Archive for December 13, 2019

FRIDAY FOTO (December 13, 2019)

Stick in the Mud.

Truck Company Field Exercise

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Dylan Hess)

Even in an era of satellite communications, radar evading stealth fighter jets and artificial intelligence, some times the most effective tool is a man with a shovel.

Marines clear mud from a stuck High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV)  — probably better known as a Humvee — during a field exercise at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan on December 11, 2019. (See photo below)

Starting in 1983, the AM General Humvee family of light, four-wheel drive, military trucks and utility vehicles began replacing the Vietnam-era jeep, the latest version of an off-road vehicle first manufactured in World War II.

Although they were designed without armor for traveling back and forth at the rear in a combat zone, Humvees first saw combat in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. They saw even more action in Somalia, the Balkans and the Gulf War in the 1990s. However, without armor, both vehicles and crews suffered considerable damage and losses during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993.  Subsequent versions of the HMMWV were built with armor and bullet proof windows that could withstand small arms fire.

But the still lightly armored, Cold War-era Humvee could not protect troops from powerful, homemade bombs – known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) – the enemy used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military replaced many Humvees with heavy-duty vehicles called MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) designed with specialized undersides to withstand IEDs. But the MRAPS were slow, top-heavy and had limited capability off-road and on narrow urban streets.

After an 11-year search and development program headed by the Army, both services picked Oshkosh Trucks to build the Humvee and MRAP replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).  It is bigger, better armored and more comfortable than the Humvee.

The Marine Corps declared the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle officially ready in August to deploy and support the naval expeditionary forces worldwide. The Army did so a few months earlier. However, due to shifting budget priorities and other factors, the full replacement of all HMMWVs is expected to take years.

Truck Company Field Exercise

This is how it’s supposed to look when Marines drive a Humvee through the mud at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, on December 11, 2019.

December 13, 2019 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Droids, Drones & ‘bots: Lost U.S. Drone; French Drone-Equipped Patrol Boats; Russian Armed Robots


Did Russians Down U.S. Drone over Libya?

The U.S. military believes that an unarmed American drone that disappeared near Libya’s capital in November was shot down by Russian air defenses and U.S Africa Command (AFRICOM) is demanding the return of the aircraft’s wreckage, according to Reuters.

U.S. Army General Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM’s commander, said he believed the operators of the air defenses at the time “didn’t know it was a U.S. remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) when they fired on it.”

Such a shootdown would underscore Moscow’s increasingly muscular role in the energy-rich nation, where Russian mercenaries are reportedly intervening on behalf of east Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar in Libya’s civil war, Reuters noted on December7. Rival armed groups have been fighting for control of Tripoli for months

When the unarmed aircraft was lost November 21, AFRICOM said drone operations are conducted in Libya to assess the ongoing security situation and monitor violent extremist activity. Those operations were said to be critical to counter terror activity in Libya and are fully coordinated with appropriate government officials.

*** *** ***

France Orders Drone-Equipped Patrol Boats.

France has ordered six 70-meter-long (230-feet-long) offshore patrol vessels –  equipped with drones — to patrol its vast economic exclusive zone, Defense News reported December 6.

The French Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement that the ships has been ordered  “in a context of increasing threats to our fishing resources, biodiversity and international maritime rules.”France has the largest economic exclusive zone (EEZ) in the world, at about 4,514,000 square miles. By comparison, the United States’s EEZ comes in at about 4,383,000 square miles, Defense News said.

Technical specifications, issued by the DGA procurement agency in 2018, called for the ships to be able to deploy a 700-kilogram-class rotor-blade drone, and to be able to keep it under cover.

*** *** ***

Russia Developing Armed Robot Plans.

The Russian military is assembling proposed tactics, techniques and procedures for using robots in urban and coastal combat, the state news agency, RiaNovosti, announced Sunday (November 24).

If you clicked on the link above, you saw that report was in Russian. No we didn’t/couldn’t read it but someone at Defense One did. Here’s what they gleaned:.

The defense ministry has asked various military-industrial enterprises to provide proposals for review by early next year to the military’s Combined Arms Academy. Quoting the Russian agency, Defense One noted the initiative was meant to address “the virtual absence of a unified concept for the use of military robotics by the Russian armed forces.”

According to Defense One, the increased interest in robotic weapons may reflect Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desire for more unmanned systems as well as the military’s experience in Syria, where numerous ground and air vehicles made their first operational appearance.

December 13, 2019 at 12:00 am Leave a comment


December 2019


%d bloggers like this: