Posts filed under ‘Special Operations’

FRIDAY FOTO (October 27, 2017)

I Talk to the Trees.

1st LAR prepares for Southern Katipo 17

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Allison M. DeVries)

Marine Corps Sgt. Jonathan Streit (center), briefs Marines during a ghillie suit and sniper exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California on October 13, 2017. Streit is a squad leader assigned to 1st Marine Division’s 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

The ghillie suit, worn by civilian hunters and military snipers, is designed to look like heavy foliage in a forest or field. It was originally developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blind and first adopted for war in 1916. The name derives from a Scottish word for “lad” or “servant.”

To see more photos of this exercise (it was really hard to pick just one photo this week) click here.

And if you don’t get the Hollywood/Broadway reference in today’s headline, click here to see a scene from Paint Your Wagon, a Big Budget musical western from 1969 — and yes, that is who you think it is singing amid the trees.

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October 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

SHAKO: Air Force Birthday 2017

Happy 70th USAF!

Air National Guard aides in the relief effort of Hurricane Harvey

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Castelan)

On this day (September 18) 70 years ago, President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947 which created the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the U.S. armed forces. Before that, the Air Force was a part of the U.S. Army.

Rather than commemorate the day with a single photo of fighter jets streaking across the sky, we thought we’d show a range of photos, showing some of the other things the Air Force does.

The photo above shows Senior Airman Austin Hellweg leading a family to an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter in Beaumont, Texas for transport to a safer location during Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in August. Most people think National Guard or Homeland Security when you mention natural disasters like hurricanes. But in this violent hurricane season, the Air Force (as well as the Navy, Coast Guard, Army and Marine Corps) have all provided assistance, following Harvey and Hurricane Irma, in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

U.S. Fifth-Generation Fighters, Strategic Bombers Conduct Show of Force with Allies in Response to North Korea Missile Launch

(U.S Air Force photo by Staff Sergean. Joshua Smoot)

In this next photo, a B-1B Lancer bomber prepares to receive fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker during a mission from Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base into Japanese air space and over the Korean Peninsula. After refueling on August 31, 2017, the Lancers flew with Japanese and South Korean fighter jets as part of a demonstration of America’s  commitment to its allies in the region.

Air Commandos participate in joint force exercise

(U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sergeant Jeffrey Curtin)

Air Force personnel not only fly aircraft, sometimes they jump out of them. Special Tactics Airmen with the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron execute a high altitude, low open (HALO) jump from an MC-130H Combat Talon II aircraft, flown by the 15th Special Operations Squadron. The jump came during a total force exercise mission over Terre Haute, Indiana on July 8, 2017.

Hurricane Irma

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corban Lundborg)

In the photo above, Air Force Reserve Major Nicole Mitchell records weather information while flying into Hurricane Irma September 8, 2017 on a WC-130J Super Hercules. Mitchell is an aerial reconnaissance weather officer assigned to the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron. To see more photos of this mission, click here.

To learn more about the Air Force and its history — which really goes back more than 100 years, click here.

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SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

September 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm 1 comment

FRIDAY FOTO (August 4, 2017)

Night of the Drone.

Panther Storm

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Andrew Lee)

By now regular visitors to 4GWAR have seen many photos shot through a night vision device, but this one reminds us of a poster for a horror or science fiction movie.

Here we see Army Specialist Derek Opthof preparing to launch an RQ-11 Raven drone (unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV, is the military term). This photo was shot July 27 during exercise Panther Storm at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The deployment readiness exercise tests the 82nd Airborne Division‘s ability to rapidly deploy its Global Response Force anywhere in the world within a few hours.

About the Raven: Yes, even in this high tech, digital age, some smaller drones have to be launched by hand. Here’s a three-minute video on YouTube that shows how it works in daylight. Click on the RQ-11 Raven link above to learn more at the manufacturer, AeroVironment’s website.

August 4, 2017 at 1:37 am Leave a comment

ASIA/PACIFIC: U.S. Marines at Australian Exercise.

The Marines Have Landed …

USS Green Bay conducts Talisman Saber 17

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

U.S. Marines maneuver combat rubber raiding craft toward Cowley Beach in Australia on July 8, 2017, during an amphibious raid rehearsal as a part of exercise Talisman Saber 17. These Marines are assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

… and Landed.

Marines Helo Australia Talisman Sabre 17.JPG

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sarah Myers)

Here Marines are disembarking from a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter for a ground assault training exercise as part of Talisman Saber 17 in Australia on July 12, 2017. More than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are participating in the biennial joint exercise, which runs through July 25.

Talisman Saber, jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force Headquarters Joint Operations Command, incorporates U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force and the Australian Defence Force, as well as other government agencies from both countries, according to Pacific Command.

Featuring 21 ships, including the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and more than 200 joint aircraft, this is the seventh iteration of the exercise. For 2017 it is focusing on training a Combined Task Force of U.S. and Australian forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario.

July 20, 2017 at 11:43 pm Leave a comment

UNMANNED AIRCRAFT: Cyclocopters Go All-Terrain

Paddlewheel Propulsion.

The U.S. Army’s quest for autonomous reconnaissance aircraft that can fit in the palm of a soldier’s hand has led to a breakthrough in vertical lift technology by researchers utilizing a concept long-known, but never successfully demonstrated: the cyclocopter.

Cyclocopter-Uof Md water test

The multi-modal quadrotor cyclocopter developed at the University of Maryland began aquatic mode testing in March. The unmanned aircraft, equipped with plastic foam pontoons, successfully crossed calm water. (Photo via Elena Shrestha)

A cyclocopter is a vertical lift aircraft — but unlike a helicopter — it has at least two rotors, one on either side of the servo and autopilot. A ring of rotor blades extend horizontally like the wings of an airplane and rotate around a horizontal axis, moving in a cycloidal way, like a paddlewheel on a riverboat.

Your 4GWAR editor reports on the latest developments in these tiny unmanned aircraft in the new issue of Vertiflite, a publication of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International.

In flight, the cyclocopter’s cycloidal rotors and their circular housing look something like a speeding exercise wheel in a hamster cage, but without the hamster. The angle of the rotor blades can be shifted, altering lift and thrust that allows the aircraft to shift seamlessly from vertical to horizontal. The rotating multiple, uniform blades provide the aircraft with 360 degrees of thrust vectoring.

The cyclo rotor concept is over 100 years old with recorded experiments dating back to 1909 but early researchers focused on manned flight and were never able to demonstrate a vehicle that could fly, despite several attempts in the 1930s

Texas A&M tiny cyclocopter

Researchers at Texas A&M achieved the world’s smallest cyclocopter, weighing just 29 g (1 oz). (Photo via Moble Benedict)

With funding from the Army Research Laboratory, engineers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University have been designing, building and flying unmanned  cyclocopters to demonstrate their agility and viability. At Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, student researchers have built small unmanned cyclocopters ranging in weight from just over two ounces (60 grams) to almost two pounds (900 grams). The largest of the little drones is multi-modal and designed to travel across land and water, as well as the air. At Texas A&M’s Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory, researchers have also developed a range of increasingly smaller cyclo rotor-powered drones, including one that weighs just 29 grams, currently the smallest ever made.

Anticipating challenging battle environments that U.S. forces will face in future conflicts, the Army Research Lab’s Micro Autonomous Systems and Technology (MAST) program began looking for promising technologies that would provide portable air and ground situational awareness devices for soldiers moving on foot through complex terrain, like dense urban areas. MAST’s Collaborative Technology Alliance (MAST-CTA) was created in 2008 to encourage cooperation among the military, industry and 20 research universities ….

TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY IN THE JULY/AUGUST ISSUE OF VERTIFLITE MAGAZINE, CLICK HERE.

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July 12, 2017 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 19, 2017)

The Starting Lineup.

US, Italy and Jordan special operations conduct combat search and rescue

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Conroy)

We haven’t had many photos of special operations forces lately, and since Special Ops is one of the topics we focus on here at 4GWAR, we’re glad to share this photo.

Here U.S. Air Force special tactics airmen, Italian special operations forces and members of the Jordanian Armed Forces Special Task Force conduct a simulated assault on a compound during exercise Eager Lion 17.

Eager Lion is being conducted at the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center in Amman, Jordan. This photo was taken May 11, 2017.

Air Force special tactics airmen are highly skilled operators trained and equipped to operate in difficult conditions with stealth, speed and teamwork. Their specialties include: combat controllers, para-rescuemen (or PJs), Special Operations Weather Team members, Tactical Air Control Party members and the Special Operations Surgical team.

To see what people with these specialties do, click on the highlighted words above.

May 19, 2017 at 3:44 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (March 17, 2017)

Sky Divers/Space Divers.

103rd Rescue Squadron Assists NASA during SENTRY ALOHA

(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sergeant Christopher Muncy.)

Airmen practicing new spacecraft recovery techniques jump from a C-17 cargo plane into the waters off Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam near Honolulu, Hawaii on March 7, 2017.

The white ring near the diver on the right is not a cloud or smoke but the wake of a small boat circling the orange target in the water far below these parachutists.

These pararescuemen and combat rescue officers, assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 103rd Rescue Squadron, 106th Rescue Wing, are training with the equipment and  techniques that will be used to recover the crew module of NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The skydivers got their lift to the exercise on a C-17 supplied by the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing, 204th Airlift Squadron.

To see more photos of this operation, click here.

 

March 17, 2017 at 12:21 am Leave a comment

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