USS Zumwalt Class Destroyer -The Stealth Master

In the year 2013, the United States Navy was blessed with one of the stealthiest ships known in the history of mankind – the USS Zumwalt Class Destroyer. The ship is named after the Vietnam War hero, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt. Right now, the Zumwalt (DDG-1000) is undergoing its sea trials and is scheduled to be commissioned in Baltimore in October 2016.

The future of USS Zumwalt Class Destroyer and its role in the US Navy remains to be seen; however, the reason this ship has become the topic of discussion is because of its outstanding characteristics. Bath Iron Works certainly outdid themselves by giving this ship a catlike stealthiness. Let’s discover some of its other features:

About the Ship:

The USS Zumwalt, or as it is more commonly known by its technical name, the DDG-1000, is a high-tech warship. This ship has a net worth of $3 billion. The reason it is called a destroyer is because it has dual characteristics; defensive and offensive. It also has the capability of destroying missiles and can work in all kinds of missions; Individual ones or through collaborating with different groups.

At the moment, the ship is going through various demonstrations and sea trials. Yet, it is expected to become completely operational by the year 2019. While one destroyer is completely ready, the other one is also on course to completion and the construction of the third destroyer also in progress.

The Built Of the USS Zumwalt DDG-1000:

The reason that we said DDG-1000 is defensive is because of its Dual-Band Sonar Radars, which can detect any number of submerged mines in the sea and will help in giving a heads up to the crew during any attack – especially ones that would be too close to the shore.

The USS Zumwalt Class Destroyer is about 600-ft in length and being high-tech, runs on the electric drive system which not only makes this ship swifter, but also less noisy than its diesel counterparts.

Features That Set Zumwalt Apart:

The reason that the Zumwalt is considered one of the stealthiest ships is because of its powerful sensors and SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar. It allows the ship to detect any danger from far away. The structure of the ship is also super convenient; it contains various apertures and a low-key profile. Since the ship is large, it can also hold aerial vehicles, like 2 MH-60R or 3 Vertical Takeoff Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, along with 1 MH-60R.

This electrical power driven ship is equipped with AMI (Advanced Induction Motors) for generating power and IFTP (Integrated Fight through Power) for integrating it.

How Stealthy is the Zumwalt Class Destroyer?  

History might not have seen a ship as covert and sneaky as the DDG-1000 – and that is saying something, considering its hulking size. Even during normal test trials, it is so difficult to hide it that the crew uses giant reflectors to warn other ships of its presence. What makes it interesting is the fact that not only is its own radars super high-tech, but it also has the ability to hide its presence from other ships. So, another crew might be picking up signals of a few fish vessels when on coming close, they’ll discover this giant mammoth of a ship looming over them.

For now, 3 Zumwalt-class destroyers are being prepared and by the year 2019, they will be fully functional.

 

Alvin York and Henry Johnson- Two of the Most Notable American Military Heroes of WWI

Greatness, it is often said, comes out of the most trying and rather difficult times. This is probably the reason why some of the most inspiring stories are embedded in times of human suffering such as war and genocide. Crisis in such times is not only restrained to the front line battle between two opposing parties and their conflicting ideologies; it is also the moral crisis which seeps deeper into societies. The ones who are remembered as great are those who held onto their moral responsibility by responding, in words and action, in a way that’s right and just.

Some of the WW I heroes of the United States Armed Forces are remembered for just these reasons; for persevering and staying steadfast and honest in the role they were given. Continue reading to know about two of the most notable ones, Sergeant Alvin Cork and Henry Johnson.

Alvin York

Many would be surprised to know that he opposed the idea of fighting in a war on ground because it conflicted with his religious ideology which was focused on peacefulness and nonviolence. Belonging to Tennessee, York was actually forced to join the ground troops. It was October 8th, 1918 when during the well known Meuse Argonne Offensive, York along with his team had been able to capture seventeen German troops. It is here that they were attacked with heavily loaded machine guns from all sides which reportedly killed nine of his companions. He responded promptly by first escaping the sight and then targeting German shooters one after the other with the help of his rifle. Bringing his 0.45 pistol to good use, he killed six of the German shooters when they tried to attack him with bayonets. He eventually made the remaining ones to surrender and captured them while killing some 20 during the combat. When the war was over, he got back to his original occupation of farming even after receiving a Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross.

Henry Johnson

Belonging to the National Guard of black soldiers famously called the Harlem Hellfighters, Johnson and some of his black companions did unskilled labor during the initial war stages. But when the French army ranks were swiftly getting exhausted, they were sent over to fill in for them. He secured a spot for himself in the books of history on 14th May, 1918 when attacked by twenty German troops in the wee hours of the night. Henry Johnson, along with Needham Roberts, was serving the duty of sentinel when the attack took place. While Roberts was injured to the point of immobility, Johnson stayed steadfast and attacked back consistently with rifle as well as hand grenades. When he could no longer use his weapons due to being jammed, he utilized them for hand to hand combat, not stopping even once. Upon seeing the Germans trying to take away Roberts, he started stabbing them with the only weapon left with him; a bolo knife, attacking until they retreated.

The Top Five U.S Military Special Operation Units

An irrefutable charisma is what the U.S military special operation units have always held. As they often work secretly, the exploits of these specially chosen soldiers are almost of fabled nature. When laymen hear the word: special operations units, they immediately envision a group of super troopers. However, what they don’t know is that SO units are time and again fashioned for specific missions. Some of the missions include counter terrorism, foreign internal defense, strategic investigation and irregular warfare.

There are also some SO units that have expertise in direct action missions such as ambushes and raids. However, each unit is unique and primed for their specific job. There are some U.S military special operation units that stand above the rest. Here are the top five U.S military special operation units.

  1. USMC Force Reconnaissance

At fifth place is USMC Force Reconnaissance. Incepted in 1957, the USMC Force Reconnaissance has been performing direct action missions as well as extensive reconnaissance since its birth. For people not familiar with this term, reconnaissance means military investigation of an area to determine strategic features or unearth an enemy.

  1. U.S Army Delta Force

Founded in November 1977, U.S Army Delta Force generally comprises of quiet and multitalented professionals. This unit is usually involved in information operations, counter terrorism, special reconnaissance, and irregular warfare.

  1. U.S Intelligence Support Activity

Obvious from the name itself, U.S Intelligence Support Activity is involved in the task of gathering intelligence information. Gathering intelligence information is the primary function of this special operations unit. In order to gather information, U.S Intelligence Support Activity soldiers track and monitor radio communication and go undercover.

  1. U.S Army Ranger Regiment (75th)

Headquartered at Ft. Benning, GA, U.S Army 75th Ranger Regiment includes three special operations battalions and a Special Troops Battalion. The Ranger Regiment performs a number of specialized operations such as responding to crisis situations within and outside of the United States.

  1. U.S Navy Seals

The most popular U.S military special operations unit, the U.S Navy Seals is arguably the most prudent U.S SO unit around. In existence since World War 2, the U.S Navy Seals has fought many battles and won most (if not all) of them. The primary responsibility of this unit is safeguarding the U.S coast and beaches.

 

Notable Women of the US Military

The role of women in US armed forces has seen a major uplift in the past few decades in terms of both ground and air combat. Witnessing a woman in any major role in the military used to be a rarity about a century ago. Today, they are actively taking part in such military roles as at hard core combat and command that were only considered the forte of men.

Few of such women merit a mention because of how unabashedly they defy the stereotypical gender roles through their actions and come across as true wonder women;

Major Lauren Edwards

Originally a combat engineer belonging to the Marine Corps, Major Lauren Edwards stood true to the need of the hour when during leading a convoy of combat engineers in war torn Iraq (2003), her unit came under attack. Having never been directly fired at before, it came as a surprise when she led and strategically defended the group of roughly one-fifty engineers and all the vehicles along.

Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester

Since World War II, Sgt. Leigh Anne happens to be the first woman to have earned the Silver Star Medal, and for good reason.  She utilized her close combat antics when her squad got fired at in Iraq during the war. When almost dozen insurgents attacked, she walked right into the line of fire to directly take down three of the Iraqi insurgents from a dangerously close range. The right impulse and quick decision making are two crucial factors in such a situation; she proved to be a master in both as she saved the lives of her convoy members.

Lt. General Patricia Horoho

Having assumed the highest medical rank of the US Army as the forty-third Surgeon General, Patricia Horoho has been able to make reality something that hasn’t happened in the last two hundred years; being a female non-physician to take up the Surgeon General Rank, that too while working in the capacity of a nurse. Her extensive experience in the trauma units won her the revered Society of Trauma Nurses Leadership Award as well.

Cpl. Mary Beth Monson

Corporal Mary Beth won the Woman of the Year Military Leadership Award in 2013 for the way she maintained her calm and composure while acting strategically when her base came under fire. She was deployed in Afghanistan when a few combatants, disguising as American soldiers but actually belonging to the enemy, launched a full blown assault on the base.  During the attack, she acted heroically by helping everyone inside keep calm while after that, she spent a good eighty hours cleaning the place when it wasn’t a part of her unit’s responsibilities. Her strategic yet quick approach of taking things in control in the face of an unforeseen blow made her stand out as one of the most composed female officers.

Why the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is Replacing the Military’s Fighter Jets

A fifth generation fighter aircraft, Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II offers the U.S military advanced stealth along with network-enabled operations, fighter speed and agility, advanced support and completely amalgamated sensor information. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is available in three different types. The three Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II types are meant for the three main factions of the U.S military i.e. the army, the navy, and the air force. Each faction is assigned a different Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II type.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II type assigned to the U.S Air Force will replace the F-16 and A-10, the F-35 Lightning II type assigned to the U.S Navy will replace the F/A-18  and the Lightning II type assigned to the U.S Marine Corps will replace the AV-8B. Why is the U.S military replacing its old fighter aircrafts with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II? There are many reasons for this. However, we’re going to look at some of the primary ones.

A single seat and single engine fighter aircraft, the lightning II encompasses advanced sensors built into the aircraft. The lightning II is designed for a variety of missions including electronic attack, reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence missions. Previously, each of these missions required a different aircraft. However, the inception of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II has changed all that. Now, missions of all kind can be carried out using a single aircraft: the F-35 Lightning II.

When it comes to U.S military aviation, the F-35’s stealth capabilities are unrivalled. The stealth features of the F-35 are optimized by advanced materials and an integrated airframe design. The superior advantages that the F-35 has over other aircrafts are showcased by its stealth power, electronic attack capabilities, advanced countermeasures, data fusion, and sophisticated sensors.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II performs in a unique manner. The factors that contribute to this performance are the F-35’s state of the art manufacturing processes, immersed mission systems sensors, internal weapons and fuel carriage and external shape.

An international team of leading aerospace companies develop, produce, and support the Martin F-35 Lightning II. This makes it easy to understand why the F-35 Lightning II is head and shoulders above other fighter aircrafts. In short, compared to the other fighter aircrafts, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II provides the U.S military greater access and survivability in times of conventional warfare. Therefore, it’s a preferred choice!

 

Aircrafts of the USAF

The US Air Force is known across the world for its superior air power dominance.  What is it that sets the USAF apart from other Air Forces? It comes down to  technology, practice (war games) and skill.

The USAF’s air fleet consists of custom-made airframes that enable them to carry out and complete different missions effectively. Of course the aircrafts need a pilot to navigate, operate and maneuver them in order to ensure successful completion of each operation assigned to them.  

Here’s a list of some of the mean machines that make up a part of the total USAF fleet.

B-52 Stratofortress

The Stratofortress is a long-range bomber aircraft.  It has been in use since the 1950s and was one of the primary vehicles used during the war in Vietnam. The B52s have since been outfitted with the latest technical military advances so that it can continue Its mission in executing the extensive range of tasks it has always been capable of taking on. In times of conflicts, the B-52 serves the USAF for strategic attacks, close air support, maritime and counter-air missions, and surveillance and its ability to fly up to 80,000 feet makes it invulnerable to many of today’s ground to air missiles.

B-2 Spirit

The next generation of bomber. The stealth bomber B-2 Spirit has the ability to carry both nuclear and conventional armaments on board.

B-1B Lancer

The bomber B-1B Lancer currently forms the backbone of the USAF’s combat fleet. It is capable of carrying out multiple missions with large quantities of weaponry that includes both non-precision and precision weapons. The aircraft boasts the largest payload capacity in the USAF fleet.

F-15

The highly maneuverable F-15 fighter is designed for greater air dominance in air-to-air combat. The upgraded F-15E variation comes with the additional capability of executing air-to-ground combat missions with exceptional precision.

F-16 Fighting Falcon

Most of you might be familiar with this one already. The multi-purpose F-16 aircrafts are used by the USAF for both air-to-ground and air-to-air combat. These solid machines are compact and offer greater maneuverability for missions.

F-22 Raptor

This  is the only combat ready fighter jet belonging to the fifth-generation. It is the most recently employed aircraft in the USAF. The fighter offers stealth combined with advanced avionics, exceptional maneuverability, and supercruise mode for unmatched aerial supremacy.

HH-60G Pave Hawk

The HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is used for operations involving personnel recovery from hostile territories. It is also used for humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and search and rescue ops.

HC-130

The HC-130 aircraft and its variants are serving the USAF as personnel recovery platforms. They are primarily used for evacuations and disaster response. This particular aircraft can operate and land on a diverse assortment of airfields.

MC-130

This aircraft provides mid-air support, refueling, resupply, exfiltration, and infiltration for the special-operations forces. The aircraft is also used for carrying out secondary psychological missions, like air dropping leaflets to influence emotions and behaviors of particular groups of individuals.

T-6A Texan II

This aircraft is the basic trainer aircraft serving the USAF. The T-6A Texan II is used to provide primary flying skills, knowledge, and training to the US Navy and Air Force pilots.

T-38 Talon

The T-38 Talon too, is a USAF training jet. Its basic purpose is to train pilots for high-altitude supersonic flying missions. These missions are usually carried out by the A-10, B-1B, F-15E, and F-22 aircrafts.

U-2S/TU-2S

This beauty is used for high-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance. The aircraft is capable of operating in all sorts of environmental and weather conditions. The U-2S/TU-2S plane is designed to capture HD photographic imagery and monitor for signals intelligence.

We bet you’re far more learned about the USAF than you were before you read this post. Currently the USAF uses 39 distinct aircrafts for its operations. Each aircraft and its variations serve a specific purpose. Without these aircrafts it’s safe to say that the USAF is incomplete.

Lockeed AC-130 Gunship

The Lockheed AC-130 gunship is a powerhouse of munitions. It is a long-endurance ground-attack variant of the C-130 Hercules aircraft, of which one can envision the size of such a fighting machine.

It is used mostly as air support to assist troops on the ground. Such is the case with the Kurd takeover of Mosul, Iraq from ISIS. The Kurds supplied the ground forces and under U.S. cover, were able to liberate the city. Needless to say, the air support were mainly AC-130 gun ships. The AC-130 was also used frequently during the Vietnam War.

The AC-130 is a propeller driven aircraft that carries a wide array of anti-ground weapons. The AC-130 (and its variants) can carry a 25 mm GAU-12 Equalizer, one Bofors 40 mm autocannon and one 105 mm M102 cannon. Together, with its sophisticated sensors, navigation, and fire control systems, it is an awesome fighting machine that can strike hard at enemy ground forces, allowing allied troops to advance.

Flying at just 7,000 feet, the AC-130 does not use GPS or coordinate tracking to attack their target; rather, the plane relies solely on spotting the enemy visually.

One might wonder how an aircraft that flies so close to the ground can maneuver without being attacked. One of the answers is the use of ‘Angel Flares’. These are high intensity flares used to repel heat seeking missiles. A pattern forms that allows the flares to act as decoys.

AC-130 Gunship
‘Angel Flares’ used as a defensive measure to ward off incoming missiles

The armament is as follows for the AC-130 Gunship and its variants:

AC-130A Project Gunship II

  • 4 × 7.62 mm GAU-2/A miniguns
  • 4 × 20 mm (0.787 in) M61 Vulcan 6-barrel Gatling cannon

AC-130A Surprise Package, Pave Pronto, AC-130E Pave Spectre

  • 2× 7.62 mm GAU-2/A miniguns
  • 2× 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon
  • 2× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon

AC-130E Pave Aegis

  • 2× 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon
  • 1× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon
  • 1× 105 mm (4.13 in) M102 howitzer

AC-130H Spectre

  • 1× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon
  • 1× 105 mm (4.13 in) M102 howitzer

AC-130U Spooky II

  • General Dynamics 25 mm (0.984 in) GAU-12/U Equalizer 5-barreled Gatling cannon
  • 1× 40 mm (1.58 in) L/60 Bofors cannon
  • 1× 105 mm (4.13 in) M102 howitzer

AC-130W Stinger II / AC-130J Ghostrider

  • 1x 30 mm ATK GAU-23/A autocannon
  • 1x 105 mm M102 Howitzer (AC-130J Ghostrider only, fired out the back of the aircraft via a modified rear ramp.)
  • ‘Gunslinger’ weapons system with launch tube for AGM-176 Griffin missiles and/or GBU-44/B Viper Strike munitions (10 round magazines)

Wing mounted, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) and/or GBU-53/B SDB IIs[4] (4 per hardpoint on BRU-61/A rack)

This video shows the AC-130 Spectre Gunship in action over Afghanistan in 2014

AGM-65 Maverick

The AGM-65 Maverick is a precision attack air to ground missile used in the US Air Force, the US Marine Corps and more than 33 countries.

AGM-65 Maverick Air to Ground Missile
AGM-65 Maverick

This missile played a crucial role in the Vietnam War, Iran-Iraq, and the Persian Gulf Wars. The Persian Gulf War began with a massive US-led air offensive known as Operation Desert Storm. About 5,000 AGM-65 missiles of different variants were used to attack the armored targets of the Iraqi military.

The start of the development of the Maverick started in 1966 and took about six year to complete. The missile was originally designed to replace the aging radio guided AGM-12 Bullpup missiles that were first launched in 1959. The Maverick was deployed for the first time in 1972, also replacing the AGM-62 Walleye in the 70s.

Raytheon Systems (then called Hughes Missile Systems) won a contract worth $95 million from the US  Air Force to produce 17,000 Mavericks in 1968. The AGM-65 A variant was developed with an electro-optical television guidance system. An improved version, AGM-65B, was developed next.

In 1983, version AGM-65D was developed and delivered to the US Air Force. This type contains an imaging infrared seeker. Subsequently, G, E, and F models were also produced. Currently, the Maverick H and K are the most modern missiles being produced by Raytheon with an AGM-65L under development which will contain a digital semi-active seeker.

The Maverick is one of the first fire-and-forget missiles, following the path to its targets autonomously. It also shares the same configurations as the AIM-4 Falcon and AIM-54 Phoenix. The missile also carries two types of warheads, a heavyweight warhead that penetrates targets before detonating, and a shaped charge warhead with a contact fuze in the nose.  

The missile system is compatible with 25 jet fighter aircraft, including the F-16 and A-10 and they have been exported to countries worldwide including Australia, Japan, Israel, Poland, Sweden, South Korea, and more.

SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71
SR-71 Blackbird of the Skies

If there was one plane that stood out from the others and had been the incentive for the future of military aircraft, it is the SR-71 Blackbird.

This spectacular aircraft was a cousin to the YF12A prototype interceptor to replace the older F-106 Delta Dart. Initially, the Air Force contracted North American to develop its next generation plane, the F-108. A mach-3 aircraft that never left the ground, due to cancellation in 1959.

Lockheed YF-12A
Lockheed_YF-12A

The Air Force instead embarked on Lockheed’s Skunk Works program, (Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Project) to build its next generation plane, where work was currently underway developing a top secret spy plane called the A-12.

The head of Skunk Works, Kelly Johnson agreed to build a fighter aircraft for the Air Force by modifying the A-12 version. It was labeled AF-12 and the USAF purchased three of them in the mid 1960s.

The primary difference between the A-12 and the AF-12 was by modifying the A-12’s nose by removing the chines in order to accommodate the Hughes AN/ASG-18 fire-control radar, which was originally developed for the XF-108.

In addition, a second cockpit for a crew member to operate the fire control radar for the air-to-air missile system was developed. These modifications resulted in a major change in the aircraft’s overall design from the specifications of the XF-108.

Specifically, its aerodynamics required ventral fins to be mounted under the fuselage and engine nacelles to maintain stability. The four bays previously used to house the A-12’s reconnaissance equipment were converted to carry the Hughes AIM-47 Falcon (GAR-9) missiles, with one bay used for fire control equipment; hence, the futuristic design of the Blackbird was materializing.

Enter the YF-12A. A prototype fighter that was an offset of the A-12. It had its first flying mission on August 7th, 1963. The aircraft was kept top secret until President Johnson announced its existence on February 24th, 1964. The YF-12A was cleverly announced to continue keeping the existence of the A-1, which was still in the pre-production phase a secret.

Some of the sightings of the A-12 from the top secret Area 51 was attributed to the YF-12A to camouflage the A-12’s secret as it flew in the area.

The YF-12A continued in its development; however, due to accidents and malfunctions, the three YF-12A aircrafts that were built, two were destroyed and the third was sent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio on 17 November 1979.

Publicity of the YF-12A was kept intact in order to keep the CIA top secret A-12 variant (the SR-71) from becoming public.

The SR-71 Aircraft
The SR-71 under NASA testing

The SR-71 maintained such advanced technology, it became the precursor to the stealth aircraft we see today and instead of it being an interceptor, it was used for aerial reconnaissance missions. It  operated at such high speeds (mach-3) and altitudes (80,000 feet), it would actually be able to evade incoming anti-aircraft missiles by just flying faster. It was known to fly faster than a bullet.

In addition, the SR-71 was designed with basic stealth technology, which served as the forerunner to future stealth aircraft, such as the B-17 and B-2 stealth bomber.

Much of the SR-71’s history is still kept secret, especially its stealth technology, but in 1974, during the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war, an aircraft was seen over the skies of Egypt flying faster and higher than any other known aircraft and this aircraft was the SR-71.

The plane served the Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 were built. 12 were lost in accidents, but with none lost in any war..

The SR-71 has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft since 1976, which was previously held by its YF-12A cousin.

The elegant design of the SR-71 is magnificent, but it is the sophistication of this aircraft that, to this day, a machine of the future and we are dedicated to Lockheed and the United States Air Force for their ingenuity and foresight in designing a plane of such magnitude.

 

B-36 Peacemaker

This huge piston driven airplane, dubbed “Peacemaker” has broken more records than any other aircraft. Not so much in its performance, but in its physical characteristics.

The Convair B-36 was a Cold War strategic bomber built by Convair and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1949 to 1959.

B-36 Bomber
B-36 Peacemaker Bomber

The B-36 used a piston engine, also called reciprocating engine, which is identical to the characteristics of a car engine and was the largest of its type to ever be constructed. The B-36’s wingspan was 230 feet, which was the longest wingspan of any combat aircraft.

This aircraft was the first bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons and was incorporated in SAC. It had a range of 10,000 miles and was able to carry a maximum payload of 72,000 lbs.

It was also the world’s first manned bomber with an unrefueled intercontinental range.

The B-36 aircraft was decommissioned in 1959, however, the Peacemaker was the inspiration for long range and payload standards that set the stage for the newer fleet of intercontinental bombers, such as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, which used jet powered engines.

View the B-36 up close