Whilst the bulk of my attention lately has gone into writing for (and running!) Armament Research Services (ARES) and our blog, The Hoplite, I have had two new pieces released elsewhere recently. First, for the Small Arms Survey, I wrote a report examining small-calibre ammunition documented in Syria. From the Survey press release:
The Working Paper Following The Headstamp Trail: An Assessment of Small-calibre Ammunition Documented in Syria analyzes 70 different small-calibre cartridge headstamps (ammunition identification markings) documented in Syria. The assessment is based on photos of cartridge headstamps, cartridges, and ammunition packaging, as well as contextual information such as weapons systems and combatants observed with the ammunition. Information and photographs were collected from both government and rebel forces, during a one-year period until May 2013. This baseline will provide a useful first step for future work in documenting ammunition in Syria and the broader region.
I have also written a piece published in the Small Arms Defense Journal, Vol. 6 No. 1, examining the two lightweight automatic grenade launchers (LWAGL) in the running for an Australian Defence Force program. An extract:
Under Land 40 Phase 2 (L40/2), the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) are intending to deliver two new direct fire support weapons to the Army’s infantry battalions and special operations forces, and to the Royal Australian Air Force’s Airfield Defence Guards. The first, the Medium Direct Fire Support Weapon (MDFSW), has already been selected and fielded, with the M3 Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle replacing the M2 variant previously in service. The second system, slated to be a “Light Weight Automatic Grenade Launcher (LWAGL) fitted with a night sight and a fire control system,” has yet to be selected.
The L40/2 program has been the subject of some controversy, with the original tender having closed in October 2007 and no systems having been introduced to date. Two contending systems were shortlisted for trials in 2008. The first pairs the Heckler & Koch Grenade Machine Gun (GMG E) with the Vingmate Fire Control System (FCS) and Softmount Combi from Vinghøg AS of Norway (now part of Rheinmetall Defence), and two different 40x53mm Air Burst Munitions (ABM) from Rheinmetall Defence. The second contender is the General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products (GDATP) MK47 Mod 0 system (also known as the Striker 40), outfitted with the AN/PVG-1 Lightweight Video Sight (LVS) developed by Raytheon and optimised for the MK285 Programmable Pre-fragmented High Explosive (PPHE) 40x53mm round, developed by Nammo AS of Norway.
Photo credit: Lens Young Homsi