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    Robo Murray Robo-Apparel

    Robo Murray, a.k.a. "Robo Airsoft" seems to have started his year right with the gods smiling on him. Firstly, he probably is the most famous Canadian now in airsoft. Secondly, he joins RedWolf Airsoft North America giving Rob Manore of RedWolf USA good company and that means he'll be crossing into the States most of the time these days. Thirdly, he is able launch his Robo-Apparel Line.  If you want to talk about a man who has a plan in his airsoft life, then Robo Murray is the man.

    We all know about his nicely done videos on YouTube and understand that he is a valuable addition to RedWolf Airsoft as they firm up their business in America. But with regards to his Robo-Apparel, it is something that we are just starting get acquainted with.

    As Robo Murray says at the Robo-Apparel site, it is a"Combat-Inspired Casual Clothing Design, for Combat-Inspired Lifestyles." If don’t know if it is correct, but my simplified understanding of what he means is "Casual Clothing for the Geardo". I'm pretty much sure that a good number of airsoft players around the world would welcome that idea.

    The Robo-Apparel online store is actually well-stocked with different types of products designed to delight the geardo, male and female alike. It has T-Shirts, Hoodies, and Patches so I'm definitely sure he won't be sticking to those lines only. But for now, those should get his hands full apart from helping run RedWolf Airsoft and doing his own videos though the latter seems to have been put in the back burner as there are two bigger responsibilities now.

    All the prices at Robo-Apparel are in US Dollars, since even if Robo Murray is Canadian, the business uses a drop-ship production company located in California to handle international orders.  That means that airsoft players from outside North America can now place orders. No word yet for wholesales and interested resellers may have to contact Robo Murray for possibilities having his products in their inventory.

    To learn more about the full Robo-Apparel, click on the links below:

    Robo-Apparel Plate Carrier Tee

    Robo-Apparel Combat Inspired T-Shirts

    Robo-Apparel AMS Spear

    Robo-Apparel Combat Inspired Hoodies

    Robo-Apparel Combat Inspired Females

    Robo-Apparel Morale Patches


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    The Expendables 3

    Sylvester Stallone owns one of the magic formulae in movies. Put most, if not all of the biggest action stars in the planet, young and old, together in a movie; have a simple script; bring lots of guns and explosions; and release it to the waiting movie public in a world premiere. So far with three Expendables movies under his belt, he has already earned almost US$800 million in box office receipts worldwide and that there are plans for Expendables 4 and 5 to go into production one after the other.

    A female version called the ExpendaBelles is also said to be in the works, though not much information on this project is available yet.

    With an expanding Expendables empire, Stallone has set its sights on an Expendables made for TV, agreeing to be the Executive Producer for the series to be developed by Fox according to Deadline. Also co-producing and writing the series are Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward. While the series is based on the film, there is no indication if Stallone will be starring in it.

    There is no cast announced for the series yet, and what others speculating is that those who will be tapped are some of the TV's best known action stars such as Mr. T ("The A Team"). Though there are some speculating that the show will be comprised of younger action stars, but we would rather welcome the series with the older TV guys, including Tom Selleck and Lucy Lawless, if going by the movies' top drawers.

    If it’s  going to be TV action stars, then the list is also going to be long, and surely we would welcome to see the Hoff (David Hasselhoff) to be back on the action screen rather than judging talent shows.

    Don't expect the Expendable TV series to premiere this year as it is still in the early stages before going into full production. With the promise of more action stars in one show, we can’t wait for it start production.


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    Snooperking Lego Matrix Lobby Fight Scene

    The Matrix is one of the best trilogies ever made for the silver screen and a good number of us can vividly recall a good number of the fight scenes, shootouts, and of course the mind blowing special effects introduced in the movie such as "bullet time". Furthermore, wearing black leather was so damn cool in the late 1990s because of it.

    The office lobby shootout is one of the most memorable scenes in the movie. Neo and Trinity, out to rescue Morpheus from Agent Smith, decided not to go subtle in infiltrating the building where Morpheus was being held. Packed with security personnel, the duo packed a lot of weapons which were eventually discovered through the security scanner and from there it was one of the most artfully choreographed shootouts in film.

    Well, it's back again, in Lego form. Snooperking, whose YouTube Channel is famous for the recreations of famous movie scenes in Lego. These are stop-motion animations with Lego bricks and some are hilarious to watch.

    The Lego Matrix Lobby Shootout was recreated in good detail though Snooperking did some touches different from the original one. But one thing he made sure, there will be no sequel for The Lego Matrix.

    So here it is the, Snooperking's The Lego Matrix Lobby Shootout and it's epic:


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    Noir Pistol Coffee Maker & Bullet Coffee Cup

    If you can't keep your mind off your guns day in and day out, then we won’t be surprised if you already have one of these in your kitchen. The Noir Pistol Coffee Pot and Bullet Coffee Cups would always make your day knowing that when pouring coffee, you are holding a pistol grip and having a bullet casing Espresso cup to hold that coffee for you.

    The Coffee Pot is made of aluminium and designed like a revolver with a secure pistol grip and soft touch handle according to the seller. The "Hammer" is a nice touch though it doesn’t look like pressing it with your thumb would lift the lid, but that has to be confirmed first. It can be used with gas and electric stoves. To wash it, hand washing is recommended.

    The "50mm" Bullet Coffee Cups are gold metalised porcelain which would a better way of keeping the coffee warm and taste good than copper shells. 6 cups would come with the package are not suitable for microwave. The cups are dishwasher safe.

    The Noir Pistol Coffee Pot and Bullet Coffee Cups package is designed and sold by the Italian group ViceVersa. But before you whip out your wallets to pull out your credit cards or login to your PayPal accounts the items has been sold out with no indication when it'll  be back in stock. If you're desperate for one, you better contact them to enquire when they're going to have it available again. But as consolation, the 6 Bullet Coffee Cup Package is still available to order for €38.00.


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    Max Movie (2015)

    When we talk about PTSD, we always talk about the servicemen and women who have this hidden injury. It is a silent killer and is attributed to the high rates of suicide among U.S. military veterans. According to a study released by the Department of Veterans Affairs released in 2013, there were 22 deaths a day, or one every 65 minutes. Apart from that, a number find themselves unemployed, depressed, and homeless.

    But it's not only them that get PTSD, even the K9s that accompanied soldiers on missions also experience PTSD that can be caused by the harrowing experiences in some of the missions, such as the unfortunate loss of their handlers they accompany.

    Max, a movie set to be released by Warner Bros. in June 26, is all about that and some say it promises to be tearjerker.

    Max is a USMC K9 that served in Afghanistan with his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott. But on a maneuvers things went horribly wrong.

    Max was traumatized by what happened to his handler who was mortally wounded. Unable to do what he has been trained to do, he was sent back to the States. Once there, he was difficult to handle, and only seems to welcome the presence of Wincott's younger brother,  Justin. With Max being part of Wincott's life, the family adopted Max.

    With the help of a friend, Justin was able to establish a bond with Max.  As the trailer continues, there is an indication that what happened to his brother was no accident, and that friends in his unit had something to do with it.  Justin and Max now have a mission of finding out what really happened in Afghanistan that led to his brother's death.

    Directed and co-written by Boaz Yakin (Remember The Titans), "Max" stars Josh Wiggins as Justin Wincott, Lauren as his mom, Pamela, and Thomas Haden Church as Ray, his dad. Robbie Amell of "The Flash" TV series is Kyle Wincott.


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    Entering coordinates to GPS. Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

    According to PC World, the U.S. government is finding the existing Global Positioning System (GPS) getting to be unreliable. There are blindspots and the signals can be jammed. They want a better and much reliable system that can give real time position tracking technology that can be used by the various branches as they go about with their assigned tasks and missions.

    As always, they can turn to the DARPA, the Defence research institute which has gifted the world some wonderful and magical tools that we are now taking for granted, such as the Internet. DARPA has been working on something much better and flexible to give the U.S. Military a strategic advantage. Not that the existing GPS has not given the U.S. Military that, but it is already an old system; potential enemies can jam the signals; and there are areas in the world in which there's no GPS signal that can be received. For U.S. soldiers on the ground in those locations, supporting them would be tough.

    In a document released by DARPA, one of the points in their rethinking of complex military systems, is to improve Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) without GPS:

    Fine-grained PNT is no longer a luxury for the warfighter; it is absolutely essential. That has turned the sophisticated satellite signals on which PNT depends into potential vulnerabilities. To address this concern, DARPA is developing a family of highly precise and accurate navigation and timing technologies that can function in GPS-denied environments and enable new cooperative and coherent effects from distributed systems.

    This would entail development of new self-contained instruments could track position, time and direction of motion way better and without the need to rely on external sources. This means,  that they will be working, in DARPA's actual words, on cold-atom interferometry; chip-scale self-calibrating gyroscopes, accelerometers and clocks; and pulsed-laser-enabled atomic clocks and microwave sources.


    Apart from those, especially to address blindspots, they are looking into tapping into multiple sources to determine real time position without the use of positioning satellites called the All Source Positioning and Navigation or  ASPN.  PC World mentions that DARPA is working on sensors that can pick up signals from various sources such as cell sites, TV signals, Radio Signals, and even other satellites. With more positioning sources that can tapped, an accurate and more precise positioning system can be achieved.

    The present GPS will still continue with its life rather than abandoned outright since the new system will take years to research, build, and setup. But once this system is in place, we civilians can expect that the technology will soon trickle to commercial devices that we can use for our daily lives. With commercial technologies being developed to have door-to-door delivery drones, and even self-driving cars, this DARPA project can give us more benefits that we cannot derive with the existing system that we have right now.


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    Science for the Masses Ce6 Night Vision Experiment (Gabriel Licina)

    Why buy night vision devices when you can see in the dark with  your own eyeballs? In what looks like a promising experiment done by Science for the Masses, a group of people in research, the health care industry, and technical design who do "citizens science" independent of companies, educational, research, and government institutions (some call them "Biohackers"), they were able to conduct an experiment in making the human eye see in the dark.

    Based on previous research, Gabriel Licina and Jeffrey Tibbetts, looked into Chlorine e6 or Ce6 which is a chlorophyll analog that is in fish found in the deep sea (where it's totally dark). Also used in cancer treatment, it is also being used in the improvement in the dim light vision of adults by injecting it in the conjuctival sac of the eye. Their research paper mentions a patent application in which a mixture can be made and when applied to the eye retina, can improve vision in low light condition. It is a mixture of Ce6 and Insulin in saline.

    Based on this research, the research team created a mixture as this entry in their research paper which bears the title "A Review on Night Enhancement Eyedrops Using Chlorin e6" shows:

    The Ce6 (Frontier Scientific, CAS: 19660-77-6 ), was found to be a fine black powder which clung to all surfaces. To make manipulating the chemical easier, a large batch of the total solution was made and then aliqouted into separate containers for storage.

    200mg of Ce6 was mixed with 400 units (4ml) of insulin (70/30 Lantus). To this was added 5.38ml of sterile saline solution (0.9% sodium chloride). The mixture was sonicated briefly (30 seconds) to allow for proper dispersal of the powder into saturated solution and then 625μl of DMSO (Amresco) was added. The solution was sealed with parafilm and sonicated for 150 seconds. The resulting liquid was thin and black in color. Solution was kept in glass aliqouts wrapped in foil at 20°C.

    With Licina acting as the guinea pig, speculum was put into his eyes before the mixture is applied. This prevents his eyes from blinking so that the mixture drops get absorbed by the eye rather than pushed out when his eyelids instinctively close to prevent foreign objects from hitting the eye. The drops were applied using a micropipette so they can be applied more precisely. Protective lenses were then put on to block out some of the light. Light intensity will increases as the solution starts to work over two hours that Licina also had to put on sunglasses as well.

    (Gabriel Licina. Photo source Science for the Masses)

    After two hours, Licina and 4 controls who did not have the Ce6 mixture applied were then brought to a darkened area where there were three forms of testing were performed: 1) symbol recognition at a distance; 2) symbol recognition in different backgrounds at a static distance; and 3) identifying moving objects at different distances and background. Distances ranged from 25 to 50 metres.

    In all these tests Licina was able to recognise symbols and objects at 100% accuracy. The control group which is not treated with the Ce6 mixture were only 33% accurate.

    Suffice to say that the mixture works, but there's a long way to go before such solution can be applied for long term use, especially for people who do work at night. This means that the military will be interested in looking further into the research of Licina and Tibetts, and checking on previous work conducted by other institutions, DARPA included.

    (160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Photo source: Southcom.mil)

    Now, what would you think of the finished product if the research is further pursued? My take is that it won't be an "eye drops" solution which follows the procedure vision capability since the effects take longer to take effect and much longer for the effects to wear off that it becomes inconvenient to use it regularly. This is more of a lens (eyeglass or contact lens) solution which can be readily worn and taken off.  But that's just me speculating. Still, if such night vision capability becomes more accessible and affordable, humans can now fully claim that they own the night as well.

    For airsoft players, that will mean more fun night games.


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    America Grip "Tool Grip"

    What we always dread as airsoft players whilst playing in the field is that when our airsoft guns breakdown in the middle of the game. Most probably you will start fishing for tools in the myriads of pockets to find that bit to help you tighten a screw here to avoid rattles; loosen a screw to open the compartment to replace the battery, or do some quick maintenance with your gearbox, especially the new ones where you just need to flick something to change springs or adjust FPS or even the hop-up.

    Chances are, it might take you minutes to find the tools, wondering which pocket or pouch where you put the tools.  But what if all the tools to help you do that quick job to making your rifle get back into the action?

    A news post at Militaryblog.jp about a product by America Grip may just be the answer to what we need.

    America Grip has the tool for you and it will be right in front of you. Called the "Tool Grip" it is a Rail cover it will fit most modern rail systems and will accept most 2" hex-shanked tool bits.  All you need to do is attach the "Tool Grip" to your handguard that uses  a rail system. You don't need to carry all the hex tools, just select the tools you need for a mission or a game, put them in the Tool Grip, mount them to the handguard, and you're ready to go. The best thing is that you're comfortable with the knowledge that your tools are within easy reach.

    Purchasing a Tool Grip at the America Grip online store will cost you US$24.99 per pack. Each pack comes with four grip panels with diamond grip texture and the following 2-inch hex bit tools:

    • P1 Phillips
    • P2 Phillips
    • 8-10 Slot (Flat Head)
    • #1 Robertson (Square Head Punch)
    • T10 Star
    • T15 Star
    • T20 Star
    • T25 Star

    The Tool Grip is available in several colours to suit your colour requirements. The best thing that this tool carrying design is that you're comfortable with the knowledge that your tools are within easy reach as the going gets tough.


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    UFAC-GAF

    I couldn't believe my eyes when Optimus Prime forwarded me an email of a certain "confidential" document that was sent to him by a source from the Far East. Certain airsoft and consumer product companies have come on board by an international events group based in Japan called Baka Events to finally put together in what should the biggest airsoft tournament in the world.

    What the email states is that they are pulling all stops to organize this with a target date sometime in late 2016. A total of US$2 million in cash prizes will be at stake with the winning team taking home US$1 million in cash prize. If that wouldn't get your attention, I don’t know what else.

    The consumer product companies are mainly bankrolling this event and they are behind some of the most well known consumer products used in sports, including airsoft. Only two airsoft companies have been invited on board due to the popularity of their airsoft products. What Optimus Prime told me that he was contacted to recommend which airsoft companies that they can select from. The two airsoft companies selected for this tournament are from Japan and Taiwan.

    So how will the tournament work? There will be eliminations per region: North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, North East Asia, and Southeast Asia (New Zealand included) with the winning team moving to the finals. These are all force-on-force indoor and outdoor airsoft games comprised of 7-man teams with two players in reserve. What we know is that the primary airsoft guns will be AEGs with blowback and recoil systems. As for the venues, none has been announced yet as the organizers are still silent about most information. Any team can apply for the regional eliminations but will be capped at a maximum of 20 teams so it will be first come, first serve and that they will have to take care of their own expenses to compete.

    For the winners of regional eliminations, they are already assured of at least US$100,000 in cash prizes. For the finals, the second and third placers will be receiving US$300,000 and US$200,000 respectively. The finalists will have all their expenses paid for by the organizers and what we know is that a group that is behind some reality TV shows is interested in covering the finals and the buildup leading to it.

    Airsoft teams are not allowed to bring their own airsoft guns and tactical vests, only their gear. The teams will be playing with whatever airsoft guns that the tournament organizers will provide but they will be given enough time to familiarize themselves with their onsite airsoft guns.  The reason for this is that they will be using a system similar to the GPR System developed by Gunpower in South Korea. It is a hit sensing system that disables the airsoft gun when hit and transmits to a digital scoring system. Here's the GPR System video showing you how it  works:

    Already thinking how you and your team will compete? Hold your horses yet as details are being threshed out and announcement will be made in late April 2015. But with the cash prizes, especially the US$1 million cash prize for the winning team, this event will attract teams like bees to honey.

    Too good to be true eh? Happy April Fool's Day! ;) (Though how we wish this to happen in our lifetime)


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    OGO Op Viper Strike

    Over the hills and through the forest moves the Ranger column into the valley. They are on their way through hostile territory with the goal of establishing a new FOB; in the hopes of taking the fight to the Taliban in a sector near the Pakistani border. The mission is no small task in a steep terrain environment, which is in firm command of the Taliban, who are watching from the high ground and waiting for the right moment to strike. What the Rangers don't realize is that first contact is coming sooner than expected and much more violently than they ever prepared for. The column clears the woods into a opening near the future site of their FOB, where they can see the surrounding area. So far, the column has encountered no resistance and the locals are elusive. It is this silence that unsettles many vets as they move in formation. It is in the eerily quiet moments that they know something is coming.

    First contact opens up suddenly, breaking the morning silence with a sudden IED explosion hitting the lead element. Then gun fire erupts from 12 o'clock of the column, engaging right down the middle of those in the lead. The Rangers scramble to lay a base of fire and pivot as they are shaken by a hard first blow. As they try to shift on the enemy firing, a second line of gun fire opens up on those trying to maneuver. The leading portion of the column is caught in a textbook L-Shaped ambush with devastating gun fire cutting men down and creating a mass casualty scenario that no one saw coming. Two squads are down and in disarray. The Rangers fight to treat the wounded and regain control in a firefight that claims casualties every second it continues. The harsh first lesson and first contact would not end until the Taliban fighters withdrew, melting back into the hills they clearly commanded.

    This is how Operation Viper Strike hosted by RAPTAC started, a metaphoric bucket of cold water to shock the players into realizing that this wasn't just about slinging bbs. This wasn't a weekend pickup game or the popular big ops one is used to seeing on YouTube. RAPTAC excels in simulations that put players into the role of combat, not just the look of a soldier down range. This makes them stand apart from the long time, big game template that most players are accustomed to. This was an immersive experience that needed players ready to dive into a role and be uncomfortable at times; to create a unique experience in the world of airsoft. RAPTAC is not the first to go in this direction with MSW making a big slash out west, but, it is the only one in the East working to bring airsoft to a new level of immersive simulation. This is an organization in its infancy toward something new for most in the east.

    Who is RAPTAC???

    They are veteran players comprising members of the well known Raptor1 milsim team on the East Coast. At least 3/4 of their roster is made of currently serving and retired Marines from a wide range of combat skills. These are experienced players of airsoft and veterans of combat that milsim tries to achieve. This makes them ideal candidates for cadre and organizers of an immersive simulation like Op Viper Strike. Along with the task of cadre, the staff takes roles within the game to mentor the players experiencing the event and drive gameplay. With their background and experience, players get ideal leaders that can relate real world skills and tactics into implementation that the players can follow.

    As the event developed the leaders would have objectives and the mentors instilled their knowledge of the best tactics and procedures to execute their missions. But even with this guidance there were mistakes, which became learning opportunities in a constantly flowing scenario. Everything the players did had consequences both positive and negative, putting the player firmly in the driver's seat towards deciding the event's fate. With this came frustration at times as the players learned the slowed down, often eerie anticipation that happens when you know there's an enemy out there, but the rules of engagement hold you back. Because the Taliban had no rules of engagement, they could strike at random, at any time and, they did. It was 24 hours of harassment driving those young Rangers mad, unable to engage in a sustained engagement. Instead, they would face unarmed protesters at their gate; receive a crash course in diplomacy; and learn that just going for the kill would have greater consequences to the more important objective of making friends, not enemies.

    By the morning of the second day, the Taliban were in firm control of the terrain surrounding the FOB. Patrols that left the Ranger position were quickly engaged by the hit and run fighters that defined the insurgency warfare the Rangers could not adapt to all weekend. The night hadn't been any easier, with constant probing attacks and late night all out assaults on the U.S. position. It was in the final hours of the campaign, that the order was given for an all out assault on the Taliban strong hold near the Pakistani border. What the Rangers didn't know was that a weekend of fortification on the high ground left an IED-rattled approach that would make them earn every inch or real estate.

    In the end the Rangers were pushed back into their FOB; forced to pull off the mountain that just kept claiming casualties as they tried to get up to the enemy position. The Rangers outnumbered the Taliban; they were better equipped; they had air support to call in on the Taliban positions. Yet the Taliban still remained a constant thorn in the side of the Rangers that could not be dislodged. This was an insurgency that proved that an annoying flea could drive any big dog crazy to the point of withdrawing. So ended Operation Viper Strike as quickly as it began.

    With the Rangers still alive and the Taliban in control of the terrain there would be no clear victor in a battle that taught a lot of lessons to the young players that experienced it. The staff learned their own lessons finding the weaknesses within their simulation. They wasted no time in asking the players feedback that they wanted to hear as everything was fresh in players minds. This immediate feedback is what will continue to drive the growth and development of this new event producer, looking to put its mark on the bigger airsoft community. These kind of events are not for everyone and for a small few that was apparent. For others it was a hard lesson learned. RAPTAC is not the airsoft you get from most op producers.

    RAPTAC is a challenge to the player to survive first contact and know how to recover from that first knockdown inside the ring. There is no point of breaking the wall you hit and then overcome. RAPTAC is a constant psychological and physical assault that dares you to quit because it's just easier then hanging in the fight. In this way it will never be for everyone. You have to will yourself to the experience in a way that you cannot just be the customer looking to be entertained. You have to be an immersed active part of the experience and an actor in the role you accept at sign up.

    Growing pains is what the player base and the staff of RAPTAC are going through right now. But it is to be expected in the infancy stage of any great new company. As long as the staff keeps listening to  customers and customers bring up their game, then both will find themselves in a new class of airsoft, and bring milsim to a level many have craved for years. It will never be for everyone and many will never want to play on this stage. But for those looking to be pushed out of their comfort zone and more realism in their airsoft, RAPTAC is on the east coast waiting for you to sign up.

    Javier "Darkhorse"

    -------------------------------------------------

    About The Author

    Javier "Darkhorse" Franco, formerly from This Week In Airsoft, runs his own Airsoft Blog on Facebook called "One Grunt's Opinion."  John Love submitted this article to him for posting. This story does not reflect an official position of Popular Airsoft and is the author's opinion only.


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    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege - Closed Alpha

    Whilst many of us were preparing or taking our Easter Break, Ubisoft released a series of videos design to increase our interest in a new Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six game title that they revealed last year at E3. "Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege" reveal caught everybody by surprise as most were expecting the "Patriots" which was already cancelled and all resources now devoted to ensuring the release of Siege which is expected to be sometime this year.

    The first video was the "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege Official - Operator Gameplay Trailer" though this one is a Europe release. This release announces an added tactical layer to push the experience even further such as putting teams and tactics together that will make the players' CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) defeat the opposing team. This is shown in a second video called the "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege Official - The Operators – Behind The Wall #2"which shows the various classes of operator that can be chosen for the game.

    Can’t wait for the game to be released? The third video will probably make you restless and sleepless at night as you wait for announcements about the actual release date of the game. You can count me as one of those people since I am looking forward to something that may just replace the venerable Counterstrike FPS game that is already very old. The "Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege - Closed Alpha Launch" that will start on tomorrow, the 7th of April 2015, and will run for a week. This Alpha test has volunteers test the gameplay loops and test how the gaming infrastructure will be able ti handle the multiplayer game load to give feedback on the gaming experience for developers to do changes to the game.

    If you had the chance to try the Alpha test, then you might want to try the Beta test phase which Ubisoft announced. For you to sign-up, you should pre-order a copy of the game.

    Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege will be released this year for the PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.


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    Bundeswehr G36

    In recent days, mainstream media in Europe, firearms and defence magazines have been reporting about concerns of the German Army about the Heckler & Koch G36 Assault Rifle. Last 30 March, the German Defence Ministry, issued an official statement stating their concerns after several years of investigation by the Germany Army, the Bundeswehr.

    According to the test reports, the G36 accuracy becomes suspect after a sustained full automatic fire, which heats up the barrel. What is suspected is the composite that holds the barrel in place starts to loosen when the temperature goes up, with shifts of impact of up to 50cm. This has been noticed by Bundeswehr personnel who were deployed to Afghanistan as part of the ISAF. Previous investigation put the blame on a bad batch of ammo but this time the rifle itself is found to be the source of the problem.

    The resulting problem has prompted the Bundeswehr to start considering other rifles to issue to soldiers according to Reuters. Last year, the German Army put a hold on purchasing more G36 rifles pending further investigation brought about by complaints of accuracy. The Bundeswehr have purchased 176,000 G36 rifles from Heckler & Koch since 1996. It is also in use in other defence forces and military units around the world, including the Kurdish Peshmerga who have been supplied with such rifles in their fight against the ISIS.

    The assessment of G36 Assault Rifle was done by the Bundeswehr with the Ernst-Mach-Institut, an independent organization, the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition and the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials and Supplies.
    With more involvement of German forces in and foreign policy concerns of the German government together with their allies and NATO in climates that are warmer. They have been thinking of looking into a rifle that can withstand the desert climate as the Middle East is now embroiled in much warfare such as Syria and Iraq in the North and Northeast, and Yemen in the South. As we all know, this region supplies much of the world's oil.

    So far, Heckler & Koch has denied that the G36 rifles they supplied to the Bundeswehr are prone to accuracy problems when they get hot.


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    Airsoft Battery

    It looks like the expected breakthrough in battery technology has been made this year. Scientists at Stanford University in California have announced the Aluminium Ion Battery that can be charged in one minute. This makes your mobile devices and other gadgets ready to go again in one minute rather than waiting for hours to have their batteries juiced up.

    This type of battery is said to be safe as it can be bent and even damaged without catching fire. Such a battery gets our attention as airsoft players since LiPoly batteries we use in AEGs and Lithium Ion batteries in mobile devices, including electric cars), are prone to catching fire when mishandled or punctured. Furthermore, since it is flexible, meaning that it bended and folded, designing an AEG gun (or other electronic devices) takes the headache of battery compartments much more manageable.

    The Aluminium Ion Battery should also get electric vehicle makers excited, given that battery charging, capacity and weight is one of the biggest obstacles in making them viable transports especially for longer distances.

    Previously, Aluminium batteries fail after 100 recharging cycles, but the Alumunium Ion battery can have 7,500 recharging cycles. Lithium Ion batteries have 1,000 recharging cycles. That means a longer life for the battery, paying for itself better than existing batteries.

    But before you rush to the nearest electronics store, there is still some waiting to do. For now, whilst these batteries prove that they be charged faster and have cycles much longer than other batteries, the next phase will be increasing the voltage. Aluminium Ion batteries are not yet commercially viable and there will be further research needed such as capacity and voltage. Of course, interested investors will be lined-up to fund the project to make it viable commercial product that can be licensed to different manufacturers in different types of industries.

    We are more dependent of batteries right now as we carry more electronic devices on with us as we go about with our daily lives. We carry laptops, smartphones, activity trackers, smart watches, and even smart glasses. In the following years, more and more people will be driving electric cars and riding in electric powered buses. The not-much talked about technology race is about batteries, more efficient, fast charging, flexible, and durable batteries will make us more productive.

    For airsoft, it means you can go back into action in just one minute of charging your AEG battery.


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    DJI Phantom 3

    I have been looking into owning the DJI Inspire 1, the first drone from DJI that comes with 4K Recording. But with a US$3,000 price tag, it's hard for me to justify owning one since it's not an investment for me, but more of the joy of taking aerial video footages of airsoft games with its 4K video camera, 3-Axis Gimbal and GPS stabilization system. Apart from those, the Inspire 1 is a magnificent to look at, as it looks more like high-tech wraith rather than a quadcopter.

    DJI took a good number of features of the Inspire 1 and put them into their more popular and affordable drones, the Phantom Series, releasing the DJI Phantom 3 which will come in two different flavors: the Professional and Advanced.

    Drone enthusiasts have been used to owning a DJI Phantom in its basic form, as it comes without a camera and giving you the option to put your own video camera and stabilizer which usually means getting a GoPro Action Camera or pay more to get the "Vision" version that comes with the video camera made specifically to work with the Phantom. The Phantom 3 is totally "Vision" but with the "Vision" branding removed and comes in the 1080p HD "Advanced" and the 4K "Professional". The frame rate for the Advanced is at 60fps with 12 megapixel stills while the Professional is 30fps and also 12 megapixel stills.

    Previously, you can do an FPV (First Person View) when flying the previous Phantom 2 Vision with a low resolution feed to your mobile device with a Wifi booster that is attached to the controller. The Wifi is now integrated into the controller and the Phantom 3 with the DJI "Lightbridge" technology and a livefeed in 720p HD can be achieved at a range of over a mile. The video camera is even better now with f2.8 lens with a narrow 94 degree view which avoid the fisheye effect of the previous 140-degree wide angle view.

    Just like the Inspire 1, the Phantom 3 has the IMU which has a 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer which allows for indoor flight together with the Electronic Speed Controllers which relay motor speed to the main controller to help the Phantom 3 maintain stable flight. For wedding or events videographers, this can be  a god send for indoor footages, provided that the motors and rotors are not noisy enough to disrupt the solemn ceremony happening below.

    Apart from the Phantom 3 Drone Unit and Main Controller is the DJI Pilot App that gives you easier control of the Phantom 3. It also has a quick video editor in case you need to upload the a video footage quickly on YouTube and even Livestream on YouTube giving realtime video to your channel subscribers. This is actually a nice feature to use for airsoft events, having the ability to give a livestream of an ongoing Milsim mission. Now it's just a matter of having reliable Wifi or mobile data connection to make this happen.  But even if you haven't flown a Phantom 3 before, the Pilot App has a flight simulator to help you familiarize with the flying the drone even if you're not going anywhere.

    Now, DJI has added GLONASS which together with GPS makes the Phantom 3 more aware of its position relative to the user. With the Pilot App, the location can be tracked on a live map with the takeoff point recorded so you can make it go home to you at a tap of a finger.

    Pricing, you ask? The DJI Phantom 3 Advance Version actually costs US$1,000 and at US$1,100 with an extra battery which can give a 23-minute flight time after each charge. The DJI Phantom 3 Professional Version is US$1,250 and US$1,350 with a spare battery. This are manageable prices when compared to the DJI Inspire 1.

    It may not be as beautiful as the DJI Inspire 1, but with most of its features now in an affordable package in the DJI Phantom 3, taking 4K video footages of airsoft events just made it more fun than before. Now, we just need to have better and faster upload speeds with bigger video files and 4K TV and computer screens to appreciate what 4K can do.


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    Aquaman

    Sorry folks, upon finding out the news about this research on body armory, I just can't help posting the photo of Jason Momoa here. Jason Momoa, famously known as "Khal Drogo" in the Game of Thrones Series, will be playing the leading role in the upcoming Aquaman Movie. And yes, the story is about fish scales as the inspiration of this new body armor design being developed by American and Israeli researchers being funded by the U.S. Army.

    In a paper published at Softmatter.org, researches from Technion-Israeli Institute of Technologu, Columbia University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called"Flexibility and protection by design: imbricated hybrid microstructures of bio-inspired armor", the researchers write that the project is:

    Inspired by the imbricated scale-tissue fl exible armor of elasmoid fish, we design hybrid stiff plate/soft matrix material architectures and reveal their ability to provide protection against penetration while preserving flexibility. Indentation and bending tests on bio-inspired 3D-printed prototype materials show that both protection and flexibility are highly tunable by geometrical parameters of the microstructure. We show that penetration resistance can be amplified by a factor of 40, while flexibility decreases in less than 5 times.

    Scale-type armor is not exactly new as it is as old as armor technology itself with scale with the oldest mention of the type were written by the Chinese thousands of years ago, even the Romans had a certain type of scale armor which was also popular and sough after instead of using mail.

    (Fish Scale)

    The next phase in the research is testing the design with projectiles to find out how the armor design will be able to withstand high speed projectiles such as bullets. Since the armor is flexible, it can be adjusted in the joint areas to allow better movement for the wearer.

    (Scale-type Armor. Source unknown)

    There is still a long way to go with the design so for now many would still rely on Kevlar and Ballistic Plates for body armor. But if fish-scale armor works as promised, just imagine that soldiers will be like the warriors in days of yore, albeit with more high tech equipment and even more destructive and deadly weapons.


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    Armatus Designs The Batsuit

    Since I have written about armor design inspired by fish scales and posted an Aquaman photo here, I might as well write about another armor design which is inspired by Batmat's Batsuit. A 21 year college student, Jackson Gordon, successfully raised money on Kickstarter to make his Armatus Design "The Batsuit"combat armor, and now has posted videos on Youtube to show that it works.

    Using a combination of Impact Absorbing Foam, Kevlar and Kydex plating, Gordon has designed a combat armor that would provide protection without sacrificing mobility. However, this is not bullet-proof design even if he uses Kevlar which is used in many bulletproof body armor designs these days. But is significant about his design is that he is able to fashion out a superhero armor that actually gives protection to its wearer. With Batman being the superhero who actually does not have superpowers, he has to rely on gadgets, vehicles, and body armor to fight the bad guys.

    Gordon moved fast with his project, raising a modest amount on Kickstarter to get his project going, he was able to finish the armor within one month and has received lots of media coverage for his project.

    Here are two videos showing how his design was able to protect him from punches, kicks, knife stabs, knife slashing, and a bat (not the flying one). If you want to look like a superhero in an airsoft game while having some armor from BB impacts, then you might want this Batsuit. Just don’t bring it an actual gunfight, it won't protect you, for now:

     


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    KILSWITCH

    In a story filed on Engadget, it looks like the job for the Joint Attack Terminal Controllers (JTACs) has just become easier. In checking out the source, DARPA reports that the U.S. Marines Corps Leadership are "pleased" with the successful demonstration of the PCAS (Persistent Close Air Support) System during TALON REACH last 27 March 2015.

    DARPA's PCAS was created 2010 to help JTACs move from coordinating close air support (or airstrikes if you want to call it that way) with radios, paper maps, and visual confirmation without endangering troops to friendly fire. Usually this is a tedious task that sometimes takes in hour to go into position and call in a strike. And when ready, the target may already have moved out of reach and have moved in close to friendly forces to attack.

    PCAS allows the JTACs and other friendly troops on the ground and pilots or air combat crews share real time information and weapons systems data. The system allows them to select multiple targets allowing air support to deliver the appropriate munitions to full effect whilst reducing collateral damage and avoiding friendly fire.

    The PCAS System is comprised of two components. The first one is an Android-based tablet called the KILSWITCH or the Kinetic Integrated Low-cost SoftWare Integrated Tactical Combat Handheld (also called as the PCAS-Ground) and the Second one is integrated into the aircraft tactical systems (PCAS-Air). The PCAS also relies on the satellite, surveillance, intelligence feeds so that both components know where each other is up to the point of weapons release.

    In the TALON REACH exercise, two groups of U.S. Marines went to engage enemy units. One group set-up small drones that acted as network relays allowing the users of the KILSWITCH tablets to establish communication and sending information for a hovering V-22 Osprey waiting for opportunity to strike before launching a specially mounted Griffin missile.

    Such a system then becomes crucial for providing a much more responsive and effective close air support to the troops on the ground. The PCAS can cut down the response time of close support aircraft from almost an hour down to 4 minutes. Such massive reduction in response time means minimisation of risks for friendly troops to be caught in a friendly fire and ability to repel attacks and counter attacks by nearby enemy forces.

    If you remember the "Broken Arrow" scene in the movie "We Were Soldiers" (2002). Lt. Colonel Moore (Mel Gibson) told his JTAC to call in a "Broken Arrow" where all available air assets were told to drop anything they can, including Napalm to prevent their positions of the troops below from being overcome by the Viet Cong and NVA regulars. They did halt the onslaught and prevented a defeat, but there were friendly casualties. With the PCAS System, today's troops may just be able to avoid such a scenario.


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    Terminator Genisys "Payoff"Trailer

    If you hate spoilers, better not continue on reading this story as you will be extremely disappointed if you find out what the twist in the plot of the upcoming Terminator Genisys movie is. In a move that will also baffle the most ardent fan of the Terminator franchise, the producers behind the movie allowed a big revelation in the "Payoff" trailer.  It is a big gamble, perhaps designed to ensure that people will make a beeline for the theatres when the movie gets released this summer.

    The human resistance to the Skynet and its robot terminators is led by John Connor. In the first Terminator movie, to remove John O'Connor from the equation and effectively ending the resistance is to send a  T-800 (in the form of Arnold Schwarzenegger) into the past and kill John Connor's mother, Sarah. Eliminating Sarah will lead to John Connor not being born and thus the future resistance will not have him as the leader. But the resistance sent Kyle Reese to protect Sarah and successfully stopping the T-800. The resistance continues in the future under John Connor's leadership.

    In Terminator Genisys, the same scenario takes place, but the past have changed. But instead of a T800 sent to assassinate Sarah Connor, a T-1000 (Lee Byung-Hun) is out to kill Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), but John Connor (Jason Clark) was also sent back into the future with the task of going after his mother, Sarah Connor who is played by Emilia Clarke this time. Yes, the "Payoff" trailer  is about John Connor going to the dark side. A T-800 (still the good old Arnie) that has also been sent from the past has been keeping Sarah company since she was nine years old. This T-800 also confronts the T-800 that was sent in the original Terminator.

    John Connor is in the form of a human-cyborg hybrid and so far the most formidable opponent in the franchise.

    For Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese, and the T-800, it is for them to reset the future to ensure that John Connor will still lead the resistance to the eventual defeat of the Skynet.

    Terminator Genisys is set for release in July 2015, with the famous lines we have heard from the previous Terminator movies.

     


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    3D Robotics Solo

    The drone wars are just starting to get more intense as manufacturers are coming up with better and even more affordable drones stacked with features that would make it easier to take aerial video footages. Last week, it was DJI releasing the new Phantom 3 which comes in two flavours; and now 3D Robotics announced their "Solo", the smart drone.

    Whilst the Phantom 3 is a drone and 4k/1080p video camera package, the 3D Robotics Solo is designed to work with the GoPro Hero, which is the best selling action camera series. With GoPro Hero4 now available and comes better 4K recording at 30fps and 1080p HD recording at 120fps, taking aerial shots with Solo means that it can capture more detail or give better video and slow-motion options.

    Most probably your first question about the Solo is, what does it do that the Phantom 3, Inspire 1, or even the Parrot Bebop Drone, and other even the other custom built drones for aerial videography cannot?

    For starters, 3D Robotics and GoPro collaborated to ensure that Solo has access to the Hero's camera settings. Solo comes with two options, the drone only option at US$1,000, or with the GoPro Gimbal option which will raise the price to US$1,400. This makes the Solo a bit more expensive than the DJI Phantom 3 Professional which already comes with the 4K camera (at US$1,260); and the US$1,400 Solo with the GoPro Gimbal still does not come with the GoPro Hero. 3D Robotics are confident that those who are going to buy the Solo already are owners of the GoPro Hero.

    Since the Solo has access to the Hero's camera settings, the drone pilot can readily access the camera settings even if the Solo is in flight. With a 720p video resolution streaming via Wifi connectivity to the controller which you can mount an iPhone or an iPad to be the monitor, the pilot can set the frame rate, resolution, snap a photo, stop/start recording, and even adjust the camera angle.  No need to land and waste time adjusting the camera settings, do it with the Solo in mid-air.

    For video gamers, the controller will be a familiar thing for them as it was designed as inspired by video game controllers. If you are not a familiar with flying a drone yet, it has a drone simulator so you can fly the Solo and crashing it whilst learning without actually flying the drone. You can then move on to flying the real Solo when you are confident with your drone piloting skills.

    Now we go into the unique offerings of Solo apart from the "follow me" feature that most drones now have and it's a nifty feature since if you issue this command, the drone will follow you and take the footage of whatever you do.

    The first one is the "Cable Cam" which is a virtual cable for the Solo to follow. Set Point A to Point B and the drone will follow that in a strict straight line and doing a panning shot of the area whilst in the motion (or you can do the panning yourself). The second is the "Orbit" in which all you need to do is circle a spot on the monitor and the Solo will do a wrap-around shot of the spot. This is usually good for architectural and event videos, especially for airsoft events when the drone goes around an objective being attacked or defended. The third feature is what every normal and camera-hugging airsoft player would love --- the "Selfie" in which they put themselves in the centre of it all.

    The Solo will fit right in an airsoft milsim event with its aggressive design, just like the DJI Inspire 1. The Solo design looks like a stealth UAV doing some recon on the field as compared to the blinking lights and white colour scheme for the DJI drones that includes the Phantom 3.

    If you have the budget to afford the Solo, especially with the 3-axis GoPro Gimbal, then just wait for a little bit more. The Solo will be available at various retailers in May 2015.


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    USN ONR LOCUST

    Some of you might get peeved that this story is not about the latest airsoft gun, tactical gear, or even about real steel. For now, it's a dry period with the next exciting airsoft development news expected next month (we will tell you what it is ahead of the rest soon). But this feature story is significant in terms of how warfare  will be conducted in the near, intermediate, and long term future.

    What we usually read in science fiction books or watch in science fiction movies, or even play in video games, is about to get real --- drone swarms.

    I'm pretty sure many of you will remember in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Advanced Warfare how scary drone swarms are. Drone swarms will do what I usually call to be a 360-degree warfare. They will attack you from above and below, from the left and the right, all at the same time. And since they are swarms, they will overwhelm you with sheer numbers. If you have actually seen a how locust swarm works, millions of such insects will lay devastation to vegetation and farms in search of food. That's how designers are envisioning the future of drone warfare.

    And LOCUST is the term for the drones that will be deployed in swarms that is being developed by the U.S. Navy's Office for Naval Research (ONR). Just like the real locust swarms, these drones can work autonomously together to destroy to a target.  LOCUST stands for  Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology where multi-tube launchers can deploy the Coyote UAVs developed by BAE Systems and 30 of these small UAVs/drones will work together to either go on offensive mission or do a "swarming" defense. Previously the ONR have demonstrated swarming drones in the form of robot boats that can attack an incoming hostile surface craft. ONR now takes this capability for aerial UAVs as these can react faster than boats.

    In this video, it shows a successful tube launch of a drone and a demo of 9 drones flying in formation. It  is then followed up by a simulation of how the LOCUST drones would attack a target and it's not really far from how we have seen in movies and video games:

    From here, the research will be for more complex maneuvers for the UAVs in a LOCUST swarm. They can work in separate groups, alone, and can regroup after accomplishing their sub-missions. An example will be a group of four drones that will break off from the main group to attack incoming enemy drones or jet fighters or sacrifice themselves from surface to air missiles so that the main body can continue and accomplish the mission. They can all break up into small hunter-seeker groups that will eliminate air defenses before the main group of human-piloted bombers comes in and deliver their heavier payloads and protect their exit from the target area.

    Since they are low-cost, LOCUST drones are easily replaceable as compared to an F-35 Lightning or F-22 Raptor with their equally expensive-to-train pilots. This lowers the costs of high-tech warfare in terms of material and human costs.

    There will be questions on drone warfare such as accountability since who will be responsible when a drone accidentally kills innocent civilians, or go rouge and attack something else that is not in its mission task list? Especially with the concerns of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that  may just become too powerful that the human race gets threatened or eliminated by robots made for warfare, have been in the news lately. If you are thinking of Skynet in "Terminator", then you get to understand and be concerned with the ramifications of autonomous drone warfare.

    For more on Drone Warfare, you can download report "Robotics on the Battlefield Part II: The Coming Swarm" by Paul Scharre.


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