The M18, the smaller of the two variants of the Sig Sauer P320 adopted as part of the military’s 2017 MHS contract award to replace a host of legacy pistols, reportedly sailed through the recent Lot Acceptance Test conducted by the U.S. Army, according to the New Hampshire-based gun maker. While LAT tests allow for 12 stoppages in the course of 5000 rounds fired, three M18 used went to 12,000 rounds each, with no stoppages. The guns then went on to pass required interchangeability, material and accuracy tests.
You have to admit, they look pretty nice when compared to old beat-up M9s.
More in my column at Guns.com
In a modern version of Operation Market Time, the storied and long-lasting effort to prevent seaborne infiltration of supplies from North Vietnam into the south, U.S. and allied forces have been stopping guns from getting from rogue states (let us just say, “maybe” Iran) to Yemen, a country that has been enmeshed in a brutal civil war for years. While the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) alone picked up 1,000 AKs last year, other countries like Australia and France have picked up their fair share as well.
In 2016, the French Navy destroyer FS Provence stopped a stateless dhow that contained 2,000 AK-47s, 64 Dragunov SVD sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles, and other munitions.
Ever wonder what happens to them?
Well, I guess to the victors goes the spoils of when it comes to spare Kalash, and the French government just recently gifted 1,400 of those same AKs to the Central African Republic (formerly the colony of French Equatorial Africa) in an effort to strengthen the country’s military.
France has long had a thumb in the CARs affairs and has maintained a sizable military force there since 2013, its 7th such deployment since the country gained nominal independence in 1960.
On 26 January 1979, the Belgische Luchtmacht (Belgian Air Force) received their first F-16A, FB-01, to replace their F-104 Starfighters which had been around for two decades. As such, the service just celebrated their 40th birthday with the type.
The BAF currently has some 54 early models F-16A/Bs (designated F-16AM and F-16BMs respectively) in inventory remaining from a batch of 160 purchased in the 1980s. These include 43 PAA aircraft assigned to four squadrons: the 1re Escadrille de Chasse (which dates back to 1913), 31st, 350th, and 351st. In recent years they have conducted deployments to Libya and Afghanistan as well as other NATO and EU missions. They also take turns keeping two F-16s on alert to defend the airspace of all three BE-NE-LUX Lowland countries.
They are set to be replaced in 34 F-35As in coming years.
Here is a video of Belgian F-16s, flown by pilots from the 2nd Tactical Wing at Florennes while on a NATO mission safeguarding the airspace over Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia.
While the U.S. Marine Corps, as everyone knows, dates back to Tun Tavern in 1775, their Romanian equivalent– Regimentul 307 Infanterie Marină (Forțele Navale Române) — was only formed in 1975 by that country’s Black Sea-based navy.
Originally just a battalion-sized force that emulated the Soviet Naval Infantry with the goal of raiding the Turkish coast in WWIII-type conflict involving the Warsaw Pact vs NATO, it has evolved over time to a full regiment and has been involved in a series of mentoring exercises with Western marine units such as that of the Dutch Korps Mariniers, the British RM and, of course, the Devils. Heck, they even deployed to Kosovo as part of KFOR in 2008-9.
Below is a good comparison from a 2017 exercise between the 24th MEU and the 307th that shows both a Romanian naval infantry sailor and an American Leatherneck at Capu Midia
Romanian Sailor Cpl. Pintilie Madalina:
Note the M2002 pattern camo, which is a Romanian version of British DPM (and is being replaced by a new pixilated camo) and her Cugir-made
PA md . 86 underfolder in 5.45x39mm 7.62x39mm PM md. 65 (thanks, Alex!) akin to the old school AKMS, complete with the distinctive Romanian “dong” wooden fore end.
Now contrast her with Marine Capt. Rebecca Bergstedt, officer in charge of the 24th Marine Expeditionary (MEU), Unit Female Engagement Team.
Still, I wouldn’t want to fight either one.
The Navy just awarded some $15.2B to Newport News for work on the two Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, the 9th USS Enterprise (CVN-80) PCU, and the as-yet-to-be-named CVN-81. The ships are slated to replacing the 1970s vintage Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), respectively, when they commission in the 2030s. By then, hopefully they will get their cats and elevators worked out.
Of note, Enterprise will be Newport News’ third flattop with the same name, as they also constructed both CVA(N)-65 and CV-6 in the 1930s and 1960s, respectively.
Huntington Ingalls Industries – Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Virginia, is awarded the detail design and construction (DD&C) efforts for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers Enterprise (CVN 80) and unnamed CVN 81 under the following contract actions: (1) A $14,917,738,145 fixed-price-incentive-firm target modification to previously awarded contract N00024-16-C-2116 for DD&C efforts for the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80) and unnamed CVN 81. The current contract for advance procurement funded efforts has been in place since 2016. (2) A $263,096,868 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to previously awarded contract N00024-16-C-2116 for associated research and development efforts. (3) A $31,097,671 cost-plus-fixed-fee modification for additional level-of-effort in support of maintenance of the CVN 78 class specification, design efforts, feasibility and tradeoff studies, and scoping and estimating. Work under this contract will be performed in Newport News, Virginia (62 percent); Sunnyvale, California (5 percent); Coatesville, Pennsylvania (3 percent); Wellsville, New York (1 percent); Cincinnati, Ohio (1 percent); Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1 percent); and various locations below one percent (27 percent), and is expected to be completed by February 2032. Fiscal 2018 and 2019 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding; and fiscal 2019 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funding in the amount of $889,830,279 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 6.302-1(a)(2)(iii) – only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, District of Columbia, is the contracting activity.
Last June, the U.S. Army tapped first 10 and then a total of 13 companies for what it termed “Sub Compact Weapons.” These guns, “capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal and accurate fires at close range with minimal collateral damage,” were to be used by the military’s Personal Security Details, special teams tasked with protecting high-value officers and dignitaries such as the SACEUR and the commander of U.S. Forces Korea– each likely an endangered species in the hours prior to the balloon going up in those regions.
Well, that didn’t work out and the Army trimmed the field a bit in September with a tough series of requirements (a weapon shorter than 15-inches overall when stowed but still ready to fire in such a position, weight less than 5-pounds, etc) and just six companies were able to get in on that. While a small contract, likely to run 350 to 1,000 guns, the bragging rights to replace the long-standard HK MP5 would be huge.
While little details about what models were ultimately submitted for review by the Army, several new SCW-ish guns were in the aisles of the 41st annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas last week, and they are pretty swag.
More in my column at Guns.com.