US Army to retire Browning .50 cal for new weapon?


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Preacherman
July 18, 2003, 07:21 PM
From the Army Times (http://www.armytimes.com/print.php?f=0-ARMYPAPER-2007576.php):

Issue Date: July 21, 2003

70-year-old .50-cal. may be retired soon

By Matthew Cox
Times staff writer

After 70 years of service, the Army’s oldest machine gun — the M2 .50-caliber — soon may be on its way to retirement.
Within two years, the XM312, a lighter, more accurate .50-caliber, will start replacing John Browning’s “Ma Deuce,” if the staff at Project Manager Soldier Weapons gets its way.

The XM312 evolved out of the XM307 project, a new style of crew-served weapon capable of delivering highly accurate, 25mm air-bursting ammunition on targets out to 2,000 meters. The innovative weapon is scheduled for fielding in 2010 and is slated to be the primary support weapon for the Army’s Future Combat Systems.

But weapons experts don’t want to wait that long to give soldiers a weapon with the XM307’s stability and accuracy.

By changing the barrel and a handful of other parts, the XM307 prototype becomes the XM312. “We changed six parts and turned it into a .50-cal.,” said Lt. Col. Robert Carpenter, who runs Product Manager Crew Served Weapons.

The XM312 is nine times more accurate than the M2 because of its “open bolt, out of battery action,” meaning that the barrel of the weapon moves when firing rather than the bolt, cutting down on the recoil, he said.

“You are talking about a weapon that is very accurate in a .50-cal., in full auto because you don’t have the recoil, so you don’t have the gun jumping every time,” Carpenter said.

The XM312 weighs 43 pounds — 66 percent lighter than the 128-pound M2.

In 2010, when the Army begins fielding the XM307, the service also will field conversion kits so units that already have the 307 can switch out a few parts and choose between a .50-caliber and a 25mm weapon.

“The ability to change from [.50-caliber to 25mm] with minimal difficulty is an option that will appeal to many people,” said Jim Stone, deputy for the Infantry Center’s Directorate of Combat Developments.

While the XM307 likely will be used alongside the XM312, weapons experts say the computerized fire-control system will give units an edge they have never had on the battlefield.

“It’s laze, aim and shoot. I see a target; I laze to the target; I get a ballistic reticle; I move the reticle to the target; and I hammer away,” Carpenter said. “And those rounds will burst at that range.”

Unlike regular machine guns, the XM307 makes sure each round is on target by talking to the computer chip inside the 25mm round.

“You are going to have dispersion from round to round. An extra grain of powder is going to give you a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” Carpenter said. “We correct that every time because we talk to every shot.”

More buck for the bang

But fielding this high-tech system won’t be cheap.

“This isn’t going to be a buck a round or $2.50 a round like the .50-cal.,” Carpenter said. “It’s going to be a little more, because you are putting a computer chip in there, about $22 a round.”

The MK19’s grenade launcher’s 40mm round costs about $16 each.

Despite the higher cost, the XM307 is slated to eventually replace the MK19, said weapons experts, who argue the 25mm round outperforms the less-effective 40mm round.

“An MK19 round is big and slow,” said Carpenter, describing the high-arching trajectory of the 40mm round. “When I flatten that trajectory out [with the 25mm round] I increase the velocity. I am going to get it to the target faster, more accurately, versus this slow lobbing thing … I’ll put three rounds on that target faster than the first [40mm] round will get there if you are talking 1,200 to 1,400 meters.”

The XM307 with a ground tripod weighs about 50 pounds, making it far less cumbersome than the 128-pound M2 or the 144-pound MK19. But it is still far too heavy for dismounted operations, and the Infantry Center wants to make it lighter.

“Originally, it was thought it would be light enough to replace the automatic weapon down to the squad level,” Stone said.

Carpenter pointed out that both the XM307 and XM312 are intended for mounted operations, but their lighter weight makes it easier for soldiers to take these weapons with them if their vehicle becomes disabled.

“It’s still big. It’s cumbersome, but it does give you the opportunity to displace that weapon from a vehicle,” he said.

The Army likely will spend more than $120 million on XM307 before its scheduled 2010 fielding. And if XM312 is adopted in two years, it may cost more than $400 million to eventually replace the roughly 25,000 M2s in the Army, said Pete Errante, deputy product manager for PM Crew Served Weapons.

While Infantry Center officials have been pleased with the M2’s service, they know nothing lasts forever. “There are so many .50-cals. out there, it will take us years and years to replace them,” Stone said.

“What we don’t want to do is wait until they start breaking down.”

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Cosmoline
July 18, 2003, 07:29 PM
“This isn’t going to be a buck a round or $2.50 a round like the .50-cal.,” Carpenter said. “It’s going to be a little more, because you are putting a computer chip in there, about $22 a round.”

The MK19’s grenade launcher’s 40mm round costs about $16 each."

It sounded pretty good until this part. Why am I not surprised? :rolleyes:

THIS is priceless:

While Infantry Center officials have been pleased with the M2’s service, they know nothing lasts forever. “There are so many .50-cals. out there, it will take us years and years to replace them,” Stone said.

“What we don’t want to do is wait until they start breaking down.”
---

Well there's the problem right there! The stupid M-2's don't break down enough! What was JMB thinking? Cheap, reliable and durable? That's no way to build for the gov'ment! I'm glad we've progressed since his day.

Boats
July 18, 2003, 08:09 PM
I'll bet that almost all of those M2s were manufactured before 1986!:evil:

TheeBadOne
July 18, 2003, 08:17 PM
I'll hold my breath a little longer. The M-85 was a M-2 replacement in the M-60 series of tanks. When the M-1 tank came out they went back to the M-2......:rolleyes: Newer isn't always better. The XM312 (and 307) do sound quite promising. Hope it'$ worth it.

WT
July 18, 2003, 08:21 PM
First they get rid of the 1911. Now its the Ma Deuce. Is nothing sacred???

El Rojo
July 18, 2003, 08:30 PM
Now if we were really a great country, all of those Ma Dueces would be sold to the public to fund the new weapon. Instead, they throw all of that money down the drain. Depressing.

TheeBadOne
July 18, 2003, 08:34 PM
Now if we were really a great country, all of those Ma Dueces would be sold to the public to fund the new weapon. Instead, they throw all of that money down the drain. Depressing.
Usually 2 things happen.

1). The equipment will go to the Reserves and the National Guard units.

2) The equipment will be sold to the militarys of other countries.

telomerase
July 18, 2003, 09:09 PM
>Usually 2 things happen.

>1). The equipment will go to the Reserves and the National Guard units.

>2) The equipment will be sold to the militarys of other countries.

Ummm, at the end of WWII the US had enough planes, tanks, and guns to rearm Western Europe... most of the equipment was destroyed. They were in such a hurry to get rid of the hardware that they blew up thousands of aircraft on the fields in Europe. (They have pictures of the process on the walls of the Air Force Museum in Dayton).

Of course I agree with you that surplus equipment SHOULD be given to the Reserves or friendly countries, but sometimes it's "more important" that campaign contributors get those contracts.... and that's easier when the old equipment is destroyed.

You do know that the Saturn rockets outside the museums were real, operational launchers before they were left out in the rain, right?

Schuey2002
July 18, 2003, 09:18 PM
IF they were available to the public, would they be classified as a Curio & Relic or strictly as a Class III weapon??

:confused:

Mike Irwin
July 18, 2003, 10:09 PM
A friend told me that while in Vietnam he came across one with a date stamp of 1928...

mete
July 18, 2003, 10:17 PM
Browning was a gun design genius The army will have to go a long way before they get a gun as good as the M2. The trouble with so many designers today is that they are enamored with high tech and they think that people in the "old days " were idiots.

blades67
July 18, 2003, 10:48 PM
Well there's the problem right there! The stupid M-2's don't break down enough! What was JMB thinking? Cheap, reliable and durable? That's no way to build for the gov'ment! I'm glad we've progressed since his day.


They do break down. Just because you don't hear about doesn't mean it isn't happening.:rolleyes:


I'll bet that almost all of those M2s were manufactured before 1986!

They were manufactured before 1948. There haven't been any new M2's produced since the end of WWII.

Deadman
July 18, 2003, 11:32 PM
What is the obsession with air bursting munitions and the employment of computer chips in all equipment?

Imagine an emp blast making your ammunition fail to fire.....

telomerase
July 18, 2003, 11:37 PM
>What is the obsession with air bursting munitions and the employment of computer chips in all equipment?

Well, how is Skynet (aka TIA) supposed to control weapons that don't have any Internet connection?

(Good point about EMP)

seeker_two
July 18, 2003, 11:38 PM
Well, since all them ol' M-2's are so obsolete, I guess ATF WOULD consider them C&R and let us in the public own a few...

:scrutiny:

digex
July 18, 2003, 11:44 PM
$22 a round?!?!? I need to buy stock in THAT company! That's an insane amount of money for a bullet, computer chip or not!

SIGarmed
July 19, 2003, 12:08 AM
Anything that is putting a "computer chip" in there is scary. Computer chips and exploding ammo don't go together.

Mike Irwin
July 19, 2003, 01:21 AM
"Computer chips and exploding ammo don't go together."

Actually, I see it as nothing more than a logical extenion of technology that started with the proximity shells of World War II. Those were phenomonal technology, and done with vacuum tubes. Pretty amazing when you consider that a 5"/38 naval gun accelerates a shell at roughly 7,000 Gs.

The only difference here is that the gun has a laser on it that automatically cauculates the range and sets the fuse on the shell just before it's fired as opposed to a gunnery directory working through a fire control center.

Kharn
July 19, 2003, 01:29 AM
TheeBadOne:
I'll hold my breath a little longer. The M-85 was a M-2 replacement in the M-60 series of tanks. When the M-1 tank came out they went back to the M-2...... Newer isn't always better.

The Abrams also had a non-M2 .50 machine gun in the turret at one time, IIRC, I dont remember if it was the M-85 or not. It was a total POS, lots of small parts and a rate selector/reducer made it very complicated to disassemble and deal with, but it was smaller than the M2 so it fit in the turret. When the M1A1 (or might have been A2) specs were decided upon, the turret was enlarged slightly to accomodate an M2 and the POS .50 was thrown out.

Kharn

PATH
July 19, 2003, 02:19 AM
If it ain't broke don't fix it. The more complexities the more things to go wrong. Ma Deuce is there for you when you need her. I hope she stays in the inventory!

Nightcrawler
July 19, 2003, 03:50 AM
I suppose it never occured to anyone to simply build new M2s, to replace aging units as they are retired. You can always develop a new system, but building new M2s would get new weapons out there in the interim...

Double Maduro
July 19, 2003, 03:56 AM
EMP making your ammo not fire? What about making it all go off in the depot or next to the guns or in the hold of a ship?

What happens if the enemy gets the frequencies and codes? They can make it go off whenever they want.

Just because we can do it doesn't mean we should.

DM

Majic
July 19, 2003, 04:44 AM
Considering price overruns, imagine the price of the $22.00 round in ten years when it's suppose to hit the field.

aircarver
July 19, 2003, 11:55 AM
Best not send the M2s to the smelter before we get some combat experience on the new model.

Won't be the first time we heard 'great things' about the 'new wundergun' and found they didn't perform when the chips were down.

Fed168
July 19, 2003, 05:05 PM
Well, considering FN produces the majority of small arms for the military, why not just go to them for a new .50 and retire the US made ones?

Mike Irwin
July 19, 2003, 06:50 PM
"EMP making your ammo not fire? What about making it all go off in the depot or next to the guns or in the hold of a ship?"

That's always been a concern with any proximity-fused shell. It was a concern during WW II, and steps were taken to harden the shells against that type of problem after the war.

If the ammo doesn't detonate, then it simply is a kinetic energy round, just like the .50 is now.

The military tests for problems such as these, as the EMP effect has been known since WW II.

Quite frankly, I'd be a lot more concerned about an EMP making the missiles carried by many ships go up.

BigG
July 21, 2003, 11:44 AM
I hope the new gun/ammo work out as well as they say. Just can't help remembering we heard similar claims about when the Army switched over to 9mm. I do agree with the shrinking of the rifle round back in the '60s. So we are batting .500. Has the M60 been replaced with the MAG yet?

FUTURE SGN AD:

25mm smart cartridges. $19,995. per 1,000 round case. Shipping extra. :D

HankB
July 21, 2003, 01:26 PM
According to one aviator I spoke to, during the Falklands war most of the electronics on the Brit carrier had to be turned off to avoid interfering with their Harrier's electronically-fuzed munitions. So I'm not altogether enthusiastic about this super-duper electronic 25mm replacement for the M2. Also, to paraphrase R. E. Heinlein, if you make things really complex, somebody with a club will sneak up behind you and knock you on the head while you're trying to read a display. 2) The equipment will be sold to the militarys of other countries. They're generally OK with selling or giving foreigners things that the American people aren't allowed, but not always. At the end of WWII, Harry Truman ordered lots of munitions in the Far East destroyed - things like BRAND NEW P-38 aircraft - rather than let the Nationalist Chinese buy them for cash or gold. He was afraid they might use them against Chairman Mao . . .

4v50 Gary
July 21, 2003, 01:41 PM
Too bad the gubmint won't (or can't b/c of the law) sell us those old surplus guns. :(

Monte Harrison
July 21, 2003, 02:21 PM
They were manufactured before 1948. There haven't been any new M2's produced since the end of WWII.So that makes them C&R eligible! Can you imagine the hysterics that would come from the LIEberal elite if these things were released for sale to the commoners?

foghornl
July 21, 2003, 03:55 PM
Could we average Jon & Jan Q. Public-Citizen by the surplus Ma Deuce from the CMP ? ? ? ?




I already know the answer, but hey, I can dream ! ! !

mussi
July 21, 2003, 06:30 PM
don't phase out their M2 for quite some time. We need it as machine gun on our Leopards and for quite some other vehicles, although we will equip our new APCs with the ueber-evil KBA-D from Oerlikon-Contraves, which is a genuine 25mm, and with a skilled gunner, able to take down a jet fighter (the round has a v0 of 1480 m/s, which means it will also probably toast an MBT from behind at close range with AP ammo).

Pendragon
July 22, 2003, 03:23 AM
I saw a thing about the new airburst gun on one of the good cable channels.

What I find amusing is how so many people decry the 1911 as "obsolete" yet the supposedly newer, higher tech guns shoot the exact same ammo. Not point a finger at anyone in particular, but you guys should do just a little analysis before lamenting the passing of "Ma Deuce".

The airburst gun has several distinct advantages over a portable .50 machine gun. IIRC, the .50 had to have a crew of 3 or 4 people to deploy. The new gun only needs 2 people.

The airburst rounds can get people in trenches or behind walls or other cover because the rounds can detonate at extremely precise distances. It does not matter how much ammo you have in your machine gun, if they do not sit up, you cannot shoot them.

This changes the tactical situation severely - fox holes and trenched are no longer necessarily safe from small and medium arms fire.

As for the $22/round price, a better measure would be the cost per kill. A .50 BMG round is at least $1.00 and often much more. The crews carry lots and lots of ammo because you miss a lot. The sir burst gun carries much fewer rounds because you do not spray the area with supressive fire - its intended to be more of a precision weapon.

My guess is that you can probably kill more enemy with 10 air burst rounds than you can with 100 rounds of .50 in a serious encounter. I do not know for sure, but that is my guess and I think it is plausible at worst.

c_yeager
July 22, 2003, 04:54 AM
I will never understand why so many people complain about attempts to update our weapons systems. Yeah, i love the Ma Duece as much as anyone and it will always have a place in American history. But, honestly IF they can make something better then why the heck not? Shouldnt our troops have the best weapons available to them? I wonder if people were saying this sort of thing when we started rifling our muzzle loaders as well?

Feanaro
July 22, 2003, 06:02 AM
As long as the new weap delivers what it promises I think it's for the better. The M2 is a great weapons but sometimes I think some board members would still have us using flintlocks. ;)

Deadman
July 22, 2003, 11:19 AM
' The airburst rounds can get people in trenches or behind walls or other cover because the rounds can detonate at extremely precise distances. It does not matter how much ammo you have in your machine gun, if they do not sit up, you cannot shoot them. '

However if you can't actually see your enemy, how do you know they are behind said trench/wall?

25mm bullets will only have so much in the way of explosive material, and if the enemy troops in the trench/bunker have done their job properly they will have some sort of cover from aerial explosions, plus could well be wearing flak vests and helmets to further reduce the chance of injury from shrapnel.
Also in a very developed close in urban environment, air-bursting munitions with a flat trajectory won't be that effective.



' I will never understand why so many people complain about attempts to update our weapons systems '

My objections in reality aren't with the weapons themselves. It's the thought process that is seemingly behind these new weapons. As if one weapon system will work 100% of the time, even in the chaotic theatre of combat. It will work exactly as it was designed to because the enemy won't adapt to it or find a way to lessen its impact, and finally it's a new super-uber weapon that will decimate whole armies simply because it's the high-tech brain child of some R&D guy who has never been involved in combat.

Nightcrawler
July 22, 2003, 11:56 AM
I agree with the Deadman. New, better weapons are good.

But whenever the military (at least, the Army) acquires a new weapon system, the brass and the pentagon princes always seem say "this will be the answer to all of our problems!" and don't seem to take into account the limitations of the new weapons systems in question. They keep trying to find one weapon that will work all of the time. They replaced the M14 completely with the M16, even though both types of weapons have their place.

A better idea would be to get the 25mm guns AND build some new .50 caliber machine guns. I'm certain there will be uses for both of them.

MarineTech
July 22, 2003, 12:21 PM
They were manufactured before 1948. There haven't been any new M2's produced since the end of WWII.

Really? Then what's been rolling off the line weekly at the General Dynamics plant in Saco, Maine? Looks like M2s to me.

Mike Irwin
July 22, 2003, 12:29 PM
"However if you can't actually see your enemy, how do you know they are behind said trench/wall?"

Uhm...

Maybe because you're taking fire from said location?

That should be a hint, shouldn't it? :)

"25mm bullets will only have so much in the way of explosive material..."

True, but would you want to be standing near one when it goes up? I wouldn't. That little bit of explosive material can still throw out some seriously NASTY chunks of shrapnel. The entire point is to increase potential for lethal effectiveness from requiring a direct hit on the target to the target being in the bursting area. Just like the difference between a rock and a hand grenade.

"and if the enemy troops in the trench/bunker have done their job properly they will have some sort of cover from aerial explosions"

Then the M2 .50 won't be much of a threat to them, either.

But these devices are a little different from simple "aerial explosions." You can hose them into windows, viewing ports, or gun ports. Once they're inside the bunker, that roof won't do the inhabitants much good in protecting them. In fact, it will serve only to concentrate the shock of the rounds going off.

"Plus could well be wearing flak vests and helmets to further reduce the chance of injury from shrapnel."

Yes, further reduce it, but not eliminate it. Face, neck, hands, arms, legs are all generally left uncovered by body armor. That's still a target rich environment.

If body armor were the true panacea to the problem of flying shrapnel, grenades and mortars would have gone out a long time ago.

Grey54956
July 22, 2003, 05:12 PM
I think it is about time we start seriously comtemplating the effects of "superweapons". While I generally agree that a soldier should be given the best weapons available, I think that actively pursuing better and better weapons in times of relative peace is a dangerous idea.

Why do we need an airbursting shell? So we can kill people who are cowering behind a log or inside a building. I understand that they may be a hostile enemy, but lets look at the implication of this. First, by making our military that much more effective at overpowering lesser armed foes, we will become increasingly more willing to go to war. While it seemed fairly easy to oust Saddam Hussein from power, we have yet to pacify Iraq, and we continue to loose soldiers to guerilla tactics. Winning a war might be fairly easy, but occupation is difficult and expensive. We must never be careless in choosing to go to war. "Super weapons" tend to make us think that we are so vastly superior that we may rush off to war.

If we do field airbursting shells, how long before the technology is captured, reverse engineered, and used against our own troops? Now, when our troops are diving into the trenches, they will find that their own cover is negated? This device further increases the lethality of infantry weapons, which are already incredibly lethal.

Frankly, I think that some lines shouldn't be crossed. While this may not have the same implications of a 20 megaton nuke, I think that there are some similarities in their development. Why the heck do we really need nuclear weapons with multiple warheads totalling 10-20 megaton yield. I agree that they are incredibly effective in their function, but what madman devised that function?

Why do we need an airbursting smart shell, and where will that evolutionary line take us? Will we eventually see semi-intelligent, fire and forget, self-acquiring weapons. Actually, I know that weapon designers are already working on theis sort of thing as far as anti-vehicular missles, but it is absolutely nuts.

atk
July 22, 2003, 05:42 PM
With all the talk about EMP damaging the rounds, I have to ask:

I've always understood electromagnetic pulses to be extremely difficult to generate without expending large amounts of power. For example, to my understanding, explosions cause minor EMP bursts. Nuclear explosions cause large EMP bursts. Does anyone know of any actual working EMP device that doesn't require an explosion? Would it be transportable?

Mike Irwin
July 22, 2003, 05:51 PM
"So we can kill people who are cowering behind a log or inside a building."

Hum...

You know...

I THINK I've heard that something else besides cowering can be done if someone is in a building or behind a log...

Ah. I know.

As outlandish as it seems (I find it hard to believe that anyone wouldn't cower before the US military), they also could fire back.

"How long before the technology is captured, reverse engineered, and used against us?"

And that should be a consideration, why?

Prior to the 1870 Franco-German War, the French developed a nifty little piece of kit called the Millatreuse. It was a multi-barreled quick firing gun sort of like the Requa Battery Gun of Civil War fame.

The big difference was that it was VERY fast to fire and reload, and it was very, very accurate.

It is believed by some that it could have turned the tide in the French favor at the battle of Sedan, and possibly the entire war.

Yet, the French didn't use it.

Why?

Because they were afraid that the Germans would capture one, learn its secrets, and employ it against the French.

Not developing something out of fear that your enemy might capture the technology is, well, kind of dumb. It's a total reversal of the way the thinking should be conducted.


During World War II this fear almost kept proximity fused airburst antipersonnel artillery shells out of the European Theater.

It's interesting to conjecture how much longer it would have taken to beat back the German Ardennes offensive in December 1944 without those shells.

Use of those shells against German army units was directly responsible for allowing the Americans to punch a huge hole through the side of the Bulge, and their continued use helped ensure that any pockets of German resistance were thoroughly softened before they were rolled over.

Finally, we get to the truly salient point...

"Now, when our troops are diving into the trenches, they will find that their own cover is negated?"

I hate to tell you this, but that advantage had been largely negated by the American Civil War with the development of Shrapnel shells and the first truly effective time fuses.

AJ Dual
July 22, 2003, 05:55 PM
Grey, you have the counter in the flip-side of your own argument.

MIRV technology and independantly targeted warheads are not currently "bigger" in the 10-20 Megaton range.

The largest actively deployed nuke in the US arsenal is only about 110 kilotons, and most are 1-10 kilotons. Not much more than the fatman and little boy used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki all the way back in WWII.

The yields were getting ever bigger in the 1950's and 60's to compensate for a lack of accuracy and making sure that enemy targets would be destroyed. Now because precision guidance technology, less destructive nukes could be used, with less colateral damage and less worldwide fallout.

Not to say nuclear war is ever a good idea, but one today may well be less devastating to the world as a whole than one using Fusion bombs in the late 50's would have been.

The same would be true for precision airbursting munitions. If enemies/rebels/terrorists are holed up in a building, and hiding from machinegun fire, our current option is to level the entire building with armor, arty, or air support. Cover fire, and manuver into the building for CQB in anything under extrordinary circumstances (i.e. POW's or critical intel) is just suicidal and dumb.

But what if there's non combatants in the building? Or the loss of the building is detrimental to the civilian infrastructure?

Range-fuzed mini-shells like this give our military options so we're not allways swatting flies with sledgehammers. Going to war is a huge expense, monetarily, politically, and a risk to our servicemen and women's lives. Wether or not an enemy is "easy" enough certainly factors into such decisions, but our weapon systems are only a small part of that. Something like a crew-served OICW gives us flexibility once we commit, but won't decide if we commit.

Preacherman
July 22, 2003, 05:58 PM
Prior to the 1870 Franco-German War, the French developed a nifty little piece of kit called the Millatreuse.
Mike, that would be "Mitrailleuse", no?

Mike Irwin
July 22, 2003, 06:01 PM
"Mike, that would be "Mitrailleuse", no?"

Beats me. I ain't parled Froggy for quite a few years...

Grey54956
July 22, 2003, 06:25 PM
Yeah, I know that some weapons are kept from use because people don't want it to fall into enemy hands, and its usually a silly argument.

In WWI, the US didn't want to release the brand new BAR to our troops, as it was feared that such a fine weapon would fall into enemy hands. So, we got that POS french LMG that I refuse to mention by name.

But this is an entirely new technology, and a dangerous one at that. Don't get me wrong, I am a advocate of firearms and I have a fair collection. I just think that the evolution of some weapons are going too far.

I can see the use for such a weapon as this airbursting shell, but it scares me. I know that it can strike hostiles behind cover, in a trench, in a building, in a vehicle, behind a tree, etc... But it worries me that such weapons are being devised. I remeber watching the news during the war in Afghanistan. I remeber watching some story about how a unmanned CIA drone released a hellfire missle and destroyed a vehicle whose occupants included "a tall man" who may have been Bin Laden. But, oops, it appears that it wasn't him at all, so a tall man got his butt smoked by a missle attack. This is the kind of mentality I fear with weapons development.

Technology makes things increasingly easy, increasingly removed from reprisal, increasingly careless. If a gunman is shooting from a window, do troops start blasting airburst shells into various windows that may contain civilians. The technology has increased the lethality of our weapons, but that means we have to be more responsible in their use. Unfortunately we often see the opposite.

And, should this technology start a new arms race, how long before it is employed against us. The Chinese will probably start manufacturing something along these lines, or the French, which means it will be sold on the world market. Which means we will have to build something even more effective.

Why the heck do our weapons need to be two or three generations more advanced than anyone elses, which just forces them to try to keep up that much harder...

This weapon scares me the way non-lethal weapons do... It makes it to easy to get into a war, because the perceived consequences are significantly lower. With less-than-lethals, you aren't really killing anybody, so "no harm, no foul". With this airburst thing, it will reduce American casualties by more quickly and effectively suppressing (killing) opposition, so hey "no harm <to us>, no problem." Dangerous.

I am no pacifist, but I believe that war is the most serious undertaking that a man, or country, can undertake. Lives are lost, destiny changed, and everything hangs in the balance. When determining whether to go to war, a country must weigh its convictions against its possible losses. Increasingly effective weapons, or more accurately the efficacy gap between the enemies' weapons and ours, reduces the danger that we are exposed to. So, if our potential losses are lowered, then the threshold level of our convictions can and will also be lowered. Like in Vietnam.

This technology is one of many that further trivializes warfare. Like Stealth, nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, unmanned fighters and tanks, smart bombs, and so on.

Grey54956
July 22, 2003, 06:35 PM
War should never be clean, and it should never be precise. That is why we try to avoid it at all costs.

But, if the cause is great enough, and our convictions strong enough, then let it be bloody, let it be dirty, let it be horrible, lest we grow apathetic to it.

If we become too powerful, we risk overstepping our bounds. I know that the great majority of people on this board regard themselves as patriots. And I know that the great majority of us fear a police state, and the loss of rights and subjugation of the people, but this is where these types of weapons are heading, only on a global scale.

Correia
July 22, 2003, 07:18 PM
Sorry Grey, gotta disagree.

If we don't build more effective weapons of war, somebody else will. It has always been that way. It is the nature of man.

As for war being bloody and nasty, no amount of technology will ever change that. War will always come down to a man with a gun controlling a piece of ground. If that is the case I want weapons that will whoop our enemies, quicker the better. The more of our guys who come home the better.

By your argument we should all carry knives instead of guns, that way we are guarenteed that self defense will be dirty and hard, and we will be discouraged from fighting unless we have to. No thanks. I'll stick with my .45 for CCW. :)

Police state mentality is a result of a lust for power and a desire to control others. It has been around since man was beating each other with sticks, it didn't go away when bronze showed up, nor with the invention of steel, or the arrow. It never will go away.

Why do we feel the need to stay a generation ahead of everybody else? Because every time we get complacent, we lose a lot more people than we need to. The trench fighting of WWI was unexpected, WWII caught us with our pants down. We fought Korea with left over WWII stocks. Every time we lost more people than we would have if we had been more ready then our enemy.

If we back off from developing some kinds of weapons because they are too terrible, then I promise you that a bunch of generals in some other country will throw a party.

As for throwing a bunch of these 25mm shells through the windows of a building with civillians in it, the net result isn't much different than bringing up an Abrahms. Blowed up is blowed up. It makes about as much sense as the ban on hollow point ammunition. You can get torn to pieces or burned to death, but heaven forbid you are shot with expanding ammunition. :p

Deadman
July 22, 2003, 07:50 PM
Mike Irwin, you are right. I shouldn't complain about the U.S. Army replacing its .50 cal mg's. As that might mean a surplus of cheap .50 cal mg's for the Australian Army to buy. :p

We could debate the pro's and con's of any weapon system for hours on end, but Nightcrawler reiterated the main point that I was trying to make.


' But whenever the military (at least, the Army) acquires a new weapon system, the brass and the pentagon princes always seem say "this will be the answer to all of our problems!" and don't seem to take into account the limitations of the new weapons systems in question. They keep trying to find one weapon that will work all of the time. They replaced the M14 completely with the M16, even though both types of weapons have their place.

A better idea would be to get the 25mm guns AND build some new .50 caliber machine guns. I'm certain there will be uses for both of them. '

Mike Irwin
July 22, 2003, 08:11 PM
"But this is an entirely new technology, and a dangerous one at that."

NOT TRUE.

As I described in at least two separate entries in this thread, this technology is nothing more than a continuing extension of proximity fusing, which first saw successful deployment in World War II.


Your argument, however heartfelt, isn't a new one, either.

It's been document back at least to Byzantine times, when Greek Fire was felt to be a weapon so terrible that it would make warfare obsolete.

The same was thought about the gastrapides (sp?), the crossbow, the English long bow, the Gatling Gun (Dr. Richard Gatling's sole purpose of development was to make a weapon that would make future wars unfightable), the rifled musket, the repeating rifle, the Maxim gun, battleships, poison gas, the air plane, and nuclear weapons, just to name a few.

Yet, none of those inventions, over the course of what, 2,500 years or more?, has done anything to lessen the severity of, or prevent people from starting, wars.

The simple fact of the matter is that as long as there are two humans on this planet, they will war on each other.

Man, for all of his pretensions to nobility, art, grace, and culture, all wrapped up in a thin veneer of moralistic religious justification, is nothing more than a savage with no redemptive properties at all.

Let him find newer, and better, and faster, ways with which to kill himself. It's of no consequence in the end.

HBK
July 22, 2003, 11:07 PM
I just hope the new ones actually ARE better than the old ones.:scrutiny:

SunBear
July 22, 2003, 11:25 PM
Peace through superior firepower. Anti-handgun=Pro-rape!

Feanaro
July 22, 2003, 11:40 PM
Grey, your attitude is one way to lose a war(there are many). If we don't develop this technology don't you think others will? Everytime a country has fallen behind on their warfare R&D they pay for it because other people do not stop.

Man is an animal and like all animals he fights. And when you lose any advantage you put your place at the top of the food chain(We have our own "food chain" though it has more to do with survival than food. America, Britain, China and maybe Russia being pretty much at the top.) in danger. And I would rather be at the top.

If you think some new technologies will "trivialize" war then you should take a long hard look at the rather checkered past of the human race. Peace has never meant much on this planet or it appears that way since I cannot remember a decade in which there wasn't a war SOMEWHERE. For all the moans we make over war we never seem to stop it.

PATH
July 23, 2003, 01:19 AM
Let's face it we will eventaully have narrow beam micro wave small arms. Particles beam weapons and a whole host of other exotic devices. The Ma Deuce should stay in inventory because she is a proven asset. You still see M14's out there at times. The m60 is also used by some units. Yes, the day will come when ma will be retired but I don't see that time yet. Just my opinion.

Mike Irwin
July 23, 2003, 04:42 PM
Has anyone seen what US troops used against Usay and Qusay and their supporters, who were holed up in that villa?

They dumped at least 10 anti-tank missiles into the building.

I wonder if that's unfair?

HBK
July 23, 2003, 05:12 PM
All's fair in love and war.

Mike Irwin
July 23, 2003, 05:13 PM
Time to turn some sand into glass, as far as I'm concerned...

hubel458
July 24, 2003, 12:35 AM
Well at least us big bore nuts can use the huge supply
of BMG brass for our wildcat cases....Cases 4-5-6-7-8
are made from BMG brass. Case 4 is 700 HE Long, 5
is regular 700 HE, 6-7-8 are shorter versions.Ed.


http://www.gunownerstv.com/long.jpg

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