Friday, December 28, 2012

Galil ACE

The Galil ACE rifles are the new generation of the famous Israeli Galil assault rifles. The Galil ACE represents full product line of military rifles in world's three most popular calibers (5.56x45 NATO, 7.62x39 M43 and 7.62x51 NATO) made in full spectrum of configurations, from compact carbine and up to long barreled marksman rifle.

5.56mm Galil ACE models 21, 22 and 23 rifles (from top to bottom)
All Galil ACE rifles feature same basic design, based on combat-proven Galil action, and feature same array of ergonomic enhancements, including ambidextrous controls, adjustable telescoping buttstocks, comfortable pistol grips, integral Picatinny rails etc. The 5.56mm version of the Galil ACE assault rifle is adopted by Colombian army, and is manufactured under the Israeli license by Colombian government-owned factory Indumil.

7.62x39 Galil ACE model 32 rifle

The Galil ACE rifle is gas operated, select-fire weapon. It uses long-stroke gas operated action with gas piston located above the barrel. Locking is achieved by rotating bolt with dual locking lugs. The receiver is machined from steel, with polymer magazine housing / pistol grip unit attached below. The detachable stamped steel receiver cover houses an integral Picatinny rail and rear sight base. The charging handle is located on the left side of the receiver and is attached directly to the bolt carrier. To provide maximum protection from dust and dirt at all times, the charging handle slot is covered with spring-loaded dust cover which opens and closes after each shot automatically.

7.62x51 Galil ACE model 52 rifle

The safety / fire mode selector is duplicated at both sides of the weapon, and has better shape when compared to predecessors. Feed is from detachable box magazines; the NATO caliber versions (in 5.56 and 7.62mm) use standard Galil magazines with 35- and 25-round capacity, respectively. The 7.62x39 versions use standard AK magazines with 30-round capacity. Standard sighting equipment includes protected front post (adjustable for zeroing) and protected flip-up type rear diopter sight. A wide array of modern optical sights can be installed on the integral Picatinny rail. All Galil ACE rifles (except for sub-compact ACE 21 and ACE 31 carbines) also feature a bayonet lug on the barrel.

Data for Galil ACE 20 21 22 rifles
Galil ACE 21 Galil ACE 22 Galil ACE 23
Caliber 5.56x45 NATO
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length (butt extended / collapsed) 730 / 650 mm 847 / 767 mm 975 / 875 mm
Barrel length 215 mm 332 mm 460 mm
Weight 2.8 kg 3.3 kg 3.44 kg
Rate of fire ~ 700 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 35 rounds
Data for Galil ACE 31 32 rifles
Galil ACE 31 Galil ACE 32
Caliber 7.62x39 M43
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length (butt extended / collapsed) 730 / 650 mm 895 / 815 mm
Barrel length 215 mm 380 mm
Weight 2.95 kg 3.4 kg
Rate of fire ~ 650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Data for Galil ACE 52 53 rifles
Galil ACE 52 Galil ACE 53
Caliber 7.62x51 NATO
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length (butt extended / collapsed) 935 / 855 mm 1043 / 963 mm
Barrel length 400 mm 508 mm
Weight 3.56 kg 3.69 kg
Rate of fire ~ 650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 25 rounds

Friday, December 21, 2012

The XA-38 Grizzly would have been a potent ground-attack component to the Allied cause if it entered production

The XA-38 was a developmental twin-engine heavy fighter produced by the Beech Aircraft firm. By all accounts, she was a stable and fast aircraft comparable to even the single engine speedsters of her day. As promising as her design was, her potential was never realized as the engines slated for the type were reserved for the four-engined Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers taking precedence. As such, only two XA-38 prototypes were ever built with the project ultimately shelved at the end of the war. Should she have flown in quantity, she might have presented the Empire of Japan with a formidable adversary capable of engaging tanks, vehicles, ships and submarines with equal - and lethal - fervor.

The XA-38 Grizzly would have been a potent ground-attack component to the Allied cause if it entered production.

The United States Army Air Force (USAAF - forerunner to the United States Air Force) entered into a contractual agreement with Beech Aircraft in December of 1942 after considering the company's Beechcraft Model 28 system. The contract called for two initial prototypes to be built as the XA-38 to fulfill a requirement that involved replacing the Douglas A-20 Havocs then in service. This new aircraft would have to exceed in all areas the A-20 excelled at wile making for one truly potent ground attack component vital to eliminating the dug-in Japanese foes throughout the Pacific Theater. The A-20, itself, had its origins in 1939 design and was introduced into operational service in 1941. Its armament and light bombing capabilities allowed the Havoc to make a name for itself in the early years of the war, eventually being fielded by the United States, French, British and Soviet forces. Production of the type finally ended on September 20th, 1944 and a need for its replacement was inevitable. The XA-38 achieved first flight on May 7th, 1944 with Beech test pilot Vern Carstens at the controls, launching from the Beech Aircraft airfield in Wichita, Kansas. It was then flown to Elgin Field in Florida to undergo testing with the US Army.

Design of the XA-38 centered around the large 75mm cannon armament mounted in the nose. The cannon was positioned as such that the barrel protruded from the nose cone assembly of the clean all-metal airframe.

The fuselage was of a conventional design featuring a forward cockpit area and a rear gunner station and fit together as four main sections for ease of maintenance and repairs. Wings were mid-mounted monoplane assemblies (based on the airfoil of the NACA-2300 series) joining the fuselage to each side of the cockpit and designed with a heated leading edge and surfaces to prevent ice from forming at higher altitudes. On the wings were fitted twin Wright R-3350-53 series air-cooled radial piston engines capable of delivering an astounding 2,700 horsepower each while driving three-bladed, constant speed Hamilton Standard propellers. Cooling was provided for through specially-designed circular cowlings and controlled via automatic flaps. The engine nacelles were fitted to the wing leading edges and protruded some, nearly to the extension length of the fuselage nose. The empennage was conventional and featured a horizontal tailplane with two vertical tail fins. The undercarriage was a typical "tail dragger", with two forward single-wheeled landing gears and a single-wheeled tail system - all fully retractable via hydraulics with a backup pneumatic emergency system. Crew accommodations amounted to the pilot and a gunner housed under in separate glazed canopies. The gunner sat in a dorsal position on the empennage.

While the primary armament of the XA-38 was its nose-mounted 75mm cannon (the entire forward nose section was hinged to open upwards for easy access to the cannon), this was further augmented by no fewer than 6 x .50 caliber Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns.

Two were fitted to the lower forward nose section in a forward-firing fixed position while the remaining four were placed in dorsal ad ventral General Electric-brand remote-controlled turrets (two machine guns to a turret). These turrets were traced via periscope sights by the gunner in his rear cabin. Additional external stores would have been conventional drop bombs, a torpedo, smoke bombs, depth charges, chemical tanks and drop tanks. With its accessible hinged nose assembly, the XA-38 was envisioned to fit other adaptable armament systems on-the-fly.

Performance-wise, the XA-38 shined based on reports of the test pilots and servicemen that had the privilege of flying her.

She posted stable flight characteristics but was most notable for her top speed. Her speed was comparable - or better in some cases - to the top-flight single-engine fighters of her day. In one such trial, a chase plane sent up to monitor the XA-38 was found lagging behind the twin-engined beauty. Other impressive performance feats showcased the XA-38's ability to take-off and land in shorter distances at low speed than even her contemporary single-engined brethren. Her powerplants and airframe undoubtedly proved reliable in subsequent evaluations.

A maximum speed of 376 miles-per-hour was recorded along with a service ceiling topping 27,800 feet with twin Wright 2,700 horsepower engines and a crew of two.

Comparatively, the A-20 Havoc sported a top speed of 339 miles-per-hour with a service ceiling of 23,700 feet with twin Wright 1,700 horsepower engines and a crew of three.

The XA-38 would go down as a true American "what-might-have-been" story for a top straight-line speed coupled with a lethal armament package made for one successful aircraft in the Second World War. It is believed that the XA-38 would not have disappointed has it been ordered into production and been available in some number. As fate would have it, the system fell by the wayside as the B-29's took her engines, the need for dedicated attack craft dwindles and the war came to its inevitable close a year later.

Regardless, the XA-38 remains an interesting study. The XA-38 went under the name of "Destroyer" but was more popularly remembered as the "Grizzly". It is known that one of the XA-38 prototypes fell the way of the scrap yard while the whereabouts of the other prototype are unknown.

Specifications for the Beechcraft XA-38 Gizzly / Destroyer (Model 28)

Length: 51.67ft (15.75m)
Width: 67.06ft (20.44m)
Height: 15.49ft (4.72m)

Maximum Speed: 370mph (595kmh; 321kts)
Maximum Range: 1,625miles (2,615km)
Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)
Service Ceiling: 28,999ft (8,839m; 5.5miles)

Armament Suite:
1 x 75mm T15E1 cannon in nose
2 x 12.7mm Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns fixed in lower fuselage nose.
2 x 12.7mm Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns in remote-controlled dorsal turret.
2 x 12.7mm Browning air-cooled heavy machine guns in remote-controlled ventral turret.

OPTIONAL (up to 2,000lbs of external stores):
Conventional Drop Bombs
Fuel Droptanks
Smoke Screen Chemical Tanks
Depth Charges
Accommodation: 2
Hardpoints: 2
Empty Weight:22,481lbs (10,197kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight:36,330lbs (16,479kg)

Engine(s): 2 x Wright GR-3350-43 Cyclone radial piston engines of 2,300 horsepower each.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Since late 1950s, Indian armed forces were equipped with 7.62mm NATO L1A1 self-loading rifles, which were licensed copies of the famous Belgian FN FAL rifle. As the 7.62mm self-loading rifles started to become obsolete by the 1980s, India began to develop the INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System), which incorporated features from several popular foreign designs. The INSAS system was originally planned to have three components - a standard rifle, a carbine, and a squad automatic rifle (LMG), all chambered for 5.56 x 45 NATO ammunition. In 1997 the rifle and LMG were ready for mass production, and in 1998 the first units were observed on an Independence Day parade armed with INSAS rifles. The mass introduction of the INSAS rifle was initially delayed by the lack of the domestically made 5.56 mm ammunition and India accordingly bought significant stocks of ammunition from the Israeli IMI company. At the present time at least 300,000 INSAS rifles are in service with the Indian army; some of these have seen action in Indo-Pakistani conflict. The INSAS rifles are made by the Ishapore Rifle Factory.

The INSAS rifle is broadly based on the famous Kalashnikov AK-47 action, but with many modifications. The basic gas-operated action with long stroke gas piston and a rotating bolt, as well as the stamped steel receiver, are generally the same as in modern Kalashnikov rifles. However, the gas system is fitted with a manual gas regulator, similar in design to that found on FN FAL rifles, as well as a gas cutoff. The charging handle has been moved from the bolt carrier to the left side of the forearm; it is similar in position and design to German HK G3 rifle. The selector / safety switch is located at the left side of the receiver, above the pistol grip, and allows for single shots and three round bursts. The rifle is fitted with a side-folding carrying handle, and either a solid or side-folding metal buttstock. Furniture can be made from wood or polymer. Standard magazines are made from semi-translucent polymer and contain 20 rounds. Longer 30-round magazines of similar design are available for the INSAS LMG but can also be used in the rifle. The sights consist of a hooded front, mounted on top of the gas block, and a diopter rear, mounted on the receiver cover. The flash hider is shaped to accept NATO-standard rifle grenades. INSAS rifles can be fitted with AKM-style multipurpose knife-bayonets.

Caliber: 5.56x45 mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 945 mm with fixed butt; 960 / 750 mm with folding butt
Barrel length: 464 mm
Weight: 3.2 kg empty
Rate of fire: 650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 or 30 rounds

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Carl Gustav Recoiless Rifle

The global reach of the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle emphasizes the popularity of the weapon, appearing in three major variants and in use by standard military and special forces alike for some sixty years. The system has been noted from the start for its accuracy, impressive range and firepower since appearing with the Swedish Army in 1948. The system earned its distinct name from the production facility from whence the initial rifles were produced - Carl Gustafs Stads Gevarsfaktori in Sweden - a facility now owned by Bofors.

The Carl Gustav recoiless rifle design is a popular and widely used multi-purpose weapons platform appearing with various military groups across the globe.

When introduced, the Carl Gustav was similar in most respects to weapons such as the American Bazooka, British PIAT or German Panzerschreck anti-tank weapons. The Carl Gustav was a recoilless rifle design featuring a rifled barrel which instantly differentiated itself from its contemporaries. The rifled barrel allowed for stabilization of the ammunition to occur through the barrel, negating the need for spring-loaded fins to be used once the projectile reached flight (a popular feature in other systems). This operation allowed the Carl Gustav's projectile greater range and firepower and quickly made it a favorite amongst its users.

Since its inception, the Carl Gustav went on to become a pivotal offensive arm of military forces around the globe (even seeing license-production in Japan with Sumitomo).

The M1 appeared in 1948 and was followed by the improved Carl Gustav M2 in 1964. The M3 followed decades later in 1991 and featured a host of improvements, chief among these being a reduction in overall weight in part to the replacement of internal steel components. The Carl Gustav remains in operational service in its varied forms and is a particular favorite with special forces groups including the United States Special Operations COMmand (USSOCOM) units.

The rifle can fire all types of ammunition beyond its primary anti-armor projectiles and include illumination, anti-structure, smoke, practice and anti-personnel (flechette) projectiles.

A crew of two is required for optimal service though the simplicity of the system allows for a single operator/firer at the cost of rate of fire. Optical, laser rangefinder and image intensification sights (along with the standard iron sights) can be mounted and greatly improve the weapon for a variety of specialty roles as needed. Ammunition is reloaded through a hinged breech on the side of the tube. The basic main tube features a pistol grip, a forward grip, shoulder strap and optional bipod along with standard iron sights.

M1 - Production beginning 1946; entered Swedish Army service in 1948.
M2 - Appeared in 1964; "improved" M1 model.
M3 - Appeared in 1991; reduced overall weight; alloy/plastic construction replacing steel components; reinforced outer sleeve.
M3 MAAWS - US Special Forces Designation of Carl Gustav M3 model.
Panzerfaust Carl Gustaf / Leuchtbuchse 84mm - German designation.
Sumitomo FT-84 - Japanese license-production Carl Gustav designation.

Specifications for the Carl Gustav

Action: Hinged Breech; Percussion Firing Mechanism
Cartridge: 84mm / 8.4cm
Feed System: 1
Cyclic Rate-of-Fire: 6rds/min
Overall Length: 1130mm (44.49in)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dutch Bronze 6-pdr Field Gun

Field guns were increasingly used throughout much of the modern world by the time of Napoleon. The Emperor made frequent use of batteries after realizing their effect on the battlefield. Beforehand, the field artillery system was used as more of an auxiliary set piece to supplement advancing cavalry and infantry. Napoleon began fielding large quantities of artillery that would advance before the infantry and cavalry themselves. His tactic was to soften up the enemy that was usually grouped en masse, then lunge forward with his infantry or proceed with a massive cavalry charge to break the troops.

This particular 6-pdr Field Gun was captured from Napoleon at Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington.

Field guns can in various calibers - 4-pounder, 6-pounder and 12-pounder - with the "pounder" designation directly reflecting the weight of the projectile that the system used. The weapon was usually fielded on a portable two-wheel carriage that could be draw by horse. When unhinged, the system was manned by at least six personnel in various capacities from gunner, commander and loader. The system was portable enough that the crew could turn the barrel towards a new target or even advance the weapon by pushing / pulling it to a new position.

A weapon's carriage, often referred to as a caison, would normally sit about 30 yards behind with roughly 200 rounds of ammunition along with fuses and gunpowder. The favorite projectile type during this time would have been the "solid shot".

Artillery particularly failed Napoleon at Waterloo, as the rain-soaked ground became too muddy to effectively weild his artillery to his liking. A soft ground also kept the solid shot (or round shot) from successfully ricocheting into the masses of armed infantrymen advancing on his positions. Roundshot could easily decapitate a man, or relieve him of his legs, as the cannonball could effectively bounce 2 to 3 times before coming at rest. This, in itself, was a demoralizing weapon as well as a devastating one. Crews would have to take great care as to firing the round over the heads of their own advancing infantrymen.

This particular Dutch Bronze 6-pdr Field Gun (pictured above) was constructed by L.E. Marits in the Hague when it was still under French control roughly around 1813. The gun bears the name of 'Le Achille' ('the Achilles') and was part of a captured set by the Duke of Wellington from Napoleon's forces in Waterloo in 1815. The cannon sits on a more contemporary carriage design and is available for public viewing at the Tower of London in London, England.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FX-05 Xiuhcoatl

FX-05 Xiuhcoatl (Fire serpent) assault rifle was developed in Mexico by Directorate of Military Industry (Dirección General Industria Militar Mexicana - DGIM), and was first displayed to the public in 2006. The rifle is already in limited production and is issued to Mexican armed forces on limited basis. It is planned to replace older 7.62x51 HK G3 rifles in Mexican service with 5.56mm FX-05 rifles in the coming years.

While the FX-05 rifle bears more than passing similarity to the German-made HK G36 rifle, suspicions of the patent infringement from HK were turned down, as the FX-05 does not have any of the patented features of the G36, and have enough internal differences to be considered an original design, although its design is obviously heavily influenced by the German rifle. The FX-05 is currently available in three basic versions - rifle, carbine and short carbine, which differ in barrel length.

The FX-05 Xiuhcoatl assault rifle is gas operated, selective fired weapon. Gas piston is located above the barrel, barrel locking is achieved via multi-lugged rotary bolt. Charging handle can be installed on either side of the weapon. Receiver of the rifle is made from impact-resistant polymer, translucent magazines also made from polymer. Safety / fire mode selector switches are located above the pistol grip, on both sides of the gun. Rifle is equipped with integral Picatinny type rail on the top of receiver, and can be fitted either with removable carrying handle / optical sight unit or with detachable iron sights, with protected front post and diopter-type flip-up rear sights. The shoulder stock is also made from polymer; it folds to the right and can be adjusted for the length of pull. When folded, shoulder stock is located below the ejection port on the right side of the receiver, so the gun can be fired with stock folded.

Caliber: 5.56x45 mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 1087 mm (stock extended) or 887 mm (stock folded)
Barrel length: mm
Weight: 3.89 kg empty
Rate of fire: 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds

Friday, November 9, 2012

Curtiss SO3C Seamew

The Curtiss SO3C "Seamew" (Curtiss Model 82) was an oft-forgotten navy reconnaissance/scout/patrol floatplane produced in quantitative numbers during World War 2. She achieved first flight in 1939 and was officially introduced for service in 1942. Primary users of the system were limited to the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy (RN) Fleet Air Arm (FAA). Some 795 SO3C systems were ultimately produced in whole. However, one of her major problems lay in the chosen Ranger series engine that powered her - ultimately dooming the type to aviation history. She was deemed more-or-less obsolete by 1944 and retired completely from service by 1945. Her early forms were fielded with a fixed wheeled undercarriage in place of the floatplanes, part of the early USN requirement in her design.

The Curtiss SO3C Seamew suffered from a variety of setbacks, ultimately forcing the type out of service after just a few short years.

Seamew Origins

1937 saw the United States Navy looking for a replacement aircraft for its Curtiss SOC Seagull series of biplane floatplane aircraft. The USN was in the market for a more modern, monoplane-winged system that could fulfill the same floatplane reconnaissance role but also include better performance specifications and could operate from both land and water bases as needed. The undercarriage was, therefore, required to be interchangeable to suit the task at hand. The requirement was sent forth and proposals from various firms were entertained. Curtiss and Vought were invited to produce prototypes through a May 1938 contract. The Curtiss prototype was bestowed the developmental designation of XSO3C-1 while the Vought product took on the XSO2U-1 designation. XSO3C-1 first took to the air on October 6th, 1939. In the end, the Curtiss product won out and was ordered for production after some slight design revisions were ordered by the USN (including larger tail surfaces and upturned wingtips to aid in stability). The revised Curtiss Model 82A became the USN SO3C-1 for production under the early nickname of "Seagull". The chosen powerplant became the Ranger V-770-6 series engine.

Design of the SO3C was consistent with floatplane aircraft of the time. Most of her appearance was quite conventional-looking and revolved around a cylindrical fuselage mated to a localized network of floats under the aircraft fuselage and wings.

SO3C Walk-Around

With respect to the SO3C, the fuselage sat atop a large centralized float running nearly the length of the aircraft while each wing underside was supported by smaller stabilizing floats fitted to struts. The radial engine was fitted to the front of the fuselage and powered a two-bladed propeller assembly. The pilot sat immediately aft of the engine compartment under a glazed canopy that was usually left open for better visibility. The second crewmember, the designated observer (seated facing forward), took his position in a separate cockpit held to the rear of the aircraft, his position at the base of the vertical tail fin. Wings were mid-mounted and straight along the leading edge and tapered at the trailing edge, clipped at their tips (with a noticeable upturn to each tip end, needed to counter some initial instability problems in the prototype design), and fitted just aft of the pilot's position. The empennage was dominated by a large vertical tail fin curved to provide the SO3C a most identifiable appearance. Horizontal stabilizers were fitted to either side of the vertical tail fin base. Of note was the observer's heavily framed canopy; the assembly actually doubling as part of the forward portion of the tail fin base. This posed a problem to the aerodynamic qualities of the SO3C however, as the observer most often flew with the cockpit open. While this disrupted the airflow towards the rear of the aircraft, it offered the observer much better visibility when tracking surface targets from up high. Construction was of all-metal, with the exception being the fabric-covered control surfaces.

Power was supplied from the much-maligned Ranger XV-770-8 inverted V12 engine of 600 horsepower.

It's the Engine that Makes or Breaks an Aircraft

The engine provided for a listed top speed of 172 miles per hour though cruising was limited to around 123 miles per hour. Range was roughly 1,150 miles (or about eight hours of flight time) and the aircraft's service ceiling was limited to 15,800 feet. The SO3C held an empty weight of 4,284lbs with a maximum take-off weight equal to 5,729lbs.

The Ranger XV-770 was a powerplant developed by the Ranger Aircraft Engine Division of the Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Corporation.

The design appeared in 1931 and stemmed from the Ranger 6-440 series. The 6-440 was an in-line, air-cooled engine and produced by the company to power a series of training aircraft. In US military nomenclature, the 6-440 took on the designation of L-440. One of the first platforms to be fitted with the V-770 was a Vought XSO2U-1 Scout. Later, the engine was mated to the Curtiss SO3C Seamew. With the Seamew, the engine proved lacking and was found to be of generally poor return. Overheating proved a major sticking point particularly at low speed flying. Despite its limitations, the V-770 found a home in a few other military platforms including the Fairchild AT-21 trainer aircraft and the Bell XP-77 experimental fighter. Neither platform was produced in quantitative numbers, however, with the AT-21 reaching just 175 production units and the XP-77 being produced in just two prototypes.


As an observation platform, the SO3C was never meant to be a dedicated fighter. She maintained a single 0.30 caliber fixed, forward-firing M1919 Browning machine gun (operated by the pilot) and a 0.50 caliber Browning M2 heavy machine gun in the rear cockpit (operated by the observer). If called upon in an offensive role, the SO3C could make use of a pair of 100lb general purpose bombs or 325lb depth charges, all held externally underwing or on a central bomb rack (the latter if so equipped). The central bomb rack could field a single 500lb general purpose bomb.

Seamews in American Service

The first SO3C-1 "Seagull" production models were received by the USN in July of 1942 and fielded aboard the USS Cleveland with their V-770-6 series engines. Some 300 were delivered in all but performance of these systems was never truly up to the expected USN performance standards. As such, the type was subsequently generally converted to radio-controlled target drones under the designation SO3C-1K. Consequently, all SO3C-1s were removed as front-line implements by the USN by the time the SO3C-2C production models became available.

The SO3C-2 was based on the Curtiss Model 82B and was perceived as a more "navalized" form complete with arrestor gear and an under fuselage bomb rack. 456 SO3C-2s were ultimately produced though 250 of these were sent to the UK under Lend-Lease under the designation of SO3C-1B (Curtiss Model 82C). However, these were ultimately delivered as SO3C-2C models featuring an uprated powerplant among other subtle improvements.

The SO3C in British Service

The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, a British Royal Navy branch, utilized the SO3C and christened her with the designation of "Seamew" (or Seamew Mk.I). The United States Navy later adopted the "Seamew" name from the British from then on, replacing her original "Seagull" naming convention. When the newer SO3C-2C versions came online with the Royal Navy, these were simply designated as the "Seamew 1". It is of note that none of the British Seamews were ever fielded with operation squadrons, instead they were relegated to general training elements and specific air gunnery/radio training groups.

First Seamews were delivered to the Royal Navy in March of 1943. The first squadron fielding the Seamew became training 755 Squadron at Worthy Down (FN459), Hampshire, UK, in August of 1943. This squadron operated up until 1945. Two other training squadrons existed as the 744 and the 745 Squadrons based out of Nova Scotia, Canada. Beyond that, no Seamews ever saw combat action.

Originally, FAA Seamews were intended as catapult-launched reconnaissance floatplanes to be used on Royal Navy ships. However, the type was never truly fielded in this capacity and ended up serving as nothing more than trainers or second-line aircraft. In all, some 250 Seamew aircraft were received by the British. Later deliveries were cancelled after the availability of the American Vought OS2U "Kingfisher" floatplanes increased by January of 1944. Up to 1,519 of these Kingfisher aircraft were produced and served as the shipboard mainstay on many US Navy vessels during the war. Once the Kingfisher gained more ground, the Seamew quickly disappeared into Royal Navy lore by the beginning of 1945.

The "Queen Seamew"

The "Queen Seamew" was the FAA designation for the SO3C-1K target drone production variant of the SO3C series. Thirty such examples were ordered under Lend-Lease but the order fell to naught, the British cancelling delivery of the systems.

Curtiss Tries Once More

As reception of the SO3C proved lukewarm at best, Curtiss attempted to revive their stillborn aircraft by introducing the SO3C-3 (Curtiss Model 82C). The SO3C-3 boasted a lighter operating weight with a more powerful engine in the form of the SGV-770-8 series. While promising, only 39 examples were completed before the type was dropped from USN and FAA interest. Any existing orders were cancelled outright and the Seamew disappeared into history.

Performance of the Seamew was such that her crews christened the aircraft with the nickname of "Sea Cow".

Specifications for the Curtiss SO3C-2 Seamew

Length: 36.84ft (11.23m)
Width: 37.99ft (11.58m)
Height: 14.99ft (4.57m)

Maximum Speed: 172mph (277kmh; 150kts)
Maximum Range: 1,150miles (1,851km)
Rate-of-Climb: 0ft/min (0m/min)
Service Ceiling: 15,797ft (4,815m; 3.0miles)

Accommodation: 2
Hardpoints: 2
Empty Weight:4,284lbs (1,943kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight:5,730lbs (2,599kg)

Armament Suite:
1 x 0.30 (7.62mm) caliber M1919 Browning machine gun in fixed, forward-firing position.
1 x 0.50 (12.7mm) caliber M2 Browning heavy machine gun in rear cockpit position.
2 x 100lb bombs OR 2 x 325lb depth charges underwing.
1 x 500lb on centerline bomb rack (land-based Seamews).

Engine(s): 1 x Ranger VX-770-8 inverted V12 engine delivering 600 horsepower.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Diemaco C7 (assault rifle), C8 (carbine)

In 1984, Canada adopted a new 5.56 mm assault rifle. To avoid research and design expenses, the Canadians simply purchased the license from USA for a new assault rifle, chambered for the latest 5.56 x 45 NATO ammunition. This was the Colt model 715, also known as the M16A1E1 rifle. Adopted as the C7,this rifle combined features from both earlier M16A1 rifles, such as full automatic fire mode and a two-position flip-up diopter sight, and from the newest M16A2, such as heavy barrel, rifled with faster 1:7 twist, better suited for 5.56mm NATO ammunition. Latter on, Diemaco (now Colt Canada) developed a short-barreled carbine version, fitted with telescoped buttstock, which was designated the C8. While the C7 rifle went to the Canadian armed forces, the C8 is in use with Canadian police forces. According to the recent trends in small arms development, Diemaco also produced so called "flat top" models of both the C7 and C8. These models have a Picatinny-style rail instead of the M16A1-style integral carrying handle with rear sight,and are usually issued with the Elcan optical sights, or with the detachable carrying handle with M16A1-type diopter sights. Designated by the manufacturer as the C7FT and C8FT, in Canadian service these models are issued as C7A1 and C8A1, respectively. Other derivatives are the LSW (Light Support Weapon, basically a heavy barreled C7) and SFW (Special Forces Weapon, a heavy barreled C8). Netherlands adopted the C7 (in both standard and flat top versions) in 1994, and Denmark purchased and adopted the C7FT as the Gevaer M/95 in 1995.

Diemaco C7A1 rifle (top) and upgraded C7A2 rifle (bottom), both fitted with Elcan optical sights

Currently Canadian army is upgrading existing C7 and C7A1 rifles in Canadian service to new C7A2 configuration, which combines the standard C7-type 50cm barrel with C8-type telescoped buttstock, colored furniture, C7A1-type Picatinny rail upper receiver, and additional short Picatinny rails on the sides of front sight block for mounting sighting aids like laser pointers and tactical lights. C7A2 also is fitted with improved sight, Elcan C79A2. Other changes include ambidextrous magazine release and safety/fire selector switch, and other minor improvements.

Diemaco C8A1 carbine

Internally, the C7 differs very little from the original M16A1 rifle, with the most visible differences being the heavy M16A2-style barrel and A2-style handguards. Flat top models (C7FT / C7A1) are quite similar in appearance to the M16A3 rifles, and issued with Elcan optical sight along with backup iron sights. The C8/C8FT carbines are quite similar to the US M4/M4A1 carbines.

  Diemaco C7 Diemaco C8
Calibre 5.56 x 45 NATO 5.56 x 45 NATO
Length 1020 mm 840 / 760 mm
Barrel length 510 mm 370 mm
Weight 3.3 kg empty w/o magazine
3.9 kgloaded with 30 rounds
2.7 kg empty w/o magazine
3.2 kgloaded with 30 rounds
Magazine capacity 30 rounds 30 rounds
Rate of fire 800 rounds per minute 900 rounds per minute

Monday, October 29, 2012

CQ assault rifle

Chinese CQ rifle, as offered for export through NORINCO corporation, is a straightforward copy of the American M16A1 assault rifle. CQ first appeared during early 1980s, produced by Chinese state arms factories for export only. This rifle was made in both military (selective-fire) and civilian (semi-automatic only) versions. Recently, Chinese factories also copied US M4A1 carbine under the same CQ designation. This rifle is not used by PLA (Chinese army) or PAP (Chinese police), but apparently it has found some buyers in Asia; Iran makes a copy of CQ rifle as S-5.56.

CQ-M4 carbine

CQ rifle operates exactly the same way as M16A1 rifle; it uses same two-part aluminum receiver, same direct gas action and same rotating bolt design. Magazines also are compatible. The only visible differences between CQ and M16A1 are different shape of pistol grip, handguard and buttstock.

Typical receiver markings of CQ rifle

Caliber: 5.56x45 mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 986 mm
Barrel length: 508 mm
Weight: 2.9 kg empty
Rate of fire: 900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds

Original CQ rifle

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aircraft Carrier: Giuseppe Garibaldi

The Giuseppe Garibaldi is a conventionally-powered aircraft carrier in active service with the Italian Navy. She is designed to field the Harrier II series of VTOL aircraft and serves as the flagship of the Italian naval branch of service. The vessel is named after General Giuseppe Garibaldi, a soldier serving through the 1800's in conflicts ranging from Europe to South America.

The Giuseppe Garibaldi is no slack when serving as the flagship of the Italian Navy, able to defend herself while fielding the proven AV-8B Harrier II systems.

Design-wise, the Giuseppe Garibaldi maintains many common features with traditional carriers. Her elongated island superstructure takes up a good portion of her starboard side while the straight flight deck dominates the stern to bow and across port. The flight deck has a slightly noticeable elevated end for improved short-take offs of her Harrier jets. Her superstructure features two distinct masts. Being a conventionally-powered system, the Garibaldi derives hers from quadruple General Electric/Avio LM2500 gas turbine engines producing 82,000 horsepower. This is supplemented by no fewer than 6 diesel-powered generators. Top optimal speed is 30 knots with a range of over 8,000 miles. Her crew consists of 630 sailors, 100 staff and 100 members comprising her air group.

The offensive punch of the Garibaldi comes from her modest collection of the aforementioned AV-8B Harrier II series of aircraft, capable of vertical and horizontal flight. Classified as fighter-bombers, the Harrier II series is a capable performer featuring a variety of hardpoints to field a plethora of munition types. Additionally, support roles such as anti-ship, anti-submarine and airborne early warning (AEW) are handled by helicopter models under the European Agusta brand. Self-defense comes from her 2 x quadruple surface-to-air missile launchers, 3 x 40mm cannons and 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes.

As with any carrier worth her weight on the seas, the Garibaldi is made potent not just by the size of her air arm but also by the sensors and systems that help her air arm function optimally. These processing systems include early warning radars, surface search radars, navigation and approach radars fire control systems and hull-mounted sonar. Her electronic countermeasures suite revolves around the SLQ-732 jamming system and this is further augmented by her SCLAR decoy launcher, SLAT anti-torpedo system and SLQ-25 "Nixie" tow torpedo decoy.

The Giuseppe Garibaldi was laid down in 1981 by Fincantieri and launched in 1983. She was officially commissioned in 1985 and makes her home port in Taranto. She fights under the banner of "Obbedisco" which roughly translates to "Obey".

Specifications for the Giuseppe Garibaldi (551)
Length: 591.2ft (180.20m)
Beam: 109.58ft (33.40m)
Draught: 24.6ft (7.50m)
Surface Speed: 30kts (35mph)
Range: 8,055miles (12,963km)
Complement: 830
Surface Displacement: 13,850tons
Engine(s): 4 x General Electric/Avio LM2500 gas turbine engines developing 82,000hp along with 6 x diesel generators.
Air Arm: Aircraft of various types including the AV-8B Harrier II fighter-bombers and Agusta SH-3D / Agusta-Westland EH101 helicopters in a variety of specialty roles (anti-ship, anti-submarine, airborne early warning).
Armament Suite: 2 x Mk 29 Sea Sparrow / Selenia octuple surface-to-air missile launchers; 3 x 40mm Oto Melara Twin 40L70 DARDO cannons; 2 x 324mm torpedo tubes (triple mounts); 4 x Otomat/Teseo Mk 2 SSM surface-to-surface anti-ship missile launchers

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Arado Ar 196

The Arado Ar 196 was the principle floatplane of the German Luftwaffe throughout World War 2. The aircraft was showcased in quantity on nearly every front that Germany was threatened - or was threatening - and fared well against Allied shipping convoys and even claimed numerous Allied aircraft along the way. With nearly 600 total production examples, this superb floatplane was in use with Germany and her allies - Bulgaria and Romania. The Arado Ar 196 was a key component to Axis maritime reconnaissance and made all the more versatile by engaging enemy targets from shipboard or coastal starting points.

The Arado Ar 196 reconnaissance floatplane could be found on nearly every front during the war.

The Ar 196 was designed to replace the Heinkel He 60 floatplane aboard the various warships Germany had available or was in the process of constructing. The aircraft itself was to succeed the other Arado product, the now-obsolescent Ar 95. With a German request for a new shipboard catapult-launched reconnaissance floatplane (with a secondary role as a coastal patrol platform), Arado submitted their design consisting of a two-seat monoplane with all-metal skin. Focke-Wulf responded as well and submitted a biplane design. After an evaluation period, the Arado design was selected with development beginning in 1937.

The development, which produced four prototypes, tested two arrangements of floats. One prototype was fitted with a centerline float and two outboard floats whilst the remaining three utilized the more traditional twin pontoon floats each situated under their respective wing. The selected aircraft design was then made ready for production and designated as the Ar 196A. Production would be handled throughout Germany and in the Axis-held territories of France and Denmark.

The Ar 196 was constructed as two production series separated by classification role. On one side was the "shipboard" Ar 196 series which was designed for catapulting from German warships. This series was comprised of the A-1 and A-4 models. On the other side was the "coastal" Ar 196 variant, naturally designed for the defense of coastal areas with operations involving taking off and returning to their respective port areas. This production series comprised of the A-2 and A-3 models. An A-5 model was later offered that featured improved radio equipment and twin 7.92mm machine guns for the radio operator in the rear cockpit. Basic armament consisted of varying quantities of 20mm cannons and 7.92mm machine guns. More importantly, the Ar 196 could field two 110lb bombs for when in the strike role.

The aircraft was eventually deployed on a number of notable German warships that included the Deutschland, the Admiral Scheer, the Admiral Hipper and the Leipzig.

Specifications for the Arado Ar 196A-3

Accommodation: 2
Hardpoints: 2
Empty Weight:5,148lbs (2,335kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight:7,282lbs (3,303kg)
Engine: 1 x BMW 132K radial piston engine generating 970hp.
Length: 36.09ft (11m)
Width: 40.68ft (12.40m)
Height: 14.60ft (4.45m)
Maximum Speed: 193mph (310kmh; 167kts)
Maximum Range: 665miles (1,070km)
Rate-of-Climb: 1,125ft/min (343m/min)
Service Ceiling: 23,031ft (7,020m; 4.4miles)
2 x 20mm cannons (forward-fixed)
1 x 7.92mm machine gun (forward-fixed)
2 x 7.92mm machine guns in trainable rear cockpit position
2 x 110lb bombs

Friday, October 12, 2012

AN/TPQ-36 Radar System

The AN/TPQ-36 Fire finder radar system is used to locate the origin of enemy fire - be it artillery or mortar. The system is a relatively light-weight battlefield component that can detect enemy launches from within a pre-selected 90-degree azimuth sector at any angle, in essence offering up 360-degrees of coverage (through manual positioning). The system can center in on staggered voluminous fire as well as artillery fired simultaneously.

The AN/TPQ-36 system is typically mounted on HUMVEE vehicles.

The radar system tracks a 90-degree sector for incoming aerial threats. Once a recently launched target has been reported/acquired, the onboard computer can then pinpoint the relative point of origin of the launched munition based on its initial trajectory. From there, artillery commanders can direct counter-fire towards the suspected enemy position. The system is capable of tracking enemy (and friendly) mortar, artillery or rocket fire as needed. The effective tracking distance is just under 15 miles. The complicated designation breaks down as such: "AN" meaning Army/Navy(Marines); "T" representing the systems transportability; "P" representing its radar nature; "Q" for Special-Purpose/Multi-Purpose; "36" for the units required numerical designation.

The system consists of the operational control group designated as OK-398/TPQ-36 and the antenna transceiver group designated as OY-71/TPQ-36. The AN-TPQ-36 system can be air-lifted via helicopter crane.

Specifications for the AN/TPQ-36 Firefinding Radar
Effective Range: 78,672ft (23,979m; 26,224yds)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aircraft carrier Dixmude

The French escort carrier Dixmude A-609 was built in the United States in 1939 first named as the Rio Parana - a river in South America - as a C3 type passenger cargo ship by the Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Chester, Pennsylvania. She was incomplete and delivered to the US Navy for conversion to an aircraft escort vessel by the Atlantic Basin and Iron Works, Brooklyn, N.Y. By early 1942 she was completed and classified as BAVG 3 for transfer reasons and made ready for her next phase to be turned over to the United Kingdom under the Lend Lease Act. The Royal Navy’s representative took delivery at the New York Navy yard and BAVG3 was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Biter - D 97, in May 1942. Biter carried out important convoy escort duties through the end of 1944 in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic but with the addition of newer escort carriers in HMS Navy caused her to be placed in reserve in January 1945.

The American-built served with British forces through World War 2 via Lend-Lease then with French forces before being returned to the US in 1966.

In April 1945, HMS Biter was retransferred to the French Navy and again renamed as Dixmude A-609, after the French name of the Flemish city of Diksmuide. After the conclusion of WWII she was off to fight another conflict to retake the French colony in Indochina, or Viet Nam. She departed Toulon in January 1947 with an air group composed of World War II vintage Douglas SBD 5 "Dauntless" dive bombers, as well as 20 plus French Air Force planes. Reaching Saigon in March, her planes supported two landing operations.

Dixmude was the first French aircraft carrier to carry out combat sorties. The old Dauntless assigned to the French Flotilla 4F made its first bombing attacks in April, when the SBD's bombed the Viet Minh stronghold at Tuyen Quang. Later that spring she returned to France required repairs before heading back to Indochina. This was a dual mission first as an aircraft ferry with her deck cargo being 12 Junkers Ju.52 tri-motored transports and 12 "Spitfire" fighters. Her assigned air groups consisting of the aging Dauntless of Flotilla 4F were below deck for the cruse. She reached Saigon in October 1947 and unloaded the deck cargo then returning to sea to fly her planes off to land bases at Hanoi and Haiphong for Operations inland. These actions, conducted over 200 sorties, dropping over 65 tons of bombs.

Her last combat mission took her to the coast of Cochin China where she operated untill the spring of 1948. While she was deployed her planes bombed rebel positions on the Camau Peninsula. Reclassified as a transport she spent the rest of her active career under the French flag as a ferry for aircraft, in the summer of 1948, she took two fighter groups equipped with the American Bell P 63A King cobra to Indochina. On her second run, in the summer and fall of 1950, she carried Grumman F6F 5 "Hellcat" fighters and Curtiss SB2C 5 "Helldiver" dive bombers. Dixmude was returned to the United States in January 1951 and again was renamed as the US designation, BAVG 3. However as a grant she was re-retransferred back to France on the same day in January 1951. Dixmude continued operations in the French Navy into the 1950's. She continued to perform as a ferry delivering 35 Dassault M.D. and 450 Ouragan jet fighters to the Indian Air Force in Bombay, India in 1953. She carried 32 more to India in 1954. The French government returned the ship to the United States at Toulon, France, in June 1966 for the last time. She made her last voyage as BAVG 3 to serve as a target for the 6th Fleet and was sunk, a brave ship having many classifications and names for three nations.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Heinkel He 51

The He 51 was a product of the German Heinkel firm and a design of the Gunter twins, Walter and Siegfried. The Gunters became part of the Heinkel firm in 1931 and made the He 49 their first product with the company. The He 49 was a biplane aircraft developed as a fighter, sporting a pair of machine guns, and developed into three major prototype forms. It was these prototype designs that eventually developed into the He 51a prototype and, ultimately, the He 51 production models.

The Heinkel He 51 series was part of Germany's rebuilding program, providing priceless combat experience for Luftwaffe pilots in the Spanish Civil War.

The He 51a differed from the previous He 49 forms in that it was given a new tail fin, wings, undercarriage and radiator. The He 51 itself would become a successful German fighter in World War 2, becoming a serviceable floatplane derivative and light ground attack platform as well. Despite the limitations imposed on German war machine development following the close of World War 1, the He 51 was none-the-less pursued under the guise of it being an advanced trainer. In many ways, the He 51 was part of the "new-look" German military soon to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

The He 51 was given uneven-span biplane wings (also known as "sesquiplane") with the upper span longer (and situated forward) than the lower span. Each wing had a single bay with parallel struts angled forward (in profile) and outward with applicable bracing cables.

 The engine was positioned at the extreme forward of the contoured fuselage and consisted of a liquid-cooled inline engine powering a two-bladed propeller. The pilot sat directly behind and under the upper wing element in an open-air cockpit protected by a forward windscreen. The empennage was conventional with a rounded vertical tail fin and mid-mounted elevators. The undercarriage was fixed and featured two main landing gears faired over and a tail wheel at rear, also faired over. The seaplane version of the He 51 was very similar in design with the most notable exception being the large pontoon floats affixed in place of the landing gears. Armament consisted of 2 x MG 17 machine guns mounted over the engine, synchronized to fire through the revolving propeller blades, with 500 rounds reserved to a gun. For the light strike roles inherent in the C-models, up to six 22lb bombs could be carried.

The Heinkel He 51 was produced in a handful of variants but represented in only three major production models.

The four prototypes represented the aircraft initially beginning with the He 49a featuring a short fuselage, the He 49b with a lengthened fuselage, the He 49c with a revised glycol-cooled engine and the He 51a with its revised vertical tail fin and wings, a new undercarriage and new radiator. The He 51a prototype led to the first nine pre-preproduction aircraft under the He 51A-0 designation. This was followed by the first production-rate examples in the 150 He 51A-1's.

The He 51B-0 appeared as another dozen pre-production examples that saw reinforcement of their structure. The production version became the He 51B-1 of which only another 12 were produced.

The He 51B-2 was a floatplane variant to which 46 were produced in total. The He 51B-3 was a dedicated high-altitude version.

The He 51B-1 was powered by a single BMW VI series 7,3Z liquid-cooled V12 engine with an output of 750 horsepower. This allowed for a maximum speed of up to 205 miles per hour with a cruise speed of 174 miles per hour. Range was limited to 354 miles with a respectable service ceiling of 25,256 feet.

The He 51C-1 was the first dedicated light ground attack model. At least 79 of these were delivered to Spain to fight with the Legion Kondor (Germany's "Condor Legion") in Spain's civil war in favor of the Nationalist forces. The He 51C-2 was nothing more than an improved version of the He 51C-1. These fitted improved radio equipment. Twenty-one examples of this type were produced.

In all, some 700 examples represented the He 51 series in slightly varied forms. Operators included the German Luftwaffe, the Spanish State and Bulgaria. Bulgaria received twelve He 51's from Germany.

He 51's were first used in anger in the Spanish Civil War. In many ways, Germany used this battleground to field test a variety of items including aircraft, vehicles and tactics. Six He 51 systems were delivered to the battlefront on August 6, 1936, and quickly proved better systems then their biplane contemporaries. Spanish and German airmen both flew the aircraft in the conflict, the Germans under the Condor Legion banner.

As the war progressed and aircraft technology advanced, the He 51 was just as quickly taken out of the dogfighting fold. Instead, the system was utilized as a ground attack platform with good success, despite losses to more modern monoplane types. Many Spainish He 51's survived the conflict, and the ensuing World War, to be of use through the end of the 1940s. Its limited successes in the Spanish Civil War showcased the limitations of fighters relying on biplane wing arrangements over those with monoplane arrangements. The He 51 was nimble enough thanks to its slower speeds and available wing area but speed was once again at the forefront of dogfighting. Newer systems could simply outrun aircraft like the He 51. This naturally forced the He 51 our of favor against more modern implements though the aircraft did soldier on for the German Luftwaffe as a trainer in the early years of the war. As a front-line fighter, however, the type was dropped from service in 1938.

Specifications for the Heinkel He 51A

Length: 27.56ft (8.4m)
Width: 36.09ft (11.00m)
Height: 10.50ft (3.20m)
Maximum Speed: 205mph (330kmh; 178kts)
Maximum Range: 354miles (570km)
Rate-of-Climb: 350ft/min (107m/min)
Service Ceiling: 25,262ft (7,700m; 4.8miles)
Empty Weight:3,219lbs (1,460kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight:9,211lbs (4,178kg)
Engine(s): 1 x BMW VI 12-cylinder liquid-cooled engine developing 750 horsepower.

Armament Suite:
2 x 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns in nose
Up to 6 x 22lb bombs
Accommodation: 1
Hardpoints: 6

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

USS Abraham Lincoln

The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) became the fifth Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in operation with the United States Navy on November 11th, 1989. Throughout her time abroad, she has primarily operated in the Persian Gulf and the Pacific regions of the world conducting both military and humanitarian services as needed. She joins the powerful arm of the United States Navy’s existing Nimitz-class nuclear-powered carriers that include others named for past US Presidents such as the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS George Washington (among others).

The USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72 is the second US Navy vessel to be named after the former president.

The USS Abraham Lincoln is a conventionally-designed aircraft carrier with an island on the starboard side and an angled flight deck to port. Four hangar elevators service her flight deck with three located on the starboard and one to port. The starboard three are divided with one sitting abaft of the island and the remaining two forward. Four steam catapults allow for quick response off the flight deck. Like other Nimitz-class carriers, the USS Abraham Lincoln can field up to 90 aircraft of various makes, models and types including helicopters. As such, the vessel's offensive punch plays an important part to US Navy Pacific operations in the region and should remain so for some time to come.

Lincoln is defended by twin Mk 57 Mod3 series Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile launchers and two RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile short-range surface-to-air missile launchers. Additionally, the crew can call upon three 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems for anti-missile/anti-aircraft defense. Power is derived from two Westinghouse brand A4W class nuclear reactors, powering four steam turbines which, in turn, propelled four shafts to 260,000 shaft horsepower. Due to the nature of nuclear reactors, the range of the Abraham Lincoln (and the entire Nimitz-class for that matter) is essentially unlimited.

Sensors, radars and systems abound on this floating city. The ship features some three air traffic control radars, powerful air search radars, landing aid radars and guidance systems. Countermeasures revolve around the SLQ-32A(V)4 suite and the SLQ-25A “Nixie” torpedo countermeasures systems. Crew complement is an impressive 3,200 sailors along with 2,480 airmen.

The Lincoln was called to immediate service almost as soon as she was deployed at the time of Operation Desert Shield (eventually to become Operation Desert Storm). She served in a humanitarian role in evacuation operations after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo on her way to the Gulf region (before supporting Desert Shield/Desert Storm). The volatile 1990's also saw tensions erupt to all-out conflict in Somalia, prompting the US to send the Lincoln to the Horn of Africa. Beyond that, the vessel supported elevated status operations in Southern Watch – enforcing the No-Fly zone over the southern portion of Iraq. In all, the Lincoln made a total of five deployments, to this point - all to the Persian Gulf. The new millennium would see the USS Abraham Lincoln called into action in the War on Terror with operations encompassing Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, her air arm being among the first to strike in the latter. More humanitarian assistance roles were asked of the Lincoln in the years following and she currently remains in operations in the Persian Gulf.

The Lincoln was first ordered in 1982 and laid down in 1984. She was launched in 1988 and commissioned a year later. She makes her home port at Everett in Washington state and fights under the unofficial banner of "Shall not perish, get over it!". The USS Abraham Lincoln is affectionately known simply as "Abe" and is in active service as of this writing. The Lincoln is also the proud recipient of the following honors: Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon, National Defense Services Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Kuwait Liberation.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

M3 105mm howitzer

Designed for air transport during WWII, the M3 105mm towed light howitzer was used by the 320th Glider Field Artillery Battalion. It was originally designed in 1941 and started production in 1943.

The M3 was another World War Two era mobile artillery piece.

Barrel length measures in at 16 caliber (1.68 meters) and the breech operates out of a horizontal sliding system with recoild handled hydropneumatically. The tow carriage system is an M3A1 split-trail type and can be towed by a variety of vehicles. Elevation for the gun system is at +30 degrees and the unit can traverse plus/minus 22 degrees. Muzzle velocity is reported at 310 meters per second. The M3 105mm towed howitzer can fire a variety of munitions with the standard being the HE (High Explosive) type.

Specifications for the M3

Overall Length: 12.93ft (3.94m)
Width: 5.58ft (1.70m)
Crew: 5
Weight: 1.2 US Short Tons (1,130kg; 2,491lbs)
Armament: 1 x 105mm main gun

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vought OS2U Kingfisher

The OS2U Kingfisher was a product of the Vought aircraft firm, appearing initially as the VS.310 design to which the United States Navy accepted as a prototype in the XOS2U-1. The prototype would be airborne for trials by 1938 and fitted with the Pratt & Whitney R-985-4 Wasp Junior radial piston engine of 450 horsepower. After passing trials with the US Navy, the system was given the green light for full production and operational status as the OS2U "Kingfisher" series, serving as catapult launched floatplanes capable of adapting to landing on airstrips as well with some modification to the landing system.

Though an American product, the Vought OS2U Kingfisher series served in quantity with the ranks of the British Fleet Air Arm.

The Kingfisher series was powered by a single engine mounted at the fuselage front. The crew of two sat in separate cockpit areas with the pilot in front, just behind the engine and the rear gunner/observer in a mid-mounted cockpit position. The aircraft was made highly identifiable by the large centerline float pontoon running nearly the length of the fuselage and extended forward of the propeller. Two additional yet smaller stabilizing floats were mounted under each wing of the low-monoplane design. Additionally, the system could be adapted to land on shore bases thanks to the interchangeable landing gear / float system.

Armament consisted of light self-defensive measures and was made up of a single forward firing fixed 7.62mm machine gun and a rear-mounted 7.62mm machine gun. The system was capable of carrying up to 650 pounds of external stores and was known to undertake a few dive bombing sorties in its time aloft. In all, the Kingfisher system served the Fleet Air Arm (as the Kingfisher Mk I series), US Navy and the Inshore Patrol Squadrons quite faithfully during its wartime tenure. A fourth variant of the Kingfisher in the form of the OS2U-4 was proposed but never evolved.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The Mod. L rifle had been developed by Spanish CETME company (now Santa Barbara SA) as a further derivative of the previous Mod. 58 ad Mod. B rifles. These rifles, in turn, have their roots in WW2 German assault rifle Stg.45, developed by Mauser. After the WW2, some Mauser men moved to the Spain and started to work for CETME, where they developed the Mod. B battle rifle, chambered for 7.62mm NATO cartridge. This rifle later was licensed by Heckler&Koch and became the famous G3, but CETME also continued the development. In the mid-1960s men at CETME began to work at smaller-caliber version of the basic rifle, initially called Mod. E. Development was completed in 1980, when first prototype of the Mod. L, chambered for 5.56mm cartridge appeared. Production of the Assault Rifle Mod. Land carbine Mod. LC began in 1984, and it was adopted by Spanish army. In 1999 this rifle was declared obsolete by adoption of the H&K G36E assault rifle.

Like the previus models, CETME Mod. L is a delayed blowback operated, selective fire assault rifle. It has two-piece bolt with two rollers, which are used to accelerate bolt body and to slow bolt head and to hold the cartridge case in chamber until the pressure will drop. The chamber walls are fluted to help the extraction. Overall design is somewhat similar to H&K 33 rifles, but Mod. L is easily distinguishable by larger trigger guard and different (from HK designs) plastic pistol grip and hand guards. Sights on Mod. L also are different from HK pattern and rear sight is a simple flip-up "L" shaped leaf with two apertures for 200 and 400 meters. Magazine port also is different from HK pattern and is designed to accept M16-type magazines. Carbine Mod. LC differs from the Mod. L by having shorter barrel and telescoping metallic buttstock.

Caliber: 5.56x45 mm NATO (.223 rem)
Action: Delayed blowback
Overall length: 925 mm (860/665 mm mod. LC)
Barrel length: 400 mm (320 mm mod. LC)
Weigth: 3.4 kg empty (3.22 kg Mod. LC)
Rate of fire: 600 - 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 12 or 30 rounds

Friday, September 7, 2012

Cristobal assault rifle / carbine

The Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine is an interesting weapon which is somehow not easy to classify properly. Technically, it is close to typical submachine guns, as it fires from open bolt, but it's cartridge is way too powerful to be considered as a "pistol" round, as the .30 US Carbine develops about 1300 Joules of muzzle energy and thus is about 2-3 times more powerful than a typical military pistol round like 7.62x25 TT, 9mm Luger or .45 ACP, and has maximum effective range of 300-400 meters.

Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine

The Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine was developed by famous Hungarian small arms designer Pal Kiraly, who after the WW2 left Hungary and settled in the Dominical republic. The Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine is broadly based on two submachine gun designs - internally it resembles the Hungarian 39M submachine gun (designed by Kiraly), and externally it somehow resembles Italian Beretta M1938, which at the time of M2 development was manufactured under license in Dominica. Production of the Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine began in mid-1950s, and it was produced in significant numbers. In 1962, a modified version, known as Cristobal M1962, was designed and entered production. The Cristobal Model 1962 assault rifle / carbine was slightly shorter but heavier than its predecessor. It was also manufactured with fixed wood stock or with side-folding wire stock.

Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine

The Cristobal Model 2 assault rifle / carbine is a delayed blowback weapon that fires from open bolt. In this system, bolt consists of two parts, with pivoting lever attached to the forward part (bolt head). When in battery, the bottom hand of the lever is resting against the receiver, and the upper rests against the rear part of the bolt (bolt body). Upon discharge, movement of the bolt head forces the lever to rotate back, thus speeding up the bolt body and slowing down the initial opening of the bolt head. Once the lever is fully pivoted, both parts of the bolt can recoil together freely against the return spring, to complete the firing and reloading cycle. Firing is from open bolt, in full automatic mode or single shots. To select mode of fire, weapon is provided with two triggers - front trigger delivers single shots and the rear trigger delivers full automatic fire. The manual safety lever is located on the left side of the receiver, below the rear sight. Feed is from detachable box magazines with 30-round capacity. Standard stock is made from wood. On Model 2 rifles, the rear sight is adjustable for range from 100 to 500 meters, the Model 1962 has a simplified L-shaped flip-up rear sight.

Cristobal Model 1962 assault rifle / carbine

  Cristobal Model 2 Cristobal Model 1962
Caliber .30 M1 US Carbine (7.62x33 M1)
Action Delayed blowback
Overall length 945 mm 866 mm
Barrel length 405 mm 310 mm
Weight, empty 3.53 kg 3.96 kg
Rate of fire 580 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds



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