Thursday, 24 January 2013

Grenades grenades grenades!

Alright, back to some military themed posts. There have been a profusion of new hardware gimmicks making their debut on the market, which are aimed towards improving the effectiveness of grenade launchers. Some of these are major leaps forward in capability over what previous designs have been able to provide. Before we embark on studying all the specifics of this, it is worth deliberating over exactly what the true purpose of these weapons are in combat. While the role of traditional hand grenades has been portrayed as that of an area denial weapon, defining a space in which no human being would venture into (which has the useful ability to be safely thrown from behind cover), the handling of a grenade launcher clearly has different elements involved. For example, in order for the operator to acquire a target, he must partially expose himself and become vulnerable to counterfire. Additionally, the added size and weight of the grenade launcher entails a shift in weapon status for its wielder, from secondary to primary. While the greatly increased range and accuracy is a definite plus, the grenade launcher has moved away from its previous status as a risk free weapon of convenience.
Now, with that observation out of the way, lets have a look at all the innovative designs at our disposal. There is the milkor M32, metal storm 3GL, QLZ-87B, PAW-20, F2000, and XM-25. The latter two examples introduce remarkable new employment options. The GL1 grenade launcher (mounted composite with the F2000 rifle) features an integrated laser sight, which verifys the range to target. The user only needs to paint the 'object of interest' to activate the ballistic computer, which will provide him with an effortless firing solution: Elevating the grenade launcher in the direction of the target, he will be informed of whether or not it is at the correct firing angle by LED lights mounted on the sight. When considering the curved trajectory of the 40x46mm round, this will allow shooters to easily place shells into enemy dead space. The XM-25, on the other hand, provides the same ability through a considerably different process. Again using a laser rangefinder to determine the distance to the target, this time, the weapons ballistic computer will provide detonation commands to the fuze of a grenade in the chamber. It does this by calculating the number of rotations the round will make on its way to the target! Clever, eh? By virtue of the weapons flat arc, any grenades it spits out will explode at a distance that was pre-set by the user and computer (which, in most cases, would be directly above an enemys head). This allows the saturation of targets in foxoles and trenchs, even without the use of plunging fire (as the F2000 system does).

The QLZ-87B, PAW-20, and XM-25 are all multi-shot weapons, being fed from a stacked magazine in a conventional manner. The fact that they do not need to be reloaded after each discharge is a highly desirable feature. Unfortunately, the latter two examples make use of proprietary grenade calibers, which are small and limited in their potency. The former example, while using full sized rounds, is also quite heavy and inconvenient for a single soldier to carry around. This marginalises their applicability as a grenadier weapon, with the attributes to replace the workhouse M320. What is needed is a system that is fairly lightweight, can fire multiple shots, has an affinity for counter defilade shooting, and also fields the standard 40x46mm grenade rounds. These requirements rule out everything except for the milkor M32, and metal storm 3GL! The imposing EX-41 china lake model (which won so much acclaim in ralph zumbros book) would also be a prime candidate, were it not for the fact that it had a tiny production run, and has been out of service for decades. The question we now have to ask ourselves is, which model has the best characteristics for its role as a primary weapon? Lets go through all the specifics. For size and weight, the M32 is 32 inchs long, and 11.7 lbs in weight. The 3GL, meanwhile, is 30 inchs long, and 5.5 lbs in weight. This clearly gives it the edge, even though its magazine capacity is of three rounds, compared to the mikors six (the difference between three grenades and six is, after all, smaller than the difference between three grenades and one!).

 The EX-41, in all its glory. As paris
hilton would say... Thats hot.

However, the question we really need to ask ourselves now is whether or not the 3GL (in its current form) is worth the cost of acquisition? Although there would not be the difficultys with ammo incompatibility that are faced by the XM-25, it really doesn't seem worth it to go through the trouble of replacing the just recently introduced M320 system... That is, until, you take a look at the untapped potential the 3GL posses'. The metal storm technology this weapon is based on allows multiple rounds to be loaded into, and fired from, a single barrel. This is distinct from those designs which make use of revolver or magazine fed systems, which can be quite bulky when packing many full sized grenades. Additionally, the 3GL has been designed to be within the same tolerances as the M203/M320 and so achieves similar range, velocity & accuracy. It makes use of standard 40x46mm grenade warheads which are inserted into the metal storm ‘tail assembly.’ Again, this would make the system much more attractive to nations which currently use the standard 40x46mm rounds. The modern caseless propellant and gas seals developed by metal storm are clearly secure, and the electrical firing system is much simpler than the earlier efforts. The MS rounds basically use STK projectiles with a caseless propellant and gas seal unit affixed to the back, in place of the usual cartridge case.

With that being the case, there is a specific direction that this grenade launchers design could be taken in, to make it a truly worthy addition to our nations arsenal. Anthony g williams, in his article, some thoughts on metal storm, imagined a new type of grenade launcher which could take advantage of the MS propellant block and gas seal. This allows multiple rounds to be loaded and fired from a single barrel, making for a much more compact weapon than competing MGL systems. By using two barrels, with four rounds in each, it would be handier than the milkor, with a faster rate of fire, more ammunition capacity, and the opportunity to employ multiple different rounds at the same time. One option would be to keep the first barrel loaded, and leave the second free to hand load specialised rounds such as flare, smoke, or video reconnaissance types. This would obviate the need for the operator to employ a personal weapon, as they would have the capability to fire flechette rounds to neutralise point targets. Maybe this would be the opportunity to introduce those canister rounds that g2mil mentioned back in the day. You know, the ones which splinter into multiple segments so as to cover one square meter of space at a distance of 500 meters?

Actually, there are a large variety of special rounds that can be implemented with this design, which would make this double barreled grenade launcher a truly multi purpose weapons system. Even something as wacky as a HEDP round that can be guided towards a moving target through a SACLOS setup. But this is a topic best saved for another post. For now, our objective of investigating the best possible replacement for the M320 that money can buy is complete. The fire control system of the F2000 has especially interesting potential, particularly when considering it can be programmed to take into account the ballistic properties of up to six or more types of grenades... As a final note, just in case some people are still confused about what the squad mission of a grenade launcher is, it is enlightening to look at the results of the vietnam-era Infantry Rifle Unit Study (IRUS). According to it, the M79 pattern weapon was found to be most effective when employed as an area suppression weapon in the attack, but of comparatively little value in the defense. Whether a multi shot design like the EX-41 (which was in service at around that same time period) would suffer from these same weakness' is unknown. Only the future will tell!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New years prospects

A list of objectives I have for 2013. Some of these may not be entirely plausible (!), and my implementation of them might be limited to simply lobbying more powerful groups to give them consideration.

-Stage a conference warning about the limitations of the scientific method: This is critical because of the many areas of study which have been neglected due to methodological holes in our framework. Contrary to popular belief, science is not an infallible process. In general, theorys and/or findings are accepted only when they become more useful than harmful for the current generation of scientists. For example, although practical cold fusion power would be very useful to society as a whole, its realisation would be harmful to physicists engaged in the research of alternative methods of energy production. Hot fusion is a big business which consumes billions of dollars a year, and the establishment has a vested interest in seeing that this remains so. There are other problems that work in concert with this obstructive conservatism, like complexity brakes, confirmation bias, etc.

-Smooth over the differences between the various truth factions: At this moment in time, the movement is split into numerous different camps. They are mainly divided on what destroyed the world trade centers, I.E, controlled demolition, nuclear ordnance, directed energy weapons, etc. But this also extends to other matters, like on what (if anything) hit the pentagon. In a word, it is planes vs no planes. That is not a category of my own devising, BTW. The view that flight 77 actually did crash into the pentagon has been widely adopted among the upper echelon of truthers, and they have declared anyone not in agreeance with their stance as a no-planer. This includes people such as myself, who are compelled by the fighter jet/global hawk evidence. These sibling rivalrys have been going on for too long, and it is time they get settled in an adult manner!

-Get some papers published in scientific journals: Yes, it is true. I have ambitions of getting my ideas passed through the vaunted peer review process, so that they may obtain recognition (and derision) from the community at large. Circulating ones theorys on the blogosphere can only take you so far, after all. At a certain point, after you realise that your concepts have reached maturity... You have to man up and face the gauntlet of experts, salivating at the thought of ripping your precious ideas to shreds. The sad fact is, in order for your views to have any real impact on the world, they will need to achieve the gold star of peer review. At this point, I have three different subjects in mind, all completely unrelated to each other, as is my practise. There is an amalgam theory of hominid-to-human evolution, some speculation on the abilitys of superintelligent agents, and possibly (I hope) a hypothesis for how the twin towers were demolished.

-Redress the unfair stigma that is associated with anarchism: For some reason or another, this political ideology has received the full wrath of the establishment propaganda. Anarchists are treated like contagious lepors, which is surprising, given that their philosophy is based merely on the rejection of dictators (I.E, any leader who rules by force), and adherance to the non-aggression principle. Many thinkers who identify themselves with anarchism, such as stefan molyneux, have provided solid reasons for why a civilised peoples should never be willing to trust their leaders as far as they can throw them, regardless of whether they were 'elected' to their position or not. The government is an organisation which has a built in shelf life, past which, it becomes a bloated hulk corrupted by special interests, totally incapable of serving the public interest. If the people understood simple concepts like these, maybe they wouldn't be scratching their heads, wondering why the world is some $50 trillion plus (at a minimum!) in debt.

-Get some professional advertising for the blog: Well, it goes without saying, but theres no such thing as too much publicity! I started this site for the express purpose of compiling some opinions of mine that could not be conveyed through a video log (for one reason or another), which would only be shared amongst my small audience. A glorified journal log, in short. For the first 9 months or so, thats exactly what it was. But then around may, I started getting alot more incoming traffic, and people leaving me messages commenting on stuff I had covered. This got me thinking that there was more potential for this blog than I originally thought, and I started publicising it randomly across the internet. This brought in even more views, and now I am hooked on the idea... At this point, its a forgone conclusion that investing some money into data mining engines would be appropriate.

-Pursue the indictment of the 911 suspects: In agreement with the citizens investigation team, I feel the best strategy in seeking justice for the victims is for informed and concerned citizens to join together to put pressure on local, state, and even federal authorities to seek indictments against those who are already directly implicated in these savage crimes. Imagine what would happen if this process was actually completed, and someone like paul bremer, joseph kasputys, or jerome hauer was forced to testify in court about their personal actions on the day of (and preceding) the september 11th attacks. It would make norman minetas testimony seem almost insignificant by comparison! For my part, I plan to vigorously pursue this campaign by lobbying media figures and elected representatives (though I have no idea exactly which individuals would be amenable to such requests) to investigate the suspicious connections that these men have with the criminal bush family, and how they could have facilitated amongst themselves a false flag attack.

As an aside, there are a number of other unfolding situations which deserve some attention. The your-rights-volunteer campaign is a small youtube phenomenon that is starting to gather some steam. It is a unique idea on how to challenge the establishment, and bypass the traditional routes of cultural reform. I will be very interested to see what direction this will all go, but will refrain from participating in it any further until I get more information. With that said, I do think the guys aims are way overambitious, and I have no idea how he is planning to overcome some of the technical challenges. How will the YRV movement spread to the point where it can achieve a 51% majority anywhere, especially with voter fraud and such? How will they know the right person to elect for the position, someone who has the skills and isn't indebted by special interests? And finally, how does one county recall the elected partys of the whole state/province? Its a major unknown at this point.

Within a couple of months, I would also like to make some more videos pertaining to subjects like conspiracy, and how they are interpreted differently by each person. Some individuals react to it as a black person would to nigg3r, they are just that narrow minded and PC. Pathologising the behaviour of pseudo-skeptics will also be very important, seeing as how they have completely ran off the deep end and abandoned all pre-texts of impartiality when making their sweeping judgements on fringe ideas. Would also like to write some essays regarding post-singularity ethics. One lesson I have in mind is drawn from an african folk story, about how a clever hyena was able to act in mirthless ways without suffering the traditional repercussions that are bestowed on wrong doers by society. Realising that instrumental benevolence will cease to be a concern for superintelligent agents is a leap that most people seem unable to make, so deeply ingrained is its sway within their psyche.

Until next time, best wishes, and happy new year!