Saturday, August 20, 2011

BBC News - US military develops 'bigger bang' explosive material

BBC News - US military develops 'bigger bang' explosive material

The US Office of Naval Research says that it has successfully tested a new type of explosive material that can dramatically increase weapons' impacts.

Missiles made from the high density substance can explode with up to five times the energy of existing armaments.

The material mixes metals and polymers and is said to be as dense as steel but have the strength of aluminum.

US Navy scientists say that projectiles made from the new compound are less likely to kill innocent bystanders.

Missiles, artillery shells and other military munitions are normally constructed with a steel casing that simply contains the high explosives within.

This new approach from the US Office of Naval Research replaces the inert casing with High-Density Reactive Materials (HDRM) that combine and explode only when the projectile hits the target.

According to navy researchers, recent tests have shown that the HDRMs are durable and significantly enhance the explosive effect. They increase the chances of what the military scientists term a "catastrophic kill"...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Libya rebels take control of Zawiyah oil refinery | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

Libya rebels take control of Zawiyah oil refinery | Agricultural Commodities | Reuters

Aug 18 (Reuters) - ZAWIYAH Aug 18 (Reuters) - Libyan rebels were in control of the coastal oil refinery in Zawiyah on Thursday following fighting with forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, a Reuters reporter at the refinery said.

Small groups of rebels were inside the complex and there was no sign of pro-Gaddafi forces, the reporter said. (Reporting by Yvonne Bell; editing by Richard Valdmanis)...

-- bth: if rebels hold this refinery and the naval blockade continues, Gaddafi has no hope of holding Tripoli. This may be the decisive event.


Iraqi Kurdistan Votes To Deploy Peshmerga Troops Into Diyala Province -- Antiwar.com

Iraqi Kurdistan Votes To Deploy Peshmerga Troops Into Diyala Province -- Antiwar.com

Lawmakers in Iraqi Kurdistan have decided to send Peshmerga fighters into a neighboring province of Iraq to secure the unstable region and act as negotiators with Iran over a brewing water crisis. Meanwhile, at least 16 Iraqis were killed and 22 more were wounded in ongoing violence elsewhere.

The Iraqi Kurdistan Parliament, which operates as part of the Kurdish Regional Government and is separate from Iraq’s main parliament, has voted to resume sending Peshmerga security forces into Diyala province. Although the province is politically separate from Iraqi Kurdistan, which is made up of three northern provinces, a high number of Kurds reside in some border areas. Many of them have recently demonstrated for the return of the Peshmerga troops.

Nearly three years ago the Peshmerga were forced to quit providing security for Diyala when Iraq’s central government reasserted its control of the province. More recently, a similar deployment in nearby Kirkuk earlier this year created tensions with the central government, further suggesting that Iraq will not welcome a new Peshmerga operation in Diyala. Adding to the confusion is the recent ending of U.S. participation in a combined U.S.-Iraq-Peshmerga operation along the de facto border between Kurdish and Arab areas of Iraq....

-- bth: the Kurdish situation continues to simmer and will not be going away.


Army defends body armor after report - The Washington Post

Army defends body armor after report - The Washington Post

The U.S. Army pushed back Thursday against a recent inspector general’s report that criticized the testing of body armor used by many soldiers in Afghanistan, praising the quality of the armor and playing down concerns.

At a Pentagon news conference, Lt. Gen. William Phillips, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, told reporters that the ceramic plates used in soldiers’ body armor resulted in “the best body armor that exists in the world today, and the best-tested.”

The inspector general’s report, dated Aug. 1, took issue with the testing of various lots of ceramic inserts for body armor and questioned whether the right bullets were fired at the correct velocity at the samples. The report also said testing did not deal with humidity and temperature requirements, as well as weather and altitude factors.

The report said that “because we did not conduct any additional testing, we could not conclude that ballistic performance was adversely affected by inadequate testing and quality assurance.”

But Phillips said that he had just come home from Afghanistan, where troops returning from operations spoke well of the body armor. In fact, Phillips said, “our soldiers have the greatest confidence in their body armor,” adding that it is “a combat motivator.”...

-- bth: the problem with the army approach to this problem has been one of covering the ass of the brass and not optimizing results and qualifying body armor in real world circumstances where heat, humidity and wear are real factors.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Daily Times - Army waiting for ‘uprising’ against foreigners in NWA

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - Army waiting for ‘uprising’ against foreigners in NWA''
PESHAWAR: The military is awaiting Wazir and Dawar tribes to initiate a ‘Wana-like uprising’ against foreign militants in North Waziristan where the US wants action against Haqqani network, tribal elders and military officials said on Wednesday.

“We hope North Waziristan tribes follow in the steps of Ahmedzai Wazirs to oust the foreign terrorists,” said the senior army officials requesting not to be named. In spring 2007, Ahmedzai Wazir tribes joined ranks of ‘good’ Taliban commander Mullah Nazir to take up arms against Uzbek terrorists who had unleashed a reign of terror in Wana, Azam Warsak and Kalosha towns in South Waziristan. The joint efforts of the tribes and Mullah Nazir-led Taliban resulted in purging the Wazir areas of the dreaded Uzbek terrorists, however.

“Yes, we are hoping it happens sooner than later,” the military officials went on to express support for such action by the tribes to minimise chances of any army action the government may contemplate if the situation does not get better. Any such uprising against foreign terrorists in North Waziristan will also aim at pushing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Hakeemullah Mehsud and his commanders and foot soldiers.

Army commanders on the ground are encouraging the tribes to follow the Ahmedzai Wazir tribes. However, ground reality appears quite in contrast to South Waziristan where the local tribes stood united behind Mullah Nazir. “North Waziristan situation is complex as local tribes lack unity and the group which may lead the uprising is hostage to the foreign militants and element of money (from al Qaeda) is also impeding the likelihood of any such eventuality,” the military officials said...

-- bth: this looks like a clever and effective approach by the Pak military