Posts Tagged 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: 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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DIY: Defense Distributed And The Democratization Of Weapons Manufacturing

Check this out. I first heard about Defense Distributed from Danger Room and this group is totally dedicated to the concept of democratized weapons manufacturing. This goes along with my prior posts about the concept of Opensource Military Hardware.

This concept is also a threat to the major weapons manufacturers out there–hence why the company they leased their 3D printer from ultimately chose to take it back. Who knows, and both sides of this issue are presented in the posts at Danger Room.

The other thing that perked me up was the use of crowd funding in order to get this going. They used Indiegogo as a funding tool for this project in order to raise the $20,000 to get it started. Below I have posted the group’s goals and here is a link to their website. -Matt

 

1) Create the world’s first 100% 3D printable gun
GOAL: Develop a fully printable 3D gun
Our initial Wiki Weapon (A) design has no moving parts and relies on a separate, inserted solenoid to fire. We begin with this design to learn from the ABS material itself, but this is a method of trial and error. At $5 per cubic inch, we are at the point where we need outside funds to produce and complete a proof gun. The result of the lessons we learn from WikiWep A will instruct the design and development of Wiki Weapon B, a fully-printable gun comprised of near 100% printable parts.
2) Adapt the design down to cheaper 3D printers
Goal: Adapt the design so it can be printed on less expensive 3D printers-without compromising safety.
These guns will be almost completely plastic, so melting and failing in your hand will be a concern. Only after testing a few dozen designs to failure will we discover the right limitations to be comfortable rating a WikiWep as safe for one use. Basically we need to break some guns. This is the seed money for the second phase of development. We want to minimize negative media about the safety concerns of untested firearms and the inevitable suggestions that governments should protect us from ourselves.
3) Become The Web’s Printable Gun Wiki Redoubt
Goal: Further embrace the “Wiki” root of the project and establish a printable gunsmithing commons.
Instead of hacking off central planners directly, why not ignore them into irrelevance? In response to our project’s feedback and instincts, we open up this site to the world to share and participate in the creation and distribution of knowledge relevant to advancing 3D printable weapons.

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Russia: Private Military Companies May Appear In Russia Says Rogozin

I have seen other mentions in the news about Russia’s interest in PMSC’s, although they have been using them for quite awhile. For a great primer on one aspect of what a Russian type market would look like, is this episode of a documentary that the gaming company EA put together for Army of Two.

In the documentary they focus on the PMSC industry in Transnistria. This break away republic is flush with weapons and out of work soldiers, and this country’s industry has been involved with providing arms and services all over the world. The country is in a grey area of status, and multiple clients have been able to take advantage of this situation.

For Russia, it sounds like they are willing to experiment and copy the west’s use of PMSC’s. Although I doubt they would be totally private, but you never know… -Matt

 

Private Military Companies May Appear in Russia – Rogozin
19/09/2012
By Dan Peleschuk
The Russian government’s Military Industrial Commission may consider creating private military companies in Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Wednesday.
Russia’s significant economic interests abroad often operate in “difficult” conditions, and such companies would facilitate their work, said Rogozin, who oversees Russia’s military-industrial complex.
“We are thinking about whether our money should go toward financing foreign private security [and] military companies, or whether we should consider the feasibility of such companies in Russia itself,” he said.
President Vladimir Putin also declared his support in April for the creation of such companies, currently employed by a slew of Western governments, to provide security for Russian facilities abroad as well as training foreign military units.
Some Russian military analysts, however, are skeptical about Rogozin’s idea. They think the plan could be just one of the charismatic politician’s off-the-cuff statements, such as his claim earlier this month that Russia should plan to build a lunar base to reinvigorate its flagging space program.
Military analyst Alexander Golts says private U.S. security companies, for example, are useful because they allow the U.S. government to dodge the hefty insurance payments in the case of a military-related death – a practice rendered largely pointless in Russia.

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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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Al Qaeda: Boko Haram, Al Shabaab And AQIM Are Linking Up

“It’s one of the main depots of the Malian army,” a security source told AFP, adding that it had been built in case of “a long and difficult war.”A regional security source confirmed the seizure, saying the vast cache of weapons will “really boost AQIM’s striking power”, and adding: “It is really impressive what AQIM has found in the underground depot.”The source said the group “is today more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso”, Mali’s neighbour to the east.

This to me is fascinating and startling at the same time. Look at how fast these Islamist groups are spreading in Africa? They are taking advantage of the leadership vacuum caused by the Arab Spring, or making their moves in really poor and poorly governed countries. Where there is darkness on the continent, they are moving in to set up shop.

They are also capturing some pretty significant weapons and using this stuff to gain ground throughout the region. From the stuff in Libya that was ‘liberated’ during that fighting, to weapons depots in Mali that were taken by force.

And what gets me here is that I still haven’t heard what exactly Ansar Dine was able to get out of this weapon depot in Gao, Mali. Apparently they are now ‘more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso’, says the quote up top. So these non-state actors are now more armed than several countries combined? Yikes, and that is quite the accomplishment….It also makes you wonder about places like Syria, where that country is imploding and weapons depots–to include chemical and bio, could potentially be compromised.

Not only that, but now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in control of Egypt, whose to say that some of their weapons wouldn’t slip out into the world and find their way into Islamist’ hands? Or directly given to Islamists by a government that openly supports them. pfffftt.

We will see how it goes and somehow I don’t think this fire in the Middle East or Africa is going out any time soon. -Matt

 

Captured armored vehicle in Mali.

 

African extremist groups linking up: U.S. general
June 25, 2012
By Lauren French
Three of Africa’s largest extremist groups are sharing funds and swapping explosives in what could signal a dangerous escalation of security threats on the continent, the commander of the U.S. military’s Africa Command said on Monday.
General Carter Ham said there are indications that Boko Haram, al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – groups that he labeled as the continent’s most violent – are sharing money and explosive materials while training fighters together.
“Each of those three organizations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat,” Ham said at an African Center for Strategic Studies seminar for senior military and civilian officials from Africa, the United States and Europe.
“What really concerns me is the indications that the three organizations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts,” Ham said. “That is a real problem for us and for African security in general.”
The United States classified three of the alleged leaders of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, based in remote northeast Nigeria, as “foreign terrorist,” on June 20. But it declined to blacklist the entire organization to avoid elevating the group’s profile internationally. Police in Nigeria said members of the group seized a prison there Sunday and freed 40 inmates.

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