Skip to comments.Corps Set to Field SAW Replacement
Posted on 07/01/2010 10:04:14 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The Marine Corps will field its new, lightweight auto rifle this fall to five combat battalions preparing for war-zone deployments.
Commandant Gen. James T. Conway gave Corps officials the green light in April to issue approximately 450 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles, enough to replace every M249 squad automatic weapon in four infantry battalions and one light armored reconnaissance battalion.
The limited fielding is a final test to find out if the Heckler & Koch-made weapon performs as well in an operational environment as it has in testing, said Charles Clark III, who oversees infantry weapons requirements at the Corps' Combat Development and Integration office at Quantico, Va.
"The battlefield test will be a verification of what we have already established through extensive operational testing," Clark said. "We want to get a user assessment prior to full-rate production." Conway's decision comes despite his past concerns about replacing the M249 with a magazine-fed automatic rifle. His main worry is whether the M27's light weight and accuracy will be enough to make up for the loss of suppressive firepower Marine gunners will give up when they go into battle without the belt-fed M249.
Program officials acknowledge that a 30-round magazine cannot produce the high volume of fire the M249 is capable of when loaded with a 200-round belt. The Corps is considering high-capacity magazines that can hold 50 or 100 rounds of 5.56mm ammo, but Marines that deploy with this first batch of IARs will carry only 30-round magazines.
(Excerpt) Read more at military.com ...
Haven’t these guys heard about the Shrike?
Perhaps some 0300s will comment, but that doesn’t seem like a very robust magazine capacity for a squad weapon.
A friend who recently retired hated the SAW and it’s 5.56 bullets. He said when you need a machine gun, you really need a MACHINE GUN, not a 5.56.
Not to mention, you can go through 30 rounds in half a heartbeat.
The junior guy in the squad will probably have to hump the extra magazines and reload them.
I’m not real bright but isn’t a belt fed weapon desirable for a squad?
I know we could argue about the caliber all day, but If I needed a round of suppressive fire, I would choose the .308 with a belt, not just another mag fed 5.56. The other guys in the squad could give me that. The SAW was for special occasions that needed a special weapon.
This doesn’t sound good to me. In fact, this “new” weapon doesn’t sound much better than the full auto M16A1s we used 30 years ago. With a couple of taped-together banana clips we could dish out 50+ 5.56mm rounds very quickly. I remember some nighttime, end-of-exercise “get-rid-of-your-ammo” shoots where the barrel of my rifle actually turned orange.
I’m not sure I get the point of this switch.
BUMP what you said. As I mentioned in #12, this new weapon sounds like little more than an old full-auto M16.
Guys thought that it was pretty rad in that it could spray bullets really fast and Lance Corporals acted like they were hot stuff because their rank filled the role of Squad Automatic Rifleman.
Later on, they were happy to make Corporal because they could give the thing to some new Lance Corporal who wanted to be hot stuff.
They jammed a lot. You'd clear it, the SAW would rip off a few dozens rounds, then misfeed again. They made the M60E3 look reliable, and that's saying something. I don't think I ever saw the magazine feed slot work for more than three or four rounds with an M16A2's magazine locked in.
You also sounded like a giant Maraca when you moved around when the high capacity pouch was mounted and loaded with a full belt. Shooga-shooga-shooga... every step you took. Like marbles in a wooden box.
Range shooting out past 550 meters, you felt like you were shooting Styrofoam pellets. With a 7.62 M60E3 or larger, you knew where your rounds were impacting way downrange. With the SAW, sometimes it felt like your rounds were just disappearing in flight somewhere downrange.
When I think of the SAW, I regard it as the gun that looked a hell of a lot cooler than it actually was.
Of course, my oldest grandson told me I wouldn't be satisfied unless the Corps went back to an M1 Garand...I did so enjoy the ping as the clip was ejected...
When you set a M240 in position, it’s more or less staying there until a real deliberate move is made. A SAW is to stay with the rifle squad as they maneuver, and there is no AG, so that means no linking of rounds. It’s there for overwhelming suppressive fire by a standard light squad and being able to move quickly. The SAW does have the ability to take M4 30-rd magazines, but it doesn’t work. The weapon malfunctions almost every single time before it can get through a single mag. The SAW’s also a maintenance nightmare. It needs to go, but I don’t see the advantage of dropping the belt-fed capability. The SAW was right to go for both, but it needs to work.
Maybe they could replace the SAW qith a reliable, proven system, say
RPK (or RPKM) - oh, wait, it has only a 40 rd magazine
OK - how about a RPK-74
Oh, wait, it’s magazine fed as well./
Ok, how about a PK
250 rd belt, oh, wait, too much like an M-60 - called the Hog for a reason.
The Brits L86A1? - 5.56 and - yup - magazine fed.
Well, Oz troopies use the Lithgow F89, Standard Light Pattern. Nope, just the SAW with a different name.
JSDF use the SAW, so no help from them.
The Singaporean army adopted the new squad automatic weapon, known as Ultimax 100, in 1982. Uses a 100 rd drum magazine. Uses 5.56 NATO. So, maybe this one - eh?
New Zealand - nope, they use the SAW
How about the Swiss SIG MG 51? An updated MG-42 the grunt in your squad better be prepared to hump some ammo, they bad boy can shew it up.
Norwegian Army? NOpe, the SAW again.
The Germans will use the H&K MG4 - belt fed 5.56 NATO.
France? NOpe, the SAW once more.
My point? Not a whole lot of choice out there. THe few that are different are , by and large, magazine fed. Maybe we can score some of those Unimat 100 rd magazines....
The M240 gunner carries a “starter belt” (usually about 50 rounds) and the AG carries the bulk of the remaining ammo. Ammo bearers are only there if you happen to have enough people in the PLT, which hardly anyone ever does. The gunner also carries some ammo in some pouches on his body armor. The M240 is about 27 pounds, I believe, and is pretty solid as crew-served weapons go. We still do crew drills much the same way you guys probably did. M240 range cards were an EIB lane at my unit, as was basic load, fire, correct malfunction of the M240.
It’s funny you mention the sound. Some of our old timers lament the sound of the M240 as not being nearly as badass as the M60. “When the hog speaks, everyone listens.” Sounds like, based on your experience, that’s not entirely a bad thing!