I'm fascinated with Twin Tower photos. They were really impressive sort of brutalist structures in person. Some shots are just amazing. Like this one, taken during construction showing the elevator shafts and the skeleton of the buildings. It's like something out of Blade Runner.
At least for a time, after construction, the buildings were visible top to bottom from the river view, which was just spectacular. Seeing the entire structures made them even more majestic and almost surreal. See here:
This shot is also just gorgeous. The towers were great canvases for light. So many different moods to be had, nearly endless possibilities.
They were really a sight to behold, weren't they? As a kid, I remember seeing them for the first time. Things are dense around there, when we drove into the area my dad was like look up, and I leaned out of the cab window and I was RIGHT next to them... 1/X
It was overwhelming. The cladding on the outside really made you lose a sense of scale.
20 years ago today waking up on that morning seeing the one burning. I told my parents before #2 hit that they were probably going to learn a lot about a man named Osama Bin Laden...
Sadly, I was right. The second would hit minutes later. We all knew what the deal was the second that horrific act was burned into our eyes.
The F-22 will not save Taiwan. It can't even have a major impact on an invasion of the island. Sorry, this is reality not the military fantasy in common circulation. I know this spiel of mine isn't new to many of you, but it has never been more relevant after today's viral junk
There are roughly just 125 combat coded F-22s. The fleet runs 50% mission capable rate, a bit higher for the upgraded combat capable aircraft. Assuming you can deploy all of them to the Pacific fast enough in a crisis (good luck with that), you are flying them from Guam or...
dispersed airfields if a shooting war starts. Huge tanker bridge gobbling up flight hours, and the tankers are vulnerable as F-22 has a lousy combat radius and China is fighting in its own back yard...
I guess they didn’t get the same damning intel that the Taliban would take the country in a matter of weeks once the US air and contractor support ended. Oh wait! Neither did the WH according to the WH.
Point being it should have been handled differently with a hard stated time for each to leave over the months prior to departure but it was played loose because they blew it on planning and projecting, or seemingly even considering, what seemed pretty obvious to many.
Remarkably low end spin from biden about his ‘hugely successful op.’
You are seeing CIA operatives flying into Afghanistan with boxes full of cash to buy off tribal warlords before the war fully kicked off and General Donohue—the last man out—leaving on the last C-17 out of Kabul today. In the time between the two photos, there were incredible...
examples of kindness and super-human bravery, as well as inhuman cruelty and evil. 2461 American troops lost their lives in this far away place, and even more contractors. Far more Afghans died, on both sides. Massive amounts of treasure was spent, as well...
Ok let's talk AGM-114R9X and this strike against ISIS-K. I have gotten a ton of mail on this with people asking if it was used. We were the very first to suggest the existence of this weapon and have been reporting on it ever since. I see no indication that it was used...
in this operation. I must stress, R9X is not the only low lethality munition out there. A GBU-12/49 kit with a concrete Mk82 form can also achieve this and there are multiple other weapons that are being developed to do this in different ways. JSOC would be first to get them...
So not every targeted assassination is an R9X that doesn't leave a huge scorch mark on the earth. Also, there are aspects of the employment of that weapon that do not match up here at all. We do not believe it is as simple as a Hellfire with "swords."
The end of America's presence in Afghanistan is likely to come at any time now. Last rotary assets can self deploy out. Considering the threat level now, we can expect sooner than 31st. They can demo a lot of equipment in place and call it a day.
The perimeter becomes a bigger issue with every pair of boots that leaves, but the threat from mortars, rockets, and drones is really the most concerning at this point.
Always remember we do have one trick up our sleeves as this comes to an end. V-22 Ospreys. For smaller groups they can reach Kabul and make it back via aerial refueling. Runway independent. Just something to remember for contingency.
If we have ISIS-K targets on a list, or any actionable intel at any given time, why aren't we hitting them if we can cleanly? Considering we are going 'over the horizon' in full here, the fact that we haven't been doing this when we have been right there is troubling...
now we are going to be doing this once we have to access their territory from long distances using Pakistani airspace isn't encouraging. Kill these people no matter they exist if you can cleanly. They are the most despicable assholes on the planet...
After this horrible deal today the message should we are going to wipe them off the face of the earth, all of them, not find who did this if we can and bring them to justice. This is a demented death cult that will do anything to kill Americans...
General Wesley Clark on Kabul disaster on CNN: "Maybe they could put up some unmanned aerial vehicles...."
The commentary has been maybe the worst ever. Just wacky stuff. MANPADS nonstop, as if that is needed in any way in this situation. Nick Robertson won't stop about MANPADS it is embarrassing. Also, almost every aircraft flying out of there has very advanced countermeasures.
Laser countermeasures (DIRCM), multiple types of IR decoys, MAWS to detect any launch etc. These aircraft are far more vulnerable in this situation to rudimentary weapons (machine guns in the air and mortars on the ground). Bizarre coverage.
Now that we are at this point, mortars are the biggest risk to the operation and personnel at Kabul International. Always has been with this crazy plan.
CNN talking about MANPADS. Come on way easier and cheaper to destroy an aircraft on the ground with such a tight perimeter proximity than attacking a well-defended aircraft (almost all are) with a shoulder-fired heat-seeking missile that are very hard and expensive to get.
They know exactly where the planes are parked. Where everything is at. They can see it from a building top and have google earth. Those aircraft are giant gas tanks. The biggest issue with doing this out of urban Kabul International, especially just this one location.
I am getting a lot of questions as to why we don't fly C-5Ms into Kabul so that more folks can get out. I don't have the official answer, but here's the reality as I understand it: 1.) It's a much bigger and more enticing target. 2.) It is not as maneuverable...
For tactical departures & approaches that help the C-17s get in & out safely. 3.) They are prone to break hard. The C-5s are finicky birds. Gear & other issues can keep them on the ground for days. 4.) This combined with taking up a ton of ramp space isn't good for the situation
5.) There are not many of them. Only 52 C-5Ms are left in the inventory, a sizeable number of which are down for maintainance at any given time. The C-17A fleet is around 222 birds IIRC.
Buy your tires from Les Schwab if they're in your area. Never ceases to amaze what they don't charge for. Dealer wanted $450, Les Schwab charged me nothing and the car is new with new tires—I didn't buy them from them. Whole fiasco with trying to get wheels off. They were amazing
Very energetic young staff at the Barbar Blvd Portland location. They spent an hour trying to find the crazy proprietary wheel lock in my car. So nice about it. They were more concerned with hassling me than the line of cars they had to get processed...
Not every combat aircraft is a knock-off of another. Only so many ways to skin a cat. While there may be similarities, I hear the lamest claims, "it's a YF-23!" simply because it has tailerons and looks stealthy. This type of thing. All day. No nuance... 1/2
Some things are inspired others are stolen, and other are just similar. Unless you have the intel, there isn't any right answer, but the default shouldn't ALWAYS be everything was stolen or a copy. And when it isn't "it's junk!" Shitty blanket statement analysis gets old.
"Su-57 & J-20 are junk!" I hear this stuff all the time. No they're not junk. They're designed under different requirements that take into account unique limitations that may differ from their western counterparts...
Will be fun to see China's light-medium advanced fighter (FC-31) go head-to-head in the marketplace with Russia's, assuming the Russian type ever flies. Then you have Turkey etc too. Interesting times ahead.
Korea, China, even Turkey have fairly strong domestic support. Russia on the other hand, they would have to make some very tough decisions to make room for their new jet in their own air forces. Need a foreign partner to offset development etc.
If Russia's is single-engine, that would be a big deal. Getting a modernized fighter that leverages lessons from Su-57 & some avionics etc is likely regarded as highly important to their tactical jet export industry. Get entry & operational costs down w/some LO & new avionics etc
Watching Richard Branson fly to the edge of space today was great to see. The reality is that it took nearly 17 years from Spaceship One's team winning the Ansari XPrize & demoing the technology to this flight. Burt Rutan and Paul Allen deserve a ton of credit for this... 1/X
I was told the Spaceship One program cost well over 10X the award amount. Rutan's design was so good it is used today largely in scaled fashion. But repeating Spaceship One's feat in a commercial manner would take many $ millions more and even lives. Branson stuck with it...
, although there were changes, but when it came to doing what he does best, being the ultimate promo guy, he put his own ass in the ship. I think that is highly commendable even though many blow it off as just billionaires trying to show each other up...
On the B-21's windows, for years I have had numerous discussions with people about the possibility that there would be no windows at all. Next-generation display or HMD/AR tech used instead, thus enhancing its low observable capabilities and not having to deal... 1.X
with troublesome large windscreens that need to have LO properties. See the X-59 for instance (linked). The B-21's optionally manned capability could also reduce some risk here as well, as it would be able to complete even terminal operations itself... 1/X thedrive.com/the-war-zone/2…
But I really don't see this being probable with the B-21 for technological and cultural reasons. Look at the issues with KC-46's remote vision system and taking out the visibility really pushes also taking the pilot out as well, which the USAF is notoriously averse to... 1/X
23 years ago the Dragon Drone was being used in urban warfare tests at Camp Lejeune. The delta flying wing design, which offers high endurance and simplicity, remains a very popular configuration for drones over two decades later, especially among adversaries.
The planform for RPAs/UAVs goes way back. For instance, here is a Star Mini being launched at NAF El Centro in 1977!:
Fast forward to today, & Iran & Israel, in particular, make great use of the delta planfrom with their suicide drones. Israel largely pioneered the concept decades ago. Small gasoline engines offer high endurance & are cheap. The sound is also terrifying:
the President and VP around, those helos being called Marine One or Two when either is onboard, need to train. The urban landing zones, including WH and VP Residence, are not simple to get in and out of. So, crews need some currency training. They are not just tasked with... 2/X
moving POTUS and VP to get them around the region and to Andrews AFB for long-haul flights, they are essential to Continuity of Government operations. This means that if a threat were to emerge, they need to be ready to snatch POTUS and VP in minutes. This is partially... 3/X
Lots of people talking about some sort of impending kinetic operation over Iraq due to OSINT. Considering what is happening there, especially today's news, an increase of on-call strike aircraft, and especially ISR/networking aircraft, & tanker support, would not be unexpected.1/
This does not mean an operation is about to kick-off, although it's always possible. It does mean that coalition forces want to get a leg up on any possible hostile action & be ready to detect, fix, and kill a threat before it manifests itself fully or quickly after as well as 2/
being in a place to deter & respond to a major hostile action, especially by Iran. Not having to be in a fully reactionary, long-lead posture is precisely one of the reasons so much airpower is stacked in that region at any given time. You want it up, watching & ready 3/