In 1950, the Puerto Rican National Guard Bombarded a Pro-Independence Uprising
In November 2017, more than a month after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, territory residents continue to die due to lack of access to electricity and running water. The troubled recovery effort highlights questions over U.S. sovereignty over the island. Puerto Ricans are American citizens, and indeed a majority... Read more
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps Has Sea-Skimming Flying Boats
Iran has fielded a variety of unusual weapons over the years: F-14 Tomcat fighters hotwired to fire Russian missiles, homemade mini-submarines, and remanufactured Cold War jets. In 2006, Iranian television showcased a peculiar sea-skimming flying boat, and four years later Tehran triumphantly announced it had three squadrons of them serving in the Iranian... Read more
In One Sense, Russia’s ‘Lada’ Submarines Are a Step Backward
Russian media has been trumpeting plans to launch two additional Lada-class diesel-electric submarines, two decades after the hull of the lead boat, the St. Petersburg, was laid down. Left delicately unstated in some of the press releases is that these new boats will lack the air-independent propulsion — or AIP... Read more
China’s Air Force — 1,700 Combat Aircraft Ready for War
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force of China and its sister branch, the PLA Naval Air Force, operate a huge fleet of around 1,700 combat aircraft — defined here as fighters, bombers and attack planes. This force is exceeded only by the 3,400 active combat aircraft of the U.S.... Read more
Building the Ayatollah’s Submarines
The Iranian military has long planned for a defensive naval war in the Persian Gulf, in which it would leverage its large fleet of fast attack boats toting anti-ship missiles to launch swarming hit-and-run attacks on adversaries in along Persian Gulf, with the ultimate goal of shutting down passage through the... Read more
French Mirage 2000s Came to the Rescue of Green Berets in Niger
Around noon on Oct. 4, 2017, a team of 12 U.S. Army Special Forces operators and 30 soldiers from the Nigerien Security and Intelligence Battalion were departing the village of Tongo Tongo, near the Nigerien-Malian border, when they were ambushed by roughly 50 insurgents from an “ISIS-affiliated group” riding... Read more
The U.S. Navy Readies Its New Missile Submarine
In September 2017, the U.S. Navy awarded shipbuilder Electric Boat $5 billion to proceed with the design phase of the next generation of U.S. nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines, also known as SSBNs or “boomers.” A dozen Columbia-class submarines will start replacing the 14 enormous but stealthy Ohio-class boats that constitute the scariest... Read more
Meet the Koksan, North Korea’s Giant Artillery
Seoul has to cope with an unusual urban planning program for a huge, modern metropolis: the northern side of the capital lies little more than 30 miles from the border of North Korea, within range of hundreds of enemy artillery pieces — a zone that Pyongyang has threatened to... Read more
India’s Missile Defenses Are Destabilizing the Scariest Arms Race on Earth
Ballistic missile defense systems have exploded in prominence across the globe since the United States withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. Designing integrated radar warning systems and interceptor batteries that can shoot down a ballistic missile in flight is often described as akin to knocking down... Read more
The Strange Story of How North Korea Smuggled in 87 U.S. Scout Helicopters
On July 27, 2013, as a column of armored personnel carriers and tanks rumbled before the stand of Kim Jong Un to commemorate the end of a bloody war with the United States 60 years earlier, four small American-made MD 500E helicopters buzzed low overhead. You can see it... Read more