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Navy blaster

Official caption: ROTA, Spain (March 5, 2017) Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Samantha Rivera stands topside rover watch aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Porter (DDG 78) while the ship is pier side at Naval Station Rota, Spain. Porter is forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ford Williams/Released)

It’s good to see that SH3 Rivera’s M4 is rocking an angled foregrip and a detachable LMT L8A A2 rear sight assembly. Always nice when “commercial off the shelf” works to the advantage.

Good TD as well.

Say hello to the newest aircraft carrier (um, destroyer?) Kaga

The Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned the new aircraft carrying destroyer Kaga (DDH-184), shown next to her sistership Izumo (DDH-183) in Yokohama on March 22. (Eiji Hori)

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) on Wednesday introduced their newest version of the Kaga to the world. Officially classified by Japan as a helicopter destroyer, these 27,000-ton flattops are 814-feet long and only carry a pair of CIWS and Sea Ram self-defense systems as far as fitted armament, rather than any big guns, torpedos, or serious guided missiles. What they can carry are up to 28 aircraft (STOVL or rotary wing only) or a battalion of troops.

Kaga, of course, shares the name of the famous 1920s Tosa-class battleship converted to a flattop which was scratched at the Battle of Midway.

Izumo was commissoned 25 March 2015. Her name was previously used by an early armored cruiser of the Imperial Japanese Navy (ordered 1897, sunk 1945). She recently made headlines when was reported that in a couple months Izumo will sail through the disputed waters of the  South China Sea and port calls in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. She is also scheduled to participate in this year’s trilateral India-U.S.-Japan Malabar naval exercise taking place in the Indian Ocean in July.

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.

Meet the RPK-16

Kalashnikov Concern’s PKK-16 (RPK-16) is a really nice AK74 introduced last fall that has a heavy barrel (threaded for a suppressor), pic rails everywhere and a 96-round drum mag to keep it stoked with 5.45x39mm. Unloaded and without the accessories it is an 8.8-pound (2kg weapon).

click to big up

As noted by Janes:

“RPK-16 is chambered for M74 5.45x39mm cartridge, as well as its predecessor. The new LMG can fire 7N6, 7N10, 7T3, and 7T3M munitions. The firearm has a combat weight of 6 kg, a full length of 1,076 mm, a barrel length of 370 mm [short barrel] or 550 mm [long barrel], a maximum firing range of 800 m, and a magazine capacity of 30 or 96 rounds. It features traditional Kalashnikov long-stroke piston gas-operating scheme, interchangeable barrels, a Picatinny rail for optical/red dot scopes on the top of the receiver, an ergonomic pistol grip, and a folding stock. The bipod of RPK-74 is replaced by a Picatinny rail. RPK-16 can be complemented by a suppressor”.

The U.S. companion is the 7.9-pound (empty) Heckler and Koch M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) a select-fire HK 416 with a heavy barrel. While 50,60, and 100-round mags are commonly available, the USMC is sticking to the standard 30-rounder as made by Magpul.

A dream no more

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO's Via Shipspotting http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=178486

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO’s Via Shipspotting http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=178486

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Btw.

Named after a style of visionary dream poem, the former Irish Navy’s Emer-class 1,000-ton offshore patrol vessel LÉ Aisling (P23) will be put up for auction at the Carrigaline Court Hotel on March 23rd where Cork auctioneer Dominic Daly will seek to obtain the best price for the State for the ship.

One of four Irish Naval Services ships to be built at Verolme Cork Dockyard (and the last greyhull to leave that yard), LÉ Aisling commissioned in 1980 and was stricken last June after over 35 years of service.

Armed with a single 40mm Bofors L70, a couple of 20mm GAMBO cannon and some 7.62mm GPMGs, Aisling made a name for herself in a running battle with the Spanish fishing trawler Sonia (330-tons) in 1984, firing 600~ rounds in warning shots while the Spanish vessel attempted repeatedly to ram. Sonia later sank after Aisling broke contact.

The same year she captured the trawler Marita Ann, sailing with 160 guns (including some stolen M2 Brownings via National Guard armories) and 71,000 rounds of ammo aboard rumored to have been sent to the IRA by connections of Whitey Bulger.

She also responded to the Air India Flight 182 disaster and others lost at sea.

The 214-foot Aisling reportedly put in 628,856 nautical miles in her 35 years and thought was given to making her a museum ship, though that has apparently fallen through.

She is the last of her class in Ireland.

Class leader LÉ Emer (P21) commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as a training ship and renamed NNS Prosperity in 2015 after a Nigerian businessman’s scheme to use her as a personal yacht fell through. Sister LÉ Aoife (P22) was donated to Malta in 2015 to help that country pluck migrant refugees from the Med. The half-sister and prototype to the Emer-class, the one-off Deirdre (P20), was stricken in 2003 and, after a career as a yacht, was scrapped in Florida in 2014.

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.

Puntland Pirates, ahoy

The EU Naval Force, which is currently operating off the coast of Somalia, has received positive confirmation from the master of the Comoros-flagged tanker, Aris 13, that his ship and crew are currently being held captive by a number of suspected armed pirates in an anchorage off the north coast of Puntland, close to Alula.

Reuters is reporting the Aris 13 has eight Sri Lankan crew on board. Somali authorities said the incident is the first time a commercial ship has been seized in the region since 2012 and they are going in to effect a rescue.

“We are determined to rescue the ship and its crew. Our forces have set off to Alula. It is our duty to rescue ships hijacked by pirates and we shall rescue it,” said Abdirahman Mohamud Hassan, director general of Puntland’s marine police forces.

Update: The Somali “pirates” were apparently fishermen who used to be pirates who seized the tanker as a warning to the government to get the lead out to help the fishermen keep their fish by running off those using their waters illegally. Apparently, it was kinda of a “you better do right by us, or we will pick up the Kalash and start doing this crap again” kind of statement. Anyway, they have released the oil tanker and crew, unmolested.

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