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Marines Can Now Bombard Enemies With Guided Artillery Rockets From The Sea
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is no longer reserved for bombarding the bejesus out of ISIS militants in Syria from the cover of the war-torn country’s rolling deserts: Marine Corps officials are experimenting with firing the guided artillery system from the deck of an amphibious ship in the middle of the ocean.
Operating aboard the USS Anchorage off the coast of southern California as part of Exercise Dawn Blitz on Oct. 22, a detachment of Marines with 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division out of Camp Pendleton set up a HIMARs system on the amphibious transport dock, chaining the vehicle-mounted system to the vessel’s flight deck before firing off a 227mm GPS-guided M31 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GLMRS) rocket at a mock target floating in the waters near a Pacific island some 70 kilometers away.
The results were, well, explosive:
Sure, parking a rocket truck on the flight deck of a vessel on the open ocean seems simple enough, but Marine officials are overjoyed with the success of the Oct. 22 exercise. “The ability to project power from and at sea is critical,” 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade ops officer Lt. Col. Tom Savage told the U.S. Naval Institute from aboard the Dawn Blitz flagship USS Essex. “It’s a significant capability.”
The test has been in the works since at least September, when Marine Commandant Gen. Neller dropped a public hint. “We know we can shoot HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] off the flight deck of a ship,” Neller said during remarks at the at the Marine Corps League’s annual Modern Day Marine expo in Quantico, Virginia, on Sept. 21, according to Defense News. “You’re going to see precision fire delivered off amphib ships, whether it comes out of tube guns or rockets or delivered from unmanned systems.”
Dawn Blitz offered the perfect opportunity to give Marines “a piece of the sea control mission,” as USNI News put it, and not just from the deck of transport docks like the USS Anchorage. During an Oct. 23, exercise, several MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotors and CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters transported a Marine raiding party to secure a strategically-important airstrip on a nearby island. As Rear Adm. Cathal O’Connor told USNI News, the idea is simple: “[S]end the HIMARS ashore and then it can start ranging targets at sea.”
“Suddenly, you have a mobile capability that was at sea and is now ashore, and now you’ve got an opportunity to maneuver the ships away with this providing overwatch,” O’Connor told USNI News. “It’s pretty amazing.”
If Neller’s September vision for HIMARs holds, and the Marine Corps starts adapting TTPs for launching naval gunfire on the fly — which the Anchorage test suggests it is — then Marines can expect to find themselves engaging targets while still rocking and bobbing at sea… long before they hit the beach or fast-rope into some poor schmuck’s compound.
“You’re not going to see Marines just sitting down on their bunks reading magazines,” Neller said. “You’re going to see snipers up on the weather deck. You’re going to see guys up there with Javelins and heavy guns. You’re going to see air defenders up there with air defense systems.”
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."