Thomas Wictor

Gunship from the future is being used in Syria today

Gunship from the future is being used in Syria today

The Germans invented the gunship in World War I. This armored aircraft had machine guns mounted to fire downward at a 45-degree angle.

AEG_J1

AEG_J_machine guns

Gunships flew along trenches at treetop level, all six machine guns pouring fire on the men below.

During the Vietnam War, the Americans created the AC-47.

The circular orbit or pylon turn keeps the target under fire indefinitely. Eventually the AC-130 replaced the AC-47.

AC-130

This aircraft—still in use today—has a 105mm howitzer, a 40mm autocannon, and a 25mm rotary cannon mounted in the left side. Being a turboprop, the AC-130 is slow and vulnerable.

Therefore the Arab League has built a jet gunship. It’s being used to defend Kurds against Bashar al-Assad.

A gunship like no other

On August 18, 2016, Basahr al-Assad suddenly attacked Kurdish positions in Hasakah.

Hasakah

It was the first time in the five-year civil war that Assad used aircraft to bomb the Kurds. Although American jet fighters were sent to the area to try and intimidate Assad, the attacks continued. Syrian ground forces joined in.

A few hours ago, the Arab League responded with fixed-wing gunships that carry machine guns and heavy artillery.

One aircraft is a jet, and another is a turboprop. They have incredible rates of fire.

This fountain below is bullets ricocheting into the air after hitting the target.

Obviously the filmmakers edited out the sound of the firing. In the video, the man’s voice continues talking uninterrupted even though the scenes change. The Syrian position burst into flames from being struck so many times.

Invisible gunship

The Arab League aircraft don’t use tracer rounds.

The M134 Minigun above fired fifty rounds per second, producing about twenty sporadic ricochets. In the Hasakah video, the sixty-plus ricochets were continuous. The aircraft was firing hundreds of rounds per second.

Tracer rounds give away the position of the shooter. My guess is that Arab League gunship pilots wear advanced night-vision goggles, and the ammunition uses one-way luminescence (OWL) technology. Only the crews of the aircraft can see the rounds in flight.

In the video below, the Syrians fire wildly into the sky. The gunship drops a flare to illuminate the target, and then an airborne howitzer fires one round.

artillery.1

That’s the jet. I’ll get back to it later.

Turboprop gunship

The aircraft making those incredible fountains of ricochets is a turboprop. You can hear the engines droning in the background.

Why can’t you hear the firing? I have no blooming idea. There are patents for silencing machine guns and cannons.

silencer

I can’t think of anything more terrifying than a gunship laying down a silent, invisible cloud of projectiles. At night.

In 2015 the Kurds released video that showed an Arab League turboprop gunship firing on the Islamic State. We know it’s not an American aircraft because it has two 40mm cannons. That’s what produces the irregular galloping sound. No American fixed-wing gunship has two 40mm cannons.

Hear the engines?

The Saudis have a gunship with two 40mm cannons.

There are multiple ways for the Saudis to have acquired AC-130-style aircraft without having to buy them from the US. We broke up several of the mothballed AC-130s and sold them for scrap. The Saudis could’ve bought the gun mountings and reverse engineered them. They could’ve done the same from photos or the original plans. Or they could’ve simply designed their own mountings from scratch.

The jet gunship is a completely different story.

A gunship with heavy artillery

In the video from Hasakah, a twin-engine jet fires artillery rounds at the Syrians.

artillery.2

Those are definitely artillery impacts, not aerial munitions. What’s amazing is that each time, TWO rounds hit. Leave it to the Saudis to mount two howitzers on an aircraft.

So what kind of jet is it?

I’m betting that it’s the Saudis’ new Antonov AN-178.

In 1972, the Boeing company made a proposal to the US Army: a CH-47C Chinook helicopter armed with two 105mm howitzers.

CH-47C

One cannon would be attached to each side of the aircraft and would fire forward.

howitzer_helicopter

The story is very typical for American culture. Boeing made its proposal because the army had asked for a helicopter armed with howitzers. In fact army planners had been working on the idea for ten years. As soon as Boeing came up with its design, the army immediately announced that it was no longer interested in airborne artillery.

As a result, today the US Army must rely on US Air Force AC-130s to perform the airborne artillery role that the ground force said was unnecessary. If you make any suggestion to any American in a position of authority, their instinctive reaction is to say, “No.”

Despite our claim to be “rugged individualists,” most of us are conformists terrified of being seen as unorthodox. When I write about Arab League military capabilities, people who don’t even read my posts tell me I’m wrong. If I show them a video and ask them to explain it, they refuse.

“I don’t have to,” they say.

Gunship as symbol

The current approach to discourse in the US is that opinions don’t have to be based on fact. William Butler Yeats wrote “The Second Coming” in 1919.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

I don’t know where we’re headed. We have a history of walking to the edge of the abyss, peering over, and then retreating. The near-universal irrationality and hysteria being expressed in my country indicate that people feel that a great change is on its way. Everyone who supports the status quo seems to know instinctively that that their decades-long party is about to end. I hope it happens.

If we choose instead to continue our absurd decline, I myself won’t suffer personally. My life is immune to the corruption of our political parties. I arranged it that way.

And no matter what lies ahead for us, I’ll continue finding inspiration from the sheer genius I see daily in videos coming from the Middle East.


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