NRO Slideshows

Veterans Defy Shutdown

The Obama administration tried to make political hay out of the government shutdown on October 1, but one park closure quickly backfired when a group of determined veterans defied the signs and fences at the World War II Memorial. Here’s a look at what happened, plus images by NR staffers of today’s visits.
Uploaded: Oct. 02, 2013


Cartoon of the Day
Aug. 1, 2014
Good News, by Michael Ramirez (August 1, 2014)
Incompetent, by Michael Ramirez (July 31, 2014)
Little Dutch Boy, by Michael Ramirez (July 30, 2014)
Perch, by Henry Payne (July 29, 2014)
Human Shields, by Michael Ramirez (July 28, 2014)
Putin’s Reset, by Michael Ramirez (July 25, 2014)
Presidents During a Crisis, by Michael Ramirez (July 24, 2014)
Wide Open, by Michael Ramirez (July 23, 2014)
Transparent, by Michael Ramirez (July 22, 2014)
Out, by Henry Payne (July 21, 2014)
Why? by Michael Ramirez (July 18, 2014)
LeBron, by Henry Payne (July 17, 2014)
Ha-Mas, by Michael Ramirez (July 16, 2014)
The Pawn, by Michael Ramirez (July 15, 2014)
Tear Down This Wall, by Michael Ramirez (July 14, 2014)
Obama’s Katrina, by Michael Ramirez (July 11, 2014)
Before and After, by Michael Ramirez (July 9, 2014)
I Don’t Know Why They’re Flooding the Borders, by Michael Ramirez (July 8, 2014)
Equal Justice, by Henry Payne (July 7, 2014)
The Times, July 4, 1776, by Henry Payne (July 4, 2014)
Happy Birthday, America, by Michael Ramirez (July 3, 2014)
Help Center, by Michael Ramirez (July 2, 2014)
5-4, by Henry Payne (July 1, 2014)
Rip Van Media, by Michael Ramirez (June 30, 2014)
The Piñata, by Michael Ramirez (June 27, 2014)
The Plan, by Michael Ramirez (June 26, 2014)
Red . . . by Henry Payne (June 24, 2014)
Iran to the Rescue, by Michael Ramirez (June 23, 2014)
White House to the Rescue, by Michael Ramirez (June 20, 2014)
Gap, by Henry Payne (June 19, 2014)
Baghdad Bobama, by Michael Ramirez (June 18, 2014)
Missing, by Michael Ramirez (June 17, 2014)
Dead Broke, by Michael Ramirez (June 14, 2014)
Clinton Problems, by Michael Ramirez (June 13, 2014)
To Faithfully Execute . . . by Michael Ramirez (June 12, 2014)
Broke, by Michael Ramirez (June 11, 2014)
Talking Bergdahl, by Michael Ramirez (June 10, 2014)
Lemon, by Henry Payne (June 9, 2014)
The Imperial President, by Michael Ramirez (June 6, 2014)
Cutting Carbon, by Henry Payne (June 5, 2014)
The Obama Emporium, by Michael Ramirez (June 4, 2014)
After You, by Michael Ramirez (June 3, 2014)
It Was the Weather, by Michael Ramirez (June 2, 2014)
The West Point Address, by Michael Ramirez (May 30, 2014)
First Read About It in the Newspaper, by Michael Ramirez (May 29, 2014)
General Motors Theater, by Henry Payne (May 27, 2014)
Freedom, by Henry Payne (May 26, 2014)
Hope . . . by Henry Payne (May 24, 2014)
Fallen Soldiers, by Michael Ramirez (May 23, 2014)
Outraged? by Lisa Benson (May 22, 2014)
Obamacare, Brought to You by . . . by Henry Payne (May 21, 2014)
Now You Know How We Feel, by Michael Ramirez (May 20, 2014)
#You Think? by Michael Ramirez (May 18, 2014)
#BringBack . . . by Michael Ramirez (May 16, 2014)
Gospel Reading, by Michael Ramirez (May 15, 2014)
Today’s Lecture, by Henry Payne (May 14, 2014)
Truth, by Michael Ramirez (May 13, 2014)
Clinton Celebrity Gala, by Henry Payne (May 12, 2014)
Segregation, by Michael Ramirez (May 10, 2014)
Weather, by Michael Ramirez (May 9, 2014)
Under the Rug, by Henry Payne (May 7, 2014)
Photoshop of the Day
Aug. 1, 2014
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Obama’s National Guard, by (July 24, 2014)
Iceberg, by (July 23, 2014)
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Farther Apart, by (July 18, 2014)
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So Many Scandals . . . by (July 16, 2014)
Mainstream, by (July 15, 2014)
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Implementing Obama’s Foreign Policy, by (June 5, 2014)
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Sharknado 2 Reactions
Jul. 31, 2014
Sharknado 2: The Next One is now history, if a little short of historic in the annals of great television. The highly(?)-anticipated follow-up to last year’s snarky shark mash-up landed on TV screens on Wednesday night and generated another Twitter tsunami. Here’s a sampling of the social-media chum, illustrated by NRO.
“That escalated quickly.” (Daniel W. Drezner)
“So many questions running through my mind. Are we safe? Can that happen to me? Where would I even FIND a chainsaw?” (@Mike Ciandella, @MIkeCiandella)
“Narrowly missed being eaten by a shark on my way home last night. Or maybe I just imagined that.” (Tatiana Flexman, @tats_marie)
“If there's no Sharknado float in the Macy's Parade this Thanksgiving then the terrorists win.” (Caleb Howe, @CalebHowe)
“This just in: Viewers said Sharknado was far more believable than a typical speech by Obama” (Walter Cronkite, @CronkiteSays)
“BREAKING: President Obama announces that all sharks that entered NYC through no fault of their own should stay.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“BREAKING: John Boehner cries over sharknado. Also, he uses every other event to do this.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi tries to say something about sharknado, fails due to physical incapacity to move face.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“BREAKING: Harry Reid declares Sharknado the fault of the Koch brothers, is dragged to mental hospital.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“Can Sharknado 3 take place in D.C. and instead of stopping it let politicians be eaten by their own kind?” (Mark Bick, @11FL11)
“Is an absolutely ridiculous and absurd movie. the Mets haven't had that many fans at a game in over a decade.” (damn fine fat, @BromanConsul)
“Hey @Mets, what's the official team policy for refunds on a game disrupted by a Sharknado? (Derek Hunter, @derekahunter)
“Nothing seems to have brought the internets together like did last night. Maybe send Ian Ziering to broker peace?” (Lesley Abravanel, @lesleybravanel)
“Can someone give @TaraReid a hand for that impressive action sequence? (See what we did there?!)” (People Magazine, @peoplemag)
“Tara Reid is an extremely gifted actress. She owns the screen with her range of emotions.” (Shane Anderson, @Globalgallop)
"BREAKING NEWS: Tara Reid has undergone her first successful surgery" (Tim Williams, @realtimwilliams)
“Weather forecasts on the news today just don't have the same pop without little shark graphics in them. :(“ (Rodney Lacroix, @moooooog35)
“What I learned last night: The safest place to be during a #Sharknado is the @TODAYshow studio! Good to know!” (Rachel Welte, @RachelWelte)
“Immediately after Sharknado took out the United Nations MSNBC blamed Israel for provoking the sharks.” (Josh Jordan, @NumbersMuncher)
“Most accurate NBC News piece in years.” (Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“UN has already cited Ziering for disproportionate response to shark attacks.” (Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“Sharks have eaten the United Nations, with no impact on the world's trouble spots whatsoever.” (jimgeraghty, @jimgeraghty)
“How come tornadoes always make it rain sharks but not Hot Pockets sandwiches? Boo you, nature.” (Hot Pockets, @hotpockets)
“City planners will argue over an appropriate Sharknado memorial for years after this.” (S.M., @redsteeze)
“You know, was Kurbick's last, unrealized dream.” (Rick Wilson, @TheRickWilson)
“Needed a scene where the King Shark said, “’Finn, I am your father.’” (jimgeraghty, @jimgeraghty)
“I really hope the end of this movie is the Jets beating the sharks.” (Natan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“Napalm, available at your local convenience store.” (Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“Let's face it, #Sharknado2TheNextOne is the future of television” (GuardianUS, @GuardianUS)
“Damn, even Jared from Subway in this? Man, this is awesome…” (Keith T., @Da_Taylormaniac)
“Andy Dick as a grizzled, skeptical NYPD officer. I mean,talk about typecasting.” (Jake Tapper, @jaketapper)
“If only Cinemax had bought the rights to Sharknado. Then the nudity would be commensurate to the dialogue." (Jonah Goldberg, @JonahNRO)
SOCIAL SHARKS: Some enterprising Sharknado fans — and a few media-savvy corporations — also weighed in on the fin-shaped fun. Here’s a few of the images in circulation. (Image via Andy Bowers, @evilpez4)
(Image via Rocco DiSpirito, @roccodispirito)
"The Internet never lets me down. #Sharknado The Russian Edition" (Jennifer Brett, @JenBrettAJC)
"If you see a tornado shooting sharks at you, run. If you see Priceline's Dealnado, save!" (, @priceline)
"A tornado of pizza sounds good to us." (Domino's Pizza, @dominos)
(Image via Sharks4Kids, @Sharks4Kids)
“How does a mother know that her son loves her? When he retweets all your tweets.” (Libby Morse, @MorseLibby)
UCLA Campus Flood
Jul. 31, 2014
A ruptured water main flooded parts of the scenic University of California Los Angeles campus on Tuesday, sending water into numerous campus buildings and onto the floor of the Pauley Pavilion. Here’s a look at the flood and how UCLA students and faculty tried to take it in stride.
The rupture of a 90-year-old water main on Sunset Boulevard on the north side of the UCLA campus created a 15-foot hole in the street and a 30-foot-high geyser.
News helicopter footage of the break. Water gushed from the 30-inch pipeline for more than three hours.
An estimated 20 million gallons of water — more than 35,000 gallons a minute at one point — inundating underground parking structures and low-lying facilities.
Water rushes down an outdoor campus staircase, creating a temporary waterfall for students.
Some 900 vehicles were reported trapped in underground parking lots on campus, which includes not just student and faculty garages but those that service the large UCLA medical campus. Pictured, firefighters enter the lower level of a flooded building.
Water spills onto a stairway as rescue workers assess the damage.
Firefighters, some using inflatable boats, rescued at least five persons.
Firefighters erect a barricade to stop water flowing into a campus building.
Campus workers push water from a sidewalk.
At least an inch of water covered the main floor of the Pauley Pavilion, UCLA’s iconic basketball arena. Once the water was removed, the warping of wood on the floor was immediately apparent. The facility had just recently completed a major renovation.
Water also inundated nearby sports facilities.
Students made the best of a bad situation.
The flood was an ironic counterpoint to the drought-mitigation efforts underway in Los Angeles and across the state. Local residents can be fined up to $500 for engaging in unauthorized water use such as watering lawns or washing cars.
The incident also highlighted the problem of deferred maintenance on the city’s aging infrastructure. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the city-owned Department of Water and Power is on track to replace main water lines only once every 300 years.”
PARTING THE WATERS: UCLA students and sympathetic Bruin alumni took to social media throughout the day to comment and commisersate. Here's a sampling.
"Enjoy it ;)" (Firat Uran, @firaturan)
"OK guys I'm done!" (ESQUIRE, @Dj_E5QUIRE)
"The best UCLA Instagram humor we've found so far (altho of your car is flooded in the garage, condolences)" (Digital LA, @DigitalLA)
"Funny but still BS..." (Clover Dean, @MozzeriansATW)
"The promotion for Sharknado 2 has really gotten out of hand" (Kate Radway, @K_Radway)
"First look at the new luxury seats at Pauley Pavilion" (SportsSpeak, @SportsSpeakLA)
"Who wanna go swim at #UCLA?" (Patric Y, @PatricLand)
"Meanwhile, @UCLA faculty fought over limited parking that remained" (Justinian's New Rome, @The_New_Rome)
"Meanwhile, @UCLA faculty fought over limited parking that remained" (Justinian's New Rome, @The_New_Rome)
"The rest of LA after today's #UCLAFlood" (Kevin Wade, @UO_Kwade)
Sharknado Returns!
Jul. 30, 2014
The man-eating superstorm of Al Gore’s worst climate-change nightmares returns in Sharknado 2: The Second One, premiering July 30 on Syfy. Here’s a look at the new fin-fest, and a look back at the original social-media phenomenon.
THE SECOND ONE: Sharknado 2 picks up where the first film left off (or dropped off), changing the setting from Los Angeles to New York while keeping all the maritime mayhem intact. Not since Superstorm Sandy has the Big Apple seen bad weather like this.
Ian Ziering returns as the indomitable hero, ex-surfer Finley “Fin” Shepherd. Say hello to his little friend: A New York Fire Department chainsaw, locked and loaded.
Fin puts his new toy to good use in one of the film’s signature preposterous action sequences.
Fin gets a taste of East Coast public transportation — and misses his chainsaw.
Tara Reid also reprises her role as Fin’s ex-wife April. (And Fin's got his chainsaw back.)
Among the cast additions this time out are Vivica A. Fox (pictured with Ziering), Kari Wuhrer, Kelly Osbourne, Judah Friedlander, and Andy Dick. Al Roker and Matt Lauer also drop by for quick cameos.
In a nod to the social media tides that swept the first film to high ratings, SyFy held a Twitter contest to find the name for the sequel.
Sharknado 2 screenwriter Thunder Levin took a little light-hearted umbrage at the reception brewing for the new fin flick, telling, "See, this is what I don’t understand. Why are people laughing at our very important documentary about global warming?"
THE FIRST ONE: SyFy’s ultra-low budget Sharknado was a snarky ode to schlocky science fiction, combining two memes — ecological disaster and giant sharks — in a pop-culture Cuisinart that exploded on social media.
The unsubtle title pretty much gave away the plot line: Giant tornados lift massive sharks out of the Pacific Ocean and dump them on residents of Los Angeles. As the saying goes: mayhem ensues.
Sharknado starred Ian Ziering of 90210 fame and American Pie actress Tara Reid.
Cheap production values and special effects were the order of the day for Sharknado, which was shot in just 18 days. But none of that seemed to matter.
The audience on Sharknado’s first night was a modest 1.37 million. But all the social-media traffic hat erupted on that first night powered a repeat airing a week later, which garnered 1.89 million viewers. A third airing on July 27 found 2.1 million, a growth curve unprecedented in the basic cable world.
Thousands of viewers flooded Twitter during and after Sharknado’s initial airing, running with its intentionally over-the-top premise. At its peak on that first night, Sharknado viewers were sending out more than 5,000 tweets per minute and more than 600,000 through the evening.
Television critics were largely powerless before the Sharknado juggernaut, with most electing to just go with the flow. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara opined: “So forget An Uncomfortable Truth. Environmental activists need to set up screenings of Sharknado. My fellow Americans, is this the legacy we want to leave our children? A shark on every rooftop?"
Asawin Suebsaeng, ”The film raises a serious question: Could a sharknado happen in real life? Animals often get caught in the paths of tornadoes, but they typically die before they get the chance to harm Tara Reid."
Jacqueline Andriakos, Entertainment Weekly PopWatch: “It reminds us that we should all be aware of the negative affects of global warming and never underestimate the potentials of Mother Nature."
Winston Ross, “This movie unceremoniously demonizes an already woefully misunderstood creature of the deep."
Serious scientists took a good-natured attitude as well. National Weather Service spokesperson Chris Vaccaro offered some advice to Mother Jones: "As with any waterspout or tornado, the best advice is to be in an interior part of the lowest floor of a sturdy building—and not outside, whether sharks are raining down or not.”
FIN FANS: Twitter lit up with Hollywood celebrities watching on the first night, and even some of the cultural elite chimed in, including this tweet by Mia Farrow joined by author Philip Roth. Beemed Farrow: "We’re Watching Sharknado!”
"I'm not sure about the science in this movie you guys." — Wil Wheaton, actor on Star Trek: The Next Generation
"For those of you already maligning my ending for SHARKNADO 2, you should know 3 things: Henry Winkler. Leather jacket. Water skiis." — Damon Lindelof, producer of Lost
"Somewhere in Hollywood there is a senior executive yelling at a junior executive for not coming up with #Sharknado first." — Greg Berlanti, screenwriter, Everwood
"Can't watch #Sharknado because I'm on the set of my new film Tsunamwolf." — Danny Zuker, producer, Modern Family
"As usual, the beach youths all deserve to die. #rooting for the sharks" — Kurt Loder, music journalist
"If there isn't a channel showing #Sharknado on a loop until the end of time, we have failed as a society…" — Eric Stangel, writer, Late Show with David Letterman
"Dear @SyfyTV: please follow up SHARKNADO with PARTLY CLOWNY. Sky. Clowns. Michael Pare (probably)" — Patton Oswalt, comedian/actor
"SharkFart vs Diarrhea Whale. Call me @Syfy. That's my movie pitch. #Sharknado" — Judah Friedlander, actor on 30 Rock
"I wish I could join in on the shenanigans, But I had a cousin that was killed by a #Sharknado back in '93. #RamonRIP" — Horatio Sanz, cast member, Saturday Night Live
"I'm afraid that now when we have a real sharknado everyone's going to treat it like a joke" — B.J. Novak, actor on The Office
"#Sharknado Hell hath no fury like a pissed Great White Shark that gets sucked out of the ocean and dropped in #90210" — Ian Ziering, actor and star of Sharknado
The intellectual elite weighed in as well. Nationa Review's Jonah Goldberg observed: "They totally stole the ending from Sophie's Choice.”
"When unfairly treated confirmation nominees strike back, that will now be known as a "Borknado." -- John Podhoretz, Commentary
Famous Fins
Jul. 30, 2014
The premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One — the inevitable sequel to last year’s so-bad-it’s-good schlock disaster flick — is only the latest and weirdest chapter in our enduring fascination with sharks. Here’s a look at some famous fins from the worlds of art, literature, and popular culture.
Shark-related monster movies have proliferated in recent years on cable TV and in direct-to-video titles. Many go well beyond any kind of realism to portray massive, genetically-modified, and even two-headed sharks.
So many low-quality shark tie-ins have been created that it can be hard to tell if you're looking at an actual video cover and a parody.
The shark — and in particular the apex predator great white shark — remains a powerful metaphor for the uncontrollable danger of the natural world, a remorseless killing machine that is one of the last creatures on Earth to occasionally find itself above humans on the food chain.
Sharks are an ancient species going back more than 400 million years in the fossil record and diversifying into more than 470 varieties. They range in size from tiny tots ready for a child’s aquarium to the prehistoric giant known as megalodon, with jaws so big they’re fit for a family portrait.
The Gulf Stream (1899): Winslow Homer’s painting of a man piloting a rudderless ship in stormy and shark-invested waters captured a deep fear of the beast that grew over centuries of maritime travel. Long loathed by mariners, sharks became the object of a wider public fear as more people recreated on beaches.
Jaws (1974): Peter Benchley’s 1974 thriller about a great white shark menacing residents of a Long Island resort town was based on several real-world incidents. The book was an instant smash, staying on the bestseller list for some 44 weeks and selling 5.5 million copies in its first year alone.
In later years, Benchley lamented that his book had contributed to a negative understanding of sharks. Pictured, Benchley (at right) with Robert Shaw on the set of Jaws.
Jaws (1975): Director Steven Spielberg rewrote the playbook on summer blockbusters with his film adaptation of Benchley’s novel, which electrified audiences with its menacing tale of a monster shark and the trio of foolhardy men who set out to kill it. John Williams’s iconic theme is among the most famous in Hollywood history.
Spielberg poses inside the jaws of “Bruce,” one of three breakdown-prone mechanical sharks that proved a major headache during filming. But because he was forced to limit the shark’s screen time, Spielberg ended up with a far more frightening beast for being seen mostly in fleeting glimpses. (The name "Bruce" was a tribute to Spielberg’s lawyer Bruce Raimer.)
One of the film’s most memorable scenes is when Captain Quint tells the story — based on actual events — of the USS Indianapolis, which sank on a secret mission to deliver the A-bomb in the Pacific during WWII, leaving the crew to fend off sharks for days afterward.
The Jaws franchise spat out four sequels that never lived up the high bar set by Spielberg’s original creation, and in some instances became legendary for their awfulness. Pictured, 1987’s Jaws: The Revenge, which swallowed original film co-star Lorraine Gary and British actor Michael Caine.
Land Shark: Feeding on the pop-culture frenzy surrounding the release of the original Jaws, Saturday Night Live cast member Chevy Chase starred in a running sketch gag about a seemingly shy, passive-aggressive shark that baited unsuspecting New Yorkers to open their doors, only to have their heads swallowed for their trouble.
Shark Week: The Discovery Channel launched its popular week-long underwater marathon in 1987, featuring a wide range of shows on the general topic of sharks. The block has become a popular annual tradition on the basic cable service.
Bruce, Finding Nemo: Named after Spielberg’s mechanical actor, Bruce (voiced by Barry Humphries) is a simple shark trying to go right, leading a support group that insists: “Fish are friends, not food.” It all goes well until he gets a whiff of blood in the water.
Don Lino, Shark Tale (2004): Voiced by actor Robert De Niro, the character of Don Lino, an underwater mob boss, plays on De Niro’s extensive mafia movie filmography.
Deep Blue Sea (1999): Scientists working in a secret lab researching a cure for Alzheimer’s genetically modify three Mako sharks, greatly increasing their brain capacity and turning them into even-more lethal hunters. Luckily, Samuel L. Jackson arrives to save the day and rescue everyone from the motherf*****g sharks!
Jabberjaw: Hanna-Barbera’s late 1970s children’s program followed the adventures of a great white shark who played drums in a teenage rock group named The Neptunes. Jabberjaw and his posse toured a futuristic world playing concerts and battling the forces of evil, as sharks are wont to do.
Street Sharks: Created to promote an existing toy line, this mid-90s animated series followed the adventures of a team of crime-fighting half-man/half-sharks who were created in a university professor’s “gene-slammer” device.
In the original Batman the Movie from 1966, the caped crusader battles — OK, sorta slaps around — a shark that nabs his leg as he dangles from the Bat Copter. Luckily, he has a can of Bat Shark Repellant on his trusty utility belt. Some days you just can’t get rid of a shark!
West Side Story: In this 1961 film version, as in the original Broadway musical, the Sharks are the Puerto Rican immigrant gang who really want to come to America but must do battle with the Jets for control of Manhattan’s Lincoln Square area.
Greg Norman: The Australian professional golfer picked up the nickname “The Shark” owing to his imposing stature, blonde hair, and aggressive style on the links.
Helicopter Shark: In 2001 this widely circulated image claimed to show a great white shark leaping from the water beneath the Golden Gate Bridge to attack a Black Hawk helicopter. Ascribed to National Geographic, the magazine quickly disavowed it as a hoax.
Misunderstood Shark: This Internet meme takes a variety of shark imagery and uses captions to impart a sad countenance to the feared underwater predators.
Israel's Arsenal
Jul. 30, 2014
As the Israel Defense Forces continue to pound Hamas militants in Gaza, prime minister Benjamin has warned his nation to prepare for a protracted campaign. Here’s a look at some of the IDF equipment seen in news reports covering the ongoing conflict. Pictured, the IDF's F-16I Sufa fighter.
Operation Protective Edge was launched on July 8 to quell renewed rocket attacks on Israeli cities and to uncover and destroy a growing network of tunnels built by Hamas to infiltrate fighters into Israeli territory.
IRON DOME: On the front lines of Operation Protective Edge is Iron Dome, Israel’s game-changing missile defense system that has proven highly effective against rockets launched from Gaza and other nearby territories.
As of July 30, more than 2,600 rockets have been fired by Hamas from positions in Gaza such as this one, which are often hidden in civilian areas including schools.
Iron Dome consists of a radar station, weapons control unit, and the missile launcher. When a rocket launched is detected, the system’s radar determines its trajectory and target, and quickly plots an intercept course, detonating the incoming missile high in the air.
Not every incoming rocket is targeted; those that are determined to be headed towards unpopulated areas are let through, leaving the Iron Dome system to concentrate on those that pose the most danger to civilian or military areas. Pictured, two Iron Dome missiles find their targets.
MERKAVA MARK IV: The Merkava is the main battle tank of the Israeli Defense Forces. First deployed in 1979, the Merkava — Hebrew for “chariot” — has gone through several main versions, with the latest, the Mark IV, entering service in 2003.
The Merkava is a robust and battle-tested weapon system, featuring heavy crew protection, superior speed and maneuverability, and the latest digital battle management systems.
The Merkava’s highly sloped main turret is designed to deflect incoming rounds that manage to strike the tank.
The Merkava’s main punch is provided by its 120mm cannon, which an fire a variety of high-explosive and anti-personnel rounds. Merkavas also carry a 60mm mortar system that can fire explosive and illumination rounds. Pictured, Merkavas with the 401st Armored Brigade on the move near the Gaza border.
Merkava tanks deploy to the border of Gaza in the early days of Operation Protective Edge.
A tank crew loads a round inside a Merkava.
Older versions of the Merkava tank have also been deployed in the ground element of Operation Protective Edge. Pictured, a Merkava Mark III model on the move.
A closer look at the turret of the Merkava Mark III.
TROPHY: The fighting in Gaza has also seen the operational debut of the Trophy Active Tank Defense System on Israeli armor. Trophy automatically detects and intercepts incoming RPGs and anti-armor rockets from any direction, detonating them with a barrage of ball bearings before they reach the tank. (Illustration: IDF)
Trophy also relays the attacker’s launch location to the crew, allowing a quick response. According to the Foxtrot Alpha blog, Trophy is capable of intercepting enemy threats at a great enough distance to keep nearby IDF troops out of harm's way.
F-16I SUFA: The Israeli Air Force has flown a wide range of aircraft throughput its history, including American-designed jets such as the F-15 and F-16, and has often upgraded and enhanced these aircraft to meet its own operational needs. One example is the F-16I Sufa, the Israeli version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
First introduced in 1994, the Sufa — the Hebrew word for “storm” — builds on the proven Falcon platform with new Israeli-designed weapons system hardware, radar, and helmet-mounted cueing system that allows the pilot to launch weapons by sight commands.
Like its American forebearer, the Sufa is a fast and deadly strike aircraft, capable of top speeds above Mach 2.0 and low-altitude runs at nearly 900 miles per hour.
The straight ridge on the spine of the aircraft is is a compartment housing specialized avionics systems.
Some Sufa aircraft are also equipped with “shoulder”-mounted conformal fuel tanks, resting just above the wings on each side of the aircraft, which give the fighter increased combat radius.
A Sufa fighter fully loaded with fuel and weapons and ready to fight.
APACHE GUNSHIP: The Israeli Air Force flies a number of helicopter aircraft, including the UH-60 Black Hawk, the Eurocopter AS-656 Panther (Hewbrew nickname Atalef, meaning “bat”), and the Boeing AH-64 Apache gunship (Hebrew nickname Peten, meaning “adder”) pictured here.
The IDF has flown the Apache since 1990, and it has proven its mettle in combat just as it has for American forces fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pictured, an AH-64 Longbow — with the distinctive mast-mounted radar dome above the rotors — readies for takeoff.
The Apache’s four-blade rotor and twin turbo-shaft engines are capable of speeds of up to 182 mph and to a combat ceiling of 21,000 feet. Pictured, an IDF Apache looses a missile at a ground target.
An AH-1 Cobra gunship, another American-built import flown by the IDF, joins an Apache AH-64 Longbow on the tarmac. The Longbow model is known in the IDF as the Saraf (Hebrew for “serpent”).
SKYLARK: The drone revolution that has swept the American military is also in evidence in the IDF, where the lightweight Skylark drone has seen use in Gaza. Small enough to be launched by hand, the Skylark can stay aloft for three hours providing live-video feeds.
A member of the IDF’s “Sky Riders” Skylark squadron prepares to launch the Skylark.
SUBMARINES: The Israeli Navy operates four Dolphin-class submarines to provide defense and surveillance operations in Israel’s coastal waters. Like the U.S. Navy’s fleet, the operations of Israel’s submarines are highly secretive.
The latest submarine, the Tanin (Hebrew for “crocodile”) was delivered in 2012. According to the IDF’s blog, another advanced submarine, the INS Rahav, is expected to delivered some time this year. Pictured, inside one of the Dolphin boats.
Su-25 Frogfoot
Jul. 29, 2014
A Russian-built jet fighter little seen in the West has been lurking just under the headlines of the ongoing international crises in both Ukraine and Iraq over the past few months. Here’s a look at the Sukhoi Su-25, known by its NATO codename "Frogfoot."
In Ukraine, Russian-backed separatist forces — or possibly Russian forces operating just over the border — have shot down three Su-25 aircraft flown by the Ukrainian military, including two in the Donetsk region in the immediate aftermath of the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
Pro-Russian rebels pick thorugh debris at the crash site of a Ukrainian Su-25 near Savur Mogila in eastern Ukraine on July 23. The pilot of the aircraft reportedly ejected safely.
Reports from Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency shortly after the downing of MH-17 suggested there was a Ukrainian Su-25 in the area of the airliner in an attempt to implicate Ukraine in the shootdown.
The Ukrainian military operates a range of Russian-built weapons systems including the Su-25. The highly capable aircraft gives Ukraine a crucial battlefield advantage over separatist forces.
In Iraq, three Su-25s from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force deployed to the air base at Al Rashid in early July, where they will aid Baghdad’s fight against Islamist ISIS forces. According to the Aviationist, the Iranian jets will be flown by four Iraqi pilots and ten Iranian pilots.
Video footage of the Iranian Su-25 fighters arriving in Iraq.
Iraqi crews with an Iranian Su-25. The bloody handprints are stamped with goat’s blood, part of a Shia ritual honoring Abul Fadhl Abbas, who lost his hands at the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D. and whom Shias believe resides in heaven with wings instead of hands. (Photo: Jassem Al Salamni via War Is Boring)
Defense officials in Baghdad have also purchased used Su-25s from Russia and Belarus. According to Time, an initial batch of five fighters arrived in late June, with a total of 12 aircraft and ground crew on their way. Pictured, Russian troops unload an Su-25 in Baghdad on June 28.
Iraq has long experience with the Su-25, having flown it against Iran during the bloody 1980-1988 war. Ironically, some of Iran’s Su-25s were originally owned by Iraq, and were abandoned by pilots fleeing Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
As a rugged ground-attack aircraft, the Su-25 is ideally suited to battle ISIS forces moving across the country’s wide-open terrain. The figthers will provide welcome support for the army’s beleaguered fleet of attack helicopters.
THE “FROGFOOT”: First introduced into active squadrons in 1981, the Sukhoi Su-25 is a compact twin-engine, single-seat fighter designed for close-air support, able to attack ground targets with a range of weapons systems in all weather conditions.
As a heavily armed and armored close-air support aircraft, the Su-25 is in many ways analogous to the U.S. Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt (pictured), right down to the titanium-protected cockpit and emphasis on maintainability in the field and survivability in a combat environment.
Like most Russian-built aircraft, the Su-25 emphasizes simplified systems and rugged construction compared to its Western counterparts, though the aircraft has undergone numerous upgrades and spawned a number of variations for export markets. Pictured, a Bulgarian Air Force Su-25 at Bezmer Air Base.
The later stages of the Su-25’s initial development even included a deployment to Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation, where the aircraft conducted 44 combat missions against enemy forces during April and June of 1980.
The Su-25 went on to fly more than 60,000 combat missions in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet withdrawal. Worldwide, the aircraft has flown in combat against insurgents in the Czech Republic and was widely used by Iraq during the Iraq-Iraq War and by the Angolan Air Force during the civil war of the 1980s and 1990s.
Though it is no longer in active production for the Russian military, a large number of Su-25s are still in service by Russian and numerous other nations. Pictured, Russian air force Su-25s fly over Moscow during Victory Day celebrations in 2013.
With a combat ceiling of 23,000 feet and a combat radius of 230 miles, the Su-25’s maximum speed is around 590 miles per hour. A two-seat version is capable of carrier-based operations.
When fully loaded the Su-25 fairly bristles with weapons, equipped with ten hard points for carrying a variety of air-to-ground and air-to-air armaments, including missiles, guided rockets, and bombs.
The aircraft is also equipped with a 30mm twin-barrel main machine gun, installed on the port side. The gun has a burst rate of 3,000 rounds a minute. Additional gun pods can also be mounted on the wing pylons.
A closer look at the Su-25's main gun.
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