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Posts Tagged ‘General Dynamics’

GD O&TS – Lightweight Medium Machine Gun in .338 Norma Magnum

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Back in 2012, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems unveiled their belt-fed Lightweight Medium Machine Gun, in .338 Norma Magnum. I saw the weapon, but didn’t take it too seriously, because at the time, there was no money in DoD for new starts. I remember being asked by a friend what a .338 machine gun could be used for and I replied, “shooting $10 bills.” It just seemed like the timing wasn’t right. Now however, its prospects are looking better than ever.

A few things have happened since 2012. First off, the development of Polymer cased ammo has progressed to the point that it is now viable. Second, there’s now money available for an initiative like this. What’s more, we’ve got a Chief of Staff of the Army who wants to retool the Army for the next war. The LWMMG offers an overmatch capability that promises to change how the Infantry fights.

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Developed via internal R&D Dollars, GD identified a capability gap between the M240 and M2 machine guns. They set about to create a machine gun which would offer similar handling characteristics as the M240, yet rival the reach of the venerable M2. Combining the .338 Norma Magnum cartridge and their “Short Recoil Impulse Averaging” recoil mitigation system, the LWMMG can engage targets out to 1700m (some GD literature offers 1900m) with a 300gr Sierra HPBT, FMJ, or AP projectile. That round offers 5 times the energy of a 7.62 projectile at 1000m.

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While GD chose the .338NM over the .338 Lapua Magnum due to its less tapered case for use in belts, and the promise of longer barrel life, the LWMMG can be converted to use the .338LM cartridge.

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At the 1700m range, the performance of the M2’s .50 round limits it to use as an area weapon, while the .338NM has been demonstrated to hit point targets at that range.  This more than adequately overmatches the Russian PKM which has been a concern for anyone who has found themselves at its receiving end.

The weapon weighs 22 lbs which places it well within the 240 weight class of 27 lbs and rivals the new M240L. The LWMMG also features a quick change barrel with fixed headspace and timing as well as integrated MIL-STD-1913 rails. Additionally, there is a collapsible stock and GD has been offering the weapon with a 6x optic.

This 2012 chart depicts the weights of the M240, LWMMG and M2 and is based on conventional, brass cased rounds for the LWMMG. In addition to weapon upgrades, Poly case technology is going to further lighten that load, or better yet, increase the amount of ammunition a machine gunner can carry.

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Finally, GD has also successfully demonstrated the LWMMG with a suppressor.

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Conceptually, the Army is interested in something along these lines, but out in the nebulous world of the future.  The thing is, the stars are aligning now.

Now is the time for one of the services or USSOCOM to write a requirement for this capability. Let’s see what industry can do to offer the US Warfighter a capability unparalleled anywhere else. Take that, PKM!

All photos from General Dynamics.

GD Buys FPI

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Chances are good that if you’ve got any time around MRAPs you know Force Protection, Inc. General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has agreed to pay $5.52 per share of common stock for a total of about $360 million to purchase FPI. This move isn’t really that surprising as for the last five years GDLS and FPI have partnered in the production of the Cougar. However, considering that both the Army and Marine Corps have discussed curtailing their MRAP buys, the timing seems somewhat late.

Conversely, this move does help GD further corner the US armored vehicle market. Already, they manufacture both the Abrams main battle tank and Stryker infantry combat vehicle. Additionally, as you may recall, FPI developed the JAMMA for use as a SOF Internally Transportable Vehicle. With GMVS 1.1 in full swing, this move may help strengthen the case for the JAMMA.

“Force Protection complements and strategically expands General Dynamics’ armored vehicle business, adding new products to the expansive portfolio of combat vehicles that we currently manufacture and support,” said Mark C. Roualet, president of General Dynamics Land Systems. “In addition, Force Protection’s skilled workforce provides high-quality support and sustainment services to an installed fleet of approximately 3,000 vehicles, strengthening our ability to support assets deployed with U.S. forces around the world. With this acquisition, we will create new opportunities to serve domestic and international customers alike.”

Michael Moody, chairman and chief executive officer of Force Protection, Inc., commented, “After careful consideration of the strategic direction of Force Protection, our board decided that a sale to General Dynamics would maximize value for our stockholders. With their armored vehicle business, General Dynamics will be able to pursue opportunities that we could not have pursued as a stand-alone company. As part of the General Dynamics family, our innovative products and offerings will continue to provide militaries worldwide critical assets that save troops’ lives.”

www.forceprotection.net