A Canyon That Fighter Pilots Love To Scream Through

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In Death Valley National Park, north of Barstow, California, is Rainbow Canyon. It’s not especially remarkable, just one canyon in an area full of them, all but indistinguishable from its neighbors in an area populated mainly by snakes. But stand on one of the canyon tops for long enough and a fighter jet will suddenly roar into the valley below you, flying fast and very, very low. It will be visible for only a few seconds before it turns hard and disappears behind the next hill. But during those few moments, anyone with a camera has a brief chance to take a spectacular picture. Rainbow Canyon (or Star Wars Canyon, as some call it) is part of the R-2508 restricted airspace complex, host to a busy, low-level training route for combat aircraft.

Military pilots train to fly low and fast, hiding behind hills to fool radar and going fast enough that they can’t be shot at. Since flying is a perishable skill, every fighter or attack pilot periodically has to practice such low-level flights. Rainbow Canyon is in the desert of eastern California, where the population is sparse and the airspace wide open. It’s also surrounded by military bases, bombing ranges, maneuvering grounds and radars—an ideal spot for military pilots to hone their skills. Among the nearby facilities are Edwards AFB, Naval Air Station China Lake, and Plant 42 (where Lockheed and Northrop build advanced aircraft).

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Photos are taken on a high ridge above the jets

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F-18 Hornet with brown camo.

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US NAVY SHOWS OFF NEWEST LASER WEAPON

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Artist rendering of LLD laser mounted on a ship. Credit: Lockheed Martin

The US Navy Office of Naval Research has successfully tested an all-new, fully electric laser weapon system. Designed to fry aerial threats like drones and missiles, the new weapon system is entirely electric, so it doesn’t require chemicals.

WEAPONIZED LASER SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT INCREASING

Around the world, military forces are increasingly testing and deploying laser systems. The Debrief recently reported on the Iron Beam weapon system successfully tested by the Israeli Defense Ministry. The U.S. military has also tested several laser-based weapons systems with varying degrees of success, including a ship-mounted laser that blasted an incoming surface drone to pieces.

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211214-N-VQ947-1142 GULF OF ADEN (Dec. 14, 2021) — Amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) conducts a high-energy laser weapon system demonstration on a static surface training target, Dec. 14, while sailing in the Gulf of Aden. During the demonstration, the Solid State Laser – Technology Maturation Laser Weapons System Demonstrator Mark 2 MOD 0 aboard Portland successfully engaged the training target. (U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Devin Kates)

NAVY LASER BLASTS ALL TARGETS FROM THE SKY

Dubbed the Layered Laser Defense system (LLD) by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Lockheed Martin designed laser weapon marks a significant technological breakthrough. Unlike laser weapons systems designed and tested in the 1980s, the LLD is entirely electric. As such, the LLD system carries no chemicals or propellants, dramatically improving safety and cost concerns. Also, since the final model is designed for on-ship deployment, the LLD could theoretically operate with unlimited ammunition as long as the ship can provide electrical power.

“The Navy performed similar tests during the 1980s but with chemical-based laser technologies that presented significant logistics barriers for fielding in an operational environment,” said Dr. Frank Peterkin, the ONR’s directed energy portfolio manager. “And, ultimately, those types of lasers did not transition to the fleet or any other service.”

There is also a cost-savings benefit to the Navy for this type of system. For example, Israel’s Iron Dome costs upwards of $150,000 to bring down a single incoming missile, while a disabling shot from their Iron Beam laser system costs at most a few hundred dollars. According to a report in New Atlas, the LLD is expected to cost around a dollar per shot.

The system offers other advantages as well. For example, it is equipped with a high-resolution telescope that lets operators identify and assess the weapon’s effectiveness. The system can also adjust its power output, which can disable and not destroy specific targets the Navy may not want to destroy. The system can also target surface threats like fast attack boats or water-borne drones.

In February, the Office of Naval Research carried out the LLD system tests at the US Army’s High Energy Laser Systems Test Facility at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. According to a report by TechSpot, “the LLD was tested against a wide range of targets, including unmanned fixed-winged aerial vehicles and quadcopters as well as the high-speed drones that acted as subsonic cruise missile replacements.” All tests were a success, with the LLD system downing every target.

In pictures: Russia’s victory day parade

Images from Russia’s Victory Day parade which marks the anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. World War Two cost more than 20 million Soviet lives.

Russian military vehicles on Dvortsovaya Square during the Victory Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia,
Parades are taking place in 28 Russian cities including the capital Moscow, involving 65,000 people, 2,400 items of military hardware and more than 400 aircraft
Russian BMD-4 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles roll through the Red Square
Here the commanders of BMD-4 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles salute
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at the Memorial to Hero Cities at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
During his speech Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are “defending the motherland”. Following the parade he laid flowers at the Memorial to Hero Cities at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier near the Kremlin wall
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with a military veteran
Mr Putin also met veterans of former conflicts
Russian servicemen on parade
Putin’s speech did not contain any major announcements about the conflict in Ukraine
Russian service members march past an honour guard in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia
An air display by the Russian airforce had to be cancelled. Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, blamed it on the weather conditions
A sniper stands in position
Snipers were seen looking down on the parade in Red Square
Buk-M3 missile systems in Red Square
The parade include a wide range of Russian weaponry including these Buk-M3 missile systems
Youth Army movement on parade.
Members of the Youth Army movement were also in Moscow
Russian service members take part in the Victory Day parade in St Petersburg, Russia
While Russian servicewomen paraded in St Petersburg
A Russian serviceman kisses his girlfriend
A Russian serviceman relaxes with his girlfriend following the parade

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Russian Flagship Battlecruiser Moskva Sunk

A Russian warship that was damaged by an explosion on Wednesday has sunk, Russia’s defence ministry has said.

Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, was being towed to port when “stormy seas” caused it to sink, according to a ministry message.

The 510-crew vessel was an important symbolic and military target, and has led Russia’s naval assault on Ukraine.

Ukraine claims it struck the warship with its missiles, but Russia has made no mention of an attack.

Late on Thursday, however, Russian state media broke the news that the ship had been lost.

“While being towed … towards the destined port, the vessel lost its balance due to damage sustained in the hull as fire broke out after ammunition exploded. Given the choppy seas, the vessel sank,” state news agency Tass quoted the ministry as saying.

Earlier, Russia had said there was a fire on board after ammunition exploded.

Ukrainian military officials said they struck the Moskva with a Ukrainian-made Neptune missile – a weapon designed after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and the naval threat to Ukraine in the Black Sea grew.

Earlier in the conflict the Moskva gained notoriety after calling on Ukrainian border troops defending Snake Island in the Black Sea to surrender – to which they memorably radioed a message of refusal which loosely translates as “go to hell”.

Originally built in Ukraine in the Soviet-era, the Moskva entered service in the early 1980s according to Russian media.

The missile cruiser was previously deployed by Moscow in the Syria conflict where it supplied Russian forces in the country with naval protection.

It carries over a dozen Vulkan anti-ship missiles and an array of anti-submarine and mine-torpedo weapons, the reports said.

The Moskva is the second major Russian ship known to have been severely damaged since the invasion began.

Namesake Glory (1979–2000), Moscow (2000–2022)
Builder 61 Kommunara Shipbuilding Plant (SY 445), Nikolayev, Soviet Union
Laid down 1976
Launched 1979
Commissioned 30 January 1983
Decommissioned September 1990
Reinstated April 2000
Identification 121
Fate Sunk on 14 April 2022, responsibility disputed[1]
Notes Flagship of the Black Sea Fleet

The German Styled Armies of South America   

The Chilean Army comes by its German influences and traditions honestly, from a decent-sized influx of German immigrants during the second half of the 19th century, most of whom settled in the southern part of the country, centered around Puerto Montt, where the weather is cooler and wetter, and where dairy farms and breweries now abound. But it didn’t end with Chile. Bolivia, Columbia and Argentina all used German advisors, techniques and uniforms. Right up to the present day.

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(Bolivian soldiers with stahlhelm M35 helmets and M16 assault rifles.)

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(Argentine soldiers with Casco M38 helmets in the mid-1940s.)

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Former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman general Mike Mullen with Chilean honour guard 2012.

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German Waffen SS troops 1944

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(Colombian troops on the streets of Bogota in the 1948-1949 time frame.)

Traditions are hard to break, especially military tradition.

Not to be left out of the equation, the U.S. changed their military helmets in the early 1980’s. The Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) is the United States Army’s current combat helmet. Although very different from the German helmets, the U.S. helmet does have a similar look.

Soldiers practice house-breaching techniques in their desert combat uniforms. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)

U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle flying at low level over Norway

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Cool GoPro footage shot by 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons during Arctic Fighter Meet 2016.

From May 23 to 27, the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, trained alongside the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish air forces during exercise Arctic Fighter Meet 2016.

Seven jets (F-15C and F-15E) from the 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons deployed to Bodø airbase, Norway, to conduct BFM (basic fighter maneuvers) and DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) to improve combined air operations.

The Arctic Fighter Meet gave the U.S. pilots the opportunity to train with the “Nordics”: Finnish Air Force F-18s, Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s and Swedish Air Force Gripens. “That allows us to get a different perspective on how other aircraft maneuver because when we go to war, we don’t expect to fight other F-15s” said Maj. Nick Norgaard, the Arctic Fighter Meet 2016 project officer in a release.

The joint training gave also the Eagle pilots a chance to shoot some interesting GoPro footage.

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An F-15E Strike Eagle flys over glacial fields during a training mission April 20 over Alaska. The F-15E is assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, which traces its history back to August 1917. The F-15E at Elmendorf AFB will soon be replaced by the F-22 Raptor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Keith Brown)

“Elephant Walk” of 70 F-15E Strike Eagles of the US Air Force’s 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, April 16th 2012.

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Now that is one hell of a lot of punch! And one hell of a major expense!

Operation Christmas Drop

For the last sixty eight years the US Air Force has been playing Santa Claus to some 20,000 people inhabiting dozens of tiny Micronesian islands spread across a vast area in the western Pacific Ocean. Each year in December, these islanders receive all sorts of gifts and useful supplies packed in approximately a hundred crates and dropped gently to earth on green military parachutes. Known as Operation Christmas Drop, this effort on the part of the United States Air Force has been called the “longest running humanitarian mission in the world.”

Operation Christmas Drop has its roots to the Christmas of 1952, when the crew of an Air Force B-29 aircraft, flying a mission to the south of Guam, saw some of the islanders waving at them. In the spirit of the season, the crew gathered some items they had on the plane, placed them in a container, attached a parachute and dropped the bundle to the islanders below.

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An airman of the US Air Force pushes a bundle from a C-130 Hercules during Operation Christmas Drop over Guam on Dec. 5, 2016. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Delano Scott

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A witness to the first drop on the island recalls, “We saw these things come out of the back of the airplane and I was yelling: ‘There are toys coming down’”. The effort grew from there into a major annual training exercise.

All the gifts are donated by residents, civic organizations, military personnel and businesses of Guam, which are collected by private organization and the US Air Force, and then sorted and packed into boxes. The items sent to the Micronesian include fishing nets, construction materials, powdered milk, canned goods, rice, coolers, clothing, shoes, toys, school supplies and so on.

The Air Force uses old parachutes that have outlived their military usefulness, but are still strong enough to support bundles weighing up to 500 pounds. The parachute is said to be the most important item on the bundle. Islanders use it for a variety of applications, from roofing their houses to covering their canoes.

Some of these islands are so remote that they receive supplies from passing ships only once or twice per year.

“Christmas Drop is the most important day of the year for these people,” said Bruce Best, a communications specialist at the University of Guam who has been volunteering his time to help Operation Christmas Drop for the last 34 year.

“The yearly success of this drop is a testament to the generosity of the civilian and military population of Guam,” said U.S. Air Force sergeant and Operation Christmas Drop committee president. “We continue to do this to help improve the quality of life of the islanders. We may take it for granted that we can go to a mall to purchase our daily needs, but these folks do not have the same privilege from where they live.”

In recent years, the US Air Force has received assistance from members of the Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force in the collection and distribution of the Christmas Drop crates. According to organizational data, by 2006, the Christmas drop operations have delivered more than 800,000 pounds of supplies.

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A bundle exits the ramp of a C-130H aircraft during an airdrop mission over the Federated States of Micronesia during Operation Christmas Drop.

A pallet containing toys, holiday decorations and other donated items floats toward an island of the Western Pacific and Micronesia area, bringing holiday cheer Dec. 14 during Operation Christmas Drop. While Santa Claus must find a rooftop to land his reindeer on, America's Airmen and their four-propeller C-130 Hercules deliver the holiday items from the air and move on to their next target. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Kimball)
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A resident of Mokil Atoll waves to the C-130 crew after receiving an air dropped aid package.

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Loadmasters from the 36th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, prepare humanitarian aid bundles destined for remote islands within the Micronesian Islands.

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Senior Airman Angel Torres, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 Hercules loadmaster, pushes a low-cost, low-altitude bundle drop over the Federated States of Micronesia during Operation Christmas Drop.

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Airmen from the Royal Australian Air Force deliver a low-cost, low-altitude bundle during Operation Christmas Drop to the island of Mogmog. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Katrina Brisbin

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A bundle exits the ramp of a C-130H aircraft during an airdrop mission over the Federated States of Micronesia during Operation Christmas Drop.

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Tech. Sgt. Magen Harger, 36th Medical Support Squadron medical lab technician, pushes a box of supplies to islanders.

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Packages make their way to the shore of Kayangel Island during Operation Christmas Drop.

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Islanders watch a C-130 Hercules fly overhead during Operation Christmas Drop 2015 at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia.

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Micronesian islanders receive supplies airdropped from a C-130 Hercules near Andersen Air Force Base.

Operation Christmas Drop is primarily conducted from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam and Yokota Air Base in Japan.

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Another Secret U.S. Base, What in the Wild World of Sports are they Up To?  

Forget Area 51, America has an EVEN MORE secretive military test site named Area 6

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A TOP secret airbase more mysterious than Area 51 has been spotted in the Nevada desert on Google Earth.

Area 6, a shielded airbase used for testing unmanned aircraft, has got conspiracy theorists wondering what the US Government might be hiding at such a remote location.

The site is roughly 12 miles northeast of Area 51 and is part of the Nevada National Security Site, where 1,000 nuclear tests were carried out between 1945 and 1995.

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Six nuclear tests and four detonations have been completed in Area 6 according to the US Department of Energy.

The mysterious airbase has a 5,000ft runway used by federal agencies to carry out aircraft tests, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Its secretiveness has quickly led to comparisons with Area 51, where some conspiracy theorists believe the wreckages of crashed UFOs are stored and studied.

National Nuclear Security Administration spokesman Darwin Morgan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “We have controlled airspace and that gives them opportunities to test various types of platforms.

“We do a wide variety of work for others – supporting people with sensor development activities.

“It evolved from the nuclear testing program. We had to have very good sensors to collect data in a split second before they were obliterated.”

The Nevada National Security Site is run by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s field office in the state, which works with other agencies to develop ways of tackling terrorism.

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Could they be interrogating the Grays at Area 6?

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See also: https://markozen.com/2021/07/21/nuclear-bomb-craters-in-nevada-2/