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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-14/the-fighter-pilot-the-mercenary-boss-and-the-warlord/12644052

 

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/11/blackwater-founder-erik-prince-drive-to-build-private-air-force/

 

Interesting couple of articles there (the Intercept one is a bit more complete). Besides the entertaining read about extremely dodgy private army owners, I found the aircraft very interesting.

 

Based on a Thrush 510G crop duster, they fitted surveillance and laser targetting, bullet proof windows, armoured cockpit, engine armour, anti-explosive fuel tank mesh, and wing mounted pylons for external stores including 23mm guns, rocket pods and dumb bombs.

 

All without permission, certification, or even a full testing regime...

 

thrush-in-flight.jpg.8f0d601858a65caac9e03fef4370bb76.jpg

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The bloke needs to be employed on a prime contract by the ADF to advise on how to reduce the costs of defeating terrorists and insurgents - who run their Wars at little cost, while they ensure their Western Crusader enemies go bankrupt spending multiple hundreds of billions on high-tech armaments and equipment, that can be brought down by a single shoulder-fired missile - or just desert dust.

 

The U.S. has learnt nothing from Vietnam and Afghanistan and all the other Wars they have fought in the last 50 years, where they threw thousands of billions of taxpayers money into expensive war waste.

 

The defence planners need to bring back the few remaining Vietnam Vets as advisers, to remind them that the VC and NVA, the originators of low-cost guerilla technology, won the Vietnam War against the most powerful and best-equipped nation on the planet. Yes, they didn't win with overwhelming military might, but they won with a combination of pyschological War and guerilla tactics that cost the U.S. dearly.

 

I have never forgotten watching a captured propaganda film during Engineer training, showing the VC carefully defusing a failed Mk 84, 2000lb bomb (despite anti-handling traps), removing the detonator, cutting around the casing with a handsaw to within a millimetre of the explosive, tapping the casing with a hammer until it broke apart - then scooping out the explosive, to enable the VC to manufacture hand grenades and booby traps.

 

The VC had little wood-fired foundries in the jungle, where they melted down the failed U.S. bomb casings, and poured the molten metal into grenade moulds. With resourceful enemies such as this, all the high-tech equipment in the world will not prevail.

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I’m sure our Defence Force could easily blow that budget just by taking over the contract. Then they would make it cost even more By incorporating other incompatible mods and then claim they bought a dud.

As for the Aussie ex-fighter pilot, I’m sure that he will learn quickly that the idea (mentioned in his statement)) That the ABC might be fair and balanced is just wishful thinking.

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A drone with 40 grenades and rigged to release is cheap way to carpet bomb. Average cost in bulk - being about $200 per round and weight is 400g each.

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The U.S. has learnt nothing from Vietnam and Afghanistan and all the other Wars they have fought in the last 50 years, where they threw thousands of billions of taxpayers money into expensive war waste.

On the contrary, Onetrack, certain elements in the US have learnt that wars are an incredibly efficient and lucrative means of diverting eyewatering amounts of public money into private pockets. And all they need to keep it coming are a succession of 'bad guys' threatening homeland security. In short, war is very good for business, and it's a line of business the US and others have been nurturing for so long, they probably couldn't now step back from it if they tried.

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certain elements in the US have learnt that wars are an incredibly efficient and lucrative means of diverting eyewatering amounts of public money into private pockets

 

It's all part of the concept of trickle-down economics. :evil grin:

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All without permission, certification, or even a full testing regime...

Now that I've had time to read the articles, I think it's a very good demonstration of what you can achieve when you keep the regulators out of things. The main thing is that it was properly engineered and not just thrown together. We could learn a lot from this, but we won't.

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Before you get excited about the cheapness, read the article. The aircraft cost them the better part of a million each, they spent god knows how much modifying them, and in the end they're stuck in hangars in Africa somewhere and the company has written off the cost.

 

As a slow-ish attack aircraft it's not bad, but I can't see it being able able to outrun or outmaneuver anti-aircraft fire, SAM's, fighters or anything else advanced militaries use.

 

When you see what these blokes were up to, it's obvious the intended use was for tinpot despots and warlords to fight off poorly armed and organised rebellions.

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Before you get excited about the cheapness, read the article. The aircraft cost them the better part of a million each, they spent god knows how much modifying them, and in the end they're stuck in hangars in Africa somewhere and the company has written off the cost.

 

As a slow-ish attack aircraft it's not bad, but I can't see it being able able to outrun or outmaneuver anti-aircraft fire, SAM's, fighters or anything else advanced militaries use.

 

When you see what these blokes were up to, it's obvious the intended use was for tinpot despots and warlords to fight off poorly armed and organised rebellions.

Compared to the usual hardware they are cheap. They were never a replacement for jet fighters either, but a similar concept to the AT-802 as shown above posts.

I did read the article and the engineering feat is quite impressive. They may not have been acting within the law, but what they achieved on the minimal budget is brilliant. With the weapons system they had, they are something between and Apache helicopter and an A10 Warthog, very useful.

They were built to fight against ISIS, so I'll look at it with the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" slant. ISIS are fairly well armed btw.

I know where there are a couple of Thrushes sitting on the tarmac right now just down the road, but they'll need the turbine conversion first though, still got radials hanging off the front.

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They were built to fight against ISIS, so I'll look at it with the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" slant.

And that's the sort of short sighted 'thinking' that has seen the trouble roll on, as the various protagonists climb into bed with this jackal or that for some imagined short term advantage.

Sure, uncomfortable alliances must sometimes be a necessity, but "the enemy of my enemy may be my friend" is surely closer to the mark?

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but "the enemy of my enemy may be my friend" is surely closer to the mark?

You may be correct there....

I am also of the opinion that anyone willing to help eradicate ISIS and it's associates should be given any assistance possible.

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I am also of the opinion that anyone willing to help eradicate ISIS and it's associates should be given any assistance possible.

I can understand that.

However it may be that ISIS and it's associates cannot be conveniently 'eradicated' by simply inventing new methods of killing people. It hasn't worked to date. And neither has curing chicken pox by cutting off the spots.

 

I'm a boomer, son of a WW2 airforce man who lived through Malta. I was peripherally involved with NATO during the Vietnam war.

I'll tell you what worries me:

The men who survived WW1 then WW2, were immersed in it and saw how it actually was, came home with an abiding sense of the futility and waste of it all.

But now they take some kid, tell him he's a pilot and hero, sit him in a flight suit in some nondescript outbuilding in Wyoming, and direct him to 'eradicate' targets selected by others in some other part of the world, with the drone he and his buddy are operating.

Then he goes off for happy hour.

Then he goes home for dinner.

 

In the ideal world, I think the men who promote the wars should be out there leading the charge: it would provide a very neat natural corrective to a great deal of murderously bad behaviour. But that's not going to happen. And now the footsoldiers don't have to see the true consequences of their actions either?

Surely we are headed in exactly the wrong direction here?

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You can admire military aircraft while deploring war. As my avatar hints, I think the MkIX Spitfire is the most beautiful aircraft ever built, while fully aware that it was built as a platform for guns to shoot down other aircraft.

 

Compared to the usual hardware they are cheap. They were never a replacement for jet fighters either, but a similar concept to the AT-802 as shown above posts.

I did read the article and the engineering feat is quite impressive. They may not have been acting within the law, but what they achieved on the minimal budget is brilliant. With the weapons system they had, they are something between and Apache helicopter and an A10 Warthog, very useful.

They were built to fight against ISIS, so I'll look at it with the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" slant. ISIS are fairly well armed btw.

I know where there are a couple of Thrushes sitting on the tarmac right now just down the road, but they'll need the turbine conversion first though, still got radials hanging off the front.

 

I take your point that in comparison to Apaches and Warthogs they would be a fraction of the cost, and yes the engineering was done very well.

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I can understand that.

However it may be that ISIS and it's associates cannot be conveniently 'eradicated' by simply inventing new methods of killing people. It hasn't worked to date. And neither has curing chicken pox by cutting off the spots.

 

I'm a boomer, son of a WW2 airforce man who lived through Malta. I was peripherally involved with NATO during the Vietnam war.

I'll tell you what worries me:

The men who survived WW1 then WW2, were immersed in it and saw how it actually was, came home with an abiding sense of the futility and waste of it all.

But now they take some kid, tell him he's a pilot and hero, sit him in a flight suit in some nondescript outbuilding in Wyoming, and direct him to 'eradicate' targets selected by others in some other part of the world, with the drone he and his buddy are operating.

Then he goes off for happy hour.

Then he goes home for dinner.

 

In the ideal world, I think the men who promote the wars should be out there leading the charge: it would provide a very neat natural corrective to a great deal of murderously bad behaviour. But that's not going to happen. And now the footsoldiers don't have to see the true consequences of their actions either?

Surely we are headed in exactly the wrong direction here?

While I agree with what you say, I'm not sure how it relates to mercenaries being hired to supply equipment and fight.

None of the methods of killing in this article were new. In fact with problems like ISIS (and the like) we may actually be better off returning to earlier ways of eradication. Living in harmony with the rest of the world is not their goal. Reasoning with them is out of the question.

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Successive Western military interventions in the East have done little or nothing to improve the various situations there, and in some cases have arguably worsened them. Furthermore, the reasons and motivations for those interventions often don't stand the light of day.... and I think we can agree all that is an understatement.

Has the West aspired to live in harmony with the rest of the world as a principal goal, and is it open to reason?

Or to turn it round the other way, if a succession of armed foreigners periodically rampaged through your country, popping off your family and friends because they didn't like your foreign policy or what passes for your politics, or the way you looked, would you be aspiring to live in harmony and reason with them?

 

You seem to use the word 'eradicate' without any sense of irony, and certainly without any sense of the successive attempts by various groups to eradicate other groups over the last century or so. What makes you think the current example is so different?

And now that we find ourselves locally and universally facing challenges that don't respond to the same old bullshit, bullets or dollars, isn't it time we stopped ramping those things up and started looking for better ways?

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Marty-d, Re SAMs being able to take care of business, my days with Rapier and Redeye (became the Stinger) led me to believe that if a plane was flying at a certain height at a certain speed and we had info on its track and heading etc we should be able to to hit it, so long as we were quick enough to fire when in our envelope.

But if it was a Tuesday while a heard of zebras ran by us all was lost.

For infantry protection we had to be always ready, all the time. Bit of an ask.

I'm sure the newer stuff is better but it isn't real straight forward.

Might be a bit of a hoot to give it a go tho.

Ken

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Successive Western military interventions in the East have done little or nothing to improve the various situations there, and in some cases have arguably worsened them. Furthermore, the reasons and motivations for those interventions often don't stand the light of day.... and I think we can agree all that is an understatement.

Has the West aspired to live in harmony with the rest of the world as a principal goal, and is it open to reason?

Or to turn it round the other way, if a succession of armed foreigners periodically rampaged through your country, popping off your family and friends because they didn't like your foreign policy or what passes for your politics, or the way you looked, would you be aspiring to live in harmony and reason with them?

 

You seem to use the word 'eradicate' without any sense of irony, and certainly without any sense of the successive attempts by various groups to eradicate other groups over the last century or so. What makes you think the current example is so different?

And now that we find ourselves locally and universally facing challenges that don't respond to the same old ********, bullets or dollars, isn't it time we stopped ramping those things up and started looking for better ways?

It is clear that we hold very different views on certain issues and I will leave it at that.:wave:

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In short, war is very good for business

And here ya go, folks. 60,000 homeless and rising in LA, Sunset Boulevard is now one long tent city.......clearly what's needed is more Navy to protect all this:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/17/us-plans-big-expansion-of-navy-fleet-to-challenge-growing-chinese-sea-power

 

" The plan, which requires adding tens of billions of dollars to the US Navy’s budget between now and 2045, is aimed at maintaining superiority over Chinese naval forces, seen as the primary threat to the United States."

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