Marine helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden | WAVY-TV

A Marine Corps helicopter carrying 25 people crashed Monday in the Gulf of Aden, and all aboard were rescued, the Navy said.

The 17 Marines and eight Navy sailors were recovered and were on board the USS Mesa Verde, and some who sustained minor injuries were treated on the ship.

The CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter crashed as it attempted to land on the ship, which has a big landing deck on the back. The Navy said the crash was not the result of hostile activity, but the aircraft was transferring troops back to the ship from training in nearby Djibouti.

via Marine helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden | WAVY-TV.

That all 25 survived is a testament to the training everyone who will ride aboard a seagoing helicopter must undergo.

Not to mention a bit of good luck.

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Prowler In Action

With the last Navy EA-6B Prowler deployment underway, it seems a fitting time to share this propaganda video about the Prowler. The hairstyles and the paint job tells me its from the late 70s. Indeed, I remember “Prowler University” of VAQ-129 in the old WWII temporary building.

Actually, further research reminds me Charlie Hunter was COMMATVAQWINGPAC from 80-82. Charlie Hunter was a renowned A-6 Intruder pilot, and a recipient of the Navy Cross, the second highest award for valor our nation can bestow.

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Counterbattery!

We’re used to seeing clips and stories of artillery pummeling enemy fortifications or troops. Goodness knows we’ve shown more than a few ourselves.

But one of the major roles of artillery is attacking an enemy’s artillery. This counter artillery role is known as counterbattery (even when engaging formations larger than a battery).

In the days of the American Civil War, counterbattery was directed visually. But in the era of breechloaded guns with smokeless powder and explosive shells firing from over the horizon, locating enemy batteries was infinitely more difficult.

Forward observers could spot some mortar and light artillery batteries. And there were acoustical detection devices. In fact, from about 1916 well into the 1950s, sound location, or MASINT (Measure And Signature INTelligence)  was the primary means of locating enemy firing batteries. By measuring the difference in the Time of Arrival (TOA) of a gun blast along a baseline of sensors, the enemy location could be triangulated. Similarly, lines of bearing from multiple points could point to an enemy battery. Calculating the firing point could take as little as three minutes.

Meanwhile, at the beginning of World War II, the US Army was just staring to explore the possibilities of using radar to control anti-aircraft fire. The first Army radars operated with frequencies in the meter range. That was relatively adequate for long range search, but for precise control of gunfire, it was rather disappointing. When the British shared the discovery of the cavity magnetron, the US was able to very quickly develop centimetric wavelength radars. One in particular, the SCR-584, was extremely effective. Not only was it very precise, it was quite versatile as well. It could act as a search radar out to respectable ranges, as much as 35 miles. Incredibly, given the infancy of radar development, it was capable of automatically tracking targets within about 18 miles.

The SCR-584 was so fundamentally sound, during the development of the M1 90mm Anti-Aircraft gun it was intended to work with, the radar was used to confirm the ballistic profiles of the shells fired from the gun. Ballistic tables were normally devised by computers- that is, hundreds of women with slide rules- mathematically. By confirming the calculations with empirical observation provided by the SCR-584, the complete tables were validated more quickly than normally possible. That is, the 584 was precise enough to track a 90mm shell in flight. By measuring the range and angle from the mount to the shell over a handful of times during the flight of the shell, the ballistic parabola could be derived.

It didn’t take long for some bright operators to realized that if you could determine the ballistics of an outgoing shell, you could also determine the ballistics of an incoming shell. And with a map and a little math, you could plot the parabola back to its point of origin, that is, the enemy firing battery.

Having discovered that radars could be used to track artillery fire, it wasn’t long before the service sought out a radar optimized for the mission. Nor was the US Army the only force to develop a dedicated counterbattery radar. Today, almost every army has at least some counterbattery radar capability.

For the past 30 years or so, the US Army and Marines have fielded the TPQ-36 and TPQ-37 Firefinder radars in the Target Acquisition Batteries of their artillery units. Recently, the Army has also fielded the TPQ-46 Lighweight Counter Mortar Radar. While the Q-46 does calculate the firing point of enemy radars, it’s primarily used to warn troops of incoming mortar and rocket fire. It can also cue the Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (C-RAM) system to intercept mortar rounds.

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120mm for Air Defense

When you mention a 120mm gun today, virtually everyone thinks of the main gun of the M1 Abrams family of tanks. And rightly so. It’s an impressive weapon. But did you know that from the mid-1940s to the early 1950s there were more than a few 120mm guns guarding the US?

The US Army began World War II with the M3 3” gun as its primary heavy antiaircraft gun. The M3 was itself a slightly improved version of the M1918 fielded for World War II, and was clearly facing obsolescence. It lacked the ability to reach the high altitudes routinely used by enemy bombers, and didn’t throw a very powerful shell.

Soon the excellent M1 90mm anti-aircraft gun replaced it.

But as good as the M1 90mm gun was, it still lacked the range and altitude needed. Toward the end of the war, the Army finally fielded the massive M1 120mm heavy anti-aircraft gun. While a few batteries were sent to the Pacific before the war ended, it doesn’t appear any actually engaged Japanese aircraft.

http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1111/5162136946_55f868192a_o.jpg

The beginning of the Cold War raised the spectre of Soviet bombers laying waste to American cities with nuclear weapons. Accordingly, a very high priority was given to air defense of the continental US. The Air Force fielded many squadrons of fighters. And pending the development of guided missiles, the Army placed batteries of 90mm and 12omm guns to protect our cities.

A typical 120mm battery had four guns. The guns were automatically directed by the M10 director system, which in turn used information from the SCR-584 radar, or a similar gun laying radar and the M4 gun computer.

http://home.comcast.net/~bcole3/517tharty/Images/120mm.jpg

Batteries also protected sensitive sites such as the Panama Canal.

http://www.jedsite.info/artillery-mike/mike-number-us/m001-120mm_series/m1/m1_001.jpg

By the mid-1950s, the M1’s ability to destroy high speed bomber targets was marginal. As rapidly as possible, gun batteries were replaced by Nike Ajax guided missile batteries.  Today, the M1 is but a faint memory.

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Load HEAT-Sofia Vergara

We try not to duplicate entries on Load HEAT, but there are only so many ladies out there, and further, this lady was in the news recently. Radical feminists hate when any woman is beautiful. Unless they’re being crude. @drawandstrike noted this double standard between the adulation Beyonce received and the scorn they heaped upon Sofia Vergara.

Sofia 2 (1)

Sofia 2 (1)

 

 

Sofia 2 (2)

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September 1st, 1939

german-tanks

Much rightful attention will be paid to the events of the First World War as we mark the centennial of the events of the “War to End All Wars”. 

Not to be lost in those observances of the Great War is tomorrow begins the marking of the 75th anniversaries of the events of the Second World War.  It was seventy-five years ago tomorrow, September 1st 1939, that the Wehrmacht of Hitler’s Third Reich crossed the Polish border and unleashed the savagery and bloodshed of that global conflagration. 

A great deal of what is in the news today can lead one to believe that the world is literally going to hell.  Perhaps it is, but the last century shows us that it has been there before.  Imagine in 1939 being a man or woman in your early 40s, who experienced the war of 1914-18, lost family and loved ones, perhaps your home and possessions, only to see war again come to your land and your people.  Again, for the second time in your short life, you may send a loved one (a son, or a husband) to war. Millions of men who fought in the Second World War had done so in the First.  Even without yet more personal participation as a soldier, the horrors of war were again manifest in the lives of hundreds of millions of souls, many of whom would perish before the uneasy peace ended the carnage. 

In 1914, the world was plunged accidentally into a bloodletting that spiraled out of control, by incompetent and irresponsible leaders in the nations of Europe.   In 1939, the world was again plunged into bloodletting, this time deliberately so by monsters who spewed their hatred and made no secret of their plans for conquest and subjugation.  Following a half a decade of weakness and appeasement from the Western democracies, whose desperation to avoid war only fueled the appetite of the dictator.

There are lessons aplenty from 1914, and many more from 1939.   Which are most applicable to 2014?  As the storm clouds gathered in the late 1930s, the words of Berthold Brecht must have echoed forlornly across the great cities of Europe.

Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men!
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.

If one listens to the cries of “death to the Jews” in the Muslim protests all over Europe, and watches the death squads murder thousands in Iraq, those words should echo still. 

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Air Force to begin rotating launch officers | Air Force Times | airforcetimes.com

The latest change in the nuclear missile career field will let airmen trade places with each other, opening up opportunities for officers to work on a different base for three months.

The program, announced Wednesday, will transfer small groups of airmen to give them first-hand experience with operations in another squadron. Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, has received four officers from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and three from F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. Seven officers from Minot were sent to fill the places of the airmen from Malmstrom and F.E. Warren.

“The idea is that the folks embedding with us for 90 days would be able to experience at the ground level some of the changes and initiatives we’re implementing as part of the Force Improvement Program,” Lt. Col. David Rickards, deputy group commander of the 91st Operations Group at Minot, said in a release announcing the program.

via Air Force to begin rotating launch officers | Air Force Times | airforcetimes.com.

Eh. ICBM launch officer is a career field in the Air Force. Imagine that. A career of 20 to 25 years consisting of sitting in a hole in the ground. It was one thing during the height of the Cold War to provide incentives to keep at least some high quality officers in the career field. But in the last 20 years, it has  apparently been quite the challenge. The scandals that have rocked the community are evidence of this.

The really interesting part of the article is the part I didn’t excerpt. The Air Force has started to send some missileers on exchange tours to the Navy’s Trident sub community.  The thing is, there’s not really a “missile” community in the Navy for submarine officers. Oh, sure, some officers will spend more time in missile boats than in fast attack boats, but there isn’t a dedicated career path that an officer follows to the exclusion of serving on another type of sub platform.

And the Navy draws its missile officers from the ranks of its qualified nuclear submarine officers. That is, a tour as a missile officer is just that, a tour, as a part of a successful career as a submarine officer.

Given that, we have to wonder if the Air Force should look to that model, where serving as an ICBM launch officer is a tour as  a part of a career dedicated primarily to another platform, say space systems management, or service in the B-52 and B-2 communities.

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