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The Navy Quietly Tested Supersonic Ammo At Sea Last Year
The U.S. Navy quietly test-fired 20 supersonic projectiles originally intended for the service's futuristic electromagnetic railgun from the conventional deck guns during an international military exercise at sea last summer, according to a new report from the U.S. Naval Institute, signaling a potentially significant boost in the Navy's surface warfare capabilities amid challenges from competitors like China.
Unnamed Navy officials told USNI News that the USS Dewey fired off 20 of the next-generation hypervelocity projectile — a supersonic shell capable of striking targets up to 100 nautical miles away at speeds approaching Mach 6. Originally developed as ammunition for the Office of Naval Research's vaunted electromagnetic railgun system, the Dewey used its Mk 45 five-inch deck guns during the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise to test out the speedy new round.
U.S. defense officials had previously announced its intent to test-fire the HVP shells developed for ONR by BAE Systems in January 2018, the report signals a major step forward for a critical news capability for the U.S. surface fleet.
Slide 7 from Navy briefing entitled "Electromagnetic Railgun," NDIA Joint Armaments Forum, Exhibition & Technology Demonstration, May 14, 2014Congressional Research Service
In 2016, officials in the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office began shifting Big Navy's directed energy priorities towards simply proliferating the HVP to conventional powder weapons like the Army's 155mm howitzer rather than relying on the increasingly expensive and complicated railgun system.
Indeed, BAE's contract with ONR and SCO states the intended applications of the HVP to "the Navy 5-Inch; Navy, Marine Corps, and Army 155-mm systems; and future electromagnetic (EM) railguns."
But rather than see action as an offensive weapon, it's more likely those Mk 45-fired HVPs will largely help supplement existing missile defense capabilities for surface vessels, if only for cost purposes. As USNI News noted, the standard Evolved Seasparrow Missile or Rolling Airframe Missile cost several million dollars apiece. By contrast, the Navy's PEO Integrated Warfare Systems office put the cost of an HVP around $85,000, as HVP program manager Vincent Sabio stated in January 2017."We need to be able to address (all) types of threats: subsonic, supersonic; sea-skimming, land-hugging; coming in from above and dropping down on top of us," Sabio said at the time. "There are many different trajectories that we need to be able to deal with that we… cannot deal with effectively today."
Slide 5 from Navy briefing entitled "Electromagnetic Railgun," NDIA Joint Armaments Forum, Exhibition & Technology Demonstration, May 14, 2014Congressional Research Service
The need to deal with supersonic threats may be here sooner than expected, especially from the so-called "great power competition" that the Pentagon sees as the greatest threat to U.S. national security: In December, photos appeared to show the China's electromagentic railgun — and, presumably, its own arsenal of supersonic HVPs — ready to rule the high seas.
Now you can relive the glory days of screaming "fire for effect" before lobbing rounds down range, and you can do it from the comfort of your own backyard, or living room, without having to worry that some random staff sergeant is going to show up and chew you out for your unsat face scruff and Johnny Bravo 'do.
The leader of a Chicago-area street gang has been arrested and charged with attempting to aid the ISIS terrorist group, the Department of Justice said Friday.
Jason Brown, also known as "Abdul Ja'Me," allegedly gave $500 on three separate occasions in 2019 to a confidential informant Brown believed would then wire it to an ISIS fighter engaged in combat in Syria. The purported ISIS fighter was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, according to a DoJ news release.
My brother earned the Medal of Honor for saving countless lives — but only after he was left for dead
"As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night."
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
Air Force Master Sgt. John "Chappy" Chapman is my brother. As one of an elite group, Air Force Combat Control — the deadliest and most badass band of brothers to walk a battlefield — John gave his life on March 4, 2002 for brothers he never knew.
They were the brave men who comprised a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that had been called in to rescue the SEAL Team 6 team (Mako-30) with whom he had been embedded, which left him behind on Takur Ghar, a desolate mountain in Afghanistan that topped out at over 10,000 feet.
As I learned while researching a book about John, the SEAL ground commander, Cmdr. Tim Szymanski, had stupidly and with great hubris insisted on insertion being that night. After many delays, the mission should and could have been pushed one day, but Szymanski ordered the team to proceed as planned, and Britt "Slab" Slabinski, John's team leader, fell into step after another SEAL team refused the mission.
But the "plan" went even more south when they made the rookie move to insert directly atop the mountain — right into the hands of the bad guys they knew were there.
Sen. Rick Scott is backing a bipartisan bill that would allow service members to essentially sue the United States government for medical malpractice if they are injured in the care of military doctors.
The measure has already passed the House and it has been introduced in the Senate, where Scott says he will sign on as a co-sponsor.
"As a U.S. Senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, taking care of our military members, veterans and their families is my top priority," the Florida Republican said in a statement.