Load HEAT

TJ Hooker, Dynasty, Melrose Place, Spin City, Back to Melrose Place.  Our girl Heather Locklear gets around. And that doesn’t even count the gazillion guest starring roles and movies she’s done. For a woman who’s 49, and has been working for over 30 years, she’s still pretty damn hot.

Goodness knows I love me some Heather, but the poor girl can’t dance worth a hoot:

Continue reading “Load HEAT”

Citizens United and Citizen Hugh

Here’s a scenario:

I mean, you can just see it, can’t you?  “The proposed cap-and-trade legislation is going to raise our cost of doing business,” some cranky, dyspeptic shareholder will now almost certainly argue before the executives of, let us say, the Massey Energy Company.  “Mr. CEO, members of the board, the Supreme Court has already told you that you have a constitutional right to fight back.  What I’m telling you now is that you have a fiduciary duty to do so.”

via Citizens United and Citizen Hugh.

Wish List

In the comments of our Bradley gallery below, frequent commenter GaigeM asks what I would like to see added to the Bradley:

If you could improve that Brad in any way, how would you? Trying to get a feel for what would be the next generation of AFV/IFV (with symmetrical warfare in mind).

Well…

Gaige, most of the improvements I’d like to see have been made. My biggest heartburn (as a dismount) was the seating in the back. It made sense when the Army thought the Firing Port Weapons would be important. But they were almost never used. Keeping the complex seating into the A2 variant, which only had the ramp weapons, was lunacy. In any event, the ODS variant introduced bench seating that made a lot of sense.

Improvements to the fire control system went far beyond what I thought it really needed. A laser rangefinder was nice, in that several Brads took TOW shots at targets beyond max range. That was never really a problem with the gun. Now, the fire control system, with a LRF and a lead-generating computer ensure first round hits, in a system comparable to the M1’s fire control. This never struck me as terribly important when the main gun is an auto-cannon. The addition of a Commander’s Independent Thermal Vision sight, with its ability to hand-off targets is very nice. I just wish there was a more elegant place to put it than sticking up like an afterthought.

As for the comm/nav/C3 installation (either BFT or FCBC2), that’s pretty neat, what little I know if it, and I especially like that there is a panel in back for the squad leader to gain situational awareness. In the bad old days, there were theoretically headsets for the dismounts to listen to the intercom, both for fire commands for the FPWs, and to maintain situational awareness, but they never worked (if you plugged them in, they tended to drain so much signal strength that the driver couldn’t hear the intercom, or even the crew in the turret). Even if they did work, it’s a poor substitute for a visual presentation. After all, seeing is believing.

For the hull, we’re rapidly approaching the max weight we can add without suffering some serious drawbacks in performance. We’ve already souped up the engine from the original 500hp to 600hp, just to keep the nominal speed up to 42mph. As a result, you aren’t going to be able to add a lot in the way of armor. Some critics have complained that the Brad’s armor won’t stop anti-tank weapons. That’s not the point. The point is that very few anti-tank weapons will cause a catastrophic loss of the vehicle so quickly that the crew doesn’t have time to escape. To date, the Army has written off 55 Brads in Iraq. That’s an entire battalion’s worth, but it would be interesting to know just how many were casualties. I suspect it is pretty low, especially compared to Humvees.

As for the armament, might as well get rid of the last two FPWs in the ramp, if they haven’t already.  I used to wish there was a commander’s weapon on a cupola around his hatch, but now I’m undecided. I’ve heard that some Brads have had the TOW system replaced with a two-round Javelin launcher, so they can “fire and forget.” That trades a little range and lethality for the ability to shift targets faster. Not sure I’d want to see the whole fleet go that way (I’d rather see Javelin seekers built into a TOW body instead), nor even sure how many have had this done. It may just be a test program. Can’t think of any changes to the co-ax I’d like.

As for the main gun, the 25mm Bushmaster… It’s pretty long in the tooth. I’d really like to see it replaced with something along the lines of the 4omm on a CV-90.  Failing that, I’d at least like to see the 30mm MK46 chain-gun. But you can’t just throw one in a turret and slap it on a Bradley. There’s a relationship to gun size and turret ring diameter, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be able to enlarge the turret ring diameter on a Bradley hull to fit it.  Now, you mentioned this in the context of a next-generation vehicle, I think it’s pretty likely we’ll see a bigger gun. In the next-gen vehicle, we’ll also likely see a greater electrical generation capacity. And a battery charger.

Questionable Policy on Interrogations

This is just unreal:

Various media outlets report that Obama officials are saying that Blair got his facts wrong when he testified that the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, known as HIG, should have been brought in to interrogate Abdulmutallab because the administration has not yet created the HIG. Mind you, President Obama created a task force two days after taking office in January 2009 to examine options on conducting interrogations of terrorists, and that task force announced the creation of the HIG in August 2009. The HIG was supposed to be the new administration’s answer to President Bush’s CIA interrogation program, which President Obama shut down immediately upon taking office.

via Questionable Policy on Interrogations.

A bit more on Logistics Over The Shore (LOTS)

Logistics Over The Shore is the process of moving troops, equipment, supplies and fuel from seagoing transport vessels into a theater that either has no port facilities, or, as in the case of Haiti, has damaged or destroyed port facilities.

The Navy, through the Military Sealift Command, has the majority of the LOTS assets in our country, but the Army does have a significant role to play.

First, the Army has Transportation Battalions that specialize in running port operations, either conventional ports, or via LOTS.

Next, the Army also has some significant capability through its watercraft. The two types most applicable here are the LCU2000 (Landing Craft Utility) and the Logistics Support Vessel (LSV).

The LCU2000 is a small(ish) vessel that is mostly used intra-theater, for short-haul trips, though it can also be used as a lighter to offload large vessels that can’t get into a port or harbor. The Army is sending three from the 97th Transportation Company (Heavy Boat) to Haiti to assist with efforts there.

LCU2000

The LSV is a larger, ocean-going vessel that can be used either inter-theater, or intra-theater, to move heavy equipment and supplies.

Both types of vessels are owned and operated by the Army, not the Navy. Most of the Army’s watercraft are operated by the Reserves, but the LCUs being sent are from the active Army. They should provide considerable improvement to efforts to move supplies into Haiti, and, perhaps just as importantly, move trucks and other lift into Haiti to move supplies inside Haiti.

Just as an aside, these are logistical vessels, and are NOT suitable for conducting an assault landing. That’s a job for the Marines and the Navy. They have the specialized ships, vessels and training to conduct amphibious assault. The LCU and the LSV are strictly for providing supplies to forces already ashore.