Marines switching out SAWs
Story here. I like a lot of its features (as described), but wonder that it couldn't be redesigned to take polymer magazines and a quick change barrel, and perhaps fitted with larger magazine of different capacities so the gunner could alternate 30 round mags and perhaps a 100 round mag as the situation demanded.
You need sustained firepower and a quick-change barrel
Lots of other options are available
just another contract to H&K (although a very fine rifle) and not to American innovation and small developers
Posted by: David McCleary at July 13, 2011 11:44 AM
Oh yea and a bigger cal. say .308 a proven winner
Posted by: David McCleary at July 13, 2011 11:45 AM
Great news since we can now expect ODCMP to have surplus SAWs for sale - cheap - to American citizens who desire one.
Posted by: Wishful Thinking at July 13, 2011 12:11 PM
"...Oh yea and a bigger cal. say .308 a proven winner..."
They already a proven winner in that caliber. It's the M240B
Posted by: rspock at July 13, 2011 12:23 PM
.308 isn't an option because this is intended to be a squad-level weapon with the ability to interchange ammo and magazines with other members of the squad (of course, choosing an HK416 based platform means regular PMags can't be used).
As for surplus SAW's, most of the SAW's are pretty well worn out, I know my brother's platoon had to deadline all of theirs when they returned from Iraq.
Posted by: James at July 13, 2011 01:24 PM
240 junk from what I have heard
took the MG 43 and made it a horrible firearm
Many countries are using the MG 3 great firearm great Cal
already tested and proven
Posted by: David McCleary at July 13, 2011 02:24 PM
I wonder if they have fixed the bolt breaking problem that other piston systems experience with sustained full auto fire?
Posted by: Letalis Maximus, Esq. at July 13, 2011 03:08 PM
@ David McCleary
I loved my 240. Granted, it was a vehicle mounted version - but it never failed me, was easy to maintain, etc. It was a great machine-gun.
Posted by: jdberger at July 13, 2011 04:23 PM
This isn't a "squad level weapon", that the problem they are fixing. The SAW is designed around the squad as the basic unit of maneuver, the same doctrine the Germans developed in WWI.
Marine Infantry doctrine since pre-WWII has the the primary maneuver element as the four man fire team, not the squad.
Team Leader, Automatic Rifleman, Asst. Automatic Rifleman and Rifleman, all are supposed to have about the same maneuverability, have weapons commonality and to be able to operate their weapons individually. The belt-fed light machinegun, a crew-served weapon, that is the SAW fails on multiple levels.
The SAW was simply the latest shoehorned-in bad replacement for the BAR. The M14 automatic rifle proved less than controllable in the role and unlike the BAR/Garand combo had a limited mag capacity compared to the rifles (no superiority of firepower). The M16 automatic rifle version never really worked either, thus a medium machinegun, the -60 was forced into the role.
The SAW was adopted over the Pig as it was lighter, comparatively "handier" and at least shared caliber, if not feeding device (remember a big deal was it could operate with M-16 mags) with the rest of the team's rifles.
Anyway, the Corps has been looking for a true Auto Rifle to fill the role properly since the BAR went away, certainly long before I got in in '91. This isn't a "new" idea, the tech just hasn't been there (I'm sure bigger mags for the AR position will be forthcoming). I remember reading multiple articles in the Gazette on the subject over the years.
The belt-fed, crew-served machineguns have a place in the defense, where sustained fire requires barrel changes (and lack of having to be hauled around makes the barrel weight and need for a two-man crew to properly do so superfluous) and the guns' weight and lack of true "shoulder-fired" capability isn't a hindrance.
But with the Fire Team in the assault is not that place.
Posted by: Matthew Carberry at July 13, 2011 04:51 PM
I'm surprised people think the USMC rigged the contest so that H&K would get the contract. In theory many competitors of the H&K should be superior, such as the Singapore Ultimax LMG. But it was the H&K weapon which performed best in the open competition. Deal with it.
Also many critics of the IAR concept seem to misunderstand the nature of USMC infantry organization. The USMC deliberately places heavier supporting weapons such as mortars and 7.62mm belt-fed GPMG at the Company level. This helps to preserve the foot mobility of the rifle platoons, which are already overburdened with new body armor and battery powered gadgets.
Posted by: Brad at July 13, 2011 09:49 PM
The M240 is nothing more than the Americanized version of the Belgian MAG. And the MAG is nothing more than a BAR with a quick-change barrel and MG-42 type belt-feed. The MAG is the most popular GPMG in the world outside of the orbit of the dying communist world. More popular than the modern incarnations of the MG-42.
If there is a legitimate complaint about the M240, it is it's heavy weight. Hence the new model with lighter titanium receiver which replaces the older steel receiver.
Posted by: Brad at July 13, 2011 09:58 PM
No personal experience, I can say that son considers the M240B a very good weapon; spent a lot of time with one his first tour in Iraq.
Posted by: Firehand at July 14, 2011 08:48 PM
I would add the Ultimax to the list of better choices
Posted by: David McCleary at July 16, 2011 01:09 PM
The Ultimax didn't even make it to the final round of the competition. It had a fair chance and didn't make the cut.
Posted by: Brad at July 16, 2011 03:38 PM
Brad any idea why?
Posted by: David McCleary at July 16, 2011 09:22 PM
I think the Ultimax had problems with it's sights and wasn't as accurate as the final competitors. I'm not biased against the weapon. Before the competition ran it's course, I predicted the Ultimax the likely winner.
Here is some info I found through some quick googling.
During Test 2 minor issues developed with each of the weapons systems. Shooters repeatedly had negligent discharges with the Colt, attributable to the Marines forgetting the difference between the closed-bolt M16A2 and the open-bolt AR. The young Marines kept riding the bolt home on a live round, thereby firing the round. With the Ultimax, the shooters realized that the sights were set too low in the rear. Once they achieved stock weld the sights proved to be lower than the eye could see, forcing stock weld to be broken and causing the shooter to search for the sights. With the HK the 3.5 power magnification proved too much at 25 and 50 yards but beneficial at 100 yards. Overmagnification at shorter ranges slowed down the presentation of the weapon onto the target. For the M249 SAW, the weight and length in general made this an extremely cumbersome weapon in field firing positions. Another problem resulted from the commonality of the Colt AR and the M16A2. The familiarity led to initial accuracy, as the young Marines had not yet become familiar with the other weapons.
On average, during Tests 1 through 4 the 48 shooters preferred the weapons in the following order: Ultimax 100, HK, Colt, and M249 SAW. The questions on the questionnaire focused on nine areas: (1) overall performance, (2) using system sights, (3) detecting and identifying targets, (4) adjusting windage, (5) adjusting elevation, (6) adjusting weapons zero, (7) maintaining zero, (8) malfunctions, and (9) stoppages. Even though the Colt fired the most accurately in most stages, it was next to last in shooter preference.
Recommendations for modifications were requested for each of the weapons systems. The M249 and Colt were viewed as too heavy. The HK failed to stay on target in burst fire while the Ultimax sight system did not present to the eye at all. When the shooter laid his cheek on the stock of the weapon and achieved a proper stock weld he found the sights of the weapon lay below the line of sight capability of his eye. Accuracy—although according to raw data better than the current M249 SAW in every test—was of such a limited amount as to be statistically insignificant. Only on Test 3 did any weapon outperform the SAW by more than 10 percent accuracy.
Posted by: Brad at July 17, 2011 01:53 AM
Posted by: David McCleary at July 17, 2011 06:40 AM