10 February 2016

Our Enemies: Reptilians (Space Lizards)


Millions of years ago, our planet was once their planet, and if it had not been for an asteroid, we humans may never have become the dominate species of Terra. Even today, reptiles (especially snakes) are mistrusted and feared by most humans, and that fear has been projected onto science fiction with reptilian-like aggressive aliens that are one of the most common types of hostile humanoid alien species seen in all of fiction. In this installment of the ongoing serial Our Enemies, FWS will explaining and exploring the Reptilians of science fiction and UFO mythology.

What Are The Science Fiction Reptilians?
Being one of the most popular hostile aliens specie archetypes that often play the enemy to humanity as allowed the science fiction Reptilian aliens to have some commonalities and a great deal of variations. In this section, I will attempting explain some of those common characteristics of Reptilians seen in science fiction. Nearly all Reptilians are imperialistic and vicious carnivorous. This was expressed upon us with nightmarish visuals with the both interpretations of V with these space lizards packing humans for later snacking and eating small furry animals whole.
Most space lizards seen in the genre are some shade of either grey or green, which immediately separates them from us Terrans. Further setting the Reptilians apart is their speech, which often includes hissing as seen with the Sleestak from Land of the Lost and COBRA Commander (especially in the Robot Chicken videos). Then there is their reptile eyes and at times: the forked tongues. These super-creepy biological elements of Terran reptile species are added to the fictional alien space lizards to drive home the point that these creatures are far from you and I (unless you are an reptilian shapeshifter!). These features play up the hostile appearance of the space lizards.
The vast majority of alien lizards from outer space are bipedal and often embody the darker impulses of human nature. Fewer science fiction works show Reptilians with other means of locomotion like the Snakemen from X-COM. When it comes to leadership, often Reptilian species are under the rule of a some sort of queen-mother, who either creates the nobles that rule over the wider Reptilian society or rule directly. Most of these science fiction Reptilians are born from eggs and this, yet again, is another separator between us and them. They are often divided into factions and this can be a source of internal tension and even reasons for war. When it comes to technological level of these space lizards is often on par with Terra or far superior, fueling their imperialistic desire.

Why are Reptilians Popular Foes in Science Fiction?
Humans use their own fears of things to base threats from outer space on; serving as a cathartic experience for both the reader and the creator.This was the basis for the Martians in War of the Worlds and even the xenomorphs in the ALIENS universe. The same is partly true for the overwhelming amount of Reptilians seen in science fiction and even mythology. Frankly speaking, reptiles freak alot of people out and their predatory habits and methods of eating all add to the common dislike of reptiles.Humans are deeply afraid of creatures that can eat us or our favorite pets.
This inhuman nature of Terran reptiles all add to a perfect basis for imperialistic asshole species from beyond the stars. Also helping with the inclusion of space lizards is humanity's continued fascination with dinosaurs and horror/monster centered around reptile species. Just look at how many films are about dinosaurs and even massive South American Anacondas. There is also a great deal of maneuvering room with Reptilian species given the vast array of reptiles on our own world. Creators can dive into the deep waters of reptile species on Earth, and forge a new more underwear-filling space monster with dark desires of eating you. Lastly, if it works, keep doing it. For centuries, humans have included reptilians in their myths, religions, and horror tales, and that led to space lizards in science fiction. This enduring foundation allows generates new Reptilian species by new creators, furthering the seternotype of space lizards being hostile to us humans.

Will We Fight Hostile Alien Lizards from Outer Space?
There are millions of worlds out there in the blackness of our own galaxy, and countless worlds in the known universe...so it is likely that there are plotting alien space lizards out there waiting to invade us and make us into fajitas? If we consider that the dominant form of life before us on Terra millions of years ago was the Dinosaur, who were basically reptiles. Does that mean that if there are Earthlike worlds out there that they would first develop dinosaur-like creatures if conditions were similar to Earth hundreds of millions ago? We humans won the species lottery when that pieces of space rock hit near Mexico...but what if it didn't happen on other world? Could we see alien lizards-like species as we push out? Have we already?
After all, people have been adding lizards/reptiles in their mythological deities since the concept of complex religion arose. Does this mean that alien reptilians are out there? All of these questions greatly depends on unanswered questions of astrobiology, the foundation of ancient belief systems, and if UFO lore can be taken as proof-positive. With all of those worlds out there, it is possible that dinosaur-like creatures arose and were never wiped out, leading to several species evolving into truly intelligent species like us. Of course, there is no proof and no reason to think that these Reptilians evolved in our own galaxy. There could be a race of conquering dickhead Reptilians in the NGC-4414 spiral galaxy and we are completely ignorant of them. If we listen to UFO conspiracy theorists, they are already here and we already lost. If we are also to listen to the theories about Reptilians, than we can fully expect to wage interstellar conflicts with them due to their glouish desires and imperialist mindset.

The Whole Reptilians Conspiracy Thing...
The mistrust of reptiles by humans is a long-held value, and it appears in ancient lore and even holy texts, as represented by the story in Genesis. It is also reflected in UFO lore with the long-held believe that an alien reptilian species is strongly present on Earth and directly involved in manipulating human history. This conspiracy theory states that many of world leaders, like President Obama, the Pope, and even the Queen of England are all Reptilians that shapeshift.
The reasons given for these space lizards being involved with Terran affairs vary; some say that they are using Terrans for food, or slave labor, or for purposes beyond our understanding. This theory was popularized in modern times by David Icke, who says that the Reptilians are from the star system Alpha Draconis (AKA: Thuban) which is 303 lightyears away from Sol. David Icke points to the importance of the star in ancient civilians as proof of their involvement in our affairs along with mythological serpent peoples. In recent times, the theory has picked up, and when a picture of an odd-looking security guard during one of President Obama's speeches, it was treated as proof positive of Reptilians being real and involved in our affairs and the internet exploded. This conspiracy theory of Reptilians has trickled down and made our space lizards popular foes in science fiction of all forms and media types, like V.

Science Fiction and the Reptilians
Some terrestrial animal species make better hostile alien species archetypes. True, there have been some creators that have attempted to use cute furry species like bunnies to be the basis for an aggressive alien race. However, killer zombie vampire rabbits from outer space are very rare (I need to copyright that name!) and mostly stupid. At times, super aggressive predatory species of Earth don't work either, like basing an alien race on Great White sharks...which is just fucking stupid as well.
Some species just work and continue to work well. Aliens based on insects and reptiles are some of the most celebrated, feared, and copied in all science fiction. This organic nature of how well Reptilians fit into science fiction as allowed them to be recycled again and again. For example, the Reptilian Visitors from V were the fearsome introduction to space lizards for my generation, and the concept was reimagined in 2009 by ABC for a new generation, allowing the space lizard trope to live on.
As V was an influence to future creators, the foundation of the Visitors harken back to other space lizards from pulp era works, who take their Reptilians from even older sci-fi works like HP Lovecraft; and even those are taken from ancient mythological sources. Running alongside the science fiction Reptilian has been Reptilian races from fantasy works like D&D and of course, Reptilian conspiracy from the UFO community. This allows deep rooted foundation in Reptilians to be low-hanging fruit for sci-fi creators, who can easily insert their own vision of space lizards into their own work, playing into the long-held fear and interest of these type of alien species. Of course, this also is a prime target for other creators to reinvent the sci-fi space lizard to into something new.

Examples:

The Gorn from the Star Trek Universe
During the first years of TOS, the show was attempting to find another enemy that was different than the other human-like aliens like the Romulans and the Klingons. That enemy was the Gorn, and the episode was the classic "The Arena.". The original Gorn thick rubber suit was developed by Wah Chang and made Gorn captain seen on the small screen slow, but powerful. While this space lizard monster is nearly comical today, it was typical of monsters on TV and cinema of the time. While the episode is a fan favorite and one of the best of TOS, the Gorn were rarely seen in Trek and even when seen, it was briefly. Gorn were seen in Star Trek: The Animated Series in the pages of several Trek books, and the 4th and final season of Star Trek: Enterprise as an CGI monster that reimagined the Gorn from the original 60's rubber suit monster. This was last appearance of the Gorn in Trek.
The FASA Trek RPG universe featured the Gorn and even developed some details of the Gorn race via the FASA RPG module Demand of Honor. Their warships were seen in their starship combat game. Rumors say that if the FASA Trek licence had continued, the Gorn would have gotten their own sourcebook and ship recognition manual. Since Enterprise, the Gorn have mostly been seen in video games and comics, they were going to be featured in the alternative universe 2009 film, but were cut from the final film. The Gorn were the enemy in the 2013 3rd person Star Trek video game for PC and home consoles that was set between the 2009 film and Star Trek: Into Darkness.
The Gorn themselves are little developed in canonized sources. The Gorn Hegemony had first contact with the Federation in 2267, when the Federation colony of Cestus III was attacked by the Reptilian during a border dispute. However, there were Gorn goods that made into human hands via the Orion prior to the 2267 encounter. Throughout the 23th and 24th centuries, the Gorn were little involved in interstellar affairs. During the Dominion War, the Enterprise-E was sent to secure the Gorn Hegemony assistance with the invaders. Some sources say that the Gorn sided with the Dominion, while others say that Gorn joined the Federation Alliance, and were there at the major battles. Of course, we have no idea and most likely will not. It is really too bad that the Gorn were not more developed or ever given their due in canonized Trek sources.

The Drac from the Enemy Mine Universe
One of the most explored Reptilian races in sci-fi cinema is the Drac from the 1985 forgotten classic Enemy Mine. The Drac race were developed by author Berry B. Longyear for his stories set in the Enemy Mine universe. Later, the central story was developed into the film of the same name.  In the film, the Drac were an expanding Reptilian-humanoid species that fought a war with the Terran BTA government in deep space over interstellar real estate. Unlike the humans, the Drac are asexual, practice one religion based on the teaches of Shismar, and have a more unified society than Terra. One of the most important elements of the Drac society despite, the lack of sexual pairing, there their deep sense of family linage and how ingrained into their society. An Drac cannot be a full member of society without reciting the names of their family line at the council.
One of the elements that has helped the Drac become of the better sci-fi cinema aliens is the excellent performance by Louis Gossett Jr., who fleshed out "Jerry" and the Drac as a whole and the story itself. While Enemy Mine is a military sci-fi war film in one way, it is also a survival film of two foes having to work together to overcome their hostile surroundings. This allows the Terran character played by Dennis Quaid and the audience to learn about the Drac, making them less the evil aliens as many Reptilians are projected in fiction. It is a shame that the film was not an success and we never got to see the Drac in other projects, but they have lived on as one of the best Reptilian races in fiction.

The Flesh-and-Blood Cylons from the original Battlestar Galactica
In the original 1978 BSG series, the Cylon toasters were not a creation of man and her colonies, but of an unseen Reptilian race. According to mentions made in the original series, these reptilian Cylons were the creators of the robotic Cylons and their warmachines, and that their own technology killed them. Originally, the robotic Cylons were servants and when the 12 Colonies were discovered, it is believed that the robotic Cylons were militarized to counter the threat. However, the robotic Cylons killed their biological creators after the Reptilian Cylons created a overall cybernetic commander, the Imperious Leader seen hiding in the shadows of the series. The robotic Cylons viewed biological life as imperfect and this began their war against the fleshy ones living in the 12 Colonies.

The Fatu-Krey from the Galaxy Quest Universe
One of the finest sci-fi comedies of all time is 1999's Galaxy Quest, and it depicts an imperialistic, territorial, green-skinned Reptilian species: the Fatu-Krey. The Fatu-Krey are under the leadership of Serris, which is also the name of their authoritarian government, the Serris Domination.  In the film, this race is on single-minded quest to dominate the galaxy, and we see this in their treatment of the space octopus Thermian species. One of the eve of being completely destroyed, the down-and-out Thermian construct the Terran heavy cruiser Protector and journey to Terra to recover her crew to battle the Fatu-Frey and save the remaining Thermians. While this is a comedy, and these conquering space lizards assholes are projected to be just that, it is interesting that the film mines the common sci-fi stereotype of Reptilian for the film's big bad enemy species. The film does a great job of really selling the aggressiveness of Serris and his policies, reinforcing the Reptilian racial profiling in sci-fi.

The Draconians from the Classic Dr. Who Universe
One of the best Reptilian species in the Classic Doctor Who universe is the Draconians seen in 1973's "Frontier of Space". This proud and imperialistic Reptilian species was based around the Tokugawa Period of Feudal Japan and unlike other sci-fi Reptilians, they were more of real government and society. In the episode, the Draconians are from the 26th century, and are one of the major empires in the Milky Way, competing with Terra and her imperialistic desires. Draconians operate in a extremely sexist society with high respect to authority and their ancestors. At the top of their governmental structure is their emperor. It was mentioned in the episode that while relations between Draconia and Terra were tense, there had only been one brief war between them. At the time the 3rd Doctor arrived, tensions were at an all time high due to the Master attempting to start a war between the two empires.
While the Draconians were a memorable alien faction in the classic Doctor Who universe, these reptilians have not made another live-action appearance in the show. That has not prevented the Draconians from being a fan favorite in radio plays, books, comics, and video game. How I got to know the Draconians was due to the 1980's Marvel Comics reprint of British Dr. Who comics. In the back of the comics, they ran a secondary storyline, and one of my favorites was about Dalek Killer Abslom Daak. During his misadventures in the 26th century, he was taken by the Draconian Empire, and later took an experimental Draconian assault ship. This was one of the coolest Dr. Who in-universe storylines and it is a pity that it was not made into a live-action production. Today, the Draconians are one of the few original Who alien races not to be reinvented for the new series

The Snakemen from the X-COM Universe

In the X-COM universe, Earth is under attack from several alien races, and one of the most terrifying and fearsome is the Snakemen. Appearing close in foam to Terran snakes, this Reptilian race is blessed with extremely tolerance heat resistance and they can survive in more extreme environments that other races. In keeping with the name, the Snakemen form of locomotion is similar to a real snake. Unlike other hostile races, the Snakemen are genetic unmodified by the Sectoids or the Ethereals.
Interrogations revealed that the Snakemen coming to Terra are under the direction of other alien factions as mercenaries. Even the Snakemen themselves are not united. Their race has founded several colonies that are all protected by self-funded mercenary armies and independent of the homeworld.  While a favorite of fan in the original games, the 2012 X-COM: Enemy Unknown, the Snakemen were missing, but have confirmed for X-COM 2.  I have to admit this, if I saw an Snakeman coming after me, I would shit and piss myself as I ran away. This are pure sheet ruining nightmare fuel.

The Kig-Yar from the HALO Universe
One of the great elements of the HALO games was the vast array of enemy alien species to shoot and kill, and one of the more annoying was the energy shield carrying Jackals. In the Covenant alien legions of ground forces, the Kig-Yar or "Jackal" are slightly above the Grunts, and along carrying their energy shield, they are also armed with a plasma pistol. Since the first HALO game in 2001, the Jackals have been in the mix of alien combatants attempting to kill you, and while you unload magazines of 7.62mm, they shield themselves from your hail of incoming fire with those damned energy shields. Starting at around the second game, the Jackals also became snipers and sharpshooters wielding several types of precision weapon systems. The Jackals were also one of the races that played both sides of the Covenant civil wars, and have also been one of the races graphically redesigned from game-to-game more radically that other Covenant races. One of the odd things about the Jackals is they were the first Covenant race encountered by humanity at the colony of Harvest. Another odd thing about the Jackals is that unlike other Covenant aliens, the Jackal suffer from only a few main characters in the HALO books and none in the video games.

The Jem'Hadar from the Star Trek Universe(?!)
They are the genetically engineered slave soldiers of the Dominion, the key imperial power in the Gamma Quadrant...and they are the Jem'Hadar and they are Reptilians?! Sort of. According to several sources, the look of the fearsome Jem'Hadar is partly inspired by reptiles and even dinosaurs. This yet another example of Reptilian archetypes being used to increase the "alienness" of an sci-fi species. Besides the makeup, the Jem'Hadar seen in Deep Space Nine bore no real connection to classic sci-fi Reptilians and even real-world Reptiles. I decided to include this example, despite it being a weak connection to most science fiction Reptilians on this list, because it speaks to the popularity of the space lizard and how just a few elements of Reptilian can be used to generate a fearsome science fiction hostile alien species. More on the Jem'Hadar when FWS covers "Warrior Aliens" for Our Enemies.

The Ithklur from the Traveller Universe
From 1977 through today, Traveller was one of the key space RPGs of the 1980's RPG crazy, and found in the dense universe presented by publisher Game Designers' Workshop. One of the most feared and most skilled alien races in the Traveller universe is the Reptilian Ithklur. These massive creatures are fitted with two hearts, sharp teeth, and it takes 17 month for their young to gestation. They serve the hivers need for ground forces, and while they are not evil, they are a race of warriors and clients to the Hivers. The worst the fight, the more the Ithklur like it, and this allows this Reptilian race to be used as shocktroopers and frontline warriors. Of course, if they were not fighting other aliens on the behalf of the Hivers, they would be killing each other.







The Posleen from the Legacy of the Aldenata series by John Ringo
John Ringo is one of the key military science fiction authors and in his Legacy of the Aldenata series, he features an extremely aggressive Reptilian species called the Posleen, whom are the destroyers of worlds in Ringo's fictional universe. These space crocodiles were artificially engineered long ago to the be ulitmate warrior races, and motivating the Posleen to conquer other worlds is their ravenous hungry. Seriously, they must eat all the time or starve to die. This means that the Posleen fucking eat everything, and this even includes their own young hatchiles. The society of the Posleen is made up of two classes: the God-Kings and the normals. Both of their young have to survive the hatching pits, and embrace that life has a Posleen is all about violence and plundered treasure. The God-Kings lead the group into battle and glory, eating their way through the stars, and leaving dead worlds behind. Sensing a theme here? Good, because the Posleen are an extreme example of the murderous conquering dickhead Reptilian race...hell, one of the God-King leaders wears a cloak of women!  


"The Race" from the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove
On the surface, especially the cover-art for the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove, the Reptilians, called "The Race", seem stupid and lazy design. However, Mr. Turtledove has done quite alot of work making The Race into one of the more developed and unique of all Reptilian alien species. The Race are from a water-poor world in the Tau Ceti star system, lay eggs, and get high off of ginger. While they do reproduce sexually, it is only during breeding seasons, there is nothing approaching the emotion of human love. While human seperate themselves into country and clan groups, The Race are more divided along generational line due to seasonal breeding. For 50,000 years, The Race's homeworld has been ruled by an imperial dynasty and when technology allowed, The Race conquered two other nearby alien civilizations. But their process and progress is slow. The Race doesn't seem to do anything fast, and even new concepts are slowly folded into their civilization over centuries. Why does The Race conquer? According to the books, these Reptilians believe that by conquering, they civilizing other species and uplifting them into proper society; they firmly believe that their way of life is the best. Probes scanned Earth during the 12th century, and it took The Race over 800 years(!) to mount an invasion of Terra. When their invasion fleet arrived at our homeworld, they are shocked to see the amount of progress and the challenge of subjugating the humans is far, far more difficult. The massive amount of casualties that the space lizards incur from their stillborn invasion leads to the first social and political crisis in 50,000 years.

The Sleestak from Land of the Lost
One of the iconic children's television series of 1970's was goofy The Land of the Lost that become a cultural touchstone of an generation. The original concept, characters, and creatures have been redone several times, but nothing is close to the 1974-1976 original. In the pocket dimension of the Land of the Lost, one of the key species is the Reptilian Sleestak. At one time, the Sleestak, then known as the Altrusians, were a great civilization, but emotion took their toll, and they lost everything. The result was the more savage and primitive Sleestak. Throughout the series, the Sleestak were a major source of tension and action, and they quickly became one of the most memorable elements of the show, garnering their own 1970's Ben Cooper action figures. In the 1991 reboot of The Land of the Lost, the Sleestak were washed out of originality, and became more dinosaur-like and stupid. They were similar to their original selves in the 2009 big-screen abortion. I grew up watching this series, and for this blogpost, I rewatched several key Sleestak episodes. Some things should remain memories I guess.    

The Terrons from planet Terron from the G.I. Joe Universe
This must be the ugly cousin to the Visitors from the V universe, but alas, it actually comes from the 70's...The Terron Reptilians were found in an odd place: the GI Joe universe. In the mid-1970's, GI Joe was attempted to expand their appeal to the new generation, and a new line of sci-fi Joes called the "adventure team" was created along with this unholy alien action figure. The figure's name was Gor, and he was the Terron leader and the green-skinned foe to the Joes. Described as an "evil beast from outer space", this Reptilian alien figure had an "Destructo Ray" mounted in his chest to engage their enemies. This was a red light in reality. These Adventure Team figures could electronic interact with each other, and they were the first GI Joes to do so. This is yet another example of how common evil space lizards are and how easily they fit within that stereotype of hostile alien. Fortunately for all of us, the Adventure Team concept was jettisoned for the 1982 GI Joe: Real American Hero toyline that became one of the most successful toylines of all time.




The Drell from the Mass Effect Unvierse
The Drell are a sad, but interesting race from the excellent Mass Effect universe. According to the unused Codex entry, 11 billion Drell had died when the environmental collapse of their homeworld, but 375,000 Drell were allowed to immigrate to the Hanar homeworld. This act of kindness has forged an undying loyalty being the Drell and the Hanar via "the compact". During the Reaper War, the Hanar homeworld was protected by Drell warriors, speaking to the loyalty of their Drell to their saviors. Players of Mass Effect 2 are introduced to the Drell via the master-assassin Thane Krios.The Drell are from an arid world, and the Hanar homeworld is deadly to them and it seems that the Drell are living on borrowed time. Personally, Thane Krios is one of my favorite elements of Mass Effect II, and it is a real pity that Thane Krios does not show up more in the 3rd game. Maybe the Drell will be in Mass Effect: Andromeda? While the Drell are not enemies to Terrans in the game, they are a deadly foe in the wider Mass Effect universe and easily one of the better Reptilian characters in science fiction. 

The Xindi-Reptilian from the 3rd Season of Star Trek: Enterprise
During the 3rd season of Star Trek: Enterprise, the NX-01 was forced after an attack on Earth to go into an unexplored region of space to prevent the alien race known as the Xindi from finishing their Earth-killing super-weapon. It was during their military expedition that the Enterprise learned that the Xindi were not a single race, but six separate sentinel races that evolved on the same planet. One of the most warlike and vicious was the Reptilian-Xindi. During this critical moment of Xindi history, the Reptilians led the charge for the superweapon and for the destruction of Terra. It was also heavily hinted in the 3rd season that the Reptilians would attempt to take over the rest of the Xindi after the destruction of Terra, with the backing of the Sphere-builders.
After the destruction of the super-weapon and the Reptilian council member, it is unknown the fate of the Reptilian-Xindi or the Xindi race as a whole. Some sources say that there was an Xindi Civil War or that the Reptilian-Xindi were stripped of their power and seat on the interspecies council. As with all of the Xindi races, the Reptilian had their own uniforms, ship designs, and weaponry. The primary weapon of the Reptilian shock-troopers seen in the 3rd season used an DE rifle powered by an eel-like creature. This organic technology was extended into their ships. All of this design work made the Reptilian-Xindi stand out along, make the Reptilian-Xindi were a favorite of actor Scott Bakula and makeup artist Michael Westmore. Overall, the Reptilian-Xindi embodied some of the most common tropes of the sci-fi Reptilian, but the handling of the Reptilian-Xindi by the Enterprise production added fresh layers to the much seen warlike Reptilian

The Visitors from the V Universe (1983 and 2009)

Here is the one of the nastiest space lizard race ever seen in sci-fi and one that that introduced me and some of my generation to the concept (and horror) of Reptilians. The original NBC miniseries from 1983, my seven year old self was exposed to space lizard plot to invade the Earth and rob it of its resources and serve man on the dinner table. The "Visitors" were from a world needing resources and viewed Earth in the same way that the conquistadors did Mesoamerica.
They hid their true selves in an artificial skin that made the Visitors appear more like us than something from the reptile section of the Zoo. It was discovered that the Visitors were not ambassadors of interstellar peace and brotherhood, but their real motivation was to steal our resources and us for food, slave labor, and foot soldiers in wars against other alien races that were unseen in the series. Their own world, which may have been circling the star Sirius was either captured during the alien wars or was used up. Why were space lizards used as the evil alien species in the original 1980's series? The show was channeling works about societies being taken over by dracion governments bent on conquest and subjection.Classical elements of science fiction were bended to form the world of the NBC miniseries.  Some of the look of V was influenced by the 3rd Reich and 1980's sci-fi fashion. The inclusion of space lizards speaks to the common collective power of this type of hostile alien species that existed even in the 1980's, prior to the Reptilian theory pushed by David Icke in the 1990's.
In the 2009 reboot by ABC, the Visitors were similar, but modified for the time, deleted some of the 1980's cheese, and adding layers of more realism. One of the most important changes was the the new 2009 Visitors were altering their natural posture for the bipedal posture of us. Unlike the 1980's Visitors, the new 2009 versions had much better Terran skin-suits that fully integrated into their sensor system. The 2009 was a slow boil, and it never reached the apex that the original miniseries did, and it was canceled after two seasons just has things were getting interesting. Both interpretations of the central concept of V speak to the underlying fear and fascination with conquering predatory space lizards. It is likely that this is not the last we've seen of the Visitors.

The Voth from Star Trek Voyager
Man, Star Trek is packed with Reptilians! In one of the better episodes of Voyager...and that is saying alot, we met our long-lost cousins: the Voth. Some of the concept of the Voth originality from the classic Dr. Who Silurians. The Voth evolved from the Cretaceous Period dinosaur species Hadrosaur, who escaped the mass extinction and traveled, in time, to the Delta Quadrant. However, the native religion of the Voth prevented the theory from being taught. More technologically advanced the Federation of the 24th century, the Voth seem to live on massive city-ships. Despite the interesting nature of the Voth, ST: Voyager never encounter the Voth again.

The Zn'rx (Snark) from Power Pack Marvel Comic Series
In one of the only true superhero comics I ever collected in the 1980's was Marvel's Power Pack. In this series about an friendly equine alien that gifts superpowers to four pre-teen children, who used their powers in the larger Marvel Universe. In the primary enemy of the Power Pack and the equine aliens, known as Kymellians, was the lizard-like Zn'rx (AKA Snark). These green-skined, red-eyed aggressive space lizards were unusual in sci-fi due to their more "reptilian" like digitigrade leg structure. In their social structure, the male emperor rules over the various clans via queens. If and when the emperor dies, the clans wage war for the right of succession. The son of the victorious queen is the new emperor. These interspecies wars of succession of the Zn'rx spill over to the Power Pack and the Kymellians. During some of the succession wars, the Power Pack aided one side or the other. These were often the best issues of the original comic series. These storylines involved queen Maraud and her psychopathic son Jakal. At one point during the series, Jakal was able to transfer the Power Pack abilities into himself. To me, the Zn'rx were some of the best space lizards of the 1980's and avoided influence from the more over-the-top Visitors from V.

Lobotomaxx from the Lunatrix Empire from the G.I. Joe Universe
In the very weird 1990's G.I.Joe "Star Brigade" toyline, one of
the hostile alien species was the nightmarish Lobotomaxx alien assassin/bounty hunter from the Lunatrix Empire who hailed from Zog in the Morus Sector Five (right next to the Forbidden Zone). While Lobotomaxx is deadly, he is also less intelligence these days since another Lunatrix Imperial bounty hunter cut out part of his brain during a laser-saber duel. In the misguided Star Brigade toyline, Lobotomaxx was an unique and ugly figure that came with five fucking brightly colored guns and was not as terrifying as the box-art. As per the popularity of space lizards in sci-fi, Hasbro added an murderous Reptilian species to the mix to jazz up the alien enemy types. He was featured in the Star Brigade comics and was repainted for the international markets. When the Star Brigade toyline disappeared in 1994/1995, this ugly space lizards went with it...thankfully.



Lizardmen Empire from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World TV Series
From 1999 to 2002, there was an live-action Australian television series loosely based on the 1912 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel. I never would have known about this series if not for a former friend of mine who loved the series and loaned the boxset of DVDs to me. The series itself was much like the majority of the Taco Bell menu...cheap, cheesey with some good point, but mostly it going to make you sick and filled with regret. The Lost World TV series would end in 2002 on a cliff higher, but before giving us the Lizardmen Empire. Many of the episodes had a "monster/enemy of the week" format, but one of the standouts that merited a return was the Lizardman "Tribute" played by Jerome Ehlers, who was part of an Roman Empire styled government that was a major player in the Lost World. The actor was wonderful in the part and was one of the best elements of the show, along with the Lizardmen concept themselves. While the show was as bad as the old Hercules: The Legendary Journeys television series, the Lizardmen were a nice change from the typical Reptilians we seen in science fiction, even if they are part of the "imperialistic Reptilian" trope.
The Cardassians from the Star Trek Universe
During the early days of ST:TNG, there were few new enemy or hostile alien races that could interact with the crew of the D. While they did have the foolish and comically bad Ferengi and the menacing Borg, there was a simple lack of a new enemy like the Klingons or the Romulans. In 1991, we would get one of the most enduring hostile alien races of the 24th century: the Cardassians. While similar to some common Reptilian alien race tropes, the Cardassians were an imperialistic government with their sights set on being the major player in the Alpha Quadrant, the Cardassians were also amazing complex and varied; a tribute to the writing and acting of TNG.
But are the Cardassians really Reptilians? Yes and no. The best term is quasi-Reptilians and some have concluded that Cardassians evolved from some similar to the Therapsid species. It is true that the makeup and overall look of the this alien race was based around reptile queues, and they do not enjoy the cold, but they are more humanoid than Reptilian. They do shed their body scales, though. To me, the Cardassians are not much of an Reptilian example, but I needed to include them, and they are still one of the best elements of Deep Space 9. Counter to internet rumor, the Cardassians are not named for the painful and whorish Kardashian clan. The name was developed via brainstorming session. Also, the ST: Voyager Delta Quadrant race, the Vaadwaur, resemble the Cardassians. 


Next Time on FWS...
It has become an icon of science fiction, contemporary culture, and the desire of every Star Wars fan: the lightsaber. In the next installement of The Weapons of Sci-Fi, FWS will breakdown the weapon of the Jedi and the Sith.

28 January 2016

30 Yeas Ago Today...

Always Remembered, Honored, and Loved for Reaching for the Stars for all of Mankind 

22 January 2016

FWS Armory: Underwater Firearms by Yoel

Space, also known as the highest frontier - and by the same logic, the seas and oceans could be also called (along with the deepest mining tunnels) the lower frontier. When thinking about the concept of underwater wars & conflicts most people will presume that the combat necessary have to be between submarines or submarines engaging surface warships.. Other form of battle could be involving frogmen fighting against other frogmen or frogmen against some alerted security guard standing on dock or a ship as we have seen in the older Bond films. Fighting such wars requires different weapons than we the 'land-rats' know and use. In this FWS Armory blog article, you will find out everything there is to know about underwater firearms. Well… at least what is commonly known and available to Google search that is. The numerous "SEAL" teams around the globe are likely still holding unknown cards in their scuba suit's sleeves.

Acknowledgment
This article could not have been completed or maintained the accuracy without the help from two individuals:

-Jon Andre Garberg, DSG Technologies' CEO, for is informative answers regarding the supercavitating ammunition DSG is developed, manufacturing and selling worldwide.
http://www.dsgtec.com/

-Mel Carpenter, author of "MBA Gyrojets and Other Ordnance", for is generous help of clarified a lot of the mystery surrounding the Launchjet weapon system and the Gyrojet survival kits.
http://www.gyrojet.net/

-I would also like to thank Yoel for his continued hard work on these FWS Armory blogposts!

Why do Divers Need to be Armed?
Friedrich Nietzsche once said:"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how", and as we'll see in the next segment, there are a lot of "how" to be answered when designing a firearm to operate in this challenging environment of the deeps… so there should be a strong justification for "why" having such weapons. So, why do divers need to shoot someone or something in an aquatic tactical environment?




Aquatic animals
It is a fish-eat-fish world out there under the waves and while the predators of the aquatic habitats have had hundreds of millions of years to adapt to live and hunt in the water, we homo species, are fairly new guests. Down there, even Michael Phelps, is at best no more than a retarded fish! Clearly, we humans going to need to use our big brains and built a bigger gun when we go there in the deep blue.





Fishing
When diving, you can wonder at the variety of aquatic live and one might want to share his experience with others at land by taking shots with a camera to capture the rich tapestry of colors and shapes of the surroundings. Others will use some kind of weapon to shoots and have access to the rich tapestry of tastes of those same animals. In the decades past, both Scuba, snorkel & freedivers been fishing as both hobby and sport using weapons a bit superior to the standard harpoon launchers, especially when it is a "big game" those divers are after.








Human enemy combatants
The primary reason to have anything resemble our dry land guns is to outgun those enemy frogmen of the other side, who are also armed. Several navies' trains & deployed units of defensive frogmen protecting key positions such as ports & harbors from infiltration of "offensive " frogmen trying to booby-trap and explode ships & infrastructures. When the fighting does begin, you don't want to be the only frogman who brought an divers' knife into a gunfight!

Non-human enemy combatants
There are many reports and rumors that both the USA and USSR navies trained several species of marine mammals such as dolphins, seals & sea lion to do their dirty work like mines detection, mines placement and of course replacing defensive frogmen on a hunt & destroy of enemy divers.
While a stroke from a dolphin nose is usually enough to kill a diver, several sources claim that special harness with spears attach were designed for those combatant mammals to strike a fatal blow to their foe.
Such aggressor (if it more than urban myth) have the speed and agility of aquatic predator with the harmful intention of enemy solider is a good motivation to have an automatic underwater rifle and might be the explanation to why the Soviet arm their divers with such weapons...killer dolphins!





The Other Weapons of Divers
Mainly the weapons divers take with them to the great blue aren't firearms by any definition. Both melee weapons and spearguns are basically cold weapons, similar to those used on land. This article excludes those weapons out.


















Knives & spears
Both knives and spears are used by divers for short range protection weapon. Knives are also been used as a tool for underwater works and other such tasks. In many close quarters engagements seen in movies like Thunderball, we see dive-knives being used to cut the air-hoses of their enemy frogmen.





Spearguns
The most common of the range weapons of the deeps is the spearguns. These projectile weapon use either a compressed gas canister or some sort of tensioned tether to launch a spear toward their intended target. Mainly, those spearguns are for fishing and given that usually fish are not killed by a single shot from those guns', the spears are connected by wire to a pulley type mechanism in the speargun, similar to what could be found in fish rods, to enable the diver to captured and retrieve its prey for a yummy dinner.













Depth Charges
Depth charges are a simple explosive devices fused by depth fuse, these bombs are dumped or launched from surface ship with a preset expositive depth. Most of those charges are barrel size dropped against submarines. Smaller versions are anti-frogmen charges, small as a standard hand grenade and can be toss as grenades. Before throwing them one had to specify the desired depth of explosion.









The Challenges of Using Firearms in Aquatic Environment
It is likely that all of FWS readers already know this fact, but I will still clarify the subject – guns CAN fire underwater and do it without oxygen or air! How so? Don't you need oxygen for an fire? Well, yes you need oxygen, but not necessarily from air. Gunpowder composes of both fuel and oxidizer, the saltpeter ingredient act as oxidizer and provides the gunpowder the oxygen it needs. The complete burning of the powder happened inside the cartridge without any external source of oxygen.
The problems in the list below are the problems facing "air-breather" guns when fired underwater and also are the challenges facing weapon engineers when develop underwater firearm.        

Gun fatigue
It is dangerous thing to have is a gun blow up in your hand and that is what can happen when you firing a gun when it is submerged, especially the barrel. When the gun barrel is full of water, the firing charge has to push the bullet along with the water, out. This results in an higher pressure that last longer than what the gun was originally designed to withstand. When the interior of the weapon is submerged in water, it could result in more rapid wear-and-tear of the gun and shorten its overall operational life expectancy and fatally blowing up in your face.

Auto loading cycling problems
Auto loading gun is a precise balance of returning spring tension and firing chamber/bolt piston pressure, when the balance is disrupted, due to the presence of water in the interior, the auto cycling could be disrupted too.  







Bullet range & accuracy
Water is 1000 time denser and 50 times more viscous than air. A bullet fired underwater is subject to enormous drag force slowing the bullet quickly to a full stop after ridiculously short travel. Accuracy also goes out the window cause the high drag tumble the projectile out of its course.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL8p05EpTtE


Noise
Water is an excellent conductor for sound and firing noises could easily damage the shooter's hearing and the same time revealing his present location to his foes.











Optical
Visibility underwater is very low, at best no more than 40 meters. Also bullet firing leaves a distinctive bubble like trail revealing the shooter's present location.










Corrosive environment
Water, especially saltwater, is highly corrosive son of a bitch which can rapidly corrode even the most resistive materials.









Using Gloved Palms with Trigger Guards
Guns' trigger is usually covered by a narrow strip called trigger guard. The job of the guard is to prevent any accidental pull of the trigger. Using thick gloves like divers wears can be problematic… some guns like the M-16 have a removable trigger guard for gloved palm. Guns designed to operate underwater are already have larger trigger guard.  





Magnetic interference
Navigating underwater isn't an easy job, minimal visibility even when the sky is clear and no GPS signals coming through. To navigate the divers use a magnetic compass on their wrist. Of course, magnetic compasses are disturbed by the presence of ferromagnetic materials such as iron or steel. The usual scuba gear doesn't contain iron or steel but guns do...    





Refraction & replication
One of the most serious problems to anyone who want to shoot from above the water at a submerged target or for some submerged diver to shoot at sentry on the decks is the fact that light bend when passing from air to water or vice versa. According to Snell's Law, when a beam of light passes between two different mediums with different light speeds, the beam is bent. The practical result is when you shoot your target, it is not really where it appears to be. Other problem is what called the "Total internal reflection"; in shallow angles the water surface acts like a mirror for observers underwater prevents them to observe and shoot those annoying sentries.  

Powerhead
Powerhead is a crude, but effective device; it’s a single shot zip-gun design to carry and fire regular cartridges. To offset the pathetic short range & low accuracy of regular bullets when fired underwater, the powerhead is fired at point blank range and the weapon muzzle is pressed against the target to activate it and fire the bullet. Those types of weapons are almost exclusively civilian market guns, specifically for the "big game" fishing community.
There is no "regular" gun companies selling those types of guns and any company making powerhead-like firearms are  so called "boutique" gunsmithing shop often establish and run by some "big game" fisherman type.The powerheads are attached to the tip of a spear; the smaller caliber powerheads can be mounted to small speargun's bolts and could be launch like common speargun's bolt. The large caliber models are mount to the tip of a handheld lance. The handheld powerheads versions are usually called bang stick (THIS is my BANGSTICK!)

Structure and triggering

Composed of very short smoothbore "barrel" that houses the cartridge attach to a fix "breach" with a fix firing fin via a compression spring. When the powerhead hits the target, the barrel section is retracting backward against the spring and the cartridge's primer is been hit by the firing fin. Usually, a safety pin is in place to prevent unwanted firing and needs to be removed before firing. Reloading is done by separate (usually unscrewing) the barrel from the breach, removing the spent case, place fresh cartridge in the barrel and assemble the powerhead back.

Round protective coating
The use of dry-land cartridges poses a problem when they submerged. Seawater could enter into the case through the primer or the crimp rims around the bullet. To protect the cartridges, it is common practice to use coating material, like nail polish or varnish, around those soft spots for protection.  
Speargun Slip Tip
The powerhead isn't a weapon of war, but for hunting and like their land hunter cousins, the divers want to bring back home something to eat. A slip tip is a barbed head dart placed inside the powerhead barrel. The cartridge blast propels it into the target. The slip tip is connected with be wire to the bang stick or the speargun, so the diver can retrieve the prey.
 
Seaway Bang Stick
In 1977, a company name Aqua Craft from San Diego, developed for the US Navy THE ultimate bang stick that has ever been. Unlike the other amateur bang sticks designed around standard rounds, the Seaway bang stick was the only MILSPEC grade powerhead ever made and had it own designated cartridges (bangridges?). The Seaway bang stick was designed to give US Navy divers supreme protection against sharks by emitted the most appreciated part in the gun – the bullet! It turn out that the slug effect against targets like sharks is minimal, unless you hit it in the head the shark could still survive for the needed time to eat you.
More lethal than the slug is the shockwave of the massive gas expansion causing tissue damage.To applying damage via shockwave, Aqua Craft invent the weirdest blank cartridge in history. The cartridge is a Chimera assembly of modified .30-30 Winchester blank round with a .38 S&W blank cartridge insert backward into the .30-30 cartridge were the .30-30 bullet should have been. The .30-30 primer had been replaced by thin diaphragm. This peculiar round appears like two ends cartridge with no front side.The powerhead itself is a single piece of stainless steel tube, open from the front and close in the rear with fix firing fin.
Around the firing fin there are six radial holes.The Seaway is muzzle loaded, the diver strip a cartridge from 6 rounds bandolier on the diver's belt and place it into the muzzle with the .38 end pacing the pin. The cartridge structure prevents it to slide all the way to the firing fin and instead it stacks 1/2 inch sticking out of the tube. When contacting the target the cartridge slips in and ignited. The .30-30 diaphragm is blasted and the target receives its deadly dose of shockwave. After the initial blast there is a short period of low pressure in the front area of the spent cartridge and water flow thru the six holes to push the spent cartridge out of the powerhead and it ready to be loaded with a fresh cartridge again. As stated. the Seaway is superior to civilian bang stick in any way:

  • Lethality – according to some reports the Seaway could cut a shark into two halves!
  • Loading speed - don't need to disassemble the powerhead, remove spent case, place new one & assemble; just place new round in place.
  • Safety – the diver don't hangout with a loaded stick until he/she face a danger.
  • Angle of approach – the front side of the cartridge has concentric circular ridges, when contacting with target at a shallow angle those ridges prevents the bangstick from slipping out and instead provides good traction for the cartridge to slip into the firing pin.  

So, if it so good why isn't it the leading bang-stick in the market? Although the US Navy did test it and with good results, only a small number been purchase and the civilian market wasn't (and still isn't) large enough to justify manufacturing of such a custom-made rounds.                

Shark Darts
 In the mid 1960's, the US Navy had a need for a new weapon for their divers. During the 1960's, it was the Navy SEALs job to secure and retrieve the astronauts from their splashdown capsules and the weapon needed also for the SEALs regular low profile operations. The Navy SEALs needed a weapon to repel shark attack quietly without cause the target bleeding, which only attract more sharks to the site. The solution was the shark darts and it was developed by scuba equipment company name Farallon Industries. Their solution was to use an small canister of compressed CO2 with a syringe needle that simply injected the gas into the shark body. The idea behind it was to apply "forced bouncy" to the shark, making it leave the area while the rapid release of CO2 freezes the penetration wound to prevent any blood spill. Farallon made several models including dagger-like needle, a pike and speargun's bolts. 
Although those shark darts was intended as a less-lethal opinion, the field tests results were a bit gorier than expected, according to few eye eyewitness, the rapid release of gas to the shark's body results with the launch of the sharks' guts out of their mouths… yeah, so much for a silent discreet soft kill  that the Navy fantasized about. Farallon Industries made & delivered an small number of shark darts to the Navy which apparently prepared bad protection to none. The age of the shark darts ended in the mid 1970's after the Apollo program was cancelled and the need to rescue astronaut was gone. In addition, it been discovered that the danger of sharks was overly exaggerated. There was not a single encounter with a hostile shark during any of the retrieval missions or the training. So much for Jaws.       

Farallon Repeater
When the Apollo program coming to an end, Farallon industries set their sight toward the diver civilian market. Besides their cartridge-based darts Farallon produce an new  new type, cartridge free dart known as "Farallon Repeater"in 1974. There were a few models, some dagger like other pike shaped, all based upon build in rechargeable small pressure tank. The tank could be recharge using any source of compressed air and according to some accounts, it could produce several "shots" before deflated.

WASP injection Knife
Farallon Industries stopped making their shark darts a long time ago and as far as I could find, went bankrupt four years ago. Today, the closest thing to shark dart can be found in the WASP injection knife. This innocent looking knife contain CO2 canister inside the handle and a thumb bottom to release the compressed gas into the target when needed. As with Farallon's shark darts, the purpose of this knife is to bleed and then seal the wound in the target with forced bouncy, driving the threat animal away from the diver.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=13&v=j4WfNH4s4sY

Underwater Firearm List
Identify and classify underwater firearms isn’t an easy task. The shadowy world of SEALs-like teams around the globe is rarely revealed to public eye and the fact that very small numbers of those guns are manufactured and issued, making the task even harder. Most of the information regarding the guns listed below should be taken with a grain of salt (sea salt?) since both the history & specifications of the guns are usually estimations.

B-V1-307 Underwater Handgun (Б-VI-307)
The first (known) attempt to produce underwater firearm was design and produced by the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine (ЦНИИТочмаш) in the mid 1960's. The B-V1-307 was the USSR Navy test-bed pistol for new armament for their frogmen.Twelve copies were made and delivered to the USSR Navy in 1969. The B-V1-307 pistols were composed of four smoothbore barrels with single double-action rotating striker. Each trigger pull, instead of rotating a cylinder and cock an hammer as in revolvers , the B-V1-307 cock a striker and align with the new fresh cartridge in the next barrel.
The gun loading and reloading be done by open the gun like hinged-break shotgun. As the Red Navy's test-bed gun, several different ammunitions types were tested, including 6mm mini-rockets darts. The rocket darts nose was specially designed shape to generate cavitation bubble around the dart to reduce water drag.While the gun design been favorable by the Russian Navy's brass, the innovative rocket darts idea been rejected in favor of the more traditional gunpowder ammunition variants.
   

SPP-1 Underwater Pistol
After tinkering and testing the B-V1-307, the Russkies adapt the mature SPP-1 pistol to their service and exported it to a few eastern blocs' navies.The gun is similar in design to its progenitor: four barrels hinge-break gun with DA rotating striker.The gun loaded with needle like cartridges clustered in four round moon clips.The cartridges have watertight shells though the sealing isn't impregnable, long duration exposure will contaminate the gunpowder. The solution is to hold those quadruplets in a small sealed case. Th SPP-1 is still in use at the hands of former eastern bloc's frogmen.  

Mark 1 Model 0/Mk.1 Mod.0 Underwater Defense Gun Pistol
The Mk.1 Mod.0 pistol was the first gun the US Navy adopted for the use of its combat divers. Developed and adopted in the 1970's and was used until the mid 1980's when it was replaced by the German H&K P11.Technically, Mk.1 Mod.0 is the every diver's trusty six-gun… the gun is a pepperbox configuration, double-action trigger; gun is fire from 6 o’clock position (bottom barrel). Unlike its Russian counterparts, the Mk.1 Mod.0 barrel cluster rotates and the trigger unit is fixed. Six smoothbore barrels are arranged as single long cylinder, gun reloading is done by replacing spent cylinder by fresh one. Spent cylinder can be reloaded with fresh barrels. The barrels structure themselves is interesting and unique, when ignition occur the expanding gas push forward a piston inside the barrel which push and eject 100mm length on 2.54mm diameter needle, the fine needle diameter is smaller than the constriction in at the barrel muzzle. The result – the needle is been launched while the piston and the gunpowder burning gases kept enclosed in the barrel. As a result the Mk.1 Mod.0 firing is totally quiet and with no giveaway bubbles stream.
   
Heckler& Koch P11 Underwater Pistol
The name Heckler & Koch is no stranger to any gun enthusiasts, but very few know about their underwater pistol: the P11. Developed in the early 1970's, the P11 become the standard armament of all western navies' combat divers and it still in service today. The pistol's distinctive feature is its five barrels cluster, each barrel contain powder charge and small needle. The clusters are factory loaded and any cluster which all of its rounds been fired need to be sent to back to H&K for reload. Reloading the pistol itself is by simply removing spent cluster and replacing it with fresh. Two 9V batteries in the pistol grip provide the energy for electrically Ignition of the charges. For every single trigger full the system ignites a different barrel.
 


Underwater Lancejet Speargun
The company MBA is most memorable for their revolutionary, but short lived, attempt to produce rocket-based small-arm system, commonly known as the Gryojet. While their Gyrojet pistol & carbine are well known MBA also had large number of experimental guns never gone to full serial manufacturing. One of those eye candies was the Launchjet speargun. The launchjet program has one of many MBA attempts to enter the military market, the initial intention was an anti-mine system designed to lance salvos of long and narrow launchjet rockets into the ground to deliver small explosive charge and dislodge the mines. The launchjets projectiles weren’t stabilized by fins like MBA's Finjets or be gyroscopic spin like MBA's gyrojets. Launchjet stability was due to its relative heavy nose that kept it from tumbling. The launchjet were fairly accurate for the role of showering Soviet minefields, but it been rejected by the US Army for been ineffective against the newer Soviet mines. MBA then decide to try to apply their launchjet technology for the use of divers.
At least three launchers were built and they were single-shot guns, loaded from the muzzle with launchjet rocket and fire using single action striker. Cocking the striker was done by pulling backward a large knob in the gun's rear. Constructed from light non-magnetite materials and had "natural buoyancy" to prevent it from sinking or floating if dropped from the diver hand. The launchjet's rockets themselves could be made in various configurations & lengths by screwing the needed nose to the rocket motor. Different noses include plain pointy spear, spear with barbed flanges, barbered flanges head with wire attach so it could retrieve a fish etc. The launchjet been tested by the US Navy and more interesting, by the CIA; both reject it. There is no known reason for this rejection but either way the launchjet like most of MBA's products disappear to the dustbin of history. Pity.

Mark I Model B Gyrojet Pistol Survival Kit
More than a thousand Gyrojet pistols were made and one of the models was a survival pistol for pilot and air crewmen. Along with the gun MBA intended to sell, there was an small survival kit that includes various types of projectiles for "survival" like rocket flares and small spears for fishing your next dinner until rescue comes. There are at least two versions of this kit and its spears: The first type is motorized spear with a cup that sits on the Gyroget muzzle. When the trigger is pulled a standard gyroget round is capture by the cup and propels the spear like a bullet propels rifle grenade. The second type has its own launchjet rocket engine that ignites from the stroking of the gyrojet rocket on its rear end. None of those survival kits were sold to either the Navy or the civilian market.
 
APS Underwater Assault Rifle
The first autoloader of the deeps, the APS was developed in the early 1970's at the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building (ЦНИИТочмаш) by a team led by Vladimir Simonov (despite the similar surname and profession, he is no relative of Sergei Simonov, inventor of the SKS carbine). The weapon adapted by the Soviet Navy in 1975 and later been sold to other navies of the Warsaw Pact.
Both externally and internally, the APS resembles the good ol' AK-47. The gun is long piston gas operated, rotary bolt, selective fire and fed from box magazine.APS's cartridges construct of regular 5.45x39mm cartrigde, sealed from seawater, and 120 mm long needle bullet. Housing the monstrous rounds is a monstrous long (front 2 bottom) magazine contains 26 rounds. Although called assault rifle, the APS isn't really a "rifle" in the true sense of the word since its barrel isn't rifled. The gun automatic cycling at different depths and above the water (fired only in emergency) is achieved using self-adjusting gas valve. Fire ranges vary widely depends on the depth but no more than 30 meters, firing above the water is practically useless since the projectiles are spin stabilized. This weapon became widely known in the West via Call of Duty: Ghosts. 

QBS-06 underwater assault rifle
In 2010, the Chinese revealed their own copy for the Russian APS (surprise, surprise!). The QBS-06 is almost identical to the old APS. The minor changes are a different caliber around the new Chinese cases of 5.8x42mm with long needle as bullet resulting in a slightly more powerful shot but reduce the number of rounds in the magazine to 25. Keep it creative, China.


Dual Medium Firearm List
All of those underwater firearms mention are best suitable for firing down under, above the water, their accuracy, range and durability decreases dramatically.When an amphibian operation is been conducted and there is a demand to tackle enemies both on land and at sea. Those SOF members had to carry (at least) two guns for the two very different environments. But, what if there could be a versatile gun? Like a shotgun, that could be loaded with both kinds of ammo: regular and harpoon like? Well that was exactly what the Russian and Yugoslavians set to devolve – an amphibian gun that eliminates the need of two separate guns!

ASM-DT
During the 90's Tula Institute had been converting & testing modified versions of the APS for achieving amphibian capabilities. The smoothbore barrel replaced by barrel with shallow rifling and the sliding magazine catch. By sliding the magazine catch back and forth, the weapon can fire both standard 5.45x39mm cartridges out of standard AK-74 magazine and APS cartridges out of APS magazine. The shallow rifling provides the standard 5.45 x 39mm some minimal spin stabilized for above the water fire accuracy.Other features distinguish from the APS are frame mounting points for accessories like grenade launcher, bayonet, optics etc.The ASM-DT has been in service of the Russian Navy since 2000.

ADS Dual-Medium
 The holy grail of amphibian guns is the all new Russian ADS dual-medium rifle. While previous guns had to compromise with their above-water performance of accuracy and durability, the ADS perform above water as good as any modern assault rifle. The gun basic layout and mechanism is drowned from the regular bullpup assault rifle A-91 with several changes including self-adjusting gas valve for the different environments, corrosive resistance materials etc. Tula Institute cleverly designed new type of cartridge for this gun, the 5.45x39mm PSP, and while externally it similar to old AK-74 rounds out counts is its internal side.
The 5.45mm bullet extended way into the cartridge. The bullet length is 53mm out of the total of 57mm cartridge length. Having similar external dimensions as regular cartridge allows the PSP ammo to be stacked into a regular AK-74 magazine and avoids the need to have sliding the magazine catch. Changing the weapon work environment is done simply by replacing one magazine loaded with PSP ammo with magazine loaded with standard ammo. As with the ASM-DT all of the Russian accessories like grenade launcher, bayonet optics could be attached to the gun. Adopted into Russian Naval  service in 2010.

Underwater gun SSU
At the end of the 1980s, the Yugoslavian Navy was in search of a universal weapon suitable for the application of its special amphibious units. Although part of the Eastern bloc, Yugoslavia manage to stay partially independent when it come to weapons design. The Self Suppressed Unit or SSU was developed by an foreigner company, the Austrian EBW. The technical requirements were: possibility of firing effectively above and under the water totally silenced, waterproof up to a depths of 40 meters, ability to pierce the scuba tanks and ability to fire signal flares. The idea behind those demands was to have a gun for clandestine operations where the amphibious commando can take its opponents, both under and above the water, quietly and when the commandos' mission done or been screwed up the flare signal calls the waiting boats to either finish the job or extract the commandos out. The SSU itself isn't that impressive, it is no more than a retrofit flare launcher.
What makes the difference is the ammo. The cartridge itself is a combine smooth bore barrel, massive single dart and fully encapsulated piston. Loading/reloading done by simply replacing "barrels" and manually cocking expose hammer, trigger is single action only. When fired the gun powder capsule ignite and push the piston which in turn launch the 122x8.7mm dart out to its way, like the American Mk.1 Mod.0, the piston itself remains inside the barrel and the gun powder gases remain locked ,making the gun almost completely noiseless.The darts are aluminum rods with stainless steel noses, like the Launchjet the SSU darts are not fined or gyroscopic stabilized achieve their stability thanks to the relatively heavy nose. Those steel tips also serve as "armor piercing" duty to jag a hole in someone else scuba tank. Five Prototypes been made by EBW and tested with good results; but in 1991 after Slovenia declared independence out of Yugoslavia and the country entered a series of bloody civil wars, the project was naturally cancelled.

Supercavitation Ammunition
The Russians got their try with the B-V1-307 rocket spears, but achieving stable supercavitation wasn't an easy task. Today, two companies are still working developing projectiles encapsulates inside supercavitation bubble, both companies developing their supercavitation base on bullets rather than rockets





DSG Technologies Ammunition
An Norwegian company, Defense & Security Group (DSG,) introduced back in 2011 a real game changer armament for any combat diver or Navy SEAL, who would be happy to call this is their very own. DSG introduced a full family of supercavitation ammunition under the name Multi-Environment Ammunition (MEA). According to DSG their MEA generate its own supercavitation bubble allows it to travel underwater several tens of meters, depend on the caliber.
In addition, the bullets have the ability to enters water when shot outside of the water or emerge from water when shot underwater without any diffraction in the bullet trajectory even at low angle of attack.
The company offers ammunition at 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62x51mm NATO and .50 BMG.
To insure proper automatic cycling of the DST, it can offer tailor-made cartridge with the right amount of gunpowder required. The MEA outer dimensions are identical to regular ammunition and could be stack in magazine and loaded without any modifications. Currently, emphasize on currently, DSG doesn't produce or design optics for compensation refraction. Mr. Garberg explanation is that a skill shooter could easily compensate without any aid, but he claims that future development in that field is possible. Other than small arms, DSG is also design their ammunition for platforms such as naval turrets against mines and incoming torpedoes and for unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) against aerial targets. So…when will those MEA hit your local gun stores' shelves? Well, unfortunately while in the process of manufacturing and selling MEA to various coast guard agencies and park rangers for taking down aquatic animals like sharks & alligators, DSG does not have any plans entering the civilian market for the foreseen future.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogfrLKriB7k
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xbIaCZNv30

 Northrop Grumman Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS)
The RAMICS was developed by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy for neutralizing mines in hostile waters. The system includes Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) for detection and aiming the 30mm Mk. 44 Bushmaster II auto-cannon placed onboard MH-60S helicopter. The gun uses special Mk. 258 Mod 1 armor-piercing, fin-stabilized rounds, like DSG ammo, the RAMICS's slugs create supercavitation bubble around when penetrate the water. According to few sources, unlike DSG armament, RAMICS's bullets can't enter the water at a low angle of attack rendering any future possibility of placing similar system onboard an ship's as turret gun.
 
Has There Ever been an Underwater Gunfight between Frogmen?
While writing this article, William ask a question I already asked myself – with all this arsenal of underwater guns is there ever been underwater gunfight? While there are rumors on the web, there is no known battle between frogmen, of course even if such battle were occurred it is unlikely we would not know about it. My guess is that such battle never happened...yet. The likely scenario for such an engagement in which two groups of combat divers fighting each other is when one group is trying to booby-trap ships or other hardware while the other group, the defensive combat divers, is trying to stop them. Such attack on multi-billion worth of assets and thousands of sailor's lives on the line can only occurs as part of full scale war. There was never a full scale war between US and USSR; otherwise you wouldn’t be read this article. This means that the underwater arsenal of the world as still never been tested in real-world combat.
       
The Future of Underwater Weapons
At present, underwater firearms are only a niche filler and the number of guns manufactured around the world is so small that it will be unlikely any nation will shift large budgetary funding for new and breaking technologies without any good reason to do so. If we see humanity heading to the big blue and colonize the deeps as we witnessed in SeaQuest: DSV, then such weapons be needed against the local habitats and against each other; which will spark new investment in underwater firearms.

Near Future

Propulsion - the renaissance of the rockets. 
Rocket propulsion has many advantages over the conventional slug thrower makes it more suited to aquatic environment. For starter, rocket bullets don't leave the muzzle with a loud ear-piercing bang that deafening the shooter and expose its location for any tangos. Second, rocket builds it velocity gradually and provides a solid impact at longer distances than a bullet that dissipates its velocity quickly once left the barrel. Third, slow acceleration means the projectile is subject to lower G's enabling "smart-up" the projectile; add explosives, fusing and guidance. Fourth, the low gun's pressures and temperatures associate with rocket guns allows the weapon engineers the privilege to choose from wider range of possible materials for construction like non-corrosive & non- ferromagnetic metals.        

Payload - Explosive Warhead
The Powerheads demonstrate the power of a small explosive charge underwater. Water is non-compressible fluid and therefore a great transmitting medium of explosive. An small explosive charge at the tip of a spear propelled by gunpowder, rocket, compressed air or tether bow could effects number of targets in its blast radius.







Fusing
Explosive needs some kind of fuse, the simplest one is contact fuse- spear hit target and warhead explodes. A more sophisticated fuse could be mixed contact-time fuse; the warhead will arm itself after small period of time (and distance) past since the launch, insuring the spear distanced enough from the shooter to not jeopardize him when the warhead explodes. An truly developed weapon system could have computerized fuse's projectiles capable of mid flight explosive (AKA air-bursting).

Guidance
Self-propelled, explosive warhead with programmable fuse… If our little projectile start to appear more like a mini-torpedo why not go full ahead and add some guidance? Hope by the time we humans will fight using personal torpedoes' launchers that someone figure out how to avoid those pesky things from making a U-turn and return back at the shooter! You know… like what they do in every submarine's movie.


Supercavitation - Gas Injective Nose
All the current and past attempts to produce supercavitation bullets are similar in one aspect – the supercavitation bubble generated by the bullet's nose shape. However, there is one other way to generate supercavitation bubble, the Russian torpedo Shkval emits small portion of its rocket engine's exhaust gas through an injection holes in the nose, those gases creates a bubble around the torpedo and eliminate the water friction. The result is that the Shkval can travel at supersonic speeds. Miniaturize that system for small arms is possible too.  











Optics
As  stated above, firing from above the water at a submerged target or for an submerge diver to shot at sentry on the decks going to be a problem without optics for compensation refraction. Could we see specialized optical systems for underwater firearms? Not unless there is demand and the funding to do so.






The Far Future

Gauss Gun/Railgun
The usage of electromagnetic fields to accelerate projectiles isn't limited only to dry land but also could be used for underwater combat duties. Specialized versions of regular Gaussguns & Railguns could be used for combat divers if and when the need arises. The obvious change need be build the guns waterproof because water and electricity are bad mix…very bad.  




Science Fiction and Underwater weapons
The field of underwater science fiction in general and underwater military science fiction in particular, is largely underdeveloped and ignored by writers, game designers, movie producers etc. As a result we barely see underwater weaponry in action, when disputes need to be resolved the blow exchanges are between some sorts of futurist submarines. There two possible futures where underwater firearm could be used, both appeared in science fiction. The first is the good ol' alien invasion trope with aquatic alien splashing to the sea and trying to colonize our blue oceans, the 1995 PC Game  X-COM: Terror from Deep revolve around such scenario, and we homo-sapiens taking the battle to the aliens in the new territory. This was also seen in the awful Battleship film from 2012. The second, is that humanity set its collective sights from space to the oceans and the new wars and conflicts will be between nations, corporations, pirates etc. the prime example was the 1990's NBC TV show SeaQuest DSV, although, oddly, no underwater firearm were seen on the entire show.

Full Underwater Arsenal in James Cameron AVATAR 2?!
Avatar 2 is the long awaited sequel to one of the most successful science fiction films of all time and is due to hit the cinemas at around 2017. One of the revealed data pieces we have is that the movie full name will be "Avatar 2, The Lost Ocean" and parts of the movie will take place underwater...much like Cameron's 1989 film The Abyss.  In fact, the primary reason this movie been frequently delayed is the challenge of underwater 3D motion capture, and you can bet your bottom dollar that what James Cameron is trying to shoot down, there isn't a bunch of human and sea-Na'vi chatting and singing Cumbia! Will we see a full scale underwater firearm arsenal? Giving that Cameron is a living MSF-films god I'm very excited to see what he will come up for this one…

Examples:

The Electric Pellet Guns from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1871)
One of the first ever science fiction works involving underwater adventures is the first place to search and find to first underwater firearm: Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Those guns are an compressed air guns like modern speargun, but their bolts aren't mere spears. According to Captain Nemo, the Nautilus's standard gun fires small 18th century ball-shaped supercapacitor (roughly based on the real world Leyden jar). 
When impact a target those balls discharge a deadly electrical shock to the target. In the 1954 film adaption to the novel the speargun appears to fire reddish regular spear instead of those electric balls. This idea of underwater electric weaponry could come from the electric eel.


UNEF Jet propelled spears with Explosive warheads from The Forever War Novel
After the failed Tet-2 campaign, Mandella & Potter, both lose limbs, they shipped to the military hospital on Heaven for rehabilitation and limb regeneration. While spending their time there, William joins an little hunting party to kill na native aquatic predator that infiltrated from the ocean through the hospital repulsive field and into the hospital's resort beach. The party members are equipped with scuba gear and armed with Jet Propelled spears with explosive warheads and they blow the utter shit out of that buster but not before it cut the legs of one of the party's members, no worries – the rehabilitation hospital isn't faraway…This scene was featured in the second volume of the Belgium The Forever War graphic novel published by Dupuis and NBM with art done by Marvano.

Explosive Warhead from the novel The Sphere (1987)
This novel is using a fictional speargun with spears equipped with powerful explosive warheads which navy officer Barnes refers as "J-9 exploding head spears loaded with Taglin-50 charges". When fight the giant squid, the character of Norman use this gun to decapitated one of the squid tentacles. A fantastic book, but misguide film.

The APS Underwater Assault Rifle from Call of Duty: Ghosts
The APS appear in two aquatic missions during the Ghosts Single-player mode. Both the player and its bot enemies carry those Russian assault rifles. This was one of the most unique levels in any COD game, and unlike previous COD games with underwater levels, you actually engage in underwater combat against other frogmen and even sharks.


The Dual-Medium Crossbow from Half-Life
The original Half-life was one of the first 3D shooter that presented specialized underwater firearms ever.The crossbow fires bolts both underwater and above water with great effect. The bolts are covers with deadly neuro-toxic poison and could be fired underwater or as a sniper rifle for long range killing above water.







The H&K P11 from Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003
While exploring submerge ancient temple Lara carry a protection gun with her – the H&K P11. The gun is never been used against any underwater targets but used against her completing tomb raiders inside the air pocket of the temple. Tomb Raider II video game featured our favorite British archaeologist wielding an standard speargun and a tight wetsuit...ah, the 90's!











The Shark-Dart Repeater and Cartridge Base from Jaws (1975)
One of THE defining classics of Hollywood has two of Farallon's products in it. In a movie centers around hunting a killer shark some shark dart have to be placed by the prop master… both cartridge fed and repeater shark-darts appear in the movie but none of them are used against the Great White Jaws. Only the repeater is seen held by Hooper in the famous cage scene when it dropped to the sea floor when the shark attacks the cage.









The Cartridge based Shark-Darts from Deepstar Six (1989)
Haven't heard of this B-movie before? No worries you didn't miss much. In their attempts to kill some unidentified monster attacking their underwater research station/missile base the soon-to-die-crew try to use shark-darts against the beast, but, it did them little good by the way…This film came during a rash of underwater thrillers like the much better The Abyss and the also B-Film Leviathan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZT9gA_ljfE










Shark-Gun & CO2 Bullers from 007 James Bond Live and Let Die (1973)
As always, good old Q Branch equipped our favorite British Secret agent 007 with the right tools for the mission, this time Bond get a shark-gun fires bullets contains compressed CO2 propelled by a compressed CO2 cartridge in the gun grip.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBncb56Z_xI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX7NH4y93FU








The Gryojet Pistol Survivor Kit from Murderer's Row (1966)
In this B-movie spy film that was inspirited by the Bond Films, the villain uses an Gyrojet pistol with spears of a survival kit to threaten the daughter of Dr. Solaris and force him to use his invention: a mighty city-killer laser, according with the villain plans. The spears are never been used against submerge targets. This is a rare on-screen appearance of the Gryojet weapon.


The Incinerator "Flamer" from ALIEN: Resurrection (1997)
They can ran, jump, crawl and climb; yes the Xenomorph is one stubborn son of a bitch! But can they swim? If you seen ALIEN Resurrection than you know the answer don't you? When diving through the flooded kitchen onboard the military research ship, the Auriga, the survivors encounter two Xenomorphs. Johner use the Flamer's grenade launcher to blow one of the hell out of the creatures. The grenade itself left the tube without big blow and traveled in a slow and constant velocity indicating it to be a rocket propelled grenade. A great scene in a terrible movie.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv7_7dSbaOk

The Seatrooper's & AquaticTrooper's blasters from the Star Wars Universe
Both the Grand Army of the Republic and the Galactic Empire had their own specialized troopers for underwater clashes against aquatic species. Both the Republic's aquatic trooper and the Imperial Seatrooper wore state-of-the-art light body armor that was totally protected against the water and equipped with  breathing equipment, backpack propulsion system and of course, their own version of blaster. This underwater gun was an blaster-speargun hybrid capable of performing both above and under the water. There have been several versions of the Seatroopers seen throughout the Star Wars "Legends" universe. Most fans of 1980's RPGs first saw the Seatroopers in the West End Games Imperial Sourcebook.          
Next FWS Armory Article...Encounters of the Close & Personal Kind
Chris Rock once said that:"every punk can fire from across the room, but it takes a man to get close enough to stab", but why not both? Firearms sometimes can be use as a melee weapon and as a tool. Bayonet stabbing, Buttstoke kick, barber wire cutter, window breaker… in the next installment of FWS Armory, we'll examine closely the different ways a firearm can cause harm without any trigger pull whatsoever.










Next Time on FWS...
One of the most common types of hostile alien species seen in science fiction is the Reptilian (AKA Space Lizards). From conspiracy theories to mainstream science fiction, these space lizards have been a fixture...but why? In the next installment of the continuing FWS serial Our Enemies, we will exploring and explaining the Reptilian races and why they are one of the most popular alien racial types.
</p> <p> Space, also known as the highest frontier - And by the same logic the seas and oceans could be called (along with the dippiest mines) as the lower frontier. When thinking about the concept of underwater wars & conflicts most people will presume that the combat necessary have to be between submarines and ships or submarines and themselves.</p> <p> Other form of battle could be involving frogmen fighting against other frogmen or frogmen against some alerted security guard standing on dock or a ship.</p> <p> Fighting such wars requires different weapons than we the 'land-rats' know and use.</p> <p> In this FWS Armory you will be find out everything there is to know about underwater firearms. Well… at list what is commonly known and available to Google search that is, the numerous "seals" teams around the globe are likely still holding unknown cards in their scuba suit's sleeves. </p> <p> <br></p> <p> *Acknowledgment</p> <p> This article couldn't be complete and accurate without the help of two individuals: </p> <p> Jon Andre Garberg, DSG Technologies' CEO, for is informative answers regarding the supercavitating ammunition DSG is developed, manufacturing and selling worldwide.</p> <p> http://www.dsgtec.com/</p> <p> Mel Carpenter, author of "MBA Gyrojets and Other Ordnance", for is generous help of clarified a lot of the mystery surrounding the Launchjet weapon system and the Gyrojet survival kits.</p> <p> http://www.gyrojet.net/</p> <p> <br></p> <p> **Why divers need to be armed?</p> <p> Friedrich Nietzsche once said:"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how", and as we'll see in the next segment there are a lot of 'how' to be answered when designing a firearm to operate in this challenging environment of the deeps… so there should be a strong justification for 'why' having such weapons. So why do divers need to shot someone?  </p> <p> *Aquatic animals </p> <p> It is a fish eating fish out there under the waves and while the predators of the aquatic habitat had hundreds of millions of years to adapt to live and hunt in the water we homo species are fairly new guests and down there even Michael Phelps is at best no more than a retard fish, clearly we humans going to need a bigger gun when we go there. </p> <p> *Fishing</p> <p> When diving and wonder at the variety of aquatic live one might want to share his experience with others at land by taking shots with a camera to capture the rich tapestry of colors and shapes of the surroundings. Others will use some kind of weapon to shot and have excess to the rich tapestry of tastes of those same animals.        </p> <p> In the decades past both Scuba, snorkel & free divers been fishing as hobby and a sport using weapons a bit superior to the standard harpoon launchers, especially when it is a 'big game' those divers are after.    </p> <p> *Human enemy combatants</p> <p> The primary reason to have anything resemble our dry land guns is to outgun those enemy frogmen of the other side who are also armed. Several navies' trains & deployed units of defensive frogmen protecting key positions such as ports & harbors from infiltration of 'offensive ' frogmen trying to booby-trap and explode ships & infrastructures. And when the fight begins you don't want to be the frogman who brings divers' knife into a gunfight.   </p> <p> **Non-human enemy combatants</p> <p> There are many reports and rumors that both the USA and USSR navies trained several species of marine mammals such as dolphins, seals & sea lion to do their dirty work like mines detection, mines placement and of course replacing defensive frogmen on a hunt & destroy of enemy divers.</p> <p> While a stroke from a dolphin nose is usually enough to kill a diver several sources claim that special harness with spears attach were designed for those combatant mammals for striking a fatal blow to their foe.</p> <p> Such aggressor (if it more than urban myth) have the speed and agility of aquatic predator with the harmful intension of enemy solider is a good motivation to have an automatic underwater rifle and might be the explanation to why the Soviet arm their divers with such weapons.</p> <p> <br></p> <p> *The other weapons of divers</p> <p> Mainly the weapons divers take with them to the great blue aren't firearms by any definition. Both melee weapons and spearguns are basically cold weapons, similar to those used on land. This article excludes those weapons out. </p> <p> *Knives & spears</p> <p> Both knives and spears are used by divers for short range protection weapon. Knives are also been used as a tool for underwater works and such.  </p> <p> *Spearguns </p> <p> The most common of the range weapons of the deeps, spearguns use either a compressed gas canister or some sort of tensioned tether to launch a spear toward the target.</p> <p> Mainly  those spearguns are for fishing and given that fishes usually don't killed by a single shot those guns' spears are connected by wire to a pulley type mechanism in the speargun similar to what could be found in fish rods to enable the diver to captured and retrieve its prey.     </p> <p> *Depth charges</p> <p> Depth charges are simple explosive devices fused by depth fuse, those bombs damp or lunched form surface ship with a preset exposition depth. Most of those charges are barrel size dropped against submarines. Smaller versions are anti-frogmen charges, small as a standard hand grenade and can be toss as grenades. Before throwing them one had to specify the depth of explosion.  </p> <p> <br></p> <p> *The challenges of using firearms in water environment  </p> <p> Although probably all of FWS readers know that fact I will still clarify the subject – guns CAN fire underwater and do it without air's oxygen! How so? Don't you need oxygen for a 'fire'?</p> <p> Well yes you need O2 but not necessarily from air. Gunpowder composes of both fuel and oxidizer, the saltpeter ingredient act as oxidizer and provides the gunpowder the oxygen it needs. The complete burning of the powder happened inside the cartridge without any external source of oxygen.</p> <p> The problems in the list below are the problems facing 'air-breather' guns when fired underwater and also are the challenges facing weapon engineers when develop underwater firearm.          </p> <p> *Gun fatigue</p> <p> The dangerous thing to have is a gun blow in your hands… firing a gun underwater when its interior, especially the barrel, filled in water could result of anything from rapidly ware off the gun and short its life expectancy to fatal blowing in your face.</p> <p> When the gun barrel is full of water the firing charge has to push the bullet and water out, the result is higher pressure last longer than what the gun originally designed to.  </p> <p> *Auto loading cycling problems</p> <p> Auto loading gun is a precise balance of returning spring tension and firing chamber/bolt piston pressure, when the balance is disrupted due to the presence of water in the interior the auto cycling could be disrupted too.    </p> <p> *Bullet range & accuracy</p> <p> Water is 1000 time denser and 50 times more viscous than air. A bullet fired is subjected to enormous drag force slowing the bullet quickly to a full stop after ridiculously short travel.</p> <p> Accuracy also goes out the window cause the high drag tumble the projectile out of its course. </p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL8p05EpTtE</p> <p> Noise</p> <p> Water is an excellent conductor for sound and firing noises could easily damage the shooter hearing and the same time reviling his presence and location to his foes.</p> <p> *Optical </p> <p> Visibility underwater is very low, at best no more than 40 meters.</p> <p> Also bullet firing leaves a distinctive bubble like trail reviling the shooter presence and location.  </p> <p> *Corrosive environment</p> <p> Water, especially saltwater, is highly corrosive sun of a bitch which can rapidly corrode even the most resistive materials.  </p> <p> *Using gloved palms with trigger guard </p> <p> Guns' trigger is usually covered by a narrow strip called trigger guard. Job of the guard is to prevent any accidental pull of the trigger. Using thick gloves like divers do could be problematic… some guns like M-16 have a removable trigger guard for gloved palm, the guns designed to operate underwater are already have larger trigger guard.    </p> <p> *Magnetic interference</p> <p> Navigating underwater isn't an easy job, minimal visibility even when the sky is clear and no GPS signals coming through. To navigate the divers use a magnetic compass on their wrist.</p> <p> Of course magnetic compasses are distracted by the presence of ferromagnetic materials such as iron or steel. The usual scuba gear doesn't contain iron or steel but guns do...        </p> <p> *Refraction & replication</p> <p> A serious problem to anyone who want to shot from above the water at a submerge target or for some submerge diver to shot at sentry on the decks is the fact that light bend when passing from air to water or vice versa.</p> <p> According to Snell's law when a beam of light passes between two different mediums with different light speeds the beam is bent. The practical result is when you shot your target is not really where it appears to be.</p> <p> Other problem is what called the 'Total internal reflection'; in shallow angels the water surface acts like a mirror for observers underwater prevents them to observe and shot those annoying sentries.       </p> <p> <br></p> <p> **Powerhead</p> <p> Powerhead is a crude but effective device; it’s a single shot zip-gun design to carry and fire regular cartridges. To offset the pathetic short range & low accuracy regular bullets have when fired underwater the powerhead is fired at point blank range, the weapon muzzle is been pressed against the target to activate it and fire the bullet.</p> <p> Those types of weapons are almost exclusively civilian market guns, specifically for the 'big game' fishing community. There is no 'regular' gun companies selling those guns and any company making such powerheads is so called 'boutique' gunsmithing shop often establish and run by some 'big game fisherman'.</p> <p> The powerheads are attached to the tip of a spear; the smaller caliber powerheads can be mounted to small speargun's bolts and could be launch like common speargun's bolt, the large caliber once are mount to the tip of a handheld lance.</p> <p> The handheld powerheads versions are usually called bang stick (THIS is my BANGSTICK!)   </p> <p> **Structure and triggering</p> <p> compose of very short smoothbore 'barrel' that house the cartridge attach to a fix 'breach' with a fix firing fin via a compression spring. When the powerhead hit the target the barrel section is retracting backward against the spring and the cartridge's primer is been hit by the firing fin. Usually a safety pin is in place to prevent unwanted firing and need to be removed before firing. Reloading is done by separate (usually unscrewing) the barrel from the breach, removing the spent case, place fresh cartridge in the barrel and assemble the powerhead back. </p> <p> *Round protective coating</p> <p> The use of dry-land cartridges poses a problem when they submerge, seawater could enter into the case thru the primer or the crimp rims around the bullet. To protect the cartridges it is common to use coating material like nail polish or varnish around those soft spots.     </p> <p> *Speargun Slip Tip</p> <p> The powerhead isn't a weapon of war but for hunting and like their land hunter cousins the divers want to bring back home something to eat. A slip tip is a barbed head dart placed inside the powerhead barrel. The cartridge blast propels it into the target. The slip tip is connected with be wire to the bang stick or the speargun so the diver can retrieve the prey.</p> <p>    </p> <p> ********Seaway bang stick</p> <p> In 1977 a company name Aqua Craft from San Diego developed for the US navy THE ultimate bang stick that ever been. Unlike the other amateur bang sticks designed around standard rounds the Seaway bang stick was the only MIL grade powerhead ever made and had it own designated cartridges (bangridges?). </p> <p> The Seaway bang stick was designed to give US navy divers a supreme protection against sharks by emitted the most appreciated part in the gun – the bullet!</p> <p> It turn out that the slug effect against targets like sharks is minimal, unless you hit it in the head the shark could still survive for the needed time to eat you. More lethal than the slug is the shockwave of the massive gas expansion causing tissue damage.</p> <p> For applying damage by shockwave Aqua Craft invent the weirdest blank cartridge in history.</p> <p> The cartridge is a Chimera assembly of modified .30-30 Winchester blank round with a .38 S&W blank cartridge insert backward into the .30-30 cartridge were the .30-30 bullet should have been. The .30-30 primer had been replaced by thin diaphragm. This peculiar round appears like two ends cartridge with no front side.</p> <p> The powerhead itself is a single piece of stainless steel tube, open from the front and close in the rear with fix firing fin. Around the firing fin there are six radial holes. </p> <p> The Seaway is muzzle loaded, the diver strip a cartridge from 6 rounds bandolier on the diver belt and place it into the muzzle with the .38 end pacing the pin. The cartridge structure prevents it to slide all the way to the firing fin and instead it stacks 1/2 inch sticking out of the tube.  </p> <p> When contacting the target the cartridge slips in and ignited. The .30-30 diaphragm is blasted and the target receives its deadly dose of shockwave. After the initial blast there is a short period of low pressure in the front area of the spent cartridge and water flow thru the six holes to push the spent cartridge out of the powerhead and it ready to be loaded with a fresh cartridge again. </p> <p> As stated the Seaway is superior to civilian bang stick in any way:</p> <p> Lethality – according to some reports the Seaway could cut a shark into two halves!</p> <p> Loading speed - don't need to disassemble the powerhead, remove spent case, place new one & assemble; just place new round in place.</p> <p> Safety – the diver don't hangout with a loaded stick until he/she face a danger.</p> <p> Angle of approach – the front side of the cartridge has concentric circular ridges, when contacting with target at a shallow angle those ridges prevents the bangstick from slipping out and instead provides good traction for the cartridge to slip into the firing pin.    </p> <p> So, if it so good why isn't it the leading bang-stick in the market?</p> <p> Although the navy test it and with good results only a small number been purchase and the civilian market wasn't (and still isn't) large enough to justify manufacturing of such a costume made rounds.                     </p> <p> *********Shark Darts</p> <p> In the mid 60's the US Navy had a need for a new weapon for their divers. During the 60's it was the Navy Seals job to secure and retrieve the astronauts from their splashdown capsules and the weapon needed also for the Seals regular low profile operations. The Navy Seals needed a weapon to repel shark attack quietly without cause the target bleed which only attract more sharks to the site.</p> <p> The solution was the shark darts, developed by scuba equipment company name Farallon Industries. Their solution uses a small canister of compressed CO2 with a syringe needle that simplify inject the gas into the shark body. The idea behind it was to apply 'forced bouncy' to the shark making it leave the area while the rapid release of CO2 freezes the penetration wound to prevent any blood spill. Farallon made several models including dagger like needle, a pike and speargun's bolts</p> <p> Although those shark darts was intended as a less-lethal gear the field tests results where a bit gorier than expected, according to few eye eyewitness the rapid release of gas to the sharks body results with the launch of the sharks' guts out of their mouths… yeah, so much for a silent discreet soft kill the navy fantasized about. </p> <p> Farallon Industries made & delivered Small number of shark darts to the Navy which apparently prepared bad protection to none. The age of the shark darts ended in the mid 70's after the Apollo program cancelled and the need to rescue astronauts gone. In addition it been discovered that the danger of sharks was overly exaggerated, there was not a single encounter with a hostile shark during any of the retrieval missions or the training.            </p> <p> <br></p> <p> ***Farallon Repeater  </p> <p> When the Apollo program coming to an end, Farallon industries set their sight toward the diver civilian market. Besides their cartridge base darts Farallon produce in 1974 a new type, cartridge free dart known as "Farallon Repeater". There were a few models, some dagger like other pike shaped, all based upon build in rechargeable small pressure tank. The tank could be recharge using any source of compressed air and according to some accounts could produce several 'shots' before deflated.   </p> <p> ****WASP injection Knife  </p> <p> Farallon industries stop making their shark darts a long time ago and as far as I could find went bankrupt 4 years ago, today the closest thing to shark dart can be found in the WASP injection knife. This incent looking knife contain CO2 canister inside the handle and a thumb bottom to release the compressed gas into the target when needed. As with Farallon's shark darts the purpose of this knife is to bleed seal the wound in the target while force it to buoyant away from the diver.  </p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=13&v=j4WfNH4s4sY</p> <p> <br></p> <p> *Underwater firearm list</p> <p> <br></p> <p> Identify and classify underwater firearms isn’t an easy task. The world of navy seals teams around the globe is rarely revealed to public eye and the fact that very small numbers of those guns are manufactured and issues makes the task even harder. Most of the info regarding the guns listed below should be taken with a grain of salt (sea salt?) since both the history & specifications of the guns are usually estimations.    </p> <p> **B-V1-307 Underwater Handgun (Б-VI-307)</p> <p> The first (known) attempt to produce underwater firearm, design and produce by the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine (ЦНИИТочмаш) in the mid 60's, the B-V1-307 was the Russian navy test-bed pistol for new armament for their frogmen.</p> <p> Twelve been made and delivered to the Navy in 1969, the pistols were four smoothbore barrels with single double-action rotating striker. Each trigger pull instead of rotating a cylinder and cock an hammer like revolvers do, the B-V1-307 cock a striker and align with the new fresh cartridge in the next barrel. The gun loading and reloading be done by open the gun like hinged-break shotgun.</p> <p> As the Navy's test-bed gun several different ammo types were tested including 6mm mini-rockets darts. The rocket darts nose was specially designed shape to generate cavitation bubble around the dart to reduce water drag.</p> <p>  While the gun design been favorable by the Russian Navy's brass, the innovative rocket darts idea been rejected in favor of the more traditional gunpowder ammo variants. </p> <p>       </p> <p> ********SPP-1 underwater pistol</p> <p> After tinkering and testing the B-V1-307 the Russkies adapt the mature SPP-1 pistol to their service and export it to a few eastern blocs' navies.</p> <p>  The gun is similar in design to its Progenitor, four barrels hinge-break gun with DA rotating striker.</p> <p> The gun loaded with needle like cartridges clustered in four round moon clips.</p> <p> The cartridges have watertight shells though the sealing isn't impregnable, long duration exposure will contaminate the gunpowder. The solution is to hold those quadruplets in a small sealed case.</p> <p> The gun is still in use at the hands of former eastern bloc's frogmen.       </p> <p> <br></p> <p> **Mark 1 Model 0/Mk.1 Mod.0 Underwater Defense Gun pistol</p> <p> The Mk.1 Mod.0 pistol was the first gun the US navy adapts for the use of its combat divers. Developed and adapted in the 70's and been use till the mid 80's when it was replaced by the German H&K P11.</p> <p> Technically, Mk.1 Mod.0 is the every diver trusty six-gun… the gun is a pepperbox configuration, double-action trigger; gun is fire from 6 o’clockposition (bottom barrel). Unlike its Russian counterparts in the Mk.1 Mod.0 it’s the barrels cluster that rotates and the trigger unit is fixed.</p> <p> Six smoothbore barrels are arranged as single long cylinder, gun reloading is done by replacing spent cylinder by fresh one. Spent cylinder can be reloaded with fresh barrels.    </p> <p> The barrels structure themselves is interesting and unique, when ignition occur the expanding gas push forward a piston inside the barrel which push and eject 100mm length on 2.54mm diameter needle, the fined needle diameter is smaller than the constriction in at the barrel muzzle. The result – the needle is been launched while the piston and the gunpowder burning gases kept enclosed in the barrel.</p> <p> As a result the Mk.1 Mod.0 firing is totally quiet and with no giveaway bubbles stream.  </p> <p>      </p> <p> **Heckler Koch P11 underwater pistol</p> <p> The name Heckler & Koch is no stranger to any gun enthusiasts but very few know about their underwater pistol, the P11.</p> <p> Developed in the early 70's, the P11 become the standard armament of all of the western navies' combat divers and it still in service.</p> <p>  The pistol's distinctive feature is its five barrels cluster, each barrel contain powder charge and small needle. The clusters are factory loaded and any cluster which all of its rounds been fired need to be sent to back to H&K for reload.</p> <p> Reloading the pistol itself is by simply removing spent cluster and replacing it with fresh.</p> <p> Two 9V batteries in the pistol grip provide the energy for electrically Ignition of the charges.</p> <p> For every single trigger full the system ignites a different barrel.</p> <p>     </p> <p> ********Underwater Lancejet speargun</p> <p> The company MBA is most memorable for their revolutionary but short lived attempt to produce rocket-base small-arms and while their Gyrojet pistol & carbine are well known MBA also had large number of experimental guns never gone to full serial manufacturing.</p> <p> One of those eye candies is the Launchjet speargun.</p> <p>  The launchjet program has one of many MBA attempts to enter the military market, the initial intention was an anti-mine system designed to lance salvos of long and narrow launchjet rockets into the ground to deliver small explosive charge and takeoff those mines.</p> <p> The launchjets weren’t stabilized by fins like MBA's Finjets or be gyroscopic spin like MBA's gyrojets. The launchjet stability was due to its relative heavy nose that kept it from tumbling.</p> <p> The launchjet were fairly accurate for the role of showering Soviet minefields but it been rejected by the US army for been ineffective against the newer Soviet mines.</p> <p> MBA then decide to try to apply their launchjet technology for the use of divers.</p> <p> At least three launchers were built and they were single-shot guns, loaded from the muzzle with launchjet rocket and fire using single action striker. Cocking the striker was done by pulling backward a large knob in the gun's rear.</p> <p> The gun itself was constructed from light non magnetite materials and had 'natural buoyancy' to prevent it from sinking or floating if dropped from the diver hand.</p> <p> The launchjet's rockets themselves could be made in various configurations & lengths by screwing the needed nose to the rocket motor. Different noses include plain pointy spear, spear with barbered flanges, barbered flanges head with wire attach so it could retrieve a fish etc.       </p> <p> The launchjet been tested by the US navy and more interesting by the CIA, both reject it.</p> <p> There is no known reason for this rejection but either way the launchjet like most of MBA's products disappear to the dustbin of history.    </p> <p> <br></p> <p> *Mark I Model B Gyrojet pistol survival kit</p> <p> More than a thousand Gyrojet pistols were made and one of the models was a survival pistol for pilot and air crewmen. Along with the gun MBA intent to sell a small survival kit that includes various types of projectiles for 'survival' like rocket flares and small spears for fishing your next dinner till rescue comes.</p> <p> There are at least two versions of this kit and its spears:</p> <p> The first type is unmotorizes spear with a cup that sits on the Gyroget muzzle. When the trigger is pulled a standard gyroget round is capture by the cup and propels the spear like a bullet propels rifle grenade.</p> <p> The second type has its own launchjet rocket engine that ignites from the stroking of the gyrojet rocket on its rear end. </p> <p> None of those survival kits were sold to either the Navy or the civilian market.</p> <p>     </p> <p> **APS underwater assault rifle</p> <p> The first auto-loader of the deeps, the APS was developed in the early 70's at the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building (ЦНИИТочмаш) by a team lead by Vladimir Simonov (despite the similar surname and profession, he is no relative of Sergei Simonov, inventor of the SKS carbine).</p> <p> The weapon adapted by the Russian navy in 1975 and later been sold to other navies of the Warsaw pact.</p> <p> Both externally and internally the APS resembles the good ol' AK-47. The gun is long piston gas operated, rotary bolt, selective fire and fed from box magazine.</p> <p> APS's cartridges construct of regular 5.45 x 39 cases, sealed from seawater, and 120 mm long needle bullet. Housing the monstrous rounds is a monstrous long (front 2 bottom) magazine contains 26 rounds.</p> <p> Although called assault rifle the APS isn't really a 'rifle' since its barrel isn't rifled.</p> <p> The gun automatic cycling at different depths and above the water (fired only in emergency) is achieved using self-adjusting gas valve.</p> <p> Fire ranges vary widely depends on the depth but no more than 30 meters, firing above the water is practically useless since the projectiles are spin stabilized.     </p> <p> <br></p> <p> ******QBS-06 underwater assault rifle</p> <p> In 2010 the Chinese revealed their own copy for the Russian APS. The QBS-06 is almost identical to the old APS. The minor changes are a different caliber around the new Chinese cases of 5.8 x 42 with long needle as bullet resulting in a slightly more powerful shot but reduce the number of rounds in the magazine to 25.  </p> <p> <br></p> <p>  *Dual medium firearm list </p> <p> All of those underwater firearms mention are best suitable for firing down under, above the water their accuracy, range and durability decreases dramatically.</p> <p> When an amphibian operation is been conducted and there is a demand to tackle enemies both on land and at sea those SOF members had to carry (at least) two guns for the two so different environments.</p> <p> But what if there could be a versatile gun, like a shotgun, that could be loaded with both kinds of ammo: regular and harpoon like? Well that was exactly what the Russian and Yugoslavians set to devolve – an amphibian gun that eliminates the need of two separate guns.    </p> <p> *****ASM-DT</p> <p> During the 90's Tula Institute been converting & testing modified versions of the APS for achieving amphibian capabilities. The smoothbore barrel replaced by barrel with shallow rifling and the sliding magazine catch.</p> <p> By Sliding the magazine catch back or forth the weapon can fire both standard 5.45 x 39 cartridges out of standard AK-74 magazine and APS cartridges out of APS magazine.</p> <p> The shallow rifling provides the standard 5.45 x 39 some minimal spin stabilized for above the water fire accuracy.</p> <p> Other features distinguish from the APS are frame mounting points for accessories like grenade launcher, bayonet, optics etc.</p> <p> The ASM-DT has been in service of the Russian navy from the year 2000.   </p> <p> *****ADS dual-medium</p> <p> The holy grail of amphibian guns is the all new Russian ADS dual-medium rifle. While previous guns had to compromise with their above water performance of accuracy and durability the ADS perform above water as good as any modern assault rifle.</p> <p> The gun basic layout and mechanism is drowned from the regular bullpop assault rifle A-91 with several changes including self-adjusting gas valve for the different environments, corrosive resistance materials etc.</p> <p> Tula Institute cleverly designed new type of cartridge for this gun, the 5.45x39 PSP, and while externally it similar to old AK-74 rounds out counts is its internal side.</p> <p> The 5.45mm bullet extended way into the cartridge. The bullet length is 53mm out of the total of 57mm cartridge length.</p> <p> Having similar external dimensions as regular cartridge allows the PSP ammo to be stacked into a regular AK-74 magazine and avoids the need to have sliding the magazine catch.</p> <p> Changing the weapon work environment is done simply by replacing one magazine loaded with PSP ammo with magazine loaded with standard ammo.</p> <p> As with the ASM-DT all of the Russian accessories like grenade launcher, bayonet optics could be attached to the gun.</p> <p> Adapted to service in 2010 to the Russian navy. </p> <p> <br></p> <p> *****Underwater gun SSU</p> <p> < TO BE FILLED TILL 22th BY ME!!!></p> <p> <br></p> <p> Supercavitation ammunition  </p> <p> The Russians got their try with the B-V1-307 rocket spears but achieving stable supercavitation wasn't an easy task.</p> <p> Today, two companies still working developing projectiles encapsulates inside supercavitation bubble, both companies developing their supercavitation base on bullets rather than rockets.  </p> <p> ***DSG Technologies ammunition</p> <p> A Norwegian company Defense & Security Group (DSG) introduce back in 2011 a real game changer armament any combat diver or navy seal be happy to call it is own; DSG introduce a full family of supercavitation ammunition under the name Multi-Environment Ammunition (MEA) .</p> <p> According to DSG their MEA generate its own supercavitation bubble allows it to travel underwater several tens of meters, depend on the caliber.</p> <p> In addition the bullets have the ability to enters water when shot outside of the water or emerge from water when shot underwater without any diffraction in the bullet trajectory even at low angle of attack.</p> <p> The company offers ammunition at 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62x51mm NATO and .50 BMG.</p> <p> To insure proper automatic cycling of the gun DST can offer tailor-made cartridge with the right amount of gunpowder required.</p> <p> The MEA outer dimensions are identical to regular ammunition and could be stack in magazine and loaded without any modifications.</p> <p> Currently, emphasize on currently, DSG doesn't produce or design optics for compensation refraction. Mr. Garberg explanation is that a skill shooter could easily compensate without any aid but He claim that future development in that field is possible.</p> <p> Outer than small arms, DSG is also design their ammunition for platforms such as naval turrets against mines and incoming torpedoes and for Unmanned underwater vehicle against aerial targets.</p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogfrLKriB7k</p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xbIaCZNv30</p> <p> So… when those MEA hit gun stores' shelves? Well unfortunately while in the process of manufacture and sell MEA to various coast guard agencies and park rangers for taking down aquatic animals like sharks & alligators DSG don't have any plans entering the civilian market for the foreseen future.  </p> <p>    </p> <p> *Northrop Grumman Rapid Airborne Mine Clearance System (RAMICS)</p> <p> The RAMICS developed by Northrop Grumman for the US navy for neutralize mines in hostile water. The system includes Airborne Laser Mine Detection System (ALMDS) for detection and aiming and 30mm MK44 Bushmaster II auto-cannon placed onboard MH-60S helicopter.</p> <p> The gun uses special MK 258 Mod 1 armor-piercing, fin-stabilized rounds, like DSG ammo the RAMICS's slugs create supercavitation bubble around when penetrate the water.</p> <p> According to few sources, unlike DSG armament, RAMICS's bullets can't enter the water at a low angle of attack rendering any future possibility of placing similar system onboard a ship as turret gun. </p> <p>     </p> <p> Was there ever been underwater fight between frogmen?</p> <p> While writing this article William ask a question I already asked myself – with all this arsenal of underwater guns is there ever been underwater gunfight?</p> <p> While there rumors on the web there is no known battle between frogmen, of course even if such battle were occurred it is unlikely we would know about.</p> <p> My guess is that such battle never happened yet because the likely scenario in which two groups of divers fighting each other is when one group is trying to booby-trap ships and other hardware while the other group, the defensive divers, try to stop them.</p> <p> Such attack on multi-billion worth of assets and thousands of sailor's lives on the line can only occurs as part of full scale war. There was never a full scale war between US and USSR; otherwise you wouldn’t have read this article, so the underwater arsenal of the world still never was tested. </p> <p>           </p> <p> *The future of underwater weapons</p> <p> At present, underwater firearms are only niche filler and the number of guns manufactured around the world is so small that it will be unlikely any nation will shift large budgets for new and breaking technologies without any good reason to do so.</p> <p> If we see humanity heading to the big blue and colonize the deeps such weapons be needed against the local habitants and against each other.</p> <p> Near future</p> <p> Propulsion - the renaissance of the rockets</p> <p> Rocket propulsion has many advantages over the conventional slug thrower makes it more suited to aquatic environment.</p> <p> For starter, rocket bullets don't leave the muzzle with a loud ear-piercing bang that deafening the shooter and expose its location for any tangos. </p> <p> Second, rocket builds it velocity gradually and provides a solid impact at longer distances than a bullet that dissipates its velocity quickly once left the barrel. </p> <p> Third, slow acceleration means the projectile is subject to lower G's enabling "smart-up" the projectile; add explosives, fusing and guidance.</p> <p>  Forth, the low gun's pressures and temperatures associate with rocket guns allows the weapon engineers the privilege to choose from wider range of possible materials for construction like non-corrosive & non- ferromagnetic metals.            </p> <p> *Payload - explosive warhead</p> <p> The Powerheads demonstrate the power of a small charge of explosive underwater. Water is non-compressible fluid and therefore a great transmitting medium of explosive.</p> <p> A small explosive charge at the tip of a spear propelled by gunpowder, rocket, compressed air or tether bow could effects number of targets in its blast radius.   </p> <p> Fusing</p> <p> Explosive needs some kind of fuse, the simplest one is contact fuse- spear hit target and warhead explodes. A more sophisticated fuse could be mixed contact-time fuse; the warhead will arm itself after small period of time (and distance) past since the launch, insuring the spear distanced enough from the shooter to not jeopardize him when the warhead explodes.</p> <p> A truly developed weapon system could have computer program fuse's projectiles capable of mid flight explosive, aka air-bursting.       </p> <p> *Guidance </p> <p> Self-propelled, explosive warhead with programmable fuse… if our little projectile start to appear more like a mini-torpedo why not go full ahead and add some guidance?</p> <p> Hope by the time we humans will fight using personal torpedoes' launchers that someone figure out how to avoid those pesky things from making a U-turn and return back at the shooter! You know… like what they do in every submarine's movie.</p> <p> **Supercavitation - gas injective nose</p> <p> All the current and past attempts to produce supercavitation bullets are similar in one aspect – the supercavitation bubble generated by the bullet's nose shape.</p> <p> However there is one other way to generate supercavitation bubble, the Russian torpedo Shkval emits small portion of its rocket engine's exhaust gas through an injection holes in the nose, those gases creates a bubble around the torpedo and eliminate the water friction.</p> <p> The result- the Shkval can travel at supersonic speeds.</p> <p> Miniaturize that system for small arms is possible too.       </p> <p> Optics</p> <p> As stated, firing from above the water at a submerge target or for some submerge diver to shot at sentry on the decks going to be a problem without optics for compensation refraction. </p> <p> Far future</p> <p> Gaussgun/Railgun</p> <p> The usage of electromagnetic fields to accelerate projectiles isn't limited only to dry land; underwater versions of regular Gaussguns & Railguns could be used. The obvious change need be build the guns waterproof because water and electricity are bad mix…       </p> <p> *SF and underwater weapons</p> <p> The field of underwater Science Fiction in general and underwater MSF in particular is largely under developed and ignored by writers, game designers, movie producers etc.</p> <p> As a result we barely see underwater weaponry in action, when disputes need to be resolved the blow exchanges are between some sorts of futurist submarines.</p> <p> There two possible futures where underwater firearm could be used, both appeared in SiFi:</p> <p> The first is the good ol' alien invasion trope with aquatic alien splashing to the sea and trying to colonize our blue oceans, the PC Game ' X-com: terror from deep' revolve around such scenario, and we homo-sapiens taking the battle to the aliens newly territory.</p> <p>  The second is that humanity set its collective sight from space to the oceans and the new wars and conflicts will be between nations, corporations, pirates etc. the prime example was the TV show Sea-quest, although oddly no underwater firearm were seen on the show.   </p> <p> *James Cameron's Avatar 2; underwater full arsenal?   </p> <p> Avatar 2, the long awaited sequel, is due to hit the cinemas at 2017. One of the revealed data pieces we have is that the movie full name will be "Avatar 2, the lost ocean" and parts of the movie will take place underwater. In fact the primary reason this movie been frequently delayed is the challenge of underwater 3D motion capture, and you can bet your bottom dollar that what James Cameron is trying to shot down there isn't a bunch of human and sea-Na'vi chatting and singing Cumbia ! Will we see a full scale underwater firearm arsenal? Giving that Cameron is a living MSF-films god I'm very excited to see what he will come up for this one…      </p> <p> <br></p> <p> <br></p> <p> Examples </p> <p> ***20000 leagues under the sea (1871); electric pellet guns</p> <p> One of the first ever SF involving underwater adventures is the first place to search and find to first underwater firearm. Those guns are a compressed air guns like modern speargun but their bolts aren't mere spears. According to Captain Nemo the Nautilus's standard gun fires small 18th century ball-shaped super capacitor (roughly based on the real world Leyden jar).</p> <p> When impact a target those balls discharge a deadly electrical shock to the target. </p> <p> In the 1954 film adaption to the novel the speargun appears to fire reddish regular spear instead of those electric balls.  </p> <p> Forever war, the novel (1974); Jet propelled spears with Explosive warheads</p> <p> After the failed Tet-2 campaign Mandella & Potter, both lost limbs, shipped to military hospital at Heaven planet for rehabilitation and limbs re-grow.</p> <p> Spending the time there William joined to a little hunting party to kill a native aquatic predator that infiltrated from the ocean through the hospital repulsive field and into the hospital's resort beach. The party members are equipped with scuba gear and armed with Jet propelled spears with Explosive warheads and they blow the shit out of that buster but not before it cut the legs of one of the party's members, no worries – the rehabilitation hospital isn't faraway…  </p> <p> *Sphere, the novel (1987); Explosive warheads</p> <p> This novel is using a fictional speargun with spears equipped with powerful explosive warheads which navy officer Barnes refers as "J-9 exploding head spears loaded with Taglin-50 charges". When fight the giant squid Norman use this gun to decapitated one of the squid tentacles. </p> <p> **Call of duty: Ghosts; APS underwater assault rifle </p> <p> The APS appear in two aquatic missions in Ghost Single-player mode. Both the player and its enemies carry those assault rifles. </p> <p> *Half-life; Dual-medium crossbow</p> <p> Half-life was one of the first 3D shooter present specialized underwater firearms ever.</p> <p> The crossbow fires bolts both underwater and above water with great effect.</p> <p> The bolts are covers with deadly neuro-toxic poison and could be fired underwater or as a sniper rifle for long range killing above water.    </p> <p> <br></p> <p> <br></p> <p> *Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003); H&K P11</p> <p> While exploring submerge ancient temple Lara carry a protection gun with her – the H&K p11. The gun is never been used against any underwater targets but used against her completing tomb raiders inside the air pocket of the temple.</p> <p> *Jaws (1975); Shark-dart repeater and cartridge based </p> <p> One of THE classics of Hollywood has two of Farallon's products in it.</p> <p> In a movie centers around hunting a killer shark some shark dart have to be placed by the prop master… both cartridge fed and repeater shark-darts appear in the movie but none of them are used against Jaws. Only the repeater is seen held by Hooper in the famous cage scene when it drooped to the sea floor when the shark attacks the cage.   </p> <p> *Deepstar six (1989); cartridge based shark-darts</p> <p> Haven't heard of this B-movie before? No worries you didn't miss much. In their attempts to kill some unidentified monster attacking their underwater research station/missile base the soon to die crew try to use shark-darts against the beast, did them little good by the way…</p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZT9gA_ljfE</p> <p> <br></p> <p> ***007 James Bond Live and Let Die (1973); Shark-gun & CO2 bullets</p> <p> As always good old Q equip 007 with the right tools for the mission, this time Bond get a shark-gun fires bullets contains compressed CO2 propelled by a compressed CO2 cartridge in the gun grip. </p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBncb56Z_xI</p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX7NH4y93FU</p> <p>  </p> <p> *Murderer's Row (1966);Gyrojet pistol survival kit</p> <p> In this B-movie spy film the villain is using Gyrojet pistol with spears of a survival kit to threaten the daughter of Dr. Solaris and force him to use his invention, a mighty city-killer laser, according with the villain plans. The spears are never been used against submerge targets.</p> <p> ***Alien: Resurrection (1997); Incinerator 'Flamer'</p> <p> They can ran, jump, crawl and climb; yes the Xenomorph is one stubborn son of a bitch! But can they swim? If you seen Alien Resurrection you the answer do you?</p> <p> When diving through the folded kitchen the survivors encounter by two Xenomorphs, Johner use the Flamer's grenade launcher to blow one of those hell creatures.</p> <p> The grenade itself left the tube without big blow and traveled in a slow and constant velocity indicating it to be a rocket propelled grenade.</p> <p> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv7_7dSbaOk</p> <p>   </p> <p> *Seatrooper's & aquatic trooper's blasters; SW universe   </p> <p> Both the Grand Army of the Republic and the Galactic Empire had their specialized troops for underwater clashes against aquatic species. Both the Republic's aquatic trooper and the Imperial Seatrooper wear state of the art light body armor totally protective against the water, breathing equipment, backpack propulsion system and of course their own version of blaster. The guns were blaster-speargun hybrid capable of performing both above and under the water.            </p> <p> <br></p> <p> *Next FWS Article – encounters of the close and personal kind</p> <p> Chris Rock once said that:"every punk can fire from across the room, but it takes a man to get close enough to stab", but why not both? Firearms sometimes can be use as a melee weapon and as a tool. Bayonet stabbing, Buttstoke kick, barber wire cutter, window breaker… in the next installment of FWS Armory, we'll examine closely the different ways a firearm can cause harm without without pulling the trigger.  </p> <p> <br></p>