Saturday, March 10, 2012

US Moves Away from M-2 Bradley while Brits Keep Pursuing an IED Death Trap Warrior

Armor: A Quiet Farewell For the M-2 Bradley
March 5,
2012: One of the little-known casualties of the Iraq war was the
American M-2 Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle). Five years ago the
U.S. Army stopped using the M-2 in combat. By then it was clear that
the enemy was intent on using mines and roadside bombs in a big way and
the M-1 tank, Stryker, and MRAP vehicles were much better able to handle
these blast weapons than the M-2.

... It did not happen, mainly because there was no way of getting around the M-2's vulnerability to roadside bombs. The M-1 was too heavy (60 tons) to be hurt by bombs or mines, and Stryker and MRAPs were designed to cope with the close range explosions.

The army is trying to come up with a new IFV design. The MRAP and Stryker are not adequate replacements because these wheeled vehicles have poor off-road capabilities. The design of the new GCV (Ground Combat Vehicle) is supposed to be ready by 2015, after which prototypes would be built and tested. At best, the army might have a new IFV by the end of the decade. Meanwhile, thousands of M-2s are still in service and would be sent into combat if it was believed roadside bombs were not going to be a major presence on the battlefield. At the same time the U.S. has let it be known that M-2s can be had, cheap. Several potential buyers have expressed interest.

IFVs were developed half a century ago to provide infantry with some protection (from bullets and shell fragments) and a way to keep up with tanks. IFVs did this but they were always vulnerable to anti-vehicle mines and roadside bombs. Both these weapons were used against IFVs, particularly in Vietnam. But the especially heavy use of anti-vehicle weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the development of V hulled armored trucks to defeat these explosive devices, made traditional IFVs particularly vulnerable and not competitive with MRAPs and their anti-explosion features....

- bth: So the Americans have moved away from the Bradley because for all its attractive benefits, it is hopelessly vulnerable to IEDs and anti-tank mines which were widely used in Iraq.  It is unlikely that an enemy would forget this vulnerability in any future conflict.  The V-Hulled MRAPS simply out survived the M-2.  So the Taliban killed 6 Brits this week by blowing up the Warrior which like the Bradley is hopelessly vulnerable to mines and IEDs because of its low flat hull.  The Brits are kidding themselves, their soldiers and their people about this deficiency because they don't want to make the necessary investments required to move to more modern vehicles. This is a horrible disservice to their troops.

Iraqi teenagers stoned to death for "emo" haircuts by Mobify
At least 90 Iraqi teenagers with "emo" appearances have been stoned to death by religious extremists in Baghdad in the past month after an inflammatory interior ministry statement dubbed it "devil worshiping", activists said.

Iraq's Moral Police released a chilling statement on the interior ministry's website condemning the "emo phenomenon" among Iraqi youth, disturbingly declaring its intent to "eliminate" the trend.

"The 'Emo phenomenon' or devil worshiping is being followed by the Moral Police who have the approval to eliminate [the phenomenon] as soon as possible since it's detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger," the statement read.

"They wear strange, tight clothes that have pictures on them such as skulls and use stationary that are shaped as skulls. They also wear rings on their noses and tongues, and do other strange activities," it continued.

Religious extremists caught onto the interior ministry statement, and have been harassing and killing teenagers with "strange" or "emo" appearances.

A group of armed men dressed in civilian clothing led dozens of teenagers to secluded areas a few days ago, stoned them to death, and then disposed their bodies in garbage dumpsters across the capital, according to activists.

The armed men are said to belong to “one of the most extremist religious groups” in Iraq...

How the British Warrior Kills Troops in Afghanistan and How the MOD Generates Misinformation

This week six British soldiers traveling in a Warrior fighting vehicle were killed by a large Taliban IED.  The British government and media lackeys have been making all kinds of wild statements.  Here are a couple:
  • The Taliban has discovered how to make undetectible IEDs.
  • The IED was constructed by Iranian operatives who made it undetectible
  • The Warrior is heavily armored against IEDs
  • There was nothing the British government could have done to prevent this.
  • The British government is making a large investment in upgrading these vehicles to prevent successful IED attacks.
Deaths in Afghanistan

Tragic: Six soldiers feared dead
Let's look at this tragedy is a more objective mindset.
  • First IEDs have accounted for the majority of Coalition kills and in particular for the British.
  • Second, a British coroner raised severe questions about the Warrior as a fighting platform against IEDS 3 or 4 years ago.  The reason the Warrior is vulnerable is because it has a big flat low slung underbelly which traps the blast causing the full impact if the IED explosion to go into and through the hull. This is why the US abandoned flat hulls and went to v-hulled  MRAPS and equivalent vehicles.  By raising the height of a vehicle and using a v-hull, especially one with reactive properties, a blast can be reduced by about 14 times thus saving the crew.  The British government has consistently lied to the public about this fact and their lack of investment in vehicles needed to save their soldiers' lives.
  • Third, the Brits say that they have made major investments in upgrades, but if you read the article you see that the billion they refer to hasn't in fact been spent at all.  The upgrades against IEDs didn't occur.  The investment was in gun stabilization and anti-RPG systems.  The Brits did make some investment in counter electronic warfare (cell phone initiators and such) but for the most part the Taliban had abandon that approach and gone to pressure plates, command wires and low metallic content IEDs.  
  • Fourth, now there is this media hype and statements by the PM that Iranians are behind it and are somehow making undetectable IEDs and that somehow it is linked to Iranian nuclear efforts.  What a crock.  Irian forces do in fact supply Shiites with IED materials from time to time, but those are almost exclusively EFPs which have metal projectiles.  There are virtually no EFPs used in Afghanistan.  The majority of IEDs are from ANFO homemade explosives with little or no metallic content.  This low metal content makes them very difficult to detect.  It also means they have low shrapnel content and thus generally don't penetrate metal hulls, unless they are big flat bellied things like Warrior.  ANFO on a flat hulled target is likely to be pressure plate activated and can generate a tremendous blast which this was seemed to do.  Often they will flip such a vehicle.  It also doesn't take a great deal of aiming and accuracy as the quoted British general implies when all they have to do is offset the pressure plate the vehicle runs over enough from the IED that the IED hits square on under the passenger compartment of the Warrior.  One might speculate that this may have happened here.  To detect such 'undetectable' IEDs the Americans often use a roller that goes in front of the vehicle.  This convoy did not seem to have any such thing. It just found the IED by running over it with its treads and low flat underbelly to catch the full impact of the blast.
  • Fifth, the Warrior was well designed for fighting armored columns in northern Europe.  Its low belly and treads make it good for going across muddy fields in Europe and wouldn't do too badly in Afghanistan if it were allowed to drive across opium fields, but last I checked the British rules of engagement were to cause minimal damage and thus the Warriors were to stay on the road.  On a road all the advantages of treads over wheels are negated or worse.
  • Sixth, thus one can see how MOD avoids the obvious that the Warrior was the wrong vehicle for this conflict because it is essentially a death trap and an un-upgraded one at that, while asserting it was the Iranians that caused it or that it couldn't be prevented or that the Warrior has been upgraded to the tune of one billion; none of which is true.


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Afghan Air Force Probed in Drug Running

e-Ariana - Todays Afghan News
KABUL - The U.S. is investigating allegations that some officials in the Afghan Air Force, which was established largely with American funds, have been using aircraft to ferry narcotics and illegal weapons around the country, American officials told The Wall Street Journal.

Two probes of the Afghan Air Force, or AAF, are under way—one led by the U.S. military coalition and another by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, officials said.

"The nature of the allegations is fairly dramatic and indicated that [AAF officials] were transporting drugs on aircraft and transported weapons not owned by the government of Afghanistan for the use of private groups," said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Training Mission-Afghanistan, the command that is establishing and financing Afghan security forces, including the AAF.

Gen. Bolger cautioned that the investigation was still preliminary and the allegations couldn't be proved at this stage.

As part of the inquiry, the military also is looking into whether the alleged transporting of illegal drugs and weapons was linked to an April incident in which an AAF colonel gunned down eight U.S. Air Force officers at Kabul Airport. In a 436-page report released by the U.S. Air Force in January about the killings, several American officials are quoted as mentioning that the shooter, Col. Ahmed Gul, was likely involved in the transportation of illicit cargo and wanted to shut down a probe into it....

U.K. worried about dirty bombs

Dirty bombs radiation risks nuclear weapons radiation detection terrorism | Homeland Security News Wire
U.K. deputy prime minister Nick Clegg warned that materials to make a dirty bomb are readily available – so much so, that police forces cannot hope to contain such a threat; “That is a stateless threat, impossible for any national police force, no matter how advanced, to contain,” he said

Smoke from the explosion carries radioactive contaminants over a wide area // Source:

U.K. deputy prime minister, in a speech at The Hague yesterday, said materials to make a dirty bomb are readily available – so much so, that police forces cannot hope to contain such a threat.

A dirty bomb threat may well have been unimaginable a generation ago, he said, but no country can now afford to ignore the risk...
-bth: Authorities can't evacuate the area in a timely manner if the attack is in London proper.

India police arrest man with Iran link over Israel attack

India police arrest man with Iran link over Israel attack | Reuters
(Reuters) - Indian
authorities have arrested a local journalist working for an Iranian news
agency in connection with last month's Israeli embassy car bomb blast, a
police official said Wednesday.
It was the first arrest over the February 13 attack that Israel has blamed Iran of perpetrating. An Israeli diplomat's wife, her driver and two others were wounded, and the blast coincided with an attack on another Israeli diplomat in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The freelance Indian journalist, Mohammed Kazmi, was arrested in a southern district of the capital, New Delhi, on Tuesday evening and charged with criminal conspiracy, Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

News channel NDTV reported that Kazmi, who was produced in a local court Wednesday, had been in touch with one of the attackers. He was not directly involved in the attack itself, in which a motor-cyclist attached a bomb to the car and set off the device....

-bth: so law enforcement is slowing putting the pieces together.

Afghan President defends scholars’ guideline regarding women

President defends scholars’ guideline regarding women | Pajhwok Afghan News
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday said a guideline concerning women issued by the Afghanistan Ulema Council, involving the country’s top religious scholars, was in accordance with the Sharia.

Issued on Feb. 2, the guideline prohibits women from meeting men in public places like bazaars, offices and educational institutes. It said women, while travelling, must always be accompanied by male guardians.

But western media reports quoted some people as saying that the guideline was in conflict with the Constitution and amounted to curbing women’s right.

At a news conference in Kabul, Karzai said: “The Ulema Council, which issues a guideline every month, has in fact supported women in line with Islamic laws.”...

-bth: and we are fighting to keep this guy in power?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Black-I Robotics out robot testing with NIST

Ryan Mulley and Marty Cosgrove of Black-I Robotics at a remote test facility in New Mexico for the National Institute of Science & Technology

Iraq getting M113s from US

Armor: Iraq Can't Get Enough M-113s

February 26, 2012: Iraq is receiving another 440 refurbished M-113 tracked armored vehicles this year to equip its new mechanized combat force. Iraq already has over 200 M-113s. The U.S. has built over 80,000 of these 12 ton tracked vehicles in over half a century. Carrying a crew of two and eleven passengers armament usually consists of a 12.7mm machine-gun (and often another 7.62mm machine-gun)....