Parvusimperator hasn’t had much in the way of article fodder lately, but did submit quite a number of things to this week’s What We’re Reading.
Strait of Hormuz Crisis, 2019 Edition
- Friday’s breaking news: British tanker seized in the Strait of Hormuz – Royal Navy nowhere to be seen.
- Iran releases video of commandos rappelling onto said tanker – So it was probably Iran.
- Why didn’t the British see it coming? – Because they still think of themselves as a maritime power, despite all the compelling evidence to the contrary.
- U.K.-flagged tankers flee the Gulf – HMS Montrose had to escort a few of them out.
- USS Boxer downs Iranian drones with EW
- Private satellite photography company locates seized tankers – And the era of privately-owned satellites has only just begun, given the rapidly decreasing costs promised by rockets with more and more reusability.
- Presenting the Oerlikon Skyranger – A family of SHORAD vehicles: a search radar, a gun, a Stinger/equivalent platform, and an ARAM platform.
- Australia wants to replace its Æurocoptres – Leading contenders: navalized Cobras or a Sea Apache. I’d forgotten the Æurocoptre was still a thing until just now.
- Footage of the French military waving those DroneGuns around – I guess a man-portable drone jammer isn’t very exciting to watch in action, but there you go.
- Tyndall AFB permits shorts on the flight line – Parvusimperator says: ‘not sure if heresy’. I say: the Air Force has always been the comfort-first, wimpy branch, right?
- RAF readiness woes: A400M has a 10% mission-capable rate – Engine problems. Engineering staff at RAF Brize Norton calls the plane ‘a dog’.
- USS Kearsarge transits Suez with anti-drone bugges on deck – It’s not a hack, it’s a mission module.
- The entire Royal Navy surface escort fleet: status as of July 2019 – Jackie Fisher sheds a single tear.
- Venezuelan Flanker shadows an EP-3 over the Caribbean
- VLS is a step back for US Navy expeditionary capability – We really need an at-sea reloading system, or at the very least, some way to do it ship to ship in a sheltered anchorage.
- The Space Force/Space Corps should use naval ranks – Seconded and carried.
- South Korean defense plans now include a STOVL aircraft carrier – Welcome to the club!
- Britain’s AFV upgrade programs ‘unachievable’, according to an official report – On the plus side, this justifies parvusimperator’s laughter. On the minus side, it’s LockMart who’s years late and hundreds of millions of pounds over budget.
- How Boeing won the T-X competition – TLDR: by innovative cost-saving techniques, and (counterintuitively) by offering a new airframe which could be manufactured on the cheap and doesn’t need as much maintenance as an updated legacy airframe would.
Science and Technology
- Starhopper, the SpaceX test platform for its bigger, next-generation Raptor engines, was engulfed in a massive fireball after a test fire – It appears to be undamaged, though. Good old American Stainless Steel.
- Inconsistencies found in measured vs. predicted expansion rates of the universe – The Hubble Space Telescope remains an extremely important scientific instrument. Although there are inconsistencies, the error bars on the measurements are still pretty big, because measuring distances to other galaxies is difficult.
- Kazakhstan hijacks HTTPS – Kazakh Internet users ask Mozilla to blacklist the Kazakh government’s root CA cert.
- SilencerCo is producing a Maxim 9 without an integral suppressor – The pictured gun has one attached, but it’s not a requirement.
- US DoD purchases some carbon fiber barrels for 300 MRAD rifles – Can we talk briefly about how dumb a name ‘carbon fiber barrel’ is for a steel barrel with a carbon fiber wrap?
- The Liberator 12k is a 3D-printed, revolving shotgun – Doing a shotgun is smart, because you don’t need to worry about rifling, and rifling is the hard part. Plain metal tubing (for, say, a shotgun barrel and chamber inserts) is widely available.
- 3D-printed Glock magazines, too – You still need a spring, but those aren’t too hard to find.
- Percentage of population with carry permits – Our native or adopted PA is right up there with some of the best. Note that some of the heartland states are permitless carry or soon to be, and full of farmers who are perfectly free to carry however they like on their vast properties anyway, so they may look worse in this comparison than they are.
- How long do criminals own guns before using them? – The median is two months. The article suggests that more effective enforcement of gun sales laws could have a quick effect on gun use in crime—but DAs don’t like to come down hard on straw buyers and so on, because they get accused of racism.
- On ejector rod length in wheelguns
- How the Order of St. John became one of Europe’s largest postwar air forces
- What caused American aircraft losses in Vietnam? – Mostly archie, which makes sense. It’s way harder to suppress a battery of guns in the jungle than a massive 70s SAM site or a MiG-sized airfield. Of the remaining 16%, 15% were unknown/operational, and 1% of losses were from friendly fire.
- Wreck of lost French submarine Minerve located in the Mediterranean – Seabed search has certainly stepped up in the past few decades.
- Operation Vulture: the joint US-French plan to relieve Dien Bien Phu by close air support with nuclear-armed B-29s – Can you come up with a sentence containing more bad ideas per word? It would be difficult.
- The NY Times’ interactive desk has an excellent piece on how the Notre Dame fire started and spread – The fire warning system was confusing and complicated. It detected the fire almost immediately, but a muddled message on the console (“Attic Nave Sacristry”) led the security guard who made the check to the attic of the sacristry, a building next to the cathedral, rather than the cathedral’s attic. The fire warning system was, of course, designed and built with great effort and at great expense by a coalition of experts, and proved to be all but useless in practice.
- The Corvette C8 is a mid-engine sports car for $60,000 – They say ‘less than $60,000’, but we all know that means $59,995 list, without destination fees. Still, Chevrolet is keeping the Corvette name meaningful: if you go with them, your $60,000 buys something a great deal closer to a supercar than if you were to spend $60,000 on a BMW or a Ferrari. (Not that you could buy more than a few Ferrari parts for $60,000.)
- Chevy’s last mid-engined car – It’s come a ways.
- A few flags are mysteriously missing from Maverick’s leather jacket in the new Top Gun trailer – Oh, wait. It’s not mysterious at all. Tencent Pictures is listed under ‘production companies’ on Wikipedia.
- One year into the US-China trade war, 50 or more foreign enterprises are planning on moving manufacturing away from China – Trade wars aren’t great for prosperity, as the conservative Twittersphere will never fail to remind you, but they do sometimes attain their foreign policy goals. Or start wars. Bit of a toss-up. We’ll see how it plays out.
- Man defrauds national health insurers out of $4 million – You can get a National Provider Identifier, a number which permits you to bill insurers, with zero verification.
- Competing with MasterCard and Visa is pretty much impossible – You can’t undercut them, because they have scale. You can’t lure their customers away, because who wants to get a reader for a new kind of credit card?