Sounds like a heck of a squad auto weapon
A webpage for the Ultimax SAW. I'm happy to see American inventors trying their best, although politics too often matters more than good weapons design. It's amazing to reflect how many American military firearms are the result of individual inventors, or small firms... the government tends to struggle on with overly complex, overly expensive space-age tinkering, while individuals work on things that ... well, work. The last purely government design that I can think of is the M-1/M-14, and even that was the work of a brilliant individual, John Garand. And of course the Soviet AK-47 breakthru was the work of one bright tank officer who figured he could make a better gun than any in use.
Hat tip to reader Spiker for this link.
I suppose a lot of what hampers the government design process is red tape. They can't just "try it", they have to get approval up the command chain.
Posted by: Alcibiades at March 28, 2007 11:23 PM
Don't forget Gaston Glock. His story is amazing.
Posted by: mike123 at March 29, 2007 06:53 AM
Look at the output of John Browning: the 1917 and 1919 .30 caliber machineguns, the BAR, the 1911 pistol, the M2 Heavy machinegun. Not counting all the other firearms he designed.
The AR15 and Barret are from civilian designers, too.
Posted by: Firehand at March 29, 2007 07:33 AM
And of course the Soviet AK-47 breakthru was the work of one bright tank officer who figured he could make a better gun than any in use.
By liberally copying from John Browning's work. The AK-47 is basically a gas-operated, select fire version of the John Browning designed long recoil operated Remington Model 8, with a few tweaks to make it more illiterate-peasant friendly.
Posted by: Bill Twist at March 29, 2007 09:15 AM
The excellent Ultimax 100 not a US design, per se, though James Sullivan gets credit for its 'Constant Recoil' operation (which reduces recoil to almost nothing - it can be accurately fired one-handed). It is a 1980s-era deign from Chartered Industries of Singapore (now Singapore Technologies Kinetics).
Its in service with the Singapore Armed Forces (and the Jordanian 101 Special Forces Battalion, among others).
It was demonstrated to US Special Forces in 1984 (I have a picture of myself holding one with a suppressor in the summer of 1984).
It was submitted to the USMC SAW trials, but the Marines chose the Minimi (M249). The drum feed was the rumored reason why the Corps didn't like the Ultimax - the drums were originally to be issued loaded and to be disposable (though CIS demonstrated a drum loader at Fort Bragg for training ammunition purposes).
ST Kinetics marketing PDF - http://www.stengg.com/upload/194X9nI4kMKCDKfW7kd.pdf
Posted by: Mike Murley at March 29, 2007 11:05 AM
Kokalis considers the Ultimax to be a fairly subpar weapon. Don't know myself.
Posted by: Letalis at March 29, 2007 11:49 AM
I want one of those! Our senator, Feinstein had to quit the Military Appropriations Construction Committee. Story in World Net Daily http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54932
Posted by: The Mechanic at March 29, 2007 01:56 PM
Not impressed with them.
The M-240 ( FN-MAG ) is better than either of them.
Posted by: Kristopher at March 29, 2007 01:59 PM
OK weapon, poor caliber.
Posted by: Rivrdog at March 29, 2007 06:05 PM
I wish these were availible for sale to us of the unwashed masses... I guess I will never know whether it really is neat or not, since there probably arent any transferable examples around, and even if there were, trasnferable MGs are rather out of my budget anyway.
Posted by: Mark at March 30, 2007 08:05 AM
Drum fed vs belt fed SAW
Interesting that Singapore and China prefer drum feed to belt fed SAW. The Chinese drum for the RPK is superior to the the Russian drum, since the Chinse drum can be loaded and stored with the spring unwound.
I think the RPK in 7.62x39 caliber is a good SAW. It may not have the sustained firepower of a belt-fed M-249, but the RPK is lighter, the ammunition is better suited to the SAW mission, the drum fed RPK is more resistant to foreign debris gumming up the works, and the selective-fire feature of the RPK can be used to conserve ammunition.
It seems to me the role of a SAW means it is moved more often than it is fired, unlike the role of a tripod mounted belt-fed weapon. So the portable and buttoned up design of the drum-fed RPK is better for the SAW mission than the heavier and more open design of the belt-fed M-249.
Posted by: Brad at April 1, 2007 06:39 PM