Pegasus-class Fast Attack Hydrofoil

Back in the 70s, the US Navy was serious about a hi-lo mix of surface combatants. The Lo end was going to be filled by the Pegasus-class. These were intended for use in the Mediterranean and Baltic seas, basically a small, near-shore counter to Soviet fast attack craft.

Enter the Pegasus-class. These were small (about 250 ton) hydrofoils. Being hydrofoils, they have wings on struts that lift the hull out of the water at speed, significantly reducing drag. As a result, the Pegasuses could make over 48 knots in calm seas, and over 40 knots in rough seas. Power was an LM2500 gas turbine when foilborne, and a pair of diesels when hullborne. This was fantastic in the 1970s, and is still impressive today.

Armament consisted of the ubiquitous 76mm Oto Melara gun, plus two quad harpoon launchers in the US Navy versions. The proposed versions for the German Navy had a pair of quad Exocet launchers.

Changing priorities saw Italy cancel their order, the US Navy drastically reduce their order, and then the Germans cancel their order. The remaining Pegasuses had a happy and successful life in coastal jobs, including running down drug smugglers.

So what do we think? Speed is fun. I think the concept has merit in the fast attack space, but it would be a pain to deploy without good forward basing. There was also a mothership proposed to assist in deployments but that was also cancelled. Overall though, while tricky to deploy for the US Navy, they’ve got a lot of merit for allies looking for relatively low cost punch.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 12, 2019)

It’s rare that I get the What We’re Reading story filed prior to our traditional 10:13 a.m. Eastern post publication time, but today, I’ve been more diligent than usual.

Defense

Science and Technology

Culture

History

Commodities

A new heading! It was originally ‘Finance’, but then I realized that every finance-related story I had was also commodities-related in one way or another.

Grab Bag

Lots of headings today.

A more accurate concealed carry map, 2019 update

In 2017, we ran the first version of this map, which purports to show the carry situation in the US a little more accurately than the standard permitless/shall-issue/may-issue trichotomy1. That fails to capture some of the nuance—a may-issue state may nevertheless issue permits to just about anyone, and some shall-issue states may be worse than others2.

Here’s the map. You’ll find notes below, along with exact definitions of the colors.

Notes

  • Onerous shall-issue means states with a waiting period in excess of two weeks, a training requirement which requires leaving your house, or an application fee of greater than $100.
  • Permissive shall-issue states impose lesser requirements.
  • De facto shall-issue states are statutorily may-issue, but shall-issue in practice.
  • Onerous may-issue states deny carry permits as a matter of course.

  • MA and NY: rural sheriffs likely to issue permits, but urban-dwellers basically out of luck.

  • PA: processing time of up to 45 days allowed, but most counties, including Allegheny (i.e. Pittsburgh), issue permits immediately.
  • WI: average processing time of about one week.
  • WA: average processing time appears to be under one week, except in the Seattle area.
  • SD: temporary permit issued within five days.

2019 update notes

  • KY: Constitutional carry legislation passed, effective June 26, 2019.
  • OK: Constitutional carry legislation passed, effective November 1, 2019.
  • SD: Constitutional carry legislation passed, effective July 1, 2019.

  • OR: Cost and wait time are the disqualifiers; training requirement can be done online.

  • VA: Wait time is the disqualifier; training can be done online.
  • RI: Local authorities must either issue or deny an application on a shall-issue basis as of 2015, but I can’t verify how open the process actually is.
  • WA: Downgraded to onerous shall-issue on the basis of wait time, which is ‘up to 30 days’, and in practice appears to be ‘around 30 days’ even outside of Seattle.
  • WI: Downgraded to onerous shall-issue on the basis of training requirements, which do not appear to be online-friendly.

If you see an inaccuracy or a point in need of clarification, leave us a comment!


  1. I stand by my word choice. 
  2. Looking at the final product, however, I’m pretty sure I need a third shall-issue category, given that only PA remains in the permissive shall-issue group. 

The Longest Day

75 years ago today, over 150,000 men went ashore from a massive fleet of almost 7,000 ships to begin the process of liberating Western Europe from the scourge of the Nazi menace. Today, for those who waded or parachuted ashore, and especially for those who never came home, we reproduce Gen. Eisenhower’s speech, and Franklin Roosevelt’s prayer.

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower

My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

Wednesday What We’re Reading (Jun. 5, 2019)

It’s almost but not quite the anniversary of D-Day, and is precisely the anniversary of my marriage1.

Between that, travel, finishing Britain’s Future Navy (depressing) and starting Massie’s Dreadnought (exciting), it’s a short one this week2.

Defense

Science and Technology

  • Another open-source project switches to a license which excludes resellers – An interesting problem. The norm in the software industry used to be this: if you develop an open-source project, you have dibs on selling that project as a service. The Big Three cloud providers (Amazon, Microsoft, and Google) broke that norm, reselling open-source-projects-as-a-service. The open source projects have now fired back with a new breed of open-source licenses that permit users to do everything but that.

Grab Bag


  1. Rather than send flowers on the day, I sent them a day early. That way it’s surprising. 
  2. These are affiliate links. This will serve as a temporary disclaimer/etc. until I get the actual disclaimer/privacy policy written up. 
  3. Mr. Alexander says that this is the second article in a sequence. Idle speculation in the comments wonders where he’s going with it. One commenter put forward the idea that it might be a literal come to Jesus moment, which would be a victory for Christendom on par with the conversion of C.S. Lewis, but I don’t put much stock in that one. I lean more toward a shift in politics. 
  4. That is, I enjoy them, and he doesn’t. 
  5. Do you know what else did a good job at this, hard as it is to believe? The Star Wars prequels. Can you picture a single Lucas-era lightsaber duel with quick cuts? Of course you can’t, because none of them were shot that way, despite the fast pace and acrobatics involved in most of them. 

On the XM913 50mm autocannon

With a public, successful test firing, now is a good time to talk about the XM913 50mm autocannon, a modern application of the 50mm Supershot (sort of). The rounds are the same overall dimensions as the 50mm Supershot rounds, i.e. a straight-walled version of the 35x228mm cartridge. Since it’s building on an existing cartridge, the XM913 is actually a rather boring gun. It’s just a Bushmaster III with a different barrel. Same feed system, same great electrically-driven “chain-gun” design. The Bushmaster design has proven to be very reliable and scalable, since it’s externally-powered action doesn’t have to be recalibrated to function correctly with a different amount of recoil or gas. Rate of fire is also easy to adjust.

The ammunition in question is rather more interesting. While it has the same overall cartridge dimensions as 50mm Supershot, the new case is 100 mm shorter, at 230mm length instead of 330. Where 50mm Supershot was designed to give more KE power for armor penetration, the new rounds are designed to launch a larger volume projectile, for better airburst and guided options. Current design is for a command-guided airburst round for C-RAM and anti-UAV work. And it should still work with the previous rounds, if more armor penetration is desired.

Ammunition is the same base diameter and overall length as 35x228mm, so we’d expect the same ammunition capacity. It’s about half what you can get with 30x173mm, give or take depending on details.

On to what we think. I’ve always liked the notion of 50mm Supershot. I’m pretty skeptical of some sort of command-guided C-RAM munition, but bigger airburst is better airburst. We’ll see how tests shake out.

2019 Self-Propelled Artillery Revisit

Last time on Parvusimperator Picks a Self-Propelled Howitzer for Borgundy, I ended up going with the big, expensive Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000. I also eliminated wheeled vehicles out of the gate for concerns about capacity. Since it’s been a while since I’ve talked much about the Queen of Battle, I thought I’d revisit my procurement decision, because that’s loads of fun to write about and tend to be popular with you, dear reader. While available systems have not changed, let’s open the floor up. We will require protection for gunnery crews while firing, to simplify this a little1. So let’s dig in.

First, I’m going to relax my tracked-vs-wheeled constraint. This is artillery. It’s a support vehicle. With the range of modern systems, it’s not critical that the system be a perfect match for tanks and IFVs. Also, trucks should have no trouble getting to wherever a wheeled system is. What is important is 155mm caliber, an L52 gun, and a careful look at how we might plan to use the system. Wheeled systems have advantages in lower maintenance costs, better mobility via roads, and generally better strategic mobility if you care.

Somewhat-recent events in the Donbas reminded us that artillery is a very effective killer, and that a reasonably sophisticated opponent will endeavor to use counterbattery radars to locate and destroy one’s own artillery. So we’re thinking hard about shoot-and-scoot. Let’s get on to some plausible contenders.

As before, we have the German PzH 2000. It’s well protected, tracked, and has an excellent capacity of 60 projectiles plus charges. It has a five round MRSI capability. On the downside, it’s expensive and the heaviest at 56 tonnes. Once its empty, it has to be reloaded in the usual, manual way.

We also have the Korean K9 Thunder. It’s tracked, with a capacity of 48 projectiles plus charges. It has a three round MRSI capability. It also is the only one available with an armored resupply vehicle, the K10. The K9 weighs about 47 tonnes. In its favor are the fact that the South Koreans are buying tons of these, and they have a nice upgrade roadmap. The currently available K9A1 improves the electronics and navigation systems over the previous model, and is the current standard if one was buying today. Samsung Techwin is also working on an A2 version with fully automated shell and propellant handling and a reduced crew. It should also feature an increased rate of fire.

There’s also the Swedish Archer system, which has a low capacity of 21 rounds, but has a very high degree of automation. Like the ill-fated Crusader, it has entirely automated handling of artillery rounds, propellant charge modules, fuse-setting, and primers. As a result, it has a best-available six-round MRSI capability. Weight is somewhere in the middle at 33 tonnes. It was supposed to have a resupply vehicle, but that got axed.

Finally, we have the Boxer RCH, which takes much of the gun from the PzH 2000 and mounts it in a fully automated turret on the back of a Boxer MRAV. It has low manning, but not much is available about it, because no one has bought any. This is one of many mountings of the Artillery Gun Module on various chassis, and the same system has also been mounted on an ASCOD 2 chassis.

We also have Denel’s G6, which saw combat in the border with Angola, and has been kept up to date by the scions of Gerald Bull’s Space Research Corporation. It’s a somewhat large wheeled vehicle, and builds on South African experience in making mine-resistant platforms. Current versions have improved fire control and ammunition handling, and are equipped with an L52 gun that has a chamber with 23L (JBMOU-compliant2) or 25L capacity. These are the G6-52 and G6-52L versions, respectively.

We have contenders. Let’s look at some salient characteristics in a chart. Note reloading rates, instead of time to completely reload. MRSI are the maximum number of rounds possible according to the manufacturer. Bursts are 3 rounds, as fast as I could find the manufacturer claiming they could shoot them.

SystemWeight (tonnes)CapacityMRSIburst (sec)Reload Rate (shells/min)
PzH 20005760595
K9A1 Thunder474831512
FH08 Archer33216202.5
Boxer RCH38.53059?
G6-52(L)46475 (52) or 6 (52L)154.7

On to some commentary. Archer was supposed to be a joint Swedish-Norwegian project, but the Norwegians pulled out. Digging through old defense magazine articles, Norwegian concerns were the low capacity with lack of automated resupply system, issues with too large a dispersion, and too high ground pressure. Archer has seen no export success, and seems to be expensive.

Recently, K9 has been seeing quite a bit of export success in Europe due to its very reasonable cost and favorable licensing terms, which is notably less than that of Panzerhaubitze 2000. It also beat the Mista-S in an Indian tender. Other export users include Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland, and Turkey.

Despite the higher cost, Panzerhaubitze 2000 has also seen plenty of export success with other NATO members as well as Qatar. It also has an armor kit designed to protect it against DPICM-type submunitions that you might find in a counterbattery rocket artillery salvo, especially if your opponent is Russia.

And the Boxer RCH hasn’t been bought by anyone yet. Rumor has it that it’s the favorite with UK MoD in their upcoming procurement contest. That said, it’s quite heavy for a Boxer variant, and it needs a different engine.

Denel has a long history of working on long range V-LAP rounds, and the G6 can take advantage of this. The G6-52L can use its non-JBMOU chamber to fire the M9703 base-bleed/rocket-assisted EFRB VLAP projectile a distance of 73 km in tests. Which is best in class by far. Otherwise it’s a pretty solid option with good but not great capacity for ammunition.

At this point, I’m strongly considering the G6-52L. At least until we consider some other things. First, Denel’s own (old) marketing materials basically dropped the 25-liter chamber version, focusing on the version that is JBMOU compliant with JBMOU compliant ammunition. The G6-52 itself hasn’t been exported anywhere: Denel’s last export order was the regular G6 to Oman in the late 90s.

Also, all of the present ammunition development work is being done to getting more range out of a JBMOU-compliant gun system. So the range limitation of the other guns isn’t likely to last, and we’re not likely to see more good testing on the -52L version. As a result, I can’t go with it. Regrettably.

We’ve now come back to the choice I had last time, and my answer is the same. I prefer the better fire rate and submunition protection of the PzH 2000. Things to keep an eye on would be an aggressive price move from Samsung, or the rumored K9A2, which is supposed to include fully automated ammunition handling and reduced crew. If that keeps the reasonable stock of ammo, we’d prefer it, especially since it might also improve the rate of fire.

Let’s also take a brief moment to talk about the usual 800 lbs. gorilla in the room: the US Army. Having had a few M109 replacement programs terminated, they’re being quite a bit more conservative this time with a two-stage approach. The first stage, which has just entered production is the M109A7 upgrade, which replaces the M109’s powertrain with that of the M2 Bradley, and upgrades the suspension to handle more weight. Gun upgrades, as well as an automated ammunition loading system, are coming as part of the second stage. The gun is supposed to have an L58 barrel, so it should be pretty fun. For now, there’s not much worth looking at, unless one uses or plans to full-fleet Bradleys. It’ll probably be interesting to look at in the future, however.


  1. So we’re going to ignore for now all of the nifty “towed howitzer replacements” like CAESAR. Those are super simple though, and ought to be mounted to a common truck. 
  2. Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement to standardize ammunition and propellant charges for the Next Generation of NATO artillery. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (May. 29, 2019)

Defense

Science and Technology

  • Artificial general intelligence is hard to define, much less build – The key insight is that when people talk about machines driving The Singularity, they’re talking about artificial general creativity. We have an awful lot of non-artificial general intelligence already, and much of it goes unused.
  • Used IBM mainframe buyer’s guide – In case you’re looking for a fun hardware project. All you have to do is spend about as much as you would on a cheap new car, and be prepared for an extra $170-some per month in electricity1.
  • Arm2 is the latest to suspend business with Huawei – That’s terrible for Huawei, given that they do a lot of ARM-architecture processors.
  • Google stored unhashed G-Suite passwords for over a decade – It’s fixed now, but this is your weekly reminder that even the big players in tech are actually terrible at their jobs.
  • Offset graphene sheets superconduct at -25C – Also, about a million times atmospheric pressure, but what’s a megabar or two among friends?
  • SpaceX succeeds on another launch – This one to deploy the first 60 satellites in their proposed, uh, 12,000-strong Starlink constellation. They stuck the landing, which means they’re up to 40 of 47 on landing attempts.
  • No link for this one, because I forgot to pop it into our chat, but given how many Starlink satellites are planned, the FCC’s standard satellite-hits-someone-or-something calculation suggests that it’s even odds after six years that reentering debris will bonk something more important than dirt.

Baseball

Grab Bag


  1. At Western PA market rates. Fun fact: the bargain-basement VPS that Many Words runs on costs about $170 per year. 
  2. No longer ARM, evidently. 

Range Report: Dot Torture with the C-Zed

The range nearest Many Words Press Keep-The-Lights-On Day-Job HQ is the sportsman’s1 club to which I belong. When parvusimperator’s Open gun came in, we therefore decided that waiting for a weekend was silly, and instead took a long lunch to drive up to the range and see how it went.

Of course, while he was doing that, I had to entertain myself some other way. Enter the Dot Torture drill, which I believe I’ve mentioned previously. It’s a great way to spend a box of ammo, and also to work on fundamentals of marksmanship. We’ll come back to that in a bit, because the real highlight was putting the C-Zed through its modular paces.

The C-Zed, as you may recall, is a CZ P-09 frame with slides for both USPSA Carry Optics and Limited competition. The P-09 is a perfect choice for this, because it 1) comes in Limited-preferred .40 and Carry Optics-preferred 9mm, 2) has enough factory and aftermarket support to have 140mm magazine base pads, Limited-standard fiber optic front/black rear sights, and a sight dovetail red dot mounting plate, and 3) can be swapped from a Limited-preferred cocked-and-locked safety to a Carry Optics-required decocker. Very few other guns hit all the requirements2.

The dream, then, is to be able to toss two slides and some magazine bodies into my range bag, and shoot two different divisions morning and afternoon at local matches with the same gun (at least as far as the ATF is concerned). Is it plausible to do so?

Yes! In between my 9mm dot torture target and my .40 dot torture target, I did the full swap between divisions on the clock: pop off one slide, swap the safety to the decocker or vice versa, put the new slide on, change the magazine bodies, attach or remove the magazine well. On the clock, the changes to the gun proper took about two and a half minutes, and the magazine swap took two minutes more for three magazines3. I may not end up making the swap and shooting two divisions at this weekend’s match, but the option is there, tested, and eminently practical.

Back to Dot Torture. Having both a .40 pistol and a 9mm-with-dot pistol at the range made it easy to compare my accuracy performance with dots against irons. Obviously, I was more accurate with the softer-shooting dot-equipped pistol, but it wasn’t as big a difference as I expected it might. One thing to try next time I go out is moving the target closer. The Dot Torture target packs ten circles onto an 8.5×11 page, and is designed for use at three yards (to start with). I’ve done it at five yards so far, which accounts for part of my poor performance4.

And finally, it’s time for some bonus content. Parvusimperator gave me ten-or-so shots out of the Open gun. It really is something else. It was sufficiently soft-shooting that I kept forgetting to actually grip it, so the dot moved as the slide went back and forth. Had I done a little better with my fundamentals, I doubt it would have moved at all. There’s no real point to discussing the trigger profile, because it doesn’t have one—both the pull and the reset are so short as to seem instant. It was a good get, and I’m looking forward to seeing it in action.

It also got me thinking about a project gun for the upcoming offseason. Look for a post on that coming soon.


  1. It’s actually a sportsmen’s club, in the sense that it belongs to a number of sportsmen but not the entire category of sportsmen (sportsmens’), but plural possessives are just the worst, so I won’t hassle them too much. 
  2. Striker guns can, but I prefer a hammer where it’s a viable option, and with minimal work besides replacing the hammer and disconnector with Cajun Gun Works parts, the P-09 has a better trigger than any striker-fired gun. 
  3. I have four in total, but only three 9mm bodies, so the last one is a perma-.40. It feeds 9mm well enough for what it is, which is to say a magazine I should never need to touch, given that the other ones contain 72 rounds. 
  4. The rest is that offhand shooting is terrible. 

Wednesday What We’re Reading (May. 22, 2019)

WWRW falls on a Thursday again, because I was working from home yesterday, and that always throws off my groove.

This is the 32nd one of these. Yay, powers of two!

Defense

Games

  • Rule the Waves 2 is out – Rule the Waves, the 1900-1925 naval arms race/tactical battle simulator, is a Soapbox favorite. Does the sequel, which expands the scope to 1955 and adds aircraft carriers, stack up? The short answer is yes, and I’m very much enjoying trying some oddball ideas in my Japan game2. The long answer is you’ll have to wait until I get through a game or two and can write a full review.

Grab Bag


  1. We have a Patreon, if you want to fund more advanced journalisming. 
  2. Hmm, it’s 1925 and I have a good fleet-size carrier design. Rather than build huge dreadnoughts, I’ll just build a bunch of carriers and some 30,000-ton 30-knot 6-gun battlecruisers packed with AA to go with them. Is it working? Well, not exactly. At any rate, RtW2 is very, very likely to be this year’s Winter Wargaming AAR/Let’s Play.