Archive for category Weapons

Weapons: Oh, The Weapons Contractors Use…

This is a fun one. On Facebook I posted a TOTD or Thought Of The Day on what types of weapons contractors have used in the past on contracts. What I got was an incredible amount of feedback on this and it was really fun to see what popped up. Here is the TOTD I posted:

TOTD: Contractor Weapons. I think this would be a fun one. I would be interested in all the various weapon types that guys have seen issued as contractors, or had to use as part of their contract. Or stuff that you saw or heard other contractors use. Everyone hears about AK’s, M-4/ARs, and Glocks, but what are the other rifles and pistols seen issued. Or even the heavier weapons used for contracts. This should be a fun one and I will probably make a post out of it on the blog.

I have mentioned in the past that Facebook has been incredibly useful for interacting with the contractor community. The amount of feedback and interaction is amazing and very useful. I am also able to share more ideas in a more efficient manner there, which also helps to get more ideas in return.

So back to contractor weapons. Guys posted pictures and everything, and it was cool to see any trends in what we are using out there. Obviously AK -47’s and M-4/AR-15 variants are the top primary weapons. But the various types of other weapons issued and their histories are very interesting. Some are just recaptured weapons that were given to contractors by outgoing military units in the various AO’s, or some are weapons the companies were able to ship into that country. Others were bought in gun markets in the region, and it is fascinating to see what contractors we able to get a hold of.

What I will do below is list every gun mentioned and I recommend going to the post on FB to see the various stories behind these weapons. I did notice that the G-3 was mentioned quite a bit. I got to play around with one in Iraq, but didn’t use it for work. In the photo below, Patrick brought up a heavily modified G 3 that I thought was cool.

The other thing to point out is how many copies of weapons were mentioned. Stuff that was either reproduced by Iraqi factories or stuff that was made in the weapon making villages of Pakistan. Lots of junky weapons that fell apart or barely worked, but were cheap and helped to stand up a contract. It is a huge problem in the industry, and companies continue to outfit contracts with junky weapons and equipment, all because of money or because they do not have the connections to get the good stuff into that war zone. That is the one thing that I continue to see and hear from contractors out there, and I have experienced the same, and that companies are horrible at providing good weapons or equipment. It’s why guys become good at fixing weapons or why folks prefer to bring their own kit–because the companies are horrible at this stuff.

Back to the list. There is also the mention of heavy weapons used, or the use of explosives. Stuff that you would not associate with contracting, but was certainly used at one time or another by contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the early days of Iraq, you saw everything. Now, not so much because regulations and contracts have become very specific as to what can be carried. I saw that change during the 2006 to 2008 time frame, and especially in Iraq. But there are contracts that are out of sight or out of control of the Big Military, and you continue to see the heavy stuff come up on contracts.  So here is the list, and feel free to add in the comments section stuff that you used on contracts. -Matt

 

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This is a PDW Patrick McAleer made in 2007, out of an Iranian G3, in Iraq. Photo Credit Patrick McAleer.

 

Pistols

Glock 19
Glock 17
HS 2000
Caracal F
M 9
SIG P226
Makarov
Turkish Kanuni
Walther P 38
Iraqi Berretta
Browning Hi Power
Walther P 99
CZ 75
.455 Webley
Smith and Wesson Sigma
Norinco NP 22 (Sig 226 copy)
FN P35
CZ 70
Tariq
Zastava EZ9
Ruger P95
.38 Colt Diamondback
Colt 1911
.455 Colt Eley
Tokarov

Rifles
M 16 A2
AK 47
AR 15
M 4
FN FAL
Colt 722
G 3
G 36
Type 56
K 98
Krag
British SMLE
Sturmgewehr 44
SVD
Saiga M 3
Benelli Argo
Remington R 25
Remington 700
Browning BAR
Mosin Nagant
FPK Dragunov
AR 10
Ruger Scout Rifle in .308
AMD 65
HK MR 308
FN FAL para
VZ 58
AR 18
HK 416
East German MPi KM 72
SIG 550

Shotguns

NOR 982
Remington 870
Italian double barrel

Submachine Guns

Swedish K
MP 5
Scorpion
Uzi
Sterling
Krinkov
PPSH 41
Beretta M 12
Beretta PM 12S
Thompson

Machine Guns

MG 42
FN Minimi Para SAW
FN M-249 SAW
M-240/MAG 58
PKM
M 60
RPK
MG 3
RPD
VZ 59

Grenade Launchers

M 79
UBGL 25
HK 69
M 203
M 320/AG 36

Mortars, Grenades and Mines

M 67
RGD 5
M 18 Claymore
Stun
Tear Gas/CS
Improvised Claymores For Defense
Mortars for flares

Rocket Launchers

AT 4
RPG 7

Heavy Machine Guns

M 2
DsHK

Automatic Grenade Launchers

MK 19
AGS 17

Misc.

Crossbows
Regular Archery Bows
Kitchen Knives
ASP baton
Slingshot

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Weapons: Can Your Defensive Plan Counter An Armored VBIED?

This is a pretty disturbing trend when it comes to patterns of attacks by jihadists in Syria. The reason why I pay attention to this stuff is that what is learned on that battlefield, could easily be applied by the jihadists elsewhere. A big hat tip to Matt over at Screaming At Strangers for all the help in this one.

So with that said, let me introduce to you the armored vehicle born improvised explosive device or Armored VBIED. It is simple in design and concept, but extremely effective against defenses that are not prepared for such a weapon. Does your entry control point or defense plan have a counter for this? How about obstacles or munitions that can stop a BMP packed with explosives?

Check it out below, and in both videos, you can see exactly the stunning effects of this weapon. They can literally drive under a hail of bullets and place the vehicle exactly where they want it for detonation. If guys have other videos, please feel free to post those links in the comments section.

Will companies be outfitting contractors or military folks at entry control points around the world, with M-3 Carl Gustavs or similar anti-tank munitions, just to counter such a threat? Yikes…. -Matt

Edit: 12/30/13 I wanted to add this first video to this compilation. It is not an armored VBIED, but a ‘remote controlled’ VBIED.

Edit: 01/16/14 Another siting of a BMP VBIED in Syria. This time in Daara. Video here. h/t Matt from Facebook.

 

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Technology: The World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun, By Solid Concepts

Well, it’s nice to be back home and I plan on doing some catching up with the blog. So expect a few older stories to pop up mixed with the new. And my first post is about 3D printed weapons.

The area of 3D printed weapons is of interest to me for several reasons. First, it would be a disruptive technology that would take the construction of weapons to a new level of production and innovation.  To be able to dream it up, write up the program for it, and print it out at your local 3D printing shop or at your home printing shop is taking hobby gun manufacturing to the next level. Gun manufacturers take note…

The second reason why this is interesting to me is the legal aspects.  Today’s laws throughout the world have not caught up with the advent of 3D printed weapons.  This of course will create all sorts of controversy and debate, but until the laws do catch up, lots of folks will be experimenting and taking advantage of the concept. Just check out this quote by Solid Concepts:

“We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing,” says Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts. “And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D Printing Service Provider with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”

The third reason why this interests me is how this would impact the global arms industry?  Will revolutions of the future be fought with printed AK-47’s or whatever weapon systems needed? Just look at Syria and the massive DIY effort there to arm themselves?

Will private military and security companies deploy with 3D printing plants and print weapons for contracts, or offer printed weapons to other companies in war zones as a means of fulfilling contracts? Or print out weapons for countries that are raising an army, and having a difficult time obtaining weapons due to embargoes or blockades.

Worse yet, terrorists and criminals will use this technology to create weapons as needed. Weapons with no history or serial numbers to trace, and made cheaply. In the future, forensics will be about figuring out what machine was used to make the things.

And will the arms industry be challenged by this disruptive technology and lash out, or embrace it and try to find where it fits into the whole thing. Who knows and there are many implications that come with this developing technology…. -Matt

 

3D Printed Metal 1911 Pistol

 

World’s First 3D Printed Metal Gun Manufactured by Solid Concepts
November 8, 2013
Solid Concepts, a world leader in 3D Printing services, manufactures the world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun.
Austin, TX – Solid Concepts, one of the world leaders in 3D Printing services, has manufactured the world’s first 3D Printed Metal Gun using a laser sintering process and powdered metals. The gun, a 1911 classic design, functions beautifully and has already handled 50 rounds of successful firing. It is composed of 33 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, and decked with a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) carbon-fiber filled nylon hand grip. The successful production and functionality of the 1911 3D Printed metal gun proves the viability of 3D Printing for commercial applications.
“We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D Metal Printing,” says Kent Firestone, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts. “And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D Printing Service Provider with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”
The metal laser sintering process Solid Concepts used to manufacture the 30+ gun components is one of the most accurate additive manufacturing processes available, and more than accurate enough to build the interchangeable and interfacing parts within the 1911 series gun. The gun proves the tight tolerances laser sintering can meet. Plus, 3D Printed Metal has less porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. The 3D Printed gun barrel sees chamber pressures above 20,000 psi every time it is fired. Solid Concepts chose to build the 1911 because the design is public domain.
“The whole concept of using a laser sintering process to 3D Print a metal gun revolves around proving the reliability, accuracy and usability of metal 3D Printing as functional prototypes and end use products,” says Firestone. “It’s a common misconception that 3D Printing isn’t accurate or strong enough, and we’re working to change people’s perspective.”
The 3D Printed metal gun proves that 3D Printing isn’t just making trinkets and Yoda heads. The gun manufactured by Solid Concepts debunks the idea that 3D Printing isn’t a viable solution or isn’t ready for mainstream manufacturing. With the right materials and a company that knows how to best program and maintain their machines, 3D printing is accurate, powerful and here to stay.

About Solid Concepts
Solid Concepts provides rapid prototyping and custom manufacturing services, with capabilities in PolyJet, Stereolithography (SLA), 3D Color Prints, Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), 3D Metal Printing, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), CNC models and patterns, Composites, and QuantumCast™ advanced cast urethanes. Capabilities in tooling and injection molding make Solid Concepts a single source for product development and production efforts from conception to market. Visit www.solidconcepts.com to find your solution.
Link here.

Blog link here.

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Syria: Defense Contractors Are Training Rebels On How To Secure Chemical Weapons

Now that is a contract! lol I imagine they are paying these guys quite a bit of money to not only train the rebels on how to secure these chemical weapons if captured, but to also have contractors on the ground and monitor these weapons on the battlefield itself. Very dangerous and that has DBA written all over it.

As to whom is providing this training and monitoring is up in the air. I had written a post about Syria’s chemical weapons and MANPADS and the concerns with that, and in it I mentioned Tetra Tech as a possible solution for at least helping to clean up and secure ‘captured’ or ‘destroyed and captured’ chemical munitions. But for this particular story, I have no clue who the contractor is or if they are looking for folks. (if any readers have an idea, let me know and I will make the edit)

The other really ugly thought on this, is the absolute disaster this would create in the cities of Syria. Meaning if entire cities are coated with the oily VX Nerve agent all over everything, then after the war, someone is going to have to go in there and clean it all up. Or how would you like to by Syria’s neighbor? yikes…. Yet again, this would be a task for a competent chemical munitions cleanup company and that kind of contract would be insanely dangerous. The question is, will Assad cross the red line and use chemical weapons in his war?

Finally, the other bitter reality in all of this is the threat of losing control of these weapons. Hence why there are monitors on the ground keeping eyes on these things. But in warfare, it never fails to amaze me about the ingenuity of each side of a conflict and how they are able to use deception to continue the fight and gain advantage. Do we have eyes on all of these weapons, and can we control all the events in regards to these weapons? Well, rebels have certainly gotten their hands on captured MANPADS, and that might give us a clue as to the chemical weapons reality. We will see how this plays out…. -Matt

 

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons
By Elise Labott
December 9, 2012
The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.
The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.
The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American.

One of the aims, the sources said, is to try to get real time surveillance of the sites because the international community would not have time to prevent the use of the weapons otherwise. The program could explain how U.S. intelligence was able to learn what U.S. officials said was evidence the Assad government is mixing precursors for chemical weapons and loading those compounds into bombs. The intelligence, one U.S. official told CNN last week, came not just from satellite surveillance, but also from information provided by people. The official would not say whether the human intelligence came from telephone intercepts, defectors or people inside Syria.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Weapons: CHAMP– The Electronics-Frying Sniper Missile

“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,”

I first heard about this from the blog War Is Boring, and I was kind of shocked that Boeing is actually talking about this weapon. AOL Defense carried the story and linked to Boeing’s press release about this thing, which I posted below.  Now that CHAMP has been proven to work, we need to talk about this.

What is crazy about this thing, is the ability to shut down an enemy’s electronics in a very precise way. So this missile could do a fly over of a specific target area and zap every data center/electronics hub in it’s path, and effectively shut down that stuff. That is quite the capability. Goody for us, but what happens when the other side of a conflict has a similar weapon?

Equally as sobering is that this technology will be copied or stolen by others in the world, and be introduced into the battlefields of the future. That means that all of our weapon systems–GPS, data links, electronics, etc are all vulnerable if such a missile or device was able to get within range.

That last part is important, because if the weapon is currently in a cruise missile type device, then they could probably put it in all manner of delivery vehicles-both land and in the air. Hell, imagine the thing in the water or up in space–zapping electronics everywhere?

Another thing to point out is that non-state actors will be interested in such a weapon, just so they can profit from attacks on electronics or use a device like this to support some far out crazy agenda. So yes, I agree with Boeing that this is a historical occasion, and definitely something to be concerned with as the technology spreads. The future is now. -Matt

 

CHAMP – lights out
October 22, 2012
By Randy Jackson
Cruising fast over the Western Utah Desert, a lone missile makes history at the Utah Test and Training Range. The missile, known as CHAMP, or Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project may one day change modern warfare, by defeating electronic targets with little or no collateral damage.
On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor.
CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves.
Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.
“This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,” said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works. “In the near future, this technology may be used to render an enemy’s electronic and data systems useless even before the first troops or aircraft arrive,”
In all, seven targets were hit using CHAMP’s high power microwaves in the one-hour test that degraded and defeated the electronics inside the test buildings.
James Dodd, vice president of Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft, part of Phantom Works said there is a real need for a weapon that can defeat a target and not cause harm to people and structures.
“We know this has some capabilities and some impact, we’re really trying to engage the customer to see if there is a way we can actually get this fielded and implemented sooner than later,” Dodd said.
Coleman, who led the Boeing team in the historic test flight, says the team is currently analyzing data and telemetry from the test that many consider a big step in modern non-lethal warfare.
“Today we turned science fiction into science fact,” Coleman said.
Press release here.

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Weapons: BAE’s Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System For Air… And Ground?

You know, after watching the video below, I thought this would be an excellent missile system for ground applications. Either a vehicle mounted option or even some kind of modified hydra rocket that could be launched from a shoulder fired system. Or turn SMAW or Carl Gustav M-3 munitions into smart munitions? I mean look at how expensive a Javelin is?  Something to ponder for today’s cost conscious and budget crunching military.

But the thinking here that I really like is taking old, cheap, and dumb munitions, and upgrading them to be precision weapon systems. They are doing this with mortar systems as well, and it is a great ‘JDAM style’ upgrade revolution. It will also allow more countries to be more precise in their military operations, if they require aviation support.

The Russian equivalent to the APKWS is the Ugroza and it seems like they are going in the same direction of trying to make these dumb munitions that are stockpiled in armories throughout the world, into smart munitions. Exciting stuff and we will see where this goes… -Matt

Specifications for APKWS
Diameter: 70 mm
Guidance: Semi-active laser homing.
CEP (circular error probable): < 1 m
Motor: Existing Hydra 70 motors.
Warhead: Existing Hydra 70 warheads.
Unit cost: ~ $28,500
APKWS is a “plug and play,” “point and shoot” weapon, and is fired like the unguided 2.75-inch rocket. The weapon is easily assembled and can be shot with minimal instruction, as if it were an unguided rocket.

 

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