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Replacing the British Army rifle

uk 75

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I noticed a Teddy Bear in Guards Uniform carrying an M16 (like the Canadian Army) and it got me wondering about the saga of the SA80 and what we are going to replace it with.
I get the impression that of the rifles introduced from the 1970s on only the French Army got one they liked. But even the famous "Bugle" is due to be replaced.
As sci-fi weapons like the G11 and OICW were abandoned long ago we seem to be left with a modified M16 as being the best basis for a NATOwide rifle at last.
Should the West finally bite the bullet and go for a single design?
 

Foo Fighter

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NOT the M-16 which would and should have been replaced a long time ago. There needs to be an agreement on what is wanted from the replacement which is something the military in the west has been unable to do thus far. A universal weapon with universal ammunition makes more than good logistical sense but the last time it was seriously entertained the US determined NATO nations should standardise on 7.62 for it's rifle calibre and then went on to buy the 5.56mm M-16. More snafu like that we do not need. So, WHAT is the requirement first and foremost?
 

Grey Havoc

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6.8mm seems to still be a popular area of study at the moment. Ditto, 50 cal. assault rifles (there is no such thing as overkill..). Ramjet rifle rounds may also be a technology whose time has come around again.
 

Tony Williams

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A standard general-purpose infantry rifle firing a general-purpose cartridge (reasonably good in all circumstances rather than great at some things and rubbish at others) would be well worth having IMO. However, it appears that the USA is planning the exact opposite. They have been holding a competition to select the Next Generation Squad Weapon (to be precise, two weapons: a rifle, and an automatic rifle). The Army has developed a 6.8 mm bullet and all contenders are required to use that bullet, and to fire it at a high enough velocity to penetrate military body armour at normal battle ranges. To achieve this, the ammunition needs to be significantly more powerful than the current 7.62 mm NATO (which is already twice as powerful as the 5.56 mm).

Other NATO nations have considerable reservations about this rifle/ammunition combination because of its weight and recoil. The British Army is watching what the US is doing, but without any commitment to follow suit (so far).

I am reminded of the .276 Enfield of around 1910, which was meant to replace the .303 with a much more powerful round in the interests of effective long-range shooting (the British had been outranged in the Boer War). This suffered various problems of weight, recoil, muzzle blast and rapid barrel heating, but then WW1 started so the .276 was dropped - with great relief, I suspect.
 

cluttonfred

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I agree that the current U.S. military focus on a very long range GPMG (because they were outranged in Afghanistan) is very odd and a step up to an "upper intermediate" cartridge like 6.5mm Grendel for both individual and light support weapons would make sense.
 

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I am unsure why modern US Army soldiers complain about 5.56x45mm rifles. They appear to have forgotten that they are meant to be part of a combined arms team and that engaging outside the effective engagement range of their rifles is meant to be handled by Grenade Launchers/LMGs/GPMGs/Mortars/Artillery. Oh and trying to engage enemy with an SMG type carbine (a'la M4 with short barrel) is just asking for trouble. They would better, rather than seeking a new calibre to arm their soldiers with an adequate barrel lengthed rifle instead.
 

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In large part because ROE in Afghanistan (and before that, I believe, in Bosnia) took a fair bit of that combined arms system off the table. When someone started taking pot shots at a US foot patrol from 800 meters with a PKM, US forces could return direct fire with their individual weapons but generally not mortars or artillery without a prolonged conversation with higher echelons. So they were shooting back with a GPMG (if they were lucky, with a SAW if not), up hill, against a poorly spotted target. Which tended not to be effective. (Neither did the original incoming, but no one likes getting shot at without an effective reply). Hence, the desire for "overmatch" was born.

The desire for carbine barrels came from the difficulty of exiting from a vehicle rapidly with a full-length rifle (especially cramped things like uparmor Humvees), and the related awkwardness of said rifles in CQB.
 

Foo Fighter

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Hence the interest in bullpup designs. I've never fired a bullpup despite them being available during Granby.
 

TomS

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Hence the interest in bullpup designs. I've never fired a bullpup despite them being available during Granby.
It's interesting to see a bullpup show up in NGSW, despite the US Army being deadset against them in the past. But we're getting pretty far afield from the British Army at this point...
 

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I carried SLR and SA80 whilst in uk forces, training to do CQB, house clearance etc with both, the SA80 is a bit of a lump but very accurate, SUSAT at the time helped as well, it had it's problems, unreliable, broken firing pins and dropped mags etc.

The bullpup design, once you got used to it was fine, i understand the H&K fixes made it a far better / reliable bit of kit, i certainly found it easer than the elephant gun SLR.

I've messed about with the M16 in its full length version, felt flimsy and breakable but was nice and light, again not so great indoors, M4 better but no idea on it's accuracy.

The advantage of 556 was the reduced weight of lugging the ammo about, disadvantage is it's very susceptible to wind and penetration i understand, i've range shot SA80 out to 600 meters which was fun with a spotter and moving targets, even with a mild wind you are aiming off a good distance.

I think the problem is what do you want the weapon to do? if you are on gate guard something like a HK417 gives you more stopping power, or even an SMG works, whilst out in the fields you want something the same size as an SA80 but probably lighter and with more stopping power and range, so a new an improved design SA-30?
 

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I've never fired a bullpup despite them being available during Granby.
I have never been a soldier, but my job provided range time with a variety of military small arms, including several bullpups. While bearing in mind that soldiers' experience in combat is much more significant than the playing-around that I did, I am a firm fan of bullpups. It isn't just their combination of a short, handy gun with a barrel long enough to extract the most from the ammo, it is also their balance. A traditional rifle is noticeably front-heavy: add optical sights and it gets front-heavier; add a UBGL and it gets ridiculous. Bullpups tend to be evenly balanced - you can hold one in the aim against your shoulder with one hand, if the situation calls for it (maybe you want to signal with your other hand, or open a door).

Having said that, while the reliability of the SA80 was dramatically improved by HK's A2 version, it is not a great design, being a rather awkward overweight lump. IMO the army should have bought the Steyr AUG instead - a super gun, way ahead of its time. The Israeli Tavor is also a very good weapon, I have fired versions of that in three different calibres. The FN F2000 was great to shoot, although ergonomically quirky. I dislike the current US M4 carbine and have never shot well with it - if I had to choose a conventional 5.56 mm rifle it would be the FN SCAR L. I wouldn't pick the SCAR H in 7.62 mm, though - the gun is too light for the cartridge and jumps all over the place on firing.

I did put together an article arguing the case for (and against) bullpups: http://quarryhs.co.uk/BULLPUPS.pdf
 

uk 75

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Thanks to all contributing to this thread, I have learnt a lot.
From what I have read above the UK is probably right to keep with the improved SA80.
Does anyone know how and why the Falklands Islands Defence Force got the Steyr Aug? ( like the Aussies)
Whats the current state of German rifles? The legendary G11 was droppef in favour of a conventional assault rifle.
 

Foo Fighter

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My personal weapon was the really super duper paratrooper Sterling SMG MK IV, as seen in Star Wars, so it must have been good.............. One year we were so short of 9mm parabellum we had to buy from Pakistan Or somewhere. Double taps and failures to fire all over the strop. Embarrassing, really. Having said that, my other personal weapon was the L11...... Get up after being sniped with that.
 

TomS

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Thanks to all contributing to this thread, I have learnt a lot.
From what I have read above the UK is probably right to keep with the improved SA80.
Does anyone know how and why the Falklands Islands Defence Force got the Steyr Aug? ( like the Aussies)
Whats the current state of German rifles? The legendary G11 was droppef in favour of a conventional assault rifle.
The Germans are in the process of selecting a new gun to replace the much (and mostly unfairly, I think) maligned G36. But it's been a real mess -- unrealistic requirements, confusion over caliber, etc. My guess would be they'll end up with the Heckler & Koch offering, the HK433 which is effectively a tidied up G36 action with some SCAR and AR15 inspired features. But that's just a guess.
 

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I think the UK needs and can just hold off until after the US has implemented it's decisions and had to correct them.
Stocks of SA80 are fairly large compared to the current size of UK forces.
Let them make their mistakes, bear the costs, and not let us get suckered into thinking we can influence the outcome to our benefit.
After the pieces fall into place we can choose the best compromise available.

The only proviso is should force numbers need substantial increase this might drive something earlier.
 

Tony Williams

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The UK does have one advantage over the last time we replaced the standard rifle (with the SA80): we no longer have a domestic competitor as we no longer have a firearms industry capable of offering one. So we can buy the best available weapon, without nationalism getting in the way.
 

zen

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The UK does have one advantage over the last time we replaced the standard rifle (with the SA80): we no longer have a domestic competitor as we no longer have a firearms industry capable of offering one. So we can buy the best available weapon, without nationalism getting in the way.
And what a glittering success that is. The absence of an industry.
Succeeding governments must be proud of their achievement.

On a lighter side I see quite a spectrum of designs from a host of manufacturers are available.
I'm quite taken by the current Polish system.
 

Grey Havoc

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So we can buy the best available weapon, without nationalism getting in the way.
To be fair, it wasn't nationalism (leastways not domestic) that got in the way with the SA80 program. As noted elsewhere, the version of the EM-2 rifle with the experimental 6.25×43mm cartridge would have likely been ideal for the British Army in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. However the United States (along with HM Treasury's obsession with anything American made or mandated) put paid to that.

The 'original' SA80, otherwise known as the Enfield Weapon System (chambered in the 4.85x49mm cartridge), was developed by RSAF Enfield in conjunction with GST 3815 and GSR 3518. Early work was carried out in the late 1960s by many of the same designers that had worked on the EM-2, headed up by Sid Vance. Unfortunately, in the early 1970s, they all retired (said retirements 'helped' along, it has been speculated, by Treasury mandarins who wanted people who more amendable to Treasury desires, no matter how insane they were). After a pause, a new design team was assembled from scratch to resume work on the EWS. The new design team weren't as experienced as the old team, and it showed. Things weren't helped by non-stop Treasury interference and Labour government cost-cutting in general, which led to a number of ongoing ill-advised design changes even at that stage (this despite various prototypes of both the IW and LSW having been successfully tested in the interim) Despite all this, the team were able to produce two more prototypes [XL64 / XL65] with all the changes, good and bad, ready for the 1977 NATO Ammunition Trails (albeit at a cost in maturity and reliability). Unfortunately, the outcome of those trials were predetermined despite 4.85x49mm being superior in a number of respects, and the team had to start redesigning the LWS for 5.56x45mm. At this point, to save time and money, a number of features were rather hastily 'borrowed' from Armalite's AR-18 rifle (Armalite needless to say was not amused). Also at this time the consequences of one of those previously mentioned bad design choices, which arguably was a major part of the core concept of the 'later' LWS, really began make itself felt. This was the idea that a weapon that which was meant to meet the exacting operational requirements that the LWS was expected to fill, could be made easily and cheaply from stamped metal and plastics rather than machined components and wood or similar. You could kludge together prototypes together using this concept (sometimes of uncertain reliability, let us say) but when it came to actual production standard examples... Of course disaster ensued. To try cut a long story short, by 1980 it was clear that the Treasury's dream of a dirt cheap rifle system for the British Armed Forces was becoming a nightmare. However no-one (read bureaucrats) wanted to take any responsibility for the ungodly mess that had come about. To make matters worse, the new Thatcher government was planning to privatise just about everything in sight, including the RSAF and the rest of the Royal Ordnance Factories (RSAF Enfield was privatised in 1984). Which in turn goes a long way to explain how the revised IW & LSW 'passed' their IDTU trails in the years leading up to 1984, with the subsequent acceptance into service of the SA80 weapons system in 1985. (Though to be fair, they had at least kept the excellent accuracy of earlier incarnations of the LWS. When the rifle actually fired of course.)

In 1987, British Aerospace, who had bought the bulk of the Royal Ordnance, discovered that costs for the second batch production order for the SA80 (the first tranche was still being manufactured at Enfield, though with not inconsiderable difficulties due to the aforementioned design flaws) was higher than they had anticipated when they bid for the contract. In one of the most boneheaded (if you are being charitable) maneuvers of all time, the company decided that in order to cut costs (on what was a fixed price contract), they would move the production line from the (well equipped, with an excellent workforce) Enfield factory to a new supposedly cheaper facility at Nottingham, with a mostly new workforce. Despite this, the go ahead was given for full introduction of the SA80 to all branches of the Armed Forces. To say things got even worse would be a polite understatement. It may be another such understatement to say that the rifles from the new production line were dangerous garbage. Ultimately it transpired that this move was actually part of a very dubious real estate deal that would see the Enfield site (the factory had been closed in 1988) being flogged off for redevelopment in early 1989. British Aerospace may have made far more money from this than it did from the SA80 contract. Any subsequent investigations into this appear to have been killed off under the Major government.

To her credit, Thatcher did not know the true state of affairs with the SA80 (the same can not be said of other notable figures in her government & the Civil Service). It is unclear when she finally discovered the full truth, but it is likely it was sometime around late December 1987 at the earliest. This was at a time when other early Thatcher era defence blunders such as the Nimrod AEW3 (originally inherited from the previous Labour government it must be noted) and the Challenger tank had already come home to roost, and then some!

All this was paving stones on the SA80's road to infamy in Operation Granby, in particular in the form of the L85A1 rifle.
 
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Tony Williams

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And what a glittering success that is. The absence of an industry.
Succeeding governments must be proud of their achievement.
It can actually be quite useful. If you look at the automatic weapons with which the UK fought WW2, you will find the following:

Bren gun: Czech
BESA MG (7.9mmm and 15mm): Czech
Browning aircraft MG: American
Hispano cannon: French
Bofors AA: Swedish
Oerlikon gun: Swiss
Vickers VGO: modified version of French Berthier
Lanchester SMG: German

And from WW1 but still around, the Lewis LMG: American.
And even the Vickers machine gun was originally designed by Hiram Maxim, who was American at the time (and the navy 2pdr AA came from the same lineage).

This does not include any of the straightforward purchases, such as the Thompson SMG (American)

So what does that leave us with in terms of original British-designed automatic weapons?
Sten gun
Vickers 40 mm S gun (specialised)
57mm Molins gun (very specialised, little use)

After WW2 the main infantry MG was the FN MAG (Belgian). FN also made the standard infantry rifle.

The moral of this seems to be that there is merit in selecting the best available weapons, from wherever they come.

I would also add that to sustain a small-arms industry producing top-quality weapons you need lots of orders, continuously. No point is setting up a factory to manufacture a new rifle for the UK then closing it down again a couple of years later. The USA has a big enough commercial market to keep gun firms going, but other successful western gun companies rely on making large numbers of top-quality products, e.g. FN and HK.

Perhaps surprisingly, given that automatic weapons are basically ancient technology, it is not that easy to develop really excellent, reliable guns.
 

zen

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And what a glittering success that is. The absence of an industry.
Succeeding governments must be proud of their achievement.
It can actually be quite useful. If you look at the automatic weapons with which the UK fought WW2, you will find the following:

Bren gun: Czech
BESA MG (7.9mmm and 15mm): Czech
Browning aircraft MG: American
Hispano cannon: French
Bofors AA: Swedish
Oerlikon gun: Swiss
Vickers VGO: modified version of French Berthier
Lanchester SMG: German

And from WW1 but still around, the Lewis LMG: American.
And even the Vickers machine gun was originally designed by Hiram Maxim, who was American at the time (and the navy 2pdr AA came from the same lineage).

This does not include any of the straightforward purchases, such as the Thompson SMG (American)

So what does that leave us with in terms of original British-designed automatic weapons?
Sten gun
Vickers 40 mm S gun (specialised)
57mm Molins gun (very specialised, little use)

After WW2 the main infantry MG was the FN MAG (Belgian). FN also made the standard infantry rifle.

The moral of this seems to be that there is merit in selecting the best available weapons, from wherever they come.

I would also add that to sustain a small-arms industry producing top-quality weapons you need lots of orders, continuously. No point is setting up a factory to manufacture a new rifle for the UK then closing it down again a couple of years later. The USA has a big enough commercial market to keep gun firms going, but other successful western gun companies rely on making large numbers of top-quality products, e.g. FN and HK.

Perhaps surprisingly, given that automatic weapons are basically ancient technology, it is not that easy to develop really excellent, reliable guns.
I'm not sure what you are trying to say here about the UK or any state the size of the UK economically and militarily.

Nor am I really sure why you call it 'nationalism' to even vaguely and sarcastically suggest that the the UK government 'managed the decline' in domestic industry to the point of oblivion.
If there is no worth in a country the size of the UK even trying the design or manufacture it's own small arms. Then perhaps you can tell me what is worth us doing ourselves?
 

Foo Fighter

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I think the UK needs and can just hold off until after the US has implemented it's decisions and had to correct them.
Stocks of SA80 are fairly large compared to the current size of UK forces.
Let them make their mistakes, bear the costs, and not let us get suckered into thinking we can influence the outcome to our benefit.
After the pieces fall into place we can choose the best compromise available.

The only proviso is should force numbers need substantial increase this might drive something earlier.
We do have a history of acquiring small amounts of weapons for special forces etc where the US SA industry has been well represented but not uniquely. Is it right the small garrison in the Falkland isles has a unique PW?
 

Foo Fighter

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I see no reason and a certain benefit in producing our own small arms at the very least but our lot need to get their grey matter working, decide a requirement and stick to it. No more of this bleeping stupid changing of spec every ten minutes.
 

Tony Williams

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I'm not sure what you are trying to say here about the UK or any state the size of the UK economically and militarily.

Nor am I really sure why you call it 'nationalism' to even vaguely and sarcastically suggest that the the UK government 'managed the decline' in domestic industry to the point of oblivion.
If there is no worth in a country the size of the UK even trying the design or manufacture it's own small arms. Then perhaps you can tell me what is worth us doing ourselves?
What I'm saying is that with a negligible commercial market for small arms, and only an occasional need to buy any for the military, there is no point in trying to get into competition with the likes of FN and HK in designing, developing and building our own. They have decades of experience in developing small arms and will always be likely to do that better than any company without such experience. Just look at the way HK sorted out the SA80A2.

In military terms, domestic production of small arms is not a strategic requirement - there are many from which to choose, from several countries. Even the French, normally among the most nationalistic of countries in procurement terms, have replaced their own FAMAS with an HK.

Nothing that I have said suggests that any UK government "managed the decline" of this industry. It just gradually died out of its own accord, because the companies involved ceased to offer the right weapons at the right price to attract buyers.

I have suggested that nationalism played a part in the adoption of the SA80, because I have learned that there was a viewpoint among at least some of the army officers involved in the process that the UK should adopt the Steyr AUG instead, because that was a much better gun. It was a desire to support a home-grown product which led to the choice of the SA80. After all, given the problems the SA80 had from the word go and its inherent disadvantages, if it had come from any other country it would have been unlikely to have been short-listed, let alone adopted.
 

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We do have a history of acquiring small amounts of weapons for special forces etc where the US SA industry has been well represented but not uniquely. Is it right the small garrison in the Falkland isles has a unique PW?
The Falklands Island Defense Force has* Steyr AUGs. But FIDF is not the same as the British Army garrison on the Falklands. The FIDF budget comes out of the FCO, not MoD, and they apparently selected the AUG in a trial not long after the Falklands War when the alternative was the very bad L85A1. The British Army or Marine units in the garrison proper are certainly using L85s.

* I see from Wiki that they are in the process of reequipping with L85A2, which seems a bad bet unless there is a promise of the A3 soon. But the AUGs must be very old and clapped out by now.
 

zen

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I will certainly agree that what I've been given to understand is the SA80 was brought into service despite it's issues and that requirements were bent around the weapon's performance (cough) rather than meeting requirements.

All in all a sad and pitiful outcome.

Which is sad because it didn't have to be this way, and certainly elements of the SA80 design are sound.

However we are where we are.
 
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uk 75

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I seem to recall that the arrival of Bradley MICVs and Warrior IFVs drove the serach for shorter and more compact rifles.
The SLR was a fine weapon for leg infantry but very long. This was the reason for the rush to get SA80 into service.
As an aside the UK is amongst NATO nations where ceremonial troops use service weapons rather than tradition rifles as the US and Germans do.
 

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In large part because ROE in Afghanistan (and before that, I believe, in Bosnia) took a fair bit of that combined arms system off the table. When someone started taking pot shots at a US foot patrol from 800 meters with a PKM, US forces could return direct fire with their individual weapons but generally not mortars or artillery without a prolonged conversation with higher echelons. So they were shooting back with a GPMG (if they were lucky, with a SAW if not), up hill, against a poorly spotted target. Which tended not to be effective. (Neither did the original incoming, but no one likes getting shot at without an effective reply). Hence, the desire for "overmatch" was born.

The desire for carbine barrels came from the difficulty of exiting from a vehicle rapidly with a full-length rifle (especially cramped things like uparmor Humvees), and the related awkwardness of said rifles in CQB.
That is with a conventionally stocked rifle. Bullpup weapons don't have those sorts of problems. I've never understood the American reluctance to even think about bullpup weapons. It reminds me of the conversations I've read about the reluctance to have a pistol grip on the M14 rifles in the late 1950s. They adopted the M16 quite happily and it had a pistol grip.

As for using Motars, they are held at company or battalion level. What conversation do they need with "higher ups" other than their own battalion or company CO? They are there to used, why not use them. Same for LMG/GPMGs. Infantry sections are meant to be supported. They do not operate alone on a battlefield.
 

Kadija_Man

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I've never fired a bullpup despite them being available during Granby.
I have never been a soldier, but my job provided range time with a variety of military small arms, including several bullpups. While bearing in mind that soldiers' experience in combat is much more significant than the playing-around that I did, I am a firm fan of bullpups. It isn't just their combination of a short, handy gun with a barrel long enough to extract the most from the ammo, it is also their balance. A traditional rifle is noticeably front-heavy: add optical sights and it gets front-heavier; add a UBGL and it gets ridiculous. Bullpups tend to be evenly balanced - you can hold one in the aim against your shoulder with one hand, if the situation calls for it (maybe you want to signal with your other hand, or open a door).

Having said that, while the reliability of the SA80 was dramatically improved by HK's A2 version, it is not a great design, being a rather awkward overweight lump. IMO the army should have bought the Steyr AUG instead - a super gun, way ahead of its time. The Israeli Tavor is also a very good weapon, I have fired versions of that in three different calibres. The FN F2000 was great to shoot, although ergonomically quirky. I dislike the current US M4 carbine and have never shot well with it - if I had to choose a conventional 5.56 mm rifle it would be the FN SCAR L. I wouldn't pick the SCAR H in 7.62 mm, though - the gun is too light for the cartridge and jumps all over the place on firing.

I did put together an article arguing the case for (and against) bullpups: http://quarryhs.co.uk/BULLPUPS.pdf
I have carried and fired the F88 AusSteyr. It is a fantastic weapon, once you learn to keep you eye back from the sight. It is evenly balanced and can have plenty of Gucci stuff hung off the muzzle end without affecting that balance, unlike the M16/M4. Indeed, the only reason why the M4 was adopted by the Australian SASR was because you could find more and different Gucci stuff to hang off it. I once had a conversation with an ex-WO^1 of the Australian Army (it is an official position, as well as a rank) and he suggested he would have made them take the standard service rifle instead if the decision had been up to him (the service rifle was of course the F88). My only problem with the Steyr was the inability to check that the chamber was empty easily. The Australian Army adopted the policy of every digger need to remove the barrel from their weapon to allow the chamber to checked clear, upon clearing the weapon. I understand that issue has been addressed in more modern designs.
 

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As for using Motars, they are held at company or battalion level. What conversation do they need with "higher ups" other than their own battalion or company CO? They are there to used, why not use them. Same for LMG/GPMGs. Infantry sections are meant to be supported. They do not operate alone on a battlefield.
You're talking about how things would work in theory on a general war battlefield. The actual practice of Afghanistan was that for large periods of the conflict, anything that had the potential to cause civilian casualties needed approval up to brigade HQ at least. That included basically any fragmenting warhead other than 40mm grenades. Far, far from ideal for the infantry, but that's the way it was. And the way it might well be again in a future COIN fight.
 

zen

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Certainly the Steyr AUG system has a lot of merit and it's why I'd be quite interested in the new Polish rifle system if we were to be looking at a new rifle now.
But I would be quite interested to explore the Desertec and Kel-Tech offerings.
Ironically I suspect that the RDB-C might actually make a reasonable parade rifle.

Looking ahead the L5 caseless multibored system could be of interest.
 
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Tony Williams

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Certainly the Steyr AUG system has a lot of merit and it's why I'd be quite interested in the new Polish rifle system if we were to be looking at a new rifle now.
But I would be quite interested to explore the Desertec and Kel-Tech offerings.
Ironically I suspect that the RDB-C might actually make a reasonable parade rifle.

Looking ahead the L5 caseless multibored system could be of interest.
Yes, there are some interesting bullpup designs around. However, there is a large gulf between designing a gun which can perform very well on the practice range and making one which will function as advertised after weeks of being being kicked around by soldiers in combat, fed crap ammo and dunked in mud, plus can easily be stripped down and reassembled in pitch darkness with frozen hands...
 

TomS

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Looking ahead the L5 caseless multibored system could be of interest.
Oh, hell no! Instead of reloading with cartridge cases, the L5 reloads with blocks of multiple whole chambers. This is not an improvement.
 

zen

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Looking ahead the L5 caseless multibored system could be of interest.
Oh, hell no! Instead of reloading with cartridge cases, the L5 reloads with blocks of multiple whole chambers. This is not an improvement.
You understand why they designed it that way?
 

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FDM’s promotional video brags about how ejecting the spent ammo block removes excess heat from the breech.
The 5 round block eliminates dozens of variables in th e feed mechanism.
Try to think of it as a 5-round, pre-loaded, disposable magazine.
I am curious about how much those 5-round blocks weigh, compared with loose ammo.
 
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zen

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FDM’s promotional video brags about how ejecting the spent ammo block removes excess heat from the breech.
The 5 round block eliminates dozens of variables in th e feed mechanism.
Try to think of it as a 5-round, pre-loaded, disposable magazine.
I am curious about how much those 5-round blocks weigh, compared with loose ammo.
I would think the trade had to include the capability to fire 5 round simultaneously and then repeat in a second repeatedly without worrying about cook off.

But to be fair I've read good things about nickle cartridges and worrying things about even modern plastics
 

Foo Fighter

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A five round 'block' sounds like a retrograde step, they did that with Lee Enfields, five round clips. I thought we were after progress. The caseless telescoped rounds seem logical to me if they can be made to be completely reliable. There are a number of rifles/assault weapons that look OK but my opinion is hardly relevent as I am not going to have to use any of them.
 
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