It’s almost but not quite the anniversary of D-Day, and is precisely the anniversary of my marriage1.
Between that, travel, finishing Britain’s Future Navy (depressing) and starting Massie’s Dreadnought (exciting), it’s a short one this week2.
- LockMart withdraws the Freedom-class from FFG(X) – Good. Let the other defense contractors have a go. Parvusimperator and I still think the F105 is the best choice, but also not the most likely (I think). Probably time for a re-handicapping, now that the field has narrowed.
- CDR Salamander writes at USNI blog about the FFG(X) voluntary downselect and the perishable nature of industrial capacity – Put another way: don’t go the way of the Dutch.
- Reintroducing theater-range missiles in a post-INF world – It’s a brave new world.
- In pictures: the best Harrier on a merely average carrier – Spain’s Juan Carlos I, to be exact. The Harriers are the American Plus model, the only extant variant with a radar and AIM-120 capability, which makes them almost real fighters.
- Congress upset over the Ford class’s inability to deploy with F-35s – Because Congress imposed cost caps on the first two Fords, there’s been an awful lot of ‘fit for but not with’ going on. For instance, one of them is deploying with two of eleven weapons elevators operational.
- USAF has a solid lead in number of operational F-35s – 400 F-35s of all types have been delivered, and they’ve also now passed 200,000 flight hours.
- USAF also thinking about laser missile defense
- Superconductor degaussing system to be installed on some Navy vessels – I really, really want to know what kind of superconductor we’re talking about here, but the story does not relate. It does, however, suggest that the weight savings are substantial: 10 to 100 tons, depending on the size of the hull.
- Corvette carriers: a littoral combat strategy – Missile boats are awesome, but short-legged. So, build a ship to fuel them and shepherd them to wherever you want them to be. Britain’s Future Navy had a similar idea, although built to merchant standards rather than military, and for minesweepers/pirate hunters/subchasers/etc. with a logistics support/helicopter carrier mothership.
- For missile boats, the Skjald-class is a good buy; for patrol craft, why not buy the German Gepard design? – Well, because it’s retired? On the other hand, an updated, NSM-equipped design would be pretty cool, and a Gepard (at 437 tons) outguns an LCS by several times already. Both?.
- Wouldn’t you know it, the Navy already planned to do a missile ~boat~ hydrofoil with a logistics support ship! – Also, the support ship was to be a repurposed LST, which is a cool class of ship.
- Big Army wants to modernize its ammunition plants… – Most of which date to the 1940s.
- USAF has 62 Lancers, of which often only ‘single digits’ are mission-ready at any given time – Not great. B-21 isn’t here yet, guys!
Science and Technology
- Another open-source project switches to a license which excludes resellers – An interesting problem. The norm in the software industry used to be this: if you develop an open-source project, you have dibs on selling that project as a service. The Big Three cloud providers (Amazon, Microsoft, and Google) broke that norm, reselling open-source-projects-as-a-service. The open source projects have now fired back with a new breed of open-source licenses that permit users to do everything but that.
- SlateStarCodex reviews a book about cultural intelligence – As ever, a long and interesting read3.
- Crime doesn’t pay in Venezuela: muggers can’t afford bullets for their guns
- Crime pays in Venezuela: small planes used by cocaine smugglers are often burned after one use – The difference is that the cocaine smugglers have the support of the military controlling the border crossings, because being a marshaling yard for drug smuggling is the only growth industry in the country.
- John Wick is saving action movies – I enjoy a CGI superhero romp more than parvusimperator does (much more4), but importantly, you watch a superhero romp for the characters, not the action scenes. John Wick (and the approximately contemporaneous Mad Max: Fury Road) dispense with the CGI in favor of watchable, clearly-shot action, not the shaky-cam quick-cut mumbo jumbo you see so often today5.
- Rather than send flowers on the day, I sent them a day early. That way it’s surprising. ↩
- Mr. Alexander says that this is the second article in a sequence. Idle speculation in the comments wonders where he’s going with it. One commenter put forward the idea that it might be a literal come to Jesus moment, which would be a victory for Christendom on par with the conversion of C.S. Lewis, but I don’t put much stock in that one. I lean more toward a shift in politics. ↩
- That is, I enjoy them, and he doesn’t. ↩
- Do you know what else did a good job at this, hard as it is to believe? The Star Wars prequels. Can you picture a single Lucas-era lightsaber duel with quick cuts? Of course you can’t, because none of them were shot that way, despite the fast pace and acrobatics involved in most of them. ↩
Re: the degaussing system – there’s no way they’re actual superconductors. You simply couldn’t provide the cryogenic freezing capability throughout the ship. And definitely without adding thousands of tonnes.
It some marketing speak from the contractor being repeated by a guy who should, but doesn’t, know better.
I’m not so sure about that—there have been papers presented on the subject, and even sea trials going back to the late 2000s. Evidently, you only need about 10% of the cable length. The coolers eat half the weight savings on the proposed LCS system in the first link, but you gain a lot of it back with cable weight savings the bigger you go.
Hmm, looks like I was wrong on that. But coolers are pretty large, you need to devote volume to coolant tanks, a failure of the refrigerators means a massive loss of coolant and you have to run cryogenic coolant throughout the loops – and all that needs to be insulated. Looks like you’re gaining displacement in exchange for losing internal volume to the coolers.
Just sounds like one of those systems that are great – up until the point that you take actual damage and then they make things worse. If nothing else, a break in the line is now pouring pure nitrogen gas under pressure into those spaces, displacing the air in there.