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British Military Current Events

daftandbarmy

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Future soldier... looks like they'll be the Climate Change Commandoes ;)

Why we need Future Soldier

The impact of climate change also forces us to examine how we operate. Understanding the impacts of a changing environment on our people and our equipment, and working to preserve our freedom of manoeuvre is essential. Defence’s new Integrated Operating Concept (IOpC) defines the new model of Protect, Engage, Constrain and Fight in a volatile strategic environment that is characterised by great power competition, the proliferation of technology, the impacts of globalisation, the information age and climate change.

 

FJAG

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The British Army is looking for an ‘Alternative Individual Weapon’ for the Army Special Operations Brigade.​

According to the British Army website, the Army Special Operations Brigade’s role is to operate in complex, high threat environments below the threshold of war alongside specialised Partner Forces to deliver operational insights and effects. The Army Special Operations Brigade can be authorised to operate at higher risk beyond the remit of conventional forces.

Four Ranger Battalions and the Joint Counter Terrorist Training and Advisory Team will provide the foundation for the Army Special Operations Brigade.

Bidders have now been asked to “tender for the Procurement and Support of an Armalite Rifle (AR) platform Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) System for the Army Special Operations Brigade”.

According to the recently published contract tender notice, they’re looking for a “Rifle System comprising of a Rifle and a detachable Signature Reduction System and An Optic
System that complements the Rifle and is ballistically matched to the stated ammunition nature and supplied barrel length.”


More specifically a “5.56mm Armalite Rifle (AR Platform) optimised for use with L15A2, a 62gr 5.56×45 NATO ball round, equivalent to SS109”.

Including:

  • A Safe Blank Firing System (SBFS) for use with
    the platform delivered at SOR Item 7
  • An Optic System that complements the Rifle and
    is ballistically matched to the stated ammunition
    nature and supplied barrel length.
  • An Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Optic System that
    complements the Rifle and is ballistically matched
    to the stated ammunition nature and supplied
    barrel length.
The firms invited to tender for this are:

  • Beechwood Equipment
  • Caracal International LLC
  • Colt Canada Corporation
  • FNH UK
  • GMK Limited
  • Hammer Pair Performance Limited
  • Ian Edgar (Liverpool) Ltd
  • Law Enforcement International Ltd
  • Level Peaks Associates Ltd
  • NDH Defence Industries
  • NSAF Ltd
  • Precision technic Defence Ltd
  • Raytheon ELCAN
  • Riflecraft Limited
  • Steyr Arms GmbH
  • Viking Arms Ltd
The new rifle will be issued to the new four battalion-strong Special Operations Brigade.

The anticipated date for the contract award decision is March 2022 with the delivery of the trial systems by the end of August 2022.

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daftandbarmy

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I was under the impression the SAS were fond of some Diemaco/Colt Canada products...and some from H&K.

Yes, as do the Pathfinders and various 'special' bits of the Royal Marines etc. I wasn't happy with it as compared to the SLR, but I know several guys who used it in action in AFG etc and they seemed quite happy with the L85A2 version.

Introducing the SA80: The Worst Military Rifle Ever?​


The SA80 is the British Army’s main assault rifle, and everything about it just screams “1980s.”

The British Army Rumor Service — a message board and comedy site — described it as the weaponized version of civil servant, “as it doesn’t work, and can’t be fired.” The rifle even has the decade built into its name. SA80 stands for “Small Arms for the 1980s.”

Like so much from the era, the SA80 represented sleek modernity. Generals and bureaucrats at the Ministry of Defense wanted it to be the most accurate and reliable assault rifle in the world.

Instead, it was a bloody disaster. First introduced in 1985, the SA80 comes in the bullpup configuration and fires the 5.56 x 45-millimeter NATO round. It was supposed to be a compact and technologically advanced replacement for the venerable L1A1 battle rifle — better known as the Fabrique Nationale FAL.

But problems plagued the SA80, which is still in service in a variety of configurations. To be fair, some British soldiers say the L85A2 — the most recent incarnation of the SA80 assault rifle — is reliable most of the time.

Still, past versions of the SA80 were notorious for their stoppages, particularly in harsh environments found on a typical battlefield. The rifle frequently had “bits” that would break or fall off the weapon. There are even stories of fixed bayonets “going ballistic” when soldiers opened fire.

“The main issue with the SA80 is now one of confidence,” Terry Gander, editor of Jane’s Infantry Weapons, told The Daily Mail. “The lads don’t like it, and the slightest problem will tend to be magnified.”

 

FJAG

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I never thought very well of it but my worst opinion of a rifle is the Austrian Steyr AUG (a locally produced version od which is also used by the Aussies). In fairness, I've never fired one but just handled it when I was in Austria and well - it just felt wrong. In further fairness, a lot of users (except the SASR who refuse to use it) think well of it. Not sure how it performed in Afghanistan.

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Blackadder1916

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. . . it just felt wrong. . . .

But how much of that opinion is based on an emotional comparison to a "real rifle" like the FN C1A1? I knew when I carried one (an FN) that it felt like a proper weapon; it was steel and wood . . . traditional real materials, not Mattel plastic. I'll now go back to my corner with visions of the Cold War dancing in my head.
 

FJAG

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But how much of that opinion is based on an emotional comparison to a "real rifle" like the FN C1A1? I knew when I carried one (an FN) that it felt like a proper weapon; it was steel and wood . . . traditional real materials, not Mattel plastic. I'll now go back to my corner with visions of the Cold War dancing in my head.
I'll freely admit most of it. I started with MS Word and never could understand why anyone would use WordPerfect. :giggle:

I think most of us quickly fall into a pattern of what is "right" based on our earlier experiences. I tend to base a lot of my Army organizational and doctrine opinions on what I once learned and mastered and thereby clearly understood. Most everything after that gets evaluated by those standards.

As an aside and still on the Brit news side, Wikipedia now has a page on "Future Soldier". What I find fascinating is that the NATO symbol for the 1st Deep Recce Strike Brigade is an artillery brigade one.

1280px-British_Army_3rd_%28UK%29_Division_-_Future_Soldier_organization_2025-27.png



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daftandbarmy

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But how much of that opinion is based on an emotional comparison to a "real rifle" like the FN C1A1? I knew when I carried one (an FN) that it felt like a proper weapon; it was steel and wood . . . traditional real materials, not Mattel plastic. I'll now go back to my corner with visions of the Cold War dancing in my head.

Well, for one, I recall an incicent in NI where a soldier was in hot pursuit of an IRA chap who had taken a shot at him and, thankfully, missed. The soldier had 'made ready', got the baddie in his sights then squeezed the trigger - just to hear the Dead Man's click. The baddie got away.

Years later they upgraded it to include a forward bolt assist.

There were many other things badly wrong with the basic design too. Any organization that can, will now push to get an Armalite-like product.
 

Eaglelord17

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Forgotten Weapons has a excellent series on the development of the SA 80 rifles and its prototypes on youtube. It got worse as the development progressed.

Ultimately it is one of the few examples of the next generation service rifle being 100% objectively worse than the rifle it replaced. The only reason it was adopted was due to political interference and due to that same political interference they couldn't admit the rifle was a disaster until a decade later when they could no longer hide how poor a arm it was. It took the Germans and a ridiculous sum of money to make them serviceable arms and even then they still aren't as good as the other alternatives (AR-15 variants, AUGs, Tavors, etc.).
 

dimsum

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The only reason it was adopted was due to political interference and due to that same political interference they couldn't admit the rifle was a disaster until a decade later when they could no longer hide how poor a arm it was.
Something something Ross Rifle
 

daftandbarmy

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Forgotten Weapons has a excellent series on the development of the SA 80 rifles and its prototypes on youtube. It got worse as the development progressed.

Ultimately it is one of the few examples of the next generation service rifle being 100% objectively worse than the rifle it replaced. The only reason it was adopted was due to political interference and due to that same political interference they couldn't admit the rifle was a disaster until a decade later when they could no longer hide how poor a arm it was. It took the Germans and a ridiculous sum of money to make them serviceable arms and even then they still aren't as good as the other alternatives (AR-15 variants, AUGs, Tavors, etc.).

The people have spoken ;)

SLR v SA80: Here’s What You Think Is The Best​


The overwhelming majority of responses has been in favour of the SLR, with some asking asking questions over the reliability of the SA80 over its predessessor. As Chris Wolfenden put it:
“The first thing about the old lady, is she was just a brilliant bit of kit.”
However, many in the Forces who had used both weapons said that although the SA80 was far from perfect at first, with modifications it became the superior rifle.


 

Kirkhill

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... What I find fascinating is that the NATO symbol for the 1st Deep Recce Strike Brigade is an artillery brigade one.

1280px-British_Army_3rd_%28UK%29_Division_-_Future_Soldier_organization_2025-27.png




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On a related thought, with the emphasis shifting to "sensors" and away from "effectors" (luv the lingo) I have been wondering about the convergence between Cavalry/Recce with MUAVs and Artillery/FOO-FAC-STA-UAS. So much so that I have been wondering where the dividing line is between the two.

And if I really wanted to stir the pot: Tanks as Direct Fire Artillery Effectors?

The other thing I notice is that our allies are pushing Observers down to the Platoon Level and even, in the large Squad of the USMC, the Squad Level (the 2iC is apparently to focus on supporting fires and the rear link).
 

daftandbarmy

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I've shot it - didn't think much of it.

It's actually OK in terms of shooting stuff. I found the bull pup design is pretty handy for a few applications, like in and out of vehicles, helicopters, boats etc.

However, it still weighs almost 11lbs and, having patrolled on operations with it quite a bit, it feels like carrying a really heavy pistol in your right hand... for hours. 80% of the weight is over the pistol grip.

Mounting sights, and other bits and bobs to it, is also relatively awkward compared with the AR family of weapons, mainly because it's so short.

Bayoneting/ clubbing people to death? You'd be better off with a BBQ fork as it's about the same stand off distance.
 

medicineman

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It's actually OK in terms of shooting stuff. I found the bull pup design is pretty handy for a few applications, like in and out of vehicles, helicopters, boats etc.

However, it still weighs almost 11lbs and, having patrolled on operations with it quite a bit, it feels like carrying a really heavy pistol in your right hand... for hours. 80% of the weight is over the pistol grip.

Mounting sights, and other bits and bobs to it, is also relatively awkward compared with the AR family of weapons, mainly because it's so short.

Bayoneting/ clubbing people to death? You'd be better off with a BBQ fork as it's about the same stand off distance.
How do lefties do with it?
 

daftandbarmy

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A former SNCO in the British Army, who has used the newer versions of the SA 80 in battle (unlike me) and is OK with it, sent me this.

The cheeky bugger seems to know his audience :)


1640363492539.png
 

FJAG

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Has anyone else noticed that after an initial small flurry when Future Soldier was announced a month ago, that there has been a dearth of commentary on it in the UK military media?

:unsure:
 
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