In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone, Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws The only shadow that the Desert knows:— "I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone, "The King of Kings; this mighty City shows "The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,— Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose The site of this forgotten Babylon. We wonder,—and some Hunter may express Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace, He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess What powerful but unrecorded race Once dwelt in that annihilated place
[Crowd]: Oh please noooo...
What am I reviewing today? That would be the SWBF3B, otherwise known as the Star Wars Battlefront (no. 3 technically, but EA actually just wanted the title for its glory, nostalgia factor, and above all, FAN SERV... Er, money, not because they were genuinely making a third instalment) Beta (that's said BEE-TA).
Let me open with an illustriously generic opening banner:
The first thing that will slap you round the ears with a wet jandal are the graphics, they are beautiful, and without a doubt this is the best we've ever seen the Frostbite engine, this isn't really saying much because I never was particularly impressed by the Frostbite engine, specifically Frostbite 3.Uh Oh. Anyway, kudos to DICE, they managed to regain control of their engine after their miserable failure of a game that was Battlefield 4 (to say nothing of Visceral's Battle$ Hardlol that was about as innovative as a rock in the middle of a desert full of rocks).
The sound; it's literally having John Williams directing the London Symphony Orchestra inside your room with Ben Burtt and crew playing all those classic Star Wars sound effects, altogether, at the same time. It's incredible, but if DICE had somehow managed to screw this up it could have kissed its dally into the Star Wars Universe goodbye, so it's to be expected.
THE GUNS: They go pew pew, kill things, and feel generally all round fantastic. If you get those reload cooldowns on time you can be all gangsta and shit... I don't know. Interesting design choice not having ammunition, but I think it works well enough, as it was a grey area anyway.
THE THERMAL IMPLODER: This guy gets a seat right here because that noise is straight out of heaven (or hell, whatever you find more macho). 10/10
GAMEPLAY: This is where it counts folks (as we all know, because we are well versed in this sort of thing) the be-all-end-all of a game.
Walker Assault: It's unique, and it's not Conquest, that's a +1 in my book. The dynamic back and forth gameplay makes for a fluid fast moving battle, with opportunities for epic flanking manoeuvres, periodic spawn rape, and zero opportunity for casual recon bushmonsters to camp and snipe for the entire match (although there was no dedicated sniper rifle in the Beta, players still tried and failed with the Cyclic Rifle card). The problem is that the mode is massively unbalanced BOTH ways. How does that work I hear you ask? Well when playing the Empire it becomes Walker ASSault, you will stomp the Rebels the majority of the time, but there are the few times that the Rebels win and it sows the seed of doubt in your mind, is all this Imperial Splendour simply a ruse? Yes, and no. This is where there are some very strange balancing issues going on. When one side begins to win, you stomp the other side 6 meters under. I couldn't tell you exactly why, as I think it is a combination of things, but I'll give it my best shot. The Rebels only have to take out the walker on the right hand side (Bob) (when playing Rebels) to insta-win, how? Orbital Strike. Then essentially kick back and relax and wait for dat Snowspeeder mini-game at the end of the match to take out poor Fred on the left. So it really takes the very smallest amount of T-E-A-M-W-O-R-K to actually win as Scum. The same goes for when playing the Mighty Skrub Killing Empire, just even less so.
Drop Zone: It's TDM/King of the Hill, it's fun with jetpacks, and good for casual play (meaning if you have any practice in an FPS at all you will dominate the skrubs who play with a 60 degree FOV in first person perspective and don't know how to sprint). Otherwise, it's same sameness done alright, neither good nor bad, but in the long run it'll quite possibly turn painfully average.
That Co-op Mo... no wait this belongs under the bad...
Those starfighters... Well they conform with all the normal pros already detailed. They look great, sound great, and when you hit that internal view button you sit there going "WHY THE HELL ARE THERE NO SPACE BATTLES?!" They also scream (literally in the case of the TIE) through the air at Mach One, which makes a lovely change from Battlefield's hand-holding. The flight controls are abysmal, really abysmal. It's like you're permanently stuck in safety mode, in reality I imagine it's like not being allowed to exceed your G-limiter or maximum angle of attack. In saying that I managed to vaguely get the hang of the TIE Fighter, which is by far the most superior anti-infantry starfighter in the Beta, simply because the cannon spacing actually allows you to hit small targets. Yep, these super advanced starfighters don't even have targeting assistance that regulates round dispersion at different ranges, meaning that the classic X-Wing can't hit stuff all when strafing ground targets simply because its cannon spacing is to far apart. Seems legit. The Snowspeeder is awful, I don't even know what you're supposed to do with it other than rope those AT-ATs in that really fun mini-game at the end of the match (sarcasms). The spawns also allow enemies to destroy you right off the bat before you even get control of your damn spacecraft. Small issue...
Dat AT-ST doe: This guy deserves his own category. "Chicken Walker!" Remember that? I do, Chicken wasn't so powerful back in those days, but he's come back with a vengeance. This guy can walk right up to the Rebel spawn at 50kmph, and just wreck. I mean really wreck, like why would you even bother playing Darth Vader wreck, like this is the ultimate power fantasy of every Star Wars fanboy ever since forever, wreck, like where are those stupid teddy bears from Endor when I need them, wreck. I'm talking 30-0 within 5 minutes of the match starting, no joke. But again, the balance issues, it really only take about four guys to concentrate on the AT-ST to take it down, especially with the Ion Ammo and Ion Grenade cards, along with every noob and his Cyclic Rifle which does an obscene amount of damage, also Scum only have to use their damn turrets which are scattered everywhere, seriously, use your damn turrets Scum. I'm no balancer, but I can say they nailed the "realism" so to speak of an AT-ST, but the moment they nerf it I feel like that magic will be lost, and the moment they buff anything else to counter it, it'll become utterly mediocre. Their job, not mine.
The Heroes: They're okay. Remember, nothing can stop Darth Vader's lightsaber.
That Co-op mode: Highlights how this game is not wanting to be Battlefront, but is forced to be. It's alright, but all it does is overwhelmingly highlight the fact that there is no campaign.
WHY DID YOU CALL IT BATTLEFRONT EA?! Was it really necessary? This is an okay game, not great, but not terrible which is really an improvement for you! But just imagine the amount of flak this whole thing could of avoided if it'd gone with a different IP. Call it Battlefield: Star Wars, okay maybe too close, Star Wars: Invasion, Star Wars: Casual, Star Wars: I Have An Identity, I don't know what your PR or advertisement team does but they seriously suck. I could tell you right now that you would have made around about the exact same number of sales calling the game something else. WE'RE NOT STUPID. If it's good we will buy it, if it's bad we won't, if it's average it can go either way, but if it's average AND people see you as riding on the name of a classic franchise simply for profit? It will do nothing but hurt your bottom line. Because of greed, you killed this game's identity before it was even born, your Battlefront knows what it wants to be, which is a serious strength in a game today, but it isn't a Battlefront.
ulus-kert: an airborne company's last stand (excerpt)
By Sergeant Michael D. Wilmoth, US Army Reserve, and Lieutenant Colonel Peter G. Tsouras, US Army Reserve, Retired.
Day 1, 29 February 2000
Early on 29 February, a 104th GPR airborne company encountered a significant Chechen force on the road leading southeast out of Ulus-Kert. Russian paratroopers engaged the Chechen fighters for control of Hill 705.6. The Russian company, significantly stressed during the fight, gained control of the hill and pushed the Chechen force southeast into the small gorge below. The company was most likely heavily supported by artillery and helicopters, as was the usual Russian operation in this war.
The 104th GPR commander ordered 2d Airborne Battalion elements to block the saddle between hills 776 and 787, which was the next possible path over the mountains for the Chechens. The 2d Airborne Battalion headquarters was already in place on Hill 776. The 2d Airborne Battalion element was to be in place by 1400. In the early morning, 6th Company, including the third platoon, 4th Company, and two reconnaissance groups, probably from the regimental reconnaissance platoon, started on foot toward the saddle.5
6th Company, with the other elements, minus the company’s third platoon, arrived by late morning, ahead of schedule. The company commander established a linear defense in the saddle between the hills, fronted by a minefield facing west toward the gorge. The defense focused on the Chechen forces’ expected direction of escape. No access routes through the minefield were prepared nor were platoon positions sited to be mutually supportive.6 After establishing company positions, troops began their afternoon meal, leaving their positions and congregating in the open.7
The Chechen force clearly had a better grasp of the situation. The fighters had been listening to 104th GPR communications and used this advantage and good ground reconnaissance to locate 104th GPR subunits and to set ambushes. At 1230, a 6th Company reconnaissance patrol encountered approximately 20 fighters just outside company defensive positions. That the Chechens could approach that close without detection shows that the Russians had conducted no deep reconnaissance of the approaches to the saddle.
The Chechens, armed with automatic weapons, grenade launchers and mortars, reacted quickly, seizing the initiative. The small force was probably followed by a combat element, which would have been consistent with Soviet-style reconnaissance doctrine that places great value on immediately seizing the initiative in any engagement by having a strong combat element close behind the advance reconnaissance element.8 Chechen reconnaissance elements also worked their way around the Russian position in the saddle and attacked from the rear where there were no defenses.9 With Chechens in the rear and no escape routes through their own minefield, 6th Company pulled back and dug in on Hill 776. Their retreat was so precipitous that they abandoned mess kits still full of food.10
Chechen fighters, laying down constant fire on 6th Company, received reinforcements as the main body arrived. The force encircled 6th Company and sent waves of fighters into the attack.11 By the end of the first day, 6th Company had suffered 31 dead—a 33 percent killed in action (KIA) rate.12 6th Company had barely survived three basic errors: failure to establish an all-around defense; failure to aggressively conduct reconnaisance of the enemy’s expected approach route, especially given the Chechen reputation for tactical skill, reconnaisance and working around the flanks; and failure to heed warnings about the Chechen force’s approach.13
For some reason, 6th Company did not anticipate with sufficient seriousness and energy the danger it had been assigned to forestall. It seems likely that weak command at the company level was compounded by a lack of timely supervision by the adjacent battalion headquarters.
Day 2, 1 March 2000
Early in the morning on Hill 1410, a reinforcement group of two VDV SPETSNAZ platoons, one Vympel SPETSNAZ group and two airborne companies departed on foot for the saddle. The group encountered several ambushes while traversing terrain as steep as 70 degrees. At approximately 0330, one VDV SPETSNAZ platoon broke through to Hill 787 but was forced to dig in because of stiff Chechen opposition.
The 1st Company was also sent to reinforce 6th Company. While attempting to cross the Abazolgul River northeast of Ulus-Kert, the unit encountered a Chechen ambush force of up to 60 men. Despite repeated attempts to fight through the Chechen ambush, the 1st Company was forced to dig in on the river’s bank. At 0300, during a brief lull, 2d Airborne Battalion deputy commander Major Aleksandr Dostovalov, with 4th Company’s third platoon, broke through to the encircled company. While relief forces were being held back by ambushes, waves of Chechen fighters continued to assault 6th Company on Hill 776.14 When Romanov’s legs were blown off by a mortar round, the battalion commander took over.
While some reports question the lack of artillery and combat air support, others indicate that both where present throughout the four-day engagement. In his report to defense minister Igor Sergeyev, Shpak states that 2d Airborne Battalion “was supported by a self-propelled artillery battalion of the 104th Parachute Regiment and by army aviation.”15 The presence of an artillery forward team with 6th Company, which included a battery commander, indicates that artillery support was at least adequate. While Shpak’s statement and other reports make it certain that VDV artillery was employed throughout the engagement, it is unclear how effective it was at reducing Chechen numbers. Also unanswered is whether additional artillery assets were employed to support 6th Company.
Press reports also cite use of “Grads”—122-millimeter BM-21 multiple-rocket launchers that VDV units do not have.16 Accounts of other engagements in the southern mountains show that the Russians employed available artillery from a number of units in coordination with army aviation helicopters. These accounts stress that artillery continued to fire when helicopters disappeared with daylight. Only one Russian helicopter in the Chechen theater had night capability. This supports Shpak’s statement that 6th Company received no aviation support at night. Helicopter support was further limited by foggy conditions during the fighting.17
The Chechens continued heavy attacks on Hill 776 from all directions throughout the early morning. Paratrooper officers showed an unhesitating willingness to sacrifice themselves, a trait the Germans had frequently noted in the grandfathers of the men on the hill. Dostovalov, already wounded, attacked a group of Chechens trying to carry off a wounded soldier and dispatched them with a grenade. Junior soldiers were equally valiant. After Private Aleksandr Lebedev ran out of ammunition, he threw himself and his last live grenade into a group of Chechens who had wanted him to surrender.
At approximately 0500, the Chechens breached 6th Company defenses. Cumulative casualties and odds of at least 10 to one were too much for the dwindling Russian force. As Chechens overran Hill 776, fighting became hand-to-hand, and Chechens began shooting wounded Russians. The already wounded battalion commander took over the radio from the wounded Romanov and called in artillery fire on his own position, shouting into the radio, “I call artillery on myself!”18 The Chechens suffered grievously from the artillery, and at 0610, communications with the battalion commander were lost.
As the second day of fighting closed, 6th Company counted another 26 paratroopers killed and many wounded. Counting the 31 men who had fallen the day before, 6th Company had suffered a KIA rate of almost two-thirds—57 out of 90 men.19 Chechen casualties also continued to mount. Repeated human-wave attacks are costly, especially when the defenders are supported by artillery and aviation.
The Chechens had been throwing themselves at Hill 776 to keep open a path for the rest of their force. This movement was interrupted by the arrival of the relief force from Hill 1410. Major Andrey Lobanov, commanding a 45th VDV Reconnaisance Regiment SPETSNAZ group, was with this force. He noted that hundreds of pack animals had already passed by. The Russians moved into the saddle and found 6th Company’s abandoned positions and soon encountered a large Chechen group. The Russians retreated to Hill 787 from which they could cover the saddle.
The Russians intercepted the Chechen commander’s desperate orders: “Do not engage in battle. Force your way forward.”20 With the remnants of 6th Company still holding out on Hill 776 and new Russian forces on neighboring Hill 787, the Chechen escape route was dangerously constricted. The Russians sent a reconnaissance platoon into the saddle to find a better position. Instead, it found an ambush by Arab volunteers, covering an attempt by the main Chechen convoy to escape. Having suffered five wounded, the Russians committed another company, hoping to stop the Chechen escape attempt.21
Day 3, 2 March 2000
Late in the morning, the 1st Company broke through Chechen forces and reached the battle area. However, it could not relieve 6th Company, which was still under close attack. One officer and 32 men were still alive. Deputy company commander Captain Roman Sokolov had arrived in Chechnya barely 13 days before. Wounded in the hand, he organized the survivors’ final defense. He placed the six most junior soldiers in the care of Sergeant Andrey Proshev and ordered them to escape. Then, as the Chechens pressed the attack, Sokolov called artillery fire down on his position as a desperate attempt to fend off the enemy. Another 16 paratroopers on Hill 776 were killed in the continuing fighting.22
The Saker notes: The closer to the frontlines, the better the officers. In this case, these are VDV officers, so while this is heroic for sure, this is also “normal” in the sense of “being the norm”. And, again, all this was taking place in a completely ruined and demoralized country. Can you imagine what these guys are capable of today, when they get all the training they need, all the men they need, all the support they need and, most importantly, the complete support of the Russian society? That was just one company, 100+ men. There are now 50’000+ of them.
f-35c, f/a-18, vs. su-35s a more than hopeful situation for blue team
South China Sea, 16N, 114E, 2018. Captain Charles (Charlie) Brown is flying Number 2 in a battle formation of four F-35Cs acting as Offensive-Counter-Air ‘sweepers’ for a flight of four Super Hornets inbound for a JSOW strike on Woody Island. A large military deployment on the Island is denying free passage throughout the South China Sea, and several new oil drilling platforms have been active around the Spratly and Paracel Islands. The United Nations is not amused by this claim of sovereignty over the region, and has resolved to remove the deployment by force.
The task has been assigned to the USN, and a Carrier Battle Group lead by CVN-76 Ronald Reagan is in the area. The plan is to cut the runway and disable the port facilities, then force a withdrawal from the Island under terms dictated by the UN/USN coalition task force.
Number 3 of the F-35C sweepers gets a contact from his APG-81 radar, and the four inbound bogeys are shown across the network. Analysis of signals from the bogeys identifies them as Russian built Su-35S, previously seen moving on Woody Island by satellite recon. All the F-35Cs arm their four AIM-120D missiles and prepare for a ‘turkey shoot’, expecting to get ‘first-look, first-shot, first kill’. ‘Ah’, thinks Charlie, ‘this will be like the AN/AAQ-37 EO DAS advertisement: ‘manoeuvrability is irrelevant …let the missiles do the turning’.
What Charlie Brown doesn’t realise is that such marketing hype was only partly right. In today’s day and age, manoeuvrability becomes irrelevant when faced with high agility, more particularly extreme agility, defined as extreme manoeuvrability + extreme controllability – a deadly combination best achieved with 3D TVC engines, widely spaced, interoperated with rapid response dynamic digital flight controls in airframes with highly relaxed static stability in the longitudinal and, in the case of the PAK-FA, directional axes.
The Flankers with their extreme agility come in range at 60 miles, and the F-35C flight sorts targets and fires a pair of AIM-120Ds at each Flanker. The seconds tick by agonisingly slowly as the missiles fly out to their targets, and each pilot watches for the tell-tale radar bloom of a kill. The AN/ASQ-239 “Barracuda” Electronic Warfare system shows considerable activity from each Flanker and then …. a single bloom indicating one Flanker has been hit.
Range is now 40 Nm and closing at 1,100 Nm/hr. The F-35C’s EO DAS detects four missile launch “flares” from each Flanker, twelve in all, and APG-81 radar detects missiles inbound. The F-35Cs each fire their two remaining AIM-120Ds and turn sixty degrees to maintain datalink command guidance of their missiles via the APG-81 AESA antenna. The cockpit MFDs show that the Flankers have broken away though 120 degrees, with the IRBIS-Es' swivelling antenna heads maintaining guidance contact. The AIM-120Ds, now chasing a retreating target, will fall short. The F-35Cs are not so lucky and they all break as the EO DAS senses the incoming R-77M missiles. Small active radiofrequency decoys and flares are ejected. One JSF is killed with an R-77ME missile with an active radar seeker, another with a tail-pipe hit from an R-77TE with an infrared seeker. Charlie’s JSF is now on full burner, heading for the deck and passing Mach 1.3 when ‘whoomp’ – the back-end explodes, and the cockpit is shrill with alarms and festooned with red displays of failure warnings. There is no response from the stick and he reaches for the ejection handle. A blast and excruciating pain as large chards of the shattered canopy knife into his upper body, then silence as the ‘chute’ opens.
Charlie has a bird’s-eye view as the Flankers tear into the Super Hornet Strikers. JSOWs are jettisoned and they hurriedly fire their AIM-120C5s – all miss. The Super Hornet’s defensive ALE-55 decoy does a good-job on the R-77MEs with active radar seekers, but not those with modern imaging-infrared seekers. Two Super Hornets are lost to these BVR missiles. The three Flankers close, and rapidly dispatch the remaining two Strikers. One is killed with a pair of infrared R-73 Archers, and the other with a burst from the GSH-301 30mm cannon.
And the final count: one Flanker killed, four F-35Cs and four Super Hornets killed for a Flanker vs USN Loss-Exchange Rate of 1:7.
Fiction or Prediction? In the rapidly evolving world of future air combat, costly combat capabilities are being countered before the aircraft become operational. Those combat aircraft built to an obsolete specification are effectively dead before they fly.
Take ‘stealth’ as an example. The original concept remains very sound, but can lead, through intellectual laziness, to several design and development consequences that will, if not addressed, lose future air combat fights.
Stealth is incompatible with classical “endgame” active electronic countermeasures for two reasons: firstly radiating large amounts of power ‘gives the game away’ and secondly, large wideband wide-angle radiofrequency power emissions require large low-loss apertures, which are difficult to make highly stealthy. So the F-22A and the JSF are not reported to currently carry all aspect active electronic defences. Unless equipped with internal endgame radio-frequency countermeasures, if they are detected, their defences are limited and their loss rate can be high, especially if they are unable to defeat the inbound weapon kinematically1.
Long-range missiles are also considered “not important” by many planners, because stealth allows a medium range missile shot before the adversary is aware you are there. Unfortunately, ‘Low-Observability’ is not the same as ‘No-Observability’. As fighter radars on large aircraft like the Su-35S and the PAK-FA deploy increased antenna size and much increased emitted radiofrequency power, and adopt advanced signal management though Active Electronically Scanned Arrays (AESAs), the formerly invisible tennis ball becomes a bright star. And a jet engine producing 40,000 lbs of thrust, is another bright star to a modern staring focal plane infrared sensor.
The mantra ‘manoeuvrability is irrelevant … let the missiles do the turning,’ is another dangerous misconception popular in the contemporary planning community. If the enemy does not have stealthy aircraft, they have to rely on several layers of countermeasures, manoeuvre being one. And it works. Blasting a simple-minded missile with clever deceptive waveforms, putting a towed decoy in its path and confusing it with forward and rear firing chaff can hide the true target, making it miss. Simple Newtonian physics shows that an aircraft at Mach 0.9 with a 9G turning capability can easily out-turn and avoid Mach 3.6 missiles with a 40G turning capability. Another miss.
Those who believe in the absolute impenetrability of ‘stealth’ create a deadly delusion: ‘you can’t see me, so you can’t fire at me, so I don’t need to care about terminal endgame countermeasures’. The problem is, the enemy can see the F-22A close up, can see the F-35 from quite a range, especially side and rear on, and can fire missiles with radar and infra-red seekers. So when these missiles close on an aircraft without effective terminal endgame countermeasures, they kill. The F-22A’s kinematics give it a fair chance of escaping a missile shot – the F-35 JSF very little chance. How does a Mach 1.5 JSF (JORD spec is Mach 1.5 S&L @ 30 kft ISA) escape a Mach 2.25 Sukhoi, especially when the Sukhoi has fuel to burn?
So, the foregoing description of a future air combat fight tells the story of changing capabilities, changing tactics, and changing Loss-Exchange-Ratios.
Why are we observing such a single-minded rejection of the need for effective endgame defences on Western combat aircraft? It is a direct by-product of a steadfast belief in Western military bureaucracies that most if not all future air combat will occur in the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) domain. There is no real evidence to support this idea, as the heavily “asymmetrical” conditions observed in air campaigns fought from 1991 through 2003 were unique and very unlikely to be repeated in the future. The advent of very long range “anti-AWACS” missiles, advanced conventional fighters like the Su-35S, and the stealthy PAK-FA, will result in far more “symmetrical” air campaigns, where the conditions permitting frequent or predominant Beyond Visual Range missile engagements will arise infrequently. Most air combat engagements will devolve into close combat, where “traditional” fighter virtues will be paramount. What follows then?
How the effects of stealth, countermeasures and agility play out depends on the combatant’s relative capabilities and the tactics employed. However, there is certainty about this: it is better to have superior agility; it is better to have effective countermeasures; but it is best to have both!
The US Navy is putting its fragile eggs in the F-35 JSF and the Super Hornet basket. This is tactically very dangerous.
F/A-18E/F/G: This aircraft has excellent countermeasures, but if the adversaries have equally good or better countermeasures and can out-manoeuvre the Super Hornet’s missiles and airframe, then the inevitable result of any engagements will be the destruction of the Super Hornets; and,
F-35 JSF: Because of the paradox of a stealthy aircraft actively jamming missiles, it is vulnerable to attack, especially within the rear-quarter from radar and infra-red guided missiles; once the aircraft is detected, then escaping from a much faster, more agile enemy is unlikely; high loss rates are predicted.
The F-22A’s Raptor countermeasures capabilities have not been disclosed publicly. The passive sensors and systems are listed, but no public information is available, as it is for other types, on active, terminal countermeasures. The logic - or illogic if you will – that a stealth aircraft does not need them suggests there are none. However to remain effective, the F-22 needs to maintain its margin of superiority over newcomers like the PAK-FA and the Su-35S and actives countermeasures will be part of the capability solution, especially when engagements are closer, faster and at ranges where even VLO aircraft can be detected and tracked.
Following the example of a very successful and cost-effective development of the F-15E from the F-15A&C, the F-22A needs to be developed along the lines of the Strike Eagle – a two-place, much enhanced “F-22E” fighter with the rear seat Weapons System Officer monitoring sensor feeds, advising the pilot and managing the passive and active terminal countermeasures – and, yes, it must have the agility and persistence to overmatch both the PAK-FA and the Su-35S.
What they will also need is effective countermeasures that don’t compromise stealth. This capability must be deployed only when needed. The ALE-55 is a good example – a towed decoy that emits signal waveforms derived from the on-board RFS/ESM and countermeasures generator, with a fibre-optic cable that could be reeled out to meet threats and retracted or jettisoned after the threat has passed. Small, powered ‘smart’ air-launched decoys with an aircraft-like infra-red or radio-frequency signature are another.
Manufacturers make stealthy gun-port openings and the F-22 has stealthy countermeasures bays on the fuselage sides, so they should be able to make stealthy electronic warfare openings large enough for effective countermeasures systems – the small and stealthy RFS/ESM antennas can collect the enemy’s signals continuously, the internal countermeasures generator forms the jamming waves for radar seekers, and directed energy for infrared seekers. The countermeasure bays open, ports blast out disruptive radiofrequency and infrared energy as needed, then the bays close and allow the fighter to fade back into the ether
One advantage of true stealth aircraft is that their much lower radar signatures reduce the emitted power demands for an endgame electronic countermeasures suite. Rather than emitting kiloWatts, such a system can be viable emitting less than 100 Watts of power. While this has the enormous benefit of removing the need for large thermionic transmitters and supporting waveguides, it does not remove the need for jammer receiver hardware, processor hardware, techniques generator hardware, and embedded software, all of which incur maintenance, weight, volume, power and cooling demands.
Large stealth fighters like the F-22 and PAK-FA are big beneficiaries, insofar as they are large enough to incorporate internal endgame countermeasures without significant performance and capacity penalties. The much less stealthy F-35 would require much more emitter power to protect its more vulnerable beam and tail sectors, while it is severely challenged in weight, volume, power and cooling, making integration of a robust all aspect endgame electronic countermeasures suite a difficult engineering challenge, for which a genuinely satisfactory design solution may not exist2.
Some argue that the AESA radars fitted to the F-22A and the F-35 will be effective ‘Directed Energy Weapons’ (DEWs) that will destroy incoming missiles. There are three ‘difficulties’ with this notion. Firstly, AESA modules can only steer the energy beam within a cone angled about 120 degrees centred on the AESA boresight – leaving the remaining 240 degrees of the sphere unprotected. Secondly, AESA radars cover a limited bandwidth – how will its directed energy negate ‘out-of-band’ missile seekers, especially infra-red? Thirdly, ‘hardening’ missiles against DEW attack is a relatively simple and low cost exercise – there are already signs that this is taking place, e.g. active laser proximity fuses replacing radio-frequency fuses on Russian missiles.
Finally, a ‘blinding glimpse of the bleeding obvious’. If the enemy can out-manoeuvre your missiles, then the converse of that infamous advertisement is: ‘if your missiles can’t do the turning, then smart aircraft are irrelevant’. What the F-22E needs is better missiles. The MBDA Meteor is a good start, as its throttleable ramjet lets it slow to a pace where it can do the required turning in the terminal stage. However, this missile needs an alternate seeker such as the Infra-red sensor in the AIM-132 AMRAAM. Future missiles need longer range – not necessarily to kill at greater distances, but to position to end-game places where its target has poor active defences or poor stealth performance.
To conclude, resting on the laurels of the F-22A is not an option. The Su-35S has seriously dangerous and effective capabilities, even against an F-22A. The stealthy PAK-FA, albeit in an early phase of development, is showing naked air combat power in the form of extreme plus agility and persistence that, with the addition of advanced sensors, countermeasures and weapons, will likely soundly defeat the Raptor but will certainly annihilate the F-35 and the Super Hornet. Work on the F-22E needs to start immediately and be undertaken with the urgency required of a grave threat to the national defence and security of the USA and its Allies.
the ‘real’ story behind the wonderful wizard of oz
The Story Behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was first published in Chicago in 1900. Its author, L. Frank Baum, was the editor of a South Dakota newspaper and a supporter of William Jennings Bryan who stood three times, unsuccessfully, as a U.S. Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party. The particular concern of both Baum and Bryan was the nature of the money supply then prevalent in the United States, and in the Mid-Western States in particular.In America during the 1890s, as in Britain, there had been a severe depression. Many businesses had gone bankrupt, farmers forced to sell up, factories closed and workers made unemployed. True, some farms in the Mid-West were suffering from drought, but most were still capable of growing food; the businesses and factories were still capable of providing the things that people needed; the workers still wanted to work to provide those things, and people would still want the goods and services produced if they had the money to buy them. The money in the USA then, as now, was entirely created by the private banking system. The pretence existed then that money was based on gold. (Even now some people still think that it is!) The major banks, based on the East and West coasts, could vary the amount of money in circulation, lending more to encourage commercial activity, then fore-closing on loans to put people out of business, enabling the banks to acquire their businesses cheaply.Baum and Bryan wanted money to be based on silver, not gold, as silver was more readily available in the Mid-West, where it was mined. Such a money supply could not be manipulated by the banks. So the story of the Wizard of Oz starts with a cyclone in the form of imagined electoral success for Bryan…Dorothy, a sort of proverbial ‘Everywoman’, lands on the Wicked Witch of the East (the East-coast bankers), killing her, so freeing the Munchkins, the down-trodden poor, but the Wicked Witch of the West (the West-coast bankers) remains loose.To deal with her and to get back to Kansas (normality), the Good Witch of the North, representing the electorate of the North (this is less than 40 years after the civil war), tells Dorothy to seek out the Wizard of Oz (‘oz’ being short for ounce, the means of weighing both gold and silver). She also gives her a pair of silver slippers (as they were in the book – they became ruby ones in the film). Only these silver slippers will enable her to remain safe on the yellow-brick road, representing the bankers’ gold standard, as she heads towards the Emerald City, representing Washington DC. On her journey, Dorothy encounters a Scarecrow, representing the farmers, who do not have the wit to understand how they can end up losing their farms to the banks, even though they work hard to grow the food to feed a hungry nation. If only they could think it through!Next, she encounters a Tin Woodsman, representing the industrial workers, rusted as solid as the factories of the 1890s depression, and who have lost the sense of compassion and co-operation to work together to help each other during hard times. Also, a spell cast upon him by the Wicked Witch of the East meant that every time he swung his axe, he chopped off a bit of himself – he downsized! Then the growing party encounters a Cowardly Lion, representing the politicians. These have the power, through the power of Congress and the Constitution, to confront the Wicked Witches, representing the banks, but they lack the courage to do so.Dorothy is able to motivate these three potent forces and leads them all towards the Emerald City, whence ‘greenbacks’ had once come, and an encounter with the omnipotent and wonderful Wizard of Oz.The Wizard of Oz is initially quite majestic and apparently awesome, but he turns out to be a little man without the power that people assume he possesses. He does, of course, represent the President of the United States. With the Wizard’s illusion of power shattered, he is replaced by the Scarecrow who would ‘be another Lincoln’. The Wicked Witch of the West, fearful for her own power, then attempts to destroy Dorothy but is herself dissolved in a bucket of water, as rain relieves the Mid-West drought, saves the farmers’ livelihoods and prevents repossession by the banks. The Good Witch of the South, representing the Southern electorate, tells Dorothy that her silver slippers, silver-based money, are so powerful that anything she wishes for is possible, even without the help of the Wizard. Dorothy wishes to go home. There all is now well, because the land has a stable and abundant money supply. Still a Pertinent Message. So ends this famous modern American ‘fairy-tale’. Its true message has been lost to the mists of time and the demands of Hollywood, but its message is no less pertinent now than when it was written. William Jennings Bryan was neither the first nor the last American politician to try to reform the US money supply. In fact, two money reformers achieved the office of President and attempted to put money reform into action, but just like in the Oz story, the ‘Most Powerful Man in the World’ was not as powerful as people believed. In 1865, Abraham Lincoln introduced the original ‘greenbacks’, which were paper money issued by the US Government, largely to pay for the Federal war effort during the civil war. It was ‘fiat’ money, money made legal tender by Act of Congress. Unfortunately, Lincoln died suddenly a few weeks later and his plans died with him.In 1963, John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 11110 which would have removed the power of money creation from all US private banks, including the privately-owned Federal Reserve, and invested that power in the US Government. Unfortunately, Kennedy died suddenly a few weeks later and his plans died with him.The Problems of Debt In the USA 100% of the money supply is created by the private banks. In Britain the figure is over 97%. In the rest of the world, the figure is estimated to be over 95%. All this money is created as a debt. It is created when people borrow money, as banks do not lend existing money; they just create new money out of thin air to lend.Money created as a debt by the banks bears a charge of interest. This increases the amount of money that the economy owes by an amount greater than the amount in existence. This means that the economy is a saddled with a debt that can never be paid off, merely passed around like a game of Pass-the-Parcel in a Belfast pub. It is like a game of musical chairs, where someone has to lose out.
Currently the stance of international media and the US is putting Russia between a rock and a hard place. Threats of boycotting the upcoming Winter Olympics due to Russia's apparently abusive anti-gay laws has been blown way out of proportion by the media, and for some reason it is now paramount that the world does something to bring attention on Russia, a country who's population is perfectly happy with its view on homosexual rights, or the lack thereof. So much so that Russian citizens have rallied in protest of any change being brought about, understandably angry that foreign countries think they have a right to intervene in Russian national law. Russia has been accused of being an authoritarian and draconian state. Why? Simply because they refuse to listen to a corrupt, overly liberalist, aggressive and irrational Western world whose citizens are governed by an even more rotten media.
Russia's anti-gay laws are an example of a majority vote that has been applied accordingly, not a law that has been taken into consideration but not put into effect because an incompetent government fears the minority.
The US has capitalised on the situation to appropriate their means with the Snowden case and the Syrian civil war. Russia continues to shelter the US whistleblower, Edward Snowden, who's continuing endeavours to expose American government corruption has cost him nearly everything. The US has branded him a traitor and a spy, an action reminiscent of a totalitarian regime. Russia's continued sheltering of this whistleblower is something that we should be proud of, not disgusted at.
Meanwhile the US continues to try to uproot Assad's government in Syria by supplying weapons to rebels who can be directly linked back to Al Qaeda. Russia continues to supply Assad's government with arms and supplies due to their national oil assets in the country and in hope of aiding the seriously destabilised pro-Russian government. A large division of Syrian citizens are still trying to come to grips with a civil war that seems to have sprung out of nowhere, confused by the apparent lack of agenda or motive the Syrian rebels are failing to show.
In reality Russia is still viewed as the tyrannical Soviet Union, something that Russian President Vladimir Putin has valiantly tried to erase. But it would seem that Western countries still hold doggedly on to a clear-cut good/bad guy mentality and any opportunity to drag Russia's face in the mud is done so with glee, even if it is something as petty as gay laws.
Kia ora (That's hello in Maori or Kiwi speak) again, I don't think anyone reads these but what the heck I enjoy writing anyway. Trust me I have over five failed and uncompleted novellas and countless ideas and settings for some good ones.
Anyway, not what this blog was to be about. Actually I don't think I have an idea on what this blog is to be about.
Time for a picture:
Of IL-2's, why? 'cose they're damn awesome that's why.
Now that the blog has successfully been prettified thanks to Haryarti, (Check him out on deviantart, he's awesome) I shall endeavour to entertain you further, congratulations on reading this far. Here is some music that I like, and so should you:
You like, yes?
Time for some news: The Royal Family have a new addition... Sorry you've had your 0.5 millisecond slot of news girls.
Now onto some guy stuff: Star Citizen is slated for release late next year, which may give you enough time to upgrade your rig, right?
Ubisoft is yet to confirm The Division or The Crew for PC. *cries*
GTA V (or 5 if you don't understand Roman numerals, which you should because you are a gamer, right?) Is to be bigger than San Andreas, Liberty City, and even the world in Red Dead Redemption combined. Bold claim, we'll see if they mean it I guess.
Metal Gear Solid 5 came out of the blue and barrelled its way onto the Open World podium quite successfully, although their trailer sucked.
There's a lot more to say about the gaming genre but its all stuff you already know, and then there's always Google if you're bored.
If you made it to the end, congratulations. However I'm afraid there is no reward because this blog is like a rainbow really, lots of pretty colours but no pot of gold at the end.
Imagine a world where countries paid taxes to a big
organisation so that the big organisation could fix the world, however the
countries that paid the taxes actually didn't know what needed fixing. In fact
these countries had no idea why they even needed to pay the tax, but what they
did know was that the organisation that received their money made the world a
better place somehow. So every year without hesitation the countries would pay
billions to this reputable organisation. Once the organisation had the
countries money they would dedicate it to fixing The Problem. But every year
the organisation would broadcast across the world's media, stating that the
money wasn't enough, that every citizen had a responsibility and a part to play,
they demanded that each country's government made new laws to change the
lifestyles of it's citizens. So, slowly but surely the countries began to
change the way people lived, they passed laws for new taxes so that they could
give more to the Organisation to fix The Problem. Although the citizens were
disgruntled by the new laws they knew that The Problem had to be fixed, so they
paid their taxes and changed their lifestyles. After a few years of the world
paying their due to the Organisation some of the more wealthy and more economically
well to do countries decided to start researching The Problem themselves. What
they found so shocked them that they decided to keep it a secret from the
public, agreeing that if their citizens found out it would cause far more
trouble than if hadn't been found out at all. So the world continued, paying
their hard earned money to the Organisation so that it could find better and
better ways to fix The Problem.
Now imagine if that world was our world. If that "Problem"
was our "Problem". If that "Organisation" was our world's "Organisation".
That's right "The Problem" is climate change, or, to be more
precise, Global Warming. The "Organisation" is the United Nations and sadly the
"secret" is the non-existence of The Problem. The world has paid untold
billions in carbon credits for years now, and not once has a country stood up
and said "Hang on a minute, where has my money gone? Where are the giant Earth
saving projects that you promised would be around by now? Why is it that we
have to change how we live to fix a problem that we were paying YOU to fix?"
Next time you see an article on a new clean and green
project, research who funded it. I can guarantee you there will not be a single
cent of UN money in it.
Attila the Hun, or The Scourge of God, was one of the most relentless warlords the world has ever seen, he ripped through the Western Roman Empire like butter, uprooted the Goths from Germania, and even spent a bit of time taking on the Sassinids in the east. A brilliant tactician matched just as much by brutality.
However there is a twist to this seemingly predictable story; how he came to be defeated.
After bashing a lot of Roman skulls he made his way to the very center of the known world. Rome.
With this great city within his reach seemingly nothing was going to stop him. However an unlikely hero stopped the impending destruction; Pope Leo I. To this day no one knows what was exchanged between the Warlord and this man of God, but whatever was said, it changed the course of history. Attila, turned around, and left the Western Roman Empire on its knees.
Much conjecture floats around about this most mysterious happening, many say that there was a famine sweeping through the land at the time, and as much as Attila was about conquering he was also about maintaining, and he was spread to his maximum capacity by the time he had reached the gates of Rome.
Before arriving at Rome he had also suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Roman Army in modern day France.
Some of that old fighting spirit was still alive in the Roman Eagle, something Attila underestimated.
But there is no definite known reason for Attila's departure, his death came soon after, falling victim to his heavy drinking.
And with Attila's death The Hunnic Empire fell apart and faded into the history books as quickly as it had been created.
Thought I'd put this out there, why on earth has no one got a team together and requested for some modding/map making tools for II/Brotherhood/Revelations I mean think about it, it'd be amazing to be able to add more map to Rome or Constantinople, have added weapons, and, for the serious modders, extra attack animations and/or different playable characters?! The possibilities are quite honestly endless.
Preferably (IMHO) Brotherhood would suit it best, the atmosphere created in that game is fantastic. Plus the wide open spaces in the Roma country side leave plenty of opportunities for added Borgia Towers, small assassination side quests, and other bits of awesome. Even just having some open space outside of one of the city gates to roam around or leaving the door open on the Castello would be amazing.
Don't get me wrong, it'd take quite a big team to do any of this stuff, but once the gate is open I'm sure plenty of Assassin addicts who know a thing or two about modding would be into it.
This is just a little dream of mine that is probably shared by quite a few other Assassin's Creed players/fans.
I know with ACIII on its way people are losing interest in the older ones, and then eventually ACIV, V, VI, so on and so on will overshadow their predecessors. But I will always, always hang out for a moddable Assassin's Creed.
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