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Eglin AFB

map of Eglin AFB, FL

I keep mentioning that I am surrounded by the base, so I figured I would show you what I meant. The grey area is the land area of the base. There are ranges out in the Gulf of Mexico. The light beige civilian areas are all surrounded by the base.


1 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 11.23.08 at 10:28 pm }

…now, see, if you lived out here in the Intermountain West, that grey would be National Forest/BLM land and the only air traffic you would have to worry about would be the occasional aerial retardant bomber wheeling over your house on the base leg of an approach to the drop on that fire over yonder…

Actually, now that I think about it, that is a pretty rare occurance, so obviously I do have the better deal. I do have to confess, though, that I love to watch airplanes flying around (especially the sorts of airplanes we don’t see much around here), so the ‘noise’ portion of living around an Air Force base would probably have me scampering outside at all hours of the day and night just to watch….

I would imagine you probably don’t experience the same thrill, though, eh?

2 Bryan { 11.23.08 at 11:29 pm }

The foreign aircraft are definitely interesting, especially some of the Soviet equipment, because that gets tested and evaluated here when an example is “acquired”. There is also the fact that all of the newest aircraft flies around, i.e. the Osprey, the Raptor [F-22], and soon the F-35.

When the shuttle lands in California, they generally stop here to refuel, so you can see a 747 with the shuttle mounted on top.

Lots of interesting types in the local airspace, but you need a better digital camera than I have to get photos, as they don’t let you near the areas where this stuff is parked on the ground.

There is a 500K acre national forest in the middle of that grey, which is generally used to shield activity and not involved in the weapons testing.

3 cookie jill { 11.24.08 at 1:56 am }

And here I thought Vandenberg was big.

4 Bryan { 11.24.08 at 7:46 am }

Vandenberg is big, Jill, it’s just not huge, like Eglin.

5 Steve Bates { 11.24.08 at 12:16 pm }

So Eglin is, as a fundamentalist might say, Raptor-ready?

I am seldom close to any aircraft on the ground. I’ve had no luck taking pictures of anything in the sky with my toy camera, and I don’t have the equipment to do so with my real camera. I don’t mind not getting the aircraft, but I do wish I could take pics of astronomical phenomena.

I do have an ancient b&w photo that I took when I was a kid, of a crop-duster biplane, but whoever printed it managed to get a small spider on the print. At least it’s a unique picture.

6 Bryan { 11.24.08 at 12:44 pm }

… or possibly a high flying spider?

My best aircraft pictures are all in files in government archives as they didn’t approve of my taking them as that would give clues to where I was at the time [because everyone knows the KGB didn’t have anybody who knew where I was and what I was doing.]

Special Ops has some of their old “birds” on display, and Armaments Museum has a generic collection if aircraft, but not a lot of the unique aircraft that my Dad and I messed around with, or the stuff that was developed locally for “special purposes”.

If I could get shots of the aircraft, I could also get some “action” shots of the ferals, instead of all of the static things.

7 Kryten42 { 11.24.08 at 7:06 pm }

[because everyone knows the KGB didn’t have anybody who knew where I was and what I was doing.]

Hah!! That’s funny Bryan! 😀

One must keep up the illusion, you know that. 😉

Our biggest (and newest) base is a secret (from the public, well… some of the public) that’s in the desert surrounded by desert. 🙂 Most of the facilities (and even hangars) are underground in bombproof (whatever that means) shelters. 🙂 But it’s nowhere near as big as that of course, even though it’s intended as a US staging area for any *Southern* expeditions the USA might feel necessary. At least, that was the case when Howard had it built at great expense. Personally, I think if the USA want it we should lease them the land (at the highest rate) and send the bill for construction and running expenses etc. Apparently, there is some thinking along those lines in the halls of Canberra, but I won’t hold my breath. 🙂 I’ve been told that some F117’s have been seen there, but no idea if that was a temporary or permanent situation. 🙂

8 Bryan { 11.24.08 at 9:30 pm }

We are phasing out the F117s and replacing them with the F22. They were slow and a bit erratic and if the computers that controlled the flight systems went down all you could do is eject. Maybe Howard picked some up at a Pentagon garage sale.

They’re OK, as long as the adversary doesn’t have a cellular telephone network, a desktop computer, and a certain piece of software, that was probably the reason one was knocked down in the Balkans.

Only in the US could you “hide” something as big as Eglin. There really are people who live here and don’t seem to understand that it exists. I don’t know how they can miss all the miles of brown chain-link fence with the red, white, and blue signs that say “US Govermment Property – No Trespassing” attached to the fence.

The fun part is when they try to walk along the beaches on the base and the guys in camo with M-4s appear from nowhere [solar powered sensors all over the place].

Maybe they’ll move the B-52s to your “secret base” after Diego Garcia sinks into the Indian Ocean in a few years. The Marine Corps seems bent on getting us thrown off of Okinawa.

Make sure they include a reasonably strong provision for eviction if a lease is proposed. We are hard to get rid of once we settle in, kind of like cane toads.

9 Kryten42 { 11.24.08 at 9:58 pm }

Yeah, I know about the 117’s. 🙂 Around GD they used to say they had the flight characteristic of a brick. (Then again, they said that about F16’s too if the flight systems died.) LOL One of my jobs at GD was working on the PAVETAC upgrade for the F-111’s. The avionics had to be installed in an external pod, which GD decided would be useful for a variety of airframes. No room in an F-111 avionics bay, and most F-111 components are non-standard anyway. There was talk about F-111 & F-117’s and Libya at the time. That reminds me… I heard (unconfirmed) that the F-111F that was lost (Karma52 ?) was a blue-on-blue incident involving a Tomcat. *shrug* 🙂

The F117’s aren’t ours. We don’t have any. 😉 And we don’t have B-52’s either. Or C5’s… but they are all seen up North from time to time. Of course, we have no official involvement in any US activities in this region, especially the Sth China area. Right? Right. LOL

The new base was created because the only place prior where B52-s or C5’s could land/takeoff was Richmond AFB in what is now Western Sydney (urban sprawl syndrome). After a C5 and B-52 *incident* (bits falling off), the public assured the Gov that was up for reelection they could kiss the NSW vote goodbye if they didn’t relocate Richmond somewhere far away. I am fairly certain that the US wanted a base way up North anyway, so it was a good excuse for the Gov to get the funds without too much drama. 🙂 I hear they were running out of room in Arizona for mothballing, and since we have the 2nd biggest & driest desert in the World… 😉

10 Bryan { 11.24.08 at 10:36 pm }

It is time to stop mothballing and start recycling all of that metal. The aluminum and copper alone has to be worth a mint, and there is titanium and other useful bits that could be used in a lot of products without having to disturb the planet. Too bad we don’t have a manufacturing base anymore, but it will help the balance of trade.

Around here the rumor was the sucker broke at exactly the wrong moment and couldn’t get out of the way. Those wings are nice when they work, but if they get stuck in the wrong position or don’t work in unison, things get really dicey at low levels.

The F-16 is controllable if you can keep the speed up, but it has a very high stall speed. They don’t glide worth a damn.

If they ever stop messing about with where they are going to put it, I suspect some of your guys will be dropping by for the F-35 training here. I hope we have enough of a tourist industry left to steal their paychecks. We have been in a slump for a while because vacations are not something people are considering at the moment.

11 Kryten42 { 11.24.08 at 11:52 pm }

I actually like the F-16 (from an engineers perspective). I had a good look at one and saw a demo of an engine being replaced in *battlefield* conditions. They swapped the engine in under half an hour! And a very tough and capable little aircraft. 🙂 I can see why just about every air force wants some. We pushed for F-16’s originally, but the reality is, they were not really suited to our needs. We need a coastal defense/dominance aircraft, and the F-16 is a great dog-fighter and not much else. The F-18 looked good on paper. Oh well… We DON’T Need the F-35 either! Stupid idea that.

I’ve seen a couple pic’s of our new base. It’s very well hidden. Surrounded by thousands of miles of red desert! Easy to miss even if you know where it is. The RAAF don’t actually like it! Sand tends to do very nasty things to jet engines and an airframe will come off 2nd best in a sudden sand storm. 😉 LOL It limits it’s operational ability somewhat. Understandable why most of the facilities are underground. When it was planned, the weather there was very calm and predictable. *Global Warming* has changed that somewhat apparently. 😉

We have LOT’s of desert! 😉 I doubt anyone would care much about selling the USA a few hundred square miles of it for a LOT of money! 😉 (After ensuring there were no valuable mineral/ore/oil/gas deposits under it, of course)! LOL

12 Kryten42 { 11.25.08 at 7:57 am }

It is time to stop mothballing and start recycling all of that metal.

LOL What?? And kill off a huge black market industry in spare parts??! The MIC would never be able to afford so many of those black projects (and executive privileges, and not to forget all those poor, hard-working, under-paid politicians making a killing). That would be very… un-American Bryan! For shame. tch, tch. LOL

Speaking of being *un-American*, our news showed the pist off gun owners (mostly Texans) at the gun show and interviewed many in gun shops across Texas. One big gun shop said it’s sales of high-end weapons has increased over 430% since Obama won the election. One guy bought a .50cal AMR! I used an AMR in Cambodia. I know what they are for and what they can do. Do muggers in Texas run around in APC’s or Tanks? WTF does any civilian need a .50cal AMR for?? No wonder over 40 people a day die and over 200 are seriously wounded from gunshots every day in the USA. I say, give everyone in the USA a Glock (or Steyr) or MAC-10 or AK-74 (or even the old AK-47), and the rest of the World will have some peace in no time. 😉 🙂


13 Bryan { 11.25.08 at 1:10 pm }

The new model F-16s are much better for ground attack missions and there have been a lot of improvements over the years to make them a very capable all purpose aircraft that can take out an F-22 in experienced hands. The biggest problem that most people have had with them is the single engine, but that just means there are fewer things to break and the maintenance costs are way down.

If you were going with just one type for multiple roles, the F-16 would be a good choice. The F-15s are OK, but they don’t excel at much and ours are currently feeling their age.

I’m rather underwhelmed with both the F-22 and F-35. They are committee aircraft with a lot of “gee whiz” stuff that isn’t going to work properly for years. I suspect the D models might be worth buying.

About the “boneyard” – it is a constant source of Federal indictments about people buying things that shouldn’t have been sold, or of re-selling things to the “wrong” sorts.

Break them up for the materials and buy new equipment with the proceeds. There has never been a shortage of airframes, the shortages that have occurred involve parts that you are not going to be able to salvage from relics in the Arizona desert.

The aircraft down there have been cycled through the regular Air Force, the Reserves, and the National Guard – they are “former aircraft” and not subject to being reanimated.

14 Kryten42 { 11.25.08 at 6:13 pm }

My old boss was a big fan of the F-16. He said it was a real Pilot’s plane. 🙂 He was a pilot and flew everything from Mustangs to F-111’s during Vietnam. He once told me that his favorite aircraft of that era was the Mustang and if he had to pick a jet, the F4. 🙂 He retired from the RAAF as a Wing Commander, and pushed hard for the F-16’s. He once told me that the little Falcon was aptly named and was a real Pilots plane too, it was the only deployed mainstream fighter at the time that had a high power : weight ratio and could out accelerate most missiles in a climb. 🙂 He said they would become a very versatile aircraft but at the time we purchased the F-18’s, they were just a good dog fighter, one of it’s biggest problems for us was it had very poor look-down radar capability and was almost useless in Naval op’s, unlike the F-18 which could just about spot a rowboat in choppy seas, and capable of operating any any weather, which is mainly why we got them. 🙂

He retired from GD in disgust over the whole F-22/F-35 thing. He was always ‘a Pilot first’ he said. 🙂 I remember in a meeting in Canberra just before he retired, he told the assembled Politicians that they should buy Su-37’s because they could eat the F-35 for breakfast, and were a lot cheaper. LOL That was a couple years before the first Su-37 actually flew in ’96 (I think). 🙂 From all accounts, the Su-37 is a formidable all-weather aircraft, if the Russians ever get the money to start full production, and sort out some production problems, it will be a big problem for the US and others. I’ve heard that Sukhoi sold an Su-27 license to China to pay for development of the Su-37, and are prototyping a two-seat enhanced strike version.

15 Bryan { 11.25.08 at 7:38 pm }

If you are going to land on a carrier, it is really important to be able to find it and line up properly on the flight deck, so they had much better avionics for the marine environment. The newest F-16s have a really good, all around package, but that wasn’t always the case.

The F-4 was what they want the F-35 to be. They keep going for Swiss Army knife aircraft, when it would be cheaper to develop purpose-created types.

Hell, we were scrapping the F-105s at the same time we discovered they were an outstanding ground attack aircraft. We are dumping the A-10s with no obvious replacement. They think the Osprey will replace the Blackhawk/C-130 combination. This attitude of building one aircraft for three times the money to do a less effective job than two existing types is insane.

The Russians can design and build great airframes, as long as you have a second source for avionics. Russian electronic equipment sucks, and always has. Their airframes, OTOH, are built to last. They don’t try to reduce weight, they add more power. The MiG-21 was a real pain, because the damn things could be fixed by a village blacksmith. You really had to tear it up to keep one out of the air, often using missiles more expensive than the aircraft.

Sukhoi has overtaken MiG in fighter aircraft design and is producing some interesting birds. They aren’t as sophisticated as the F-22 or F-35, but that’s a feature, not a bug, because they will be a lot easier to keep in the air, instead of the hanger.

16 Kryten42 { 11.25.08 at 9:52 pm }

That’s true about Russian technology skills. 🙂 Though, they apparently have become more *weight* conscious in airframe design since the initial Su-37 as they replaced a lot of steel parts for titanium and alloys to increase performance, range and payload. I think it has 14 external weapons/pod points now, and the thrust vectoring is much quicker and smoother since they replaced the steel with titanium. Their avionics have improved, especially since the US pissed off Iran and they *donated* a couple of F-14 & F-5’s and even a couple Phoenix’s to Russia (part of the deal was that Russia would reverse engineer them and make some critical parts for Iran, as well as learn some new tricks for themselves. 🙂 China and others (even Pakistan) have helped Russia with some high-tech *donations* also, including F-16 & FA-18. 😉 The Su-37 has a fairly decent phased-array radar system and they can now track and shoot at multiple targets and even slave to other aircraft (thanks mainly to the donated F-14’s & 18 I guess), something they couldn’t do before. I suspect (from things I’ve heard but didn’t hear) that China has been working with Russia quite a bit the past decade, and China has stolen or bought a lot of modern high-technology from US participants (including GOP politicians such as Feeney). The Chinese make a good partner with Russia. China are good at electronics and suck at mechanics (compared to Russia anyway). 🙂

There’s a word American Politicians have never understood… Consequences! 😉

17 Bryan { 11.25.08 at 10:28 pm }

Nixon didn’t get a lot of things right, but he understood the value of balancing China against the Soviet Union. The Soviets always considered China the number one threat, despite the rhetoric, because of their ability to seize and hold territory, and their need for room to expand. Too many people fixated on the situation in Europe and never paid a lot of attention to the movements on the Sino-Soviet border region. Things had been tense since Khrushchev assumed leadership of the Communist movement after the death of Stalin, something that Mao felt he should have “inherited”.

The thawing of relations between the two is not good news for the West, but no one seems to care about the major powers anymore, apparently assuming that the “end” of the Cold War makes it unnecessary.

Actually, it is the end of the Cold War that has made many of the improvements in materials possible, because Russia now has ready access to materials that were embargoed for decades.

The Chinese have the factories to do the precision work that the Soviets were never able to accomplish. Even though they had the chips, the Soviets couldn’t copy anything newer than the 80286 in their foundries. That’s why their subs were so noisy – they had nice designs, but they didn’t have the capability of manufacturing them. Hell, they had a time producing consistent bolt threads to repair equipment.

[One of my instructors was a civil engineer in the Soviet Union before making his break, and he talked about the problems of trying to build anything with the hardware (ironmongery type) from Soviet factories. It’s hard to tie a building to the foundation when you can’t find nuts to fit on the bolts coming out of the concrete slab.]

I think the Indians are also getting into the act with Russian aircraft avionics, as some people are buying with a package that probably came from Indian factories, or designs.

The American politicians don’t seem to understand the difference between “enemy of my enemy” and “friend” – they aren’t always equivalent.

18 Kryten42 { 11.25.08 at 11:07 pm }

All true. My Russian friend in the 80’s was originally a Geologist and engineer, and had been managing some Russian mines, including a diamond mine. He told me many horror stories (with obvious frustration) over copious amounts of vodka and beer. 🙂 They were good days…

I was just reading Think Progress for a laugh… and speaking of ‘enemy of my enemy’ etc, have you read this (though I’m sure you know something of this anyway):

Report: NSA Kept File On Tony Blair’s ‘Private Life’ And Intercepted Iraqi President’s ‘Pillow Talk’

Heres the understatement of the day:

The NSA works extremely closely and shares data with its British counterpart, the GCHQ, Government Communications Headquarters.

“If it is true that we maintained a file on Blair, it would represent a huge breach of the agreement we have with the Brits,” said one former CIA official.

Who needs enemies when one has the USA as a friend? 😉 LOL

It’s gonna take lifetimes to clean up all the Bushit!

Hey… I could make that a T-shirt! LOL

19 Kryten42 { 11.25.08 at 11:12 pm }

Oh, and speaking of Soviet sub’s and propellers, we all know that the Japanese (especially Mitsubishi) helped Russia a lot there and sold the machine the US used for the 688 prop’s to Russia. There wa a HUGE stink over that. But I’m sure the Jap’s helped in other ways also, maybe they only got caught out once. 😉

I’ve also heard that China and Japan have helped Russia with that super-cavitating torpedo they developed long ago. It apparently almost works now (and was possibly responsible for that Russian sub sinking last year, they were testing the new torp). *shrug*

Russia seems to have more *friends* than the USA right now. Obama is going to have to do a massive amount of work. Good luck.

20 Bryan { 11.25.08 at 11:38 pm }

Blair wouldn’t be NSA’s brief, it would belong to the State Department. Maliki OTOH would be very much in NSA’s brief based on his associations from way back. Hezbollah and the Iraqi Dawa party are two branches of the same organization and someone should be aware of it. It’s like forgetting the Badr militia was created by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard during the Iraq-Iran War. State would normally have the brief, but after Chalabi was caught talking to Iranian intel, the military would grab the briefs for the entire Iraqi government. Hell, we can’t even be sure the Iraqis are “enemies of our enemies”.

The Russians still use hydrogen peroxide in their torpedoes and the damn stuff is toxic and unstable. The evidence seems to indicate that one of the torpedoes blew, and that was the end. You don’t need a warhead when you use that as the propellant. They did/do some crazy stuff that we stopped after WWII. I wouldn’t be surprised if they still used lead/acid batteries in their diesel subs.

The Iranians claim to have developed their own version, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they merely fixed the Russian torpedo. The Revolutionary Guards are just as crazy as the Russians when it comes to taking chances.

21 Kryten42 { 11.26.08 at 12:16 am }

I believe the Iranian torp is either the Russian Squall (shkval) or a modified variant. The problem Iran has is that it’s an early version with a very short range of 2-3km and speed of about 200kts. The latest Russian version has a longer range (reportedly at least 13km) and capable of 300kts with terminal guidance. The original plan called for it to carry a tac nuke, but it was changed to a conventional warhead. Russia also reportedly sold about 40 to China in ’98 to play with for their new Type 093 Shang-class SSN now entering service.

The Germans are reported to have their own design known as ‘Barracuda’.

I came acros a blog with some info with links:
Those 345 MPH Supercavitating Torpedoes: Did You Know?

Jerry Pournelle blogged about the sinking of the Kursk sub:
The Kursk and the Future of Naval Warfare

Here’s an interesting scientific article on the principle (with pics) 😉
Codename “Shkval-Torpedo”: Super-cavitation is a loop-hole in physics

Oh… And I should mention that for an encore after our super-quiet Collins sub… we here in Aus are developing the next gen supersonic sub. 😉 LOL

Australian research-visionaries have in the meantime already designed whole fleets of supersonic submarines, so called “Supercav-Subs,” on the computer that could possibly in the distant future accomplish journey distances such as London to New York faster than Concord. Eng. Vincent Kotwicki, who also presents the spectacular constructions and futuristic ideas of his team in great detail on the Internet (www.deepangel.com): “One day this technique will open up a whole new dimension to mankind. We could construct a network of underwater highways that connect the continents, invisible corridors, which could be kept free from sea dwellers with the help of supersonic signals.” – Plans that not only animal rights activists hope never to be put into practice…

Heh… 😉

‘What a World'(tm) 😀

22 hipparchia { 11.26.08 at 1:33 am }

supercav subs, eh? what’s the undersea equivalent?

23 Kryten42 { 11.26.08 at 5:42 am }

You mean… This? LOL

Actually, I watched that until it became obvious that the producers were typical Hollywood morons. *shrug* Scheider was right.

24 Bryan { 11.26.08 at 1:28 pm }

Sounds like the Revolutionary Guard aren’t quite as crazy as I assumed and are using a safer propellant than the Russians, which would account for the reduction in capabilities. They are definitely using a Soviet design, and they work with the Chinese on missile technology.

With Russian torpedoes, they are only safe empty. As soon as they are fueled, they are an accident waiting to happen. Even their standard torpedoes are fast and long range, but dangerous without their warheads in place. All it would have taken is for a torpedo to shift from a sudden move, or because it wasn’t secured. If they were loading one, and lost control of it – curtains. As for leaving them on the ocean bed, the H2O2 is corrosive, and trying to bring them to the surface would probably cause more explosions.

The SuperCav Subs is a bad idea from the start. We have screwed up everything else, we should try leaving the ocean alone. If a standard aircraft isn’t fast enough, set up a teleconference. There is no reason to keep moving “meat” around. It’s not like a conference in person is going to be any more successful with half the people involved in the wrong time zone, eating unfamiliar food, and trying to sleep in a strange bed in the wrong weather. That’s what the ‘Net is all about.

25 Kryten42 { 11.26.08 at 7:33 pm }

Oh… I suspect that even if a Supercav sub is possible, it will be many decades at least. 🙂 That Aussie ‘Deep Angel’ thing was a plot for a TV series or movie. LOL

And yeah, I agree with you it’s be a BAD idea! I think the human race needs to grow up a hell of a lot before we can be trusted with something like that. Hell… I don’t think we can be trusted with Space flight either. But that genie is out of the bottle. *shrug*

The Russians developed a really nasty warhead (sodium hydride originally, but that may have changed) to target US Subs under ice packs (actually, they don’t target the sub, they target the ice pack the sub usually hides under). Was very effective and destructive. The EU and Russia also have new shaped-charge warheads that can effectively penetrate a double-hull, and the UK has the Spearfish, designed to hunt down the fast Alfa sub’s… Lot of work being done all over on Torp’s. 🙂

We are just such a mature species, eh? 😉

26 Bryan { 11.26.08 at 9:38 pm }

Always looking for a bigger bang, when a surgical weapon would be cheaper and more effective. In the end they all want to go nuclear, because that’s the biggest bang there is.

It is well past the time when humans need to grow up.

27 Moi { 11.29.08 at 8:00 pm }

But, where are you?

28 Bryan { 11.29.08 at 9:52 pm }

On the bottom center of the map you should be able to make out “Fort Walton”. Just above that there is an inlet of the bay that is called Cinco Bayou. I’m in the town of Cinco Bayou which is on the South side of that inlet.