That's the phrase, well part of anyway, that was used in a recent conversation with someone over gun restriction and regulation. More specifically we were discussing the merits and needs of someone owning and operating something like the AR15.
They said that this weapon was needed as protection. I had to ask protection from what specifically?
I couldn't deal with the conversation anymore for the absurdity of the claim was just far too much. After the fold I'll detail out the many ways that this claim is absurd.
That was a hellfire missile strike on a car. The missile was carried by a Predator model MQ-1. This particular drone has a cruise speed of around 80 to 100 mph and has a length of 27 feet or so. It's wing span is 48 feet, but the entire thing only weights around 2 tons when fully loaded. It's maximum range is 675 miles and has an operating duration of 24 hours.
It operates in the medium altitude range of 5 thousand to 8 thousand feet, and its optics in the form of the AN/AAS-52 multispectral targeting system enables it, or rather the operator, to see in varied wavelengths from almost 25 thousand feet out.
What's all that techno mumbo jumbo mean?
What it means is that this thing can fly, pretty silently mind you, at nearly 3 to 4 miles out from a target, find it and destroy it well before the target even knows it was found. And buildings nor cover do not matter for the AN/AAS-52 in its multispectral system allows it to see behind objects. So you could literally be sitting in a covered location and this drone can see you up to 4 miles away.
And what of the armament of this thing?
Well it has two hard points and can carry two different ground based attack weapons. One is the AGM-176 Griffin and the other is the AGM-114 Hellfire. What can these munitions do and what are they capable of? Lets cover the 176 first.
The AGM-176 Griffin is smaller than the Hellfire with a payload of 13 pounds. It is a blast fragmentation round meaning that its blast will send out shrapnel with its delivery. It was designed in order to carry more salvos since the drone can carry 6 instead of only two. Its delivery system is laser guided, GPS or dumb fired, and typically is used in a situation of open field ranged combat. It has a range of 3.5 miles when launched from the surface or nearly 13 miles when launched from aerial. The warhead can be selected from fuse delay (structure penetration), point of contact (vehicles), or aerial blast (meaning it explodes just above you, maximizing area kill effects)
The more popular round carried by the UAV Predator though is the Hellfire missile. The AGM-114 which has a multitude of variants regarding its warhead, payload, and operation. The 114 ranges from payloads designed for bunker penetration, to anti vehicle, to small delivery thermobaric blasts. The Hellfire missile has a typical range of 4.5 miles and its guidance system uses a self contained semi-active laser guidance system. Like Ronco, you mark your target, set it, and forget it. It also can be selected from fuse delay, point of contact, or aerial blast.
The typical delivery charge used by the UAV is the AGM-114N Hellfire II, which uses a 18 pound metal augmented charge. This is a thermobaric weapon, meaning that it uses the fuel air explosive effect so that the oxidation during combustion and ignition uses the oxygen in the area of the target and does not rely on the fuel source entirely. Think of flour, try to light it on fire and it does nothing really, now grab a handful and toss it in the air above a campfire. The 114N has something similar in that the warhead contains a fluorinated aluminum powder that is layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the explosive detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. While its instant kill radius is small comparable to the HEAT round version of the missile or even the Griffin 176, because it creates a rapid pressure wave from the consumption of oxygen in the area it can have a massive kill radius in urban environments and when striking structures. The resulting pressure wave literally sucks the air from your lungs, crushes your organs, and shreds your internal body. So while an attack from a griffin on an area, a brick wall might help protect you, this thing suffocates and crushes you despite any protection you cower behind.
So what good would that AR15 do for you? How would it protect you?
Ask the multitude of Pakistanis, Afghans, Iraqis, those in Yemen, and many other places around the world for their opinion. Hell they have easy access to another weapon which is very similar to the AR15. The AK 47. Sure its range is a little lower at 400 yards versus the AR's 600 yards, but the energy delivery isn't far off at 462 foot pounds versus the AR's 536. They also have access to the fully automatic version of the weapon.
We should go ask them how easy access to weapons is protecting them from our government?
And you know what, we're not only making more of these things we are also making better. The previously mentioned drone, well that model is ancient these days. Our current unmanned drone of choice is the MQ-9, which has an operational length of 30 hours and 14 fully loaded, a service ceiling of 50k feet, 1000 mile operation range, operational altitude of 25k feet, and a cruising speed of 194 mph. It can carry 14 of the above describe Hellfire missiles. It also uses a more advanced avionics utilizing the AN/DAS-1 MTS-B. It's size is also not much larger really, the profile for this thing is very small. Meaning you could detect it, with RADAR maybe, but that will be right about the same time a charge goes off from a missile right above your head.
And you know what, about that RADAR. We're getting ready to introduce the General Atomics Avenger which is a stealth version of the attack drone, capable of carrying more of those wonderful wonderful Hellfire missiles, longer operational length and distance, and has stealth capabilities.
So seriously gun advocates, please stop using that tired old argument that you need your weapons to protect you from your government.
Ohh and that national registry by the way.....what do you think the CIA and FBI do exactly with all that captured internet, phone, etc.. information on a daily basis? They sift through continuously, without a warrant by the way, and if they were so inclined they could find out whatever they want about you already.
You want a weapon against your government? You already have it and may not even realize it. We fire it off at least every two years, sometimes sooner and every citizen has one. You want to know what the most powerful weapon against your government is?
Your Vote....so give up the gun fantasy already.