We have discussed small arms calibres, dismounted close combat and soldier burdens a couple of times and one of the issues that seems to be receiving a great deal of interest is, regardless of calibre, reducing the weight of ammunition. Everything from lightweight materials and modifying the design of the bullet have been tried but one that shows much promise is cased telescoping and plastic cased rounds.
Caseless ammunition has been subject to a lot of research but the fundamental role of the case in removing heat from the weapon never seems to have been properly resolved.
Will lightweight case designs and telescoped cases offer a meaningful weight reduction without impacting reliability and performance?
An interesting video update
Textron Systems’ Cased Telescoped Light Machine Gun Performs Well During U.S. Army Military Utility Assessment.
Weapon System’s Weight, Ergonomics and Handling Advantages Showcased during Three-Week Evaluation at Fort Benning.
HUNT VALLEY, Md. – October 10, 2011 -Textron Systems Advanced Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today that its U.S. Army Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) program team has successfully completed a critical Military Utility Assessment (MUA) of its cased telescoped light machine gun (CT LMG).
The evaluation took place at the Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Ga. during a three-week period in September. The MUA, employing soldiers from military police and infantry battalions and a Ranger regiment, fired 25,000 rounds using eight CT LMGs. Evaluators assessed the weapon’s performance in numerous categories-in a side by side comparison to the Army’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon-to determine if the LSAT weapon system is suitable for the full spectrum of automatic rifleman tasks.
“Initial feedback from the MUA was extremely positive,” said Kori Phillips, the LSAT Project Officer from the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC). “The cased telescoped ammunition and weapon together are 40 percent lighter than the M249 when carrying 1,000 linked rounds, which equates to more than 20 lbs. That makes a big difference to the warfighter-in terms of mobility, weapon ergonomics and logistics.”
LSAT is a technology based program managed through the Joint Service Small Arms Program Office (JSSAP), located at ARDEC at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. Textron Systems’ AAI Corporation is the prime contractor and systems integrator for a team of six additional companies who contribute to the LSAT program.
The cased telescoped light machine gun is a gas-operated, air-cooled, belt feed selectable semi-automatic and fully automatic weapon that fires from the open-bolt position. Its rate of fire is approximately 650 rounds per minute.
Soldiers at Fort Benning tested the CT LMG’s performance across a variety of automatic rifleman tasks and operational scenarios to assess whether it affects their ability to effectively engage targets. The weapon also was evaluated on its suitability in other areas including portability, safety, compatibility with soldier equipment, durability in challenging operational environments, ease of use, and its impact on soldier mobility.
“Our Cased Telescoped Light Machine Gun really proved itself in the variety of environments and live-fire situations during the MUA,” said Textron Systems Program Manager Paul Shipley. “Soldiers experienced firsthand the benefits of this weapon and the significant advances our project team has made in weight reduction, handling, controllability and other factors during the past seven years.”
Additional CT LMG tests are in the planning stage with U.S. Army Special Operations Command while the Army determines a written requirement for lightweight weapons.