End in sight for the SA80!!!

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for the SA80...in my daily perusals of the broadsheets, I came across this:

Army to scrap 'unreliable' SA-80 rifle
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 11/08/2002)

The SA-80, the Army's much-maligned assault rifle which failed repeatedly during operations in Afghanistan, is to be scrapped, The Telegraph can reveal.

Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, has decided that the weapon should be withdrawn from service in four years' time following complaints that it jammed and misfired in dusty desert conditions.

The decision is a highly embarrassing U-turn for the Ministry of Defence, which has previously insisted that there are no problems with the weapon. Officials have blamed its failures in the field on soldiers' inadequate cleaning of the rifle.

The MoD is attempting to defend its position by saying that it had always planned to replace the rifle in 2008 and is merely bringing that date forward because there is a "confidence" problem with the rifle.

One senior officer, however, described the MoD's position as a damaging fudge. "Either this weapon is good enough for British troops or it isn't," he said. "If it is, then keep it in service: if it isn't, then scrap it now. This halfway house approach doesn't do anybody any good. What kind of message does it send out to the troops?"

The decision also calls into question Mr Hoon's decision in June 2000 to spend £92 million upgrading the original SA-80, which had been beset with problems since it entered service in 1988, rather than replacing it with a different weapon with an established reliability record.

The main failings of the SA-80, which was modified more than 100 times, were that it could not be fired in the left-handed position otherwise ejected rounds hit the firer in the face; it was difficult to maintain in adverse weather conditions and the magazine fell out of the rifle when carried against the body.

Most of those faults have since been corrected, although it still cannot be fired in the left-handed position. A report due to be published this week will state that although improved, the new upgraded SA-80 A2 is still unreliable in dusty conditions and fails to fire properly at altitude.

The report was drawn up by troops from the Defence Logistics Organisation and a team from Heckler and Koch, who carried out the upgrade, after Royal Marines based in Afghanistan complained that it jammed during operations.

The investigating team conducted a number of trials in "operational" conditions. Although the report states that when cleaned properly it is a "reliable weapon" it adds that the SA-80 A2 tended to fail at altitudes above 10,000ft and suffered in dusty conditions.

A senior defence official conceded: "A decision has been taken to take it out of service two years early. Admittedly, the rifle does have a few problems but no weapon is perfect and this is probably as good as anything around at the moment. There is a confidence problem with it."

Although the new replacement date is four years away, the MoD will soon begin a series of trials to see which weapon should replace it.

A defence official added: "The SA-80 was a weapon designed by committee. It was meant to be all things to all people and it had to be British-built - but in the end it was almost a disaster. We won't make that mistake again. The next rifle will be the best available."
The MOD had always planned on replacing the SA 80 in 2008? They must think we're as daft as them.  Anyway, looks like the 'new improved' SA80A3 will be out in 2008!!.....oh!.....I'll not be needing one then...... ;D


if this is true good.we have all know it is a peice of shit from the first time it was taken on the range. personal the first day of firing on changing from the slr we had a breach explosion and had to stope firing. not the best start. :- :mad:
we told the bloke who came to see us and ask about kit performance the sa80 was cr#p and that was after gulf war one in 91. maybee his report has just been read or the people are dislexic and read "this rifle is rubbish" to be "fine piece of kit nothing like it"
When my Bn first pulled the wrappers off the new toy they found at least two weapons with solid barrels.  They had not been drilled out.  How that got through quality control, Lord knows.


but at least the SA80 A1,2,3 whatever, won't be wasted - they'll just pile all that crap onto the TA and we can use them for about 20 years before we come into line with the regs. But by then, regs will have moved onto something else.


no, what I'm saying is, the TA are way behind the regulars with regard to kit. We've only been in combat 95 for about 18 months. So when all the regs get a nice new shiny weapon, we'll still be using the old SA80.
And what MG is trying to say is that a lot of TA units were given the SA80 before a lot of reg units. There was a big storm about it at the time.
Actually SB , with our rumoured tasking in deployment role, I think you'll find we'll be using something nicer.

But, I can see the Corps sticking with the SA80, while Teeth Arms get the M16-C7 or G36 with any luck. Even the G3 would be better. Unless we really stick our tongues up the spammies arrses and get this new ICS/ICW that's rumoured to be coming into service.

Big Gun with a grenade launcer........

"We got zips on the wire......Git some"......

Sorry, watched that EXCELLENT AirCav documentary on BBC2 last night, made me want to dig a hole in the garden and lay claymores

"even the G3 would be better"!!! G3's rock!! I'll have one if they're going round. And I suggest if that's you pre-coffee not to have any.
Oneof the rumpurs that I heard from a good source was that only cerain units, Paras, RM, and that's pretty much it would be issued with a new weapon, and EVERYONE else would remain with the SA80. Furthering the 2 tier Forces concept that appears to be in ever growing favour. lIke the Polish Army really. Oh, and Minimi's are about to become all the range this season to..


Verd - ever thought about doing RSA typing?  It's a shame this doesn't have the autocorrect function like windows - mind you, it's funny reading your mistakes too. :D
You and I might think that the priority for the new weapon will be its performance/reliability, but that is unlikely to be a political priority (how many politicians will have to rely on the thing after all?).  More likely the priorities will be something like:

1.  Cost (including the cost to British industry of buying foreign)
2.  The need to be seen to do something (remember this new weapon will not come into service until 2006 at the earliest.  It will then take years for any faults to become a major issue - people still trot out the "all-new-weapons-have-teething-problems" mantra for SA 80 even now; and who can remember which administration actually gave the go-ahead for it?)
3.  Cost.

Luckily a British owned firm makes the G36 and it looks like a good bit of kit.  But I wouldn't get your hopes up over the M4 or C7 (although I suppose we might buy second hand M16A2s from the Yanks; that would be cheap).  And don't forget that the G36 you are looking at now is the 2 litre GTI showroom model.  We will buy the 900 cc diesel version without the alloy wheels or the snazzy cup holder.  And I don't reckon iron sighted units will even get that, adding to the danger that one of the (many) changes the MOD will demand is that the G36 we buy must use the same magazine as the SA 80 / AR15 family.  A minor and moronic detail that will probably cause the British Army version to be half as reliable as anyone else's.

Bah!  Humbug! :mad:


from a website I just found:-

The G36 gas system does not direct fouling back into the weapon’s interior like conventional gas operated rifles. This insures reliable operation even after firing more than 15,000 rounds without cleaning. The polymer components can easily be cleaned with water-based cleaning solutions, or even water.

I like this the best - beats using coke on your gas parts! Oops, I mean scotchbright!
Pardon my ignorance folks....musketry is not really my fetish......but wasn't the G36 experienceing problems recently?     I'm sure I read that somewhere...........maybe it was all just a bad dream  ???

Why can't we just have AK47's..........tested and proven.......and as for a cost cutting exercise to keep the bean counters happy...........they are cheap and readily available from major outlets such as 'Mr Kosovos Field & Sports' and 'Afghan Bad Bastar*s 'R' Us'..............

I think I've just found my ressetlement course..........'Gun Running for Non Accountants!' ;D
Knowing our luck we will end up with the ol' Brown Bess on the grounds that it was tried & tested.
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