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Archive for the ‘AUSA’ Category

“Our next individual and squad combat weapon will come in with a 10X improvement over any existing current system in the world” or How To Kick The Can Down The Road

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

During last week’s AUSA Annual Meeting I listened to Chief of Staff, GEN Mark Miley’s speech about the state of the Army. He said a lot of great stuff, but his comment on Small Arms was most interesting to me, based on the short-lived 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle requirement.

“Our next individual and squad combat weapon will come in with a 10X improvement over any existing current system in the world,” GEN Mark Milley, CSA.

Notice that “10x improvement”. That’s beyond leap ahead. That’s phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range territory.

Since ICSR’s demise, everyone is talking Lightweight Small Arms Technology, a program which has been under development (and government funding) for over a decade and relies on ammunition which finds its roots in the Advanced Combat Rifle program of the last 1980s. The Army’s Next Gen Squad Weapon requirment is heavily informed by LSAT, the latest in a long line of Joint Service Small Arms Program efforts. Going back to the 60s, not one JSSAP’s rifle programs (Special Purpose Individual Weapon, Future Rifle Program, Advanced Combat Rifle, or Objective Individual Combat Weapon) have amounted to anything fieldable.


My takeaway based on GEN Milley’s comment? The Army doesn’t actually want to do anything. The ACR program of the 1980s was only looking to double the lethality of the M16A2, and it failed to achieve even that. Now they want 10x lethality. I suppose it comes down to the question of how to measure lethality, but still.

Just a few years ago, the Army blew a great opportunity to modernize its rifle, when it cancelled concluded the Individual Carbine program. While the focus this time was reliability, the Army claimed the program was stopped because of industry’s failure to offer a great enough advancement over the then current, M4. Everything the industrial base is better now, but it’s not 10x better.

Instead, the Army has kicked the can down the road, way down the road. The Next Gen Squad Weapon program won’t see the light of day until the mid to late 2020s, if ever. That’s because they expect such a drastic improvement that, barring energy weapons, is impossible. However, it also gives the LSAT team lots more years under contract with no expectation of performance.

During AUSA, LSAT contractor Textron was in full court press. They had an invite only firing simulator on the show floor to demonstrate how they had lowered recoil and increased hits. The only problem is that it was a game, with the weapons being operated by gas and the targets engaged by a laser on a screen. Anyone who walked away impressed didn’t realize they had just played an expensive version of Duck Hunter.

Some of you may remember when GEN Milley told Congress earlier this year, he had a body armor threat he needed to defeat. He also told industry he needed a 7.62 rifle to do that. Industry took up that challenge and offered their best. Before the evaluation even began, the effort was cancelled, for a promise of “10x improvement”, delivery date unknown. That threat? It’s still there. So tell us GEN Milley, how are you going to defeat it? With the maximum effective range of a promise from a contractor that’s been working on the same thing for years and years?

AUSA 17 – First Display Of HK 433 In US

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Developed to compete in the German Army’s replacement for the G36, AUSA 2017 was the first time Heckler & Koch has publicly displayed the HK 433 here in the US.


The 5.56mm HK433 shares attributes from both the G36 and HK416 like. In fact, it was designed as a less expansive option after the German government rejected the HK416 as too expensive for adoption as a G36 replacement.


H&K also believes that it’s ergonomics make it an easy transition for current M16 family users to the AR18’s piston design. Lower receivers are available with ambidextrous G36 (paddle mag release) or HK416 controls. Additionally, the safety is a 45 Deg throw. The ergonomic pistol grip has optional back straps and side panels.


The monolithic upper receiver features STANAG 4694 profile at 12 o’clock position as well as Picatinny rail (MIL-STD 1913) on 6 o’clock position. Additionally, there’s a maintenance-free round counter integrated into the receiver which requires no power supply and can be queried via RFID.


One interesting feature is the non-reciprocating charging handle. Not only can it be revered from left to right side by the user, it can also be used as a forward assist.


The slim line foreend features HKeyMod but when queried about standard KeyMod or M-Lok, H&K personnel answered that they would offer whichever system a client specified.

Here you can see the front and rear back up sights.

This is both sides of the 5-position folding stock, as well as it fully extended. The stock also features adjustable comb.

Here, you can see the rear of the receiver with the stock folded. The rifle can be fired in this configuration.


Although they didn’t display an example, the HK433 is also available in Flat Dark Earth and RAL8000.

Barrels can be swapped by the user and are available in 11″, 12.5″, 14.5″, 16.5″, 18.9″ and 20″. Weight and length with a 11″ barrel is 7.6 lbs and 32.2″ extended /22.7″ folded, while it’s 8.5 lbs and 41.7″ extended / 31.1″ folded with a 20″ barrel. Additionally, the gas port can be adjusted without tools for use with suppressors. The muzzle thread is M15x1.

So far, there are no plans to sell the HK433 commercially, while they concentrate on the Bundeswehr’s requirement. However, generally, H&K releases their guns to the commercial market in Germany first, so we’ll keep an eye on what happens at next Spring’s IWA.

In Case You Missed Dräger At AUSA

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017


It was a great 2017 AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C.! If you did not get the chance to meet or you would like more information on Dräger’s respiratory protection systems, chemical protection suits, portable gas detectors and monitors, thermal imaging cameras, diving equipment, and NBC/CBRNe protection/detection systems, click here.

AUSA 17 – NoizeBarrier by OTTO Engineering

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

OTTO’s NoizeBarrier consists of in ear plugs and a case which doubles duty as a charger. The plugs offer increased situational awareness by digitally lowering ambient noise up to 15 dB in high noise environments, with up to 40 dB protection from high impulse noise. Additionally, in enhanced hearing mode, they amplify low noise up to 5 x.

While it may take 12 hours to charge the waterproof case from shore power, it offers 15-30 recharges of the ear pieces. Each of those charges will last up to 16 hours.

AUSA 17 – SureFire XC1-B

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

For those of you asking for more lumens, SureFire is introducing the XC1-B which ups the lumens from 200 to 300.

You’ll notice a slightly different form factor with the battery cap slightly protruding.

Additionally, the switch now offers momentary on as well as constant on.

Bottom line, more lumens, same run time.

AUSA 17 – EXFIL Ballistic SL from Team Wendy

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

We showed you this helmet yesterday in conjunction with the release of the Ballistic Ears and Visor. It’s completely new and called the EXFIL Ballistic SL. It weighs 2.22 (size 1) or 2.31 (size 2) complete with shell, rails, retention and impact liner.


It also introduces the SL Rail which is 25% lighter than the standard EXFIL Rail and will accept the Ballistic Visor.


One way to tell the SL from previous versions of the EXFIL Ballistic Helmet is by the Wilcox SL Shroud (at the top of the dual image). It offers a 35% weight reduction over the the previous W Shroud. Manufactured from an aluminum insert and glass filled Polymer body, it is compatible with retractable lanyard systems.

It’s certified to NIJ IIIA. The 9mm backface signature is <25.4mm @ 1195 ft/sec. Frag performance is 17 gr v50 >/= 2400 ft/sec.

AUSA 17 – WL Gore Adds Excalibur To Advanced Combat Fabrics Offerings

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

Two years ago, WL Gore launched Katana, the first fabric in their Advanced Combat Fabric line. This latest version is called Excalibur. While Katana was dialed in for hot weather use, Excalibur is more a broad utility fabric. Think cold to hot weather. This is thanks to its 18% ePTFE fiber content combined with NYCO. It also offers high durability due to the construction which features twisted ePTFE adding strength by increasing tear and snag resistance. Also, it dries faster thanks to lower water weight gain. All of this combines to a higher strength fabric for a given weight.


(Pictured is Katana to the left and Excalibur to the right)

To put this in perspective, current NYCO fabric used in ACUs is 6.5 oz. Katana, which is primarily for hot weather is 5.3 oz and Excalibur is 6 oz per square yard. What’s more, NYCO’s air permeability (how well it breathes) is 8 cfm, while Katana is 70 Cam and Excalibur is 40 cfm. Katana allows you to radiate heat very rapidly promoting evaporites cooling. Excalibur on the other hand hits the sweet spot for cooling while keeping cold wind from blowing right through your clothing.

Excalibur is currently undergoing evaluation by all of the services.

AUSA – KAC 7.62 Assault Machine Gun

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017


At AUSA, Knight’s Armament Co displayed an example of their 7.62mm NATO Assault Machine Gun. Basically, it’s a big brother to the 5.56mm variant we recently featured. Since they are finalizing production of the 5.56mm gun, they wanted to start development of the 7.62mm version in order to provide as much part commonality as possible between the weapons.


It weighs in at 12.5 lbs, features a hard Picatinny Rail on the Receiver and can be fired without the removable stock.