GPMG - Replace, enhance or leave well enough alone?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by napier, Mar 8, 2005.

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  1. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    The GPMG has been in service for over 30 years and could remain so until 2020. Although it is tried and tested, it is beginning to show its age in terms of performance, reliability and maintainability. There is clearly a requirement for a weapon system or systems to achieve the current target effect or better, so - bearing in mind the wide variety of roles it is currently used in across the 3 services - what is the future (new weapon(s), ammo, enhancements)?

    (and yes, this is a project I've been set - but I presumed that there are sufficient spotters on here who like making their views known in public, and it is a fairly interesting topic.)
  2. If the Spams have just replaced the M60 with the M240 (read L7 GPMG), why?

    Imho, either buy new ones, supplemented by .50 HMG's (to 'reach out and touch somebody') or buy the MG3 (MG42 in 7.62mm)
  3. One good thing with the M60 was a ? Stelite barrel: could take many more rouds than that of the GPMG before it needed changing.

    Makes sense to me.
  4. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    Herstal managed to knock out stellite liners for the bbls on the MAG, for some reason the British engineers could never master this.
  5. Trouble with the 60 was that the bipod was attached to the barrel. Needed a mitt as well to replace the barrel. Agreed on stelite barrels:
    New FN Mags with Stelite barrels?
  6. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    One of the ways I'm thinking is that I need to look at the target effect required/desired in each role (e.g. light role - defeat CRISAT man at 600m, SF - as above at 1100m, LLAD - scare pilots, etc.) and see whether 1 weapon can acheive all required effects. The main issue with the GPMG is that it is General Purpose - i.e. too heavy for a section weapon and too light for true sustained fire. I will be visiting all the usual suspects (DInf FD Branch, ITDU, dstl, etc) for the operational requirements and technical stuff anyway - but some informed gut feeling is always good. I'm fully aware of the logistic advantages of 1 weapon for lots of jobs, but for the purpose of this I want to look at all options.
  7. Bren gun
    Vickers MMG
    Bofors 40mm

  8. how about a minimi and lsw for section fire support, and keep the gpmgs in the sf role, and the various other roles they do
  9. Either buy some new MAGs, or buy MG3s with heavier bolts to keep the rate of fire down to something more managable (i.e. get it down from 1200 to 800 rpm). The MG3 is also a significantly cheaper beast than the MAG, and is much simpler (no separate gas system, for instance). You do need a glove for the hot barrel though, since it falls out the side & has no handle.

    If you're also considering the possibility of going back to more 'diverse' wpns as opposed to a GPMG, howsabout this:

    Updated L4 LMG made with as much alloy & stampings as possible at section level LMG (unless troops are happy with the MINIMI's knockdown & long-range performance in the LMG role)
    MAG/MG3 in SF role as MMG
    Browning HMG

    Just my twopenn'orth
  10. If you're staying with 7.62, then bringing the weight down too far would screw up the accuracy as the Aussies, Canucks & Israelis found out with the FN FALO.
    The FN MAG has lots of supporters, so why not "improve the breed" rather than start from scratch?
  11. Haven't come across a better GPMG than the MAG, and I take the "half full" view that its "light enough for a section weapon, and heavy enough for SF". My own personal experience is that on ops nobody, but nobody, complains about lugging a MAG, if its a choice between that and a 5.56mm as support weapon.

    I think it'd be a serious error to contemplate replacing the MAG with a mix of "light" and "heavy" MGs, mainly because in the cheapskate British Army, you'd simply never achieve a weapon establishment to match the flexibility of the MAG. Can you seriously imagine the MoD giving you two sets of weapons: "well today its VCP, so we'll take the SF 50 cal, and tomorrow we're on patrol, so we'll take the Minimis instead"?!

    In fact, the only reason the British Army has issues of "maintenence & reliability" is because it is flogging to death 30-year old weapons which clearly have a finite service life, instead of buying new replacements in good time. Q: Why did the SLR end its days with a reputation as a rattly, inaccurate & unreliable rifle? A: Because they were nearly 40 years old and had been rebuilt several times each on average.

    Whilst the GPMG/MAG is fine as a weapon, the real root issue is probably the current problem with the service ammo mix: most nations seem to try a 5.56 LSW or GPMG of some kind, before reverting to ..... the 7.62mmm MAG. Maybe if/when the US does another unilateral rifle ammo change to 6.8mm or whatever, then maybe a 6.8mm MG coming in at a lighter weight than the current MAG will give give sufficient firepower to be the new GPMG of choice.
  12. Teslar Coils all round. Except in marshy areas.
  13. might as well bin the c2 sight never used for real
  14. On what scale is the GPMG issued in the Infantry today ie. how many per platoon/company/battalion? I thought it was two per rifle platoon but I have read conflicting reports. Does it vary between light role and mech? Is there still a MG platoon in light inf battalions?
  15. GPMG trialed 'live' during the Radfan dust-up by Para Bn. Used butter when oil ran out and it worked a treat. Still burnt my hand on barrell change tho! - careless! Been in use 40 years!