A Weapon to Consider –The Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle

The M3E1 is an updated M3, by using titanium, the weapon system is six pounds lighter, 2.5 inches shorter and has an improved carrying handle, extra shoulder padding and an improved sighting system that can be adjusted for better comfort.

When Argentina invaded the small South Atlantic island of South Georgia as part of the larger Falklands Campaign the small detachment of Royal Marines used a small portable weapon to damage the Corvette ARA Guerrico that was there to provide Naval Gun Fire Support. The weapon was a Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle.

We have at least some indication that the Israelis are equipping their Super Dvora MkIII patrol boats with these, or at least something similar.

The US Marine Corps apparently thinks very highly of this weapon because they plan to equip every squad with one. The US Army is only slightly less enthusiastic. The intend to equip every platoon with one.

Essentially it is a man portable shoulder fired artillery piece. The range is relatively short but there have been numerous improvements with more to come. There is already a new confined space round that minimizes the effect of backblast that has been a disadvantage of recoilless rifles.

A new guided round, expected to be demonstrated in 2020, should increase effective range to 2000 meters.


New Tech for Tracking “Dark Ships”

An illustration of HawkEye 360’s first satellite constellation, called Pathfinder, orbiting Earth. HawkEye 360/UTIAS Space Flight Laboratory

Back in November, SpaceX fired off a Falcon 9 Rocket with 64 satellites aboard. Among the 64, along with two for the Coast Guard to improve Arctic communications, were a cluster of three called Pathfinder, intended to look for emissions from vessels that would rather not have their location known, including pirates, smugglers, and particularly vessels engaged in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated fishing. According to Business Insider,

“The trio of spacecraft belong to a startup called HawkEye 360, and they’re designed to “see” radio signals from space. The company’s software will take unique radio signals coming from ships to “fingerprint” vessels, track them over time, and even forecast future movements.”

Reportedly the satellites can detect and locate radio frequency signals of at least one watt, including satellite phones, push-to-talk radios, and marine radars.

“In addition to fingerprinting such vessels, HawkEye 360’s machine-learning algorithms will also be able to determine typical activity patterns for a ship and flag any unusual deviation. ”

“In the future, they aim to launch five more three-satellite clusters, which will create a constellation that can map Earth’s radio signals once every 30 to 40 minutes.”

There is more background in a gCaptain report here.

Supposedly, the results will be available commercially. Since the same software will also find military vessels I have to wonder if that data will be scrubbed before release?

Meanwhile MarineLink reports the US Coast Guard is teaming up with Global Fishing Watch to track illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing.

There is getting to be a lot of intelligence available, but are there platforms enough to exploit it all?


29 Knots, RFP Hull, Man-Overboard Scoop

Canada’s Sea Legend Pilotage’s Damen composite FRP hulled Stan Pilot 1605

Another interesting, relatively fast heavy weather boat with an added feature, a man-overboard scoop, built for a Canadian pilot organization.

Plus it is built of composites.

After being built at Damen’s specialist in composite construction, Damen Shipyards Antalya, Turkey, the Stan Pilot 1605 FRP was outfitted at Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, the Netherlands, where Transport Canada was able to inspect the vessel.

According to Damen’s naming convention, the boat has a length of approximately 16 meters (52.5′) and a beam of approximately five meters (16.5′).

The man-overboard recovery system has got to be of interest to a SAR organization.

The scoop is a sophisticated piece of kit that retrieves people from the water and can be used even when the person has lost consciousness. The control for this function is located at the stern, from where the vessel can also be controlled during an emergency.

This reminded me of an earlier post that featured a man in the water recovery system.

“IMSAR’s NSP-5 Radar Moving Into Production for RQ-21 Unmanned System” –Seapower Magazine

GULF OF MEXICO (Feb. 10, 2013) Members of the RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Air System (STUAS) test team transport the RQ-21A across the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) after its first flight at sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sabrina Fine/Released) 130210-N-NB538-195

The Navy League’s Magazine Seapower reports that “a synthetic aperture/ground moving target Indicator Radar Payload and has been given the prototype designation AN/DPY-2()” for the MQ-21 Blackjack.

The Coast Guard has always wanted their unmanned air system (UAS) to have a radar system and the Scan Eagle that the Coast Guard has contracted for has been tested with a radar from this manufacturer. I am not sure if Coast Guard Scan Eagles are radar equipped, but, if not, it appears that radar equipped small UAS are a definite possibility.

The RQ-21 Blackjack is, like the Scan Eagle, made by Boeing Insitu. It is heavier, 135 lb (61 kg) vs 48.5 lb (22 kg) max takeoff weight, with a correspondingly larger payload weight, but like the Scan Eagle it launches from the same launch and recovery systems.

The radar may be a bit large for Scan Eagle, but apparently not for the Blackjack.

The NSP-5 delivers high-performance capabilities despite its small size, weight and power characteristics. Commercially, the NSP-5 is available in a standard pod configuration that measures 5.4 inches (13.7 centimeters) in diameter and 45.3 inches (115 centimeters) in length, weighs 16 pounds (7.3 kilograms) and consumes 150 watts of power.

Bay Area SNA Elections

An announcement from the Bay Area Chapter of Surface Navy Association:

Bay Area SNA,
Welcome home to WAESCHE as they returned Monday and safe sailing to MUNRO as they just departed!
Much of the Bay Area chapter leadership will be transferring this summer –including me.  We will be hosting elections and would like to develop a roster of candidates who would be interested in serving in leadership roles.  You will find serving as a member of the Bay Area chapter leadership as a good way to network and impact the lives of the Coast Guard community in the Bay Area.  We are consistently one of the most active SNA chapters nationwide and a new leadership team will ensure that we continue to advocate and support the community.
LCDR Chris Klein will stay on as Vice President to support the transition, but we are seeking members to run for President (preferably an O-5 to O-6), Treasurer, Secretary, and Membership Coordinator.  We are very interested in bolstering our candidates with members of the enlisted work force in particular.  Please consider running for one of the positions and if you know of someone who would be a good addition to the team, please suggest they join the SNA and run for one of the positions as well.  Please direct them to the Surface Navy Association site at http://navysna.org/membership/whyjoin.html.   
To put your name in the hat for a leadership role in the Bay Area SNA, please just send an email to LCDR Chris Klein no later than 20 April.  He will compile an email for members to vote on nominated candidates and compile the results of our e-election.
Thanks very much,
RDML Moore
RDML Nate Moore
Deputy Commander Pacific Area
(510) 437-3522

“Schultz: Coast Guard Readiness at a ‘Tipping Point’” –USNI

U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on April 4, 2019. US Coast Guard Photo

The USNI news service provides a summary of the Commandant’s testimony regarding the 2020 budget and Congressional reaction.

Correa said in his opening remarks, “this budget proposal [for the Coast Guard and Transportation Security Administration] is dead on arrival.” He cited the president’s repeated requests on providing money for a border wall between the United States and Mexico at the expense of other Homeland Security programs as the reason.

“The president proposes cutting over a billion dollars from the TSA and Coast Guard budgets to pay for the wall,” Correa said.

New Heavy Weather Boat

Camarc designed 56′ Pilot Boat being built by Vigor for LA Pilots. Source: Vigor

Below you will find a press release from Vigor regarding construction of new Pilot Boats for Los Angeles. I am passing it along because pilot boats like Coast Guard motor surf boats have to deal with nasty weather, so they tend to be similar in many ways. They do provide a pretty good description of these boats. 

SEATTLE, WASH., USA – (April 10, 2019)   The Port of Los Angeles recently awarded Vigor the contract to build two 56’ pilot boats. Camarc pilot boats are widely acknowledged worldwide as the gold standard for design quality and reliable performance, particularly in more extreme environmental conditions. This smaller boat currently used throughout Europe, Australia and South America delivers the same consistent performance as the larger boats to the US mid-sized market.
The boat features a twin chine heavy weather hull form for excellent seakeeping. The design accommodates multiple heavy fender systems facilitating safer pilot transfers in challenging weather. An articulated rescue davit provides man overboard recovery. The overall design also maximizes the available horsepower and performance from a Tier III (non-catalyst) level engine.
“Vigor is excited to be able to offer these pilot boats to the dedicated professionals of the LA Port Pilots,” said Art Parker, Vigor sales manager. “Camarc has optimized this design to incorporate the significant seakeeping and safety of the larger pilot boats. The American mid-sized market has needed a world-class pilot boat at an acceptable acquisition and maintenance cost. This is without a doubt a proven break-through design.”
Vigor expects to complete construction of the boats by late summer of 2020.
Principal Characteristics
All Aluminum Construction
Accommodates 2 crew/8 pilots
Designer: Camarc Design
Max speed: 27 knots
Cruise speed: 24 knots
Length, Overall: 55 ft – 4 in
Beam, Overall: 16 ft- 5 in
Fender System:  Heavy Weather integrated Popsafe fender
Design Displacement:  61,000 lbs
Fuel Oil Capacity:  660 gal
Freshwater Capacity: 66 gal
Engine:  Twin CAT C18 ACERT
Engine Rating:  803 bhp @ 2,100 rpm
Emission compliance:  EPA Tier III, meets current CARB Commercial Harbor Craft emission requirements. (Non-Catalyst)
Transmission: ZF665A-1
Type:  5 bladed fixed pitched
Material: NiBrAl
GENSET:  Northern Lights M844DW3
Rating:  16 kW, 120/240 VAC, 60 Hz
Furuno navigation/electronics system