Army to test and shoot weapons at new Mobile Protected Firepower prototypes

The Army plans to fire guns, rockets and cannons at prototypes of the emerging Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle to prepare the fast-tracked platform for major mechanized warfare, service officials explained.

The attacks, expected to include RPGs, crew-served weapons, small arms fire and various kinds of cannons and land-rockets, are intended to fully and accurately replicate combat as part of upcoming soldier “lethality tests” of its new MPF platform, Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, Director, NGCV Cross-Functional Team, told reporters.

“We will take these vehicles and shoot at them to see which ones can absolutely protect our soldiers,” Coffman said. “The soldier user test will execute likely missions that an IBCT will have in full-scale combat. This includes the use of mechanized war vehicles in the close-in-fight.”

Part of these assessments, which include move-to-contact missions, assault exercises, medium range fire on static and moving targets – and mobility tests across rigorous, uneven terrain. Army developers will also look at expanding the anticipated mission requirements for the MPF, to include counter-air attacks on enemy drones and helicopters, Coffman added.

“MPF has a large cannon that would be effective against rotary wing. That would be beneficial – we are going to look at it,” Coffman said to Warrior Maven.

The prototype Mobile Protected Firepower vehicles will soon be arriving through the Army’s Rapid Prototyping deal with BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems. Each vendor will deliver 12 prototype vehicles for testing and development, a key step toward a 2022 “down-select” to one vendor and the eventual construction of 504 vehicles.

The MPF is being accelerated to war, in part to meet a pressing need for mobile firepower to support rapidly advancing light infantry. Army assessments found that Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) lack the maneuverable firepower needed to destroy fortified enemy positions, bunkers, light armored vehicles and heavy machine gun positions.

A Congressional Research Report from October of last year reached a similar conclusion, explaining that current infantry lacks the requisite attack and mobility requirements.

“The IBCT lacks the ability to decisively close with and destroy the enemy under restricted terrains such as mountains, littorals, jungles, subterranean areas, and urban areas,” the CRS report states.

The Army’s fast-tracked plan for the MPF requires a dual-pronged acquisition approach for the service, which wants to both harness the best available weapons and technologies today – while also engineering a vehicle to be successful in war 20-years down the road. While the testing and developmental assessments are intended to be thorough, the Army plan is to prepare the platform for war on a massively expedited time frame, intended to circumvent some of the more lengthy and bureaucratic hurdles known to encumber the traditional acquisition process.

For instance, as a way to make use of readily available technologies and circumvent certain lengthy acquisition milestones, the program will not have a formal Preliminary Design Review and Critical Design Review

“One of our biggest challenges is to continue to upgrade our current platforms for anything we may go to war with today at the same time making sure we put the proper investments into our future abilities – so we are ready for the fight after next,” Maj. Gen. Brian Cummings, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, told Warrior Maven in an interview.

Second death, more accusations sharpen focus on Ed Buck, California Democratic megadonor

Democratic Party megadonor Ed Buck faces new questions this week after Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives opened an investigation into the second death of a man — identified by a medical examiner as 55-year-old Timothy Dean — at Buck’s home in less than two years, and a third man came forward with an account of what he described as his drug-fueled interactions with the well-connected Californian.

Deputies in West Hollywood responded early Monday morning to a report of a person not breathing at Buck’s home, and county firefighters pronounced the man dead. The cause of the death will be determined by the coroner, according to Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department.

But, critics are questioning whether Buck’s race — both men found dead were black — or if his wealth or political ties to the Democratic Party influenced an initial investigation of the 64-year-old who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to a slew of liberal causes and candidates over the years, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and a who’s who of top California politicians.

“He definitely has not been cooperative, as his attorney says. He refused to answer any questions when I tried speaking with him,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Investigator Quilmes Rodriguez told Fox News via email Wednesday night.

Officials said the investigation of the second death will include a review of Gemmel Moore’s death in 2017. After a slow-moving investigation that went on for months, Buck was not charged.

“On July 27, 2017 there was a death investigation of a male adult, Gemmel Moore, who was determined to have overdosed at the same location. Mr. Edward Buck was present during both incidents,” said a recent statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said the “admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Buck gave Moore drugs or is responsible for his death in a document dated July 26 obtained by Fox News. An autopsy report said Moore died of a methamphetamine overdose.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, The Daily Mail published an account by Jermaine Gagnon, a 28-year-old who claimed he narrowly escaped death in Buck’s apartment. Gagnon claimed to have met Buck online in April 2018 and said the Democratic megadonor flew him from Minnesota to Los Angeles.

“He was quite open about being very generous to the black community,” Gagnon said. “I’m his type, and pretty much half of the black community is his type — vulnerable, depressed. If you’re in a depressive state, that’s the energy that feeds him.”

Gagnon claims Buck injected him with crystal methamphetamine at his sex toy-filled apartment.

“He took my phone. I was so scared. I felt death walked into my soul. I called my mother. I said, ‘I feel like he’s going to kill me, I think I’m going to die,” he told The Daily Mail.

Following the discovery of the body Monday morning at Buck’s apartment, his attorney, Seymour Amster, said his client has not been arrested and is cooperating with investigators.

“From what I know, it was an old friend who died of an accidental overdose, and unfortunately, we believe that the substance was ingested at some place other than the apartment,” Amster said. “The person came over intoxicated.”

Amster, however, did not return Fox News’ emails and phone calls about the Gagnon report.

American Kennel Club’s dog museum, relocated to New York, will unleash 150 pieces showcasing furry friends

New Yorkie, New Yorkie!

Operators of the American Kennel Club’s newly relocated dog museum, opening soon in New York City, want to give visitors a chance to learn more about their furry friends, so they’re unleashing a 150-piece collection and a library area of 15,000 books.

The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog, which operated outside St. Louis for three decades, is set to open Feb. 8 in Midtown Manhattan, featuring the club’s extensive, mostly donated collection of items.

The collection boasts portraits of royal and presidential pets; artifacts, such as an estimated 30 million-year-old fossil, that trace canine history; and devices that “match” visitors’ faces with dog breeds and let people try their hand at basic dog training. The collection also features paintings of White House dogs: U.S. President George W. Bush’s Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, and one of President George H.W. Bush’s English springer spaniels, Millie.

“Dogs have enriched our civilization, and woven themselves into our hearts and families through the ages, and I am delighted to see them acknowledged” in plans for the museum, then-first lady Barbara Bush, who died in April, wrote in a 1990 letter that’s also displayed next to Millie’s portrait. The White House is seen in the background of the springer spaniels’ likeness.

Although there won’t be actual dogs except for special occasions, the museum hopes to give visitors “an understanding of the history of dogs, how they came to be in such variety,” said Executive Director Alan Fausel, a longtime art curator and appraiser.

The museum initially opened in the kennel club’s former headquarters in New York in 1982 but moved in 1987 to a historic house owned by St. Louis County. Officials of St. Louis County didn’t return a call Thursday from the Associated Press, but Parks Director Gary Bess told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week the museum’s former home will be rented out for events and exhibits.

The kennel club, which runs the nation’s oldest purebred dog registry, has taken heat in recent years from animal-welfare activists who view dog breeding as a beauty contest that fuels puppy mills. The club argues there’s value in breeding to hone various traits, from companionability to bomb-sniffing, and hopes the museum helps make the case.