It’s all Fishbreath all the time this week—I’m covering Thursday’s post, too.
In contrast with the competition shooting flavor of this week’s long-form posts, we have a delightfully defense-directed What We’re Reading.
As I wrap up writing all the summaries below, I would like to point out that I finished just in time for the 10:13 deadline.
- Everything you need to know about the Chinese military if you don’t read Chinese – For those of us who do not read the world’s most perversely difficult language, Proceedings links to two reports on the development, strategy, and technology of the Chinese military, from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the DIA. Lots of meat on them. Highly recommended.
- Chinese carrier numbers increment differently – Carrier 001, CV-16, stays the same. Carrier 001A, now Carrier 002 or CV-17, goes up one. Carrier 002 is now 003/CV-18, the first catapult-equipped carrier. Carrier 003 is now 004 or 00X, and is either a second catapult-equipped carrier or China’s first nuclear carrier. There’s more at the link.
- Carrier 001 sails near Guam and through the Taiwan Strait
- FFG(X) careens toward a roadblock: Congress wants to limit certain parts to American manufacture only – “Let’s save money by demanding that we use native parts for which we have no native manufacturing capability!” In my amateur oddsmaking for the FFG(X) project last February, ‘canceled or delayed beyond the point of usefulness’ was my guess at the favorite, and I stand by that choice. (Also, if you put money on the Freedom-class LCS-frigate, you can tear up your ticket now.)
- 32 tubes is not enough – Unhappy with the number of missiles on your frigate? Just buy F100!
- And lastly, the final FFG(X) RFP has been issued – Your remaining contenders: FREMM, F100, Independence Frigate, and an unknown entry from Ingalls Shipbuilding.
- Fixing the Overseas Contingency Operations fund – OCO spending doesn’t count against the Budget Control Act spending caps, so only 40% of the money in the OCO fund is for actual overseas operations, and the rest is a slush fund.
- Raytheon’s StormBreaker completes test drop program – Tri-mode seeker with datalink. I wonder if they’ll make a knives version, like that Hellfire we pointed out a few entries ago.
- USS Billings smacks into a bulk freighter in Montreal – Its commissioning is still scheduled for August 3, so there can’t be that much damage.
- British F-35s fly their first operational missions – Joining some Typhoons over Syria. Baker Zebra1.
- Amphetamine use was widespread on both sides in the Second World War
- Navy railgun project test fires at White Sands, could be tested at sea this year
- 40% of Marine Ospreys are not mission-capable – From a historical/analytical perspective, it’s a shame that the US has never before been in a stance of high military spending but low imminent risk of war. Would readiness have been so bad with, say, 1935 technology and a similar geopolitical position?
- Brigade Combat Teams are modern legions – That is, smallish, modular units which contain near enough to everything they need to fight. The author goes on to suggest rebranding BCTs as Legions, which is a bit too whatever-you-call-it to Rome as weebs are to Japan for my tastes. (Ed.: Although Chris Bradshaw makes a compelling counterargument in the comments.)
- Navy to buy sufficient numbers of JPALS sets to equip every carrier, including the ‘they aren’t carriers, really’ amphibious assault ships – F-35 pilots will never have to hit a hard carrier landing again! The computers will do it for them, unless they’re damaged, broken, or out of service for other reasons.
- What does it profit a man to gain military partners in the Gulf by spending tons of money and lose the will to knock in heads himself, World Police style? – Not profit, so much, but it does buy you the modern Gulf, where your partners are mostly squabbling with their local enemies, oil tankers are hitting Iranian mines with suspicious regularity, and the US Navy is stuck escorting ships through the Gulf anyway.
- Blessed Be Thy Nuclear Weapons – The Russian Orthodox Church weighs heavily on the minds of the nuclear arm of Russia’s military, but then, the Russian Orthodox Church also weighs heavily on the minds of all traditionally-minded Russians. It’s easy to forget for English-speakers, because the Anglicans are a bunch of spineless wimps nowadays and the other major English-speaking power takes a dim view of state religions, but having a church more or less unified with the state is an extremely powerful tool for the man in charge of both.
Science and Technology
- Smartphone use causes bone spurs – Point of order: I’m almost sure I have those same bone spurs, but from reading books instead of using a smartphone.
- How to factory-reset your GE smart lightbulbs: a 3-minute play in two acts – Smart homes are not, and I refuse to have any smart home technology until I can run it on a server in my basement with no outside Internet connection.
- Ubuntu to ditch 32-bit architecture, libraries – Steam, thereafter, to ditch Ubuntu. The only 32-bit things on my work laptop are, I grant you, Steam, wine, and a bunch of libraries used by Steam and wine, so it isn’t that bad for modern Linux users who don’t play games.
- Remember QuadrigaCX, the Canadian cryptocurrency exchange whose funds all mysteriously vanished and whose CEO died in India? – Yeah, he totally stole all the money by using fake accounts with fake real-world assets, and the last transaction he made was six days before his ‘death’. Watch for his wife to mysteriously disappear in the next year or two, and for a pair of people who look suspiciously like them to live out the remainder of their days on some sun-soaked tropical beach paradise.
- The Raspberry Pi 4 launches, and the launch site runs on a cluster of Raspberry Pi 4s – Could be a big savings over the Many Words VPS, but a) the Pi cluster didn’t actually run the database, the most demanding and difficult part of the whole endeavor, and b) I don’t think I know anyone who would be willing to colocate a stack of Raspberry Pis.
- The USAF launch services agreement isn’t fair to SpaceX, says this guy – But he also says that the USAF should just spend some money on SpaceX on the side, rather than delaying the LSA awards. That’s reasonable, but even as someone who’s low-key rooting for Blue Origin over SpaceX, I think it’s also reasonable to ask that the LSA should probably go to a company which actually hits the requirements today (i.e., non-Russian engines, proven reliability). Rockets are hard, and realistically, Blue Origin and ULA-with-Blue-Origin-engines will have some teething issues to work out.
- SportCo Holdings, which owns a number of gun store brands declares bankruptcy with an eye toward liquidation – Evidently, they bet big on buying up lots of inventory prior to the 2016 election, on the theory that if Clinton won, there would be an Obama-esque run on the market. Oops.
- The RAF is unique in the British armed services for adopting a semi-modern phonetic alphabet in 1942, rather than sticking with the WW1-era alphabet straight through to 1956. ↩