Posts filed under ‘Army’

FRIDAY FOTO (August 24, 2018)

Training Squeeze.

Firefighter Confined Space Training at CSTX 86-18-02

(U.S. Army photo by Specialist John Russell)

Army Specialist Alex Thompson crawls through a tunnel during confined space familiarization training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin on August 13, 2018.

Thompson is a reservist assigned to the 376th Engineer Firefighter Detachment.

The photo below shows another soldier, Army Private Kenneth Collins, pulling himself from the tunnel. Confined space  indeed!

Firefighter Confined Space Training at CSTX 86-18-02

(U.S. Army photo by Specialist John Russell)

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August 24, 2018 at 11:14 am 3 comments

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Light Show, Teaming with Air Force jets; Paris patrol; Assassination Weapon?

A new kind of Fireworks.

Drone Light Show entertains Team Travis

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christian Conrad)

More than 500 drones illuminated the sky during a light show at California’s Travis Air Force Base on July 5, 2018. Intel’s new lightweight Shooting Star drone — it weighs just 330 grams — is designed to carry only a light that can change colors. Together, the 500 little quadcopters are capable of 4 billion color combinations, reported CBS Bay Area TV station KPIX.

Originally scheduled for the Fourth of July, the drone light show had to be postponed for a day because of high winds. Even so, a glitch required landing the fleet, early in the show, and resetting the drones before they could conduct five minute light show — controlled by one lap top and one operator, according to ABC TV station KGO.

The tiny drones, made of plastic and foam, swooped and swirled in the night sky forming images of the American flag, an airplane, the Golden Gate Bridge and the California Grizzly Bear.

Intel, the silicon chip maker, unveiled its drone light show capabilities in 2015 using just 100 little quadcopters. “The difference between 100 and 500 is mind blowing,” Natalie Cheung, who heads the Intel light show business unit, said in a company video. The drone display integrates computing, communication, sensor and cloud technology.

“All this drone can do is light up the sky, but it is something it can do really, really well,” the light show lead engineer, Daniel Gurdan said in the video.

Teaming Drones with Manned Aircraft

Intel’s flying light show is just one way scientists and engineers are working on ways to operate drones in large numbers. The military, in particular, has been looking at ways large numbers of fast-moving, evasive drones could overwhelm and enemy’s air defense systems.

The Army has looked into pairing its MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with attack helicopters, using the drone as a kind of hunting dog to seek out targets and threats out in front of the manned helicopter. Your 4GWAR editor first wrote about that for Smithsonian’s Air&Space magazine blog in 2011

Now Air Force thinkers are looking at teaming manned aircraft with unmanned drones. In a policy paper released late last month (July 2018), the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies says maximizing the attributes of human operators and aircraft autonomy could boost affordable, effective combat capacity.

The paper notes that as a result of advancements in autonomy, processing power, and collaborative information exchange, the U.S. Air Force may soon be able to fly traditionally manned combat aircraft in partnership with unmanned aircraft.

The paper’s authors urge the Air Force to explore the advantages that could come through collaborative teaming of manned and unmanned combat aircraft. They noted  that the “combination may provide increased numbers of affordable aircraft to complement a limited number of exquisite, expensive, but highly potent fifth-generation aircraft.”

In short, that could mean meeting the requirements of Air Force Combat Command in a sustainable way during a time when there is a shortage of pilots and funds for newer, more expensive aircraft.

In other unmanned aircraft news …

Protecting Paris.

During Bastille Day celebrations in France last month (July 15), two MQ-9 Reaper drones patrolled the skies over Paris and southwestern France.

According to the manufacturer of the unmanned aircraft — San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems — the French Air Force (Armee De L’Air) operated its drones over Paris and the city of Cognac, providing airborne surveillance over the national celebration.

Equipped with an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite of sensors, the Paris MQ-9 flew safely over a populated area of seven million people among numerous other military aircraft participating in the airborne parade.

SONY DSC

(Photo of French MQ-9 Reaper courtesy of Business Wire)

Two French MQ-9s are based in Cognac Châteaubernard Air Base, where they perform daily training or ISR support in French airspace. Another six Reapers are operated by the 1/33 Belfort Squadron, providing intelligence and support to Operation Barkhane, the ongoing French anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region along with Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

Assassination Attempt by Drone?

Two drones packed with explosives reportedly flew toward Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Saturday night (August 4) in what his government says was a failed assassination attempt. New York Times site has video here.

MAP-Venezuela_large_locator

Venezuela in South America (Source: CIA World Factbook)

The attack  occurred while Maduro was making a speech at a huge outdoor event in Caracas to celebrate the 81st anniversary of the country’s national guard, according to USA Today, which detailed what happened.

Maduro blamed the “far right”, Colombia’s outgoing president, Juan Manuel Santos, and shadowy forces in Miami for the attack, The Economist reported. He has denounced a score of plots since he took over from the late Hugo Chávez in 2013.

August 17, 2018 at 12:28 am

FRIDAY FOTO (July 27, 2018)

That’s Close Enough.

8BEB “Roughriders” conduct breaching operations at Curry Demo

(U.S. Army photo by Major Carson Petry)

It’s been mighty hot in Texas lately, but these are not firefighters dealing with a prairie blaze. This is a photo of Army combat engineers blasting through a concrete wall during demolition training at Fort Hood, Texas.

This photo also illustrates the fact that the jobs of many servicemen and servicewomen place them in harm’s way — even when they are not facing hostile forces.

The soldiers in this July 17, 2018 photo are assigned to the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team of the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.

Here at 4GWAR we’ve been big fans of Army combat engineers since a visit to Fort Leonard Wood, the home of the Army Engineer school and the annual Best Sapper Competition. Sapper is an ancient name for military combat engineers who both construct defensive positions, but breach them as well. The phrase “sapper” comes from the French saper (to undermine, to dig under a wall or building to cause its collapse). The combat engineer’s tools may change over the centuries, but not the mission.

July 27, 2018 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (July 6, 2018)

Boots and Saddles.

11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Change of Command

(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sergeant David Edge)

Bet you didn’t expect to see this image on a blog devoted to 4th Generation Warfare.

Members of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Horse Detachment conduct the ceremonial last charge during a change-of-command ceremony at Fort Irwin, California on June 28, 2018.

They are dressed in the cavalry uniform of 1901, the year the 11th Cavalry Regiment was created. It first saw service in the Philippine-American War (formerly known as the Philippine Insurrection. For more about the 11th Cavalry’s history, click here.

For the record, the last U.S. Army cavalry charge was in the Philippines in 1942, when a platoon of the 26th Cavalry charged Japanese troops, and routed them, on the Bataan Peninsula.

July 7, 2018 at 12:14 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 22, 2018)

Dark Confetti.

Puma 2 Lethality Demonstration During Saber Strike 18

(U.S. Army photo by Specialist Hubert D. Delany III)

Polish army Rak 120 mm self-propelled mortar systems fire for effect during a lethality demonstration for Exercise Puma 2 at Bemowo Piskie Training Area, Poland, June 15, 2018, as part of Saber Strike 18.

Saber Strike is a multinational military exercise held annually since 2010. This year’s exercise included approximately 18,000 participants, including the United States, Britain, Germany and Norway. The exercise was hosted by NATO members Poland, Lithuania,  Latvia and Estonia.

In all, units from 19 allied and partner nations participated. The lead components were U.S. Army Europe and the Lithuanian Armed Forces.

For more photos and information click here for Poland, here for Lithuania. and here for Latvia.

Russia has complained that such beefed up NATO exercises close to its borders are provocative. However, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the intrusion of Russian aircraft and naval vessels into its neighbors’ territorial waters and airspace has prompted concerns among Nordic, Baltic and Balkan states.

“Transparency is central to lowering tensions and open dialogue. Saber Strike 18 is not a provocation of Russia but an exercise with our allies. This is what normal deterrence business looks like,” according to the U.S. Army Europe website.

June 23, 2018 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 15, 2018)

Found Ya’ Staff Sergeant.

Many Happy Returns

(U.S. Army photo by John Pennell)

This little girl couldn’t wait for ceremonial proceedings to end before greeting a loved one at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. This photo was taken June 2, 2018, as nearly 400 paratroopers assigned to the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne)  returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

Note all these soldiers are wearing the paratroopers’ maroon beret. Displayed on their left sleeve is the 25th ID’s Tropic Lighting patch (a lightning bolt superimposed over a taro leaf, commemorating the division’s Hawaiian origins) with the AIRBORNE tab above it.

June 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 23, 2018)

Snowfall, Arlington Virginia.

Spring Snow Storm 2018

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser)

We had snow in the Washington area this week. Pretty as it fell, there was enough to closes area schools and many Federal government facilities for the day, but not Arlington National Cemetery.

In Virginia, just across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital, soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment’s Caisson Platoon trooped through the snows in a funeral procession on March 21, 2018.

This scene calls to mind the last lines of Irish writer James Joyce’s novel, The Dead.

The snow “lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears   of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

Known as “The Old Guard,” the 3rd Infantry is the oldest, active duty regiment in the U.S. Army. In addition to honor guard duties at Arlington, the White House and elsewhere, the soldiers of the 3rd Infantry guard the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington.

March 23, 2018 at 1:03 am 2 comments

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