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Australian Small Arms Modernization   Small Arms <20mm

Started 1-Oct by gatnerd; 5076 views.
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

1-Oct

Australia is continuing its Small Arms Modernization, which began in ~2015 with the introduction of the new EF88 by Thales:

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/06/27/australian-army-fielding-f90-ef88-for-trials/

The latest program now updates Australias Fighting Knife, Pistol, Shotgun, PDW, and Sniper Rifles:

https://soldiersystems.net/2022/10/01/australian-defence-force-signs-up-for-next-generation-of-weapons/

The fighting knife - the smallest of small arms - is interesting. Most modern militaries employ either a bayonet, or a multi purpose utilitarian 'field knife' such as the Kabar or Glock field knife. These are typically robust, single edge designs that place as much emphasis on durability and ability to pry / poke / dig / open MREs then they do on stabbing the enemy. 

By comparison, the new AU Fighting Knife is a return to the WW1-WW2 ethos of the commando dagger, a purpose built fighting knife with a double edge blade and minimal utility beyond close quarters combat or sentry elimination. 

Knife is the ZU Shrapnel, which also features a retention ring to keep the knife from being knocked out of the hand when fighting, similar to the Benchmade SOCP dagger.

Much more interesting is the SIG P320, in that Australia will be employing it with a Red Dot Sight. RDS equipped pistols have taken then US Civilian market by storm, and a growing number of LEO agencies (LAPD, etc) are also adopting them. 

But Australias use of the RDS on the pistol is to my knowledge the first time we've seen a Military have an optic equipped pistol as standard issue. Optic is a SIG Rome 2.

https://www.sigsauer.com/romeo2-1x30-mm.html

Hopefully we will see more militaries adopt RDS in the future, as they make shooting a pistol accurately a good bit easier. 

Continuing SIGs quest for global domination, AU has adopted the MCX in .300 BLK as a PDW. This choice is quite unusual for several reasons:

-Australia fields the F90, of which the 16" barrel version is a very short 26.5", seeming to make any length savings of even a short barrel MCX seem pretty minor unless the stock is folded. 

-Australia fields 5.56, and is interested in pursuing 6.8. In either case, introducing a new caliber - 300 blk - seems unusual, and is more something we might expect in a SF unit than a large military due to logistical concerns. 

The Sniper Rifle is the least surprising, as its pretty in line with what US SF is pursuing with .300-.338 Norma + fine optics and sensors. The scope shown appears to feature a laser range finder, likely quite capable, but my knowledge of sniper rifles is very limited. 

  • Edited 01 October 2022 1:06  by  gatnerd
stancrist

From: stancrist

1-Oct

gatnerd said:

...the new AU Fighting Knife is a return to the WW1-WW2 ethos of the commando dagger, a purpose built fighting knife with a double edge blade and minimal utility beyond close quarters combat or sentry elimination.

Knife is the ZU Shrapnel, which also features a retention ring to keep the knife from being knocked out of the hand when fighting, similar to the Benchmade SOCP dagger.

Why do you say the knife is a Shrapnel?  The one shown in the Soldier Systems article looks to me more like a Reaper.

The knife in the article has 4" blade w/guard, but Shrapnel has 3" blade w/no guard.  Reaper has 4" blade w/guard.

Plus, the ZU Reaper was designed specifically for the purpose of being a fighting knife.  PAUL CALE – Zu Bladeworx

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

1-Oct

The SSD article mentions the knife comes with a 'retention ring,' which is that finger hole at the top of the blade. And then the Shrapnel is described as being designed for, and available only to, the ADF.

https://www.zubladeworx.com.au/featured_item/shrapnel-dagger/

Designed by W02 Aaron Johnston as a tool to meet the requirements of the Australian Army Combatives Programme. You can read more about W02 Johnston in the Collaborations section of this website. The Shrapnel is made from a billet of A2 tool steel and came in two options, double edged dagger and single edged tanto. This knife is now only available by group order from ADF Personnel. Please contact us directly if you are in the ADF and wish to inquire about a group order.

 It looks as if several sizes and blade shapes of the knife have been made; presumably the pattern and blade length may be changed per the ADF's specs.

stancrist

From: stancrist

1-Oct

gatnerd said:

The SSD article mentions the knife comes with a 'retention ring,' which is that finger hole at the top of the blade. And then the Shrapnel is described as being designed for, and available only to, the ADF.

That last part is a somewhat misleading statement which does not mean Shrapnel is being officially acquired by the ADF.

It's actually described as being "now only available by group order from ADF Personnel" -- essentially, private purchase.

gatnerd said:

The Shrapnel is described as:  Designed by W02 Aaron Johnston as a tool to meet the requirements of the Australian Army Combatives Programme.

The Reaper is described as:  Designed by SGT Paul Cale for the Australian Army Combatives Programmes he developed.

gatnerd said:

It looks as if several sizes and blade shapes of the knife have been made...

Except that the two larger knives in that photo are not variations of the Shrapnel knife. 

They look to me like the Nomad, which has been produced in three different variations.

"The [Nomad] Mk2 was purchased by 1RAR Australian Army and the School of Infantry."

gatnerd said:

...presumably the pattern and blade length may be changed per the ADF's specs.

No doubt.  Just as presumably a "retention ring" could be added to the Reaper if the ADF so specified.

With what little information we currently have, it is uncertain which ZU model the ADF chose to adopt.

  • Edited 01 October 2022 13:16  by  stancrist
Apsyda

From: Apsyda

1-Oct

Glad to see that Australian procurement read from the ancient Japanese war treatise, "Naruto".

stancrist

From: stancrist

1-Oct

gatnerd said:

...AU has adopted the MCX in .300 BLK as a PDW. This choice is quite unusual for several reasons:

-Australia fields the F90, of which the 16" barrel version is a very short 26.5", seeming to make any length savings of even a short barrel MCX seem pretty minor unless the stock is folded. 

There are a number of military PDW users for whom stowed length is consequential. 

For them, the length savings of the MCX SBR (with stock folded) could be worthwhile.

gatnerd said:

-Australia fields 5.56, and is interested in pursuing 6.8. In either case, introducing a new caliber - 300 blk - seems unusual, and is more something we might expect in a SF unit than a large military due to logistical concerns.

Introducing a new caliber for PDW use is indeed unusual, but it is not unheard of in recent times. 

The German army adopted 4.6 HK for their PDW, choosing to accept the complication of logistics.

That the Aussies opted for .300 BLK rather than 5.56, may indicate intent to adopt 6.8 rifle and MG.

Farmplinker

From: Farmplinker

1-Oct

Wonder if they're going to try an integral suppressor so it's not quite so loud in confined spaces? Still run supersonic ammo, but cut the muzzle blast. I know the picture shows a can screwed on, but an integral would reduce length

EmericD

From: EmericD

1-Oct

gatnerd said:

Continuing SIGs quest for global domination, AU has adopted the MCX in .300 BLK as a PDW. This choice is quite unusual for several reasons:

-Australia fields the F90, of which the 16" barrel version is a very short 26.5", seeming to make any length savings of even a short barrel MCX seem pretty minor unless the stock is folded. 

-Australia fields 5.56, and is interested in pursuing 6.8. In either case, introducing a new caliber - 300 blk - seems unusual, and is more something we might expect in a SF unit than a large military due to logistical concerns. 

That could make sense if they are serious about switching to the 6.8x51 mm for their main rifle. The MCX in .300 AAC is probably already used by their SF for subsonic / supersonic work, so issuing the same rifle with the supersonic round (and without suppressor) as a PDW could lead to a simpler logistic.

In reply toRe: msg 8
Refleks

From: Refleks

1-Oct

I honestly don't mind the 300 as a PDW, ideally in an integrally suppressed Magpul PDR like weapon, and while type consolidation makes sense to a point, if the caliber creates too much of a logistical burden for a western military then they are in a sorry state and have other more pressing concerns.  

I would say if they were going that route I'd prefer the primary caliber and associated magazines be a different OAL so as to not accidentally blow up any guns because sure as hell that will happen despite procedural checks.  If an intermediate caliber like 5.56 is the primary then a second caliber for a PDW would IMO be less necessary as there are platforms already optimized for being small and handy (relatively, not on par with MP7) available, but if the primary intermediate caliber is more capable like 6.8  then a secondary caliber like 300 blk starts to make more sense.

Any major western power investing in new small arms but neglecting weaponized drones at fireteam/squad level is behind the curve, IMO.  

There's no reason fireteams can't be already equipped, today, with weaponized drones that fit inside a normal 40mm form factor (and therefore bandolier of many easily carrier), all of the technology is there, it's inexpensive and mature, and it would be extremely disruptive to traditional notions of combat -- in fact, in most cases, negating the need of something like a counter defilade weapon at the squad level (which has always been chunky), as well as the unrealistic desire to design a handy light rifle that can both clear brick shithouses but also overmatch a PKM on tripod conducting harassing fire at the edge of its effective envelope 2km away. While they may be vulnerable in a heavy electronic warfare environment, for the other 98% of actual fighting in actual deployments it will work fine, and in fact even in more conventional warfare with near peer threats they will probably be useful after that first week too.

  • Edited 01 October 2022 15:48  by  Refleks
schnuersi

From: schnuersi

2-Oct

Refleks said:

Any major western power investing in new small arms but neglecting weaponized drones at fireteam/squad level is behind the curve, IMO.

I have to disagree.
It makes little sense to equip fireteams or squads with drones. Within the engagement range of the smallest units such systems are not necessary.

The combat effectiveness of small, simple and cheap drones also is very limited.

In the near future small and light missiles in the class "anti personel guided missile" will fill this role. These are much more reliable, powerfull and more difficult to counter. They are also fully mil spec and can be handled like all other missiles.
Such equipment with ranges in the 2000 m and more range will most likely not be issued to squad level. At least not organic.

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