China launches its first aircraft carrier

But it’s used and has no planes. China bought the vessel in 1998 from Ukraine and had it refurbished – few details of its capabilities are known. But, from Reuters, “defense experts say it lacks the strike aircraft, weapons, electronics, training and logistical support it needs to become a fighting warship.” And so it will stay in the training fleet until they figure out how to land a plane on it.

The response has largely been mocking, from the Brisbane Times, ”if it is used against America, it has no survivability. If it is used against China’s neighbours, it’s a sign of bullying.” And those neighbors are the ones in the crossfire. Japan has disputed territory with China in the East China Sea and the Philippines are arguing over a shoal in the South China Sea.

Still, it is a sign of the rising military power of the Chinese – after all, only 9 countries have an aircraft carrier. Seven of them only have one, Italy has two, and the United Kingdom only uses theirs for helicopters. So the launch could be a symbol of pride, that the Chinese are equal to the other powers. But they have a long journey ahead to challenge the United States and our 11 aircraft carriers.

 

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FLIP turns 50! – The amazing research vessel that lies capsized for science

(Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

You’d think a ship designed after a baseball bat would go over like a foul ball when it comes to seaworthiness, but research ship FLIP has been a hit since its launch 50 years ago.

The bizarre research vessel can go from a horizontal to vertical position while staying afloat and stable in heavy seas, even in 80-foot waves. That allows it to perform oceanographic research measurements with great accuracy.

Operated by Scripps and owned by the U.S. Navy, the 355-foot FLIP was designed by Phillip Rudnick, Fred H. Fisher, and Fred N. Spiess, and first tested in July 1962 as part of an anti-submarine rocket program. It was recently shown off in the Pacific for its 50th birthday.

ViaBizarre ‘flipping’ research ship turns 50

 

 

Every trip aboard conventional ships reminds the oceanographer of the value of a stable platform from which to perform experiments at sea. A ship’s natural motions not only make ocean measurements difficult to obtain with accuracy, but it reduces the effectiveness of personnel and equipment. This driving ocean force, among the most powerful in nature, dissipates rapidly just beneath the ocean surface. Even during severe sea storms rolling over several thousand square miles, a layer of relative calm lies a few hundred feet below the unruly waves. This region has become the domain of submarines during the past half century.

In 1962 they were joined by the research platform FLIP, FLoating Instrument Platform, whose great length lies mainly in the untroubled waters beneath the waves. As a result, she is almost as stable as a fencepost and, for those who study the sea, oceanographers, she offers an opportunity for more refined ocean measurements than they have ever had before.

The Floating Instrument Platform, FLIP, is a 355 foot long manned spar buoy designed as a stable research platform for oceanographic research. FLIP is towed to its operating area in the horizontal position and through ballast changes is “flipped” to the vertical position to become a stable spar buoy with a draft of 300 feet.

Via – Marine Physical Laboratory

You want lower gas prices – here is what it takes

The U.S. Navy is upgrading its defensive and offensive capabilities in the Persian Gulf to counter threats from Iran to seize the Strait of Hormuz and block the flow of oil, the chief of naval operations said Friday.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert told reporters in Washington that the Navy will add four more mine-sweeping ships and four more CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters with mine-detection capability. The Navy is also sending more underwater unmanned mine-neutralization units to the region.

Greenert said he plans to assign more  patrol craft to the gulf, possibly armed with Mark 38 Gatling guns.

The narrow Strait of Hormuz is a key transit way for oil tankers. Any closure of the strait could send oil prices skyrocketing, officials say.

via World Now – LA Times

 

Makes riding a bike for those “70 percent of Americans’ car trips are less than two miles long,” seem like a better idea.