The U.S. Navy says its new laser weapon works and it will use it if it has to.
The Office of Naval Research reported Wednesday that its laser weapons system — dubbed LaWS — had performed flawlessly in tests aboard the amphibious transport dock USS Ponce in the Arabian Gulf from September to November.
“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, said in a statement. “We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”
A team of U.S. special operations forces conducted a joint raid in a remote region of Yemen to rescue eight hostages being held in a cave by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Elements of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six participated in the daring pre-dawn raid Tuesday in a remote region near the border with Saudi Arabia.
A U.S. official confirmed that about two dozen U.S. special operations forces and a team of Yemeni counterterrorism troops conducted a raid early Tuesday morning near the border with Saudi Arabia that rescued six Yemenis, a Saudi and an Ethiopian. It was unclear how long the hostages had been held by the al Qaeda affiliate.
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like permawar.
President Barack Obama has authorised US generals to more than double America’s troop deployment to Iraq in a significant escalation of the campaign against the Islamic State.
The Pentagon said Mr Obama had approved plans to send an additional 1,500 soldiers to Iraq on top of the 1,400 already deployed on a mission to train and support the country’s military.
The plan would mean nearly 3,000 US troops stationed in Iraq three years after the last soldiers withdrew in December 2011, in what was supposed to be the end of the war that began in 2003.
Although none of the Americans are being deployed in a combat role, the the expanded troop deployment is likely to raise cries of “mission creep” from sceptics of Mr Obama’s strategy for combating Isil.
An unpiloted Air Force space plane glided back to Earth Friday after a record 674-day stay in orbit, closing out a clandestine military mission with a computer-controlled landing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, wrapping up its second long-duration mission and the secretive program’s third flight overall, touched down at 12:24 p.m. EDT (GMT-4; 9:24 a.m. local time), rolling to a stop a few moments later.
Other than a brief Air Force statement last Friday announcing landing preparations at Vandenberg, there was no advance warning of the space plane’s re-entry and, in keeping with the secrecy surrounding the program, no details on what the spacecraft might have been doing during its nearly two years aloft.
I just have no words for this, so I’ll quote a few from Adam Weinstein at Gawker, following up on a report from the NYT:
In bunkers now held by ISIS militants, and sometimes in streets emptied by bomb threats, scores of American service members secretly helped find and dispose of Saddam Hussein’s aging chemical weapons. Now stateside, many troops are sick with mystery ailments the military has at times tried to conceal.
Those are the broad strokes of an exhaustive 8,500-word New York Times dispatch tonight by conflict reporter C.J. Chivers—a story that not only reveals the existence of far more chemical munitions in pre-invasion Iraq than anyone had previously acknowledged, but details the disheartening aftermath for U.S. service members who secured those munitions, often finding them in IEDs planted by insurgents after American troops flooded into the country in 2003
I’d encourage you to read the whole thing, and the NYT piece. Weinstein is a vet, served in Iraq and apparently came in contact with this stuff. I am incredibly saddened by this waste of life and health (and the waste of the entire war in general). I hope these soldiers can get the help they really need.
I don’t have any more to add, really. :(
13 people have been killed in 3 drone attacks in the last 36 hours.
Sources revealed that American drone has fired two missiles on a house in Kundghar near Shawal.
An American drone fired a missile on a house in Kundghar last night as well killing 5 people and injuring 3 including foreigners.
Self-guided unmanned patrol boats that can leave warships they’re protecting and swarm and attack potential threats on the water could join the Navy’s fleet within a year, defense officials say, adding the new technology could one day help stop attacks like the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen.
The Arlington-based Office of Naval Research demonstrated the autonomous swarm boat technology over two weeks in August on the James River near Fort Eustis in Virginia — not far from one of the Navy’s largest fleet concentration areas. It said the Navy simulated a transit through a strait, just like the routine passage of U.S. warships through the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
In the demonstrations, as many as 13 small unmanned patrol boats were escorting a high-value Navy ship. Then as many as eight of the self-guided vessels broke off and swarmed around a threat when a ship playing the part of an enemy vessel was detected, the office said, calling the demonstrations a success.
Kurdish forces battled overnight with Islamists trying to seize a hill overlooking a Syrian border town with Turkey as U.S.-led coalition warplanes carried out raids on the militants, a Kurdish official and a monitoring group said on Sunday.
A translator with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) inside Kobani said Islamic State forces were hitting it with tank and mortar fire as they tried to seize Mistanour hill, a landmark whose capture would give them easy access to the town.
Kurdish forces had managed to stop Islamic State capturing the hill, Parwer Mohammed Ali told Reuters.
A recent spate of dangerous midair encounters between American military aircraft and Chinese and Russian planes in the Pacific is the result of increasingly assertive strategies by both U.S. adversaries to project power far beyond their borders, according to the top U.S. Air Force commander in the region.
Air Force Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle, the head of U.S. Pacific Air Forces, said China’s naval and air forces in particular are “very much continuing to push” and becoming more active in international waters and airspace in Asia.
“They still talk about the century of humiliation in the last century. They still talk about this as the rise of China,” Carlisle said in an interview. “They still talk about this as their great nation. And they want to continue to demonstrate that.”