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Trump Was Right: The Navy’s New Aircraft Catapult Is No Match For ‘Goddamned Steam’
Look, we give President Donald Trump shit for all sorts of reasons: confusion over evening colors, picking fights with the family members of fallen service members, tweeting too much, making service academy graduations about himself, and so on. The purpose of journalism is to challenge the powerful, no matter who they are, but I’ll be the first to admit when the commander-in-chief is right and the rest of the world is totally wrong.
And in the case of the Navy’s next-generation electromagnetic catapult system, Trump was right: “Goddamned steam” is way better than the futuristic system after all.
Trump first railed against the “digital” Electromagnetic Aircraft Launching System (EMALS) at the heart of the Navy’s new Ford-class supercarrier months ago, in a confusing interview with Time magazine — “What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out,” he said. But now, the new system has some major reliability issues, as extensively documented by the Pentagon’s testing and evaluation arm.
Those issues include: “excessive airframe stress” experienced by Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft during launch operations; an inability to electrically isolate the catapult’s complicated power systems in order to conduct maintenance and repairs without halting operations, a critical feature for any vessel underway; and an abysmal “9 percent chance of completing the 4-day surge and a 70 percent chance of completing a day of sustained operations,” according to Pentagon evaluators — sustained operations like the bombing sorties that U.S. personnel downrange have come to rely on in hotspots like Iraq and Syria.
Lawmakers are coming around to Trump’s skepticism. In February, Navy officials urged Secretary of Defense James Mattis to please, for the love of God, don’t shock-test this bad boy just yet — much to the dismay of lawmakers. "Conducting full ship shock trials on CVN-78 will not only improve the design of future carriers,” Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain — the Arizona Republican and former naval aviator — wrote to Mattis, “but also reduce the costs associated with retrofitting engineering changes."
Sure, OK, but shock trials won’t necessarily fix the core problem: USS Gerald Ford is absolutely not ready for action downrange because of that goddamn catapult — an especially concerning problem given foreign militaries’ embrace of the next-gen launching and landing tech. As one retired Navy engineer who worked at Naval Air Systems Command Lakehurst during the development of the EMALS, the system is “an engineering nightmare that will haunt the Navy for decades to come.”
Now here it is, your moment of schadenfreude: Commander in Chief Trump presides over the commissioning of the Ford last year. Well played, sir: You were right, even if you didn’t know it just yet.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.