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Mar 20, 2012

News from the military industrial complex.

Over at Ben and Bawb’s Blog Bawb, in one of his periodic military posts highlights the latest extravagant plaything from his friendly military industrial complex:

One of the latest toys to come out in American use is the new XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement (CDTE) System, or Individual Semiautomatic Air Burst System, or Punisher, or Super-Secret Choco-Fudgie Game-Changer Contour Line Re-Arranger, or whatever the hell they’re calling it this week.  
 Designed to defeat both exposed and defilade targets, the CDTE is a shoulder-fired semi-automatic weapon that engages targets with a 25mm airbursting round. Critical to the system’s capability is an integrated target acquisition / fire control that helps the warfighter detect targets, then determines range and calculates the optimal ballistic solution for target engagement. A wiring harness in the weapon then programs the ammunition to airburst at the predetermined range. 
The weapon is essentially designed to do the work of the old unsophisticated mortar, which is simpler, cheaper, and more effective, but not as cool:
Back in the day, since WWI actually, every military in the world used a counter-defilade weapon. It was called the mortar. British weapons expert Ian V. Hogg was pretty much on the mark when he defined the modern mortar. “…an inexpensive steel tube, with a firing pin on the bottom end, balanced on an inexpensive sort of tripod, and firing cheap ammunition. 

Key words why the American Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex would never touch an Commando mortar: “inexpensive, inexpensive and cheap.” No Pentagon general is going to get a six-figure “consultant” job with a large defense contractor after retirement by selling something like that to the military. 

We’re here to look at light or "Commando" one-man mortars which are easily man-portable. Before Vietnam, the American Army, proud of its own mechanization and motorization, got rid of the little 60mm mortar. Since vehicles would be hauling the stuff anyway, the Pentagon wonks decided all that was needed for the infantry was the 115-pound M29A1 81mm mortar. 

Turns out that in places like Vietnam, or Korea, or Afghanistan, or a host of other battlefields the Army didn’t expect to fight on you can’t just drive anywhere you please. Come Vietnam, infantry humping through the thick brush, jungle, and hills screamed to get their 60mm mortars back. Out came the mothballs came the 1940-vintage M2 and M19 60mm weapons.
He follows up with details of the alternatives on offer.  It is hoped that if Gary Johnson gets the Presidency, Bawb might be SECDEF.  

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