Germany posts record daily increase in COVID-19 cases

BERLIN: Germany posted a record daily increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, adding 6,638 cases and bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 341,223, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday (Oct 15).

Germany’s previous record daily increase was 6,294 on March 28, according to RKI data.

Thursday’s tally showed the reported death toll rose by 33 to 9,710.

By European standards, Germany has experienced relatively low infection and death rates so far during the pandemic, but new daily cases have jumped in recent weeks and Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned there could be 19,200 infections per day if current trends continue.

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F1 2020, Eifel Grand Prix, Germany: Daniel Ricciardo forgets shoey after Renault podium, video

Can somebody give this guy a do-over?

Daniel Ricciardo was left devastated the moment it dawned on him that he didn’t complete his ‘shoey’ tradition after claiming a drought-breaking podium at the Eifel Grand Prix on Sunday.

The F1 website caught Ricciardo’s reaction on video, showing the Australian almost speechless when asked why he didn’t swig champagne out of his boot after claiming his first podium since May 2018.

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Dan devo after lost shoey


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F1 2020, Eifel Grand Prix, Germany: Daniel Ricciardo does shoey after Renault podium at Nurburgring

The significance of Daniel Ricciardo’s drought-breaking podium at the Eifel Grand Prix is better defined by what he didn’t do, rather than what he did.

Across 29 podiums at Red Bull, it became customary for the Australian to stand on the steps and swig champagne from his sweaty boot — otherwise known as doing a ‘shoey’.

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More than two years after his last podium ‘shoey’, Ricciardo had the opportunity to do another on Sunday after finishing third at the Nurburgring.

Only he didn’t.

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Swastikas painted on artwork honouring victims of anti-Semitic attack in Halle, Germany

Artwork commemorating victims of the anti-Semitic shootings in Halle have been vandalised, Germany police have announced.

A series of graffiti bearing the first names of the two victims were painted across the city by activists, along with the words “Never forget”.

But some had been covered with red swastikas on Thursday evening – the eve of the first anniversary of the attack, police said.

A probe has been launched into the vandalism.

The attempted shooting in Halle, eastern Germany, in October 2019 shocked Germany to its core and is considered one of the worst anti-Semitic assaults in the country’s post-war history.

Two people were killed after a gunman failed to enter a synagogue on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, where 52 worshippers were inside.

The attacker then shot at a passer-by in the street and killed a man at a nearby kebab stand.

The trial of the 28-year-old male suspect began in July.

Several ceremonies, including one with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, were held on Friday to mark the anniversary of the attack.

German authorities have been alarmed for some years now about the resurgence of antisemitism in the country.

On Monday, authorities launched an “attempted murder” investigation after a Jewish student was “seriously injured” outside a synagogue in Hamburg.

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The reluctant hegemon – Germany is being forced to take a leadership role it never wanted | Europe

IN UNGUARDED MOMENTS, British and French diplomats 30 years ago might quietly admit that they could happily live with a divided Germany. Its partition, however unjust, contained the problem of a country that, in Henry Kissinger’s words, was “too big for Europe, too small for the world”. After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Margaret Thatcher sought to recruit François Mitterrand, France’s president, in a fruitless plot to block, or at least delay, reunification, fearing an enlarged Germany would upset Europe’s balance or even threaten its security. Among European leaders only Felipe González, Spain’s then prime minister, unequivocally backed a united Germany.

Thirty years on—unified Germany marks its birthday on October 3rd—the darker fears of Germany’s European partners have not come to pass. Indeed, as the European Union has battled to hold itself together through a cascade of crises, they have been more often troubled by German inaction than by German assertiveness.

In an essay last year, Thomas Bagger, a German government official, argued that post-reunification Germany adopted a naive reading of Francis Fukuyama’s “end of history” thesis. The end of the cold war seemed to vindicate the country’s commitment to a world in which national interests were a hangover from a brutish past and foreign policy would be subsumed into multilateral institutions. German ministers took to suggesting that German and European interests were the same.

These views committed Germany to the cause of EU integration, not only expansion to the east but working with France to deepen links among existing members. The goal of a “united Europe” was even inserted into the constitution. A Bundeswehr general said he hoped to see German troops swear oaths of loyalty to a European flag. It was from conviction, not to please the French, that Chancellor Helmut Kohl agreed to ditch his country’s cherished Deutschmark for the euro. The currency, however, was built on Teutonic foundations: strict fiscal rules and a (Frankfurt-based) central bank with a single mandate of price stability. The cost of absorbing the clapped-out former communist East Germany, and Germany’s sclerotic labour market and high taxes, left the economy gasping for air by the end of the 1990s. But it perked up in the 2000s thanks to labour reforms and growing export markets. When the global credit crunch spawned the euro crisis in 2010, Germany’s economic might condemned it to lead Europe’s response.

Its answer seemed to be that the currency was being undermined by fiscally incontinent governments. (Critics countered that it had in fact been Germany’s huge surpluses and suppressed domestic demand that had stoked the crisis.) Germans started to wonder about the wisdom of the enterprise: a poll in 2010 found that 44% of them wanted the Deutschmark back. Angela Merkel, temperamentally ill-suited to big leaps forward, had little room for manoeuvre. The bail-outs she pushed through the Bundestag were hugely controversial, yet by forcing austerity on debtor countries they compounded the misery, merely delaying a reckoning. The resentment in those southern countries was huge. The single currency, designed to bind Germany to Europe, seemed to be doing the reverse.

Germany’s reluctance to act assertively in the face of a grave challenge triggered an arcane debate over what sort of “hegemon” it was, or might hope to become. But it was not a discussion the Germans sought themselves. “I was one of the first to use that term,” says Dominik Geppert, a historian at the University of Potsdam, “and other Germans told me, ‘Don’t say it, it will cost us money!’” In 2011, with the euro crisis raging, Radek Sikorski, Poland’s foreign minister, said he feared German inactivity more than its power. This extraordinary statement got him into hot water at home but barely rippled in Germany.

In the end the euro-zone fire was quelled not by Germany but the European Central Bank’s vow to do “whatever it takes” to hold the currency together: a pledge heralding an activist monetary policy that riled Germans further. Then came other crises, each with Germany at their heart. After Russia’s assault on Ukraine in 2014 Mrs Merkel corralled other EU members into backing sanctions and worked with America and France to counter Vladimir Putin. Yet in the migrant crisis of 2015-16 Germany twice irritated its European partners: first by keeping its borders open, and then by unilaterally striking a deal with Turkey to keep them out. If this was leadership, it looked worryingly erratic.

Events chipped away further. Brexit, which was and remains a mystery to most Germans, left the country with more weight inside the EU but, oddly, less influence, as the club’s centre of gravity shifted southwards. Some “new” central European states took an authoritarian turn. Most important was the unconcealed disdain of Donald Trump’s administration for the EU and the implied threat of the withdrawal of its security guarantee, one of the historical conditions for European reconciliation.

France under President Emmanuel Macron adjusted to this more quickly than Germany. Yet German attitudes may be shifting. Mr Macron’s notion of “European sovereignty” would once have inspired smirks in Berlin, says an official, but today it is rapidly finding adherents, as Germany grapples with American unpredictability, a troubled European neighbourhood and a growing Chinese threat. Mrs Merkel has surprised many by agreeing that the EU should issue €750bn ($880bn) in common debt and distribute the proceeds, partly through grants, to covid-stricken countries. The contrast with the reluctance of 2010-12 is striking.

Yet European sovereignty without America is a chimera, reckons Timothy Garton Ash, a historian at Oxford University, who fears Germans have lost interest in the transatlantic idea. For optimists, a Joe Biden victory in November could presage a new deal in which Europe repositions itself as a partner to America, especially over China and security, in exchange for a renewed American commitment to multilateral arrangements—such as the Paris climate deal and the Iran nuclear accord—so cherished by Germany. (If Mr Trump wins re-election, all bets are off.)

This will not be easy. “We need the Germans to stop sitting on the fence, but they have a hard time because the world is not as they would like it to be,” says Jim Townsend, a former top official on Europe at the Pentagon. Germany’s defence spending is growing quickly but remains far from the NATO target of 2% of GDP, and parts of its armed forces are not fit for purpose. Mr Sikorski, now a member of the European Parliament, says his former criticism now applies to foreign and defence policy, where “Germany always does too little too late”.

Perhaps the hardest illusion for Germany to shed is that trade and economics can be insulated from geopolitics. As many of its allies argue, gas pipelines from Russia and Chinese-built 5G networks are political projects, too. “The rest of Europe won’t become more sovereign if Germany always takes the national way” on such matters, says Franziska Brantner, a Green MP. This will be an uncomfortable debate. But the sands are shifting, and next year’s election, at which Mrs Merkel will stand down, offers a chance to bring it to life.

This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline “Waking Europe’s sleeping giant”

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Nord Stream 2 evolves into major battle inside Germany and all of EU

Germany continues the discussion about the completion and commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. For the time being, it is too early to ascertain that the opponents of the project are gaining the upper hand.

Nord Stream 2 controversy in Germany

On Friday,  Sept., 18, the Bundestag refused to vote on the merits of the Green Party’s proposal to curtail the pipeline project. “We are voting on the submission of the proposal to the relevant committee. This is the faction of the ruling coalition, the Free Democratic Party and the Left faction. Who is against? This is the Alternative for Germany and Union 90/Greens faction. Who abstained? Nobody. The submission was decided,”Bundestag Vice-President Petra Pau, who was chairing the session said, adding that the Bundestag was not voting on the merits on the proposal.

The relevant committee is Bundestag’s economic and energy committee chaired by representative of the Left Party, Klaus Ernst. He is an advocate of the construction of the pipeline.

In addition, on September 18, it became known that at a conference of prime ministers of East German lands in Berlin, six chief representatives from SPD, CDU and the Left spoke in favor of the Nord Streat 2 construction.

In their opinion, this project is of great importance for Germany and many European countries from the point of view of ensuring energy supplies in the future. Therefore, the participants consider the completion of the construction of the gas pipeline “reasonable and correct.” According to the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Manuela Schleswig, Nord Stream 2 was 97 percent complete.

However, it should be clarified that according to Der Spiegel, the vice-premier from the Greens in the governments of the five East German lands called for the termination of construction.

The Green party is the only party in Germany that explicitly advocates the construction of Nord Stream 2 should be stopped. It is worthy of note that the “Greens” were against the project even before Aleksei Navalny’s poisoning.

Germany is not alone

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier that EU countries should jointly decide how to proceed with the construction of Nord Stream 2.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, said that the European Union does not have the authority to stop the construction of the pipeline.

“Some of you talk about the possibility of this affecting Nord Stream 2. Once again, this is something that is outside of the possibilities of the European institutions. What I can tell you is that the European Commission has never shown a lot of enthusiasm about this pipeline, which from the Commission we have been considering as not a relevant priority infrastructure. But it is something that is up to the Member States that have been pushing for this infrastructure to be built. As I said, there is the scepticism of the Commission, which has never shown strong support for it,” Borrell said.

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz expressed his support for the project. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen suggested revising the project in light of the situation with Aleksei Navalny. She had always been against the project, she added, because, as she believes, Europe should not increase its dependence on Russian natural gas.

It is too early to dot all the i’s in this story. The pipeline systems is almost complete. If the project is stopped, its participants will have to pay compensations, and it goes about 20 billion euros at least. Most likely, it will be Germany that will have to pay the fine from its budget. This is a pretty  good reason not to rush the decision.

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France and Sweden Confirm Novichok Poisoning of Navalny, Backing Germany

BERLIN — Laboratories in France and Sweden have confirmed that the substance used to poison the Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny was indeed a form of the nerve agent Novichok, the German government said on Monday, results that match Berlin’s own findings and provide additional confidence that the Russian state was involved.

“Three laboratories have now independently provided evidence of a substance from the Novichok group as the cause of Mr. Navalny’s poisoning,” a German government spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement. “We renew the call for Russia to explain what has happened.”

Mr. Navalny, whose room in the prestigious Charité hospital in Berlin remains heavily guarded by the German police, continues to improve, the hospital said in a statement on Monday. He is breathing by himself again and able to walk. “He is increasingly being mobilized and intermittently able to leave his sick bed,” the statement read.

Russian officials did not immediately respond to news of the results from French and Swedish laboratories, but they have insisted since Mr. Navalny first fell ill that there was no proof he had been poisoned. They have suggested several alternative theories, including a drug overdose and low blood sugar.

In his statement, Mr. Seibert described the use of Novichok — a class of potent chemical weapons developed by the Soviet Union and used at least once before in an assassination attempt by Russian intelligence operatives — as a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, of which Russia is a signatory.

But even as patience with President Vladimir V. Putin is running thin, Berlin is struggling to figure out a good way to respond. Some have suggested canceling the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which is nearly complete. So far, however, the German government, together with the United States and its European allies, has not taken any action aside from raising the prospect of additional sanctions on Russia.

It is the latest episode in the German-Russian relationship, which is close but complicated — and increasingly contradictory.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has been unusually clear in her sharp condemnation of Moscow’s increasingly brazen actions and lack of cooperation. The poisoning of Mr. Navalny came less than a year after a former Chechen rebel leader was assassinated in broad daylight in a Berlin park, a killing that German federal prosecutors believe was orchestrated by the Russian state.

Ms. Merkel, who normally speaks with Mr. Putin by phone at least once a week, has not spoken to him since Mr. Navalny’s poisoning, a senior German security official said.

President Emmanuel Macron of France raised the issue of Mr. Navalny’s poisoning in a phone call with Mr. Putin on Monday, affirming the French laboratory results and expressing “serious concern” over Mr. Navalny’s poisoning. He asked that “all light be shed, without delay, on the circumstances and responsibilities of this attempted assassination,” according to a readout of the call provided by the French government. The readout did not include Mr. Putin’s response.

Ms. Merkel has been one of the tougher leaders in Europe when it comes to Russia, demanding a strong line on maintaining economic sanctions against Moscow after the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, even in the face of pushback at home and in other capitals.

But she has also worked hard to keep the diplomatic lines to Moscow open. The two countries have deep economic links, not least in the energy market, and a sizable faction in German politics believes that Russia should be an important partner.

Ms. Merkel appears to be treading carefully once again — at least for now.

German officials did not raise Mr. Navalny’s poisoning last week, when Dmitri Kozak, a close confidant of Mr. Putin, was allowed to land in Berlin for talks related to the war in Ukraine, despite a travel ban.

German officials have refused to rule out a re-evaluation of the Nord Stream 2 project, which would directly connect Russia and Germany. Ms Merkel has long defended the project, and experts say it is unlikely that the project will be scrapped as part of the response to the poisoning.

The German response so far contrasts sharply with Britain’s reaction in 2018, after the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian spy, in the English city of Salisbury. Once the British government announced that Russian operatives had used a Novichok class poison in that case, it gave the Kremlin 24 hours to respond, after which it imposed sanctions and rallied allies to expel dozens of Russian diplomats.

But German officials insist that the poisoning of Mr. Navalny is not a bilateral issue between Germany and Russia. Unlike Mr. Skripal, Mr. Navalny was on Russian soil when he fell violently ill, and only later was he transported to a Berlin hospital.

German officials are considering a variety of possible sanctions, including individual travel bans and asset freezes, and hoping for a response backed by all European Union member states. “We want this to be a European sanctions regime to show that this is about our values when a leading opposition politician is poisoned,” said one senior German security official involved in discussions of a possible response. “It’s not a bilateral matter.”

The official said that while it was important to send a message that Russia’s behavior was out of line, it should not come at the expense of continued negotiations on issues like the wars in Ukraine and Syria, where Russia is a key player.

“This is a terrible thing, we have to sanction it, but it will not lead to a totally new Russia policy,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to talk candidly about internal deliberations. “The hard reality is: We need Russia on Ukraine, Libya, Syria. We don’t want everything to collapse.”

Mr. Navalny’s recovery could also influence the eventual response. Though he was brought out of a medically induced coma last week, his doctors have not yet ruled out long-term complications from the poisoning.

Traces of the poison were found in samples taken from Mr. Navalny at the hospital in Berlin but also, crucially, on a water bottle that had traveled with him from Russia, German officials said. German officials have rejected Moscow’s demand for “proof” that Mr. Navalny was poisoned inside Russia, noting that the Russian authorities had taken their own samples and confiscated dozens of objects before he was flown to Germany. “They have their proof,” one official said.

Katrin Bennhold reported from Berlin, and Michael Schwirtz from London. Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting from Paris.

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U.S. to withdraw 12,000 American troops from Germany

The U.S. will withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany, shifting forces to other NATO countries in Europe, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced on Wednesday. This will decrease the U.S. troop presence in Germany from roughly 36,000 to 24,000.

Esper told reporters that the repositioning of troops would give the U.S. greater flexibility to deploy troops elsewhere and would “enhance the deterrence of Russia,” but the announcement came soon after President Trump’s decision in June to reduce the American military presence in Germany for failing to pay its fair share of the common defense, 2% of GDP. In June, Mr. Trump complained that Germany was paying just 1%. 

“They’re delinquent billions of dollars, and this is for years,” the president said in June. “So we’re removing a number down to — we’re putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers.”

Esper acknowledged that Mr. Trump’s anger at German defense spending “accelerated” the troop redeployment process.

He told reporters that 5,600 troops would be repositioned to Belgium and Italy and 6,400 would return to the U.S., although many will then redeploy to Europe. A number of these new rotations would deploy troops to the Black Sea region. This move also comes as the U.S. plans to increase its troop presence in Poland, where Mr. Trump has a strong relationship with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“These changes will achieve the core principles of enhancing the U.S. and NATO deterrence of Russia, strengthening NATO, reassuring allies, and improving U.S. strategic flexibility and EUCOM (U.S. European Command) operational flexibility,” Esper said. He added that no moves would take place without communication with military officials and discussions with Congress. General John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reiterated that the U.S. will be in constant contact with allies as forces are repositioned.

Emily Haber, Germany’s ambassador to the U.S. tweeted Wednesday that her country, the third biggest contributor to NATO’s budget, is a “steadfast NATO ally” whose defense spending is 1.5%, which represents a “45% increase since 2014.”  

The headquarters for the European Command and the European Special Operations Command, currently located in Stuttgart, Germany, will be relocated to NATO headquarters in Belgium. Esper said this would begin within weeks and cost several billion dollars.

Senator Jim Inhofe, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said last week that he believes the repositioning of troops could take “years to execute.”

“It is clear to me that this concept will take months to plan, and years to execute,” Inhofe said in a statement last week after being briefed by Pentagon officials. “Rigorous planning and deliberate implementation of this concept is the best way to give our military families a measure of certainty and ensure they receive the care and support they deserve. It will also be critically important for the Department to continue to engage fully with our NATO allies on this concept.”

David Martin contributed to this report.

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America May Have The World’s Best Stealth Fighters, But Nazi Germany Created The First One

Here’s What You Need To Remember: The Ho 229 might have been a formidable adversary over the skies of World War II, but in truth the plane was far from ready for mass production by the war’s end. While it seems a stretch to claim that the Ho 229 was intended to be a stealth aircraft, there’s little doubt that it pioneered design features that continue to see use in low-observable aircraft today.

Northrop Grumman revealed this year it is developing a second flying wing stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider, to succeed its B-2 Spirit. However, it was a pair of German brothers in the service of Nazi Germany that developed the first jet-powered flying wing—which has been dubbed, debatably, “Hitler’s stealth fighter.”

But maximizing speed and range, not stealth, was the primary motivation behind the bat-shaped jet plane.

Walter Horten was an ace fighter pilot in the German Luftwaffe, having scored seven kills flying as wingman of the legendary Adolf Galland during the Battle of Britain. His brother Reimar was an airplane designer lacking a formal aeronautical education. In their youth, the pair had designed a series of innovative tail-less manned gliders.

In 1943, Luftwaffe chief Herman Goering laid out the so-called 3×1000 specification for a plane that could fly one thousand kilometers an hour carrying one thousand kilograms of bombs with fuel enough to travel one thousand kilometers and back—while still retaining a third of the fuel supply for use in combat. Such an airplane could strike targets in Britain while outrunning any fighters sent to intercept it.

Clearly, the new turbojet engines Germany had developed would be required for an airplane to attain such high speeds. But jet engines burned through their fuel very quickly, making raids on more distant targets impossible. The Horten brothers’ idea was to use a flying wing design—a tail-less plane so aerodynamically clean it generated almost no drag at all. Such an airframe would require less engine power to attain higher speeds, and therefore consume less fuel.

Flying wing designs were not an entirely new idea and had been used before in both gliders and powered aircraft. During World War II, Northrop developed its own high-performing XB-35 flying wing bomber for the U.S. military, though it failed to enter mass production. Despite the aerodynamic advantages, the lack of a tail tended to make fly wing aircraft prone to uncontrolled yaws and stalls.

The Horten brothers were given the go-ahead to pursue the concept in August 1943. They first built an unpowered glider known as the H.IX V1. The V1 had long, thin swept wings made of plywood in order to save weight. These “bell-shaped” wings compensated for yawing problem. Lacking a rudder or ailerons, the H.IX relied upon “elevons” (combinations of ailerons and elevators) and two sets of spoilers for control. The elevons could be moved differentially to induce roll, or together in the same direction to change pitch, while the spoilers were used to induce yaw.

Following successful tests of the V1 glider at Oranienberg on March 1944, the subsequent V2 prototype was mounted with two Jumo 004B turbojet engines nestled to either side of a cockpit pod made of welded steel tubing. It also featured a primitive ejection seat and a drogue chute deployed while landing, while redesigned tricycle landing gear was installed to enable the plane to carry heavier loads.

The first test flight occurred on February 2, 1945. The manta-shaped jet exhibited smooth handling and good stall resistance. The prototype even reportedly beat an Me 262 jet fighter, equipped with the same Jumo 004 engines, in a mock dogfight.

But the testing process was cut short on February 18 when one of the V2’s jet engines caught fire and stopped mid-flight. Test pilot Erwin Ziller performed a number of turns and dives in an effort to restart the engine, before apparently passing out from the fumes and spiraling his plane into the ground, mortally wounding him.

Regardless, Goering had already approved the production of forty flying wings, to be undertaken by the Gotha company, which mostly produced trainers and military gliders during World War II. The production planes were designated Ho 229s or Go 229s.

Because of the Ho 229’s great speed—it was believed the production version would be able to attain 975 kilometer per hours—it was repurposed to serve as a fighter with a planned armament of two heavy Mark 103 thirty-millimeter cannons. Construction of four new prototypes—numbered V3 throuh V6— was initiated, two of which would have been two-seat night fighters.

However, the Ho 229 never made it off the ground. When American troops of VIII Corps rolled into the factory at Friedrichroda, Germany in April 1945, they found just the cockpit sections of the prototypes in various stages of development. A single pair of corresponding wings was found 75 miles away. The most complete of the four, the V3 prototype, was shipped back to the United States for study along with the wings, and can today be seen under restoration at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the United States Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia.

The Hortens were reassigned to draft specifications for a flying wing jet bomber with range enough to deliver an atom bomb to the east coast of the United States. Their resulting schematics for the Horten H.XVIII “Amerika Bomber” flying wing were never realized, except arguably in the film Captain America.

Was the Ho 229 a stealth fighter?

One word you haven’t seen in this history so far is “stealth”—and that’s because there isn’t any documentation from the 1940s supporting the notion that the flying wing was intended to be a stealth aircraft. And yet, the Hortens had stumbled upon the fact that a flying wing design lends itself to the sort of reduced radar cross-section ideal for a stealth plane.

Reimer Horten moved to Argentina after the war, and in 1950 wrote an article for the Revista Nacional de Aeronautica arguing that wooden aircraft would absorb radar waves. Thirty years later, as the theory behind stealth aircraft became more widely known, Reimer wrote that he had intentionally sought to make the Horten flying wing into a stealth plane, claiming that he had even constructed the airframe using a special radar absorbent mixture of carbon, sawdust and wood glue without notifying his superiors. Two tests were undertaken to determine the presence of the carbon dust, one of which supported his claim and the other that didn’t. In general, historians are skeptical that stealth was a design goal from the outset.

In 2008, Northrop Grumman teamed up with the National Geographic channel to reconstruct a mockup of the Ho 229, which they tested for radar reflection, and then pitted against a simulation of the British Chain Home radar network. Their findings were less than overwhelming—the flying wings would have been detected at a distance 80 percent that of a standard German Bf. 109 fighter.

The Northrop testers stressed that combined with the Ho 229’s much greater speed, this modest improvement would have given defending fighters too little time to react effectively.

But of course, the flying wing’s main feature was always supposed to be its speed, which could have exceeded the maximum speed of the best Allied fighters of the time by as much as 33 percent. Detection time would not have mattered greatly if it could outrun everything sent to intercept it. Furthermore, stealth would have had little usefulness in the fighter role the Ho 229 would actually have assumed, as the Allied daylight fighters ranging over Germany did not benefit from radars of their own.

The Ho 229 might have been a formidable adversary over the skies of World War II, but in truth the plane was far from ready for mass production by the war’s end. While it seems a stretch to claim that the Ho 229 was intended to be a stealth aircraft, there’s little doubt that it pioneered design features that continue to see use in low-observable aircraft today.

Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. (This first appeared in 2016.)

Image: Wikipedia.

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Russia ready to cooperate with Germany on Navalny incident 24 hours per day – diplomat – Russian Politics & Diplomacy

MOSCOW, September 6. /TASS/. Moscow is ready to cooperate with Berlin on the situation with Russian blogger Alexei Navalny 24 hours per day, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Rossiya-24 TV channel.

“Berlin should show operational efficiency,” the diplomat stressed. “We are ready for cooperation with the German side 24 hours per day.”

“We are trying to encourage Berlin to give a swift response to the respective requests. <…> We hear calls from partners in the North Atlantic Alliance for an international investigation, for turning to an international organization, but even regardless of this if this is an investigation, it should be carried out within the legal framework – and this is the way we are going,” Zakharova said, noting that no response to the requests had been sent so far.

“If Berlin needs operational efficiency, this is the German side that needs to show this operational efficiency,” she said.

Alexei Navalny was hospitalized in Omsk on August 20 after his health deteriorated rapidly during his flight from Tomsk to Moscow. He was in a coma and was put on a ventilator. Later he was airlifted to the Charite hospital in Germany. The doctors reported that the traces of intoxication were found in his blood. Currently, the symptoms of Navalny’s intoxication are gradually disappearing.

On Wednesday, the German government said that German military toxicologists had found traces of a Novichok-class nerve agent in blogger Alexei Navalny’s body. Berlin called on Moscow to explain the incident and promised to inform the Russian ambassador on results of the blogger’s tests.

The German Cabinet’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that Germany would notify the European Union, NATO and the OPCW of the latest information in Navalny case and would “discuss an appropriate joint response with the partners in the light of the Russian response.” However, he did not elaborate on what steps could be taken.

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