An early idea to help evac pilots lost behind the lines before C-SAR helicopters made it a lick, the 700-pound Goodyear Inflatoplane could be airdropped and, providing the pilot had some spare time on his hands and 250 feet of clear sod could pump it up and fly home.
The Inflatoplane’s performance was comparable to that of a J3 Cub. The airplane was wheeled out like a wheelbarrow and inflated in about 5 minutes using less air pressure than a car tire. The two-cycle 40-hp Nelson engine had to be hand-started and held 20 gallons of fuel.
The Inflatoplane carried a maximum weight of 240 lb., had a range of 390 mi., and an endurance of 6.5 hr.s. Its cruise speed was 60 mph. Take off distance on sod was 250 ft with 575 ft needed to clear a 50-foot obstacle. It landed in 350 ft on sod. Rate of climb was 550 ft per min. Its service ceiling was estimated at 10,000 ft.
Twelve Inflatoplanes were designed and built in less than twelve weeks. Development, testing, and evaluation of the inflatable airplane continued through 1972 and the project was canceled in 1973. Goodyear donated two Inflatoplanes, one to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and one to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The aircraft is in storage at the Garber Restoration Facility.
Kalashnikov Concern CEO Alexei Krivoruchko told Russian media that the company is developing a pretty big unmanned combat vehicle.
In an interview with state-run media outlet Tass, Krivoruchko hyped the partially-state run factories progress on advanced weapons including the new RPK-16 light machine gun before moving on to the mechanical elephant in the room– unmanned ground combat vehicles. The CEO advised a new 20-ton platform (described as a “робота” — robot) is under development which, when compared to what Kalash already markets, is huge.
The company showed off their current 7-ton BAS-01G Soratnik (Comrade-in-arms) unmanned vehicle in 2016, then last December made it do tricks for the Russian Ministry of Defence while armed with four anti-tank rockets and a machine gun. Alternatively, it can be modified to carry up to a 30mm gun or eight Kornet-EM laser-guided anti-tank missiles. Soratnik can be positioned as a bastion and act autonomously for 10 days as such in a standby mode, waiting to engage a threat.
Produced in a joint collaboration between the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, the U.S. Army Manufacturing Technology Program and America Makes, the group used additive manufacturing techniques to craft a direct copy of the M203A1 40mm grenade launcher commonly mounted under the M16/M4 series rifles.
Every part of the weapon, save for the springs and some fasteners, was sintered in aluminum or printed in 4340 alloy steel in 35 hours of production.
The project name? RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance)
Andi it has even fired 3D printed grenades to prove it works.
So have you seen this yet?
“In one of the most significant tests of autonomous systems under development by the Department of Defense, the Strategic Capabilities Office, partnering with Naval Air Systems Command, successfully demonstrated one of the world’s largest micro-drone swarms at China Lake, California. The test, conducted Oct. 26, 2016 consisted of 103 Perdix drones launched from three F/A-18 Super Hornets. The micro-drones demonstrated advanced swarm behaviors such as collective decision-making, adaptive formation flying, and self-healing.”
No shit, this is from the DOD itself.
“Due to the complex nature of combat, Perdix are not pre-programmed synchronized individuals, they are a collective organism, sharing one distributed brain for decision-making and adapting to each other like swarms in nature,” said SCO Director William Roper in a statement. “Because every Perdix communicates and collaborates with every other Perdix, the swarm has no leader and can gracefully adapt to drones entering or exiting the team.”
Controlling 100 drones individually would be overwhelming, so much like a sport coach, operators call “plays” (e.g., surveilling a field) and Perdix decides how best to run them. Because Perdix cannot change their plays, operators can predict the swarm’s behavior without having to micromanage it.
U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center posted this image last week of a project they are working on to add a cheap solar panel to the average helmet cover.
“As more electronics are integrated into the Soldier ensemble, powering them effectively becomes a challenge. Our researchers are looking into thin, wearable, photovoltaics for the Soldier’s backpack and helmet that could provide as much as 17 watts from exposure to sunlight.”
If 17 watts is enough to trickle charge an iPhone, this will be the the most welcome peice of kit ever, especally at JRTC, Hohenfels and NTC. The Spec4 mafia is already scheming.
In 2004, the Marine snipers deployed in the sandbox needed a rifle that was shorter and lighter as well as quieter, than their standard M40s.
This led a small group of sniper wonks including Steve Reichert (then SNCOIC of the 2nd Marine Division’s Pre-Sniper course) and others to hammer out what was known as the DARPA XM-3 rifle, using an 18.5″ Hart 416R Stainless Steel (Mil-Gauged) barrel that was suppressor ready.
What was so special about them?
-The receivers were clip slotted to accept the reverse-engineered titianium picatinny rail (IBA Design) to fit firmly.
-The receivers’ internal threads were opened up to 1.070” to allow a perfectly true alignment with the bolt face and chamber/bore dimension. The chamber was cut to accept M118LR ammo.
-The titanium recoil lug was built with the 1.070” diameter opening for the larger-barrel threads and surface ground true.
-The stainless steel magazine box was hand fitted and welded to eliminate movement when assembled.
-The stocks were custom made for the project.
-The barreled actions were bedded in titanium Devcon and Marine Tex to allow for decades of hard use without losing torque or consistency.
-Nightforce made a full 1 MOA elevation adjustment on their NXS 3.5-15X50’s to allow for faster dope changes at distance. These scopes had 1/4 MOA windage.
While successful and a hit with the Devils who got to use them, the 56 or so XM3’s were all pulled from service by 2014.
Thankfully, some have made thier way to the CMP and, as surplus bolt-action rifles, can be sold to the public.
They just auctioned off XM-3 rifle, serial number S6534025 with a factory green stock finish, built at Iron Brigade Armory by D. Briggs, USMC (Ret), 2112.
The rifle included the scope, sniper data book with some firing information; PVS22 Night Vision Device and other goodies.
Talk about functional history…
The Aerospace Projects Review Blog uncovered a great July 1965 report from the U.S. Army’s Directorate of R&D Future Weapons Office about the realities of using firearms and other projectile weapons in space.
Conventional firearms would work just fine in space… at least for a while. A vacuum would cause most lubricants to outgas and turn to waxy solids or hard rubber-like crud. The extreme differences in temperatures between sunlit and shaded would cause many metals to warp and mechanisms to seize up. And there’s always the possibility of vacuum welding, where two similar metals will simply stick together, fusing into one. And recoil that gives a shooter a good kick on Earth might knock them over on the Moon, or send them tumbling in freefall. The authors described these problems and pointed out potential solutions. Additionally, they provided a number of notional concepts for hand-held weapons, ranging from modifications to the normal sort of firearm, to guns powered by springs (with, it must be said, rather optimistic muzzle velocities) to gas-guns and handheld mini-rocket launchers.
Such as the Sausage Gun!