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July 22, 2015
1:50 AM
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New tank ammunition enters production for U.S. Army

http://www.upi.com/Business_Ne.....437423579/

 

Richard Tomkins

DULLES, Va., July 20 (UPI) --

DULLES, Va., July 20 (UPI) -- A fifth-generation 120mm advanced kinetic energy tank round from Orbital ATK is entering production after passing U.S. Army First Article Acceptance Testing.

The production contract from the U.S. Army Maneuver Ammunition Systems is for one year, with options for two follow-on production years and is worth $80 million.

Orbital ATK said fulfill Army inventory requirements for the ammunition is expected to be fulfilled with an additional five-year production contract.

"During our more than 30 years of large caliber ammunition program experience with the Army, we have now partnered with the U.S. Army to type classify 11 of the 13, 120mm tactical and training rounds for the Abrams tank," said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager for Orbital ATK's Armament Systems division of the Defense Systems Group. "From initially providing the 120mm ammunition that 'upgunned' the Abrams from a 105mm to a 120mm main gun platform until today, our company has made it a business priority to partner with the Army to maintain the Abrams' standing as the world's dominant tank."

The M829E4 is an armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding- sabot with tracer cartridge. It features a penetrator capable of defeating all current armor protection suites as well as future armor protection concepts.

The cartridge incorporates a long-rod penetrator and an exclusive composite sabot to enable efficient transfer of energy to maximize the rod's penetrating power.

© 2015 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Absolute reality never changes, only our perception of it does.

October 5, 2015
12:12 AM
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San Francisco's last gun store closing doors for good

http://news.yahoo.com/san-fran.....56274.html

 By PAUL ELIAS

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The only gun store in San Francisco is shuttering for good, saying it can no longer operate in the city's political climate of increased gun control regulations and vocal opposition to its business.

"It's with tremendous sadness and regret that I have to announce we are closing our shop," High Bridge Arms manager Steve Alcairo announced in a Facebook post on Sept. 11. "It has been a long and difficult ride, but a great pleasure to be your last San Francisco gun shop."

Alcairo said the breaking point came this summer when a local politician proposed a law that would require High Bridge Arms to video record every gun sale and submit a weekly report of ammunition sales to the police. If passed, the law would join several local gun control ordinances on the books in a city still scarred by the 1993 murder of eight in a downtown high-rise and the 1978 assassination of Mayor George Moscone and gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

"I'm not doing that to our customers. Enough is enough," Alcairo said. "Buying a gun is a constitutionally protected right. Our customers shouldn't be treated like they're doing something wrong."

The announcement prompted an outpouring of sympathy and anger online from gun enthusiasts — and a steady stream of customers eager to take advantage of going-out-of-business prices.

The new rifles lining the store's walls are quickly dwindling, and the handguns in the glass cases are going fast. So are T-shirts that boast in English and Chinese that High Bridge is "The Last San Francisco Gun Store."

For years, the High Bridge Arms weathered mounting restrictions imposed by local lawmakers and voters, who passed a handgun ban in 2005 that a judge later struck down. The gun store increasingly stood out in the gentrifying Bernal Heights neighborhood of hot restaurants, trendy bars and a chic marijuana dispensary, while weathering organized campaigns calling for its closure.

High Bridge will close Oct. 31, Alcairo said.

Supervisor Mark Farrell said he introduced the latest bill to help police combat violent crime in the city. "Anything that makes San Francisco safer, I support," he said.

Farrell said the bill hasn't been voted on, and he doesn't understand why the store is closing now. He said it was "comical" that the High Bridge is blaming its closure on a proposed law still months away from taking effect.

Alcairo said news coverage of the bill's introduction in July slowed sales considerably because customers wrongly believed their purchases would be recorded and turned over to police. He said he had to lay off three clerks and that sales slumped throughout the summer. The store's summer slump comes amid an overall gun sales surge in the state, according to California Department of Justice statistics.

The California DOJ reported 931,000 guns sold last year— three times the number sold in 2004 and the second highest annual number since the department began keeping sales records in 1991.

In the end, Alcairo said, he and the High Bridge Arms owner tired of the continued opposition and mountains of paperwork required by the San Francisco Police Department, state Department of Justice and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Alcairo grew up near the store and says he is angry and disappointed with San Francisco.

"This is the city that defended gay marriage and fights for unpopular causes like medical marijuana," he said. "Where's my support?"

Champion pistol shooter Bob Chow opened the store in 1952, four years after competing for the United States in the summer Olympics in London. Chow sold the store to Andy Takahashi in 1988. Chow died in 2003. Takahashi, who also owns the building that houses the store, declined to comment.

Alcairo said the owner shouldn't have a problem attracting another type of business in economically booming San Francisco.

The quirky city fixture attracted gun enthusiasts from around the world, many posing in photos with Alcairo and his pistol-packing clerks. Alcairo said professional athletes would visit the store when playing in San Francisco for the novelty of buying a weapon — and a T-shirt — from the city's last gun store.

"High Bridge has always taken care of me," said Chris Cheng, a San Francisco resident who calls it "my home store." Cheng won a $100,000 cash prize and a professional marksman contract after winning the History Channel's "Top Shot" competition.

"It's always been a challenge for the store to do business in San Francisco," Cheng said.

Absolute reality never changes, only our perception of it does.

November 30, 2015
12:38 AM
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Last Boeing C-17 leaves Southern California assembly plant

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/.....42514.html

 

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) -- The last C-17 Globemaster III built at a Southern California Boeing plant soared into history on Sunday with a flyover that marked the end of an era for the region's once-thriving aerospace industry.

The enormous cargo jet was cheered in Long Beach as if roared over the heads of an estimated 1,000 onlookers, many of them Boeing employees, spokesman Felix Sanchez said.

The jet, which can hold more than 80 tons of cargo, will be housed in San Antonio, Texas, until it is delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force early next year.

"This is truly the end of an era. It's a sad day, but one that all of the Boeing employees and suppliers who have worked over the years building this great aircraft can be proud of," Nan Bouchard, vice president and C-17 program manager, said in a statement.

The Long Beach facility assembled more than 250 C-17s over two decades but Boeing announced two years ago that it didn't have enough foreign orders to justify keeping the plant open.

With production ending, most of the 25-acre plant will be shuttered by year's end. However, some engineering support for aircraft may continue there for a year or two.

About 2,200 employees are losing their jobs, although many have retired or transferred to other Boeing operations.

Boeing still has more than 16,000 employees in California working on programs ranging from satellite manufacturing to cyber security. However, that's a nearly 50 percent cut in the workforce in the past decade.

Earlier this year, Boeing announced plans to lay off as many as several hundred workers at an El Segundo satellite factory.

California once held pride of place in aerospace work, producing everything from jetliners to bombers. However, the industry has been shrinking for decades. Some of the work has gone to other states but some of the drop is due to the end of military programs and to purse-tightening by the Pentagon and civilian aircraft purchasers.

However, there is hope for California's aerospace industry.

Last month, the Air Force chose Virginia-based Northrop Grumman Corp. to build its next-generation bomber. Much of the plane's assembly could occur in the Southern California desert community of Palmdale, home of Air Force Plant 42, a military industrial park leased to aerospace contractors where the B-1 and B-2 bombers were built.

Northrop Grumman said last year it could create 1,500 new jobs in Palmdale under the $80 billion bomber contract.

Spaceship producers SpaceX and Virgin Galactic both have facilities in Southern California.

Absolute reality never changes, only our perception of it does.

December 1, 2015
3:34 AM
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Pentagon purse tightening hasn't really amounted to much. We are still spending more than we did any year prior to 2008 at $637B for 2015. That's nearly twice or more what we spent any year prior to 2000 and is equal to the combined budgets of the next 7-10 countries behind us (depending on which studies you subscribe to). The military-industrial complex is alive and well.

Some of the work has gone to other states but some of the drop is due to the end of military programs and to purse-tightening by the Pentagon and civilian aircraft purchasers.

December 12, 2015
3:36 AM
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A Device That Plugs Gunshot Wounds in 20 Seconds Just Got FDA Approval

http://news.yahoo.com/device-p.....37885.html

 

A device that controls severe bleeding from gunshot wounds in seconds has just received Food and Drug Administration approval for use in civilians.

The product, XStat 30, is a syringe-like applicator that injects a cluster of small, superabsorbent sponges into an open wound. Within 20 seconds of contact with blood, the sponges expand to fill the cavity and temporarily halt blood flow, according to the website of RevMedx, the Oregon-based company behind XStat 30. The sponges contain X-ray-detectable markers so they can be located once a patient reaches the hospital.

XStat 30 was first funded through a grant from the U.S. Army to develop a solution to address junctional hemorrhaging: severe traumatic bleeding in parts of the body where you can't use a tourniquet, such as the groin or shoulder areas. In April 2014, it was granted FDA approval for military use on the battlefield.

At the time, Christy Foreman, then the director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, called it "an important new treatment option for our nation's military to treat injured soldiers who may not be in close proximity to a medical facility."

Now, as of Dec 7, XStat 30 is FDA-approved for use in adults and adolescents in the civilian population. That means XStat 30 has the FDA's stamp of approval for use by trained first responders at, say, the scenes of shootings.

When the military develops medical solutions, "there's always eye toward how could this help the greater population in the future," Will Fox, RevMedx's vice president of sales and marketing, told Mic.

"When a product is developed for use in the battlefield, it is generally intended to work in a worst-case scenario where advanced care might not be immediately available," Dr. William Maisel, acting director of the Office of Device Evaluation in the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in the FDA's Dec. 7 release. "It is exciting to see this technology transition to help civilian-first responders control some severe, life-threatening bleeding while on the trauma scene."

XStat isn't the only product that can rapidly halt bleeding from a gunshot wound. Another is QuikClot, an FDA-approved hemostatic dressing that contains kaolin, a mineral known to promote clotting.

In 2008, after undergoing military testing, QuikClot announced it was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense "for all military services as the first-line hemostatic treatment for life-threatening hemorrhage that is not amenable to tourniquet placement." In 2009, QuikClot was adopted by the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit, and is also used by law enforcement in Houston, Boston, Cleveland and Chicago.

XStat has various limitations on how and where on the body it can be used, which is why QuikClot doesn't see it as a direct competitor.

"XStat is a junctional hemorrhage device with very specific and limited indications for use," Z-Medica, the company that makes QuikClot, said in a statement provided to Mic. "QuikClot is versatile and can be used in multiple locations of the body, with or without the aid of a tourniquet."

 

 

Hemostatic devices such as XStat and QuikClot can make a very real difference between life and death. Hemorrhaging is responsible for 30% to 40% of civilian trauma deaths, according to a United States Army Institute of Surgical Research study referenced in the Dec. 7 FDA release. Of those deaths caused by hemorrhaging, 33% to 56% happen before the patient makes it to a hospital.

"We believe that part of the reason for that is the lack of availablity of products that can stop the bleeding properly or quickly," Fox said. "We probably have gotten an inquiry once or twice a week, where a police officer or first responder has told us story about somebody they worked with, or a civilian, that died from severe bleeding from a wound they couldn't put a tourniquet on."

XStat's recent FDA approval comes at a time when mass shootings are at the forefront of America's consciousness. On Dec. 2, 14 people were killed and 21 injured in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California — the country's 355th mass shooting this year. If we define a mass shooting as the Washington Post does — one that injures or kills at least four people — then mass shootings have happened on a more-than-daily basis this year in the U.S.

As of today, gun violence has caused 12,474 deaths and 25,158 injuries so far this year in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Given those statistics, Mic asked QuikClot if it was crazy to suggest that civilians their own hemostatic devices.

"Not crazy at all," Z-Medica said. "The paradigm has shifted from a 'see something, say something' to 'see something, do something.'" The company is even working with state and federal programs to make QuikClot available in public places such schools, airports and train stations, "much the same way that AEDs are available to help victims of heart attacks," the company said.

And though XStat 30, because it's an injectable, is not currently available over-the-counter, Fox said about half of RevMedx's XStat 30-related inquiries come from civilians looking to buy the device for themselves.

"When we first got approval, we received a ton of interest from people who are everyday, non-physicans," Fox said. "[They're] just concerned about having something in case something bad happens."

Eventually, though it'll require a lot more testing, RevMedx hopes to make a version of XStat that ordinary civilians can use on themselves. "That's our vision and goal," Fox said.

Absolute reality never changes, only our perception of it does.

December 13, 2015
2:32 PM
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Why Offering U.S. Apache Attack Helicopters to Iraq Is a Big Deal  (We never learn)

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/.....00356.html

 

At a time when President Obama has come under persistent criticism for having an inadequate strategy to win the war against Islamic extremists, the Defense Department is upping the ante in Iraq by turning loose a fleet of Apache attack helicopters.

"The United States is prepared to assist the Iraqi army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job, including attack helicopters and accompanying advisers if circumstances dictate and if requested by Prime Minister Abadi," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week.

The proposal comes as Iraqi government forces have struggled to retake the city of Ramadi from ISIS, which still controls large chunks of territory through the country.

American Apache helicopters have been in Iraq since last summer, but in a defensive posture to help protect the roughly 3,500 advisers in the Middle East state and the sprawling U.S. embassy, and guarantee access to Baghdad airport.

That said, there's precedent for putting the aircraft on offense; last fall Apache helicopters, which can reach speeds of roughly 175 miles per hour, assisted Iraqi soldiers fighting west of Baghdad.

Their use would open up a new capability in the air campaign against ISIS in Iraq. The helicopter, which costs around $52 million apiece, features a combination of laser-guided precision Hellfire missiles, 70mm rockets, and a 30mm automatic cannon with up to 1,200 ammunition rounds, according to fact sheet from Boeing, its manufacturer.

Though the helicopters can fire their missiles from a distance, the aircraft could be at risk from ground fire when engaged in close combat situations, as happened during the previous U.S. military presence in Iraq. That raises the specter of American pilots being captured by ISIS or executed in graphic Internet videos like when the terror group put a Jordanian pilot in a cage and burned him alive.

Thus far, Baghdad has yet to take Washington up on its offer.

"If the Iraqi government asks for Apache helicopters, and the mission is right, if we agree, then we'll use" them, Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the military coalition, said during a Pentagon last week. The helicopters "are ready, so all we have to do is find an operation or a mission that they will be able to impact, and then agree with the Iraqis that it's the right time to use them."

But the fact that the Pentagon is offering the helicopters at all marks an important moment in the roughly 16-month campaign against ISIS as it draws the U.S. closer to greater involvement in the region.

While President Obama has flatly refused to allow the country to be drawn into another open-ended commitment in the Middle East, polls show more Americans want boots on the ground to fight ISIS after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

Offering the Apaches does move the U.S. "deeper" into the conflict, according to Lawrence Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former assistant secretary of Defense.

"The question becomes is it a small step that will lead to larger steps?" he asked. "What if it doesn't work?".

Korb predicted that should the Apaches be used to take Ramadi, it would open up Pandora's Box, with the Iraqi government wanting them to retake other population centers like Mosul, one of the country’s largest cities.

"It's a very easy thing to do a little bit more and a little bit more," he said.

Washington would need to reassess its commitment to using the helicopter if one of them is shot down, says one of the snipers ISIS is known for, according to Korb. But, based on the rhetoric he’s heard from officials in and out of government they are “willing to live with casualties.”

Putting the helicopters on offense "is a way for Carter to fend off some of the critics (on Capitol Hill) who say you're not doing anything in response" to the recent ISIS attacks, he added.

Korb predicted the Apaches would be used, but might be accompanied by some kabuki theater, where Abadi "will play politics" and denounce the action. But, "we'll do it and say it wasn’t that many, or it was limited or something.

The topic is sure to be up for discussion on Monday when Obama pays a visit to the Pentagon for a National Security Council meeting about the anti-ISIS strategy.

"He wants us to continue to come to him for proposals with ways that we can strengthen the campaign consistent with our overall strategic approach," Carter said during a joint press conference at the Pentagon with British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.

Absolute reality never changes, only our perception of it does.

December 24, 2015
6:49 PM
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Lockheed-Boeing venture orders 20 more Russian rocket engines dumb  embarrassed

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/lockheed-boeing-venture-orders-20-more-russian-rocket-204804311--finance.html

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co , on Wednesday said it had ordered 20 more RD-180 rocket engines from Russia, on top of 29 engines ordered before Russia's invasion of the Crimea region of Ukraine last year.

ULA said it would use the Russian engines on its Atlas 5 rockets to serve existing and potential civil and commercial launch customers until a new U.S.-built engine was developed and certified.

ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye said deliveries on the new batch of engines would start once ULA received all of the previous order. ULA received eight RD-180 engines this year, she said.

The new order came days after the enactment of a massive U.S. spending bill that eased a ban on using Russian engines to launch U.S. military and intelligence satellites for fiscal 2016, which ends Sept. 30.

Congress banned military use of the engines after Russia annexed Crimea last year, but a provision in the fiscal 2016 spending measure leaves competition for launch contracts open to companies regardless of the origin of their engines.

ULA, the monopoly provider of military launches since its founding in 2006, last month declined to bid against SpaceX, a private company founded by the billionaire Elon Musk, to launch a next-generation GPS satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

At the time, the company said it lacked Russian-built RD-180 engines for its Atlas 5 rocket and did not have the accounting systems needed to comply with the rules of the competition.

The Pentagon's chief arms buyer, Frank Kendall, told Reuters on Tuesday the Pentagon remained committed to ending its reliance on the Russian engines, but the spending bill provision would allow the U.S. military to use both the Atlas 5 rockets and SpaceX's Falcon 9 for satellite launches until a new U.S.-built engine was ready.

ULA said it was moving forward with two companies developing their own U.S. engines, Blue Origin and Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, but such development programs were difficult and took years to complete.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Dan Grebler and Alan Crosby)

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January 14, 2016
3:53 AM
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Israel gets fifth German submarine

http://news.yahoo.com/israel-g.....html?nhp=1

 

Haifa (Israel) (AFP) - Israel on Tuesday took delivery of its fifth German-built submarine, an advanced Dolphin-class vessel said to be capable of remaining submerged for up to a week.

Speaking at an official welcome ceremony at the northern port city of Haifa, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the undersea fleet allows Israel "to deter enemies who seek to destroy us."

"They should know that Israel can strike very hard indeed at anyone who tries to harm it," he said.

The new arrival is named "Rahav" after a biblical sea monster.

"Rahav will take an active part in defending the state of Israel and its territorial waters, operating deeper, further, and for longer from the very depths -- with a watchful eye," President Reuven Rivlin said at the ceremony.

Foreign military sources say the Dolphins can be equipped with missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

They say Israel has between 100 and 200 warheads and missiles capable of delivering them.

Israel is the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, refusing to confirm or deny it has such weapons.

Its five German-made submarines will be used to protect its shores and carry out spying missions against its arch-foe Iran, Israeli media say.

Netanyahu tried in vain to block a July deal with world powers on scaling down Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, arguing it would not stop Tehran from developing an atomic weapon.

The incoming head of Israel's Mossad spy agency said last week that the Islamic republic and its nuclear ambitions constitute "the principle challenge" for his organisation.

A sixth submarine is to be delivered in two to three years although defence analyst Yossi Melman, writing in Maariv newspaper, has said it is likely to be cancelled for budgetary reasons.

The current model costs about 500 million euros ($540 million) to build, Israeli media say. Berlin is paying one third of the cost itself.

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January 24, 2016
1:35 AM
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Orbital ATK receives orders for military ammunition

http://www.upi.com/Business_Ne.....1453486042

 

DULLES, Va., Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Orbital ATK is to produces medium- and large-caliber ammunition for the U.S. military and allied nations under a U.S. Army contracts worth $105 million.
 

The orders from the U.S. Army Project Manager Maneuver Ammunition Systems are for 20mm, 25mm and 30mm tactical and target practice ammunition for air, sea and land weapons platforms and 120mm tactical and training ammunition for the Abrams Main Battle Tank.

"We are committed to being the partner of choice for the production and development of ammunition for a wide variety of combat systems," said Dan Olson, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK's Armament Systems Division of the Defense Systems Group. "Our contributions to the soldier are to provide a continuous supply of ammunition for training and tactical use, and to develop ammunition that provides a distinct combat advantage for those defending their nation's security."

The 20mm ammunition are for the PGU-27 target and PGU-28 tactical Semi-Armor Piercing High Explosive Incendiary, commonly used with fighter aircraft. Additional 20mm orders included the MK244 Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot Enhanced Lethality cartridge -- used with the U.S. Navy's Phalanx system -- and the M940 Multi-Purpose Tracer Self-Destruct cartridge for use with the U.S. Army's Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM) system.

Orbital ATK said they will be produced at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in the new Orbital ATK-managed production facility.

The 25mm ammunition ordered included the M792 High Explosive Incendiary with Tracer and Self Destruct cartridge, for the M242 Bushmaster, KBA, M811 or GAU-12 cannons.

The 30mm MK266 High Explosive Incendiary rounds ordered can be used with the MK44 Bushmaster cannon or any cannon firing 30mm x 173mm ammunition.

Ammunition for Abrams tanks are next-generation 120mm Kinetic Energy anti-tank cartridges, which recently received type classification and passed its initial lot acceptance testing. Full rate production is expected to begin in early 2016.

Orbital ATK said it also received an order for the 120mm M1002 Multi-Purpose Anti-Tank target practice cartridge.

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January 27, 2016
3:08 AM
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AC-130H Spectre gunship’s final mission

http://theaviationist.com/2014.....st-flight/

 

On Jan. 16, the 16th Special Operations Squadron conducted its final mission with the AC-130H gunship at Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico.

To celebrate the retirement of the Spectre, whose development began in the early 1960s, the 16th SOS launched its whole fleet of 8 AC-130Hs; a tough and remarkable achievement, obtained thanks to the teamwork of pilots, maintainers, loadmasters and maintenance teams.

In 2013, the Squadron completed its last AC-130H Spectre gunship deployment in Afghanistan after 40 years of active service all around the world.

16 SOS will soon receive the AC-130J, a plane equipped with more modern avionics but more vulnerable to ground fire as a recent report pointed out. Indeed, the new aircraft lacks armor needed to protect some aircraft’s vital parts and, above all, its crew.

 

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April 13, 2016
3:29 AM
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New Armor Material Turns Armor-piercing Bullets ‘Into Dust’

http://www.voanews.com/content.....79871.html

 

A new material might be strong enough to render even an armor-piercing bullet harmless.

Researchers at North Carolina State University say they've developed a composite metal foam that would turn the bullet "into dust on impact."

The CMF is lighter than metal and could revolutionize body and vehicle armor. CMF is also able to withstand fire and heat twice as much plain metals.

“We could stop the bullet at a total thickness of less than an inch, while the indentation on the back was less than 8 millimeters,” said Afsaneh Rabiei, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NC State. “To put that in context, the NIJ standard allows up to 44 millimeters indentation in the back of an armor.”

The researchers said the new, strong material could have applications outside armor, such as "space exploration to shipping nuclear waste require a material to be not only light and strong, but also capable of withstanding extremely high temperatures and blocking radiation."

 

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April 27, 2016
3:12 AM
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A Valor Thief Lived in the Fort Bragg Barracks for Months Before Anyone Noticed

http://undertheradar.military......e-noticed/

 

mad

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June 16, 2016
12:46 AM
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Rheinmetall Ups Tank Firepower with new 130mm Gun

http://defense-update.com/2016.....m-gun.html

 

NOTE: Rheinmetall is the original developer of the current 120mm main gun (M256) of the M1 series.

 

The new 130 mm gun is a precondition for the future tank, known as ‘Main Ground Combat System’ (MGCS) being developed by Germany. MGCS is currently being developed by Germany and France as a future replacement for the Leopard 2 and Leclerc main battle tanks, considering the increasing threat posed by Russian systems such as the Armata (T-14) MBTs.

Rheinmetall unveiled the new weapon at Eurosatory 2016.

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June 16, 2016
12:58 AM
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Accuracy International's L115A3 sniper rifle does it again – six kills from one bullet

http://www.gizmag.com/l115a3-s.....ult-widget

 

A British sniper in Afghanistan has used the Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle to kill six insurgents with one bullet.
In November 2009, the Accuracy International L115A3 sniper rifle was the weapon used in the most prodigious feat of marksmanship in military history- two consecutive confirmed kills at 2.47 kilometers were followed by a third shot which disabled the (much smaller) machine gun the two combatants had been carrying. Now a British sniper in Afghanistan has reportedly killed six insurgents with one bullet from a distance of 850 m (930 yards) using the L115A3.

Last December, a British sniper in the Coldstream Guards killed six Taliban with one bullet during a gun battle with 15-20 Taliban in Kakaran in southern Afghanistan according to a report in The Telegraph.

The initial target is believed to have been wearing an explosive vest which was to be used in a suicide bomber attack, and the bullet caused the vest to explode, killing five Taliban in the near vicinity. Another unexploded suicide vest was found nearby, indicating that the shot may have saved more people than it killed.

As is customary when soldiers are still "in theater," the name of the Lance Corporal who took the shot has been withheld, though it has been confirmed that the Coldstream Guard sniper is 20 years of age, and killed a Taliban machine-gunner from 1,340 m with his first shot on his current tour of duty.

The L115A3 sniper rifle is produced by Portsmouth-based Accuracy International, a company established by two-times Olympic shooting Gold medalist Malcolm Cooper.

There are more than 100 different sniper rifles manufactured in the world, and Accuracy International was a latecomer to the game, but immediately stood out.

The £23,000 (US$38,250) rifle weighs 6.8 kg and was designed using the knowhow Cooper had gained in international target shooting and fires an 8.59 mm bullet. Even at its most extreme range, a bullet from the L115A3 hits harder than a .44 Magnum does in the same room.

 

The high-accuracy L115A3 sniper rifles have become favorites with elite military forces worldwide and are used by both the British SAS and US Delta Force.

Our article on the most prodigious feat of marksmanship in military history contains a more detailed history of sniping, the Accuracy International L115A. The article details the feat of British Corporal Craig Harrison who killed two Taliban with consecutive shots at a distance of 2.47 kilometres (8120 ft) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in November, 2009.

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June 18, 2016
6:34 PM
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2nd Zumwalt-class destroyer christened in honor of Navy SEAL

https://www.yahoo.com/news/christening-day-arrives-second-zumwalt-class-destroyer-124938006.html?nhp=1

 

BATH, Maine (AP) — The mother of a fallen Navy SEAL christened the second Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer Saturday in honor of her son, who died in Iraq when he threw himself on an insurgent's grenade to save the lives of two fellow SEALS.

The 610-foot, 15,000-ton ship, built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for the U.S. Navy, was named for Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor. The 25-year-old California native died in 2006 and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

"May God bless this ship, and all who sail within her," said Sally Monsoor before smashing a bottle against the ship as some 2,000 people looked on.

Monsoor described her son as a quiet, loyal person and recalled how he once made a Christmas tree out of a sapling in their family's yard.

The Zumwalt is the Navy's largest and most technologically sophisticated class of destroyer. It is the first new class of warship built at Bath Iron Works in more than 25 years. The Navy took ownership of the first stealth destroyer last month, and work is underway on the third and final ship.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who spoke at the ceremony, called the Zumwalt class of destroyers "the most advanced naval destroyer the world has ever seen" and said its christening is a tribute to Michael Monsoor.

"His legacy will live on as this great ship conducts its mission in defense of our nation," she said.

The ships are heralded for their advanced and pinpoint accuracy gun system. Their futuristic-looking shape make them 50 times more difficult to detect on radar than other ships of the same size. New innovations in automation also will allow the vessel to be operated with a smaller crew than today's current destroyers.

Retired Vice Admiral Joseph Maguire, president of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, expressed the Navy's gratitude for Monsoor's heroism, and said America "owes the Monsoor family a debt that can never be repaid."

The Monsoor is headed to drydock, and is scheduled to move into the middle of the Kennebec River to be ballasted on Monday. Tugboats will then move it to the west side of the river.

The Navy's 2017 budget proposal, submitted to Congress in February, showed the combined cost of the first two ships at an average of a little more than $4.5 billion each. The third ship, to be named for Lyndon B. Johnson, is expected to cost a bit less than $3.7 billion.

Some peace activists assembled Saturday outside the iron works during the christening. They have criticized the Zumwalt program as an extravagant use of public money.

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June 30, 2016
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Raspberry Pi-Powered AI Beats Human Pilot in Dogfight

http://www.newsweek.com/artifi.....?piano_t=1

 

When the Raspberry Pi computer was first launched in 2012 to promote the teaching of computer science, its creators probably didn’t imagine the $35 device would one day take on a professional fighter pilot in a dogfight—and win.

But that is exactly what a doctoral graduate at the University of Cincinnati set out to do when he built a Pi-powered artificial intelligence pilot. The AI, dubbed ALPHA, went up against retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee in a series of simulated battles, beating Lee in every single engagement.

 

Lee described ALPHA as "the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI I've seen to date."

 

ALPHA has gone on to defeat other expert fighter pilots in what is being hailed as a significant breakthrough in unmanned flight.

Lee, who has battled AI opponents in simulated environments for more than 30 years, noted that after hours-long sessions with ALPHA, he felt "tired, drained and mentally exhausted," whereas the AI was as sharp as the first battle.

He also noted that it was the first time he had seen an AI consistently beat a human pilot in tests.

"I was surprised at how aware and reactive it was," Lee said. "It seemed to be aware of my intentions and reacting instantly to my changes in flight and missile deployment. It knew how to defeat the shot I was taking. It moved instantly between defensive and offensive actions as needed.

"You might have gotten shot down once in awhile by an AI program when you, as a pilot, were trying something new. But, until now, an AI opponent simply could not keep up with anything like the real pressure and pace of combat-like scenarios."

Nick Ernest, the doctoral graduate behind ALPHA, now hopes to continue developing the AI as the CEO and president of the firm Psibernetix.

It is thought that future versions of ALPHA could be used in actual combat situations as an AI wingman to formulate tactical plans and lessen the likelihood of mid-air mistakes.

Kelly Cohen, an aerospace professor at the University of Cincinnati, said: "ALPHA would be an extremely easy AI to cooperate with and have as a teammate. ALPHA could continuously determine the optimal ways to perform tasks commanded by its manned wingman, as well as provide tactical and situational advice to the rest of its flight."

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July 1, 2016
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Amazing story. Thanks for sharing.

July 12, 2016
1:25 AM
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Dakota a stealthier modified Virginia submarine

http://nextbigfuture.com/2016/.....ginia.html

 

The USS South Dakota (SSN-790) will be the first acoustic superiority test submarine when she is delivered in late 2017. During her one-year post-shakedown availability (PSA) in 2018, South Dakota will receive some fairly significant modifications from the baseline Virginia-class submarine that are expected to be tested at sea starting in 2019 and running through 2020.

The modifications include new acoustical hull coatings, a series of machinery improvements inside the hull and the addition of two new large vertical sonar arrays—one on each side. The new sonar arrays "provide a significant advantage in the ability to detect other submarines before you yourself are in a position to be detected," Jabaley said. Meanwhile, the machinery improvements also promise some "significant return on investment."

Additionally, South Dakota will receive a new enhanced propulsor design, which is being added during construction. However, if the new propulsor design proves to be less than successful, the Navy plans to replace it during the boat's post-shakedown availability. "South Dakota will have an improved enhanced hybrid propulsor that we have developed with DARPA," Jabaley said. "It promises to present a significant acoustic advantage."

 

If the Dakota modifications are successful they will adopted for all new Virginia and Ohio replacement submarines and back fit onto many older Virginia class submarines.

Richard added that the idea that submarines are going to be rendered obsolete reemerges every five to ten years as some new technology emerges. However, given the "brutal" physics of the undersea domain, most of those new technologies never quite live up to the hype.

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July 12, 2016
11:21 PM
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The Air Force will build a new A-10-like close air support aircraft

http://www.businessinsider.com.....-10-2016-7

 

The Air Force is beginning to work on how fast, lethal, durable and capable a new "A-10"-like aircraft would need to be in order to provide US military ground troops with effective close-air support for decades to come.

Senior service officials are now exploring "draft requirements" concepts – and evaluating the kind of avionics, engineering, weapons, armor and technical redundancy the aircraft would need, Air Force officials told Scout Warrior.

Many of the core technical attributes and combat advantages of the A-10 will be preserved and expanded upon with the new effort, officials said.

The performance of the A-10 Warthog in the ongoing bombing campaign against ISIS, coupled with the Air Forces' subsequent decision to delay the aircraft's planned retirement – has led the service to begin the process of developing a new, longer-term A-10 type platform.

Following an announcement earlier this year from Pentagon leaders that the A-10 will not begin retiring but rather will serve until at least 2022, Air Force and DoD officials are now hoping to keep a close-air-support aircraft for many years beyond the previously projected timeframe.

Given the emerging global threat environment, it would make sense that the Air Force would seek to preserve an aircraft such as the A-10.

While the aircraft has been extremely successful attacking ISIS targets such as fuel convoys and other assets, the A-10 is also the kind of plane that can carry and deliver a wide-ranging arsenal of bombs to include larger laser-guided and precision weapons.

This kind of firepower, coupled with its 30mm cannon, titanium armor plates and built-in redundancy for close-air-support, makes the A-10 a valuable platform for potential larger-scale mechanized, force-on-force type warfare as well.

The A-10 has a unique and valuable niche role to perform in the widest possible range of combat scenarios to include counterinsurgency, supporting troops on the ground in close proximity and bringing firepower, protection and infantry support to a large-scale war.

Air Force officials have told Scout Warrior that the current approach involves a three-pronged effort; the Air Force may consider simply upgrading the existing fleet of A-10s in a substantial way in order to extend its service life, acquire an off-the-shelf existing aircraft or develop a new close air support platform through a developmental effort.

"We are developing that draft requirements document.  We are staffing it around the Air Force now.  When it's ready, then we will compare that to what we have available, compare it to keeping the A-10, compare it to what it would take to replace it with another airplane, and we will work through that process," Lt. Gen. James Holmes, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements, told reporters several months ago.

Holmes went on to explain that the service was, broadly speaking, exploring ways to achieve, preserve and sustain "air superiority" in potential long-term, high-end combat engagements. He added that considerations about a close-air-support replacement aircraft figured prominently in the strategic calculus surrounding these issues.

As a result, the Air Force will be looking for the “optimal” type of close-air-support platform by weighing various considerations such as what the differences might be between existing aircraft and future developmental platforms.

Cost and affordability will also be a very large part of the equation when it comes to making determinations about an A-10 replacement, Holmes explained.

"The question is exactly where is the sweet spot as we talked about between what's available now and what the optimum CAS replacement would be.  We are working along that continuum to see exactly what the requirement is that we can afford and the numbers that we need to be able to do the mission," Holmes added.

Several industry platforms, such as Raytheon’s T-X plane and the A-29 Embraer EMB Super Tucano aircraft, are among options being looked at as things which could potentially be configured for a close-air-support plane.

Having the requisite funds to support this would be of great value to the Air Force; former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told lawmakers that, despite the prior plan, the service did not want to retire the A-10.

Prior plans to retire the fleet of A-10s were purely budget driven, senior Air Force leaders have consistently said.

"I don’t want to retire it," Welsh told a Congressional Committee in early March.

Air Force leaders had previously said that the emerging multi-role F-35 would be able to pick up the close-air-support mission. With its sensor technology, 25mm gun and maneuverability, there is little question about whether the F-35 could succeed with these kinds of missions. At the same time, there is also consensus that the A-10 provides an extremely unique set of battlefield attributes which need to be preserved for decades.

 

Read the original article on Scout Warrior. Copyright 2016. Follow Scout Warrior on Twitter.

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July 24, 2016
12:50 AM
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California governor signs bill to require registration of 'ghost guns'

https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-governor-signs-bill-require-registration-ghost-guns-223428759.html

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Friday a bill to require anyone planning to build a homemade firearm to first obtain a serial number for the weapon and submit to a background check, his office said in a statement.

The legislation signed by the Democratic governor of the country's most populous state follows his signing earlier this month of a sweeping package of gun control bills.

The office of California Assemblyman Jim Cooper, a Democrat who authored the bill, earlier this year said in a statement the legislation would end the production of home-made, untraceable firearms, which have come to be called "ghost guns."

The law bans the manufacture and possession of a home-made gun unless the builder first obtains a serial number from the Department of Justice and demonstrates that he or she is not prohibited by law from owning a firearm, such as due to a felony conviction, Cooper's office said.

Representatives from the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle & Pistol Association did not immediately return calls to seeking comment.

A representative for Cooper did not return an email seeking comment.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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