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US Army’s Supergun Dumped After Low Demand For Failed Weapon

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US Army’s Supergun Dumped After Low Demand For Failed Weapon (VIDEO)

The Pentagon has gutted its XM-25 “supergun” program that was supposed to effect the strategy of hiding behind cover obsolete by shooting grenades that burst in the air near the target.

The XM-25 “Punisher” met its final punishment after the US Department of Defense learned that nobody wanted to bring the weapon into combat, according to a well-liked Mechanics report published Monday. It didn’t benefit the program’s cause that it wounded a soldier using the “supergun” in 2013.

The XM-25 program is a quintessential nightmare for Defense Department budget observers. Ballooning costs, a maze-like development schedule and outstanding questions about whether the weapon was useful at all led to the program’s demise, the well-liked Mechanics report notes.

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The XM-25 “Punisher” evolved from another failed US Army program, the XM-29, which was very heavy and 20 times as expensive as a single M-16 assault rifle, leading officials to question whether one XM-29 “Objective Individual Combat Weapon” was really worth 20 time-tested M-16s, War is Boring reported in 2014.

The XM-29 was also supposed to effect “taking cover” useless, but the weapon itself underwent an “identity crisis,” since its developers could not resolve whether the weapon was a rifle or a grenade-launcher, War is Boring observed. The gun shot 5.56-millimeter rounds and had a 20-millimeter computer controlled grenade launcher attached, according to War is Boring.

Warfighters evidently could not suss out whether to fire the grenades first or fire the rifle first, the report notes.

From that uncertainty, the XM-25 “Punisher” was born: it would still effect cover obsolete, but it would eliminate the rifle, leaving just the grenade launcher. The Punisher had larger slightly larger grenades than the Objective Individual Combat Weapon (25 millimeters versus 20 millimeter.)

The Army already has an M320 grenade launcher that fires 40-millimeter grenades, and the grenade-firing module can even be mounted on top of existing weapons like the M4 carbine.

According to well-liked Mechanics, the Punisher’s predecessor was useless in close-combat; the weapon was helpful for extremely specific circumstances, but what if the infantryman engaged in a combat situation that didn’t conform to what the weapon was obliging at? He’d be a sitting duck. “In 2013, a Ranger unit in Afghanistan refused to seize along the weapon, preferring to seize an M4 instead,” well-liked Mechanics noted.

The program was killed by the Pentagon as portion of an effort to slice wasteful spending from its budget, Stars and Stripes reported August 10. Of the total $2.3 billion the Pentagon is attempting to slice, “Though the exact potential monetary benefit for the XM-25’s cancellation was redacted, a Stars and Stripes analysis of the figures shows it alone could account for around $970 million.”

A spokesperson for the Army told Stripes last Thursday that the Pentagon was able to retain ownership of 20 XM-25s “as portion of the negotiated settlement” with Orbital ATK, the company that made the weapon and was acquired by Northrop Grumman last September for $7.8 billion in cash.

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A Man Took A Shot At Navy SEALs And Trainees With A Pellet Gun

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Naval Special Warfare Command says it will evaluate its training procedures after a group of Navy SEALs and trainees were shot at by a man with a pellet gun late Monday evening.

Around 10:30 p.m., Navy SEAL instructors and trainees were conducting a nighttime qualification dive when Scott Douglass Weaver, 47, confronted them near the Halsey Road bridge at Liberty Station, authorities said.

At one point, the man began firing a pellet gun at the divers. A Navy spokesman said that’s when the SEALs called the police.

San Diego Police arrested Weaver for assault with a deadly weapon, threats, brandishing a replica firearm and obstruction, a police spokesman said.

The Navy said no military personnel were injured. Police did not say whether Weaver had a motive for targeting the SEALs or if he was even aware of who he was firing upon.

“That will be determined after the investigation is completed,” San Diego Police Officer Billy Hernandez said in an email.

Navy SEALs are a clandestine special-warfare component of the Navy. As such, much of what they do — including training — is treated as sensitive information.

“We don’t want to highlight our training,” said Lt. Trevor Davids, public information officer at Naval Special Warfare Training Center. “(But) we do train in San Diego Bay.”

The notoriously arduous SEAL training school — Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) — is located at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Prospective SEALs train in the Silver Strand surf as well as other locations in and around the bay.

Davids said the Navy takes the safety of its students and the public into consideration when planning its training.

“We recognize we are training in a densely-populated area,” Davids said, “We have procedures in place to protect our students.”

Davids said the Navy will examine the incident in an “after-action” report, and that it could affect how future training is conducted.

“It’s something we (will) plan for and evaluate for the safety of our students and the public,” he said.

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Navy SEAL Teams Will Be Even Deadlier Due to This New Technology

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According to the Navy, fleet-ready prototypes of the OTMD could hit the water as soon as 2019 — which, depending on who you ask, probably isn’t soon enough.

Author: Jared Keller

It usually takes the Navy around five months to build even the smallest submarines to ferry Navy SEALs into and out of combat zones — but thanks to new technology, the Navy’s most elite warfighters could slap together a submersible hull in just a few weeks.

That’s the promise behind the Optionally Manned Technology Demonstrator (OMTD), the U.S. military’s first 3D-printed submarine hull, unveiled by the Navy on July 24. Fabricated by the high-tech Big Area Additive Manufacturing 3D printing machine at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the 30-foot submersible hull was inspired by the SEAL Delivery Vehicles used by the branch and U.S. Special Operations Command to deploy Navy special warriors and their gear into, particularly dangerous areas.

But while a traditional SEAL submarines cost up to $800,000 apiece and take three to five months to manufacture, six carbon-fiber composite sections of the OTMD took less than a month and only $60,000 to assemble, according to the Department of Energy — a shift that the Navy claims could massively reduce production costs.

The Department of Defense and global defense industry have put a premium on 3D printing (or “additive manufacturing,” if you want to be technical) for years, ranging from Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center’s fabricated “RAMBO” grenade launcher to portable printing units designed to help Marines repair essential gear faster downrange.

But the OTMD, apparently now the Navy’s largest 3D printed asset, represents a massive leap forward in terms of “on-demand” manufacturing. Rather than slap together expensive and time-consuming material requests during the long federal budgeting process, military personnel could simply fabricate vehicles and supplies on demand to adapt to changing operations. With U.S. special operations forces leading the charge in the Global War on Terror, assets like the OTMD could greatly increase their operational flexibility — and effectiveness.

According to the Navy, fleet-ready prototypes of the OTMD could hit the water as soon as 2019 — which, depending on who you ask, probably isn’t soon enough.

The article first appeared at the Task & Purpose.

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Marine Grunts on 1st-Ever Female Infantry Leader: ‘She’s One of Us’

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The first woman to graduate from the Marine Corps‘ notoriously grueling Infantry Officer Course is now leading a platoon of male grunts in Australia.

First Lt. Marina Hierl is the only female Marine to lead an infantry platoon in her service’s history. About a year after she reported to Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, the novelty of it all has worn off a bit — and she’s even left some male grunts rethinking their opinions about women in the infantry.

That’s according to a new report fromThe New York Times, which recently observed Hierl training her platoon in Australia’s Northern Territory. The grunts are deployed there as part ofMarine Rotational Force — Darwin, which spends half of every year Down Under.

The 24-year-old lieutenant from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, told the Times she didn’t know much about the military before joining the Marine Corps. What she did know is that she wanted to do something important with her life.

“I wanted to be part of a group of people that would be willing to die for each other,” Hierl said.

When former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced during her sophomore year of college that the policy barring women from serving in the infantry would be lifted, Hierl said she knew what she wanted to do.

“I wanted to lead a platoon,” she told the Times. “I didn’t think there was anything better in the Marine Corps I could do.”

But not everyone was convinced she had what it takes to lead 38 infantry Marines. Others in Echo Company have made sexist cracks about her platoon, The New York Times reported. But those reporting directly to her, even if skeptical at first, quickly recognized her capabilities.

Twenty-year-old Lance Cpl. Kai Segura is one of those Marines. In an interview with the Times, he recalled Hierl’s speed when leading her Marines back from an exercise in California’s Mojave Desert.

Infantry Marines are often leery of any new lieutenant who comes in to lead their platoons, but Hierl quickly showed they were going to have to keep up with her — not the other way around.

“She’s one of us,” Segura told the Times.

Hierl is one of just two women who’ve completed the Infantry Officer Course; 37 have attempted it.

She’ll continue operating with 2/4, which includes two enlisted female infantry Marines, in Darwin until the fall. Read more about Hierl’s platoon and what they’ve been up to on their Australian rotationhere.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@ginaaharkins.

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Search-and-Rescue Mission for Missing 13th MEU Marine Ends

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A massive search-and-rescue mission for a Marine believed to have gone overboard while deployed aboard a Navy ship near the Philippines last week has ended, Marine Corps officials announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard and Philippine coast guard concluded a five-day search Monday after covering 13,000 square miles in search of a service member who was reported missing Aug. 9.

The Marine’s status is still reported as missing, said Capt. Diann Rosenfeld, a spokeswoman for the Marine’s unit. More than 110 aerial sorties were flown during the search.

“Only after exhausting every possibility through persistent and thorough search efforts, we have concluded the at-sea search-and-rescue effort for our Marine,” Navy Capt. Gerald Olin, head of Amphibious Squadron One and commander of the search-and-rescue operation, said in a statement.

The Marine, whose identity has not been made public, is assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is deployed with the Navy’s Essex Amphibious Ready Group. His or her disappearance remains under investigation.

The Marine is believed to have gone overboard during routine operations in the Sulu Sea near the Philippines. Searches for the Marine took place in the Surigao Strait and Sulu and Mindanao seas.

“All of our Marines and sailors demonstrated a tremendous resilience and put forth an extraordinary effort over the past five days, and I am humbled by the teamwork and professionalism displayed by all involved to find our Marine,” Col. Chandler Nelms, the MEU’s commanding officer, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers have been and will continue to be with our Marine’s family during this difficult time.”

The Essex ARG and 13th MEU deployed last month from San Diego and are en route to the Middle East. It’s the first ARG to deploy from the continental U.S. with MarineF-35B Joint Strike Fighters aboard.

— Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at@ginaaharkins.

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Religious Website Triggers Complaint Against Air Force General

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A group of U.S. Air Force officers, enlisted personnel and civilian employees are calling for an investigation into the installation commander of Edwards Air Force Base in California, accusing him of violating Defense Department policies on religious proselytizing.

On Sunday, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation demanded that Defense Secretary James N. Mattis “immediately and comprehensively” investigate Air Force Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert.

The foundation, which seeks to maintain the separation of church and state in the military, provided reporters with a copy of the demand Monday.

At issue is Teichert’s website, called Prayer at Lunchtime for the United States, in which the commander says he encourages “Bible-believing Americans to take time to specifically pray for our nation at lunchtime every day.”

The foundation has asked the Defense Department to determine whether Teichert’s conduct “interferes with or violates the civil liberties of service members and civilians under his command” or “the diversity or equal opportunities of service members and civilians under his command.”

Michael Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said his organization represents 41 “client complainants,” most of whom are practicing Christians. The group also includes Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists, he said.

In the group’s demand letter, foundation attorney Donald Rehkopf accused Teichert of “using both his military rank as well as his position and status as an Air Force officer to aggressively promote his brand of religion _ clearly giving the appearance if not outright impression that he, in his official status, is endorsing if not outright proselytizing” his religion.

Teichert’s publicly posted remarks “demonstrate his discriminatory animus and overt condemnation of all personnel under his command who do not share his personal and particular dominionistic brand of Christianity,” the complaint letter said.

Teichert commands the 412th Test Wing and is also the installation commander, according to the Edwards website.

On his religious website, Teichert goes only by “John,” and writes that he is an active duty brigadier general who has served in the Air Force since 1994, “and who was saved by grace through faith in Christ in 2004.”

“The Lord has blessed his career while burdening his heart with the need for our nation to return to its Christian foundation,” his biography on the website says.

The website includes a prayer list, which includes “President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Trump administration,” “a return to our Biblical foundation,” “recognition of God’s preeminence in our lives and in our land” and “the unborn,” among others.

The website also links to a 2014 interview that uses Teichert’s full name and discusses his military career. In it, he says, “We have allowed our country to slip away from its founding Christian principles while it has become increasingly intolerant of Christianity.”

Requests for comment by representatives of Edwards Air Force Base and the Pentagon were not answered Monday.

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Russian Multi-Rotor Helicopter’s Design Will Be Ready by End of 2018

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The design of a multi-rotor helicopter with a hybrid engine is expected to be developed in Russia by the cessation of 2018, an aircraft manufacturing industry source told Sputnik.

“By the cessation of this year, it is planned to outline the technical characteristics and develop the design of an aircraft powered by a hybrid engine and equipped with a multi-rotor system,” the source said

A hybrid engine is a combination of a traditional aircraft engine with an electric motor. This design decision aims at reducing the takeoff weight, improving the efficiency of all helicopter systems, and increasing the duration and the range of flight.

In June, a source in the aircraft manufacturing industry told Sputnik that Russia’s research and manufacturing association Aviation Systems has developed the TAKR 7001 tactical recon drone system, which comprises fixed-wing and multi-rotor unified unmanned aerial vehicles.

According to the source, the fixed-wing drone, dubbed K-0106, is a high-wing monoplane powered by a single turboprop in tractor configuration. The drone has a takeoff weight of up to 6.5 kilograms (over 14 pounds) and can stay in the air for up to 1.5 hours.

The multi-rotor drone, dubbed K-0107, is a quadcopter with four rotors placed on folding radial beams. The UAV has a takeoff weight of up to 5.1 kilograms (over 11 pounds) and can glide for about an hour.

Both drones expend a communications system developed by the Aviation Systems company, which allows ground operators to maintain control over the vehicles at a distance of up to 15 kilometers (over 9 miles). The drones are equipped with a unified optical recon system that is capable of identifying people at a distance of 1.5 kilometers at daytime and one kilometer at night.

Russia is currently carrying out a large-scale rearmament program, announced in 2010, to achieve a 70-percent modernization of its military hardware by 2020.

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Army-2018 Forum’s Agenda Includes National Security in Arctic – Russian MoD

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Army-2018 Forum's Agenda Includes National Security in Arctic - Russian MoD

The communication between various agencies on ensuring the national security in the Arctic will be discussed at the upcoming Army-2018 defense industry forum in Russia’s Vladivostok, the Russian MoD said Tuesday.

“There will be a special focus on the discussion of the interaction between government agencies needed to ensure security in the Arctic region and on the development of the international cooperation to counter the threat of the growing militarization of the Arctic,” the ministry said.

According to the ministry, the forum participants will discuss the geopolitical aspects of the development of the region and the potential developments in the military and political situation in the Arctic.

“To tackle the issue of the international legal regulations of the activities of the states in this region, specialists will study the threats to the national security and the history of their appearance,” the ministry said.

Russia is paying special attention to the nuclear-powered icebreaker ships and polar aviation, with regards to the security in the Arctic, the ministry said.

Vladivostok is hosting several events of the forum on August 24-26, while in Moscow the forum will be held on August 21-26.

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Chinese Navy Tests Interceptors After US B-52 Flyover

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Chinese Navy Holds Live Fire Drills in Taiwan Strait

The Chinese navy recently tested its surface warfare fighting ability in the East China Sea.

Ten corvettes were randomly selected from the People’s Liberation Army-Navy to test their ability to thwart anti-ship missiles, according to PLA Daily, a Chinese newspaper. The drills were held to prepare for potential Japanese or US belligerents.

Last week, US B-52 bombers buzzed over the East China Sea.

“If the first round of interception failed, the vessels [carrying these interceptors] must adjust [their] position in no time so as to launch another bid,” the PLA Daily said over the weekend. The frigate Meizhou of the PLA Navy’s South China Sea fleet reportedly performed well during the tests.

“Intercepting anti-ship missiles is an urgent task as the surrounding threats grow,” Song Zhongping, a military expert, told the Global Times Sunday. “Anti-missile capability is indispensable to building a fully functional strategic PLA Navy. Such exercises are aimed at ensuring the PLA is prepared for battles.”

The Australian Navy recently inked a $26 billion contract with Bae Systems to produce nine frigates, which analysts saw as a response to China’s burgeoning fleet, Breaking Defense reported June 28.

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US, Japan Putting $9 Billion Into Developing Guam as Okinawa Alternative

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US, Japan Putting $9 Billion Into Developing Guam as Okinawa Alternative

A multibillion US-Japan project to develop the island of Guam as a base for more US Marines is underway following years of complaints about the US military’s footprint in Okinawa, Japan.

The $8.7 billion project is being funded in share by the United States, which is covering more than $5 billion of the project costs, while Japan is chipping in $3 billion, according to Stars and Stripes. The preparations and changes to Guam are intended to invent the island ready to support more than 4,000 Marines slated to arrive sometime in the next decade, according to a report by Stars and Stripes published Monday.

“It is clearly moving forward. We’re in the early stages of the main base… there are a lot of very senior leaders that are, I assume, pleased with where we’re going because we are showing actual progress with clear this site, and I assume it’s gaining momentum… so it’s grand to see,” Capt. Daniel Turner, commander of Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas, told the outlet.

A share of the job has been to explode ordinances remaining from World War II, but there are some 60 projects that need to be completed on the island, including building unusual barracks for troops to live in. The island already has some significant military infrastructure, as the US’ Andersen Air Force Base is located there.

The drag to station more Marines in Guam is motivated by the near-constant complaints by Japanese residents regarding the US Marine presence in Okinawa, “the keystone of the Pacific that many Marines call home,” in the words of veteran Marine turned Task and Purpose columnist James Clark.

Many Okinawa residents resent the Marines’ presence, and some local politicians, including former Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, took strong positions against the US base. A 1995 incident in which three US service members abducted and raped a 12-year-used Okinawan girl led to widespread protests against the US presence in the prefecture. Such crimes and less egregious ones committed by US service members possess kept tensions between locals and US service members simmering.

As share of the Pacific “realignment” and attempts by Tokyo and Washington to resolve the issue, an deal was struck in 2008 by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to drag thousands of US troops from Okinawa to Guam, Hawaii and Australia.

share of the intention also involved moving share of the Marine presence on Okinawa from a city to a remote area on the prefecture. Japanese residents possess not been blissful with this arrangement either. About 70,000 people gathered in Okinawa’s capital of Naha to demonstrate their opposition to the relocation of Marines from a dense urban are to a remote share of the island, Japan Times reported Saturday.

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