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The Air Force Is Performing Some Intense Tests On The Army’s Slick New Handgun
The Air Force is looking at the Army's new M17 Modular Handgun System as a potential sidearm for its pilots, replacing the Beretta M9 and SIG Sauer P226 pistols. But those decisions require research, so the service ordered up a unique test: Send that sucker off in an ejection seat and see what happens.
On Dec. 6, the branch’s Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio strapped a test dummy into an ejector seat with two M17 pistols holstered across his chest before slamming the rig into the bottom of a vertical deceleration tower at the 711th Human Performance Wing. The purpose: to ensure the new handgun doesn’t pose any safety problems to occupants of the conventional Martin-Baker ejection seat.
A test dummy equipped with a new Modular Handgun System makes impact at the bottom of a vertical deceleration tower inside the 711th Human Performance Wing, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2017.Photo via DoD
“The test addresses the new modular handgun system’s capability to resist damage during ejection and still function as designed after sustaining ejection forces,” an Air Force public affairs official wrote. “This is the first time any service has conducted this type of demonstration to ensure a sidearm is safe for aircrew to carry in ejection seat aircraft.”
First fielded by the Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, under the designation M17, the SIG Sauer P320 trumped Glock’s proposed Army service pistols and immediately caught the eye of other service branches. In May, Department of Defense officials claimed that the Navy was interesting in 61,000 M17s and the Marine Corps wanted 35,000… but the Air Force planned on snapping up a whopping 130,000 pistols.
The testing is no joke: As Guns.com notes, the standard Martin-Baker underseat rocket-assisted catapult system can subject pilots to forces up to 14g — fast enough to expel military personnel from a cockpit under any circumstances, but also aggressive enough to bruise shoulders and fracture bones. And the last thing any aviator wants is their bulky new sidearm getting caught on something during a bailout.
Those concerns are especially salient for the Modular Handgun System. In January, a police officer with the Connecticut Police Department’s Special Response Team filed a $7 million lawsuit against Sig after he claimed he was injured by his P320 in an accidental-drop discharge. The following August, two videos emerged that show the pistol’s trigger depressing due to inertia, tripping the firing mechanism and resulting in accidental discharges. And on Aug. 8, the Dallas Police Department also announced it was removing the P320 from the department’s approved-carry list, pending an investigation into whether the pistol accidentally fires when dropped.
It’s likely that accidental discharges are on the Air Force’s mind as well: One of the photos published by the branch on Dec. 7 shows force-protection program manager Master Sgt. Samuel Pruett checking an empty shell casing from the M17 for any indication the firing pin struck the primer during the tests.
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Samuel Pruett, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center force protection program manager, based at Eglin AFB, Fla., checks an empty shell casing from a weapon for signs of the firing pin striking the primer at the conclusion of a test at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2017.Photo via DoD
There’s no word yet on the outcome of the tests. But even if the Air Force isn’t as hot on the M17 as Army soldiers were last month, it still seems likely the sidearm will end up in the holsters of aviators everywhere. After all: As far as ejection-related deaths go, the risk of an accidental discharge seems preferable to an execution by canopy:
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.