Secret U.S. missile and electro-optics technology was transferred to China recently by Israel, prompting anger from the U.S. and causing a senior Israeli defense official to resign.
.. Israel has a long record of getting U.S. military technology to China.
In the early 1990s then-CIA Director James Woolsey told a Senate Government Affairs Committee that Israel had been selling U.S. secrets to China for about a decade. More than 12 years ago the U.S. demanded Israel cancel a contract to supply China with Python III missiles, which included technology developed by the U.S. for its Sidewinder missiles, The Associated Press reported in 2002.
according to French intelligence sources the strikes had unquestionably been carried out by a pair of F-35s: not only that, but one of them had gone on to buzz Assad’s palace in a fuck-you show of force.
.. Israel is very proud of its machines. Four thousand people were invited to see the two F-35s arrive at Nevatim air base in the Negev on 12 December
.. Netanyahu gave a rousing speech celebrating the ‘long arm’ of Israel’s defence equipment. ‘This long arm was just made longer and mightier today,’
.. Israel is the only country that has been allowed to make significant modifications to the F-35: its variant, nicknamed the Adir (‘the mighty one’), includes a few extra computer systems of Israel’s own devising. There’s a picture of Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s defence minister, sitting in the cockpit of an F-35 during a visit last summer to Lockheed’s Fort Worth facility: he’s grinning like a little boy. Israel is now down to purchase fifty F-35s, at a total cost of $7 billion.
.. Obama and Netanyahu signed a new Memorandum of Understanding, according to which Israel is promised $38 billion of military aid over the next decade. Twenty per cent of that money is going to F-35 procurement: a nice subvention of American taxpayer dollars to an American company
.. Donald Trump, then still president-elect, tweeted: ‘The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th.’
.. Over the lifetime of the project the US is expected to have spent $1.5 trillion designing, building and maintaining 2500 planes
.. It would also have to be able to bomb targets on the ground five hundred miles away from base – an impressive range, for a fighter – and operate from the deck of a heaving warship at night and, if push really came to shove, hover and land like a helicopter.
.. But the expense was largely the point. An enormous project brings an enormous number of jobs, and Lockheed sensibly ensured that everyone and his neighbour was invested in keeping it from going belly-up. The joke term for this is ‘political engineering’
.. the F-35 programme now involves more than 1200 suppliers in 45 US states, accounting for forty thousand jobs in Texas alone.
.. McCain is a leading representative of a dissident American military tradition that prefers light and agile to massive and lumbering, but it may not be insignificant that his home state, Arizona, is one of the few where Lockheed has recently shed jobs
.. F-35 customers now include Turkey, Italy, Canada, Norway, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands and Denmark.
.. This means that every F-35 sale is a boost to the coffers of Britain’s own largest arms company. (BAE has also been allowed to do the foldy bits at the end of the wings.) And the opportunities are everywhere. There are aluminium sheets from Milton Keynes, electronic modules from Billingstad, circuit boards from Ankara, hydraulics from Melbourne, wiring systems from Rotterdam, manifolds from Adelaide, wing parts from Turin and actuators from New York. So when Trump threatened to slash the cost of the F-35 programme, or divert some of the custom to cheaper competitors, it wasn’t only American defence contractors who were in the firing line. Everyone had something to lose.
.. The ‘military-industrial complex’ turns out to be very simple: the juggernaut has its own momentum. Once it’s rolling it can’t be stopped, even if you’re Donald Trump, something he finally came to acknowledge on 16 March, when his budget plan for the next fiscal year allowed for the ramping-up of F-35 production as part of a proposed 10 per cent increase in overall military spending.
.. Thanks to its stealth requirements, with its weapons all stored internally to stop them alerting enemy radar, it’s an ugly, fat-bellied thing
.. But it flies well.
.. it achieved a kill ratio of 20:1, meaning that for every twenty enemy aircraft downed, only one F-35 was lost.
.. One of the gizmos that comes as standard with every F-35 is a carbon-fibre helmet
.. Each has to be custom-fitted to an individual pilot’s head using a bit of 3D modelling. They cost $400,000 apiece: another figure to snort at, perhaps, but then each AMRAAM missile costs $400,000 too
.. the F-35 helmet beams in the pictures gathered by six infrared cameras mounted on the outside of the airframe. This means that just by turning his head the wearer can see what’s above him, behind him and even below the aircraft’s floor.
.. Picture of enemy airfield not clear? Click. The active radar array will scan a high-resolution image of the area of interest. Then all the pilot needs to do is touch a point on the map and the selected weapon will take it out in seconds. Click.
.. Friendly aircraft are indicated in green on the radar screen, potential threats are yellow and enemies red. Unless you’re colour-blind, it all makes operating a deadly aircraft so very simple: what’s not to like?
.. no one is in a position to get into dogfights with the US any more
.. The last American fighter jet to be recorded lost to an enemy aircraft was an F/A-18, shot down by an Iraqi MiG in 1991.
.. The man in the pilot’s seat has become just another node in the network, through whom information is filtered: he’s already an anachronism. Even before we have drone swarms of lightweight autonomous vehicles performing air interdiction with the help of artificial intelligence, it isn’t clear how much future there is in piloted warplanes.
.. The combined marketing muscle of all the Lockheeds, Boeings and Raytheons in the world has failed to come up with any definition of what a ‘sixth generation’ fighter would be. This, it appears, is the end of the line.
While the Trump administration is proposing significantly increased military spending to enhance our national security, it seems to have lost sight of the greatest national security threat of all: our fight against infectious disease.
We already spend far more on our military than any other country in the world. To help pay for the increases, President Trump wants to cut back many federal programs, including those that prepare us to wage war against microbes, the greatest and most lethal enemy we are ever likely to face. This is where “defense spending” needs to increase, significantly.
.. Those agencies are already falling short, as we saw last year, when they couldn’t effectively respond to the Zika threat. What will they do when we face a real pandemic? With 7.4 billion people, 20 billion chickens and 400 million pigs now sharing the earth, we have created the ideal scenario for creating and spreading dangerous microbes
.. By some estimates, the 1918-19 “Spanish” influenza killed more people than all the wars of the 20th century combined.
.. Last year a comprehensive review predicted that, if left unchecked, drug-resistant infections will kill more people worldwide by 2050 than cancer and diabetes combined.
.. we are in danger of returning to a pre-antibiotic world in which a cut could prove deadly and surgery would not be worth the risk of infection.
According to the Office of Naval Research website, these missiles are fueled solely by electricity and do not require the use of chemical propellants.
The weapon uses magnetic fields framed by two rails to launch the projectiles.“Using its extreme speed on impact, the kinetic energy warhead eliminates the hazards of high explosives in the ship and unexploded ordnance on the battlefield,” the Office of Naval Research explains.
.. It cost $250 million to develop the weapon as part of the Navy’s so-called “future weapon system.”
.. eliminate the need to carry gunpowder aboard ships.
“Our need to carry gunpowder with us is a big vulnerability to our ships,” he said. “A rail gun could eliminate that need.”