Monday, November 14, 2016

TALOS: Aurora's Autonomous Rapid Resupply Helicopter Program

Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System (AACUS)

Changing face of Russian warfare


This linked article from provides a good overview of Russian weapons making  difference in the Ukraine conflict.  The five key items are:
  • Cyber war - perhaps a deniable nuisance more than a decisive factor but a costly one nonetheless
  • Air Defense - which has effectively shot down Ukrainian manned aircraft and helicopters. Perhaps this is an early indicator of the end of manned aircraft in modern state on state warfare.
  • Little Green Mem - deniable methods of changing the facts on the ground before diplomatic and political 'soft power' methods have a time to react.
  • Artillery - with air defenses providing cover, artillery turns out to be surprisingly effective when counter fire options are not available. Perhaps we should be providing counter fire solutions to the Ukrainians.
  • Drones- combined with artillery, scout drones turn out to be a poor man's air force and amazingly effective at a tactical level. America has focused on weaponizing and long duration, but the fact is, cheap short range drones combined with artillery firepower are devastating combinations.
One wonders what the US or NATO could do in this situation? Perhaps the only solution is to make the intervention by Russia extremely costly. Economic sanctions have done a lot of this slow and painful work. But providing defense weapons to Ukraine, counter fire, anti-drone and drone systems and support in cyber warfare may also discourage this and future Russian military actions in Eastern Europe by making is prohibitively expensive.

David Brooks, manufacturer of faulty body armor and stock swindler dies in prison

A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed the death. A lawyer for Mr. Brooks’s children, Judd Burstein, said the cause was being investigated.
Mr. Brooks was the founder and former chief executive of DHB Industries, one of the largest makers of bullet-resistant vests and other body armor used by the military and law enforcement. The company originally had its headquarters in Westbury, N.Y. It now operates as Point Blank Enterprises and is based in Pompano Beach, Fla.
Mr. Brooks was serving a 17-year sentence after being convicted in 2010 for his role in what prosecutors described as a $200 million fraud.
During an eight-month trial, spectators were riveted by testimony detailing Mr. Brooks’s lavish lifestyle, which had captured the attention of the tabloids when he threw what was rumored to be a $10 million bat mitzvah party for his daughter featuring the rapper 50 Cent and the rock group Aerosmith.
His company was said to have paid him more than $6 million in personal expenses, some of it used to pay for prostitutes for his employees, plastic surgery for his wife, a burial plot for his mother and a $100,000 jewel-encrusted belt buckle.
Prosecutors also accused him of funneling money from the company to support a thoroughbred horse-racing business.
Mr. Brooks was accused of misleading investors about the company’s finances. He made $185 million by selling his shares when they were at a record high, prosecutors said....

bth: He was making body armor that wasn't meeting spec, not reporting it and even when the government discovered it for six months they continued to purchase it. The government got him on financial misdeeds but his real crime was faking the QA on the body armor. The government claimed he misstated inventory write-downs but that was a back end way of saying the stuff was bad and he hadn't registered the expense associated with it. Meanwhile he was blowing money on every conceivable indulgence and his family was caught in a separate sting in the UK moving duffle bags of cash between safety deposit boxes to hide the assets. A total crook.

Serbia deports Russians suspected of plotting Montenegro coup - The Guardian

Serbia has deported a group of Russians suspected of involvement in a coup plot in neighbouring Montenegro, the Guardian has learned, in the latest twist in a murky sequence of events that apparently threatened the lives of two European prime ministers.
The plotters were allegedly going to dress in police uniforms to storm the Montenegrin parliament in Podgorica, shoot the prime minister, Milo Ðjukanović, and install a pro-Moscow party.
The Russian fingerprints on the October plot have heightened intrigue about Moscow’s ambitions in a part of Europe hitherto thought to be gravitating towards the EU’s orbit.
A group of 20 Serbians and Montenegrins, some of whom had fought with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, were arrested in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital. In Serbia, meanwhile, several Russian nationals suspected of coordinating the plot were caught with €120,000 and special forces uniforms...

bth: this seems to be a pattern of Russian covert actions to keep eastern European countries from migrating to NATO or EU. This suggest ill intentions of Russian government backed mafia like groups in Montenegro, Serbia and similar articles have appeared regarding Moldova and Bulgaria. This activity is going unreported in the US.

Iraqi Shi'ite forces and the airbase at Tal Afar

BAGHDAD, Nov 8 (Reuters) - A coalition of mainly Shi'ite Iraqi militias advancing on the Islamic State-held town of Tal Afar plans to seize a nearby military air base from the jihadists, the first time the Iran-backed forces have targeted such a base, militia officials said on Tuesday.
The Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary forces are deployed in the arid region west of Mosul as part of a wider military campaign to retake the largest city under Islamic State control in Iraq or neighbouring Syria.
The town of Tal Afar, and its air base, are located on the highway west of Mosul. Capturing them would help cut Islamic State supply lines between Mosul and its Syrian territories, and offer a base for the Hashid's stated plan ultimately to take their battle with Islamic State into Syria....
"Now we are 25 km (15 miles) from the Tal Afar air base," said Kareem Alewi, a commander of one of Hashid Shaabi brigades and a member of the Badr Organisation, the most powerful force within the paramilitary alliance.
"Tal Afar air base has strategic importance for us considering that it's on the Iraq-Syrian border, so it will be a general base for all factions of the Hashid Shaabi and it will be the launch pad for these forces to protect the Syrian-Iraqi borders," he told Reuters.
He said it would be the first military base controlled by the Hashid, who could take their fight across the frontier once Mosul is taken. "If Iraq is liberated, no doubt our second goal will be to pursue Daesh (Islamic State) inside Syria," he said....

bth: so this article is interesting in that it shwos the real objective of Badr Organization to be the air base near Tal Afar and not Tal Afar itself. This base would give Hashid Shaabi its first airbase and it would be a critical link for Iran to gain a land route from Iran through Baghdad to northern Syria and its oil fields.