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.



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