Blogs: The Buzz

Why Armenia Wants to Recognize Nagorno-Karabakh

Fighter Mafia: A Tribute to an Aerospace Titan

The Buzz

Myers eventually convinced enough people in the Pentagon that they should pursue mission specific aircraft. As part of this effort, he successfully lobbied Air Force leadership to assign John Boyd to the Pentagon to apply his theories to fix the FX program, the successor to TFX. The FX program resulted in the successful F-15. But even with that success, the burgeoning, now-famous “Fighter Mafia” came together to design even better fighter planes. This group included John Boyd, Everest Riccioni, Pierre Sprey, and Chuck Myers. Their collaboration created the Lightweight Fighter program, which ultimately produced the F-16 and F-18.

As Chuck Myers’ friend Jim Stevenson wrote, “If Boyd, Sprey, and Riccioni were to get credit for painting the Lightweight Fighter, Myers prepared the pigments, stretched the canvas, and was instrumental in creating an audience for a private showing.”

All photos are courtesy of Sallie Myers.Myers’s contribution to the close air support debate in the 1980s and ‘90s was unique. Almost immediately after the A-10 entered service, the Air Force began its long effort to cancel the program. Proponents who recognized the value of a dedicated close air support aircraft knew the Air Force needed a plane that could fly low and slow over the battlefield to have any chance of finding and identifying targets. But they had trouble explaining to outsiders just how difficult it is for a pilot flying at 400 miles per hour to spot something like a camouflaged tank and recognize it as friend or foe. Myers used his farm in rural Virginia to make that point, setting up a few such targets on his property and then flying officials involved in the debate in his own small plane a few hundred feet above the ground. He asked them to spot the targets. Most had difficulty doing so. “If it is this hard to do flying at 150 miles per hour, how hard would it be at 400?” he would ask.

Myers also developed a concept he called “Project Harvey,” named for the 1950 film about a giant invisible rabbit, which was the earliest effort to develop stealth aircraft. “I wanted to reduce all the signatures, the visual, acoustical, radar, and infrared,” Myers said during an interview. “All the chiefs of all the requirements from the Navy and the Air Force and the Army all declared they were not interested in pursuing stealth. Interesting today, that’s all anyone talks about!” Project Harvey ultimately led to the creation of the F-117.

Myers left the Pentagon in 1978. He continued consulting on defense matters, focusing mostly on big picture ideas.

Myers told William Honan of the New York Times in 1982: “I look into prominent military problems that might call for hardware which is manufactured by one or another of the half-dozen big corporations for which I consult. But I also make broad studies which may serve to help my clients reorient their thinking. They want to know the market, and that means total defense problems. I can't be narrow in my thinking. Lots of times, my clients don't agree with me. They don't expect to.”

One of his big ideas was to bring back the Navy’s battleships. The Iowa-class battleship New Jersey had seen action during Vietnam, but most had been placed in mothball’s during the 1950s. Myers thought they would be useful for amphibious and generalized ground combat operations in coastal areas when ground forces would need long duration and highly destructive fire support. He found that 80 percent of all targets bombed by aircraft in Vietnam could have been hit by an Iowa-class battleship.  He spent years working to convince influential people in Washington to bring them out of retirement. It wasn’t until the Reagan administration created a 600 ship navy that his efforts paid off, with four Iowa-class battleships recommissioned to see another decade of service, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Along the way, he did ruffle a few feathers. His long-time friend Tom Christie remembers one meeting Myers participated in that got “a little heated.” While working to develop the Maverick missile in the mid-1970s, designed to be used against Soviet ground vehicles on the plains of Europe, a meeting was called to decide where to conduct a crucial test. The Air Force wanted to conduct the test at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Myers thought that was a terrible idea because the terrain there didn’t replicate the European environment in which the missile was expected to operate. This disagreement quickly escalated, and before most people in the room realized what was happening, Myers and Air Force Major General Bobby Bond were on their feet with their jackets off in preparation for a fist fight. The two were restrained before punches were thrown. “He could get passionate during these meetings!” Christie said.

Myers himself acknowledged that many people in the services and the defense industry considered him to be, in his own words, “a pain in the ass.” He attributed this to a desire to challenge the conventional wisdom and question the way business was being done.

“You’ve got to be free to think about things outside your normal envelope. I haven’t had a normal envelope. It’s the nature of my life,” he said.

The Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society inducted Chuck Myers into its Hall of Fame in 1999.

He and his wife Sallie split their time during his later years between their home in Florida and his beloved 600 acre “Flying M Stock Farm” near Gordonsville, Virginia.

Chuck Myers will be laid to rest at Culpeper National Cemetery on June 17, 2016.

Pages

Steaming Ahead, Course Uncertain: China’s Military Shipbuilding Industry

The Buzz

Myers eventually convinced enough people in the Pentagon that they should pursue mission specific aircraft. As part of this effort, he successfully lobbied Air Force leadership to assign John Boyd to the Pentagon to apply his theories to fix the FX program, the successor to TFX. The FX program resulted in the successful F-15. But even with that success, the burgeoning, now-famous “Fighter Mafia” came together to design even better fighter planes. This group included John Boyd, Everest Riccioni, Pierre Sprey, and Chuck Myers. Their collaboration created the Lightweight Fighter program, which ultimately produced the F-16 and F-18.

As Chuck Myers’ friend Jim Stevenson wrote, “If Boyd, Sprey, and Riccioni were to get credit for painting the Lightweight Fighter, Myers prepared the pigments, stretched the canvas, and was instrumental in creating an audience for a private showing.”

All photos are courtesy of Sallie Myers.Myers’s contribution to the close air support debate in the 1980s and ‘90s was unique. Almost immediately after the A-10 entered service, the Air Force began its long effort to cancel the program. Proponents who recognized the value of a dedicated close air support aircraft knew the Air Force needed a plane that could fly low and slow over the battlefield to have any chance of finding and identifying targets. But they had trouble explaining to outsiders just how difficult it is for a pilot flying at 400 miles per hour to spot something like a camouflaged tank and recognize it as friend or foe. Myers used his farm in rural Virginia to make that point, setting up a few such targets on his property and then flying officials involved in the debate in his own small plane a few hundred feet above the ground. He asked them to spot the targets. Most had difficulty doing so. “If it is this hard to do flying at 150 miles per hour, how hard would it be at 400?” he would ask.

Myers also developed a concept he called “Project Harvey,” named for the 1950 film about a giant invisible rabbit, which was the earliest effort to develop stealth aircraft. “I wanted to reduce all the signatures, the visual, acoustical, radar, and infrared,” Myers said during an interview. “All the chiefs of all the requirements from the Navy and the Air Force and the Army all declared they were not interested in pursuing stealth. Interesting today, that’s all anyone talks about!” Project Harvey ultimately led to the creation of the F-117.

Myers left the Pentagon in 1978. He continued consulting on defense matters, focusing mostly on big picture ideas.

Myers told William Honan of the New York Times in 1982: “I look into prominent military problems that might call for hardware which is manufactured by one or another of the half-dozen big corporations for which I consult. But I also make broad studies which may serve to help my clients reorient their thinking. They want to know the market, and that means total defense problems. I can't be narrow in my thinking. Lots of times, my clients don't agree with me. They don't expect to.”

One of his big ideas was to bring back the Navy’s battleships. The Iowa-class battleship New Jersey had seen action during Vietnam, but most had been placed in mothball’s during the 1950s. Myers thought they would be useful for amphibious and generalized ground combat operations in coastal areas when ground forces would need long duration and highly destructive fire support. He found that 80 percent of all targets bombed by aircraft in Vietnam could have been hit by an Iowa-class battleship.  He spent years working to convince influential people in Washington to bring them out of retirement. It wasn’t until the Reagan administration created a 600 ship navy that his efforts paid off, with four Iowa-class battleships recommissioned to see another decade of service, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Along the way, he did ruffle a few feathers. His long-time friend Tom Christie remembers one meeting Myers participated in that got “a little heated.” While working to develop the Maverick missile in the mid-1970s, designed to be used against Soviet ground vehicles on the plains of Europe, a meeting was called to decide where to conduct a crucial test. The Air Force wanted to conduct the test at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Myers thought that was a terrible idea because the terrain there didn’t replicate the European environment in which the missile was expected to operate. This disagreement quickly escalated, and before most people in the room realized what was happening, Myers and Air Force Major General Bobby Bond were on their feet with their jackets off in preparation for a fist fight. The two were restrained before punches were thrown. “He could get passionate during these meetings!” Christie said.

Myers himself acknowledged that many people in the services and the defense industry considered him to be, in his own words, “a pain in the ass.” He attributed this to a desire to challenge the conventional wisdom and question the way business was being done.

“You’ve got to be free to think about things outside your normal envelope. I haven’t had a normal envelope. It’s the nature of my life,” he said.

The Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society inducted Chuck Myers into its Hall of Fame in 1999.

He and his wife Sallie split their time during his later years between their home in Florida and his beloved 600 acre “Flying M Stock Farm” near Gordonsville, Virginia.

Chuck Myers will be laid to rest at Culpeper National Cemetery on June 17, 2016.

Pages

This Is How the U.S. Navy Plans to Deal with Enemy Missiles (Think China)

The Buzz

Myers eventually convinced enough people in the Pentagon that they should pursue mission specific aircraft. As part of this effort, he successfully lobbied Air Force leadership to assign John Boyd to the Pentagon to apply his theories to fix the FX program, the successor to TFX. The FX program resulted in the successful F-15. But even with that success, the burgeoning, now-famous “Fighter Mafia” came together to design even better fighter planes. This group included John Boyd, Everest Riccioni, Pierre Sprey, and Chuck Myers. Their collaboration created the Lightweight Fighter program, which ultimately produced the F-16 and F-18.

As Chuck Myers’ friend Jim Stevenson wrote, “If Boyd, Sprey, and Riccioni were to get credit for painting the Lightweight Fighter, Myers prepared the pigments, stretched the canvas, and was instrumental in creating an audience for a private showing.”

All photos are courtesy of Sallie Myers.Myers’s contribution to the close air support debate in the 1980s and ‘90s was unique. Almost immediately after the A-10 entered service, the Air Force began its long effort to cancel the program. Proponents who recognized the value of a dedicated close air support aircraft knew the Air Force needed a plane that could fly low and slow over the battlefield to have any chance of finding and identifying targets. But they had trouble explaining to outsiders just how difficult it is for a pilot flying at 400 miles per hour to spot something like a camouflaged tank and recognize it as friend or foe. Myers used his farm in rural Virginia to make that point, setting up a few such targets on his property and then flying officials involved in the debate in his own small plane a few hundred feet above the ground. He asked them to spot the targets. Most had difficulty doing so. “If it is this hard to do flying at 150 miles per hour, how hard would it be at 400?” he would ask.

Myers also developed a concept he called “Project Harvey,” named for the 1950 film about a giant invisible rabbit, which was the earliest effort to develop stealth aircraft. “I wanted to reduce all the signatures, the visual, acoustical, radar, and infrared,” Myers said during an interview. “All the chiefs of all the requirements from the Navy and the Air Force and the Army all declared they were not interested in pursuing stealth. Interesting today, that’s all anyone talks about!” Project Harvey ultimately led to the creation of the F-117.

Myers left the Pentagon in 1978. He continued consulting on defense matters, focusing mostly on big picture ideas.

Myers told William Honan of the New York Times in 1982: “I look into prominent military problems that might call for hardware which is manufactured by one or another of the half-dozen big corporations for which I consult. But I also make broad studies which may serve to help my clients reorient their thinking. They want to know the market, and that means total defense problems. I can't be narrow in my thinking. Lots of times, my clients don't agree with me. They don't expect to.”

One of his big ideas was to bring back the Navy’s battleships. The Iowa-class battleship New Jersey had seen action during Vietnam, but most had been placed in mothball’s during the 1950s. Myers thought they would be useful for amphibious and generalized ground combat operations in coastal areas when ground forces would need long duration and highly destructive fire support. He found that 80 percent of all targets bombed by aircraft in Vietnam could have been hit by an Iowa-class battleship.  He spent years working to convince influential people in Washington to bring them out of retirement. It wasn’t until the Reagan administration created a 600 ship navy that his efforts paid off, with four Iowa-class battleships recommissioned to see another decade of service, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Along the way, he did ruffle a few feathers. His long-time friend Tom Christie remembers one meeting Myers participated in that got “a little heated.” While working to develop the Maverick missile in the mid-1970s, designed to be used against Soviet ground vehicles on the plains of Europe, a meeting was called to decide where to conduct a crucial test. The Air Force wanted to conduct the test at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Myers thought that was a terrible idea because the terrain there didn’t replicate the European environment in which the missile was expected to operate. This disagreement quickly escalated, and before most people in the room realized what was happening, Myers and Air Force Major General Bobby Bond were on their feet with their jackets off in preparation for a fist fight. The two were restrained before punches were thrown. “He could get passionate during these meetings!” Christie said.

Myers himself acknowledged that many people in the services and the defense industry considered him to be, in his own words, “a pain in the ass.” He attributed this to a desire to challenge the conventional wisdom and question the way business was being done.

“You’ve got to be free to think about things outside your normal envelope. I haven’t had a normal envelope. It’s the nature of my life,” he said.

The Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society inducted Chuck Myers into its Hall of Fame in 1999.

He and his wife Sallie split their time during his later years between their home in Florida and his beloved 600 acre “Flying M Stock Farm” near Gordonsville, Virginia.

Chuck Myers will be laid to rest at Culpeper National Cemetery on June 17, 2016.

Pages

Littoral Combat Ship: Don't Learn the Wrong Lessons

The Buzz

Myers eventually convinced enough people in the Pentagon that they should pursue mission specific aircraft. As part of this effort, he successfully lobbied Air Force leadership to assign John Boyd to the Pentagon to apply his theories to fix the FX program, the successor to TFX. The FX program resulted in the successful F-15. But even with that success, the burgeoning, now-famous “Fighter Mafia” came together to design even better fighter planes. This group included John Boyd, Everest Riccioni, Pierre Sprey, and Chuck Myers. Their collaboration created the Lightweight Fighter program, which ultimately produced the F-16 and F-18.

As Chuck Myers’ friend Jim Stevenson wrote, “If Boyd, Sprey, and Riccioni were to get credit for painting the Lightweight Fighter, Myers prepared the pigments, stretched the canvas, and was instrumental in creating an audience for a private showing.”

All photos are courtesy of Sallie Myers.Myers’s contribution to the close air support debate in the 1980s and ‘90s was unique. Almost immediately after the A-10 entered service, the Air Force began its long effort to cancel the program. Proponents who recognized the value of a dedicated close air support aircraft knew the Air Force needed a plane that could fly low and slow over the battlefield to have any chance of finding and identifying targets. But they had trouble explaining to outsiders just how difficult it is for a pilot flying at 400 miles per hour to spot something like a camouflaged tank and recognize it as friend or foe. Myers used his farm in rural Virginia to make that point, setting up a few such targets on his property and then flying officials involved in the debate in his own small plane a few hundred feet above the ground. He asked them to spot the targets. Most had difficulty doing so. “If it is this hard to do flying at 150 miles per hour, how hard would it be at 400?” he would ask.

Myers also developed a concept he called “Project Harvey,” named for the 1950 film about a giant invisible rabbit, which was the earliest effort to develop stealth aircraft. “I wanted to reduce all the signatures, the visual, acoustical, radar, and infrared,” Myers said during an interview. “All the chiefs of all the requirements from the Navy and the Air Force and the Army all declared they were not interested in pursuing stealth. Interesting today, that’s all anyone talks about!” Project Harvey ultimately led to the creation of the F-117.

Myers left the Pentagon in 1978. He continued consulting on defense matters, focusing mostly on big picture ideas.

Myers told William Honan of the New York Times in 1982: “I look into prominent military problems that might call for hardware which is manufactured by one or another of the half-dozen big corporations for which I consult. But I also make broad studies which may serve to help my clients reorient their thinking. They want to know the market, and that means total defense problems. I can't be narrow in my thinking. Lots of times, my clients don't agree with me. They don't expect to.”

One of his big ideas was to bring back the Navy’s battleships. The Iowa-class battleship New Jersey had seen action during Vietnam, but most had been placed in mothball’s during the 1950s. Myers thought they would be useful for amphibious and generalized ground combat operations in coastal areas when ground forces would need long duration and highly destructive fire support. He found that 80 percent of all targets bombed by aircraft in Vietnam could have been hit by an Iowa-class battleship.  He spent years working to convince influential people in Washington to bring them out of retirement. It wasn’t until the Reagan administration created a 600 ship navy that his efforts paid off, with four Iowa-class battleships recommissioned to see another decade of service, including Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

Along the way, he did ruffle a few feathers. His long-time friend Tom Christie remembers one meeting Myers participated in that got “a little heated.” While working to develop the Maverick missile in the mid-1970s, designed to be used against Soviet ground vehicles on the plains of Europe, a meeting was called to decide where to conduct a crucial test. The Air Force wanted to conduct the test at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Myers thought that was a terrible idea because the terrain there didn’t replicate the European environment in which the missile was expected to operate. This disagreement quickly escalated, and before most people in the room realized what was happening, Myers and Air Force Major General Bobby Bond were on their feet with their jackets off in preparation for a fist fight. The two were restrained before punches were thrown. “He could get passionate during these meetings!” Christie said.

Myers himself acknowledged that many people in the services and the defense industry considered him to be, in his own words, “a pain in the ass.” He attributed this to a desire to challenge the conventional wisdom and question the way business was being done.

“You’ve got to be free to think about things outside your normal envelope. I haven’t had a normal envelope. It’s the nature of my life,” he said.

The Virginia Aeronautical Historical Society inducted Chuck Myers into its Hall of Fame in 1999.

He and his wife Sallie split their time during his later years between their home in Florida and his beloved 600 acre “Flying M Stock Farm” near Gordonsville, Virginia.

Chuck Myers will be laid to rest at Culpeper National Cemetery on June 17, 2016.

Pages

Pages