This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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The only reason the IAR concept has any pull is due to the absurd and unnecessary weight of existing LMG's, and honestly if it was up to me I'd divest the M249 ASAP even for the IAR or Scar HAMR, because the people in charge of the M249 + M240 have got to be some of the laziest, most complacent designers on the planet, who've shown that they're happy just cruising along with an atrocious product, Personally I'm not a big fan of SIG but clearly there is massive room for improvement in that field, along with hopefully the Textron NGSW-AR, or even a future Lonestar 6.8 beltfed.
The new FN EVOLYs looks very promising, being both lighter weight and reportedly a good deal more accurate and faster to load.
Drops m249 weight from 17lbs to 12.12lbs for the 5.56 Evolys, and 13.6lbs for the 7.62 version vs 18.26lbs for the MK48.
Gr1ff1th said...the people in charge of the M249 + M240 have got to be some of the laziest, most complacent designers on the planet, who've shown that they're happy just cruising along with an atrocious product,
I love it when someone gets all shirty with the status quo. I’m sure if it were that easy and the guns design so bad, it would be simplicity itself for you to do better. In fact, why haven’t you done so already?
Getting "shirty with the status quo" is how things improve, if not we'd still be stuck with muskets, and yes, as noted earlier once FN got off their asses they slashed the weight of their guns by 35-50% depending on the caliber and the compared guns, and other technologies have emerged too, like the 5.56 LSAT which weighed 9.7 pounds vs 17 for the M249 and 12.5 for the EVOLYS, and we haven't even seen what Lonestar/TV will do for the field of LMG's and MMG's yet.
In addition SIG has also released a 13~ pound 6.8 LMG/MMG, this just illustrates my point about how terribad the M249 and M240 are
I agree that a number of countries, the US included, want the average soldier to have DMR-like capabilities. A major goal for them is a one-cartridge system. The NGSW program is a good example of this. Unfortunately, by the time a cartridge is sufficiently powerful to defeat body armor at a distance of 500 to 600 meters, the cartridge and its weapon system become large, heavy, and difficult to handle during the rapid fire that would be encountered in close-quarters fighting.
On the other hand, it would not surprise me if several countries prefer a two (or more) cartridge system, with the DMR and machine gun using a more powerful cartridge than the standard infantryman. Russia has been using that system for quite a while.
You might find the recent thread about PDW's interesting, since a major goal of that type of weapon was to replace the 9x19mm pistols and remaining submachine guns. The goal was a light, compact, low-recoiling weapon that could penetrate body armor at short distances.* Spoilers: problems were encountered. Of particular interest is this post from Emeric, who has some behind-the-scenes information : http://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages/7950/2
*mission-creep soon occurred and "short distances" changed from 75 meters to 200 meters.
The best way to describe the FN Evolys is a belt-fed assault rifle. It does not have a user-removable barrel or a heavy barrel, so I am not convinced that it can deliver a sustained high rate of fire. I'd as far to say that it is an answer to a question nobody asked. In fact, it was FN's submission to NGSW and was not down-selected.
The British Army has retired its M249 / FN Minimis, because they could deliver a sufficient weight of fire at desired combat ranges. I think the Evolys is unlikely to be better since it is lighter and likely to reach critical operating temperatures sooner. The start point for any future squad level light machine gun has to be the FN MAG 58 (or H&K MG5). These are undeniably heavy, but when I served in the British Army we were happy to carry the L7 GPMG because of the weight of accurate fire it could deliver at 1,000+ metres.
If we can get the calibre right, 6 mm or 6.5 mm, there will be some scope to produce a lighter machine gun. In any scenario, I doubt the weight can be brought much below 9 kg / 20 lbs.
We absolutely need to reduce the infantry soldier's weight burden, but this may be best achieved by reducing ammunition weight rather than weapon weight.
Or is it possible we se a resurrection of SMGs in future? Maybe with new pistol ammo (extented range + penetration) so HK 4.6 and FN 5.7 ammo is a pistol Caliber RIGHT? So they would be SMGs. They at least got NATO Standart as well some time ago. If some of these maybe get successors and with possibility future warfare would be more urban.... A more compact weapon system with a high ROF would be preferable for CQC and max 150m or 200m.
Or is the pistol ammo (if 4.6 and 5.7 counts as pistol caliber?) dead end for military use in future in an SMG system?
The M240 is really the Belgian FN MAG, originally introduced 1958. So you think its designer, the late Ernest Vervier, was among "some of the laziest, most complacent designers on the planet". This line of thinking does nothing to improve the situation.
Ernest didn't have access to Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software or high strength polymers in 1958 did he?, I'm not knocking the skill of the original designer, I'm knocking on the fact that since then engineering and materials science have come a long way, and FN until now has been fine just half assing things, like the M240L, where they just replaced parts with expensive titanium instead of actually making something good.