January 06, 2005

Barrett M468

Speaking of the 6.8mm round, SoldierTech also looks at the Barrett M468, which is the weapon being used by those Army Special Forces in Afghanistan. I have to agree that it is the odds-on favorite to replace the M-16/M-4 in 5.56mm, but disagree with Eric Daniel of Military.com on his argument that the military may not want to change because it has so much 5.56 inventory on hand.

I see this in no way affecting the services’ decision to move to a new main battle rifle. The implementation of the 6.8 can be done in stages. Basic recruits and state-side soldiers could still use 5.56-chambered weapons, while those deployed abroad and in combat would use the new, more lethal 6.8-chambered rifles. Also, non-deployed Guard and Reserve units could still field the M-16/5.56. As the replacement made its way down from the deployed active duty troops to the non-deployed Guard and Reserve troops, any excess 5.56 inventory could be sold to allies which still utilize the round. Israel, the United Kingdom, and Australia readily spring to mind. I simply don’t see an inventory issue being the deal-killer in adopting the 6.8mm round.

posted by retrophisch at 11:25 PM in armed forces , firearms
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XM-8 in depth

Military.com’s SoldierTech has a great article on the Heckler & Koch XM-8 Battle Rifle, which HK is hoping the US military will consider as the replacement for the M-16/M-4 series. The only thing the article fails to mention is how the US services, namely the Army and Marines to date, are exploring the 6.8mm cartridge as a replacement for the 5.56mm. The latter is the current round chambered in the M-16 series, and the XM-8 uses it as well.

The 6.8mm round has seen some limited use in Afghanistan with Army Special Forces, and has proven popular when compared to the five-five-six in terms of stopping power.

posted by retrophisch at 10:54 PM in armed forces , firearms
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January 03, 2005

Liberty Belle flies

Last month, the “Liberty Belle” became the 14th B-17 Flying Fortress to return to the skies. That’s right, there are only fourteen of these classic air warriors in the entire world stil flying. For the kiddies who aren’t getting taught authentic American history in school any more, this was the bomber that helped win the war in Europe during World War II.

[With thanks to Rich on World_SIG.]

posted by retrophisch at 02:05 PM in armed forces
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December 30, 2004

Armor Geddon

God, I love tankers:

K-K-K-R-R-R-U-U-N-N-C-H. The sound was unreal. Imagine someone taking a huge skyscraper. Lifting it up way high in the sky. And then dropping it on its side. Thatís the only thing I could imagine sounding like that. It was not a boom or a clap. It was God slapping a building into the ground in a fit of rage.


The best part of my day is hearing that turbine engine wind up. The jet engine starts out deep and low. It builds up slowly as it whines higher and higher. If you listen closely, you can hear the rise of new low pitches, winding up at different points in the engine-start. The power pack gets to its peak screaming and then settles back down to a lower pitch. If youíre obsessed like me, you get the sensation that this 68-ton beast just stood up slowly and dramatically. Took a deep breath, mass rising and then settled into her armor, drinking 8 gallons of JP8 in 30 seconds just to wake up. And by obsessed, I mean a big dork.

Red Six is First Lieutenant Neil Prakash, and he is a tank platoon commander in the U.S. Army, currently serving in Iraq. His blog is well worth your time.

posted by retrophisch at 12:05 AM in armed forces
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