Friday, July 27, 2012

Type 03

Type 03 (QBZ-03) assault rifle is most recent development of Chinese state arms factories. For various but unpublished reasons the bullpup Type95 / QBZ-95 assault rifle was apparently found not entirely satisfactory in PLA service. Therefore it was decided to develop a new 5.8mm assault rifle of conventional layout, which will provide necessary competition and backup to its older bullpup brother. In some respects this new weapon, known as QBZ-03 (Type03 / 2003), is reminiscent to the experimental Type 87 rifle, which was developed in mid-1980s for testing of the new 5.8x42mm DAP-87 cartridge. It is not yet known if Type 03 rifle will enter widespread service with PLA troops to replace or complement Type 95 rifle.

Type 03 (QBZ-03) assault rifle, with bayonet attached

Type 03 (QBZ-03) assault rifle is gas operated, selective fired weapon, which fires 5.8mm cartridge of indigenous design. Basic action of the Type 03 rifle is based on the older 7.62x39 Type 81 assault rifle, with similar rotating bolt locking and short-stroke gas piston. The gas block, which is integral to the front sight base, contains a 2-position gas regulator. Muzzle of the barrel contains a combination flash-hider which also serves as a grenade launcher for rifle grenades. Receiver is made from stamped steel, and unlike earlier designs consists of two parts, upper and lower, which are connected by two push-pins. Upper receiver hosts the barrel and entire bolt group; lower receiver hosts the magazine port, trigger unit, pistol grip and folding shoulder stock. Small safety / fire selector switch is located on the left side of the lower receiver, above the pistol grip. Skeletonized shoulder stock is made from polymer and folds forward and to the right to save the length. Standard sights are of open type, with hooded front post and flip-up type diopter rear. Additionally, every Type 03 rifle has a proprietary scope rail on the top of the receiver,which will accept a variety of day and night scopes.

vType 03 (QBZ-03) assault rifle, partially disassembled

Caliber: 5.8x42 mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 950 mm (725mm with butt folded)
Barrel length: n/a
Weight: 3.5 kg
Rate of fire: ~650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds

Type 87 experimental assault rifle, a predecessor to Type 03

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Naval battle of Tsushima

Please double click on the images to enlarge it.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The USNS Henson was sent to map coastline and undersea obstacles off of Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January of 2010

The USNS Henson is an oceanographic survey ship owned by the United States Navy and is used to collect data for the purpose of geophysical, biological, physical and acoustical surveys. Because of its expansive reach, the American military needs information on all ocean environments around the world in order to support military, navigation and humanitarian missions as needed. The Henson and her sister ships in the Pathfinder-class do not have home ports due to the Military Sealift Commands mobile structure. Essentially her "Home" is where the mission is.

The Henson's purpose is to hold and transport the abundance of sophisticated scientific equipment for the twenty-seven scientists onboard who work to collect data related on their own field of study.

The data collected ranges from the surface of the water, through the depths and straight into the sea floor. The ship can study the atmosphere while any coastline can be mapped. Henson gathers, archives, and transmits data collected to MSC onshore by radio or satellite communications equipment. The data collected helps the Navy to develop current and future undersea warfare plans along with surveying sea beds as well as locating lost aircraft and ships - either past or present.

The ships construction is designed to support the bevy of instruments connected below the water line.

The hull has a multi-beam shape to support the equipment and offers good sea keeping. The military's knowledge of the ocean environment has been dramatically increased due to oceanographic survey ships like the Henson.

Henson was named for Matthew Henson, a member of the Robert Peary 1909 expedition to the North Pole. USNS Henson herself is operated by Horizon Lines, providing the crew for the ship, though mission orders come from Military Sealift Command. When any of the Pathfinder-class are sent into waters where hostile action might transpire, the US Navy proactively sends along a protection force as escort.

A listing of some of the scientific equipment onboard are as follows:

  • Multi-beam Echo Sounding System ( SIMRAD EM121A) is a 121 beam bathymetric sonar system used to chart waters from 10 to 11,000 meters in real time.
  • Seismic System is used as a deep penetration instrument, this being a towed array mapping geological topography.
  • Shallow Water Echo Sounder System (ODEC BATHY-2000) provides a single beam for depths to 12,000 meters.
  • Sub Bottom Profiler (ODEC BATHY-2000) is capable of determining seabed structure down to 10,000 meters.
  • Acoustic Doppler (RD VM-0150) profiles ocean current speeds, depth and directions up to 380 meters.
  • Expandable Sensor Subsystem surveys other sonars for support corrections.
  • Sound Velocity Profiles (XSV) helps to survey sonar systems for speed through water columns.
  • Magnetometer (E#GG811/613) uses magnets to map the earth's magnetic field to 7,000 meters.
  • Water Sampler Subsystem operates water collectors to depths of 7,000 meters.
  • Bottom Transponder Navigation System is a 50 kHz real time navigation system designed to help position the ship.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Type 63

Following significant ideological disagreements between PRC and USSR during 1960s, China decided to develop its own small arms, based on the earlier licensed designs. The first domestically designed and mass produced assault rifle was the Type 63 (sometimes also erroneously referred to as Type 68 rifle). As its name implies, was initially adopted by PLA in 1963. It is interesting development because it represents a mix of features taken from other designs, mostly from the Type 56 assault rifle (Kalashnikov AK) and the Type 56 carbine (Simonov SKS). It is believed that Chinese factories produced well over 1 million of Type 63 rifles before a more advanced design, the Type81 assault rifle, was adopted to replace it.

Type 63 assault rifle with 20-rounds magazine

The Type 63 / 68 rifle is a gas operated, selective fire weapon. It shares the stock design and receiver outline with the SKS, but instead of a tilting bolt it has an AK-47-type rotating bolt with dual locking lugs. The gas system is somewhat original being not entirely the same as the SKS or the AK-47, and has a dual-position gas regulator. This rifle is fed from detachable box magazines of various capacities, which are externally similar to, but not compatible with, AK-47 magazines. The Type 63 rifles feature a bolt hold open device, also borrowed from the Simonov SKS, which holds the bolt open after the last shot had be enfired. The bolt carrier also has the charging clip guides machined into its forward part, so the rifle can be reloaded with the magazine in place, using 10-round SKS stripper clips. Selective fire capability is controlled by the single safety / fire mode selector lever, located at the front of the trigger guard. All rifles are fitted with a wooden stock and a non-detachable, spike-shaped, down-folding bayonet.

Caliber: 7.62x39 mm
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall-length: 1029 mm
Barrel length: 521 mm
Weight: 3.49 kg
rate of fire: 750 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 20 rounds detachable box magazines



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