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Author: TriSec    Date: 06/04/2024 00:32:19

Good Morning.

Uncle Sam has been having some "hammer practice" again.

Something called "African Lion" has just concluded. Like all military exercises, it's a show of force for somebody. Who it is isn't exactly clear.

TAN TAN, Morocco (AP) — High-ranking military officials from the U.S. and its top African allies watched intently as dust and flames shot up from pieces of the Sahara Desert hit by tank and artillery fire. They looked up as pilots flew F-16s into formation. And they listened intently as Moroccan and American personnel explained how they would set up beachheads to defend the Atlantic coastline in the event of a potential invasion.

The practice scenario was among those discussed during African Lion, the United States' largest annual joint military exercise on the continent, which concluded Friday in Morocco.

Over the past two weeks, roughly 8,100 military forces from nearly three dozen countries maneuvered throughout Tunisia, Ghana, Senegal and Morocco as part of the war games held this year as militaries confront new challenges in increasingly volatile regions.

Not noted in the story of course, is that the presence of the United States military is likely to make said region "increasingly volatile", but I digress.

Looking at the home front, I'm sure you heard about that "Florida Man" that managed to shoot and kill an active-duty airman about a month ago? Of course, there are several problems with this. The shooter was a law enforcement officer of lighter pigmentation, while his victim was a man Javi's age (23) and of somewhat darker coloration. We don't have to rehash the obvious.

The mother of the 23-year-old special operations airman who was shot and killed May 3 by a Florida sheriff's deputy said the recent firing of that deputy is just a start and hopes to see more accountability.

"A lot has to be done," Meka Fortson, the mother of Roger Fortson, told Military.com. "It's moving too slow, and more needs to happen."

Deputy Eddie Duran, an Army veteran who had been with the department since 2019, was fired from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office when it was determined that his "use of deadly force was not objectively reasonable and therefore violated agency policy," according to an Administrative Internal Affairs investigation released Friday. Duran encountered Roger Fortson, a 23-year-old airman at Hurlburt Field, and shot him multiple times after the airman opened his apartment door with his legally owned firearm held by his side.

A day prior to the report being released and Duran's firing being announced, Sheriff Eric Aden attended a town hall at Hurlburt Field alongside Air Force Special Operations Command leadership, as well as community leaders, to speak to airmen about Fortson's death.

The hourslong meeting gave airmen the opportunity to ask Aden "many questions concerning the status and details of the ongoing investigations and feelings of frustration and sadness," Air Force Special Operations Command said in a news release.

If the military can't even defend themselves against being shot by out-of-control "peace officers", then what chance do the rest of us have?

And let's wrap up today with something flying. You all know of my longtime love of the F-35 "Lightning II" (not). I have also been following the secretive developments of the B-251 "Raider", which is the replacement for the B-2 Stealth bomber. What's that, you say? I thought that was new? Well - it entered USAF service in 1997. It's already 27 years old, which is ancient for a military aircraft. Never mind that the Lockheed C130 (1954) and the Boeing B-52 (1952) are likely to remain in service for a century. In any case, the B-21 quietly took its first flight a while back, without fanfare or photo. It seems to be successful so far, and has entered a minimal production run, with the goal of 100 aircraft in-service within the next few years.

America's newest bomber, the B-21 Raider, is undergoing test flights, and the Air Force has released new images of the sleek, UFO-shaped airplane taking to the skies as officials aim to have it enter service in a few years.

Newly released images, shared by the Air Force last week, show the bomber going through test flights from Edwards Air Force Base in California. The B-21 Raider was publicly unveiled in December 2022, marking the first bomber to enter the U.S. fleet in more than 30 years.

While many of the details behind the B-21's capabilities are not publicly known, the service said in a news release that the bomber is "the first aircraft that is more digital than not" and that the test flights have been giving officials insight into a wide range of possible uses.

"It is doing what flight test programs are designed to do, which is helping us learn about the unique characteristics of this platform, but in a very, very effective way," Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 8, adding the program is on track to meet its deadlines.

The new B-21 Raider is slated to eventually replace the existing B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers in the Air Force's fleet, a major task as some of those aging aircraft face ongoing issues.

Of course, modern aircraft aren't cheap. The USAF has never released any development costs figures, citing "national security", but the run is currently projected to cost somewhere around $700 million by the EACH, against a cost of about $203 Billion to develop it in the first place.

That's a lot of lettuce.

2 comments (Latest Comment: 06/04/2024 17:45:47 by BobR)
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