Archive for the ‘Weapons’ Category

Military Robots Armed to the Teeth   Leave a comment




Marines test equipments provided by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Camp Pendleton, California.

Posted January 2, 2017 by markosun in Weapons

How Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles Work   Leave a comment


I always wondered how these nuclear missiles are launched. Especially how they are propelled to the surface from the submerged submarine. The answers below addressed these questions very clearly.




From Juergen Nieveler:

First of all, the missile launch is a two-stage process – the missile engine doesn’t actually start until it’s clear out of the water. SLBMs and vertical-launched Tomahawks actually get pushed out by high-pressure air with enough force to lift the tail end a few feet out of the water – then the rocket engine kicks in, and in the case of the Tomahawk the process of deploying and starting the jet engine and dropping the rocket engine begins. With Harpoon it’s a bit different – they are launched horizontally from the torpedo tube within a container shaped a bit like a torpedo. That container then angles upwards and soon breaches the water surface… then the top blows off and the missile is launched from inside the launch container.

All of those missiles will get a last position update right before launch, so they’ll roughly know where they are when they leave the water – the vertically launched missiles of course having a better position fix than the tube-launched ones, as those travel a bit downrange. Once airborne, the missiles will then switch on their GPS receivers and will get a position fix from GPS within seconds (military GPS receivers getting a much more accurate signal than the civilian ones…). Once the navigation system has an updated position, it will plot an updated course for the missile to follow.





From Gururaq Kalanidhi:
In the earlier 1950s~1960s when the first operational Ballistic Missile submarines (or Boomers) were being tested, the technologies for an underwater missile launch were not feasible. This was because, the ballistic missiles were liquid fuelled. This meant that the missile was huge and cumbersome. This meant that only 1 or 2 could be carried onboard. Also, since it was powered by liquid fuels, it could not be ignited sub-surface. This meant that the submarine had to surface for a launch. This would give away the location of the submarine. Hence, scientists across the world were trying hard solve this problem. The solution came with the development of solid fuel rockets. These rockets usually made from carbon, sulphur and others did not need oxygen for their combustion. This made the missile more compact and powerful. This meant that the missile could be launched from within the submarine… However, launching a rocket/ missile from the confines of a submarine presents with a unique set of challenges. The launch would put tremendous pressure on the submarine body.

Hence, the scientists came up with a underwater launch system using pressurised air.

The launch from the submarine occurs below the ocean surface. The missiles are ejected from their tubes by igniting an explosive charge in a separate container which is separated by seventeen titanium alloy pinnacles activated by a double alloy steam system. The energy from the blast is directed to a water tank, where the water is flash-vaporized to steam. The subsequent pressure spike is strong enough to eject the missile out of the tube and give it enough momentum to reach and clear the surface of the water. The missile is pressurized with nitrogen to prevent the intrusion of water into any internal spaces, which could damage the missile or add weight, destabilizing the missile. Should the missile fail to breach the surface of the water, there are several safety mechanisms that can either deactivate the missile before launch or guide the missile through an additional phase of launch. Inertial motion sensors are activated upon launch, and when the sensors detect downward acceleration after being blown out of the water, the first-stage engine ignites. The aerospike, a telescoping outward extension that halves aerodynamic drag, is then deployed, and the boost phase begins. When the third-stage motor fires, within two minutes of launch, the missile is traveling faster than 20,000 ft/s (6,000 m/s), or 13,600 mph (21,600 km/h).




United States Ohio Class Trident Missile Submarine


030606-N-0000X-005 Washington, D.C. (Jun. 6, 2003) -- Artist concept of the SSGN conversion program. Four Ohio-class strategic missile submarines USS Ohio (SSBN 726), USS Michigan (SSBN 727) USS Florida (SSBN 728), and USS Georgia (SSBN 729) have been selected for transformation into a new platform, designated SSGN or Tactical Trident. The SSGNs will have the capability to support and launch up to 154 Tomahawk missiles, a significant increase in capacity as compared to other platforms. The 22 missile tubes will also provide the capability to carry other payloads, such as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces equipment. This new platform will also have the capability to carry and support more than 66 Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land) and insert them clandestinely into potential conflict areas. U.S. Navy graphic. (RELEASED)


Posted December 23, 2016 by markosun in Military, Weapons

The World’s First Nuclear Armed Cruise Missile Submarine   Leave a comment




USS Grayback (SS/SSG/APSS/LPSS-574), the lead ship of her class of submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grayback, a small herring of commercial importance in the Great Lakes.

Her keel was laid down on 1 July 1954 by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard of Vallejo, California. She was launched on 2 July 1957 sponsored by Mrs. John A. Moore, widow of the last skipper of the USS Grayback (SS-208) and commissioned at Mare Island on 7 March 1958 with Lieutenant Commander Hugh G. Nott in command. Grayback was initially designated as an attack submarine, but was converted to a Regulus nuclear cruise missile submarine (SSG-574) in 1958.



In mid-1956, it became Navy policy to keep one SSG in each ocean, and Tunny shifted her base of operations to Pearl Harbor in 1957. Meanwhile, the Navy had laid down two large diesel-electric submarines specifically to carry Regulus, launching USS Grayback (SSG-574) in March 1958 and USS Growler (SSG-577) in August of that same year. Each of these two near-sister ships displacing approximately 3,600 tons submerged could accommodate a total of four Regulus I missiles in a pair of cylindrical hangars set into the large, bulbous bow. These hangars opened aft through a set of doors by which the weapons could be moved onto a trainable launch ramp set into a well forward of the sail. The ramp was rotated athwartships for launching.



After the Soviet Union and then the United States successfully tested their first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 1957, the nuclear arms race moved into a more dangerous phase. In late 1958, with four SSGs and four Regulus cruisers in commission, the Navy responded by moving all of the submarines and three of the cruisers to the Pacific to maintain regular deterrent patrols threatening the Soviet Far East. In particular, Submarine Squadron ONE was formed of the four SSGs at Pearl Harbor and adopted a readiness posture that put at least four missiles on station in the Western Pacific at all times, to complement existing carrier-based aircraft armed with nuclear weapons. (This required deploying either the two converted fleet boats together or one of the two Graybacks.) Tunny departed on the first of these regularly scheduled deterrent patrols in October 1959, whereas Grayback’s and Growler’s first patrols commenced in early 1960.

As Polaris missile submarines became operational, they assumed the deterrent functions previously assigned to Grayback and her sister ships. The Regulus missile program ended in 1964 and Grayback was withdrawn from active service. She decommissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, on 25 May 1964.




The Regulus 1 was the first operational U.S. Navy cruise missile. Designed to attack ground targets, it carried a nuclear warhead, flew at subsonic speeds up to an altitude of 9,144 meters (30,000 feet), and had a range of 800 kilometers (500 miles). A turbojet engine powered the missile to its target after two boosters were jettisoned. The missile was deployed on several aircraft carriers, heavy cruisers, and submarines (in watertight containers on the deck) from 1955 to 1964. Radio signals from a control aircraft or other submarines were the primary means of guiding the missile. The Polaris, the first U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missile, replaced the Regulus 1. Chance Vought built this missile and the U.S. Navy transferred it to NASM in 1988.

They referred to this missile as a cruise missile. Yet it flew at 30,000 feet. Todays cruise missiles fly below 200 feet.

Weight 13,685 pounds (6,207 kg)
Length 32 feet 2 inches (9.80 m)
Diameter 4 feet 8.5 inches (1.435 m)
Warhead 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) such as the W5 warhead or the W27 warhead

Engine Allison J33-A-14 turbojet 4,600 lbf (20 kN)
2 × booster rockets 33,000 lbf (150 kN)
Wingspan 21 feet (6.4 m) extended
9 feet 10.5 inches (3.010 m) folded
500 nautical miles (926 km)
Speed Subsonic



Posted November 30, 2016 by markosun in Weapons

Long Lost Nuke Found Off the Coast of Canada?   Leave a comment



The Royal Canadian Navy confirmed today that a mysterious object found off the coast of B.C.’s North Coast is not a bomb or a lost nuclear weapon.

The navy was deployed at the request of RCMP to investigate the area near Haida Gwaii after diver Sean Smyrichinsky found a suspicious object during a diving trip near Banks Island.

Banks Island is in the Hecate Strait, approximately 110 kilometres south of Prince Rupert. (Google Maps)

In a statement, the navy said the object is “a metal part of a larger machine assembly and appears to be a piece of industrial equipment.”




November 5, 2016

A diver exploring off the coast of British Columbia may have found a legendary nuclear bomb that went missing in the 1950’s.

Sean Smyrichinsky spotted the strange object during a diving expedition near Canada’s Banks Island.


Banks Island



“It resembled, like, a bagel cut in half, and then around the bagel these bolts molded into it,” Smyrichinsky told the CBC.

When he first emerged from the water after encountering the mystery object, Smyrichinsky marveled to his fellow divers that he had just spotted a UFO!

However, he later investigated what it could have possibly been and concluded that it was likely a nuclear bomb that was lost in a U.S. Air Force crash in 1950.

The incident had been kept secret by the American government for years and the ultimate whereabouts of the bomb had long been the subject of debate among researchers.

Comparing images of the ‘lost bomb’ to what he saw during the dive, Smyrichinsky is convinced that it must be the infamous armament, probably because any other possibly was too fantastic to consider.

Smyrichinsky mused to the CBC, “I was thinking UFO, but probably not a UFO, right?”

Since the discovery is not too far from where the American Air Force plane went down in 1950, the chance of Smyrichinsky’s object being the bomb seems fairly likely.

Fortunately, the ‘mystery object’ will not linger as an unsolved case for long as the Canadian Navy is en route to examine Smyrichinsky’s find and determine what it is.

Although an official with the Canadian Air Force claims that the ‘lost bomb’ from the 1950’s is not dangerous, we wouldn’t want to be the guy in the wetsuit who has to go down there and find out.




On 14 February 1950, a Convair B-36B, Air Force Serial Number 44-92075 assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing at Carswell Air Force Base, crashed in northern British Columbia after jettisoning a Mark 4 nuclear bomb. This was the first such nuclear weapon loss in history. The B-36 had been en route from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska to Carswell AFB in Fort Worth, Texas, more than 3000 miles south-east, on a mission that included a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco.

Plane 44-92075, was flying on a simulated nuclear strike combat mission against the Soviet Union. The B-36 took off from Eielson AFB with a regular crew of 15 plus a Weaponeer and a Bomb Commander. The plan for the 24-hour flight was to fly over the North Pacific, due west of the Alaska panhandle and British Columbia, then head inland over Washington state and Montana. Here the B-36 would climb to 40,000 feet (12,000 m) for a simulated bomb run to southern California and then San Francisco, it would continue its non-stop flight to Fort Worth, Texas. The flight plan did not include any penetration of Canadian airspace. The plane carried a Mark IV atomic bomb, containing a substantial quantity of natural uranium and 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of conventional explosives. According to the USAF, the bomb did not contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation.

Cold weather (−40 °F/−40 °C on the ground at Eielson AFB) adversely affected the planes involved in this exercise, and some minor difficulties with 44-92075 were noted before takeoff.  Seven hours into the flight, three of the six engines began shooting flames and were shut down, and the other three engines proved incapable of delivering full power. The subsequent investigation blamed ice buildup in the mixture control air intakes.

The crew decided to abandon the aircraft because it could not stay aloft with three engines out of commission while carrying a heavy payload. The atomic bomb was jettisoned and detonated in mid-air, resulting in a large conventional explosion over the Inside Passage. The USAF later stated that the fake practice core on board the aircraft was inserted into the weapon before it was dropped.

Inside Passage



The aircraft commander steered the plane over Princess Royal Island to spare his crew having to parachute into the cold North Pacific, whereupon the crew bailed out. Before bailing out last, he set a turning course toward the open ocean using the autopilot.

The plane had been in constant radio contact with Strategic Air Command headquarters at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, and within minutes of the bailout the Royal Canadian Air Force launched Operation Brix to find the missing men. Poor weather hampered search efforts; nevertheless 12 of the 17 men were eventually found alive. Four of the five deceased airmen were believed to have bailed out of the aircraft earlier than the surviving crew members, and it was assumed that they landed in the ocean and died of hypothermia. Canadian authorities were never told that the aircraft was carrying a nuclear weapon.


Crash site



To search for the B-36, planes were pulled off the search for a C-54 that had disappeared three weeks earlier. A more exhaustive search was not launched for the plane, as it was believed to be at the bottom of the Pacific. Three years later, however, a RCAF flight searching for the missing de Havilland Dove aircraft of Texas millionaire oilman Ellis Hall spotted the B-36’s wreckage. It was found on the side of Mount Kologet, about 50 miles (80 km) east of the Alaskan border, roughly due east of the towns of Stewart, British Columbia and Hyder, Alaska, on the east side of the isolated Nass Basin northwest of Hazelton, British Columbia.

The USAF immediately began an investigation. A team was sent in September 1953, as the effort was given a high priority, but they failed to reach the site after 19 days of trudging through the wilderness. The effort was resumed the following year with better equipment, and in August 1954 a new team of USAF personnel accompanied by a local guide reached the wreckage. They recovered important components and then used explosives to destroy what was visible above the snow.

In 1956, two civilian surveyors chanced on the wreck and noted its exact location, which otherwise remained unknown for the next 40 years. In 1997 one of the surveyors provided the coordinates to two distinct expeditions, one American and one led by the Canadian Department of National Defence, seeking to conduct an environmental analysis of the site. Both expeditions reached the wreck around the same time, and members were apparently the first humans to set foot in the area since 1956. The Canadian-led mission found no unusual radiation levels. In late 1998, the Canadian government declared the site protected. A portion of one of the gun turrets is on display at The Bulkley Valley Museum in Smithers, British Columbia.

In November 2016 a diver reported he had discovered something that looked like a segment of the (non-nuclear) bomb that the co-pilot said they had dumped before the crash.



Posted November 29, 2016 by markosun in Aviation, Weapons

There is still too many nuclear weapons in the world   Leave a comment




Nine countries together possess more than 15,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 1,800 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning. Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945. A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.


Size comparison of nuclear explosions




The failure of the nuclear powers to disarm has heightened the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons. The only guarantee against the spread and use of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them without delay. Although the leaders of some nuclear-armed nations have expressed their vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world, they have failed to develop any detailed plans to eliminate their arsenals and are modernizing them.

United States The first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them in war. It spends more on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.  6,970 warheads
Russia The second country to develop nuclear weapons. It has the largest arsenal of any country and is investing heavily in the modernization of its warheads and delivery systems.  7,300 warheads
United Kingdom It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. It is considering whether to overhaul its nuclear forces or disarm.  215 warheads
France Most of its nuclear warheads are deployed on submarines equipped with M45 and M51 missiles. One boat is on patrol at all times. Some warheads are also deliverable by aircraft.  300 warheads
China It has a much smaller arsenal than the US and Russia. Its warheads are deliverable by air, land and sea. It appears to be increasing the size of its arsenal at a slow pace.  260 warheads
India It developed nuclear weapons in breach of non-proliferation commitments. It is increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and enhancing its delivery capabilities.  100–120 warheads
Pakistan It is making substantial improvements to its nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure. It has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal in recent years.  110–130 warheads
Israel It has a policy of ambiguity in relation to its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. As a result, there is little public information or debate about it.  80 warheads
North Korea It has a fledgling nuclear weapons programme. Its arsenal probably comprises fewer than 10 warheads. It is not clear whether it has the capability to deliver them. <10 warheads
Total 15,350 warheads




I came across a British tabloid site that had an article on where is the best places on the planet to survive a nuclear war. The list is funny, to say the least.



Kansas City! Kansas City is a major American population center. It undoubtedly would be targeted by the Russians.

The island of Guam in the eastern Pacific is a United States territory. It hosts a major American nuclear submarine base and thousands of Marines. Without a doubt, it is targeted.

Cape Town and Antarctica would possibly be safe places. But after the world economy and infrastructure is destroyed. Who do the residents of these places deal with? Tristan Da Cunha would be the safest place on the list.

Isle of Lewis, Iceland, Bern and the Yukon: These places wouldn’t be targets, but they would have to contend with a 5 year nuclear winter of 24 hour dark skies and intense fallout radiation. Not good places. 

The key here is that these horrible weapons are built for deterrent. Nobody wants to use them, there would be no winner. And with the safeguards in place it is highly unlikely responsible nations would accidently launch a nuclear attack. However, there is rogue countries with the bomb like North Korea, and to a lesser extent Pakistan. Kim Jong-Um is a very deranged and scary individual. He could do anything. Another concern is if terrorists would get their hands on a weapon. There would not be any second thoughts by those radical extremists to try and use a bomb.





Posted October 16, 2016 by markosun in War, Weapons

German Tiger compared to the U.S. Abrams   Leave a comment

The infamous World War II German Tiger tank was a very formidable battle machine. To destroy one, it would take three to four US Sherman tanks to attack it from behind. How would that beast compare with a modern U.S. M1-Abrams main battle tank?



Abrams left and Tiger



Type Heavy tank
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–45
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Erwin Aders
Henschel & Son
Designed 1941
Manufacturer Henschel
Unit cost 250,800 RM
Produced 1942–44
Number built 1,347
Specifications (RfRuK VK 4501H Ausf.E, Blatt: G-330)
Weight 54 tonnes (60 short tons)
Length 6.316 m (20 ft 8.7 in)
8.45 m (27 ft 9 in) gun forward
Width 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
Height 3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)
Crew 5

Armour 25–120 mm (0.98–4.72 in)
1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
92 rounds
2× 7.92 mm MG 34
4,500 rounds
Engine Maybach HL230 P45 V-12
700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)
Power/weight 13 PS/t (9.6 kW/t)
Suspension torsion bar
Ground clearance 0.47 m (1 ft 7 in)
Fuel capacity 540 L (140 US gal) including reserve
110–195 km (68–121 mi)
Speed 45.4 km/h (28.2 mph)

Gun range: 1,100 meters



Type Main battle tank
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1980–present
Wars Persian Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
War on ISIL
Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen
Production history
Designer Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems)
Designed 1972–79
Manufacturer Lima Army Tank Plant (since 1980)
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant (1982–1996)
Unit cost US$6.21 million (M1A2 / FY99) Estimated in 2016 as US$8.92 million (with inflation adjustment)
Produced 1979–present
Number built 10,000
Variants See variants
Weight M1: 60 short tons (54 t)
M1A1: 63 short tons (57 t)
M1A2: 72 short tons (65 t)
Length Gun forward: 32.04 ft (9.77 m)
Hull length: 26.02 ft (7.93 m)
Width 12 ft (3.66 m)
Height 8 ft (2.44 m)
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Armor M1, M1A1: Burlington composite armor
M1A1HA, M1A2: depleted uranium mesh-reinforced composite armor

  • M1: Hull & turret –
    350 mm / 470 mm vs APFSDS,
    650 mm / 700 mm vs HEAT
  • M1A1: Hull & turret –
    600 mm vs APFSDS,
    700 mm vs HEAT
  • M1A1HA: Hull –
    600 mm vs APFSDS,
    700 mm vs HEAT,
    Turret –
    600 mm / 800 mm vs APFSDS,
    1,300  mm vs HEAT
M1: 105 mm L/52 M68 rifled gun (55 rounds)
M1A1: 120 mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun (40 rounds)
M1A2: 120 mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun (42 rounds)
1 × .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2HB heavy machine gun with 900 rounds
2 × 7.62 mm (.308 in) M240 machine guns with 10,400 rounds (1 pintle-mounted, 1 coaxial)
Engine Honeywell AGT1500C multi-fuel turbine engine
1,500 shp (1,120 kW)
Power/weight From 26.9 hp/t (20.05 kW/t) to 23.8 hp/t (17.74 kW/t)
Transmission Allison DDA X-1100-3B
Suspension High-hardness-steel torsion bars with rotary shock absorbers
Ground clearance M1, M1A1: 0.48 m (1 ft 7 in)
M1A2: 0.43 m (1 ft 5 in)
Fuel capacity 500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal)
M1A2: 426 km (265 mi)
Speed M1A1: Road 45 mph (72 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 30 mph (48 km/h)
M1A2: Road 42 mph (67 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 25 mph (40 km/h)

Gun range: 2,500 meters


Tiger on the right






The Israelis build their own tanks, the Merkava.





Posted August 31, 2016 by markosun in Military, Weapons

LOCUST Launcher Fires A Swarm Of Navy Drones   Leave a comment

line May, 2016



Birthed into the sky with all the fanfare of a soda bottle pop, the drone swarm took flight from its metallic silos. One drone every second, until the whole swarm is airborne. Pop, pop, pop, this is the future of war, according to the Office of Naval Research.

“LOw-Cost Unmanned aerial vehicle Swarming Technology”, or LOCUST, as the program is known, is an evocative acronym, immediately bringing to mind biblical retribution against Pharaoh and countless other famines wrecked by the flying, grain-hungry insects.

The military program is modestly less sinister. It’s lots of small drones, folded up into tubes, and then put into the sky to cover and scout an area together. For decades, America has fielded aircraft more expensive than the weapons used to knock them out of the sky. One solution to this, and that favored largely by the Air Force, is stealthy planes, which are much harder for anti-air missiles to hit. Another option, which is growing on the Air Force and which the Navy demonstrates here, is instead to throw lots of smaller, cheaper robots into the sky, with a single human controlling them from afar, and let the enemy waste expensive anti-air missiles on drones, while redundant swarm members complete the mission.

We’ve seen this swarm demonstrated before. The latest video, released by the Office of Naval Research yesterday, shows a refinement of the technology, and curiously leaves out the tactical simulation, where some swarm drones turn into weapons and blow up targets on the ground. That may be missing from the video below, but it’s still very much part of the future plans for machines like this.



This should be a very aggravating irritant for those ISIS nincompoops.

Posted July 12, 2016 by markosun in Weapons

US Navy keeps electromagnetic cannon in its sights   Leave a comment


A railgun is an electromagnetic projectile launcher based on similar principles to the homopolar motor. A railgun uses a pair of parallel conductors, or rails, along which a sliding armature is accelerated by the electromagnetic effects of a current that flows down one rail, into the armature and then back along the other rail.

Railguns are being researched as a weapon that would use neither explosives nor propellant, but rather rely on electromagnetic forces to achieve a very high kinetic energy of a projectile. While explosive-powered military guns cannot readily achieve a muzzle velocity of more than about 2 km/s, railguns can readily exceed 3 km/s, and thus far exceed conventionally delivered munitions in range and destructive force. The absence of explosive propellants or warheads to store and handle, as well as the low cost of projectiles compared to conventional weaponry come as additional advantages.

In addition to military applications, NASA has proposed to use a railgun from a high-altitude aircraft to fire a small payload into orbit; however, the extreme g-forces involved would necessarily restrict the usage to only the sturdiest of payloads.




The United States Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division demonstrated an 8 MJ railgun firing 3.2 kg (7.1 lb) projectiles in October 2006 as a prototype of a 64 MJ weapon to be deployed aboard Navy warships. The main problem the U.S. Navy has had with implementing a railgun cannon system is that the guns wear out due to the immense pressures, stresses and heat that are generated by the millions of amperes of current necessary to fire projectiles with megajoules of energy. Such weapons, while not nearly as powerful as a cruise missile like a BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missile that will deliver 3000 MJ of destructive energy to a target, will theoretically allow the Navy to deliver more granular firepower at a fraction of the cost of a missile, and will be much harder to shoot down versus future defensive systems. For context another relevant comparison is the Rheinmetall 120mm gun used on main battle tanks will generate 9 MJ of muzzle energy. An MK 8 round fired from the 16″ guns of an Iowa Class battleship at 2500 fps (762 m/s) has 360 MJ of kinetic energy at the muzzle.

Since then, BAE Systems has delivered a 32 MJ prototype (muzzle energy) to the U.S. Navy. The same amount of energy is released by the detonation of 4.8 kg (11 lb) of C4.



The Navy may eventually enhance railgun technology to enable it to fire at a range of 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) and impact with 64 megajoules of energy. One shot would require 6 million amps of current, so it will take a long time to develop capacitors that can generate enough energy and strong enough gun materials.

Posted June 27, 2016 by markosun in Weapons

Gigantic Gun for bringing down Waterfowl   Leave a comment


A Punt Gun, used for duck hunting but were banned because they depleted stocks of wild fowl

Called the “Punt Gun” this firearm of unusual size could discharge over a pound of shot at a time, and dispatch upwards of fifty waterfowl in a single go.  A punt gun is a type of extremely large shotgun used in the 19th and early 20th centuries for shooting large numbers of waterfowl for commercial harvesting operations and private sport. “Used for duck hunting” isn’t the right expression for aiming this piece of artillery in the general direction of a flock of ducks, firing, and spending the rest of the day picking up the carcasses.




In the early 1800’s the mass hunting of waterfowl to supply commercial markets with meat became a widely accepted practice. In addition to the market for food, women’s fashion in the mid 1800’s added a major demand for feathers to adorn hats. To meet the demand, professional hunters developed custom built extremely large shotguns (bore diameters up to 2″) for the task. These weapons were so cumbersome that they were most often mounted on long square-ended flat-hulled boats called punts. Hunters would typically use a long pole to quietly push their punt into range of a flock of waterfowl resting on the lake and, POW. A single shot from one of these huge guns could kill as many as 50 birds. To increase efficiency even further, punt hunters would often work in groups of 8-10 boats. By lining up their boats and coordinating the firing of their single shot weapons, entire flocks of birds could be “harvested” with a single volley. It was not unusual for such a band of hunters to acquire as many as 500 birds in a single day. Because of the custom nature of these weapons and the lack of support by the weapons industry, they were often rather crude in design. Most were sturdy hand-built muzzle loaders fired with percussion caps.



The Punt Guns were too big to hold and the recoil so large that they were mounted directly on the punts used for hunting, hence their name. Hunters would maneuver their punts quietly into line and range of the flock using poles or oars to avoid startling them. Generally the gun was fixed to the punt, thus the hunter would maneuver the entire boat in order to aim the gun. The guns were sufficiently powerful, and the punts themselves sufficiently small, that firing the gun generated so much force that it pushed the boat back.

In the United States, this practice depleted stocks of wild waterfowl and by the 1860s most states had banned the practice. The Lacey Act of 1900 banned the transport of wild game across state lines, and the practice of market hunting was outlawed by a series of federal laws in 1918.




The 2004 film Tremors 4: The Legend Begins featured a punt gun used in combat. This punt gun was custom-built for the film and was 8 feet 4 inches (2.54 m) long, weighed 94 pounds (43 kg), and had a 2-inch-diameter (51 mm) bore (classified as “A” gauge by the Gun Barrel Proof Act of 1868 in Schedule B). The weapon was not actually of this bore, instead being a large prop shell concealing a 12 gauge shotgun firing triple-loaded black powder blanks, with the barrel sprayed with WD-40 lubricating oil to produce a large smoke cloud on firing.





Posted June 1, 2016 by markosun in Weapons

“Atomic Annie”   Leave a comment


The M65 atomic cannon, often called “Atomic Annie“, was a towed artillery piece built by the United States and capable of firing a nuclear device. It was developed in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War, and fielded, by 1953, in Europe and Korea.

Picatinny Arsenal was tasked to create a nuclear capable artillery piece in 1949. Robert Schwartz, the engineer who created the preliminary designs, essentially scaled up the 240mm shell (then the maximum in the arsenal) and used the German K5 railroad gun as a point of departure for the carriage. (The name “Atomic Annie” likely derives from the nickname “Anzio Annie” given to a German K5 gun which was employed against the American landings in Italy.) The design was approved by the Pentagon, largely through the intervention of Samuel Feltman, chief of the ballistics section of the ordnance department’s research and development division. A three-year developmental effort followed. The project proceeded quickly enough to produce a demonstration model to participate in Dwight Eisenhower’s inaugural parade in January 1953.




The cannon was transported by two specially designed tractors, both capable of independent steering in the manner of some extra-long fire engines. Each of the tractors was rated at 375 hp, and the somewhat awkward combination could achieve speeds of 35 miles an hour and negotiate right angle turns on 28 ft wide, paved or packed roads. The artillery piece could be unlimbered in 15 minutes, then returned to traveling configuration in another 15 minutes.

On May 25, 1953 at 8:30am, the atomic cannon was tested at the Nevada Test Site (specifically Frenchman Flat) as part of the Upshot-Knothole series of nuclear tests. The test — codenamed “Grable” — was attended by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Arthur W. Radford and Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin Wilson; it resulted in the successful detonation of a 15 kt shell (W9 warhead) at a range of seven miles. This was the first and only nuclear shell to be fired from a cannon (the Little Feller 1 test shot of an M388 used a Davy Crockett weapon system which was a recoilless smooth bore gun firing the warhead mounted on the end of a spigot inserted in the barrel of the weapon.)

After the successful test, there were at least 20 of the cannons manufactured at Watervliet and Watertown Arsenals, at a cost of $800,000 each. They were deployed overseas to Europe and Korea, often continuously shifted around to avoid being detected and targeted by opposing forces. Due to the size of the apparatus, their limited range, the development of nuclear shells compatible with existing artillery pieces (the W48 for the 155mm and the W33 for the 203mm), and the development of rocket and missile based nuclear artillery, the M65 was effectively obsolete soon after it was deployed. However, it remained a prestige weapon and was not retired until 1963.



Type Towed artillery
Place of origin  United States
Weight 83.3 tons (gun and carriage)
Length 84 feet (26 m)
Width 16.1 feet (4.9 m)
Height 12.2 feet (3.7 m)
Crew 5–7

Caliber 280 mm
Effective firing range approximately 20 miles (30 km)

Posted May 16, 2016 by markosun in Weapons