Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Driverless convoys

A convoy of U.S. Army vehicles will cruise along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan as part of an initial testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways.
A convoy of U.S. Army vehicles will cruise along a stretch of Interstate 69 in Michigan as part of an initial testing of driverless military vehicle equipment on public roadways. Representatives from the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center and the Michigan Department of Transportation held public information sessions on the testing Monday in eastern Michigan. In late June, the vehicles will test a piece of technology that's critical in the development and testing of driverless and connected vehicles, the Times Herald of Port Huron reported. Someone will be behind the wheel of each vehicle, which is equipped with features from the driverless vehicle systems, including adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, The Flint Journal reported. Six radio transmitters will be set up along Interstate 69 to allow for groups of five vehicles to broadcast speed, distance, and traffic issues as directed over the frequency, said Alex Kade, chief system architect in ground vehicle robotics for the Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The military's new stealth bikes

What runs on electricity and mystery fuel, moves at 80 miles per hour, generates enough power to run communications gear and is quieter than a conversation? Say hello to the military’s stealth motorbike. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, launched the stealth bike competition back in 2014. Today, the two prototypes faced off on the expo floor of the of the Tampa Convention Center, part of the National Defense Industrial Association’s Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. The Silent Hawk by Logos and the Nightmare from LSA Autonomy could be cousins. DARPA has funded both to phase two development under a small business innovative research award, essentially two non-competing grants to develop the technology. Both bikes feature cutting-edge hybrid multi-fuel engines that can burn a variety of combustibles like JP-8, Jet A-1, gasoline, propane, etc.. “If it’s gasoline, tell it it’s gasoline, tell it it’s something else. It will figure it out,” said Alex Dzwill, and engineer with Logos.

State Defense Force ordnance officers take note. What was old can be new again. "Raytheon Wants to Hot-Rod Old 'Patton' Tanks."

Well, now. There's a thought. How many M-48 and M60 are sitting in front of VFW halls and National Guard armories as static displays? How many can be refurbished in case of civil war?
The venerable M60 could get upgrades that make it more competitive with some of today's tanks.
For three decades, the Raytheon M60 (informally called the Patton) was America's primary main battle tank. Though the tank was replaced in the early 1990s by the M1A1 Abrams, thousands are still operational abroad. They're all candidates for an upgrade that Raytheon says can make them competitive on the battlefield, and at one-third of the cost of a modern main battle tank like a Russian-built T-90S, German-built Leopard 2A7, or America's own M1A2 SEP(v)3 Abrams. It's am appealing idea for M60 users like Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Oman.
"You have hardware that's of 1960s-1970s pedigree. The supply chain for some of the original equipment is gone," says Rimas Guzulaitis, senior director for platform sustainment and modernization at Raytheon "But you still have countries operating them who need to modernize, eliminate inefficiencies, add accuracy and lethality. They need to keep the M60 relevant."
The M60A3 Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) would hot-rod the Patton via kits supplied by Raytheon and its partners. The new V-12 diesel engine is rebuilt with stronger internals, increased fuel and airflow capacity, better cooling and more compression, and coupled to a strengthened transmission. The changes bump its output from 750 to 950 horsepower.
The Patton's turret can be converted from hydraulic to electric power. Hydraulics are hard to maintain and the hydraulic lines running through the M60's hull are downright dangerous. The kit replaces them with digitally-controlled electric wiring and actuators, making the turret quieter and lighter while allowing it to rotate faster. In place of the original 105mm M68 rifled gun, the M60 SLEP slots in a 120mm M256 smooth bore cannon.
"It's directly out of the M1A1," Guzulaitis says of the gun. "It's substantially more accurate, definitely more lethal, it's lighter and it allows you to use a wider range of NATO-partner ammunition." The gun's range is "substantially greater than an off-the-shelf M60 cannon," too, thanks to a not only the gun itself but also the new digital fire control and sight systems that come with the SLEP. The new configuration has sighting and fire control linked via Ethernet integrated with a laser day sight and night thermal sight, all connected to the electronic turret drive.
Making the Patton lighter and faster raises the possibility of adding additional armor, though none is offered as part of the SLEP. Nevertheless, Guzulaitis asserts that increased speed, firepower, digital control, and maneuverability are significant self-protection improvements.
"A legacy M60 tank requires you to stop to shoot to achieve a high level of accuracy," he says. "The new system allows you to shoot on the move, which equals increased survivability. If you have to stop to shoot, you're opening yourself up to getting hit."
The fire control portion of the upgrade has been fielded on 80-plus tanks in Jordan for over a decade. Raytheon recently integrated it with the improved drivetrain, turret, and gun in live-fire testing at the Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The company has yet to ship any SLEP kits, but there are three customers in various stages of Foreign Military Sales approval process right now. That means we'll likely see hot-rodded Pattons in the Middle East soon.

Low tech weapons

Unbreakable® Umbrella

Army catches up with 1946. What was old is new again. More on the Carl Gustav

From Wikipedia:
The Carl Gustaf (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈkʰɑːɭ ˈɡɵ̞stɑːv]; also known as, Gustaf Bazooka and M2CG) is an 84 mm man-portable reusable anti-tank recoilless rifle produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics (formerly Bofors Anti-Armour AB) in Sweden. Although most rounds fired by the Carl Gustav work on the classic recoilless principle, modern rounds sometimes add a post-firing booster that technically make it a rocket launcher.
The first prototype of the Carl Gustaf was produced in 1946 as a lightweight anti-armor weapon, one of many similar designs of that era. While similar weapons have generally disappeared from service, the Carl Gustaf remains in widespread use today. A combination of light weight, low cost and widely varied ammunition types, makes the Carl Gustav extremely flexible and able to be used in a wide variety of roles where single-purpose weapons like the M72 LAW passed out of service as newer tank designs rendered them ineffective.
In its country of origin it is officially named Grg m/48 (Granatgevär - "grenade rifle", model 48). British troops refer to it as the "Charlie G", while Canadian troops often refer to it as the "84" or "Carl G". In U.S. military service it is known as the "M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System" (MAAWS) or "Ranger Anti-tank Weapons System" (RAWS), but is often called the Gustaf or "the Goose" or simply the "Carl Johnson" by American servicemembers. In Australia it is irreverently known as "Charlie Gusto" or "Charlie Gutsache" (guts ache, slang for stomach pain).[5]
The United States Army will soon begin distributing a weapon system introduced in 1946. The M3 Carl Gustav rocket launcher will bolster the firepower of rifle platoons, giving them a much-needed edge. Developed by Bofors (now Saab), the Carl Gustav is a lightweight, man-portable recoilless rifle. Recoilless rifles are like a cross between an artillery gun and a bazooka: While they have propellant at the base of the projectile like a rocket, the propellant doesn't burn beyond the barrel, meaning the projectile flies unpowered like a bullet or artillery shell. Unlike artillery, propellant gasses are directed backwards, counteracting the weapon's recoil and making it "recoilless". The weapon is referred to as a "rifle" due to the spiral rifling in the barrel, which stabilizes the projectile.
The story continues:
The U.S. Army fielded a number of recoilless rifles after World War II, in calibers from 57-millimeter to 106-millimeter. The Army saw these rifles as anti-tank weapons meant to counter the T-55 and T-62 tanks of the Soviet Army. The Army retired these weapons when Dragon and TOW anti-tank guided missiles came on the scene
.
The end of the Cold War and the rise of new threats such as Iraqi guerrillas and the Taliban posed a problem for the U.S. The shaped charge warheads of anti-tank missiles are less effective against buildings, bunkers, and enemy troops in the open. Anti-tank missiles are also very expensive, meaning you could spend up to $50,000 to blow a $500 mud hut to smithereens. Finally, anti-tank missile launchers with their complex guidance systems are heavy and difficult to lug though rough terrain
.
The M3 Carl Gustav solves all three problems. The weapon is basically a tube with grips and an aiming sight. It can fire High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rounds to take out tanks and armored vehicles, and High Explosive (HE) rounds meant to attack structures and enemy personnel. The shells have a diameter of 84 millimeters—or 3.3 inches—meaning they can pack a real punch. The individual rounds are relatively inexpensive, and the launcher weighs just 14 pounds.
U.S. Special Operations units, who need portable, lightweight firepower, have been toting the M3 Carl Gustav since 1989. Some regular infantry units in Afghanistan have carried the Carl Gustav since at least 2011, but they had to request and show a need for the weapon to get it. Now, Infantry Brigade Combat Teams in the U.S. Army and National Guard will receive these weapons at a rate of 27 per brigade, or one per platoon of 40 soldiers.
Despite the Carl Gustav's age, it's actually more versatile than many high tech weapons, making it useful in tomorrow's conflicts. In the new "hybrid warfare" pioneered by Russian forces in the Crimea, armies could face "little green men" (paramilitary troops) one moment and armored vehicles the next. The M3 will be able to counter both. Not bad for a 70-year-old weapon.

Clinton Foundation? Chinese Mandarins? Anti-gun politicians? They're shocked! Shocked, to find corruption going on here!

Inquiry Highlights Terry McAuliffe’s Ties to Chinese Company

Monday, May 23, 2016

DIY Insurgency

What happens when the capabilities that we give to special operators can instead be deployed by amateurs?

From Mike: Required reading for Threepers.

Ghost Fleet.

New Fast and Furious emails show Obama administration obstructing Congress

But there is no pressure for an investigation. Indeed, the entire Fast and Furious scandal is now ancient history, the press having concluded there was nothing there. No amount of new information will get the New York Times or Washington Post to reopen the files on the case, and the rest of the media will almost certainly fall into line. The Obama administration can claim success. They were able to stretch out their response to the investigation to the point that with just months to go in Obama's term, no one cares if the facts of the case are revisited or not. They conducted a classic Washington cover-up campaign that did as it was supposed to do: it protected the principals – Obama and Holder – from being held accountable for their stupidity and criminal activity.

Herschel Smith: Irrational Christian Bias Against Guns, Violence And Self Defense

You see, by invoking the police, Benjamin has said too much. He isn’t really a pacifist, he doesn’t really want to perish at the hands of criminals, and he doesn’t really take the teachings of Christ as seriously as he claims. He just believes in the same thing all progressives do – monopoly of force. The ugly little truth of progressives, including Christians who have progressive tendencies, is that they haven’t yet been able to turn away from the state as savior and protector, judge and jury, lawyer and arbiter. They are statists, and their reflexive tendency is to attempt to reconcile their statism with the Holy writ.

Valediction of a Three Percenter by Mike Vanderboegh

"Valediction -- noun, An act of bidding farewell; a leave-taking; a speech or statement made as a farewell." -- Merriam Webster Dictionary

(Note from Mike: As time gets close, I wanted to get these words out while my mind is still clear.  Don't write my obituary just yet, but these words needed saying.)  
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. -- Ephesians, Chapter 4, 1-6.
"I love my country, my God and my kind. I have served them all and I want no praise of song or prose." -- C.C. Sheats, Alabama Unionist
Valediction of a Three Percenter
For many years I have introduced myself as a Christian libertarian who believed in God, free men, free markets, the rule of law under the Founders' Republic, and that the Constitution extended to everyone regardless of race, creed, color or religion. As I take my leave from this existence, I must admit that the Constitution, as the Founders crafted it, is now or soon will be dead -- killed by corruption and collectivism and mostly by our own sloth and moral cowardice in opposing its enemies.
Yet if the Constitution is dead as an organizing and unifying force in this nation, the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights can never die as long as there remain free men and women who believe in the Founders' vision. This is the essence of the Three Percent, that no matter how small our numbers are -- if we remain armed and determined -- we may yet preserve the flickering flame of liberty.
However principled, you must still be clearheaded about the realities facing us. We are on the brink of chaos that will make the agonies of the former Yugoslavia look like child's play. Anyone who believes otherwise is whistling past the graveyard of history. There will be no deliverance from the rigged game of national politics. If any of our traditional liberties are to be saved it will be on a local basis of community, county and church, secured by your own efforts, your own organization, with your own friends and neighbors according to the principles enunciated by the Founders. I envisioned the Three Percent movement with that local focus in mind, as a philosophy, a discipline, of the armed citizenry. I enunciated some of these in the Three Percent Catechism. The growth of the concept has been startling. Yet many of those who claim to be "Three Percenters" haven't a clue about the principles upon which the movement was founded. While the concept of a determined minority of the armed citizenry has continued to grow, so has confusion about the mission of the Three Percent and how that mission should be carried out. I summed up the Catechism in this way:
"These four principles -- moral strength, physical readiness, no first use of force and no targeting of innocents -- are the hallmarks of the Three Percent ideal. Anyone who cannot accept them as a self-imposed discipline in the fight to restore the Founders' Republic should find something else to do and cease calling themselves a "Three Percenter."
As said in the Washington Post just this morning by B.J. Soper of the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard: "If we're going to effect change it has to be done at a local level." Anything that takes time and resources from such local efforts is a waste that we cannot afford. At its most basic and irreducible, what the Three Percent movement was designed to do was to REBUILD THE CONCEPT OF CITIZENSHIP, one citizen at a time. This begins with you, with each and every one of us. Citizenship is defined by the dictionary as "the state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen." Three Percenters are insistent about all three of those components of citizenship, that is why our collectivist would-be masters are so hateful and afraid of us -- we actually take citizenship seriously, as a way of life, and not just a word. This attitude makes us scary even to folks who silently agree with what we say -- we LIVE what they CLAIM to believe. But that is the difference between a citizen and a subject, between free people and mere inhabitants of a place. If I am remembered at all, let me be known as a citizen of the Founders' Republic.
Not long after my doctor gave me the final prognosis, I was told by a reader that I would be recalled as someone "who taught us how to fight on every battlefield." It was humbling to me for him to say so, but that is what a citizen does -- he fights on every battlefield to best of his ability and resources. And if after I am gone the Three Percent movement should prove to be my living monument, it will be because it is made up of citizens of the Founders' Republic, faithful to their vision and to God's will and purpose.
God has blessed me throughout my life with many friends and supporters. I could not have accomplished anything without them. They are all truly citizens in all senses of the word. I am proud to have known you. It has been an honor. Now I leave you behind on this battlefield to carry on the fight. I wish I could stick around but God seems to have a different schedule in mind. Your futures and those of my family -- all our families, our friends -- indeed our country as envisioned by the Founders as well as our entire way of life are in your own hands, yourselves alone, subject to the will and infinite power of God. God does not promise us victory. He does command us to stand. The Founders bent their knees in prayerful supplication to the Almighty. I believe that the string of improbable events that comprised the miracle of the Revolution can be ascribed to nothing less than God's will. He may yet provide others.
But absent a miracle, your victory will be won by citizens rising to the duties and challenges of citizenship. It will be won one citizen, one locality, one community at a time -- according to the example of the Founders, organizing fellow citizens in the light of Three Percent principles.
As for me I have tried to live up to the epitaph of Chris Sheats, an Alabamian who I long ago admired as a member of my pantheon of American heroes:
"I love my country, my God and my kind. I have served them all and I want no praise of song or prose."

Saturday, May 21, 2016

U.S. orders body armor plates from 3M

The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency has ordered 177,000 body armor plates from Ceradyne Inc., a subsidiary of 3M. The lightweight enhanced small arms protective inserts, or ESAPI, are inserted into outer, modular tactical vests to provide torso protection against small-arms fire. The order is worth $92.7 million. Deliveries are expected to begin this year.

Everything's bigger in Texas


Sunday Jams - Tito and Tarantula