Power Armor Thread, Geoffrey C.J. Timm, Part III

From: ac579@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (G.C.J. Timm)
Newsgroups: sci.military4
Subject: Not Yet Power Armor Pt.3
Message-ID: <1991Aug6.023246.4863@cbnews.cb.att.com>
Date: 6 Aug 91 02:32:46 GMT
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From: ac579@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (G.C.J. Timm)

Author's note: Due to current U.S. Government requirements EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS IS A WORK OF FICTION. Copyright 1991. Geoffrey C.J. Timm

The Individual Soldier in the Near Future /or/ We'll Have 20 Divisions, the Russians Will Have 230.

Part Three. "This is my weapon, this is my gun, this one's for killing, this one's for fun." Memory mnemonic used by Drill Instructor's to teach military terminology to maggots, vermin, Cy-villains, and other recruits. (Recited while running around a moving platoon formation of recruits, with the weapon carried in the left hand over the helmet and the right hand inserted in the uniform trousers, for balance.)

Individual weapon.

Current individual weapons have followed a trend of lighter weight, lighter ammo and easier shooting. (The UK has adopted a clumsy rifle which, in 5.56mm NATO manages to be heavier than the 7.62mm NATO rifle it replaces!) But most countries have gone to 5mm class weapons despite the cost. Even the USSR with an investment in literally millions of rifles has gone to a 5mm class weapon, right down to little carbine versions for internal security troops. (See the latest footage from the Baltic states for examples) The current proposals for Advanced Combat Rifles (ACR) have followed the trend into smaller calibers with the H&K 4.35mm leading the way with a caseless round. Advanced body armor may cause a reversal of this trend. You can accelerate a subcaliber penetrator to higher velocities with a larger bore than you can with a smaller barrel.

Current body armor is heavy, but proof against 5.56mm projectiles at ranges beyond 50 meters. With advanced composites and improvements in soft armor, more penetration will become necessary to inflict casualties. Add advanced optic sights and every soldier becomes at least a sharpshooter, if not a sniper. If you can increase the current hit probability and increase the effective range beyond 300 meters you will need at least a 7mm rifle. At the same time, advanced composites and metallurgy can make the individual rifle lighter. A rifle with a synthetic gem barrel may be further in the future, but a very practical system can be made lighter than needed for recoil absorption, even with the added weight of a flexible optic sight system.

I favor the proposal for a modular weapon, tailored for the mission. The basic unit will be a 7mm (.284 caliber for the metric impaired) high chamber pressure system, arranged in a bullpup configuration. This puts the rifle action under the shooters cheek and the magazine just in front of the shooters shoulder. (Note: I also favor the idea of right hand action only. If the left handed can't learn to shoot right handed, put them in Armor and let the vehicle hold their weapon in shooting position! %^> We never lost a war while equipped with the right hand only 1903 Springfield, although we did have to pay Paul Mauser royalties!) The handgrip and optic sight are over the center of the weapon. This is muzzle light, but gives a very long barrel for high velocity, without becoming clumsy. (See the Austrian AUG (Army Universal Gun) for an example.) Gas operation allows flexibility in ammunition selection. A ball round for training, practice and missions against forces not well equipped with personal armor, or engagements expected at short range. A discarding sabot round with subcaliber penetrator would be used against armored targets. A bipod for use in the prone position is a very useful accessory.

First option module. A 25mm (1 inch for the metric impaired) short barreled grenade launcher under the 7mm barrel, this should lock solidly into the frame/receiver of the basic weapon. (I was once a grenadier, with an M-16A1/M203 40mm grenade launcher. The clip on nature of the M203 was a very weak point, along with recoil!) Ammo options: HE (a simple grenade). HERAP (a simple grenade with a rocket assist to cut recoil and give precise direct fire similar to the 7mm round.) SVRA (Super Velocity Ring Airfoil. A hard metal tube with a lining of solid propellant. Essentially a ram jet. "If the 7mm don't stop the the screamer will!" The ring airfoil is currently used to duplicate the high velocity of expensive Discarding Sabot rounds for training. PMC (Pusan Metallic Cartridge I believe) also has a .357 caliber pistol round which uses ultra high velocity to enhance target effect.)) HEAT (High Explosive Antitank, a shaped charge, seldom used against armored vehicles, but vital in a city fight to knock holes in walls, etc.) Buckshot (the equivalent of a 12 gauge shotgun for short range work against unarmored targets.) Tear gas (With a multi-option fuse, allowing direct fire at short range, time burst and proximity. Because you don't want to kill everybody!) Incendiary (because sometimes it IS better to destroy the building than to save it!) Sensor (wouldn't a squad leader love to plant a microphone/vibration detector a couple of hundred meters in front of his position? I sure would have!) If it trails a fiber optic link it would be very useful at night.

Second Option Module. An under the barrel laser target designator/range finder. For controlling supporting fires, and optionally, replacing tracers for the squad leader/platoon leader, using the individual visual sensors to spot the spot (sorry, couldn't resist.) This would be linked to a computer system for precise location and would control indirect fire weapons. The optic sight would be enhanced to work with the unit.

Other weapons:

Some current proposals include each soldier carrying two antitank systems. These are squat tubes built into the back pack. Essentially a rocket boosted single projectile adaption of a scatterable, fire and forget, anti-armor weapon, the soldier uses his weapon sight to judge angle and range, then he fires the weapon, which seeks and attacks the top of the attacking AFV (Armored Fighting Vehicle.) This bypasses the frontal armor, but is the current choice for attack, so counter measures are expected. Blazer armor could be packaged on top. The counter measure would be to rake the AFV with HEAT grenades to strip the reactive armor and then use a series of top attack weapons. Composite armor umbrellas for tankers?

Portable Air Force. Your squad APC pulls a trailer (replacements are air transportable, just send it back and the Ordnance Corps refills it) with indirect fire guided weapons, selected for the mission. This would include advanced Hellfire laser target seeking missiles, dirty old 250 pound bombs with laser/optic seeking heads, rocket engines and ground launch boosters (why waste a fighter when a trailer can do the job?) A 250 lb pound bomb scoring a direct hit on an AFV will pretty much ruin the crews whole week despite ANY armor carried. Additional trailer packages could be planted in front of the unit and controlled by fiber optic link. Beats a mine field, and could probably dispense a mine field as required!

Remember the ultimate military dictum.

"Technology dictates tactics as much as tactics dictate technology."

Any and all disclaimers ever issued anywhere by anyone apply.

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