Wednesday, December 19, 2012

US UHF Milsat Pirate Busted

Many of us who monitoring Milsat activity are well aware of the hijinks involving Brazilian (aka Portuguese speaking) pirates transmitting over our UHF milsats. Well one another one of them has been busted, and no he was not in South America, but right here in the United States, New Jersey and an Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator to boot.

So who is our winner of the "Bonehead of 2012 award?" Here is part of the story courtesy of the ARRL website:

FCC Finds New Jersey Ham Violated Communication Act, Reduces Forfeiture from $20,000 to $16,000

After unsuccessfully appealing to the FCC to cancel his $20,000 forfeiture, Joaquim Barbosa, N2KBJ, of Elizabeth, New Jersey was issued a Forfeiture Order stating that he must pay $16,000 for “willfully and repeatedly violating Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by operating a radio transmitting equipment on the frequency 296.550 MHz without Commission authorization.”

The FCC noted in the Forfeiture Order that based on the examination process involved in pursuing an amateur license, “amateur licensees are expected to have an understanding of radio operations and pertinent FCC regulations, including Part 97 of the FCC’s rules governing the Amateur Radio Service. Licensed amateur operators know that they are authorized to operate only on the frequencies listed in Section 97.301 of the rules, as designated by their operator class and license. Pursuant to the Table of Allocations, the 267-322 MHz band -- the band that Barbosa was operating in -- is allocated solely for federal government use, which we continue to believe Barbosa knew (or should have known) was not authorized for non-government use.”

Barbosa’s Amateur Radio license expired August 31, 2008, but his timely filed renewal application was listed as “Offlined for Enforcement Bureau Action” in the ULS. As such, Barbosa was legally allowed to operate while his case was undergoing the enforcement proceedings.

You can read the complete bizarre story on Barbosa and why he thought he could operate on a DoD Milsat uplink/downlink on the ARRL website at:

And what is 296.550 MHz? From my MilcomMP database:

296.5500 FLTSAT Charlie Navy Fleet Relay (25 kHz) Channel 04 Uplink
The downlink for this uplink is 255.550 MHz.

 Here are a couple of the notes in this regard from my database about this 255.550 downlink/296.550 uplink

255.5500 Portuguese pirates music and comms (also noted using DStar digital comms)
255.5500 Portuguese milsat downlink pirates, whistling

So N2KBJ guess we won't be seeing you hand around the ham bands in the future. Just curious how is that Brazilian milsat license you got working out for you?

As old P.T. Barnum you to say, "There's a sucker born every minute" or you may better recognize it in your 296.550 MHz native tongue, " um otário a cada minuto nasce."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

North Korea Launches a Unha-3 and what into orbit?

North Korea successfully launched a Unha-3 three stage rocket on Wednesday from its west coast launch site. The rocket, which North Korea says put a weather satellite into orbit, has been labeled by the United States, South Korea and Japan as a test of technology that could one day deliver a nuclear warhead capable of hitting targets as far away as the continental United States.

"The satellite has entered the planned orbit," a North Korean television news reader clad in traditional Korean garb announced, after which the station played patriotic songs with the lyrics "Chosun (Korea) does what it says."

The Unha-3 rocket fired just before 9:49 a.m. local time (0049 GMT), and was detected heading south by a South Korean destroyer patrolling the Yellow Sea. Japanese officials said the first rocket stage fell into the Yellow Sea west of the Korean Peninsula; a second stage fell into the Philippine Sea hundreds of kilometers (miles) farther south.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), later confirmed that "initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit," the first time an independent body has verified North Korean claims.
USSTRATCOM statement on N-Korea launch
NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs 

December 11, 2012

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. - North American Aerospace Defense Command officials acknowledged today that U.S. missile warning systems detected and tracked the launch of a North Korean missile at 7:49 p.m. EST. The missile was tracked on a southerly azimuth. Initial indications are that the first stage fell into the Yellow Sea. The second stage was assessed to fall into the Philippine Sea. Initial indications are that the missile deployed an object that appeared to achieve orbit. At no time was the missile or the resultant debris a threat to North America.

North Korea's rocket launches

Dec 2012: North Korea launches three-stage rocket, says it successfully put a satellite into orbit; US defense officials confirm object in orbit.

Apr 2012: Three-stage rocket explodes just after take-off, falls into sea.

Apr 2009: Three-stage rocket launched; North Korea says it was a success, US says it failed and fell into the sea.

Jul 2006: North Korea test-fires a long-range Taepdong-2 missile; US said it failed shortly after take-off.

Air Force sends mystery mini-shuttle back to space

A top-secret X-37B mini-space shuttle has blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The Air Force launched the unmanned spacecraft Tuesday aboard an Atlas V rocket with an on-time liftoff at 1:03 p.m. at Launch Complex 41.

The Atlas rocket and its Centaur upper stage performed flawlessly through the first 17 minutes and 34 seconds. The mission then switched into a classified mode, and an information blackout followed.

It's the second flight for this original X-37B spaceplane. It circled the planet for seven months in 2010. A second X-37B spacecraft spent more than a year in orbit. The two previous secret flights were in roughly 200-plus-mile-high orbits. These spacecraft are capable of autonomous atmospheric reentry and landing. The first two missions concluded on a runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The military isn't saying much if anything about this new secret mission. But one scientific observer, Harvard University's Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, speculates the spaceplane is carrying sensors designed for spying and likely is serving as a testbed.

Friday, December 07, 2012

U.S. warships moving to monitor North Korea's planned rocket launch

A satellite image showing North Korea's Dongchang-ri missile launch site Photo: EPA/YONHAP/GOOGLE

Reuters is reporting that the United States is shifting warships into position to track and possibly defend against a planned North Korean rocket launch while urging Pyongyang to cancel its second such attempt this year, the head of the U.S. Pacific Command said on Thursday.

"It should seem logical that we'll move them around so we have the best situational awareness," he said. "To the degree that those ships are capable of participating in ballistic missile defense, then we will position them to be able to do that."The United States and many other countries view it as a test of a long-range, nuclear-capable ballistic missile that would violate U.N. resolutions and further destabilize the Korean Peninsula. The North Korean launch attempt in April failed

Meanwhile in Japan, the order to destroy the missile should any part of it threaten to fall onto Japanese territory was issued after a meeting of the Security Council of Japan met in the morning and was informed that North Korea has begun has filling a fuel tank alongside the launch pad at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in preparation for the launch.

Japan has already deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile batteries in Tokyo, as well as in Okinawa and at locations along the northern and eastern coasts facing the Korean Peninsula.

Three Japanese destroyers equipped with the advanced Aegis detect-and-destroy weapons system have been deployed in the Sea of Japan.

Pyongyang claims the launch is an attempt to put an earth-observation satellite into orbit. But analysts and foreign governments share the belief that the it is part of North Korea's development of long-range missiles.

The head of US forces in Japan, Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella, told reporters on Thursday that the launch threatens the stability of the region..

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Israeli HF Military Frequencies

Given the current hostilities over in the Middle East (Israel and the Gaza Strip), here are a few of the recently monitored HF Israeli military frequencies.

4XZ Israeli Navy Haifa
2253.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform
2680.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR CW VVV DE 4XZ
4331.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR CW VVV DE 4XZ
4595.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR CW VVV DE 4XZ
6379.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR CW VVV DE 4XZ
6607.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR CW VVV DE 4XZ
7857.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform
7954.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform
9390.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform
10341.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform
11153.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform
13514.0 4XZ: Israeli Navy Haifa ISR 188-110 MPSK proprietary waveform

Israeli Air Force (ALE/USB)
3823.0 3865.0 4507.0 4681.0 4700.0 5048.5 5123.0 5129.0 5133.0 5209.0 5269.0 5456.0 5470.0 5478.0 5500.0 5581.0 5662.0 6224.0 6265.0 6288.0 6372.0 6487.0 6631.0 6736.0 6742.0 6840.0 6878.0 6898.0 6921.0 6925.0 6933.0 6992.0 7460.0 7467.0 7630.0 7641.5 7651.0 7778.0 7780.0 7848.0 7950.0 7957.0 7965.0 7967.0 8035.0 8063.0 8100.0 8135.0 8165.0 8234.0 8323.0 8441.0 8521.0 8541.0 8556.0 8622.0 8847.0 8858.0 9135.0 9219.0 9227.0 10614.0 10642.0 11491.0 12143.0 12251.0 13032.0 13291.0 19223.0 19326.0 22850.0 kHz

Israeli Air Force ALE addresses:

035 CH-53-2000 118 Squadron Tel Nof AB, Israel
046 F-16D Block 30 109 Squadron Ramat David AB, Israel
082 Aircraft Unknown Squadron Aircraft
100 F-16A 140 Squadron Nevatim AB, Israel
220 F-15I 69 Squadron Hatserim AB, Israel
227 F-15I 69 Squadron Hatserim AB, Israel
420 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
427 C-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
428 C-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
436 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
436 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
619 F-16D 105 Squadron Hatzor AB, Israel
642 F-16D 105 Squadron Hatzor AB, Israel
651 F-16D 105 Squadron Hatzor AB, Israel
667 F-16D 105 Squadron Hatzor AB, Israel
A506 Gnd Stn
AA1 Gnd Stn 103 Squadron (C-130E/K/C-130H) Nevatim AB, ISR
AA2 Gnd Stn
AA3 Gnd Stn
AA4 Gnd Stn
AA5 Gnd Stn
AA6 Gnd Stn
AA7 Gnd Stn
AA8 Gnd Stn
AA9 Gnd Stn
AAA Gnd Stn Air Force Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
ACC Gnd Stn Air Force Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
ACCES1 Gnd Stn Air Force Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
AE2 Gnd Stn Air Force Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
AMM Gnd Stn
ARC Gnd Stn
AS5 Gnd Stn Air Force Headquarters Tel Aviv, Israel
B19 Aircraft
B28 Aircraft
B36 Aircraft
B84 Aircraft
BAA Gnd Stn
BB1 Gnd Stn 124 Squadron (UH-60A/S-70A) Palachim AB, Israel
BB2 Gnd Stn 160 Squadron (AH-1E/F) Palachim AB, Israel
BB3 Gnd Stn 161 Squadron (AH-1E/F) Ovda AB, Israel
BB4 Gnd Stn
BB5 Gnd Stn
BB7 Gnd Stn
C14 AH-1F Tsefa C  160 Squadron Palachim AB, Israel
C21 AH-1S Tsefa A 160 Squadron Palachim AB, Israel
C29 Aircraft  Aircraft
C35 UH-60A Yanshuf 3 123 Squadron Aircraft
C36 Aircraft  Aircraft
C44 AH-64D Saraf 113 Squadron Aircraft
C46 AH-64D Saraf 113 Squadron Hatzerim AB, Israel
C52 AH-64D Saraf 113 Squadron Aircraft
C54 AH-64D Saraf 113 Squadron Aircraft
C62 S-70A Yanshuf  123 Squadron Hatzerim AB, Israel
C79 AH-64D Saraf 113 Squadron Aircraft
C83 Tzukit FTS Hatzerim AB, Israel
DD1 Gnd Stn 103 Squadron (C-130E/K/C-130H) Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
DD2 Gnd Stn 131 Squadron (C-130E/K/C-130H) Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
DD3 Gnd Stn
DD6 Gnd Stn
DD7 Gnd Stn
DD8 Gnd Stn
DDD Gnd Stn
E69 Aircraft
GB2 Gnd Stn 131 Squadron (C-130E/K/C-130H) Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
GT4 Gnd Stn 131 Squadron (C-130E/K/C-130H) Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
GT6 Gnd Stn 131 Squadron (C-130E/K/C-130H) Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K20 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K22 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K27 C-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K28 C-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K35 C-130H Karnaf   103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K36 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
K45 KC-130H Kamaf 103/131 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
KH1 Gnd Stn
KN1 Gnd Stn
M46 Boeing B-707 (Phalcon) 120 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
M48 Boeing B-707 (EC-707 Re'em) 120 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
M60 Boeing B-707 (EC-707 Re'em) 120 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
M64 Boeing B-707 (EC-707 Re'em) 120 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
M72 Boeing B-707 (EC-707 Re'em) 120 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
M75 Boeing B-707 (EC-707 Re'em) 120 Squadron Tel Aviv-Lod AB/Ben Gurion IAP, ISR
MN1 Gnd Stn
NAK Gnd Stn
NT1 Gnd Stn
NT2 Gnd Stn
O13 Gnd Stn
R10 Aircraft
R17 Aircraft
R27 Aircraft
R67 Aircraft
RAM Gnd Stn Ramat David AB, Israel
S15 Aircraft
S19 Aircraft
S27 Aircraft
S30 Aircraft
S45 Aircraft
S53 Aircraft
SA3 Gnd Stn
T22 Aircraft
T26 Aircraft
TKM Gnd Stn
TS1 Gnd Stn
TS2 Gnd Stn
TS3 Gnd Stn
TSM Gnd Stn
TSR Gnd Stn
TYS Gnd Stn
W68 Aircraft
W69 Aircraft
W72 Aircraft
XT9 Gnd Stn
XXX Gnd Stn
Y12 Aircraft
Y14 Aircraft
Y20 Aircraft
Y22 Aircraft
Y36 Aircraft
Y37 Aircraft
Y45 Aircraft
Y50 Aircraft
Y80 Aircraft
YN1 Gnd Stn
YN2 Gnd Stn
ZM6 Gnd Stn
I will add to this frequency list as new frequencis are monitored. Any updates, corrections, and additions are always appreciated. Sent email to the address in the masthead.

Army FM 11-490-7

Dear Milcom MP Readers,

I'm looking for an electronic copy of Army FM 11-490-7. If you have one that you can share, please contact me at the address in the header of this blog.

I appreciate your help in this matter.  73 de Larry

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chinese Diplo Comms?

Eddy Waters on the UDXF newsgroup passed along the following intercepts a couple of days ago. Does anyone knowfor sure who in China originates these transmissions?

10265.97 :China 4+4 75/3000 LSB four number group messages 1135 (17 November 2012)

11141.97 :China 4+4 75/3000 LSB four number group messages 1052 (17 November 2012)

13931.97 :China 4+4 75/3000 LSB four number group messages 1112 (17 November 2012)

Thanks Eddie for sharing with the rest of us.

And from MT's Digital Digest guru Mike Chase-Ortiz:

10803.0  :China 4+4 HF modem, tfc UNID Chinese Diplo (on LSB)

So are these Diplo or Military comms? Anyone know for sure?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Heavy Airlift Wing is fully operational

TALLINN, Estonia (AFNS) -- Col. Keith P. Boone, Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing commander, declared the multinational wing has achieved a full operational capability status.

In a statement to the SAC steering board and NATO Airlift Management Organization Board of Directors at a semi-annual meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, Boone stated "as the HAW commander I have the privilege to declare that effective 14 November 2012 the Strategic Airlift Capability Heavy Airlift Wing has reached full operational capability."

The SAC is a cooperative effort of 12 nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. Its operational arm, the HAW, is stationed at Papa Air Base, Hungary, and flies worldwide missions with Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

The HAW was activated on July 27, 2009, and reached initial operational capability on May 25, 2010. During this initial period the wing not only became a well-trained international military airlift unit, but also proved capable of supporting the participating nations with strategic airlift missions in all major operational areas.

As preconditions to be fully operational, the wing can safely and effectively conduct the entire range of missions assigned to it with three C-17 aircraft, full manning, sufficient infrastructure and logistical sustainment. The wing is supported by the participating SAC nations, the host nation of Hungary, the NATO Airlift Management Program and Boeing Field Services. Post-FOC, the HAW is able to produce the annual flight hours required by the SAC member nations.

Boone lauded the unit when he said, "The men and women of the Heavy Airlift Wing, along with their families, have worked exceptionally hard to build a team that is second to none. Together with the mission partners here at Papa Air Base and around the world, we have forged a great example of pooling and sharing, smart defense, and smart support. I am extremely proud to lead such a diverse, talented, and focused bunch of professionals.

"FOC is a significant achievement in the short history of the HAW. The future remains before us, and it is bright indeed. We might be 12 nations, but we are one team, one mission, one vision!"

Since the delivery of the first aircraft in July 2009, the HAW has flown more than 8,000 flight hours, delivered more than 24,000 tons of cargo and moved more than 32,000 passengers for the SAC nations across six continents, including missions to Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Africa.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vigilant Guard exercise ends as "successful mission"

By Cpl. Clay Beyersdorfer Missouri National Guard

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri National Guard's Vigilant Guard training exercise concluded Wednesday, after a five day period that was a response to a simulated earthquake that took place along the New Madrid fault line.

Vigilant Guard was a worst-case scenario natural disaster exercise that was a response to the last ten years in the state of Missouri, which saw flooding, ice storms and the Joplin tornado, said Maj. Gen. Stephen L. Danner, adjutant general of the Missouri National Guard.

"More than 4,600 Soldiers, Airmen and civilian partners participated in this exercise, which is one of the largest Missouri has ever organized," Danner said. "It was an outstanding opportunity for our force to test our processes and capabilities. The Missouri National Guard is the most seasoned, battle-tested force we've ever fielded, but we are always looking for ways to
improve ourselves so we can better serve the state."

Col. William Blaylock, the Director of Strategic Plan and Exercises for the Missouri National Guard, was also pleased with the results of the Vigilant Guard exercise.

"From a soldier-standpoint and even the civilians, we have had tremendous cooperation and participation," Blaylock said. "Missouri Guard soldiers and soldiers in general are trained to rise to the occasion when orders are not given, and everyone has done a great job in that sense."

In Columbia, Soldiers and Airmen worked alongside civilian agencies including Missouri Task Force 1, a FEMA urban search and rescue team, to practice skills including search and extraction and decontamination. The training was especially realistic because it included role players who acted as victims.

The teams in Columbia reported to the Guard's Joint Operations Center, or, JOC, in Jefferson City. The JOC is the central nerve hub of the Missouri National Guard. Danner recently expanded the JOC to give the Soldiers, Airmen and civilians working within a more effective working environment.
Vigilant Guard was the Guard's first opportunity to utilize the new facility, said Maj. Brett Cooper, chief of current operations in the Joint Operations Center.

"It was a wise decision to move from what we were using previously to where we are today," Cooper said. "It's really going to benefit the citizens, which is ultimately why we're here and why we're working together today."

Columbia saw a variety of staged missions, including search and rescue from destroyed buildings, decontamination from chemical waste outbreak, as well as medical treatment tents for civilian who were suffering from different injuries sustained due to the mock earthquake.

In Jefferson City, the 1438th Engineer Company completed a successful bridge building exercise along the river, which saw pieces of bridging be loaded into the water, and be pieced together.

The unit also completed a similar exercise the previous day at the Macon Training Site.

Similar missions also took place around the southeastern portion of the state, which is where the mock 6.7 magnitude earthquake took place.

Not only were Guardsmen working hard to support the simulated exercise, but members of the 735th Field Service Company Family Readiness Group worked to secure supplies for those participating in Vigilant Guard, coordinating donations from multiple vendors that were sold at the training exercises in Columbia, to help raise money for Missouri Guardsmen and their families.

"Our job as soldiers in the Missouri National Guard is to protect and defend this state, and this exercise is training for that mission," Blaylock said. "We work with civilians and other state agencies to ensure we are protecting and taking care of the citizens of the state of Missouri."

Analysts keep close eye on China's mystery space plane

A close-up of China's robotic Shenlong space plane prototype tucked beneath a Chinese H-6 bomber for glide testing in December 2007. (Source Chinese Internet)

Story By Leonard David,

As the next secretive flight of the U.S. Air Force's robotic X-37B mini-shuttle draws closer, analysts are keeping a close eye on China’s own potential space plane, the Shenlong.

Last year several Chinese media outlets reported a test flight of the Shenlong space plane that apparently included its airdrop from an H-6 bomber. But the nature of the Shenlong project's testing, as well as what the robot vehicle truly represents, remains sketchy.

Several China watchers in the U.S. have taken a stab at what the Shenlong (Mandarin for "Divine Dragon) might mean, with some experts conjecturing that the craft is simply a tit-for-tat response to the unmanned X-37B space plane.

You can read the rest of this story by clicking here.

This December 2007 image shows China's robotic Shenlong space plane prototype carried by an H-6 bomber during testing.(Source Chinese Internet)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

China submarines to soon carry nukes, draft U.S. report says

A Pair of Type-094 Jin-Class Submarines

By Jim Wolf, Reuters Washington, D.C.

(Reuters) - China appears to be within two years of deploying submarine-launched nuclear weapons, adding a new leg to its nuclear arsenal that should lead to arms-reduction talks, a draft report by a congressionally mandated U.S. commission says.

China is alone among the original nuclear weapons states to be expanding its nuclear forces, the report said. The others are the United States, Russia, Britain and France.

Beijing is "on the cusp of attaining a credible nuclear triad of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and air-dropped nuclear bombs," the report says.

China has had a largely symbolic ballistic missile submarine capability for decades but is only now set to establish a "near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent," the draft said.

Chinese President Hu Jintao has made it a priority to modernize the country's navy. China launched its first aircraft carrier, purchased from Ukraine and then refurbished, in September.

The deployment of a hard-to-track, submarine-launched leg of China's nuclear arsenal could have significant consequences in East Asia and beyond. It also could add to tensions between the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies.

Any Chinese effort to ensure a retaliatory capability against a U.S. nuclear strike "would necessarily affect Indian and Russian perceptions about the potency of their own deterrent capabilities vis-à-vis China," the report said, for instance.

Beijing already has deployed two of as many as five of a new class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. The JIN-class boat is due to carry the JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile with an estimated range of about 7,400 km (4,600 miles).

The new submarines and the JL-2 missile will give Chinese forces its "first credible sea-based nuclear capability," the U.S. Defense Department said in its own 2012 annual report to Congress on military and security developments involving China.

You can read the whole article by Reuters by clicking here.

Related artcle - Waypoint or Destination? The Jin-Class Submarine and China’s Quest for Sea-Based Nuclear Deterrence  Publication: China Brief Volume: 12 Issue: 15 by Benjamin S. Purser, III and Michael S. Chase

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Nuclear treaty monitoring aircraft visits Patrick AFB

by Susan A. Romano AFTAC Public Affairs

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Special equipment operators from the Air Force Technical Applications Center's Detachment 1 visited Oct. 25 and invited base personnel to tour the detachment's flying workhorse, the WC-135 Constant Phoenix.

The detachment, which is located at Offutt AFB, Neb., is responsible for operating and maintaining the advanced atmospheric research equipment aboard the specially-configured WC-135 aircraft in support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System.

USAEDS is a global network of nuclear detection sensors that monitor underground, underwater spaced based or atmospheric events. AFTAC is the sole Department of Defense agency tasked with operating the USAEDS for nuclear event detection, which is directly linked to the center's nuclear treaty monitoring mission.

The Air Force has two specially-configured WC-135s in its inventory. Interestingly, the jet that visited Patrick AFB, #667, was also the aircraft that was tasked to assist during Operation Tomodachi, the DoD's response to the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan in March 2011.

During the very early stages of the nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant on the Pacific coast of Japan, the WC-135 flew nine missions and analyzed 660 samples, which were forwarded to national laboratories for further examination and analysis. Fukushima was the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986, where the WC-135 also played a major role in tracking radioactive debris from that plant's disaster.

"One of the great success stories for Det. 1 was the fact that AFTAC's analysis of the Tomodachi airborne samples enabled our scientists to develop plume models that provided scientific evidence for senior leaders to make critical decisions regarding the evacuation of Americans in Japan," said Lt. Col. John Baycura, detachment commander. "We were able to collect, analyze and disseminate data that was considered the best in the nation - and was provided to the highest levels of our government."

Their efforts paid off: AFTAC's Tomodachi team was nominated for the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medal, a national level award that recognizes significant contributions by those in federal service.

As people made their way through and around the aircraft on Patrick's flightline, crewmembers briefed visitors on the features and capabilities of the atmospheric collection suite, which allows the mission crew to detect radioactive 'clouds' in real time.

"Our aircraft is equipped with external flow devices that allow us to collect airborne particulate on filter paper and a compressor system for whole air samples," said Staff Sgt. Matt Wilkens, Det. 1 Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of current operations. "The particulate samples are collected using a device that works like an old Wurlitzer jukebox. An arm grabs the paper from its slot and moves it to the exterior of the fuselage. After exposure, it is returned to the filter magazine where a new paper is selected for use. It's a simple, yet effective, concept."

The WC-135 has been in the Air Force inventory since 1965 and currently supports the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, which prohibits any nation from testing nuclear weapons above ground. The Constant Phoenix is the only aircraft in the USAF that conducts air sampling operations. The cockpit crews are from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB.

"I was really impressed and really glad I had a chance to see the plane in person," said Yamilka Camacho, AFTAC Human Resources assistant. "I've been working at AFTAC for three years and knew what the Constant Phoenix' mission was, but getting to see it up close and listen to the crew talk about the equipment really put it all in perspective for me."

Monday, November 05, 2012

Russian Sub Skirts Coast - Russian attack sub detected near East Coast

Story by  on the Washington Free Beacon website

A Russian nuclear-powered attack submarine cruised within 200 miles of the East Coast recently in the latest sign Russia is continuing to flex its naval and aerial power against the United States, defense officials said.

The submarine was identified by its NATO designation as a Russian Seirra-2 class submarine believed to be based with Russia’s Northern Fleet. It was the first time that class of Russian submarine had been detected near a U.S. coast, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of anti-submarine warfare efforts.

One defense official said the submarine was believed to have been conducting anti-submarine warfare efforts against U.S. ballistic and cruise missile submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia.
A second official said the submarine did not sail close to Kings Bay and also did not threaten a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group that was conducting exercises in the eastern Atlantic.

Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, north of Jacksonville, Fla., is homeport for two guided missile submarines and six nuclear missile submarines. The submarines are known to be a target of Russian attack submarines.

Meanwhile, the officials also said that a Russian electronic intelligence-gathering vessel was granted safe harbor in the commercial port of Jacksonville, Fla., within listening range of Kings Bay.
The Russian AGI ship, or Auxiliary-General Intelligence, was allowed to stay in the port to avoid the superstorm that battered the U.S. East Coast last week. A Jacksonville Port Authority spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the Russian AGI at the port.

“A Russian AGI and an SSN in the same geographic area as one of the largest U.S. ballistic missile submarine bases—Kings Bay—is reminiscent of Cold War activities of the Soviet navy tracking the movements of our SSBN’s,” said a third U.S. official, referring to the designation for ballistic missile submarines, SSBN.

You can read the rest of Bill's story by clicking here.

The Sierra II (Project 945.A - Кондор/Kondor) class has a considerably larger sail which is 16.5 ft (5.0 m) longer than the Sierra I type. The sail also has a curious flat, square leading edge. The masts are offset on the starboard side to make way for two escape pods in the sail. The starboard side also has a 10-point environment sensor fitted at right angles to the front end of the sail. Also, the Sierra II type has a much larger pod on its after fin. The pod houses the Skat 3 passive very low frequency towed array.

Submarines in class:

Enterprise Ends 51-Year Career at Sea

Article courtesy of| by Richard Sisk

The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) returned to homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., for the last time Sunday under its own power, ending a storied era of service at sea in all the nation’s wars and conflicts since the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years ago.

Thousands of family members and spectators were on hand as tugboats nudged the Navy’s first nuclear carrier dockside and the ship’s crew began the delicate work of shutting down her eight reactors.

“Homecoming will no doubt be a bittersweet day,” said Capt. William C. Hamilton, the ship’s commander, before the Enterprise arrived from her 25th and last deployment. “To know that it is the last time Enterprise will be underway through her own power makes our return very sentimental.”
On her last journey, the Enterprise cruised nearly 81,000 miles in a 238-day deployment to the Persian Gulf and her aircraft flew more than 2,000 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

This has not been a victory lap for Enterprise, by any means,” said Rear Adm. Ted Carter, commander of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. “This has been a full combat operation. It’s been a business as usual kind of deployment.”

The decommissioning of the Enterprise will leave the Navy with 10 carriers and likely make deployments longer and turnarounds quicker for the carrier fleet, as the Navy has committed to a two-carrier deployment to the Persian Gulf region indefinitely to counter the threat from Iran.

The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, now under construction, is slated to replace the Enterprise in 2015.

The official inactivation ceremony for Enterprise will take place on Dec. 1. The carrier will remain at Norfolk for about six months to have equipment off-loaded and then will be towed to the Huntington Ingalls docks in Newport News, Va., to defuel its nuclear reactors.

The ship will later be towed again to the Puget Sound Nava Shipyard in Washington state to be dismantled and have its metal sold for scrap. The entire process will take about four years, the Navy has said.

Enterprise has achieved a number of firsts since putting to sea in 1961. She was the first nuclear-powered carrier and was key to America’s initial response to 9/11. The Enterprise was returning from a Persian Gulf deployment in September 2001 when the carrier was ordered to reverse course and launch the first strike sorties against al-Qaida in Afghanistan.

As she returned to Norfolk this time, Enterprise was the second oldest commissioned ship in the Navy after the three-masted wood frigate Constitution (Old Ironsides), which was launched in 1797.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

McGuire continues recovery efforts, FEMA base of operations

by 2nd Lt. Alexis McGee Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. (AFNS) -- Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst personnel are continuing with recovery efforts and expect to resume most operations Wednesday.

Impact from the storm includes fallen trees, scattered debris, some property damage, minor flooding and power outages.

"The entire joint base's preparation efforts went a long way toward mitigating serious damage," said Maj. Chris Wedewer, 87th Civil Engineer Squadron, operations flight chief. "A majority of the facilities and base housing units on McGuire and Lakehurst have full power. Several power lines were downed by the storm and as a result, most of Dix remains without power. The downed power lines do pose a hazard, but we're working to get them repaired as soon as possible."

The base continues to house 300 U.S. Coast Guard recruits from Cape May, N.J., in addition to providing an installation support base for FEMA Region II and III. FEMA Region II serves New Jersey and New York while FEMA Region III serves Washington D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

"FEMA will continue recovery efforts for the central and southern New Jersey area from JB MDL as long as necessary," said Bill Douglass, external affairs specialist at FEMA, Region II. "FEMA will also be actively engaged throughout New York, just as it was through much of last year and this, helping communities recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in both New York and New Jersey."

In spite of current limitations, base personnel will resume normal operating hours Wednesday.

"The efforts by a small group of people were phenomenal," said Col. Jeffery Doll, Army Support Activity-Dix commander. "I fully expect the recovery effort at our ranges to be completed within 24 hours and for training to resume once power is restored to our facilities."

Evacuated aircraft are also preparing to return to the installation from their temporary shelter locations.

"We're just thankful our folks weathered the storm without serious injury and that we continue to support recovery operations in the local area by hosting the FEMA team here," said Col. John Wood, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst commander.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HMS Bounty Lost at Sea Update

One of two missing crew members from the replica tall ship HMS Bounty has been recovered hours after the US coastguard rescued 14 of her colleagues following a decision to abandon the vessel in the path of hurricane Sandy. You can view US Coast Guard video/audio of the SAR by clicking here.

zczc fa21
msgid/genadmin/nga navsafety wa dc//
hydrolant 2536/12(11,12,26).
wrn n atlc.
distresss sig received on 406 mhz from 180 foot s/v hms bountywin 34-11.7n 074-17.5w at 290106z oct. vessels in vicinity requested to keep a sharp lookout, assist if possible. reports to rcc norfolk, inmarsat-c: 430370670, phone: 757 398 6390, fax: 757 398 6392, e-mail: d05-smb-d5cc

For the complete story of this tragic loss click here

Monday, October 29, 2012

Exercise Global Thunder HF Traffic

Exercise Global Thunder is U.S. Strategic Command's annual field training and battle staff exercise, designed to exercise all mission areas with primary emphasis on nuclear command and control.

Global Thunder provides training opportunities for forces to deter, and if necessary, defeat a military attack against the United States - employing forces as directed by the president.

"Strategic deterrence, nuclear force employment, and command and control remain core missions for the Department of Defense," said Col. James Dawkins, 5th Bomb Wing commander. "This exercise demonstrates USSTRATCOM's ability to carry out its strategic nuclear deterrence mission."

The Global Thunder exercises are designed to reflect the ongoing evolution of USSTRATCOM and its components providing opportunities to incorporate the most current technology and techniques in support of these efforts.

Following traffic was monitored by Jeff Haverlah in Houston and is related to this exercise: Thanks for sharing with the rest of us Jeff.

1931z 27 Oct 12 11175.0 was active at 1900z and 1930z with ANGRY MAN (good/fair levels here) with the "standing by for traffic" statement (x2).

2005z 27 Oct 12 11175.0 was active at 2003z with ANDREWS (fair/good levels) with a 6-character EAM (AMGY2H) "FOR YANKEE FORCE".

2026z 27 Oct 12 15016.0 was active at 2023z with ANDREWS (good levels) bcsting a 6-character EAM (AMM6XU) "FOR YANKEE FORCE".

2231z 27 Oct 12 11175.0 was active at at 2030z with ANDREWS (good levels) bcsting a 28-character EAM (VHHAFZ). At 2032z (after the completion of the ANDREWS xmsn) ANGRY MAN was on frequency with the "standing by for traffic statement". Nothing heard since until...
11175.0 was active at 2230z with ANGRY MAN (fair/good) with the "standing by for traffic"

1935z 28 Oct 12 8992.0 was active at 1930z with CARPENTER (good levels here) bcsting 32-character EAM (IEPION) with the character count statement, closing with the "Standing by for traffic" statement (x2), and out. Simulcasting same on at least 11175.0 (fair/good) with nothing heard on 4724.0 or 15016.0. H+00/h+30 active. Suspected 'glass activity.

2024z 28 Oct 12 11175.0 was active at 1956z with ANDREWS bcsting a 28-character EAM

At 1958z CARPENTER (guess; no id given) keyed the 11175.0 in preparation for their H+00 EAM restoral. At 1959z an unknown station (garbled id, good to fair levels; deep voice) called "(sounded like "bowel" or "b-owl" aircraft) and requested they "check into the net.

At 2000z CARPENTER (fair) was up with VH5VNQ but did not close with the "standing by for traffic" statement. He dueled with ANDREWS bcsting their H+00 restoral of VH5VNQ and the 28-character EAM (VHPPQ7).

At the conclusion of the ANDREWS bcst, RED RIVER (now the id is clearly heard) came up on freq with another call for "All (something; could not make it out) check in with (sounded like "weather") on HF". RED RIVER was then up with a string of multiple numbers, and then calling what sounded
like "b-owl" aircraft again. He may have acknowledged a call from a "b-owl ##".

At 2008z CARPENTER (fair/weak) was up on 11175.0 with the "standing by for traffic statement" (x2) and out.

11175.0 was active with (sounded like "broad pin" or ??; weak/fair but unable to get a clear id) bcdsting VH5VNQ and VHPPQ7 and ending with the "standing by for traffic statement." H+10/h+40 activity. Possible TACAMO LANT activity.

At 2023z RED RIVER (good strong) called (unable to make out) 11.

2051z 28 Oct 12 13200.0 was found active at 2045z while scrolling through the HFGCS with (something; maybe AMBER) 14 (good/fair levels here) bcsting a 274 message of ? groups (missed complete message). Last 10 groups: XMP ROS XMZ WNB CTV XMP YTI HTF CTR WNB [note the repeats].

Immediately after 14's bcst AMBER 14 (good/strong levels) came up on 13200.0 with "This is AMBER 14 with an EXERCISE GLOBAL THUNDER 274 message of 21 groups" and into TYN XCE KSP RVO RAS GQE WNB YNL EJQ ROS XMP [maybe RMOS or ROS] XMJ WNB CTV XMPYTI HTF YTI WNB XMP [again, note the repeats]. And out.

274 messages (replaced 369 messages a bunch of years ago) are sometimes heard; at least one instance of an "JCS Exercise Global Guardian" EAM was heard in the late 90s during a GLOBAL GUARDIAN exercise; but what is unusual (to me) is the use of 13200.0. I didn't hear these stations
rolling through the other HFGCS freqs. Has 13200.0 become "special"?

It also confirmed that this is a GLOBAL THUNDER 13 exercise instead of a GLOBAL LIGHTNING 13 exercise presumed to be common at this time of the year.

2110z 28 Oct 12 Post (nuclear) attack battle damage traffic. I've never heard a stated GLASS EYE report during these exercises such as the following until now.

13200.0 was active at 2054z with ANDREWS bcsting a 28-character EAM (VHS7WL).

13200.0 was active at 2107z with (could not make out id) 14 calling SKYMASTER with "GLASS EYE" (spoken) "flash traffic": "FLASH 281930 FLASH KKOFF FLASH 1 FLASH 02 FLASH 7A FLASH FLASH"; then repeated to SKYMASTER and gone. Apparently in the blind with no heard response from any SKYMASTER. [Would that be KOFF?]

2141z 28 Oct 12 13200.0 was active at 2130z with ANDREWS' h+00/h+30 restoral of VHS7WL; VHPPQ7; VH5UNQ.

13200.0 was active at the immediate completion of the ANDREWS' restoral with A**** 15 (sounds like AGROM or AMBER; weak/fair) calling SKYMASTER "on 13200" with "274 message of 20 groups" and then into XQK LID Y?? HTF SNV HTF PNU TQA NGI XMP ??? MKD S?P ?H? XIX MKD WNB HTF YTI XMP, and repeated.

13200.0 was active at 2145z with A**** 14 (maybe AGROM (sounds like) 14) calling SKYMASTER with a 274 message of 28 groups and into DTP SAJ UQG RVO COS WNB YNL EYI TQC XMP ROS XMA WNB YTI HTF YTI XMP MJB SNV GXP WNB CHL MKD XMP IVG ?NB VZR XMP and repeated, and gone. Again, not the repeated groups. They rush through the groups in their transmissions.. Lost the freq to a neighbor's TV at 2153z.

2244z 28 Oct 12 11175.0 was active at 2240z with BROAD BEAM (fair levels here) "standing by for traffic" (x2) and out. H+10/h+40 activity.

2321z 28 Oct 12 11175.0 was active at 2259z with SIGONELLA (fair levels here) with a test count and gone.

11175.0 was active at 2300z with CARPENTER (strong levels here) with the "standing by for traffic" statement (x2) and out.

11175.0 was active at 2304z with BROAD BEAM (fair levels) bcsting a 20-character EAM  (IERZ2T) and simulcasting same on 4724.0 (weak), 8992.0 (good/strong), and 15016.0 (weak). I don't recall ever hearing a player in these nets (at least since the major preamble "split" at 01 Oct 96)
transmitting this preamble series of strings (6/20/variable).

11175.0 was active at 2310z with BROAD BEAM "standing by for traffic" (x2) and out. No restoral string.

11175.0 was active at 2311z with OFFUTT (good levels) bcsting a "DTMF test count" (short count) and gone.

8992.0 was active at 2334z with CARPENTER (strong levels here) bcsting the 20-character EAM (IERZ2T)[VRCYG26WYB7PC2] followed with the "standing by for traffic" statement and out. (That suggests a h+04/h+34 window.)

8992.0 was active at 2337z with (maybe OFFUTT; not paying attention; good levels) bcsting the 20-character EAM IERZ2T but with the reading including the operator saying "item 13 garbled" in both readings of the string. (That would be the "6".)

0003z 29 Oct 12 8992.0 was active at 0000z with SAM WORTH (strong/good levels here) standing by for traffic (x2) and out. CARPENTER's new day callsign.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

61,000 National Guard troops prep for Hurricane Sandy

By Steve Marshall and Air Force Tech. Sgt. John Orrell    National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va.  – National Guard members and residents along the East Coast prepared today for Hurricane Sandy, which gained strength as it churned toward the eastern seaboard.
The storm was barreling north from the Caribbean and was expected to make landfall early Tuesday near the Delaware coast, then hit two winter weather systems while moving inland, creating the potential for a monster storm, according to the Associated Press.

At least 61,000 National Guard members are on hand, Guard officials said today.

As of 1:30 p.m. EDT today, governors in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia and the mayor of Washington D.C., have declared states of emergency.

In Delaware, Gov. Jack Martell advised residents, “Be prepared to leave and be prepared to stay.” Delaware state agencies are planning for the worst, Martell said Friday.

National Guard units in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia are coordinating with authorities in the event Sandy makes landfall as predicted.

North Carolina alone has 10,000 Citizen-Soldiers standing by if needed.

"We are monitoring Hurricane Sandy closely and coordinating with our federal, state and local partners to ensure a coordinated and efficient response," said Gen. Frank J. Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau. "Units across the National Guard are making the necessary preparations to respond to the needs of any states affected by Hurricane Sandy; rest assured the National Guard is poised and ready to provide proven responders and capabilities."

According to National Weather Service officials, the Category I storm could weaken into a tropical storm before it hits land in the Northeast/New England coast, but it could drop as much as 10 inches of rain along the coast on its northerly trajectory. If it collides with arctic air moving from the north and an early winter storm moving from the west, Sandy could potentially turn into what some weather officials are calling the “perfect storm.”

In Delaware, the 142nd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron has nurses and med techs already on standby, while the Air Guard is moving all flyable equipment out of the storm’s path over the weekend. The Army Guard will be sheltering helicopters until the storm passes, at which point they can fly into action as needed, Delaware National Guard officials said.

"We are joined in a cooperative effort - to save lives, protect property, and support recovery efforts," Gen. Grass said.

The Department of Defense Prepares for Hurricane Sandy

At the direction of Secretary Panetta, the Department of Defense is taking aggressive steps to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and State authorities as Hurricane Sandy moves northward.

With the goal of helping to save lives and property during the storm, the Secretary has agreed with the Governors of Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island to appoint Dual Status Commanders as the storm approaches.

Dual Status Commanders are authorized to command both Federal and State National Guard forces. This special authority enables them to effectively integrate the defense support operations and capabilities that Governors request. The Secretary is prepared to quickly agree to similar requests from other States.

At the federal level, the Department's disaster preparedness and response efforts support the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, and rapidly meet the requests for assistance they provide.

United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is placing aviation assets such as light and medium lift helicopters and rescue teams on 24 hour Prepare to Deploy Order status in response to Hurricane Sandy. USNORTHCOM is also providing military installations for FEMA to use to conduct response operations, and is providing specialized planners who will help expedite DoD's response to requests for assistance.

The National Guard Bureau is in close coordination with Adjutants General (TAGs) and their disaster response teams in every East Coast state. These State National Guard organizations are coordinating with their respective state emergency management agencies and FEMA regions.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

US Fleet Forces Sets Sortie Condition Alpha, Ships Getting Underway

A GOES-13 infrared satellite image of Hurricane Sandy provided by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Monterey, Calif., shows the storm at approximately 7:00 a.m. EST in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)
NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) ordered all U.S. Navy ships in the Hampton Roads, Va., area to set Sortie Condition Alpha Oct. 26 in preparation for an upcoming sortie as Hurricane Sandy travels up the East Coast.

Adm. Bill Gortney, USFF commander, has directed ships to sortie between this afternoon and early tomorrow morning.

USS Ashland (LSD 48) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) will sortie from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.

The following ships will sortie from Naval Station Norfolk: USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), USS Bataan (LHD 5), USS San Antonio (LPD 17), USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), USS Ashland (LSD 48), USS Carter Hall (LSD 50), USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), USS Monterey (CG 61), USS Anzio (CG 68), USS Barry (DDG 52), USS Gonzales (DDG 66), USS Mahan (DDG 72), USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Mason (DDG 87), USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Gravely (DDG 107), USS Ross (DDG 71), USS Nicholas (FFG 47), USNS Patuxent (T-AO 201), USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13), USNS William McClean (T-AKE 12).

USS Wasp (LHD 1), USS Taylor (FFG 50) and USNS Kanawha (T-AO 196) are already underway in the USFF Area of Responsibility.

"Based on the current track of the storm, we made the decision to begin to sortie the fleet," said Gortney. "The current timeline allows them enough time to transit safely out of the path of the storm."

The Navy orders a sortie during potentially extreme weather conditions to reduce the risk of significant damage to ships and piers during high winds and seas.

Some ships will not get underway, due to various maintenance availabilities, and are taking extra precautions to avoid potential damage. Commanding officers have a number of options when staying in port, depending on the severity of the weather. Some of these options include adding additional mooring and storm lines, dropping the anchor, and disconnecting shore power cables.

As a precautionary measure, Commander Navy Installations Command ordered all installations in the Hampton Roads area to set Tropical Cyclone Condition Three as Hurricane Sandy is forecast to bring high winds and rain to the Mid-Atlantic coast. Tropical Cyclone Condition Three means destructive winds of greater than 50 knots associated with a tropical system, are expected within 48 hours.

A variety of information is available in support of family readiness during hurricane
season including:

- Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System,, which provides a standardized method for the Navy to account, manage and monitor the recovery process for personnel and their families affected and/or scattered by a wide-spread catastrophic event.

-U.S. Fleet Forces planning preparedness Web site to help families with hurricane and destructive weather planning,

- State of Virginia Emergency Management,, which has many resources for planning and preparing emergency kits, developing evacuation plans and addressing specific special needs for children, the elderly and others.

- Virginia Department of Transportation Hurricane Evacuation Guide,, which provides more detailed information for preparing for a hurricane, hurricane evacuation and public shelters in Virginia.

Ballistic Missile Defense System Successfully Conducts Largest Missile Defense Flight Test in History

MECK ISLAND, Republic of the Marshall Islands (Oct. 25, 2012) A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missile is launched from Meck Island to intercept a ballistic missile target during a Missile Defense Agency integrated flight test. Americas Sailors are Warfighters, a fast and flexible force deployed worldwide. Join the conversation on social media using #warfighting. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully conducted the largest, most complex missile defense flight test ever attempted, Oct. 24.

MDA, Soldiers from the 94th and 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC); Sailors aboard USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62); and Airmen from the 613th Air and Space Operations Center conducted test, resulting in the simultaneous engagement of five ballistic missile and cruise missile targets.

An integrated air and ballistic missile defense architecture used multiple sensors and missile
defense systems to engage multiple targets at the same time. All targets were successfully launched and initial indications are that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system successfully intercepted its first medium-range ballistic target in history, and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) near simultaneously destroyed a short-range ballistic missile and a low flying cruise missile target over water.

The live-fire demonstration, conducted at U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll/Reagan Test Site, Hickam Air Force Base, and surrounding areas in the western Pacific, stressed the performance of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD), THAAD, and Patriot weapon systems.

An Extended Long Range Air Launch Target (E-LRALT) missile was air-dropped over the broad ocean area north of Wake Island from a U.S. Air Force C-17 aircraft, staged from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The AN/TPY-2 X-band radar, located with the THAAD system on Meck Island, tracked the E-LRALT and a THAAD interceptor successfully intercepted the medium-range ballistic missile. THAAD was operated by Soldiers from the 32nd AAMDC.

Another short-range ballistic missile was launched from a mobile launch platform located in the broad ocean area northeast of Kwajalein Atoll. The Patriot system, manned by Soldiers of the 94th AAMDC, detected, tracked and successfully intercepted the target with a PAC-3 interceptor.

USS Fitzgerald successfully engaged a low flying cruise missile over water. The Aegis system also tracked and launched an SM-3 Block 1A interceptor against a short-range ballistic missile. However, despite indication of a nominal flight of the SM-3 Block 1A interceptor, there was no indication of an intercept of the SRBM.

FTI-01 was a combined developmental and operational test. Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen from multiple Combatant Commands operated the systems and were provided a unique opportunity to refine operational doctrine and tactics. Program officials continue to assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

Ballistic Missile Defense System programs have completed 56 successful hit-to-kill intercepts in 71 flight test attempts since 2001.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Truman, CVW-3 Sharpen #Warfighting Skills

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Taylor DiMartino, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs
USS TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) completed a 24-day underway Oct. 25 that tested the skills of every Sailor and Marine aboard.

For the first time in almost two years, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3 Sailors and Marines embarked Truman prior to Truman's Oct. 2 underway to prepare for Harry S.
Truman Strike Group's upcoming deployment.

Capt. Mike Wallace, CVW-3's commander, said Truman's underway gave the air wing an opportunity to test and improve various skills across each of its squadrons.
Including a focus on the timeliness of launches and recoveries, Wallace said increased attention was placed on flight operations such as airborne refueling and individual unit-level training.

"This is the first time the ship and air wing have operated together as a team since December 2010," said Wallace. "This underway included a high number of cyclic operations. We were launching and recovering aircraft for 12 hours at a time, refining the pilots' skills as they took off and landed on the carrier."

In total, CVW-3 pilots completed more than 1,300 launches and recoveries even as Truman Sailors and CVW-3 personnel participated in a multitude of shipboard training scenarios, both on the flight deck and in the hangar bay.

"The most noticeable part of our integration was that our Sailors and Marines were making flight operations look easy every time," said Cmdr. Paul Crump, Truman's air officer. "While working on the flight deck, there are so many variables, so many things that can happen, yet each launch and recovery was executed safely, quickly, and effectively."

Crump said the carrier's underway consisted of seamless teamwork between Truman's air department Sailors and CVW-3 as they conducted drills that simulated aircraft crashes and fires, barricade drills and mass casualty drills on the flight deck.

"CVW-3 Sailors have been enthusiastic, motivated and willing partners in every way," said Crump. "It's great to see how far this team has come in only a single underway. As we moved on to more complicated operations, CVW-3 and air department Sailors were performing with practiced regularity. The flight deck and hangar bays have evolved to pro-active environments rather than reactive ones."

Wallace agreed, noting the professionalism every Sailor and Marine displayed while conducting air operations.

"This has given us the chance to practice critical skills that we will have to demonstrate during actual missions while on deployment," said Wallace. "It's all about refining our proficiencies. We can't build upon the complexity of our mission execution until we have a solid foundation."

According to Wallace, the foundation could not have been built without the help of every Sailor and Marine aboard Truman.

"I could not be happier with the team we have built within Harry S. Truman Strike group," said Wallace. "We tell ourselves every day how blessed we are to have great people who get along and work hard together and truly understand that it's a team sport."

After disembarking, CVW-3 is scheduled to conduct advanced tactical training in Fallon, Nev., until mid-December.

Truman is scheduled to continue training in preparation for an upcoming composite training unit exercise.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Last T-AKE Class Ship Accepted by Military Sealift Command

By Sarah Burford, Military Sealift Command Pacific Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command accepted delivery of its newest dry cargo/ammunition ship, USNS Cesar Chavez (T-AKE 14), during a short ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO Ship Yard San Diego, Oct. 24.

The ship, which was christened May 5 in San Diego, honors Cesar Chavez, an American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. He is well known for his use of non-violent tactics that made the farm workers' struggle a moral cause with nationwide support.

"This is an historic day for Military Sealift Command, as we accept into our fleet the last ship in the T-AKE program," said Capt. Sylvester Moore, commander, Military Sealift Command Pacific. "Like the 13 ships that came before it, USNS Cesar Chavez will be an important component in support of the United States Navy ships and missions around the world. Whether we are supporting an aircraft carrier or transporting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies, the T-AKEs and all MSC underway replenishment ships bring to life the motto: MSC delivers," he said.

With a crew of 125 civil service mariners working for MSC and 11 U.S. Navy Sailors who provide operational support and supply coordination, the 689-foot long Chavez is the 14th and final of the dry cargo/ammunition ships and is slated for use by MSC's Combat Logistics Force, or CLF.

CLF ships deliver ammunition, food, fuel and other supplies to U.S. and allied ships at sea, enabling the Navy to maintain a worldwide forward presence. The first 11 dry cargo/ammunition ships are currently operating as part of MSC's Combat Logistics Force,
delivering vital fuel, equipment and supplies to Navy warships at sea. The remaining three ships the T-AKE class are expected to be assigned to maritime prepositioning squadrons, which strategically place combat cargo at sea for rapid delivery to warfighters ashore.

"The delivery of Chavez marks a significant milestone for MSC - we are now at full capacity with our dry-cargo and ammunition ships and stand ready to support a wide-range of Department of Defense requirements," said Rear Adm. Mark Buzby, commander, Military Sealift Command. "The T-AKEs, and the professional mariners who operate them, are a true testament to MSC's ability to operate forward and provide an unprecedented level of service and support to our warfighters worldwide," he said.

T-AKEs are the newest class of Combat Logistics Force ships built for MSC. They replace MSC's aging, single-mission supply ships such as Kilauea-class ammunition ships and Mars- and Sirius-class combat stores ships as they reach the end of their service lives.

MSC operates approximately 110 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, and strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

National Guard will bolster inauguration with more than 6,000 Airmen and Soldiers

WASHINGTON  - The District of Columbia National Guard is well underway in the planning for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration. More than 6,000 National Guard airmen and soldiers from at least 11 states and two territories are expected to provide critical support to include crowd management, traffic control, communications, emergency services and ceremonial duties. “The National Guard is home to a wide variety of capabilities, which can seamlessly integrate with our inter-agency partners for the inauguration,” said Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard. “We are proud to support the peaceful transition of power and ensure safety and the well-being of our fellow Americans during this nationally symbolic event.”

In addition to supporting local law enforcement with crowd management and traffic control, the National Guard will provide mission critical capabilities including medevac support, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive detection and 24/7 F-16 fighter alert over the National Capital Region.

Military involvement in the Presidential Inauguration dates back to April 30, 1789, when members of the U.S. Army, National Guard, and revolutionary war veterans escorted George Washington to his first inauguration ceremony.

The D.C. National Guard has participated in every inauguration since the 1861 Abraham Lincoln inauguration, where President Lincoln received his first salute from a D.C. Guardsman.

Military support to the inauguration honors the commander in chief, recognizes civilian control of the military and celebrates democracy.

Navy to Christen Submarine Minnesota

The Navy will christen its newest attack submarine Minnesota, Saturday, Oct. 27, during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, Va.
Adm. Kirk Donald, Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. Ellen Roughead, wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead and a Minnesota native, will serve as ship's sponsor and break a champagne bottle against a plate welded to the hull, and officially christen the ship 'Minnesota.'

Minnesota, the 10th ship of the Virginia class is named in honor of the state's citizens and their continued support to our nation's military. Minnesota has a long tradition of honoring its veterans of wars past and present. The state is proud to be home to 46 Medal of Honor recipients that span from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.

"There is a special relationship between a state and its namesake ship," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "Naming this submarine Minnesota not only salutes the proud history of military support and contributions made by the people of Minnesota, but will also serve as a testament to the U.S. Navy's enduring bond with the great state of Minnesota for decades to come."

This will be the third ship to bear the state name. The first USS Minnesota, a sailing steam frigate, was commissioned in 1857 and served during the Civil War, remaining in service until her decommissioning in 1898. The second Minnesota was commissioned in 1907. On Dec. 16, 1907 she departed Hampton Roads as one of the 16 battleships of the Great White Fleet sent by then-President Theodore Roosevelt on a voyage around the world. She continued her service through World War I, and was decommissioned in 1921.

Minnesota will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. She will have improved stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable her to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.

Designated SSN 783, Minnesota is built to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Capable of operating in both the world's shallow littoral regions and deep waters, Minnesota will directly enable five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence.

The 7,800-ton Minnesota is built under a teaming arrangement between General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries. A crew of approximately 134 officers and enlisted personnel will operate the 377-foot long, 34-foot beam vessel, which will be able to dive to depths of greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. Minnesota is designed with a nuclear reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship - reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#Warfighting: Bonhomme Richard ARG, 31st MEU Complete PHIBLEX

Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) 29 prepares to enter the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard recently completed Amphibious Landing Exercise, an annual bilateral exercise designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and develop professional and personal relationships between U.S. forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Russell/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karen Blankenship, Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs
SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) -- The Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) departed from Subic Bay, Philippines Oct. 20 after completing the Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX).

PHIBLEX is an annual bilateral exercise held in conjunction with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and is designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and develop professional and personal relationships between U.S. and Philippine forces.

"Our historical relationship with the Republic of the Philippines is important," said Lt. Col. Troy Roesti, executive officer of the 31st MEU. "The resounding success of PHIBLEX 13 served to strengthen and reinforce the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two countries."

PHIBLEX lasted 10 days and was conducted at sea and ashore in the Republic of the Philippines. The bilateral training covered many different aspects of military operations, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and combined arms live-fire exercises.

"The value of this partnered training is immeasurable," said Roesti. "The resounding success, camaraderie and esprit de corps experienced during PHIBLEX 13 will serve as a benchmark for future exercises and training opportunities with our friends in the Philippines."

Marines and Sailors from the 31st MEU also visited five schools in Margulo, Magsaysay and Puerta Princesa. During these visits service members helped clean the schools by removing weeds and brush and by picking up trash. They also had the chance to interact with the children at the schools by playing games and talking with them.

"Getting to interact with the Filipino children goes beyond just playing games with them," said Lance Cpl. Cameron Wright, a heavy equipment operator with the 31st MEU. "They'll remember our visits and the various medical and engineering projects we've done with them, which all goes toward fostering a stronger relationship that goes beyond military-to-military training. These are lifelong bonds for the future."

Exercises like PHIBLEX help strengthen the ties between the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Pacific region.

"The partnered training during this exercise allowed U.S. Marines and Sailors, alongside Republic of the Philippine marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen, to teach and learn from each other, practice newly acquired skills and then demonstrate their unique capabilities," said Roesti. "The Marines and Sailors of the 31st MEU leave PHIBLEX 13 better trained and with memories that will not be forgotten."

The Bonhomme Richard ARG, commanded by Capt. Cathal S. O'Connor, is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and amphibious transport dock ship USS Denver (LPD 9) and is currently operating in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

Monday, October 22, 2012

N/MC MARS using 1950s era encryption for OTA traffic

Well, within a minute or two I have the answer to the N/MC MARS encryption method. Oh lordy, I forgot to sign the super secret handshake before I posted this. Tin foil hat in hand see CHNAVMARCORMARS message below dated 10-4-2012:

R 041200Z OCT 2012

The MARS Folks Get Stranger and Stranger

Just when you thought it was safe to ditch the tin foil hat, the Navy/MC MARS nets have stepped up to the plate with a new super secret squirrel method of operation (encypting message text). Here is an interesting intercept monitoring by our good friend Gray Ghost. Anyone have any ideas on what method these guys are using to encrpt their text?

Net: Navy/MC Region 4 Tennessee MARS 4H2B net Freq: 4038.5 USB
Mode: MT63 / 1K
TOI: 220103Z Oct 12


R 212122Z OCT 2012
GR 83

Net: Navy/MC Region 4 MARS 4X9B net
Freq: 3390.0 USM
Mode: MT63 / 1K
TOI: 210108Z Oct 12

R 182238Z OCT 2012
GR 48

Eglin begins AFMC exercise

 EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Eglin begins participating in the Air Force Materiel Command's Exercise Global Thunder/Vigilant Shield 13 from Oct. 22 - 26. During this period, the installation might experience some delays or short closures in areas due to exercise requirements. The installation will try to keep impacts to an absolute minimum.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Russian military reported on several successful combat training launches of strategic missiles

Смотрите оригинал материала на

So, with the cosmodrome "Plesetsk" launched intercontinental missile "Topol". As noted in the military, she was struck by the high degree of accuracy in the Kamchatka conditional target range "Kura". Another ballistic - was launched from a nuclear submarine Pacific Fleet "Saint George". The aim was also affected.

Successful cruise missiles and had shot the famous Tu-160 and Tu-95 MS. While crews spent in the air for about 15 hours.

The Defense Ministry said that these launches have confirmed the reliability of the strategic triad of Russia - SRF, nuclear missile submarines and missile range aircraft.

A bit more info and a translation

From our old friend the Old Crow on the UDXF group:

Following information is noted on Russian MOD website dated 20 October 2012. It adds a little more to the story unfolding concerning activities by the Strategic Triad of the Russian Armed Forces. Which activity - or at least the Strategic Air Forces part of it - was reflected in the collection of morse communications by a number of UDXF monitors. The additional information apparently reveals that the Russians themselves used one of the Cruise Missiles launched by a Ehngel's-based TU95MS (Bear H) located some 800 Km away as a target for 2 SAMs fired by an Air-Defence PANTsIR' "C" located on the PEMBA Range. The ALCM was said to have been destroyed.


The active phase of combat training operations within the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is bringing to an end the Summer training period and the 2012 training year.
On the 19 October, on the PEMBA range - situated within the Republic of KOMI, the capability of the newest Anti-Air Missile/Gun Complex - the Pantsir'"C" to intercept an actual live Cruise Missile was assessed for the first time. Earlier crew training by the teams  manning this newest complex being delivered to our army had been limited to the use of training version imitation Cruise Missile targets.
The launch of the Cruise Missile was accomplished by the crew of a Long Range Aviation TU-95MS bomber against a target which was located at a distance of 800 Km. The combat team of the Anti-Air Missile/Gun Complex Pantsir"C" successfully complied with the assigned mission and, not allowing the destruction of the target under their protection, destroyed the target (ie. the ALCM) using two AA missiles.
For several days prior to this event, personnel and equipment from Air/Space Defence Units were transported over several thousand Km into the PEMBA Range area by aircraft of Military Transport Aviation forces (VTA). They carried out further moves under their own resources - moving themselves several kilometres as part of the training. The combat teams and their vehicles assumed the duty of protecting a "dummy" administrative object. The actual protected object was the administrative building serving the Range area.
This training, carried out at the northern PEMBA Range has confirmed the high-level tactical-technical characteristics of the newest complex and the level of training of the complex
combat teams...

Putin Flexes Muscle on Nukes

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin took a leading role in the latest tests of Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal, the most comprehensive since the 1991 Soviet collapse, the Kremlin said on Saturday.

The exercises, held mostly on Friday, featured prominently in news reports on state television which seemed aimed to show Russians and the world that Putin is the hands-on chief of a resurgent power.

Tests involving command systems and all three components of the nuclear "triad" - land and sea-launched long-range nuclear missiles and strategic bombers - were conducted "under the personal leadership of Vladimir Putin", the Kremlin said.

An RS-12M Topol Intercontinental Ballistic Missile was launched from the Plesetsk site in northern Russia, and a submarine test-launched another ICBM from the Sea of Okhotsk, the Defence Ministry said.

Long-range Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers fired four guided missiles that hit their targets on a testing range in the northwestern Komi region, it said.

"Exercises of the strategic nuclear forces were conducted on such a scale for the first time in the modern history of Russia," the Kremlin statement said.

The exercises included tests of communications systems and "new algorithms" for command and control, it said.

Read the entire Reuters story by clicking here