Caseless ammo

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Gook, Dec 12, 2005.

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  1. The West Germans were experiementing with this (HK G11?) just before Germany got reunified and all of a sudden cash got very short trying to bring the East up to speed... Hence the G36.

    But the results look promising. Pity it was killed off due to cash!

    A bullpup rifle firing caseless 6.8mm, with a SUSAT type optical sight, and UGL and LSW versions, would be a pretty good mix, no? Caseless technology is expensive so perhaps it could be issued to the infantry only (since the other arms get tanks or howitzers or helos anyway and using their L85s is secondary).

    Of course it will never happen, it would cost money and be too effective for HMGs liking, it just looks like a good way to solve the 5.56 vs 7.62 argument while getting in some decent new technology that should be made use of. Shame the Krauts went to all the trouble and never got it in service!

    My question (anybody in the SASC here?) is, could a LMG a la Minimi be produced that would fire linked caseless? Or does caseless need to be kept in a mag to stop from "rubbing away" into powder and getting damp? Answers on a postcard...

  2. It would be possible to use a varnish or laquer to prevent problems with damp, but the risk of damage from physical impact would remain.

    A halfway house would be the use of combustible cartridges, something that was experimented with for tank guns, but there don't seem to have been enough real advantages over existing bag charge systems to see it taken further.

    Caseless ammunition weapons have some fairly significant technical challenges attached. The absence of a case means the weapon will heat up more rapidly than a conventional weapon. Effectively sealing the breech of the weapon without a soft brass cartridge to help out is also a problem, and it's still neccessary to acces the breech from outside the weapon in order to clear stoppages.

    It wasn't just the absence of cash that saw the G11 quietly slipped onto the shelf marked 'Nice idea.....'
  3. Caseless ammunition has some pretty big benefits though. It lets you reach 2000rpm rate of fire for your average Tom. And the best thing about that isnt super high rate of fire for FIBUA or CQB. It gives you a better probability of a kill at long range too, as the rounds are downrange and in the guys chest before your body and the rifle shift position due to recoil and take you off target. And that goes for 3 round bursts (60 milliseconds?) not just single shot.

    Caseless weapons could have a lot of advantages for the infantry just as combustible charges could for armour. I just can't understand why the US seems to want to upgrade its M16s and put a new handguard on the G36 and call it an XM8 to try and develop the next infantry small arm. Normally they are raring to spend vast amounts of money on stuff like this that we can then adopt later! Although I guess 6.8mm sounds like a step in the right direction...
  4. Which would mean that the G11's 50 magazine would last.......1.5 seconds.

    Not exactly conducive to ammunition conservation or taking the strain off the resupply chain. And that's without addressing the matter of the heat energy released by those combusting rounds going solely into the barrel of the weapon for dissapation rather than a portion of it being very rapidly dumped by the mechanical removal of a hot case.

    Overheating barrels accelerate barrel wear, reducing accuracy and increasing the costs of keeeping the weapon in service due to the need for rebarreling.

    It's do-able but it makes the weapon more complicated, and in weapon design as indeed in all engineering, more complicated is more likely to fail.
  5. reguarding the H+K G-11 caseless rifle.

    theres been a lot of storys about why it was binned,
    no money to produce or develop it,( yet H+K can pour millions into other research like the G-36 series, the new auto grenade launchers ect)
    it was too costly to produce, (as well not working , this is another factor)
    Nato stopped it,(a favourite on the septic forums, god knows why Nato would want to stop a private companys small arms development)
    the Germans gov had no money to continue development because of reunification ( H+K is a multinational coorperation, it was owned by Bae during reunification)
    ect ect ect.

    they spent just over a 1/4 century and millions trying to make it work, i'v lost count of the number of spec changes the round went through between '77 when they started and '94 when they gave up.
    there are insurmountable ploblems with the caseless concept, ignition of primer compound with out being confined within a metallic cup, the ploblem of 'cook off' rounds igniting when being fed into a hot chamber and the sensitivity of ammo to humidity and temperature just to name a few of the major ones.

    HK themselfs have press releases stating that G11 reserch and development has been dropped because these issues.

    the americans tried to develop a caseless 25mm cannon for the F-15 when it was in development in the late '60s to early '70s this was called the GAU-7, they gave up on the concept after spending a fortune too and stuck in the 'ol rotary m61 20mm instead.

    caseless ammo is not possible until radical new powders and primer compounds are developed,

    the bottom line is if caseless ammo was a feasable working reliable system, it would be in production and selling. it aint, so its not. QED.


    (most of this Cut and Pasted from a previous posts)
  6. The US thinks so. They have recently revived their caseless research programme at ARDEC in support of their 'Lightweight Machine Gun Science & Technology Objective'. This is aimed at developing technologies which could be used for a Minimi replacement.

    See this link (warning - large download): Caseless Ammunition & Advances in the Characterization of High Ignition Temperature Propellant
  7. A bag charge is a 'combustible cartridge' in any case (pun intended). The only thing ejected on recoil is the vent tube (and the recoil indicator if you're firing full charge with a gun that hasn't been 'pulled back' correctly).

    How would you get obturation on small arms without a cartridge? Tanks use highly polished obturators - would that be a practical feature on an infantry weapon?
  9. I'm not familiar with the weapon. Is that an indication that it wasn't in use for very long?

    As for the obturators on the Vickers L11 and beyond - try getting the bloody scorch marks off them and you'll see how practical they are ;)
  10. I should have qualified that further by saying a combustible rigid cartridge
  11. At which point I would have pointed out that an APFSDS bag charge IS a rigid cartridge. Don't be confused by the name 'bag charge'. Only the HESH (half charge) is in a calico bag.

  12. GDav, I slouch corrected (I would stand but I'm in the office and people would expect me to make them a cup of tea if I stand up)

    My knowledge is clearly out of date, especially if even the Indians are using this 'innovative' technology :lol:


    And manufacturing it to high standards

  13. LOL - I was waiting for you to catch me out by telling me that they'd changed the ammo in CR2.
  14. Work well for those Colonial Marines in that documentary on TV where they were fighting those aliens on LV426. 10mm exploding tipped caseless I seem to remember! :wink:
  15. Or at all, if at all.

    The rifle achieved recommended-for-adoption status in the Bundeswehr, and the request for funds/appropriation was sent to the Bundestag for debate. The politicians decided at the time (1990/unification era) that they had better things to do with their money than buy a revolutionary new rifle, and said no.

    Thus, it never entered full-scale production, and no Army ever adopted it. The Tank-netters say that the few hundered that were built found their way into service with the Border Guards or some other such force, but I've not been able to verify that one way or the other. Anyone got a copy of Jane's Infantry Weapons?