Forrestal Memorial Mon, 21 Jun 2021 18:02:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Forrestal Memorial 32 32 The US Army’s first medium-range missile battery arrives in FY23 with 3 to follow Mon, 21 Jun 2021 17:36:41 +0000

WASHINGTON – The U.S. military plans to deploy its first medium-range mobile missile battery no later than the end of FY2023 with three more batteries to follow, according to FY22 budget justification documents.

Having a huge portfolio of range capabilities in the Pacific offers a wide range of options as there are so many different locations to fire missiles from, Brigadier. Gen. John Rafferty, who is in charge of Long Range Precision Fire Modernization (LRPF), told Defense News in an interview last year. Mixing and matching ranges from a wide variety of locations “creates an incredible dilemma for the enemy,” he said.

The military was successful in starting the effort between budget requests with approximately $ 88 million added through congressional appropriations in fiscal year 21 and is requesting $ 286.46 million for fiscal year 22, a critical year for capacity development.

The service has previously awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to develop and build a ground launch system for the US Navy’s Standard Missile-6 and Tomahawk missiles as an MRC solution.

According to the documents, the military plans to use FY22 funding to deploy the prototype battery, which includes integration work and the purchase of equipment and other materials to manufacture the system and perform the qualification at the level of the components and system.

The effort is being led by the Army’s Office of Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies (RCCTO), but once the first battery is deployed, the program will be transferred to the Army’s Missile and Mission Program Executive Office. space.

In Exercise 22, the military will assemble both the MRC launcher payload deployment system and the first battery operations center (BOC) for the first battery, according to budget documents.

A battery will consist of four launchers and one BOC, according to the documents, but the number and distribution of missiles included in the battery are classified.

The military plans to spend $ 46.5 million on the launch system, $ 100.2 million on ground support equipment and $ 139.74 million on missiles in FY 22.

A system integration and verification is scheduled for Q3 of FY22, followed by initial commissioning and training for the first unit starting in Q1 of FY23 and ending in Q2 of FY24.

The military will request a version to deploy the system in the third quarter of FY23, according to the document schedule, and will perform an SM-6 test and a Tomahawk test also in the third quarter of FY23.

Source link

]]> 0
The US Navy is giving up on getting bigger, with a few high-tech exceptions Mon, 21 Jun 2021 16:34:28 +0000

For years, U.S. Navy leaders have touted an ambitious – and expensive – plan to expand the frontline fleet from one-fifth to around 350 frontline ships.

Not anymore. The managers still want to develop the fleet, but in a much more selective way. And don’t expect to see a detailed plan for the expansion.

Congress demands that the U.S. Navy provide lawmakers with a 30-year plan each year outlining how many ships the sailing industry thinks it needs and when it wants to purchase them.

Amid an almost total collapse in naval planning that began under the chaotic administration of former President Donald Trump, the Navy has flouted the reporting requirement.

The Navy submitted a budget proposal to Congress late last month. It made do not submit a 30-year shipbuilding plan.

Apparently anticipating that lawmakers would be angered by this negligence, the Navy last week put together a few paragraphs and graphics that it generously calls its “Report to Congress on the long-term annual plan for the construction of warships for fiscal year 2022.”

The report is do not a long-term shipbuilding plan. But if you read between the lines, the 16-page document implies a reasonably coherent plan for the future structure of the Navy’s forces, especially with regard to large surface ships.

However, the report leaves some important questions unanswered. How many small amphibious ships and small supply ships does the Navy need? How many attack submarines can he expect to get? And how many robotic ships would the fleet need to organize a credible autonomous force?

If and when the Navy answers these questions, its future – currently clouded by the service’s lack of planning – should become much clearer.

It can’t happen fast enough. As the US Navy sinks into rough seas of its own myopia, the Chinese Navy pursues its own clear goals. Become bigger. Get better. Be prepared to fight the Americans.

For years, the Navy had a purpose that its leaders could easily articulate. Upgrade to 350 or 355 frontline ships by some point in the 2030s.

But getting there from the fleet’s lowest point – 278 combat force ships in 2007 – required constant production of around 14 new ships per year, assuming the fleet also didn’t decommission too many ships. older too quickly.

The Navy has never consistently reached this benchmark, mainly due to expense. American warships cost an average of around $ 2 billion. Annual shipbuilding budgets often do not exceed $ 20 billion. Even with lawmakers adding a few billion dollars more than what the service has been asking for for most years, the fleet managed to acquire 13 new ships in 2019 and 13 more in 2020.

It was as good as it gets. In most years, the Navy purchases less than 10 ships. The service is only asking for eight in 2022. Congress strength increase that to nine.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Navy throws in years of perhaps overly optimistic planning and in so doing, veers away from the target of 350 ships. Instead, the 16-page report that the sailing industry provided to lawmakers offers a range of vessel numbers by type.

The “objective” fleet of the late 2030s or early 2040s could include nine or 11 aircraft carriers; 24 large amphibious ships or 28; 63 destroyers or 65; 40 Littoral Combat Ships and frigates or 45; 27 or 29 support ships. The total combat strength could range from 321 hulls to 372.

In any case, Pentagon officials are no longer hooked on the number “350”. “Size matters, but capabilities matter too,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at a hearing on June 17.

But in fact, the ranges of possible ship inventories that the Navy is pushing forward are not that wide and are unlikely to be large. In the kind of war where a large fleet counts – say, the United States coming to the defense of Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion – this could do not it doesn’t matter whether the Navy has 65 destroyers or 63.

For some types of ships, however, the Navy offers a wider range of possible hull numbers. The June report says the fleet could acquire 24 small amphibious vessels or 35, and 56 small logistics vessels or 75.

This vagueness for these types of vessels is not accidental. Leaders from the Navy and Marine Corps spoke of a new concept of “distributed” warfare, whereby the Navy’s fleet and forces spread over a larger area to make it more difficult for the Chinese to fight back. target.

Small amphibians and small logistics vessels could be vital for distributed operations. The dispersed Marine battalions would need more small ships to transport them between the islands. These transports would need more small supply ships to support them. The more American forces expand, the more they might need these small ships.

There are other areas of uncertainty in the Navy report. Attack submarines, for example. As unclear as the fleet leaders were on many aspects of the possible future fleet, they were unambiguous on one thing. The Navy needs as many attack submarines – “SSN” in fleet parlance – as it can afford to buy and support … and as overwhelmed US shipyards have the capacity to to build.

“Maintaining the submarine advantage is a priority for the Navy,” the report explains. “As the Navy’s most durable strike platforms, the SSNs and SSNs [ballistic-missile boats] are the key to both deterrence and conflict victory against a rival power.

How many attack ships represent a lasting advantage over China’s huge submarine fleet? As few as 66 or even 72, according to the report. It all depends on the capacity of the two US shipyards that build submarines. “To meet the demand for additional submarines, the capacity of the industrial base needs to be expanded,” the report said.

However, the biggest variables in the June Shipbuilding Report are the unmanned surface ships and unmanned submarines that the Navy is developing in addition to traditional manned ships.

The “average unmanned surface vehicle” would be approximately 150 feet long and the “large unmanned surface vehicle” would be twice as long. The Navy anticipates that the MUSV will be primarily a reconnaissance vessel. The LUSV could carry missiles and accompany destroyers in combat to increase their firepower.

The fleet could buy 59 of these ‘bots – or 89. Leaders won’t know how many drones they need until they know exactly how they would use them. “The Navy is committed to actively testing the concepts of operations and employment of these platforms to iteratively assess and fully develop their capabilities,” the report explains.

The Navy has already started purchasing robotic submarines, although operating concepts of this type also remain unresolved. In 2019, the sailing industry paid Boeing the first installment of a $ 275 million order for five Echo Voyager robotic submarines.

The Navy calls its version of the 51-foot Echo Voyager an “extra-large unmanned underwater vehicle,” or XLUUV. The first of the stand-alone XLUUVs could enter service as early as 2022.

The plan, apparently, is to arm the underwater robot with Hammerhead, a so-called “encapsulated torpedo mine”.

Hammerhead is essentially a Mark 54 torpedo inside a container which itself features sonar and radio. The container docks at the bottom of the sea. Once an operator activates it remotely, the mine listens to an enemy submarine, then launches its torpedo up to six miles.

How confident is the Navy in this technology? The range of possible robot sub-inventories (as few as 18, up to 51) is a strong indication that the fleet doesn’t really know what they’re getting into. Unmanned submarines could work very well. Again they could do not.

Take a step back from the Navy’s rough fleet plan and the possible future of the service becomes unclear. After years of pursuing the unaffordable dream of a larger fleet with many more aircraft carriers, destroyers and large amphibians, the sailing branch appears to be settling on a different and potentially more sustainable design.

It retains roughly the same number of aircraft carriers and destroyers. Where it grows, it grows selectively, investing heavily in new capabilities, including small amphibians and small supply ships for distributed operations. Plus robotic surface ships and robotic submarines.

And it buys as many manned attack submarines as the industry can build.

Source link

]]> 0
No foreigners for the moment, only senior officials of the Ministry of Defense will lead the newly corporatized OFB as a deputation: The Tribune India Mon, 21 Jun 2021 15:59:00 +0000

Vijay Mohan
Tribune press service

Chandigarh, June 21

No foreigner would be appointed to the board of directors of the newly corporatized Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and their appointments for the moment would be made within establishments under the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

“The first board of directors of the legal person (s) must be appointed from among the senior officials in office of the OFB / Department of Defense Production, the Armed Forces, the Auditor General of Defense and the nine companies.” existing defense public bodies, ”states a memo issued by the planning wing of the Defense Production Department.

On June 17, the Union cabinet approved the transformation of the OFB into a company, so that its 41 factories were subsumed into seven public sector defense companies wholly owned by the government.

The Defense Ministry has sought the list of qualifying officers, who choose to join the newly formed companies, from the aforementioned departments before June 30.

The selected managers would be placed in presumed delegation to new legal entities, but without delegation compensation. They would be governed by the conditions applicable to the foreign service and would be subject to the rules and regulations of the service such as salaries and allowances, leaves and career progression that are applicable to them in their parent setting, adds the note.

Based in Calcutta, OFB is the oldest and largest organization in the country’s defense industry, dating back to 1787 when a gunpowder factory was established by the British at Ishapore.

They produce a wide range of equipment for the armed forces, paramilitary organizations and, to a lesser extent, the civilian market.

This includes weapons and ammunition, soft-coated vehicles, armored vehicles, personal equipment and clothing, parachutes, optoelectronic devices, surveillance equipment and ancillary items.

In the new scheme of things, the 41 factories have been converted into seven public sector defense companies. Munitions and Explosives, headquartered in Khadki, will take over 12 factories, while Weapons and Equipment, headquartered in Kanpur, and Ancillary, headquartered in Ambajhari, will each receive eight factories.

The vehicles, headquartered in Avadi, will get five factories, Troop Comfort Items, headquartered in Kanpur, will get four. Optoelectronics, headquartered in Dehradun, will get three, while Parachute in Kanpur will consist of a single unit.

The OFB’s corporate transformation plan was designed some 20 years ago to revitalize and streamline the operation of factories that have often been criticized by Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defense and the Comptroller and Auditor’s control. general of India regarding poor product quality, mismanagement, delayed lead times and lack of technological advancement.

According to the latest figures compiled by the Ministry of Defense, the total staff of OFB as of February 1, 2021 was 74,085 and the revenue generated in 2020 was Rs 12,755 crore. Arms and Explosives takes the lion’s share of the two, with 24,436 employees and a turnover of Rs 4,348 crore.

Source link

]]> 0
Former President Karzai Says US Failed in Afghanistan | Conflict News Mon, 21 Jun 2021 14:08:54 +0000

The former Afghan president said the United States had failed in its two-decade mission of bringing stability to “combat extremism” and bring stability to his war-tortured country.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, just weeks before the last US and NATO troops left Afghanistan after nearly 20 years, Hamid Karzai said the departing troops left a catastrophe behind. .

“The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear goal of fighting extremism and bringing stability… but extremism is today at its highest level. So they failed, ”he said.

He said their legacy is a nation ravaged by war in “utter shame and disaster”.

“We as Afghans recognize all of our failures, but what about the larger forces and powers that have come here for precisely this purpose? Where are they leaving us now? he asked and replied, “In utter disgrace and disaster.

Yet Karzai, who had a conflicted relationship with the United States during his 13-year rule, wanted the troops to leave, saying the Afghans were united behind an overwhelming desire for peace and now had to take responsibility for their future.

“We will be better off without their military presence,” he said.

“I think we should defend our own country and take care of our own lives. … Their presence (gave us) what we have now. … We don’t want to continue with this misery and indignity that we face. It is better for Afghanistan that they leave.

The rule of Karzai

The Karzai regime followed the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 by a US-led coalition that launched its invasion to hunt down and destroy the al-Qaeda network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, blamed for the 9/11 attacks against the United States.

During Karzai’s reign, women were granted more rights, girls were again educated, a young and vibrant civil society emerged, new skyscrapers were built in the capital Kabul, and roads and infrastructure were built. been built.

But his reign was also characterized by allegations of rampant corruption, flourishing drug trafficking and, in recent years, endless bickering with Washington that continues to this day.

In April, when US President Joe Biden announced the final withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 to 3,500 troops, he said the United States was leaving after achieving its objectives. al-Qaida had been greatly diminished and bin Laden was dead.

The United States no longer needs boots on the ground to combat security threats that could emanate from Afghanistan, he said.

Yet the United States’ attempts to end decades of war politically have been elusive.

He signed a deal with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw his troops in exchange for a promise from the Taliban to denounce armed groups such as al-Qaeda and prevent Afghanistan from once again being an arena for them. attacks on the United States.

There is little evidence that the Taliban are fulfilling their end of the bargain. The United Nations says the Taliban and al-Qaeda are still linked.

The architect of the US agreement and current US envoy for peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, said progress has been made, but without providing any details.

Karzai has had harsh words and uncompromising criticism of US war tactics over the past twenty years in Afghanistan.

Yet he has become something of a pivot in a joint US-UK effort to secure a quarrelsome Afghan leadership in Kabul united enough to talk about peace with the Taliban.

The armed group showed little interest in negotiations and instead intensified its attacks on government positions.

US President Joe Biden will meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and President of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah at the White House on Friday to discuss the withdrawal of US troops amid increased fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban across the country.

In their first face-to-face meeting, Biden will seek to reassure Ghani and Abdullah of US support for the Afghan people, including diplomatic, economic and humanitarian aid, the White House said in a statement.

The Taliban have made significant territorial gains since the US and NATO withdrawal began on May 1. They have invaded dozens of districts, often negotiating their surrender from the Afghan national security forces.

But in many cases the fighting has been intense. Just last week, a brutal Taliban assault in northern Faryab province killed 22 of the elite Afghan commandos, led by a local hero, Colonel Sohrab Azimi, who was also killed and widely mourned. .

“The desire of the Afghan people, overwhelmingly, throughout the country is peace,” said Karzai, who despite his absence from power since 2014, has lost little of his political influence and is more often than not at the center of machinations policies of the country.

Diplomats, Western officials, generals, tribal leaders and politicians from all walks of Afghan politics regularly make their way to the Karzai Gate in the heart of the Afghan capital.

While the final US military withdrawal is already over 50% complete, the need for a political settlement or even a visible path to an eventual settlement appears to become increasingly urgent even as thousands of ‘Afghans are looking for a way out.

They say they are frustrated by relentless corruption, marauding criminal gangs – some linked to powerful Kabul warlords – and growing insecurity. Few see a future that is not violent.

While accusing both Pakistan, where the Taliban leadership is based, and the United States of fueling the fighting, Karzai said it was up to the Afghans to end decades of war.

To Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders, Karzai said that Afghanistan wants “a civilized relationship … if Pakistan takes a stance away from using extremism against Afghanistan, that relationship can become a beautiful relationship, a great relationship. very fruitful relationship for both parties ”.

To the belligerents in Afghanistan, Karzai said, “I am very adamant and clear about this, both sides should think about the lives of the Afghan people and property… to fight is destruction.

“The only answer is for the Afghans to come together … We have to recognize that this is our country and we have to stop killing each other.”

Source link

]]> 0
US Navy tests aircraft carrier with “full ship crash test” explosion that registers as a magnitude 3.9 earthquake Mon, 21 Jun 2021 01:22:36 +0000

The US Navy has released a video of a “full ship crash test” of the USS Gerald R Ford, one of the world’s largest and newest aircraft carriers.

The crash test involved detonating just under 20 tons of explosives a few meters from the ship sailing off the east coast of the United States.

The USS Gerald R Ford is 333 meters long, 77 meters high and has a displacement of 100,000 tons.

The United States Geological Survey recorded the explosion like a 3.9 magnitude earthquake approximately 100 miles off the coast of Florida on Friday local time.

The US Navy said the timing of the trial respected “known migration patterns of marine life.”(

US Navy


The Navy said the testing schedule “meets environmental mitigation requirements, respecting known migration patterns of marine life in the test area.”

“The US Navy is crash testing new ship designs using real explosives to confirm that our warships can continue to meet demanding mission requirements under the harsh conditions they might encounter in combat,” the US Navy said. marine in a press release.

“The first aircraft carrier in its class was designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing and analysis to ensure the ship is toughened to withstand combat conditions, and these crash tests provide data used to validate the impact hardness of the vessel. “

Upon completion of explosives testing, the ship will enter “planned incremental availability for six months of modernization, maintenance and repairs” before being deployed for operations.

Source link

]]> 0
Australia prepares for war alongside the United States and alone Sun, 20 Jun 2021 23:56:07 +0000

  • Australia has announced major investments in its own military capabilities, especially new weapons.
  • Countries in the region are stepping up their armies amid heightened tensions between the United States and China.
  • Australia is seeking “a combination of integration with the United States and greater autonomy,” an expert told Insider.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

As China’s military growth fuels concerns in the Indo-Pacific region, U.S. allies are stepping up their own military modernization efforts.

China’s immediate neighbors, particularly Japan and Taiwan, receive the most attention when it comes to military modernization, but Australia, which has no territorial disputes with Beijing, is also investing heavily in its own armed forces. .

Last month the Australian government ad an economic spending plan that included some $ 212 billion in defense spending over the next decade.

The spending covers updating bases and acquiring new weapons, including long-range missiles, all intended to increase Australia’s deterrence and combat capabilities and allow it to continue to operate smoothly. with American forces.

The new plans come amid a sharp decline in Sino-Australian relations, driven by China’s military modernization, its activities in the South China Sea and Australia Pacific Island Neighbors, and Beijing’s efforts to influence and coerce Australia through PoliticsI, diplomatic, and economic pressure.

australia Defense Strategy Update 2020 reflects not only these changes, but the pace at which they have occurred, according to Arthur Sinodinos, Australian Ambassador to the United States.

“Things were going in the direction we expected. They just went faster than we thought. So it was important to review our strategic defense outlook and determine what to do,” Sinodinos said in response to a question. from Insider to Event in February.

Denial and punishment

Australian Air Force Missile

An Australian airman prepares ammunition for the Australian Air Force F-35s during an exercise in Florida, October 10, 2020.

Royal Australian Air Force

Australia has already invested heavily in its army, swaiting 2.1% of its GDP to defense in 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

This makes it the fifth defense spending in Asia. In the midst of this modernization effort is a debate which weapons will have the best deterrent effect – a relatively new consideration.

“The overarching assumptions that guided the US and Australian thinking about contingencies in the Pacific were that we would have dominance in a maritime domain, and then it would be a question of where we apply the power,” Michael Green, senior vice president for Asia and Japan president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Insider said.

China’s growing missile arsenal and navy, both of which can cover longer distances, can threaten US allies in the region and the US bases they host.

“The harsh reality is that dominance is going to be very difficult to maintain in the face of this major Chinese build-up,” Green said.

As a result, the debate focused on two deterrents: through denial, which involves the ability to destroy Chinese ships, submarines and planes; and by punishment, which requires the ability to strike China directly.

Australian Navy SM-2 Missile

Australian Navy destroyer HMAS Hobart fires an SM-2 missile near Hawaii during an exercise, August 24, 2020.

LSIS Ernesto Sanchez / Royal Australian Navy

Many of the new systems that Australia is acquiring fall under the category of denial deterrence.

Royal Australian Air Force possesses 33 F-35A stealth fighters in service and plans to add 39 more by 2023. The fifth-generation fighter will replace Australia’s aging F / A-18s. The RAAF is also pursuing a unmanned fighter.

The Royal Australian Navy plans to strengthen its main fighting force of three Hobart class destroyers with nine new Hunter class frigates. The Hunters are expected to begin entering service in the late 2020s, eventually replacing the Navy’s eight Anzac-class frigates.

The Australian Navy currently operates six Collins Class missile submarines and plans to acquire at least 12 new Attack-class diesel-electric submarines. Attack-class submarines will be capable of firing torpedoes and missiles, like the French Barracuda-class nuclear-powered attack submarines on which they are based.

The Attack class program encountered a number of issues, and recent reports suggest that Australian defense officials may choose another design. The Australians hope to have the new submarines by the 2030s.

Australia also operates two Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships. In addition to amphibious assaults and anti-submarine operations, the Canberras can also respond quickly to natural disasters or crises in Asia-Pacific, helping to build good relations with neighbors and thwart China’s efforts to expand its influence.

Fight alongside the United States, don’t count on them

Marine Corps B-2 Bomber Australia

A US Navy and an Australian soldier lead a US B-2 bomber during an exercise in the Australian Northern Territory, August 24, 2020.

US Marine Corps / Cpl. Harrison rakhshani

The United States and Australia have a long story close military cooperation.

An Australian general was the first non-American to command American troops, leading them to the Battle of Hamel in July 1918. Since then Australia has fought alongside the United States in all major American conflicts, including Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Australia’s strong relationship with the United States means it can focus on building an arsenal of deterrence through denial while relying on Washington to provide deterrence through punishment.

But Australia is working hard to develop capabilities – such as anti-ship and long-range air defense missiles and hypersonic missiles – which will allow it to strike distant Chinese targets. These systems could eventually evolve and give Canberra its own capacity for deterrence through punishment, thereby reducing its dependence on the United States in the event of a crisis.

Australia is one of the few “real regional allies capable of fighting the war” of the United States in the Indo-Pacific, said Patrick Cronin, president of Asia-Pacific security at the Hudson Institute.

In its quest for new weapons, Canberra is seeking “a combination of integration with the United States and greater autonomy and coverage from Australia,” Cronin told Insider.

India Australia US Navy P-8

The US Navy, Indian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force P-8 Poseidons in Hawaii during an exercise in 2018.

US Navy / MCS1 Kevin A. Flinn

The new weaponry is essential, as China’s military capabilities pose a significant risk.

“The US and Australian military are having tough discussions about real-life scenarios in Asia that they didn’t have 20 years ago,” Green said.

One of these scenarios is an invasion of Taiwan. Australia has not made any concrete commitments to Taiwan’s defense, but many expect this to play a role if China attempts to seize the island. This probably complicates Chinese military planning.

“If you’re in China’s shoes… you think you have to eliminate Australia somehow,” Cronin said. “Destroy their satellites, threaten them to dissuade them from acting together [with the US], intimidate them, do what you have to do. “

Australia has resisted Chinese threats in the past, and the military investments it is making now is recognition that more is needed to resist them in the future.

“We are increasing the amount we spend on high tech weapons, precision guided missiles and the like,” Sinodinos said at the event in February. “What it did, I think, showed our credibility, that we’re not an ally who just wants to sneak up on someone else’s tails.”

Source link

]]> 0
Space agencies learn how to farm on Mars and the Moon Sun, 20 Jun 2021 14:00:01 +0000

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is one of the space agencies working on automated agricultural and AI techniques for the coming era of interplanetary human colonies.


Whether it is from continent to continent or from coast to coast, people have always traveled widely with plants. Traveling far from Earth would be no different. Our success in other worlds will depend, in part, on the flexible stems of plants.

“Plants are things that we take with us as explorers,” says Anna-Lisa Paul, co-director of the Space Plants Lab at the University of Florida. “They are part of our foundational heritage whether we think about it or not.”

In all of the brief forays into space so far, astronauts have fed almost entirely on packaged food. But if humans ever hope to create long-term habitats on the Moon or Mars, their physical and mental health would benefit from the ability to grow plants.

Space agencies in various countries have spent decades developing the technologies needed to bring agriculture indoors, and now the German Space Agency and NASA are pushing the state of the art of soilless gardening to its limits. with a greenhouse in Antarctica and laying the groundwork for their next act: farming systems where farmers are optional.

NASA, Soviets, and the History of Indoor Farming Experiments

NASA worked to advance space agriculture, in part because a robust plant collection could serve as the ultimate versatile survival system, producing calories and nutrients to eat, breathing oxygen, and taking up dioxide. of carbon in the air.

Building on Soviet research, funded by NASA a variety of agricultural programs in the 1980s and 1990s. Working with the University of Wisconsin, researchers found they could replace hot, bulky incandescent grow lights with a special blend of LED lights. Red LEDs, more energy efficient, allowed plants to photosynthesize. But the plants also needed blue light, otherwise they would get too tall and spindly. The work led to a patent, and today’s indoor farms often feed plants a similar diet of red and blue photons – which is why indoor farms often appear bathed in purple light.

“NASA was truly at the forefront in this area, encouraging their use for these applications,” said Raymond Wheeler, a horticultural scientist who has studied space agriculture at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for decades.

In the late 1980s, Wheeler worked in a KSC team that grew wheat, potatoes, soybeans and other crops with their roots submerged in nutrient solution, stacked in four rows of shelves at the interior of a large cylindrical chamber – probably the first execution of a vertical farming system that has now grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.

Rows of produce grow on Bowery Farming Inc.’s indoor farm in Kearny, New Jersey, USA on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. The startup uses automation and space-saving vertically stacked crops for a growing season year round which, he says, is much more productive per square foot than traditional farms.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Focusing on ways to meet the ever-increasing demand for food in a sustainable manner, businesses around vertical indoor farming have grown in recent years. New York-based start-up Bowery Farming announced in June a $ 300 million funding round, the largest in the industry to date, valuing the company at $ 2.3 billion. Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon Musk, is the co-founder of Square Roots. Newark-based AeroFarms in April opened a 136,000 square foot farm in Virginia slated to open in 2022 which it says will be the largest indoor vertical aeroponic farm in the world.

Antarctic robots and crops for other worlds

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) sent twin shipping containers to Antarctica in the fall of 2017 in what amounted to a remote dress rehearsal to grow crops on another world.

The EDEN-ISS Antarctic Greenhouse, now entering its fourth growing season, continues to prove that you don’t need fertile soil or even sunlight to grow vegetables. It relies on the mix of LEDs pioneered by early NASA experiments to provide “recipes” tailored to the needs of each specific vegetable with programmable arrays of red and blue lights.

The roots pass through beds of fibrous minerals and hang in empty trays below, where automated nozzles spray them with a nutrient-rich mist every few seconds. Most of the water is recycled, except when the nutrient solution runs out and needs to be discarded and replaced every few months. The whole system plugs into the neighboring German research station Neumeyer III, from which it continuously draws around 10 kilowatts of electricity, which is comparable to eight American homes.

i still need to send [Elon] Musk emails and asks if we can design his greenhouse.

Daniel Schubert, DLR Antarctica project coordinator

In the first year, a DLR researcher named Paul Zabel ran the 135-square-foot greenhouse and collected nearly 600 pounds of vegetables, including cucumbers, lettuce, other leafy greens, tomatoes, radishes and greens. herbs.

But despite the greenhouse’s automated lighting, watering and fertilization systems, Zabel still spent three to four hours a day keeping EDEN-ISS running, Schubert explains. And in space, human labor will be a resource just as precious as water and air.

Having an AI system that takes care of the greenhouse is preferable, according to Daniel Schubert, the Antarctic experiment project coordinator, “in case the astronauts just don’t have the time.”

This year, NASA sent one of its own researchers, Jess Bunchek, to test the US space agency’s favorite varieties of space vegetables in EDEN-ISS. Another major goal of the research will be to collect detailed data on the tasks that take the most time. Bunchek will carry an eight-sided programmable timer that she will use to track the hours she spends on eight categories of work.

One of the major sinks of time has been repairing breakdowns, or “off-rated events” in the double-talk of space exploration. A burst pipe, for example, can take all day to repair. Topping the list of lessons learned from EDEN-ISS is that future installations need to be simpler. “We will definitely reduce the technological complexity of a space greenhouse,” said Schubert.

Spatial imagery for plant stress

In another major step towards automation, the DLR is developing robotic arms to be mounted on a rail suspended from the roof of the greenhouse. These nimble, AI-powered machines would photograph plants from different angles, prune dead leaves and shoots, and even harvest produce, which Schubert says are the most time-consuming activities after repairs.

The end goal is a greenhouse which, if not completely self-sufficient, could at least be fully operated by operators on Earth. Such a facility could land on the Moon or Mars before the astronauts and prepare a basket of cucumbers and tomatoes for their arrival. Astronauts would be able to garden, which can boost mental health, but crops should be able to thrive on their own when astronauts have more urgent tasks.

the The DLR roadmap aims to have their next-generation facility ready to fly by 2030. “I still have to send [Elon] Musk an email and asks if we can design his greenhouse, ”Schubert said.

And developing the ability to cultivate in space isn’t just about going to Mars. A two-way street has always linked space agriculture to industrial agriculture. As climate change makes many parts of the world less suitable for agriculture, technology to separate food production from weather and natural resources is likely to become more essential.

“My dream would be that we all live alone in ecological biospheres,” says Schubert. “We would be completely independent from planet Earth, and we would leave Earth on its own so that it could recover.”

Source link

]]> 0
Stars and Stripes – Pentagon orders withdrawal of air defense systems and troops from Middle East Sun, 20 Jun 2021 07:23:20 +0000

A High Altitude Terminal Area Defense Weapon System, or THAAD. (Adan Cazarez / US Army)

The United States is reducing air defense systems and force levels in the Middle East as the Biden administration realigns its military position to focus on fighting China and Russia.

Cmdr. Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica L. McNulty confirmed the plans but did not provide specific details, after the Wall Street Journal reported Eight Patriot missile batteries were withdrawn from countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia on Friday.

A high-altitude terminal area defense system, or THAAD, has also been withdrawn from Saudi Arabia and fighter jet squadrons have been reduced, unnamed administration officials told the news agency. Troops have also been cut in Iraq, where the United States has already halved its presence to 2,500 earlier this year, according to the report.

“The Defense Secretary has ordered the commander of the US Central Command to withdraw certain forces and capabilities, mainly air defense, from the region this summer,” McNulty said in an email to Stars and Stripes on Saturday. “Some of these assets have returned to the United States for much needed maintenance and repairs. Some of them will be deployed in other regions.

The Pentagon is working to make sure high-demand assets are ready for emergencies, she said. Citing coordination with regional partners and operational security concerns, she said the Pentagon would not provide details on the locations, arrangements or timing of the withdrawals.

But officials told the Journal that the cuts started earlier this month and came mainly from Saudi Arabia. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin informed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the withdrawal in a phone call on June 2, officials told the newspaper.

“The decision was made in close coordination with host nations and in the interest of preserving our ability to meet our security commitments,” McNulty said.

The realignment of forces comes as the United States continues to end its two-decade war in Afghanistan and seeks to shift its military focus from counterinsurgency to strong competing rivals, primarily China.

Some Patriot systems, fighter squadrons, and thousands more troops were sent to the region under the Trump administration in late 2019, after Iran-backed Houthi militants attacked a Saudi oil field.

More batteries and troops were dispatched in January 2020 after Iran fired ballistic missiles at al-Asad airbase and a compound in northern Erbil where US troops were housed. A few days earlier, a US drone strike in Baghdad had killed a senior Iranian military official, Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated following Washington’s withdrawal from an Obama-era international nuclear deal with Tehran and as the Trump administration sought to pressure Iran to let him renegotiate it.

But Pentagon officials see a reduced threat from Tehran as the Biden administration focuses on negotiating a return of the United States to the 2015 pact, the Wall Street Journal reported. The latest withdrawal follows the removal of at least three Patriot systems earlier this year.

Former defense officials told the Journal circumstances have changed since the United States decided to increase its defenses in the region.

“As Saudi Arabia has improved its own defensive capabilities and the United States seeks to resolve tensions with Iran using diplomatic tools, this move makes sense,” said Kathryn Wheelbarger, former secretary. Acting Defense Assistant under the Trump administration and colleague. at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Meanwhile, Iranian-backed militias continue to pose a threat to US forces in Iraq, where they have been blamed for dozens of rocket attacks targeting bases housing US troops and contractors. In recent months, militias appear to have switched to using small, low-flying drones armed with explosives in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Patriot batteries capable of shooting down ballistic missiles do not provide defense against small rockets or drones, but counter-rocket, artillery and mortar systems, or C-RAMs, deployed to protect anti-missile systems are capable of knocking down what has typically been Katyusha rocket barrages fired from makeshift trucks or ground launchers.

McNulty did not respond to whether the C-RAMs would remain in place in Iraq or what the United States is doing to strengthen its defenses against small drones.

Earlier in the week, however, the Marine Corps introduced its Integrated Marine Air Defense System, or MADIS, a vehicle-mounted low-altitude air defense system with counter-drone capabilities, deployed to Saudi Arabia, where the F / A-18D from the service Hornets have taken off from Prince Sultan Air Base in recent weeks.

Also this week, the military said the 4th Infantry Division became its first unit to undergo training at the docking station on countering small drones before deploying to CENTCOM. This included familiarization with the Small Mobile Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Integrated Defeat System, or M-LIDS, which is similar to MADIS.

The service will also send five-person teams of mobile trainers to be stationed in the area, the military said in a statement Monday.

The Pentagon is confident that its withdrawal will not have a negative impact on national security interests in the region, where the United States’ commitment is evident in its range of partnership activities, such as the sharing of intelligence, security assistance and overseas military sales, McNulty told Stars and Stripes.

The remaining land, air and naval footprint in the region, including tens of thousands of troops, is also large, she said.

“We maintain a robust position of strength in the region appropriate to the threat,” she said. “We also retain the ability to quickly return forces to the Middle East if conditions warrant. ”

Twitter: @chadgarland

Source link

]]> 0
Photos show the US Navy throwing explosives near the new supercarrier Sat, 19 Jun 2021 21:26:07 +0000

  • The USS Gerald R. Ford completed the first full-ship crash test explosive event on Friday.
  • The Navy detonated explosives near the aircraft carrier to see how it withstands shock and vibration.
  • The standard test is designed to simulate real combat conditions.
  • See more stories on the Insider business page.

The US Navy’s new super-transporter undergoes crash testing, which means setting off real explosives near the warship to simulate real combat conditions.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the first in a new class of aircraft carriers, completed the first explosive event of full-ship crash tests on Friday off the east coast of the United States , where the Navy detonated explosives near the aircraft carrier. .

the The Navy said the carrier was “Designed using advanced computer modeling methods, testing and analysis to ensure the ship is toughened to withstand combat conditions, and these crash tests provide data used to validate impact resistance of the ship.”

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford during full board crash testing

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed the first scheduled explosive event of full ship impact testing while underway in the Atlantic Ocean on June 18, 2021.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Jackson Adkins

USS Gerald R. Ford’s official Twitter account tweeted on Saturday that “the management and crew have demonstrated the Navy is ready to withstand shock, proving our warship can ‘take a hit’ and continue our mission at the forefront of naval aviation “.

Although the Navy has conducted crash tests with other ships, the latest tests with the Ford, the service’s newest and most advanced aircraft carrier, mark the first time since 1987 that the Navy has conducted tests shock with an aircraft carrier.

The latest aircraft carrier crash tests were on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, according to the navy.

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford undergoes full-ship crash tests

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed the first scheduled explosive event of full ship impact testing while underway in the Atlantic Ocean on June 18, 2021.

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Melvin

Shock tests are designed to test how Navy warships withstand severe vibration and identify potential shock vulnerabilities in a combat ship.

A 2007 study, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research and conducted by the JASON program of the MITER Corporation, said the US Navy shock testing has its origins in World War II sightings.

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford undergoes full-ship crash tests

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed the first scheduled explosive event of full ship impact testing while underway in the Atlantic Ocean on June 18, 2021.

(Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Riley B. McDowell

During the Major World Conflict, “it was discovered that although such ‘near miss’ explosions did not cause serious damage to the hull or superstructure, the shock and vibrations associated with the explosion nevertheless neutralized the explosion. ship, destroying critical components and systems, ”the study said.

Explosions nearby, even if the ships did not take direct hits, would send high-pressure destructive waves towards the ships, according to the report, noting that “this discovery led the Navy to implement a rigorous test procedure. impact resistance”.

US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford undergoes full-ship crash tests

The aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) completed the first scheduled explosive event of full ship impact testing while underway in the Atlantic Ocean on June 18, 2021.

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Riley B. McDowell

After completing impact testing of the complete ship, the aircraft carrier will return to the pier at Newport News Shipbuilding for its first scheduled phased availability, a six-month period during which the ship will undergo “modernization, maintenance and upgrades. repairs before its operational use. , ” the Navy said.

As a first-class ship, the USS Gerald R. Ford has experienced cost overruns, development delays and technological setbacks, but the Navy is moving forward with the project.

The Navy expected the carrier to be ready for deployment by 2024, but in May Rear Admiral James Downey, director general of the aircraft carrier program, suggested that the service might be able to get there sooner.

There are three other Ford-class carriers in various stages of supply and development, namely the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79), the USS Enterprise (CVN-80) and the USS Doris Miller (CVN -81).

Source link

]]> 0
Mayo’s D-Day heroine to receive special honor in the United States Sat, 19 Jun 2021 13:27:12 +0000

A 98-year-old woman living in County Mayo is to receive a special honor from the United States House of Representatives in Belmullet this evening, for the role she has played in changing the course of world history with her weather reports.

Maureen Sweeney, from County Kerry, predicted an impending storm from Blacksod station in 1944, which changed the timing of the D-Day landings and ultimately secured the Allies’ victory.

The remote Blacksod Lighthouse and Coast Guard station played a key role during WWII in providing Britain with weather reports.

Ted and Maureen Sweeney were among those who took hourly readings, which were secretly phoned in London.

At 1 p.m. on June 3, 1944, 21-year-old Maureen was the first to predict a severe Atlantic storm, which resulted in a change of plan in one of the world’s largest military operations.

D-Day has been postponed to June 6 and the rest is history.

Maureen’s readings unwittingly gave the Allies a two-day advance warning of stormy conditions in Western Europe, forcing General Dwight D Eisenhower to delay his meticulously planned invasion of Normandy.

Maureen’s son Vincent is the keeper of Blacksod Point Lighthouse and he recalled how she used rudimentary instruments and equipment to record weather data.

It was one of his jobs in the small post office in Blacksod, which he described as “a world far from the bloodshed and the tragedy of war.”

Vincent said people in the area had no idea of ​​the importance of the weather report and rather of the role it was to play in the war.

Maureen Sweeney will be honored at the Tí Aire Retirement Home in Belmullet.

A letter will be read from the WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, along with a personal note from U.S. Congressman and retired 3-star Admiral Jack Bergman (Michigan’s First District), who is the highest ranking veteran to ever serve. in Congress.

The special recognition, which has been awarded since 1789, entitles Maureen to receive a proclamation commemorating her accomplishments, and will be placed in the United States Library of Congress in perpetuity.

A special medal in recognition of Maureen’s “Commendable Deeds” will be placed on her lapel and there will be music and poetry for the D-Day heroine of Mayo.

Speaking in a recorded interview with her grandson Fergus Sweeney in 2014, Maureen said: “Eisenhower was making up his mind whether he should enter France or not. He was very divided but when he saw the Blacksod Point report, he confirmed that he had made the right choice.

Fergus sweeney

“This report was sent by June 3 and the next morning there was a question around 11 am. And then there was a second question. A lady with a distinct English accent asked me to ‘ Please check. Please repeat! “We went back to looking at the numbers. We checked and rechecked and the numbers were the same both times, so we were pretty happy then.”

Maureen proudly added, “They put their trust in our weather forecast. It’s something you will remember all your life.”

It was more than a decade before Maureen Sweeney and her family learned how this weather report helped turn the tide of World War II.

In a Nationwide interview taped 15 years ago, Maureen laughed at the role Blacksod played.

“They could fix everything but they couldn’t pre-organize the weather! They had everything sorted out to the smallest detail but our weather report put the first spoke in the wheel.

“They would have gone ahead and the invasion would have been a complete disaster. They were there with thousands of planes and they couldn’t tolerate the low clouds. We’re glad we put them on the right track. . We finally had the last word! “

John J Kelly is a first generation Irish-American and was fascinated by Maureen’s story and decided to get official recognition for the Sweeney family.

He said he was extremely honored to have been tasked with presenting the award to Ms Sweeney.

Source link

]]> 0