Warfighting

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The U.S. Army has been very hush-hush about its decision to replace its Universal Camouflage Pattern with Scorpion, a pattern the service has owned since 2002. But details are slipping out. My story on Military.com today talks about how the improved version — Scorpion W2– looks virtually the same as MultiCam.

Caleb Crye, the owner of Crye Precision, developed the original Scorpion pattern for the Army’s Future Force warrior program. Then he made some changes to help it perform better and trademarked it as MultiCam.

It will be interesting to see whether Crye thinks the new Scorpion W2 looks too similar to MultiCam. It would nice if the Army didn’t have to phase out the $3 billion worth of MultiCam uniforms and equipment it has purchased so far for Afghanistan.

Wouldn’t that be a waste of taxpayer money? But I’m sure Army uniform officials are too smart to let that happen.

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Army bootsSgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III recently issued guidance to help clarify the Army’s position on commercial-off-the-shelf combat boots.

“There has been misunderstanding with the ALARACT Message 140/2007 with leaders in interpreting which COTS boots are authorized and which are not,” Chandler wrote in a document that was posted on Facebook’s Army NCO Support page. “My intent is to add clarity to the ALARACT message giving leaders a better understanding of which boots are authorized for wear and why.”

There are many COTS boots that meet Army guidelines, Chandler wrote.

“Some examples of these items include, but are not limited to, the Belleville Model 390, the 8-inch Danner Desert TFX, the 8-inch Oakley S.I. Assault Boot as well as many other more traditional Army tan combat boot styles. The purpose of listing these items here is to give examples of styles that fall within the guidelines and authorization as optional to wear,” Chandler wrote. [click to continue…]

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets, program officials maintain.

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance program, known as EXACTO, is being developed to “revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet,” DARPA officials maintain. “The EXACTO 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems.”

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I have received a lot of email responses from my July 3 article on the Army’s Modular Handgun System praising .45 caliber as far superior to 9mm.

Pistol-caliber choices are personal and everybody has an opinion. But opinion isn’t fact, and there is some misinformation out there that needs to be addressed.

Many readers are under the impression that U.S. special operations forces have returned to using .45 caliber pistols since the adoption of the M9 9mm in 1985.

This has some truth to it, but in most cases SOF units use 9mm, experts maintain.

The Army’s Delta Force adopted .40 caliber, but the elite unit is having the same problems as the FBI – the heavier caliber is causing excessive wear problems in guns that were originally designed to be 9mm. Delta is now using 9mm Glock 17s, 19s and 34s.

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Bates Footwear will soon unveil its new jungle boot that was designed with the help of special operators.

The Recondo boot is being officially launched at the ADS Warrior Expo East in Virginia Beach July 10-11. They are a low-absorption, quick drying, durable solution designed to provide secure footing in multi-terrain jungle regions, Bates officials maintain.

“The Recondo provides a much needed jungle boot update for the next generation of our armed services,” said Bates Footwear President Onder Ors. “Based on the specific feedback we received from our development partners in the Special Operations Forces, Bates has created the only boot specifically engineered for hot, wet and humid combat environments common in tropical regions.”

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130606-A-NQ567-052I posted an update story on Military.com this morning looking at the Army’s Modular Handgun System effort. The service is holding its second MHS industry day July 29.

This is not the first story I have written about the Army wanting to replace the M9 9mm pistol with a larger-caliber weapon, but the weapons officials seem set on doing just that.

Army weapons officials from Fort Benning, Ga., say the joint MHS effort will result in a “new gun, new ammo, new holster, everything,” according to Daryl Easlick, a project officer with the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Ga.

“We have to do better than our current 9mm.”

The MHS will be an open-caliber competition that will evaluate larger rounds such as .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.

The story also points out that the FBI and several major police departments recently decided to return to using the 9mm round after finding that .40 caliber ammunition was causing excessive wear on its service pistols.

The heavier bullet and greater recoil over time resulted in frame damage to well respected makes such as Glock and Beretta, according to Ernest Langdon, a shooting instructor and respected competitive pistol shooter.

“Most of the guns in .40 caliber on the market right now were actually designed to be 9mm originally and then turned into .40 calibers later,” Langdon told Military.com.

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Kevlar InventorA woman whose search for new materials for automobile tires 50 years ago led to the accidental discovery of Kevlar died June 18 in Delaware.

Stephanie Kwolek, 90, never became a household name, but Kevlar is known worldwide and is today synonymous with body armor that has saved the lives of hundreds of American troops and thousands of police officers.

The Pennsylvania-born Kwolek went to work as a chemist for DuPont after graduating from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, the woman’s college of Carnegie-Mellon University. She was conducting experiments on new, strong, heat-resistant materials that the company hoped to market to automakers when one of her mixes took a turn for the strange: the synthetic chemicals she was putting into a solvent turned into a liquid crystal. [click to continue…]

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