Mk 19 grenade launcher
The Mk 19 grenade launcher is an American 40 mm belt-fed automatic grenade launcher, first developed during the Vietnam War. The first model in 1966 was determined to be unreliable and unsafe, but a total of six Mod 1 launchers were tested on U. S. Navy riverine patrol craft in the Mekong Delta in 1972; the Navy made further improvements to the weapon, resulting in the Mod 3 in 1976. The Mod 3 was adopted by the U. S. Army in 1983 and remains in service to the present day; the Mk 19 is a belt-fed, blowback-operated, air-cooled, crew-served automatic weapon, designed not to cook off. It fires 40 mm grenades at a cyclic rate of 325 to 375 rounds per minute, giving a practical rate of fire of 60 rounds per minute and 40 rounds per minute; the weapon operates on the blowback principle, which uses the chamber pressure from each fired round to load and re-cock the weapon. The Mk 19 can launch its grenade at a maximum distance of 2,212 meters, though its effective range to a point target is about 1,500 meters, since the large rear leaf sight is only graduated as far.
The nearest safe distance to launch the grenade is 75 meters in combat. Though the Mk 19 has a flash suppressor, it serves only to save the eyesight of its operator, not concealing the weapon's position. For night operation, a picatinny rail quadrant sight can be added for thermal and night vision optics; the Mk 19A is a man-portable crew-served weapon that can fire from a tripod-mounted position or from a vehicle mount, with the latter being the preferred method, as the weapon alone weighs 77.6 pounds. The primary ammunition for it is the high-explosive dual-purpose M430 grenade. On impact, the grenade can kill anyone within a radius of five meters, wound them within a radius of 15 meters, it can punch through 2 inches of rolled homogeneous armor with a direct hit, which means it can penetrate most infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. It is effective when used against enemy infantry formations; the ammunition comes in cans that hold a 32- or 48-grenade belt weighing 42 and 60 pounds, respectively.
Due to its low recoil and comparatively light weight, it has been adapted for use on many different platforms, including small attack boats, fast attack vehicles such as the Humvee, AAV and Stryker, military jeeps, a large variety of naval mounts. The Mk 19 automatic grenade launcher replaced the earlier Mk 18 hand-cranked multiple grenade launcher; the 40 mm ammunition used is not interchangeable with that used in the M203. The M203 ammunition develops a lower chamber pressure, resultant lower muzzle velocity and range, compared to ammunition loaded for the Mk 19; the Mk 19 fires from an open bolt. The rounds are mechanically fed onto the bolt face; when the trigger is pressed, the bolt closes, the firing pin is released. The recoil blows back the bolt, feeds a new round onto the bolt face, which pushes the expended casing off the bolt face. Production of the Mk 19 is managed by Saco Defense Industries. In November 2014, General Dynamics entered into an agreement with Advanced Material Engineering Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of Singapore Technologies Kinetics, to manufacture 40 mm high-velocity airburst ammunition for the U.
S. military. The 40 mm airburst grenade uses a programmable, time-based fuse that computes and programs the detonation time into it, which counts down once fired to zero to detonate at the intended target point; the airburst ammunition is compatible with the Mk 19, which would give it greater effectiveness and lethality against concealed and defilade targets. The U. S. Army plans to introduce several new features to the Mk 19 in an upgrade package that could be introduced by late 2017. Initiatives include: increased muzzle velocity through a less resistant barrel. GDOTS has built nearly 35,000 Mk 19 Mod 3 systems for 30 customers since 1984. Users of the Mk 19 include: Argentina: Argentine Marines. Australia Morocco:Moroccan Army. Bangladesh Brazil: Used by the Brazilian Marine Corps. Croatia: MATAV armored vehicles armed with Mk 19 grenade launcher, first seen in public at recent Croatian Army Parade. Croatia purchased 32 weapons and kits, the number has since gone up. Egypt: Manufactured locally by Helwan.
Greece Honduras Iran Iraq: Used by Iraqi special forces on Humvees. Israel: Adopted by the Israeli Defence Forces, to be fielded in infantry and mechanized units; the Mk 19 was manufactured locally. Italy Lebanon Malaysia Mexico: Used extensively by the Mexican Army in the Mexican drug war. Pakistan: Used by the Pakistan Army. Poland Saudi Arabia Spain Sweden: Designated Grsp 92. Used by Kustjägarna and Amfibiebataljonen and by the 31st Airborne Battalion Taiwan Thailand: Used by Royal Thai Marines. Turkey: Produced under licence by MKEK. Used by Turkish Land Forces. United States: Currently in widespread use throughout the U. S. Armed Forces. AGS-17, similar weapon Comparison of automatic grenade launchers List of automatic grenade launchers Mk 47 Mod 0 Striker, U. S. military success
The Falklands War known as the Falklands Conflict, Falklands Crisis, Malvinas War, South Atlantic Conflict, the Guerra del Atlántico Sur, was a ten-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British dependent territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland Islands, its territorial dependency, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It began on Friday, 2 April 1982, when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had claimed over them. On 5 April, the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands; the conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel, three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities; the conflict was a major episode in the protracted confrontation over the territories' sovereignty.
Argentina asserted that the islands are Argentine territory, the Argentine government thus characterised its military action as the reclamation of its own territory. The British government regarded the action as an invasion of a territory, a Crown colony since 1841. Falkland Islanders, who have inhabited the islands since the early 19th century, are predominantly descendants of British settlers, favour British sovereignty. Neither state declared war, although both governments declared the Islands a war zone. Hostilities were exclusively limited to the territories under dispute and the area of the South Atlantic where they lie; the conflict has had a strong effect in both countries and has been the subject of various books, articles and songs. Patriotic sentiment ran high in Argentina, but the outcome prompted large protests against the ruling military government, hastening its downfall. In the United Kingdom, the Conservative government, bolstered by the successful outcome, was re-elected with an increased majority the following year.
The cultural and political effect of the conflict has been less in the UK than in Argentina, where it remains a common topic for discussion. Diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Argentina were restored in 1989 following a meeting in Madrid, at which the two governments issued a joint statement. No change in either country's position regarding the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands was made explicit. In 1994, Argentina's claim to the territories was added to its constitution. In the period leading up to the war—and, in particular, following the transfer of power between the military dictators General Jorge Rafael Videla and General Roberto Eduardo Viola late in March 1981—Argentina had been in the midst of a devastating economic stagnation and large-scale civil unrest against the military junta, governing the country since 1976. In December 1981 there was a further change in the Argentine military regime, bringing to office a new junta headed by General Leopoldo Galtieri, Air Brigadier Basilio Lami Dozo and Admiral Jorge Anaya.
Anaya was the main architect and supporter of a military solution for the long-standing claim over the islands, calculating that the United Kingdom would never respond militarily. By opting for military action, the Galtieri government hoped to mobilise the long-standing patriotic feelings of Argentines towards the islands, thus divert public attention from the country's chronic economic problems and the regime's ongoing human rights violations of the Dirty War; such action would bolster its dwindling legitimacy. The newspaper La Prensa speculated in a step-by-step plan beginning with cutting off supplies to the islands, ending in direct actions late in 1982, if the UN talks were fruitless; the ongoing tension between the two countries over the islands increased on 19 March when a group of Argentine scrap metal merchants raised the Argentine flag at South Georgia Island, an act that would be seen as the first offensive action in the war. The Royal Navy ice patrol vessel HMS Endurance was dispatched from Stanley to South Georgia on the 25th in response.
The Argentine military junta, suspecting that the UK would reinforce its South Atlantic Forces, ordered the invasion of the Falkland Islands to be brought forward to 2 April. The UK was taken by surprise by the Argentine attack on the South Atlantic islands, despite repeated warnings by Royal Navy captain Nicholas Barker and others. Barker believed that Defence Secretary John Nott's 1981 review had sent a signal to the Argentines that the UK was unwilling, would soon be unable, to defend its territories and subjects in the Falklands. On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings, known as Operation Rosario, on the Falkland Islands; the invasion was met with a nominal defence organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt, giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines. The events of the invasion included the landing of Lieutenant Commander Guillermo Sanchez-Sabarots' Amphibious Commandos Group, the attack on Moody Brook barracks, the engagement between the troops of Hugo Santillan and Bill Trollope at Stanley, the final engagement and surrender at Government House.
Word of the invasion first reached the UK from Argentine sources. A Ministry of Defence operative in London had a short telex conversation with Governor Hunt's telex operator, who confirmed th
31st Marine Expeditionary Unit
The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit is one of seven Marine Expeditionary Units in existence in the United States Marine Corps. The Marine Expeditionary Unit is a Marine Air Ground Task Force with a strength of about 2,200 Marines and sailors; the 31st MEU consists of a company-sized command element, a battalion landing team, a medium tiltrotor squadron, a combat logistics battalion. The 31st MEU is based at Camp Hansen, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Japan; the 31st MEU is the only permanently forward-deployed MEU, provides a flexible and lethal force ready to perform a wide range of military operations as the premier crisis response force in the Indo-Pacific region. The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit will address the needs of the Geographic Combatant Commander, always Ready to Fight and Win. Mission success is defined by the 31st MEU's direct contribution to regional stability through the support and defense of our allies and partners, our nation. Ground Combat Element: Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines Aviation Combat Element: VMM-262 Logistics Combat Element: Combat Logistics Battalion 31 The 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit was activated on 1 March 1967 as Special Landing Force Alpha, for operations in Vietnam.
It made the first of many amphibious deployments from Okinawa to the coast of Vietnam on 10 April 1967. The first operation conducted was on 14 April 1967, when the MEU conducted a rescue of the crew of the SS Silver Peak, a Panamanian vessel run aground by Typhoon Violet, in vicinity of Minami Ko Shima Island, Japan. Days it was committed to Operation Union, a search and destroy mission in Vietnam, it was during this period of intense combat that Special Landing Force Alpha earned the Presidential Unit Citation. The unit participated in continuing combat operations ashore over the next three years, including the Vietnam Tet counteroffensive in 1969, while returning to Okinawa periodically for re-outfitting and the rotation of forces. Special Landing Force Alpha was designated as the 31st Marine Amphibious Unit on 24 November 1970. Once more the unit returned to the Gulf of Tonkin; this time, the 31st MAU would not be committed to overt land operations as the Vietnam War was winding down. The 31st MAU performed presence missions and conducted a series of special operations through May 1971.
From June 1971 until April 1975, the 31st MAU conducted many deployments to the waters off Vietnam. The 31st MAU was directed to the Gulf of Thailand for Operation Eagle Pull, the American Embassy evacuation by air of Phnom Penh, which took place on 12 April 1975; this was followed by the 31st MAU's participation in Operation Frequent Wind on 29 April 1975, the final evacuation of Saigon as North Vietnamese forces entered the city. The 31st MEU at this time was established as the only permanently forward-deployed U. S. presence in the Western Pacific, Southern Pacific, Indian Ocean with Special Operations capabilities to include a port call at Mombasa Kenya. Other stops could include Diego Garcia, Olongapo, or Busan. In February 1980 the LPH-3 USS Okinawa task force with Marine Cobra and Harrier attack aircraft from California, made port at Pearl Harbor to take aboard the final elements of the MEU which consisted of 3rd Battalion/ 3rd Marines, Helicopter assets of MAG24, Force Recon, MSSG-31 in support, all out of Kaneohe Bay's 1st Marine Brigade.
On April 24 this group in support of 3/3 Marines rendezvoused with USS Nimitz off the coast of Iran as reserve in the ill-fated Operation Eagle Claw. Okinawa carried Sea Stallions. All members of the 31st received respective expeditionary medals. USS FF Barbey and guided missile cruiser Gridley served. Combat operations were replaced by regional exercises, which allowed training opportunities in a variety of countries. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the 31st MEU engaged in humanitarian operations, for example the floods in Bangladesh. In 1983, the 31st MEU was recalled from a combined exercise with local forces in Kenya, positioned in the Mediterranean Sea, its mission from September to October 1983 was to support the Multinational U. S. peacekeeping forces in Beirut during an intense period of complex political and life-threatening conditions in Lebanon. They took over the command operations, it was the 31st MEU's last military operation of that period and the unit was deactivated in May 1985 on ship off the shore of San Diego.
During this time the 31st MEU was based at Subic Bay Naval Station. The unit was reactivated as the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit on 9 September 1992. In 1994, the unit was relocated to its current home station in Okinawa, Japan; the flexibility of the MEU was demonstrated with the Iraq crisis in late 1998 regarding the regime not complying with the U. N. weapons inspections process. All four ARG ships had just completed Exercise Foal Eagle off the coast of Korea, were heading to various port visits for liberty, when each ship received the call in early Nov 1998 to sail to Okinawa to onload the 31st MEU. A significant portion of the 31st MEU’s 2000 Marines were engaged in urban warfare training in Guam when their message to return to Okinawa came in November; the rest were still in Okinawa, but a quarter of those were a new infantry battalion, just rotating in from
Battle of Nasiriyah
The Battle of Nasiriyah was fought between the US 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Iraqi forces from the 23rd March to 2nd April 2003 during the US-led invasion of Iraq. Nasiriyah is a city which lies along the banks of the Euphrates River in Dhi Qar Province, about 225 mi southeast of Baghdad, its population is made up entirely of Shiite Muslims. On the night of 24–25 March, the bulk of the Marines of Regimental Combat Team 1 passed through the city over the bridges and attacked north towards Baghdad; however fighting continued in the city until 1 April. On the morning of 23 March, a US Army supply convoy from the 507th Maintenance Company had mistakenly veered off Highway 8 and turned toward the city into enemy-held territory; the US vehicles ran into an ambush. Eleven American soldiers were killed and several were taken prisoner. However, a few soldiers managed to form a screen around their wounded, they were soon rescued by a company from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade under the command of Major William Peeples.
The original plan was for Task Force Tarawa to take and hold the two bridges inside Nasiriyah, creating a corridor for the RCT1 and 6th Engineer Support Battalion from Battle Creek, MI to pass north through the city along Route 7. Nasiriyah was the headquarters of the Iraqi Army's 3rd Corps, composed of the 11th Infantry Division, 51st Mechanized Infantry Division, 6th Armored Division—all at around 50 percent strength; the 51st operated in the south covering the oilfields, the 6th was north near Al Amarah, which left three brigade-sized elements of the 11th ID to guard the An Nasiriyah area. At around 06:00 on the morning of the 23rd March, an 18-vehicle convoy of 31 soldiers of the United States Army's 507th Maintenance Company and two soldiers of the 3rd Forward Support Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division missed a turn onto Highway 8 and mistakenly continued along Highway 7 into the city; the convoy was led by a supply officer with little combat training. Iraqi technical vehicles began shadowing the convoy as it passed an Iraqi checkpoint near the Euphrates River.
After passing the Al-Quds headquarters on the northern outskirts of the city, King realized that he was lost and the convoy began turning around to retrace its steps through the city. As the convoy turned left on to Highway 16. At about 07:00 it began to receive sporadic small arms fire, the source and direction of which could not be determined; the ambush was unlikely to have been set up in advance, because the Iraqis did not know which course the convoy would take. In the resulting chaos, the 507th became divided into three smaller groups as it attempted to move south, out of Nasiriyah; the first element of the convoy made it through unscathed, continued south to meet up with the Marines. Group 2 made it through the kill zone, although their vehicles were badly damaged and had to be abandoned. Group 3 was defeated. At least 15 of the 18 American transport vehicles in the convoy, ranging from Humvees to Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, were destroyed by small-arms fire, RPGs, mortar rounds, tank gunfire.
Some of them crashed while attempting to avoid incoming Iraqi fire. One truck was crushed by the traversing 105 mm gun barrel of a Type 69-QM tank. At 07:30, King's three remaining vehicles made contact with the tanks of Major Bill Peeples' Alpha Company, 8th Tank Battalion on Highway 7, about 10 kilometers south of Nasiriyah. On their approach to the city, one of Peeples' tankers noticed American vehicles in the road ahead. Peeples ordered his tanks forward to rescue as many soldiers as possible, they rolled up on ten survivors from Group 2 which had managed to escape the ambush and set up a hasty perimeter about 5 km south of the city. In total, 11 soldiers from the 507th had been killed, while six others were captured, including Private First Class Jessica Lynch, Specialist Shoshana Johnson and Private First Class Lori Piestewa. Piestewa died of her wounds soon afterward. After a delay, the Marines of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, attacked Nasiriyah from the south, using amphibious assault vehicles and Cobra gunships.
During this action, the Marines captured two bridges spanning the Euphrates River that were defended by Fedayeen and Ba'ath Party guerrilla soldiers. In heavy fighting, several Iraqi platoon-sized units, two ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" anti-aircraft weapons and several mortar and artillery positions were destroyed by a combined force of M1 Abrams tanks, Cobra helicopter gunships, the artillery of 1st Battalion, 10th Marines; the bloodiest day of the operations for the Marines was 23 March, when 18 men of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, were killed and eight Amphibious Assault Vehicles were disabled in heavy fighting with Iraqi forces around the Saddam Canal. The Marines were engaged by RPGs, artillery fire, as well as four Iraqi tanks hidden behind a building. A friendly-fire incident occurred when two A-10s from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard strafed the amphibious assault vehicles of Charlie Company by mistake, killing at least one Marine, as many as 17 Marines, over the course of multiple passes.
The A-10 strike was cleared by the battalion's forward air controller, with Bravo Company, bogged down on the eastern outskirts of the city. He was unaware that Marines were so far north. An investigation into the friendly-fire episode confirmed that friendly-fire was to blame, but "like most friendly-fire investiga
Somali Civil War
The Somali Civil War is an ongoing civil war taking place in Somalia. It grew out of resistance to the military junta led by Siad Barre during the 1980s. By 1988–90, the Somali Armed Forces began engaging various armed rebel groups, including the Somali Salvation Democratic Front in the northeast, the Somali National Movement in the northwest, the United Somali Congress in the south; the clan-based armed opposition groups managed to overthrow the Barre government in 1991. Various armed factions began competing for influence in the power vacuum and turmoil that followed in the south. In 1990–92 customary law temporarily collapsed due to the fighting; this precipitated the arrival of UNOSOM I UN military observers in July 1992, followed by larger peacekeeping forces. Factional fighting continued in the south. In the absence of a central government, Somalia became a "failed state"; the UN withdrew in 1995, having incurred significant casualties, but no central authority had yet been reestablished.
After the collapse of the central government, there was some return to customary and religious law in most regions. In 1991 and 1998, two autonomous regional governments were established in the northern part of the country; this led to a relative decrease in the intensity of the fighting, with SIPRI removing Somalia from its list of major armed conflicts for the years 1997 and 1998. In 2000, the Transitional National Government was established, followed by the Transitional Federal Government in 2004; the trend towards reduced conflict halted in 2005, sustained and destructive conflict took place in the south in 2005–07. However, the fighting was of intensity than in the early 1990s. In 2006, Ethiopian troops seized most of the south from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union; the ICU splintered into more radical groups, notably Al-Shabaab, which have since been fighting the Somali government and the AU-mandated AMISOM peacekeeping force for control of the country. Somalia topped the annual Fragile States Index for six years between 2008 and 2013.
In October 2011, following preparatory meetings, Kenyan troops entered southern Somalia to fight Al-Shabaab, to establish a buffer zone inside Somalia. Kenyan troops were formally integrated into the multinational force in February 2012; the Federal Government of Somalia was established in August 2012, constituting the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war. International stakeholders and analysts have subsequently begun to describe Somalia as a "fragile state", making some progress towards stability. In May 1986, Mohamed Siad Barre suffered serious injuries in an automobile accident near Mogadishu, when the car, transporting him smashed into the back of a bus during a heavy rainstorm, he was treated in a hospital in Saudi Arabia for head injuries, broken ribs and shock over a period of a month. Lieutenant General Mohamed Ali Samatar Vice President, subsequently served as de facto head of state for the next several months. Although Barre managed to recover enough to present himself as the sole presidential candidate for re-election over a term of seven years on December 23, 1986, his poor health and advanced age led to speculation about who would succeed him in power.
Possible contenders included his son-in-law General Ahmed Suleiman Abdille, at the time the Minister of the Interior, in addition to Samatar. In an effort to hold on to power, Barre's ruling Supreme Revolutionary Council became totalitarian and arbitrary; this caused opposition to his government to grow. Barre in turn tried to quell the unrest by abandoning appeals to nationalism, relying more and more on his own inner circle, exploiting historical clan animosities. By the mid-1980s, more resistance movements supported by Ethiopia's communist Derg administration had sprung up across the country. Barre responded by ordering punitive measures against those he perceived as locally supporting the guerrillas in the northern regions; the clampdown included bombing of cities, with the northwestern administrative center of Hargeisa, a Somali National Movement stronghold, among the targeted areas in 1988. In 1990, as fighting intensified, Somalia's first President Aden Abdullah Osman Daar and about 100 other Somali politicians signed a manifesto advocating reconciliation.
A number of the signatories were subsequently arrested. Barre's heavy-handed tactics further strengthened the appeal of the various rebel movements, although these groups' only common goal was the overthrow of his government, it played a major role in developing piracy in Somalia. By mid 1990, United Somali Congress rebels had captured most towns and villages surrounding Mogadishu, which prompted some to give Barre the ironic title'Mayor of Mogadishu.' In December the USC entered Mogadishu. Four weeks of battle between Barre's remaining troops and the USC ensued, over the course of which the USC brought more forces into the city. By January 1991, USC rebels had managed to defeat the Red Berets, in the process toppling Barre's government; the remainder of the government's forces finally collapsed. Some became irregular regional forces and clan militias. After the USC's victory over Barre's troops, the other rebel groups declined to cooperate with it, as each instead drew primary support from their own constituencies.
Among these other opposition movements were the Somali Patriotic Movement and Somali Democratic Alliance, a Gadabuursi group, formed in the northwest to counter the Somali National Movement Isaaq militia. For its part, the SNM refused to accept the legitimacy of the provisio
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. In 2009, official US troops were withdrawn, but American soldiers continued to remain on the ground fighting in Iraq, hired by defence contractors and private military companies; the U. S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U. S. President George W. Bush following the unrelated September 11 terrorist attacks. In October 2002, President Bush obtained congressional approval from a Democrat-led Senate and Republican-led House authorizing war-making powers.
The Iraq war began on 19 March 2003, when the U. S. joined by the U. K. and several coalition allies, launched a "awe" bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were overwhelmed as U. S. forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government. However, the power vacuum following Saddam's demise and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis, as well as a lengthy insurgency against U. S. and coalition forces. Many violent insurgent groups were supported by al-Qaeda in Iraq; the United States responded with a troop surge in 2007, a build up of 170,000 troops. The surge in troops gave greater security to Iraq’s government and military, was a success; the winding down of U. S. involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The U. S. formally withdrew all combat troops from Iraq by December 2011. However, with no stay-behind agreement or advisers left in Iraq, a new power vacuum was created and led to the rise of ISIS.
Nine months after President Trump was elected, U. S.-backed forces captured Raqqa. The Bush administration based its rationale for the war principally on the assertion that Iraq, viewed by the U. S. as a rogue state since the 1990–1991 Gulf War, possessed weapons of mass destruction and that there was concern about an active WMD program, that the Iraqi government posed a threat to the United States and its coalition allies. Select U. S. officials accused Saddam of harbouring and supporting al-Qaeda, while others cited the desire to end a repressive dictatorship and bring democracy to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of chemical weapons were found in Iraq, which were determined to be produced before the 1991 Gulf War, intelligence officials determined they were "so old they couldn't be used as designed." From 2004 to 2011, US troops and American-trained Iraqi troops encountered, on six reported occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons from years earlier in Saddam Hussein's rule. 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs were discovered.
The rationale of U. S. pre-war intelligence faced heavy criticism both domestically and internationally. From 2009 to 2011, the UK conducted a broad inquiry into its decision to go to war chaired by Sir John Chilcot; the Chilcot Report, published in 2016, concluded military action may have been necessary but was not the last resort at the time and that the consequences of invasion were underestimated. In the aftermath of the invasion, Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005. Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014; the al-Maliki government enacted policies that were seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority and worsening sectarian tensions. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate, eliciting another military response from the United States and its allies; the Iraq War caused over a hundred thousand civilian deaths and tens of thousands of military deaths.
The majority of deaths occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007. Strong international opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime began after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990; the international community condemned the invasion, in 1991 a military coalition led by the United States launched the Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Following the Gulf War, the US and its allies tried to keep Saddam in check with a policy of containment; this policy involved numerous economic sanctions by the UN Security Council. The inspections were carried out by the United Nations Special Commission. UNSCOM, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, worked to ensure that Iraq destroyed its chemical and nuclear weapons and facilities. In the decade following the Gulf War, the United Nations passed 16 Security Council resolutions calling for the complete elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Member states communicated their frustration over the years that Iraq was impeding the work of the special commission and failing to take its disarmament obligations.
Iraqi officials harass
Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected is a term for United States military light tactical vehicles produced as part of the MRAP program that are designed to withstand improvised explosive device attacks and ambushes. The United States Department of Defense MRAP program began in 2007 as a response to the increased threat of IEDs during the Iraq War. From 2007 until 2012, the MRAP program deployed more than 12,000 vehicles in the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan. Production of MRAP vehicles ended in 2012; this was followed by the MRAP All Terrain vehicle. In 2015, Oshkosh Corporation was awarded a contract to build the Oshkosh L-ATV as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, a lighter mine-resistant vehicle to replace the Humvee in combat roles and supplement the M-ATV. Light armored vehicles designed to resist land mines were first introduced in specialized vehicles in the 1970s by the Rhodesian Army, further developed by South African manufacturers, starting in 1974 with the Hippo armored personnel carrier.
The Casspir infantry mobility vehicle was developed for the South African Defence Force after 1980. In 2004, the TSG/FPI Cougar was designed by a British-led U. S. team, to a U. S. Marine Corps requirement, it became the springboard from. Because there are only two steel mills in the U. S. the Russian-owned Oregon Steel Mills and the International Steel Group, qualified to produce steel armor for the U. S. Department of Defense, it negotiated to ensure enough steel was available to keep pace with production; the U. S. military's MRAP program was prompted by U. S. casualties from IEDs during the Iraq War. A number designs of vehicle from various vendors were deployed as part of the MRAP program. MRAP vehicles have "V"-shaped hulls to deflect explosive forces from land mines or IEDs below the vehicle, thereby protecting vehicle and passengers. MRAPs weigh 14 to 18 tons, 9 feet high, cost between US$500,000 and US$1,000,000; the following companies submitted designs: Armor Holdings BAE Systems Force Protection Inc General Dynamics Land Systems General Purpose Vehicles Navistar International Military Group Oshkosh Truck Protected Vehicles Incorporated Textron Marine & Land Systems There were plans to integrate the Crows II remote weapon station, the Frag Kit 6 anti-EFP armor, the Boomerang anti-sniper system on many MRAPs in combat.
The MRAP class is separated into three categories according to size. The Mine-Resistant Utility Vehicle is lighter, designed for urban operations. Category 1 MRAP vehicles ordered or in service: BAE Caiman 4x4 – 2,800 ordered. BAE OMC RG-31 BAE RG-33 4x4 Force Protection Cougar H 4x4 – 1,560 vehicles ordered. International MaxxPro – 5,250 vehicles ordered. Textron M1117 Guardian – Removed from competition; as of 18 May 2007, Textron had been notified by the USMC that they will not be receiving any additional orders as part of the MRAP program. Protected Vehicles Inc./Oshkosh Truck Alpha – Although 100 vehicles were ordered, Oshkosh was notified by the Marine Corps on 29 June 2007 that it would receive no further orders for the PVI Alpha due to "concern regarding overall vehicle survivability" and other fundamental design deficiencies of an automotive and ergonomic nature, adding that remediation "would require significant redesign". The Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle is designed for missions including convoy lead, troop transport, explosive ordnance disposal and combat engineering.
Category II MRAP vehicles ordered or in service: Force Protection Cougar HE 6x6 – 950 vehicles ordered. BAE RG-33L 6x6 GDLS RG-31E – 600 vehicles ordered. Thales Australia Bushmaster IMV – Has been removed from the competition as of 7 August 2007. According to a Thales press release, "The Thales Bushmaster vehicle offer for the US MRAP Phase 1 Program was not selected due to an evolving requirement, not due to a lack of marketing or lobbying effort…. Thales and Oshkosh remain confident of future potential sales of Bushmaster under ongoing Phases of MRAP in the US." Protected Vehicles Inc Golan – 60 vehicles ordered. International MaxxPro XL – 16 vehicles ordered. BAE Caiman 6x6 – 16 vehicles ordered. Force Protection Buffalo MRV for mine- and IED-clearing functionality, with 6 seats. In 2004, the United States Marine Corps reported that no troops had died in more than 300 IED attacks on Cougar vehicles. In 2007, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decided to increase MRAP vehicle orders. On 8 May 2007, Gates announced that acquisition of MRAPs was the Department of Defense's highest priority for fiscal year 2007.
A 2008 GAO report found that Marine combat planners had delayed "an urgent request in 2005 for 1,169 MRAPs" because then-Commandant General Michael Hagee wanted to preserve funding for up-armoring Humvees, believing they were the quickest way to protect Marines from roadside bomb threats. In late 2007, the Marine Corps planned to replace all Humvees in combat zones with MRAP vehicles, although that changed; as armored vehicles were considered an "urgent need" in Afghanistan, the MRAP program was funded under an "emergency war budget". The US spent $50 billion in 2007 to produce altogether 27,000 MRAPs. Brig. General Michael Brogan was in charge of the Marine MRAP program. General Frank Kelley, United States Marine Corps Systems Comman