Tuesday, March 28, 2017

British Army Air Corps (AAC) Wildcat Mk1

CH-53K to drop below 89 million in full rate production...can we afford the wing we're building?

Thanks to Joe for the link!

via Bloomberg
The King Stallion’s cost is estimated to drop below $89 million after full-rate production begins, Marine Lieutenant General Gary Thomas, deputy for programs, said at the hearing. “That’s still very expensive and we’re working very hard with” Lockheed “to keep the cost down and to drive value for the taxpayer.”
Hmm.  Outrageously expensive F-35B's, MV-22's and  now the CH-53K?

Can the USMC afford the air wing it's building?  Will it be affordable in service and deliver in combat?  I'm convinced the F-35 won't deliver and there is enough evidence to doubt the Mv-22
when the bullets start flying.  But the CH-53K?  Even if it delivers as advertised is it worth paying almost 90 mil a copy when we could buy  the Penetrating version of the MH-47 for about the same money but with the added benefit of it being a better fit for dispersed operations?

It doesn't matter.  At the end of the day the most formidable enemy will show up and crush Marine Theorists dreams...the guys with the pocket protectors, star trek figure collections and spread sheets.  If HQMC can.t correct this mess then the accountants will.

Open Comment Post. March 28, 2017

Ukraine's radical BTR-60 upgrade...via Janes

Story here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Marine Corps is reinventing the Landing Craft Tank (Rocket)

via AOL Breaking Defense.
When you absolutely, positively have to blow up everyone right away, however, you need more than a mortar. You need a Multiple-Launch Rocket System like the MLRS or HIMARS. If you’re a Marine making a landing, you need it mounted on something that can float. The Naval Surface Warfare Center’s solution to this problem is the Autonomous Landing Craft – Air Cushion. A-LCAC takes the venerable five-man Navy hovercraft, capable of carrying an M1 tank from ship to shore, and turns it into an unmanned rocket launcher that skims over the water at 45 miles an hour. That’s the kind of firepower that can clear a beach in a real hurry.
Of course the media  is going crazy over this "innovation" but we're just doing what was done before.  What am I talking about?  They're reinventing the Landing Craft Tank (Rocket)!

While everyone is shouting "cool" I'm shouting that we aren't being innovative enough!  Why saddle a low density asset like an LCAC with this mission? Give this job to our Landing Craft Utility! Even better?  Put the US Army's Multi-Mission Launcher!  Then it can flex into a variety of missions.

Read the whole article but why design a robot glider when we know the Kamax unmanned helicopter works and can carry a useful payload!

Is this exercise highlighting new tech or are they just re-inventing the wheel?

MV-22 not planned for UK's new carrier

via Defense Industry Daily.
March 26/17: New British Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will not have V-22 tiltrotor aircraft onboard, according to a written parliamentary reply external link external link to Lord West. Lord West, a retired Royal Navy officer and former government minister, had asked if the government was considering the Osprey for use by the state’s special forces. In response, the government stated that the aircraft was not part of plans to deliver the UK Carrier Strike capability. However, the MoD will continue to explore a variety of options to augment the capabilities of the carriers.
Why buy the cow if you can get the milk free?   The so called special relationship is turning the UK into a US colony.  They're becoming more dependent on us everyday.  I wouldn't be surprised if the USMC setup a permanent detachment of V-22's on their carrier and then shout about interoperability.

Open Comment Post. March 27, 2017

T-90 equals the Mighty M1 Abrams?

via Sputnik.
"I'll be the optimist and say that we're at parity with a lot of different nations," Murray noted. Still, the officer stressed that "our most capable enemies are closing quickly."
"I think the Abrams is still towards the top of its class in terms of combat systems, in terms of tanks," Murray said. "I think we have parity, I think there is parity out there." Still, he warned that Russia has closed the gap it had with the US since the end of the Cold War. "I think the T-90 is probably pretty close," he told one senator.

As for Russia's newest generation tank, the Armata, the officer said that he couldn't comment on that, since the tank has not yet been widely fielded.
Story here...Don't hit me with the "its propaganda"...check the sources for the story...its real.

So riddle me this.

What happens when they do get the Armata into widespread service?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hacksaw Ridge

US and Romanian Marines train together at Exercise Spring Storm in Capu Midia...pics by Sgt. Matthew Callahan

Note:  Never knew Romania had a Marine Corps!  

So this is what had the House Intel Chief running to the White House.

A House intelligence committee investigation took a dramatic shift this week after newly disclosed intelligence reports suggested the Obama administration improperly gathered and disseminated secret electronic communications from President Trump and his transition team prior to inauguration.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, indicated that the administration used its foreign intelligence gathering authority to spy on the discussions of Trump and his transition team by improperly unmasking the identity of Americans who were swept up in foreign electronic spying.
"What I've read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don't know that it's right and I don't know if the American people would be comfortable with what I've read," said Nunes, who uncovered the reports.
Nunes announced the committee would seek to determine who knew about the classified reports, why they were not disclosed to Congress, and who requested and authorized the disclosure of the Americans' identities in the reports.
Why did I include Bill Gertz's name at the beginning of this post?  Because he's one of the best defense journalist roaming the planet at this time.  His stuff is almost always well sourced and correct.

He plays it straight.  If he's the one reporting that we're looking at improperly gathered communications against Trump's transition team then you better check it out again.

I can't wait to see how this plays out.

Blast from the past. Experimental M-113 based Landing Vehicle Tracked Personnel (LVTP)

The Marine Corps does a pretty good job and the YATS-YAS boys are almost fanatical about how they trace the history (its one of the one few "mafias" inside the Marine Corps that maintains a link between its past, present and future) of its Amphibious Combat Vehicles.

One thing they have dropped the ball on are some of the experimental Landing Vehicle Tracked Personnel (LVTP) that have come down the line.  The Experimental M-113 based model is one of them.  Check out the pics below.

I call it a M-113 based model but I think it might pre-date that vehicle and might be based on an even earlier Army vehicle.  I do know that the concept was refined and we saw this proposed (pics below).

It irks me that additional information on these vehicles isn't available.  I've gone to the wayback machine on the web and tried to see if the FMC site had any info and it's a no-go.  I've checked out my collection of Hunnicut books to see if they had any, hell I've even checked out various old editions of JANES to see if they had any info and it's all NEGATIVE!

Last chance is to see if Foss knows anything and of course you guys.

If you have real deal info then hook me up.  I don't need guesses, speculation or theory.  I want REAL information on this rig!