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 warfighter is able to connect the weapon via BTAC plugin to the network, providing awareness of the weapon’s operational health while in the field as well as an armorer’s interface..."
I sometimes wonder if system designers haven't spent too much time watching Aliens. They seem to imagine an officer sitting in a TOC somewhere watching the round count on his soldier's rifles go up as they shoot it out with the bad guys.
These days even rag-tag fighters can have cheap cellphone locators, EMCON is a must.
There is an English version as well,: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwNZd194Hf4&ab_channel=STEYRARMS. INterestingly, this shows a slightly different modification, with a different top rail and a new integrated frontend (the Wilcox Fusion system, which integrates laser, flashlight, and optics, described here: https://www.wilcoxind.com/news/news_wilcox_steyr_g36.php )
The Steyr Upgrade looks good and logical:
The STEYR ARMS G36 Upgrade Kit, with its metal receiver, an improved steel barrel and the STANAG compatible magazine well provides improved precision and longer service life of the G36 assault rifle under increased thermal stress.
The metal receiver by itself increases thermal stability several times over. With this receiver, the rifle achieves a previously unattainable precision and accuracy. In addition, a special coating increases the service life of the weapon.
The exchangeable barrel is also characterized by its improved thermal properties and is made of a material that has also been used in military technology for many years and has been extensively tested.
The magazine well can also be exchanged, thus ensuring the use of commonly used STANAG pattern magazines.
The components of this upgrade kit (receiver, barrel and magazine well) can be mounted independently on an existing G36 without any modifications.
Accuracy looks good; the Red Outer Circle is 12cm / 4.73"; it looks like 90% of the 60 shot group is within a circle ~1/2 the diameter, so ~2.3moa after 60rds.
The Wilcox Power Rail looks problematic. It locks in the customer to a narrow suite of proprietary optics and accessories. And then gives them all a pretty anemic power source to boot. Red dot sight + flashlight (White and IR) + IR laser powered by 1x CR123. All with a paltry 1m water resistance rating.
Now if it used 1x 18650 or 2x 18650's, and paired with a family of smart optics and thermal scopes, it might make more sense.
Steyr should just develop their own slim M-LOK aluminum handguard with low mounted top rail, which would allow it to use any and all accessories now and into the future.
I wonder why HK designers interfaced directly the polimer receiver with the metallic trunnion instead of using more metallic mass in an internal cage or rails like AUG or Tavor
Because the requirements were for a featherweight rifle, and doing that would add weight.
Recall that, at the time, Germany wouldn't fight outside of Europe, so the requirements didn't envision high temperatures.
The very core of ELINT is to detect emissions at much, much larger ranges than the opposite side believes possible. Add to that the many surprises in the history of "passive" devices that could be remotely activated at astonishing ranges. I still remember the image of Henry Cabot Lodge presenting a cutaway wooden U.S. Seal to the United Nations, that was in reality a Soviet, absolutely passive listening device.
Not to mention the growing omnipresence of active(!) Bluetooth devices.
Like you, I am also quite certain that the intention of the round counter is just for maintenance. That makes it really awful. For a "nice to have" maintenance gimmick, the very real risk is taken that the enemy can use it for detecting the presence of our soldiers.
If they were going for a feather light rifle they sure as shit missed the mark since it's an 8 pound 16" bbl gun.
The reality is that the bundeswehr was looking for a CHEAP rifle. They didn't need it to be feather light or anything else, just cheap.
Hk delivered cheap, unfortunately at the cost of having it be tragically flawed.
And, I don't care how hard the German government pencil whipped the "tests" to say that overheating isn't the issue...
The pictures freely available of multiple melty trunnions off former US swat team g36's tells the actual tale.
That said, I do like the Steyr redesign much better than the Wilcox abomination.
I can't pretend that I don't hope we get to see a Glock entrant in the second round of competition the bundeswehr now needs to do though.
Hoped for HK433 as i just can't seriously consider a non-folding stock rifle in a modern mechanized military to even make into the running .
Ar-15 clones are not winning purely on merit there is lots of cultural influence, being the good guy gun ''as seen on TV'' . I see this effect all the time with the military and LE folks . I make a lot of specialized gear for snipers and its often, like we have seen this on a show or on TV and we want something like that without having any experience with said gear, It was even crazier back in the 90's , sometimes i taught its a wishlist of weapons used by Chuck Norris or from Miami Vice.
* the funkiest one that comes to mind was the Croatian VHS , just because they had a high-ranking officer, veteran of civil war, that previously served the Legion, telling them that he wants a gun of similar ergonomy, they went down the rabid hole of trying to make their own Famas.
I do like the 433 myself but saying that the AR-15 isn't winning on merit is at best not entirely true.
It is one of those systems that's the rare combination of good light and cheap that's very hard to beat.
And with the prevalence and need for optics and other enablers to be mounted, weight is a BIG DEAL!
The fun and scary thing is that the AR-15 isn't even close to maxed out performance and reliability wise.
There's still quite a bit of meat on this particular bone.
Additionally though, I really question the need for a folding stock. Yes they're cool and a nice to have but with how far the stock already collapses the AR just isn't so big as to be a real problem.
Even assuming that the stock is a deal breaker you can cut the buffer tube down by as much as half without really hurting the reliability of the gun etc.
You can even pretty trivially increase its durability too.
Mind you, I'm not saying that sticking with the AR-15 is the way to go because I genuinely don't think that. I know that you could definitely do better.
More importantly than that, with the weight and variety of sights and accessories front line troops will need to do their jobs going forward even the AR-15 or a notional souped up product improved and lighter AR-15 is still going to tip the scales at close to loaded garand weight once you stack on everything you need and a 30 round magazine of a lightweight cases super 5.56.
And therein lies the problem, the current alternatives to the AR-15 all range from a little to a lot heavier than a comparably equipped AR.
That's going the wrong direction