More on the SMAW-NE
Executive Summary: the -NE round is just like earlier HEDP rounds, except it has a delayed fuze, and a bigger warhead.
Although the SMAW-Novel Explosive round functions just like the 21-year-old SMAW High Explosive Dual-Purpose round, the SMAW-NE boasts a much larger explosive fill. The SMAW-NE contains four pounds of PBXN-113, an aluminized high explosive composition with similar characteristics to the 2.4-pound load of Aluminized Composition A3 fill in the SMAW-HEDP round.
The SMAW-NE also uses delayed fusing, allowing the warhead to detonate after penetrating lightly-clad structures, in some cases completely destroying the targeted building.
It is not a thermobaric warhead.
"It is not a fuel air explosive. It is not any profound new target-defeat mechanism," said Woodson. "The way the warhead functions and the way the event takes place is no different from the dual-purpose round. The only difference is you have 1.6 more pounds of explosive, and you have a warhead case that is designed to punch a hole in a lightly clad structure and detonate inside."
Thermobarics were originally looked at as a technology to meet the requirement, however, based on engineering analysis, the use of a conventional type of solid explosive met the need, vice the quasi-liquid mixtures used in thermobarics.
Finally, a rebuttal to Mr. Hambling:
Woodson also challenged the suggestion that the NE round is too brutal for its intended use.
"The key part of this whole discussion that is ongoing now is the implication that this is something inhumane, and it's not. There is documentation to prove that," Woodson said. "If it didn’t comply with the Law of War criteria, we wouldn't field it. This is a requirement we have to go through before we can get approval for service use of a weapon."(Emphasis added)
A September 2002 legal review of the SMAW-NE by the Judge Advocate General of the Navy defined indiscriminate, or "blind" weapons as not distinguishing between combatants and innocent civilians. The NE round did not fall into this category of illegal weapon because it is fired from "the existing SMAW and will be aimed at point targets via the open battle sights or the MK 42 optical or the AN/PVS-4 night sight … The (NE round) is discriminate as it can be aimed in a manner that discriminates between combatants and non-combatants."
The review also reported the temperatures in the target area were not significant enough to classify the SMAW-NE as an incendiary weapon. It further stated the lethality of the weapon is caused primarily by its concussion with secondary effects from flying debris from the target area.
"Anything that kills people is inhumane, but the implication is (the SMAW-NE) is in violation of the laws of war, and it's not," Woodson said. "Why isn't the Marine Corps running around, beating its chest about it? What advantage is that? Why would we tell the bad guys what this thing can do? Why would we let them know we have any capability? The SMAW-NE is just another effective tool in the USMC arsenal."
Powder Party Time
Carnival of Cordite #40 is up.
Bill at INDC Journal has yet another post on the somehow still ongoing White Phosphorous issue. As with any good post, some of the best stuff is in the comments. My comment,and my thoughts on the issue:
"targetting civilians that civilized people object to."
And yet, strangely, "civilized people" on the left don't seem to to offer more than pro forma objections when the PLO suicide bombs a pizza joint or disco in Israel. Or when they killed an American Jew in a wheelchair and pushed his body overboard. Or when an Iraqi terrorist waits to detonate his VBIED (car bomb) until a bunch of kids have gathered around our troops who are handing out candy, so as to achieve maximum horror/terror per pound of TNT.
As for using WP: WP is nothing more than a relatively advanced form of Fire. Fire has been used in war, well, since there has been war. Sun Tzu wrote about how best to employ Fire in the Art of War. It's not new, even in the form of WP-WP was one of the favored ways used by Allied air forces to destroy enemy planes on the ground in the Pacific theater in WWII.
What matters is the targeting? Do US troops deliberately shoot-with WP or anything else-at people they know to be civilians? No. Do civilians get killed by directed fire by troops who think the civilians are terrorists? Yes. If the terrorists would obey the Law of Land Warfare and wear uniforms, we wouldn't have this problem. Do civlians get killed by our weapons despite our best efforts to avoid killing them? Yes. But this has always happened in war, and, until we make war an arena sport, it always will.
Everytime someone launches yet another round of The Great Assault Rifle Cartridge Debate (5.56 vs 6.8 vs 6.5 edition), I find my mind wandering to a bit of alternative history: What would have happened if Big Army had actually listened to the Testing Board in 1952 and adopted the 7x43mm (aka the .280/30 or .280 Brit) instead of strongarming the rest of NATO into adopting the 7.62x51mm NATO? Where would we be today?
For starters, if all the US military adopted was the 7mm cartridge, I'm not entirely sure how much would have changed, at least in the short run. Given the influense of 'Not Invented Here' feeling at the time, the odds are good the US military still would have gone to Vietnam equipped with the M-14 and the M-60 (the 7x43 was actually modified from its original form by the Brits so the case head matched the .30-06 (thus the .280/30 moniker), in order to improve the chances of adoption by the Americans). And as much as a lot of folks love the M-14, it's not best suited for light infantry warfare in the jungle. It's big (44") and it's heavy (11.2 lbs). So we may have ended up with the M-16/5.56 combo anyway.
But this is my alternate universe, and I happen to like the 7x43, so in this universe, the Army adopts, not the AR-15/M-16 and the 5.56, but the AR-10, now in 7x43mm. It's 4" shorter, and almost 2 lbs lighter than the M-14, making it a better rifle for jungle warfare-although it still wouldn't be as short and light as the EM-2 (Mo 9 Mk I). The Army could also have adopted the FAL at this point, although I think the AR-10 is more likely due to the NIH problem with the FAL.
Where would that leave us today? Best guess, we'd have the AR-10 in the same three versions we find the M-16/M-4 today: basic rifle (A2), flattop rifle with rails (A4), and short barrel, collapsable stock carbine (M4). One thing I'm not sure of is how the 7x43 would behave out of a short (14.5") barrel. Would we have issues similar to those we have now with the 5.56 from short barrels? And would we be looking to replace the AR type rifles with something new due to questions of reliability?
And where would we be when it comes to machineguns? The M-60 was replaced because it was an inferior design, and the ones on hand were worn out. So it would have been replaced in any case. But, given that the 7x43 is an intermediate cartridge, would the M249 SAW have ever even come into existence to cover the gap between the M-60 and the AR-10 (7x43 version, remember?) And if it hadn't, what would the structure of the standard Infantry squad look like today?
My stab at it (rifle/carbine refers to a standard or carbine length AR-10 in 7x43):
Rifle Squad (3 per platoon)
Squad Leader (rifle/carbine)
2x 3 man fire teams (3 rifle/carbines, one w/ M203 grenade launcher)
1x 3 man MG team (1 M240B machinegun, 2 rifle/carbines)
Each platoon would also have a 7 man weapons section, composed of a section leader and two 3 man gun teams armed with either a Carl Gustav or a SMAW. All of these troops would also carry rifles or carbines.
If the Army took the FAL option instead of the AR-10 back in Vietnam (in this alternate universe), I think the structure would still look much the same.
That's my little alternate universe. Your fantasy may vary.
Toys for Tots Turkey Shoot
The Yakima Valley Sportsmen's Assoction, along with Bravo Co, 4th Marine Tank Bn (Reserve), will be sponsoring their annual Toys for Tots Turkey Shoot from 9 am to 2 pm, on Sunday, December 11, at the Pomona Gun Club, 441 E. Pomona Rd in Selah, WA.
Cost is $20 for adults and $15 for kids under 18, to participate in 5 events of 10 shots each. Entrants, and folks who just feel like dropping by, are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy. Shooters will need to bring their own eye and ear protection.
Bravo Tanks just came back from Iraq a couple of months ago, so I encourage you to drop by and say thanks. And they'll have one of their tanks for the kids to check out.
Recently, my unit was asked for volunteers to be part of a 20-man team that will be going to Iraq early next year to train Iraqi troops. I didn't volunteer to go (new kid on the way in just a few weeks, remember), but it got me thinking: if I got tagged to go, what would I want to do as far as a personal weapon? I could go with what the Army gave me, either an M-16 or M-4, with whatever ARmy-issue bolt-on gadgets I could get (M68 CCO, PAQ-4 or PEQ-2 IR laser.) Or use a battlefield pick up AK, assuming I could find one in good condition.
If I was going to go into battle alongside the Iraq troops, I'd be very tempted to take an AK. First of all, that's what the Iraqi troops would be carrying, meaning that if, in the unlikely event I ran out of ammo, I could bum some from them, something I couldn't do with an M-16 or M-4. Second, I'd want to show the Iraqi troops that I have confidence in the weapons that they're issued.
That being said, I'd also want to do what I could to improve any AK I'd be carrying. Since I'm not experienced in AK smithing, and wouldn't anticipate having a whole lot in the way of tools in any case, none of these improvements would require any major alterations-meaning no swapping out stocks or adding something like the Krebs A2 sights. So, here's the add-ons I'd go for:
-Mojo sights. Easiest improvement to make on the standard AK. $34.95. Krebs offers similar sights, but they cost more.
-Krebs Quad Rail Forearm. Because I'm an American soldier, and I like my bolt on toys, especially IR lasers. $235.
-Krebs Vertical Grip. Bolts to a side rail to clear the magazine. $64.95.
-Surefire 6P light package $94. If I was feeling super-tacticool, I'd get a second light with an IR filter.
-TAPCO AK SAW Pistol Grip. Because the standard AK grip is just too small for my hands. $24.99.
Total cost of add-ons: $444, not including shipping. Actually, you could put all of this on a $300 WASR and have a pretty cool looking rifle. Something fun to think about.
Tacoma Mall Shooting: CCWs May Have Saved Lives
Tim McKown, the most seriously injured victim of the attack, had a gun, drew, and then put it away again, according to an article in today's News Tribune:
But the situation in the mall was just too surreal to fully comprehend, he said: A young man wearing a baseball cap turned backward strolling through the mall in white tennis shoes. This brings up a point that I think is sometimes overlooked by a lot of folks when it comes to using a gun in self defense: are you prepared, psychologically, to take another person's life? I'm not sure why McKown felt he had to shoot Maldonado in the head-given the need to shoot a bad guy in a place like a mall, with innocents in the background, I'd probably go for the bigger torso target and just keep shooting until the bad guy went down. But I wasn't there. Apparently Maldonado's appearance-just like another kid, hanging out at the mall, except for the gun(s) in his hand(s)-caused McKown some of his problems. We all expect the mean, ugly looking robber/mugger/rapist, not the kid who looks like he belongs in homeroom. There was also apparently another citizen with a CCW at the mall:
"I’m looking at this guy," McKown said. "He's a kid. I would have had to shoot him in the head."
McKown just wasn't ready for that. It's not easy to shoot someone in the head, McKown said. McKown also didn't want to get in the way of the police if they were handling the situation
Dan and his family said they heard from police that even before Maldonado met McKown, a person had already pulled a gun on Maldonado outside of the J.C. Penney store, but didn’t fire out of fear of hitting passers-by. Roger McKown said Maldonado came to the mall with hundreds of rounds of ammo, aiming to take out as many people as possible, but the resistance he met changed his plans. Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said investigators interviewed at least two people who were in the mall during the shooting who were carrying handguns. He didn’t know if either of them pointed a gun at Maldonado, he said. Now, take the elder McKown's account with a grain of salt-he wasn't there. I'm not sure how he knows how much ammo Maldonado had, or what his intent was. But the TPD does acknowledge that there were at least two citizens present who had guns of their own. The account in the story would agree with another, unconfirmed report I've seen of a man who was there with his family who didn't shoot because he didn't want to hit any bystanders, instead choosing to get his family out of the mall. Also interesting to note that military first aid training and battlefield experience may have saved McKown's life:
the man had helped shield two children from Maldonado as he passed, and then rushed across the corridor into the store to help his son. The McKown family identified the man as an Iraq war veteran. He told the Kits workers how to deal with McKown's wounds. Among other things, they used a teddy bear as a sponge to help stanch the flow of blood. The veteran told Dan McKown that he had seen people hurt worse in the service, and that he was going to make it. I think it's too bad that the mystery veteran wasn't one of the people who had a gun. He obviously didn't panic, and probably had experience with picking out the bad guy in a crowd and shooting him. Experience that would have been useful in this situation.
Not Really Surprising
| You scored as Serenity (from Firefly). You like to live your own way and do not enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you that you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.|
Coming on December 1, 2005:
Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? The Sequel
Serenity (from Firefly)
Enterprise D (from Star Trek)
SG-1 (from Stargate)
Nebuchadnezzar (from The Matrix)
Bebop (from Cowboy Bebop)
Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars)
Moya (from Farscape)
Galactica (from Battlestar: Galactica)
Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
All Gun Owners Are Suspects, Again
This time from South Carolina, where two people were shot, one fatally, in a parking lot. And once again, police apparently have little to no evidence except the caliber, and in this case, a general description (from witnesses who don't really know guns) of the gun.
It appears to be either an SKS or AK-47-type assault rifle that could be used to fire a 7.62v-by-39 mm round, North Augusta Public Safety Department Lt. Tim Pearson said. Investigators want to talk to anyone in the area who owns a similar weapon or ammunition, Pearson said.
Now, the difference between this case and the DC sniper case, where Maryland cops used the state 'assault weapon' registry to go hunting for everyone who owned an AR-15, or this case in Kalifornistan, is that, in South Carolina, the state doesn't have a list of who owns what guns. Expect to hear caterwauling from the usual suspects on this subject soon.
Of course, the fact that the gun registries in state's that have them have proven next to useless in solving any crimes will be completely ignored.
How They Compare
From Men's News Daily, a comparison of what the NRA and the Brady Campaign have done for America. The Brady's don't come off well, to say the least.