Posts Tagged ‘military’

Kazan, Russia’s most dangerous nuclear attack submarine – an annotated infographic

April 19, 2017

Russia has floated its newest nuclear-powered multi-purpose attack submarine. The launch of Kazan, considered a counterpart to U.S. Seawolf and Virginia-class, comes as Moscow claims its submarine fleet has increased combat patrols to levels last seen during the Cold War.

The Kazan is the first upgraded Project 885M Yasen-class attack submarine.

Equipped with eight vertical missile launchers, it can deliver Kalibr or Oniks anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles – significant after Russian ships and submarines fired long-range missiles from the Caspian and the Black Sea into Syria in 2016.

For the first time in Russian shipbuilding, the torpedo tubes are located not in the bow but just forward of the sail or fin, making room for a large Irtysh-Amfora spherical sonar system in the bow.

The Yasen subs also have six 650mm and two 533mm torpedo tubes that can also deploy mines and launch underwater drones.

Russia plans to build a total of seven Project 885M submarines. Goody, goody gumdrops.


India’s AMCA stealth fighter – an annotated infographic

March 14, 2017

Preliminary design of India’s proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) will begin in March, with a target of flying the aircraft in 2024 and making it ready for service as early as 2030. The twin-engine stealth warplane will likely feature an upgraded version of the General Electric F414 powerplant.

The AMCA is aimed at replacing much smaller ground attack jets such as the Mirage-2000, Jaguar and Mig-27. Russian technology includes Sukhoi stealth, active electronically scanned array or AESA radar and three-dimensional thrust vectoring for the AMCA’s engines.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.


F-35 Lightning II fighter jet to debut @FIAFarnborough – an annotated infographic – #FIA16

July 5, 2016

The world’s most advanced fighter jet, the F-35 Lightning II, is making its first appearance at the Farnborough airshow in the UK in July.

Three F-35B jump jet aircraft are due to perform in the skies over the week-long event.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Lightning strikes: F-35 flies in to Farnborough

Lightning strikes: F-35 flies in to Farnborough

US Navy’s high-tech, Scrabble-tile-name, $4.4bn destroyer ship, the USS Zumwalt – an annotated infographic

June 9, 2016

The US Navy is to take ownership of the Zumwalt, its largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer.

The $4.4-billion ship features an angular shape that makes it 50 times more difficult to detect and new guns designed to deliver devastatingly accurate firepower hundreds of kilometres away.

Cool. Or, grotesque and largely unnecessary use of public funds. You decide.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

USS Zumwalt: triple-word score on a diagonal

USS Zumwalt: triple-word score on a diagonal

North Korea still rubbish at launching missiles – an annotated infographic

June 7, 2016

Try as they might – and Lord above knows they will keep trying – the North Korean army does seem to mightily suck at launching missiles.

The latest abject failure was the launch of an intermediate-range Musudan missile, the latest in a string of high-profile disappointments. North Korea attempted three test launches of the Musudan in April, all of which failed, US and South Korean officials have said.

The rest of the pleasingly sane, non-homicidal, sensibly coiffured world can continue to breathe easy, hoping that the bumbling, ineffectual performance of the North Korean army continues for many years to come, such that we can all continue to live in relative peace, unencumbered by wayward missiles raining down on us.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view

Not with a bang, but a whimper

Not with a bang, but a whimper

Tech books and media: How #Bismarck was built, then sunk with Bletchley’s help

May 25, 2016

Haynes Bismark photoThe British Navy’s pursuit and sinking of German battleship The Bismarck is one of the epic sea battles of the Second World War. The success of the mission, following Bismarck’s sinking of the battlecruiser HMS Hood in May 1941, was down to the bravery of Allied crews; less well known is the part played by technology developed by codebreakers at Bletchley Park.

The story of how pioneering techniques like direction finding and traffic analysis that emerged from the Bletchley Park operation helped locate the flagship of the German fleet is the subject a new episode of the always fascinating Bletchley Park Podcast . In the latest instalment of the ‘It Happened Here’ series, Bletchley Park historian Dr David Kenyon explains how the ship’s destruction was vital for the Allies, both strategically and symbolically. “If it had been allowed to do the job it was built for, it would have been a disaster for the Allies. [Sinking] it was a vital good news story for the British.”

Intelligence alone was not a silver bullet though. “You never get a piece of information that’s entirely unequivocal, that says what your enemy is going to do,” says Kenyon. “All you ever get is hints. It was a combination of a whole series of diverse hints and a healthy dollop of luck that made the operation a success. Signals intelligence is one part of that jigsaw which, if you took it away, the outcome might have been very different.”


A first-hand account comes from Jane Fawcett, who worked in Hut 6 from 1940. She recalls: “I happened to be on duty. Everybody knew the main part of our fleet was trying to intercept The Bismarck. I worked for 24 hours because I just happened to get [the message showing it was heading for the French port of Brest]. We were lucky enough to be here, able to do what may be the most important thing that any of us have ever done in our lives. We didn’t realise it at the time, but we do now.”

Jane Fawcett

Eye-witness: Jane Fawcett [photo: Shaun Armstrong/]

If that gives you an appetite to find out more about the vessel dubbed ‘unsinkable’ by German propagandists when she entered service in the summer of 1940, ‘The Battleship Bismarck Owners’ Workshop Manual’ (Haynes, £25.00, ISBN 9780857335098) provides a top to bottom account in the usual Haynes style.

While other battleships had larger or more numerous guns, Bismarck represented a near-perfect balance between firepower, speed and protection which when she entered service made her the most powerful war machine ever produced by Nazi GHaynes Bismarckermany.

She was, says naval historian Angus Konstam, author of this comprehensive guide to the design, construction and operation of Germany’s most famous and feared battleship, a floating symbol of Nazi might: “When she entered service 75 years ago, Bismark was arguably the most powerful modern battleship in the world; a ship certainly regarded with awe, even by her opponents. “It has been incredibly interesting to explore her journey in detail and find out what it was that made her so special.”

Lavishly illustrated with more than 240 photographs and line drawings, the manual not only describes how Bismarck was designed, built, manned and operated, but also provides a vivid account of this celebrated naval campaign and provides a behind-the-scenes look at what life was like on board.

How an H-Bomb works – or, How I Learned To Start Worrying And Hate The Bomb – an annotated infographic

January 20, 2016

Ever wondered what an H-Bomb is? How it works? What it does? Why we should all be terrified of it?

Answers, we got ’em, in the form of this H-Bomb infographic. Basically, your average hydrogen bomb in the street – that’s the H-Bomb to you, mate – is a thermonuclear weapon, see, that uses the energy from a primary fission bomb to ignite a secondary nuclear fusion reaction. Bish, bash, bomb. Job done.

The result is the most destructive weapon ever created by man. Good thing / bad thing? Discuss*.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Boom bitch

Boom bitch


*The correct – and only sane – answer is: bad thing.

Malaysia Airlines #FlightMH17 shot down by Russian-made Buk missile – an annotated infographic

October 14, 2015

The Dutch Safety Board has released its final report into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over war-torn Ukraine, which has concluded that a Russian-built Buk missile took down the plane.

The question of who fired the missile and thus who is to blame for the tragedy remains unresolved. Dutch prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation to find the perpetrators.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Buk to the future

Buk to the future

NATO shows off new steerable nuclear bomb – Russia not happy about it – an annotated infographic

October 9, 2015

The United States plans to deploy 180 precision-guided thermonuclear bombs to five European countries between 2020-24. The B61-12 has a “dial-a-yield” feature and is able to strike within 30 metres of its target.

Russia has threatened to take countermeasures over reports that the U.S. is to upgrade nuclear weapons in Europe.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said plans for the U.S. to station up to 180 modified B61–12 guided nuclear bombs in five NATO countries “would lead to a violation of the strategic balance in Europe.”

Under a $10.4 billion “Life Extension Programme” (LEP) the new munitions will be converted from existing B61 free-fall bombs into precision-guided “smart” bombs. Under the LEP the bombs will receive a state of the art guided tail kit assembly and new spin rocket motor, which, through a system of satellite and laser guidance, can glide the bomb to within 30 metres of its target.

In addition, a “dial-a-yield” will enable the detonation to be varied between 300 tons and 50 kilotons of TNT — four times the explosive power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

Hans M. Kristensen of the  Washington-based Federation of American Scientists described the B61–12 as an “all-in-one nuclear bomb on steroids.” In September, Kristensen described NATO’s practice of “nuclear sharing” to German television programme Frontal 21: “In case of war, the nuclear weapons stationed in Germany would be used at the orders of the U.S. president. The U.S. forces would then hand over the nuclear weapons to German pilots and these German pilots would then attack the target with nuclear weapons.”

The stationing is “a hidden American weapons build-up,” he said. The new bombs allow “themselves to be steered to the target.” This is “a new weapon” because the U.S. previously had “no steerable nuclear bombs.”

The first development test flight of an inert B61-12 bomb took place at Tonopah Test Range in Nevada in July.

There are an estimated 480 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, deployed at bases in Belgium (20), Germany (150), Italy (90), the Netherlands (20), Turkey (90) and the United Kingdom (110).

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is trying to placate its critics, saying that with the help of the B61–12, America’s total stockpile of airborne nuclear bombs could be reduced by around half its current amount.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.



#BattleofBritain 75th anniversary – key dates, fighter plane details, statistics – an annotated infographic

September 16, 2015

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, one of the most decisive clashes of World War II, when a handful of Royal Air Force pilots fought in the skies over southern England to defeat Germany’s mighty Luftwaffe squadrons and foil Adolf Hitler’s invasion plans.

Click on the graphic for an expanded view.

Triumph of The Few

Triumph of The Few