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Author Topic: Military Pictures_New Pics  (Read 85174 times)

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Offline Bubby

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1620 on: December 22, 2017, 12:36:23 pm »
The USAF Is Rebuilding World War II-Era 40mm Shells for its AC-130U Gunships

The U.S. Air Force is rebuilding tens of thousands of World War II-era cannon rounds specifically for the 40mm cannons on its AC-130U Spooky II. Though the service has long been looking to finally retire this particular part of the gunship’s arsenal, which has increasingly become a logistical nightmare, the aging guns have so far proven too effective to get rid of completely.

In November 2017, the U.S. Air Force revealed that the 780th Test Systems Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida had been testing the upgraded 40mm high explosive ammunition, known as the PGU-9D/B, earlier in the year. The new version combines decades old components with a fuze that is safer and more reliable than the original model. Some of the brass cartridge cases had production date stamps dating to 1944.

In all, the service plans to rebuild approximately 80,000 older rounds into the new configuration. The 780th developed the process to modify the existing ammunition and build a number of prototype rounds, but it is unclear whether the unit, which handles various munitions testing duties, will perform the rest of the work or how long the process might take in total. Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) controls all of the service’s AC-130 gunships, which include the Us, as well as newer AC-130W Stinger IIs and still in development AC-130J Ghostriders.

The project does speak to the continued importance of both the AC-130U and its 40mm Bofors cannon. To give a sense of the demand for the aircraft, according to an official Air Force history, seven of the Spooky IIs assigned to the 4th Special Operations Squadron flew nearly 4,000 combat hours between November 2013 and June 2014. The planes and their crews spent more than 1,175 days deployed to conflict zones during that time.

In October 2017, members of the crew of one of the 4th's AC-130Us, which had gone by the callsign Spooky 43, received Distinguished Flying Crosses and other medals for valor for one particularly intense mission over Afghanistan in 2016. The gunship beat back insurgents who had ambushed a team of U.S. Army Special Forces personnel from three sides, having to fire both 40mm shells and rounds from the aircraft's larger 105mm howitzer dangerously close to friendly troops.

At present, the Spooky II is the only system of any kind left in the U.S. military to use the weapon in any capacity. In addition to the PGU-9 rounds, gunners can fire high explosive-incendiary, armor-piercing shells, or a mixture of all three types, depending on the target set.

The United States first adopted the Swedish-designed guns during World War II for anti-aircraft use at sea and on land. Chrysler built some 60,000 of them in the United States under license. The last of these air defense weapons were out of service at least by the end of the 1970s, if not earlier. 

However, in 1969, the Air Force had begun to acquire some of the weapons for an entirely different purpose. At that time, its AC-130A and AC-119K gunships were flying up and down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos attempting to stem the flow of personnel, weapons, and other supplies from North Vietnam into South Vietnam.

Despite the trail moniker, the North Vietnam military had turned many sections into a functional highway. Dense anti-aircraft defenses, including 37mm and 57mm guns, defended the route, quickly became a significant threat to the Air Force’s low and slow flying modified cargo aircraft.

With a pair of 40mm cannons in place of two of the four 20mm Vulcan cannons on earlier versions, AC-130 crews could fly higher and further from enemy air defenses and still accurately hit trucks and personnel below. The new armament turned out to be so successful that the Air Force refitted the earlier A model gunships with more powerful guns and converted more powerful C-130Es to the same standard.

The Air Force eventually replaced one of the 40mm Bofors with an even larger 105mm howitzer on later E versions, an armament configuration that became a feature on later AC-130H and AC-130U gunships. The service retired the last of the H variants in 2015, leaving just the U types with the older guns, which continue to fly combat missions in war zones such as Afghanistan.

In 2007, the Air Force did experiment with replacing the Spooky II’s 40mm gun, as well as its 25mm GAU-12/U rotary barrel cannon, with a pair of 30mm weapons. Those tests did not produce the desired results, with the service complaining about a lack of accuracy, the aircraft returned to their original configuration the following year.

The 30mm gun has become a standard weapon on the newer AC-130W and will be part of the AC-130J’s armament package, too. As we at The War Zone reported in October 2017, there have continued to be issues with the accuracy and reliability of the weapon’s ammunition, though.

At the same time, after more than seven decades of steady service and nearly 50 years as a gunship weapon, the Bofors cannons have only become more difficult to maintain. The Swedish firm, now a division of the U.K.-headquartered defense contractor BAE Systems, still builds 40mm guns, but the its more recent versions does not use the same ammunition as the older American variants.

The older rounds are increasingly hard to come by, as evidenced by the Air Force’s project to rebuild existing surplus, but the issues go beyond just finding more ammunition to feed the Air Force’s needs. The cannon barrels, among other components, do not last forever, with heavy use wearing down the rifling and their basic structure, making them increasingly less accurate and even dangerous to use. By 2013, the Air Force was essentially having to custom order new barrels at a price of $1.3 million each.

The year before, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) sent a team Greece to see about buying up a stockpile of old barrels that the NATO member had in storage after it retired the last of its versions in 2005. In the end, the service managed to pick up nearly 140 barrels and other rare parts on the cheap to keep its own weapons in working order, saving a total of $14 million in the process.

This increasingly complicated situation may not be an issue for much longer. In 2015, the Air Force retired the first AC-130U. The service expects to continue sending members of the fleet to the boneyard through 2018 as it gets closer to achieving an initial operating capability with the new AC-130J.

When the last Spooky II leaves service, it will mark the end of both the aircraft’s own impressive career and the final retirement of the Bofors cannon after what will be at least 75 years in service with the U.S. military. 

 
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Offline Bubby

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1621 on: December 22, 2017, 12:43:34 pm »
Bristling With Antennas, Russia's A-100 Is Likely More Than Just A New Radar Plane

The first prototype Beriev A-100, set to be Russia’s newest airborne early warning and control aircraft, has made its first flight, with the Russian Air Force hoping to get the first examples by 2020. In addition to its prominent radar dome on top, antennas cover significant portions of the plane, suggesting that United Aircraft Corporation, or UAC, is moving ahead with reported plans to make the design a multi-purpose command and control, electronic warfare, and intelligence gathering platform.

On Nov. 18, 2017, the initial A-100 prototype made its maiden flight from the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex (TANTK), situated near the Sea of Azov that sits between Russia and Ukraine. UAC used an existing Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft to create this “flying laboratory,” referred to specifically as the A-100LL, which will serve as test bed make sure the various antennas and fairings are aerodynamically sound and that the various radars and other systems work as intended.  The production versions will reportedly use new build Il-76MD-90A airframes, also known as the Il-476, and will replace Russian Air Force’s existing A-50M and A-50U Mainstay radar planes.

"This is one of [the] priorities of the current arms procurement program,” Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said of the aircraft in March 2017. In September 2016, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had boasted that the A-100 would be “superior to its foreign equivalents.”

In an official press release, UAC said the A-100s would be able to detect both air and surface targets at long range and help direct fighter jets and strike aircraft to their targets in the air, on land, and at sea. In the past, Russian officials have said that the new design will be able to spot and track nearly any enemy, including low-flying cruise missiles and stealth aircraft.

We have no way of confirming these claims, but the new A-100s will definitely be a significant improvement over the older A-50 types. The most widely reported upgrade is the replacement of the old, mechanically-scanned with a new Vega Premier faster scanning active phased array radar (APAR).

Vega Premier manually scans in azimuth, but electronically in elevation and gives the A-100 the ability to detect and track multiple targets at longer ranges and with greater precision. Russian officials say the system can spot aerial targets more than 370 miles away and warships nearly 250 miles from the aircraft, according to Jane’s 360.

Whether it has the ability to detect low-observable aircraft or not, the A-100 will still be another important component of Russia’s anti-access/area-denial arsenal as it offers an inherently flexible means of monitoring potentially contested air space, such as over the Baltic Sea or the Black Sea. The Russian Air Force’s existing A-50s have already gone to Syria to challenge the ability of aircraft belonging to the U.S.-backed coalition fighting ISIS to operate over that country with impunity.

Linked together with fighter jets in the air and integrated air defenses on the ground, an A-100 might further improve their ability to defend against complex threats, including enemy stand-off attacks using low flying cruise missiles, such as the U.S. military's Tomahawk Land Attack Cruise Missile strike against Syria's Shayrat Air Base in April 2017. In 2015, the Russian Air Force said that four MiG-31 Foxhound interceptors had successfully knocked down a Kh-55 cruise missile during a test with the help of an A-50.

In using the Il-76MD-90A as the starting point, the A-100s will be easier and cheaper to operate than the A-50s that used older Il-76 airframes, as well. The MD-90A variant has four PS-90 high-bypass turbofans, which make it more fuel efficient and give it more flying time, allowing it fly longer distances or loiter over a certain area of the battlefield for a longer amount of time.

The latter capability is particularly important for an airborne earlier warning and control aircraft managing operations. It is possible that this updated aircraft will also offer better altitude performance, allowing for longer radar horizons. The A-100 will also have an aerial refueling capability, a feature already present on the A-50M and U models.

On top of that, the new aircraft will have new avionics, mission systems, and work stations to help reduce the workload for the flight crew and systems operators. The standard Il-76MD-90A cargo plane already featured a “glass” cockpit with six large multi-function displays and other enhancements.

But a closer examination of the A-100LL prototype shows a number of other striking features that the Russian Ministry of Defense and UAC have declined to highlight, notably antenna farms on the top of the forward fuselage, on the wheel well sponsons, and across the tail, as well as what appear to be satellite communications domes, some of which seem extraneous to an airborne early warning and control mission. Signals intelligence and radio relay and data-link information fusion aircraft more commonly have this type of configuration and it could be that the A-100 will be able to perform a number of different roles. Even a tertiary electronic warfare mission isn't implausible considering Russia's focus on these tactics as of late.

“The aircraft is also said to have advanced signal intelligence for greater independence and electronic warfare capabilities for protection,” Russian media outlet RT, which is nominally independent, but receives significant funding from the Kremlin, reported in August 2016, citing unnamed sources. “An A-100 reportedly may be used as a fully-fledged flying HQ [headquarters] for the military.”



http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/16281/bristling-with-antennas-russias-a-100-is-likely-more-than-just-a-new-radar-plane
 

Offline Kamanya

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1622 on: December 24, 2017, 10:44:04 am »
I wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost

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Offline Kamanya

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1623 on: December 24, 2017, 10:57:41 am »
The whole series starts here....



I've got some dejavu with the inspection!
I wonder where that road goes? And that, has usually made all the difference. Appologies to Mr Frost

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Offline frankmac

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1624 on: January 14, 2018, 04:50:35 pm »


 :imaposer: I have enormous empathy for no's 5 & 23. I wonder where they eventually ended up
 

Offline big oil

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1625 on: January 14, 2018, 09:16:06 pm »
Video is hilarious.  I feel bad for number 5, he's pitiful.  But, he eventually made it up the hill.
Whatsdabigdebateaboutalready.
 

Offline landieman

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Re: Military Pictures_New Pics
« Reply #1626 on: January 16, 2018, 10:26:05 am »
lots of stuck throttle cables.I needed that  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: everyone in the office was staring at me as if i was having a seizure
don't worry about things you can't change,change the things you can.