Spoke to someone who trialled it somewhere hot and wet and he said it was certainly a lot better than the old one, but that, since he had the choice, he wouldn't be switching over from the M4 as all the Kraut engineering in the world isn't going to solve the problems of the ergonomics being crap if you're caught in a firefight and need to do things v quickly.
Have seen a briefing paper that points out that:
We've spent nigh on £90m making the thing far far far more reliable than it will ever need to be (MRBF something outrageous...in the thousands of rounds bracket) - yet fofr double the money we could have had a completely new, truly state of the art system (G36 anyone ?).
However, it is now significantly heavier - heavier than an M4 WITH a 203 ! The magazines in particular are heavier and the problem of 'balance' when patrolling for long periods with the weapon in the shoulder haven't been solved.
That £90m hasn't solved any of the ergonomics problems.
It hasn't solved the maintenance problem of the poorly manufactured stamped metal-spot welded nature of much of the 'non-functioning' parts of the weapon. In fact, spending the money on the reliability problems means there is now no money to do the upgrade/refurbishment that was programmed to replace some of the bits that bend, rust and collect shite.
You-know-who looked long and hard at it, laughed, and are re-equipping with a version of the M4 - you have to ask why.
Surely everyone is missing the point here?
Yeah 90 million is a little steep to continue the life of the beloved SA80 but think of the money that the MOD have saved in the long term! This is an MOD interested in image and PR. That awkward plastic rifle is a powerful recognition feature for the worlds press, I mean what other bugger has one?
If we just threw the towel in and got a HKG3 we would have to redo all our recruiting posters, videos etc. the bill for Saatchi and Saatchi alone would have topped 90 million!
So I'm afgraid the SA80 A2 will be with us for some time to come, you see now that the bowler hat and umbrella are no more in British culture we need another great hallamrk to fall back on- after all we are supposed to be a nation of glorious losers so what better than the SA80?
Long live the Queen.
I've used them here in Canada since 1993, I've had ONE live round jam in all that time. I've also been seconded to British forces twice and was subjected to the SA80, I found the weapon lovely to carry, a novelty to fire but a pain in the arse to strip and assemble compared to the simplicity (I am Infantry so simple is good) of the Armalite. They're accurate, light and very robust. The mods that some countries make are quite good as well, such as the heavier barrels of the Canadians and the Dutch. . . mind you, I did find some rather candid photos of the Dutch on Operations so not EVERYTHING they do is un the up and up. . . .
Apparently it costs £450 to modernise each SA80 to A2 standard. They cost over £200 each in the first place. That's over £650 for a badly balanced lump of stamped tin with buttons and levers in the strangest places. Well, I just looked at a few American gun nut sites and a brand new M-16A2 is $950 retail, which is less than £600. Somehow I don't think we'd pay that much if we bought 200,000 of the things, more like £350. But of course that would mean MOD admitting that they'd f**ked up, and we all know how likely that is.
Not to forget the laptop or drops vehs full of paper, which appears to be the main ammo used nowadays. Ever had a full box of banner A4 drop on your foot. Now ther's an incapacitaing agent!
And if they really close in some of those clips with the pointy foldy bits you stick in files, they would knack.
Cry havoc and let slip the contents of the stationary cupboard general.