Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sig won the pistol contract for the US Army?

According to Firearms Blog, Sig won the contract to build the US Army's next service pistol.

I'm stunned.

How can big Army get it so wrong?  Everyone is migrating to the Glock 19 (SOCOM, Big City SWAT, Federal Law Enforcement and everyone in between) and they're going with Sig?

I'm gonna need more details on this.  Did Sig come in so low that they're willing to take a loss to win the contract?  Is buying the same weapon as used by the US Army that valuable?  I'll find out!

Full Disclosure...I am part of the Glock Nation so I MIGHT be a bit biased.

Pentagon, Lockheed near deal on $9 billion F-35 contract..

via CNBC
The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin are close to deal for a contract worth almost $9 billion as negotiations are poised to bring the price per F-35 below $100 million for the first time, people familiar with the talks said Wednesday.
The F-35, the Pentagon's costliest arms program, has drawn fire from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump who has made lowering prices for military equipment a pillar of his transition into office.
Talks are still ongoing for the tenth batch of stealthy fighter jets with a deal for 90 planes expected to be announced by the end of the month, three people said on condition of anonymity.

A Lockheed representative declined to comment and a representative for the fighter program said negotiations are ongoing.
Either the mainstream news media is incredibly stupid, or they're purposefully dismissing issues with this plane.

The best that can be said for this insanity is that they're displaying irrational exuberance and misleading the public.

The Pentagon is buying mistake jets.  Every single plane bought now and for the next couple of years will require MASSIVE upgrades.   The real price for each of these airplanes MUST INCLUDE the eventual price to upgrade them to a REAL WARFIGHTING STANDARD!

Long short?  The real price of the F-35 will without a doubt exceed the 100 million dollar tag that this article is claiming.

Survivorship Bias by DieselPunkIsDad Tumblr Page...A MUST READ!

via DPID
I have posted about survivorship bias and how it affects your career choices: how a Hollywood actor giving the classic “follow your dreams and never give up” line is bad advice and is pure survivorship bias at work.

When I read up on the wikipedia page, I encountered an interesting story:

During WWII the US Air Force wanted to minimize bomber losses to enemy fire. The Center for Naval Analyses ran a research on where bombers tend to get hit with the explicit aim of enforcing the parts of the airframe that is most likely to receive incoming fire. This is what they came up with (note..its the pic above).

So, they said: the red dots are where bombers are most likely to be hit, so put some more armor on those parts to make the bombers more resilient. That looked like a logical conclusion, until Abraham Wald - a mathematician - started asking questions:

- how did you obtain that data?
- well, we looked at every bomber returning from a raid, marked the damages on the airframe on a sheet and collected the sheets from all allied air bases over months. What you see is the result of hundreds of those sheets.
- and your conclusion?
- well, the red dots are where the bombers were hit. So let’s enforce those parts because they are most exposed to enemy fire.
- no. the red dots are where a bomber can take a hit and return. The bombers that took a hit to the ailerons, the engines or the cockpit never made it home. That’s why they are absent in your data. The blank spots are exactly where you have to enforce the airframe, so those bombers can return.

This is survivorship bias. You only see a subset of the outcomes. The ones that made it far enough to be visible. Look out for absence of data. Sometimes they tell a story of their own.
Just wow.  Awesome stuff.

B-2 Bombers strike targets in Libya. The USAF makes a play to impress the new boss!

Thanks to Robert for the link!

via Air Force Times
American warplanes unleashed a massive attack Wednesday on at least two Islamic State training camps in Libya, killing an estimated 80 militants who fled the group's crumbling stronghold there, U.S officials said. 
The airstrikes occurred in a remote area approximately 30 miles southwest of Sirte, a city along the Mediterranean coast that's been a focus for U.S. forces since at least February. 
The operation was carried out by two Air Force B-2 bombers and an unspecified number of unmanned MQ-9 Reapers armed with Hellfire missiles, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told Air Force Times on Thursday morning. An estimated 100 Islamic State fighters were targeted and approximately 100 weapons were released, James said, adding that the mission was coordinated with U.S. special operations personnel working with local allies on the ground nearby.  

Freaking seriously?  You're gonna send two B-2 bombers and an "unspecified" number of Reapers to kill 100 ISIS fighters?

I would bet body parts that the B-2 weren't even necessary but added to the package to simply earn the USAF a little publicity before the new boss takes over.

The SecAF passed this info to reporters?

This is obvious and obscene.  The USAF is making a play for relevance.  I guess the budget wars are in full effect.

This TV prop is gonna get people killed. How is this a thing?

Above you see "Lucille" the weapon used by Negan in the Walking Dead TV show to bash in the heads of a couple of characters on that show.

No big deal its fiction right?

Wrong.  The pic above is from an ad on WALMART showing it for sale.  Don't get me twisted.  I'm not for the nanny state in any form but let some idiot think he's gonna scare me (and in his mind he only wants to scare) by running at me or mine with this in his hands as some type of prank and someone is going to be crying because their loved one was a Darwin award winner.

How is this a thing?

I guess it doesn't matter.  It is a thing and something that those that are into self defense should know about.  Check out this article from the Daily Mail...
San Francisco Police are asking for help leading to those chaining up spiked baseball bats to poles throughout the city.
San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak says officers first received reports of wooden or metal baseball bats appearing on poles and parking meters in the city on Thanksgiving morning.
The bats are 'spiked' with large screwdrivers driven through the tops.
The weird bats have been chained to telephone poles and parking meters.

Andraychak says 27 bats with spikes running through them have been found since then. The latest discovery was Friday in the Fishermen's Wharf area.
Andraychak says the spikes on the objects allow them to be considered a prohibited or deadly weapon, which is a felony.
Want to know the bad news?  If you're attacked with one of these weapons then that means your attacker has gotten close, is probably conducting an ambush and the trauma from the first hit could be bad enough to totally incapacitate you.

We're entering a new world.  A gun attack is one thing but a spiked club attack is something that few people have ever really wargamed (knife attacks...even California rushes we have practiced against).  I'll be looking to see what the pros are saying to do to protect against this (besides the obvious to be aware of your surroundings).

Blast from the past. US Army Sterling T26 8 x 8 12-ton Heavy Truck

pics via Diesel Futures Tumblr Page.

I am in love with this troop carrying/logistics version.  Am I wrong or would it like in place in today's Army or Marine Corps?

We're all guilty.  When it comes to vehicles from the past the military blogging community (and armor enthusiast in general) focus only on tanks, APCs and IFVs.

The troops carriers/logistics trucks are all but forgotten (unless they're halftracks!).

I think we're doing ourselves a disservice.  The M26 Dragon and the T26 (above) were futuristic and essential to the war effort. has this interesting write up....
She was a big beast by any standard - but then she had a big job to do.

And although technically extinct, the memory of the US Army Sterling T26 8 x 8 12-ton heavy truck lives on, through a book researched and written by Tony Gibbs
Called “Sterling T26 Discovered”, Tony will be signing copies of this limited edition work at the War and Peace Show, at The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, in July.
He is also working on a model of this historic military vehicle.
“The T26 was designed to take over from the M26 Dragon Wagon, at a time when the Americans were building super-heavy tanks, capable of taking on the German Tigers,” said Tony, an industrial designer before he retired 10 years ago.
“Powerful though the M26 was, it was just not up to lugging the 70-ton T29 tank nor the turretless T-28, which weighed in at no less than 95 tons.”
Tony’s book is a tribute to the brilliant designer Lieutenant Steve Hodges, who led the T26 design project. He visited Hodges at his home in California and the two became friends.
When Steve Hodges died, Tony was given access to his entire archive, and was able to scan copies of all the documentation, photos and technical drawings relating to the project.
“One of the problems Steve faced was that the quality of steel available during the Second World War was just not tough enough for conventional gears on a truck this size,” said Tony.
“The solution he came up with was to create a system whereby power was delivered individually to each of the eight wheels, using sprocket and chain for the final drives. So they were reverting to older technology as a way of dealing with wartime constraints.

“The vehicle was steered by rotating the entire front bogie, which gave it a very tight turning circle. Coupled with the much shorter T58 semi-trailer this arrangement would have helped on the narrow lanes encountered in Normandy. However the war ended before it could be shipped to Europe.”
The T26 was initially powered by an American LaFrance 300E V12 engine, which had a capacity of 754 cubic inches (12,356 cc), which generated 280 bhp at 1800 rpm and 518 foot pounds of torque. This was upgraded on later variants.
Three manual gearboxes gave a choice of 20 forward and three reverse gears.
Later models were powered by the Ford GAA V8 tank engine with the Ford GAC V12 projected for the ulitmate version.
Steve Hodges, who was awarded the Legion of Merit for his design work, went on to develop further 8 x 8 trucks, including the Lockheed Twister and the Lockheed Dragon Wagon, the essence of which was embedded in the Oshkosh LVS military truck series, used to good effect in Operation Desert Storm.
Tony Gibbs began researching the T26 as a retirement project, after a career in industrial design during which he worked on projects ranging from a Royal Mail pillar box to a complex spacecraft control console.
His interest in military vehicles was sparked in the days before D-Day when as a child he watched endless convoys heading south to the embarkation points.
Even then it was the massive American transports that most captivated his interest, together with the cool and relaxed GI crews that operated them.
With the passing of Captain Cernan and Lt General Brandtner we're not only losing our nation's studs but we're also losing touchstones to our military history.

It must be left to others to catalog their heroics and if possible get first hand accounts from them before they pass away but the armor community must do a better job of collecting and disseminating info about past efforts...both successful and unsuccessful.  Knowledge is acquired by learning what worked, what didn't and how they went about designing/building those vehicles.

Rant over.  Time to hit Galvars and Costas TT over the head and get them to send me bulk copies of their armor catalogs.  I wonder if I should setup a Google Hangout so we can more easily share pics/articles/information on military vehicles?

Open Comment Post. Jan 19, 2017

Our nation keeps losing its studs....Lt. Gen. Martin L. Brandtner Laid to Rest

Latest "hotness" at Shot Show? Kel Tec RDB Survival

This is the hot thing at shot show.  Personally I yawn.  First Kel Tec doesn't put their guns in stores so its always a rat race to get them.  Not talking about the pistols but the long guns.  Next the price point has me wondering if it wouldn't be better just to save pennies and bump up to a Tavor.

Either way check out the video above....NutnFancy did a pretty good review.

Side note:  Is it just me or do the ergonomics seem a bit off. The thumb over the stock seems weird.

Kader Siddiqi, an Indian Mukti Bahini guerrilla, bayonets men via Historium

Kader Siddiqi, an Indian Mukti Bahini guerrilla, bayonets men accused of collaboration with Pakistan during East Pakistan’s struggle to become the independent state of Bangladesh. 1971

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gambia is melting down. African troops from 3 nations poised to remove the Gambian President.

via NPR
In a few hours, longtime Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh's presidential term will expire. But he is clinging to power as troops from regional powers reportedly amass at the border.
International and regional powers are demanding that Jammeh step down and make way for his rival, businessman Adama Barrow, who won last month' s presidential election.
The African Union has stated that it will stop recognizing Jammeh as president after his term expires at midnight local time. (Gambia is five hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast.)
And ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc, appears to be preparing to enforce the election result by force. The Nigerian air force said in a statement that it has moved "a contingent of 200 men and air assets" to Senegal's capital, Dakar, "from where it is expected to operate into Gambia."
Senegalese forces also are poised to cross the border, army spokesman Col. Abdou Ndiaye tells Reuters. "We are ready and are awaiting the deadline at midnight. If no political solution is found, we will step in," Ndiaye said, according to the wire service.

ECOWAS had earlier threatened military action if Jammeh refused to leave and is seeking "the U.N. Security Council's endorsement of its 'all necessary measures' to help remove Jammeh from power," The Associated Press reported. Gambia, "a country of 1.9 million people, is estimated to have just 900 troops," according to the wire service.
Jammeh, who has been president since he led a coup 22 years ago, initially accepted the result of the Dec. 1 election — but dramatically changed his mind a week later, saying that the results were void because of voting "irregularities." And earlier this week, he issued a 90-day state of emergency.
Parliament also extended his term for another three months earlier today, according to news reports, though that hasn't appeared to ease the tension heading into tomorrow's deadline.
Meanwhile, it appears Barrow is preparing to be sworn in as president. It's unclear where that ceremony would take place, as Barrow is in Senegal for his own protection.
"Our future starts tomorrow," Barrow said in a tweet.
Want to know the amazing thing?  People aren't upset that this guy is violating his nation's laws and violating their constitution.  They're upset because so many Western nations worked to undermine his election (yeah...the US is accused of attempting to influence the Gambian election) because he made anti-gay statements.

Be that as it may this is a terrible setback for Africa but par for the course.

Are we about to see govts in even more chaos while they're fighting ISIS and sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims (especially in the North and Central Africa)?

I thought we had more time before things went South in Africa.

I was wrong.

Does McCain's plan for 300 "brush war" fighters make sense?

via AOL Breaking Defense.
A key part of Sen. John Mclain’s alternative defense budget proposal is the rapid purchase of 300 “low-cost, light-attack fighters that would require minimal work to develop.”
I asked Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein today what he thought of McCain’s proposal, contained in Restoring American Power. “Great idea,” he said, pointing to the long war we’ve fought against Islamic terrorists and other violent extremists. While America needs F-22s and F-35s in case of war with China, Russia, Iran or North Korea, Goldfein said those aircraft need a break from flying the regular missions into permissive environments such as those found in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other theaters where US aircraft execute Close Air Support (CAS) and other operations that don’t require stealth, high speed or other expensive and sophisticated capabilities.
Then this.
I asked Goldfein if the Scorpion aircraft, built on spec by Textron AirLand, was one of the aircraft under consideration and he said yes. The other planes already being considered for OA-X are Embraer’s A-29 Super Tucanos and Beechcraft’s AT-6. With ardent A-10 supporter Sen. Kelly Ayotte having lost her seat, it will be interesting to see how Congress shapes the CAS decisions the Air Force hopes to make.
Sorry guys but McCain's plan makes no sense.  Think about it like this.

1.  We already have the superb A-10 for the down and dirty fight.  If we don't already have 300 of them then we should easily reach that number by refurbishing those in the boneyard.

2.  Remember during the F-35 debate when everyone said that it was too vulnerable to do CAS?  We were told that those missions would be performed at 15K feet due to all the great sensors and precision weapons we have.  Are we suddenly gonna risk losing pilots to ISIS by having them get in the weeds with a Super Tucano or an AT-6 or even Bronco?

3.  What about the MQ-9 Reapers (and the early model) that we have access to?  Those are all armed, can stay on station for hours and not only can drop bombs and fire missiles but also provide the vaunted "sensor node" that the USAF is all wet about.

4.  If CAS has evolved then we have long range, high flying, massive load carrying, can stay on station an awful long time B-52s.  Lets be honest.  They're no longer part of the nuclear mission.  Not realistically anyway.  Time to redesignate them as AB-52's (attack bombers) and go back to the big belly modification used in Vietnam.

This plan is nothing more than a money grab by the Air Force.  Toss fly guys a new toy and they get happy.  We don't need 300 new low end fighters.  That base is already covered by assets we already have in inventory.