Firearms advanced technologies successful and failed

Discussion in 'Military History' started by TerraN_EmpirE, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    So recently I have gotten into a few conversations with a few members regarding small arms. These have from time to time gotten pretty OT.
    Today a video posted on Forgotten weapons YouTube channel that I wanted to share so I figured two birds one shot.
    A thread to discuss the technology and technical aspects of modern firearms evolution without dragging pages off topic and occasionally correct missinformaton.
    To start with....

    Behold the HK G11 K2 caseless infantry rifle aka "Teutonic Space magic."


    And as a bonus the AN 94 Russian Hyperburst
     
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  2. gelgoog
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    gelgoog Senior Member
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    Here are a couple of other 'interesting' automatic rifle systems.


    Plus assorted weird weapons.
     
    #2 gelgoog, Jan 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  3. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    First they are assault rifles. Automatic rifle can be used as a way of designating a weapon like the HK M27 or RPK a weapon that is more or less an assault rifle with delusions of being an LMG.
    Second I am separating these up because I want to make a.couple points here on them. The AEK971 was developed for the same completion Project Akaban,as the AN94, infact it competed against it and lost.

    The Akaban was started in 1981 with traails starting around 1984 running into 1994. It was supposed to be the replacement for the AK series And in many ways the Russian quaivilant to the ACR program. It demanded a rifle that offered an 50 to 100 prevent improvement over the AK in combat effectiveness. The Russians seem to have taken a Speggeti on the wall approach with wild ideas from double barrels and more. It was more than just these twonrifles in the running three were considered stand puts but two are of especial interest the AS renamed AN94 And the AEK.

    An94 "Won" the program but by 1994 The Russian military didn't have the money to actually replace the AK74 so instead the winner ended up being bought in small batches for use by elite units. As I covered it above it's complexity and issues of reliability pretty much doomed it.

    Still the AEK971 ended up getting some use in operations by these again elite units and use in battle.

    The BARS system was devised as far back as the 1960s it was intended to negate the recoil effects of the long stroke gas piston system at the heart of the AK platform.
    It does so by a counter weight system so as the Bolt carrier moves back during recoil a counter weight moves forward. This in turn "balances" the recoil energies as even when the Bolt impacts the rear of the receiver the counterweight's reached its end of travel as well virtually zeroing felt recoil. Of course this comes at the cost of added weight.
    The first version of it was trailed in the AO38 rifle which was based around the AK series and early 5.46x39mm.
    The next iteration was the AL7 rifle that ended up being the basis of the AK107 decades later.

    These prototypes didn't move forward then as the Russians had elected to adopt the much less sophisticated upgrade of the AK74. Series. But the designers were allowed to keep working on it.

    After losing Project Akaban it was resurrected twice more.
    First in the Russian AK100 series as the AK107 And 108. These were part of the AK export offering of the late 1990s early new millennium based off the AK74M modifications the 107 in 5.45x39mm And 108 in 5.56x45mm. Still these seem to have failed as export guns by that point in time the AK design was already widely copied. Although the AK100 would sell it faced stiff competition and the added cost and weight seem to have prevented the AK107 And AK108 from seriously being sold. Where almost all the rest of the series did better.

    But not all was lost as after the 2010s the Russians found a better standing financially and began long delayed rearmament to try and match the western powers. Included in this was the RATNIK program. Seeing the rise of systems like the G36 & M4A1 as well as the rail systems revolution the Russians felt that the existing AK74M And AK74 rebuilds were a little dated they wanted a rail system equipped rifle and more. There have been a number of AK rebuilds that try and add rail systems but Part of the problem with adding rails to the AK platform has been the dust cover. The AK was designed in The 1940s the housing over the back wards travel of the Bolt group was then viewed as nothing more that a means of keeping dirt and shooters out of the way of travel. As such it's a part that was designed to be slapped on. Adding a railed dust cover has been hit or miss at best. As the dust over moves when firing so a zeroed shot is followed by point of impact shifts.
    The best alternative that gets around this has been to mount the rail in place of the rear sight which is solidly built on to the barrel trunion. Problem is that's a very short rail that might be okay to mount a red dot but not much else.
    The Russians wanted to get more options and more reliably. This though the RATNIK program lead to new rifle trials the AK12 was offered then totally redesigned for this. It was followed by the some of the AEK971. The A545 images (11).jpeg
    The Russian claim both the AK12 And A545 will be adopted my suspicion is that this means AK12 eventually for more conventional units and A545 for the elites.
     
  4. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Now than the American ACR and its son.
    I could probably pull up more ACR entries online but I want to point to the G11 And Steyr ACR for a moment and there relation ship to the LSAT. That you also pointed to.
    G11 was the closest any army came to adopting caseless ammo for small arms since the end of the rifled musket. It's ammo was used by LSAT to start development of its Caseless ammo.
    And the Steyr ACR also Parallels the LSAT via it's method of operation ejection and that its ammo is polymer cased Teliscoped.
    LSAT started based around one driver. Weight.
    At the same time 2004 the XM8, had been driven by weight to but those who ran it attempted to make it a new rifle across the board without considering that the reason XM29 was broken. That it was it was to heavy. The objective weight was 6.81 kg loaded the real weight was 8.17 kg loaded. That 6.8kg is identical to the weight of the K11 a comparable weapon. But K11 had a bolt action grenade well XM29 was semiauto.

    Breaking the two apart they hoped they could reduce the weight of them as they developed along the way. The XM25 however was upchambered for a 25mm round and farther had to be reinforced after a round detonated in the chamber. Adding more weight.

    The XM8 did get some success in dropping the weight. A loaded XM8 weighted 7.5 pounds, that's identical to a loaded M4 carbine true, but the M4 only had it's irons at that weight where as XM8 had both irons and a red dot at that weight.
    Still it wasn't the intended 5.7 pounds wanted, and the whole program was run wrong. And in 05 it was terminated.

    So LSAT intended to do it right. The first thing though was that they changed there starting point. The problem wasn't the M4. As it stood then and now M4 really isn't much heavier than it's competition and is fine for now. (Also they had hoped to sinergize the ammo into the XM8)
    The problem they argued was the Squad Automatic weapon. And the Army infantry school agreed meaning that had a real R&D program with the potential to lead to something.

    The U.S. had a requirement for a new squad light machine gun back in 1984. The weapon they chose then and have used primarily since is the M249. A licenced variant of the FN Minimi.
    Despite being called a "Light" machine gun M249 and the FN Minimi its based off weight in at 17 pounds empty that's almost as much as the loaded weight of the XM29.
    And loaded with a belt M249 tipped the scales at 22 pounds. The lightest version I know of stripped it down to 13 pounds empty is the M249 SPW.
    Now in US Navy Seals use at that time (1984 has since left service) was an obscure weapon called the Mk23.
    This was a variant of the Cadillac gage/Stoner 63A
    In the same 5.56x45mm with a weight of 11 pounds.
    The Brand new (at the time) weapon FN Minimi for the Army 16 pounds
    Stoner 63A LMG 11 pounds which would you rather foot match with?
    Even as the Army adopted the M249 In Singapore the Ultimax 100 was entering service although that weapon had issues it was then and is still today a little over 10 pounds empty. And by 2004 Knights Armament company had and has today the rights to an improved version of the Stoner 63 The then KAC LMG at 10 pounds empty.
    Still that's just the weapon then there is the ammo bringing it up to 22 pounds.

    So LSAT focused in 04 on the LMG and ammo.
    Trimming the weight of the LMG they could do they easily designed weapons to less than 10 pound weights.
    But the ammo. Needed more science.
    They chose two types. Polymer Cased Teliscoped and Caseless Teliscoped inspired by the ACR trials at that time they stuck with 5.56mm to save time and money.
    The objective was at least a 40% reduction in ammo weight vs existing brass. Meaning a 100 round belt of ammo would weight 2 pounds not 3. 3 (with links) this would mean a LSAT LMG loaded with 150 round belt being around 13 pounds or less then the empty weight of the lightest M249 variant. You should be able to see the advantage at this point. Even compared to the loaded weight of a Mk23.
     
  5. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Sometimes the biggest change is not a new bullet or method of operation but how something is built.

    Accuracy International started out as a couple of Blokes in there garage with aluminum welds and cheap resin molds.
    They had on their side though that they were competitive shooters who knew the basics of the rifle.
    They accomplished a four fold buzz word paragon shift in military sniping. Modular, Disruptive, Game Changing, Overmatch.
    In a David vs Goliath moment in history two blokes in a garage beat all the big arms makers in winning a British army contract.
    How? Alluminum.
    Before the British trails in 1985 Sniper rifles were built the same way they had been built since the well hell the 1850s!
    You take a accurate rifle and mount an optic.
    Technology had improved in the rifle the ammunition and the optic by the 1950s we start seeing the idea of the Spotter emerging but at the heart the difference between what was a commercial hunting rifle and a military sniper weapon was small.

    In about tge 1960s and 70s sniping shifts and the sniper breaks with squad marksmen favoring semiauto Rifles like the dragonov. Military snipers and specialty counter terror police snipers. In the latter there was a debate on did you need anything more than what existed for the military sniper?
    The technology of the time had evolved a little more with Composit materials replacing wood and you had the occasional stand out like the HK PSL or Walther 2000.
    But still you had fixed power sights and unique dove tail mounted scopes and Iron sights.
    In the British Army trials of 1985 The favored to win was the M85 By traditional British Maker Parker Hale.

    And it's a mauser rifle in a American made McMillan fiberglass stock with bedding with a very good variable power scope.
    But the one that won was the shocker.

    The L96A1 "Green meanie" like the Parker Hale it's bolt action even the same 7.62x51mm caliber and optic. but it's the first of the Chassis rifles. The chassis is an alluminum frame into which the functional parts the barrel, bolt action, optic, trigger and bipod are mounted then covered by two panels. This resulted in a weapon that changed the British sniper program. Before this rifle the British sniper program was washing out 70% of trainees after it the number inverted. The British Army realized that they weren't even pushing this rifle to its potential. And upgraded the systems and training around it. AI made farther improvements to the weapon and eventually they had the Arctic Warfare series which turned a small shop in a shed into a NATO wide offering and then the Arctic Warfare Magnum which set the record for sniper kills beyond a mile held until Canada beat it.
    Today the Sniper rifles made by even long time makers use the Chassis as there starting point. The materials have improved the rail system has replaced the Dove tail but the latest rifles from AI are little more than upgrades scaled up Green meanies. Around the world other makers took the same idea. The US SOCOM ASM contract rifle the Mk21 is a chassis built rifle.
     
  6. kwaigonegin
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    kwaigonegin Colonel

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    For the most part I think we've reached peak range and accuracy when it comes to rifles or even handguns . Maybe a very slight incremental increase with new materials, ammo etc but unless there's some revolutionary breakthrough in firearms tech like electromag, lasers or some other pulse tech this is about as good as it gets.
    Kinda like piston engines. Been around for over a hundred yrs but fundamentally still the same thing.
     
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  7. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    From The practical application side the weakest link is the human being. The machine is far more practically accurate than the shooter.
    The complexity of extreme range shots like the current record 3.54 Km shot are so complicated as to boarder into factors like timing of human heart beats, rotation of the earth, and often fail on the first shot.
    I think that for Rifles and there accessory weapons the next step is systems like Tracking point and Smart Shooter. We are today I feel at the same technology point for the sniper that Tanks and Naval ships were at at the point of computerization. Where in we have taken the sighting system as far as it mechanically can go using the limits of mechanisms alone.
    Pistols by contrast are intended for shorter ranges and are always more of a fire response due to violence of action as such a computer is less an aide at this point and more an inference.
     
  8. kwaigonegin
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    kwaigonegin Colonel

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    Yes which is why I said we've reach peak usage in regards to 'rifle' lethality which fundementally requires the the human shooter. So either take the human out of the equation i.e cyborgs or some breakthrough in firearm tech. Either way requires a revolutionary advancement in either the process or machine or both.
    I suppose a properly configured and advanced cyborg with'user' to machine interface with the gun can theoretically shoot accurate rounds downrange at 2,3 miles consistently with current gun technologies.
    but luckily the era of the T-800s are not upon us yet.
     
  9. Mohsin77
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    Mohsin77 Junior Member
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    Not yet... but this DARPA program will get it there (if it ever gets operational). Behold, the laser guided bullet:



    I don't know what the status of this program is though... whether it's still in active development or not. I would think you could theoretically combine such a system with a smoothbore round and get even more out of it. Basically turn a sniper rifle into a mini tank cannon firing guided sabots !
     
  10. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Guided projectiles like that require two things. First as you point out is a smooth bore gun. That is not a common sniper rifle. Second is a large caliber round. This is as you need the size for the mechanism to alter it's trajectory and have the laser seaker. The result of both is a large, highly specialized and Expensive system.
    The Video you posted @Mohsin77 used stock footage of two different systems the first gen tracking point rifles and footage of the firing released by DARPA as well as an 80 B movie.
    In reality the weapon used in the firing was a 12.7mm totally costom gun. Same for the Russian and Chinese demos larger caliber larger round fired from totally costom remote controlled universal firing rigs.
    I don't expect any to be humped by snipers in the field before the 2040s.
    By contrast rifle mounted Fire control systems albeit expensive are more practical and a lot less invasive than cyborgs.
     
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