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Kalashnikov CEO wants a 20-ton ‘reconnaissance-strike robot’

Kalashnikov’s BAS-01G Soratnik unmanned vehicle can carry a machine gun and quartet of antitank missiles, but the company’s CEO wants to supersize it. (Photo: Kalashnikov Concern)

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.

I covered it over at Guns.com and am honored that Popular Mechanics picked it up as well.

ARDEC 3D prints their own 40mm blooper

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.

Of the more than 50 parts of the M203A1, ARDEC was able to 3D print about 90 percent from scratch

The project name? RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance)

Andi it has even fired 3D printed grenades to prove it works.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Not Sci-fi: 103 Perdix self-healing drones launched from 3 F-18s

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.”

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.”

The 6-inch long drone, developed by MIT in 2013, can fly for about 20 minutes at 60kts.

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.

More here

It’s about time

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.

solar-power-helmet

“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.

Endangered Marine XM-3s being preserved via CMP

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.

That's a full length rifle

That’s a fully asssembled sniper rifle…

What was so special about them?

From Steve Reichert:

-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.

xm-3-rifle-serial-number-s6534025-has-a-factory-green-stock-finish-and-shows-signs-of-use-but-was-well-maintained-and-cared-for-was-built-at-iba-by-d-briggs-usmc-ret-2112 pvs-22

Talk about functional history…

Meanderings of a Weapon Oriented Mind When Applied in a Vacuum Such as on the Moon

meanderings-of-a-weapon-oriented-mind-when-applied-in-a-vacuum-such-as-on-the-moon

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!

pages-from-the-meanderings-of-a-weapon-oriented-mind-when_page_329-page PDF here

More on the Proteus mini-sub

Huntington Ingalls Industries just dropped a new video hyping their swag prototype Proteus DMUV (dual mode undersea vehicle– they really need to fix that acronym) which they hope will replace the vintage MkVIII “Eight Boat” SDV (frogman sub) in use by NSWG. Sure, its a little over the top with all the cheerleading by people really happy to be part of the team building experience they can pop in on their LinkedIn page, but there are lots of shots and a little background on the Proteus. Dig those interfaces.

More on Proteus here at HI Sutton’s Covert Shores site

SDV_proteus_cutaway940

 

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