SA80 Replacement on the distant horizon ?

The lesson is there, it's just that every 10 years or so people go looking for shortcuts and see technology as the (only) answer.

That. Every so often they think they can go find a technological solution to a simple skills and training problem.
 
Which surely means the only scope for performance improvement lies in either (or both) of:

  • Switching to a more effective ammo type/calibre (v. expensive)
  • Training soldiers to shoot effectively under operational conditions (difficult, time consuming, requires upskilling large numbers of trainers, and - in the UK - overcoming decades of ingrained indifference to skill-at-arms)
doesn't it?
I posted a video on one or more threads (possibly including this one) in which the head of Colt Canada (Diemaco) gave a long and detailed talk about the future of infantry rifles. He sees it as being about optics, electronics, and communications. He said that to integrate this stuff without making it a total bodge job would require a completely new rifle designed to accommodate it rather than just a modification of their existing models.

He said they would design a rifle for whatever ammunition you wanted to use, but he didn't think that new calibres were going to make as much difference as these other factors.

Of course he is looking at things from the perspective of the section, platoon, company, and army as a whole operating together in the field rather than just an individual firing at a set of known targets on a range. These are very different scenarios.

One example he gave was a section commander giving targets to his men and being able see if they are aiming at the right thing by being able to see through their sights from his own position. Another is to be able to look through your rifle sights and be able to give targets to support weapons or even artillery.

He didn't go into a lot of details about what the this rifle would look like. I imagine that there are both commercial and security considerations in that regards. Major issues revolved around power and communications between the bits of kit without unbalancing the rifle by just tacking it onto the handguard or making the rifle too heavy or having cables sticking out all over . What he was talking about is not part of the current new US rifle program however.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I posted a video on one or more threads (possibly including this one) in which the head of Colt Canada (Diemaco) gave a long and detailed talk about the future of infantry rifles. He sees it as being about optics, electronics, and communications. He said that to integrate this stuff without making it a total bodge job would require a completely new rifle designed to accommodate it rather than just a modification of their existing models.

He said they would design a rifle for whatever ammunition you wanted to use, but he didn't think that new calibres were going to make as much difference as these other factors.

Of course he is looking at things from the perspective of the section, platoon, company, and army as a whole operating together in the field rather than just an individual firing at a set of known targets on a range. These are very different scenarios.

One example he gave was a section commander giving targets to his men and being able see if they are aiming at the right thing by being able to see through their sights from his own position. Another is to be able to look through your rifle sights and be able to give targets to support weapons or even artillery.

He didn't go into a lot of details about what the this rifle would look like. I imagine that there are both commercial and security considerations in that regards. Major issues revolved around power and communications between the bits of kit without unbalancing the rifle by just tacking it onto the handguard or making the rifle too heavy or having cables sticking out all over . What he was talking about is not part of the current new US rifle program however.
I'm not convinced that all of that stuff belongs on the rifle. Much of it probably belongs, or could reside on, head-worn optics - think Google Glass for the battlefield. Whether that's something which projects information onto the individual's helmet's visor, or directly into the eye is something for the human factors people to consider. Alternatively, a display on the forearm is an option. Or both.

Power supplies could be in a clothing pocket/on the webbing and so less tiring to carry than on the weapon.

Yes, by all means use the weapon sight as a means to give target indications, that's probably ideal, but how much is that the head of Colt Canada looking to gain a share of the market as opposed to being the best way to do things?
 
I agree but let me offer a comparison.

In the road safety sector, there are many Vision Zero-type initiative - i.e. no road casualties.

It's pretty much unachievable but as an aim it's credible. The difference being that if you achieve a 50 percent reduction, or a 70 percent reduction, you've done better than setting yourself a 50 percent target and only achieving half of that.

The Americans have had a ridiculous amount of programmes. What comes out, time after time, is that properly trained individuals using the AR series out-shoot the fancy stuff.

The lesson is there, it's just that every 10 years or so people go looking for shortcuts and see technology as the (only) answer.
The way the American procurement process works is that they have to justify the cost of replacing existing kit by showing that the replacement is 'x' per cent better according to some set criteria. If they can't meet those targets then the project does not proceed. Even if the new rifle is better than the old one, if it's not enough better to justify the expense of replacing existing kit it doesn't get bought.

The Americans tried all sorts of different things but although some were better than their existing M16/M4 rifles, they weren't enough better to justify following through on them.

The only innovation in the past few decades which has really made a difference is optics, and those didn't come out of any of these American "revolutionary new rifle" programs.

What is influencing rifle design right now is how well their design is suited to mounting optics and related accessories. Most rifles in service today weren't originally designed with that in mind and some were by chance better able to be adapted for that than others. This though is why the latest models of what Colt Canada are selling are very different from their original models.
 
The only innovation in the past few decades which has really made a difference is optics, and those didn't come out of any of these American "revolutionary new rifle" programs.

What is influencing rifle design right now is how well their design is suited to mounting optics and related accessories. Most rifles in service today weren't originally designed with that in mind and some were by chance better able to be adapted for that than others. This though is why the latest models of what Colt Canada are selling are very different from their original models.
Look at how much of that sort of thing being used by the military came out of the competition shooting world.
 
I'm not convinced that all of that stuff belongs on the rifle. Much of it probably belongs, or could reside on, head-worn optics - think Google Glass for the battlefield. Whether that's something which projects information onto the individual's helmet's visor, or directly into the eye is something for the human factors people to consider. Alternatively, a display on the forearm is an option. Or both.
Head mounted displays are an option that is being looked at, although I can't recall if the fellow I referred to mentioned it specifically. The problem though is you either need a connecting cable which gets caught on everything, or you need a radio link which then puts out RF emissions which may be able to be detected. They're an option which may be useful in certain types of environment (e.g. urban warfare), but there are cons as well which you have to take into account. I suspect the primary display would remain on the rifle but you would have the option to use a helmet mounted one in the right circumstances.

Power supplies could be in a clothing pocket/on the webbing and so less tiring to carry than on the weapon.
If the power supply is on your webbing then you have a cable which you have to keep plugging or unplugging every time you want to put down or pick up your rifle, or get tangled up in when you sling or unsling it. I imagine it would be massively unpopular with the users.

Yes, by all means use the weapon sight as a means to give target indications, that's probably ideal, but how much is that the head of Colt Canada looking to gain a share of the market as opposed to being the best way to do things?
These were requirements coming from customers. He was talking about trials which were being conducted for the US, UK, and I believe Canada as well. We may not see anything for a while though, as making full use of it will require compatible kit elsewhere other than just the rifle (e.g. the artillery). I imagine it will require a common standard being followed by multiple vendors.


I had a look for the video, and I posted it back in January on this thread. Here's a link to that post. I would recommend watching it. This is from somebody who was actually involved in developing this stuff as opposed to Internet pundits just giving their opinions.

 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Head mounted displays are an option that is being looked at, although I can't recall if the fellow I referred to mentioned it specifically. The problem though is you either need a connecting cable which gets caught on everything, or you need a radio link which then puts out RF emissions which may be able to be detected. They're an option which may be useful in certain types of environment (e.g. urban warfare), but there are cons as well which you have to take into account. I suspect the primary display would remain on the rifle but you would have the option to use a helmet mounted one in the right circumstances.


If the power supply is on your webbing then you have a cable which you have to keep plugging or unplugging every time you want to put down or pick up your rifle, or get tangled up in when you sling or unsling it. I imagine it would be massively unpopular with the users.


These were requirements coming from customers. He was talking about trials which were being conducted for the US, UK, and I believe Canada as well. We may not see anything for a while though, as making full use of it will require compatible kit elsewhere other than just the rifle (e.g. the artillery). I imagine it will require a common standard being followed by multiple vendors.


I had a look for the video, and I posted it back in January on this thread. Here's a link to that post. I would recommend watching it. This is from somebody who was actually involved in developing this stuff as opposed to Internet pundits just giving their opinions.

I'm not saying he's wrong. I'm just pointing out that not all needs to reside on the weapon and in many instances there may be good reason that it doesn't - you may always be wearing headgear but not always carrying a battle rifle, for instance.

In terms of the power supply, I was referring to worn technology, not that on/for the weapon.
 
That. Every so often they think they can go find a technological solution to a simple skills and training problem.
...except that the original driver for the current US program wasn't "kiLL mOAr bAD gUYZ!" but was "can we cut down the burden of the infantry soldier" - ISTR the prototype LSAT support weapons were getting to "weapon plus belt of 200 cased/telescoped 5.56" for the same weight as the M249 alone.

Then, of course, came the decision that 5.56mm was weedy stuff which couldn't defeat body armour, that what was needed was rEeL hERoiC cALIbERZ fro sToPPINg PwR!, and that the trial for the next-generation squad weapon (rifle and automatic rifle) would use 6.8mm. The LSAT mob scaled up their round (they'd been trialling 7.62 among others, so no biggie), while the other entrants used polymer and steel cases to reduce weight and keep up.

Neither is really just "skills and training", which is probably why the program has lasted this long. Presumably some targets have been set that the current weapons can't match (be that system weight or bullet penetration); and the two new sighting systems being trialled alongside the new weapons may give advantages that are seen as worthwhile. Integrating a laser rangefinder with the aiming mark should make a big difference, and if they ever get the backscatter windage estimation working...
 
A miss with a 6.8 is so much Moah firepower than a miss with a 5.56 :D
 
The reason the Americans have so many cancelled rifle programs is because they keep setting unrealistic goals which they had no hope of reaching. When they don't meet the goal they have no justification for buying a new rifle and so are left with the old one.
They did force manufacturers to push the limits of technology though, sometimes too far but that must have had a beneficial effect ?
 
...except that the original driver for the current US program wasn't "kiLL mOAr bAD gUYZ!" but was "can we cut down the burden of the infantry soldier" - ISTR the prototype LSAT support weapons were getting to "weapon plus belt of 200 cased/telescoped 5.56" for the same weight as the M249 alone.

Then, of course, came the decision that 5.56mm was weedy stuff which couldn't defeat body armour, that what was needed was rEeL hERoiC cALIbERZ fro sToPPINg PwR!, and that the trial for the next-generation squad weapon (rifle and automatic rifle) would use 6.8mm. The LSAT mob scaled up their round (they'd been trialling 7.62 among others, so no biggie), while the other entrants used polymer and steel cases to reduce weight and keep up.

Neither is really just "skills and training", which is probably why the program has lasted this long. Presumably some targets have been set that the current weapons can't match (be that system weight or bullet penetration); and the two new sighting systems being trialled alongside the new weapons may give advantages that are seen as worthwhile. Integrating a laser rangefinder with the aiming mark should make a big difference, and if they ever get the backscatter windage estimation working...
I believe the big driver was range. Although in theory, and in the hands of the skilled shooter, 5.56mm can reach further than generally trained for or believed, in practise the M4 is really weedy above 200m and 300m. That's partly a training flaw, rather than a pure weapon flaw.

However. Recent experience has shown the M4 was generally useless. So the drive is for a round that will reach further than 5.56mm in the hands of the average trained infantry soldier and if they manage to hit anything, hurt said object enough to say Good bye to.

Discussion on the capability of 5.56mm rounds has been gone thro repeatedly on here and it can be a good round. In the hands of people who shoot enough and often enough at range. Rather than the formulaic ACMT and maybe a bit of field firing.....

I'm not saying the M4 is actually useless, that discussion has been repeated enough times on here. It's the reality of what happened that matters.
 
I believe the big driver was range. Although in theory, and in the hands of the skilled shooter, 5.56mm can reach further than generally trained for or believed, in practise the M4 is really weedy above 200m and 300m. That's partly a training flaw, rather than a pure weapon flaw.

However. Recent experience has shown the M4 was generally useless. So the drive is for a round that will reach further than 5.56mm in the hands of the average trained infantry soldier and if they manage to hit anything, hurt said object enough to say Good bye to.

Discussion on the capability of 5.56mm rounds has been gone thro repeatedly on here and it can be a good round. In the hands of people who shoot enough and often enough at range. Rather than the formulaic ACMT and maybe a bit of field firing.....

I'm not saying the M4 is actually useless, that discussion has been repeated enough times on here. It's the reality of what happened that matters.
This is all basically a "is a miss with a 5.56 worse than a miss with a 7.62 or 6.Exotic" thing until people can actually hit stuff at the ranges where it might make a difference...

It came up in the livecast thing I did with 9-hole. Sure, Argentine conscripts were provided with a rifle + ammo combination that could, in theory at least, make hits out to 600m. But could the user with the training provided? Err, nerp...
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
This is all basically a "is a miss with a 5.56 worse than a miss with a 7.62 or 6.Exotic" thing until people can actually hit stuff at the ranges where it might make a difference...

It came up in the livecast thing I did with 9-hole. Sure, Argentine conscripts were provided with a rifle + ammo combination that could, in theory at least, make hits out to 600m. But could the user with the training provided? Err, nerp...
We should possibly make a distinction between their regulars and conscripts... and their snipers were a bit tasty.
 

tgo

LE
I believe the big driver was range. Although in theory, and in the hands of the skilled shooter, 5.56mm can reach further than generally trained for or believed, in practise the M4 is really weedy above 200m and 300m. That's partly a training flaw, rather than a pure weapon flaw.

However. Recent experience has shown the M4 was generally useless. So the drive is for a round that will reach further than 5.56mm in the hands of the average trained infantry soldier and if they manage to hit anything, hurt said object enough to say Good bye to.

Discussion on the capability of 5.56mm rounds has been gone thro repeatedly on here and it can be a good round. In the hands of people who shoot enough and often enough at range. Rather than the formulaic ACMT and maybe a bit of field firing.....

I'm not saying the M4 is actually useless, that discussion has been repeated enough times on here. It's the reality of what happened that matters.
Isn't the optimum barrel length of AR stuff 20 inches? M4 is well short in that regard, albeit extra length in a non bullpup means less wieldy in tighter spaces.
 
it's more productive to work on being smooth and efficient a little slower, and try to gain speed while keeping it that way rather than over-rushing it while being choppy and inefficient and trying to smooth it out at speed.
I'm in my 4th year of learning (self-teaching) archery (20yds, in my back garden), which is a decent low-budget replacement for 9mm pistol.

Small arms and archery - same basic principles, different muscles.

And you are spot on.
 
Random Internet person idea. Integrate the power lead in the sling.
:) But... slings aren't "ally", and real soldiers use the Belfast Cradle (or whatever it's called these days)! :) I suspect that it's not really a workable idea. Slings have a hard life, are expected to rotate freely around the body (making it difficult to plug in the person end of the cable), and aren't the ideal home for a power cable (at least, not something you want to remain a working power cable).

But if some smart b**tard came up with a design that allowed you to make a curved, thin, flat, and very strong battery which could then act as an effective ballistic insert in your body armour, that would be impressively practical...
 
In any case, if you want to get better, it's more productive to work on being smooth and efficient a little slower, and try to gain speed while keeping it that way rather than over-rushing it while being choppy and inefficient and trying to smooth it out at speed.
You can speed up correct technique; it's a lot more difficult to develop/improve technique at maximum speed (as our judo coach points out to us ham-handed beginners).

I found that my overly-static training for three-position smallbore target rifle (think of it as gallery rangework taken to an obsessive-compulsive level), worked extremely well when it came time to do service weapon stuff...
 

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