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Frightline Friday: Lockheed to Develop Mach 20 Strike System September 23, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, technology.
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DARPA has been working on this for over a decade, with not exactly stellar success.  Called originally Prompt Global Strike, as people began to wrap their heads around the “Global War on Terror” in the early 00s, they began to comprehend how useful a weapon system that could be launched from CONUS and hit a target anywhere in the world within 30-40 minutes.

Some bright folks at the Air Staff exclaimed: “Why, we have ICBMs that can do that!  We just need to put a conventional warhead (or not) on an ICBM and, voila!, capability created!”  Someone then said……how would the Russians or Chinese feel about an ICBM launch from the US, even if told about it in advance?  How would they feel about ICBM warheads sailing overhead in route to a target in Afghanistan or Yemen?  Back to the drawing board……..

So began what has turned into a long-term effort to develop what amounts to a sort of hypersonic cruise missile, launched from a bomber or perhaps a sub and carried aloft to a high, but nowhere near orbital, altitude, and flying to the target at speeds between Mach 5 (3500 mph) and Mach 20 (14,000 mph).

There have been a number of programs – Hypersonic Test Vehicles HTV-1, HTV-2, X-43, X-51, and the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon.  Their success rate has been around 50% so far.  HTV really never quite worked and seems to have been cancelled.  AHW seem to be ongoing.  All of these follow a “depressed,” atmospheric trajectory deliberately, to prevent other nuclear armed powers from believing they are being attacked with ballistic missiles.  How excited they will become at a Mach 20 scramjet coming in their general direction remains to be seen.

The US is hardly the only country pursuing this technology.  China and Russia both are, and the Chinese program may be more advanced than the US at this time.

Perhaps to redress that, DARPA awarded a $150 million contract to Lockheed to develop a new Tactical Boost Glide weapon.  $150 is probably chicken feed to develop something so radically advanced, but perhaps that’s just for starters:

Lockheed Martin just won a $147 million contract to build a vehicle capable of flying at speeds of Mach 20. The goal is to create a high-speed delivery system that could bomb targets thousands of miles away in an hour or less. It’s similar to what other countries, including Russia and China, are working on.

Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) will be an air-launched boost glide weapon system. The TBG itself is a aerodynamic, arrowhead-shaped vehicle fitted on the nose of a rocket. The rocket in turn is carried by a large aircraft such as a B-52 bomber, which would carry the rocket to high altitude and then launch it. The rocket boosts TBG to an evenhigher altitude, whereupon a scramjet or ramjet kicks in and quickly accelerates it up to hypersonic speeds. TBG then glides unpowered the rest of the way to the target.

How fast will TBG go? A nearly identical program concluded in 2011 reached speeds of Mach 20. At that speed, a hypersonic vehicle could travel from New York City to Los Angeles in 12 minutes, or London to Sydney in 49 minutes.

Hypersonic is the next frontier in weaponry. The super-fast speeds could make it possible to destroy a faraway but time-critical target—say, a North Korean missile fueling on the launch pad or a terrorist meeting in a remote location. Hypersonic speed also makes interception very difficult—and makes the actual vehicle a weapon when the kinetic energy of an object traveling at Mach 20 is transferred to a target.

Meh.  Prompt Global Strike, like unmanned systems, is more of a politician’s dream than what I suspect will become a real military capability.  Politicians love unmanned systems for the promise of being able to fight wars without much risk of loss of US life.  I pray to God they never become really capable, or we’ll be killing people around the world without end at a far higher rate than we do now.  There’d be no end to it.

Don’t get me wrong, hypersonics have great utility and I think they will eventually come along, but I think Mach 20 is quite a reach.  The temperatures and pressures at that altitude (~200,000 ft) are fantastic – hundreds if not thousands of PSI, 3500 degrees F.  Mach 5-8 seems much more reasonable, and the technology to handle those temps and pressures has been around a long time.


The earlier X-43:

A successful hypersonic weapon, whether an air-breathing scramjet powered vehicle, or one that glides after initial boost to terrific speed, can be much more difficult to intercept than an ICBM RV because they are not on a fixed ballistic profile, and will likely be capable of something like aircraft like maneuvers, albeit, at enormous speeds.

Long ago, the Air Force had a project for a replacement to the venerable B-52.  The replacement was called the XB-70.  It was killed largely due to McNamara’s inveterate dislike for bombers, which stemmed from several reasons, most of them faulty.  The XB-70 was killed because it was designed to fly at Mach 3.2 at 70-80,000 ft.  With the shootdown of Francis Gary Powers U-2 in 1960, some felt that high altitude was too dangerous, due to the proliferation of surface-to-air missiles that could reach the same or higher altitudes.

However, one massive bit of the equation McNamara missed was the difference in performance.  At 70,000 ft, the U-2 cruised at about 400 mph.  That’s all it could do.  The B-70 would have been 5 times as fast.  While the B-70 had a much larger radar cross section and could thus be detected sooner, 30 years of operation with the SR-71 proved that the high-altitude domain had not been rendered implausible due to surface to air missiles.  Flying at the same speeds and altitudes, the SR-71 was targeted and fired upon by SAMs literally hundreds of times, but not one was ever shot down or even damaged.

The reason is that even very large SAMs have very little energy left when they get to that kind of extreme altitude, and the aircraft are often about as maneuverable (if not more) than the SAM way up there in the up there.  Also, the enormous speed of the SR-71 (or B-70) means that even a slight change in course results in a displacement of the flight path on the order of miles within a minute or less.  So, the SAM, targeted to a particular spot in the sky where the fast, high-altitude aircraft is expected to be, winds up missing by a huge distance when the aircraft turns to avoid.  Really no air defense systems of the 60s-90s timeframe could react quickly enough, or had missiles with high enough flight performance, to hit a maneuvering target at those speeds and altitudes.

And that doesn’t even begin to factor in the very advanced electronic countermeasures an aircraft like the B-70 or SR-71 would have or did carry.  An ICBM RV is simple to shoot down by comparison, being on a fixed ballistic trajectory – albeit very, very fast – it WILL be at a certain point in the sky at a certain point in time and there is nothing that can be done to change that.  Get an interceptor to that same point at the right time, and you have a kill.

The Russians now purport to have “maneuverable” RVs (with attached rockets or lift devices to deviate from the fixed ballistic trajectory) able to defeat missile defense systems, but they a) drastically exaggerate their capabilities, and b) fail to note that they are so heavy and cumbersome that they have a huge negative impact on the ICBM’s limited payload/range capabilities.

The prototype XB-70 #2 reached a peak speed of Mach 3.07 and an altitude of 72,800 ft during it’s test program.  The production B-70s would have been equipped with more powerful engines and able to fly faster and quite a bit higher.

But I guess that’s a story for another day.

North American XB-70A Valkyrie



Most Convincing Ad For Trump I’ve Seen Yet September 22, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, asshatery, disaster, foolishness, Revolution, scandals, self-serving, Society.

I guess we can write off all those “Robert Downey Jr. is a secret Catholic/conservative” memes now:

Of course, Hollywood has never, ever before pretended that failure to vote for their preferred left-wing candidate would result in national disaster:

So couple the first few seconds of this one (don’t recommend going beyond about 20 seconds, because gratuitous, lazy use of vulgar language ensues):

With this:

And basically the same message was conveyed in 2008.  Vote for Obama or America dies.

I think more and more people, however, have had more than enough of being told what to do by high school drop outs with beautiful faces who can read a teleprompter (marginally well).  A lot of Trump’s rise, for good or ill, has to do with telling off this segment of the population, which is why their endorsement this time is all the more desperate and apocalyptic-sounding.  If Trump wins, it’s a massive shot at their credibility.  They are not the only ones, however.

For someone like me, who choked on Hollywood’s smug superiority and sneering condescension about age 19, the more they freak out, the more the BLM types and all the other leftist’s, genuine and otherwise, lose their minds over Trump’s rise, the more I think…….maybe there is something to this guy.  I am far from alone.

Or, if brevity is the soul of wit, I could simply say to Downey Jr and the others……….your ad is your failure.  There’s no better ad for Trump than these sorts of messages.

Reminder: Fall Ember Days Start Tomorrow 09/21/16 September 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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EOM.  Maybe a bit more tomorrow.  Fast and partial abstinence tomorrow and Saturday, full abstinence on Friday (per, I’m certain, your usual practice).

Mac n’ Cheese for me!

My new all-time favorite UT player September 16, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, non squitur, silliness.

Forget Vince Young, Colt McCoy, Jerry Gray, Earl Campbell, Britt Hager, Lam Jones, or David Thomas, Malcom Roach is my man:

True freshman monster at outside linebacker, obviously the greatest player ever with the greatest name ever.

Surprisingly, no relation.

Flightline Friday: Naval Aviation in the Mekong Delta, 1967-1972 September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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One of the relatively little-known aspects of the massive, never-ending air war over Southeast Asia (1964-1973) was the US Navy’s role in it.  I do not refer, in this instance, to the numerous carriers and carrier air wings that served throughout the war, involving essentially every attack carrier the Navy had in service in that timeframe, and pretty much every air wing, as well.  That’s a separate subject from this post, and, really, one that was so vast it would be impossible to encapsulate in a single blog post.

What I am referring to is something a bit different.  These were two land-based squadrons operated in support of the “Brown Water Navy” that patrolled the Mekong Delta and other rivers of Vietnam, seeking to interdict communist supplies flowing down these vast, largely unpoliced waters.  The two squadrons in question were Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) Three -HA(L)-3 –  and Light Attack Squadron Four – VAL-4.  The former was equipped with Huey gunships (generally UH-1E) and known as the Sea Wolves,  and the latter with OV-10A and -10D Broncos and known as the Black Ponies.

HA(L)-3 served from 1967 through 1972, and VAL-4 from 1969 – 1972.  Both were focused on defending US and South Vietnamese Navy riverine craft from communist attack, providing close air support to allied troops conducting operations in the region, and also flying armed reconnaissance missions attacking targets of opportunity.  VAL-4 flew from Vung Tau (hometown of a friend of mine, once a sleeping fishing village, now a major resort city) and Binh Tuy.  HA(L)-3 was nominally based at Vung Tau and Binh Tuy, as well, but operated numerous detachments from floating logistics bases within the Delta itself, using converted WWII LSTs and other ships for this purpose.

Both squadrons were fairly large in terms of equipment and personnel and hit well above their weight in terms of the impact they had on the war.  Both flew outrageous numbers of sorties, as did so many units in Vietnam (but these even more), and dropped an incredible amount of munitions.  Both have proud and storied legacies well deserving of more remembrance than they have received.  This post may hopefully serve to slightly rectify their relative historical anonymity.

A few videos below on both squadrons.  First up, a truly excellent history of VAL-4, which not only details personnel and day-to-day operations, but also the squadron’s place in the larger war effort and the many transitions it  underwent as its mission set changed due to the American withdrawal and Vietnamization.  There is some really amazing air-to-air footage below of numerous OV-10 strike missions, as well as its just plain silly maneuverability (pulling 7-8G at 180kts makes for an amazingly tight turn):

Short, silent, but excellent footage of two Black Pony OV-10s carrying a load of twelve 5″ Zuni rockets (a few with fuze extenders) each on a mission over South Vietnam.  The Zuni really packed a punch and has always been a favorite of the Marine Corps, which continues to use it to this day:

One major use of both VAL-4 and HA(L)-3 was as a quick-reaction force to provide air support for allied units that ran into trouble.  Thus the intro to the second video below, “Scramble the Seawolves,” the first of which gives you an idea of the quick reaction missions flown, as well as a little overview of the unit, which is the most decorated Naval flying unit of all time.  This first video is pretty danged good, showing a lot of combat footage and with some sound added in so it’s not just silent or with an overbearing 60s soundtrack, though you do start to get that some way in:

You’ll have to forgive the psychedelic soundtrack.  Eh, it was a product of the times:

Gun run.  I can’t believe those door gunners hit very much but who am I to judge?

Some pretty cool stuff.  The aircraft used by both squadrons carried similar armament – the OV-10 had four built-in 7.62 mm M60D machine guns and generally carried 2.75″ and 5″ rockets, while the UH-1 could carry 7.62 mm machine guns and 2.75″ rockets, but occasionally had 12.7 mm (.50 cal) M2 machine guns in the doors.

If you’re a glutton for punishment here’s one more:

Please Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Hugh Sheridan September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, shocking.
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I have sat next to Hugh at most every Sunday Mass for the past 4 or 5 years.  He was single and had no family I’, aware of.  We always tried to save him a seat.  I spoke with him just this past Sunday.

He passed away unexpectedly last night.  He had been in fine health as far as I knew.  He was probably well into his 70s but I’m not certain of his exact age.  He was a faithful TLMer of many, many years.

If you would, in your charity, pray for the repose of his soul.  He was a good guy, I liked him quite a bit.

The Requiem Mass will be at 10 am Monday at Mater Dei.

Requiescat in Pace.

9/11 Fifteen Years On: The Jumpers September 9, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, disaster, error, General Catholic, horror, Immigration, paganism, sadness, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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It seems impossible we’re coming up on the 15th anniversary of 9/11.  I do not know where the time has gone.  I’m pretty disconnected from the dominant or major media, but am I wrong that there is very little mention of this upcoming anniversary?  I guess 15th anniversaries aren’t that big a deal?  I know 10 was a pretty big deal, and maybe 20 will be.  Or maybe it’s just passe’ and too inconvenient to discuss, because it weighs too much against things like unconstrained immigration of unassimilable populations, the permanent democrat majority, etc.

And then again, maybe a lot of people just want to forget.  They’d rather pretend it didn’t happen, or couldn’t happen again, or was some hideously byzantine government plot to kill thousands for a small increase in profit for a handful of corporations.  But I don’t want to forget.  I can’t forget.  I can’t forget how strange it was to live in DFW and not see a single plane in the sky for days.  I can’t forget watching two massive towers collapse.

Most of all, I can’t forget the jumpers.  I can’t forget that there were people in such desperate, tortuous straits, they chose to fall to a certain death rather than to burn to death or choke to death on acrid smoke.  There were quite a few, dozens, at a minimum.  If you really want to have a grisly experience – and I don’t recommend you do – you can find the pictures of some of their remains online.  They are out there.  What happens to a human body when it slams into the pavement at 120 mph……saying it’s not pretty is more than an understatement.

Whatever one thinks of who ultimately committed this atrocity – and I firmly believe a small group of determined men can accomplish mighty and/or terrible things, like the conquest of the Aztec Empire – it did happen.  3000 people died in the space of an hour or so.  6000+ were injured.  The deaths of many of those were incomprehensibly brutal and terrifying.  Stuck in an airliner flying over NYC at 600ft and 400 mph, knowing you were going to die any second.  Trapped in a burning building.  Being on one of the lower floors, maybe trying to flee down a stairwell, when the earthquake of thousands of tons of concrete and steel starting to collapse unveiled itself.

I think in all the conspiracy theories and global war on terror and pro- and anti-muslim rhetoric that has dominated discussion over the past 15 years, the true nature of the day has been lost.  It was a day of unspeakable tragedy on a profoundly human level.  That’s the part that needs to be remembered, at least now, less what caused this or what came after, but what happened to nearly 10,000 people on that day.  That’s what sticks with me, anyway.

So I attach the following images not to be morbid, or provocative, or morose, but to remember.  This happened, and may God have mercy on all those who died, or who lost a loved one on that nightmarish day:



World Trade Center terrorist attack - a body falls out the window of the World Trade after the attack --WORLD TRADE CENTER-EXPLOSION-BOMBING-WTC



Prayer Request September 8, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Holy suffering, sadness, Virtue.
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Very, very longtime readers may recall the name SSGT Mark Juarez USMC.  Mark is a cousin to my brother-in-law.  I had not seen him in a few years, but I ran into him this past weekend.  He was traumatically injured in combat in Afghanistan in 2010 during his seventh deployment overseas.  He just retired from the Marine Corps after 16 years of service, but due to his severe injury and 100% disability the Marines “bumped” him to 20 years effective and so he’ll get the normal retirement benefits.

Which, is a very large transition.  Many servicemembers, especially combat veterans, have a difficult time transitioning to a civilian life.  I imagine that may be doubly true in the case of a debilitating injury. He’s a father of three lovely girls so that will obviously take a great deal of his time.  Since his injury, Mark has had to re-learn so many things many of us take for granted – walking, reading, writing, etc.

So there’s that, but Mark has a great deal else going on of a personal nature.  I’d like to ask your prayers for him again.  His recovery from his original injuries was truly miraculous and I’m certain the prayer of many good souls associated with this blog had at least a little to do with that.   He’s in need of a different kind of, and possibly bigger, miracle now.  It is not health-related, thank God, as he’s been through enough (including being a survivor of the horrific Midland veteran’s parade float truck/train collision disaster that killed several) in that regard, and it’s also not PTSD or anything of that sort.  It’s a personal matter.

If you could add him to your regular list of intentions for an indefinite period, I would certainly appreciate it.  I have added he and his family to mine, among several families for which I am praying at present.  At the very least, pray that this latest suffering may redound to his further sanctification. Enough said.

I take it all back!!!!! September 6, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, asshatery, Basics, fun, non squitur, silliness.
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I take it all back. I love you UT, so very, very much:


Mercurial, am I.

Oh, and yes:


And against that team.  Oh yes yes yes yes yes.  First time in 46 years.

About that help I requested for Plano Community Home…. September 1, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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A few weeks ago, I posted a request for help for people at the Plano Community Home to assist at Mass.  Unfortunately, when dealing with several layers of people, and especially elderly people, messages can become confused.  It seems I may have fallen victim to a group of elderly people in various stages of dementia, who forgot that there actually is already a Mass offered at PCH every Sunday.  I did query if any of these folks would be interested in assisting at the TLM, but there was no interest.

Amazingly, these people did contact the diocese, and, I understand, a parish or two, looking for rides to Mass, even though they have one at their home.  As I said, there may have been some memory issues or some other things at play.  But there is no real need at this point.  I apologize for the confusion and for getting people exercised over nothing.  Others with a little better frame of mind clarified the situation for me and I don’ t think any assistance is called for at this time.  Thank you very much to those who generously offered to help, however.

Your humble blogger begs your assistance.