Naval warfare gets new weapon

Naval warfare gets new weapon

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Italy attacks the British fleet at Souda Bay, Crete, using detachable warheads to sink a British cruiser. This was the first time manned torpedoes had been employed in naval warfare, adding a new weapon to the world’s navies’ arsenals.

The manned torpedo, also known as the “Chariot,” was unique. Primarily used to attack enemy ships still in harbor, the Chariots needed “pilots” to “drive” them to their targets. Sitting astride the torpedo on a vehicle that would transport them both, the pilot would guide the missile as close to the target as possible, then ride the vehicle back, usually to a submarine. The Chariot was an enormous advantage; before its development, the closest weapon to the Chariot was the Japanese Kaiten–a human torpedo, or suicide bomb, which had obvious drawbacks.

The first successful use of the Chariot was by the Italian navy, although they referred to their version as Maiali, or “Pigs.” On March 26, six Italian motorboats, commanded by Italian naval commander Lt. Luigi Faggioni, entered Souda Bay in Crete and planted their Maiali along a British convoy in harbor there. The cruiser York was so severely damaged by the blast that it had to be beached.

The manned torpedo proved to be the most effective weapon in the Italian naval arsenal, used successfully against the British again in December 1941 at Alexandria, Egypt. Italian torpedoes sank the British battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, as well as one tanker. They were also used against merchant ships at Gibraltar and elsewhere.

The British avenged themselves against the Italians, though, by sinking the new Italian cruiser Ulpio Traiano in the port of Palermo, Sicily, in early January 1943. An 8,500-ton ocean liner was also damaged in the same attack.

After the Italian surrender, Britain, and later Germany, continued to use the manned torpedo. In fact, Germany succeeded in sinking two British minesweepers off Normandy Beach in July 1944, using their Neger torpedoes.

READ MORE: How Did World War II End?

Being the activities of battle itself, tactics are conceived and executed at the literal and metaphoric centre of war’s violence. Tactical science is an orderly description of these activities, and tactical art is the skill required to carry them out in combat.

It should be said that, in order to achieve victory, willpower and courage must always accompany tactical art and science and often dominate the outcome of battle. These qualities are not tactics, but they are related to tactics in the way a sound decision is related to the resolution with which it is implemented. There is no finer example than Horatio Nelson. In the Battle of the Nile (August 1–2, 1798), not only were Admiral Nelson’s tactical decisions brilliant, but he had so imbued his captains with his thinking that, when they saw a chance for surprise by attacking the disengaged side of the French fleet, they were quick to seize it and gain a decisive advantage. Still, their decisions only established the basis of that great victory, for the French fought with desperation, and it took hard fighting by British tars, inspired by Nelson’s charismatic leadership, to fulfill the promise of victory.

In a similar manner, new technology is not tactics, but it may have a decisive effect in both altering the face of battle and affecting its outcome. Navies put special emphasis on warships and aircraft. It is well said that on the ground men are served by their weapons while at sea weapons are served by men. Lest his readers be too enamoured of élan and fighting spirit, Rear Admiral Bradley Allen Fiske used a telling example in The Navy as a Fighting Machine (1916). He pointed out that in the American Civil War the Confederate ironclad Virginia, with 10 guns, handily defeated the Union sloops-of-war Congress and Cumberland, which carried a total of 74 guns. One day later the Union’s Monitor, carrying two guns in a turret, fought the Virginia to a standstill. Courage and resolve were powerless against progress and armour.

The American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan made perhaps too much of the influence on tactics of technological progress. In his seminal The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660–1783 (1890), he wrote that, due to new fighting systems, “from time to time the structure of tactics has to be wholly torn down but the foundations of strategy so far remain, as though laid upon a rock.” Mahan appreciated the utility of naval history for the discovery of strategic constants—that is, principles of strategy that have remained valid throughout technological change. Tacticians, on the other hand, are conscious of tactical constants as well, especially the following: the power of concentrated force (rarely in history has a naval tactician withheld a reserve) the special value of surprise the abiding need for cohesion brought about by sound command and combat doctrine the consummate goal of attacking effectively first and the unique role played by timing and timeliness.

The U.S. Navy’s 5 Most Lethal Weapons of War

America rules the waves for a reason—five, to be exact.

The United States Navy is the largest and most advanced navy in the world, fielding everything from aircraft carriers and maritime patrol aircraft to submarines, destroyers and unmanned helicopters.

So when your editor asks you to choose the Navy’s five most lethal weapons systems, your most difficult challenge is trying to narrow it down to just five selections. For this article I bypassed the larger platforms such as the aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. To be sure, those are actually the most lethal weapons in the Navy’s arsenal, however, everybody knows them, and, as big platforms, they are actually the sum of many smaller ones.

Instead, I wanted to highlight platforms that were outstanding in some particular way, with an emphasis on the biggest bang for the buck. I also wanted to spread out the selection it’s easy to merely include surface ships and submarines, ignoring aircraft and certain missions.

Before proceeding, it’s worth noting that the Navy is currently on the cusp of a technological revolution, with new ships, fighters, radars, lasers, railguns and unmanned systems on the horizon. In ten years, a repeat of this list may look very different.

Arleigh Burke-class Guided Missile Destroyer:

Named after the legendary World War II admiral, the Arleigh Burke class destroyers are some of the most balanced, capable ships fielded by any modern navy. The Burke class is the backbone of the fleet, with some 62 vessels comprising over a fifth of all the ships in the Navy.

The heart of the Burke’s combat systems is in its Aegis radar system, which is capable of directing a variety of air defense missiles against incoming targets. Aegis can coordinate the defense of an entire naval surface group, and with the new Cooperative Engagement Capability the Burkes can fire on targets at extended ranges using targeting data from platforms such as the E-2D Hawkeye.

The Burke class is also capable of launching Evolved Sea Sparrow air defense missiles against short and medium range targets, and SM-2 and SM-6 missiles against long-range aerial targets. Many destroyers also have a ballistic missile defense capability, and can launch SM-3 missiles specialized for engagement of ballistic missiles.

For anti-submarine warfare, the class has a built-in SQQ-89 sonar system, with a towed sonar system scheduled for future upgrades. The ship mounts six Mk.46 anti-submarine torpedoes. The ship’s embarked MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters provide long-range anti-submarine capability, although only later versions of the Burke class were built with hangars.

For a modern ship, the Burke class is heavily armed with conventional guns. A 5-inch, 127-millimeter gun is mounted on the bow, capable of anti-ship, shore bombardment, and even a limited anti-air role. Two 25 mm guns and four .50 caliber machine guns were added after the suicide attack on the USS Cole in 1999. Finally, each ship has two Phalanx 1B close-in weapon systems designed to shoot down incoming missiles, but capable of firing on helicopters, UAVs, and small boats as well.

One area where the Burke class comes up short is in its ability to engage enemy ships. The ships are anemic in their anti-ship capability, with only older vessels even fielding 8 aging Harpoon anti-ship missiles. This has been by design, as no credible surface threat has existed and the Navy has concentrated on the Global War on Terror mission. Missiles such as the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile and the Lockheed Martin Long Range Anti-Ship Missile are in development and hold great promise as a future anti-ship missiles of the fleet.

The ships will likely be the longest class in production ever fielded by the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke herself was commissioned in 1991, and production is expected to continue for another fifteen years. That would mean nearly 40 years of near-continuous production for a single type of destroyer.

EA-18G Growler Electronic Attack Aircraft:

Based on the successful F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18 Growler is an electronic warfare aircraft with the performance of a fighter. Unlike its predecessor the EA-6B Prowler, the Growler is capable of being used more aggressively, pacing high performance fighter bombers on dangerous missions.

The Growler is basically a two seat Super Hornet, with 90 percent commonality in some features between the two planes. The Super Hornet’s internal M61 gun is deleted to accommodate an AN/ALQ-227 communications jamming system, and AN/ALQ-99 radar jamming pods are fitted to the plane’s weapons stations.

Growler has three key capabilities. Firstly, it can conduct Suppression of Enemy Air Defense missions in support of drones or UAVs. Growler can jam communications and enemy radars on the ground and actively attack radars with anti-radar HARM missiles.

Second, Growler can conduct stand-off and escort jamming, against air defenses on the ground, enemy airborne early warning platforms and enemy fighters. Growler can keep up with fighters conducting a counter-air sweep and keep enemy radars and communications scrambled. Third, Growler is also capable of what is called “Non-Traditional Electronic Attack,” a somewhat mysterious capability which supposedly allows it to “integrate with ground defenses.”

In addition to those capabilities, Growler can also self-protect, allowing fighters that would otherwise escort it to be used elsewhere. Growler is as fast and maneuverable as a F/A-18F, and can carry AMRAAM air to air missiles for defensive use. Despite its electronic warfare designation, it is still is equipped with an APG-79 multi-mode AESA radar and a Helmet-Mounted Cueing System for air to air combat.

One hundred Growlers have been delivered as of May 2014, and another 15 aircraft have been approved as part of the 2015 Congressional defense budget.

Virginia-class Attack Submarine:

One of the most successful weapons programs of the post-Cold War period, the Virginia class attack submarine combines one of the most advanced nuclear attack submarines with an affordable shipbuilding program. At least 33 units are planned.

Each Virginia class is 377 feet long and 34 feet in diameter and weighs 7,800 tons submerged. Each has 12 vertical launch tubes for Tomahawk missiles., as well as four 533mm torpedo tubes capable of launching Mk 48 ADCAP homing torpedoes, mines, and torpedo tube-launched unmanned underwater vehicles. Subs of the class are also equipped with lockout chambers for divers and can carry SEAL mini submarines.

In addition to their attack mission, Virginia submarines are also useful surveillance platforms. Each has an extensive sonar suite with bulb, sail and chin sonars covering the front hemisphere, sonar arrays on the flanks, and a towed array to detect objects in the sub’s wake. The ship is equipped with Electronic Support Measures sensors for detection of enemy signals and optronic sensors. These sensors can be augmented with data from UUVs and special forces. Intelligence can then be relayed to the surface and beyond via high-rate data transmitters.

The Virginia class is also a success from a cost perspective. The Seawolf-class that preceded it was a financial disaster—29 submarines were planned but the first three ships averaged $4.4 billion each and plans for further submarines were terminated.

The Virginias, on the other hand, have come in at an average of just under $2 billion each. Even better, by 2011 they were being delivered early and under budget. USS Mississippi was commissioned a year early and $60 million under budget. In May, the U.S. Navy ordered ten submarines from General Dynamics Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls for $17.6 billion, making the per-unit cost a bargain at $1.76 billion. Under the agreement each shipyard would churn out a submarine a year for five years, ensuring that two submarines would join the fleet annually.

Ohio-Class Cruise Missile Submarine:

The four guided-missile submarines (SSGNs) of the Ohio-class: Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Georgia — are four of the most heavily armed ships in the world. Each is equipped with 154 cruise missiles and can carry up to four platoons of Navy SEALs.

Originally constructed as ballistic missile submarines, each submarine carried 24 nuclear tipped D-5 Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Under the terms of the START II treaty the United States was left with four excess ballistic missile submarine hulls. Rather than decommission them, the U.S. Navy paid $4 billion to convert them to carry conventionally-armed Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles.

Twenty two of the Trident missile silos were converted to each hold seven Tomahawk missiles. The result is a stealthy cruise missile platform capable of firing 154 Tomahawk missiles, a unique capability that greatly increases the US Navy’s firepower.

The precise loadout of each submarine is classified but includes some mixture of Block III Tomahawk and Block IV Tomahawk missiles. Tomahawk Block III/C has a single 1,000 lb conventional warhead and a range of 1,000 miles. Block III/D has a payload of 166 cluster bomblets and a range of 800 miles. Each missile features multiple navigation methods and can guide itself to target by Inertial Navigation System, Terrain Contour Matching, Digital Scene Matching Area Correlator and GPS.

Tomahawk Block IV/E adds the capability for each missile to conduct reconnaissance, bomb damage assessment and retargeting. The missile can send back an image of the battle area in order, loiter while new target data is drawn up, and then substitute a new target for the old one. The missile is also significantly cheaper than previous Tomahawks.

Pentagon’s weapons tester gives update on Navy’s new long-range anti-ship missile

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Navy’s new Long Range Anti-Ship Missile must go through more rigorous and realistic testing, according to the 2020 annual report from the director of operational test and evaluation.

Citing “multiple hardware and software failures” in the first iteration of the LRASM missile, the DOT&E report calls on the Navy to put the new LRASM 1.1 through a rigorous testing process under realistic combat conditions to ensure it will “demonstrate mission capability in operationally realistic environments.”

The LRASM is a weapon that has generated a good deal of excitement among Navy leaders. It has a published range of about 300 nautical miles, is jam resistant, and is designed to locate targets with onboard sensors rather than relying on guidance from another source such as a drone’s sensors or another ship. The missile is also difficult to detect.

The missile was tested on a B-1B Lancer bomber in 2018 and an F/A-18 Super Hornet the following year. It was also test-fired during the Navy’s Valiant Shield exercise in September, which this year involved the Japan-based aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan and the amphibious assault ship America.

Lockheed Martin, which makes the missile, successfully demonstrated it from a vertical launching system, which means that at some point the missile could be a surface-to-surface weapon if the Navy chooses.

The Navy is planning a second increment of the LRASM, which will be competed in the 2028-2030 timeframe. In the meantime, the service is working out the bugs from LRASM 1.0 in LRASM 1.1.

The report recommends the Navy put the LRASM 1.1 through initial operational test and evaluation soon by “stressing the system by using the full set of expected operational conditions.”

The Golden Age of Islam (600 to 1600 AD) rescues the advances of classical civilisations after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Firearms technology develops rapidly and Egyptian soldiers are the first to use hand cannons and other small arms at the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260.

However, Islamic science declines from the 17th century onwards.

The Battle of Agincourt marks the zenith of mediaeval longbow technology. An English army with a high proportion of archers decimates a French army five to 10 times larger.

10 Odd Weapons From US Military History

From the legendary M1 Garand to today’s M4 and M16 rifles, standard-issue infantry rifles have been the ubiquitous icons of the troops who carried them. But throughout America’s wars, some decidedly non-standard small arms have been put into service when a particular situation or circumstance calls for a unique weapon.

1. Stinger Machine Gun

This World War II weapon originated not from American arms designers or military ordnance boards, but from the creative minds of a few Marines from the 5th Marine Division. Using salvaged versions the aircraft mounted version of the Browning M1919 machine gun called the ANM2 (pictured above), the Stinger was constructed using an M1 carbine stock, a simple trigger, a Browning automatic rifle bipod, and an improvised 100-round box magazine. Because it was based off the ANM2, the Stinger’s rate of fire was over 1200 rounds per minute, three times that of the normal M1919. It was truly devastating firepower in a infantry-portable package. One Marine, Cpl. Tony Stein, would demonstrate the Stinger’s effectiveness during the Iwo Jima landings on Feb. 19, 1945.

During the initial amphibious assault, Stein single handedly used his Stinger to suppress and assault multiple enemy pillboxes. Shedding his boots and helmet to move faster, Stein made eight trips back and forth across the beach, retrieving more ammunition and evacuating the wounded. For his actions with the Stinger, Stein was award the Medal of Honor, which he received posthumously after being killed in action on Mar. 1.

The Stinger was a rare weapon only six were ever made, and no surviving examples exist today. But is was a testament to the ingenuity of crafty and creative enlisted troops who wanted to get new capabilities out of their small arms. The Stinger also foreshadowed the concept of the medium or general purpose machine gun, exemplified today in weapons like the 7.62x51mm M240 machine gun.

2. M3 Carbine

While it may seem like a Buck Rogers sci-fi prop, this weapon system was ahead of its time. It originated as an protype late in World War II. Provisionally called the T3, the system consisted of early versions of an image intensification scope and infrared illuminator mounted on a custom-built M2 carbine and powered by an external backpack battery. Several T3s served during the invasion of Okinawa, inflicting a significant number of casualties on the Japanese forces, and was effective against night infiltrations of American lines. After the war, an improved version that could be mounted on standard M1 and M2 carbines using a conversion kit was developed. Type classified the M3, it also sported improved optics, increasing the view range to 125 yards. M3s also saw use in the Korean War, but the M3 never was popular with troops the heavy battery pack, fragile electronics, and the underpowered .30 caliber round didn’t sell troops to the idea of turning a six-pound rifle into a 34-pound monster. But the M3 demonstrated the potential of a night-fighting weapon, setting the stage for today’s infrared and thermal optics systems.

3. SOG-Modified RPD Machine Gun

The RPD machine gun is normally associated with the of the early Soviet military and various third-world arsenals. Nevertheless, the weapons got some unconventional modifications from an unconventional American unit. During the Vietnam War, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam established a “black” special operations group under the innocuous sounding designation of Studies and Observation Group the new unit consisted of Army Special Forces, Navy SEALs, and Marine Force Reconnaissance personnel. In 1965 and 1966, this unit was given permission to begin cross border operations into Laos and Cambodia, with the objective of observing and interdicting logical operations on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Given the covert nature of their missions, SOG operators often carried non-U.S. weapons into the field.

The RPD was a gas piston-operated machine developed at the tail end of World War II by Soviet small arms designer Vasily Degtyaryov. It was chambered in the same 7.62x39mm intermediate rifle as the famous AK-47. Given its place in Vietcong and North Vietnamese hands, the RPD was suited for SOG’s unconventional needs, but went a step beyond. SOG operators cut the RPD’s barrel down to the end of the gas tube and shortened the stock, bringing the overall length down to just 31 inches. SOG also modified the RPD’s drum magazine to hold 125 rounds instead of the usual 100, as well as adding a piece of linoleum to muffle rattling inside the drum. These modifications created a compact, yet still controllable machine gun that only weighed 12 pounds. For a small, outnumbered SOG recon team trying to break contact with pursuing forces, the custom RPD was the last word in portable firepower.

4. China Lake Grenade Launcher

The Vietnam War saw several evolutions in grenade launchers. The M79 replaced old rifle muzzle spigot-type launchers, and the underbarrel mounted XM148 launcher entered testing. But some special operations units still weren&apost satisfied. SEAL teams operating in Vietnam used both the M79 and XM418, but found the single-shot capacity lacking. A magazine-fed launcher proved unreliable. The SEALs asked for a better weapon.

What they got was a cross between a grenade launcher and a shotgun the user cycled new rounds into the chamber like a pump-action shotgun. Never given an official designation, the weapon was named after the China Lake Naval Weapons Center where it was developed. The China Lake carried three 40 mm grenade rounds in the shotgun-style magazine tube, plus one in the chamber. With the China Lake, SEAL teams could deliver multiple frag grenades in a matter of second, well suited for conducting ambushes and destroying enemy fighting positions. Despite its quality, the China Lake never quite evolved past the experimental phase revolver-style grenade launchers offered more ammo capacity than the shotgun design. But the role of the China Lake endures in weapons like the M32 Multi-Grenade Launcher, providing a rain of explosives at a moment&aposs notice.

5. Stoner 63 Modular Weapons Systems

This weapon system came from legendary American arms designer Eugene Stoner, creator of the original Armalite AR-15 rifle, which was later adopted by the military as the M16. Stoner’s next project after leaving Armalite was a modular weapon system developed with Cadillac Gage: a 7.62启 mm caliber weapon that could be configured as a rifle, carbine, or machine gun. When Stoner and his design team saw the growing popularity of the 5.56 x 45 mm caliber, they switched away from the heavier 7.62 mm round.

The Stoner 63 system featured a variety of different subassemblies, that enabled a variety of configurations. A full-size rifle, a compact carbine, even a solenoid-fired vehicle machine gun were available. But the most popular version of the Stoner 63 was the light machine gun. Special operations units like the SEALs and Marine Force Reconnaissance prized the 63’s light weight — it was 11 pounds lighter than the standard M60 machine gun. The weapon’s 5.56 mm caliber was also significantly more controllable than the heavier 7.62 rounds of the M60.

The Stoner 63 family got attention from the Marine Corps, which conducted testing with the various configurations from 1963 to 1967. It got positive reviews in boot camp training environments and performed well in limited combat trials. But the Army disagreed, with Army Weapons Command electing to stick with the M16.

While the SEALs had an appreciation for the weapon, its complicated assembly and fussy maintenance requirements meant that it would never see wide acceptance outside special operations circles. But its modular design was a revolutionary approach to small arms design, one that would ironically be best exemplified in improved versions of Stoner&aposs previous work on the AR-15. But even modern versions of the AR still don’t offer what the Stoner 63 did back in the 1960s.

6. Colt RO635 Submachine Gun

This weapon made a brief appearance during Operation Just Cause, the 1989 U.S. invasion of Panama to oust Manuel Noriega. Outwardly similar to the M16 family of rifles, the Colt RO635 uses a blowback operating mechanism rather than the direct gas-impingement system of its 5.56 mm brethren. Introduced in 1982 and chambered for the popular NATO standard handgun caliber of 9吏 mm, the RO635 accepts modified magazines similar to that of the Israeli Uzi submachine gun. Compared to the other submachine guns of the day, the RO635 is more accurate in full automatic fire due to its closed bolt design. The weapon was adopted in limited numbers by the Marine Corps in 1985, and members of the Marine Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team carried it during combat in Panama.

Despite its limited use, the RO635 proved that the AR-15 design could be adapted to other roles and calibers, taking advantage of the platform’s good ergonomics and easy-to-manipulate fire controls. It also foreshadowed the huge influence the AR-style rifle would have on future designs with both civilian and military weapons developing into alternative calibers and configurations while mimicking the same basic design elements of the original AR-15.

7. HK MK23 Mod 0 Handgun

This German pistol was the product of the Offensive Handgun Weapon System, or OHWS, program. In the 1990s, Special Operations Command was keen to get all of its subordinates units using common small arms. Handguns were on the slate for improvement and the OHWS competition was launched in 1991. The competition specified a .45 Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) caliber pistol capable of firing high pressure 185-grain “+P” rounds. A suppressor and laser aiming module were also to be provided, as the new pistol would be used as a primary weapon in certain special operations roles. German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch won with its entry, which was adopted in 1996 as the Mark 23 Mod 0.

The Mark 23 certainly met all the the requirements of the OHWS program. It was reliable, having averaged around 6,000 rounds before a failure in testing. It boasted match-grade accuracy. The rail-mounting system for the laser-aiming module and light was innovative for the time.

But the Mark 23 was perhaps over engineered. The weapon was often derisively called the “world’s first crew-served handgun,” due to its large size when compared with other combat handguns of the era. The gun would become more iconic in the hands of movie and video game characters rather than special operators. While the Mark 23 may not have been the best fit for SOCOM, the trend of .45 ACP pistols continues in 2011, SOCOM purchased the Heckler & Koch HK45 Compact to replace the Mark 23.

8. Close Quarters Battle Receiver Kit

More conversion kit than standalone weapon system, the Close Quarters Battle Receiver is still an important step in the development of the M16 family of weapons. Designed to work with the M4 carbine lower receiver, the CQBR consists of an upper receiver assembly with a 10.3-inch barrel. This is about four inches shorter than the standard M4 barrel length, making for a compact weapon. Short barrels cause problems with the M16-style gas impingement systems, so modifications were made to the CQBR’s gas block to ensure reliable function. The assembly also featured the standard Knight&aposs Armament Company rail-attachment system. The CQBR was designed by Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division in order to fulfill a Naval Special Warfare requirement for a 5.56 mm weapon that could be maneuvered through the tight confines of ships being boarded and seized by SEAL teams.

The CQBR’s development marked a sea change in close-quarters weapons. By solving several of the teething issues that previous short-barreled M16 variants suffered, the CQBR led to the decline in popularity of submachine guns. Special operations units could now have a short carbine in the same size as a pistol-caliber submachine gun, all while firing the much more potent 5.56 mm round. The CQBR kit morphed into a full pre-built gun with the Mark 18, which remains in use with upgraded accessories from the Special Operations Peculiar Modification Block II program.

9. FN Herstal Mark 17

This 7.62 mm rifle brings a Cold War concept into the 21st century. The Mark 17 comes from FN Herstal’s family of weapons that was selected by SOCOM as part of the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle program in 2004. The two primary elements of the SCAR family are the 5.56 mm SCAR-Light and the 7.62 mm SCAR-Heavy. Both were initially adopted by SOCOM for as the Mark 16 and Mark 17 respectively. But in 2010, SOCOM announced it was cancelling orders of the Mark 16 in favor of the Mark 17.

The reason for this reversal was a matter of roles. The 5.56 mm Mark 16, while not a bad weapon by any stretch of the imagination, did not offer a dramatic difference in performance compared to the M4 carbine it was supposed to supplant. On the other hand, the Mark 17 brought an old concept into the modern age: the battle rifle. At the beginning of the Cold War, many infantry rifles still chambered full-power rifle ammo like the 7.62 x 51 mm round. These weapons were superseded by the development of intermediate caliber weapons like the M16. But once the United States found itself fighting in Afghanistan after 9/11, it was clear that 7.62 mm rifles were better suited to the extreme ranges found in theatre. Surplus M14 rifles were pressed back into service with some modern upgrades as a stopgap, but it wasn’t enough. The Mark 17 fulfills the battle rifle role with modern AR-style fire controls, a rail systems, and better ergonomics than the old M14.

The SCAR family continues development with SOCOM, as the Mark 17 has been upgraded to be a common receiver capable of switching between calibers. FN Herstal developed a modified version of the Mark 16 for the Marine Corps Infantry Automatic Rifle competition, but lost to Heckler & Koch’s entry. The weapon was also considered during the Army’s aborted Individual carbine competition that was looking to replace the M4 in service.

10. XM25 Punisher Airburst Launcher

An advanced weapon, the XM25 rose from the ashes of a failed rifle program. It was originally designed as part of the XM29 Objective Individual Combat Weapon, an attempt to make a computerized assault rifle coupled with an 20 mm airburst grenade launcher. The program was canceled in 2005, but the airburst concept lived on. Enlarging to 25 mm grenade rounds, the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System began operational testing in 2010.

The bullupu-style XM25 feeds from a five-round magazine. It uses a laser rangefinder to determine when to detonate the round to engage the designated target. The airburst function makes it simple to engage target behind cover or inside structures. The XM25 earned a reputation for lethality in Afghanistan, with troops nicknaming it the “Punisher”.

After some delays due to safety malfunctions, the XM25 is now undergoing qualification trials with the Army. If all goes well, troops could be carrying one of the most advanced small arms ever designed as soon as 2017.

Naval warfare gets new weapon - Mar 26, 1941 -

TSgt Joe C.

On this day, Italy attacks the British fleet at Suda Bay, Crete, using detachable warheads to sink a British cruiser. This was the first time manned torpedoes had been employed in naval warfare, adding a new weapon to the world’s navies’ arsenals.

The manned torpedo, also known as the “Chariot,” was unique. Primarily used to attack enemy ships still in harbor, the Chariots needed “pilots” to “drive” them to their targets. Sitting astride the torpedo on a vehicle that would transport them both, the pilot would guide the missile as close to the target as possible, then ride the vehicle back, usually to a submarine. The Chariot was an enormous advantage before its development, the closest weapon to the Chariot was the Japanese Kaiten–a human torpedo, or suicide bomb, which had obvious drawbacks.

The first successful use of the Chariot was by the Italian navy, although they referred to their version as Maiali, or “Pigs.” On March 26, six Italian motorboats, commanded by Italian naval commander Lt. Luigi Faggioni, entered Suda Bay in Crete and planted their Maiali along a British convoy in harbor there. The cruiser York was so severely damaged by the blast that it had to be beached.

The manned torpedo proved to be the most effective weapon in the Italian naval arsenal, used successfully against the British again in December 1941 at Alexandria, Egypt. Italian torpedoes sank the British battleships Queen Elizabeth and Valiant, as well as one tanker. They were also used against merchant ships at Gibraltar and elsewhere.

The British avenged themselves against the Italians, though, by sinking the new Italian cruiser Ulpio Traiano in the port of Palermo, Sicily, in early January 1943. An 8,500-ton ocean liner was also damaged in the same attack.

After the Italian surrender, Britain, and later Germany, continued to use the manned torpedo. In fact, Germany succeeded in sinking two British minesweepers off Normandy Beach in July 1944, using their Neger torpedoes.

From Minneapolis to St. Louis

The military tested how a biological or chemical weapon would spread throughout the country by spraying bacteria as well as various chemical powders — including an especially controversial one called zinc cadmium sulfide. Low flying airplanes would take off, sometimes near the Canadian border, "and they would fly down through the Midwest," dropping their payloads over cities, says Cole.

These sprays were tested on the ground too, with machines that would release clouds from city rooftops or intersections to see how they spread.

In the book, Cole cites military reports that documented various Minneapolis tests, including one where chemicals spread through a school. The clouds were clearly visible.

To prevent suspicion, the military pretended that they were testing a way to mask the whole city in order to protect it. They told city officials that "the tests involved efforts to measure ability to lay smoke screens about the city" to "hide" it in case of nuclear attack, according to Cole's account.

The potential toxicity of that controversial compound zinc cadmium sulfide is debated. One component, cadmium, is highly toxic and can cause cancer. Some reports suggest a possibility that the zinc cadmium sulfide could perhaps degrade into cadmium, but a 1997 report from the National Research Council concluded that the Army's secret tests "did not expose residents of the United States and Canada to chemical levels considered harmful." However, the same report noted that research on the chemical used was sparse, mostly based on very limited animal studies.

These air tests were conducted around the country as part of Operation Large Area Coverage.

"There was evidence that the powder after it was released would be then located a day or two later as far away as 1,200 miles," Cole says. "There was a sense that you could really blanket the country with a similar agent."

Naval Ordnance Station Louisville

Naval Ordnance Station Louisville ("NOSL") is a major employer of Louisville, Kentucky, near Standiford Field. For over fifty years, starting in late 1941, it provided maintenance and equipment for the United States Navy. Since the end of the Cold War Naval Ordnance was the main hub for repair and replace of major guns and equipment on battleships along with work for NASA, after which most of it has been turned over to private companies, and the complex is currently named the Greater Louisville Technology Park.

The area for Naval Ordnance was chosen due to being so far inland, that it would be difficult for enemies to strike it. Construction began on January 29, 1941, ten months prior to the Attack on Pearl Harbor and America's official entry into World War II. It was officially commissioned on October 1, 1941. [1]

During World War II, Westinghouse Electric Corporation held the work contract for the facility, even though it was (and still is) a private company. At its height it would employ 4200 workers at one time. It specialized in torpedo tubes and gun mounts. In February 1946 operational control reverted to the Navy, and the number of workers declined to 500. In 1948 it spiked to 850, and then decreased to only 100 in 1950. The Korean War caused employment at NOSL to increase to 1800. [1] [2]

During the Cold War, it would mostly repair naval equipment, but would also provide general support, research and development of gun weapon systems, and construct ordnance for the Navy. By the 1990s, it was the only facility that the Navy had that could give its surface weapon systems complete engineering, technical support services, and major overhauling. It was the only facility approved to give the Phalanx CIWS engineering and overhauling. [1] [2]

In 1990, NOSL was on a list for base closures, but the Gulf War caused the facility to remain open, hiring 107 permanent workers. [3] Immediately after the conclusion of Operation: Desert Storm, it was decided for NOSL to merge some activities with Indiana's Crane Naval facility, allowing it to remain open. [4] On June 27, 1993, it survived another base-closure movement, despite efforts by a private contractor in Minnesota. [5]

United Defense and Hughes Missile Systems was given control of the facility on August 15, 1996. A collection of private companies, it would serve as a contractor for the Navy. The facility's name officially changed to "Greater Louisville Technology Park", but would continue to be called "Naval Ordnance" by locals. It was the first former military facility to continue to supply contracted military supplies, but at a much reduced rate than it had during the World War II/Cold War era. The workforce in the 1990s started at 1850, but was reduced to 870, which included 200 workers of non-military articles. 500,000 square feet (46,000 m 2 ) of the facility, one-third of its total, was not in use, and much of the rest were burdened by state and local ordinance codes it was previously immune to, as its many 1940s and 1950s buildings could be considered environmental hazards. The name "Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Huemene Division Louisville Detachment" was given to what was left of the official government presence on the site. [1] [2]

In 2005, the United States Department of Defense made plans concerning the facility's function, to either consolidate operations for either the 179th Airlift Wing or the 118th Airlift Wing's C-130Hs. Another plan was to take Louisville's "gun and ammunition Research and Development & Acquisition" to New Jersey, which would cost the Louisville economy up to 506 jobs by 2011. [2] USS Louisville's (CA 28) ship's bell is on display at the Navy Operational Support Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

The facility has had trouble attracting new employers, as the environmental studies each employer would have to pay for before they could start business there makes it unattractive. [6]

Naval warfare gets new weapon - HISTORY

World War I introduced many advances in science and technology into modern warfare. These advances changed the nature of warfare including battle strategies and tactics. Scientists and inventors on both sides worked throughout the war to improve weapon technology in order to give their side an edge in the fight.

World War I was the first war where the airplane was used. Initially, airplanes were used to observe enemy troops. However, by the end of the war they were used to drop bombs on troops and cities. They also had mounted machine guns that were used to shoot down other planes.

German Albatros by a German official photographer

Tanks were first introduced in World War I. These armored vehicles were used to cross "No Man's Land" between the trenches. They had mounted machine guns and cannon. The first tanks were unreliable and hard to steer, however, they became more effective by the end of the war.

A tank during the Battle of the Somme
by Ernest Brooks

Much of the war along the western front was fought using trench warfare. Both sides dug long lines of trenches that helped to protect the soldiers from gunfire and artillery. The area between enemy trenches was called No Man's Land. Trench warfare caused a stalemate between the two sides for many years. Neither side gained ground, but both sides lost millions of soldiers.

Changes in Naval Warfare

The most dangerous ships during World War I were large metal-armored battleships called dreadnoughts. These ships had powerful long-range guns, allowing them to attack other ships and land targets from a long distance. The main naval battle in World War I was the Battle of Jutland. Besides this battle, Allied naval ships were used to blockade Germany to prevent supplies and food from reaching the country.

World War I also introduced submarines as a naval weapon in warfare. Germany used submarines to sneak up on ships and sink them with torpedoes. They even attacked Allied passenger ships such as the Lusitania.

  • Artillery - Large guns, called artillery, were improved during World War I including anti-aircraft guns to shoot down enemy planes. The majority of the casualties in the war were inflicted using artillery. Some large artillery guns could launch shells nearly 80 miles.
  • Machine gun - The machine gun was improved during the war. It was made much lighter and easier to move around.
  • Flame throwers - Flame throwers were used by the German Army on the western front in order to force the enemy out of their trenches.
  • Chemical weapons - World War I also introduced chemical weapons to warfare. Germany first used chlorine gas to poison unsuspecting Allied troops. Later, the more dangerous mustard gas was developed and used by both sides. By the end of the war, troops were equipped with gas masks and the weapon was less effective.

Vickers machine gun crew with gas masks
by John Warwick Brooke