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OMFG, the USMC want the LSW to replace their SAW

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#1
OK, not quite but…

DID says: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com...newsletter&utm_source=did&utm_medium=textlink

The US Marines are looking to replace their M249 5.56mm light machine guns in their infantry and Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) battalions. Many have become worn from use, and can be more hindrance than help in some of the close-quarters urban warfare situations dominating current battlefields. They also have a reputation for jamming, and at 15 pounds empty, these belt-fed weapons are rather heavy.
In its initial 2005 FedBizOps.com solicitation for an “Infantry Automatic Rifle” (IAR), the Marines wanted two big things. First, the gun had to fire from either the open or closed bolt position. This would give it the single-shot and “first through the door” capabilities that the M249 lacks, while allowing for more sustained fire than an M16 can handle without risking ammunition “cook off” in a heated barrel. It also had to be considerably lighter than the M249, at just 12.5 pounds maximum and 10.5 pounds desired weight. In exchange, the Marines decided they were willing to trade the SAW’s belt-fed design for switchable 30 round magazines, which are used up much more quickly but can also be changed in battle much more quickly.
The result is not a true light machine gun, but something in between an LMG and an assault rifle. That shift in the 13-man Marine squad has its advocates and detractors. December 2008 saw the initial set of awards for IAR designs, which will eventually be narrowed down to a single winner. DID offers more background concerning the USMC’s IAR contenders and contracts – 2 of which have a US SOCOM background…
• The Contenders
• IAR What IAR: The Choice
• Contracts and Key Events
• Additional Readings

SUCCESSFUL
The winning bids went to a set of long-established competitors.
Colt.

The current manufacturer of the M4 carbine, who also makes some of the Marines’ M16 rifles. Colt publicly touts a variant of its CAR design, which is basically an M16 with some modifications to fit the IAR’s requirements, including a new hydraulic buffer assembly plus a heavier barrel. Elsewhere, Defense Review has a complete review of the Colt IAR, which appears to be a different design than the CAR. It uses a direct gas impingement system rather than a gas piston system, and adds a large heat sink to the front which makes the 9.5 pound weapon a bit front-heavy.
Interestingly, Colt won 2 contracts for the IAR’s development and testing phase. It is not yet clear if this represents CAR and IAR awards, or if the twin contracts have a different rationale. DID readers with information are urged to email tips@, here at our web domain.
FN USA.

The US Marines are already a customer beyond the M249 SAW, as FN USA manufactures many of the Marines’ M16 rifles. For the IAR competition, the firm is entering a version of the SCAR Mk16 rifle that has become US Special Operation Command’s weapon of choice. FN’s SCAR family of rifles has a wide set of innovative features developed with SOCOM’s assistance over the last several years, and a 10-year production contract was awarded in November 2007. FN USA’s IAR entry is interesting, in that it retains the accuracy and performance of closed-bolt firing until the barrel reaches a certain temperature, whereupon it automatically switches to safer open-bolt firing.
With MARSOC operating as part of SOCOM, a number of Marines may already be familiar with this weapon. Since the Marines plan to rotate personnel back to regular Marine units after MARSOC, a rifle that’s shared with SOCOM offers certain advantages to the force.
Heckler & Koch.

The HK416 is an M16/M4 with a modified upper receiver. US SOCOM and other special forces around the world have been using them for several years now, after the standard Colt M4 design proved itself unable to meet SOCOM’s needs. See “The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy” for more background.
H&K replaced Colt’s “gas-tube” system with a short-stroke piston system that eliminates carbon blow-back into the chamber, and also reduces the heat problem created by the super-hot gases used to cycle the M4. Other changes were made to the magazine, barrel, et. al. The final product was an M4 with a new upper receiver and magazine, plus H&K’s 4-rail system of standard “Picatinny Rails” on the top, bottom, and both sides for easy addition of anything a Special Operator might require. In exhaustive tests with the help of the USA’s Delta Force, the upgraded weapon was subjected to mud and dust without maintenance, and fired day after day. Despite this treatment, the rifle showed problems in only 1 of 15,000 rounds – fully 3 times the reliability shown by the M4 in US Army studies. The H&K 416 was declared ready in 2004.


UNSUCCESSFUL
General Dynamics. The firm had partnered with Singapore’s ST Kinetics to offer a Mk5 version version of the Ultimax 100 5.56mm light machine gun, whose accuracy and control have deeply impressed many military observers and analysts [watch video – AVI format]. Part of the weapon’s secret is that it was originally designed for Singapore’s smaller soldiers, and the 11 pound Ultimax LMGs (when empty) now serves with a number of militaries around the world.
The Ultimax was not ready in time to dislodge FN’s M249 in the original SAW competition, but the Marines had maintained a simmering interest in the weapon ever since. General Dynamics hoped that this time will be different, but the IAR’s specifications and focus appear to have handicapped this entry, and it was not selected for the IAR development contracts.
LWRC This firm has done a lot of work refining and improving the M16/M4 for military, law enforcement, and personal use. This includes the introduction of more reliable mechanisms, designated marksman weapons, and even different calibers like the superior but magazine-compatible 6.8mm. Their 5.56mm “M6A4 IAR” candidate was not selected for additional development and testing.

IAR
The larger questions around these weapons boil down to doctrine. Light Machine Guns can be used for sustained “suppressive fire,” but often pay a price for doing so. Until recently, the Ultimax 100 has been the closest thing to an LMG that could comfortably switch over into “heavy assault rifle” mode, without losing its basic function. The IAR is that magazine-fed heavy assault rifle, but its 30 round magazine can make sustained suppressive fire difficult unless several IAR operators are on hand.
Drum magazines can be used to increase the number of available rounds, but loading them is difficult, many drum magazines have reliability issues, and carrying multiple drum magazines is a lot bulkier than carrying multiple 30-round ‘flat’ magazines. In practice, therefore, the IAR is likely to be a 30 round weapon that depends on accuracy for suppression.
A recent USMC battle at Shewan, Afghanistan indicates that this may be possible. In addition, marksmanship and the ability to bring a weapon to bear very quickly are hallmark requirements of the urban battlefield, where the Marines and militaries around the world expect to do a lot of their fighting over the next few decades.
In the military world, as in the world of finance, options have value. The Marines’ decisions to date have indicated the priority they place on more optimized IAR designs, which may not be true LMGs but offer other advantages in compensation.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#6
I was thinking from the tactics side of thing... the whole "belt fed avoids the 30 rounds stoppage" issue that the LSW got slagged for 20 years appears to have been turned on its head for the sakes of quicker reloads and reliability and - of course - less jamming.

I wonder if our experiences arrive at the same solution?

I note the USMC 13 man section too..
 
#7
Surely there must have been a study into this already (LSW v Minimi) ? I believe we are procurring a longer barrel for the Minimi (Sp ?) to enhance the accuracy ?
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#8
sc_obvious said:
Surely there must have been a study into this already (LSW v Minimi) ? I believe we are procurring a longer barrel for the Minimi (Sp ?) to enhance the accuracy ?
Studies only answer questions that are asked, it would be a brave man that stood up and said "actually, the LSW A2 is cracking, we should bin these Minimi's".
 
#10
Mr Happy said:
...<snip>I note the USMC 13 man section too..<snip>
I think this was experimented on in the Trenches in 1916-1918. Traditionally, the platoon would hold four sections of 9 pax -a bomber, a gunner, a rifle and a rifle/bomb/GD section. I remember reading in a memoir ( I think it was Sassoon's Memoirs of an Infantry Officer ) that when the trench stalemate was on they used 13 man sections made up of a mix of Lewis gunners, bombers and riflemen.

When the war of manoeuvre began in earnest in 1918 these 13 man sections were found to be a little unwieldy and they reverted. I don't know when the structure changed to 8 man sections though.
 
#11
What is actually wrong with much the maligned LSW A2?

It does what it was designed to do, does it not? And a lot more besides.

It may not be belt fed, but it can offer sustained fire to long distance. I´d imagine it fits right in with the spam request.

Although, not sure of ANY weapons that fire from BOTH closed and open breaches thoguh.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#13
Noodles said:
Mr Happy said:
...<snip>I note the USMC 13 man section too..<snip>
I think this was experimented on in the Trenches in 1916-1918. Traditionally, the platoon would hold four sections of 9 pax -a bomber, a gunner, a rifle and a rifle/bomb/GD section. I remember reading in a memoir ( I think it was Sassoon's Memoirs of an Infantry Officer ) that when the trench stalemate was on they used 13 man sections made up of a mix of Lewis gunners, bombers and riflemen.

When the war of manoeuvre began in earnest in 1918 these 13 man sections were found to be a little unwieldy and they reverted. I don't know when the structure changed to 8 man sections though.
I do, 1983 we officially took the two fire team principle on board in UK Infantry Bns. Additional GPMGs were sourced and the 3 man gun group, 5-8 man rifle group ceased to exist! We got to work out recently approved tactics from brecon during that autumns field firing season. As a Bn we had been still deploying under the old orbat on Active edge up until April 1983!
 
#14
chocolate_frog said:
Although, not sure of ANY weapons that fire from BOTH closed and open breaches thoguh.
The Spams are knocking out a few versions of the M16 with heavy barrels and the ability to fire open/closed bolt dependent on the type of fire selected.
 
#15
chocolate_frog said:
What is actually wrong with much the maligned LSW A2?

It does what it was designed to do, does it not? And a lot more besides.

It may not be belt fed, but it can offer sustained fire to long distance. I´d imagine it fits right in with the spam request.

Although, not sure of ANY weapons that fire from BOTH closed and open breaches thoguh.
A2 LSW isn't maligined A1 lsw is so hated that the LSW a2 suffers as well .
Its awkward and heavier and doesn't do anything the rifle cant do .
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#16
There was a colt version called the M16H Bar in about 1975 that did just that, whether or not it would do closed bolt as well I cant remember if it would do both. There was an option during development for a 3 position fire selector on the LSW allowing open and closed bolt firing!
The logic would be allowing closed bolt on reloads and open after the first burst!
 
#17
maybe if you had shed load of mags but sustained fire with 6 mags don't think so :twisted:
badly thought out design badly implemented.
back in the days of yore suggested what we need is minimi and some form of UGL funny how many years later they were brought as uors :roll:
 
#18
I'm suprised the spams haven't dug out the old Browning Automatic Rifle to use as their base standard, I know the weight is the issue but 2 world wars & IIRC use in korea with a couple still used by the old sweats in Vietnam must mean something. Hard to believe they could go back to something similar, perhaps they are starting to realise the old adage

Speeds fine Accuracy's final.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#19
I see that their experience is that the SAW is too slow to reload and too heavy. I am forced to wonder how long it takes to reload a bullpup SA80 vs an M16 derivative. Maybe a motivator for losing the bullpup?
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#20
terrier3181 said:
Speeds fine Accuracy's final.
And that's basically what teh USMC is saying isn't it, we'll make up for lack of volume with accuracy.

I wonder how much of that is down the the fact that the rag heads don't get their heads down when they are supposed to. IIRC its all Allah's will rather than suppression...

Are they guilty of planning on fighting the last war and not the next?
 

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