Phoning it in.

Just a quick test to check the WordPress application on my phone.


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Is the Bradley due for upgunning?

Developed in the 1960s and 1970s, and entering service in the 1980s, the M2/M3 Bradley series of fighting vehicles was designed to counter first generation Soviet BMP and BTR series vehicles. As such, the Army equipped it with the 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun. The M242 performed very well against Russian and Chinese built armored vehicles in Desert Storm, and later in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

But the threat is not static. More and more, infantry carriers and other armored vehicles are getting bigger and bigger, and carrying more and more armor. And small anti-tank missile teams are employing longer ranged missiles. The armor piercing ammunition for the M242 has been improved, but there is little room for growth. To achieve more armor penetration, the Bradley will simply need a larger gun. And to that end, the Army is experimenting with a 30mm autocannon.

The 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster II gun isn’t new. It’s been around in various forms for almost as long as its little 25mm brother. It was intended to be the main armament of the cancelled Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. And it is mounted as secondary armament on the Navy’s LCS and LPD-17 ships. Various foreign powers have evaluated or adopted it. So adapting it to the Bradley would seem to be a simple matter.

But it isn’t quite that simple.

The Bradley was designed with the smaller 25mm in mind. The size of the gun here wasn’t so important. The gun and its mount are in the gunhouse portion of the turret, above the hull of the vehicle proper. The size of the gunhouse itself wasn’t critical.

But the ammunition cans for the gun are stored inside the turret basket. That’s the part of the turret, the ammo system, turret drives, and support that extends down inside the vehicle, and rotates on a roller path on the bottom of the hull.  And the turret basket size, essentially its diameter, went far to fixing the exact size of the Bradley.

You can simply put a new turret on the Bradley, with the same size turret basket. The 30mm round isn’t that much larger than the 25mm. 25mm ammo is 13.7 centimeters long. The Bushmaster II 30mm ammo is 17.3cm long.

But that extra inch or so of length cuts into the crew space of the Bradley. Already fairly cramped when designed, the turret crew space has further been crowded by installation of additional electronics, fire control, and networking equipment. An inch doesn’t seem much, but even my relatively small 5’10” frame, when seated in the commanders seat, had my knees in uncomfortable contact with the ammunition cans.

We’ll see if the Army decides to pay to upgrade the Bradley, search instead for a whole new vehicle, or just continue to move along with what we have and hope for the best.


Filed under armor, army, ARMY TRAINING, weapons

Obama Calls For ‘Moderate, Inclusive’ ISIL Beaheadings

THE WHITE HOUSE — In an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS that aired Sunday, President Obama called on the leaders of ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, to exercise more moderation and inclusivity in their beheadings of infidels.

The president was responding to a question from 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft, who asked whether the administration was specifically addressing the beheadings and mutilations of thousands of Yazidi, Kurdish and other minority groups in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Brian did a screen grab from the video; no photo credit required

Obama insisted that his administration is taking firm, decisive action to resolve the situation and bring peace back to the region.

“As I’ve always said,” Obama asserted, “we need to make sure that the victory that I won in Iraq when I ordered our troops out of the country in 2011 was not in vain. Except, remember, I didn’t actually order the troops out. President Maliki wanted us to leave, and I had no choice, even though he said he would sign the immunity order. But that’s neither here nor there.”

The president continued: “To, uh, to that end, I have launched a vehement Twitter campaign calling on ISIL to stop beheading and torturing so many Christians and minorities. Maybe spread the love to some Jews or Turks and other groups. These folks … [if] they can chop people’s heads off, maybe they can start tryin’ to be more fair about it.”

via Obama Calls For ‘Moderate, Inclusive’ ISIL Beaheadings.



Quick Russian Story

YELTSIN Story #1

I confess to always having a soft spot for Boris Yeltsin. He is the most Russian of any Russian I’ve ever met. I have a couple of stories about him. Although it doesn’t directly involve him, here is the first.

I was trapped at the US Embassy in Moscow during the public riots at the Duma in 1993, when Yeltsin stood on the tank with a bullhorn.

We (my boss and myself) had left our hotel in Moscow and went to the Embassy before lunch. We needed to talk to the attaché and sort out the details of an aircraft we were going to escort from Tiksi AB, Russia to Eielson AFB, AK.

It was for a joint Russian/USAF Arctic Search and Rescue exercise.

We were sitting in the Marine bar in the embassy, drinking $1 Budvar as the sun went down and things started getting a bit dicey outside.

The US embassy in Moscow is on the same square as the Duma. People had started to congregate and protest, CNN was there, and it looked like it was going to get ugly.

Marines stopped drinking and went to their dorm. I looked at my boss and the Attache, and said, ‘We need to get back to the hotel’.

The Marines initially wouldn’t let us leave. We had to prove that we were not embassy personnel and then they let us out the gate.

Walking through the square amidst all of the protesters was a very surreal experience. I had to piss as we finished crossing the square and saw a small area in a park that guys were using.

I looked at the Major and said, ‘got to go pee.’

He looked around the crowd nervously and said, ‘Hurry up and don’t talk to anyone.’

Well, I talked to a couple of guys while doing my business and walked out of the park with an empty bladder and a liter bottle of beer. My accent is weird to Russians. At first they ask me if I am Jewish (?). Once I explain that I’m from Texas they are all smiles and ask me how many cows I own.

My new friends hooked us up with a buddy of theirs that was driving out of the city center and was willing to drop us off at the hotel for a few rubles. It was a win/win.



Load HEAT- Maggie Q

Nikita, Divergent, Stalker. Maggie Q has been busy the last few years.

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Filed under Load Heat

The old CSAF story

The McPeak Flight.

Gen Tony McPeak was CSAF while I was doing the ‘Russian job’.

One of the side benefits of doing the ‘Russian job’ is that I had to maintain a flight instructor qualification.

So the Andrews AFB C-21 unit got blessed with my presence. I flew a lot when I had some slow weeks from my Intel job.

Got a call out of the blue one day from the SQ/CC.

‘Phat, we need a pilot to fly with McPeak tomorrow, can you do it?

Hold on, let me check with my boss.

I worked in an intel unit, my boss had plausibly never seen an airplane in his career.

Sir, The Chief of Staff needs Phat to fly with him tomorrow. Is that Ok?

My boss: ‘Squeee!’.

I’d heard rumors that flying with Tony McPeak was a massive pain in the ass, but I had a secret weapon.

He shows up to the jet and I have everything done, he straps in and off we go. McPeak was notorious for being a dick, so pilots didn’t talk to him unless forced.

As soon as we leveled off I looked over at him and said, ‘My Dad says Hi’.

backstory: My Dad flew F-100’s out of Tuy Hua with McPeak

McPeak looks at my nametag and says, ‘So, you’re Butch’s kid?’

Yes sir.

McPeak: Great! How’s Butch doing! He was the best guy I ever flew with.

We proceed to have a great flight and he actually talks a bit. As his aide leaves the airplane he make a note to record my name.

Congratulations, you are are now McPeak’s personal pilot.

I call my dad, now a Delta Captain.

Hey Dad, guess who I flew with today….

…Tony McPeak.

My Dad: That FUCKING COCKSUCKER! We hated that SOB in Vietnam!

He showed up into the unit as a Major right from the Thunderbirds. Yeah, he did NOT fit in.

Have a lot of my Dad’s stories to share later. This one popped up in my head for some reason.



SNC, Embraer deliver first A-29 to Air Force | Air Force Times |

Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) and Embraer have delivered the first A-29 Super Tucano to the Air Force, with company officials pledging Embraer’s Jacksonville, Florida, facility will produce the remainder of its order on time.

The delivery was made Thursday at that facility. On hand were military officials from the US and Afghanistan, including Maj. Gen. Abdul Wahab Wardak, commander of the Afghan Air Force, which will be the final customer for the light attack propeller planes.

Delivery of the A-29 marks the start of filling the Light Air Support (LAS) program contract for the Pentagon. While the plane is new for the US, there are over 200 Super Tucanos on order around the world, more than 170 of which have been delivered, according to Embraer figures.

via SNC, Embraer deliver first A-29 to Air Force | Air Force Times |


The plane is delivered to our Air Force, but it’s for the Afghan Air Force. But training is much easier to do here, under the Aegis of the US Air Force. So off to Georgia it goes!

The US should have bought something like this in 2003, when it first became clear we would be involved in low intensity conflict for a long time. Think of the millions and millions of dollars we could have saved on F-15, F-16, A-10, AV-8 and F-18 flight hours, fuel, and maintenance.


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