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From the monthly archives:

April 2011

During the 2011 Milblog conference in Arlington, Va., keynote speaker Donald Rumsfeld shared his thoughts on the Obama administration’s handling of Afghanistan and the NATO operation over Libya.

On Afghanistan, Rumsfeld criticized some in the administration who, both on the record and off, denounce Karzai as corrupt.

If your goal is to not be there, if your goal is to have the government sufficient to provide the kind of leadership and structure and security that the country can function reasonably well, then I think we ought to stop trashing Karzai and the elected government that seems to be a pattern in this administration. He was elected, he’s there, we aught to support him and encourage him and try to make him strong instead of weaken him. And I’ve been concerned about several of the people in the administration that make a practice of criticizing him. I mean, running around saying the government is corrupt — oh my goodness, there’s gambling in the casino!…

Rumsfeld went on to critique the operation in Libya, saying that the NATO alliance went about the mission all wrong: building a coalition before establishing a goal, rather than tailoring a coalition for a specific outcome.

In our circumstance, the mission has to determine the coalition. That is to say you’ve got to decide what your goal is for the United States, and then you fashion a coalition around that. … In the case of Libya they formed a coalition before they fashioned a mission. … Then you continue with the lack of clarity as to who’s going to do what, what is the goal, what are you trying to accomplish — one coalition member says ‘we want to do this’ the other coalition member says ‘we don’t want to do that’ and you have this disorder and lack of clarity which is quick harmful.

He also said Libyan leader Mohmar Gaddafi must go, or the mission cannot be deemed a success.

Once the U.S. is involved it seems to me that you cannot end up with Gaddafi still there. … If the united states is engaged over Libya you do not want to have that thing end in any way with Gaddafi still there. … 

Rumsfeld went on to say that while he did not think U.S. ground troops should be committed to Libya to achieve Gaddafi downfall, he believed more could be done covertly and overtly to encourage to dictator’s inner circle to abandon him — as long as the fate of Gaddafi’s rule is uncertain, some of his key leaders will stick by, Rumsfeld argued.

One of the most interesting comments he made was that America’s efforts should be focused more on the fate of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and how Iran plays out the convulsions in the region, rather than Libya. While “Libya and Tunisia are not unimportant,” he said, “the first rule is to do no harm” that would give Iran an opening to exert influence and take our eye off Syria.

– Christian

So, the Libyan rebels are already meeting with major defense contractors. Officials from Italian defense giant Finmeccanica say they have met with representatives from the rebel movement to discuss buying helicopters along with border control and railroad technology. Wild. Apparently, the rebels plan on honoring millions of euros worth of conracts signed by the Gadhafi regime.

From Defense News:

Representatives of Libyan rebels fighting Col. Moammar Gadhafi have told Finmeccanica that they will honor the Italian firm’s Libyan contracts should they take over the country, a Finmeccanica official said.

Before civil conflict erupted in Libya in February, Finmeccanica was expecting to see between 250 million and 350 million euros in revenue this year from contracts signed with Gadhafi’s government, mainly covering border control systems, government service helicopters and civil transport.

The firm’s current backlog of orders from Libya stands at 800 million euros, 80 percent of which is related to transportation contracts, Finmeccanica has said.

“We have met with the interim government, and they have told us all present contracts would be confirmed,” said Finmeccanica CFO Alessandro Pansa, referring to the Benghazi-based rebels.

“They are interested in border control and railway systems,” he told analysts in a conference call April 28 to coincide with the release of Finmeccanica’s first-quarter results.

Finmac owns helicopter-maker AgustaWestland (who builds the AW109 pictured above) and train-builder AnsaldoBreda, (you’ve probably taken a ride on their subway cars).


Want to see a mortar being born? DT’s video guru Glenn Anderson took a trip out to MaTech’s Salisbury, MD plant and shot this great footage of mortar rounds being built from scratch using grandma’s secret recipe. Enjoy.

Forget the United States’ low-collateral damage Small Diameter Bomb, France has begun using concrete filled training bombs to literally crush Gadhafi’s tanks without causing massive explosions that can harm nearby civilians.

Apparently, the 660-pound “training bombs” have not been pressed into combat due to a lack of explosive munitions, as was reported earlier this month.

From AFP:

Military spokesman Thierry Burkhard denied rumors the use of the 300-kilogram (660-pound) training devices was prompted by a shortage of real bombs. He said the first such strike crushed an armored vehicle April 26.

“The aim of this munition … is to use the effect of the impact while limiting the risk of collateral damage,” Burkhard said. “It is a very precise strike. There is no, or very little, shrapnel thrown out.”

Concrete bombs have been around for decades (the ones pictured above are from World War II) and are usually used for training. However, a 600-pound piece of concrete dropped from thousands of feet in the air can be pretty darn effective when it hits a relatively small, soft target.

Keep in mind that the bombs, while concrete, are still guided by modern technology like GPS or lasers onto their targets since a near miss with a concrete bomb won’t get you much.

This wouldn’t be the first time such weapons have been used in modern air warfare. The U.S. used laser-guided concrete bombs against Iraqi targets in the late 1990s for the same reason France says it’s using them.


In case you’re on the market for a used aircraft carrier, the Brits have officially posted an advertisement offering up the HMS Ark Royal, former flagship of the Royal Navy, and time is running out to buy. The only problem is you’re going to have to buy her without seeing her for yourself since the last day to sign up to inspect your future aircraft carrier was yesterday. For those of you who did sign up, tours are scheduled at 8:00 AM on May 7 and 8 at Her Majesty’s Navy Base, Portsmouth, UK.

If you’re not quite sure you want to buy the 19,000 “tonne” ship as your pleasure cruiser you can always click on the button to add her to your “wish list” until you make up your mind or save up enough cash from your allowance. I mean, she’s a pretty old ship; you may want to shop around before committing to her. After all, she comes with no weapons or aircraft and the status of her electronics or engines just can’t be confirmed without seeing them for yourself. However, if you absolutely must have an aircraft carrier right this instant, simply click the “add to cart” button and checkout (this actually doesn’t work, I tried).

C’mon guys, hurry up and bid. Does China really need to buy another Western carrier?

And yes, we did cover the pending sale of Ark Royal earlier this year.