15 Out of 20 Soldiers Prefer LMG over M249

 

DYLA? Don’t you love acronyms? No? Then look away now and limit your dealings with the United States military. “US Army soldiers have preferred the light machine gun (LMG) over the existing M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) for combat use in Afghanistan, a report by the Maneuver Battle Lab (MBL) has revealed.” army-technology.com reports that “the study is based on a two week military utility assessment (MUA) conducted by the army in an effort to help engineers and developers understand and evaluate improvements required by the gun and its ammunitions from a soldier’s perspective, as well as demonstrating its potential impact on mission effectiveness.” AWUP (All Warmed-Up Now)? Let’s continue . . .

During the two week testing conducted in September 2011, a total of 20 soldiers test-fired more than 25,000 rounds from eight prototype LMG’s and demonstrated reduced time needed to zero the LMG towards targets when compared with the M249 SAW.

The LMG’s ability to quickly meet qualification standards on a known distance range was also highlighted during the exercise, prompting 15 soldiers to say, provided a choice, they would rather use the LMG instead of the M249 in a combat zone.

According to the report, the 21.5lb LMG enables increased mobility and provides 12% reduction in ammunition volume, which could prove critical in the battlefield.

The MUA also helped in the development of a capability development document (CDD), which is required before the system moves to a programme of record and enter the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the acquisition life cycle.

Based on the MBL’s MUA, will the CDD recommend the LMG ASAP or is it DOA? Or will soldiers continue to see SAW? As the front line troops awaiting the decision from ARDEC’s LSAT might say, SNAFU.

Based on the findings obtained from MUA, US Army’s general Robert Brown, Maneuver Center of Excellence commanding general, has signed a letter committing funding for further validations of the gun in a forward operational assessment in Afghanistan.

Developed as part of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (ARDEC) lightweight small arms technologies (LSAT) programme, the LMG aims to significantly reduce the weight of small arms and their ammunition.

comments

  1. avatar Moonshine7102 says:

    “Excuse me, sir, but since the VP is such a VIP, shouldn’t we keep the PC on the QT? Because if it leaks to the VC, he could end up MIA and then we’d all be put on KP.”

  2. avatar TTACer says:

    I am confused, the all knowing wiki says the M249 is 22 lbs loaded and shoots 556. How can the unnamed LMGs have a 12% decrease in ammo volume. And what does “increased mobility and provides 12% reduction in ammunition volume,” mean?

    1. avatar LiquidFlorian says:

      Are they talking about the Marines’ new M27 AIR, or the Stoner LMG?

    2. avatar Mike in NC says:

      Guessing that the LMG could be using a different belt design which allows the same number of rounds to be packed into a smaller space.

      1. avatar Cody Mikles says:

        If it’s part of the LSAT program, it uses telescoped cartridges of either polymer cased rounds or caseless rounds, depending on which prototype they were using. Given the 12% weight reduction I think they were the polymer cased rounds.

  3. avatar Tarrou says:

    I assume it means the LMG has a better designed ammo box that is smaller than the gigantic plastic SAW one. All the SAW gunners I knew swapped out a smaller cloth zippered bag (known colloquially as a “nutsack”) for the big plastic drums, and only loaded the big ones for stationary positions or during a firefight.

  4. avatar gabba says:

    the M249 (SAW) is an LMG FYI. it would be nice if you could be more specific. even if the company that makes it is entirely comprised of jackasses that have designated their specific product with a term that is commonly used for the entire class of product their specific product is.

  5. avatar Thomas Paine says:

    is a sample of 20 soldiers a good sample size?

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Statistically speaking, is is a nonstatistically significant sample, a hunch so to speak. On the other hand, how much statistical sampling do you have to do before you figure out that, reliability questions being equal, a soldier will ALWAYS pick gear that weighs less.

  6. avatar Accur81 says:

    WTF is decreased ammunition volume?

    I would much rather pack an LWRC IAR than a SAW. The SAW is damn heavy (for a 5.56, anyway) and works “best” when belt fed.

    Why not a IAR with a heavy barrel, piston op, and select fire capability?

    For sheer volume of fire, the SAW does pretty well, but the Infantry Automatic Rifle concept (a heavy barrel piston AR that shoots from a closed bolt on semi auto for reliability and an open bolt on full auto to keep cool) seems like an awesome idea. An IAR is certainly a lot more mobile and reliable than a SAW.

    That LMG pictured looks quite a bit like a SAW, anyways.

    1. avatar LiquidFlorian says:

      This. And the 60+ round Surfire mags makes the kit load out more universal as well.

    2. avatar LT says:

      “Decreased ammunition volume” likely isn’t referring to the ammo itself – it’d have to be a different caliber if that were the case – but rather the total means of ammo storage and feeding (e.g. magazine, box, drum, what have you).

      Volume itself should be kinda obvious, I’d imagine.

    3. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Don’t buy it. If I could hump the SAW as a skinny 18 year old kid, then anyone can – at least anyone moderately qualified to be a solider. An MG, even an LMG should be belt fed, and have enough mass to absorb the recoil and dissipate the heat from serious sustained firing. Everyone who’s tried the “super rifle” in the saw role has ended up buying the SAW, or at least lusting after it.

  7. avatar Hal says:

    I am a (part time) Infantry Officer and I would much rather my bubbas have the IAR than a SAW. Not that the ol’ 249 and I haven’t had good times over the years, we have. I would just like my joes to have the choice between semi-auto precision and controllable (ie slower rate) full auto on tap.

  8. avatar charlie Taylor says:

    I believe the LMG MAY refer to the the prototype telescopic ammunition LMG that Picatinny is developing. This could explain the reference to the reduced ammo volume.

  9. avatar 101abn says:

    Not cheer leading for the opposition. But, with all the hi-tech, new improved, all volunteer, master of land/sea/sky military, why are we still taking 8 to 10 years fighting against rag tag guerrillas with AK-47s and IEDs, and still wind up losing? The excuse, “It’s the guvment”, is wearing sort of thin. And, rationalizing is thin too. We have lost militarily, wunder weapons are no…….

    1. avatar Wade says:

      IMO, ROE (rules of engagement) and “protocol” have been the death of the US armed forces as the worlds mightiest military. I think that if we would stop binding our soldiers’ hands with red tape, this war would have been over six years ago.

    2. avatar Sanchanim says:

      I might try to explain here..
      There has been a dynamic shift in methodologies and tactics over the past decade or so. The US used to be the giant huge force which took forever to get anywhere, and was designed for traditional warfare if you want to call it that. Think WWII where there were battle lines and large scale maneuvers. Now fast forward. The US has been positioning itself as a global strike force that can place a smaller given amount of assets into anywhere quickly.
      However I have felt the adoption if tactics has been slow overall to catch up with the new role.
      In Afghanistan, and Iraq you have local bands of fighters. It is urban warfare and it is not pretty. In the IDF it took a long time to begin to hone their skills with regard to this type of fighting. It still isn’t perfect and certainly not fool proof. The IDF came under a large amount of scrutiny for operation cast lead which from and insiders view wasn’t perfect but better than most. The objective in the long run wasn’t achieved however the degradation of Hamas capabilities was substantial, and helped.
      The US has an issue. It like to look like it plays nice and all, but in reality given the middle eastern mind set you can’t simply occupy or hang out and assist. You need to annihilate until they scream uncle, then do it some more until not only are they completely depleted but you have removed the will to fight.
      I don’t say this to sound like some war monger nut case, but Hamas, Taliban, Islamic Jihad etc work on a fatalistic view. They will not lay down, or back away because they would rather die than surrender. This is something the US has not adapted to, and can’t. They value public opinion beyond making the operation a success, which is why we were and are still stuck in Afghanistan.
      They are however learning. Libya was a good example. Minimal on the ground presence but support the opposition, and become enablers not occupiers. Israel tried to do this when they went into Lebanon recently but failed miserably because the military could make the full commitment to the proper execution of the plan, i.e. politicians got in the way because the PR battle was raging. Israel however is also learning there as well. The IDF now has it’s own YouTube Channel.

    3. avatar Tom says:

      I dunno, after watching Restrepo, it seemed Afgahanistan has similar overtones to Vietnam.
      Karzai = Thieu
      Pakistan = Laos-Cambodia
      Afghanistan Army = ARVN
      Taliban = VC
      Mountain Border Areas = A Shau Valley
      Bush = LBJ
      Obama = Nixon
      Pointless Strategy = Pointless Strategy
      Afghanistan needs more jungle, then we would be all set.

    4. avatar Tom says:

      why are we still taking 8 to 10 years fighting against rag tag guerrillas with AK-47s and IEDs, and still wind up losing?
      Because such forces were effective in Vietnam?
      Our military will blow away 10 Taliban for every 1 American lost hands down. Taliban is just willing to expend the people and resources for victory while we play nation building and winning hearts and minds games.

      1. avatar Chewbacca Defense says:

        It’s a financial war. Everytime they destroy a $100k+ MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected…in civilian speak and armored vehicle), with $5-10 worth of HME (Homemade Explosives) to create and IED (Improvised Explosive Device), they gain a victory. We lose assets, lives, and time.

    5. avatar CarlosT says:

      Seriously, what were victory conditions in Afghanistan or Iraq going to look like anyway? Fourth of July parades in Kabul? “We Love America” cookouts in Baghdad?

  10. avatar Sanchanim says:

    “Based on the MBL’s MUA, will the CDD recommend the LMG ASAP or is it DOA? Or will soldiers continue to see SAW? As the front line troops awaiting the decision from ARDEC’s LSAT might say, SNAFU.”
    Makes perfect sense to me!
    Personally having fired many types of military weapons I prefer more accurate lower volume rifles. If it is a one shot one kill kind of deal you save on ammo in the long run. I am not saying the SAW doesn’t have it’s place. Suppressive fire is a good example. Keep them stuck hunkered down until you can get the other guys in good position. Given the type of warfare the soldiers are dealing with I would say the LMG is a much better option given the conditions.

    1. avatar Tom says:

      From friends who were in Vietnam…
      the problem with putting out all sorts of rounds automatically is that you tend to run low on ammo during the firefight, and then you are really screwed.

  11. avatar DaveM says:

    25,000 rounds
    They sure must have gone through a lot of those wooden target stands

  12. avatar Mark the boobiehead says:

    Why not take the Dev money and give our troops an additional week of training and then ask at the end of that week “who wants to shoot more?” then train those troops an additional 2 weeks. Suppressive fire has its place but being able to reach out and consistently hit your target over and over again goes a long way. Kill’em at a distance so you don’t have to fight them up close. And if the Big Boys are playing with weapon design, how about a new round to go with it? Blah blah blah “the Armed forces has stockpiled blah blah amounts of ammunition” bullshit! Have the ammo manufactures do a buy back program, sell that shit to us civies and credit the government on all new rounds purchased. Ammo manufactures make out, buyers make out and the Marines and G.I.s get the round they need.Let’s Do it the way America use to do things! Bigger, Stronger, Faster. As far as ammo dumping through a weapons platform the only dumping I want to see comes from the business end of a B-52. No smart bombs! fly over a suspected area of insurgency and bomb the fuck out of it. If we play nice, we take flack from the anti-war side for atrocities. We play hard ball and the enemy complains…if the enemy is bitching we are doing it right. funny thing about civilians, you bomb them when they knowingly allow insurgents to hide among them and they stop that shit pretty quick. Would you let a “friend” stay at your house if the last three places they stayed got shot up? Um yeah, I dont think so. Iron Bombs for Peace!….Now on to Mexico!

  13. avatar Mark the boobiehead says:

    P.S. Asymmetrical bullshit needs to stop. We need to gear up for Nation to Nation conflicts…Look east my friends…not there…further east…look what the’re doing.

  14. avatar Chewbacca Defense says:

    The article is pretty vague about the weapons comparision. The M249 SAW is a LMG. LMG is a class of weapons, not a weapon in itself. It’s like saying they did a comparison between a 1911 and a pistol. I don’t know what it is they are comparing. If it is indeed comparable in weight, then it must be 5.56, no way they’re talking about decreased ammunition weight if the “LMG” discussed is chambered in 7.62 like in the M60.

    I work at ARDEC, and based on my understanding of government acquisisiton I wouldn’t get too excited about a replacement anytime soon. In the end money is always the most important factor. It costs a lot of money to decide to change to a different weapon or piece of equipment. Change may reflect better long term effectiveness and savings, but short term immediate satisfaction seems to be more important most of the time. On the other hand maybe they’ll try to buy a bunch of stuff before they start cutting budgets lol. All you need is some influenctial state representitive with some motivation to get a contract to a manufacurer in his state.

  15. I was peripherally involved in testing the AR-15 for use in Vietnam back in 1962. For that kind of war, it had numerous advantages over the M-14: lighter gun, lighter ammo, easier to handle. Yes, there were foulups, like using the wrong kind of powder “because we had lots of it on hand,” but all in all it was a better weapon for Vietnam than the M-14. Unfortunately, once we deployed in the sandbox, things were different. The longer range of the AK-47 as compared with the M-16 put our guys at a disadvantage.

    I hope that this so-called LMG doesn’t turn out to have the same problems as the M-16. Is the ammo the same caliber as the SAW? Does it have the same range? Same muzzle velocity? Testing it at what looks to be a short range may be misleading. Light weight isn’t the only important factor. If you can’t “reach out and touch someone,” you may as well be unarmed.

  16. avatar Justin says:

    Sorry I’ll take the SAW please.

    I carried the SAW during my tour in iraq and have probably fired in excess of 100,000 rounds through my weapon in my 5 years as a machine gunner. In all those rounds I have only had one major malfunction that couldnt be cleared by corrective action drills(a piece of a link somehow ended up behind the bolt and wouldnt allow the weapon to cycle).

    Just about a month ago we went to a qualification range, after everyone had finished qualifying we had some where around 35,000 rounds left.
    I was handed ~4000 rounds and told to fire it as fast as i could because we werent going home until it was all gone.

    So we did what any red blooded american would do, locked and loaded. I fired about 3,000 rounds at full cyclic rate (750 rpm) before my barrel was glowing red hot and i felt i was on the verge of a run-away gun. After cooling for about 5 minutes we ripped off the rest of the rounds and went home. No cleaning whatsoever, but i did spray some rem-oil in the gas tube to free the carbon.

    I finally cleaned it about a week later and removed at least a pound of carbon. Took it out the next day and qualified expert.

    If that isnt a rock-solid reliable weapon then I dont know what is.

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