Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

The German Styled Armies of South America   Leave a comment


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The Chilean Army comes by its German influences and traditions honestly, from a decent-sized influx of German immigrants during the second half of the 19th century, most of whom settled in the southern part of the country, centered around Puerto Montt, where the weather is cooler and wetter, and where dairy farms and breweries now abound. But it didn’t end with Chile. Bolivia, Columbia and Argentina all used German advisors, techniques and uniforms. Right up to the present day.

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(Bolivian soldiers with stahlhelm M35 helmets and M16 assault rifles.)

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(Argentine soldiers with Casco M38 helmets in the mid-1940s.)

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Former US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman general Mike Mullen with Chilean honour guard 2012.

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Chilean army 2014

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German Waffen SS troops 1944

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(Bolivian troops with stahlhelm M35 helmets and Chinese-made HN-5 surface-to-air missiles in the early 2000s.)

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(Colombian troops on the streets of Bogota in the 1948-1949 time frame.)

Traditions are hard to break, especially military tradition.

Not to be left out of the equation, the U.S. changed their military helmets in the early 1980’s. The Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) is the United States Army’s current combat helmet. Although very different from the German helmets, the U.S. helmet does have a similar look.

Soldiers practice house-breaching techniques in their desert combat uniforms. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army)


Posted January 7, 2017 by markosun in Military

Russian Military Plane Crashes in Black Sea with Famous Army Choir on Board   Leave a comment


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All 84 passengers and eight crew members on board the plane operated by the Russian military are believed to have died when it crashed two minutes after taking off at 5:25am local time (02:25 GMT) in good weather from the southern Russian city of Sochi.

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The Russian defence ministry said it had recovered 10 bodies by late Sunday.

Transport minister Maxim Sokolov, in charge of a state probe into the crash, said on state television that investigators were looking into a “whole spectrum” of theories on the cause of the crash of the Soviet-built Tu-154 plane.

When asked if a “terror attack” could have been behind the crash, Sokolov said: “It is premature to speak of this.”

He added that the aircraft’s black boxes had yet to be found.

The plane belonging to the defence ministry was taking its famed choir, the Alexandrov Ensemble, to a New Year’s concert at Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia. Those on board also included nine Russian journalists and a Russian doctor famous for her work in war zones.

The Alexandrov Ensemble is an official army choir of the Russian armed forces. Founded during the Soviet era, the ensemble consists of a male choir, an orchestra, and a dance ensemble.

The Ensemble has entertained audiences both in Russia and throughout the world, performing a range of music including folk tunes, hymns, operatic arias and popular music. The group’s repertoire has included The Volga Boatmen’s Song, Katyusha, Kalinka and Ave Maria.

It is named for its first director, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov (1883–1946). Its formal name since 1998 has been Academic Ensemble of Song and Dance of the Russian Army named after A. V. Alexandrov.

The Alexandrov Ensemble and the MVD Ensemble are the only groups with the right to claim the title “Red Army Choir”.

On 25 December 2016, 64 members of the ensemble were killed when the Russian military aircraft on which they were travelling to perform for troops crashed into the Black Sea.

 

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In recent years, Russian airlines have replaced their Tu-154s with more modern planes, but the military and other government agencies in Russia have continued to use them. While noisy and fuel-guzzling, the plane is popular with crews that appreciate its manoeuvrability and ruggedness.

Still, since 1994 there have been 17 major plane crashes involving the Tu-154 that have killed over 1,760 people. Most resulted from human error.

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Posted December 26, 2016 by markosun in Aviation, Military, Music

How Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles Work   Leave a comment


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I always wondered how these nuclear missiles are launched. Especially how they are propelled to the surface from the submerged submarine. The answers below addressed these questions very clearly.

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From Juergen Nieveler:

First of all, the missile launch is a two-stage process – the missile engine doesn’t actually start until it’s clear out of the water. SLBMs and vertical-launched Tomahawks actually get pushed out by high-pressure air with enough force to lift the tail end a few feet out of the water – then the rocket engine kicks in, and in the case of the Tomahawk the process of deploying and starting the jet engine and dropping the rocket engine begins. With Harpoon it’s a bit different – they are launched horizontally from the torpedo tube within a container shaped a bit like a torpedo. That container then angles upwards and soon breaches the water surface… then the top blows off and the missile is launched from inside the launch container.

All of those missiles will get a last position update right before launch, so they’ll roughly know where they are when they leave the water – the vertically launched missiles of course having a better position fix than the tube-launched ones, as those travel a bit downrange. Once airborne, the missiles will then switch on their GPS receivers and will get a position fix from GPS within seconds (military GPS receivers getting a much more accurate signal than the civilian ones…). Once the navigation system has an updated position, it will plot an updated course for the missile to follow.

 

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From Gururaq Kalanidhi:
In the earlier 1950s~1960s when the first operational Ballistic Missile submarines (or Boomers) were being tested, the technologies for an underwater missile launch were not feasible. This was because, the ballistic missiles were liquid fuelled. This meant that the missile was huge and cumbersome. This meant that only 1 or 2 could be carried onboard. Also, since it was powered by liquid fuels, it could not be ignited sub-surface. This meant that the submarine had to surface for a launch. This would give away the location of the submarine. Hence, scientists across the world were trying hard solve this problem. The solution came with the development of solid fuel rockets. These rockets usually made from carbon, sulphur and others did not need oxygen for their combustion. This made the missile more compact and powerful. This meant that the missile could be launched from within the submarine… However, launching a rocket/ missile from the confines of a submarine presents with a unique set of challenges. The launch would put tremendous pressure on the submarine body.

Hence, the scientists came up with a underwater launch system using pressurised air.

The launch from the submarine occurs below the ocean surface. The missiles are ejected from their tubes by igniting an explosive charge in a separate container which is separated by seventeen titanium alloy pinnacles activated by a double alloy steam system. The energy from the blast is directed to a water tank, where the water is flash-vaporized to steam. The subsequent pressure spike is strong enough to eject the missile out of the tube and give it enough momentum to reach and clear the surface of the water. The missile is pressurized with nitrogen to prevent the intrusion of water into any internal spaces, which could damage the missile or add weight, destabilizing the missile. Should the missile fail to breach the surface of the water, there are several safety mechanisms that can either deactivate the missile before launch or guide the missile through an additional phase of launch. Inertial motion sensors are activated upon launch, and when the sensors detect downward acceleration after being blown out of the water, the first-stage engine ignites. The aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that halves aerodynamic drag, is then deployed, and the boost phase begins. When the third-stage motor fires, within two minutes of launch, the missile is traveling faster than 20,000 ft/s (6,000 m/s), or 13,600 mph (21,600 km/h).

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United States Ohio Class Trident Missile Submarine

 

030606-N-0000X-005 Washington, D.C. (Jun. 6, 2003) -- Artist concept of the SSGN conversion program. Four Ohio-class strategic missile submarines USS Ohio (SSBN 726), USS Michigan (SSBN 727) USS Florida (SSBN 728), and USS Georgia (SSBN 729) have been selected for transformation into a new platform, designated SSGN or Tactical Trident. The SSGNs will have the capability to support and launch up to 154 Tomahawk missiles, a significant increase in capacity as compared to other platforms. The 22 missile tubes will also provide the capability to carry other payloads, such as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces equipment. This new platform will also have the capability to carry and support more than 66 Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) and insert them clandestinely into potential conflict areas. U.S. Navy graphic. (RELEASED)


 

Posted December 23, 2016 by markosun in Military, Weapons

The United States Super-Secret Nuclear Missile Base under the Polar Ice   Leave a comment


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Project Iceworm was the code name for a top-secret United States Army program during the Cold War to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet. The ultimate objective of placing medium-range missiles under the ice — close enough to strike targets within the Soviet Union — was kept secret from the Danish government. To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicized “cover” project, known as Camp Century, was launched in 1960. Unsteady ice conditions within the ice sheet caused the project to be canceled in 1966.

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Details of the missile base project were secret for decades, but first came to light in January 1995 during an enquiry by the Danish Foreign Policy Institute (DUPI) into the history of the use and storage of nuclear weapons in Greenland. The enquiry was ordered by the Danish parliament following the release of previously classified information about the 1968 Thule Air Base B-52 crash that contradicted previous assertions by the Danish government.

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To test the feasibility of construction techniques a project site called “Camp Century” was started by the United States military, located at an elevation of 6,600 feet (2,000 m) in northwestern Greenland, 150 miles (240 km) from the American Thule Air Base. The radar and air base at Thule had already been in active use since 1951.

Camp Century was described at the time as a demonstration of affordable ice-cap military outposts. The secret Project Iceworm was to be a system of tunnels 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) in length, used to deploy up to 600 nuclear missiles, that would be able to reach the Soviet Union in case of nuclear war. The missile locations would be under the cover of Greenland’s ice sheet and were supposed to be periodically changed. While Project Iceworm was secret, plans for Camp Century were discussed with and approved by Denmark, and the facility, including its nuclear power plant, was profiled in The Saturday Evening Post magazine in 1960.

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The “official purpose” of Camp Century, as explained by the United States Department of Defense to Danish government officials in 1960, was to test various construction techniques under Arctic conditions, explore practical problems with a semi-mobile nuclear reactor, as well as supporting scientific experiments on the icecap. A total of 21 trenches were cut and covered with arched roofs within which prefabricated buildings were erected. With a total length of 3,000 metres (1.9 mi), these tunnels also contained a hospital, a shop, a theater and a church. The total number of inhabitants was around 200. From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world’s first mobile/portable nuclear reactor, designated the PM-2A and designed by Alco for the U.S. Army. Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine whether germs such as the plague were present.

Within three years after it was excavated, ice core samples taken by geologists working at Camp Century demonstrated that the glacier was moving much faster than anticipated and would destroy the tunnels and planned launch stations in about two years. The facility was evacuated in 1965, and the nuclear generator removed. Project Iceworm was canceled, and Camp Century closed in 1966.

The project generated valuable scientific information and provided scientists with some of the first ice cores, still being used by climatologists today.

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According to the documents published by Denmark in 1997, the U.S. Army’s “Iceworm” missile network was outlined in a 1960 Army report titled “Strategic Value of the Greenland Icecap“. If fully implemented, the project would cover an area of 52,000 square miles (130,000 km2), roughly three times the size of Denmark. The launch complex floors would be 28 feet (8.5 m) below the surface, with the missile launchers even deeper, and clusters of missile launch centers would be spaced 4 miles (6.4 km) apart. New tunnels were to be dug every year, so that after five years there would be thousands of firing positions, among which the several hundred missiles could be rotated. The Army intended to deploy a shortened, two-stage version of the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman missile, a variant the Army proposed calling the Iceman.

Although the Greenland icecap appears, on its surface, to be hard and immobile, snow and ice are viscoelastic materials, which slowly deform over time, depending on temperature and density. Despite its seeming stability, the icecap is, in fact, in constant, slow movement, spreading outward from the center. This spreading movement, over the course of a year, causes tunnels and trenches to narrow, as their walls deform and bulge, eventually leading to a collapse of the ceiling. By mid-1962 the ceiling of the reactor room within Camp Century had dropped and had to be lifted 5 feet (1.5 m). During a planned reactor shutdown for maintenance in late July 1963, the Army decided to operate Camp Century as a summer-only camp and did not reactivate the PM-2A reactor. The camp resumed operations in 1964 using its standby diesel power plant, the portable reactor was removed that summer, and the camp was abandoned altogether in 1966.

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When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall. A 2016 study found that the portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century will start to melt by the end of the century, if current trends continue. When the ice melts, the camp’s infrastructure, as well as any remaining biological, chemical and radioactive waste, will re-enter the environment and potentially disrupt nearby ecosystems.

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Got to give it to the Americans, they have big bold ideas. Sometimes not for the betterment of the world however.


Posted December 20, 2016 by markosun in Military

Russian Su-33 crashed in the Mediterranean while attempting to land on Kuznetsov aircraft carrier   Leave a comment


The Aviationist.com

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Less than three weeks after losing a MiG-29, it looks like the Russian Navy has lost another aircraft during Admiral Kuznetsov operations: a Su-33 Flanker.

Military sources close to The Aviationist report that a Russian Navy Su-33 Flanker carrier-based multirole aircraft has crashed during flight operations from Admiral Kuznetsov on Saturday, Dec. 3.

According to the report, the combat plane crashed at its second attempt to land on the aircraft carrier in good weather conditions (visibility +10 kilometers, Sea State 4, wind at 12 knots): it seems that it missed the wires and failed to go around* falling short of the bow of the warship.

The pilot successfully ejected and was picked up by a Russian Navy search and rescue helicopter.

Considered that on Nov. 14 a MiG-29K crashed while recovering to the aircraft carrier, if confirmed this would be the second loss for the air wing embarked on Admiral Kuznetsov in less than three weeks and a significant blow for the Russian Naval Aviation during its combat deployment off Syria.

*Update: the Russian MoD has confirmed the incident. According to an official release the arresting wire snapped and failed to stop the aircraft.

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Namesake: Nikolay Kuznetsov
Ordered: 3 March 1981
Builder: Nikolayev South

  • Designer: Nevskoye Planning and Design Bureau
Laid down: 1 April 1982
Launched: 6 December 1985
Commissioned: 25 December 1990

(Fully operational in 1995)

Refit: May – August 2015
Status: in active service

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Kuznetsov being shadowed by a US destroyer

General characteristics
Class and type: Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier
Displacement:
  • 43,000 tons (Standard-load)
  • 55,200 tons (Full-load)
  • 61,390 tons (Max-load)
Length:
  • 305 m (1,001 ft) o/a
  • 270 m (890 ft) w/l
Beam:
  • 72 m (236 ft) o/a
  • 35 m (115 ft) w/l
Draft: 10 m (33 ft)

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The carrier in the North Sea shadowed this time by a British destroyer

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Propulsion:
  • Steam turbines, 8 turbo-pressurised boilers, 4 shafts, 200,000 hp (150 MW)
  • 2 × 50,000 hp (37 MW) turbines
  • 9 × 2,011 hp (1,500 kW) turbogenerators
  • 6 × 2,011 hp (1,500 kW) diesel generators
  • 4 × fixed pitch propellers
Speed: 29 knots (33 mph; 54 km/h)
Range: 8,500 nmi (15,700 km) at 18 kn (21 mph; 33 km/h)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement:
  • 1,690 (total); 1,690 ship’s crew
  • 626 air group
  • 40 flag staff
  • 3,857 rooms
Armament:
  • 6 × AK-630 AA guns (6×30 mm, 6,000 round/min/mount, 24,000 rounds)
  • 8 × CADS-N-1 Kashtan CIWS (each 2 × 30 mm Gatling AA plus 32 3K87 Kortik SAM)
  • 12 × P-700 Granit SSM
  • 24 × 8-cell 3K95 Kinzhal SAM VLS (192 missiles; 1 missile per 3 seconds)
  • RBU-12000 UDAV-1 ASW rocket launchers (60 rockets)
Aircraft carried:
  • Approx. 41 aircraft
    • Fixed Wing;
      • 12 × Su-33 fighters (current)
      • 20 × MiG-29K/KUB fighters (future)
      • 4 × Sukhoi Su-25UTG/UBP trainers
    • Rotary Wing;
      • 4 × Kamov Ka-27LD32 helicopters
      • 18 × Kamov Ka-27PL helicopters
      • 2 × Kamov Ka-27PS helicopters

 

Posted December 9, 2016 by markosun in Military

Concept Stealth Aircraft Carriers   Leave a comment


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These models and concept designs are strictly from the imagination of creative engineers. Something like this will not be around for many decades, if ever. But they are cool.

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Catapult launch decks along the sides is cool.

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This idea combines fighter capable (flight deck) along with amphibious capable (well deck). LCAC entering the flooded well deck at the stern.

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This design is straight out of Stargate Atlantis

 

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Posted December 8, 2016 by markosun in Military

U.S. Airborne Big Jump   Leave a comment


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Paratroopers from the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions take part in a training jump at Fort Bragg, North Carolina last May.

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130624-F-IM476-902	Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division ready their gear prior to a mass parachute jump from Air Force C-130J Hercules aircraft during a Joint Operation Access exercise at Pope Field, N.C., on June 24, 2013.  The exercise designed to prepare airmen and soldiers to respond to worldwide crises and contingencies. DoD photo by Airman 1st Class Damon Kasberg, U.S. Air Force.  (Released)

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Posted December 6, 2016 by markosun in Military