Hull-aballoo: New Navy destroyer’s seaworthiness questioned
The largest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy is futuristic and angular. But its hull is based on a design that dates to pre-dreadnought battleships a century ago.
The Navy chose a modern take on an old-school design called the “tumblehome” hull for the future USS Zumwalt because it contributes to the ship’s stealth.
The ship has something of a pyramid shape because of the hull’s shape, and critics say the ship could become unstable in some conditions. But the Navy says there’s been extensive testing to ensure it’s safe.
The behemoth, which is 600 feet long and weighs 15,000 tons, will be put to the test when it goes to sea in December. Shipbuilder Bath Iron Works of Bath, Maine, will test its performance and make tweaks this winter. The goal is to deliver it to the Navy sometime next year. AP
Philippines gets first fighter jets in a decade amid sea feud
The Philippines has taken delivery of the first two Korean-made fighter jets, the country’s first supersonic combat aircraft in a decade, as it strengthens its military amid a territorial conflict with China.
The Philippine military says the FA-50 jets touched down Nov. 28 at Clark Freeport, a former U.S. Air Force base north of Manila, to applause from security officials led by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. It bought a total of 12.
Gazmin says: “We’re glad we’re finally back to supersonic age.”
The Philippine military, one of Asia’s least equipped, has been building up its air force and navy at a time of an escalating territorial feud with Beijing in the South China Sea.
Its last fleet of supersonic combat aircraft, the F-5, was decommissioned in 2005. AP
Army IDs four soldiers killed in Fort Hood helicopter crash
The Army has released the identities of four crew members who were killed when their helicopter crashed during a routine training exercise at Fort Hood in Texas.
The Black Hawk went down about 6 p.m., Nov. 23 Monday in the northeast portion of the sprawling military post about 60 miles north of Austin. Killed were 40-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Toby A. Childers, of Hays, Kansas; 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 3 Stephen B. Cooley, of Cantonment, Fla.; 35-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Jason M. Smith, of Destrehan, La.; and 40-year-old Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael F. Tharp, of Katy, Texas.
The cause of the crash remains undetermined.
Fort Hood covers 214,000 acres, making it one of the largest Army posts in the country. More than 135,000 acres are reserved for training purposes. AP
NATO seeking to reconcile death totals in Kunduz attack
The U.S.-led international team that investigated the deadly U.S. air attack on a hospital in northern Afghanistan last month says it’s unclear exactly how many civilians died.
The team is made up of representatives from NATO as well as the Afghan government. The investigation was meant to assess circumstances surrounding the airstrike and confirm that civilians were killed.
The top NATO commander — U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove — released an executive summary Nov. 27 of the group’s report. It said at least 31 civilians were killed.
A statement from Breedlove’s office says that figure came from “early reporting” by Doctors Without Borders, the medical charity whose hospital was attacked, and that the charity’s own review put the number at 30.
Efforts are being made to reconcile the figures. AP
Japan ready to submit proposal for Australia submarine deal
Japan says it is preparing to make a bid Nov. 30 on joint development and production of an Australian submarine, Tokyo’s first major military transfer since the World War II.
Japanese defense officials said the National Security Council approved the transfer of sensitive submarine technology to Australia and the proposal will be submitted to the Australian government by the Nov. 30 deadline.
Australia is due to pick from three bidders including Germany and France by the end of 2016.
Defense officials said military partnership between Japan and Australia will enhance peace and stability, especially maritime security, in the Asia-Pacific region amid China’s military buildup in the East and South China seas.
Officials refused to give details, but Japanese media speculate that the proposals feature the Soryu-class diesel-powered propulsion system with advanced stealth capabilities. AP
Israel tests missile to defend against airborne attacks
Israel’s military says it has successfully tested an advanced surface-to-air missile that analysts believe could play a key role in securing the country’s offshore gas fields.
A military official said Nov. 26 the Barak 8 was tested from a ship for the first time and intercepted a small drone simulating an enemy craft. He said the system extends the range of Israel’s aerial defense and that the system, being developed with India, should be operational in about two years.
Speaking anonymously in line with military guidelines, he said it can deal with strategic threats like Russian-made Yakhont missiles, which can be fired from land and destroy ships at sea. Officials believe Hezbollah militants in Lebanon possess Yakhonts.
Israeli media reported Barak 8 could be deployed near offshore gas rigs. AP