There’s a quote from “Iron Man” that’s always stuck with me. “They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire,” quips Tony Stark while unveiling his badass new Jericho missile to the U.S. military, mere hours before the ambush that will eventually lead him to develop the Iron Man suit. “I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.”
Well, I respectfully disagree: How about the weapon that you can fire 240 times in under two minutes?
That’s the logic behind the Jobaria Defense Systems Multiple Cradle Launcher (MCL), the 240-rocket-toting, semi-trailer truck developed by the United Arab Emirates. Hauled by an Oshkosh M1070 Heavy Equipment Transporter, the MCL hosts four launcher cradles with 60 122mm rockets apiece. And these rockets are especially deadly: Popular Mechanics reports that the MCL uses Turkish-made TRB-122 Extended Range Artillery Rockets, one variation of which comes with proximity warheads containing thousands of steel balls for maximum devastation.
Here’s a video of this mean, lean, rocket-launching machine in action:
There are limits to the MCL’s combat effectiveness, of course: PopMech points out that the semi-trailer configuration offers limited mobility on inhospitable terrain, and the TRB-122 rockets have a range of just over 22 miles at sea level, meaning the MCL is hauling short-range missiles with a relatively limited payload.
Still, what the MCL lacks in terms of deadly force, it certainly makes up with intimidation:
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Coast Guard cutter Bertholf on a counterdrug patrol in the eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2018. (U.S. Coast Guard/Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Trees
U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bertholf left California on January 20 for a months-long mission in the Pacific to support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, the largest of the U.S. military's geographic combatant commands.
Coast Guardsmen aboard the Bertholf left Alameda on the 30th day of what is now the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. They left a few days after not getting their first paycheck since that shutdown started and without knowing when the next will come.