March 11, 2008

A Possible Answer to a Pressing Question

One thing that has generated a lot of buzz and frustration amongst those interested in military affairs is the current choice of rifle and round by the US military.

The M-16 is a 50 year old design, the M-14 is slightly older and based on a WW2 design. Both have been surpassed by developments around the world..

The X-M8 was widely regarded as the most likely replacement for the M-16 and, indeed proved to be astonishingly rugged and reliable. There were a few bugs including a nontrivial ergonomics issue but this and the others could have been easily fixed. Yet the Army canceled the program. Recently the Army conducted sand tests and the M-4 (an M-16 derivative) did rather poorly in comparison to others. Yet the army is determined to continue buying M-4s.

Why?

Well, it looks like they don't want to waste money to retool now, when something far better may be on the way.

The Army is conducting tests with both caseless and plastic cased telescoped ammunition. Both of these promise vast reductions in weight and bulk and the caseless ammo in particular is a huge advance in these areas.

Here is a video of the field tests.



This seems to just be the case telescoped ammunition...as there are...you know...cases being ejected.

For those that haven't seen it here is the May '07 unclassified LSAT presentation. I draw a glimmer of hope from the fact that this is stressing scalability somewhat more than the 2006 version.

Thus there is some hope that the final projectile is 6-7mm intermediate round that could replace both our current rifle calibers.

The main goal however, seems to be the big reduction in weight for the infantryman..a worthy goal indeed.

Lets hope this works out.


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