkland , Northern Ireland and Iraq.

Weapons expertise starts with individual weapons such as the Browning or Sig pistols, H&K mp5 submachine gun , L1a1, Steyr aug and armalite. Note that the SAS has avoided being saddled with the SA-80 “bullpup” riffles that proved so disappointing when issued to the rest of the British army.

Secrecy and the mystique of SAS

As within many special operation unit, the secrecy among the SAS has created a myth about the men who wear the sand colored beret. Untill the hostage rescue in the prince gate in London on a few military community recognized it existence. So shrouded with mystery was the SAS that when the first American carried out exchange training , upon their return many assumed SAS with the better known Scandinavian Air Services.
In some cases truth are more truth is more incredible than myth but the SAS style is definitely not the one court to publicity. The pride in the regiment is that headlines such as : “Yesterday, a team reported as SAS member carried out a successful raids behind enemy lines…..” That is as far as they could get them self publicized. The appreciation and pride will only be shared inside their small special forces community. Inside ,their accomplishment are far more important and appreciated than people who doesnt understand the pride and professionalism which motivates them to undergo selection and training process to serve in the SAS.
“-Who dares wins-”

Source: “S.A.S: Great Britain’s Elite Special Air Service By Leroy Thompson”