25 February 2006
Borgia: Blood for the Pope
'Borgia: Blood for the Pope', from the Heavy Metal Magazine, is one of the most graphic and provocative graphic novel or comics I have read in a long time. Sandman? Batman returns? American comics? Those are tame and ordinary. In the long tradition of advant garde European comics, this one is totally no holds barred. There is no sacred cow. It includes orgies, rapes, mass castrations, massacres, killing of children, oral sex, the corruption of religion and clergy, power struggles and more. Since it is about the infamous Borgias, it can surely not be any less. In any way, it is likely to be toned down.
The three-part work written by the well-known Jodorowsky is about the Borgia dynasty. Manara, famous for his protrayals of women, is responsible for this gorgeous visualisation.
This is part one of three. Be warned. Don't pick this up if you are easily offended.
24 February 2006
'The Meditations' Marcus Aurelius, 167 A.D.
23 February 2006
Lockheed Martin F-35. The aero-modellers' desire Yes, this is literally a model. A life-sized mockup of the real thing.
Point heatseekers here. Lockheed Martin F-16D. Note the dorsal spine at the base of the tail. Secret stuff there.
Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle. Singapore will be receiving the F-15SG which will have twin-GE engines rather than Pratt and Whitney ones.
Boeing F-18E. If the congress won't give us the A-12, we will get a larger and new aircraft. Call it the F-18E!
Next up. Steve 'I gonna have that business jet' Jobs' wet dream. That's right. Business jets.
Eurocopter EC-155. This is a Malaysian-registered aircraft.
Not a Eurocopter for once. A Boeing crop-duster. Great for sight-seeing over the Gaza strip. Excellent for dropping in and saying hello to your favourite Hamas or Hizbollah terrorist. AH-64D Apache Longbow.
Terrex AV81. This 8x8 Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) is of Irish origin and is now marketed by Singapore Technologies Kinetics.
Another view of the Terrex AV81 with an automatic grenade launcher mounting.
Armoured Land Rover (I think) with an automatic grenade launcher mounting.
Upgraded M113 with additional armour and a 12.7mm mounting (I think).
This looks like the CIS 12.7mm machine gun. I'm not sure.
Mini-All Terrain Vehicle.
The automatic grenade launcher mounting at the rear of the Mini-All Terrain Vehicle. Wow! These automatic grenade launchers are just everywhere man! Buy two get three free!
Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV)
Asian Aerospace 2006: Redback Weapon System
The Metalstorm technology originating from Australia is one of the more original ideas to emerge in the defence field in recent years.
The Redback Weapon System, a four-barrelled 40mm gun system, is a resultant of the collaboration between Singapore Technologies Kinetics and Metalstorm.
Basically, the Redback Weapon System is a lightweight multi-barrel system with stacked munitions which can easily be mounted on light vehicles.
Munitions: 40mm HE, AB, less lethal
Range: Munition dependent
RoF: 3000 rpm
Slew Rate: 700 degrees/second
Advantages of the Metalstorm technology:
1. Extreme rate of fire. Fast engagement times.
2. Mechanically simple. No expensive feed system. No jams.
3. Electronically fired. Longer lifespan than normal munitions.
4. Enjoys all the advantages of electronically fired munitions. Fast start-up.
1. Low muzzle velocity*.
2. Expense of multiple barrels.**
*I'm hazarding a guess here.
** Again, this is offset by the lack of a complicated feed system.
The Matador Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon (SRAAW). This is a direct descendent of the Armbrust LAW with better penetrative capabilities. However it is about 2 kilogrammes heavier.
The Eryx Short Range Anti-Tank Weapon (SRATW) with SACLOS guidance and a X3 magnification sight. The firing tube weighs 12 kilogrammes while the firing post weighs 5 kilogrammes.
The Spike Anti-Armour system with a firing post consisting of the Command Launch Unit (CLU), the thermal imaging sight and a tripod.
The SAR-21 assault rifle. This one is mounted with a small TV screen. This allows an infantryman to shoot around corners without exposure by holding out the rifle while aiming via the screen.
The Brügger & Thomet MP-9 with a silencer. Formerly the Steyr Tactical Machine Pistol?
SIG-550 series assault rifles and a lower receiver with a grenade launcher.
Benelli M3 Super 90 Shotgun
An assortment of Smith and Wesson semi-automatic pistols. The centrepiece is a .45 while most of the rest are a variety of 9mm.
22 February 2006
Here are more images, courtesy of Jonathan.
The Saab Gripen. This is a mock-up. Sadly, Saab and its partner, British Aerospace, did not see fit to fly in the real McCoy. Oh well. Sleek, diminutive...
The management* of human traffic at this year's Asian Aerospace was terrible. I have a friend who had to queue for two hours before he could get in. Meanwhile, another friend said that he queued for a long time before finally finding his way in through the back door by seeking someone who worked inside. And that queue included the pre-registered people. What is Reed Exhibitions doing?
Thankfully, I was only in the queue for half an hour. I did manage to read a chapter in a book while I was waiting in queue.
The traffic conditions were not good. The roads were congested. Avoid going there by taxi. It's madness.
I have been to several previously and they were efficient at the registration.
*The security checks at the entrance was swift and efficient. It clearly wasn't the bottleneck. The bottleneck was obvious the registration areas where the few clerks hurriedly attempted to type and print the name badges for the delegates.
The M8 Ridgeway Armoured Gun System (AGS) was recently cancelled by the Bush administration. The M8 was developed and was almost ready for serial production when it was cancelled.
This is the latest in a line of cancellations of major weapons programmes, for instance the Crusader self-propelled gun, the XM-8 assault rifle, A12 and so forth.
This special example is actually armed with a 120mm gun rather than the usual 105mm rifled gun. (However, the person manning the exhibit was unable to tell me if the 120mm gun is a rifled or smoothbore weapon. Given that the origin of the gun is American, it is likely to be smoothbore.) This example of the M8 is equipped with a turret with level II protection and chassis with level I protection. The M8 with level III protection throughout would weigh 25-tonnes.
United Defense, one of the larger American manufacturers, which built this vehicle was bought over by British Aerospace last year.
This example was at the Asian Aerospace 2006.
RSAF F-16D Fighting Falcon. Profile.
US Navy F-18E Super Hornet. Note the new in-takes. The F-18E and F-18F are dimensionally bigger than the F-18A/B/C/D by a significant amount. It is pretty much a new aircraft.
*A note on the photos I put up. Feel free to use them if you want. I put them up to share. If you want better quality images, do let me know. I have about two hundred images of the event. Drop me an email. I will send them to you.
Yesterday, I went to the last Asian Aerospace event held in Singapore. It was great fun despite the lack of variety of military aircraft. There were no European or Russian fighters this year. Only the American exhibitors were left. Somehow, the Europeans and Russians appeared to have decided against marketing their wares this year.
The roads leading to in this particular exhibition was extremely congested and it took me two hours to see the first exhibit. Likewise, it was torture leaving the place. It took me a good two hours to get home.
Here I am, standing before a Boeing F-18E of the US Navy.
Here, I am wielding a Brügger & Thomet MP-9 machine pistol affixed with a silencer.
And here you see me with the new PGM Mini-Hecate 7.62x51mm sniper rifle with a 4-16X scope. Wait till you see me bunny-hop with this! Heheh. Not really.
I will be posting a lot more images from Asian Aerospace 2006 soon.
21 February 2006
'The Meditations' Marcus Aurelius, 167 A.D.
20 February 2006
Colby Buzzell's 'My War: Killing Time in Iraq' is an engrossing and highly readable account of his two years in the army. The book appears to be a compilation from his blog of his experiences as a M240B (Variant of the FN MAG) gunner with the experimental Stryker brigade in Iraq.
Buzzell was deployed on the Stryker IAV (Interim Armoured Vehicle) based in Mosul and saw a considerable amount of action.
Buzzell's droll observations, his sarcasm, his wit and take on life make for a great read. He was not a stereotypical compliant, brain-washed patriotic Christian redneck, he was human. He was real, very real.
I notice that as a high school graduate, Buzzell appears to be a lot more well-read than many Singaporean and Malaysian with graduate and post-graduate degrees. What can I say?
Concord Publications has released a pictorial of the Interim Brigade Combat Team (ICBT) in Special Ops: Journal of the Elite Forces & SWAT Units Volume 30. The volume specifically features Buzzell's unit, the 1st Battalion 23rd Infantry Regiment 'Tomahawk' and has excellent photos of the troppers, vehicles and detailed information. Highly recommended.