Drone-Carrier – Submarine?

Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Nick Hine said: “In a future scenario, if we find ourselves unable to compete traditionally in terms of mass, we must think differently if we are to regain the operational advantage. The young engineers who worked on this project are thinking radically and with real imagination and reflect how the Royal Navy is thinking too.”

It was an engineering student’s project (and wet dream) that will likely end there on the drawing board. But then again, maybe not.


News from Academia

Professors at top American universities are criticizing the merit system in academia, arguing the concept is a ‘barrier’ to realizing DEI outcomes.

Transformative justice’? USC campus safety proposals tout ‘equity,’ ‘intersectionality.’]

While the “paper” was directed at university promotional policies, the concept in some quarters that the appreciation and rewarding of “merit” and productivity are BAD creeps into the Main Street and the lower levels of academia. It has been my general observation that most of the people who endorse this nonsense fall into several categories, but primarily people who have either failed when competing in society for jobs, promotions, or relationships and those whose isolation in the ivory towers of theoretical thought has prevented them from learning certain basic lessons of real life.


Identify the Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV)



How can it be that 261 children have been shot and 41 died of gunshot wounds this year, in Chicago alone, and there has not been an uprising of the good and decent people in Chicago whose children are being slaughtered? Maybe they’re not good and decent? Where are they? Where are their community leaders? (And I don’t just mean their political leadership which has shown itself totally self-deluded and inept.)

Why is this not being protested in the most strident manner with demands that the guilty be severely punished, that peace and safety be restored, and that the lack of regard for human life in certain quarters of these communities be addressed? This is a disgrace and a tragedy. It’s the home of Obama…but… I doubt that he claims it today.



Baker’s dozen

This phrase arose from a piece of medieval legislation, the Assize of Bread and Ale of 1262. Bakers of the period had a reputation for selling underweight loaves, so legislation was put in place to make standardized weights. To make sure that they did not sell underweight bread, bakers started to give an extra piece of bread away with every loaf, and a thirteenth loaf with every dozen.

To curry favor

The phrase came from the Middle English to ‘curry favel’, which in Old French was ‘estriller fauvel’. It meant ‘to rub down or groom a chestnut horse. In Le Roman de Favuel, a 14th-century French allegorical verse romance, a chestnut horse representing hypocrisy and deceit is carefully combed down by other characters in order to win his favor and assistance. The popularity of the work led people to accuse those intent upon furthering their own ends by flattery of currying favel. By the sixteenth century, the phrase had changed slightly to currying favor.

To play devil’s advocate

Devil’s advocate is a translation of the Latin ‘advocatus diaboli’. This was the popular title given to the official appointed by the Roman Catholic church to argue against the proposed canonization of a saint by bringing up all that was unfavorable to the claim. The post, which was officially known as Promoter of the Faith (promotor fidei), was established by Pope Leo X in the early sixteenth century.

To throw down the gauntlet

medieval phrases

The gauntlet was a piece of armor that knights wore to protect their forearm and hand. A gauntlet-wearing knight would challenge a fellow knight or enemy to a duel by throwing one of his gauntlets on the ground.

By hook or by crook

Records of this phrase date back to the 14th century. One theory for its origin suggests that a medieval law about collecting firewood allowed peasants to take what they could only cut from dead trees by using their reaper’s bill-hooks or a shepherd’s crook.

Hue and cry

This phrase dates back to 12th century English law. Hue comes from the Old French ‘huer’, which means to shout out. In the Middle Ages, if you saw a crime being committed, you were obliged to raise hue and cry, that is to shout and make noise, to warn the rest of the community, so they could come to pursue and capture the criminal.

A nest egg

By the fourteenth century the phrase nest egg was used by peasants to explain why they left one egg in the nest when collecting them from hens – it would encourage the chickens to continue laying eggs in the same nest. By the seventeenth century, this phrase evolved to be mean to set aside a sum of money for the future.

A red-letter day

Calendar page for March, with several red-letter feast-days in this calendar relate to Ely, such as that of Withburga about half-way down this page (17 March) - British Library MS Harley 1025 f. 2
Calendar page for March, with several red-letter feast-days in this calendar relate to Ely, such as that of Withburga about half-way down this page (17 March) 

During the fifteenth century, it became customary to mark all feast days and saints’ day in red on the ecclesiastical calendar, while other days were in black.

To sink or swim

The phrase refers to the water ordeal, a medieval practice of judging whether a person was innocent or guilty by casting him or her into a lake. The belief was that water would not accept anyone who had rejected the water of baptism, so if the victim sunk they were innocent, but if they floated they were guilty. Chaucer used a similar phrase: “Ye rekke not whether I flete (float) or sink”.


Take a Walk on the Far Side


UH-1 Gunship

Evolution to the UH-1Y Venom

An Enduring Design


  1. “Merit Promotion” means something else to Chicago police. Using Orwellean terminology … hell, I’ll let Chicago’s WGN Channel9 explain:

    The merit promotions system was introduced in the 1990s as a way to increase the number of Black and Latino officers in supervisor positions within the CPD. The system allowed for officers to move up the ranks even if their promotional exam scores did not place them at the top of the list.

    A report by the United States Department of Justice, prompted by the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in 2014, found that CPD officers often complained about the opaque nature of the process. Officers often told federal investigators that merit promotions were viewed as “a reward for cronyism, rather than a recognition of excellence.”

    Who could ever have thought that would happen? Who?

    • I’ve seen three levels of promotion systems.

      One is the automatic promotion system that you see for military officers through O-3 and realistically through O-4, which is as far as I got. If you fog a mirror, you move up. There’s. nothing wrong with it and it works for them.

      Then there is the law enforcement “qualification-based” promotion system. I’m a cynic. There is usually a written test and it doesn’t matter how well you do, there is an oral board that can be manipulated by a word from somebody that can shift the scores and it usually includes a “departmental evaluation”. You see these in police agencies and the department evaluation is heavily weighted. So it has an appearance of fairness, but the department gets who they want to be promoted mostly. Sometimes others slip through the cracks if they need to promote a lot of people, so it’s generally a beauty contest.

      There is a law enforcement “oral board” for promotion, wherein there is no pretense at fairness, if you pass the management interview, you are promoted. Total beauty contest.

      The size of any law enforcement agency bears on this. In large agencies, people don’t know everyone. In an agency under 500 or so, everyone knows who the superstars are. They are usually promoted for that reason. So is it “fair”? Yes, truly, it is because there are people who can’t pour sand out of a boot but can pass a written test. You don’t want them to move up.

      The next category would apply in circumstances when the agency is completely dysfunctional like CPD, where race is king and the capacity to lead and function is somewhere near the bottom of the qualification requirement, and being a crony to cover your boss’ ass is supremely important.

      • The most interesting one I saw was unannounced promotions – management only let one person know about it, so that person was the only one who applied.
        After years of such high jinks, the state told management that if they quit their positions and left the state they would not be prosecuted for the latest white collar crimes committed.

      • Your description of O1 through O3 parallels my own experience with medical residency, which we call PGY1 through PGY3 (post-graduate year). Show up, more or less do what you’re supposed to, and if you don’t kill too many patients, you advance to the next level automatically. But yeah, we all knew who the superstars were. And we definitely had people who did well on exams, but had no sense, or no people skills, or both.

          • Same in Engineering. I’ve seen way too many young grads that have actually picked up a soldering iron by the wrong end. Granted, they weren’t usually expected to be “Hands On” Engineers, but the lack of common sense, and logic, was appalling.

            Prime examples of people that “Test Well”, but will walk right into an open elevator shaft.

  2. The mystery tank is the British AJAX Reconnaissance and Strike vehicle, formerly known as the SCOUT SV (specialist vehicle).

    The AJAX programme is plagued by huge budget overruns, major engineering problems and failures in combatworthiness. So far, the AJAX programme has delivered only 14 (fourteen) vehicles on a budget in excess of 3.2 billion GBR pounds but it still has not achieved initial operating capability (IOC). This IOC was prognosed for early 2020. So far, none of the problematic issues have been resolved and the Army are still waiting for the delivery of their vehicles. Meanwhile, even testing the vehicle has stopped because some issues are so fundamental that they threaten to stop and cancel serial production. For instance, the vehicle still cannot move faster than 20 mph, cannot fire on the move and has severe ergonomic and noise problems which limit crew effectiveness.

    At this point in time it is more than doubtful whether the AJAX programme can be delivered to the Force within time and on budget. In turn, this poses the question whether the AJAX programme is not another catastrophic failure of the British arms industry like the NIMROD upgrade, CHALLENGER 1 and 2 (CHALLENGER 3 well on it’s way to become another failure), the BOWMAN radio system and the SA 80 rifle.

    The AJAX programme may well serve to become yet another example of the worst of MOD procurement performances. Slowly but steadily the Brits seem to lose any and all capabilities of producing combat-worthy equipment, be it planes, tanks, radios or rifles.

    • Martin, you did ok for a guy who claims not to know anything about modern tanks or AFV’s. More to the point, I’m of the opinion that the program will be canceled because the design flaws run so deep that it’s beyond redemption outside of a total re-do.

      • Thank you very much for your praise, Sir.

        I am not sure whether I deserve it. Jane’s was helpful, as always.
        Thanks to my MOS I am fairly up to speed with current land vehicles, especially when they are in the same vehicle class as the current German models like PUMA, LYNX and BOXER. My ignorance is strong in the fields of modern aviation (i.e. post-1950) and anything that floats.

        Hopefully Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann and Rheinmetall can win a contract to supply the Brits with functioning armor. This would be a win-win situation for both sides: the Brits would save a lot of money and get good vehicles while the German firms would remain in business because producing for national demand only is not exactly a lucrative business right now.

        • The Brits don’t want functioning armor, they have transitioned to a ceremonial military for the most part.

          I think they have fewer tanks than Mississippi does.


    • I think the entire concept is nincompoopery.
      Who is it designed to defeat?
      I get an image of Napoleon-era cannon-fodder organized in dress-lines across a dry flat field… because rules.
      Any alleged potential enemy would work beyond its range using drones or missiles… and swarms of drone-missiles.
      And if that did not work, any alleged potential enemy would instantly transition to a hundred different strategies against TheBlumberingBlindBeast (referring to the weapons platform, not the bureaucracy).
      An aside:
      Unless it was the fearsome American military… these enlightened souls are absolute terrors with towel-snappings at the daily ‘gender-reveal’ celebrations.
      Stand back!

  3. I’ve got gauntlets. And I’d make sure that they would land on something soft, not hard. So, well, you’ve sereen the movies where the one guy whacks the other guy with his gloves. That is the proper way to do it, smack the jerk in the face with your guantlet…

    Like the whole challenge to a duel. Sumdood challenges you to a duel, you get to pick time, place and weapon. So, choose Now, Here and My Fist (smash.)

    Or, you know, you could be nice and throw your gauntlet, on the receiver’s unarmored foot.

    Or, well, yeah, play fair and toss them in front of your opponent. Just make sure your opponent is also being chivalrous and all that, else he will kill you. Like the illustration, throwing a gauntlet down in front of a king isn’t the smartest idea around, especially if the king is someone like Edward Longshanks.

    As to the armor, the Israelis are really responsible for the latest round of tank based APC/IFVs. With their conversions of ex-Soviet armor and their Namur series of full-up armored vehicles.

    Problem is, as soon as you start futzing with a main battle tank as a carrier, then some bright idiot will get the idea to up gun the damned thing, and then you basically end up with Pentagon Wars and a piss-poor vehicle that can’t do either tank or carrier. For the most part. The Merkava is the exception to this rule. For most of the tank-based carriers that Israel uses, the weapon systems are optimized as infantry support.

    • The Merkava is an outstanding tank for Israeli applications and in that particular theater and you can stuff people in the back (engine in the front)

  4. I saw four of those UH-1Y helicopters fly off from the airfield at Camp Atterbury recently. Their 4-bladed rotors do not sound anything like the two-bladed Huey’s some of us grew up with. Very odd.

    • Modernization programs on legacy helos are interesting. Like the 4 bladed Hueys or the 6 bladed OH-6s. That, and upengining, control updating, and other programs and sometimes not even the basic frame is the same.

  5. Not sure what to say about the “device” pictured. I’d say the young Engineer has a future in CGI for Hollyweird, though…

    I swear…the “Academics” are becoming more and more Eloi-like with every passing day.

    No idea on the AFV, other than it looks to mount a 25mm canon.

    Quite the evolution on the Huey. From a single-engine, two-blade rotor system to a dual-engine, four-blade rotor system.,Now I’ll have “Ride of the Valkyries” stuck in my head all night….

  6. Years ago I heard that more officers died from dueling during the Civil War than in battle.
    I have never researched that subject to see if it was a true statement, but it sounds unlikely to be true especially for officers those of field rank.
    I read an account of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and another officer in which Forrest was shot, but killed the other officer with a pocket knife, so I am certain that was not a formal duel, but the result of an escalated “discussion”. Forrest got shot and saber cut a lot and seemed to suffer no long-term issues from his many wounds.

    If we were to bring back dueling politics would take on a more entertaining element.
    If televised, I would go long on pop corn futures.
    Bookies would make a fortune!
    But, I also think sword canes should come back into style with cloaks and hats, so…I’m gonna quit now.

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