Archive for the ‘Air Force’ Category

Israeli Air Force chief: We are ready to deal with Iran

November 19, 2008

“We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us” in order to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, IAF commander Maj. -Gen. Ido Nehushtan told German magazine Der Spiegel in an interview published Tuesday.

Nehushtan told the magazine that whether a military strike is eventually decided upon is a political question and not an issue of Israel’s military capabilities.A strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities “is a political decision,” the IAF commander said, “but if I understand it correctly, all options are on the table… The Air Force is a very robust and flexible force. We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us.”

From the Jerusalem Post

Above: Brig.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, commander of the Israeli Air Force.

When asked by the paper whether the Israeli military was able to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are spread around the country and partly located underground, Nehushtan said, “Please understand that I do not want to get into details. I can only say this: It is not a technical or logistical question.”

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How will military greet Obama?

November 9, 2008

Barack Obama will enter the White House without any military experience and with a playbook that emphasizes diplomacy, behind a president who waged two wars and presided over some of the largest-ever defense budget increases. 

So, how will President Obama be received at the Pentagon? Much depends on his first moves. 

One of his senior security advisers, former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), said even though the president-elect has experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he’ll need a strong defense team that works together well. 

“He will have to pay a lot of attention to a secretary of defense and the close advisers to the secretary,” Hamilton said. “The whole military, national security establishment will be watching that with care.” 

And since the military is trained to follow orders, insiders say it is receptive to the change of command. 

The military needs to be ready to offer its advice while scrupulously avoiding any attempt to shape the agenda, said a senior defense official familiar with the transition. “It is to everyone’s benefit to shorten the learning curve for whoever is coming in,” he said, especially because this is the first wartime transition since 1968.

From Politico

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Offensive Remark End Career of Japan’s Top Air Force Officer; China, others Express Relief

November 3, 2008

Japan’s Air Force Chief is gone following written comments that outraged China, Korea, and many others…

(CNN) — A state-run Chinese newspaper expressed relief Monday that senior Japanese officials had dismissed the country’s air force chief after he denied Japan’s aggression before and during World War II.

General Toshio Tamogami

General Toshio Tamogami
Gen. Toshio Tamogami lost his job as chief of staff for Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, the Ministry of Defense said, after saying in an essay that “it is certainly a false accusation to say that our country was an aggressor nation.”

Japanese troops invaded China in 1937 and were widely accused of gross human rights abuses, including raping tens of thousands of girls and women and killing several hundred thousand others in what has come to be called “The Rape of Nanking.” Imperial Japan also invaded several other Asian nations, leading to the death and misery for an untold number.

Two former Japanese prime ministers have apologized for Japanese aggression before and during World War II. Yet China has long accused of elements within Japan of trying to whitewash the Japanese atrocities committed before and during World War II.

“The denial of the aggression history by Toshio Tamogami comes in as an element of disharmony,” the state-run China Daily said a commentary Monday. “Yet, as long as the Japanese government has a right attitude to this question, the smooth development of ties between the two neighbors will not be derailed by such discordant notes.”

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China Applauds Dismissal Of Japan’s Air Boss

Associated Press

An official Chinese newspaper has applauded the dismissal of Japan’s air force chief over an essay he wrote that claimed Japan had not been an “aggressor” in World War II.

China remains highly sensitive over depictions of Japan’s brutal wartime occupation, and there were concerns that the essay by Toshio Tamogami, who was fired on Friday, would negatively impact ties between the two countries.

On Monday, however, the government’s English-language China Daily called the essay “an element of disharmony” and said Beijing felt “relieved” over Toshio’s removal.

“Yet as long as the Japanese government has a right attitude to this question, the smooth development of ties between the two neighbors will not be derailed,” the paper said in an unsigned editorial.

On Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry issued only a mild comment on the controversy, saying it had noted the Japanese government’s action.

In the essay, Tamogami said it was “certainly a false accusation” to say Japan was “an aggressor nation” during World War II, and defended life under Japanese occupation as “very moderate.” Tamogami also claimed that Japan was tricked into attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, by then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

China-Japan relations were thrown into a tailspin earlier this decade over former Japanese Prime Minister Jinichiro Koizumi‘s visits to a shrine honoring war dead, including convicted war criminals, as well as Chinese accusations that Japan was playing down its wartime culpability.

However, ties have improved markedly in the two years since Koizumi’s successor, Shinzo Abe, visited China, allowing the sides to weather potential storms such as the Tamogami essay.

China condemns sacked Japan general’s war comments

November 1, 2008

China was strongly critical on Saturday of an essay by a Japanese air force chief of staff who said Japan was not an aggressor in Asia in World War Two and was later dismissed for airing those views.

“We are shocked by and express our strong indignation over the senior Japanese military officer’s denial of Japan’s aggression and overtly glorifying its history of invasion,” the Xinhua news agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying.

General Toshio Tamogami, in an essay posted on the website of a Japanese hotel and apartment developer, said Japan was ensnared into World War Two by the United States and that Japan’s military actions in China were based on treaties.

Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said on Friday he would dismiss Tamogami, adding it was improper for the general to publicly state a view clearly different from that of the government.

Japan expressed remorse for its wartime actions in 1995, and followed with another apology a decade later.

Disputes over wartime history often stir tensions between Tokyo and Beijing, though relations have warmed in the past two years as both put priority on deepening trade and investment.

“We have taken notice of the attitude and measures taken by the Japanese government,” Jiang said, calling on the two nations to work together to safeguard bilateral relations.

“The war of aggression launched by the Japanese militarists brought untold suffering to the Asian people including the Chinese people, which is an undeniable historic fact,” she said.

She added that having a correct understanding of, and properly dealing with, that period was the political basis for the development of friendly and cooperative Sino-Japanese ties.

(Reporting by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Michael Roddy, Reuters)

Fired: Air Force Chief Said Japan Was Not an Aggressor in WWII

Above: Troops from Japan in Nanking, China

Fired: Air Force Chief Said Japan Was Not an Aggressor in WWII

October 31, 2008

The head of the Japanese air force is to be sacked after saying the country was not an aggressor in World War II, Japan’s defence minister said.

Yasukazu Hamada said Gen Toshio Tamogami’s views, written in an essay, ran counter to the government’s position on the war.

“Therefore it is inappropriate for him to remain in this position and I will swiftly dismiss him,” he said.

From the BBC

Gen Toshio Tamogami - Pic Australian Defence Department
Gen Toshio Tamogami’s essay was published on a website

The general’s views are likely to anger many of Japan’s neighbours.

China, North and South Korea and other Asian nations still have traumatic memories of Japan’s aggression and colonial rule.

Japan expressed remorse for its wartime actions in 1995, and then gave another apology 10 years later.

Acting swiftly

Mr Hamada said that by acting swiftly against the general, the Japanese government was making it clear that it did not share his views which, he said, could stir controversy in Asian nations.

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From the New York Times
By Norimitsu Onishi  

A high-ranking Japanese military official was dismissed Friday for writing an essay stating that the United States had ensnared Japan into World War II, denying that Japan had waged wars of aggression in Asia and justifying Japanese colonialism.

The Defense Ministry fired Gen. Toshio Tamogami, chief of staff of Japan’s air force, late on Friday night, only hours after his essay was posted on a private company’s Web site. The quick dismissal seemed intended to head off criticism from China, South Korea and other Asian nations that have reacted angrily to previous Japanese denials of its militarist past.

The Defense Minister, Yasukazu Hamada, said the essay included an “inappropriate” assessment of the war, adding, “It was improper for a person in his capacity as air force chief of staff to publicly state a view clearly different from the government’s.”

In the essay, General Tamogami, 60, elaborated a rightist view of Japan’s wartime history shared by many nationalist politicians. But it was a rare formulation from inside Japan’s military, which, as Japan has been shedding its postwar pacifism in recent years, has gained a more prominent role.

Japan’s military — whose operations are restricted by the nation’s war-renouncing Constitution — should be allowed to possess “offensive weaponry” and widen its defense activities with allies, the general also wrote.

The article was posted on the Web site of a real estate developer called Apa Group after taking the $30,000 first prize in an essay-writing contest sponsored by the company.

General Tamogami wrote that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and thereby drew the United States into World War II after being caught in “a trap” set by President Roosevelt.

“Roosevelt had become president on his public pledge not to go to war, so in order to start a war between the United States and Japan, it had to appear that Japan took the first shot,” he wrote.

He denied that Japan had invaded China and the Korean Peninsula, arguing that Japanese forces became embroiled in domestic conflicts on the Asian continent.

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China condemns sacked Japan general’s war comments

Israel works on missile tracking system

October 17, 2008

JERUSALEM, Oct. 17 (UPI) — The Israeli Air Force says that a tracking system under development will allow it to pinpoint the landing zones of missiles fired into the country.
Once the system is set up, the country would be divided into 100 relatively small evacuation zones, Haaretz reported. Officials expect to have it on line in 18 months.

Israel is now divided into 10 zones. Officials believe that smaller evacuations would help the country hold up during prolonged periods of attack.

The system is designed to be used against long-range and medium-range missiles, including the Shahib used by Iran and the Syrian Scud. It would be less effective against the short-range missiles fired from Gaza.

Air Forces Launches New Tactics in Afghanistan

October 13, 2008

By Dana Lewis
Fox New

BAGRAM, Afghanistan —  The Air Force is shifting its strategy to combat enemy fighters in Afghanistan after commanders ordered a review of a joint U.S.-Afghan air strike that the Afghan government said killed 90 civilians in August.

Military commanders at Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, say they’re employing new procedures to “amplify” what the Air Force was already doing to avoid civilian casualties, such as using a fly-by tactic with F-15 attack Eagles to scatter anti-coalition forces.

The strikes in August were called in by American Special Forces using an AC-130H gunship, also known as a Spectre. It uses computer tracking and targeting equipment to fire 105mm howitzer, 40mm bofors, and 20mm Vulcan cannons — a very deadly aircraft to be deployed in a civilian area.
AC-130H Spectre jettisons flares.jpg
Above: AC-130H Spectre gunship launches flares in 2007

Initially, despite video showing the bodies of women and children, the U.S. Army claimed only five to seven civilians were killed in the attack on Afghan militants. Now a U.S. military investigation has concluded that at least 33 civilians, including 12 children, were killed.

Fighting in Afghanistan has intensified in recent past months. On Sunday, Gen. David McKiernan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, rejected media reports that the alliance was losing the war against the Taliban and called on troop-contributing countries to send more soldiers and military gear in order to achieve success more quickly.

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Donald Blakeslee; World War II Combat Fighter Commander

October 13, 2008

By May 1, 1944, his group had become the first in the European theater to record 500 kills, the most in American fighter group history. The group destroyed 207 German planes in one month alone. By the end of the war, Col. Blakeslee and his men had destroyed 1,020 enemy aircraft, 550 shot out of the air and 470 hit while on the ground….

By Joe Holley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 13, 2008; Page B06

Donald J.M. Blakeslee, 90, commander of the first American fighter squadrons to reach Berlin during World War II and one of the most successful combat fighter commanders in the history of the Air Force, died Sept. 3 of congestive heart failure at his home in Miami.
Col. Donald Blakeslee receives the Distinguished Service Cross from President Dwight Eisenhower. Col. Blakeslee was commander of the first American fighter squadrons to reach Berlin during World War II.

Above: Col. Donald Blakeslee receives the Distinguished Service Cross from President Dwight Eisenhower. Col. Blakeslee was commander of the first American fighter squadrons to reach Berlin during World War II. (Courtesy Of The Eighth Air Force Historical Society)

Over the years, he shunned would-be biographers and publicity of any kind, said his daughter, Dawn Blakeslee of Miami, his only immediate survivor. She said she did not announce her father’s death last month because of his reluctance to call attention to his wartime heroics.

On Jan. 1, 1944, the Ohio native was named commander of the 4th Fighter Group of the 8th Fighter Command. He assumed command at a time when the German Luftwaffe ruled the skies over Europe.

Roy Heidicker, the 4th Fighter Group historian, recalled that Col. Blakeslee’s message to his pilots was simple and straightforward: “We are here to destroy the Luftwaffe and shoot the Germans out of the sky, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

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Col. Blakeslee flew Spitfires early in World War II

Gates says Air Force not doing enough in Iraq war effort

April 21, 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday the Air Force is not doing enough to help in the Iraq and Afghanistan war effort, complaining that some military leaders are “stuck in old ways of doing business.”

Gates said in a speech at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., that getting the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Iraq and Afghanistan has been “like pulling teeth.”

The US Air Force Thunderbird team performs in 2004. A US air ...
The US Air Force Thunderbird team performs.
(AFP/File/Kim Jae-Hwan)

Addressing officer students at the Air Force’s Air University, the Pentagon chief praised the Air Force for its overall contributions but made a point of urging it to do more and to undertake new and creative ways of thinking about helping the war effort instead of focusing mainly on future threats.

“In my view we can do and we should do more to meet the needs of men and women fighting in the current conflicts while their outcome may still be in doubt,” he said. “My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield.”

He cited the example of drone aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents without risking the life of a pilot. He said the number of such aircraft has grown 25-fold since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He said he has been trying for months to get the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, like the Predator drone that provides real-time surveillance video, to the battlefield.

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Weapons In Space? U.S. Yes; U.N. No, No, No

March 6, 2008

By Mike Moore
The Washington Times
March 6, 2008

For more than 25 years, the United Nations General Assembly has been on record, nearly unanimously, favoring a ban on all space-related weapons. The United States has oppsed such a treaty.

An undated image of Earth as seen from space. The U.S. Navy ... 
Last October, for example, former New York Gov. George Pataki, a U.S. public delegate to the world body, explained America’s position. Though the United States is fully committed to the “peaceful uses of space,” he said, it believes “discussions regarding the merits of treaties to prevent the so-called ‘weaponization’ of outer space would be a pointless exercise.”
Every presidential administration since the early 1980s has taken a similar position. And yet, while asserting there is no need for a treaty, the United States has been actively developing both the doctrine and hardware needed to “control” space in a time of conflict and — possibly — to place weapons into orbit.
Peter B. Teets, then Air Force undersecretary and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates intelligence-gathering satellites, presented the classic rationale for such a policy in 2002: The U.S. military needs space for “collection of all kinds of intelligence, precision navigation and… for weapons delivery, communication and transmission of information to users worldwide.”

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