New Solicitation for Carbine and LMG
Via Murdoc: TACOM is soliciting for a new carbine and LMG, presumably to replace the M4 and M249. The bad news? Both call for 5.56mm weapons. Of note is that the LMG is now a standalone, belt-fed system, unlike with the XM-8 family of weapons. I also wonder, since apparently there was no solicitation issued for a rifle, if the Marines will be forgoing their long-barrel rifles for the new carbines.
I wonder if this is why RobArm hasn't been shipping any XCRs yet-they've been prepping for this competition. I'd assume FN will enter their SCAR, or something a lot like it, and H&K will submit some variation on the G36, their HK416 gas-piston system for the AR family, or both. I'd also expect to see an M4 derivative from Colt, and maybe if we're lucky, a SiG 55X derivative.
Update: The only fixed measurement I could find in the carbine proposal was that it weigh no more than 6.5 lbs (3 kg) empty. No maximum length, width, or height, no specified barrel length,no specification for length of pull, no requirements for compatibility with current (M16) magazines. So I went and looked up the weights of the weapons I listed above as possible competitors. Of the weapons listed, besides the currently issued M4 (and what's the point of having a competition to replace what you already have?) only the HK XM8 (2.659 kg in base 12" barrel version) and the 9" barreled SiG 552 "Commando" variant meet that standard.
The solicitation also states that manufacturers must submit 7 prototypes for testing within 30 days of the issuing of a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is expected next month.
Even though the XM8 lacks the full complement of M1913 Picatinny rails specified, given the short deadline and the fact that the XM8 is the only currently available weapon that meets the only fixed measurement given, leads me to believe that the Pentagon wasn't happy about getting called out for trying to hand HK the contract to replace the M16 without any sort of competition, and is now trying to sneak the XM8 in the back door by staging a sham competition that only the XM8 can win.
Wake for an Indian Warrior
Great Spirit, we ask of you to receive this Warrior.
Pictures. HT: Murdoc
Interesting Morning at the Shoothouse
So, this morning, we're doing the shoothouse. (That's the close quarters combat range for you non-military types.) Doing blank fire practice, prep for shooting live bullets. I'm up on the catwalk observing. Second time through the scenario, B team clearing their first room. #1 man enters the room, fires a nice controlled pair at the first target, transitions to the second target...
Much louder than a blank round should be. And an orange flash comes out of the ejection port.
My brain being slow to recognize the flash, my first thought was "When did they add flashbangs to the scenario?" Then when I see the magazine spring hanging out and rounds all over the floor, I realize that the rifle went kaboom.
First thought of everyone was that somehow a live round got mixed in with the blanks, but that wasn't the case. The blank adapter was still on the rifle, quite bent, but still in one piece, and rodding the barrel showed it was clear.
The damage: in addition to the aforementioned bent up BFA, the kaboom blew off part of the extractor, and also the thumb pad/release lever on the bolt catch, which caused the catch to snag the bolt about halfway to the rear. The shell casing itself was badly twisted and warped, looking more like it had imploded than exploded, with a chunk blown out of the back of the casing, most likely corresponding to the missing bit of the extractor.
My best guess? The round had a double powder charge. With the BFA on the muzzle, this meant that when the expanding gas pushed the bolt carrier far enough to the rear to unlock the bolt, chamber pressure was still dangerously high, which caused the case to rupture through where the extractor was, that being the weakest point on the rim of the bolt.