Friday, July 31, 2015

Take that, clickbait!

So, I read this article: Marine Corps to Hold Bake Sale To Buy Modern Sniper Rifles - Bearing Arms - M40, Marines, military, sniper rifles
which, despite the title, is not an actual Duffleblog article, but a commentary on the fact that Congress and/or the Navy can find the money for a fighter that costs $250,000,000 a pop but cannot will not buy the Marine Corps' snipers a new rifle that actually meets the current needs of the military.

At the bottom of the page is a clickbait link titled
WOAH! - These 23 Military Fighter Jets are Now For Sale to the Public! America Loves Horsepower
And, yes, the misspelling of "whoa" is in the original.

Which isn't surprising when you consider that the photo with the link is of an OV-1 Mohawk.
You will note right away that this is not a jet aircraft.

What may not be quite so obvious is that it is not a fighter, although the original concept called for it to be used by the Marine Corps in a strike role, so the first prototypes had hard-points for weapons.

The Marine Corps dropped out of the program due to insufficient funding (hmmm, do we detect a pattern) and the Air Force pitched a fit at the thought that the Army would operate an armed fixed-wing aircraft, so all hard-points for weapons were eliminated. The attachment point you see in the photo is for photo-recon or RADAR/Electronic Intelligence pods. (I believe that some in Viet Nam retained the ability to launch smoke rockets for artillery spotting.)

The last Mo-chickens were built in 1970, and served into 1996. I never hung with the pilots, but got the impression that, except for the guys who wrangled them, they weren't too popular. On the other hand, or perhaps "for one thing", the flight crew was one pilot and one enlisted sensor operator, in a fixed-wing aircraft which was rumored not to be very high on the "easy to fly" list.

When I was at Ft. Huachuca training to be EH-60 Quickfix II flight crew/operator at one point we got to watch the 96D QUICK LOOK trainees going through "suspended agony", getting ready for their ejection seat training. So far as I know, these were the only enlisted personnel who had to get ejection seat training in any service. (I could well be wrong.)

Later on, my First Sergeant at Ft. Ord had some really awesome photographs on his office wall of mountains and volcanoes ("We were supporting the Forest Service and Geological Survey when  Mount Saint Helens erupted") and...

"Top, is that Stonehenge?"

"Yeah, we were doing a joint exercise with the Brits at Salisbury Plain, and accidentally flew too low with the camera running. We got in trouble for it, but it was worth it."

Later, I was in Korea,but not physically present, when the commander (or that's the way I heard it!) of the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion would crash on the OV-1's last operational flight.

Frankly, no one was surprised.


RandyGC said...

Actually, until the early 90's, the B-52 carried an enlisted gunner. The later versions had the gunner up front with the EW and sitting on an ejection seat.

For a frame of reference, the two crewman on the flight deck with Major Kong in Dr. Strangelove would have been the EW and Gunner. James Earl Jones and his partner downstairs were the Radar Nav and Bomb Nav.

D.W. Drang said...

See, the Internet is like a game of solitaire. Eventually, someone will come along and tell you to play the red ten on the black Jack...