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Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile. Russia blames Israel. Israel blames Syria (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The unthinkable has happened in Syria.

The world now teeters on the brink of all out war in Syria as a Russian Il-20 was downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack, according to statements made by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

President Vladimir Putin, answering a reporter’s question during a press conference with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, said the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane looks like “a chain of tragic circumstances.” 

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the tripwire triggered that has the potential to tip the fragile balance in Syria towards conflict between Russia, Iran and Israel.

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The Russian military says an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said…

“Israel did not warn the command of the Russian troops in Syria about the planned operation. We received a notification via a hotline less than a minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be directed to a safe zone.”

The statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said that four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked targets in Syria’s Latakia after approaching from the Mediterranean.

The Israeli warplanes approached at a low altitude and “created a dangerous situation for other aircraft and vessels in the region.”

The statement further said that 15 Russian military service members have died as a result…

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

According to reports from RT, the Russian military said that the French Navy’s frigate ‘Auvergne,’ as well as a Russian Il-20 plane were in the area during the Israeli operation.

Map of the incident on September 17 in Syria provided by the Russian defense ministry.

The Russian ministry said the Israelis must have known that the Russian plane was present in the area, but this did not stop them from executing “the provocation.” Israel also failed to warn Russia about the planned operation in advance. The warning came just a minute before the attack started, which “did not leave time to move the Russian plane to a safe area,”the statement said.

The statement gives a larger death toll than earlier reports by the Russian military, which said there were 14 crew members on board the missing Il-20. It said a search and rescue operation for the shot-down plane is underway.

A later update said debris from the downed plane was found some 27km off the Latakia coast. The search party collected some body parts, personal possessions of the crew, and fragments of the plane.

Meanwhile Israel has come out to blame the Syrian government for the downing of the military plane, according to an IDF statement.

Israel said that it “expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members” of the Russian plane. However, it stated that the government of Bashar Assad “whose military shot down the Russian plane,” is “fully responsible” for the incident.

Israel further blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) explained that its jets were targeting a Syrian facility “from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Israel claimed that the weapons were “meant to attack Israel.”

Via RT

The IDF assumed that the Syrian anti-air batteries “fired indiscriminately” and didn’t “bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.” The Israelis said that when the Syrian military launched the missiles which hit the Russian plane, its own jets were already within Israeli airspace. “During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation.”

According to the Israeli military, both IDF and Russia have “a deconfliction system,” which was agreed upon by the leadership of both states, and “has proven itself many times over recent years.” The system was in use when the incident happened, the IDF stated. The IDF promised to share “all the relevant information” with Russia “to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”

The military presented a four-point initial inquiry into events in Latakia. It insisted that “extensive and inaccurate” Syrian anti-aircraft fire caused the Russian jet “to be hit and downed.”

The Russian Il-20 aircraft, with 15 crew on board, went off radar during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province late Monday. Later on Tuesday the Russian Defense Ministry said that an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile.

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David BowlasBrad IsherwoodCat PillarGhifari AL MukhtarTEP Recent comment authors
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Donna
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Donna

Putin may “forgive” Israel, but the Russian people will not. And no sane person believes that Netanyahu is “sorry” for what his murderous military does.

Hes
Guest
Hes

This plane was quite important for Russian operations in Syria. They did it intentionally.

Brad Isherwood
Guest
Brad Isherwood

The Russian Military was way to quick to say S 200 before Proper Investigation. That’s a possible cover up which often happens when Israel has done something criminal …using its global media reach to control the story/damage control. Looking at the claimed flight track of the IL 20m…it is flying while missiles slam into Latakia. Syrian Airdefence is lit up…there’s no way the IL 20m is flying around unawares of the threat level occuring. 4 IAF F16i on stand off attack suddenly know a IL 20m is near, Adjusting their speed and altitude to that of the slower IL 20m,… Read more »

TEP
Guest
TEP

Yes, one has to wonder why such irreplaceable EW assets were not escorted, and since the RuAF AD and SAAF AD are integrated one also has to conclude that, based on the current cause conclusion, that Russian AD was also involved. It all seems a little odd to say the least.

Brad Isherwood
Guest
Brad Isherwood

There are posters saying the IL 20m had No IFF transponder. Some 2nd hand mumbo jumbo from Russian DoD …that the IL 20m had no IFF Transponder. What? SR-2M Khrom: IFF transponder (Khrom – Chromium) IL 18/Wiki/Avionics. The IL 20m is Uber ELINT with top of the line Avionics! The Web publish which pushes the official narrative of S 200 shot the Russian plane down by accident is full court press. Numerous Web forums have posters calling them out on it…saying things are not…”Certain” Coments that things don’t add up is evident in growing public pause of official story. This is USS… Read more »

Sally
Guest
Sally

That type of talk only plays into the Democrat playbook, holding grudges, resentment anger without proof or evidence of intent early on is exactly how the Russians were smeared tainted and blamed for hacking without proof, evidence or facts. Sanctions were actually put on by the senate early on without a single bit of evidence to justify such actions. Its truly insane how fast we are willing to jump on the hate bandwagon and risk our own survival and war versus measured responses and leveled out emotions.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Well said! You’re absolutely bang on!

Sally Snyder
Guest
Sally Snyder

As shown in this article, two American politicians have shown the world that they clearly do not believe Washington’s narrative on the war in Syria:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/american-politicians-and-syria-what-if.html

When we read reports about the situation in the Western mainstream media we have to ask yourself one simple question: “Has the person that wrote this report spent any time on the ground in Syria?”. If not, then their views are likely not to be trusted.

Courtney
Guest
Courtney

In my travels on social media today I have been struck,though not surprised,really,by how many people are commenting on this with things like “Putin is weak,he’s a Netanyahu bitch,he should nuke Israel immediately” etc.Not too many saying he is doing the right thing by waiting for all of the facts. As of now,it appears to be an accident,Bibi has apologized & I am sure that Russia is investigating exactly what happened & why. I am American,but I,for one,believe Putin’s response is absolutely correct.This is what makes him,in my mind, a great leader & earns him the respect of his people… Read more »

john mason
Guest
john mason

Won’t be any war, Russia will do what it excels at and that is crawl their way out of a confrontation. What makes this so alarming is that the Israelis have had Russian OK to violate Syrian air space and carry out their attacks. This has been going on all along, most likely same agreement with the US and coalition, too bad about International law, Syrian sovereignty and those killed, injured and loss of property let alone possible annexations by the Turks and the US. Seems like Russia has been in collusion with the Turks, US and Israelis all along.… Read more »

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Many intelligent people are of the opinion that Putin’s response to the downing of the Russian surveillance aircraft is a sign of weakness. I am not. Putin was trained in the martial arts; he does not play by the win-lose competitive rules the West inherited from ancient Greece. The West does not understand, much less appreciate his mindset and therefore is constantly caught flat-footed by him. When you meet children at their own level you demean yourself and justify them making your immature behavior the issue instead of their own. The more I observe Putin, the more amazed I am.… Read more »

Elin Ohlsspn
Guest
Elin Ohlsspn

I am tired of all this “putin playing chess & judo” stuff. Its a storyline pushed by weak men never been on the streets, mamas boys.You can NEVER shown the slightest sign of weakness to potential Predators in the Wild, if you do, you are DONE.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

Don;t “kid” yourself, this “little” bugger has been on the streets, and knows his way around, “TNT” comes in small packages and also bides it’s time (fuse)!!!!

john vieira
Guest

Damn well believe you are right…however EVERYBODY has their limits and methinks the aggressors are pushing his…

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

Putin now sounds as an Israeli apologist. An Il-20 is an expensive and highly specialized aircraft- of which there are few- and the loss of that crew is significant. Putin is overrated as a nationalist and in ‘martial arts’ diplomacy.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

I feel as you do and (I agree) and have also respect for yourself !!!

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

Just think for a moment about that headline: “Israel Blames Syria”. It reminds me of the mugger who kills his victim, and then reasons that it was the victim’s fault for resisting. How can Syria be to blame? A Russian aircraft, sent to Syria to protect Syria (and Russians) against enemies which obviously include Israel, was shot down in the act of defending against an Israeli attack. If Israel had not attacked Syria, the Russian plane would not have been shot down. That is obvious. For anyone to blame Syria – the victim – is surreal. The truth is that… Read more »

Michael Green
Guest

What you wrote is sensational, but not true: “The unthinkable has happened in Syria. The world now teeters on the brink of all out war.” What happened is hardly unthinkable–it’s just like the September 16, 2016 “accidental” USA bombing of the Syrian military base coordinated with a jihadist attack in Deir Ezzor, followed by a false-flag attack on a humanitarian caravan. The only differences is that it came from the Zionist end of the Anglo-Zionist empire. Nor is the world teetering on “all out war” because Putin has walked back the threats from the Russian military, calling the incident an… Read more »

Tom
Guest
Tom

American sailors should be well familiar with the hazards of ‘playing’ with Israeli forces.. REMEMBER THE USS LIBERTY .. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Liberty_incident] The Russian generals have voiced their displeasure and assessment and are not going to change anything they have said.. It is by contract and essentially the Russian NO FLY ZONE is up and operational. Furthermore .. Israel should watch their words and statements and offer more than a condolence, more like a retraction of certain statements of claim to certain airspace and what such weapons here to be deployed against certain territories.. making false claims does not further their cause.

Mathew Neville
Guest
Mathew Neville

Tom ,
you say “essentially the Russian NO FLY ZONE is up and operational.”
this is nonsense or the “No fly zone” does NOT apply to Israel.
Israel attacks Syria with their “micky mouse” excuse that they are attacking Hesbolah or Iran & Israel OPENLY admits to attacking Syria using probably US planes & bombs & of course has US support which is ALL totaly illegal under “International Law”.
Distruction of Syria is Israel’s Plan to secure a Kurdistan to control while
the USA will continue to be Israel’s Poodle & obey instructions .
Go to “Blackstone Inteligence Network” . com to educate yourself.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Well done, Assad, kiling Russian soldiers is no crime!

Simon
Guest
Simon

Rubbish. Putin brazenly lies by showing no respect for the lost lives of 15 servicemen. The Russian aircraft was downed by Israeli jets. Syria strongly denies any involvement. Moreover, Syrian Air Defence had delivered to Russia, its registrated radar data of 17/9/2018, just a few hours after the incident. These data prove that Syrian Air Defence is not responsible for the fall of the Russian aircraft.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

Is that so? That seems to be quite serious, as I haven’t seen anywhere Syria’s response on the issue. Could you post a link or a reference?

spike
Guest
spike

who fired the weapon? who id’d the air target?

not israel, but syrian monkeys who shouldn’t be allowed within 1000m of a functioning air defence set-up

and all the non-russian, but pro-russian fools; have a read of andrew koryboko’s article and stfu about what you would do!

Ghifari AL Mukhtar
Guest
Ghifari AL Mukhtar

Hora Hora ! Israel was FORCED to make a rare admission…..We’ve taken the Criminal for all he’s done/Got….Could my President consoled me with such fantastic Bereavement, I’d wiped my tears and bust into Evangelical joy, speaking in Hebrew tongues – Justice alas Justiceeee

Cat Pillar
Guest
Cat Pillar

Come on Alex – why don’t you bring Mark Sleboda on for this one?

David Bowlas
Guest
David Bowlas

So what are you going to do about this Russia? Just sit on your hands again?

Latest

US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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