Here we are at the leading edge of the summer doldrums. Parvusimperator’s low on things to write about, and I’m in at-home productivity mode. So it goes. Happily, there’s a ton going on in the world, so we do have links for you. Lots of links.
- Oil tankers attacked (?) in the Gulf of Oman – This correspondent’s guess is naval mines which slipped their moorings.
- The BBC reports that it might have been limpet mines – Like it was in May.
- In earlier reporting, the WSJ said torpedoes – Maybe they just meant ‘torpedo’ in the old sense of ‘mine’.
- Close-up shots do suggest a mine hit
- CDR Salamander: it’s fun to follow, but it’s not our problem, either
- The IAF (Indian) wants to buy IAF (Israeli) missiles – Pakistani F-16s with AIM-120-C5s outranged the Indian Flankers with R-77s, which Indian sources claim can’t really engage targets at more than 80km. India wants to replace the Vympel missile with the extended-range Derby.
- H und K is in financial trouble – Because they hate you, and you suck.
- In pictures: a bomb bird on a bomb bird – You’ll just have to click it to find out what it is.
- Small earthquake near the China/NoKor border – … turns out to be caused by the Jilin Longye Blasting Company in China, rather than by the North Korean bombs everyone suspected. At least, that’s the official story.
- Iran will shortly breach its uranium stockpile limits
- Pentagon seeks laser-armed space drones – In response to questions about militarizing space, the Pentagon claims they’re laser-armed space drones for science. (This is not actually what they claim.)
- Big Army slows its roll on ground robots, buys 9,000 small drones – Aerial reconnaissance at the squad level is a compelling buy.
- Dreadnought v. Columbia: boomers of the future
- Big Army’s future tank: picture a factory stamping upgrades on an Abrams chassis forever
- The Navy launches one of the most awkwardly-named ships of all time: USS Minneapolis-St. Paul – Comment with your votes for more awkward names.
- Boeing line workers just can’t stop leaving tools, cigarette butts, lunches, etc. in KC-46 airframes – “Didn’t you have ten wrenches when you clocked in?” “Beats me.”
- Everything old is new again, naval strategy edition – In which it is argued that the fleet should be concentrated, Mahan-style, in the Pacific. The only problem is that I think it would require some cleverness with advanced basing and perhaps corvettes/motherships of some kind1.
- Northrop and Raytheon are working on a 3D-printed hypersonic scramjet cruise missile – I just got 21st Century Defense Story Bingo.
Hong Kong Protests
- Citizens of Hong Kong are protesting a new extradition bill which would subject Hong Kongese2 to the Chinese justice system
- A huge crowd of protestors separates to let an ambulance through – Alternate title: “Things that would never happen in America”.
- Millions of people still hitting the streets daily
- Numbers estimated at 2 million—something like 25% of the entire population of the city
Science and Technology
- Starlink is mostly going to be for rural customers – Obviously. If you look at the bandwidth per satellite and the size of the constellation, it’s clear that even 12,000 satellites isn’t enough to serve dense populations. For myself, I’m glad to rub that in the faces of people (primarily Ars Technica commenters) who a) clearly live in cities and b) are so blinded by Ol’ Musky that they were looking forward to satellite internet.
- Chinese dissidents are being executed for their organs – This is a New York Post story I found via Zerohedge, so take it with a truckload full of salt from a Chinese dissident slave camp salt mine, but maybe Larry Niven wasn’t too far off in terms of timeline3.
- The Atlantic hypothesizes on the MH370 disapperance – Chilling and plausible.
- SMS König is for sale – Along with some other German warships, too. Unfortunately, they were made historical monuments in 1979, so if you’re looking to buy them as a source of low-background steel, you’re probably out of luck.
- Everything old is new again, drugs edition – Evidently, cocaine is second only to marijuana in the arsenals of young British drug users.
The limpet mine explanation seems to be pretty clear cut with the video that the USN released of IRGC armed vessels pulling alongside one of the tankers in question, not to mention the subsequent attempted shootdown of a US drone.
Even the Germans are on board with that narrative now, and Merkel is no close friend to this POTUS.
1) On the KC-46 story…. JESUS CHRIST, where are these guys working? Back when I was in maintenance (5 years of it) we were checked at the end of the servicing, when the aircraft rolled out. The inspectors would ask to see all our toolboxes and inventory lists to make sure we had everything.
Also smoking anywhere near an aircraft was a quick way to get fired.
ALSO, an aircraft is one of the dirtiest things mankind has ever invented. Dust settles in parts of it so thick you can peel it off like a blanket (no, I’m not kidding, seen it with mine own eyes and hands…). Why would anyone eat a sandwich in such a place?….
2) The Starlink story: 5G is better for cities. Starlink would be a big boon for remote aircraft monitoring (imagine Airbus being able to monitor it’s planes’ performance in real time across it’s entire fleet, or to transmit navigational data, or….1000 uses. Aircraft are mostly cut off from the world right now as they fly, which is bonkers) and remote ship monitoring (imagine real time data from nuke-powered cargo ships). Or remote monitoring of nuke stations to ensure that small modular reactors are not used in an unsafe manner or for unsavory purposes (as you see, I have a real hard-on for nuclear power).
3) The organ story: I believe it. Most in the west have no concept of what living in a totalitarian state is like. Or living in a post-communist oligarchy is like. Yes, I find it plausible. Whether it’s an institutional thing, or something an enterprising warden would do for a little money on the side is debatable though…
Honorary mention goes to the spammer-hammer that still gives me trouble. I’m sorry but it just does, and I have no clue what to do about it….
There might be some IP geolocation you’re falling to. Have you been commenting with the same email? If so, I’ll see if I can whitelist you based on that.
Think I found the problem. The email saved on my work computer was not the same as the one on my home computer. Now it seems to work. I’ll get back to you if I still have issues. Cheers!
I made sure the email address you made this comment with is on the allow list, so hopefully you won’t have any further trouble with the spamhammer.