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Weapon Wednesday – Army’s Tactical Augmented Reality Device

The TAR display is mounted on regular US Army helmets
The TAR display is mounted on regular US Army helmets (Credit: David Vergun)

Information is power when a soldier is enveloped by the fog of war. Precisely locating the positions of both friends and foes is key for a mission to roll out both smoothly and without avoidable casualties. The US Army has just revealed its latest innovation, a head-up display system for soldiers called “Tactical Augmented Reality,” or TAR. read more

Thank the Democrats for a Non-Functioning Missile Defense System

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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Last Friday IBD wrote  that, “Shortly after the North Korea [ICBM] test, Politico ran an article pointing out that ‘the Pentagon and its contractors still haven’t figured out how to reliably shoot down an intercontinental ballistic missile.’ The Washington Post noted that after spending tens of billions of dollars, the system ‘has never faced combat or been fully tested.’”

You may recall the fanfare a few months ago over a triumphant test of our missile defense system. We successfully intercepted one of our own mock ICBMs launched from the Marshall Islands. A Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) was deployed from California and shot down the ICBM. Hooray for us!

Unfortunately, that intercept is the exception, not the rule, and that’s very worrisome. The one successful intercept was as close to being “laboratory” conditions as one can be. Everything about the trial was highly scripted.

And Missile Defense Agency (MDA) director Vice Admiral James Syring told a House committee recently that “I would not say we are comfortably ahead of the threat. I would say we are addressing the threat.” Translation: We’re in trouble. read more

Weapon Wednesday – First Shot from Laser Weapon

Raytheon mounted a high energy laser on an Apache helicopter similar to those in this image
Raytheon mounted a high energy laser on an Apache helicopter similar to those in this image (Credit: Raytheon)

Laser weapons have been tested on ships, planes, and even armored vehicles, but Raytheon has pushed the envelope further again by successfully testing a high-energy laser mounted on an Apache AH-64 attack helicopter. According to the company, the laser pod flew last April at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico under the aegis of the US Army Apache Program Management Office and the US Special Operations Command, where it was able to lock onto and hit an unmanned target. read more

Weapon Wednesday – Replacing Navy’s Ouija Board

DSIMS replaces an analog system called the
DSIMS replaces an analog system called the “Ouija board” that’s been in use since the Second World War (Credit: ONR)

Modern aircraft carriers may seem like the bleeding edge of technology, but they still rely on some remarkably low-tech tools to get the job done. read more

Weapon Wednesday – BAE’s Advance Hawk

The Advanced Hawk is an updated version of the Hawk T2 shown here
The Advanced Hawk is an updated version of the Hawk T2 shown here (Credit: BAE Systems)

Since it was introduced in 1976, well over a thousand of BAE Systems’ Hawk trainer jets have entered service in 18 countries around the world. Now the latest variant, the Advanced Hawk, has taken to the air for the first time in the skies over Warton, Lancashire, UK in demonstrator form. Boasting a new wing design and a revamped cockpit, the Anglo-Indian two-seater is intended to train pilots to handle fifth-generation combat aircraft. read more

Raising a Revolutionary Warship

More than two decades after it was discovered at the bottom of Lake Champlain, a Revolutionary War gunboat may see the light of day under a museum plan to raise and preserve the vessel.

The Spitfire, a 54-foot boat that’s part of a fleet built by Benedict Arnold before he turned traitor, sank a day after the 1776 Battle of Valcour Island, helping delay a British advance down the lake.

The Spitfire’s sinking made it possible for the 1777 American victory at the Battle of Saratoga – a key moment in the American Revolution.

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This image from a remote camera provided by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum shows a cannon, believed to be from the Revolutionary War gunboat "Spitfire", on the bottom of Vermont's Lake Champlain. The Vermont museum wants to raise the Revolutionary War gunboat where it has rested since shortly after the 1776 Battle of Valcour Island, preserve it and then display it in a yet-to-be built New York museum. (Ernie Haas/Lake Champlain Maritime Museum via AP)

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Weapon Wednesday – Replacing the M4A1 Carbine

The M4A1 carbine is currently issued to U.S. Army combat troops worldwide. A descendant of the original M16 rifle, the M4A1 has a 14.5″ barrel, is chambered for the 5.56-millimeter round, and weighs approximately nine pounds when fully equipped with optics, lasers, foregrips, and other attachments. There are concerns in Congress, however, that the M4A1 could not penetrate modern Russian body armor, which is what prompted Milley’s comment.

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Weapon Wednesday – Cadet Develops New Body Armor

Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir created a goo-like substance that can stop bullets
Air Force Academy Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir created a goo-like substance that can stop bullets (Credit: US Air Force)

A US Air Force Academy cadet demonstrated that school lessons aren’t just about retreading old ground, by turning a classroom exercise into a new ballistic armor made out of goo. In 2014, Cadet 1st Class Hayley Weir’s assignment to combine epoxy, Kevlar and carbon fiber into an anti-ballistic substance inspired her to develop the task into a new type of flexible bullet stopper. read more

Weapon Wednesday – New Guided Dumb Bomb

The
The “fly away” cost of a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper is currently in the vicinity of $17 million, compared to an estimated price of roughly 10 percent of that figure for the Chinese CASC CH-4 (China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation’s Clever Hawk 4) combat UAV (Credit:General Atomics)

The announcement that testing of GBU-38 JDAM [Joint Direct Attack Munition] guided-bombs delivered using the American hunter-killer MQ-9 Reaper UAV got underway this month didn’t make a lot of general news coverage, but it is a reminder that drone warfare is getting much cheaper and far more precise. At US$20,000 each, the GBU-38 costs just a fraction of the $110,000 AGM-114 Hellfire missile which the MQ-9 currently delivers, with the additional strength that it can be used in inclement weather.

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The Right to Bear the Constitution – or at Least Review It

by: the Common Constitutionalist

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Many Americans suffer from a common phobia. No, it’s not the very reasonable fear of Democrats running the country. That’s not a phobia, for its not irrational. No, they suffer from an irrational fear of guns. Guns are not inherently scary. They are just a tool – like a screwdriver or a leaf-blower. You’ve heard the saying, the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t use a gun to blow the leaves around your yard and thus you wouldn’t use a leaf blower to defend yourself. You could try, but I’ll bet it won’t go well.

Yet over the years more and more citizens have been purposely conditioned to think guns are scary. Thus the “Gun Free Zone” was established. These days there are more and more “gun free zones” than ever.

Yet economist John Lott found that, “Since at least 1950, all but two public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns. In Europe, there have been no exceptions. Every mass public shooting — and there have been plenty of mass shootings in Europe — has occurred in a gun-free zone.”

Bet you won’t hear that fun fact from the anti-gun lobby.

We hear that restaurants like Starbucks, Chipotle and Panera Bread and chain stores like Target have become gun free zones. Yes, Target allows men and little girls in the same dressing area, but won’t allow guns. Ask a mother or father which is scarier – a law abiding person with a gun, or a creepy old man watching their daughter undress.

Although it’s a stupid policy, I agree with them. They are private businesses and have the freedom to invoke such a policy. read more