Coyote Counter UAS

The Drive reports on tests of the Coyote Block 2 counter to Unmanned Air Systems (cUAS). This is apparently derived from the earlier Coyote Block 1 system. I may be guessing, but I presume they use the same controls and the Block 2’s launcher would be backwardly compatible.

These are specs for the earlier Block 1 as reported in Wikipedia:

  • Airspeed: 55 knots (102 km/h) cruise, 70 knots (130 km/h) kts dash
  • Deployment altitude (air launch): up to 30,000 feet (9,100 m) MSL (in non-icing conditions)
  • Comms range: 50 nautical miles (93 km) (May 2016); 70 nautical miles (130 km) (ground test October 2016)
  • Endurance: 1 hr+ @ cruise (May 2016); 2h (2017)
  • Weight: 13 pounds (5.9 kg)
  • Length: 36 inches (0.91 m) [20]
  • Wingspan: 58 inches (1.5 m)

The Block 2 appears to be similar in length and probably in weight, but it is a very different kind of loitering munition since it is jet powered.  Reportedly it is four times faster than the propeller driven Block 1 meaning capable of at least 220 knots and perhaps as much as 280 knots. The block 2 is also claimed to have a longer loiter time and to be more maneuverable. There is also a block 3 version.

“Raytheon announced in August 2021 that a demonstration of the Block 3 in an air intercept test had used a non-kinetic warhead to defeat a swarm of 10 drones. This type of payload reduces potential collateral damage and enables the variant to be recovered and reused.”

The Coyote Block 2 is not a possible future system, it has already been cleared for foreign military sales and,

“According to the company, Raytheon expects to achieve full-rate production of Coyote Block 2 in 2020.”

Iranians and their proxies appear to be stepping up the use of UAS. Breaking Defense reports,

“What is different… is a dramatic uptick in the UAV activity in the region, both in terms of their capability, their profiles, and the density of activity,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper said.

The July 2021 fatal UAS attack on the M/V Mercer Street provides ample evidence that defenses like the Coyote Block 2 are needed to protect shipping in the 5th Fleet Operating Area.

Having seen the upgrades to the Webber class FRCs going to PATFORSWA, it may be that they are being fitted with essentially the same systems as the Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System. If that is the case, they may be equipped with the Coyote counter UAS system.

I also have to wonder if such a system could provide a close in weapon system to intercept at least sub-sonic cruise missiles. As a self-defense system, it would not have to be as fast as the incoming missile, it would just have to affect an intercept at some distance from the targeted ship.

Presumably these might also be useful against swarming fast attack craft.

Updated: “U.S. Coast Guard Provides Information On The Offshore Patrol Cutter” –Naval News

OPC “Placemat,” Notice planned delivery has slipped considerably from 2021 to 2023. 

Naval News and writer Peter Ong bring us an update on the status of the Offshore Patrol Cutter Program.

I did not see any particular surprises, but there may be a hint of how the 30mm Mk38 Mod4 is viewed in this question and answer.

Naval News: Will the Mark 38 MOD2 be changed out now that the US Navy is planning for Mark 38 MOD4s with 30mm?

Brian Olexy: The OPC program includes each cutter receiving one MK 38 MOD 3 with 7.62 mm co-axial gun. There is no plan at this time to change to a MK 38 MOD 4d for UAS operations. (emphasis applied–Chuck)

My immediate reaction was–what did the gun have to do with UAS operations? There was nothing about UAS in the question. Then I recognized a possible connection. The 30mm has a demonstrated counter-UAS capability using air burst ammunition that the 25mm does not have. The response may reflect the author’s comments that were not recounted in the post, or it may be that the Coast Guard has recognized the use of the 30mm as a counter UAS weapon.

UPDATE: I was contacted by the author and informed that an error had occurred in the publication of his story and that the correct quotation included no reference to UAS. It should have read.

7. Will the Mark 38 MOD2 be changed out now that the US Navy is planning for Mark 38 MOD4s with 30mm?

A. The OPC program includes each cutter receiving one MK 38 MOD 3 with 7.62 mm co-axial gun. There is no plan at this time to change to a MK 38 MOD 4. 

“BAE Systems Delivers 50th Mk 110 Gun For U.S. Naval Operations” –Naval News

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton fires its MK 110 during a gunnery exercise in the Bering Sea April 28, 2021. Routine training and live-fire exercises provide opportunities to evaluate and improve procedures, test capabilities and maintain proficiency. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Ensign Molly Dolan.

Naval News reports BAE has delivered their 50th 57 Mk110 gun system for use on US warships. In this case, that gun will go to a US Coast Guard Cutter, almost certainly OPC #3 or #4. Significantly the first US Mk110 installation was on USCGC Bertholf, commissioned Coast Guard Day, 2008, three months before the first Littoral Combat Ship, USS Freedom (now already decommission).

Fifty guns is really not a lot compared to the number of Oto Melara 76mm or the 5″ Mk 45, but it is on a lot of ships, and the fact that it is expected to equip 20 new FFGs and 25 OPCs in addition to, still yet to be delivered NSCs and LCSs, seems to guarantee long term US Navy interest in the system. Current plans call for a total of 87 ships equipped with the Mk110, 51 Navy and 36 Coast Guard (excluding the first four LCS which are being decommissioned).

We are seeing that interest in development of the ALaMO and MAD-FIRES rounds.

I still think, because of the Coast Guard’s missions and the lack of alternative anti-surface weapons on cutters, that our large cutter should have 5″ Mk45 weapon systems (even if only recycled 5″/54s).  After all, any improvements you could make to a 57mm round, you could also make to a 5″ (127mm) round, but it is encouraging to see new more capable and more accurate rounds being developed for the gun we do have.

Potential Terrorist Threat Weapons

Regular readers know I have long been concerned that our cutters may not be adequately armed, if they are placed in a situation where they need to forcibly stop almost anything larger than a large cabin cruiser. It is not just that larger vessels are hard to sink. They may shoot back.

While I regard this as possible, but unlikely to occur in US waters (sort of like 9/11 was unlikely), it’s even more of concern, for countries with ongoing insurgencies, like the Philippines. Still, I don’t want to see the Coast Guard tested and found unprepared.

It becomes more likely to affect USCG personnel if they are overseas, doing counter piracy, doing counterinsurgency as we did in Vietnam, looking for weapons smugglers, or if we just stumble across terrorists enroute to their target and mistake them for drug smugglers. It also might be the work of an overconfident, vengeful drug lord.

In all probability, the situation will begin with an attempt to board a vessel of interest. It is probably most dangerous if they feign compliance, and the cutter comes close alongside. If the cutter sends a boarding party, it may be ambushed while they also attempt to disable the cutter. They would almost certainly make an effort to kill any exposed gunners.

That we might encounter small arms is a given, but I will look at other weapons, that might give them an edge, particularly if the cutter is surprised.

Any weapon that is man-portable, can be mounted on a pickup truck, or can be towed by one, can certainly be mounted on a vessel.

An aviation overwatch–fixed wing, helicopter, or UAV–could help us detect the presence of weapons, but it is not too hard to conceal weapons behind crates, in containers, or under canvas.

The most likely candidates are rocket propelled grenades, recoilless rifles/guns, heavy machine guns and autocannon, and Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM).

I will be using primarily Wikipedia and NavWeaps for reference. First, I will talk about the weapon type in general and then offer examples. Most of the examples are of Russian/Soviet or Chinese origin. They were chosen because these types seem very widely distributed and frequently fall into the hands of non-state actors.

Many of these weapons go back many decades, but that does not make them any less effective. Remember, we are still using the .50 caliber, a design that goes back to WWI.

As you go through the examples, I think you will see why I have advocated for weapons that can engage effectively from at least 4,000 yards.

Rocket Propelled Grenades:

From Wikipedia:

rocket-propelled grenade (often abbreviated RPG) is a shoulder-fired missile weapon that launches rockets equipped with an explosive warhead. Most RPGs can be carried by an individual soldier and are frequently used as anti-tank weapons. These warheads are affixed to a rocket motor which propels the RPG towards the target, and they are stabilized in flight with fins. Some types of RPG are reloadable with new rocket-propelled grenades, while others are single-use.”

These were initially designed as anti-tank weapons but there are warheads optimized for other targets as well. Reportedly fifteen different countries have made dozens of different weapons of this type.

An RPG missile found in Lebanon with a manufacturing symbol of the Iranian Army displayed by the IDF intelligence branch. Photo: Israeli Defense Force

The RPG-7

The ruggedness, simplicity, low cost, and effectiveness of the RPG-7 has made it the most widely used anti-armor weapon in the world. Currently around 40 countries use the weapon; it is manufactured in several variants by nine countries. It is popular with irregular and guerrilla forces. The RPG has been used in almost all conflicts across all continents since the mid-1960s from the Vietnam War to the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

Reportedly 9,000,000 of these have been produced. After the AK-47, it may be the most ubiquitous weapon in the world. A version is even made in the US. Different projectiles are available with different warheads. Projectile weight varies from 2 kg (4.4 pounds) for the fragmentation round to 4.5 kg (9.9 pounds) for those with a thermobaric warhead. Effective range is 300 meters or about 330 yards. Accuracy is affected significantly by crosswind.

The weapon has been used by ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Recoilless Rifles/Guns: 

recoilless riflerecoilless launcher or recoilless gun, sometimes abbreviated “RR” or “RCL” (for ReCoilLess) is a type of lightweight artillery system or man-portable launcher that is designed to eject some form of countermass such as propellant gas from the rear of the weapon at the moment of firing, creating forward thrust that counteracts most of the weapon’s recoil. This allows for the elimination of much of the heavy and bulky recoil-counteracting equipment of a conventional cannon as well as a thinner-walled barrel, and thus the launch of a relatively large projectile from a platform that would not be capable of handling the weight or recoil of a conventional gun of the same size. Technically, only devices that use spin-stabilized projectiles fired from a rifled barrel are recoilless rifles, while smoothbore variants (which can be fin-stabilized or unstabilized) are recoilless guns. This distinction is often lost, and both are often called recoilless rifles.

These weapons have generally been replaced by ATGMs except in the case of the Carl Gustaf, which is now being assigned, one to every US Marine infantry squad, and one to every US Army infantry platoon. Still, there are many of these weapons in circulation and they are commonly used mounted on the technicals of various non-state actors.

Forces belonging to the Iranian Navy using SPG-9. Velayat 94 Military exercise that held in February 2016 in the range of Strait of Hormuz and northern Indian Ocean. Tasmin News Agency.

The SPG-9:

“The SPG-9 Kopyo (Spear) is a tripod-mounted man-portable, 73 millimetre calibre recoilless gun developed by the Soviet Union. It fires fin-stabilised, rocket-assisted HE and HEAT projectiles similar to those fired by the 73 mm 2A28 Grom low pressure gun of the BMP-1 armored vehicle. It was accepted into service in 1962, replacing the B-10 recoilless rifle.”

Wight of the projectile is from 3.2 to 6.9 kg and range is reported up to 7500 meters, but effective range is 700 to 1300 meters. Rate of fire is 5-6 rounds per minute.

Heavy Machine Guns and Autocannon:

The modified pick-up truck, or “technical,” is a trademark of modern, unconventional warfare. Both rebels and government forces have used them extensively during the conflict. This one is carrying an anti-aircraft gun, ammunition, and petrol stored in plastic barrels. Photo Ajdabiya technical – Flickr – Al Jazeera English.jpg
Created: 23 April 2011

Moroccan ZPU-2, April 2006, Photo credit: Dieter Vogeler via Wikipedia

The ZPU-2 (more here) was developed as an antiaircraft mount and entered service in 1949. Projectile weight is 2.08 to 2.25 oz (64.0 gms), It has a range of 8,000 meters and an effective range of 1.4 km or about 1,500 yards (also reported as 2,400 yards). Each of its KPV heavy machine guns has a cyclical rate of fire of 600 rounds per minute and a practical rate of about 150 rpm.  “Muzzle energy of the KPV reaches 31 kJ (for comparison, the 12.7 mm Browning M2HB machine gun has 17 kJ…)” .

Reportedly, in 2007 ammunition for the weapon was still being produced in Bulgaria, Egypt, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Romania and Russia.

The ZU-23-2 was developed as an anti-aircraft gun, first deployed in 1960. It fires a 186 g (6.27 oz) projectile to an effective range of 2-2.5 km or 2200 to 2750 yards. The cyclical rate of fire is 2,000 rounds per minute, but the practical rate is 400 rpm. It is employed by over 70 users including Boko Harum.
“In the Soviet Union, some 140,000 units were produced. The ZU-23 has also been produced under licence by Bulgaria, Poland, Egypt and the People’s Republic of China.”

Soviet S-60 57 mm AA gun at Muzeyon Heyl ha-Avir, Hatzerim airbase, Israel. 2006. This gun was sold to 37 different countries during the Soviet era and has been used by “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” Photo credit Bukvoed via Wikipedia.

The 57mm S-60 goes back to the World War II. The gun was manufactured in the USSR, China, Poland, and Hungary. Reportedly it is still used by 35 nations and was previously operated by many more.
The projectile weighs 6.17 lbs. Rate of fire is 120 rounds per minute cyclic, but 70 rpm sustained.
The Islamic State allegedly shot down a Cessna 208 Caravan operated by the Iraqi Air Force near Hawija, Iraq on 16 March 2016 with a truck-mounted S-60.
There are a huge number of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) available, any of which could ruin your entire day. “As of 2016, ATGMs were used by over 130 countries and many non-state actors around the world.” I’ll just talk about a couple.

9K111 Fagot in Polish service. Photo credit: Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej

The missile weighs 12.5 kg (28 lbs) and the warhead is 1.7 kg or 3.7 lbs. It has an effective range of 70-2500 meters, about 77 to 2750 yards.
IDEF ’07, Baktar Shikan, original Wikipedia upload by KIZILSUNGUR at Turkish Wikipedia,1 June 2007.
The HJ-8 or Hongjian-8 (Chinese Red Arrow-8) and Bhaktar Shikan (Pakistani version) was developed in China. This tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided missile weighs 24.5 kg, has a range of up to 4,000 meters (one version reportedly 6,000 meters). It entered mass production in 1984 and has been operated by 21 countries and by non-state actors including ISIS. There is even a variant (HJ-8S) with an anti-ship warhead. Versions are also made in Pakistan and Sudan. Reportedly, in 2009, the Sri Lankan Army used these weapons against fast attack craft of the Tamil separatist LTTE’s Sea Tigers naval wing.

“US Navy Seizes Weapons from Fishing Vessel in the Arabian Sea” –DVIDS

U.S. Navy Seizes 1,400 Assault Rifles During Illicit Weapons Interdiction

NORTH ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 20, 2021) U.S. service members from patrol coastal ship USS Typhoon (PC 5) interdict a stateless fishing vessel carrying illicit weapons while transiting international waters in the North Arabian Sea, Dec. 20. (U.S. Navy photo)

Below is a press release from Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS). The boarding team was apparently Coast Guard. It’s likely the Webber class WPCs assigned to PATFORSWA will be doing this sort of work since the Navy PCs are being decommissioned.

U.S. 5th Fleet ships seized approximately 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a stateless fishing vessel during a flag verification boarding in accordance with customary international law in the North Arabian Sea, Dec. 20.

U.S. Navy patrol coastal ships USS Tempest (PC 2) and USS Typhoon (PC 5) found the weapons during a search conducted by embarked U.S. Coast Guard personnel. The illicit weapons and ammunition were later transported to guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77) where they await final disposition.

The stateless vessel was assessed to have originated in Iran and transited international waters along a route historically used to traffic weapons unlawfully to the Houthis in Yemen. The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates U.N. Security Council Resolutions and U.S. sanctions.

The vessel’s five crew members identified themselves as Yemeni nationals and will be returned to Yemen.

After removing the crew and illicit cargo, U.S. naval forces determined the stateless vessel was a hazard to navigation for commercial shipping and sank it.

U.S. naval forces regularly perform maritime security operations in the Middle East to ensure the free flow of legitimate trade and to disrupt the transport of illicit cargo that often funds terrorism and other unlawful activity. U.S. Navy warships operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet region have seized approximately 8,700 illicit weapons in 2021.

Guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) seized dozens of advanced Russian-made anti-tank guided missiles, thousands of Chinese Type 56 assault rifles, and hundreds of PKM machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers from a stateless vessel transiting the North Arabian Sea in May.

In February, guided-missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) seized a cache of weapons off the coast of Somalia, including thousands of AK-47 assault rifles, light machine guns, heavy sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and crew served weapons. The inventory also included barrels, stocks, optical scopes and weapon systems.

The U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses approximately 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Suez Canal and Strait of Bab al Mandeb.

U.S. Navy Seizes 1,400 Assault Rifles During Illicit Weapons Interdiction

NORTH ARABIAN SEA (Dec. 21, 2021) Illicit weapons seized from a stateless fishing vessel in the North Arabian Sea are arranged for inventory aboard guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane’s (DDG 77) flight deck, Dec. 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Elisha Smith)

“China Transferring Navy Type 056 Corvettes To The Coast Guard” –Naval News

An ex-PLAN Type 056 corvette undergoing conversion for Coast Guard duties.

I reported transfer of 22 Type 056 covettes from the PLA Navy to the China Coast Guard back in November and discussed the implications, but now we have a better photograph and some commentary from Naval News.

The air-search radar, radar fire control, and 76mm gun remain. The ship is now equipped with fire-fighting monitors where the anti-ship cruise missiles were previously installed amidships, on the O-1 deck, above the letter “U” in GUARD.

For the first time, looking at the photo, I realized these ships are armed with an autocannon, I was not familiar with, the 30mm H/PJ-17, a single barrel optionally manned system, that is mounted on the O-1 deck aft of the bridge and below the fire control radar. As can be seen in the photo below, the bulwark can swing down to allow the gun to depress to a greater angle. This may have been in order to fire at targets at close range, or it may have been to allow the gun to continue to follow a target even when the ship is experiencing heavy rolls. I have not been able to find out much about these weapons.

Chinese H/PJ-17 30mm

Information on the Yinhe Incident referred to in the Naval News report is here.

BAE’s Bofors 40mm Mk4 –Navy Lookout

BAE Bofors 40mm/70 mk4. Click on this to enlarge. Hight of the mount is 1.9 meters or 6.32 feet.

Navy Lookout has what may be the best evaluation of the BAE Bofors 40mm/70 Mk4 mount I have seen thus far. It looks at the 40mm Mk4 in the context of it’s planned installation on the Type 31 frigate, which will also mount the same 57mm Mk 110 gun being mounted on large Coast Guard Cutters (also a BAE Bofors product).

The system can use the same 3P (Pre-fragmented, Programable, Proximity) fuse that can be used with the 57mm Mk110 mount.

Consideration is given to the mount’s role in lieu of a dedicated Close In Weapon System (CIWS). A notable feature is that the 40mm Mk4 is 60% lighter than a Phalanx mount, 5,500 pounds (including about 540 pounds of ammunition) vs 13,600 (2,500 vs 6,120 kg). The Mk38 Mod3 by comparison is 2,300 lbs. (1,042 kg). The DS30M which is apparently expected to be the Mk38 Mod4 is DS30: 2,645 lbs. (1,200 kg) with ammunition.

Compared to the 30mm guns the Royal Navy is currently using, “40-mm weapons offer significantly longer ranges, increased lethal effect in anti-aircraft/missile and anti-surface engagements.”

Effective range is more than doubled and the 40mm projectile is about 2.7 times larger than that of a 30mm Bushmaster II chain gun and more than five times larger than the 25mm fired by the Mk38.

As noted, the 40mm/70 Mk4 has a number of competitors,

“Offerings from other European manufacturers include the Thales/Nexter Rapid Fire CTA 40 (France), Lenardo Marlin 40 (Italy), Rheinmetall Millenium GDM-008 (Germany) and the Aselsan Gökdeniz (Turkey). “

To which I would add the 40 and 50mm chain gun although they currently have no deployed naval mount.

The vessel in the video is 150 tons full load and 36.53 meters (120′) in length, very similar in size to the 153 ton full load Island class cutters. Originally it was a missile boat armed with a 57mm gun and up to six Penguin Anti-ship missiles.

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention. 

Ballistic Protection for .50 Caliber Gun Crews

The video above is titled as a Mk38 Mod3 Live Fire, but I would like to point out the ballistic protection that is provided the .50 cal. gun crew. The .50 gun shoot starts at time 1:10 and you get a good view of the ballistic protection beginning at time 1:37.

Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine. I have posted about ballistic protection before, here, here, here. and here.

As yet I have seen no ballistic protection for Coast Guard gun crews other than small shields attached to the mounts that provide no protection for the lower body and only very limited coverage for the gun crew (as in the photo below). Clearly suitable protection is available.

Having a gun crew standing out on deck using deadly force without providing easily available protection is not just dangerous to the gun crew, in some cases it may endanger the mission, if the gun crew is disabled.

Air-cooled 0.50″ (12.7 mm) Browning Machine Gun. Picture taken aboard USS Fife DD-991 on 4 July 2002. US Navy Photograph No. 020704-N-0156B-002.

RE: 25mm Mk38 Mod3, I see there was a contract issued recently for more of these systems, for the USN and the Philippines, so DOD certainly has not moved on to a 30mm Mk38 Mod4 yet. (Late addition, see my comment below.)

Below is the written material that accompanied the video.

CARAT Indonesia 2018: GUNEX (B-Roll)

B-Roll of a live-fire exercise conducted with the Indonesian Navy during Cooperation And Readiness Afloat Training (CARAT) 2018. CARAT Indonesia, in its 24th iteration, is designed to enhance information sharing and coordination, build mutual warfighting capability and support long-term regional cooperation enabling both partner armed forces to operate effectively together as a unified maritime force.

INDONESIA, 08.13.2018, Video by Senior Airman Dhruv Gopinath ••♦♦

The Mk 38 MGS is a low cost, stabilized self-defense weapon system that dramatically improves ships’ self-defense capabilities in all weather conditions, day or night. Installed aboard 14 different classes of U.S. Navy ships and U.S. Coast Guard cutters, it is used extensively by the U.S. military as well as by NATO forces.

A major upgrade to the Mod 3 is the system’s advanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor which provides 330-degree surveillance capability and three fields of view. The superior optics allow sailors to monitor the seas and respond to threats even in extremely low light conditions with the benefits of a low contrast, low light level color day camera and an eye-safe laser range finder.

While the EO/IR sensor system is integrated with the Mod 3’s state-of-the-art fire control system, the Mk 38 Mod 3 is unique from other naval weapons because its surveillance system moves separately from the gun system, preventing adversaries from easily knowing they have been detected.

The Mk 38 Mod 3 also provides a range of 2.5 kilometers and selectable rates of fire from single to 180 rounds per minute, and fires all U.S. Navy-approved 25mm ammunition. It can be remotely operated from the combat information center or other protected ship structures, allowing operators to remain safe and out of harm’s way.

“Special Operations C-130 Hits Target With A ‘Rapid Dragon’ Pallet-Dropped Cruise Missile” –The Drive

What may be a game changing technique, is being developed that could provide a new role for the Coast Guard’s aviation arm in any future major near peer conflict. 

Coast Guard Aircraft at War

During World War II, we all probably know that the Coast Guard surface forces had a strong record of augmenting the US Navy in anti-submarine warfare and amphibious assault operations.

Coast Guard aviation’s contribution was considerably less significant. They continued to do SAR and flew anti-submarine patrols. By the end of the war, there was at least one Coast Guard squadron dedicated to anti-submarine patrols, but while generally aircraft were more successful than surface vessels against submarines, sinking about 400 U-boats, more than half of all the U-boats destroyed during WWII, all Coast Guard submarine sinkings were done by surface vessels.

During the Vietnam war, when the Coast Guard deployed 82 foot patrol boats and High Endurance Cutters off the coast as part of Operation Market Time, and buoy tenders serviced aids in Vietnamese waters, the Coast Guard’s aviation contribution to the war was limited to exchange pilots serving with the DOD units. Coast Guard aircraft supported LORAN stations that were vital to the war effort, but I have not heard of any Coast Guard aircraft participating directly in the Vietnam War.

During the first Iraq War, I seem to recall some Coast Guard aircraft assisted TRANSCOM with logistics. In addition, Coast Guard HU-25s monitored pollution that resulted from Iraqi sabotage of Kuwaiti oil facilities.

Generally, Coast Guard aircraft have played little or no role in America’s wars. It is not too surprising since warplanes tend to be specialized.

That may be changing. 

“Bomb Bay in Box”

The Air Force has been making rapid progress on a system that would allow cargo planes, including C-130s and perhaps C-27Js and C-144s to become cruise missile carriers. (An earlier test reported here.)

The system is roll-on/roll-off and requires no integration with the aircraft. 

Interestingly the most recent test appears to have targeted a maritime target. 

We certainly are not likely to see even Air Force transports doing this sort of thing routinely unless it is a truly big war or at least the desire is to launch a devastating number of missiles in single massive assault. 

Surprisingly, Coast Guard aircraft might be seen as the best transports to do this sort of thing, since their Minotaur systems provide the possibility of updating targeting information with organic sensors and doing post attack battle damage assessment if the environment permits. 

Coast Guard aircraft use becomes more likely if the conflict is worldwide, Air Force transports are otherwise engaged, and a nation, or nations, in the Western Hemisphere decides to take advantage of US distraction and attack an ally. 

It might also happen, if there is a wartime decision to sink all hostile controlled shipping. (That might follow a warning to masters to intern the ships within a reasonable time period.)

Naval News Coverage of Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI), Sept. 14-17. 2021

Below I have provided the Naval News coverage of DSEI 2021. There are a few segments in particular that may be of interest.

In the Day 1 coverage:

  • 07:25 – VARD 7 115 Next Generation OPV. I think you can see the similarity to the Offshore Patrol Cutter design which is a VARD 7 110.
  • 10:09 – OMT’s MPV-80/12:52 – SH Defence “The Cube” modular mission module. The Danes have been making modular naval systems for decades and this is modularity on steroids. “The Cube” is a proposed system of standard container-sized modules. The MPV-80 is a modular OPV with 32 positions for “The Cube” modules.  

In the Day 3 coverage:

  • 00:47 – Royal Navy’s NavyPODS is another container-sized module proposal. Sounds like the Royal Navy may be considering using these on their River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels. 
  • 06:46 – AEUK SeaSense variable depth sonar. This is another ASW sensor that could be deployed on very small vessels. 
  • 07:27 – BAE Systems Bofors 40Mk4 naval gun system. This would make a good choice to arm smaller cutters or for use as a secondary on larger cutters. Right now, it’s not in the USN inventory and there is no integral fire control system, so. at least an Electro-Optic system would be required. The ammunition uses the same 3P fuse used on the 57mm Mk110 gun. For decades the Italians used 40mm guns for their CIWS. Most recently they have been using 76mm guns. The Royal Navy has recently adopted this mount to use as a secondary weapon and CIWS on the Type 31 class frigate

In the Day 4 coverage:

  • 04:55 – MSI Defence Ltd Seahawk 30mm naval gun system. We talked about this gun mount earlier, since it appears it will be the USN Mk38 Mod4. It is the reason I posted this video earlier. 

Day 1 at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. We focused on new anti-ship missiles, the Sea Breaker by Rafael, the Sea Serpent by IAI and Thales UK. We then take a look at two new OPV designs: The VARD 7 115 NGOPV and the MPV 80 by OMT. We then discuss with SH Defence about “The Cube” modular mission module.

  • 00:50 – Rafael’s Sea Breaker
  • 05:03 – IAI’s Sea Serpent
  • 07:25 – VARD 7 115 Next Generation OPV
  • 10:09 – OMT’s MPV-80
  • 12:52 – SH Defence “The Cube” modular mission module.

Day 2 at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. We focused on Naval Strike Missile (NSM) with Raytheon, the new Quadome 3D radar by Hensoldt, UAS integration with Thales and the MMCM program with Thales.

  • 00:15 – Intro
  • 00:53 – Raytheon’s NSM for SSGW
  • 04:12 – Hensoldt launches new Quadome 3D radar
  • 05:30 – Thales’ Unmanned wide area surveillance
  • 07:28 – Thales MMCM program

Day 3 at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. We talked to the Royal Navy about their NavyPODS concept. We then focused on mine warfare, talking to Patria and its acoustic sweep, and Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) ARCIMS and its payloads. We then talked to BAE Systems Bofors to get an update on the 40Mk4 naval gun program and learn about the T-650 heavy lift UAS which can carry a lightweight torpedo.

  • 00:12 – Introduction
  • 00:47 – Royal Navy’s NavyPODS
  • 02:53 – Patria’s acoustic sweep
  • 05:17 – Atlas Elektronik UK ARCIMS
  • 06:46 – AEUK SeaSense variable depth sonar
  • 07:27 – BAE Systems Bofors 40Mk4 naval gun system
  • 09:16 – BAE Systems T-650 heavy lift UAS

Final day at DSEI 2021 in London, UK. Naval News’ Editor-in-Chief, Xavier Vavasseur, takes you around the show floor and comments some of the new systems on display. We start with MBDA who was showcasing its future missile concepts (related to FCASW) as well as current portfolio of anti-ship missiles (SPEAR, SPEAR EW, Exocet, Marte, Sea Venom and Maritime Brimstone) and naval air defense solutions (Dragonfire, Aster B1 NT and CAMM / Sea Ceptor). We then take a close look at a scale model of the XLUUV on the TKMS stand and the MSI Defence Systems’ Seahawk 30mm naval gun system which was recently selected by the US Navy. Finally we talked to IAI’s Malcolm McKenzie to learn more details about Sea Serpent.

  • 00:47 – MBDA concept missiles for FCASW
  • 01:34 – MBDA SPEAR and SPEAR EW
  • 01:57 – MBDA Exocet MM40 Block 3C
  • 02:22 – MBDA Marte ER
  • 02:38 – MBDA Sea Venom
  • 02:48 – MBDA Maritime Brimstone
  • 03:08 – MBDA Dragonfire laser weapon system
  • 03:20 – MBDA Aster 30 B1 NT
  • 03:25 – MBDA CAMM / Sea Ceptor
  • 03:45 – TKMS XLUUV
  • 04:55 – MSI Defence Ltd Seahawk 30mm naval gun system
  • 05:26 – IAI Sea Serpent anti-ship missile