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This is a discussion on US Army News and updates general discussion within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by ngatimozart The US Army is looking at changing its infantry rifles and calibre to something between 5.56mm ...


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Old June 5th, 2017   #106
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Originally Posted by ngatimozart View Post
The US Army is looking at changing its infantry rifles and calibre to something between 5.56mm and 7.62mm. Current thought is that something between 6.5mm and 7mm is the optimal calibre. According to the article Textron have developed a 6.5mm round that has better terminal effects than the NATO 7.62mm round out to 1,200m.

This is a 100 year old argument that might be solved and after WW2 the US didn't go for a smaller calibre because of all the .30 cal ammo it held in stock. This time around the counter argument will be both the NATO standard 7.62mm and 5,56mm ammo held in stock by the US and NATO and other friendly nations such as Australia, NZ, Singapore, et al.
The current US small arms program is LSAT. Lightweight Small Arms Technologies. IIRC the primary aim is to decrease the weight of both weapon and ammunition. They are looking into both telescoped and caseless ammunition to achieve this. They aren't abiding by any contemporary ammunition or weapon standards. Like you said, it appears that they are looking at eventually developing a round similar to the 6.5mm Grendel or maybe the 6.8mm SPC. The adoption of the more powerful round will probably see a return to a rifle/GPMG pairing sharing a common round that would take the roles of the service rifle, DMR, LMG, and MMG roles currently all filled by separate weapons and two different rounds.

They have a working prototype for the LSAT Light Machine Gun, which has been using a modified 5.56mm round, presumably for comparison to existing weapons. Textron Systems has reportedly finished a 7.62mm version similar to the USSOCOM Mk. 48, and a 6.5mm version. Development continues on the 6.5mm version.

Some images:

Lightweight Small Arms Systems (LSAS) - Pictures

The development of the rifle I haven't been able to find much information on, but it seems to be closely tied to the US Army's Nett Warrior program, which has been deployed to team, squad, and platoon leaders with the Rangers, and the 3 IBCTs of the 10th Mountain Division.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, after the OICW program sizzled and died, with the XM29 being divided into the XM8 and XM25, with the former being dropped and the latter making it bit farther before also being dropped. Come to think of it, the entire 25mm airburst grenade family of weapons has been dropped. I think the only weapons to come out of OICW were the M320 GLM, M26 MASS, and Mk. 47 AGL, all of which were more indirect developments.

Hopefully this time around, we'll end up with actual weapons being introduced into service. The last few programs led to some valuable progress, but failed to produce a future generation of small arms for the US military. I will say, though, that LSAT looks promising.

EDIT: added some details.
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Old June 6th, 2017   #107
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I still don't see the point in wanting to reach out and touch enemy infantry with assault rifles at long distances.

Get something like the PKP into service as the squad MG and a solid DMR, too and you're good to go.

The Russians got it right in their mix a long time ago. PKM, AK-74 and Dragunov are a very good combination iin terms of weight and distances/situations covered. With modeen versions of these weapons (for rails, polymermags, etc.) they are still well suited for the 21st cenrury. Who cares if you have two or even three different calibres in you platoon? The log trail should be able to handle this, especially in light of all the other stuff needed to be carried to the area of operations.

For long range engagements getting arty, air, mortar or direct fire support in is the way to go. Duking it out at 800m+ with ARs is rather pointless anyway. And it is a good way to get hit by enemy supporting fires when facing someone more competent and well equipped than some insurgents in a sandbox.

And who here really thinks they get the weight of a new AR+ammo down when moving to 6.5 or 6.8mm calibre?
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Old June 6th, 2017   #108
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I still don't see the point in wanting to reach out and touch enemy infantry with assault rifles at long distances.

Get something like the PKP into service as the squad MG and a solid DMR, too and you're good to go.

The Russians got it right in their mix a long time ago. PKM, AK-74 and Dragunov are a very good combination iin terms of weight and distances/situations covered. With modeen versions of these weapons (for rails, polymermags, etc.) they are still well suited for the 21st cenrury. Who cares if you have two or even three different calibres in you platoon? The log trail should be able to handle this, especially in light of all the other stuff needed to be carried to the area of operations.

For long range engagements getting arty, air, mortar or direct fire support in is the way to go. Duking it out at 800m+ with ARs is rather pointless anyway. And it is a good way to get hit by enemy supporting fires when facing someone more competent and well equipped than some insurgents in a sandbox.

And who here really thinks they get the weight of a new AR+ammo down when moving to 6.5 or 6.8mm calibre?
UPDATE: upon further discussion with someone else, some clarifications were made. This post has been significantly edited from its original form.

LSAT has already ended and has been replaced with CTSAS. While LSAT focussed on LMGs and 5.56 CT, CTSAS focusses on 6.5 CT and to a lesser degree on a carbine. With 6.5 CT, the focus isn't necessarily on weight-savings. Note the pdf report below is on CTSAS. Caseless R&D is now done at the ONR. Meanwhile, the 6.5mm CT is more like a streamlined 7.62 and isn't the same as Grendel. The adoption of this more powerful round could possibly but not necessarily see a return to a rifle/GPMG pairing. It would lead to an increase in firepower, but the 30% increased weight of 6.5mm CT compared to 5.56 is still a factor. If a 6.5mm CT carbine is adopted, either weight will go up, or ammo load will go down. The long-range tailored 6.5mm CT will also mean a significantly increased recoil impulse. At these costs, 6.5mm CT would offer much more punch and a smaller physical size.

I recommend the following report:

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2016/armame...5_Phillips.pdf

Last edited by Blue Jay; June 6th, 2017 at 12:46 PM.
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Old June 6th, 2017   #109
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UPDATE: upon further discussion with someone else, some clarifications were made. This post has been significantly edited from its original form.

LSAT has already ended and has been replaced with CTSAS. While LSAT focussed on LMGs and 5.56 CT, CTSAS focusses on 6.5 CT and to a lesser degree on a carbine. With 6.5 CT, the focus isn't necessarily on weight-savings. Note the pdf report below is on CTSAS. Caseless R&D is now done at the ONR. Meanwhile, the 6.5mm CT is more like a streamlined 7.62 and isn't the same as Grendel. The adoption of this more powerful round could possibly but not necessarily see a return to a rifle/GPMG pairing. It would lead to an increase in firepower, but the 30% increased weight of 6.5mm CT compared to 5.56 is still a factor. If a 6.5mm CT carbine is adopted, either weight will go up, or ammo load will go down. The long-range tailored 6.5mm CT will also mean a significantly increased recoil impulse. At these costs, 6.5mm CT would offer much more punch and a smaller physical size.

I recommend the following report:

http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2016/armame...5_Phillips.pdf
You saved me time and effort. Was thinking about addressing practically the same info late (late) last night after reading your original post, but decided to tackle it today.

Here's an informative multi-part interview on LSAT/CTSAS from The Firearm Blog
INTERVIEW with Kori Phillips, Program Officer for LSAT and CTSAS, Part 1: Program History and Ammunition Technical Discussion

INTERVIEW with Kori Phillips, Program Officer for LSAT and CTSAS, Part 2: Ammunition Technical Discussion, Cont’d

INTERVIEW with Kori Phillips, Program Officer for LSAT and CTSAS, Part 3: Development of 6.5mm CT

And it should be pointed out that the LSAT/CTSAS programs are more science programs than weapons development or procurement programs.

As for weapons procurement programs, the US Army recently published a Request For Information notice:
Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR)
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Desired Attributes of Interim Combat Service Rifle:

• The rifle must be a Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) system readily available for purchase today. Modified or customized systems are not being considered.
• Caliber: 7.62x51mm
• Available barrel lengths, to include 16 and 20 inch barrels, without muzzle device attached.
• Muzzle device capable of or adaptable to auxiliary devices for:
-- Compensation of muzzle climb
-- Flash suppression
-- Sound Suppression
• Fire Control: Safe, Semi-automatic, and fully automatic capable.
• All controls (e.g. selector, charging handle) are ambidextrous and operable by left and right handed users
• Capable of mounting a 1.25 inch wide military sling
• Capable of accepting or mounting the following accessories.
-- Forward grip/bi-pod for the weapon
-- variable power optic
• Detachable magazine with a minimum capacity of 20 rounds
• Folding or collapsing buttstock adjustable to change the overall length of the weapon
• Foldable backup iron sights calibrated/adjustable to a maximum of 600 meters range
• Weight less than 12lb unloaded and without optic
• Extended Forward Rail
Also, a notice was published for an upcoming Classified Industry Day happening in late July 2017 to inform the industry on the program plans for the:
Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR)
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Requirements:

The Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR) is a single incremental program to meet future force warfighting needs. It is the planned replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) and select support units during the next decade. It will combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a carbine, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality. The weapon will be lightweight and fire lightweight ammunition with improved lethality. The NGSAR will help to reduce the heavy load that burdens Soldiers and that has a significant negative impact on their mobility, survivability, and firing accuracy. Soldiers will employ the NGSAR against close and extended range targets in all terrains and conditions. The NGSAR will be compatible with and dependent on legacy optics and night vision devices to meet required capabilities. It will also be compatible with the Small Arms Fire Control system currently in development and possess back-up sights. It is anticipated the NGSAR support concept will be consistent with (comparable to) that of the predecessor M249 SAW involving the Army two level field and sustainment maintenance system. The NGSAR will achieve overmatch by killing stationary, and suppressing moving, threats out to 600 meters (T), and suppressing all threats to a range of 1200 meters (O).
This PM Crew Served Weapons brief delivered last month includes some "notional art" has led to some speculation that the NGSAR might be developed as a magazine fed weapon, akin to the USMC's M27 IAR
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Old August 7th, 2017   #110
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The US Army are looking for an Interim Combat service Rifle in 7.62mm calibre. The Firearms Blog reckon that they will be replacing their M4 rifles with this, abandoning the 5.56mm calibre. My question is whether or not that this is a complete replacement or are they looking at a weapon for designated marksmen, similar to what the NZ and UK armies do?
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Old August 7th, 2017   #111
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Originally Posted by ngatimozart View Post
The US Army are looking for an Interim Combat service Rifle in 7.62mm calibre. The Firearms Blog reckon that they will be replacing their M4 rifles with this, abandoning the 5.56mm calibre. My question is whether or not that this is a complete replacement or are they looking at a weapon for designated marksmen, similar to what the NZ and UK armies do?
Read further into the article...

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Once the test and evaluation is concluded, the Government may award a single follow-on Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) based contract for the production of up to 50,000 weapons. This estimate is subject to change.
So the expectation is that up to 50k weapons will be ordered. I could be reading things into this, but it does sound like either including Designated Marksmen (which the USMC already does IIRC) at the squad or section level. Another possibility but less likely IMO is that deployments to a specific theatre might be issued a 7.62 mm chambered weapon.
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Old August 10th, 2017   #112
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Generral Dynamics and Boeing have rolled out a Maneuver SHORAD (Short-Range Air Defense) Launcher, or MSL Stryker. It has the following armament:
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  • AI-3s, a ground-launched version of the AIM-9 missiles used by US fighters, with significantly better range and maximum altitude than the old Stinger.
  • Longbow Hellfires, originally an anti-tank missile, made famous as the favored weapon of the Predator drone, and suitable for both ground targets and low-flying aircraft like helicopter gunships.
  • Hydra 2.75 inch guided rockets;
  • 0.50 caliber machineguns;
  • and even low-powered lasers capable of burning out quadcopters and other small drones.
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Old August 11th, 2017   #113
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Fascinating video about the USMC vision for future arty. Especially interesting regarding the earlier discussion about rising levels of automation in SP Arty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDrShJ_ItNk
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Old August 12th, 2017   #114
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Fascinating video about the USMC vision for future arty. Especially interesting regarding the earlier discussion about rising levels of automation in SP Arty.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDrShJ_ItNk
Feanor, have you got the correct link? It takes me to a Divergent movie trailer
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Old August 13th, 2017   #115
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Feanor, have you got the correct link? It takes me to a Divergent movie trailer
My apologies, clearly not the correct link. Here it is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPSZ71-YqC8
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Old August 17th, 2017   #116
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Well, that towed arty is not very survivable against a peer or near peer enemy is nothing new and already a rule since the cold war. The USMC just didn't address it due to other priorities and cost.

I am not fully sold on these UGVs for indirect fires. You have no personal close by for manhandling malfunctions or the ability to operate in a degraded partially manual mode. And the lesser manning numbers are probably eaten away by the number of techs and security personal which needs to be integrated into the UGV units.

But I like the idea of using a common chassis. With HIMARS modules available and easily adaptable one could probably buy the french or swedish truck mounted system for putting on an indigineous platform so that the NIH syndrome doesn't hit too hard while staying away from a goldplated totally new design.
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Old October 9th, 2017   #117
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US Army chooses Trophy APS

After little over a year of testing and Eval the US Army mvojg frwRdnwith IAI Trophy APS for the Abrams’ tank. Initial plan is the have a full Brigade set in Europe by 2020.

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-...ection-system/

Styker is next but with the Iron Curtain APS

https://www.defensenews.com/digital-...on-to-stryker/


Bradley will Be last using the Iron First.
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Old October 12th, 2017   #118
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Update on Trophy APS for Abrams’

Here are intitial photos of the Trophy APS on the Abrams’ series MBT. The install will give 360degree APS. New reactive Armor side kits are also seen installed




Images Emerge Of M1A2 Abrams Tank Equipped With Trophy Active Protection System - The Drive


Sounds like the US Army is still looking for an initial Brigade set as early as late 2018
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Old October 18th, 2017   #119
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interesting article about the Textron 6.5 mm cased-telescoped ammunition and its possible future with US Army. According to the article the Textron 6.5 mm cased-telescoped ammunition has 30% more lethality than the US Army 7.62 x 51 mm ammo with a brass case.

Army Eyeing 6.5mm for Its Future Battle Rifle
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Old October 18th, 2017   #120
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Sure sounds like a big advancement but I have to agree with many of the comments following the article, the inertia of the vast inventories of 5.56 and 7.62 mm ammo make acceptance of this new technology very difficult. Should find acceptance by the SF community though.
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