A day late again. Blame Strategic Command WWII: World at War, which has been consuming my evenings, and busy days at work, which have been consuming my days. (SCWWIIWAW review should be coming sometime soon.)
A note on Christmas schedule: officially, our break starts on the 19th and ends on January 8th. We won’t be altogether absent during that stretch, but we certainly won’t have two-articles-and-a-linkpost per week.
- Coal, oil, and now cobalt – A strategic material for the modern age.
- Oh, Canada – Canada is having trouble keeping enough fighters in the air. (But hey, at least Gripen is on the table!)
- F-35 Block II feature list – Pardon what is perhaps an impolitic question, but isn’t Block I still in development? Then again, as a software developer by day, I understand having to promise new features before the existing ones are done.
- A history of US ASW efforts in the First World War
- Apparently, I forgot to stick the link to the story in our what-we’re-reading chat channel, but the USAF is planning on consolidating F-22 basing, leaving Tyndall AFB out of future plans. (Tyndall will continue to house F-35s.) That leaves active F-22 squadrons at Hickam, Langley, and Elmendorf, which the USAF wants to expand from 21 to 24 aircraft each. There were 17 F-22s left at Tyndall during the hurricane, so that’s presumably a not-easily-salvable rate of a bit under 50%.
- Soapbox favorite naval affairs writer James Holmes on Pearl Harbor, and how it’s Mahan’s fault – Both that it happened to us, and that it was a bad idea for the Japanese. Read it all the way through. It’s a good one.
- The British Army demos an urban ops Challenger 2 – Something for a certain regular commenter of ours.
- USAF must overhaul pilot training to fix future shortages – For a few months, I was in a Bible study at church with an ex-USAF pilot. He remarked once that for everyone outside of fighters and bombers, an Air Force job is basically an airline job with worse hours and a lack of cushy union-negotiated pay. Still, if I were in my early 20s, unmarried, and possessed of better eyesight, I might consider a career switch.
- Russia rises to #2 in global arms sales – We’re #1! We’re #1! (I’m surprised Russia wasn’t already #2, though.)
- Assad is back in charge in Syria – I saw a professional defense/geopolitics commentator on Twitter say that the only way Assad was ever going to leave was with a suitcase full of Franklins on a plane to Moscow. Makes sense to me—in recent years, it’s not a good idea to yield to the West if you’re a Middle Eastern dictator.
- An animation of Helge Ingstad‘s sinking, showing the proximate cause – That’s leaking shaft seals, which leaked because of bent bulkheads and so on after the collision.
Tip of the hat to Kilo Sierra for sharing these on Discord. (Join us! The link is in the sidebar!)
- Is Ukraine headed for a Russian showdown? – Some compelling arguments here.
- Can the West prevent it? – Yes, but the correct question is will the West prevent it.
Flashpoint: South China Sea
- Japan plans to buy some more Aegis – Good for them.
- China’s ‘fishing fleet’ in the South China Sea is a naval militia
- More on the US, China, and long-term prospects for peace – I didn’t really read this one. Instead I share it for the nostalgia of seeing a Badger escorted by Flankers, all festooned with red stars and red flags.
Grab Bag: Technology, Guns, Oil, etc.
- Twitter’s @RexValllachorum (note three Ls) is an émigré from Romania, who came of age late in the Communist era and writes both on why Communism sucks and occasionally on modern American politics – Here he is on guns and the blood price of taking them in America.
- In lighter news, parvusimperator submits a video on the topic of how Dragon’s Breath shotgun ammo can go wrong – Magnesium and powder residue is a volatile combination.
- The largest continuous oil and gas resource ever discovered is on the Texas/New Mexico border
- The world economy in dynamic graph form, from 1960 to 2017 – I was surprised to see Japan in the #2 spot for so long, and China up into the top tier so recently.