The Buzz

The World's Best Aircraft-Killer Missile is Now in Service (And Its Not American)

The technical details of air-to-air missiles are extremely complicated, but the concept is simple — destroy your target before the target destroys you.

One way to improve the odds is to add an air-breathing ramjet engine to give the weapon a boost. That’s the design philosophy behind the Meteor, a 419-pound rail-launched MiG killer which entered service for the first time with the Swedish air force on July 11.

How Secure are America's Nuclear Weapons in Europe?

After the recent military coup attempt in Turkey, multiple organizations have raised appropriate concerns about the 50 U.S. nuclear bombs stored at a Turkish Air Base less than 70 miles away from the Syrian border. And while this new interest is warranted, the security vulnerabilities of the 131 American B61 nuclear bombs currently deployed at military bases in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands have been a growing concern for almost a decade.

China's Big South China Sea Dilemma

China’s reaction to the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s relatively harsh ruling against it on the South China Sea has been angry. The court upheld nearly all of the 15 points on which the Philippines approached the Court in 2013.China boycotted the proceedings, questioning the Court’s jurisdiction and publicly claiming historic rights to the South China Sea and its resources. The Court rejected this claim, concluding “there was no legal basis for China to claim historical rights to resources.”

The U.S. Air Force's Incoherent Plan to Replace the A-10 Warthog

When the Air Force separated from the Army to become an independent military service after World War Two, it was understood that airmen would continue to provide vital combat support to soldiers on the ground.  Army aviation ended up consisting mainly of helicopters, but there are plenty of combat situations where only a well-armed jet can give soldiers the life-saving fire support they need.

The Future of Warfare: Fighters and Bombers with No Pilots?

After the Abbott government approved the purchase of 72 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), its fast jet capability was locked in for years to come. From around 2020, the F-35s will join 24 Super Hornets (delivered from 2010) and 12 Growler electronic attack aircraft (delivered from 2015). Project AIR 6000, under which the F-35s are being acquired, still has one squadron of aircraft to acquire in the future, but the RAAF will have one of the youngest fast jet fleets in the world from the early 2020s.

The Third Offset Must Update Asimov's Laws of Robotics

Things tend to happen in threes. An unlikely triumvirate on the surface, it would appear that Asimov’s laws on robotics and the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) will outflank the Third Offset—the nation’s search for its next silver bullet in war fighting is robotics—knowing that many nations will agree on moral grounds. These nations will reject Asimov based on semantics, and though the debate might be perceived as strictly academic, or even rhetorical, it is worth discussing for the sake of a good cautionary tale.

Russia Is Only A Threat If We Let It Be One

Russia is a declining power, a part-reformed, part-stagnant fragment of a shattered and spent empire. Vladimir Putin, though, has perfected a foreign policy built on equal parts chutzpah, gamesmanship, and bluff. His aim, after all, is not to rebuild a Soviet Union 2.0, nor to spread any ideological message abroad. It is, rather, to force or persuade the outside world to conform to his will, to allow him to claim a sphere of influence and exempt Russia from those influences of the global order he finds constraining, from international law to human rights.

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