Category Archives: Military History

Why the OV-10 Bronco May Be the Ideal Plane to Combat ISIS

Why the OV-10 Bronco May Be the Ideal Plane to Combat ISIS


In May 2015, the Pentagon initiated a secret program dubbed Combat Dragon II. $20 million was allocated to activate an experimental unit of two OV-10s, acquired from NASA and the State Department. Its purpose: to test the viability of the low-cost, Vietnam-era OV-10 Bronco in combat scenarios against ISIS. The primary weapon during the aircraft’s deployment to Iraq was 7- and 19-tube rocket pods loaded with the highly accurate laser-guided 70mm Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System II rocket, or APKWS II. Two OV-10Gs were assigned for light attack operations in Iraq under the “Combat Dragon II” program and completed 120 missions.

Why the OV-10 Bronco May Be the Ideal Plane to Combat ISIS

Why the OV-10 Bronco May Be the Ideal Plane to Combat ISIS


The OV-10 Bronco is the Swiss Army Knife of military aviation, faster than a helicopter, more maneuverable than a jet, and able to provide optimal support for troops on the ground in the most difficult of environments. The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is an American twin-turboprop light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for counter-insurgency (COIN) combat, and one of its primary missions was as a forward air control (FAC) aircraft. It could carry up to three tons of external munitions, internal loads such as paratroopers or stretchers, and could loiter for three or more hours.
Why the OV-10 Bronco May Be the Ideal Plane to Combat ISIS

Why the OV-10 Bronco May Be the Ideal Plane to Combat ISIS

Declassified: What Happened To These RAF Bases Since WW2?

Declassified: What Happened To These RAF Bases Since WW2?


As part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force, Forces TV have been taking a look at how old RAF bases are being used today, after being closed at the end of the Second World War. In Norfolk, we explored the former site of RAF Hethel, which was home to an American bomb group during the 1940s. During World War Two, its runway was the launchpad for a number of vital missions during the conflict. The site is 55 acres, excluding the land taken up by the test track. However, today, the runway launches a different kind of fast-moving technology; it is now part of the test track for Lotus sports cars.

Declassified: What Happened To These RAF Bases Since WW2?

Declassified: What Happened To These RAF Bases Since WW2?


In the 1940s, it was a key hub for the base, but now it has been refurbished and lives on as the company’s driving academy, fondly referred to as the club house. Around 2,000 vehicles are built by hand here each year. The founder of the company, engineer Colin Chapman was an ex-RAF pilot, so it is easy to see why he was so keen to get his hands on the base. He knew there were a number of air bases in East Anglia which were needing to be repurposed for other activities. At the time, Lotus was based in north London, and had outgrown its facilities. So in 1966, we moved here to Hethel.
Declassified: What Happened To These RAF Bases Since WW2?

Declassified: What Happened To These RAF Bases Since WW2?


source https://www.forces.net/

History of Helicopters


A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forward, backward, and laterally. These attributes allow helicopters to be used in congested or isolated areas where fixed-wing aircraft and many forms of VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft cannot perform.

History of Helicopters

History of Helicopters


The English word helicopter is adapted from the French word hélicoptère, coined by Gustave Ponton d’Amécourt in 1861, which originates from the Greek helix (ἕλιξ) “helix, spiral, whirl, convolution” and pteron (πτερόν) “wing”. English language nicknames for helicopter include “chopper”, “copter”, “helo”, “heli”, and “whirlybird”.
History of Helicopters

History of Helicopters


Helicopters were developed and built during the first half-century of flight, with the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 being the first operational helicopter in 1936. Some helicopters reached limited production, but it was not until 1942 that a helicopter designed by Igor Sikorsky reached full-scale production, with 131 aircraft built.
History of Helicopters

History of Helicopters


Though most earlier designs used more than one main rotor, it is the single main rotor with anti-torque tail rotor configuration that has become the most common helicopter configuration. Tandem rotor helicopters are also in widespread use due to their greater payload capacity. Coaxial helicopters, tiltrotor aircraft, and compound helicopters are all flying today. Quadcopter helicopters pioneered as early as 1907 in France, and other types of multicopter have been developed for specialized applications such as unmanned drones.
History of Helicopters

History of Helicopters

Pontifical Swiss Guard

Pontifical Swiss Guard


The Pontifical Swiss Guard (Papal Swiss Guard, Swiss Guard; Pontificia Cohors Helvetica, Cohors Pedestris Helvetiorum a Sacra Custodia Pontificis; Italian:Guardia Svizzera Pontificia; Päpstliche Schweizergarde; Garde suisse pontificale) is a small force maintained by the Holy See that is responsible for the safety of the Pope, including the security of the Apostolic Palace. The Swiss Guard serves as the de facto military of Vatican City. Established in 1506 under Pope Julius II, the Pontifical Swiss Guard is among the oldest military units in continuous operation.

Pontifical Swiss Guard

Pontifical Swiss Guard


The dress uniform is of blue, red, orange and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance. The modern guard has the role of bodyguard of the Pope. The Swiss Guard is equipped with traditional weapons, such as the halberd, as well as with modern firearms. Since the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981, a much stronger emphasis has been placed on the guard’s non-ceremonial roles, and has seen enhanced training in unarmed combat and small arms.
Pontifical Swiss Guard

Pontifical Swiss Guard


Recruits to the guards must be Catholic, single males with Swiss citizenship who have completed basic training with the Swiss Armed Forces and can obtain certificates of good conduct. Recruits must have a professional degree or high school diploma and must be between 19 and 30 years of age and at least 174 cm (5 ft 8.5 in) tall. In 2009, the Pontifical Swiss Guard commandant, Daniel Anrig, suggested that the Guard might someday be open to recruiting women, but he added that the admission of female recruits remained far in the future. Qualified candidates must apply to serve. If accepted, new guards are sworn on 6 May every year in the San Damaso Courtyard (Cortile di San Damaso) in the Vatican (6 May is the anniversary of the Sack of Rome). The chaplain of the guard reads aloud the oath in the languages of the guard (German, Italian, and French).
Pontifical Swiss Guard

Pontifical Swiss Guard

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


In 1964, studies were initiated about a possible replacement vehicle for the AMX 30: the Engin Principal Prospectif. In 1971, in view of the inferiority of the AMX 30 in comparison to the new generation of Soviet tanks about to be introduced, the Direction des Armements Terrestres ordered the beginning of the Char Futur project. In 1975, a working committee was created that in 1977 agreed on a list of specifications. It was announced that a purely French battle tank would be developed, called “EPC” (Engin Principal de Combat). The importation of foreign equipment, like the M1 Abrams, the Leopard 2, or the Merkava, had been studied and rejected.

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


In contrast to most Western programmes of the time, much consideration was given to active, besides passive protection, to limit the overall mass of the vehicle. Mobility for evading enemy fire and fire control systems were given particular attention. Nevertheless, it was a stated design goal to achieve at least double the protection against KE-penetrators in comparison to the level attained in then current MBTs of the fifty ton weight class, the latter indicated at about 400 mm RHA equivalency, the higher level at the same time protecting against shaped charges. Partnership with a foreign state was sought to limit the cost per unit, and this was found when the United Arab Emirates ordered 436 vehicles, adding to the 426 units already planned for the French Army.
Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


In 1986, the project was started under the name of “Leclerc”, six prototypes being built swiftly. Mass production started in 1990 with the four-unit Batch 1, used mainly for comparative tests in foreign countries. The 17 units of Batch 2 were shipped, with improvements in the turret and in the hull armour. Batches 4 and 5 were better built, eliminating the recurrent problems in the powerplant, and are still in service, after having been refitted at the end of the 1990s. The second series started with Batch 6, with an added climate control system in the right rear of the turret. Batch 7 introduced a transmission system to the command vehicle, and a data system giving instantaneous vision of the state of all battle tanks and acquired targets. Batch 8 was a modernisation of the electronic system, and Batch 9 replaced the thermal imaging ATHOS by a SAGEM Iris with better resolution.
Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


The Leclerc is equipped with a GIAT (Nexter) CN120-26 120mm smoothbore cannon. This cannon is capable of firing the same NATO standard 120mm rounds as the German Leopard 2 and US M1 Abrams, but in practice only French-produced ammunition is issued. The gun is insulated with a thermal sleeve and has an automatic compressed-air fume extraction system instead of the usual bore evacuator. The Leclerc has a unique autoloading system which was specifically designed for it, and reduces the crew to three by eliminating the human loader. The Leclerc autoloader allows a rate of fire of 12 shots per minute and holds 22 rounds of ready ammunition; it can accommodate up to six different types of ammunition at once. The Leclerc has the GALIX combat vehicle protection system from GIAT, which fires a variety of smoke grenades and infra red screening rounds, as well as anti-personnel grenades.
Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


The Leclerc has an eight-cylinder SACM (now Wärtsilä) V8X-1500 1,500 hp Hyperbar diesel engine and a Renk AG automatic transmission, with five forward and two reverse gears. The official maximum speed by road is 72 km/h and 55 km/h cross country (speeds in excess of 80 km/h were reported on road). The “hyperbar” system integrates a Turbomeca TM 307B gas turbine in the engine, acting both as a turbocharger and an APU giving auxiliary power to all systems when the main engine is shut down. In addition, with boost available even at idle, this arrangement also works as an anti-lag system. At a combat weight of just 56 tons, the Leclerc is one of the lighter main battle tanks in the world, though still considerably heavier than Soviet and later Russian designs; this gives it one of the best power-to-weight ratios among the Western tanks (27 hp per ton) and makes it one of the fastest MBTs of its generation (0 to 32 km/h in 5 seconds).
Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


All previous batches will be modernised up to the standards of Batch 9 from 2005. In 2004, Batch 10 was presented, incorporating new information systems which could share the disposition of enemy and friendly units to all vehicles on the battlefield, and a new armor package. This was the beginning of the 96-unit third series. By 2007, 355 tanks should have been operational, 320 of them incorporated in four regiments, each of 80 Leclerc vehicles. With production now complete, the United Arab Emirates Army has 388. The price in 2011 was €9.3 million, which made it the most expensive tank in history at the time.
Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank

Nexter Group Leclerc Main Battle Tank


As of 2010, after a French defence review, each of the four regiments operated 60 Leclerc tanks for a total of 240 in operational units; with a further 100 in combat ready reserve.
The four regiments are:
1er Régiment de Chasseurs stationed near Verdun, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade
4e Régiment de Dragons stationed in Carnoux-en-Provence, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade
12e Régiment de Cuirassiers stationed in Olivet, part of the 2nd Armoured Brigade
501e Régiment de Chars de Combat stationed in Mourmelon-le-Grand, 2nd Armoured Brigade

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation – Air Force Day


Air Force Day is one of the Russian professional holidays. It’s annually celebrated on August 12. The holiday was established in 2006 by a presidential decree and it has the status of a memorial day.
Russian Air Forces were formed from the parts of the Soviet Air Forces in 1991-92. But during the era of the Soviet Union, Air Forces were formed in 1918 from the remnants of the Imperial Russian Air Service. At the beginning Air Forces were mainly used for reconnaissance, but later their functions were enhanced. World War II the Soviet Armed Forces played an important role in battles against Nazi Germany.
Present-day Russian Air Forces include modern aircraft and highly qualified personnel, safeguarding the borders of the state and in participating in various international missions.
Air Force Day is not an official day off, unless it falls on the weekend. The festive events and activities are organized on the third Sunday in August, that is another professional holiday in Russia.

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation - Air Force Day

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation – Air Force Day

Leonardo celebrates its 70th birthday

Leonardo celebrates its 70th birthday

Leonardo celebrates its 70th birthday


Leonardo’s 70 birthday candles in 2018 represent the Company’s 70 years as a key player in Italy’s industrial history. As Finmeccanica’s successor, Leonardo celebrates the founding of Società Finanziaria Meccanica Finmeccanica on 18 March 1948, established to manage IRI’s (Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale – Italian Institute for Industrial Reconstruction) holdings in the mechanical and shipbuilding industries.
AW101 Helicopter

AW101 Helicopter


This is indeed a significant anniversary: celebrating the glorious past of a large Group that takes pride in representing one of the most outstanding and exciting Italian legacies, and also propelling the Company into the future through a new transformation phase that began in January 2018 with the 2018-2022 Industrial Plan’s launch.
NH90 Helicopter

NH90 Helicopter


Leonardo’s story represents the step-by-step creation of an extraordinary heritage of skills, abilities and technologies that enabled it, throughout the years, to assume an international dimension, becoming in the present day one of the top ten global Companies in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors. This is a story built upon people, based on their technological, industrial and professional know-how that was fundamental to face – in a highly competitive sector, always on the frontier of innovation – years of challenges, changes and evolution.
Super Lynx 300

Super Lynx 300


The Company’s industrial legacy dates back to well before its official establishment. Some of the companies that over time have merged into the Group were actually established in the previous century. After 1948, following an initial phase of rationalisation of the shipbuilding business, the Company concentrated on the automotive, thermoelectric and aerospace sectors. Then, began a radical repositioning of the Company, which recovered the electronics companies from STET, and Agusta and the companies operating in defence from EFIM , thereby becoming the sector’s principal Italian player.
Alenia C-27J Spartan

Alenia C-27J Spartan


2000 was the year of privatisation and international expansion. In fact, a phase of establishing joint ventures and acquisitions in foreign markets began, in particular in the UK, US and France. In 2016, Finmeccanica officially became One Company and changed its name to Leonardo. The Holding Company integrated the activities of its subsidiaries (AgustaWestland, Alenia Aermacchi, Selex ES, OTO Melara, WASS) and became a single industrial entity.
M-345 Basic-Advanced Jet Trainer

M-345 Basic-Advanced Jet Trainer


Celebrations for the 70th anniversary will involve a series of special initiatives and events throughout the year. This is an opportunity for Leonardo to rediscover the founding values of its legacy, which will be crucial to approach the future with increased momentum and to compete successfully in global markets.
ATR 42 MP fleet

ATR 42 MP fleet