The Army plans to field a 6.5mm intermediate caliber rifle around 2020 — but in the meantime, some riflemen feel the service’s current standard 5.56mm rifle cartridge isn’t giving them enough bang in the field. “The troops feel like they’re in a street fight with a guy with longer arms,” according to Soldier Systems.
One solution the service is reportedly considering is to arm infantry rifle squads and brigade combat teams with the 7.62mm NATO round until Army officials settle on a new 6.5mm rifle. Of course, if you’ve ever played with a Ruger SR-762, you’re probably familiar with 7.62mm NATO — it’s both common and devastating.
Adopting the ubiquitous 7.62 ammo means the service could lean on any of several “government off-the-shelf” firearms chambered for the big NATO round. And upgrading to those arms could be a quick process, meaning American troops will enjoy an immediate boost in firepower without waiting for committees to pore over various specs. (They’ll also enjoy an immediate boost in gear weight — that 7.62 sure isn’t light, especially when you’re lugging around 210 rounds of it).
According to Soldier Systems, officials have three serious GOTS options in 7.62mm NATO: the Mk-17 SCAR-H (covered by T&P; here), the M110 Semi-Auto Sniper System, and the M110 Compact Semi-Auto Sniper System.
The Army could also decide none of these options meet the soldiers’ needs and solicit bids for new weapons from commercial gunmakers. Of course, Soldier Systems points out, if the service went that route, the resulting 7.62mm weapon could become a soldier favorite once it’s issued, and the planned 6.5mm rifle may end up scrapped.
Either way, American troops facing new deployments abroad could be hitting the ground with a fresher, bigger-caliber rifle very soon.
Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this article stated that the AK-47 was a 7.62mm NATO rifle. The AK-47 uses 7.62 x 39mm ammunition.
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces control the monitor of their drone at their advanced position, during the fighting with Islamic State's fighters in Nazlat Shahada, a district of Raqqa. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."