US Navy charges sailor accused of starting the fire that completely destroyed his amphibious assault ship

Firefighters battle a fire aboard the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard
Firefighters battle a fire aboard the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard

  • The US Navy brought charges against a sailor in connection to the USS Bonhomme Richard fire.
  • The sailor was a member of the crew and is accused of starting the fire.
  • The fire devastated the amphibious assault ship, leading the Navy to scrap it rather than repair it.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Navy has brought charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice against a sailor in connection with the devastating fire that destroyed the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard last July.

“The Sailor was a member of Bonhomme Richard’s crew at the time and is accused of starting the fire,” Third Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson said in a statement.

He explained that “evidence collected during the investigation is sufficient to direct a preliminary hearing in accordance with due process under the military justice system.”

The preliminary hearing for the sailor was directed by Third Fleet commander Vice Adm. Steve Koehler, who the Navy says is considering court-martial charges. The service withheld the identity of the sailor.

Navy USS Bonhomme Richard
A fire burns aboard USS Bonhomme Richard at Naval Base San Diego, July 12, 2020.

The serious fire that broke out last summer aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard burned for four days, leaving the vessel in such poor condition in the aftermath that the Navy made the decision to decommission and scrap the ship rather than invest time and money in any attempt to repair it.

Early invesigations into the fire indicated that it started in a lower vehicle storage area. It then spread rapidly through the ship. Dozens of people were injured battling the blaze.

About a month and a half after the incident, a senior defense official told the Associated Press that investigators suspected arson was the cause of the fire and that a sailor was being questioned as a potential suspect. It is unclear if the sailor charged this week is the same person.

If the fire was intentionally set, it will mark the second time in a decade the Navy has lost a ship to arson. Following a fire set by a shipyard worker aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Miami in May 2012, the Navy made the decision to scrap the boat. The shipyard worker was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US military says huge explosive the Navy set off to test new aircraft carrier didn’t cause deadly condo collapse in Florida

Aerial view of the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida
Aerial view of the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida

  • A condo in Florida collapsed six days after an explosive Navy test, raising questions.
  • The military said the shock trials for its new carrier and the collapse are unrelated.
  • Experts backed that view, saying there was no “reasonable” connection between the two incidents.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Questions have been raised about whether an explosive Navy test of its new aircraft carrier hundreds of miles away played a part in the deadly collapse of a condo in Miami six days later. The Pentagon and experts say it didn’t.

On Friday, June 18, the Navy set off a 40,000 pound explosive in the Atlantic about 107 miles off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida in shock trials for the new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier. The blast registered as a 3.9 on the Richter scale.

Six days later, on June 24, Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condominium in Surfside, a Miami suburb over 250 miles away from the site of the Navy blast, partially collapsed. At least a dozen people have died, and more than one hundred people are still missing.

“I have seen nothing that will correlate the shock trial test with the terrible event today in South Florida,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said last Thursday. “Certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to everybody affected by that.”

The spokesman said that “we know we need to do this kind of testing for the whole of our major ships like aircraft carriers and that it’s an important opportunity to evaluate the structural integrity of the hull and its ability to handle a blast of that size.”

Kirby added that in choosing the location, “there’s a lot of factors” that are considered “to make sure that it’s as safe as it can possibly be.”

Navy aircraft carrier Gerald Ford during shock trials
US Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford completes the first scheduled explosive event of Full Ship Shock Trials in the Atlantic Ocean, June 18, 2021.

Navy spokesman Capt. Clay Doss said in an emailed statement that “the USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78) Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST) occurred approximately 100 [nautical miles] off of the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.”

“There are no indications the tragic event in Miami is related to the test,” he said. “During FSST, the Navy considers a wide variety of environmental and safety factors to protect people, vessels and wildlife in the surrounding area.”

Paul Earle, a US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center seismologist, explained to the Miami Herald that the size of the explosion set off by the Navy, the distance from the condo collapse, and the time between the two incidents made any connection very unlikely.

“We do not see any reasonable mechanism for the Navy explosion on June 18 to have triggered the collapse of the Miami Beach-area condo on June 24,” he said.

“There are about 300 earthquakes of similar size to the Navy explosion in the contiguous US every year, none of which have triggered a major building collapse,” Earle said, adding that California sees 3.9 magnitude earthquakes regularly.

Florida-based building engineer Frederick Shaffer explained to the local news outlet WPTV that it was unlikely the Navy test impacted the building in Surfside, where buildings are built to withstand hurricanes.

“A building designed to South Florida standards should survive your average earthquake in California,” he said.

A number of theories, ranging from foundation failures to construction damage, have been put forward, but for now, the cause of the deadly Surfside condo collapse remains unknown. And no single cause may be solely responsible for this tragedy.

Atorod Azizinamini, chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Florida International University, told The Miami Herald that disasters like this tend to be the result of “a perfect storm of several factors coming together at the same time.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

US Navy says it will not take further action against retired Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher for his remarks on how a captured enemy fighter died

Edward Gallagher
U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher (R), with wife Andrea Gallagher, leaves court after being acquitted of most of the serious charges against him during his court-martial trial at Naval Base San Diego in San Diego, California , U.S., July 2, 2019.

  • Retired Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher was cleared after being accused of murdering a prisoner of war.
  • But in May, he said that he and other SEALs killed him by practicing medical procedures on him.
  • The Navy said it would not take action against him because it could not corroborate this story.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Navy said Tuesday that it does not plan to take action against retired Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher after he said in May that he and other SEALs used a dying enemy fighter for medical practice with no intention of saving him. The Navy said it could not corroborate his claims.

Gallagher was charged with killing a severely wounded Islamic State prisoner in Iraq in 2017 by stabbing the captured enemy fighter in the neck, but he was acquitted in a high-profile war crimes trial in 2019.

He was convicted of posing for a photograph with the captive’s corpse and demoted, but President Donald Trump intervened on his behalf, restoring his rank and stopping the Navy from taking away his SEAL trident.

The results of the trial aside, Gallagher told Dan Taberski, the host of the podcast “The Line,” in early May that “the grain of truth in the whole thing is that that ISIS fighter was killed by us and that nobody at that time had a problem with it.”

“We killed that guy. Our intention was to kill him. Everybody was on board,” he said. Asked about his statement that the intention was to kill the fighter, Gallagher responded that he and the others intended to “do medical scenarios on him until he died.”

“He was going to die regardless. We weren’t taking any prisoners,” Gallagher explained to Taberski. “That wasn’t our job.” He added that “everyone was like, let’s just do medical treatments on him until he’s gone.”

Gallagher said that when he cut an emergency airway in the prisoner’s throat to insert a breathing tube, he was not doing the procedure to save his life, but rather he was, in his words, “practicing to see how fast I could do one.”

Citing records, Navy Times reported in 2019 that after 20 minutes of treatment, the prisoner’s body “ended up inexplicably spangled with medical devices.”

Denying allegations that he killed the prisoner, allegations which were at the heart of his trial, Gallagher told Taberski “that dude died from all the medical treatments that were done,” further stating that there were “plenty of medical treatments that were done to him.”

In a later an interview with Military.com in June, Gallagher appeared to backtrack, stating that although he and his teammates used the dying prisoner as a training tool for medical procedures, nothing was done to accelerate his death or that was not in his medical interests.

After Gallagher’s May podcast appearance, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the Navy was “looking into” the situation.

“The Navy reviewed the matter and will not pursue further action,” Navy spokesperson Cmdr. Courtney Hillson said in a statement Tuesday.

She said that “after a review conducted by the Navy, it was determined that Gallagher’s statements were not corroborated and no substantive information was found to merit an investigation based on those statements.”

Hillson also said that matters pertaining to the medical treatment and death of the prisoner were “already investigated and/or adjudicated at Gallagher’s court-martial,” so legally under the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Navy would be unable to try Gallagher for the same alleged crimes again.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Photos of China’s new aircraft carrier are leaking out, and they appear to show a modern flattop in the making

liaoning aircraft carrier
China commissioned its first carrier, the Liaoning, in 2012. Since then, it has added another, and a third is on the way. Experts say it could be a “huge step” for China.

  • Over the past week, a number of photos of China’s third aircraft carrier have leaked out online.
  • The photos appear to show a ship that is very different from the first two Chinese carriers.
  • “It is not a US carrier,” one expert said, “but it’s still a huge step for China.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

China’s third aircraft carrier, which is expected to be the country’s first modern flattop, is starting to take shape at the Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai, new images that have steadily been leaking out online appear to show.

Prior to 2012, China did not have any aircraft carriers, but over the years, it has managed to develop a modest carrier capability.

China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning
Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has two aircraft carriers, the Liaoning and the Shandong.

China built the first from the refitted hull of an old Soviet vessel. The second, which was China’s first indigenously produced aircraft carrier, was a larger, slightly improved copy of the Liaoning.

But the latest images of China’s third carrier, gathered from Chinese social media and posted on Twitter by Chinese military expert Andreas Rupprecht, hint at what has long been expected of this new ship – that it is likely going to be a step forward for the country’s aircraft-carrier program.

There are still a number of unknowns, but as more and more photos come out, they are painting a clearer picture of how the construction of this new ship, a still unnamed ship designated as the Type 003, is progressing.

There have even been some up-close shots of the new aircraft carrier.

And, some online observers have already started trying to work out exactly what the carrier will look like based on the images of the ongoing construction, though experts suggest it might be still be too early to tell.

Matthew Funaiole, a senior fellow and China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, looked at satellite imagery of the construction efforts at Jiangnan this week.

“They still have not put the island in place. They are still working on the flight deck. There’s still quite a lot of work to be done,” he explained to Insider. That being said, some things about the ship are starting to become clearer.

The new vessel is noticeably larger than the first two carriers, giving China the ability to field a bigger and more diverse air wing, a necessary step as China works to build a modern navy able to project power farther from its shores.

Considering the development of China’s third aircraft carrier, as well as China’s interests, he said that there is reason to suspect it will have some kind of catapult system for launching carrier aircraft, but that has not yet been confirmed.

“They’re still working on the front of the vessel,” Funaiole said. “It is very likely that the ship is going to have some type of catapult system. We are still trying to figure out what that’s going to look like, but it’s hard to imagine it not having a catapult system.”

“It wouldn’t really make sense, as far as what China is aiming to do with its carrier program, to have another ski-ramp style carrier,” he said.

His assessment is consistent with Department of Defense observations.

Construction of the Type 003 aircraft carrier began in 2018. The next year, the Department of Defense released an assessment of the project, writing that the ship “will likely be larger” than the Liaoning and Shandong “and fitted with a catapult launch system.”

“This design will enable it to support additional fighter aircraft, fixed-wing early-warning aircraft, and more rapid flight operations,” the department report said.

Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier
Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier.

The first two Chinese aircraft carriers both use ski-jump-assisted short-takeoff-but-arrested-recovery (STOBAR) launch systems to sortie aircraft. This design can be seen on other aircraft carriers like Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.

Ski jumps are significantly less effective than the steam or electromagnetic catapult-assisted take-off but arrested recovery (CATOBAR) launch systems that US carriers use because they lower the maximum take-off weight for carrier-based aircraft.

The design presents certain problems for the Chinese Shenyang J-15, China’s primary carrier-based fighter.

The aircraft, which is based on an incomplete prototype of the Russian Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based air-superiority fighter that China acquired from Ukraine and then reverse engineered, is one of the heaviest carrier fighters out there.

Shenyang J-15 'Flying Shark' fighter jets aboard China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning
J-15 “Flying Shark” fighter jets aboard China’s Liaoning aircraft carrier.

The J-15 is a capable multirole fighter, and it can carry a decent amount of weapons and fuel.

The big problem is that the design of China’s current aircraft carriers means it can take off with only a small fraction of the weapons and fuel it was designed to carry, significantly reducing its range and overall combat capability.

Fighter jets and helicopters are seen on board China's aircraft carrier Liaoning
Fighter jets and helicopters are aboard Liaoning.

Timothy Heath, a senior defense researcher at the RAND Corporation, previously told Insider that “with a ski-slope configuration, weight becomes your enemy, and the J-15, as a heavy airplane, starts to be the victim of its own design.”

A modern carrier equipped with “catapults would allow the J-15’s advantages to come into play,” he said. Reporting, as well as some leaked imagery, suggests that China is already developing a CATOBAR variant of the J-15.

There are also indications that China may already be looking beyond the J-15 for its carrier fighter. It has been speculated that the FC-31, a Chinese stealth fighter that is still in development, might be the next carrier fighter.

This week, photos showing an FC-31 mockup on the “flight deck” of a concrete carrier in Wuhan surfaced online. The undated photos appear to offer some support to theories about next step’s for Chinese naval aviation.

“They’re in a place now where they’re understanding how to build aircraft carriers, but figuring out the naval aviation side of it is still an area where China still has some unknowns,” Funaiole said, explaining that “it’s likely they’re going to explore all available options to figure out what’s going to work best.”

He said China appears to be making great strides advancing its carrier program. “It is not a US carrier as things are today,” he said of China’s third aircraft carrier, “but it’s still a huge step for China. It’s impressive what they have been able to do in a short amount of time.”

The new aircraft carrier, though it might be a while before the final design is clear, looks to be a “pretty significant upgrade from where they are at right now,” Funaiole said. “But this is where you get into the question of what does this actually mean in practice.”

“The biggest struggle for China isn’t going to be the technology,” he said. “It’s going to be the personnel. And that’s not a knock on the Chinese. They’re just new to it.”

China aircraft carrier
China’s first domestically developed aircraft carrier departs Dalian, May 13, 2018.

China has the world’s largest navy, according to the Pentagon, and it is building new ships faster than any other country. But China is still learning what it means to have a great power navy.

While it will inevitably take China time to develop the carrier operations knowledge and experience to go along with its expanding fleet of flattops, the country’s newest carrier suggests the country is making clear progress as it strives to build a world-class combat force by the middle of this century.

The Pentagon said last year, in its most recent assessment of China’s military power, that the third Chinese carrier will likely be operational by 2024, with additional aircraft carriers to follow later.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘A flying Tic Tac wasn’t part of our plan’: Former US Navy fighter pilot describes encounter with UFO

F/A-18E Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136 “Knighthawks” fly in formation during a photo exercise over California.
F/A-18E Super Hornets in formation over California.

  • Over the years, there have been a number of incidents in which US pilots reported seeing UFOs.
  • A former Navy pilot talked to Insider about her experience with an “unidentified aerial phenomenon.”
  • She was one of two F/A-18 pilots who observed the mystery object, nicknamed the “Tic Tac,” in 2004.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A former US Navy fighter pilot recently shared details and some of her thoughts on an unusual experience almost two decades ago, an encounter with an unidentified flying object nicknamed the “Tic Tac.”

In mid-November 2004, as the Navy’s Nimitz Carrier Strike Group trained off the West Coast in preparation for an upcoming deployment, the destroyer USS Princeton detected several UFOs, also called anomalous aerial vehicles or unidentified aerial phenomena, moving in inexplicable ways around the carrier group.

On Nov. 14, 2004, after again detecting one of the anomalies, the destroyer tasked two F/A-18 Super Hornets to take a look around the area where it had been detected. The fighters were flown by Dave Fravor, then a squadron commander, and Alex Dietrich, then a lieutenant junior grade.

Once they arrived in the area, the pilots got a visual on a mysterious object, which was reported to be “an elongated egg or a ‘Tic Tac’ shape” that was “solid white, smooth, with no edges,” and “uniformly colored with no nacelles, pylons, or wings,” according to a military report on the event obtained a few years ago by a CBS News affiliate.

During a recent “60 Minutes” interview, Fravor recalled seeing “this little white Tic Tac-looking object” moving above the water with, as Dietrich noted, “no predictable movement” and “no predictable trajectory.”

Not ‘part of our plan’

Alex Dietrich
Alex Dietrich.

“This didn’t fit our script,” Dietrich, who retired as a lieutenant commander, told Insider, explaining that the carrier group and the accompanying air wing were training for a deployment to the Middle East, where they might be called upon to provide precision strikes, convoy oversight, and air support, among various other missions and tasks.

“A flying Tic Tac wasn’t part of our plan,” she said, recalling their encounter with the object.

In the recent “60 Minutes” interview, Dietrich described the experience as “unsettling.” Neither aircraft was armed at the time, and she said she “felt the vulnerability of not having anything to defend ourselves.”

Talking with Insider, the former naval aviator said that it was not entirely clear how she or her commander were expected to react and respond to the mystery object, which they were not expecting to encounter.

“We do air-to-air scenarios where we expect to encounter adversary aircraft, and we have set plans for how we approach them,” Dietrich explained. “But these assume that it is a generation of fighter we would be at least familiar enough with.”

She said that at that time, she “had not been briefed on any protocol for intercepting or merging with a UAP.”

During the encounter, Dietrich remained overhead as Fravor moved in to investigate. As the commander got closer to the unidentified object, which Fravor said was about the size of his plane, it suddenly accelerated and disappeared. A different Navy flight later caught the object on infrared video.

The US military officially declassified that video last year, along with a couple of others from different incidents, and noted in a statement that the phenomena seen in these videos are still “unidentified.” The following video is from the 2004 “Tic Tac” incident.

‘We don’t know what it was’

Dietrich recalled that she experienced a “roller coaster of emotions” during the 2004 incident, with feelings running from excited to nervous. She said that her primary concern was figuring out whether it was an adversary, some sort of threat, or a even just a flight safety issue. They didn’t figure that out, and it is still not clear what it was.

Over the years, there has been a lot of speculation about this incident and others, but Dietrich told Insider that she did not let her mind “run away with wild conclusions or fantasies about what it might be.”

“I gave my report, and I went on with my life and my career,” she said, acknowledging that she has not followed this matter closely in the years since.

Dietrich revealed that at the time of the incident she was a little “disappointed” by the lack of response.

“If I had been in charge of the carrier strike group and had heard this report, I probably would have redirected assets. We had all of these aircraft and sensors and radar to collect information in that moment,” she said, adding that she is not sure “why the decision was made not to pivot in that moment and redirect focus.”

Fravor and Dietrich told “60 Minutes” that while they were debriefed, they were not aware of any further investigation into what happened that day in 2004.

“We don’t know what it was, but it was there. We saw it, and it is worth investigating further,” Dietrich told Insider.

Dietrich’s personal interest in this issue has faded over time.

“It mattered to me on November 14, 2004,” she said. “It mattered very much because I was there face-to-face with it, and it could have been a threat … In the years and now decades since, it doesn’t matter as much to me.”

‘Not jumping to conclusions’

flir gimbal gofast pentagon releases ufo videos
Left to right, still images from FLIR, GIMBAL, and GOFAST videos of unidentified aerial phenomena released by the Pentagon.

Dietrich told Insider that by answering questions about her experiences, she hopes that if and when these incidents occur, and there have been a few, the military will “take a training time out” and “spend some resources investigating” to determine whether or not what is being observed is a danger. She also said she hopes to reduce the stigma around reporting these incidents.

This is potentially more likely given the military’s newfound interest in these incidents.

The Pentagon created the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program in 2007, but the program ended in 2012 as the military directed its attention to “higher priority issues,” a Pentagon spokesperson told CNN in 2017 after The New York Times dragged the program out of the shadows.

But last year, just a few months after the Pentagon declassified several videos of unexplained incidents, the Department of Defense publicly established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force “to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to US national security.”

Dietrich’s story is unusual but not necessarily unique. There have been a number of unexplained UFO sightings by US service members. One former naval aviator, retired Lt. Ryan Graves, told “60 Minutes” recently that there was a time when they saw them “every day for at least a couple of years.”

The US Navy, explaining new policies for reporting encounters with unidentified aircraft, told Politico in 2019 that “there have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years.”

These sightings have raised a lot of questions and provided few real answers, but next month, the US intelligence community is expected to present an unclassified report on these “unidentified aerial phenomena.” It is not clear whether this report will shed light on what pilots and others have been seeing.

As for what the unexplained incidents involving the military might mean, Dietrich, a veteran pilot who flew over 200 combat missions during her career in the Navy, did not speculate. She said she would “urge patience and not jumping to conclusions.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Stealth Zumwalt destroyers will be first US Navy warships armed with hypersonic missiles, top admiral says

Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) participates in U.S. Pacific Fleet's Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem (UxS IBP) 21, April 21
Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Monsoor during US Pacific Fleet’s Unmanned Systems Integrated Battle Problem 21, April 21

  • The first Navy warships to carry hypersonic missiles will be the Zumwalt destroyers.
  • Initial expectations were the weapon’s deployment would start with Virginia-class submarines.
  • The Navy is expected to start fielding it aboard its vessels in 2025, the Navy’s top officer says.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The first US Navy warfighting vessels to be armed with hypersonic missiles will be the stealth Zumwalt-class destroyers, the service’s top admiral said, according to USNI News.

Although the Navy was expected to field hypersonic weaponry on its cruise-missile submarines first, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said at a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments event Tuesday that the service intends to start with the Zumwalts.

“Our biggest [research and development] effort is in hypersonics – to deliver that capability in 2025 on a surface ship and then on Block V [Virginia-class] submarines,” Gilday said, adding that fielding hypersonic weaponry aboard the Zumwalt-class destroyers will be an “important move” toward turning these ships into strike platforms.

The Zumwalt-class destroyers were designed to fight in littoral waters, carrying out land-attack and naval-fire support missions. Their primary weapon was to be the Advanced Gun System, consisting of a pair of 155 mm guns.

But a reduction in the size of the class from a few dozen ships to just three caused the cost of the Long-Range Land Attack Projectile to jump to almost $1 million a round, forcing the Navy to reevaluate its armaments and missions.

The Navy’s three Zumwalt-class destroyers – the USS Zumwalt, USS Michael Monsoor, and the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson – are expected to be blue-water surface-warfare and naval-strike platforms instead.

The hypersonic missile that the Navy is currently developing is the Conventional Prompt Strike weapon, which uses the Common Hypersonic Glide Body that the Army and Navy are working together to develop.

The military successfully flight tested the glide body in March 2020.

A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, March 19, 2020, during a Department of Defense flight experiment.
A common hypersonic glide body launches during a Department of Defense flight experiment at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii March 19, 2020.

A hypersonic glide body is the part of a hypersonic weapon that carries the warhead. Launched using a conventional rocket booster, the glide body will eventually separate from the rocket and continues on to the target.

After separation, the glide body is no longer able to accelerate, but it retains the ability to maneuver.

While hypersonic weapons have the ability to fly at speeds of at least Mach 5, it is their maneuverability that makes them particularly dangerous. Modern air- and missile-defense systems are not designed to counter this type of threat.

Because these weapons are difficult to defeat, hypersonic missiles have become a key area of strategic competition between the US and rivals China and Russia.

Before the Navy can arm its Zumwalt-class destroyers with these weapons, it needs to not only finish developing the weapon but also figure out how to integrate them onto the destroyers, which don’t currently vertical-launch-system cells large enough for them.

The Navy sent out a solicitation in mid-March asking industry partners for solutions on how the Zumwalts could be reconfigured to carry the larger hypersonic missiles. The sources-sought notice is looking at an advanced payload module capable of carrying hypersonic missiles in a “three-pack configuration.”

Speaking Tuesday, Gilday also expressed interest in using the substantial power-generation capabilities of the Zumwalt-class destroyers to support directed-energy weaponry for defense against emerging threats.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The apparent sinking of an Indonesian submarine with 53 people on board is among history’s worst submarine disasters

The Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402
The Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala 402

  • The Indonesian navy has declared that its missing submarine KRI Nanggala-402 is presumed sunk.
  • The submarine was carrying 53 passengers when it disappeared several days ago.
  • The apparent loss of the submarine and its crew puts this among the worst submarine disasters.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The apparent sinking of an Indonesian naval submarine and loss of dozens of lives this week puts the incident among some of the worst submarine catastrophes.

Indonesia’s diesel-powered submarine KRI Nanggala-402 disappeared during a training exercise Wednesday with 53 people on board. Indonesian and international search-and-rescue assets have been desperately looking for the submarine for days in hopes of finding it and saving the crew.

Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402 during a ceremony honoring the 72nd anniversary of the country's Armed Forces Day at Cilegon, Banten province, Indonesia
Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402 during a 2017 ceremony

What they found instead appears to be evidence of a worst-case scenario. Search-and-rescue teams found items, such as prayer rugs, a grease bottle, part of a coolant pipe, and a torpedo component believed to be from the submarine. These items would only be in the water if the sub had broken apart.

Together with the oil slick, a possible sign of a fuel tank rupture which was found early in the search near the point of the submarine’s final dive, the debris is evidence the submarine has sunk, the Indonesian navy said.

“With the authentic evidence we found believed to be from the submarine, we have now moved from the ‘sub miss’ phase to ‘sub sunk,'” Indonesian Navy Chief Yudo Margono said at a press conference Saturday. All passengers are presumed dead, the AP reported.

At this point, the submarine has likely run out of oxygen, as it was only equipped with about 72 hours of air, according to the Indonesian military.

The Indonesian navy has said it believes that the submarine, a 1,400-ton vessel made by Germany in the late 1970s and refitted in 2012, may have sunk to a depth of 2,000 feet, putting the vessel likely well past the point where the hull could withstand the crushing pressure of the water around it.

Bryan Clark, a former US Navy submarine officer and current defense expert at the Hudson Institute, told Insider “if a small diesel submarine like this Indonesian one goes down in 2000 feet of water, it is unlikely to survive.”

As KRI Nanggala 402 has not yet been found, it is still not clear what exactly happened to the submarine, but if the vessel has indeed sunk with all 53 passengers, it would put this terrible tragedy among some of the worst submarine disasters.

Submarine ARA San Juan navigates for an expedition after the mid-life upgrade reparation at Tandanor shypyard on June 02, 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Submarine ARA San Juan navigates for an expedition after the mid-life upgrade reparation at Tandanor shipyard on June 02, 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

ARA San Juan

On November 15, 2017, the Argentine Navy diesel-electric submarine ARA San Juan disappeared while on patrol with 44 crew members on board. The navy later determined that an anomalous noise detected shortly after the submarine’s last transmission was “consistent with an explosion.”

The submarine was eventually found a year later at a depth of 3,000 feet in the South Atlantic.

361

In 2003, a Chinese diesel-electric submarine with hull number 361 suffered a serious mechanical malfunction during a training exercise that led to the deaths of 70 sailors. The crew is said to have suffocated, though details are limited.

This picture, dated March 1995, shows Russian submarine 'Kursk' at its base in Vidyayevo
This picture, dated March 1995, shows Russian submarine ‘Kursk’ at its base in Vidyayevo

K-141 Kursk

On August 12, 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine K-141 Kursk vanished in the Barents Sea. Russian authorities later determined the vessel sank after a torpedo on board unexpectedly exploded. The first blast then triggered the explosion of several other warheads.

The Russian naval vessel went down with 118 sailors on board. Although twenty-three Russian sailors are believed to have survived the initial catastrophe, the Russian navy was not able to rescue them in time.

Undated picture taken in St. Petersburg showing the nuclear-powered submarine Komsomolets
Undated picture taken in St. Petersburg showing the nuclear-powered submarine Komsomolets

K-278 Komsomolets

On April 7, 1989, the Soviet nuclear-powered attack submarine K-278 Komsomolets sank in the Norwegian Sea after a devastating fire broke out.

Forty-two of the submarine’s 69 crew members died in this accident. Some perished aboard the ship. Others that made it out died of exposure to the frigid waters before they could be rescued.

K-8

On April 8, 1970, a fire crippled the Soviet nuclear-powered submarine K-8, forcing the crew of 52 sailors to abandon the vessel. When a rescue ship arrived on scene, the crew returned to the submarine, but while the ship was under tow in the Bay of Biscay, it sank in rough seas with all hands lost.

The submarine 'Eurydice' in the harbor of Toulon, France, February 9, 1968
The submarine Eurydice in the harbor in Toulon, France on February 9, 1968.

Eurydice

On March 4, 1970, the French diesel-electric submarine was lost in the Mediterranean while diving off Cape Camarot. The French defense ministry assessed that the vessel sank along with its entire crew of 57 sailors after receiving reports of an explosion. Fuel and other debris were found floating on the surface.

USS Scorpion
USS Scorpion

USS Scorpion

The American nuclear-powered submarine USS Scorpion mysteriously vanished in the Atlantic Ocean with 99 sailors on May 22, 1968. No one knows exactly what happened to the Scorpion. It was found five months later 400 miles southwest of the Azores at a depth of 10,000 feet.

The Scorpion was one of four submarines that were weirdly lost in 1968.

K-129

On March 8, 1968, the Soviet diesel-electric ballistic missile submarine sank in the Pacific Ocean with 98 sailors on board. The US found the submarine six years later at 16,000 feet and covertly recovered part of the vessel.

Undated photo of the "Minerve", a "Daphne" class submersible during an exercise
Undated photo of the “Minerve”, a “Daphne” class submersible, during an exercise

Minerve

On January 27, 1968, the French diesel-electric submarine Minerve and its crew of 52 sailors disappeared in bad weather while returning to port.

The submarine was found in 2019 off the French port city of Toulon at 7,800 feet.

INS Dakar

Just a few days prior to the sinking of the Minerve, the Israeli diesel-electric submarine INS Dakar inexplicably sank in the Mediterranean, resulting in the death of 69 sailors. The Israeli submarine was found in 1999 at 9,500 feet, but the exact cause of the disaster remains unknown.

Nuclear-powered submarine the 'USS Thresher' steers through the sea, early 1960s.
The nuclear-powered submarine the USS Thresher steers through the sea in the early 1960s.

USS Thresher

On April 10, 1963, the US Navy experienced its most devastating submarine disaster when the nuclear-powered submarine USS Thresher sank in the Atlantic Ocean and imploded. All 129 American personnel on board were killed in the deadly accident.

Read the original article on Business Insider

15 common phrases civilians stole from the US military

Marine Corps vehicle radio convoy Pendleton
A Marine motor transport operator talks to vehicle commanders during convoy training at Camp Pendleton, California, January 16, 2019.

1. ‘Balls to the walls’ (also, ‘Going balls out’)

common

Meaning: To go as fast as one possibly can.

From military aviation where pilots would need to get their aircraft flying as fast as possible. Their control levers had balls on the end. Pushing the accelerator all the way out (“balls out”), would put the ball of the lever against the firewall in the cockpit (“balls to the wall”).

When a pilot really needed to zoom away, they’d also push the control stick all the way forward, sending it into a dive. Obviously, this would put the ball of the control stick all the way out from the pilot and against the firewall.

2. ‘Bite the bullet’

Meaning: To endure pain or discomfort without crying out

Fighters on both sides of the American Civil War used the term “bite the bullet,” but it appears they may have stolen it from the British.

British Army Capt. Francis Grose published the book, “Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue” in 1811 and used “chew the bullet” to explain how proud soldiers stayed silent while being whipped.

3. ‘Boots on the ground’

Air Force boots shoes
US airmen at a change of command ceremony, August 17, 2019.

Meaning: Ground troops engaged in an operation

Credited to Army Gen. Volney Warner, “boots on the ground” is used to mean troops in a combat area or potential combat area.

After the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the term saw wide use and has ceased to refer exclusively to military operations. It can now be used to refer to any persons sent out to walk the ground in an area. It’s been employed in reference to police officers as well as political canvassers.

4. ‘Bought the farm’

Meaning: To die

Thought to date back to 1950s jet pilots, the phrase quickly spread to civilian circles. There is no clear agreement on exactly how the phrase came about.

It could be from war widows being able to pay off the family farm with life insurance payments, or farmers paying off their farms with the damage payout they’d receive when a pilot crashed on their land, or the pilots who wanted to buy a farm after they retired being said to “buy the farm early” when they died.

5. ‘Caught a lot of flak’

Meaning: To be criticized, especially harshly

Flak is actually an acronym for German air defense cannons. The Germans called the guns Fliegerabwehrkanonen. Flieger means flyer, abwehr means defense, and kanonen means cannon.

Airmen in World War II would have to fly through dangerous clouds of shrapnel created by flak. The phrase progressed in meaning until it became equated with abusive criticism.

6. ‘FUBAR’/’SNAFU’/’TARFU’

Meaning: Everything about the current situation sucks

All three words are acronyms. FUBAR stands for “F—ed up beyond all recognition,” SNAFU is “Situation normal, all f—ed up,” and TARFU is “Things are really f—ed up.” FUBAR and SNAFU have made it into the civilian lexicon, though the F-word in each is often changed to “fouled” to keep from offending listeners.

The Army actually used SNAFU for the name of a cartoon character in World War II propaganda and instructional videos. Pvt. Snafu and his brothers Tarfu and Fubar were voiced by Mel Blanc of Bugs Bunny and Porky the Pig fame.

7. ‘Geronimo’

Usage: Yelled when jumping off of something

“Geronimo” is yelled by jumpers leaping from a great height, but it has military origins.

Paratroopers with the original test platoon at Fort Benning, Georgia yelled the name of the famous Native American chief on their first mass jump. The exclamation became part of airborne culture and the battalion adopted it as their motto.

8. ‘Got your six’

Meaning: Watching your back

Military members commonly describe direction using the hours of a clock. Whichever direction the vehicle, unit, or individual is moving is the 12 o’clock position, so the six o’clock position is to the rear.

“Got your six” and the related “watch your six” come from service members telling each other that their rear is covered or that they need to watch out for an enemy attacking from behind.

9. ‘In the trenches’

trenches

Meaning: Stuck in a drawn out, tough fight.

Troops defending a position will dig trenches to use as cover during an enemy attack, reducing the chance they’ll be injured by shrapnel or enemy rounds.

In World War I, most of the war occurred along a series of trenches that would flip ownership as one army attacked another. So, someone engaged in fierce fighting, even metaphorical fighting, is “in the trenches.”

10. ‘No man’s land’

Meaning: Dangerous ground or a topic that it is dangerous to discuss

“No man’s land” was widely used by soldiers to describe the area between opposing armies in their trenches in World War I. It was then morphed to describe any area that it was dangerous to stray into or even topics of conversation that could anger another speaker.

However, this is one case where civilians borrowed a military phrase that the military had stolen from civilians. “No man’s land” was popularized in the trenches of the Great War, but it dates back to the 14th-century England when it was used on maps to denote a burial ground.

11. ‘Nuclear option’

Meaning: A choice to destroy everything rather than give in on a debate or contest

Used most publicly while discussing fillibusters in the Senate, the nuclear option has its roots in – what else – nuclear warfare.

In the Cold War, military leaders would give the commander-in-chief options for the deployment and use of nuclear weapons from nuclear artillery to thermonuclear bombs.

In the era of brinksmanship, use of nuclear weapons by the Soviets or the US would likely have ended in widespread destruction across both nations.

12. ‘On the double’

Army Special Forces Green Berets
Candidates at the US Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School carry a telephone pole on a ruck march as part of Special Forces Assessment and Selection, March 12, 2020.

Meaning: Quickly, as fast as possible

Anyone who has run in a military formation will recognize the background of “on the double.”

“Quick time” is the standard marching pace for troops, and “double time” is twice that pace, meaning the service member is running. Doing something “on the double” is moving at twice the normal speed while completing the task.

13. ‘On the frontlines’

Meaning: In the thick of a fight, argument, or movement

Like nuclear option, this one is pretty apparent. The front line of a military force is made up of the military units closest to a potential or current fight.

Troops on the frontline spend most days defending against or attacking enemy forces. People who are “on the frontlines” of other struggles like political movements or court trials are fighting against the other side every day.

This is similar in usage and origin to “in the trenches” above.

14. ‘Roger that’

Meaning: Yes

This one is pretty common knowledge, though not all civilians may know why the military says, “Roger that,” rather than “yes.” Under the old NATO phonetic alphabet, the letter R was pronounced, “Roger” on the radio.

Radio operators would say, “Roger,” to mean that a message had been properly received. The meaning evolved until “roger” meant “yes.” Today, the NATO phonetic alphabet says, “Romeo,” in place of R, but “roger” is still used to mean a message was received.

15. ‘Screw the pooch’

US Army soldiers RPG rocket propelled grenade
US soldiers conduct foreign weapons training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, October 25, 2017.

Meaning: To bungle something badly

“Screw the pooch” was originally an even racier phrase, f-ck the dog. It meant to loaf around or procrastinate. However, by 1962 it was also being used to mean that a person had bungled something.

Now, it is more commonly used with the latter definition.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The US Navy’s giving a stealth Zumwalt destroyer control of drone ships and aircraft for a future naval combat experiment

USS Michael Monsoor
USS Michael Monsoor

  • A Zumwalt-class destroyer will command manned and unmanned assets in an exercise next month.
  • The unmanned assets will include UAVs like the MQ-9 and Fire Scout, as well as surface vessels.
  • The Navy will use the Fleet Battle Problem exercise to explore possibilities for the future force.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The US Navy will give one of its advanced Zumwalt-class destroyers control of multiple unmanned systems during an upcoming exercise exploring possibilities for future naval warfare.

During next month’s Fleet Battle Problem exercise in the Pacific, the USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001) will command both unmanned surface vessels and aircraft as the Navy looks at which elements of a potential future force “will have the greatest impact on increasing the fleet’s lethality,” a Navy official said in a statement first reported by USNI News.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Tim Pietrack, citing the demands of the Unmanned Campaign Framework, said that “it is imperative that we understand what our future force will need to operate both in day-to-day competition as well as high-end combat.”

The exercise, which will take place in the 3rd Fleet area of responsibility under the supervision of US Pacific Fleet, “will incorporate many unmanned capabilities and unmanned capability enablers,” Pietrack said.

He said that during the exercise, the Michael Monsoor “will use the ship’s unique capabilities to command and control manned and unmanned forces to conduct long-range, multi-domain fires.”

The unmanned assets expected to participate in the complex exercise include the unmanned surface vessels Sea Hunter and Sea Hawk and the MQ-8B Fire Scout and MQ-9 Sea Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles.

Sea Hunter, an entirely new class of unmanned sea surface vehicle developed in partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
Sea Hunter, an entirely new class of unmanned sea surface vehicle developed in partnership between the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

The MQ-9 Sea Guardian drone serves as a scout aircraft, as well as an anti-submarine warfare asset, while the Fire Scout, an unmanned helicopter that will operate from a Littoral Combat Ship during the exercise, can conduct both reconnaissance and strike missions.

During next month’s exercise, the Sea Hunter, which has participated in past exercises, and the newer Sea Hawk will support manned units in an anti-submarine role while also providing maritime domain awareness.

Pietrack said that “through operational scenarios, what we learn from this event will provide pertinent and timely input to the Naval Research Enterprise and the acquisition community to better inform unmanned system development moving forward.”

The Navy has shown increasing interest in unmanned systems, which are expected to be a critical part of the future fleet.

Looking at the competition with China, which has the world’s largest naval force, the Pentagon proposed in October a 500-ship Navy consisting of as many as 240 unmanned or optionally-manned vessels, both surface ships and undersea assets, that could conduct resupply, surveillance, mine, and strike missions, among other operations.

It remains to be seen if such a force will become reality, but the interest in using unmanned systems to augment the force is there.

For the Michael Monsoor, the second of the three stealthy Zumwalt-class destroyers, the upcoming Navy exercise is an opportunity to explore some potential options for the class amid uncertainty about the role the advanced vessels might play in combat.

Commanding multiple unmanned systems in an exercise of this scale will be a first for the ship.

uss zumwalt

The Navy commissioned the Zumwalt, the first of a new class of destroyers, in 2016, but the warship was not delivered to the service with a working combat system until April.

Among problems like cost overruns and major delays, a big problem with the Zumwalt was the two 155 mm guns of the Advanced Gun System.

When the Navy reduced its order for Zumwalt-class ships from roughly three dozen to just three, the cost of the rounds for the guns shot up. A single Long-Range Land Attack Projectile was going to cost almost $1 million.

The unacceptable price of the gun’s ammunition was just one of the problems with the guns that forced the Navy to reevaluate the combat system and shift the ship’s mission from a naval fire support role to maritime strike.

The Zumwalt fired its 30 mm Mk 46 MOD 2 Gun Weapon System for the first time in May and first launched a SM-2 missile from its Mk 57 Vertical Launching System in October.

More recently, there have been discussions about eventually arming the vessels with hypersonic missiles.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US Army reservist charged in Capitol riot was a Nazi sympathizer who sported a ‘Hitler mustache’ to work, federal prosecutors reveal

US Capitol riot
Riots at the US Capitol Building.

  • Court documents published by Politico offer an insight into a Capitol rioter’s white supremacist ties.
  • Hale-Cusanelli worked at a New Jersey naval facility where he held secret-level security clearance.
  • Investigators found that Hale-Cusanelli’s coworkers could recall numerous incidents of racist behavior.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A US Army reservist who is charged with taking part in the Capitol riot was well-known by his co-workers as a “white supremacist,” according to new evidence from federal prosecutors.

Among many other revelations, court documents first published by Politico also reveal that Timothy Hale-Cusanelli was a Holocaust denier who shaved his beard into a “Hitler mustache” and regularly praised the Nazis.

The evidence against Hale-Cusanelli resulted from an extensive investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

NCIS special agents interviewed 44 members of the NWS Earle Security Forces, where Hale-Cusanelli worked and held a secret-level security clearance, in a bid to keep him in prison while he awaits trial following his January 15 arrest.

Of the 44 people interviewed, a majority – 34 – agreed with the description of Hale-Cusanelli as “having extremist or radical views pertaining to the Jewish people, minorities, and women,” according to the court documents.

An unnamed Navy Petty Officer stated that the Capitol rioter had said that “Hitler should have finished the job.”

One Navy Seamen said that Hale-Cusanelli had once said that “babies born with any deformities or disabilities should be shot in the forehead.” He also recalled an incident where he said that if he were a Nazi, he would “kill all the Jews and eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

A supervisor told investigators that she once had to discipline Hale-Cusanelli for wearing a “Hitler mustache” to work.

The results of these interviews were published as was a rebuttal to a letter of support from Sgt. John Getz. Hale-Cusanelli’s supervisor wrote a letter to the court urging them to release him on bond, adding that he was “appalled at how he [Hale-Cusanelli] was slandered in the press in regards to him being a white supremacist.”

Prosecutors, however, pointed out that previous statements from Getz contradicted this assertion. He had previously said that Hale-Cusanelli was a “Nazi sympathizer” and a “Holocaust denier.”

The Capitol rioter’s lawyer argued that his client should not be detained pending trial. He told the court that Hale-Cusanelli is not charged with a crime of violence and is not a Nazi sympathizer, according to the court documents.

Prosecutors dismissed these claims, citing photographic evidence of Hale-Cusanelli sporting a Hitler mustache, numerous racist photos saved on his phone, and a now-deleted YouTube channel of his in which he expressed hateful views.

Hale-Cusanelli is one of the many insurrectionists believed to have been a white supremacist. Groups in and around the Capitol wore regalia associated with far-right, racist, and extremist groups on January 6, Insider’s Susie Neilson and Morgan McFall-Johnsen previously reported.

Following the Capitol siege, the FBI had to screen troops from the DC National Guard to ensure that they did not have ties to far-right ideologies. This put the Pentagon under increasing pressure to address white supremacist ties within the US military, Insider’s John Haitlwanger said.

Read the original article on Business Insider