If this use of analytics software to reduce weight and optimize structural strength was for anything else but a machine gun, I think I could get more excited. Nevertheless, you have a applaud the efforts to continuously refine gear so it's less obtrusive and taxing for our troops. Nice to see simulation software play a key role in that effort.
Well, Beth, it is regrettable that we have to put so much effort into such things, but that is what keeps us safe. There is a lot of innovation that goes into warfighting.
I was interested in seeing that they are using software from MSC. I worked with their NASTRAN software many years ago in the aerospace industry. NASTRAN was required, and MSC had a great implementation of the package. You don't see this much in the commercial world.
What they need is better wetware. They need to rethink the whole weapon system. I mean they fire thousands of bullets to hit once on average!!
Rather than machine guns train the soldiers to hit what they are shooting at and give them weapons that can do it in a couple shots.
Going to a caseless round in the 30cal range with a longish barrel for accurarcy, stability, the handgrip almost to the end of the barrel with trigger. Then in the rear have the ammo feed, firing pin strapped to the soldiers forarm close to the elbow.
This cuts weight of both the weapon and ammo by 50% and far faster to bring to target naturally just like part of one's arm, always ready without the neck strap or having to hold it. With a barrel just a little longer than their hand for close quarters work.
Have you seen what they make these soldiers wear? 100+ lb packs in some cases.
MSC and Nastran are still holding strong. You're right about it being big in military and aerospace applications, but they seem to have gained a footing in other sectors as well, including industrial equipment and even motor sports racing.
Jerry, there is a machine gun design out there like what you describe, generically called a 'bullpup', and initially made famous by Steyr arms. It basically moves the handles and trigger group forward on the weapon, and has the magazine in the rear stock. It and it's various makers versions are standard issue in many european armies.
It says "12 percent reduction in ammunition volume".
Does that mean 12% less ammo?
I can see the guy/gal? in the field when he/she? uses the LAST round thinking: At least I can run away faster with this lighter gun.
About 10 years ago I was working at a company that uses M16's for a mil. application. We took a few out one day (brand new out of the box) and 3 of 5 of them jammed . Thank God we weren't up to our necks in a rice paddy.
Apparently the mfr. STILL haden't fixed the jamming problem from the late 60's.
May be the DOD will test the thing in this article more thoroughly.
The M249 is a squad automatic weapon. Its intended for covering and suppressive fire as well as putting up a wall of lead in those circumstances where nothing else will do. In reality only in the Hollywood movies do you blindly fire on full-auto with the hopes of finding that one in a thousand shot. The SAW supports a large group of soldiers, not the just an individual.
As our troops can attest from experiences in Iraq and Afghanastan, ammo cannot always be counted on to be in a endless supply.
I do quesiton the validity of the design if the 12% descrease in ammunition is part of the weight savings. Sure the weapon system in your hands might weigh less, but the solder will still want to carry as much ammuntion on their person, making the net weight savings zero for that portion of the "design". 15 out of 19 might like the lighter weight on a firing range, but when their down in the dirt, they want reliable systems. It smacks of a certain amount of marketing hype. Sorry, but it does.
The AK-47 is still the most widely used and abused personal automatic weapon in the world. It is hardly high tech or having any modern design elements, but it is as reliable as they come with plenty of stopping power.
If anything, I've heard that many of the weapons used by the US military simply lack the stopping power to bring down the bad guys. It doesn't matter how many rounds you put up if the enemy keeps coming.
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