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The SM-6 in 360

Experience the test launch of an SM-6 missile from the deck of the Aegis destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53) in super sweet 360° view.

I wound up getting dizzy by continuing to rotate as it spiraled to the stratosphere. You probably don’t want to do that, just saying.

Incidentally, the SM-6 has been cleared for international export by the US DoD.

It recently set a record for the longest range surface-to-air intercept– though the figure itself is classified.

Last Browning-Inglis Hi-Powers in service will have to tough it out another decade

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Designed just before the outbreak of World War II by FN in Belgium, the factory that made the Hi-Power was repurposed in 1940 after the Germans occupied the country and production started back up to provide the handy 9mm pistols to Hitler’s legions.

However, the Allies soon started making the 13-shot semi-auto in Canada, manufactured in Toronto, by John Inglis and Company with a little help from Dieudonné Saive, the Belgian firearms engineer who helped design the gun in the first place.

The Canadian-made Browning-Inglis 9mm has been iconic to the country’s military since World War II, but they may soon get a much-needed replacement.

The Canadian forces have just 13,981 Hi-Powers left–of which  1,243 are parts guns, and are looking to replace the design by 2026.

More in my column at Guns.com

Not your average catch of the day

crate-of-british-enfields-were-dragged-off-newfoundland-in-2011

The archaeology department at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland has been working since 2011 to save a crate of 20 Pattern 1853 Enfield rifled muskets that were delivered to Canada via fishing trawler after an extended period on the bottom of the Atlantic.

The rifles, still in the crate they have been in since around the 1850s-60s, are housed in a large container filled with a chemical solution that includes a bulking agent and corrosion inhibitor designed to stabilize the relics.

“This soaking process will take many years and is done to prevent the wood from collapsing, cracking, or warping once dry and also to prevent any remaining iron from staining the wood surface,” Memorial’s Archaeological Conservator, Donna Teasdale, told me.

And they are now starting to find inspector’s marks on very well preserved brass and walnut.

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More in my column at Guns.com

Just Jeepin’ around Geilenkirchen

vickers-a-go-go-jeep-manned-by-sergeant-a-schofield-and-trooper-o-jeavons-of-1-sas-near-geilenkirchen-in-germany-nov-1944

Click to big up 1920×1080

A jeep manned by Sergeant A Schofield and Trooper O Jeavons of 1 SAS near Geilenkirchen in Germany Nov 1944. The jeep is armed with three Vickers ‘K’ guns (2 double and 1 single mount), and fitted with armoured glass shields in place of a windscreen. The SAS were involved at this time in clearing snipers in the 43rd Wessex Division area. No 5 Army Film & Photographic Unit Hewitt (Sgt)IWM Colourised by Paul Reynolds

NATO brushing up on tank obstacles

U.S. and Canadian combat engineers deployed to Lithuania recently pointed out that an ancient field obstacle invented by the Romans is still pretty good at stopping tanks today.

Members of the U.S. Army’s 54th Brigade Engineer Battalion and Canadian engineers from 1 Combat Engineer Regiment (1 CER), acting as part of a “blue force” during a recent exercise, helped stop a “red force” armored assault through the use of an abatis.

Also spelled abattis, or abbattis, the basic concept is a defensive obstacle formed by felled trees laced together. And it doesn’t take a lot of gear to pull off: chainsaws or a few rucks full of explosives.

While it sounds simple, if done right such as in the above video, it can block a road pretty solid.

VMI’s Cadet Battery is back and better than ever

(Photo: VMI)

(Photo: VMI)

The custom-designed four-gun battery was cast at the Cyrus Alger Foundry in Boston and arrived at VMI on June 6, 1848.  A statue of Stonewall Jackson, who taught cadets artillery tactics on the guns for a decade at the school, watches over.

The guns were mounted on wooden carriages that had last been replaced generations ago. Now, equipped with brand new aluminum carriages after a seven-month refurbishment, the cannon will endure for centuries.

Named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by William Pendleton, an Episcopal minister-turned Civil War artillery officer who commanded the unit who used them to good effect during that conflict, the guns were custom-designed at the Cyrus Alger Foundry in Boston to be small enough so that they could be moved around by the cadets without the use of horses.

For at least a decade before the Civil War, the battery and the cadets who manned it was under the tutelage of one Maj. Thomas Jackson, the professor of philosophy and artillery tactics who later went on to become one of the leading generals of the Confederacy.

“When it comes to 19th-century artillery pieces, these guns are some of the most important and historical in the entire nation,” said Col. Keith Gibson, executive director of the VMI Museum System in a statement last summer when the guns were shipped off.  “We can point to these guns and know that Stonewall Jackson used the guns himself and trained cadets on the guns for an entire decade … when he was [VMI] professor of artillery tactics.”

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

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