A little patriotic overture to start the post seems fitting.
- Reports of Chinese and Russian AAM development prompted the US to start work on the AIM-260, the next-gen long-range air-to-air missile for the US military
- Will Big Kuz get a second lease on life or die a slow death? – Given that the rebuilding plan starts with, ‘drydock Big Kuz in 2020, provided the shipyard has built a big enough drydock by then’, I suspect it’s going to be a slow death.
- ASW AI: a growth industry – I believe it. AI isn’t good at all that many things, ultimately, but interpreting sonar data is exactly the kind of thing it’s great at.
- USS Montgomery (a Little Crappy Ship) deploys for the first time in 19 months – As CDR Salamander noted on Twitter, the only reason you keep something like that secret is some degree of doubt that it’s going to make it all the way across the Pacific.
- Proceedings on hypersonic weapons: differing approaches taken by the world’s militaries – I should get a Proceedings subscription one of these years.
- Do hypersonic weapons mean the end of the line for the Mk 41? – They’re apt to be bigger, which means we might need bigger VLS cells.
- American diplomats are not ready for war – For a number of reasons; I won’t steal the article’s thunder. I will note the parallels with early 20th century diplomacy, which I’m developing a familiarity with thanks to Castles of Steel. Nobody wanted to deal with the British, because Parliament and public opinion were too fickle.
- Machine translation is getting good enough to put (most) military linguists out of a job – High-priority, high-accuracy translations are still done by humans, but there are cases (given in the article) where someone who doesn’t speak language X can still provide useful intelligence from communications in language X with the help of a machine translator.
- Rates of STDs going up in American servicemen and women – Soldiers gonna soldier.
- China’s military not only copying Western forces in hardware, but also in force structure and buzzwords – If we produce enough meaningless jargon we don’t actually follow, maybe we can make China, more respectful of authority than we are, collapse on its own, like giving a paradox to a killer robot.
- What are American obligations in the Strait of Hormuz? And what are some of the scenarios which might play out of Iran tries to close it? – The Atlantic is usually good when they aren’t writing about American politics.
- Ten reasons to keep your aircraft carriers – Loren Thompson warning, but he’s not wrong. Even if carriers are vulnerable in a great power shooting war, they’re much too useful in every other situation to get rid of.
- ITEP engines not fully baked, and the downselect came too early, this guy argues
- Some Armata dimensions/weights are now declassified
- French vehicle availability rates, courtesy of the French legislature
- Surprising nobody, Italy’s new Trieste is getting a ski jump ramp – Smart money says it’ll end up with the same angle as the new QE.
- An unusual exercise: an American destroyer supports a joint French-Japanese carrier task force
- Pratt & Whitney is perennially late on delivering F-35 engines
Defense: Czech IFV Requirements
A Very Special Section – Since it requires some translation, which Parvusimperator provided. (I assume he found it somewhere, since unless he’s holding out on me, he doesn’t speak Czech.)
- Number of vehicles: 210
- Crew: 3 + 6 soldiers + 2 specialists
- 7 variants: IFV, command, recon, engineering, ambulance, artillery recon, recovery
- Lifetime 30 years (min. 10 000 km to general rebuild)
- Programmable ammo for the 30 mm canon
- Coaxial MG 7.62 mm
- ATGM (2 in container, 1 in the vehicle)
- Smoke grenade launchers covering 360°
- Sights with min. 4000/3500 m range day/night
- Ballistic protection (base vehicle min. K2 + addon min. K5) i.e. STANAG 4569 II/V
- Protection against IED (jammer)
- Surveillance systems: day CCD camera, night IR camera, laser rangefinder
- Top speed on the road 65 km/h, in terrain 40 km/h
- Range min. 500 km
- Intercom + VKV/UKV radios voice/data (GPS, TACSAT and cypher connection)
Science and Technology
- BitTorrent usage increases as streaming sites fragment – Thinking face emoji. Not that I would ever publicly advocate stealing intellectual property, but I confess my Netflix subscription is looking less and less compelling, and that there are now a number of things I would watch that I can’t get there1.
- Have $400,000 and want a fun toy? Here’s a working jetpack – Parvusimperator and I, although neither of us has $400,000 to drop on a toy, agreed that we could do better. His pick: a 1980 Learjet 35A. A bit over budget, but comfortable and useful. I decided to go another direction: a 1980 MiG-21UM, for a mere $139,000. I figure I can use the remaining $261,000 to make it flightworthy and maybe buy a spare engine or two. In either case, be it fancy business jet or supersonic manned missile, I suspect we would have more fun than we would with the jetpack.
- NERVA back in the news – If I learned anything from Kerbal Space Program, it’s that nuclear propulsion is worth rushing for immediately, because skipping the oxidizer makes your delta-v budgeting easy.
- Identifying people by laser-fingerprinting their heartbeats – We live in the future. Granted that this is a Pentagon project, but it does suggest to me that the Cyberpunk Future is here already. Maybe, though, we need a new term for it—kind of inherent in the Cyberpunk Future is the idea that heavy industrial conglomerates will run the world, when it turns out to be big data conglomerates instead. Ideas?
- Cloudflare had a little outage yesterday, bringing down about 10 percent of the Internet – Not Many Words, though! Any outages you might have seen here came from a bug in the Xen guest networking driver, which caused intermittent kernel panics when conducting certain network operations, like attempting to update the Xen guest networking driver. (Fixed now, though. That’s why I keep a bunch of old kernels installed, after all.)
- Microsoft shutting down its e-book store, refunding everything customers spent – That’s nice of them, at least. Have e-books you want to own rather than rent? Well, you have options.
- Image-recognition neural networks work mostly on texture rather than shape – There’s a classic illustration of how a multi-level neural network works: the first layer takes pixels and recognizes edges, the second layer composes edges and recognizes shapes, the third layer composes shapes and recognizes objects. If you take the article at face value, this is now wrong.
- Sonic black holes exist, and emit sonic Hawking radiation
- Some restaurants are making burgers out of plants; Arby’s is making carrots out of meat – Bravissimo.
- Britain’s Great Model Train Robbery remains unsolved – To be clear, they robbed a warehouse which contained the trains, not the trains themselves.
- Further protests in Hong Kong reach the Legislative Council’s chamber – In a delightful bit of fun, the protestors hung the British colonial-era flag on the podium within. I consider the article itself to be craven capitulation to the Chinese government, however, given that it mainly quotes former Hong Kong police officials aghast that the people might dare to rebel.
- Drama in mathematics: “ABC is a theorem in Kyoto but a conjecture everywhere else
- LinkedIn is a great spy recruitment tool
A little choral patriotic music to wrap up the post seems fitting.
- I shouldn’t complain too hard; as I understand it, American anime-watchers have had this problem forever. ↩