PYONGYANG, North Korea – North Korea’s military warned Monday that troops have aimed artillery at the specific coordinates of South Korean media groups as Pyongyang threatened a “merciless sacred war” over perceived insults. Read the rest of this entry »
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 5, 2012: General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products was awarded a $6.9 million contract modification by the U.S. Navy for the continued production of MK82 gun and guided missile directors and MK200 director controllers for Aegis Combat System Illuminators.
URS Corp. has won a potential $129,981,057 task order to build a land-based missile defense site at a U.S. Navy facility in Hawaii, the Defense Department announced Monday.
Lockheed Martin has won a missile defense contract that could be valued at up to $2 billion. Read the rest of this entry »
India on Wednesday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed surface-to-air ‘Akash’ missile of Air Force version from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here, the fifth trial of the anti-aircraft system in the last fortnight. Read the rest of this entry »
Carrier Onboard Delivery at Kadena AFB in Okinawa, Japan
In a gutted out plane on the tarmac of a Japanese Island, home to the United States Air Force’s biggest Fighter Wing, white mist crept up from the beat up floors. The pressure of a flexible helmet with spring loaded ear protection pushed hard against the skull and the vibrations of the twin propellers shook the seats as the view straight ahead of a closed loading ramp shook. The plane then took off lumbering towards the East China Sea.
The Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) hummed and droned over time as it fought a tempest of a low weather front with the fluctuating air streams trying to find that stable air of calmness for the air frame as it propels through the damp air with the sea white capping violently below.
The gray light pierces through a wire caged twelve inch window that could not provide depth you could only rely on your ear drum’s inflection to guess how high you were. With climbs and dips, deceleration and acceleration while never stabilizing caused the passenger right next to me to completely vomit in his hands and hold it as there are no flight attendants here. The smell of vomit mixed with the cocktail mixture of air fuel and oil fumes seeped into everything. As his hands dripped and he continued to vomit, the plane hit the deck, caught the wire, and violently came to a dead stop on the USS CVN George Washington Air Craft Carrier.
As the ramp dropped to break the gray light and bring fresh air, a huge activity of colored shirts caught my eye as did the awe of the F-18 aircrafts parked on the ship’s deck. Unstrapped from my slim green fighter life preserver with my goggles flipping in the winds of exhaust and the sea, I was escorted through the traffic of machines and people across a pitching deck. The noise levels were so high that only sign language, a sea whistle blown, and a firm handshake by the tall Captain of the Carrier on the deck could be used to receive a welcome.
Shuttled in quickly, stripped of the gear, I went into the spacious, but not over done state room of the ship decorated with prints and a bust of our nation’s first president- George Washington. A discussion on the battle group ensued as a simple well done tray of snacks and iced tea were served by the best chefs in the Navy.
I then climbed up the flights of stairs to the navigation and bridge level to see the upcoming storm on radar as the Carrier set course to run away from the storm. Looking below you see the first wave of fighter crafts woven within feet of lining up with the four catapults on the mid and front decks. These worn gray fighters of mass numbers had two seaters and one seaters only to be broken by the flair of color and design on the wings and fuselage of the squadron leader in his 200, 300, and 400 lead F-18. The red duel tail with white Chinese characters on the side of the fighter said a lot. I climbed further to the top of the Aircraft Control tower and met the two commanders overseeing the aircraft. They were in opposite colored solid shirts and rigid in the belief that what they do, how they do it, and that essence of knowing that absolute love of what they do.
As the Carrier turned into the wind to send its fighters up, the big deck rose vertically up and down at a minimum of 30 feet. The variation was shockingly visible from the flight tower. With the weather bad, a storm rising, I could not think of a better way to train your pilots than to be able to fight and fly in these and all conditions. To watch a wave of F-18 fighters rip, sound, and force flight is a feat to witness live.
Outside the bridge as the screeching sound of steam catapults, with full throttle, opened up on the twin back engines of the F-18 and hurled the plane forward so fast that it dropped for a blink when the catapult released it prior to the plane opening up its engines to catch that fall and turn it up vertically. The site of this feat has a definite wow factor. Having them go in quick succession so close together is remarkable.
I was then hurried down to catch the Navy Helicopter as it concluded the its last flight of this phase of aircraft launch and lift.
Sitting next to an open door while moving about 100 feet over an ocean that was white capping on ten foot swells didn’t look good until I saw the Cruiser Shiloh and the tiny heliport on the back of the ship. The ship bobbed violently with the wind and waves. The art of the precision landing with high winds, a rolling landing surface on a moving ship that has a lot of missiles is not a calming place to be. However, the trust of the skilled pilots overcame the uncertainties I had. Over many minutes of hovering, touching, disengaging, and doing it all over again opened the mind up for possibility that the Helicopter may tip over. It was an excruciating amount of time before they actually landed and secured the helicopter with chains. Next, I had to jump, with street shoes, onto a wet deck that was pitching four to six feet on a small surface with no fences or rails to stop you from going overboard. In following the load master. I had to crouch so not to get blown away or hit by the propellers chopping above my head. This was certainly a test of nerve. Once inside the cargo bay, I was welcomed by the Captain and XO of the Shiloh 67, our Navy’s and World’s most capable ballistic missile defense ship deployed in theater today.
It was the start of a remarkable and great experience in my attempt to understand and recognize our sailors and the mission that they do.