A NEW JANE'S UPDATE? SO SOON?
I don't know what it is with Jane's Defense
. They're a subscription service, that's how they make their money, but they also have free teasers on their server. Sometimes it takes a long time before they post more free stuff, sometimes it comes in a flood. This week it's advised to get out the waders.
Ten Pounds of Crap in a Five Pound Bag
Last week an Iranian cargo plane
crashed, killing all 302 people on board. According to Jane's it crashed because it was overloaded
Well, duh! 302 people with all their gear? Of course it was overloaded! It was also snowing at the time, with high winds. That doesn't make for a good day for flying even without all the extra weight.
Hey, I could have written the article that said the Iranians were trying to cram too much in that old, worn out Soviet plane. How come Jane's doesn't give me a job?
This Isn't Helpful
Some nutjob started a subway fire in Daegu, India
that killed 120 people
. He carried gasoline bombs down into the station and lit them off when the place was packed with people. Now Jane's is asking if the tragedy was avoidable
Speaking as someone who used to work in law enforcement I'd have to say that it was. But that's not saying anything new, because everything
is avoidable. Steps can be made, efforts can be expended, procedures can be implemented. But almost all of them just aren't all that practical, and every one costs money. No matter what you're not going to be able to catch all the nutbags. Tragedies like this are heart-wrenching, but there's always another bozo who is dedicated and has nothing better to do but sit around all day and try to think of ways to kill innocent people. Sad but true.
Fly the Expensive Skies
It would seem that air travel in the US is about to become more expensive
(and, NO, it isn't because pilots are about to be able to arm themselves). It would appear that there's less air traffic because fewer people are willing to fly nowadays. The airports have to pay for maintenance and day-to-day expenses. Fewer flights means less planes to charge landing fees, which means that the fewer planes will have to be charged more to cover expenses.
This is what some people call a "ripple effect", and still others call "unintended consequences". See, after 9/11 less people were willing to fly because they thought that getting on a plane meant an increased chance of personally being on the receiving end of a terrorist attack. (Never mind that the chances were actually less than before 9/11 because the passengers would now tear hijackers apart. Perception is more important than reality.) One of the ways that the US gov tried to instill confidence was through increased security at airport checkpoints.
But it backfired. Some of the measures were designed simply to increase visibility of the security procedures, which is why little kids and aged people too feeble to be a threat are searched so diligently. This obviously did nothing to increase security, but it did increase the work load of the screeners. This meant more hassle, more waiting in line, and even some missed flights.
So people started to find other ways to travel. All of a sudden they figured that if you could drive anywhere in less than 4 hours instead of flying you actually saved time. This translated into an even bigger drain on potential passengers, which meant more flights.
Now the airports will have to raise their fees a whopping 40%. The airlines are in financial trouble now, they'll have to raise the ticket prices. Which means that even more passengers will find other ways to get there. Which means that there will be even fewer flights.
Anyone see a pattern here?
A Reasonable Cost/Benefit Analysis
One of the things that has frustrated those that are in favor of invading Iraq (like myself, big shock there, huh?) is the fact that Turkey has been shaking down the US
for money before they'll allow our troops to land on Turkish soil. Many people are asking why they'd do something like this. after all, if Saddam is such a threat, why aren't they paying us to go in and get him?
The major threat posed by Saddam is his WMD's. He's contained so far as conventional warfare is concerned and no threat in that area. But he's been trying for years to develop a nuke and acquire the means to deliver it for years. One of these days he'll get lucky and be the proud owner of a shiny new atomic bomb.
So who will he use it on? I figure that the US is the biggest threat to him since we're the only power that can reign him in (heck, the UN is no damn help). So Iraq's priority one target would be Washington, followed by New York. After that, he'd be thinking of convinving his neighbors to submit to his rule, so Tel Aviv is number three on his list (it would demonstrate that he had a nuke as well as go a long way to getting those mullahs on his side).
Well, where's Turkey in all this? Oh, sure, Saddam would turn his loathsome gaze on Turkey sooner or later. But by then the US would have stomped him into dust for daring to vaporize one of our cities, and the Turks know it.
So why not hold out for some bucks? The risk is small on their side, while the need is great on ours. And we've got the money.
I Wish I Was Rich
about the doctrine of air power. I wish I had the money to actually pay to read the whole thing.
Around the Viet Nam era, the USAF had the idea that high tech was the way to go. Stand-off air-to-air missiles were the wave of the future in fighter planes, so they didn't need a gun to weigh them down. And they didn't need to be agile because the enemy would never get close enough to engage in a dogfight. So you might as well make the fighters bigger because they could then carry more missiles, and maybe a bomb or two to support ground ops.
Makes sense when you hear it put that way, right? And it did make sense if things had turned out that way. But there was a very vocal group of fighter jocks that started screaming for a small, agile air superiority fighter built for a dogfight. These guys were so relentless, so loud, and they used any tactic they could to embarrass the competition and make their voices heard that they became known as the "Fighter Mafia". Their efforts paid off big time with the development and adoption of the F-16 Fighting Falcon
But the first Gulf War showed that the F-16 might be able to dogfight really well, but it couldn't do much else. The Air Force even started to experiment with the F-16 filling ground support roles, a job that other aircraft
could do better by far, even if these other craft wouldn't survive a dogfight.
So what's going to happen to the Fighter Mafia? Dunno. It would be a shame to lose our dogfighting capability. You never know when they'll be some dog that won't come to heel.
Running Out of Cash
It would appear that the UK gov is going to pay big bucks to keep it's Astute class submarine program
and it's Nimrod maritime recon aircraft program
This isn't a bad idea, since both systems are needed. I just hope it doesn't slow down the Future Carrier project
Well, that's about it so far as the free stuff is concerned. See you guys later!