Archive | modern military conflict RSS for this section

A whole new take on cigarette boats

Low-observable to both radar and the ole Mk I eyeball, these homegrown Latin American LPVs can pack tons of blow on one-way trips and are increasingly common in the East Pac.

The crew on Coast Guard Cutter Campbell captured this photo of a low profile drug vessel on May 24, 2018, during their deployment to the Eastern Pacific.

Presser from U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast:

BOSTON — Coast Guard Cutter Campbell returned to its homeport in Kittery, Maine, Friday after an 80-day counter-narcotic patrol in the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.

Campbell’s crew disrupted six narcotic smuggling ventures, seized about 12,000 pounds of cocaine, worth $209 million, and detained 24 suspected smugglers.

Equipped with an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew deployed from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron unit based in Jacksonville, Florida, the Campbell patrolled known narcotic transit zones in the Eastern Pacific Ocean off the coast of Central and South America in support of [Key West NAS-based] Joint Interagency Task Force-South, which facilitates international and interagency interdiction to enable the disruption and dismantlement of illicit and converging threat networks in support of national and hemispheric security.

“During this challenging deployment, the crew excelled in all assigned missions and should be exceptionally proud of their accomplishments,” said Cmdr. Mark McDonnell, commanding officer of the Campbell. “Our efforts to integrate with partner agencies and nations are key to the safe and successful execution of these complex interdiction operations as we work together to remove cocaine bound for the United States and help dismantle criminal networks.”

Campbell is a 29-year-old Famous-Class cutter homeported in Kittery, Maine, with a crew complement of 100.

Blasting down the Holloman Test Track

They should charge admisson to ride this bad boy.

Coast Guard stepping up to the plate with more cutter-borne drones

Insitu’s ScanEagle drone platform was chosen by the USCG last week for a $117 million contract after an RFP issued in February to provide small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ISR services aboard the entire 12-ship National Security Cutter fleet.

ScanEagle has over a million hours in the air so far, and a stepped-up version, Integrator, has been adopted by the Marines as the RQ-21 Blackjack, so it is safe to say that it is a mature program.

The service deployed an interim sUAS capability on USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) – an NSC based in Alameda, California – three times in 2017 and used the data gathered to refine the concept of operations and RFP requirements. During the tests, ScanEagle had directly assisted the ship’s crews in seizing more than $1.5 billion of cocaine and heroin.

Stratton with ScanEagle on catapult launcher/carrier to port and an MH-65 stbd. Note the CIWS above the LSO station in the twin hangar. Make no mistake, the NSC is a frigate-sized warship

The Coast Guard began infrastructure installation for more UAS use on their NSCs in April 2018, with plans to begin installing hardware on Cutters James in fall 2018, Munro in late winter 2019 and Bertholf in late spring or early summer 2019. NSC’s have a dual hangar which can permit a USCG helicopter (MH-65) to operate independently of the UAS det.

According to Janes, the drones will be used in a “contractor-owned, contractor-operated” program where Insitu personnel deploying with the cutter will operate the ScanEagle platform for 200 hours per 30 day period. They will also use a Ball Aerospace laser marker, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), and communications relay packages.

Although it is not mentioned, Insitu has been pushing ScanEagle with a ViDAR payload. Small, light and self-contained, ViDAR allows effective primary search with smaller UAVs and aircraft without radar, dramatically improving the cost-effectiveness of maritime operations such as search and rescue, maritime patrol, anti-piracy, anti-narcotics and border protection.

The Coast Guard has also been using smaller Puma hand-launched UAS from other platforms, such as icebreakers and buoy tenders.

Kevin Vollbrecht, an engineering development technician with Aerovironment Inc., launches a PUMA AE unmanned aircraft system from the flight deck of Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star during Operation Deep Freeze 2016 in the Southern Ocean Jan. 3, 2016. The UAS will play a role in selecting the optimal route through pack ice as the cutter transits to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst)

PSD in the future could get pretty interesting, subgun wise

In the Army, Personal Security Detail duty is either collateral part-time stuff (for visiting dignitaries or when deployed overseas for leadership at the brigade level and higher) or dedicated full-time stuff (for like SACEUR, Commander UNC/CFC/USFK, et. al). In the former, it can be as simple as a squad-sized element detailed from a regular platoon with their standard battle rattle, in the latter, it is typically specially-trained MP/CID types (or even special ops guys, Schwartzkopf was famously protected by a plainclothes detail from Delta during the Gulf War) with purpose-dedicated equipment.

The Army has long provided a 2-3 week PSD course at Fort Leonard Wood for just such a skill qualifier.

A U.S. member of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Security Detachment shoots with a Heckler and Koch 9mm MP5 submachine gun at close distance during a Criminal Investigation Command protective services qualification at the Training Support Center Benelux 25-meter indoor range in Chièvres, Belgium, Jan. 14, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)

It’s that latter type of PSD that is seeing the Army planning to award a flurry of small contracts to 10 different firearm companies for what it is terming “Sub Compact Weapons” for those occasions when it is preferable to have something more serious than a handgun under your jacket to sweep gremlins away.

A synopsis of the contract award says the Army is looking for a commercially-available (COTS) design to meet the branch’s need for a “highly concealable” SCW, “capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal and accurate fires at close range with minimal collateral damage.”

The awards, ranging from $8,500 to $39,060 include a small quantity of 9mm weapons with along with magazines, cleaning kits, suppressors, spare parts and other tools and accessories if needed.

And they have some pretty interesting weapons on the table to T&E.

I have to admit, the Sig MPX is a heck of a fun gun to shoot (Photo; Chris Eger)

More in my column at Guns.com

Remember that time B-1Bs simulated dropping Quickstrike mines in a Baltic op?

The Russians are sure to be a fan of the ongoing BALTOPS excercise which has seen, among other things, the Truman Strike Group including Carrier Air Wing One (CVW) 1, embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and B-1B’s sent from CONUS.

Speaking of which, how about those mines:

“In flight footage featuring drop of Navy Quickstrike Mine as well as taxi take off and landing. Two B-1B Lancers assigned to Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, dropped 12 inert Mark 62 Quickstrike mines while participating in BALTOPS 2018 which is an annual, multinational exercise designed to enhance interoperability and demonstrate NATO and partner force resolve to defend the Baltic Region. The Lancers were assigned to the 345th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and sortied from RAF Fairford, England, June 2, 2018. (Video by Senior Airman Shawn White, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs)”

Sailors from the Navy Munitions Command Atlantic Unit at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., worked with members of the 7th Munitions Squadron to build the mines using Navy kits and Air Force practise bombs.

According to the Navy: The Quickstrike is a family of shallow water, aircraft laid mines used primarily against surface and subsurface craft. Quickstrike versions Mark 62 and Mark 63 are converted general purpose 500-pound and 1000-pound bombs, respectively. The Mark 65 is a 2,000-pound mine, which utilizes a thin-walled mine case, rather than a bomb body.

Mines can be used to deny an enemy access to specific areas or channelize the enemy into specific areas. Sea mines have been used by the U.S. Navy since the Revolutionary War. Mines have been used with significant effect in the Civil War and both World Wars. The most effective use of mines by the United States was against the Japanese Empire in World War II. U.S. aircraft laid over 12,000 mines in Japanese shipping routes and harbor approaches, sinking 650 Japanese ships and totally disrupting all of their maritime shipping.

Some stills:

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 345th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off in support of Exercise Baltic Operations at RAF Fairford, England, June 2, 2018 (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Emily Copeland)

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 345th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron align 12 inert Mark 62 Quickstrike mines on a munitions assembly conveyor during Exercise Baltic Operations at RAF Fairford, England, May 31, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Emily Copeland)

Warning tag is displayed on an inert Mark 62 Quickstrike mine firing mechanism for Exercise Baltic Operations at RAF Fairford, England, May 31, 2018. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Emily Copeland)

Spec Ops dropping in with a snazzy light-interfacing holster

SureFire’s MasterFire is a rapid-deploy holster designed specifically to interface with most railed handguns equipped with a SureFire H-Series (XH15, X300UH, X400UH) weapon mounted light and an optional Ryder suppressor without dismounting the latter. The holster’s light activation switch can be set to automatically activate the weapon light and/or mounted laser when the handgun is drawn.

And according to SF, they have been used in a night combat jump…

More in my column at Guns.com.

Packing non-carriers with stern-sitters, an enduring idea now new again

Below we see an “Artist Conception of the Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing (STOVL) fighter concept, developed by the David W. Taylor Naval Ship and Research and Development Center, in various stages of flight and recovery positions near the 325-foot small waterplane area twin hull ship (SWATH),” received February 1981.

 U.S. Navy Photograph now in the collections of the National Archives. 428-GX-KN-31380:

Interestingly enough, DARPA has been working on a tail-sitter for the past several years, known as the Tern project.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency produced this concept art of a vertical take-off and landing capable maritime drone system as part of its earlier (TERN) program.

And it could wind up being the Marines’ new MUX drone, meant to be a poor man’s E2 Hawkeye/EF-18G Growler for use from LPDs and LHA/Ds.

More on that at The Drive

The Writer in Black

News and views from The Writer in Black

Stephen Taylor WW2 Relic Hunter

World War 2 Historian, Relic Hunter and expert in identification of WW2 relics

USS Gerald R. Ford

Mission Ready, Qualified & Competent, On Time Execution!

The Unwritten Record

Exploring History with the National Archives Special Media Division

Stuff From Hsoi

Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.

Louisville Gun

Thoughts and Musings on Gun Control & Crime

Ted Campbell's Point of View

An old soldier's blog, mostly about Conservative politics and our national defence and whatever else might interest me on any given day

CIVILIAN GUNFIGHTER

Identifying the Best Training, Tools, and Tactics for the Armed Civilian!

MountainGuerrilla

Nous Defions!

Under Every Leaf.

A Site for the British Empire 1860-1913

JULESWINGS

Military wings and things

Western Rifle Shooters Association

They hate you. Plan and act accordingly.

Meccanica Mekaniikka Mecanică

The Mechanix of Auto, Aviation, Military...pert near anything I feel relates to mechanical things, places, events or whatever I happen to like. Even non-mechanical artsy-fartsy stuff.

Eatgrueldog

Where misinformation stops and you are force fed the truth III

The LBM Blogger

Make Big Noise

Not Clauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist who fled the toxic Smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat-wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Coastal Elite Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~ with guns, off-road moto, boulevardier-moto, moto-guns, snorkeling, snorkel-guns, and home-improvement stuff.

%d bloggers like this: