Some 102 years ago today, the German embassy in Washington D.C. posted a warning on ships sailing under a British flag from the U.S.
Travellers intending to embark on the Atlantic voyage are reminded that a state of war exists between Germany and her allies and Great Britain and her allies; that the zone of war includes the waters adjacent to the British Isles; that, in accordance with formal notice given by the Imperial German Government, vessels flying the flag of Great Britain, or any of her allies, are liable to destruction in those waters and that travellers sailing in the war zone on the ships of Great Britain or her allies do so at their own risk.
Imperial German Embassy
Washington, D.C. 22 April 1915
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has split its National Firearms Act branch into a separate division in hopes of providing more oversight and efficiency.
The new NFA Division will consist of an Industry Processing Branch, focusing on processing forms from the private sector, and a Government Support Branch centered on law enforcement.
The IPB will see the regulatory body dedicate an entire branch to handling the processing of consumer-directed documents including Form 1 and Form 4 applications for the making and transfer of NFA items such as suppressors, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns.
But what does this mean? I talked to the experts to find out…
The improvised gun-truck, where you bolt on a crew served machine gun or light artillery piece and run around taking shots at stuff, has been around since the Great War at least. In more recent times, this blend of civilian or commercial truck and a heavy weapon has been called “the technical” since the Toyota Wars of Libya in the 1980s.
The Armor Journal Magazine has this great sample of some Mad Max tank action from (where else?) Syria/Western Iraq:
The Syrian civil war gave birth to a wide array of makeshift vehicles, often cobbled together by the many factions fighting there, using whatever is at hand. Here we have something really special, a T55 turret mounted on an improvised pedestal on the back of a 8 wheeled civilian truck and another turret mounted on a trailer, both obviously used as artillery pieces. (~ Marcus, The Armor Journal)
The below video, from June 2016, which may or may not be the same vehicle shows the turret of a T-55 tank (Chinese Type 67?) used as Mobile Artillery by Iraqi Badr Forces near Jabal Makhoul (Salah Ad-Din province).
An early idea to help evac pilots lost behind the lines before C-SAR helicopters made it a lick, the 700-pound Goodyear Inflatoplane could be airdropped and, providing the pilot had some spare time on his hands and 250 feet of clear sod could pump it up and fly home.
The Inflatoplane’s performance was comparable to that of a J3 Cub. The airplane was wheeled out like a wheelbarrow and inflated in about 5 minutes using less air pressure than a car tire. The two-cycle 40-hp Nelson engine had to be hand-started and held 20 gallons of fuel.
The Inflatoplane carried a maximum weight of 240 lb., had a range of 390 mi., and an endurance of 6.5 hr.s. Its cruise speed was 60 mph. Take off distance on sod was 250 ft with 575 ft needed to clear a 50-foot obstacle. It landed in 350 ft on sod. Rate of climb was 550 ft per min. Its service ceiling was estimated at 10,000 ft.
Twelve Inflatoplanes were designed and built in less than twelve weeks. Development, testing, and evaluation of the inflatable airplane continued through 1972 and the project was canceled in 1973. Goodyear donated two Inflatoplanes, one to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and one to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The aircraft is in storage at the Garber Restoration Facility.
Exotic Swiss arms maker Brügger & Thomet is probably best known for their MP9 series firearms, but have you “heard” of their VP9?
The manually-operated VP9 (veterinary pistol, 9mm) is meant for humane euthanasia by large animal vets in the field and has an integrated suppressor that they bill as the “most quiet pistol in this calibre on the market.”
With a five-shot magazine, it only has two moving parts and at 11.25-inches overall length with its largest can, is about the size of an M1911, though is much quieter. Like classic Welrod (a British WWII design it favors that also used internal wipes) quiet. It sucks that rubber wipes are considered by ATF to be “silencer parts” over here, which makes it rough for U.S. suppressor makers to come up with comparable designs as its impractical to repack these old-school cans on a regular basis.
In the above video by 5.11, they visit B&T AG and talk with Reto Flutsch (that name, tho) and go
loud quiet with a VP9.
For more on it’s grandpa, check out the video from Ian with Forgotten Weapons, below.
The US government is yet to approve the sale of 12 armed Air Tractor aircraft to Kenya as IOMAX and a US congressman continue to dispute the proposed sale.
The contract, submitted to the US Congress for approval in January, seeks to provide the Kenyan air force with weapons to fight al Shabaab in neighbouring Somalia. However, the contracting of L-3 Technologies has been vehemently opposed by US Congressman Ted Budd who said the contract was awarded secretively and without going through open tender processes.
Further, he said at $418 million, the L-3 package for up to 12 Air Tractor AT-802L and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, weapons and technical support was hugely inflated and awarded to a contractor with no manufacture or conversion experience on the type of aircraft.
Budd said IOMAX, which never submitted a bid although it has previously supplied armed AT-802 aircraft to the UAE, could supply the same package at a much lower cost. Budd’s congressional district falls in the same area as IOMAX’s headquarters.
On Wednesday last week, L-3 Technologies apparently reduced the price of the package and added some new components to the bid.
On Friday, IOMAX said it could provide Kenya with ‘superior’ aircraft, weapons, technical support and program management at a cost of $237 million, which is $181 million lower than the contract ceiling of L-3 Technologies.
What is the “superior aircraft” to the Air Tractor AT-802L, a up-armored crop duster? Who is Iomax?
Glad you asked.
Based on the Thrush S2R-660, another crop-duster, Ionmax’s Archangel runs on a P&W PT61 and can stay aloft for 10 hours in an ISR mode– that’s almost drone endurance without having to have a satlink. When used in a strike mode, the former pestiside pusher has 6 underwing hardpoints and a centerline point for COIN ops and, using EO/IR/LRF/LD sensors, can carry either:
-12 AGM-114 Hellfires or UMTAS AGMs
-10 GBU-58 laser-guided Mk-81 bombs (a 250-pound Paveway II)
-6 GBU-12 laser-guided Mk-82 500-pounders
-48 Roketsan CIRIT 2.75in laser-guided missiles
Or a combination of the above.
Pretty neat stuff overall.
If you are near San Pedro tomorrow, stop by the museum ship USS Iowa where they will be having their annual Turret 2 Remembrance ceremony.
Michael Shannon Justice, Seaman (SN), Matewan, WV
Edward J. Kimble, Seaman (SN), Ft. Stockton, TX
Richard E. Lawrence, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Springfield, OH
Richard John Lewis, Fire Controlman, Seaman Apprentice (FCSA), Northville, MI
Jose Luis Martinez Jr., Seaman Apprentice (SA), Hidalgo, TX
Todd Christopher McMullen, Boatswains Mate 3rd class (BM3), Manheim, PA
Todd Edward Miller, Seaman Recruit (SR), Ligonier, PA
Robert Kenneth Morrison, Legalman 1st class (LN1), Jacksonville, FL
Otis Levance Moses, Seaman (SN), Bridgeport, CN
Darin Andrew Ogden, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Shelbyville, IN
Ricky Ronald Peterson, Seaman (SN), Houston, MN
Mathew Ray Price, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Burnside, PA
Harold Earl Romine Jr., Seaman Recruit (SR), Brandenton, FL
Geoffrey Scott Schelin, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GMG3), Costa Mesa, CA
Heath Eugene Stillwagon, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Connellsville, PA
Todd Thomas Tatham, Seaman Recruit (SR), Wolcott, NY
Jack Ernest Thompson, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Greeneville, TN
Stephen J. Welden, Gunners Mate 2nd class (GM2), Yukon, OK
James Darrell White, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Norwalk, CA
Rodney Maurice White, Seaman Recruit (SR), Louisville, KY
Michael Robert Williams, Boatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2), South Shore, KY
John Rodney Young, Seaman (SN), Rockhill, SC
Reginald Owen Ziegler, Senior Chief Gunners Mate (GMCS), Port Gibson, NY