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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Which new rifle does this article refer to?

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Quote:
Weapons failed US troops during Afghan firefight
By RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Writer Richard Lardner, Associated Press Writer Mon Oct 12, 2:59 am ET
WASHINGTON In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips' M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn't work either.

When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.

Which raises the question: Eight years into the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, do U.S. armed forces have the best guns money can buy?

Despite the military's insistence that they do, a small but vocal number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has complained that the standard-issue M4 rifles need too much maintenance and jam at the worst possible times.

A week ago, eight U.S. troops were killed at a base near Kamdesh, a town near Wanat. There's no immediate evidence of weapons failures at Kamdesh, but the circumstances were eerily similar to the Wanat battle: insurgents stormed an isolated stronghold manned by American forces stretched thin by the demands of war.

Army Col. Wayne Shanks, a military spokesman in Afghanistan, said a review of the battle at Kamdesh is under way. "It is too early to make any assumptions regarding what did or didn't work correctly," he said.

Complaints about the weapons the troops carry, especially the M4, aren't new. Army officials say that when properly cleaned and maintained, the M4 is a quality weapon that can pump out more than 3,000 rounds before any failures occur.

The M4 is a shorter, lighter version of the M16, which made its debut during the Vietnam war. Roughly 500,000 M4s are in service, making it the rifle troops on the front lines trust with their lives.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a leading critic of the M4, said Thursday the Army needs to move quickly to acquire a combat rifle suited for the extreme conditions U.S. troops are fighting in.

U.S. special operations forces, with their own acquisition budget and the latitude to buy gear the other military branches can't, already are replacing their M4s with a new rifle.
"The M4 has served us well but it's not as good as it needs to be," Coburn said.

Battlefield surveys show that nearly 90 percent of soldiers are satisfied with their M4s, according to Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller, head of the Army office that buys soldier gear. Still, the rifle is continually being improved to make it even more reliable and lethal.

Fuller said he's received no official reports of flawed weapons performance at Wanat. "Until it showed up in the news, I was surprised to hear about all this," he said.

The study by Douglas Cubbison of the Army Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., hasn't been publicly released. Copies of the study have been leaked to news organizations and are circulating on the Internet.

Cubbison's study is based on extensive interviews with Phillips and other soldiers who survived the attack at Wanat. He describes a well-coordinated attack by a highly skilled enemy that unleashed a withering barrage with AK-47 automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.

The soldiers said their weapons were meticulously cared for and routinely inspected by commanders. But still the weapons had breakdowns, especially when the rifles were on full automatic, which allows hundreds of bullets to be fired a minute.

The platoon-sized unit of U.S. soldiers and about two dozen Afghan troops was shooting back with such intensity the barrels on their weapons turned white hot. The high rate of fire appears to have put a number of weapons out of commission, even though the guns are tested and built to operate in extreme conditions.

Cpl. Jonathan Ayers and Spc. Chris McKaig were firing their M4s from a position the soldiers called the "Crow's Nest." The pair would pop up together from cover, fire half a dozen rounds and then drop back down.

On one of these trips up, Ayers was killed instantly by an enemy round. McKaig soon had problems with his M4, which carries a 30-round magazine.

"My weapon was overheating," McKaig said, according to Cubbison's report. "I had shot about 12 magazines by this point already and it had only been about a half hour or so into the fight. I couldn't charge my weapon and put another round in because it was too hot, so I got mad and threw my weapon down."

The soldiers also had trouble with their M249 machine guns, a larger weapon than the M4 that can shoot up to 750 rounds per minute.

Cpl. Jason Bogar fired approximately 600 rounds from his M-249 before the weapon overheated and jammed the weapon.

Bogar was killed during the firefight, but no one saw how he died, according to the report.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:40 AM
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to anything that is almost dummy proof and more knock down power.



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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:58 AM
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There are a number of alternatives available.

One rifle that folks are keeping an eye out for is the SCAR. Here's a variety of articles regarding the SCAR and rumored deployments with them.

http://defensetech.military.com/cgi-...h=SCAR&x=0&y=0
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 12:17 PM
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already in use bro.



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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 12:49 PM
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there are severl being looked at but when they get relaced the HK 416 has been getting bought. It is a piston driven AR so no KNEW training is needed. Reliability increases on a platform that everyone has been trained on. The training is the main reason a complete switch over hsnt been made. Don't want uncle sam to have to pay for the troops to learn a new weapon

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 01:13 PM
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What about that new weapon that Magpul is developing. It's supposed to have a similar manual of fire (is that the correct term?) but is ambidextrous and supposedly much more reliable.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 01:15 PM
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It's still up in the air but I don't see any major switch to some "NEW" weapon. AR based training runs to deep to get any real transition done anytime soon. And by real transition I mean getting new weapons into the infantry's hands not SPEC Ops

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
What about that new weapon that Magpul is developing. It's supposed to have a similar manual of fire (is that the correct term?) but is ambidextrous and supposedly much more reliable.

"Developing" then still needs to be tested by the gov., accepted, then a contarct needs to be signed with $$$ as the biggest factor, then checks cut... etc.. etc...

Not happening in the next 4-7 years.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 01:54 PM
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Hey, you know if John Conner can use a 416 its the best!! LMAO.

I personally think the SCAR will be the next widely fielded incremental step. As far as I know the 75th Rangers are the closest "big Army" deployment of the SCAR to date. I'd bet a lot of eyes are on that. FN has far too many ties in the DoD to let HK swoop in for a contract like this. The 416 is a great rifle but it's still a warmed over Stoner design with some weak points of its own. The SCAR is a more comprehensive simple design that's not limited to packaging constraints. Hell, I'd rather see LWRC get a shot over the 416. They at least have a less complex piston design and in the A3 models have an adjustable gas regulator.

Lifted from another forum from a guy who is on the inside of HK:

"Congress is watching this and has, with the media and other help, forced the US Army to conduct a new competition for a new carbine beginning in 2010. Many thanks to OK Sen. Tom Coburn and staff! @ $10M has been approved for the competition. Tests thru 2011 with a decision expected by 2012. The competition is open to various calibers as well.

Problem is the carbine is not the only issue. In the 2006 Army survey of 2607 returning troops the SAW and M9 performed even worse. The M249 has had issues for a long time and contributed to the overrun in the Wanat battle. M9 magazines have caused failures when exposed to sand and grit. We knew already in 1994 from Army tests that the barrel and magazine of the M4 needed to be improved to address these issues and nothing was done about it. NO CHANGES have been made to address these issues yet we continue to issue new multi-year contracts for 1000's more for $100M w/o looking to see what is out there that is better! Our eight most often used small arms are 34 years old on average and outdated compared to newer COTS and threat systems. The OUSD has just completed a top to bottom review of all US DoD small arms and ammo at the request of the past SEC Army Geren and most agree it will likely lead to no positive changes. If you read the book "Misfire" this sad story has been going on for centuries here at the cost of American blood and lives.

The ONLY way to change this is to give the actual end user of the weapon and ammo a say at the decision making table. A User Small Arms and Ammunition Advisory Panel (USAAAP), answerable only to Congress and the SEF DEF, must be formed to direct the acquisition system on all maters of R&D, acquisition and testing. As long as general officers, PM's and PEO's make these decisions we will NEVER have the very best weapons and ammo available to our front line war fighter - never have, never will.

I have and continue to push this idea on Capital Hill, in the Pentagon and elsewhere. LOTS of resistance to change of course and lots of folks claiming they have the best interests of the troops at heart - all BS or they would support this idea. It is in fact this very concept that works so well in select US SOF units, let the end user have a major say in weapon and ammo selection and then their support system makes it happen. Look at the weapons used by these units - most of the aged US standard issue guns are long gone (M9, M4, MK19, M249, etc.) and replaced by better COTS alternatives (Glock, HK416, HK GMG, MK46). That should be the model for the rest of the DoD. In the Big Army it is exactly reverse and you get what some General Officer says "is good enough". How many lives have to be lost or placed at grave risk before we change this?

The current debacle over the Army's ACU uniform is another sad example of waste, fraud and abuse that goes on. $5B of your tax dollars spent on the ACU camo uniform when the troops knew from day one it was a lousy camo pattern inferior to others already available - and no one now remembers why the decision was made to go with the ACU pattern. I can tell you why! GO's and PEO's who know dick about close combat who sit in offices in their fancy positions made the decision - not the actual war fighters, or the war fighters would be wearing Multi-cam now like their most elite SOF brothers!

What can you do? Write your politicians, write SEF DEF Gates, and tell them to support this idea of a USAAAP and send them to me if they need more info. They already know about the concept, they just are not acting on it.

Dr. Robert M. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

And if you have any direct contacts in the news media, at FOX, The Wall Street Journal, etc. send me a PM would you with that info? We need to blow this issue wide open with national converge beyond just Army Times and the AP and get it on Hannity or OReilly. We need to embarrass the DoD to make this change before one more life is lost at the hands of inferior small arms and ammo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Last edited by JPKII; 10-12-2009 at 02:09 PM.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 02:13 PM
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He didnt ask what my opinion was on what should be bought just what's being bought!
I am one of the lucky who has not seen the latest Terminator. If it was up to me all battles would be fought with Uzis and AMT Hardballer longslides!

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