Friday, July 30, 2010

Type 85 submachine gun (PR China)

Type 85 submachine gun

Type 85 silenced submachine gun

Type 85 Type 85 silenced
Caliber 7.62x25 Type 51 / TT 7.62x25 Type 64
Weight 1.9 kg empty 2.5 kg empty
Length  (stock closed/open) 444 / 628 mm 631 / 869 mm
Barrel length 210 mm n/a
Rate of fire 780 rounds per minute 800 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds 30 rounds
Effective range 150-200 m 100-150 m

Type 85 submachine gun has been developed during early 1980s as a less expensive replacement for Type 79 submachine gun; silenced version of the same weapon was developed to replace Type 64 silenced submachine guns then in service with PLA. Both weapons were offered for export sales, as well as used by domestic police and military units.

Type 85 submachine gun is a simple blowback weapon that fires from open bolt. It uses tubular receiver made from steel; long silencer tube is also made from steel. Safety / fire mode selector lever is located at the right side of the trigger unit, above the trigger guard, and allows for single shots and full automatic fire. Type 85 silenced SMG is optimized for special 7.62x25mm type 64 ammunition with heavy, subsonic bullet, but also can fire standard 7.62mm Type 51 / 7.62x25mm TT ammunition (with increased sound level). Gun is fed using same 30-round box magazines as Type 64 SMG. Shoulder stock is made from steel and folds to the right when not in use.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

BLU-82 Commando Vault "Daisy Cutter"

The BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, nicknamed Commando Vault, is the high altitude delivery of a 15,000 pound bomb from a C-130. This system depends upon the accurate positioning of the aircraft by either a fixed ground radar or onboard navigation equipment. The ground radar controller or aircrew navigator as applicable, is responsible for positioning the aircraft prior to final countdown and release. Primary aircrew considerations include accurate ballistic and wind computations provided by the navigator, and precision instrument flying with strict adherence to controller instructions. The minimum altitude for release due to blast effects of the weapon is 6,000 feet AGL.

The BLU-82 [Bomb Live Unit-82] is a 15,000 pound bomb originally designed to clear helicopter landing zones in Vietnam. The warhead contains 12,600 pounds of GSX [Gelled Slurry Explosive] slurry. Gelled slurry explosives are prepared by forming a slurry of combinations of different ingredients. After this material has gelled, it is detonated by a high explosive booster. Slurry explosives are used in mining where formations to be fractured are wet, very dense, or strong. Slurries are very inexpensive compared with conventional military explosives and much easier to load into large casings. With slurry, filling a bomb is merely a matter of pouring the material into the casing. The slurry can be stored in non-explosive component form and turned into field-manufactured explosive as it is needed. Slurries, sometimes called water gels, contain ammonium nitrate partly in aqueous solution. Adding powdered aluminum as a sensitizer to slurries greatly increases the heat of explosion or the energy release. Aluminized slurries have been used in extremely hard rock with excellent results.

The bomb is detonated a few feet above ground level by a 38-inch fuze extender, optimized to clear vegetation while creating no crater. Nicknamed "Big Blue 82", the weapon is frequently and incorrectly referred to as "Daisy Cutter", a term which more properly applies to the fuze assembly for above-ground bursts.

In Vietnam it was used to clear helicopter landing zones about 250 feet in diameter. Also called the Daisy Cutter, the BLU-82/B was first used in Vietnam on 23 March 1970. Eleven BLU-82s were dropped during Desert Storm, all from Special Operations C-130s. The initial drops were intended to test the ability of the bomb to clear mines; no reliable bomb damage assessment exist on mine clearing effectiveness. Later, bombs were dropped as much for their psychological effect as for their destructive power.

As of 13 December 2001 the US had dropped at least four "daisy cutter" bombs in Afghanistan, mainly on tunnels reportedly holding top al Qaeda leaders.

Melvin A. Cook's life is intimately connected with the history of explosives, he is a scientist,, inventor, teacher, businessman, theorist, consultant, expert witness, entrepreneur, and author. Cook's personal involvement in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the field of explosives spans more than fifty years. Cook's greatest commercial explosives invention was formulated in December of 1956, when he created a new blasting agent using an unusual mixture of ammonium nitrate, aluminum powder, and water. The safety and efficiency of this new explosive were apparent, and the use of water was revolutionary. Tests that followed resulted in the development of a new field of explosives: slurry explosives. This invention converted the commercial explosives industry from "dangerous dynamite" to "safe slurry" and dry blasting agents [ANFO]. In 1972 Cook developed the BLU-82, the largest and most powerful chemical bomb, using aluminized slurry. Cook, a professor of metallurgy at the University of Utah, was a businessman and author of works on explosives. He also published works on creationism, particularly on the relationship between science and Mormonism.

Class15,000 lb. Blast
Accuracy: 32 meters
Autopilot: None
Propulsion: None
Weight (lb.) 15,000
Length (in) 141.6
Diameter (in)54
Warhead (lbs.)15,000
Explosive Aluminum Powder (12,600 lbs.)
FuzeM904 (Nose); M905 (Tail)
Unit Cost$27,318
Aircraft MC-130


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Type 79 submachine gun (PR China)

Caliber: 7.62x25mm TT
Weight: 1.9 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open): 470 / 740 mm
Barrel length: n/a
Rate of fire: 500 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 rounds
Effective range: 100-150 meters

Type 79 submachine gun is rather unusual for its class as it is very lightweight and uses locked breech, gas operated action instead of more traditional (for SMG) blowback action. This weapon was (and probably still is) widely used by PAP (Chinese police).

Type 79 submachine gun uses gas operated, rotary bolt action with short stroke gas piston, located above the barrel. Bolt group is more or less an adaptation of the Type 56 (AK) assault rifle, with similar bolt carrier (less gas piston) and a rotary bolt with two locking lugs. Receiver is made from steel stampings. Fire mode selector / safety switch is also patterned after Type 56 (AK) assault rifle, and allows for single shots and full automatic fire. Type 79 fires from closed bolt and uses conventional hammer-fired mechanism. Box magazines hold only 20 rounds of ammunition. Shoulder stock is made from stamped steel and folds up and forward when not in use.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ZK-383 submachine gun (Czechoslovakia)

ZK-383 submachine gun, right side

ZK-383 submachine gun, left side

ZK-383P submachine gun; note that it has no facilities to mount a bipod

ZK-383H submachine gun of post-WW2 manufacture, with bottom-feed magazine that can be folded forward for carrying

Data for ZK-383 submachine gun
Caliber 9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
Weight, empty 4.25 kg
Length (stock closed/open) 875 mm
Barrel length 325 mm
Rate of fire 500 or 700 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Effective range 250 meters

The ZK-383 submachine gun was developed during late 1930s by Czechoslovak arms designers brothers Koucky, who at the time worked at the Zbrojovka Brno arms factory. Produced since 1938, this submachine gun was exported to certain smaller European countries, as well as to Latin America (most notably the Venezuela and Bolivia). Production of the ZK-383 continued at Brno during German occupation, with most wartime guns being  supplied to German Waffen-SS troops and occupation police forces. The ZK-383 was also briefly produced after the war, before being replaced in production with more modern and compact weapons such as Cz. Vz.48 / Sa 23. One of most notable European users of ZK-383 was the Bulgarian army, which used these guns until about 1966. The ZK-383 is an interesting weapon because it was initially developed more like a squad support weapon rather than an individual weapon - it was heavy, solidly made, and capable of some serious firepower (considering the pistol ammunition used, of cause). It was also fitted with 'long range' rifle type sights and integral folding bipod. there also were two later versions of the ZK-383 - the 'Police' ZK-383P which had no bipod, and post-war ZK-383H which also had no bipod and had folding forward magazine housing below the receiver (rather than fixed housing on the left side). Total production of all three versions of ZK-383 is estimated as no less than 20,000 guns.

The ZK-383 submachine gun is blowback operated, selective fired weapon. Unlike most other submachine guns, it had a quick-detachable barrel, with barrel lock / release mechanism located in the front sight base, at the front of the barrel jacket.ZK-383 fired from open bolt, and featured removable bolt weight which, when removed, increased cyclic rate of fire from about 500 to roughly 700 rounds per minute. Feed was from box magazines, inserted from the left side, with magazine slightly canted down, ejection was to the right. Manual safety was made in the form of the cross-bolt button located above the trigger, and fire mode selector was located on the left side of the receiver, above and to the front of the trigger. Gun was quipped with two-piece wooden stock and folding bipod, which was attached to the barrel jacket. When folded, bipod was partly concealed within the cut made in the bottom of the forend. Sights were adjustable for range between 50 and 600 meters.


Monday, July 26, 2010

World's most powerful non-nuclear bomb is Russian

The Russian military has successfully completed tests of the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb.

The new ordnance, nicknamed the "dad of all bombs" is four times more powerful than the U.S. "mother of all bombs." (MOAB)

"The tests have shown that the new air-delivered ordnance is comparable to a nuclear weapon in its efficiency and capability," Alexander Rukhsin, a deputy chief of the Russian military's General Staff, said in televised remarks.

The new bomb carries fewer explosives than the U.S. device, while the temperature at the center of its blast is twice as high and the area of damage much greater, Bloomberg reports.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Earthquake bomb series: Tallboy and Grand Slam

T56 M121 10,000-lb
T39 M123 12,000-lb Tallboy
T14 M110 22,000-lb Grand Slam

During the Second World War the British designer Barnes Wallis developed the largest conventional bombs used in combat. Wallis first designed the "Upkeep" bouncing bombs that were used during the Dambusters Raid on 16th May 1943. The rotating bouncing bomb exploded at the base of the retaining wall of the dam, producing heavy floods and damaging German production in the Ruhr.

Wallis next produced the 12,000-lb Tallboy, also known as the earthquake bomb. Tallboy was 21" long, with an overall diameter of 3'8", while the bomb body itself was 10'4" long and 3'2" in diameter. It weighed a total of 11,855 pounds, of which 5,200 pounds was Torpex D1 explosive. The weight of the case was thus a high proportion of the weight of the bomb. Dropped from 20,000 feet, a Tallboy made a 80ft deep crater, 100ft across. The bomb had a high terminal velocity, variously estimated at 3,600 and 3,700 feet a second [much faster than sound], and at these speeds it could go through 16ft of concrete. It was used for attacks on tunnels, V-1 Flying Bomb launch sites, and other high-priority targets. Its most important use was in the sinking of the German battleship Tirpitz at anchor in Norway, on 12 November 1944. Over 700 Tallboys were dropped during the War.

In 1945 Barnes Wallis developed the 22,000lb Grand Slam, which remains the largest conventional bomb ever used in action. The 10 ton (22,000 pound) "Grand Slam" was 26-feet, 6-inches long. Its hardened casing was cast in a single piece in a sand mold, using a concrete core. The "Grand Slam" could reportedly penetrate though 20+ ft of concrete. The first one was dropped on Germany on 14th March 1945. It hit the ground about 80 feet from the target, but it created a crater over 100 feet deep. This bomb was used with great effect against viaducts or railways leading to the Ruhr and also against several U-boat shelters. In one raid on 27 March 1945 against the U-Bootbunkerwerft "Valentin" submarine pens near Bremen, two Grand Slams penetrated 7 meters (23 feet) of reinforced concrete, bringing down the roof. In total, 41 Grand Slams were dropped during the war.

The M-121, sometimes called the "Earthquake" bomb, was more often referred to as the "Grand Slam" bomb, a totally misleading nickname. Actually "Grand Slam" was the code name of a highly classified modification project strictly concerned with atomic matters. The "Grand Slam" modifications would allow the Convair B-36 to carry atomic bombs, which the Air Force believed might weigh more than 40,000 pounds. Since the 10,000-pound M-121, when properly dropped, could inflict the damage of a 40,000-pound bomb, curiosity and rumors most likely explained the ensuing confusion. As a matter of fact, the "Grand Slam" designation was also loosely applied to other conventional bombs of the M-121 category.

Combat Trap

Because of the extensive use of helicopters in the Republic of Vietnam, landing zones had to be rapidly constructed in heavily forested areas, like those surrounding the Kim Son and Soui Ca valleys. The engineers in Vietnam were thus challenged to reduce the landing zone construction time, in order to meet the needs of the quickly shifting tactical situation. Landing zone requirements ranged from the hasty construction of a helicopter pad, from which to provide emergency resupply or medical evacuation, to the development of large landing zones, able to handle sufficient aircraft to support battalion or brigade operations.

Experience gained by engineer units in Vietnam led to the development of landing zone construction kits that contained the necessary tools and demolitions to prepare a landing zone for one aircraft. If the engineer team could be landed near the new construction site, they would rappel from the helicopter or climb down rope ladders. When sufficient area had been cleared, air-portable construction equipment or additional tools and demolitions were lifted in to expand the new landing zone.

Large HE detonations would dear trees and brush from an area, leaving a zone suitable for helicopter landings. As applied to the HLZ problem, it was clear that the HE had to be detonated at some height above the ground to avoid cratering, for two reasons: First, the ground should not be disturbed so much as to make it difficult or impossible for a helicopter to land safely. Second, even shallow bomb penetration would result in the blast being directed at an upward angle, greatly reducing the total surface area affected by the blast.

In the search for a suitable high-explosive package to perform the mission, the M-121 10,000-pound bomb was found in an ordnance depot in sufficient supply to carry out the tests. This bomb had been developed in 1954 to be dropped by the B-36 but had never been employed. It was decided to test out the HLZ concept in the United States before proceeding to Southeast Asia. The M-121 was taken to Fort Benning, Georgia, where a stand of mixed hardwood and conifers had been designated as a test area. The bomb was emplaced by an Army CH-54 helicopter at a height corresponding to that planned for an airdrop burst and was statically detonated on 10 June 1968. When the smoke had cleared, the area was surveyed, and an Army Huey helicopter was flown in to land in the cleared area. The zone created had usable space approximately 100 feet in diameter.

The Combat Trap project began preparations for aerial delivery of the M-121 for operational tests in South Vietnam. The M-121 was fitted with a drogue parachute for stability, and a special tail fuze was developed to serve as backup to the nose fuze. To provide for a burst height of about three feet, a standard nose fuze and M-1 fuze extender (a tube packed with explosives, which was attached to a detonator inside the bomb) were used. The contact nose fuze was protected with a brush deflector, a locally designed iron basket to enable the bomb to penetrate the tops of the trees without detonation. The sequence of events is as follows: As the bomb separates from its carrier, pins are pulled from both nose and tail fuzes, and the drogue chute is deployed. The fuzes are armed at a preset time to provide safe separation, and the chute quickly stabilizes the trajectory of the bomb. Penetrating the top of the canopy, the brush deflector pushes aside the smaller branches and is crushed by the impact with the earth. The fuze detonates the explosive in the extender tube, which in turn ignites the booster in the bomb, which sets off the main charge. All this occurs rapidly enough to ensure that the detonation will occur with the nose of the bomb only slightly less than three feet above ground level.

The 10,000-pound bomb seemed to work much better in the Southeast Asia jungle than in the Georgia pine woods. The typical Combat Trap HLZ consisted of an area about 120 feet in diameter completely devoid of vegetation, including stumps. Beyond that, the height of the remaining stumps gradually increased, so that at some 70 feet from ground zero their height was approximately six feet, the limiting height for helicopter operations. Damaged and defoliated trees extended to approximately 180 feet from ground zero. The MSQ radar demonstrated a high degree of accuracy in working with the C-130. Drops were made with miss distances from 30 to 150 yards. After the combat trap had finished its job, a construction party and equipment were taken by helicopter to the new landing zone to expand it to the desired size.

The rate at which Combat Trap was using the 10,000-pound M-121s as a clearing device for helicopter landing zones was rapidly depleting the limited supply of bombs. In the search for a suitable substitute, methods for developing a cheap, big bomb were explored. Slurry explosives, chiefly ammonium nitrate and water, have been used for many years by the oil and mining industries, and tests were conducted on various mixtures. A 1000-gallon propane tank was used for the container, and appropriate flanges and openings arranged for. When filled with the slurry mixture, which solidified into a rubbery mass after pouring, the device weighed 15,000 pounds.

The BLU-82/B first saw use in Vietnam on March 23, 1970. Throughout the rest of the war, the USAF used them for tactical airlift operations called “Commando Vault.” After the war, the BLU-82/B was used during the Mayaguez rescue in May 1975, but the remaining BLU-82/Bs went into storage until the mid-1980s, when the Air Force Special Operations Command began using them again in support of special operations. During Operation DESERT STORM, MC-130E “Combat Talon” aircraft from the 8th Special Operations Squadron dropped 11 BLU-82/Bs, primarily for psychological effects. The USAF also used these weapons against terrorist strongholds in Afghanistan during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Type 64 submachine gun (PR China)

Type 64 silenced submachine gun, less magazine

Type 64 silenced submachine gun with magazine in place, left side. Note that safety / fire selector lever is duplicated on either side of weapon

Caliber: 7.62x25 Type 64
Weight: 3.4 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open): 635 / 843 mm
Barrel length: 244 mm
Rate of fire: 1300 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
Effective range: 150-200 meters

Type 64 submachine gun is one of the first domestically designed Chinese submachine guns. It was designed as a special purpose weapon for clandestine operations, and therefore is fitted with integral silencer (sound moderator) of significant size. Standard ammunition for Type 64 SMG is 7.62mm type 64 cartridge, which is based on 7.62x25mm Type 51 (same as Soviet 7.62x25mm TT) but is loaded with heavy, pointed bullet with subsonic velocity. Standard 7.62x25 TT ammunition also can be fired from Type 64 SMG but it will cause excessive wear to gun and its silencer. One interesting property of the Type 64 submachine gun is its extremely high cyclic rate of fire, about two times higher than the commonly accepted norm (about 400 to 600 rounds per minute). Because of such high rate of fire, this weapon was probably hard to control in full automatic mode.

Type 64 submachine gun is simple blowback weapon that fires from open bolt. Receiver is machined from steel block, with stamped top cover; silencer is also made of steel. Front part of the barrel is ported to allow some gases to escape from barrel into the silencer. Fire mode selector / safety lever is patterned after Type 56 (AK) assault rifle and allows for single shots and full automatic fire. Curved box magazine holds 30 rounds of ammunition. Shoulder stock folds down and forward when not needed. Sights are of traditional, open type; rear sight is a two-position flip-up part, with settings for 100 and 200 meters range.


GBU-43/B: MOAB - Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb

The GBU-43/B is large, powerful and accurately delivered, high explosive. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb [MOAB] weapon is a 21,000 lbs total weight GPS-guided munition with fins and inertial gyro for pitch and roll control. It is probable that this munition was initially nick-named the "Mother Of All Bombs" with the retronymic expansion of MOAB following later.

On 11 September 2007 the Russian military announced that it had tested what it called the "Father of All Bombs". Described as the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered munition, the Russian military claimed it was four times more powerful than the American "Mother Of All Bombs." While the Russian bomb was reported to contain 7.8 tons of "thermobaric" explosive, compared to the more than 8 tons of explosives in the American bomb, the Russian bomb was said to use more highly efficient explosive, with a yield equivalent to 44 tons of TNT. The bomb was reported to have a blast radius of 300 meters, double that of the American bomb, while the temperature at the epicenter was also reported to be twice as high.

In 1991 Saddam Hussein conquered Kuwait and postured with threats to deliver the "Mother of All Battles". Mother of all Battles [Umm Al-Ma'arik / Um El-Ma'arek] -- the Arabic "mother of" is a figure of speech for "major" or "best". The original "Mother of All Battles" was the Battle of Qadisiya [Battle of al-Qadisiyya] in 637 CE, in which Islamic Arabs defeated the Persians. Saddam Hussein's "Mother of All Battles" turned intot, among other things, the "Mother of All Retreats", the "Mother of All Blowouts", "the mother of all Marine operations", 650-slide “mother of all briefings”, and so forth.

MOAB is a guided bomb which delivers the 18,700 lb BLU-120/B warhead bomb with KMU-593/B GPS/INS. The MOAB is the largest-ever satellite-guided, air-delivered weapon in history [not the largest ever, but the largest satellite guided]. The 21,600-pound MOAB is an improved replacement for the unguided 15,000-pound BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. It is 30 feet long with a diameter of 40.5 inches. The warhead is a blast-type warhead. It was developed in only nine weeks to be available for the Iraq campaign, but it was not used in combat.

The 21,700-pound [9,500 kilogram] bomb contains 18,700 pounds of H6, an explosive that is a mixture of RDX (Cyclotrimethylene trinitramine), TNT, and aluminum. H6 is used by the military for general purpose bombs. H6 is an Australian produced explosive composition. Composition H6 is a widely used main charge filling for underwater blast weapons such as mines, depth charges, torpedoes and mine disposal charges. HBX compositions (HBX-1, HBX-3, and H6) are aluminized (powdered aluminum) explosives used primarily as a replacement for the obsolete explosive, torpex. They are employed as bursting charges in mines, depth bombs, depth charges, and torpedoes. HBX-3 and H-6 have lower sensitivity to impact and much higher explosion test temperatures than torpex. The MOAB weapon produces a very large explosive blast, with lesser fragmentation effects due to a thin-walled aluminum casing.

Contrary to some published claims, it most certainly is not an Ethylene-Oxide Fuel-Air Explosive (FAE). Some initial reports had stated that this replacement for the BLU-82 bomb uses more of the slurry of ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum used in the BLU-82. Other reports indicated that the MOAB might use tritonal explosive as opposed to the gelled slurry explosive of the BLU-82. Contrary to some reports, it is not capable of deep ground penetration.

Like the BLU-82, the MOAB rests in a cradle on an airdrop platform inside a C-130 aircraft. Due to the size of the ordnance, the item is extracted from either an MC-130 Talon II or “Slick” C-130 Hercules by way of a parachute. A drogue parachute extracts the weapon, cradle and platform—and the weapon is quickly released to maintain maximum forward momentum. The grid fins then open and begin guiding the weapon to its target.

The MOAB weapon is based upon the same principle as the BLU-82 “Daisy Cutter”, except that it is larger and has a guidance system. The weapon is expected to produce a tremendous explosion that would be effective against hard-target entrances, soft-to-medium surface targets, and for anti-personnel purposes. Because of the size of the explosion, it is also effective at LZ clearance and mine and beach obstacle clearance. Injury or death to persons will be primarily caused by blast or fragmentation. It is expected that the weapon will have a substantial psychological effect on those who witness its use. The massive weapon provides a capability to perform psychological operations, attack large area targets, or hold at-risk threats hidden within tunnels or caves.

The weapon is intended to have a high altitude release, allowing for greater stand-off range for the delivery vehicle. Following deployment from the aircraft via drogue parachute, the MOAB weapon is guided approximately 3 nautical miles through a GPS system (with inertial gyros for pitch and roll control), JDAM actuators, and is stabilized by series of fixed wings and grid fins. The weapon, which uses the aircraft’s GPS prior to launch, takes several seconds to reconnect to the GPS signal after it has been deployed, which is normal for GPS weapons.

The US Air Force developed the satellite-guided Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bombs (MOAB) as a successor to the the 15,000-lb. "Daisy Cutters" used in Vietnam and Afghanistan. The Air Force is said to call MOABs (pronounced MOE-ab) the Mother Of All Bombs. As with the earlier Daisy Cutter, these huge bombs are dropped out of the rear of the C-130 cargo plane. Unlike the Daisy Cutter, the MOAB falls to the ground without the use of a retarding parachute. As a result, the aircraft releasing the bomb can fly at higher altitudes, thus making it safer for US pilots.
MOAB Chronology

In early 2002, the AF Munitions Directorate began to investigate the possibility of upgrading the large BLU-82 weapon with a guidance and control capability. Such an upgrade would allow the delivery aircraft to fly higher for better survivability and safety from the weapon’s blast. It would also give the weapon greater range and accuracy, opening the door to additional target sets. After several design iterations gave the weapon a more aerodynamic shape, the current configuration of the MOAB was born. Work on the program began in 2002 and was set for completion in 2003.

Within nine months, the MOAB program went from development contract award to the completion of three highly successful flight tests. During the flight tests, the MOAB detonated upon contact with the ground. The program culminated in the successful demonstration of a suite of technologies supporting large weapons.

Testing began at Eglin as part of an Air Force Research Lab Technology Demonstration Project. With support from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Natick Army Soldier Center, Naval Coastal Systems Station- Panama City, Air Transportation Test Loading Agency, Detachment 1 of the 46th Test Wing at Hurlburt Field, and Dynetics, Inc., directorate engineers rapidly and successfully designed, fabricated, integrated, and tested the huge MOAB weapon.

On 11 March 2003 the Air Force tested its Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon at the Eglin Air Force Base Air Armament Center's western test range, dropped from a C-130.

Eglin Air Force Base's Air Armament Center conducted the second live test of the largest conventional bomb in the US inventory at approximately 2:30 p.m. EST 21 November 2003. Designated the GBU-43/B, the 21,700-pound bomb was launched from an MC-130E Combat Talon I aircraft flown by a crew assigned to Eglin's 46th Test Wing. One objective was to collect more data and provide it to the user to assist in targeting. Also, the Air Force wanted to certify MOAB on the Combat Talon I aircraft as previous launches had been made from the MC-130 Combat Talon II.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

FAMAE S.A.F. (Chile)


FAMAE S.A.F. with integral silencer

FAMAE S.A.F. field stripped into main parts

Caliber: 9x19mm Luger/Para
Weight: 2.7 - 3 kg without magazine (depending on variant)
Lenght (stock closed/open): 410 / 640 mm
Barrel lenght: 198 mm
Rate of fire: 1120 - 1280 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds
Effective range: 100-150 meters

The S.A.F. SMG was developed and is manufactured by Chilean company FAMAE. The S.A.F. design is based on SIG 540 assault rifle, designed in Swiss and manufactured in Chile by FAMAE under license from SIG.

The S.A.F. SMG is in service with Chilean Armed Forces and Police.
Technically, the S.A.F. is a recoil operated select fire gun, firing from closed bolt. The triger/hammer group and floating firing pin design is similar to SIG 540, but the bolt is of new design. The receiver is similar in design to SIG 540, and is of folding type (upper and lower receivers are assembled by two steel pins, much like the M16 receiver does). The S.A.F. has ambidextrous safety/fire selector switch with four settings - safe, single shot, 3 round bursts and full auto. S.A.F. SMGs are manufactured with side-folding or fixed polymer buttstocks. Silenced version, with folding buttstock and integral silencer is available for special forces use. S.A.F. has post front sight, ajustable wor elevation, and aperture rear sight, ajustable for windage. S.A.F. uses 20 or 30 rounds magazines made from transluscent polymer. Magazines had special studs and slots that allowed two or more magazines to be clipped together for quicker magazine change.


Monday, July 19, 2010

GD LW50MG lightweight .50 caliber machine gun (USA)

The LW50MG (Lightweight .50 caliber Machine Gun) is the new product of the Armament and Technical products branch of the US-based General Dynamics corporation. This weapon is a direct offspring of the marginally successful XM-307 ACSW / XM-312 program, and current plans are to field first production units of the LW50MG in around 2011.

Please click on this link for more: More Details and Pictures


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Me 163 Komet (Video & feature) - the world's first roket fighter plane

The Me 163 Komet was perhaps the most unique aircraft design of the Second World War. German scientists, always on the cutting edge of evolving war technology, developed a rocket-powered aircraft based on testing completed with an engine-less glider design. The resulting research produced the one-man, swept back fighter that was equally dangerous to pilot and Allied bomber formations alike.

I have posted something on the Komet a few year ago. Please click on the link below to get the see the full write-up as well as a video.

ME 163 Komet


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Steyr AUG Para 9mm submachine gun (Austria)

Steyr AUG A1 Para 9mm submachine gun, original version

Steyr AUG A3 XS 9mm submachine gun

Data for current production Steyr AUG A3 XS submachine gun
9x19mm Luger/Parabellum
Weight 3,0 kg empty
Length 610 mm
Barrel length: 325 mm
Magazine capacity 25 rounds
Rate of fire ~700 rounds/minute

The original Steyr AUG Para 9mm submachine gun is a reversible conversion of the original Steyr AUG assault rifle, intended mostly for short-range police and special operations work. This weapons combines relatively compact dimensions with very good accuracy (compared with other 9mm submachine guns), thanks to a long barrel and closed-bolt firing. If necessary, Steyr AUG 9mm submachine gun also can be fitted with silencer.

Steyr AUG Para 9mm submachine gun utilizes basic components (aluminum receiver and polymer stock of bullpup configuration) from the Steyr AUG assault rifle. The 9mm barrel is installed (original Steyr AUG assault rifles have quick detachable barrels), and a gas-operated locked bolt action is replaced with simple blowback (unlocked) bolt. Original firing system with hammer and pull-through selective trigger (short pull results in single shots, long pull - in full automatic fire) is retained, and a special magazine adapter is installed into the magazine housing. Depending on the basic version of the Steyr AUG assault rifle, which is used for conversion, 9mm version will retain its parent sighting equipment - 1.5X telescope sight in A1 version of Picatinny rail with optional open or optical sights in A2 and A3 versions.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Mörser Karl - 600mm German Mortar

While searching my old postings, I found this gem that I would like to share again with all of you. The Morser Karl Mortar. Click on any one of the two links below and you will find the history as well as a video of the mortar from my other blog.


This is one piece of engineering.


Monday, July 12, 2010

WW2 German Dora gun, the biggest gun ever, firing

Have you seen this video before of the Dora gun firing? Well go the link below and you will see something truly impressive considering the technology was in the 1940s. There are also a lot of technical and historical facts in the posting.

WW2 German Dora gun, the biggest gun ever, firing


Friday, July 9, 2010

FN P90 personal defense weapon / submachine gun (Belgium)

FN P90 personal defense weapon / submachine gun in basic configuration, left side

FN P90 personal defense weapon / submachine gun in basic configuration, right side

FN P90 TR (triple rail version) personal defense weapon / submachine gun, with installed accessories including optical sight on top rail, flashlight on left rail, and silencer on the barrel

FN PS90 - a civilian semi-automatic only version of P90 with long barrel

Bottom view on the filed FN P90 magazine, showing position of the stored cartridges and cartridge in feed position

FN P90 partially disassembled

Caliber: 5.7x28mm SS190
Weight: 2.54 kg empty; 3 kg loaded with magazine with 50 rounds
Length: 500 mm
Barrel length: 263 mm
Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 50 rounds
Effective range: 200 meters

The FN P90 submachine gun (SMG) was developed in the late 1980s as a personal defense weapon for the troops whose primary activities does not include small arms, such as vehicle and tank crew members, artillery crews etc. Standard pistols and submachine guns chambered for pistol rounds were proved ineffective against enemy soldiers, wearing body armor; Therefore FN designers first developed a new round with enhanced penetration, initially known as SS90. To achieve necessary high penetration while keeping recoil impulse low, FN used a small-bore approach, creating a round that looked much like the scaled down 5,56NATO round. It must be noted that similar concepts were tried in other countries, most notably in USA, several decades before FN; for example, US Army tested M1 carbines chambered for .221 Johnson Spitfire round back in late 1950s; later on, Colt produced its .22 SCAMP and 5,6x30 MARS ammunition for special SCAMP machine pistol and MARS "mini assault rifle" (a scaled-down M16 rifle) respectively. It must be noted that 5,6x30 MARS round was in a sense a direct predecessor to 5,7x28 FN SS90 round, although the latter featured slightly lighter and faster bullet. By late 1980s a concept of a small-bore, low-impulse "personal defense weapon" (PDW) with good accuracy and lethality at ranges of up to 200-250 meters was well established, although there were no weapons adopted for service yet. FN decided to follow this concept and to create its own PDW using clean sheet approach. Basic ideas used for this development, designated as "Project 9.0", included the following: minimal size and weight of weapon; large magazine capacity; complete ambidexterity; ease of use and maintenance.

To save on size and weight, FN designers put new weapon into compact and lightweight stock of bullpup layout, made of impact-resistant polymer. The high-capacity magazine also was made from semi-translucent polymer, and holds 50 rounds in two rows. To make the loaded weapon as compact as possible, FN designers followed the idea of American designer Hall, and placed the magazine above the barrels, with cartridges stored in horizontal position with bullets pointing to the left. While Hall system employed a rotary feed unit, operated by the bolt, to put new cartridge in line with the barrel, FN designers incorporated a stationary helical ramp into each magazine, which rotates cartridge for 90 degrees prior to placing it into feed lips. Complete ambidexterity was achieved by using ambidextrous controls (including dual charging handles and dual back-up open sights), and bottom ejection. Finally, simplicity of aiming was achieved by use of integral reflex type collimating sight and integral laser aiming module (LAM).

Resulting weapon appeared in around 1990 as FN P90 personal defense weapon, along with improved 5,7x28 SS190 ammunition, which replaced polymer-cored bullets with heavier dual-core (steel / aluminum) bullets with better penetration against body armor. Several other types of ammunition were developed for this weapon, including tracer, subsonic ball and soft-core training ball.

First sales of P90 were made to Saudi Arabia in early 1990s; today it is believed that FN sold more than 20 000 of P90's to a wide variety of law enforcement agencies and military special operation units worldwide, including US Secret Service, Austrian Army rangers, Dutch BBE special operations forces, Belgian Army and others. Most interesting fact about adoption of P90 is that so far it has been adopted for the role, directly opposite to its original niche of "personal defense weapon". In fact, most services and agencies that adopted P90 use it for offensive roles, as a specialist or even a primary weapon for various assault teams, and other "professional small-arms users", as opposed to military personnel which primary functions do not include use of small arms.

In around 1995 FN supplemented the P90 with pistol, firing the same 5,7x28 ammunition, designated as FN Five-seveN. Recently, FN also introduced a civilian version of P90, designated as PS90 carbine. This is a self-loading weapon with longer barrel (408 mm / 16").

FN P90 personal defense weapon is blowback operated, selective-fired weapon which fires from closed bolt. The firing is controlled by a removable trigger unit with conventional hammer. A manual safety is located directly below the trigger. Magazine lies at the top of the weapon, feeding from front-to-back, with spiral ramp built into the "rear" part of the magazine. Spent cartridges are ejected straight down through the chute, which exits just behind the pistol grip. The standard sighting equipment includes a non-magnifying collimating sight with "ring and dot" illuminated aiming reticule.

Back-up open sights are provided at either side of the primary collimating sight. The so-called P90 USG version is provided with two additional Picatinny rails at either side of the collimating sight base; FN also offers a version with no standard sighting equipment; user has to make its own choice of day and/or night sights and additional equipment, which can be installed on three Picatinny rails - top, left and right. This version is designated as P90 TR (triple rail). The front part of the forward handgrip on P90 is shaped as hand protector, and it can contain integral laser aiming module, which sends either visible or IR laser beam to mark the intended target. For special missions P90 can be fitted with a special silencer, which is used in conjunction with special subsonic ammunition.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vigneron M2 submachine gun (Belgium)

Vigneron M2 submachine gun, right side

Vigneron M2 submachine gun, left side

9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
3,28 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open)
695 / 872 mm
Barrel length
300 mm
Rate of fire
620 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity
32 rounds
Effective range
100 meters

The Vigneron submachine gun was developed during early fifties by the officer of the Belgian army and produced by Belgian company Precision Liegoise SA. It was adopted by Belgian army in 1953, and saw some combat in then-Belgian Congo. Vigneron submachine gun was quite conventional in design and appearance, and not much more can be told about this weapon.

Vigneron submachine gun is blowback operated, selective fired weapon which fires from open bolt. Fire mode selector / safety switch is located on the left side of the grip, just behind the trigger. It is interesting that in full automatic mode short pull on the trigger will still, produce single shots, and only a long pull will produce full automatic fire. Additional automated safety is built into the backstrap of the pistol grip. Cocking handle is located on the left side of the receiver, and is stationary when gun is fired. Ejection port has a spring-loaded dust cover. Barrel is relatively long and has two ports just behind the front sight base, which serve as a muzzle rise compensator. Sights are fixed, with rear aperture set for 50 meters range. Stock is made from steel wire and is retractable, with several positions so shooter can adjust it to his own preferences. 


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mekanika URU submachine gun (Brazil)

9x19mm Luger / Parabellum
3.9 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open)
456 / 689 mm
Barrel length
175 mm
Rate of fire
750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity
30 rounds

The URU submachine gun was designed in Brazil by Olympio Vieira de Mello in 1974-75. The production of the new submachine gun was commenced at the company Mekanika Indústria e Comércio Ltda, Rio de Janeiro, in 1977. Total production of the URU submachine guns for Brazilian military and police between 1977 and 1985 is estimated at about 10 thousands guns. 

The Mekanika URU submachine gun is a simple blowback weapon which fires from open bolt. It is capable of semi- and full-automatic fire, and combination safety / fire mode selector lever is located on the left side of the trigger unit. The receiver and barrel jacket are made from steel tube, the trigger housing and magazine well / forward grip are made from steel stampings. Gun is equipped with side-folding metallic buttstock. Sights are fixed, comprising of rear aperture and front post, factory zeroed for 50 meters range.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Steyr MPi 69 and MPi 81 submachine gun (Austria)







Steyr MPi 69 submachine gun

Steyr MPi 81 submachine gun; note added cocking handle that replaced sliding front sling swivel of MPi 69

Caliber: 9x19mm Luger/Para
Weight: 3.13 kg empty
Length (stock closed/open): 465 / 670 mm
Barrel length: 260 mm
Rate of fire: 550 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 25 or 32 rounds
Effective range: 100-150 meters

The Steyr MPi 69 submachine gun was developed by Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch during early sixties and put into production; in around 1981 the basic design was slightly improved with addition of a conventional bolt cocking handle. The updated version was designated as MPi 81 and was manufactured until about mid-1990s. Both versions are in use by several police and military forces in Europe and elsewhere.

Steyr MPi 69 submachine gun is a blowback operated, selective fire weapon that fires from open bolt. The receiver is made from stamped steel, the receiver cover and pistol grip are made from nylon. The bolt is of "wrap-around" type (most of its weight is located in front of the breech face, around the barrel) and had a fixed firing pin. The cocking handle on MPi 69 is combined with front sling swivel; to cock the bolt, shooter has to pull the front part of the sling rearward and then release it. On MPi 81 submachine gun, this system is replace by conventional bolt cocking handle. Both MPi 69 and MPi 81 had cross-bolt button manual safety, located above the trigger. The fire mode selection mechanism is a combination of the trigger pull and safety button. If the safety button is pushed all the way to the left, the short pull on the trigger will produce single shots, and the long pull will produce burst firing. If the safety button will be left in mid-way position, only single shots will be possible. If the safety is all the way to the right, the gun is set to safe and will not fire.

Sights consist of protected front and flip-up type rear. The shoulder stock is retractable and made from steel wire.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Steyr - Solothurn S1-100 / MP-34 submachine gun (Switzerland / Austria)

Steyr MP-34 submachine gun, left side

Steyr MP-34 submachine gun, right side

Steyr MP-34 partially disassembled

Drawing from original patent, covering S1-100 integral magazine loading device

9x19mm Luger / Parabellum, 9x23 Steyr, 9x25 Mauser Export
4,25 kg empty
850 mm
Barrel length
200 mm
Rate of fire
400-500 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity
32 rounds
Effective range
150-200 meters

The story of this weapon start in around 1919, when German arms-making company Rheinmetall produced a prototype submachine gun designated MP.19. This weapon was developed by Lous Stange to same specifications as Schmeisser's MP.18/I, but MP.19 came too late to see any action during WW1. After the end of WW1, Germany was severely limited in design and production of small arms by treaty of Versailles. When Hitler came into power, German military-oriented companies began to move the R&D outside of Germany to avoid treaty limitations. In 1929, Rheinmetall purchased the small Swiss-based company Wafenfabrik Solothurn, which was used to finalize some Rheinmetall small arms which were developed under secrecy in Germany. One of those weapons was an improved version of MP.19 submachine gun, which was announced by Waffenfabrik Solothurn under company index "S1-100". This was an excellent weapon, reliable, controllable and accurate, but Solothurn company lacked production capabilities. To make guns on industrial scale, Solothurn teamed with famous Austrian gun-making company Waffenfabrik Steyr, and formed trade company Steyr-Solothurn Waffen AG in Zurich, Switzerland. This company sold weapons designed by Rheinmetall and Solothurn and made by Steyr, and S1-100 submachine gun was among first products of this international conglomerated. In the 1930 Austrian police adopts the S1-100 as Steyr MP.30, chambered for standard Austrian 9x23 Steyr pistol cartridge. It was also exported to Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and El Salvador; it also was sold in limited numbers to China, in 7,63x25 Mauser caliber. Portugal adopted the S1-100 in 7,65x22 Luger caliber in 1938, and in 1942 purchased more S1-100's from Steyr but this time in 9x19 Luger. For South American markets, Steyr produced version of S1-100 in .45ACP caliber; this version was distinguished by additional pistol grip under the forearm. Austrian army adopted the S1-100 as Steyr MP.34, chambered for powerful 9x25 Mauser ammunition. When Hitler's Germany occupied Austria in 1938, it quickly consumed most of Austrian MP.30's and MP.34's, and after rebarreling to 9x19 ammunition these weapons were issued to German troops as MP.34(ö). Production of Steyr-Solothurn submachine guns has ceased in around 1940, when, under German administration, it was replaced in production at Steyr by much simpler and less expensive MP-40 submachine gun of German design. It must be noted that S1-100 was one of the finest submachine guns made prior to WW2, and probably one of most expensive.

Steyr-Solothurn S1-100 submachine gun was blowback operated, selective-fired weapon which fired from open bolt. Unlike most other submachine guns, the return spring was located in the buttstock and was linked to bolt via long push-rod, pivotally attached to the rear of the bolt. The basic action of the gun was accessible through the top cover, which was hinged at the front and opened up and forward to expose bolt and trigger unit below it. The fire mode selector was made in the form of a sliding switch, located at the left side of the stock. Early guns had Schmeisser-style bolt-locking safety in the form of hook-shaped cut which was used to engage the bolt handle when bolt was cocked. Later on, additional manual safety was added to the top cover, in front of the rear sight. this safety locked bolt either in cocked or closed position. The feed was from left side, with magazine housing slightly canted forward for more positive feeding Ejection was to the right. The magazine housing had an unusual magazine filler device, with slots for magazine at the bottom and for stripper clip - at the top. removed magazine was inserted into this device from the bottom, and then shooter placed stripper clips into the top of device and pushed cartridges down into magazine. Four standard 8-round clips were required to fill the magazine.

All S1-100 guns were fitted with wooden stock with semi-pistol grip. Barrel was enclosed into perforated jacket, which had provisions for mounting a bayonet. Sights included hooded front and tangent type rear, marked from 100 to 500 meters. One most unusual accessory, which was briefly advertised for S1-100 during mid-1930s, was a compact machine-gun type tripod, which was to provide additional stability for weapon when firing from ground. It seems that this tripod was never made in quantity.



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