VERY new weapons for the military

This is a discussion on VERY new weapons for the military within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was just reading the 28 May issue of Army Times, and there are several articles about future weapons for the military. There was one ...

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    VERY new weapons for the military

    I was just reading the 28 May issue of Army Times, and there are several articles about future weapons for the military. There was one (obligatory) article about possible replacements for the M4 in the short term, but the really interesting one was about longer-term advancements. A few highlights:

    1) A replacement for the M249 SAW. This is the flagship of the LSAT (Lightweight Small Arms Technologies) program, and will produce a light machine gun capable of semi- or full-auto fire (at around 600rpm) that weighs just 9.6lbs (compared to the 17.5 for the SAW). The real change, however, is that the weapon will be designed to fire a “telescoped cased” round and a caseless round. The TC will weigh 33% less than standard cased ammo, and the caseless will weigh less than half of standard. The TC rounds are in advanced testing right now, with live-fire testing of the caseless to begin next year. It seems, on paper, to be a true advancement, though there are – of course – bugs that still need to be worked out.

    2) A titanium receiver for the M240 series (type classified as the M240E6). This will shave 5 lbs. off of the M240B’s weight.

    3) A new pistol, and a new “Personal Defense Weapon,” but these are both lower on the priority scale right now. The Army is watching the USAF’s (pretty much stalled) efforts to get a new pistol, and is not taking the lead.

    4) An improved M2HB .50 cal. machine gun (the M2A1) that doesn’t require you to set the headspace, and features a quick-change barrel system. (The totally new XM 307 25mm machine gun is in limbo due to funding cuts).

    5) New ammo case designs (not as drastic as the telescoped case and caseless designs) to reduce weight, including possibly using stainless steel cases. Caseless seems to be the focus of the program in the long term, however.

    6) Removing all lead from small arms ammo, in accordance with a Congressional mandate for “green” bullets. The Army plans to use this as an impetus to come up with a more effective bullet design, not just a “green” one.

    Some interesting stuff, though the earliest we can expect to see the new SAW in service is 2014. Where’s my Phased Plasma Rifle in the 40-watt range?
    Last edited by OPFOR; May 31st, 2007 at 02:38 PM.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Wink PDW and the Handgun...my predictions

    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    3) A new pistol, and a new “Personal Defense Weapon,” but these are both lower on the priority scale right now. The Army is watching the USAF’s (pretty much stalled) efforts to get a new pistol, and is not taking the lead.
    OPFOR, my prediction is that the new H&K45 co-designed by Larry Vickers gets the nod for the new handgun. The PDW may be taken by FN's P90...you know that thing they used as a gun prop on the sci-fi tv show "Stargate: SG-1?"

    I wouldn't be surprised if the M4 weren't given an upgrade to the H&K 416 in the short run. Already I'm hearing that SOCOM has taken the lead and ordered several hundred upper receivers.

    What happens to caseless ammo if it gets wet? Does it fall apart? I don't trust that stuff.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    The HK 416 and the FN SCAR are both being used by SOCOM right now, in limited numbers. They (SOCOM) have pretty much said that they are going to get a new weapon, the rest of the military be damned...but it hasn't happened on a large scale yet. Who knows, the Big Army followed them into the M4, maybe they'll follow to the 416/417 or the SCAR L/H. Of course, in ten years we may have completly changed our ammunition and such, so the whole concept may need to be re-evaluated...

    I can't really speculate on what pistol we'll end up with, but my bet is it will be a .45ACP. I'm torn on that issue myself - I see real benefits in the 9mm platform, though the ball ammo limitation does seriously hamper its effectiveness.

    The P90 is a very interesting concept, but are we going to add 5.7mm to the inventory? If so, why not adopt the FN FiveseveN as our sidearm? On paper, there seem to be some effective rounds for that caliber, but I haven't seen nearly enough "real-world" stuff to sell me entirely.

    There are several major problems with caseless ammo. Right now, it is at the stage where it can stand getting wet, some rough treatment, etc. The military is working to make sure that the hardened propellant that forms the "case" is as sturdy and reliable as traditional cased ammo. As it stands, the hardened propellant is so hard that it requires a booster charge (that is ignited by the primer) in order to ignite it. It's pretty solid, stable stuff, but not quite up to the levels we want it yet.

    Another big hurdle is heat. Traditional brass-cased ammo sends a lot of heat out with the case, and also seals the chamber on its own. Caseless weapons will have to seal the chamber as a function of the weapon, not the case, and will need to deal with the heat that would have flown out the ejection port in a sunk into a few grams of heat.

    Lots of details to work out, certainly, but it looks like the military is serious about caseless this time around. Of course, we were serious about the Comanche, and the Paladin, and the Sgt. York....
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    The TC will weigh 33% less than standard cased ammo, and the caseless will weigh less than half of standard. The TC rounds are in advanced testing right now, with live-fire testing of the caseless to begin next year. It seems, on paper, to be a true advancement, though there are – of course – bugs that still need to be worked out.
    I am certainly not the best informed person on the topic, but didn't H&K have the G-11 that was developed in the late 80's and early 90's that fired caseless ammo and saw limited use by German special forces types
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    I'll believe it when I see it. The Army's been trying to replace it's small arms for twenty years now, and we're still using the same infantry weapons we had when we started. We could have had a new, more reliable rifle in a new, more lethal caliber using conventional, low-risk technology two decades ago. Instead, huge amounts of money have been spent on programs that were supposed to provide huge leaps in accuracy and lethality (Advanced Combat Rifle and OICW) without anything ever reaching the troops. The military is focused on trying to find some new, high-tech wonder weapon, rather than fixing existing problems using available technology.

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    OPFOR, have you ever watched that show on Sci-Fi "Future Weapons?" (or something like that) It sounds like something you would like.


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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    OPFOR, have you ever watched that show on Sci-Fi "Future Weapons?" (or something like that) It sounds like something you would like.

    Future Weapons is a lot of hype, and a little substance. It's similar to the "McHistory" you get from the History Channel and such. Don't get me wrong, I like the channel and the show (or, I would, if I had TV ), but it's not a great place to get detailed info about complex subjects. I've heard enough dumb, misguided, and out-and-out false statements on shows like that to take them with a HUGE grain of salt.

    As for the "I'll believe it when I see it" idea - I'm right there with you. But, if we are going to change, I think it should be a major change and not the incremental stuff we've been doing for 40 years (M16/A1/A2/M4/A3/A4...SAW, Para-SAW, etc). Neither the HK nor the SCAR (nor anything else, really) is a HUGE improvement over the M4. They're all still 5.56N weapons, they fire from the same mags, firing the same ammo, weigh about the same, have about the same effectiveness, etc. Cutting 45% off the weight of my LMG, or 51% off the weight of my ammo, or something along those lines is a pretty big step.

    And yes, the G11 existed 20 years ago, but it wasn't quite ready for prime time. All the bugs with caseless ammo hadn't been worked out, there was no push from the US military, etc etc. It seems that now, we think we can make a viable caseless weapon and ammo. But, we'll have to wait and see.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    (or, I would, if I had TV )
    I don't have TV either and I've never watched the show once but I know this one guy who just RAVES about it... LOL. I thought I'd share the love.

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    I think that ammo advances will drive weapon advances. If a realible caseless ammo is devolped then a weapon will follow to use it. I too like the 9mm, just not FMJ 9mm.

    I just worry about the civilian market once a major change in ammo happens. I mean, I don't want to have to restock all of my guns and ammo. But this being the goverment i don't have to worry about it happening quickly
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    "An improved M2HB .50 cal. machine gun (the M2A1) that doesn’t require you to set the headspace, and features a quick-change barrel system."

    Was the senior firing range advisor to the Saudi National Guard for several years. We had at least five or six injuries each year from failure to set headspace and timing on the M2. We also had two soldiers die from this failure. One had his leg alongside the gun and a piece of brass hit the femoral artery.

    Chartered Industries of Singapore sells a retrofit for the M-2. You set headspace and timing one time for each barrel. For some reason the US Army never bought them.

    FN also has a retrofit for the M2 that eliminates the need to set headspace and timing. Some Saudi units had this done in country in 1990.

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    The M2A1 has the headspace set at the factory, as I understand it. What will replace "setting the headspace and timing" on the EIB test?

    I won't get into the quality of the Saudi National Guard, but if you watch the video of the attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah back in 2004, you can clearly see them running away from the fight...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    "The M2A1 has the headspace set at the factory, as I understand it. What will replace "setting the headspace and timing" on the EIB test?"

    From the FN Herstal website.
    Link: http://www.fnherstal.com/html/Index.htm

    "Easy and quick conversion of M2HB models. The difference between the old M2HB version and the FN Herstal QCB configuration is relatively small in terms of specific parts. M2HB machine guns can be converted to QCB versions: - at customer location - by the armorer - without complex tools and machines - in less than 30 minutes per weapon."

    You probably got that right. Got have something to test on. Never said the SANG were the ultimate warriors. Like the Iraqis, they will run in a heartbeat. If you can make a unit into good ten minute warriors that is a serious accomplishment. But they did see the need for the FN retrofit.

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    All I can say is we've come a long ways since my basic training days with the M1 Garand.

    Ah, progress.


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    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

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    Terry

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    Ever since shooters burned down LWRC has been using Blue Ridge Aresnal's range for testing their newest gun to be going in for the bid to replace the USMC SAW's. They brought it in because they were actually on their way to do an episode of Future Weapons. I got to shoot it. It was COOOOOOLLL. Although not as advanced as the newer stuff you said with caseless ammo but rather a improvement on technology of the past.

    Their gun uses 80% parts of the current M16 and fires semi or full auto. The gun fires semi from an closed bolt position then when you switch the selector to OGA ( where the full auto switch would be) it fires from an open bolt position. It was SWEEET. I asked the guy if I could see how it worked and he said No way. Its a piston gun not a gas gun I do know that, but it felt like a M16 but had a cyclic rate similiar to the saw when firing full auto. He also said something about a quad stack M16 Mag.
    “Are you a thermometer or a thermostat, do you reflect or become what is happening in the room or do you change the atmosphere, reset the temperature when you come into the room”?--Chuck Swindoll

    Its not about guns...Its about Freedom!

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