March 4, 2009
One of the most overlooked Special Operations branches in the United States Armed Forces is the Spec Ops Community within the Air Force. And that’s a shame too because there are some awesome warriors in their ranks. This promotional video showing the Air Force’s Combat Controllers at work is amazing to watch.
Caliber 5.56×45 NATO
Overall length, standard configuration 850 mm (max) / 620 mm (min)
Barrel length 254mm/10″ (CQC), 355mm/14″ (Std), 457mm/18″ (LB)
Weight 3.5 kg empty
Rate of fire 600 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity 30 rounds standard
The US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) issued a solicitation for the procurement of SOF Combat Assault Rifles (SCAR) on October 15th, 2003. This solicitation requested a new combat rifle, specially tailored for the current and proposed future needs of the US Special Forces, which are somewhat different from latest generic US Army requirements, which are being fulfilled by the newest Heckler-Koch XM8 assault rifle. The key difference in basic requirements between XM8 and SCAR is that, while XM8 is a single-caliber weapon system, tailored for 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition, the SCAR should be available in various different calibers. Initial SOF requirements included two basic versions of SCAR system – the SCAR Light (SCAR-L), available in 5.56mm NATO, and the SCAR heavy (SCAR-H), which should be initially available in significantly more powerful 7.62×51 NATO chambering, and should be easily adaptable in the field to other chamberings. These other chamberings initially include the well-spread 7.62×39 M43 ammunition of the Soviet / Russian origins, and probably some others (like the proposed 6.8×43 Remington SPC cartridge, especially developed for US Special Forces). The key idea of SCAR rifle system is that it will provide the Special Forces operators with wide variety of options, from short-barreled 5.56mm SCAR-L CQC variation, tailored for urban close combat, and up to long range 7.62×51 SCAR-H Sniper variant, as well as 7.62×39 SCAR-H, which will accept “battlefield pickup” AK-47/AKM magazines with 7.62 M43 ammunition, available during the operations behind the enemy lines. Both SCAR-L and SCAR-H shall be initially available in three versions, Standard (S), Close Quarters Combat (CQC) and Sniper Variant (SV; now it is dubbed Long Barrel – LB). All these variants, regardless the caliber and exact configuration, will provide the operator with the same controls layout, same handling and maintenance procedures, and same optional equipment, such as sights, scopes, and other current and future attachments.
Late in 2004 US SOCOM announced, that the winner for the initial SCAR contracts is the FN USA, an US-based subsidiary of the famous Belgian company Fabrique Nationale Herstal. prototype rifles were manufactured by FN Manufacturing Inc, US-based subsidiary to FN Herstal; This company will also handle series production of rifles. Starting mid-2005, first SCAR rifles went to end users in US Special Operation Forces. Since US SOCOM uses Navy-type “mark” designations, SCAR rifles were officially designated as 5.56mm Rifle Mark 16 (SCAR-L / Light) and 7.62mm Rifle Mark 17 (SCAR-H / Heavy). It is believed that Mk.16 and Mk.17 rifles will gradually replace most rifle systems now in service with US SOCOM forces, such as M4 carbines, M16 rifles, M14 rifles and Mk. 25 sniper rifles.
As it turned out, FN SCAR rifles are not based on any previous weapons but designed from the scratch. In all variants FN SCAR rifles feature gas operated, short stroke piston action with rotating bolt locking. Bolt system appears to be somewhat similar to that of FN Minimi / M249 SAW machine gun. This system apparently is less sensitive to fine sand, dust and any other fouling inside the receiver, than any system with M16-type multi-lug bolt and plunger-type ejector.
Receiver is made from two parts, upper and lower, connected with two cross-pins. Upper part is made from extruded aluminium, lower part is made from polymer. SCAR-L and SCAR-H use similar upper receivers that differ only in the size of ejection port. Other different parts include caliber-specific bolt, barrel, and lower receiver with integral magazine housing. Parts commonality between SCAR-L and SCAR-H is astonishing 90%. Barrels are quick-detachable, and held in the upper receiver with two cross-bolts. Barrel change procedure requires minimum amount of tools, takes just several minutes and there is no need to adjust the headspace after the change.
The trigger unit with ambidextrous safety-fire mode selector switch allows for single shots and full automatic fire, with no provisions for limited-length bursts mode. The charging handle could be easily installed on either side of the weapon, so the upper receiver has respective cuts on both sides. Top of the upper receiver is covered by the full-length integral Picatinny rail (MIL-STD 1913); additional Picatinny rails are mounted on both sides and under the free-floating handguards. Side-folding polymer buttstock is adjustable for length of pull, and is shaped to provide positive cheek rest with adjustable cheek support. SCAR rifles are fitted with removable, adjustable iron sights, with folding diopter-type rear sight on the receiver rail, and folding front sight on the gas block. Any additional type of sighting equipment, necessary for current tasks, including telescope and night sights, can be installed using MIL-STD 1913 compatible mounts.
Mk.16 SCAR-L rifle will use improved M16-type magazines, made of steel; Mk.17 SCAR-H will use proprietary 20-round magazines in 7.62×51 NATO chambering, or standard AK-type magazines in proposed 7.62×39 M43 chambering. Current prototypes of SCAR rifles do not have bayonet mounts, and, probably, will never have one.
June 10, 2008
United States Military in action
June 10, 2008
Blackwater USA’s Defensive Driving Course prepares the private military contractor with the driving skills necessary to survive an attack while on the road.
June 10, 2008
Blackwater USA was formed in 1996 to provide additional support to military and law enforcement organizations. It was one of several private security firms employed following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan .
Blackwater Security Consulting was formed in 2002 and initially operated by Jamie Smith, who became the first Director of Blackwater Security Consulting. Smith left under allegations of resume fraud in late 2002 and formed SCG International Risk. BSC is one of over 60 private security firms employed during the Iraq War to guard officials and installations, train Iraq’s new army and police, and provide other support for occupation forces.
The crowds mob the bridge on which two corpses are hanged
On March 31, 2004 – Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah ambushed a convoy containing four American private military contractors from Blackwater USA who were conducting delivery for food caterers ESS. The four armed contractors, Scott Helvenston, Jerko Zovko, Wesley Batalona and Michael Teague, were killed by a grenade. Their burned corpses were then dragged through the streets before being hung over a bridge crossing the Euphrates.
Photos of the event were released to news agencies worldwide, causing a great deal of indignation and moral outrage in the United States, and prompting the announcement of a upcoming “pacification” of the city.
In April 2005 six Blackwater independent contractors were killed in Iraq when their Mi-8 helicopter was shot down. Also killed were three Bulgarian crewmembers and two Fijian gunners. Initial reports indicate the helicopter was shot down by rocket propelled grenades. The six Americans killed have been identified as:
Robert Jason Gore, of Nevada, Iowa
Luke Adam Petrik of Conneaut, Ohio
Jason Obert of Fountain, Colorado
Steve McGovern of Lexington, Kentucky
Erick Smith of Waukesha, Wisconsin
David Patterson of Havelock, North Carolina
The three Bulgarians have been identified as:
Kostov actually survived the helicopter crash, but was then shot to death by the men who shot the helicopter down.
Blackwater USA was employed to assist the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts on the Gulf Coast. According to a company press release, it provided airlift services, security services, humanitarian support services, and logistics and transportation services. Unofficial reports claim that the company also provided law enforcement services, such as securing neighborhoods and confronting criminals.
On January 23, 2007, five Blackwater contractors were killed in Iraq when their helicopter was shot down. The incident happened in Baghdad, Haifa street. Three Iraqi insurgent groups claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, however, it is not confirmed by U.S.  A U.S. defense official has confirmed that four of the five killed were shot execution style in the back the head, but did not know whether the four were still alive when they were shot. Robert Young Pelton (the only writer who has been allowed to live, work and travel with Blackwater in Iraq) broke the full details of the crash on his site. Pelton also met and flew with the Little Bird pilots.
June 10, 2008
June 9, 2008
US Marines on foot and in tanks from Camp Corregidore, Iraq battle insurgents in broad daylight.