Nov 29, 2010

PEO Soldier FY 2011

At PEO Soldier, our only mission is to serve you, the Soldier. The PEO SoldierTeam is committed to providing our Soldiers with world-class equipmentthat will enable them to be more lethal, survivable, and able to operate inany environment.Equipping and maintaining you with this world-class equipment is adynamic challenge. With the ever-changing nature of your missionrequirements, we are constantly developing, reevaluating—and in somecases, reinventing—the right equipment to support your mission. We do thisby continually researching, developing, testing, and fielding equipment, aswell as directly receiving your feedback to ensure we always meet your ever-changing needs.Similar to previous years, we believe we are translating your mission needsinto new capabilities that support your operations in a complete range of operational scenarios, including the extremes of conditions.Thank you for your continued service and support.

Life-changing responsibility comes with MoH

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Nov 29, 2010

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta’s life has changed forever, said retired Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady. He should know. Like Giunta, Brady also earned the Medal of Honor.
Retired Col. Roger Donlon agrees. He, too, earned the country’s highest military honor. It literally changed his life: Donlon even attributes the medal to helping him find his wife of 42 years.
“When she saw me in that picture in the paper, she told herself that she has to meet this gentleman. That’s what started it, unbeknownst to me,” said Donlon, who met his wife, Norma, after the two happened to sit next to each other on a plane.

Despite hitting 202K, Corps needs recruits

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Nov 29, 2010

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — Recruiting Command is riding a high and meeting all major goals, but it faces obstacles in coming years, including potential budget cuts and projected increases in the number of recruits needed in future years, said the two-star officer overseeing the command.
The Corps cannot get complacent with recruiting, even though it met its goal to grow the service to 202,100 active-duty Marines last year, said Maj. Gen. Robert Milstead. In fact, with tens of thousands of Marines who joined the service during its initial wave of growth in 2007 and 2008 expected to leave after their four-year contracts expire, the Corps likely will need more recruits in 2011 than it has in years.

Osprey availability still hovering at 50 percent

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Nov 29, 2010

The Air Force’s hybrid helicopter-airplane is only five years old but spends almost as much time on the ground as it does in the air, maintenance figures show.
The CV-22 Osprey ended fiscal 2010 with a mission-capable rate of 54.3 percent. On any given day, from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, half of the special operations tilt-rotor aircraft couldn’t fly their full range of missions. The Osprey’s fiscal 2009 mission-capable rate was 50.1 percent, the lowest ever.
Only the RQ-4 Global Hawk and two aging aircraft, B-1B Lancer and the C-5A Galaxy, had worse mission-capable numbers, according to the data.
The RQ-4 had a mission-capable rate of 41.64 percent. The B-1B, operational since 1986 and with a notoriously complicated hydraulics system, had a mission-capable rate of 43.82 percent. The C-5A, the massive transport first delivered during the Vietnam War, had a mission-capable rate of 52.6 percent.

SocomGear Cheytac M200 Sniper Rifle

Click image to enlarge
Guaranteed 1:1 external dimension correct. (internal dimension is not 1:1)
Project took 1.5 years and sent engineers twice to USA to do the dimension measurement.
The first production: less than 50 pcs.

Nov 27, 2010

Army Working on Lightweight .50 cal

The Army wants to field a new .50-caliber machine gun that’s about 64 percent lighter than the venerable Ma Deuce.

Weapons officials classified the General Dynamics-made lightweight .50-caliber machine gun as the XM806 in March 2009, clearing the way for further testing of the radical new design.
While it would not replace the M2 .50-caliber machine gun, also known as Ma Deuce, the Army hopes to field the 30-pound XM806 in 2012 as a lightweight alternative to the 84-pound M2, said Lt. Col. Mike Ascura, product manager for crew-served weapons.
“Now that it is an experimental weapon, we will look at the design … and determine if the gun meets the needs of the Army to move forward as a program of record,” he said. “There is some real potential here.”
The XM806 is an offshoot of the XM307, a crew-served weapon that fired 25mm air-burst ammunition and featured a high-tech fire control system.
The Army began developing the XM307 in the 1990s for its Future Combat System, but the program was shelved as the result of budget cuts in 2007.
But the Army’s Infantry Center released a new requirement for a lightweight .50-cal machine gun later that year, giving the futuristic design a second chance.
The XM806 no longer features the computerized fire control system but can now fire the same M9 linked ammunition that the M2 uses.
The rate of fire on the XM806 is much slower than that of the M2 — 250 rounds per minute compared to the M2’s 500 rounds-per-minute rate. This helps to make the weapon easier to control and more accurate, Ascura said.
The lighter recoil also means the XM806 can use a lightweight aluminum frame instead of a more rigid steel frame like that of the M2, which greatly reduces the XM806’s weight.
Currently, the M2 is mounted on everything from Humvees to heavy armored vehicles.
Army officials maintain that the XM806’s lightweight design would allow combat units to use it in a limited dismounted role such as over-watch and support positions, Ascura said.
If all goes well, the Army plans to buy 12 XM806s for developmental and operational tests between now and 2011, Ascura said. The Army has not decided how many XM806s it intends to field, Ascura said, adding that he could not give cost estimates for the program.
“We hope to field this as early as 2012,” he said. “Right now, the plan for it is to augment the M2; the maneuver forces still need that high rate of fire found in the M2.”

 The above article is almost two years old and published in ArmyTimes 

Nov 26, 2010

Afghanistan campaign hits Soviet milestone

U.S. has been in South Asian country for 9 years, 50 days
By Patrick Quinn - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Nov 26, 2010 
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Soviet Union couldn't win in Afghanistan, and now the United States is about to have something in common with that futile campaign: nine years, 50 days.
On Friday, the U.S.-led coalition will have been fighting in this South Asian country for as long as the Soviets did in their humbling attempt to build up a socialist state. The two invasions had different goals — and dramatically different body counts — but whether they have significantly different outcomes remains to be seen.
What started out as a quick war on Oct. 7, 2001, by the U.S. and its allies to wipe out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and the Taliban has instead turned into a long and slogging campaign. Now about 100,000 NATO troops are fighting a burgeoning insurgency while trying to support and cultivate a nascent democracy.
A Pentagon-led assessment released earlier this week described the progress made since the United States injected 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan earlier this year as fragile.
The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, has said NATO's core objective is to ensure that Afghanistan "is never again a sanctuary to al-Qaida or other transnational extremists that it was prior to 9/11."
He said the only way to achieve that goal is "to help Afghanistan develop the ability to secure and govern itself. Now not to the levels of Switzerland in 10 years or less, but to a level that is good enough for Afghanistan."
To reach that, there is an ongoing effort to get the Taliban to the negotiating table. President Hamid Karzai has set up a committee to try to make peace, and the military hopes its campaign will help force the insurgents to seek a deal.
When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 27, 1979, its stated goal was to transform Afghanistan into a modern socialist state. The Soviets sought to prop up a communist regime that was facing a popular uprising, but left largely defeated on Feb. 15, 1989.
In 1992, the pro-Moscow government of Mohammad Najibullah collapsed and U.S.-backed rebels took power. The Taliban eventually seized Kabul after a violent civil war that killed thousands more. It ruled with a strict interpretation of Islamic law until it was ousted by the U.S.-led invasion.
Nader Nadery, an Afghan analyst who has studied the Soviet and U.S. invasions, said "the time may be the same" for the two conflicts, "but conditions are not similar."
More than a million civilians died as Soviet forces propping up the government of Babrak Karmal waged a massive war against anti-communist Μujaheddin forces.
"There was indiscriminate mass bombardment of villages for the eviction of Μujaheddin," Nadery said. "Civilian casualties are not at all comparable."
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank and Afghanistan expert, said NATO forces have killed fewer than 10,000 civilians and a comparable number of insurgents.
The allied military presence has also been far smaller and more targeted. Even now, nearly all operations are restricted to the south and east of the country where the insurgency is most active. O'Hanlon points out that at the height of the resistance, there were 250,000 Μujaheddin representing all Afghan ethnic groups fighting the Soviets, while "the current insurgency is perhaps one-eighth as large and is only Pashtun."
"We do have big problems. But there is no comparison between this war and what the Soviets wrought," he said.
"The Soviet war set Afghanistan back dramatically from what had been a weak but functioning state. NATO has, by contrast, helped Afghanistan to a 10 percent annual economic growth rate, 7 million kids are now in school, and most people have access to basic health care within a two-hour walk," O'Hanlon said.
He also points out that although Karzai was hand-picked by the United States after the invasion "he has since been elected twice by his own people."
The United States and its allies, however, have made strategic mistakes, including taking their eyes off Afghanistan and shifting their attention to the war in Iraq. In those crucial years, the Taliban and their allies surged back and took control of many parts of the Afghan countryside and some regions in the south — especially parts of Kandahar and Helmand.
Wadir Safi, a professor at Kabul University who served as civil aviation minister under the Najibullah government, said risks surround the U.S. effort because "the Americans never reached the goal for which they came."
"If they don't change their policy, if they don't reach their goals, if they don't reach agreement with the armed opposition and with the government, then it is not a far time that the Afghan people will be fed up with the presence of these foreign forces," Safi said.
The United States has pledged that its commitment to Afghanistan will run past the 2014 date when NATO forces are supposed to transition to a noncombat role.
A Russian analyst said the Soviet Union tried to do something similar when it left Afghanistan. It backed Najibullah with money and weapons, and left behind a trained and heavily armed Afghan military. But it all crumbled and the Μujaheddin took over Kabul in 1992. Najibullah stayed in the city's U.N. compound until Kabul fell to the Taliban in 1996, and he was hung from the main square.
"The Soviet Union tried to leave its protege alone to run the country, but that ended in the Taliban victory," said Alexander Konovalov, the head of the Moscow-based Institute of Strategic Assessment, an independent think-tank.
"The U.S. now wants to create a self-sufficient structure behind backed by some support forces," he said. "It remains to be seen how successful it could be in Afghanistan.

Nov 25, 2010

Robots to rescue wounded on battlefield

FORT DETRICK, Md. (Army News Service, Nov. 22, 2010) -- A robot being tested now may soon have the ability to rescue wounded Soldiers under fire without risking additional lives.
The Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot, or BEAR, has been tested over the past year by Soldiers at the U.S. Army Infantry Center Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Ga.

The BEAR can be controlled remotely by a motion-capture glove or specially-equipped rifle grip. A warfighter could use the equipment to guide the robot to recover a wounded Soldier and bring him or her back to where a combat medic could safely conduct an initial assessment.

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) has helped fund the development of Vecna Technologies' humanoid BEAR, and has funded integration of AnthroTronix's iGlove and M-4 rifle grip controller into the Fort Benning testing.
Gary Gilbert, who manages TATRC's medical robotics portfolio, said the assessments from the Battle Lab provide a key link between research and actual robots that can be used in the field.

"Our goal with the Battle Lab testing is to get the technology in the hands of the Soldiers, either through simulations or live exercises, and derive from their feedback what tactics, techniques and procedures are appropriate for deploying it," Gilbert said.

"These [Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures] can then serve as the basis for developing real-world operational capability needs and requirements," he said. "It's only once we know how we'll successfully use these technologies that you'll see them put into the field."

A computer simulation of the BEAR was created in 2009 for use in the Battle Lab's One Semi-Autonomous Forces (OneSAF) combat operations simulator. An initial series of platoon-level assaults and clearing operations in both wooded and urban terrain were executed in OneSAF, including casualty extractions using both conventional litter rescues and rescues with the BEAR.

The AnthroTronix remote control systems were integrated with the simulation in December of 2009. In June of this year, the BEAR and AnthroTronix controllers underwent live characterization studies with Soldiers observing their capabilities in both urban and wooded terrain.
The BEAR is a multi-modal, high-degree-of-freedom robot that can reach out with its hydraulic arms to lift and carry up to 500 pounds; complete fine motor tasks with its hands and fingers; maneuver with a dual-track system; stand up and balance; and use cameras and sensors.
The robot gained national media attention when it was featured in Time Magazine's Best Inventions of 2006. Successive versions have increased its capabilities.
While the initial control of the BEAR is via a remote human operator, work is underway for more complicated semi-autonomous behaviors in which the robot understands and carries out increasingly higher-level commands.

AnthroTronix's iGlove gesture-recognition device can control robots remotely through simple hand signals.
The iGlove is a low-cost, universally compatible control device that has been available commercially since 2009 as the AcceleGlove. The company plans to develop a new version with more accelerometers and a digital compass so the user could instruct a robot to disable an improvised explosive device or travel exactly 300 yards west, for example, using signals from the glove alone.
The Mounted Force Controller is another robot-controller device that can be mounted on an M-4 rifle so a Soldier does not have to put down his or her weapon to use the device.
Noted AnthroTronix Chief Technology Officer Jack Vice, a former Force Recon Marine, said, "One of the most promising outcomes of the Battle Lab simulations and live testing was the fact that war-fighters only required minimal training to learn to operate both the iGlove and MFC. Additionally, in comparing the iGlove to traditional controllers, war-fighters favored the simplicity of the iGlove mode switching, in which they simply reached out and touched the human joint to control the corresponding robotic joint."
Vice added that "TATRC support has enabled us to fully integrate the controllers with Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems software, gain invaluable feedback from Soldiers, and develop new control methodologies as we integrate the controllers with high-degree-of-freedom robots such as the BEAR."

For these projects, TATRC has leveraged funding from the Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Command, the Joint Ground Robotics Enterprise, the Robotics Systems Joint Project Office, the Army Research Lab, the Small Business Innovative Research Program and Congressionally Directed Research funds.
"The Battle Lab testing process has great potential for overcoming the numerous barriers to transitioning research prototypes or new and emerging technologies to operational systems," Gilbert said. "Even our initial simulation and live operational assessments point to significant research challenges ahead in developing and fielding unmanned systems for combat casualty care. But this is the technology of the future."
"If robots could be used in the face of threats such as urban combat, booby-trapped IEDs, and chemical and biological weapons, it could save medics' and fellow Soldiers' lives," he said. 
The iGlove enables a war-fighter to easily command and control robotic devices through sensors and controllers built into a standard-issue glove. It can capture all degrees of human hand motion for greatly enhanced control.

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Nov 23, 2010

Battelle Designs Innovative Grappling Gun Technology

Pneumatic Launcher Propels Grappling Hooks, Ladders

COLUMBUS, OH - Who can resist the Batman-like allure of shooting a grappling hook and line that lets you cross a gorge or scale a building? Those in the special operations, first responder and maritime communities see this plummet gun as a must-have tool.
Battelle has developed a successor to a longtime Navy staple -- a pneumatically powered grappling gun that deploys a hook and line higher, further, more quietly, and more reliably than its predecessor.
The system has been featured on the popular TV show MythBusters and The Military Channel's Weaponology and continues to captivate those who see it in action.
The Tactical Air Initiated Launch (TAIL) system is used to propel a titanium grappling hook towing a Kevlar line for use in Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations. It also can be used for fire rescue operations, life vest deployment, or other activities. The TAIL system, using compressed air to launch the hook, can clear an obstacle up to 100 feet high and up to 60 feet away. "The TAIL system lets the user fire a grappling hook without the noise, explosives, or safety issues of powder-driven units," said Jim LaBine, the TAIL system designer. "That's important for special operations but the system is adaptable and can be used in many applications."
Besides enhanced performance at reduced cost, the TAIL system's simple, rugged design boosts safety and reliability with the advantage of low maintenance. Its simplicity has another benefit: the system can throw any object that fits into its barrel. Potential uses include:
  • Tactical hook and line or hook and ladder deployment
  • Line deployment for ship to ship re-supply
  • Line deployment for water or fire rescue
  • Life vest deployment for Coast Guard and rescue units
  • Mine clearance
  • Delivery of sensitive electronic payloads
As the world's largest, independent research and development organization, Battelle provides innovative solutions to the world's most pressing needs through its four global businesses: Laboratory Management, National Security, Energy Technology, and Health and Life Sciences. It advances scientific discovery and application by conducting $6.2 billion in global R&D annually through contract research, laboratory management and technology commercialization. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Battelle oversees 22,000 employees in more than 130 locations worldwide, including seven national laboratories which Battelle manages or co-manages for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and one international nuclear laboratory in the United Kingdom.
Battelle also is one of the nation's leading charitable trusts focusing on societal and economic impact and actively supporting and promoting science and math education.

Soldiers’ OEF, OIF medals exceed 857,000

By Jim Tice - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Nov 22, 2010

Award and decoration totals for soldiers who have served, or are serving, in Iraq and Afghanistan, topped 857,000 through fiscal 2010, according to the Army’s latest medal count for the war on terrorism.
The statistics, compiled by the military awards branch of Human Resources Command, show that after nearly nine years of combat, soldiers have earned 163,564 awards for participation in Operation Enduring Freedom, which includes Afghanistan.

The award total for Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began March 15, 2003, and ended Sept. 30, stands at 693,822.
The combined total of 857,390 equates to about 48 percent of the Army medal count for World War II, 30 percent of the total for the Vietnam War and seven times the number awarded for the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War.

Soldiers test 2-seat mine clearance vehicle

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Nov 22, 2010

The Army is testing a two-seat Husky Mine Detection System — equipped with a new remote weapon system — in Afghanistan to help soldiers find more roadside bombs and protect themselves from ambushes.
Huskies are wheeled vehicles with V-shaped hulls that resemble front loaders. They drive in front of route clearance teams with ground-penetrating radars and metal detectors mounted to the vehicle’s front arm. In the standard one-seat models, the soldier must drive the vehicle while monitoring the radar and mine detector and keeping an eye out for command wires connected to the improvised explosive devices.
Two two-seat Huskies deployed to Afghanistan in October — one in the south and one in the east — for a 120- to 180-day test period to help assess whether the Army wants to buy more.
Army engineers added a common remotely operated weapon system, called CROWS II, that allows a soldier to stay in his seat and fire a MK19 automatic grenade launcher, a .50-caliber M2 machine gun, a M240B machine gun, or a M249 light machine gun, which would be mounted to the Husky before a mission.

Husky Mounted Detection System with VISOR™ 2500

Nov 20, 2010

Australians to Adopt MultiCam for Use in Afghanistan

In a shocking decision, the Australian military announced today that they are going to conduct an extended wear trial of the MultiCam pattern for troops serving in Afghanistan. Like in the US and UK, Australian Special Operations Forces have long used MultiCam due to its increased effectiveness. Following their lead, Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare announced the change to the new pattern today at the biannual Land Warfare Conference in Brisbane. By “change” we mean the extension of the SF wear trial that has been going on for years.
“Special Forces soldiers have said this is the uniform they want to wear,” Mr Clare said. “The camouflage pattern provides troops with greater levels of concealment across the range of terrains in Afghanistan – urban, desert and green. It also makes it easier for our troops to do their job.”
The plan calls for all Australian troops going ‘Outside the Wire’ will be outfitted in MultiCam. What is really interesting is that Mr Clare discussed issuing the same uniforms used by his SOF which are the Crye Precision combat uniforms rather than the standard DPCU in a different camo pattern. However, he also stated that “I have also instructed the Defence Materiel Organisation to pursue the purchase of a licence to provide for the potential manufacture of this uniform in Australia if the extended trial is successful,” Mr Clare said. Could this be the groundwork for an Australian MTPesque creation?
Furthermore, does this initiative mean the demise of the short lived Disruptive Pattern Midpoint Uniform unveiled earlier this year? The whole point of the DPMU was to alter the DPCU’s pattern slightly to be more effective in Afghanistan. Designed by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), it combined the colors of the two uniforms the Australian Army currently uses. 

Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) members enter the training compound at Multi National Base Tarin Kowt. Picture: Department of Defence

Nov 19, 2010

Surefire picks up two new SOCOM contracts

 Surefire just announced Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, awarded contracts to supply USSOCOM with three lights.
The first contract, Visible Bright Light-Heavy, is $16.6m worth of Surfire’s crew served weapon mounted Hellfighter light. This is the fourth generation of the Hellfighter which has grown more compact and brighter with each generation. The Hellfighter is designed to mount co-axially on an M2 machine gun, M134 Minigun and the M240 machine gun. It puts out 3000 lumens with an HID bulb.
The second contract award is $14.9m for the Visible Bright Light-III contract which includes an indefinite number of Surefire’s M620V Scout Light and the more compact M720V Raid weapon mounted lights. These both use the Vampire head which puts out visible and IR light by rotating the light’s bezel. The use of discrete LEDs gives much better output and runtime efficiency over a system that uses filters to produce IR light.

Nov 17, 2010

Obama awards Medal of Honor to Giunta

By John Ryan - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Nov 17

For the first time in nearly four decades, a president has fastened the Medal of Honor around the neck of a living soldier during an ongoing war.
Today at the White House, President Obama honored Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, 25, in part, for rescuing a comrade from the grips of Taliban fighters in one of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan in 2007.
“It is my privilege to present our nation’s highest military award to a soldier as humble as he is heroic.” The president then went off script and said, “I really like this guy.”

President Obama and Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta bow their heads in prayer before the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House on Nov. 16.
Giunta, from Hiawatha, Iowa, then a specialist in Battle Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, helped fend off a close ambush by 15 Taliban fighters in the Korengal Valley. The Taliban fired hundreds of bullets and rocket-propelled grenades at the soldiers moving in a file.
“The two lead men were hit by enemy fire and knocked down instantly. When the third was struck in the helmet and fell to the ground, Sal charged headlong into the wall of bullets to pull him to safety behind what little cover there was, and as he did, Sal was hit twice,” Obama said. “They were pinned down but two wounded Americans still lay up ahead.”
After the squad advanced and formed a perimeter around one injured soldier, the squad realized their point man, Sgt. Joshua Brennan, was missing. “Sal sprinted ahead, at every step meeting relentless enemy fire with his own. He crested a hill alone with no cover at dusk,” Obama said.
“There he saw a chilling sight: the silhouettes of two insurgents carrying the other wounded American away, who happened to be one of Sal’s best friends,” Obama said. Giunta took aim and shot down one insurgent, scared the other away and provided first aid to Brennan for 30 minutes.
The fighting was so fierce, each soldiers’ gear was shot through or cut by shrapnel during the ambush. The squad suffered five casualties. Brennan and Sgt. Hugo Mendoza later died of their wounds.

Throughout his remarks, the president thanked the soldiers of Battle Company, Giunta’s wife and parents, and Brennan’s and Mendoza’s families for their sacrifices.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey and Army Secretary John McHugh all attended the ceremony.
After the ceremony, Giunta, wearing jump boots, a maroon beret and his new gold and blue medallion, walked to a podium outside the West Wing and made a short announcement.

“I want to make it be known that this represents all services and all the branches that have been in Afghanistan since 2001, and Iraq since 2003, he said. “Although this is so positive, I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now.”

Seven soldiers have been awarded the Medal of Honor since 2001. Giunta is the 87th living recipient of the Medal of Honor.

MARSOC to purchase more powerful pistols

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Nov 16

Operators with Marine Forces Special Operations Command could soon be packing .45-caliber semi-automatic pistols, rather than the standard 9mm pistols now used by most Marines.
The M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistol is modeled after earlier versions of the weapons used by Force Recon units since the 1980s in amphibious raids and other forced-entry operations at sea. The Corps could buy between 400 and 12,000 pistols in a contract worth up to $22.5 million, according to Marine Corps Systems Command. The competition was launched in October.

Nov 15, 2010

ShotSpotter, MA technology aids Springfield police gunshot investigations.

SPRINGFIELD – In the little more than two years that the Police Department has employed ShotSpotter acoustic technology to detect gunfire, the system has alerted police to more than 4,100 instances where a weapon has been fired.

Since its installation in July 2008, ShotSpotter has detected 4,158 gunshots, and contributed to 25 arrests and the seizure of 23 illegal firearms. In three instances it has alerted police to what would turn out to be homicides before the Police Department received a single 911 call.
All of this occurred in the roughly three of the city’s 32 square miles, the area covered by the ShotSpotter system.
“We’re getting spoiled by those three square miles,” said Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet. “Cops are getting used to it. It is something officers rely on.”

ShotSpotter, installed at a cost of $450,000, is designed to locate the scene of gunfire through a process called “acoustic triangulation.” 
As many as 62 sensors located around the city listen for any loud, sudden noise and then hone in on it. A computer takes the signal from the sensors and then combines it to get an exact position of where the shot was fired. The information is relayed to the police dispatcher and the mobile computers in each cruiser.
The entire process takes 10 to 15 seconds.
“It gives us the audio and the exact location within 10 feet,” said officer Sean Sullivan of the Police Department’s radio repair division.
The advantage to all this is police can respond to the scene almost immediately, and know before they arrive if a gun has actually been fired and pretty much where it was fired, Delaney said.
“Now when we pull up on a scene, we have 100 percent knowledge if there was actually a shot,” he said. “It makes your approach different.”

Sullivan said there have been instances in which police were on the scene so fast after a shooting, they’ve witnessed the shooter trying to hide the gun.
In all, the system has triggered 39,962 times, but only around 10 percent of those were determined to be gunshots. The rest were the sound of fireworks, loud motorcycles, tractor trailers, backfiring automobiles, and, in one repeated case involving a South End parish, church bells.
The system also maintains a digital record of the sound that can provide police forensic information about the shooting, data that can be used as evidence in a criminal trial.
For example, Sullivan at his desk in the police station is able to call up the audio from a shooting in the area of Saratoga and Niagara streets in the Hollywood section of the city’s South End neighborhood.
ShotSpotter recorded six separate shots, each one at a slightly different location. The sensors determined the shooter was moving southwest at a speed of 18 mph.

“It’s a drive-by shooting,” Sullivan said.

Another audio clip was recorded at the time of the Aug. 6 shooting death of Timothy Knighton on Oak Street. In the span of 3 seconds, one can hear 10 to 12 shots. It’s the sound of someone shooting a semi-automatic weapon as fast as they can, he said. 
 One of ShotSpotter’s early successes was in the investigation of the shooting death of Alberto L. Rodriguez on Oct. 14, 2008, roughly two months after the system came on line, according to Delaney.
Rodriguez was found slumped over the steering wheel of his car on Ashley Street, dead of a gunshot wound. But ShotSpotter brought detectives to a spot several hundred yards away at Pine and Central streets, where they found spent shell casings.
Without ShotSpotter, police probably would not have found the shooting scene, Delaney said. Two men were arrested in connection with that shooting and await trial.

ShotSpotter significantly increases response times from police, Sullivan says. It allows officers to respond in seconds instead of minutes, he said.
It can be as much as five minutes after shots are fired before police receive a 911 call, he added. “Five minutes is a long time,” Sullivan said.
That is, if anyone ever calls. 
 One of the things police have learned with ShotSpotter is how rarely people call 911 to report gunshots, he said.
Often when shots ring out, people in the vicinity scatter and look for a place to hide; they make sure everyone is OK, and then they think about calling the police, Sullivan said. Many times they don’t even call.
“Typically, if someone calls 911 for shots fired, someone has gotten hit,” Sullivan said.

In some sections of the city, like the streets of Hollywood in the South End or Pine and Central streets in the Six Corners neighborhood, gunshots are relatively common and residents do not bother reporting every time they hear a shot.
“If you live in Hollywood, obviously you hear gunshots on a daily basis,” the officer said.

Calling up a printout of all ShotSpotter activity at Pine and Central streets, for example, reveals a map literally covered with dots, each one signifying a confirmed case of gunfire. From September 2008 through this year, there have been 250 recorded incidents of gunfire in the area.
“To people, it’ s a part of life,” Sullivan said. “They only call 911 if someone gets hit.”

To calibrate the system, Sullivan said police sometimes have to go out and do test firings in which they’ll fire off a dozen shots into the air. No one has ever called 911 to report them.
The system covers roughly three square miles. Police do not like to reveal where the sensors are, but it is safe to say they are located in and around parts of the city where gunshots are most common, primarily Six Corners, the South End, areas of Forest Park and parts of the Old Hill, Upper Hill, McKnight and Bay neighborhoods. The cost of installation is about $200,000 per square mile, not counting maintenance.
Delaney said the department is hoping to secure grant money to cover the costs of expanding the system. “We’d kind of like to branch out to other areas,” he said.

IAR gets a boost from new commandant

Gen. Jim Amos endorsed the infantry automatic rifle during his first town hall meeting with Marines held Nov. 3 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
During his presentation, Amos hinted strongly that he is in favor of putting the 5.56mm M27 infantry automatic rifle in the hands of Marines, indicating it was part of his initiative to lighten the Corps’ combat gear.
Plans call for the purchase of about 4,100 M27s to replace the M249 squad automatic weapon in some infantry formations. Tests are ongoing, and the weapon won’t likely see combat until next year, officials have said.
Amos told the audience he fired the auto rifle while visiting Weapons Training Battalion at Quantico, prompting laughs by acknowledging he’s not exactly your average trigger-puller.
“Now remember, I’m a fighter pilot, so I’m not even supposed to touch a weapon unless it’s a 2,000 pound bomb, I got that,” said Amos, who is the first naval aviator to head to Corps. “I went out there and this thing could — notice I didn’t say would — could replace the SAW. It weighs half as much. Now Marines, that is lightening the load, so we’re going to work real hard on this.”

In the last year, the Corps has narrowed its search for the weapon to a specific variant, Heckler & Koch’s HK416 IAR, and tested it at Twentynine Palms, Fort McCoy, Wis., and Camp Shelby, Miss.
The testing at Twentynine Palms enabled the Corps to see how it performed in a dusty environment, Brinkman said. Cold-weather testing was conducted at Fort McCoy last winter, and hot-weather testing was completed in June at Camp Shelby. The Marine Corps Operational Test & Evaluation Activity, based at Quantico, oversaw testing, but its report is not yet complete, Marine officials said. The agency independently tests gear that the Corps may field.
The Corps is still interested in potentially fielding a high-capacity magazine that would carry between 50 and 100 rounds, but is “not actively pursuing” it currently, Brinkman said.
“If we do pursue a high-capacity magazine, it will be critical that it does not have a negative impact on the reliability of the weapon,” he said.

Idaho's 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team prepares for Iraq deployment

BOISE, Idaho — The first of about 1,500 troops with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team have left training in Camp Shelby, Miss., for their deployment to Iraq. The four-day departures began Sunday.
Col. Tim Marsano says the first troops are scheduled to arrive in Kuwait on Monday and will be placed at their stations in Iraq later this month.
The 116th will focus on convoy security, military installation security and providing logistical support for military and civilian-agency delegations traveling to the country.

Citizen soldiers and command staff with the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team must test their skills, computers and communication equipment to make sure all is battle ready before deploying to Iraq later this year. While soldiers ware put through their paces at the Orchard training area this week, command staff and others operate from a series of modular "DRASH" brand tents that have sprung up around Boise's Gowen Field.

Members of the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team gather for a briefing on the status of computer and communication systems needed for battle training this week at Gowen Field in Boise. The Brigade is training in conditions that mimic those soldiers and commanders will see later this year in Iraq, minus the sand and heat.

Nov 13, 2010

How not to Shoot a Javelin

Sometimes even high tech equipment can go wrong and you should keep the head down to be safe.

Watch the video


Nov 12, 2010

Propper International launch of the new A-TACS® ACU.

Propper International™ and Digital Concealment Systems are proud to announce the Spring 2011 launch of the new A-TACS® ACU.
A-TACS represents a radical step forward in the science of concealment technology. The patented A-TACS process replaces digital square pixels with small organically shaped pixels, removing all 90-degree angles to create a more natural appearance. Additionally, the organic pixels are segmented into larger groupings organized within the pattern, creating a unique “pattern within a pattern” concept that enables A-TACS to conceal the operator more effectively at greater distances than previously possible. The pattern also features a greater range of inter-mingled natural colors for enhanced concealment. The base color is a neutral tan, designed to blend effortlessly in open, rocky or arid environments.
“Propper is honored to be a part of such a groundbreaking development in military and law enforcement concealment,” said John Asaro, VP Marketing for Propper International. “We are dedicated to providing the best possible apparel to the soldiers and officers who serve our country, and our partnership with A-TACS solidifies that effort.”
The Propper A-TACS ACU is sewn to military specifications and made from 65/35 poly/cotton ripstop fabric for maximum durability.
The A-TACS ACU is among the most anticipated A-TACS products launching worldwide and will serve as the core component of the product line, which includes boots from Danner®, packs and nylon kit from Tactical Assault Gear™, single or dual point gun slings from Blue Force Gear™, and weapons and optics systems from Remington®, Bushmaster® and Bushnell®. This broad collection of introductory products represents the first full head-to-toe concealment system offering to tactical professionals in the U.S.
Propper will advance the A-TACS product line with boonie hats and combat shirts. These items will be available for purchase from Propper authorized dealers.

About Propper International
Since 1967, Propper has outfitted the United States armed forces, law enforcement professionals and first responders with only the highest quality apparel. Propper is a leading manufacturer for the Department of Defense and has produced more than 75 million garments for the U.S. Military. Propper garments are extremely durable, comfortable and functional in the field. For more information, visit

Click pictures to enlarge

Nov 11, 2010

Aimpoint delivers over one million M68 Close Combat Optics to U.S. Army.

Aimpoint, the originator and worldwide leader in electronic red dot sighting technology, has announced that the company’s shipments of M68 Close Combat Optics under contract to the US Army recently passed a total of one million sights. Contracts for the M68CCO have been issued to Aimpoint by the US Military since 1997, and continue with shipments as part of the latest contract for 565,000 sights awarded to the company in August, 2009.
“The continuous use of Aimpoint® sights by the US Army for the past 14 years is a great honor for our company, and passing the one million sight mark is indeed a momentous achievement” said Lennart Ljungfelt, President of Aimpoint AB. “The M68 Close Combat Optic has continued to evolve and improve over the years with feedback from our experience during use with the US Army, and we look forward to continuing to meet future requirements as they arise”.
Aimpoint® sights have been tested and chosen by the US Army following several competitive evaluations, and Aimpoint is the only manufacturer type-classified to supply the M68CCO to the US Military. The company’s products are currently in service with all branches of the US Military, and the wide variety of models available make the product suitable for nearly all infantry weapons from small arms to heavy weapons.
The M68CCO is an electronic red dot reflex sight which increases effective marksmanship, and allows the user to acquire and engage targets with increased speed and accuracy without diminishing situational awareness. The optic is extremely rugged, and the latest versions of the sight operate continuously for up to 8 years using a single AA battery.
The contract for the M68CCO is administered by the US Army Materiel Command’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, in close cooperation with Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier).

DuPont launches Kevlar XP for hard armour applications

DuPont has launched a new product called Kevlar XP for Hard Armor to provide extra protection and extra performance in ballistic applications. The product is initially targeted at military and police helmet markets  and tactical plates used in ballistic protective vests.

According to DuPont, an Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) used by the U.S. military today can weigh almost four pounds and DuPont Kevlar XP for Hard Armor provides a half pound (0.5 lb.) reduction in weight, which is vital to operating in stressful physical environments where moving quickly and efficiently is critical to protecting soldiers and marines.
For other helmet and tactical plate designs, Kevlar XP for Hard Armor is said to be able to offer 20% higher ballistic performance and increased protection, without sacrificing other performance requirements.
“DuPont is committed to protecting people around the world through science-based innovations. One of our goals is to provide the U.S. military with new products that provide significantly better protection for soldiers so they can more effectively complete their missions,” said Thomas G. Powell, president, DuPont Protection Technologies. “The U.S. military was looking for a lighter weight helmet option and DuPont developed this new product in less than a year. Using our integrated science and more than 40 years of experience, we were able to offer a solution that not only addresses the military’s needs to ‘lighten the load,’ but also to better protect the lives of those who protect us.”
Developed under the Kevlar XP platform, the increased ballistic protection offered by Kevlar XP for Hard Armor makes the new system usable in a variety of ballistic applications, including but not limited to military, law enforcement and homeland security segments. The new product was developed at DuPont’s Armor Technology Center in Wilmington, where the company’s integrated science capability, focusing on the latest innovations in life protection technologies to design, produce and test prototypes of helmets and composite panels for helmet and vehicle armour applications.
Kevlar fibre has been a critical component of providing protection for the military in helmets, vests and vehicle armour for more than 30 years, and is widely used in the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) worn by U.S. troops today.
The patent-pending Kevlar XP for Hard Armor is a combination of DuPont Kevlar KM2 Plus fibre and a new thermoplastic resin that DuPont says creates an entire matrix system, improving upon the original Kevlar technology. Kevlar KM2 Plus, a precursor to Kevlar XP for hard armour, will be produced at DuPont’s new $500 million Kevlar facility currently under construction near Charleston, S.C. The site, which is expected to be fully operational by the beginning of 2012, will produce Kevlar fibres for the military, law enforcement and other industrial applications, and will help increase worldwide production of Kevlar by 25%.

Nov 10, 2010

The Barrett MRAD

The MRAD rifle’s user-changeable barrel system is just one example of this hardworking gun’s modularity. The precision-grade barrel can be removed by simply unscrewing two bolts using a standard Torx wrench. This unique design paves the way for future caliber interchangeability and serviceability. Maintenance and logistical burdens are reduced by allowing barrel replacement at the user level.
The MRAD also boasts Barrett’s new trigger module, which is easily accessed for maintenance, adjustment and replacement. This match-grade trigger is drop-fire-proof and combat-ready. Both the ambidextrous thumb-operated safety and magazine release can be used intuitively while retaining a firing grip and cheek weld.
Integrated into the MRAD rifle’s 7000 series aluminum upper receiver is an M1913 rail with 30 MOA taper. At 21.75 inches, the rail offers plenty of space for mounting additional optical accessories. The configurable side and bottom rails can also hold a number of accessories and are easily repositioned.
The stock is where the MRAD rifle’s adaptability truly shines. It’s foldable for enhanced portability yet locks in as solid as a fixed-stock rifle, creating a platform for consistent firing. When folded, the stock latches around the bolt for added security during transport. Because the stock folds to the bolt handle side of the action, the rifle is the same width overall, folded or extended.
Made of a temperature-resistant polymer, the adjustable cheek piece also offers a consistent rifle-to-user contact point and can be adjusted from either side. The rifle’s length of pull can be set to five different positions with the push of a single button.
From its quick-detach sling mounts to the Barrett Multi-Role Brown color of the rifle that blends into any environment—every detail of the MRAD has been carefully designed to create one thing: a high-performance rifle you can truly make your own.

MRAD will become available Mid-Year 2011.

  • Model: MRAD
  • Caliber: .338 Lapua Magnum
  • Operation: Bolt Action Repeater
  • Rifle Weight: 14.8 lbs (6.713 kg)
  • Overall Length: 46.9" (119.13 cm)
  • Folded Length: 39.9" (101.35 cm)
  • Barrel Length: 24.5" (62.23 cm)
  • Rifling Twist: 1 in 10" (25.4 cm)
  • Magazine 10-Round Capacity
Part No. 12604
MRAD .338 Lapua Magnum Rifle System: 24.5" fluted barrel, Multi-Role Brown finish, folding stock, adjustable cheek piece and butt plate, two polymer 10-round magazines, 2 sling loops, 3 adjustable accessory rails, Pelican™ case and owner’s manual.

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