How Worried Should the U.S. Be About China’s ‘Tank Killer’ Missile?

Here’s What You Need to Remember: The HJ-8 is a reliable system, but no longer at the cutting edge of antitank technology.

China has developed a formidable domestic arms industry, but most of the Chinese weapons that have actually been used in combat are copies of older Soviet systems, such as the Type 59 tank (based on the T-54), the J-7 fighter (the MiG-21) and the H-6 bomber (the Tu-16). However, the HJ-8 antitank missile is a rare example of an indigenous Chinese design that has seen action across the globe, and had a notable impact on battlefields in Bosnia in the 1990s and Syria today.

The HJ-73, China’s first domestically produced antitank missile, was basically a copy of the Russian AT-3 Sagger, which gave Israeli tanks a nasty shock in the opening days of the Yom Kippur War. However, Chinese ties with the Soviet Union deteriorated gravely during the 1960s and Beijing decided it wanted a genuinely domestic design for a successor.

Produced by Norinco, the Hongjian (“Red Arrow”) 8 finally entered service in the mid-1980s, and functionally resembled the long-range American TOW antitank guided missile, combined with the discarding launch tube of the French Milan missile system. Unlike short-range rocket-propelled grenades and other light antitank weapons, which basically serve as close defense weapons for regular infantry squads, ATGMs are heavier systems intended to destroy enemy tanks from kilometers away.

Like the TOW, a Red Arrow 8 missile is connected to its launch unit by a wire. The gunner simply needs to keep the electro-optical sight trained on the target while the missile is in flight, and the semiautomatic guidance system helps correct the missile’s flight path. The missile’s solid-fuel rocket motor is not particularly fast, with a maximum speed of 220 meters a second, meaning it could easily take twelve or more seconds to strike targets at its maximum range.

The Red Arrow is considered fairly accurate, and its wire guidance system is intrinsically immune to electronic countermeasures. However, the firer must remain stationary, guiding the missile until it hits the target. The missiles kick up a lot of dust at launch, giving enemy troops a chance to spot and fire at the launch unit, destroying it or suppressing it before it can hit the target.

Early Red Arrow missiles had a range of three kilometers and their 120-millimeter shaped charges had a penetration equivalent to eight hundred millimeters of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA). However, HJ-8 has seen a lot of upgrades over the years. The HJ-8C and D versions introduced a tandem charge designed to defeat the Explosive Reactive Armor common on Soviet and Russian tanks, a feature retained in later models.

The principle contemporary variant is the HJ-8E, which has a thermal imaging system, a range of four kilometers, and reported penetration of one-thousand-millimeter RHA. A new HJ-8L launch unit has miniaturized circuitry to reduce its weight to fifty pounds, so it can serve as a truly man-portable weapon. Finally, there is also a longer-range HJ-8H that can strike targets up to six kilometers distant, including helicopters. Specialized HJ-8F bunker busters with thermobaric warheads and HJ-8S anti-shipping missiles also exist.

The Red Arrow is the most widespread antitank system in the People’s Liberation Army. As an infantry weapon, the four-part system is fired from a heavy tripod. However, it is also mounted on infantry fighting vehicles, wheeled APCs and attack helicopters.

Beijing has extensively exported the missiles to nearly twenty countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Egypt, Sudan and Pakistan also produce the weapon under license. Pakistan has produced around twenty-three thousand of its own Baktar-Shikan variant, mounted on Land Rovers, APCS and even AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters bought from the United States.

The Red Arrow was first used in action by Bosnian fighters facing Serbian armor in the early 1990s. Reportedly supplied by Pakistan despite a UN arms embargo, the Red Arrows were filmed knocking out numerous T-55 and M-84 tanks (the latter a Yugoslav derivative of the T-72), as well as BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, and were credited with blunting Serbian armored offensives in the Battles of Stup in 1992 and Tesanj in 1993.

Since 2013 there have been dozens of videos of Syrian FSA rebels using HJ-8Es to blow up Syrian Arab Army T-72, T-62 and T-54 tanks, 2S1 and 2S3 self-propelled howitzersmachine gun nestsBMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles, and even landed helicopters. These weapons appear to be Sudanese-manufactured, and were possibly supplied by Qatar.

All in all, the videos suggest that somebody supplied a lot of HJ-8s to the rebels in 2013, and that they were fairly effective in combat. However, the sharp drop-off in HJ-8 videos in the last several years may indicate that the weapon shipments were not continued.

Red Arrows have also been recorded in use by Kurdish peshmerga troops in Iraq in 2014, and were reportedly acquired by Wa rebels in Myanmar.

The HJ-8 is a reliable system, but no longer at the cutting edge of antitank technology. It could probably be shot down by the Active Protection Systems on tank such as Israeli Merkava or the Russian T-14. The Red Arrow 8 might also struggle to penetrate the frontal composite armor of top Western main battle tanks like the M1 Abrams. Intriguingly, a video shows PLA troops testing an HJ-8 on one of their own Type 96 tanks, which benefit from modern composite armor. It appears to survive the missile impact reasonably well.

Nonetheless, the HJ-8 has proven quite effective at destroying older tanks and armored fighting vehicles which remain in widespread use across the globe. Meanwhile, the PLA has introduced the harder-hitting laser-guided HJ-9 missile, and the top-attacking HJ-12, the Chinese equivalent to the deadly Javelin missile.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This article is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters.



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Russia’s Killer Helicopter Mirrors U.S. Technology

Here’s What You Need To Remember: Also, perhaps of greatest significance, the Russian paper also makes vague references to the helicopter’s communications systems and “network-centric” capabilities and its ability to enable aircraft to “interact in a group.”

A Russian newspaper claims the country’s new combat helicopter gunship contains breakthrough technology to the point wherein its weapons, drone connectivity, communications networking, sensors and long-range targeting enable it to attack successfully from “outside of the enemy’s effective air defenses.” 

Called the Russian “Night Hunter,” the new Mi-28NM is built with modernized engines, a new fuselage and an auxiliary power plant able to support next-generation onboard networking and electronic warfare systems. 

“The Mi-28NM’s onboard armament allows it to detect and destroy enemy targets round the clock and in any weather conditions while operating outside of the enemy’s effective air defenses,” Vitaly Shcherbina, the Chief Designer of the Combat Helicopters Program at Rostec, reportedly told TASS.

Shcherbina also explained that the layout of the chopper’s fuselage has been newly configured to integrate new targeting sights. The report also makes unspecified statements about the aircraft’s defensive aids suite, claiming it can defeat an enemies “ground and airborne air defense systems.” It does not seem at all clear what this might mean, as it seems extremely unlikely that even an extremely advanced helicopter with a new generation of sensors and countermeasures would be able to all air defenses, given that helicopters fly at lower altitudes and have structural limitations regarding how stealthy they can be.

Also, perhaps of greatest significance, the Russian paper also makes vague references to the helicopter’s communications systems and “network-centric” capabilities and its ability to enable aircraft to “interact in a group.”

While the report offers little to no actual technologies or weapons applications in a discernable or clear way, it does make reference to the often emphasized sphere of networking concepts. “Network-centric methods of weapons’ control on the battlefield,” the article claims, can reduce latency, expedite targeting and “get information on the enemy and friendly forces in a secure jam-resistant mode.”

There are several interesting aspects to this, including the use of drones for manned-unmanned networking and, in a fashion quite similar to U.S. conceptual thinking about networks, massively reduce sensor-to-shooter time.  This reference to networking and group or “meshed” information sharing across multiple combat “nodes” in real time closely mirrors cutting edge U.S. thinking on modern war, a circumstance which leads one to wonder if Russian innovators are truly gaining breakthrough traction with new, secure networking technologies or simply copying the current U.S. strategy.

The answer to this may reside amid a series of unknowns, such as the actual specifics of the new weapons, countermeasures and networked sensors incorporated into the new Russian helicopter. Perhaps Russia is emulating or seeking to replicate U.S. strategic and tactical thinking. But is the technology truly there to bring it to operational effect ahead of the United States? 

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

This article is being reprinted due to reader interest.

Image: Reuters.



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The USS Massachusetts Was A World War II Battleship Killer

Here’s What You Need To Remember: Massachusetts replied, silencing Jean Bart with five hits. Massachusetts and its escorts then opened fire on and sank a pair of destroyers. French shore batteries inflicted superficial damage on Massachusetts, the scars of which are still evident on its decks today.

The U.S. Navy began construction of its first fast battleships in 1937, with the two ships of the North Carolina class. The restrictions of the Washington and London Naval Treaties had imposed a battleship “holiday,” and mandated limits on the size of new warships. Treaty requirements limited displacement to thirty-five thousand tons, and (after Japan’s exit from the treaty triggered an escalator clause) gun size to sixteen inches. While intermediate plans had focused on relatively slow ships (around twenty-three knots), war-game experience and intelligence about the development of foreign ships made clear that this would prove far too slow, and designers eventually opted for a speed of twenty-seven knots. The U.S. Navy followed up the two in the North Carolina class with the four South Dakotas. Initial plans for the South Dakotas again called for a reduction in speed, which would allow them to operate with the older ships of the battle line.

The question of speed spurred bitter disagreements between designers, officers, and strategists; eventually, intelligence about the battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy helped carry the day for advocates of high speed. The resulting South Dakotas (“SoDaks”) were more heavily armored than the North Carolinas on a slightly smaller hull, but at the expense of weaker underwater protection, reduced crew space and an extremely cramped engineering section. The design probably attempted too much on a limited displacement, and the ships were never regarded as fully satisfactory. Nevertheless, the South Dakotas were extremely effective ships, the only ships to fulfill the Washington Naval Treaty requirements while carrying sixteen-inch guns, having protection against sixteen-inch shells and enjoying a speed of twenty-seven-plus knots. They also had a large and effective antiaircraft armament. Although classic interim ships, the architects of the SoDaks achieved great things within the imposed limits. Visually, the SoDaks were distinguished from both the Iowas and the North Carolinas by having one funnel instead of two, a choice that resulted in a sleek, streamlined appearance.

USS Massachusetts, third of the class, was commissioned in May 1942, and five months later joined Operation Torch, the U.S. invasion of French North Africa. Although both British and American planners hoped that French resistance to the invasion would be minimal, a major French naval presence at Casablanca threatened to disrupt the operation. The French squadron at Casablanca included several large destroyers and the Jean Bart, an incomplete but mildly functional battleship that had escaped just prior to the Nazi conquest of France. Massachusetts and several escorts were detailed to subdue this force. On November 8, while supporting landings near Casablanca, Massachusetts came under fire from Jean Bart. Massachusetts replied, silencing Jean Bart with five hits. Massachusetts and its escorts then opened fire on and sank a pair of destroyers. French shore batteries inflicted superficial damage on Massachusetts, the scars of which are still evident on its decks today. Massachusetts had the first honor of surface combat against an enemy battleship of any American dreadnought, beating out its sister USS South Dakota and its cousin USS Washington at the Second Battle of Guadalcanal by six days.

With the French subdued and the threats from the German and Italian fleets in decline, USS Massachusetts was dispatched to the Pacific, arriving in March 1943. The rest of its career would be consumed with carrier escort, convoy escort and shore bombardment. At the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Massachusetts was part of the force that narrowly missed engaging Adm. Takeo Kurita’s battleships off Samar Island. It and the carriers it escorted operated against Formosa, Kwajalein, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and mainland Japan in 1944 and 1945. Its final mission was against an industrial complex at Hamamatsu on August 9, 1945, and many believe that the last sixteen-inch shell fired in anger in World War II came from Massachusetts.

USS Massachusetts returned to the United States after the war, and decommissioned in 1947. It would remain in reserve for fifteen years. Because of cramped conditions on the South Dakotas, the Navy preferred to use Washington and North Carolina as training vessels. The slow speed of Massachusetts and its sisters (relative to the Iowa class) precluded their reactivation for the Korean War. In the late 1950s, the U.S. Navy began disposing of its remaining slow battleships, first the pre-war “Big Five,” then the four SoDaks and the two North Carolinas.

Fortunately, activism on the part of veterans and state officials made it possible to save several of the ships. A group of veterans from Massachusetts put together a campaign to raise the money to save the battleship and convert it into a memorial. It was berthed at Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1965, and remains there today. It rests alongside USS Joseph P. Kennedy, USS Lionfish, the former East German corvette Hiddensee and a pair of PT boats. Its sister, USS Alabama, was preserved at Mobile Bay, and its cousin, USS North Carolina, at Wilmington.

Robert Farley, a frequent contributor to TNI, is author of The Battleship Book. He serves as a Senior Lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. His work includes military doctrine, national security, and maritime affairs. He blogs at Lawyers, Guns and Money and Information Dissemination and The Diplomat.

This first appeared in 2017 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.





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Greg Kelly Suggests Trigger-Happy Killer Lt. Mike Byrd May Work This Weekend at DC “Justice for J6” Protest (VIDEO)




Greg Kelly Suggests Trigger-Happy Killer Lt. Mike Byrd May Work This Weekend at DC “Justice for J6” Protest (VIDEO)




















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Fort Hood shooter congratulates Taliban for Afghanistan victory. Lawyer says killer is happy Biden capitulated to and is working with group that shielded al Qaeda.

Former Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Islamic radical who murdered 13 people and wounded more than 30 at Fort Hood in 2009, is now celebrating the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan after President Joe Biden’s botched pullout of U.S. forces and lauding the opportunity to install Sharia law in the region.

In a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner, the man who called himself a “soldier of Allah” and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” while murdering fellow troops and currently sits behind bars on death row at Fort Leavenworth, declared “We Have Won” and congratulated Taliban leaders for their victory after 20 years of American and international forces keeping the organization out of power following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

What did the letter say?

Hasan — whose horrific actions the Obama administration refused to treat as an act of terrorism and instead infamously called “workplace violence” — sent his letter to his attorney, retired Army Col. John Galligan, on Aug. 18 with instructions for the lawyer to “communicate to the Taliban an leadership” a personal message.

“All Praises be to All-Mighty Allah!” Hasan began in his love note to the Taliban, extolling the greatness of their re-taking of control in Afghanistan.

His celebration was not solely because fellow Muslim radicals were in charge, but also because he saw the Taliban victory as another chance for Sharia law to get a foothold.

“Congratulations on your victory over those who hate for the Laws of All-Mighty God to be supreme on the land,” he wrote. “I pray to Allah that He helps you implement Shariah Law fully, correctly, and fairly.”

“We must learn from the nations of the past and not let our wretchedness overcome us thus earning His (God’s) wrath. It is to All-Mighty God we give thanks,” Hasan concluded.

Galligan, the Examiner reported, said that he was “not at all surprised” by Hasan’s statement, since the convicted killer has “always been consistent in the terms of his support for the governments to be rooted upon Sharia law.”

“Given the Taliban victory in Afghanistan and President Biden’s apparent capitulation on many fronts, Nidal Hasan and I are anxious to see what, if any, action will be taken with respect to the individuals still incarcerated at Guantanamo,” Galligan said, according to the Examiner.

The attorney echoed those sentiments in a statement to Fox News, adding that Hasan “is pleased to see that the Biden Administration is now seemingly willing to engage with the Taliban as de facto government in Afghanistan.”





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Killer Gator Makes Its Way to Couple’s Flooded Home, Launches Ambush as Wife Can Only Watch in Shock

A Louisiana man appears to have been an indirect casualty of Hurricane Ida after he was attacked by an alligator while inspecting the damage done to his house from the storm.

The incident took place Monday in Slidell, not far from Lake Pontchartrain and the Southeast Louisiana Wildlife Refuge, according to KTBS-TV in Shreveport.

The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said that a 71-year-old man appeared to have been killed by an alligator. The victim was identified by NOLA.com as Timothy Satterlee.

Police were called at about 11:30 a.m. Monday, according to WGNO-TV in New Orleans.

The man’s wife, who was reported by police to be in her 60s, said he had gone to check about the high water around their raised house. She said the water had risen to about 4 feet deep, and he went to check on a storage shed located under the house that was being flooded.

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Then she heard a splash, said Capt. Lance Vitter, a spokesman for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.

At first, she thought her husband had fallen into the deep water in the marshy area.

It was worse.

“She heard the commotion, opened the back door and saw he was getting attacked by an alligator,” Vitter said, according to KHOU-TV.

The animal “had him in a death roll,” Vitter said.

“She tried her best to fend off the alligator. When it released the gentleman, she pulled him up onto the steps to render aid,” he said.

At some point in the man’s fight with the alligator, it ripped off one of his arms.

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The woman’s cellphone wasn’t working due to the storm, so she paddled a small boat to higher ground and eventually was able to reach the sheriff’s office.

When she returned, however, her husband was gone, presumed to have been killed by the alligator.

“When deputies got out there, they noticed a large amount of blood and learned from his spouse that the body was no longer present,” Vitter said.

Vitter said the body has not been recovered. Although deputies searched for the man’s body, the current was considered to be strong enough that there was no clear idea of where the body might have gone.





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Russia’s Victor I-class Submarine: A Killer Weapons Platform (With a Flaw)

One of the less well-known Soviet submarines, the Victor I-class laid the foundation for what became one of the Soviet Union’s most successful nuclear-powered attack submarine lines.  

The November-class was the USSR’s first line of nuclear-powered attack submarines, inaugurated in 1958. The result of a sweeping collaborative effort across the postwar Soviet defense industry, the November-class vessels suffered from a host of design deficiencies; among them, above-average noise generation, a relatively short service life due to the design idiosyncrasies of its propulsion system, and suboptimal submarine detection potential. Not to mention, the November-class line was so prone to catastrophic, fatal breakdowns that these submarines may as well have been bona fide underwater coffins for the servicemen unfortunate enough to be assigned to them.  

In the following years, it became clear to the Soviet security establishment that the Navy needed more reliable attack submarines that were better suited for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) mission requirements—these included both detecting, tracking, and targeting enemy attack submarines as well as escorting and supporting Soviet ballistic missile submarines and high-value surface vessels. 

Moscow launched a seven-year plan for the construction of new nuclear-powered attack submarines capable of fielding modern weapon systems while being quieter and more tactically flexible than their predecessors. This prospective new vessel was to be something of an all-in-one solution for the Soviet military’s attack submarine needs, serving in all established theatres of Soviet naval power.

The eventual result of these efforts became the Project 671 class, NATO reporting name Victor. The project actively courted the ideas of a new generation of relatively young Soviet engineers, but the forward-looking nature of this work meant that the Victor class was not without its growing pains. The Victor team reportedly cycled through as many as twenty prototypes of the submarine during its development, tinkering with its armament suite, arrangement of internal components, the precise location of torpedo tubes, and propulsion mechanisms to strike the optimal balance between firepower, noise, and underwater performance that the Soviet Navy was seeking.

The Project 671 Yorsh, better known in the west as Victor I, submarines were introduced in 1967. The “teardrop” hull design on these vessels promised several key hydrodynamic benefits in submerged performance, including a formidable top speed of thirty-two knots and relative reductions in noise generation. The Yorsh vessels featured a submerged displacement of 6,100 tons and an effective operating depth of 320 meters. The serially-produced version of Victor I boasted six torpedo tubes for the standard Soviet Type 53 torpedoes, as well as RPK-2 Vyuga anti-submarine missiles. 

Sixteen Victor I submarines were commissioned through 1974, all of which retired in 1997 and have since been disposed of. Though they provided a massive generational leap in ASW capabilities over their predecessors, these vessels nonetheless fell prey to the common Soviet design trend of prioritizing offensive capabilities at the expense of acoustics. It is this critical vulnerability that the next entry in the Project 671 class, the short-lived Victor II submarines, were designed to redress.

Mark Episkopos is a national security reporter for the National Interest. 

This is the first in a series of three essays providing an in-depth look into the capabilities and history of the Victor I-III class submarines.

Image: Wikimedia Commons



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Capitol-cop Killer of Ashli Babbitt Is Enabled by a Media That Kills the Truth

Here’s a point to ponder: If a white cop shot and killed an unarmed, 5’2” black woman who’d never attacked anyone, would his identity have been kept secret?

Would the media essentially say, “Nothing to see here; move along”?

Would there not be coast-to-coast riots, looting, burned buildings, and mayhem stoked by that very media?

Anyone who has trouble answering these questions has probably been asleep for as long as Rip Van Winkle.

Speaking to NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday, Lieutenant Michael Byrd of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) revealed himself as the officer who killed unarmed protester Ashli Babbitt, 35, during the January 6 trespassing incident. Characterizing his actions against the diminutive Babbitt, Byrd told Holt, “I showed the utmost courage on January 6” and “I know that day I saved countless lives.”

Now, maybe it took courage for him to fire his weapon; that is, if he’s the kind of person who found it an agonizing decision. Yet this kind of self-exaltation is not a good look. Maybe Byrd did believe, too, on January 6 that the trespassers were something more, that they really could be a blood-seeking mob.

After all, at one point, Byrd recalled during the Holt interview that “an incorrect report that gunshots had been fired into the House chamber came over his radio,” reports the New York Post.

“‘I was very afraid,’ Byrd said,” the paper continues. “I’m hearing about the breaches of different barricaded areas, officers being overrun, officers being down.”

How, though, could Byrd conclude at this late date that he saved lives, with the FBI having found that the trespassing event was not an insurrection and stating that no firearms were seized from those arrested that day?

Of course, it’s man’s nature to rationalize to justify his actions. The 53-year-old Byrd, a 28-year MPD veteran, killed someone, and anyone who’s not a sociopath wouldn’t want to believe that he did such a thing without good cause.

He may have much to rationalize, too. For no other cop shot anyone on January 6. Asked about this by Holt, Byrd replied, “I’m sure it was a terrifying situation. I can only control my reaction, my training, my level of expertise. That would be upon them to speak for themselves.”

As to his level of training, Byrd was the officer who left his gun unattended in a Capitol restroom in 2019. He possibly didn’t even notice its absence, either, and it was discovered by other Capitol police “during a routine security sweep,” reports the Federalist.

Whatever the case regarding Byrd’s January 6 actions and overall competence, don’t expect to hear officials bloviating in speeches about law-enforcement reform, accountability, or “re-imagining police.” Don’t expect posturing about “systemic racism.” Not only did the Department of Justice announce in April that it won’t pursue criminal charges against Byrd, but the MPD announced Monday that he won’t be disciplined.

Also don’t expect the mainstream media to give continual sympathetic interviews to the Babbitt family’s lawyer, Terry Roberts, and emphasize his assertions that “Babbitt didn’t brandish a weapon, wasn’t in close proximity to any members of Congress and [was] ‘not an imminent threat of death or serious injury to anyone,’” as the Daily Mail relates it. Nor will they trumpet Roberts’s claim that Byrd never gave commands. (For his part, Byrd “told Holt during the interview [that] he yelled multiple times, ‘Stop. Get back,’” the paper also informs.)  

Additionally, Roberts questioned why Byrd outed himself, saying, “‘Quite a turn-around, given the months of constantly saying that to identify him would expose him to danger,” the Mail further relates. “‘Where did that one go?’”

In fairness, Byrd had already been unofficially identified by various sources as Babbitt’s killer, had supposedly been in “hiding,” and says he has received death threats. So he might have appeared on NBC out of a desire to tell his side of the story.

One person who won’t extend him much sympathy, however, is Babbitt’s widower, Aaron Babbitt. “I don’t even want to hear him talk about how he’s getting death threats, and he’s scared,” he said on Thursday’s edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight. “I’ve been getting death threats since January 7th — two, three, five, 10 a day — and all I did on January 6th is becoming a widower.”  

“So you’re going to have to suck it up, bud, and take it,” he continued (video below).

Unlike the mainstream media, we at The New American endeavor to be fair. So just as we have with other police shooting incidents, we’ll say that a person’s “unarmed” status isn’t necessarily relevant; after all, in the heat of the moment, an officer doesn’t know if a lawbreaker is armed or not. It’s also a general principle that if a person doesn’t follow police’s lawful commands, they can use necessary force to neutralize the perceived threat. (Although we could ask why Byrd didn’t deploy a less-than-lethal weapon such as a taser.)

The problem is that these standards aren’t today accepted by the pseudo-elites — even in cases where profound threats exist. Note that Babbitt wasn’t a 6’4”, 294-pound man who battered a cop and tried to grab his gun, as was the case with criminal Michael Brown in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. She didn’t resist police, wrestle with them, and steal a taser (which can be a deadly weapon when used incorrectly), as Rayshard Brooks did last year in Atlanta.

Yet as is par for the course with white-on-black police shootings, the officers in those cases were immediately identified and demonized by media; their actions were used as a pretext for rioting, violence, and nation-rending destabilization; and Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, though exonerated by the DOJ just as Byrd was, will never work in policing again.

Then, remember the unarmed 17-year-old shot by that grown man years ago? Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman were, respectively, their names, right?

Wrong.

I’m talking about 17-year-old white kid Chris Cervini, shot to death by black man Roderick Scott in Greece, New York, three years before the Martin incident, in 2009. Unlike Zimmerman, Scott is built like a brick outhouse, is a highly trained martial artist, and never had a hand laid on him by the teen. As with Zimmerman, Scott said he thought his life could be in danger and was acquitted by a mostly white jury. Unlike Zimmerman again, however, the Scott incident never became national news and a federal case.

The bottom line: Whatever the truth about Michael Byrd, 100 more just like him wouldn’t be nearly as dangerous to our Republic as one average pseudo-elite journalist.



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How Japan Helped Make Russia’s Akula-Class Submarine a Stealth Killer

Here’s What You Need to Know: Despite its age, the Akula-class remains a potent force to be reckoned with.

American-laid hydrophones littered the ocean floor. They were arranged in arrays, bridging the GIUK Gap chokepoint, the area of ocean in the North Atlantic between Greenland and the United Kingdom with Iceland in the middle.

They were designed in arrays that would pick up the movements of the hundreds of Soviet submarines and surface ships stationed on or around the Kola Peninsula, heading out into the Atlantic via the GIUK Gap.

Soviet submarine designs, while relatively capable, generally lagged behind the more refined NATO designs. Soviet subs were fast, could dive fairly deeply, and carried quite an array of weaponry — but were not very quiet, a crucial defect for platforms that were intended to be silent and untraceable. This played to NATO’s advantage — until one day it didn’t.

In the early 1980s, the Soviet Union had a stroke of luck and was able to import a crucial piece of Japanese technology that made their Akula-class submarines quieter.

Blades

Essentially two factors make noise underwater. The first is cavitation, sounds that are created by submarine blades turning, which creates pressure changes in water. The faster the propeller blades turn, the higher the pressure change and the louder the cavitation noises are.

The second noise factor is the noise caused by a submarine’s propeller blades cutting through the wake caused by bumps or appendages on the sub’s hull — things like the rudder or other control surfaces, or by the conning tower.

With the right propeller design, the noise caused by cavitation can be reduced, with less of a speed sacrifice. This has resulted in a variety of odd-looking blade designs that are optimized for underwater silence.

In 1985, the Soviet Union launched the Akula-class. Small and fast, the Akula-class (meaning “Shark” in Russian) was a nuclear-powered attack submarine, intended to hunt other submarines or surface ships. It was able to pass through the GIUK Gap virtually undetected and shifted the balance of power in favor of the Soviet Union.

The Japanese Connection

In an odd series of circumstances, the Japanese manufacturing giant Toshiba, in partnership with a Norwegian firm, exported high-tech multi-axis propeller milling machines to the Soviet Union. These milling machines allowed for a very high degree of milling control and rectified Soviet propeller issues that had plagued their designs for years.

”For a long time the Soviets didn’t seem to give a damn about the noise radiated by their submarines,” said Ira Dyer, an acoustics expert, and professor of ocean engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in an interview with The New York Times.

But with the Akula-class’s newly designed high-tech propellers, the Soviet Union had something frighteningly quiet.

A Threat Renewed

The collapse of the Soviet Union greatly reduced the capabilities throughout the Russian armed forces, and long-range submarine patrols were no exception. However, in 2009, two Akula-class submarines patrolled along the eastern seaboard for several weeks.

Another Akula-class submarine went undetected in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks in 2012, prompting outrage and a demand for answers from the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Despite its age, it seems the Akula-class is still a potent (and quiet) force to be reckoned with.

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer with The National Interest. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.

This article appeared earlier this year. 

Image: REUTERS / Yuri Maltsev



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Parole Board recommends parole for Robert F. Kennedy’s killer

After spending more than five decades in prison, the man convicted of fatally shooting Sen. Robert F. Kennedy could eventually be out from behind bars as California parole commissioners recommended on Friday that the man be released on parole, according to the New York Times.

The outlet noted that the the recommendation from the two commissioners does not guarantee that the 77-year-old will actually be released. The move will be reviewed by the legal division of the Board of Parole Hearings, according to the Times. The matter would then head to the governor, who could take several courses of action, one of which is to reverse the parole recommendation.

The parole hearing marked the man’s 16th instance to face parole board commissioners, but was unique in that it marked the first occasion that no prosecutor appeared to push for him to remain incarcerated, according to the Times, which noted that Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón has a policy for prosecutors not to go to parole hearings.

Douglas Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, went to the hearing and pushed for the commissioners to release Sirhan if they did not believe he was a threat, according to the Times.

“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had submitted a letter to the board that it said was on behalf of the Kennedy family and opposed Mr. Sirhan’s release,” according to the Times. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr. met with Mr. Sirhan in 2017 and said in a letter to the board that the Sheriff’s Department’s letter did not speak for him and that he thought Mr. Sirhan should be released,” the outlet noted.

The murder victim, a senator running for the White House, was slain in 1968 on the heels of his win in California’s Democratic primary, according to the Times. He was a brother of President John F Kennedy, who had been assassinated in 1963. Five other individuals were wounded during the 1968 shooting that left Robert F. Kennedy dead.

“Sirhan, who insists he doesn’t remember the shooting and had been drinking alcohol just beforehand, was convicted of first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death after his conviction, but that sentence was commuted to life when the California Supreme Court briefly outlawed capital punishment in 1972,” according to the Associated Press.

Sirhan is from Jordan could possibly be deported if he is released.

“At the hearing, which was conducted virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Sirhan said he had little memory of the assassination itself, but he said he ‘must have’ brought the gun to the scene,” according to the New York Times.

Investigations have determined that Sirhan was the sole shooter, and Sirhan has said so as well, but some have pursued the notion that there was a different murderer, according to the Times.

“Two of Robert F. Kennedy’s children have said they support another investigation,” according to the Times, which noted that among them is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who has said that he believes Sirhan is innocent.





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