Bofors Demo 1992- Your Sunday Morning Splodey

I can’t remember if I’ve shown these before or not. Four videos showcasing pretty much all of Sweden’s massive Bofors Defense product line. Lots of good splodey.





Titusville Warbird Museum

The really cool thing about this blog is that I can share my vacation photos, and no one seems to mind too much.

The official name of the museum is Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, and the docent was kind and indulgent to the nerds in our little group. (Engineers can’t help it.)
We got to stick our heads in the bomb bay of this B-25.
DSCN0064 crop
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Marine Helos- Why so big?

TimActual had a comment on the Marine air assault on Hawaii:

I have never understood why the Marines like to use BIG targets to carry troops.
And that air assault looked pretty casual to me. We were always taught to get everything off the LZ ASAP, birds and men.

As to why the Marines tend to choose somewhat larger helicopters than the Army, I alluded to that years ago in a post on the Chinook.

The Army, as it evolved its air assault doctrine, saw infantry troops (as part of a combined arms team with artillery and aerial fire support) delivered directly upon the objective. One key doctrinal issue that wanted to address was unit integrity. They wanted to ensure that the basic unit, the rifle squad, was delivered intact. That meant the optimal assault helicopter would carry an 11 man rifle squad, which, from the UH-1D on through to today’s UH-60M, is just what seating is provided, if not always the actual lifting capacity. Between three rifle squads, a weapons squad, and the platoon headquarters, four helicopters could lift a single assault platoon.

The Marines, while they might have liked to embrace the same philosophy, faced two challenges the Army did not. First, they were far more constrained in terms of manpower. Unlike the Army, with the majority of its aviators being warrant officers, the Marines aviators are all commissioned officers. Given that the total number of commissioned officers available to the Marines was set by Congress, they couldn’t afford as many helicopter pilots as the Army, especially considering the numbers needed to fly the Marines fixed wing aircraft.

The other, bigger issue was simply one of space. The Marines are a seagoing force. That means they have to be embarked on ships, and even the largest of ships for amphibious operations have severe constraints on the total numbers of aircraft they can operate.

The carrying capacity, both in weight and in volume, increase faster than the actual size of an aircraft. That is, an aircraft twice as large as another can reasonably be expected to carry not twice as much, but three times as much.  It didn’t take long for the Marines to realize that two CH-46s, carrying 25 troops each –that is, a Marine rifle platoon- took up a lot less deck space than the 4 or 5 UH-1s it would take to lift a platoon. As an added bonus, it would take only half as many pilots, not to mention the numbers of enlisted aircrew, and maintenance personnel.


The Marines did understand the risk involved, namely that losing one aircraft had a much greater impact, particularly in terms of lives potentially lost, and also in terms of unit integrity. If a platoon loses a squad, it might theoretically still be able to function. But losing half a platoon most certainly renders it combat ineffective. 

That same size issue, known as the spot factor, also influenced the size of the MV-22B, which accomodates 24 troops, in a spot factor little bigger than a CH-46. In that case, you’re trading an increase in size for an increase in performance, rather than capacity. It’s a tradeoff.

As to TimActual’s comment on using the CH-53E itself, that’s also somewhat influenced by the confines of amphibious shipping.  The MV-22 is fine for landing the initial waves. But there are only so many available aboard a ship. And the embarked Marines simply must have a certain number of the larger CH-53s aboard to move things like artillery. But they aren’t always doing that, so they are occasionally available for the lift of troops.

As to expeditiously moving off the Landing Zone, it should be remembered that Marine doctrine (and really, Army as well) is to conduct the landings away from known enemy positions. The aerial movement is simply the first stage of maneuver, leading to the dismounted movement to either a defensive position, or the line of departure for the assault. One should not dally on the ground, or disembarking the helos, but neither is tripping off the back ramp a good idea because one was unduly rushing.

Airborne Bushmaster



An AC-130W Stinger II gunship and Airmen from the 73rd Special Operations Squadron fire the 30mm GAU-23/A cannon on ground targets during a close air support training exercise. The GAU-23/A is an upgraded version of the ATK Mk44 Bushmaster Automatic Cannon. Filmed on April 27, 2015.

New U.S. Bases in Poland and Lithuania to Counter Putin?

Officials in Lithuania and Poland told Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin they’re concerned enough about the threat posed by Russia that they want to host U.S. military bases.

The Illinois Democrat traveled to the two NATO member states, as well as to Ukraine, during the Memorial Day break, meeting with officials in the three countries. Durbin told reporters Friday he met in Lithuania with the country’s president and prime minister, as well as members of Parliament.

“They went so far to say they want the United States, if they will consider it, to put in a permanent military base in Lithuania, which I thought was an interesting request,” Durbin said.

At a subsequent stop in Poland, Durbin said he heard similar sentiments from officials there, including from representatives for Polish President-elect Andrzej Duda.

“They, too, expressed concern about Putin’s aggression and a desire to have the United States place permanent military facilities in their country,” Durbin said. “We have, I might say, in both Lithuania and in Poland, ongoing exercises, maneuvers and training between American forces and NATO forces, but clearly they want more.”

via New U.S. Bases in Poland and Lithuania to Counter Putin?.

The Poles are begging for US troops in significant numbers. At a minimum, a Brigade Combat Team.

Lithuania isn’t as exposed as Estonia and Latvia, but it’s still pretty exposed. And it has a very unhappy history of being occupied. It’s rather understandable they would wish for stronger security assistance from us.