In the past, several weeks there have been a series of sensationally bad slip-ups of law enforcement officers forgetting basic gun safety. Not throwing rocks at the boys in blue, we will present the facts, for your own education. This run down includes: not pointing your gun at your own abdomen at 6:30 in the morning, not firing warning shots at cadets milling around in hallways, and not letting kids play with your loaded and chambered AR15 during Red Ribbon Week. (Not. Making. This. Up)
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
You’ve seen them around in increasing numbers in the past few years. Those spooky Jason-meets-Michael Myers masks being
worn by ‘operators’ from video games to the sandbox. They are the ballistic face shields, and we are taking a closer look.
Read the rest in my column at Firearms Talk.com
Ok, now take a look at this pic.
(click tio make larger)
How many can you identify?
1: Chinese PGO for the RPG rocket launcher
2: Bulgarian PGO-7
3: NPZ PGO-7
4: PK-23 blinking red dot
8: PK-A Original
9: PK-A Venezuela
11: 1PN58/NSPUM Night Vision
12: 1PN34/NSPU Night Vision
13: Kobra EKP-8-02 Gen 2
14: Kobra EKP-1S-03m Gen 1
17: 1P76 Rakurs
19: PK1/1P63 Obzor
20: PO 3.5x21P2 with NPZ mount
21: PO 3.5x21P
22: PO 3.5x21P Venezuela
23: PO 4x24P
24: PSO-1 from Izhmash
25: PSO-1 from NPZ
26: PSO-1-1 from NPZ
27: PO 3-9×24
28: Chinese JJJ PSO type optic for NMD86
30 1P78 Kashtan
31: Romanian LPS/TIP2 PSO type optic
32: POSP 4x24v
33: POSP 4x24v AA battery model
34: POSP 8×42
35: Zeiss ZFK 4×25
36: MP4-20 spotter scope
37: yM8 spotter scope
I normally don’t endorse things. However I watched a halfway decent film online the other day. Entitled ‘Phantom‘ it is a recent film starring David Duchovny (Moulder from the X-Files) and Ed “Enemy at the Gates” Harris. Set on a Soviet diesel ballistic missile submarine it is a different take on the K-129 incident with some very Americanized cliché Red October elements.
The acting is OK, the plot and script is kinda sketchy, but the real star is the sub!
Within about the first ten minutes you can tell that the interior shots of the submarine looked too good, too 1960s clunky Russian
with too much of worn-in quality to the boat to be faked. I thought at first that it was filmed based on the myriad of old US submarines around with a few Russian signs hung up, but the thing is, everything from the placards on the torpedo tubes to the
switches on the battle lanterns was stone cold CCCP.
So I did some digging..
It turns out about 80 percent of the movie was shot aboard the former Soviet B-39 attack submarine owned by the Maritime Museum of San Diego. The 1967-built Foxtrot-class (Project 641) submarine has been moored in the bay along Harbor Drive since 2004. The crew spent three weeks aboard the sub, filming with advanced lightweight (4-pound) cameras, making it perhaps the first theatrical submarine film shot mostly on a submarine, rather than on a sound stage made to *look* like a submarine. Before her role as a movie stage, she served on active duty in the Soviet Navy for nearly thirty years. At 294-feet, she is about the size of an US Navy WWII fleet sub, but with a 20,000 nm range.
Even if you aren’t a fan of slightly far-fetched Red October rehash, it’s a great 90-minute working tour of a Soviet Foxtrot diesel
boat. And if you have Netflix, its streaming for free. If you are a torrent person, then you have your own ways.
Feral hogs across the country have over the past few years become big news. This is because these invasive aliens have exploded
in population and are on the verge of crashing the eco-system in some areas. With this threat growing at such a rapid pace, they
have called in the cavalry in Texas. The air cavalry.
Centuries ago, European colonists brought over from the Old World stocks of animals. These included of course chickens, cows, horses, and pigs. Some of these pigs escaped captivity and quickly became feral. Over the past several hundred years, these feral pigs, intermingled with Russian boars that escaped from hunting preserves, have taken over their environment. They are shown to carry as many as 30 diseases, have caused more than $1.5-billion (with a B) in crop and property damage per year, and are taking their toll on native species. According to information in a study done by Texas A&M University found that the number of feral pigs is likely to triple in five years in the state of Texas if serious efforts are not made to reduce feral-pig populations.
Texas, along with many other states that have wild pig problems, has few limits on how these creatures are taken. Unlike most game that has to be harvested in rigid seasons and are subject to limits, quite often wild boars, Javelina and the like can be taken year-round by almost any means short of nuclear warheads.
One of the most popular means of doing this is by helicopter
Read more in my column at Firearms Talk.com
An intresting piece in the Washington Times looks at the PLAN’s take on their small SSBN program. They currently have five operational nuclear-powered boomers carrying submarine launched ballistic missiles.
In 2010, a new class of missile sub, the Type 094 Jin class, entered the service. It is capable of launching 12 to 16 JL-2 missiles with a range of about 8,700 miles, covering much of the continental U.S. with single or multiple, independently targetable re-entry vehicle warheads. Chinese SSBN will begin official seapatrols starting in 2014. A futher class the Type-96 Tang, is under development.
Chinese calculations for nuclear attacks on the U.S. are chillingly macabre.
“Because the Midwest states of the U.S. are sparsely populated, in order to increase the lethality, [our] nuclear attacks should
mainly target the key cities on the West Coast of the United States, such as Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego,” “The 12 JL-2 nuclear warheads carried by one single Type 094 SSBN can kill and wound 5 million to 12 million Americans,”
And yes, for the record, I DO consider it grim irony that the fringe Survivalist groups whom have for years advocated the Northern Rockies such as Idaho and Montana as the most ideal survival prospect, now find themselves squarley under the proclaimed threat zone of the Chinese.
Then of course there is the 15 new “Zhan Shen” (God of War), Hongzha-6K bombers, which are just a rehash of Krustchev’s
Tupolev Tu-16 Badger twin-engine jet bomber, but can carry modern ALCMs with a 1500-mile range. Coupled with the H-6Ks 2500-nm combat radius, this allows nuclear cruise missile strikes almost 4000 miles from the Chinese mainland. While it cant reach the eastcoast, outer Hawaii and Guam (not to mention of course Japan and the ROK) are within its theorethical reach.
Back in the early 1970s, the US Navy needed a replacement for the old FRAM’d WWII era Sumner and Gearing leftovers from the 1940s and 50s in the fleet. These were small, 3500-4000 ton ships that carried a 8-cell ASROC launcher, 4 5-inch/58 guns in twin mounts, and two triple Mk32 ASW torpedo launchers. They were sitting ducks to anti-ship missiles, could not carry helicopters, and packed almost 400 sailors into a tin can made to all the best specs of 1942.
To replace these old boats, the Spruance class, a mighty 31 destroyers, were built between 1972-1983, all at Ingalls shipbuilding in Pascagoula. As a kid I used to sit at the old Point on Beach Boulevard and watch these sleek 563-foot long greyhounds birthed for Poseidon’s fox hunts.
They were called the “Love Boats” back then, since they were the size of WWII light cruisers (8000-tons), yet only carried a pair of 5-inch guns (Mk45 rapid fire jobs that provided more firepower than twice as many of the old Sumner‘s 5-inch/58s), twin triple ASW tubes, and an 8-cell ASROC launcher. In their defense, most were funded by the bankrupt Carter military and their armament suite was superior to the destroyers they were supposed to replace. In addition, they had a twin helicopter hangar that could support a pair of sub-busting choppers, a battle implement that the WWII destroyers never dreamed of.
Over the 1980s and 90s, they were increasingly armed with other weapons systems. Some 24 ships of the class swapped out their ASROC launcher for a 61-cell Mk41 VLS system like on the Ticonderoga class cruisers (which were based on the Spruances hull). All ships also gained an 8-pack of Harpoon SSMs, a 8-cell NATO Sea Sparrow SAM launcher (also capable of being used against surface ships), and a pair of 20mm CIWS R2D2 guns for swatting away incoming missiles. Ten more of these had a 21 cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher mounted on the starboard fantail to further protect these ships from more modern anti-ship missiles. Several of those that weren’t converted to VLS were given quadruple ABL Mark 43 Tomahawk missile launchers like on the recommissioned Iowa class battleships.
They proved the backbone of fleet operations throughout the last decade of the Cold War, the sordid engagements in the Persian Gulf, and the Navy’s part in the war on drugs. Their long legs (6000+ nm at 20 knots on two turbines), allowed them to self-deploy away from the battle group and a lot of the flag waving done in foreign ports during the Regan-Bush-Clinton years was done by Spruances operating alone.
Then, starting in 1998, these hardy destroyers that were at the top of their game, began to retire.
When the Spruance‘s left the Navy, they took with them 1494 Mk41 VLS cells which carried mainly Tomahawk cruise missiles along with a smattering of ASROC subbusters. They also faded away with 62 5-inch guns, 62 CIWS guns, 249 Harpoon anti-ship missile launch spots, 62 LAMPS helicopter hangar spots, 249 Sea Sparrow missile launcher cells, 210 RAM missile cells, and 186 Mk32 ASW Torpedo tubes. Those 7 hulls that were not equipped with VLS retained their ASROC launchers which gave the fleet another 56 of those weapons.
In 1989, the US Navy had 63 Knox/Brooke/Garcia-class frigates, 51 OHP type guided missile frigates, 31 Spruances, 4 Kidd-Class DDGs (Mk-26/SM-2 armed Spurances) 27 Ticonderoga class CGs, 23 older Charles Adams-class DDGs, 10 Farragut-class DDGs, six nuclear CGNs, 19 Belknap/Truxtun/Leheay-class CGs, four huge Iowa-class Battleships, and the 15,000-ton cruiser Long Beach as large surface combatants. This is a total of 239 surface warships capable of blue water operations.
Today they have in commission: 22 remaining Ticos, 12 OHPs (that are largely disarmed and rapidly retiring), 4 (unproven) LCS’s, and 62 Burke class destroyers, the first of which was laid down on 16 September 1989. That’s an even 100-ships, or a reduction by about 58% from the late 1980s. Granted, the US Navy doesn’t have to go to war with the Soviets anymore ala-Red Storm Rising, but there is still a global need for surface combatants from the South China Sea to the HOA to the Med and the Persian Gulf. A hundred surface ships cant be everywhere at once.
You can argue that the 96-cell VLS equipped DDG-51 class destroyers replaced the Spru-cans, DDGs and retired CGs on a 2:3 basis, but the DDG-51 lacked the extra 5-inch mount, and, in early models, the aircraft capability. Instead of being crammed full of TLAMs, these new DDGs have to allocate most of their space to carrying surface to air missiles. Further, the ’51s are tasked increasingly with fleet air defense and (now) with ABM missions. All the while thier ASW, ASuW, and NGFS capability is being marginalized. Yes, the 51′s replaced the Spurances and the 1970s vintage CGNs of the South Carolina and Virgina-class in so much as AAW is concerned, but they did not fully replace their capability in ASW and NGFS. The Spruances, unlike the Burkes, were dedicated to ASW, ASuW, and land strike with both naval gunfire and cruise missiles. With the Burkes, its a side-job.
Surely the Spurances would now be long in the teeth, ranging from the 1975-commisoned DD-963 to the 1983-dated DD-997, they would all be over thirty years old. However the Ticonderoga-class cruisers are roughly the same age. In fact they use the same hull and below-deck machinery. In 2003, the newer 22 of the 27 ships (CG-52 to CG-73) in that class were upgraded to keep them combat-relevant, giving the ships a service life of at least 35 years each. Had a similar mechanical upgrade been given to the 24-VLS equipped Spurances, they would all still be in service. In fact, given that time line, DD-997 would only be expected to decommission in 2018. More on this ship below.
Instead, all 31 Spruances were rapidly decommissioned and mothballed between 1998 and 2005, when the ships were all in their 20′s. Instead of being refirbed to serve another decade or two, they were stricken from the Navy List. No sooner were they stricken then they were systematically sunk in a series of fleet training exercises, dismantled, or otherwise scrapped.
It can be guessed that since they were too close in design to the still very active Tico class cruisers, they were too sensitive to give away as military aid to the likes of Pakistan, Mexico, or Colombia. Just one of their number, the former USS Paul Foster, remains. She has been in use since 2004 as an unnamed and non-commissioned test ship for the US Navy as the Self Defense Test Ship (SDTS). In this role she is a remote control drone boat, used as a hard target for new weapons systems.
And so goes another wasted opportunity.
Coast Guard Medevacs Injured Navy Sailor from Submarine. Courtesy Video | U.S. Coast Guard District 11 PADET San Diego | Date: 10.11.2013. SAN DIEGO – An aircrew from U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego approaches a submarine to medevac an injured Navy sailor 160 miles west of San Diego, Oct. 11, 2013. The 22-year-old man was transported to San Diego and transferred to emergency medical personnel for further care. U.S. Coast Guard video by Sector San Diego.