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· Forum Vassal
710 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seems like the concerns everyone had from day one have trickled up to the top.

Is an automatic rifle up to the task of replacing a belt fed reign of terror? Belt fed weapons are scary as shit when you are on the wrong end of them.

Conway eyes additional testing for auto-rifle
By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jul 5, 2010 10:21:21 EDT
Commandant Gen. James Conway has given Marine acquisitions officials approval to buy hundreds of 5.56mm infantry automatic rifles, Marine officials said, but it still isn’t assured the weapon will be widely fielded.

The Corps will purchase 450 auto-rifles, now known as M27s, officials said. The weapon could reach a few infantry battalions beginning this fall, providing the IAR program a chance to prove to Conway that it is ready to be widely fielded as a replacement for the 5.56mm M249 squad automatic weapon, which has been in use since the 1980s.

The decision does not mean that the commandant will definitely sign off on the purchase of 4,100 IARs that acquisitions officials have eyed to replace the SAW in many infantry formations, said Capt. Geraldine Carey, a spokeswoman with Marine Corps Systems Command, based at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The general is concerned that the auto-rifle doesn’t have enough firepower to replace the SAW, which can carry a 200-round drum of linked ammunition. The M27 — known commercially as a variant of Heckler & Koch’s HK416 — is designed to carry a 30-round magazine, although the Corps is also considering a high-capacity magazine that could carry 50 or 100 rounds.

Conway said in December that he was not convinced that replacing the SAW with a smaller weapon is a good idea because the M249 allows Marines to establish fire superiority in a firefight, forcing attackers to take cover.

“Let’s… talk about suppression and the psychology of a small unit fight, that says that the other guy’s got a light machine gun and I’ve got an automatic rifle,” he said. “I’m going to be hard-pressed to get fire superiority over him, you know, to keep his head down instead of him keeping mine down, because that 200-round magazine just keeps on giving.”

In April, acquisitions officials said the Corps could field large quantities of the IAR, but only if the commandant is convinced it’s a good idea. Marine officials hoped “to get a full-rate production decision” once the results were reviewed by Conway, said Col. Andrew Bianca, head of infantry weapons acquisition at SysCom.

“One of the big things that we’ve been doing — and most of you have probably read about it — is the infantry automatic rifle,” he told the group, gathered April 6 at SysCom’s 2010 Advanced Planning Brief to Industry. “It’s a look at going back to the true automatic rifle and replacing the [M249] squad automatic weapon within the infantry squads and the light-armored reconnaissance scout teams.”

Marine officials are reviewing Heckler & Koch’s IAR after selecting it as its preferred option in October and ordering 24 additional weapons for testing. It beat out three other finalists, including two models from Colt Defense LLC, maker of the M4 carbine, and one from FN Herstal, maker of the SAW. The H&K model is a variant of its HK416 assault rifle, which uses a spring-buffered short-stroke gas piston system, and was the sole finalist that fires only from the closed-bolt position.

· Premium Member
324 Posts
what is the benefit of the IAR over the SAW anyway? It sounds to me that the IAR is nothing more than a fully auto HK 416 which is a glorified M4 running a piston gas system. so the IAR suppprts a 30 mag with the option of a high cap magazine such as a Beta Mag, etc. I don't get it. SOunds to me someone in acquisitions is getting ready to retire and wants a job at H&K... :p

· Registered
1,586 Posts
In the automatic rifleman (AR) role a belt-fed weapon in a way is too much. Belt feed systems are heavy and more complex and can be prone to failure. I worked on them for years in the service.

The AR is the "fire" in the team's fire and maneuver but he also needs to be able to "maneuver" as well. Being loaded down restricts that. Having said that I think the Marines should hold off on releasing this thing to operational status until they can also release a functional (and tested to be so) hi-cap mag to go along with it. Numbers seem arbitrary but if the mag doesn't hold at least 50rds then they really need to hit the brakes.
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