Defense Issues

Defense news and analysis

Air superiority fighter camouflage patterns proposal

Posted by picard578 on March 15, 2015

flx1-standard Read the rest of this entry »

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Missile and aircraft turn performance

Posted by picard578 on March 1, 2015

I have often encountered claims that testing proves performance of modern BVR missiles. Baloney.

Most if not all missile tests nowadays are against QF-4, which has 50% greater turn radius than the F-15 (itself hardly an agile aircraft compared to more modern fighters), and even QF-16 will be weighted down by necessary equipment added. None of them are anywhere as agile as modern fighters, and UAV always has inferior OODA loop compared to a manned fighter, even if operator is sitting right there, whereas drone can’t really compare. In other words, missile Pk based on testing is unrealistically optimistic, even if UAVs/drones used were equipped with modern onboard jammers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in weapons | Tagged: , , , , | 62 Comments »

Islamic “Fundamentalism”

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Originally posted on Slightly East of New:

If your conception of ISIS imagines illiterate fanatics making suicidal charges in pickup trucks and are confused about how a glorified motorcycle gang could conquer half of Iraq and Syria, wiping out a $25 BN US investment in the Iraqi army in the process, you might want to learn more about the roots of the movement and how it is trained and led today. Such an understanding may come in handy in the future.

For background, try William R. Polk’s article, Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism, on As he explains:

Some of [Sayyid Qutub’s] writings bear comparison to the Islamic legal classics. As a group, they have attracted a mass readership — believed to be in the tens of millions — throughout the Islamic world and have apparently influenced men as opposed to one another as the leaders of the Taliban, the Saudi Royal Establishment, al-Qaida, the Iranian and Iraqi clerics [Arabic: ulema]…

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Centers of gravity — Do they still matter?

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Originally posted on Slightly East of New:

Decisively defeating al-Qa‘ida will involve neutralizing its CoG, but this will require the use of diplomatic and informational initiatives more than military action.  LTC Antulio J. Echevarria II, USA (ret.)1/

This most perceptive statement, written before our invasion of Iraq, raises the issue of whether the center of gravity concept offers anything for the types of conflicts we find ourselves engaged in today.

At least twice in the last week or so, I’ve seen “centers of gravity” in articles about US defense policy:

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Coherent, Credible, and Wrong

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Originally posted on Slightly East of New:

The best strategist is not the one who knows he must deceive the enemy,
but the one who knows how to do it.

Polish SciFi master Stanislaw Lem (1921 – 2006)

We often think of Soviet doctrine as tanks lined up tread to tread, rolling forward until either they conquer or fall. Mass makes might. While there is a lot of truth to the Soviet, and so presumably Russian, respect for mass, it may surprise you to learn that the Soviets had, and so presumably the Russians have, a well thought-out doctrine of deception called maskirovka. The BBC ran a nice piece on the subject a few days back, “How Russia outfoxes its enemies,” by Lucy Ash.

Boyd had great respect for deception, “an impression of events as they are not,” as he wrote on Patterns chart 115, “Essence of Maneuver Conflict.” A person who is being deceived is not confused. He…

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History Spot: Case Studies in Defence Procurement

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Originally posted on BeyondDefence:

Yes, it’s my avatar for a reason. The De Havilland Mosquito was the most accurate bomber of the first half of World War II, with the lowest ordinance expenditure per target, the lowest loss rate and the highest kill probability. It could race in at treetop level for precision work, or soar above anti-aircraft fire while heavier bombers were slaughtered in droves. When the RAF needed to take out a particular wall of a prison to free French resistance fighters, they used the Mosquito.

But that was not all. The Mosquito, as the fastest aircraft in the world at its introduction, was ideal for conversion as a fighter, night fighter, fighter bomber, U-boat killer and numerous other roles. It combined heavy armament with high speed and needed no escort. The wooden airframe was as strong as contemporary metal airframes, but much lighter, and it avoided drawing on critical war supplies…

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Assessing the SAM threat

Posted by picard578 on February 15, 2015


SAMs are the new boogeyman of the USAF, one which they are also using in their political games. They want the F-35 because, they say, legacy aircraft are “unsurvivable”. They want to retire the A-10 and leave ground troops without any support because, they say, it is unsurvivable. But how much truth there is in their assertions?

Historical overview

During the Vietnam war, SAMs saw extensive usage. They were used primarly to defend key targets but were also deployed in the field; many were also mobile (though level of mobility they had does not even begin to compare with modern SAMs, thanks to excessive times necessary to either deploy or pack up). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Historical Analysis, Weapons Systems Analysis | Tagged: , , , , | 84 Comments »

Don’t Feed the Bear: All Putin Needs Is Comfy War

Posted by picard578 on February 13, 2015

Originally posted on Patrice Ayme's Thoughts:


The French and German leaders are meeting again with Putin to make him recover reason: it reminds me of Munich, 1938, when the French and British leaders were trying to make Hitler reasonable.

France and Germany together have a slightly larger population than Russia, but three and a half time the GDP. (By the way, what happened to Britain? Well London is full of Russian plutocrats and banking institutions keen to make Assad and Putin possible; hence the British discretion.)

An Ukrainian in the street interviewed by German TV said it was out of the question to give territory to Putin: if one gives him a finger, he will take the entire arm.

Putin Wants "The Big Country" Back, & Its Prospect of Endless War Putin Wants “The Big Country” Back, & Its Prospect of Endless War

In the West, cowardly pacifists say: do not provoke Putin, do as he says, he has nukes and will…

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Fighter aircraft gun comparision

Posted by picard578 on February 1, 2015


Despite repeated proclamations about the “end of the dogfight”, gun has always remained an important part of fighter aircraft’s armament. There are several reasons. Having a gun provides a psychological security of having a fallback option if missiles are expended. Gun also has far lower minimum range than even most agile of modern dogfighting missiles (very short ranges reduce missile kill probability even if target is not within missile’s minimum range), and is the most versatile weapon aircraft has – it can be used in dogfight (shooting down aircraft), in air policing (warning shots) and ground attack. While some fighter aircraft sent into Vietnam war didn’t have onboard cannons, low kill probabilities of missiles – especially long-range radar-guided missiles – resulted in guns being reintroduced. Another issue is that, even today, visual identification of target is the only reliable way of identifying it – and many fighter aircraft still do not have imaging IRST or other optical sensor capable of identifying targets at beyond normal identification range of several hundred meters. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in weapons | Tagged: , , , | 23 Comments »

Notes on War

Posted by picard578 on January 15, 2015

War is not a question of mathematics

While mathematic considerations such as numbers, range, firepower and armor are important, they are not the decisive factor. War in itself tends to be confusing, and especially in maneuver warfare, side that acts faster and more appropriately is more likely to win. For this reason, personal factors such as training, personal initiative, communications and situational awareness outweight arithmetical factors such as weapons quality (as commonly understood in numerical terms) and quantity by a large degree.

Training is by far the most important factor since it allows troops to quickly adapt and outmaneuver the enemy. Again, amount of training does not tell much if we don’t know how it is done. Advantage in training can easily neutralize disadvantages in technical and personal areas such as situational awareness or deficient weapons. Read the rest of this entry »

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