June 25, 2017

Russian ship and submarine cruise missiles fired at IS in Syria (footage)

Six Kalibr missiles were reportedly fired at Islamic State in Syria on June 23, 2017 from 2 Russian warships and a submarine. This latest spectacular Russian salvo allegedly hit IS command posts and large weapons caches in the Syrian eastern province of Hama. 

Russian cruise missile launches are viewed by the US as threatening the US' rightful dominance over the Middle East. Put another way the missiles landed too close to the US' regional oil producing client states - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, even Iraq, as well as US bases.


June 23, 2017

North Korea's Kim Jong Un Apparently Wanted Dead or Dead

ALEX LOCKIE for Business Insider Australia has written an excellent article, of June 23, 2017 concerning feelings of North Korea's Kim Jong Un that he is under threat of assassination by foreigners. Article begins:

“The US and South Korea reportedly have a special ops team 'to take out Kim Jong Un"

"Even though he’s the supreme leader of his country, Kim Jong Un has reportedly been living like a hunted man out of fear that the US and South Korea are collaborating on a special forces team to take him out in case of a contingency.
South Korean intelligence services told lawmakers recently that the moves of US and South Korean forces make Kim “extremely nervous,” according to the Korea Herald. Apparently, Kim has been riding in his subordinates’ cars and making fewer public appearances.
In March, South Korean media reported that the US Navy’s SEAL Team 6, the same group that pulled off the 2011 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan had arrived in South Korea for a joint-training exercise.
...The US would not confirm the presence of Navy SEALs in South Korea, but it did announce the arrival of the USS Michigan, [an Ohio-class SSGN] submarine that sometimes carries special operations forces....”
See whole Business Insider Australia article.


Given Kim would have 10s to 100s of close-in bodyguards, deep bunkers in mountains and protected by (the outer concentric circle of) the whole North Korean military - it is unlikely that the US would attempt to insert a few gun toting CIA/Special Forces/SEALS to take Kim out.

More likely is the use of a huge bunker busting, GPS programmed bomb [1] (see photo and diagram below) or missiles to hit Kim in a fixed or moving position.

Happy-go-Lucky Kim III is the only man allowed to be fat in skinny, starving North Korea. He is wanted in a Bad Way by lots of people by lots of means. (Photo courtesy Korean Central News Agency via Business Insider Australia)

[1] Look at the size of "Kim's cure" the GBU-57 (above) and the means of hitting Kim in one of his deep bunkers (diagram below). The GBU-57 is a Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber” and weighs in at just under 14,000 kg. (Photo and Diagram courtesy The Aviationist)

June 21, 2017

Iran fires Zulfiqar ballistic missiles at targets in Syria - Region Nervous


The US, Israel, Gulf States and Saudi Arabia are very nervous about Iran firing Zulfiqar ballistic missiles (see photo below) at Islamic State targets in Syria. The Zulfiqars have the range, from Iran, to hit some Saudi cities and oil installations and US bases in the region.


1.  Interesting article from Tyler Rogoway, The Drive/THE WARZONE, June 20, 2017: [The 19th June 2017s] barrage of [Iranian] ballistic missiles on Islamic State affiliated targets in Deir ez-Zor Syria has reverberated throughout the region and the world. 

As we stated shortly after the strike, Tehran's unprecedented use of ballistic missiles was based on multiple factors, and sending a message to the US, Arab gulf states and Israel was clearly one of them. Now Iran is saying more ballistic strikes could come at any time.

Iran used some of its most modern missiles in the operation. Six solid-fuel Zulfiqar short-range ballistic missiles were fired at Syria. Accounts vary, but some sources state the attack failed in a tactical sense, with only one missile hitting its intended target. Iran claims 360 militants died in the strikes, while Israeli sources say three of the missiles didn't even make it to Syria at all...."

2.  Behnam Ben Taleblu, for The Military Edge, September 2016, provided some details on the Zulfiqar "Iran’s newest Zulfiqar is a solid-fueled short range ballistic missile (SRBM) that reportedly can reach 700 to 750 kilometers and is claimed to be accurate within 5 to 10 meters

The Zulfiqar is Iran’s latest variant of the Fateh-110 missile series — a family of single-stage solid-fueled SRBMs that Tehran has refined since the 1990s. First successfully flight-tested in 2002, the Iranians have upgraded the Fateh-110 platform at least half a dozen times since. All of them were built by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) – an affiliate of Iran’s Ministry of Defense..." 

(Probably) A Zulfiqar short range ballistic missile (SRBM) about to be launched from its transporter trailor. (Photo courtesy BBC Persian news).


June 19, 2017

Australia's only on Ship Battle Deaths of Vietnam War - US Aircraft Missiles

Australia's official Navy website writes (scroll 2/7s way down here ) in remembrance of a usually forgotten "friendly" fire tragedy just over 49 years ago:

"On 17 June 1968, [HMAS] Hobart was in the vicinity of Tiger Island [map below] when she detected an aircraft approaching her from the vicinity of Cap Lay. Although the aircraft was evaluated as friendly it continued to close and fired a missile that struck Hobart amidships on her starboard side. The warhead passed through the main deck, seriously damaging several compartments, while the body of the missile passed through the outer skin of the after funnel before ending up in the forward funnel. In its passage the missile killed Ordinary Seaman R.J. Butterworth [1] [only one year in the navy] and wounded Able Seaman J.R. Parker and Ordinary Seaman R.F. Davidson.

As Hobart's crew raced to action stations a second and third missile hit the ship. The second missile entered the transom without detonating, destroying the gunner's store before breaking up in the engineer's workshop and penetrating the after seaman's mess. 

The third missile hit the ship in the same area as the first, passing through one of the ship's fan spaces, the missile director equipment room and Tartar checkout room. Chief Electrician R.H. Hunt [2] was killed in this attack and several sailors injured. 

...En route [Hobart's crew] begain clearing away debris, finding and collecting pieces of the missiles which were later identified as being of US origin. It transpired that Hobart was one of several ships mistakenly attacked by US 7th Air Force jets on the nights of 16-17 June..." 



Ordinary Seaman Ray Butterworth. First to die from an American missile. (Photo courtesy Royal Australian Navy archives)

(Photo on left) holes in HMAS Hobart caused by US aircraft missile splinter damage.
 (Map on left) Tiger Island. The vicinity in which Australia sailors on HMAS Hobart were killed by friendly American missiles (Photo and Map courtesy Royal Australian Navy archives)


June 18, 2017

Inquiries begin concerning USS Fitzgerald and ACX Crystal Collision

Inquiries begin following the 1.30am-2:30am (Tokyo, time) June 17, 2017 collision between:

-  destroyer USS Fitzgerald (8,900 long tons "full", 154m) now berthed at the US 7th Fleet Naval
    Base at Yokosuka, just south of Tokyo (see map below), and 

-  Philippine registered container ship ACX Crystal (39,565 tonnes deadwight, 222m) now berthed at
    Tokyo’s Oi wharf.  

The bodies of a number of US sailors were found, once water was pumped out (at Yokosuka) from the 2 crushed and flooded compartments of USS Fitzgerald.

Japanese authorities were looking into the possibility of "endangerment of traffic caused by professional negligence", Japanese media reported, but it was not clear whether that might apply to either or both of the vessels. 

It is most likely USS Fitzgerald's "Captain" Commander Bryce Benson, in hospital, is already being questioned along with relevant officers and crew who were on Fitzgerald's bridge. 

It is not clear:

-  how dark or foggy the conditions were? OR

-  if Fitzgerald was suffering relevant equipment, especially radar and AIS [1], technical

[1] AIS is the automatic identification system (part reliant on satellites) used for collision avoidance on ships. Very likely AIS was on both ships - but was it turned off on Fitzgerald for "hide Fitzgerald" exercise conditions?

PHOTO: USS Fitzgerald struck on the starboard side above and below the waterline. (Photo courtesy Reuters: Toru Hanai via the BBC)

Map courtesy MarineTraffic, news agencies including BBC