Archive | modern military conflict RSS for this section

China on track to have six (6) carrier battle groups by 2035

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China is hard at work on their second Type 001A class aircraft carrier, CV18. It will use an electromagnetic aircraft launch system and displace somewhere on the order of 80,000-tons, making it the largest Chinese warship ever built and second only to a modern U.S. fleet carrier.

Chinese carrier Liaoning with escorts.

The PLAN has actually been in the carrier business in part since the mid-1970s, a dream realized in part when they picked up the retired Majestic-class light carriers HMAS Melbourne (R21) in 1984. Though she had a scant 868,893 nautical miles on her and was a mess, the Chinese slowly disassembled the WWII-design over a 15-year period and reportedly made extensive notes on her construction and steam catapult and landing systems as first steps towards their own carrier program. Reportedly, the Chinese Navy reverse-engineered a land-based replica of Melbourne‘s cat by 1987 and has used it in a series of trials of their own carrier-based aircraft.

The PLAN further compared the 1940s British carrier to that of the 1970s Soviet helicopter carriers Kiev and Minsk, purchased in the 1990s as floating amusement parks for tourists, to help with their own best practices in flattop construction moving forward. Then came the 67,000-ton Admiral Kuznetsov-class strike carrier, laid down as the Soviet carrier Varyag in 1985, and finally completed by the Chinese in 2011 as Liaoning after she was sold in 1998 by the Ukrainians as a floating casino (!).

China’s first locally built carrier, the Type 001A aircraft carrier or CV-17, a modified Kuznetsov based on the Liaoning improvements, was launched on 26 April 2017 and is fitting out with a completion date expected sometime around 2020 as the carrier Shi Lang. The yard reportedly is using lots of Ukrainian experts and a staff of 5,000 skilled shipbuilders.

Media reports from the country now say China plans to have up to six aircraft carrier battle groups in service by 2035, according to naval experts, with Liaoning, one or two new Type 001A class vessels, as well as nuclear-powered follow-on ships as the centerpiece.

That’s a pretty aggressive growth plan with lots of potential for failure, but you have to admit, it is starting to look like a whole new Pacific in the next generation.

The M18, like the M17, only cuter

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

Maritime Discount Goods

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.

Guns seized by the French Navy on March 20, 2016 (Photo Combined Maritime Forces)

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.

Celebrating 40 yrs of Belgian F16s

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.

A Belgian Air Force F-16BM two-seater model, photo via BAF

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.

U.S. and Romanian Marines, compared

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:

(U.S. Marine Corps photo illustration by Sgt. Matthew Callahan/Released)

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.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo illustration by Sgt. Matthew Callahan/Released)

Still, I wouldn’t want to fight either one.

You get a carrier, you get a carrier…

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.

From DOD:

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.

What is an SCW and how is it changing the new guns on the market?

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.

The Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Samuel Caines, assigned to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe Security Detachment, ejects a bullet casing at the Training Support Center Benelux 25-meter indoor range in Chièvres, Belgium, Oct. 22, 2015. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie/Released)

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.

 

Yokosuka Sasebo Japan

The U.S. Navy and the Western Pacific

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

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

The post-WW2 world is kaput. You are either part of a gang or part of a gang's menu.

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

%d bloggers like this: