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January 17, 2006

Okay, let's put this baby to rest.

I should get a job as a consultant. Oh, wait! I already have one! (Though not for much longer, If I dork up a client engagement like I hosed this post- watch the melt-down of a cocky blogger as he gets deconstructed by his *friends*. I can't wait for the moonbats to show up).

This mystical missile/artillery projectile which the US has been blamed for. I've been in training for the last two days and haven't really been able to jump on this.

But I've got my answer.

This is the round in question:
Mystery Missile as reported by NYT and causing a tizzy

My conclusion?

Russian 122mm HE Hosting provided by FotoTime

Update:Originally I thought the 152mm HE. Then I found the pic of the 122mm HE (left) and let myself get target fixated on the markings match. Just like that one. Then, on my own and outed in the comments before I could post it - I found the 155mm version (on the right).

The Pakis make a 155mm round, with the same general marking scheme, though I haven't been able to get good dimensional data (though they call it an M107, the dimensions of the round in the picture don't quite match the M107 dimension I was measuring (which I chose because it was self-referent and didn't require an external reference.) but some of that is accounted for in distortion in the photographs, as well as the fact that the rotating band on the NYT is squashed a bit from firing.

As Tobias notes in the comments (he caught me before I was done with this update), you can make a case the contours are different from the 122mm pictured, I concede that and won't deny perhaps a little target fixation on my part. Heck, when I really think about it - 122mm in comparison is really rather smaller - further reinforcing the 152/155 idea - and with no evidence (thus far) of Pakistani 152mm production... That said - the markings match Pakistani practice, and while I haven't slugged through the deployments - I don't believe we ever sent 155mm guns to Afghanistan, and we don't drop artillery munitions from aircraft. We have dropped artillery cannon barrels from aircraft... as ordnance. The Gulf War GBU-28 bunker busters.

Updated updated updates. Fark it. I quit. I'm too stupid for this job. This is turning into a Wiki where I'm the secretary...

"we don't drop artillery munitions from aircraft."

Weeeeellll, actually, we do. 105mm Rounds, precision fired at a rate of about 9 per minute, handfed, from about 5-10K feet up. But that round's too small for a 105, right?

I'll just leave it alone from here on out, and quit trying to be newsy and current. I suck at it. At least today. To hell with the voices in my head. Feh.

He's right of course. The flipping AC-130. No I don't think it's a 105. But nonetheless, I give up. I'm tired of all the edits and editors. (It's *my* fault, I'm the dolt who typed this drivel and then put it up).

Here - look for yourself. From left to right (the two center are *roughly* in scale to each other, the two outer are larger in relative terms to the center projos): 152mm, 155mm Pakistani, 155mm US, the NYT projectile.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

The Pakistanis also make a 130mm round, which follows the same marking conventions, but the rotating band is so dissimilar as to not be in contention.

BTW - guess who makes and uses these rounds? With these markings? Pakistan Ordnance Factory. Click on products, ordnance, artillery. Take a look at the wares offered - and how they are marked.

Okay, that's the dull and boring stuff. See the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry for How I Reached That (partly wrong before the update) Conclusion.

My first thought on briefly examining the pic in question was that the proportions weren't right for a 155mm, and were in fact a touch squat for a 152mm, which was my initial assessment, which I laid out over at the 'Phibian's place.

Today, I got a copy of the pic and loaded it into Photoshop.

1. I don't think it was 'shopped. I have *some* experience with that. If it was shopped, it's a very good job. (Update: That contention is getting slapped around a little, too, but I don't profess to be a good 'shopper).
2. My initial estimate was off because I didn't realize the fella with the fancy headgear was standing as far back as he was.
3. It is *clearly* a fired artillery projectile (the NYT has admitted it isn't a missile) and not a missile. In their defense, you should see the captioning goofs in Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps Times, Soldier Magazine, and the DoD websites. Shameful.
4, I enlarged the photo. The markings are not right for a US round.
5. I think I *do* recognize the markings. I printed the pic.
6. I measured the width of the rotating band, and then looked at how many times it would measure up the carcass of the round to the bourrelet, which is the shoulder of the round before the curve of the ogive starts (the pointy end). In short, how many times the width of the rotating band was the carcase to the bourrelet? The round in the pic is at best 1:3 5 (bad fingers!) a smidge under. Okay. I'm pretty sure at this point I know what it is. But, I'm the Armorer. Nothing can be that easy. (and it won't be, since I'm failing Analyst 101 and seeing what I want, and not *looking* anymore)

Being the Armorer, I, of course, own a 155mm HE M107 round. That's the standard HE round the US uses. Only problem is, unless I've missed something - we never sent 155mm guns to Afghanistan. Just 105mm. Being the Armorer, I have a couple of types of 105mm, including, of course, HE. Before you ask, I also have 8in, 8in RAP, 175mm HE, and 155mm DPICM (mind you - all legally procured, all inert, empty, and only dangerous (they weigh a *lot*) to your feet and fingers if you drop them. I schlepped the 155mm (roughly 90 lbs empty) and the 105 (I don't remember how heavy empty) upstairs. I left the 170 lbs 8 inchers in the basement. (Stop the sniggering, this is Serious Journalistic Stuff!).

Short answer, I schlep that stuff upstairs. (it *won't* be there when you get home on Friday, SWWBO), take some pics for you guys. And do some measuring.

Okey-dokey. The ratio is 1:7 for a M107. Therefore, not a 155mm. I don't even bother with the 105mm. I just took pics because, well, I can. (Of course, I didn't account for the distortion to the rotating band of the NYT projo because it was fired, either. Oops.)

Now that I'm 99% certain of my ID, I rummage in my sources.

And found the pic up top. (Which matched my expectations - which, in a way, is what happened to the NYT, eh?)

Mystery solved. I'm not going to rule on the journalism, but I will say this - that suckah ain't ours, and we didn't put it there. Which does beg the question... did we just kill a Pakistani Armorer-equivalent? Bummer dude - you need to be better read in to local law enforcement and not hang around with bad guys.

That's my analysis, and I'm sticking to it. Except when I change it because I'm probably wrong. I at least leave it all there for y'all to look at, rather than just move the post downstream, in the equivalent of a page 28 retraction...