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The Importance of Versatile Weapons in Special Operations

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Special operations units are renowned for their ability to handle high-risk missions with exceptional precision and efficiency. These elite teams operate in a wide variety of environments, often facing unpredictable challenges. To meet these demands, they require a diverse set of skills, tactics, and, importantly, versatile weaponry. The adaptability and effectiveness of their weapons can greatly influence mission success. This article delves into the essential role that versatile weapons play in modern special operations, exploring various firearms and tools that enable these forces to excel under extreme conditions.

The Necessity of Versatile Firearms

In the ever-changing scenarios that special operations units face, having versatile firearms is crucial. These weapons must be reliable and adaptable to different situations, performing well in urban warfare, dense forests, and arid deserts alike. Special operations personnel need firearms that can be easily customized with attachments like scopes, suppressors, and grips to fit specific mission needs.

Take, for example, the Smith & Wesson Lever Action Rifle. This rifle offers remarkable accuracy and reliability, making it suitable for both long-range engagements and close-quarters combat. Its lever-action mechanism allows for quick reloading, a critical feature in high-stress situations.

Adaptability in Tactical Scenarios

Versatile weapons allow special operations forces to adapt quickly to changing tactical situations. Whether they are engaged in direct combat, providing support fire, or conducting covert operations, the ability to switch between different modes and attachments is essential. For instance, firearms like the AR-15 can be equipped with a variety of optics, barrel lengths, and suppressors, enabling operators to modify their weapons based on mission requirements.

Additionally, firearms such as the 12 Gauge Shotgun Pistol offer unique capabilities for special operations. This type of weapon is ideal for breaching doors and close-quarters combat, where its stopping power and compact size are invaluable. The ability to carry and use such diverse weaponry ensures that special operations units can respond effectively to a wide range of threats.

The Impact of Modern Technology

Advancements in weapon technology have significantly enhanced the capabilities of special operations forces. Modern firearms are engineered with precision, using lightweight materials and ergonomic designs that improve handling and accuracy. Innovations like modular weapon systems allow operators to quickly change configurations, adapting their firearms to different combat scenarios without needing to carry multiple weapons.

For example, modular rifles like the FN SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) can be configured with different barrel lengths and calibers, making them suitable for a variety of missions. These rifles are built to operate reliably in harsh conditions, providing special operations personnel with a dependable tool that can be tailored to their needs. Learn more about the advancements in special operations forces.

The integration of advanced optics and targeting systems is another technological advancement that has revolutionized special operations. Modern scopes and sights offer enhanced accuracy, night vision capabilities, and thermal imaging, which are invaluable in low-light and nocturnal operations. These technologies enable operators to identify and engage targets with greater precision, significantly increasing their effectiveness in the field.

Enhancing Operator Efficiency

Versatile weaponry not only boosts the tactical effectiveness of special operations units but also improves the efficiency of individual operators. Weapons that are easy to handle, maintain, and customize allow operators to focus more on their mission objectives and less on their equipment. The ability to quickly adapt a firearm to different roles—such as switching from a sniper configuration to an assault rifle setup—enables operators to perform multiple functions without carrying excessive gear.

Furthermore, personal defense weapons (PDWs) and sidearms are critical components of a special operator’s arsenal. These compact and powerful weapons provide a reliable backup option in situations where primary firearms may be impractical or unavailable. The integration of advanced optics and targeting systems further enhances these weapons’ effectiveness, allowing for rapid target acquisition and increased accuracy.

For example, the Heckler & Koch MP7, a widely used PDW, is valued for its compact size and high rate of fire. It can be equipped with various optics and suppressors, making it highly adaptable for different mission requirements. Such versatility ensures that operators can respond effectively to unexpected threats.

The Role of Training and Proficiency

While the versatility of weaponry is paramount, the proficiency of the operators using these weapons is equally important. Special operations forces undergo rigorous training to master their equipment, ensuring they can operate effectively under the most challenging conditions. This training includes weapons handling, marksmanship, and tactical drills that simulate real-world scenarios.

In addition to physical training, special operations personnel also benefit from continuous education on the latest advancements in weapon technology. This knowledge helps them stay ahead of potential adversaries and maintain a technological edge. Regular training and practice ensure that operators can seamlessly integrate new weapons and technologies into their arsenal, maximizing their effectiveness on the battlefield.

Moreover, special operations units often engage in joint exercises with other military and law enforcement agencies. These collaborative training sessions enhance interoperability and allow operators to share best practices and strategies. Such cross-training is crucial for missions that require coordination between different units and agencies.

Supporting Equipment and Accessories

Beyond firearms, special operations units rely on a wide range of supporting equipment and accessories to enhance their operational capabilities. This includes items such as tactical vests, night vision goggles, and communication devices. Each piece of equipment plays a vital role in ensuring mission success, providing critical support in various operational scenarios.

For personal defense and non-lethal options, operators often carry tools like defensive keychains. These compact and effective tools provide an additional layer of protection in close-quarters situations. You can find a large selection of fashionable defensive keychains here.

Tactical vests, for instance, are essential for carrying ammunition, medical supplies, and other mission-critical gear. Modern vests are designed with modular systems that allow operators to customize their loadout based on the mission’s requirements. This modularity enhances both comfort and functionality, enabling operators to move swiftly and efficiently.

Communication devices are equally crucial, ensuring that team members can coordinate their actions and share real-time intelligence. Advanced radio systems and encrypted communication channels provide secure and reliable links, which are vital for the success of covert and high-risk operations.

The importance of versatile weaponry in special operations cannot be overstated. These elite forces rely on a wide range of firearms and tools to adapt to the diverse and unpredictable environments they operate in. From the adaptability of modular rifles to the specialized capabilities of breaching shotguns, the versatility of their weaponry enhances their ability to perform complex and high-risk missions. Combined with rigorous training and advanced technology, versatile weaponry ensures that special operations units remain at the forefront of tactical excellence, ready to face any challenge that comes their way.

The success of special operations units hinges on their ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations. Versatile weaponry, supported by advanced technology and rigorous training, provides these elite forces with the tools they need to achieve their objectives. As threats continue to evolve, the need for adaptable and reliable weaponry will remain a cornerstone of special operations strategy, ensuring that these units can continue to operate effectively in any environment.

How to Always Be at the Ready with Minutemen Tactics

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As a military history enthusiast, I find great value in studying the tactics employed throughout the ages and applying them to my own life. One such group that has left a lasting impression on me is the Minutemen, whose readiness and preparedness can be a practical guide for all of us.

I admire their willingness and availability to defend their neighbors and loved ones at a moment’s notice. 

While the likelihood of facing an invading army is relatively low, we can empower ourselves by adapting some practical tactics and skills the Minutemen used to everyday situations, especially when we’re forced to defend our homes and families. 

Let’s dive into these three simple yet highly effective tactics. 

Tactic #1

To always be at the ready, one must have all their tools in order. In the military, this means keeping your kit in tip-top shape and staying alert. The average civilian should have their EDC gear, such as their flashlight, knife, and CCW, in perfect condition. 

The Minutemen, much like Nehemiah and the workers who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with a sword in one hand and a tool in the other, had to have their weapons nearby in case they were ever called upon to defend their town. 

Today, we likely won’t have to defend our town from an invading force, but you never know when a bad guy intending harm will approach you on the street or attempt to enter your home, so always having your EDC gear within reach will help you keep your family safe. You might even consider keeping it in a bulletproof backpack, so it’s handy to grab and go. 

Tactic #2

The Minutemen were generally average citizens with little military training. So, the trained British soldiers underestimated their capabilities. 

However, these young men were training unconventionally, as many were inevitably farmers, trappers, and hunters. They were handy with weapons because they regularly used them to provide for their families. 

The military and law enforcement agencies constantly train to maintain their skills and develop new ones. Yet, as average citizens, we often overlook basic gun training. I fully support our right to bear arms, but I also believe that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and desire to become better shooters and CCWers, which means we should regularly train as much as we can afford.

Just as the Minutemen didn’t have professional training, as the British soldiers, they were still training in their everyday life, as we can. One of the best free training opportunities we have for self-defense is to walk around town and notice how few people are paying attention to their surroundings. Simply paying attention to what’s happening around us in our everyday lives will help us avoid dangerous situations.

Tactic #3

Lastly, the Minutemen were a mobile unit. So they had to be in shape and ready to walk miles upon miles. 

With our primary sedentary lifestyles in the digital age, we’re rarely in shape enough to be as mobile as the Minutemen. The Army understands that fitness levels depend on age, which is why the ACFT Standards Score Chart exists.

Several years ago, I found out the hard way that I was in much poorer shape than in high school. I was on a duck hunt with a couple of buddies, and as we trudged through the marsh one early morning, I noticed how heavy my breathing became, and I didn’t think I would make it to the spot we planned to hunt. 

I was not physically prepared for that walk, which I had made many times before. Thankfully, I survived without being carried back to the truck, but that day was eye-opening. 

I wrestled in high school and was in incredible shape for most of the year. Now, however, I sit at a desk and write most days, and the dad bod has slowly snuck up on me. This is why I jumped at the chance to workout with my neighbor when he purchased a home gym and walk laps around our local park while my daughter plays. I also enjoy using apps that encourage me to move.

Staying in decent shape will allow you to protect yourself and your family when the time comes. Don’t let it sneak up on you, and then realize how important it is when it’s too late. There’s no need to be an ultra-marathon runner (unless that’s your thing, like David Goggins), but being able to pick up your loved ones and quickly carry them to safety will save lives.

Parting Shots

Even if you’re an average citizen, as I am, we can learn a lot from the Minutemen about always being prepared.

It begins with oneself, staying in shape, training, and always having your tools ready for the most likely situations. 

Stay safe out in this crazy world, my friends!

Overlooked Defense Training Tactics & Gear Everyone Needs

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We all understand the importance of defensive training; we should always sharpen our skills so that when the time comes, we can effectively stop the threat to the lives of ourselves and loved ones.

However, I’ve noticed several items and tactics that the average citizen and many experts often overlook. 

Let’s dive into those now!

Overlooked Defense Gear

  • Security Cameras
  • Body Armor
  • Flashlight
  • Utility Knife
  • Ballistic Equivalent Laser Training

The most overlooked gear is a security camera. Whether that’s one mounted on an exterior wall, dash cam, or body cam, these are vital tools to see what’s happening in an area or for looking back to find essential details that are easily forgotten. 

Very few citizens consistently wear body armor, and while it doesn’t protect against everything, wearing body armor helps increase your chances of surviving stabbings and shootings.

A flashlight is one of the most handy tools to carry. It’s not only a defensive weapon but can also help when you need to go on the offensive by temporarily blinding or at least disorienting the threat. 

I’ve lost track of how often I’ve needed a knife to open a box or cut something when my resources are limited. Carrying a utility knife will allow you to fix other gear when it breaks and open things that couldn’t otherwise be opened.

I’m a huge advocate for always training, but I understand training is expensive. You have range and ammo fees that only keep increasing in price. This is why I love the concept of laser dry-fire training. However, lasers shoot a straight line, unlike bullets; thankfully, there are high-quality laser training products that have fixed this problem so I can train inside and save a ton of money on ammo. 

Overlooked Defense Tactics

  • Hand-to-Hand Fighting Skills
  • Defensive Driving Skills
  • Environmental Awareness Skills
  • De-escalation Tactics

Sometimes, the threat is far enough away that your 6.5 Creedmore or 308 Winchester is the perfect tool for the job, but that’s not always the case. Your primary weapon might get knocked out of your hands, or the attacker could be too close for you to get your weapon on target. In these instances, you need to know how to fight, and I’m not talking about a UFC fight. Understanding how to fight with a knife and bare hands is a life-saving skill.

You don’t have to drive very far down the road to encounter someone who shouldn’t be driving, but what happens when you meet someone angry with you? Do you have the ability to get out of that dangerous situation? This is a life-saving skill to develop, and many insurance companies will lower your bill for taking defensive driving classes because you’ll be less likely to be involved in an accident.

I’ll never forget in one of the first defense training courses I took, the instructor said,” To avoid being a victim, look like a hard target.” What he meant was to always be paying attention to your surroundings. It amazes me how many people are glued to their phones in public areas, especially high-crime areas. One of the easiest ways to avoid being a victim is to simply pay attention to your environment and notice things that seem out of place. 

I’m pretty emotional, meaning I can get excited quickly. Since I know this about myself, I’ve been intentionally practicing de-escalating techniques. For instance, my dad and I were camping one time, and someone tried to take our camping spot after we had already paid. My dad was pretty worked up and not helping the situation, so I told him to leave while I talked with the individual. I could speak with the guy and agree just by getting my dad to back off and leave the situation while keeping cool and calm throughout the confrontation.

Parting Shots

Purchasing the overlooked items and developing the underrated skills above will allow you to be more prepared and effective whenever you need to defend yourself or those around you. Many of the things we talked about are relatively inexpensive and offer a tremendous return on investment.

Stay safe out there, and always watch your six.

Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or just starting out, Defcon Airsoft provides the tools necessary to refine your skills and drills in a safe and controlled setting.

PPK-20: A further development of Vityaz SMG

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The PPK-20 is a recent Russian submachine gun, representing a further development of the PP-19 Vityaz, which is utilized by the Russian police, certain law enforcement units, and the FSB security agency. Initially known as the Vityaz-MO, it was tailored to meet the requirements of the Russian military, diverging from its law enforcement origins. Eventually, its designation was changed to PPK-20. In 2022, this submachine gun was widely used by Spetsnaz units during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Design

The 9mm PPK-20 submachine gun distinguishes itself through its compact dimensions, reduced weight, the addition of an optional quick-detachable sound and flash suppressor, a folding telescopic polymer buttstock, an ergonomic pistol grip, and an ambidextrous fire selector switch. It combines the reliability and ergonomics of the modern AK-12 with a subcompact size.

PPK-20 submachine gun, a successor of the PP-19 Vityaz
PPK-20: The successor of the Vityaz submachine gun (Photo: XY)

The PPK-20 operates on a blowback mechanism and is chambered for standard 9×19 mm ammunition. When utilizing the 7N21 armor-piercing rounds, it can penetrate certain types of body armor. Besides the 7N21, PPK-20 can also use all types of 9×19 rounds.

Featuring a Kalashnikov-style combined safety and fire mode selector switch, the PPK-20 may be considered somewhat cumbersome to manipulate, offering settings for safe, semi-auto, and full-auto modes. The weapon is fed from detachable 30-round magazines and comes equipped with simple iron sights. However, the sighting line is notably short, resulting in subpar accuracy.

Left side of the PPK-20 submachine gun
Left side of the PPK-20 submachine gun (Photo: XY)

Equipped with a Picatinny-type accessory rail and scope rail, the PPK-20 can accommodate various attachments such as tactical flashlights, laser pointers, and red dot sights. Primarily designed for close combat within buildings, its effective range in open areas extends to around 50 meters. Despite its short barrel, it remains lethal at ranges of up to 200 meters.

Variants

The PPK-20U is a lighter and more compact iteration of the PPK-20, boasting several improvements. Unveiled in 2021, it was specifically designed for military pilots as a personal defensive weapon. Weighing in at only 2.5 kg and measuring 41 cm in length, it is approximately 600 g lighter and slightly shorter than its standard counterpart. The barrel and receiver have been shortened to achieve more compact dimensions.

Close look at the PPK-20 fire selector
A close look at the PPK-20 fire selector (Photo: XY)

In terms of accuracy, it falls short compared to the PPK-20 and standard RPK-20. It features a new polymer grip, trigger guard, and handguard, along with an ambidextrous fire mode selector switch for thumb operation. Additionally, it sports a new folding, adjustable stock. The PPK-20U is capable of mounting a sound suppressor.

Thanks to its compact dimensions, the PPK-20U can be stored within a pilot’s seat or emergency backup, making it suitable for other units requiring a highly compact submachine gun, such as bodyguards, undercover security officers, and vehicle crews.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Russia
Manufacturer:Kalashnikov Concern
Caliber:9×19 mm (7N21)
Weight (loaded):3.65 kg
Weight (with empty magazine):3.1 kg
Weight (unloaded):2.9 kg
Length (stock extended):700 mm
Length (stock folded):475 mm
Barrel length:233 mm
Muzzle velocity:380 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire:800 rpm
Practical rate of fire:30 – 90 rpm
Magazine capacity:30 rounds
Range of effective fire:50 – 100 m
Mounts:Picatinny rails on the handguard, top and bottom M-LOK on the sides

The Absolute Essentials to Stock Up on During a Gun Craze!

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Ideally, we would have stocked up on firearms, ammunition, and accessories before prices went through the roof. However, for many of us, that isn’t the case. 

Over the past decade and a half, I’ve witnessed gun-related products skyrocket in price, which has led many of us to cut back and only purchase the essentials, but what are the essentials? 

For me, firearms, ammo, reloading supplies, and a few accessories are the essentials but which specific ones? 

Keep reading to find out!

Firearm Accessories

I’m in the process of building an AR and decking it out with some accessories. However, I’m not one to cram everything I can onto my rifle or pistol. Call me old school, but I still enjoy the clean, limited accessory look.

Here are several accessories I consider adding to a new rifle or pistol.

  • Flashlight / Laser
  • Red Dot / Scope
  • Suppressor
  • Sling
  • Gun Safe
  • Extra Magazines

A flashlight is a must if you plan to use your firearm for home or self-defense. Not only does it help you see, but it will also temporarily blind or disorient an intruder, giving you the upper hand. I also recommend adding a laser, enabling you to get on target faster in a high-pressure situation.

All of my pistols have iron sights; however, depending on the application, I always add a scope or red dot sights to my rifles. I slap a red dot for close quarters; if I plan to shoot 100 yards or further, I install a scope onto my rifle.

I must admit I didn’t understand the craze about suppressors until I shot one. While they never sound like the movies, unless you’re shooting a .22 LR, they will still help protect your hearing if you’re forced to defend yourself and your loved ones. I think a suppressor mounted on a concealed carry handgun is not viable, but it’s necessary for a home defense rifle.

As a hunter, I understand the importance of a rifle sling. Once, I forgot to put a sling on my gun before I went on a 2-day hunting trip. After lugging my rifle around without a strap for two days, I vowed to always install one on my hunting rifles and shotguns. I also have one installed on my AR because it helps me stabilize the gun while I’m shooting.

Some states are passing or attempting to pass laws that require you to lock up your firearms when not in use. While I agree with this to a point, I don’t want my guns falling into the hands of the wrong person; I also need quick access to my weapons to protect myself. That’s why most of my firearms are secured in a gun safe. 

If you can only afford one accessory, make it an extra mag. You can never have too many magazines because they break and make it much easier to carry spare ammo in your plate carrier, tactical backpack, or while concealed carrying.

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Ammo

Speaking of mags and spare ammo, you can never have too much of either. Yes, ammo prices are still expensive, but you can do a few things to help lower the cost of ammo.

  • Purchase Ammo in Bulk
  • Wait Until There is a Sale
  • Reload Ammo

When you buy bulk ammo, the manufacturer and retailer take off a significant amount per round. Yes, taking $0.05 – $0.10 per round doesn’t sound like much, but the savings begin to add up quickly when you consider purchasing 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

I only mentioned waiting for a sale to buy ammo because I’ve gotten ammo on sale in the past, but it’s been a while, so this is one I don’t count on but take advantage of if the opportunity presents itself.

Handloading and reloading ammo is the cheapest way to stock up on ammo after you purchase all the reloading supplies, which we will discuss next. 

Reloading Supplies

If you’re a dedicated shooter who plans to train regularly, as you should, then learning to reload spent brass is a must. The most significant pain is the learning curve and the initial cost of buying all the reloading equipment and supplies.

Here is what you’ll need to get started handloading.

  • Up-to-date Loading Manual
  • Reloading Press
  • Primers
  • Priming Unit
  • Primer Tray
  • Powder
  • Powder Scale
  • Powder Trickler/ Dribbler
  • Powder Funnel
  • Bullets
  • Deburring Tool
  • Brass
  • Shell Holder
  • Reloading Die Set of Desired Caliber
  • Case Lubricant & Pad
  • Two Loading Blocks
  • Caliper
  • Case Trimmer

Several nice-to-have items make reloading go faster and smoother, such as,

  • Brass Catcher for Your Firearm
  • Case Cleaning Equipment
  • Scale Weight Check Sets
  • Automatic Electronic Powder Scale
  • Turret Presses
  • Flash Hole Uniformer
  • Primer Pocket Cleaner
  • Primer Pocket Uniformer
  • Primer Pocket Reamer

After the initial sticker shock from buying everything you need, you’ll be able to save money on ammo for years. 

Reloading is an investment that will take a while to begin paying you back, but once you’ve developed a system, you’ll start saving lots of money because ammo prices will only continue to rise.

Firearms

New gun prices fluctuate only a little; generally, the prices of private and custom firearms rise and fall with demand. So, as long as you don’t purchase a gun at the market’s peak, you should get a good deal. 

The problem is that we never know when the peak will occur. I’ve been on the short end of a few gun deals, but as I’ve been in the market longer, I’ve learned to spot the best deals and pass on the ones I might regret. 

To my wife’s dismay, I’m a bit of a gun collector, so I purchase a variety of firearms. However, I try to keep my purchases in calibers I already own for three reasons. The first is that I already have ammo for my new gun, and the second is that I already have reloading supplies for it. Lastly, I know I enjoy shooting that caliber.

I also only purchase firearms I know I’ll use. Pistols, handguns, and shotguns are generally used for self-defense, while rifles and some shotguns are used for hunting. Even if you buy a new gun because it’s pretty or looks cool, at least you have a reason!

Parting Shots

Now that you’ve finished reading about the firearm essentials worth stocking up on, it’s time to begin saving and purchasing those items. I recommend taking your time and searching for the best deals instead of rushing out and buying it all at once unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket!


Stay safe out there, and always watch your six.

In partnership with the Government Training Institute. The Government Training Institute (GTI) was founded in 2003 to address needs of state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States with research-based training. GTI’s multiple courses contain a cooperative curriculum base and ongoing research from staff with extensive operational military and law enforcement experience.

Al-Yassin 105: A heavily modified anti-tank round based on RPG-2 and RPG-7 design

Since the IDF ground operation in the Gaza Strip, fighters from the Hamas network have been engaging them with various small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. One of the rounds used to target IDF tanks and armored vehicles is a rocket-propelled grenade named Al-Yassin 105. It is a heavily modified round based on RPG-2 and RPG-7 design. It is the successor of the previous Hamas Tandem 85 round. It is in 105/64 mm caliber meant to be used with the Yassin anti-tank launcher (Palestinean clone of the Soviet-designed RPG-2). The launcher and the round were named after the founder of the Hamas network, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. It’s important to note that while some countries classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, others view it differently. The United States, Israel, and several other countries officially designate Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Introduction

The Al-Yassin 105 round was revealed in a video released in early November 2023 by the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas. In the video, they provided information about the 105mm anti-tank round named Al-Yassin 105. In the video compilation, it can be seen that Hamas fighters are launching rockets against IDF armor. Hamas confirmed in the video that the Al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza designed the Al-Yassin anti-tank round, which has a high destructive capacity. It was introduced into the service in 2023 during the latest conflict in the Gaza Strip.

History and development

The development of the Al-Yassin 105 anti-tank round began shortly after Hamas introduced the Tandem 85 anti-tank round for rocket-propelled (RPG) launchers. The Tandem 85 was modeled after the RPG-2 and RPG-7 rounds. It took years to modify this round to enhance its accuracy and power. Today, Hamas claims that Al-Yassin 105 has been successfully modified and can destroy everything from armored vehicles to the highly regarded and feared Israeli Merkava tank.

Named after Sheikh Ahmed Yasin, the founder of Hamas, these rounds were first used in a terrorist attack on Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023, during the ‘Al-Aqsa Flood operation. According to the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, the Tandem 85 round was first used during the ‘Al-Furqan’ battle in January 2009.

It was initially employed to target an Israeli armored personnel carrier to the east of the town of Jabalia in northern Gaza, allegedly destroying it. In the ‘Al-Asif Al-Ma’kul battle in July 2014, Hamas used the Tandem 85 round, which proved its effectiveness by destroying nine Israeli tanks.

Tandem 85 RPG round
Tandem 85 RPG round (Photo: Twitter/X)

In February 2017, the Al-Qassam Brigades announced the development of a locally produced version of the Tandem 85 round, named the Al-Yasin 105. They claimed to have improved its accuracy and effectiveness against tanks and armored vehicles.

Features and specifications

According to the information, the al-Yassin 105 round consists of a dual destructive head with two charges, which explode in two stages; the first explodes and breaches the outer armor, and the second penetrates the tank’s steel and explodes inside it.

The range of the al-Yasin 105 round is estimated to be between 100 and 500 meters, with an effective range of about 150 meters, and its maximum speed reaches 300 meters per second.

Sturmgewehr 44: A predecessor of the modern assault rifles

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The Sturmgewehr 44 is an iconic weapon deployed in the final days of World War II to alter the course of the war and provide Nazi German soldiers with a more reliable and powerful alternative to the Karabiner 98k rifle. Developed during World War II by the renowned designer Hugo Schmeisser, the rifle, also known by its early designations as the MP 43 and MP 44 (Maschinenpistole 43 and 44), marked a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Maschinenkarabiner 42 (H).

Introduction

Chambered in 7.92×33 mm, the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) emerged as a true game-changer, but its arrival was belated and in insufficient quantities to alter the battlefield dynamics. The StG 44 left an indelible mark on firearm design during World War II, standing as the pioneering prototype of the first successful assault rifle. Its innovative features, which included utilizing an intermediate cartridge, enabling controllable automatic fire, adopting a more compact design compared to traditional battle rifles, and delivering a higher rate of fire, completely revolutionized the landscape.

This transformative shift in design was spurred by the recognition that most enemy engagements unfolded within a few hundred meters, rendering the long-range capabilities of other rifles, originally intended for distances exceeding a thousand meters, largely redundant.

Nazi soldier with Sturmgewehr 44
Nazi soldier with Sturmgewehr 44 (Photo: XY)

The StG 44 excelled in its designated role, particularly on the Eastern Front, where it markedly augmented the volume of firepower in comparison to standard infantry rifles. Its influence extended far and wide, most notably leaving an indelible imprint on the development of the Soviet AK-47, which made its debut just two years following the conclusion of World War II. The legacy of the StG 44’s design still resonates profoundly in contemporary assault rifles, which have now become the global standard for infantry weaponry.

History

The development commenced amidst the Nazi campaign to conquer the Soviet Union in 1941. By late 1941, the then-primary weapon of Nazi soldiers, the dependable bolt-action Karabiner 98k rifle, faced challenges when pitted against the array of Communist small arms.

This formidable assortment featured menacing adversaries such as the PPS and PPSh-41 submachine guns, the Tokarev SVT-40 semi-automatic rifle, the ever-reliable Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifle, and even the distinctive Degtyaryov DP-28 light machine gun. The Wehrmacht urgently required a new small arm. Consequently, the development task was assigned to two firms, Walther and Haenel, with some accounts suggesting their involvement as early as 1939.

Haenel emerged as the victor, owing to the dedication of Hugo Schmeisser’s development team. At the core of their research and development lay the creation of a weapon optimized for engagements within a 300-meter range. This endeavor resulted in the Mkb 42, which entered limited production, yielding between 10,000 and 11,833 units. It underwent field trials on the Eastern Front.

Picture of two soldiers taken in World War II
Picture of two soldiers taken in World War II (Photo: History)

This innovative “machine carbine” was chambered for the full-powered 7.92 mm Kurz round, developed in 1938, and represented a departure from conventional designs. Fabricated with a stamped steel body reinforced by a wooden stock, it functioned on gas and provided selective fire capabilities through a tilting bolt mechanism.

Subsequent enhancements gave rise to the improved MP 43, prepared for widespread adoption. However, the tumultuous nature of the Wehrmacht’s procurement system and the ever-shifting tides of war hindered its deployment. Only in late 1944, specifically on October 22, did Adolf Hitler personally christen the impressive weapon with its iconic name: the Sturmgewehr 44 (German for “Assault Rifle 44”). The name change was probably due to propaganda reasons. Production commenced earnestly at Haenel, Walther, Mauser, and Oberndorf-am-Neckar facilities.

Nevertheless, it proved to be too little, too late. 425,977 StG 44 rifles were manufactured, but this quantity was insufficient to alter Germany’s ultimate fate. The StG 44 had flaws, including susceptibility to overheating due to its futuristic stamped steel appearance, adversely affecting the barrel assembly and foregrip. Soldiers utilizing the Sturmgewahr 44 had to resort to wearing mittens or gripping the magazine well when firing.

Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44) view from the both sides
Sturmgewehr 44 view from the both sides (Photo: XY)

The rifle’s susceptibility to jamming in case of stock damage was heightened by a recoil spring extending into the wooden stock. Additionally, the limited sighting range could have been improved by relocating the rear sight closer to the stock. Furthermore, the curved 30-round magazine suffered from a faulty spring, often detaching from the lower receiver as it emptied.

Despite these issues, the StG 44 featured a unique design element: the section of the lower receiver housing the pistol grip could swing out from the magazine well. This distinctive feature streamlined the cleaning and reassembly process.

As the Cold War unfolded, the Sturmgewehr 44’s reputation waned, relegating it to an obscure status as a last resort. However, its enduring form and function left an indelible mark on small arms development in both the East and West.

The various components of the StG 44 went on to influence some of the most successful modern rifles, including the AK-47 (incorporating the barrel assembly, front and rear sights, and magazine), the FN FAL (initially chambered for the Kurz round), the M16 (encompassing the breech and lower receiver), and the Heckler & Koch G3 (including the stock, upper and lower receiver, and pistol grip, although the Sturmgewehr 45 prototype bore more similarities to the G3).

Users

Substantial quantities of StG 44 rifles found their way to far-flung destinations, including conflict zones in Asia and Africa. It is believed that StG 44s chambered in the original Kurz rounds were manufactured in Argentina during the 1950s. Some even reached the United States as war trophies brought home by U.S. soldiers. An intriguing incident unfolded in December 2012 when a woman from Hartford, Connecticut, contemplated surrendering a StG 44 to the police in exchange for a gift certificate. Still, the firearm’s significant value dissuaded her.

Variants

Type:Description:
MKb 42Prototypes for the series.
MP 43The original production model was designated as a “Maschinepistole” (‘MP,’ for submachine gun).
MP 44An improved version of the MP 43 and the definitive production model was later relabeled as the StG 44.
Krummlauf (attachment)This accessory is an attachable, curved barrel extension that enables the StG 44 to fire around corners without exposing the operator. It was initially designed for use inside armored vehicles but could also function as a standalone component.
Gerat 06A weapon featuring components from the MP 43, StG 44, and MG-42 machine gun, but it did not enter production.
CB-51An improved version of the MP 43 and the definitive production model was later relabeled as the StG 44.
Franchi LF-59An Italian assault rifle that incorporated the action and several other components from the Sturmgewehr 44. A carbine version, the LF-58, was also developed, but neither was accepted into service.
M44The Yugoslav Army’s designation for the StG 44.
StG 45A simplified variant developed in 1945 that featured a roller-delayed blowback firing mechanism. It later influenced the Spanish CETME Modelo A rifle and, subsequently, the Heckler & Koch G3.

Several reproductions were also manufactured for civilian use; however, these lack selective fire capability and were not marketed for military use.

Legacy

StG 44s have left their mark through photographs, utilization, and capture in various conflicts, including the Arab-Israeli Wars, the Vietnam War, and violent outbreaks in East Africa. In the notorious Battle of Mogadishu in 1993, many rifles carried by Somali gunmen turned out to be Sturmgewehr 44s, taking U.S. troops by surprise who had expected AK-47s. Caches of StG 44s emerged in Iraq and Afghanistan during the 2000s, occasionally appearing in insurgents’ hands in those regions. In 2012, Syrian rebels looted a substantial stash of Sturmgewehr 44s, even releasing footage of their audacious exploit.

The Sturmgewehr 44 has experienced a revival among American gun collectors. Since 2012, U.S. start-up firearm manufacturers and distributors have offered replica StG 44s as sporting rifles. Demand for these historical relics has been robust, prompting the production of StG 44 replicas in various calibers, including 7.62 and 5.56 (.223).

Sturmgewehr 44 is very popular among gun collectors
Sturmgewehr 44 is very popular among gun collectors (Photo: XY)

The allure of the Sturmgewehr has also made a comeback in its homeland. In recent years, the German bespoke gun shop EL BE Tac has marketed a collection of replica Wehrmacht and Waffen SS semi-automatic weapons, prominently featuring the StG 44. Seventy years after it entered mass production as a groundbreaking battlefield innovation, the StG 44’s future appears to be secured in the private gun collections of enthusiasts. This represents another unexpected twist in the long and eventful journey of the first successful assault rifle.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Nazi Germany
Manufacturer:C. G. Haenel Waffen und Fahrradfabrik Sauer & Sohn CITEDEF (post-war) Steyr-Daimler-Puch
Caliber:7.92 x 33 mm
Entered service:1944
Weight (unloaded):5.2 kg
Length:940 mm
Barrel length:419 mm
Muzzle velocity:650 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire:500 rpm
Practical rate of fire:40 – 100 rpm
Magazine capacity:30 rounds
Sighting range:800 m
Range of effective fire:~ 200 m
Price:70 ℛ︁ℳ︁ (1944) €550 current equivalent

Omer Halisdemir: The story of courage and self-sacrifice

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On the evening of July 15, 2016, Omer Halisdemir held the position of officer in charge at the headquarters of the Special Forces Command in Ankara. The evening initially seemed calm and uneventful, much like any other night. However, unusual occurrences and military movements began to unfold in various parts of the country. Turkey was engulfed in chaos as elements within the military attempted a coup. This endeavor proved disastrous for them, as they encountered fierce resistance from the public, police, and loyalist military forces.

Who was Omer Halisdemir?

In his private life, Omer Halisdemir was an ordinary man, a beloved husband, and a father of two children. He was married to Hatice Halisdemir, and together, they welcomed two children into the world: a daughter named Elifnur and a son named Doğan Ertuğrul. Omer was born on February 20, 1974, in Çukurkuyu town in the Bor district of Niğde Province in central Turkey. He was one of seven children in the family of Hasan Hüseyin Halisdemir and his wife, Fadimeana. His childhood was spent in his hometown.

Omer Halisdemir is national hero in Turkey
Omer Halisdemir is a national hero in Turkey (Photo: XY)

During his free time after school hours, he worked as a shepherd. After completing his primary and middle school education, he attended and successfully graduated from the Industrial Vocational High School in Niğde. Although he initially passed the entrance exam for the Police Academy, he chose not to pursue that path as his lifelong dream had always been to become a soldier. Guided by this dream, a relative took him to Ankara for an entrance exam at a non-commissioned officer school. Omer’s childhood dream became a reality when he passed the exam.

Military career

In 1999, Omer Halisdemir joined the Turkish Armed Forces as a non-commissioned infantry officer. He served in various locations, including southeastern Turkey in Şırnak and Silopi and outside the country in Northern Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout his career, he achieved the rank of senior sergeant major, demonstrating his excellence in fulfilling critical tasks and earning multiple military decorations.

“He always desired to be a soldier. While brave and fearless on the battlefield, he wouldn’t hurt a fly on normal days. When defending his nation, nothing would intimidate him, and his martyrdom proved it.”

Ibrahim Ayhan, a childhood friend of Halisdemir.

Eventually, he was assigned to a crucial position within the Turkish Army’s elite Special Forces Command, based at the headquarters in Ankara, where he served as the staff sergeant for the commander, Major General Zekai Aksakallı. He dedicated a substantial career as an aide to General Aksakallı.

Failed 2016 coup d’état attempt

A telephone call rang out at one pivotal moment within the Special Forces Command. Halisdemir promptly answered, finding his commander, Major General Zekai Aksakalli, on the other end of the line. Aksakalli urgently conveyed the dire situation: the nation was in peril, and a violent coup was underway. He further disclosed that Brigadier General Semih Terzi, a supporter of the coup, would imminently arrive at the headquarters with rebel forces in an attempt to capture it.

It was imperative to prevent Terzi’s takeover, as doing so would deal a significant blow to the coup plotters. In response, Halisdemir swiftly and resolutely affirmed, ‘Aye, Aye, sir, give your blessing.’

2016 Turkey's failed coup attempt
Aftermath of the 2016 Turkey’s failed coup attempt (Photo: XY)

Mere minutes later, at 02:16 AM, Brigadier General Semih Terzi, accompanied by ten heavily armed troops and officers, arrived via helicopter from a military base in Diyarbakır and landed just outside the headquarters. They entered the Special Forces Command compound while Halisdemir remained in the front yard. As soon as he spotted Terzi, Halisdemir fired a fatal shot at point-blank range, ending Terzi’s life.

“My son served five years with Gen. Terzi in Afghanistan and Terzi thought he could easily take over the headquarters from him.”

Halisdemir’s father

After he had eliminated Terzi, a crucial figure in the coup attempt and associated with the FETO organization, Halisdemir attempted to seek cover. However, he was unexpectedly shot from behind by Major Fatih Sahin, who was part of Terzi’s escort. Halisdemir sustained severe injuries due to the hail of bullets unleashed by Major Sahin. In his weakened state, Halisdemir was approached by another soldier loyal to Terzi, Mihrali Atmaca, who callously executed the incapacitated and already defeated man. This incident, captured by security cameras, marked a turning point during the coup.

Aftermath

The death of Brigadier General Semih Terzi marked a pivotal turning point in the coup attempt, as the coup plotters were left without effective leadership, rendering their efforts futile. They were destined for failure without control over crucial infrastructure and a clear chain of command. Later that same night, lacking a coherent leadership structure and encircled by ordinary citizens, police officers, and loyal soldiers to the Turkish government, the coup plotters were ultimately defeated.

The entire coup attempt was quashed in the early hours of July 16. The military personnel who had participated in the coup attempt, including those who tried to capture the Special Forces Command, were responsible for Sgt. Halisdemir’s death was arrested. The trial of the seventeen officers began on February 20, 2017, and all of them were sentenced to life in prison. Ömer Halisdemir was laid to rest in his hometown of Çukurkuyu on July 17, 2016, with high-ranking local officials and thousands of others attending his funeral.

When CCTV footage of Omer Halisdemir’s heroic actions became public, it deeply moved ordinary Turks. His courage inspired them to face a heavily armed group of coup plotters, eliminate their main leader, and mourn his tragic loss. For the Turkish people, it was a profound sorrow to lose such a fearless soldier who willingly followed orders from his commander, even when the odds of survival were exceedingly low.

Legacy

A monument was erected to commemorate Halisdemir and his extraordinary bravery in the front yard of the Special Forces Command headquarters, where he made the ultimate sacrifice, and it stands alongside a place that preserves his bloodstain. Halisdemir’s memory has garnered a heartfelt outpouring of sympathy, and his gravesite is visited by numerous individuals who come to pay their respects.

Omer Halisdemir - Modern Turkish hero
Omer Halisdemir is the modern Turkish hero who gave everything he had for his country (Photo: XY)

Several schools, parks, and public spaces have been named after him to honor his legacy. Notably, Niğde University, a high school in Etimesgut, Ankara, a middle school in Yunusemre, Manisa, a primary school in Kahramanmaraş, the library of Kütahya Dumlupınar University, a conference hall in Malatya, İmam Hatip high schools in İzmir, Yenimahalle, Ankara, and Çekmeköy, Istanbul proudly bear his name.

Dmitry Utkin: The Life and Death of the Man with the Callsign ‘Wagner’

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One name stands out in the shadowy realm of Russia’s private military companies: Dmitry Valerievich Utkin, an enigmatic figure with a complex and controversial legacy. Born on June 11, 1970, in Asbest, a village in Sverdlovsk Oblast, Soviet Union, Utkin’s journey took him from the ranks of the Russian special forces to the helm of the infamous Wagner Group. This private military company gained international attention through its involvement in various conflicts. Often described as the co-founder and military commander of the Wagner Group, Utkin’s story is a tapestry woven with intrigue, conflict, and a touch of infamy.

Early Life and Military Career

Utkin’s early life was marked by transition. Following his parents’ divorce, he and his mother moved to the Ukrainian village of Smoline, where he grew up. Known for his intellectual nature, Utkin’s path led him to the S. M. Kirov Higher Combined Arms Command School in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), and from there, he joined the ranks of the GRU Special Forces. The young officer’s dedication to service was evident, leading to his rise to the rank of lieutenant colonel within the GRU.

Wagner Group

Utkin’s military journey took a turn after he departed from the Russian armed forces in 2013. That year, he embarked on a new chapter by affiliating himself with the Moran Security Group, a private company founded by Russian military veterans. This venture provided Utkin with opportunities beyond traditional military service. During this period, Utkin and his associates established the Wagner Group, a mercenary organization bearing his military call sign, “Wagner.”

Wagner Group mercenaries in Bakhmut 2022
Operators from the Wagner Group with flags of Wagner and Russia in Bakhmut (Photo: XY)

The Wagner Group’s activities spanned multiple theatres of conflict, from Crimea to Donbas, where Utkin and his group fought alongside pro-Russian separatists during the Russo-Ukrainian War. Despite his low public profile, Utkin’s presence in the ranks of the Wagner Group earned him recognition and respect within certain circles.

The Wagner Group’s Controversial Role

As the Wagner Group’s influence grew, so did its notoriety. Reports circulated about Utkin’s military prowess and role as the group’s behind-the-scenes commander. The Wagner Group’s involvement in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine catapulted Utkin and his organization into the international spotlight. Reports painted him as a pivotal figure overseeing the group’s military operations while Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner and public face of the organization, managed its finances and public relations.

A rebellion and an enigmatic leader

One of the most intriguing episodes in Utkin’s story was the Wagner Rebellion of 2023. Amidst the chaos of the Russian invasion, Prigozhin accused the Defense Ministry of shelling Wagner soldiers. This led to a rebellion orchestrated by Prigozhin himself, with Utkin’s role shrouded in mystery. Reports suggested that Utkin might have been at the forefront of this mutiny, steering a Wagner convoy towards Moscow. The rebellion eventually simmered when an agreement was reached, allowing Wagner mutineers to avoid prosecution by joining the Defense Ministry or relocating to Belarus.

Dmitry Utkin standing next to the Russian military helicopter
Dmitry Utkin standing next to the Russian military helicopter (Photo: XY)

The rare glimpse of the commander

Utkin’s public appearances were few and far between, heightening the mystique surrounding him. However, a video posted by Prigozhin in July provided an unprecedented glimpse into Utkin’s persona. In the video, Utkin addressed his troops in Belarus, marking the first time he was captured speaking on camera. His words held a mix of determination and intrigue as he proclaimed, “This is not the end; this is only the beginning of the greatest work in the world, which will continue very soon.” The video closed with a chilling phrase: “And welcome to hell.”

Dmitry Valerievich Utkin 1970-2023
Dmitry Valerievich Utkin (1970-2023) (Photo: XY)

Death

On August 23, 2023, Dmitry Utkin’s life was tragically cut short in a plane crash that sent shockwaves through the global community. The incident claimed the lives of nine additional individuals, including the notorious Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group. Amid the chaos of the aftermath, a Telegram channel linked to the Wagner Group asserted that the aircraft had fallen victim to Russian air defenses, painting a distressing image of a plane shot down over Tver Oblast. Adding further layers to the unfolding narrative, Russian media sources explored the possibility that an act of aerial aggression might have caused the crash.

Legacy

As Dmitry Valerievich Utkin’s story unfolds, his legacy remains entwined with the Wagner Group’s actions on the global stage. Though his exact role in the group’s founding and operations might be disputed, there’s no doubt that Utkin’s impact on the world of private military companies is indelible. From his military upbringing to his enigmatic leadership within the Wagner Group, Utkin’s journey paints a vivid portrait of a complex and multi-faceted individual. Whether remembered as a commander, war criminal, co-founder, or enigma, Dmitry Utkin’s story bridges the realms of secrecy, conflict, and the pursuit of power.

Springfield Echelon: Redefining Innovation in Service Pistols

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Springfield Armory introduces a groundbreaking innovation in service pistols known as the Echelon in the ever-evolving world of firearms. With its name drawing inspiration from a military formation, this pistol lives up to its moniker, representing a new rank, level, and tier in hard-use service firearms. The Echelon embodies the culmination of Springfield’s expertise in designing and manufacturing striker-fired pistols, making it a true go-to service pistol that gets everything right.

A New Paradigm in Design

The Echelon sets itself apart from conventional service pistols with many innovations and patent-pending design implementations. Springfield focused on crucial aspects like grip texturing, optics mounting system, and durability, ensuring a superior user experience. The Echelon underwent a battery of tests throughout its development, including drop tests and exposure to various challenging substrates, such as dirt, mud, dust, and even water. The result is a pistol designed to withstand the harshest conditions without compromising performance.

Springfield Echelon right side view
Springfield Echelon seen from the right side (Photo: HS)

Central Operating Group (COG)

The Echelon’s foundation lies in its polymer-framed construction and striker-fired operating system. The central operating group (COG), a stainless-steel chassis housing the trigger assembly, serves as the serialized component, following US law requirements. The innovative aspect of the COG lies in its adaptability, allowing users to interchange grip modules to customize the pistol’s size and grip configuration. Additionally, the COG integrates a “second sear” design, enhancing drop safety and ensuring the pistol meets the most stringent standards.

Springfield Armory Echelon pistol has a Central Operating Group (COG)
Springfield Armory Echelon pistol has a Central Operating Group (COG) (Photo: HS)

Variable Interface System (VIS)

Taking customization to new heights, Springfield introduced the Variable Interface System (VIS) for mounting optics on the Echelon. This system utilizes a series of holes in the slide, combined with self-locking pins, to directly support over 30 different optics, eliminating the need for adapter plates. The VIS enables easier co-witnessing with factory sights and ensures future-proofing with multiple optic footprints available. Furthermore, adapter plates are available for optics not directly compatible with the VIS, catering to a wide range of shooter preferences.

Variable Interface System (VIS) is used to install optics to the Springfield Echelon
Variable Interface System (VIS) is used to install optics to the Springfield Echelon (Photo: HS)

Tailoring the Echelon to Fit You

Springfield goes the extra mile to cater to individual preferences by offering various grip modules with Adaptive Grip Texturing, ensuring excellent traction for recoil control. Moreover, users can choose between small, medium, and large grip modules, altering trigger reach progressively, and each module comes with interchangeable backstraps for further customization. With additional options for different grip textures, the Echelon can be fully tailored to provide an optimal shooting experience for each user.

Enhanced User Experience

The Echelon boasts numerous design elements that enhance the user experience. Front and rear cocking serrations provide excellent traction for easy slide manipulation, while the Forward Trench relief cut offers a convenient pinch point for press-checking the pistol. The slide’s Melonite finish ensures exceptional wear and corrosion resistance, and the flared rear corners offer a substantial gripping area for manual slide racking. Furthermore, the U-Notch sights with tritium inserts enhance visibility in various lighting conditions.

Springfield Armory Echelon is perfectly customizable and user-friendly
Springfield Armory Echelon is perfectly customizable and user-friendly (Photo: HS)

Putting the Echelon to the test, it proves itself with outstanding performance and reliability. The trigger system provides a clean and crisp pull, balancing safety, reliability, and ease of operation. Its superior handling and ergonomics and the Adaptive Grip Texturing contribute to excellent recoil control and overall shooting experience. Moreover, the Echelon’s reliability stands out, as it flawlessly cycles through hundreds of rounds without malfunctions.

With an attractive MSRP of $679, the Springfield Armory Echelon offers exceptional performance at a reasonable price. Springfield’s daring innovation, particularly with the Variable Interface System, sets a new benchmark for the industry. The pistol’s adaptability, performance, and ergonomic design make it a milestone in modern duty pistols.

Springfield Armory Echelon with holo sight (sideview)
Springfield Armory Echelon with holo sight (Photo: HS)

Technical specifications

Country of origin:United States/Croatia
Manufacturer:Springfield Armory
Caliber:9mm
Barrel:4.5 inches
Overall length:8 inches
Weight:23.9 ounces (with flush-fit mag)
Height:5.5 inches
Width:1.2 inches
Grips:Polymer
Capacity:17/20+1
Sights:U-Notch Rear, High Vis. Front
Action:Striker-Fired
Finish:Melonite
MSRP:$679

Conclusion

Springfield Armory’s Echelon represents a groundbreaking milestone in modern pistol design. Springfield Armory had an excellent experience with Springfield XD (HS2000). The Echelon sets a new standard for service pistols with its innovative features, user-friendly ergonomics, and outstanding performance. The revolutionary Central Operating Group and Variable Interface System for optics mountings showcase Springfield’s dedication to pushing boundaries and offering shooters unparalleled adaptability and functionality. As the Echelon paves the way for the future of service pistols, it undoubtedly benefits professional users and firearm enthusiasts, making it a game-changer.

2013 Barawe Raid: The Failed SEAL Team Six Mission No One Talks About

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In the annals of military history, certain operations stand out for their success and the invaluable lessons they impart. One such operation was the Barawe Raid, an audacious attempt by the elite SEAL Team Six, also known as DEVGRU, to neutralize the dangerous Somali insurgent commander, Ikrima. The mission, conducted in the early hours of October 5, 2013, in the coastal town of Barawa, Somalia, was fraught with unforeseen challenges, ultimately rendering it a failed endeavor. Despite its lack of success, the Barawe Raid was a testament to the unwavering bravery and resilience of the SEALs involved.

High-Value Target: Ikrima

Ikrima, whose real name was Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir (also used as Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadir; Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir), was a notorious figure associated with al-Shabaab, a terrorist group responsible for wreaking havoc in the region. Intelligence reports suggested that he was planning attacks on government and U.N. targets in neighboring Kenya, making his capture or elimination a top priority for security forces. At the time, he was on the most-wanted list, with a $3 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir aka IKRIMA, one of the most wanted terrorists from al-Shabaab was target of the SEAL Team Six operation later known as 2013 Barawe Raid
Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, also known as Ikrima, was the target of the Seal Team Six operation, later known as the 2013 Barawe Raid (Photo: XY)

Raid

The operation began with a daring entrance as the SEAL Team Six operatives arrived via a single fast boat from the Indian Ocean, making their way to the coastal town of Barawa. To ensure the success of the assault and facilitate a smooth extraction, three additional small boats, packed with extra SEALs, were strategically positioned on either side of the main craft. This additional force provided crucial backup, bolstering the primary assault team’s efforts and readiness.

Zeroing in on the Stronghold

Moving inland, the SEALs zeroed in on a two-story beachfront house believed to be Ikrima’s stronghold. The location was significant, as it was a haven for foreign insurgents who had joined al-Shabaab. This group was responsible for a deadly siege on a Kenyan shopping mall a month prior, resulting in the tragic loss of 67 innocent lives. For the local population, the presence of these insurgents was not unknown, making the mission even more imperative to quell the reign of terror.

DEVGRU Special Operations Team Room
DEVGRU Special Operations Team Room (Photo: XY)

The Intense Firefight

As the SEALs prepared to breach the house, a seemingly oblivious insurgent emerged and continued his routine, even enjoying a cigarette, before returning to the building. Suddenly, he resurfaced, unleashing a hail of gunfire, robbing the SEALs of their element of surprise. A ferocious firefight followed as multiple insurgents joined, exchanging fire with the SEALs. Despite the situation’s intensity, the SEALs pushed forward, utilizing flashbang grenades to clear their path through the compound.

The Decision to Abort

During the relentless engagement, the SEALs caught glimpses of their target, Ikrima, through the compound’s windows. Despite their determination to neutralize him, innocent women and children in the vicinity complicated matters. Recognizing the potential danger to civilians, the SEALs made a difficult decision to abort the mission, further diminishing the chances of capturing Ikrima alive.

The situation became increasingly perilous, with enemy reinforcements pouring in from nearby houses. The SEALs faced hundreds of enemy fighters, forcing them to initiate a tactical fighting withdrawal toward the beach. Throughout their retreat, they maintained a strategic stance, pausing periodically to assess the situation and consider the option of re-engaging. Their determination and unwavering commitment to the mission were evident as they weighed their options.

Why was DEVGRU chosen over Delta Force for the Operation Neptune Spear? SEAL Team 6 Gold Squadron
Seal Team 6 (DEVGRU) Gold Squadron after a muddy operation (Photo: Illustration/Reddit)

The Aftermath

Once they reached the waiting boats, the SEALs quickly regrouped and departed for their base, vanishing into the night. However, amid the chaotic withdrawal, they left behind some abandoned items—a testament to the situation’s intensity and the SEALs’ determination to protect their comrades.

Among the discarded possessions were a flak jacket, a flashbang grenade, rounds of ammunition, and a Garmin GPS device. There were also traces of blood that were reportedly discovered, suggesting that at least one of the SEALs had sustained injuries and discarded these items during treatment. Remarkably, no SEALs lost their lives during the assault, although at least one insurgent perished in the encounter.

In the aftermath of the failed Barawe Raid, the insurgent group responded swiftly, deploying more heavily armed fighters to patrol the streets of Barawa. They strategically positioned men equipped with anti-aircraft weapons along the beachfront to fortify their control and deter any potential future attacks. These measures were aimed at solidifying their grip on the region.

1st SFOD-Delta team at undisclosed location DELTA FORCE
Delta Force Team at an undisclosed location (Photo: Pinterest)

However, the intensified presence of armed insurgents stirred unease within the local community. Suspicion began to grow regarding the possible involvement of informants who might have aided U.S. intelligence in pinpointing the targeted house during the operation. This mistrust ignited a fervent hunt for suspected informants, leading to the arrest of a man known to frequent the local internet cafe.

Barawa had been under insurgent control since 2008, serving as a sanctuary for senior members of the group after losing control of Mogadishu and other towns in 2011. Among the notable figures seeking refuge in Barawway was Ahmed Guddan, Africa’s most wanted man following the Westgate Mall attacks in Kenya. Such high-profile individuals in the town further escalated tensions, adding to the situation’s complexities.

Conclusion

Despite the challenges faced during the Barawe Raid, the mission had its share of successes. Remarkably, no SEALs lost their lives during the encounter, a testament to their skill, training, and unwavering valor. On the other hand, at least one insurgent was killed in the fierce firefight.

A senior military official, well-informed about the operation, emphasized that contrary to public perception, covert military operations were far from straightforward. Looking back at significant missions like Operation Neptune Spear, which culminated in the capture of Osama bin Laden, the official shed light on the misconception that such operations were easy. He also pointed out that the operational environment in the targeted area lacked the same level of support network as seen in Afghanistan and Iraq, making the mission even more challenging.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised the operation in Somalia and another nearly simultaneous one in Libya, conducted by Delta Force. He viewed these successful missions as a testament to U.S. anti-terror efforts’ unparalleled precision, global reach, and capabilities. Hagel emphasized that these operations sent a powerful message to the international community, affirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to hold insurgents accountable, no matter their hiding places or the length of time they had evaded justice.

The Barawe Raid remains a pivotal chapter in the history of special operations, serving as a reminder of the inherent complexities and unpredictability of such missions. While it may not have achieved its intended goal, the operation provided invaluable insights and experiences that have undoubtedly influenced subsequent military tactics and strategies.

As we remember the bravery and sacrifices made by the SEALs during that fateful night, it serves as a poignant reminder of the price paid in pursuing safety and security in an ever-changing world. The failed Barawe Raid remains a testament to the unwavering commitment of these brave men and women who continue to put themselves on the frontline, defending our freedoms and safeguarding global peace.

Quick facts

Date:October 5, 2013
Location:Barawa, Somalia
Also known as:2013 Barawe Raid
Mission:Capture HVT (Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, aka IKRIMA)
Participants:Seal Team Six
Mission status:FAILED
Casulaties:one SEAL was wounded, and at least one of the insurgents killed

SOKO J-21 Jastreb: Yugoslavia’s Advanced Single-Engine Jet Aircraft

The Soko J-21 Jastreb is a Yugoslav military single-engine light attack jet aircraft of single-seat metal construction intended for close fire support and reconnaissance. It was produced based on the VTI project at the SOKO aircraft factory in Mostar from 1968 to 1977. The aircraft was created from the development project of the Soko G-2 Galeb military school jet, sharing many unified parts, which made production and maintenance cheaper.

Introduction

This was the second jet and the first fighter plane to be serially produced in Yugoslavia. Aerodynamicist Prof. Dr. Zlatko Rendulić led the project. The first test flight took place on July 19, 1965, and its introduction into service began on December 31, 1968. This marked the beginning of the gradual replacement of the F-84 Thunderjet, which was running low on resources and had been the main attack jet in the JRV until then. The Soko J-21 Jastreb first appeared at the Farnborough air show in 1968.

Image of a row of twelve J-21 Jastreb light attack aircraft sitting idle and abandoned at a military air base in Serbia
Once proud warriors now forgotten, a dozen J-21 Jastreb light attack aircraft lie abandoned at a military air base in Serbia (Photo: S.M)

The Soko J-21 Jastreb could take off and land on grass runways. It was equipped with shooting weapons in the fuselage and unguided bombs and rockets on underwing mounts, enabling ground assault-combat operations. It could also operate alongside light aircraft such as helicopters and piston planes. The aircraft was produced in four variants. Aside from the standard J-21 (attacker) and IJ-21 (reconnaissance), the most significant variant was the J-1L, intended for export to Zambia and Libya. A total of 224 examples were manufactured, with 175 Jastrebs serving in the official capacity in the JRV, while the remaining units were export batches, which achieved considerable business success.

Development

The technology for producing Yugoslavia’s first subsonic jet aircraft was obtained through cooperation with the United Kingdom, which involved purchasing a license for the Armstrong Siddeley Viper turbojet engine and additional equipment like the Foland seat. This collaboration marked a significant technological advancement for Yugoslavia, with Mostar and SR BiH becoming hubs for one of the most advanced technologies in the country.

Image of a design chart displaying the specifications and features of the Soko J-21 Jastreb aircraft
A detailed design chart showcasing the specifications and features of the Soko J-21 Jastreb aircraft (Photo: S.M)

In contrast to the Soko G-2 Galeb, the J-21 Jastreb had a reinforced structure to accommodate higher payload capacity. It was also equipped with a slightly more powerful turbojet engine, designated Mk 521, providing a thrust of 1,333.7 daN. Some sources suggest that the Jastreb served as a transitional solution until the implementation of the classified military project “JUROM,” which focused on developing a new twin-engine attack jet called the J-22 Orao in collaboration between SFR Yugoslavia and the Republic of Romania during the 1970s.

During the 1960s, Yugoslavia’s Airforce possessed turbojet-powered aircraft of American origin, namely the Lockheed T-33, for schooling, training, and reconnaissance purposes, as well as the F-84G Thunderjet as a fighter bomber. Despite their excellent and long-serving performance in the JRV, these aircraft were phased out and handed over to Yugoslavia. In the latter part of the decade, they were replaced by the F-86E Sabre and F-86D Sabre. While the G-2 Galeb and Sabres covered two-thirds of their mission requirements, there was a need for a suitable aircraft to fulfill the remaining fighter-bomber missions.

Leveraging the successful development of the G-2 Galeb, the single-seat J-21 Jastreb was created using acquired and owned technology. It featured a more powerful engine, substantial armament, and advanced equipment designed for fighter-bomber tasks.

Close-up image capturing the front section of the Soko J-21 Jastreb cockpit, revealing the array of controls, instruments, and displays that form the pilot's domain, showcasing the advanced technology and functionality of the aircraft.
Step into the immersive world of the Soko J-21 Jastreb as we explore the intricate details of its captivating cockpit front (Photo: XY)

Design

The airframe of the G-2 Galeb was fully utilized for the development of the J-21 Jastreb. The front and cabin sections of the fuselage were modified to accommodate weapon installations and remove one seat from the pilot’s cabin. In the central part of the fuselage, slight modifications were made to accommodate a slightly more powerful Rolls-Royce Viper 20Mk 531 engine, providing a thrust of 13.3 kN. The front section of the hull houses three Colt Browning machine guns, each loaded with 130 rounds of ammunition (12.7 mm caliber). For the pilot’s safety, the cabin has an ejectable seat known as the “1B Foland.”

Operational history

The Soko J-21 Jastreb actively participated in combat operations as part of the Army and Air Defense Forces of the JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army) at the onset of the conflict in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991. Subsequently, it served in the Army and Air Defense Forces of the Republika Srpska Army. However, the largest number of Jastrebs were decommissioned in 1996 by the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia based on the Subregional Agreement on Arms Control. In the early 21st century, a few Jastrebs remained operational by the air forces of Republika Srpska and Libya.

Detailed image showcasing the right panel of the Soko J-21 Jastreb cockpit, featuring an intricate network of switches, knobs, and indicators, representing the various controls and systems crucial for the operation of the aircraft
Delve into the complexities of the Soko J-21 Jastreb cockpit as we examine the meticulously arranged right panel, housing a multitude of essential controls and systems (Photo: XY)

In the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), the J-21 Jastreb primarily fulfilled tasks related to training and occupation of JRV (Yugoslav Air Force) units. It also had a significant role in reconnaissance operations. Following SFRY’s dissolution and the aircraft’s transfer to the RV RS (Republika Srpska Army) and RV FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), its combat capabilities became more prominent. The RV RS frequently employed the J-21 for air-to-ground missions.

Detailed image showcasing the left panel of the Soko J-21 Jastreb cockpit, highlighting a range of instruments, switches, and navigation aids that serve as the command center of avionics, enabling precise control and navigation during flight
Explore the command center of avionics within the Soko J-21 Jastreb cockpit as we uncover the purposeful arrangement of the left panel, housing vital instruments and navigation aids (Photo: XY)

On February 28, 1994, during a combat mission, six Jastreb aircraft of the Republika Srpska were attacked by two NATO F-16 aircraft in what is known as the Banja Luka incident. Four of the six J-21 Jastrebs were shot down, while the remaining two escaped. After signing the Dayton Agreement in 1995 and the cessation of hostilities, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia retired all sixty-six Jastreb aircraft from service, while the Republika Srpska continued to utilize 11 aircraft.

Variants

The J-21 Jastreb had a prototype version, with only one copy produced. Similarly, the NJ-21 Jastreb, a two-seater training variant, also had a prototype with a single copy manufactured. The single-seat fighter-bomber J-21 Jastreb saw production of 119 units. Additionally, the two-seater training variant NJ-21 Jastreb was produced with 18 examples. The IJ-21 Jastreb was developed for reconnaissance purposes, with 38 units produced. An export variant known as the J-1E Jastreb was also manufactured, with 47 examples produced specifically for export purposes.

n awe-inspiring image of the Soko J-21 Jastreb aircraft, artistically repurposed as a monument, serving as a poignant symbol that commemorates Yugoslavia's remarkable aviation heritage and achievements.
A remarkable transformation unfolds as the Soko J-21 Jastreb aircraft takes on a new role as a captivating monument, preserving the enduring legacy of Yugoslavia’s aviation history.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Yugoslavia
Manufacturer:SOKO Mostar, Yugoslavia
Designer:Aeronautical Technical Institute (ATI)
Type:light attack aircraft
Crew:1
Introduced in service:1968 (first flight July 19, 1965)
Powerplant:1 × BMB (Rolls-Royce/Bristol Siddeley) Viper Mk 531 turbojet engine, 13.32 kN (2,990 lbf) thrust
2 × JATO units solid-fuelled rockets, 4.45 kN (1,000 lbf) thrust each
Fuel capacity:440 kg (970 lb) internal fuel + 435 kg (959 lb) in 2x 275 L (60 imp gal; 73 US gal) jettisonable wing-tip fuel tanks
Dimensions:span 11.68 m / 38 ft 3.8 in length 10.88 m / 35 ft 8.3 in height 3.64 m / 11 ft 11.3in
Weight (empty):2,820 kg / 6,217 lb
Max. flight mass:maximum take-off 5,100 kg / 11,244 lb
Maximum speed:443 kt / 510 mph / 820.76 km/h
Range:1520 km / 944 miles
Armament:three 12.7-mm (0.5-in) machine guns with 135 rounds per gun; provision for 500 kg (1,102 lb) of disposable stores, including bombs, bomblet containers, flares, rocket-launcher pods, and gun pods carried on two inboard hardpoints, and for six 127-mm (5-in) air-to-surface rockets on outboard attachments
Operators:Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Zambia

Soko G-4 Super Galeb: Development, Combat, and Future Upgrades

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The Soko G-4 Super Galeb, or N-62, is an advanced jet trainer and light ground-attack aircraft designed by the Aeronautical Technical Institute at Žarkovo and manufactured by the SOKO aircraft factory in Mostar. This Yugoslav single-engine aircraft, commonly called the Super Galeb (Eng. Super Seagull), was developed during the 1970s to succeed and replace the Soko G-2 Galeb, which was then in service with the Yugoslav Air Force.

Introduction

On July 17, 1978, the G-4 PPP, a development aircraft, conducted its maiden flight. 1983 the first G-4 Super Galeb production model took to the skies. Quantity production began in 1984, with the assembly line operating until the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991. A total of 85 aircraft were built, primarily for the Yugoslav Air Force, while six G-4s were exported to Myanmar.

During the Yugoslav Wars, Yugoslavian Air Force G-4s were employed for ground-attack missions, losing four aircraft to enemy air defenses. In 1992, the remaining planes were relocated to Serbia and Montenegro, where they entered service with the Air Force of the newly-formed FR Yugoslavia. The Republika Srpska Air Force retained one G-4 Super Galeb aircraft. The Serbian Air Force has become the largest operator of this type, obtaining additional Super Galebs from other former Yugoslavian republics. The Serbian Air Force plans to upgrade and continue operating its G-4 Super Galebs until the 2030s.

Yugoslav Air Force G-4 Super Galeb aircraft with serial number 23005 on display at the Farnborough Airshow, 1984
The Yugoslav Air Force G-4 Super Galeb (serial 23005) impresses spectators at the Farnborough Airshow in 1984 (Photo: Soko)

Development

Developed in the 1970s, the G-4 Super Galeb was created as a replacement for the existing fleet of the G-2 Galeb, a straight-winged jet trainer aircraft utilized by the Yugoslav Air Force. The Galeb had been developed in the late 1950s and was the predominant trainer aircraft in the Yugoslav Air Force before 1999. The Super Galeb exhibited a clear lineage from its predecessor, sharing the same Rolls-Royce Viper turbojet engine sourced from Britain, albeit enhanced for improved performance. However, it is worth noting that the Super Galeb was an entirely advanced aircraft, bearing little resemblance to the G-2 Galeb aside from their shared role, as highlighted by aviation historian Christopher Chant.

Schematic view of the Yugoslavian Jet Trainer G-2 Galeb
Schematic view of the Yugoslavian Jet Trainer G-2 Galeb (Photo: Soko)

During the initial phase, two prototypes of the Super Galeb were reportedly completed by early 1978. After successful ground testing, the aircraft’s maiden flight occurred on July 17, 1978. This was followed by the first flight of one of the six pre-production aircraft on December 17, 1980. The pre-production models, including the prototype, were designated G-4 PPP. They featured fixed tailplanes with inset elevators and lacked anhedral. In contrast to the G-2 Galeb, the Super Galeb had swept wing and tail surfaces. It also integrated avionics that enabled flight in adverse weather conditions and at night.

The production G-4 and the second prototype were designated as G-4 Super Galeb and differed from the development aircraft in various design aspects. They featured an all-moving anhedral tailplane and were equipped with comprehensive avionics improvements. While the earlier development aircraft used a pressurized refueling system, the production models employed a gravity-based refueling system, which was simpler and more cost-effective, albeit slightly slower.

The Serbian Air Force proudly presents the G-4 Super Galeb (serial 23601), showcasing its power and agility
Serbian Air Force G-4 Super Galeb aircraft with serial number 23601 on display (Photo: Zvezda)

In addition to its training role, the G-4 was also suitable for light attack operations. By 1983, the G-4 Super Galeb had completed its first flight and received significant orders from the Yugoslav Air Force. It competed internationally against other jet trainers, such as the Italian Aermacchi MB-339, the Czechoslovakian Aero L-39 Albatros, and the Spanish CASA C-101. Although the G-4 offered lower performance than the Franco-German Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet, it was considerably more affordable to procure, as stated by Flight International.

Design

The SOKO G-4 Super Galeb is a jet trainer and a light attack aircraft. Its dimensions make it suitable for various flight syllabuses, including basic and advanced training. The G-4 Super Galeb visually resembles the Hawker Siddeley Hawk, a contemporary British jet trainer. The aircraft features a low-wing monoplane design with slightly tapered wings. It has a length of 12.25 meters (40.2 ft), a height of 4.3 meters (14 ft), and a wingspan of 9.88 meters (32.4 ft). The aircraft’s empty weight is 3,250 kilograms (7,170 lb), and it can carry up to 1,882 kilograms (4,149 lb) of fuel.

The G-4 Super Galeb is equipped with a short nose cone, a rounded fuselage, a conventional empennage, semi-circular air intakes, a vertical tailfin, a rudder, ailerons, horizontal stabilizers, and fuel tanks located at the square tips. The tandem seating configuration accommodates two crew members: typically, a student and an instructor. Each position is equipped with ejection seats sourced from Martin-Baker. The rear seat is slightly raised to provide better all-around visibility and facilitate the supervision of a student pilot in the front seat. The crew is equipped with avionics that enable flying in poor weather conditions. The forward position includes a radio altimeter and a gyro-gunsight.

For combat missions, the G-4 Super Galeb can be fitted with a centerline-mounted gun pod housing a twin-barrel 23mm Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L cannon, capable of carrying up to 200 rounds. Additionally, four hardpoints are located under the wings. The inboard pair has a capacity of 770 pounds (350 kg), while the outboard pair can hold 550 pounds (250 kg). These hard points can accommodate a range of armaments and equipment from both Western and Eastern European sources. The inboard pylons are equipped to carry 70-gallon external fuel tanks, and a locally developed reconnaissance pod was also in development at one point.

Powering the G-4 Super Galeb is a single Rolls-Royce Viper turbojet engine sourced from Britain. Over time, the aircraft’s performance has been significantly enhanced by adopting the more powerful Rolls-Royce Viper 632-46 engine. For additional performance, attachment points for jet-assisted take-off (JATO) rockets are present underneath the fuselage. To reduce landing distances, a drogue parachute can be deployed. The engine can be accessed directly by removing the rear fuselage forward of the fin.

Operational history

In the early 1990s, Yugoslavia initiated an upgrade program for its G-4 Super Galeb fleet. The primary focus of this program was the integration of new air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, improved aiming capabilities, enhancements to increase engine reliability, and upgraded electronics. These modifications aimed to enhance the aircraft’s combat capabilities and overall performance.

During the Yugoslav Wars, the G-4 Super Galeb was actively involved in numerous combat missions. It is reported that three G-4s were shot down during these operations, but fortunately, all pilots could eject safely. The Yugoslav Wars led to the breakup of Yugoslavia into multiple smaller nations, with each nation inheriting a portion of the former Yugoslavian aircraft inventory.

Formation flight of three Soko G-4 Super Galebs from the Serbian Air Force, demonstrating their synchronized aerial skills in 2017
A mesmerizing sight as three Soko G-4 Super Galebs of the Serbian Air Force gracefully maneuver in formation flight, showcasing their precision and teamwork in 2017 (Photo: Vojska Srbije)

During the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, seven G-4 Super Galebs belonging to the ZVEZDA aerobatics team were destroyed at Golubovci Air Base. This significant loss heavily impacted the team, leading to its disbandment in 1999. However, a group of Serbian aviation enthusiasts later formed a new display team. This new team utilizes older Soko G-2 Galebs, previously withdrawn from service in the 1980s.

Since 2008, the Serbian Air Force, being the largest operator of the G-4 Super Galeb, has proposed a comprehensive upgrade program for their remaining G-4Ms. The planned upgrade, known as G4-MD, primarily focuses on integrating new avionics for improved navigation, enhanced control systems, and the integration of new combat systems. These upgrades are expected to extend the aircraft’s service life until the 2030s.

To expand its operational fleet, Serbia has acquired additional G-4 Super Galebs from other former Yugoslavian republics through various means, often involving bartering and negotiation.

Variants

The G-4 series consists of different aircraft models, including:

G-4 Galeb

85 advanced jet trainers and light ground-attack aircraft were produced and deployed.

G-4Š

Five aircraft were manufactured as unarmed jet trainers.

G-4T

Three aircraft were dedicated target tug models.

G-4M

This variant is based on six G-4 Super Galeb and features upgraded avionics, additional hardpoints, and missile rails added to the wingtips. The avionics package includes a Zrak ENP-MG4 Heads-Up Display (HUD) with a Rudi Cajavec ENS-MG4 electronic sight, gyro platform, multi-function displays, and optional chaff/flare dispensers. The inner hardpoints have a capacity of 500 kg, while the outer hardpoints can carry up to 350 kg, resulting in a maximum disposable load of 1,800 kg. The normal takeoff weight is 4,971 kg in the trainer configuration, while the attacker configuration allows a maximum takeoff weight of 6,400 kg.

In the “clean” configuration, the aircraft achieves a maximum speed of 865 km/h at 10,000 m and 900 km/h at 4,000 m. It has a ferry range of 2,900 km with drop tanks, a range of 1,800 km with standard fuel, reduced to 1,200 km when carrying a cannon pack, four BL755 cluster bombs, and two air-to-air missiles. Other performance features include a maximum rate of climb at sea level of 1,800 m per minute and a service ceiling of 12,500 m.

G-4MD

This model represents a modernized version of the 15 G-4 Super Galebs currently in service with the Serbian Air Force, while the remaining nine aircraft remain unmodified. The G-4MD upgrade includes various enhancements such as LCD flight screens, Hands-On Throttle and Stick (HOTAS) controls, HUD, integrated mission computers, distance measuring equipment, GPS-based navigation systems, identification friend or foe capabilities, nav comm units, mission records, and VHF Omni range and instrument landing systems. Integrating guided weapons, countermeasures, and targeting systems is also scheduled for this comprehensive upgrade program.

Technical specifications

Country of origin:Yugoslavia
Manufacturer:SOKO Mostar, Yugoslavia
Type:basic trainer/light attack aircraft
Crew:2
Introduced in service:1983 (first flight July 17, 1978)
Powerplant:1 × Rolls-Royce Viper 632-46 turbojet, 17.8 kN (4,000 lbf) thrust
Fuel capacity:1,882 kg (maximum internal and external fuel)
Dimensions:9.88 m / 32 ft 5 in length including probe 12.25 m / 40 ft 2.25 in height 4.30 m / 14 ft 1.25 in
Weight (empty):3,172 kg / 6,993 Ib
Weight (combat):4,760 kg (10,494 lb)
Max. flight mass:6300 kg / 13,889 Ib
Maximum speed:491 kt / 665 mph / 1,070 km/h
Range:1,900 km / 1,180 miles
Armament:provision for one 23-mm GSh-23L two-barrel cannon with 200 rounds; provision for 2053 kg (4,526 Ib) of disposable stores, including AAMs, bombs, cluster bombs, dispenser weapons, napalm tanks, large-caliber rockets, rocket-launcher pods, drop tanks and ECM pods, carried on four external hardpoints
Equipment:provision for one 23-mm GSh-23L two-barrel cannon with 200 rounds; provision for 2053 kg (4,526 Ib) of disposable stores, including AAMs, bombs, cluster bombs, dispenser weapons, napalm tanks, large-caliber rockets, rocket-launcher pods, drop tanks, and ECM pods, carried on four external hardpoints
Operators:Bosnia and Herzegovina, Myanmar, Montenegro, Serbia