Yikes, that chart on p. 29 seems to make a pretty good argument for the 5.56 cartridge. If you figure the Grendel weight as similar to a 7.62x39 round then you are only buying another 30 seconds over the 7.62 NATO, whereas the 5.56 buys you 3.5 minutes....
Too bad the 5.7 round isn't available with base bleed technology and a micro nuclear payload. I'd be real happy with a P90 if it did.LOL
The problem with this comparison is that it assumes that 5.56mm and 7.62mm are equally effective, when there is clear that they are not - in terms of neither suppression nor range (leaving terminal effectiveness out of it). Why else would dismounted and already overloaded troops in Afghanistan be happy to carry the great lump of the GPMG/M240 and its heavyweight ammo? Because it gets the job done when 5.56mm can't.
182 - 7.62 NATO
385 - 5.56 NATO
210 - 7.62x39 (6.5 G w/123gr bullet)
178 - 7.62 NATO (M80 -- 392gr/rd)*
368 - 5.56 NATO (M855 - 190gr/rd)*
260 - 6.5 Grendel w/123gr bullet (268gr/rd)
274 - 6.5 Grendel w/110gr bullet (255gr/rd)
Going by their time figures (which also look to be off by about 25%), it gives:
7.62 NATO -------- 3.0 min
5.56 NATO -------- 6.1 min
7.62x39/6.5 G 123 - 4.3 min
6.5 G 110 --------- 4.6 min
Advantage is still to 5.56 NATO, but not quite as overwhelming.
* Weight data from TM43-0001-27
Even in semi-auto, it is extremely difficult for most soldiers to control the 7.62 NATO, so follow-up shots are unlikely. Can a seasoned veteran manage one better than most first-term soldiers can run an M4? Yes, but then we get into the training issue, and we'll never solve that without complete institutional overhaul. Then you look at guys that weigh 150lbs soaking wet, and they aren't humping a 7.62 battle rifle plus its basic load for very long at all. You also look at magazine capacity/prone considerations, and a 7.62 NATO rifle for a standard service rifle stays where it belongs...a footnote in history.
In a GPMG that fills a role of reaching out to 800m+ or providing local support by fire, 7.62 NATO makes sense has done a fairly good job of it, weight penalties and lack of maneuverability aside. The Mk48 is attractive in this regard since it is more maneuverable and much lighter, but now we're talking machineguns again.
It's interesting that the MARS and 6x35 KAC PDW are mentioned in that article, because that caliber would do just as well as 5.56 in close-range engagements, although it lacks the terminal ballistics of 5.56 unless expanding tip projectiles are used. I wonder if a propellant could be developed to get it to match 5.56 velocities out of a 16" barrel, because I could carry 20-24 mags of that and be totally fine. It has the ability to lighten up a soldier's load, while reducing space taken on his kit. If the hybrid polymer/metal cases could take the pressures, weight could be significantly reduced.
We want a lot out of technology, and we're at the edge of capability and performance with 5.56 NATO, which is an awesome cartridge for its size/weight, that will be difficult to exceed considerably. We want .50 BMG API or Roufouss terminal performance, with .22 LR recoil and ammo weight.
Last edited by LRRPF52; 02-11-2013 at 02:16 AM.
However, there is also general agreement that 5.56mm is a 400m cartridge at best, in rifles or MGs, and runs out of effectiveness pretty rapidly after that. Which is why the Taleban so often attack from longer ranges than that. The PEO Soldier document on effectiveness stressed the importance of general-purpose rifles and ammunition, suited to engaging the enemy at any distance from which he can attack.
Yes that would be great! However, as we know, it is entirely possible to match the 7.62 M80's long-range performance with a significantly lighter, more compact, and lighter-recoiling cartridge.We want a lot out of technology, and we're at the edge of capability and performance with 5.56 NATO, which is an awesome cartridge for its size/weight, that will be difficult to exceed considerably. We want .50 BMG API or Roufouss terminal performance, with .22 LR recoil and ammo weight.
I think we're at a point where projectile, propellant, and cartridge or energy-harnessing technology needs to take a step forward, since we have some pretty stretched systems given the current state of metallic cartridges. The Grendel is a tweak of that existing technology that offers a lot of bang for its weight for an intermediate range weapon, just like the 5.56 offers a lot of bang for its weight in the 0-300m realm.
Don't forget, though that new sights like the DInGO will be along soon. This combines red dot with imaging-enhancing video with 16x zoom magnification, a laser rangefinder, ballistic computer and corrections for uphill, downhill and weapon cant. The weight target is less than 350g (12.3oz - plus 3x AA batteries) and the cost less than $1000. It's expected to be ready for field testing this summer and to be ready for service within 1-3 years.
This will dramatically improve the potential for accurate long-range fire by ordinary riflemen - provided that the gun and ammo are up to it.
In other words, they have asked for it to function and perform its tasks without the soldier removing his hands from the weapon, to be viable in a CQB-to-further than 400m range on moving targets, compensate for bullet drop and moderate winds, with an 8hr battery life for a price of $600 per unit per 50,000 unit order.LOCKHEED MARTIN TO DESIGN NEW RIFLE SIGHT TO HELP EVERY SOLDIER BE A MARKSMAN: Military optical sensor experts at the Lockheed Martin Mission Systems & Sensors segment in Akron, OH, are developing an experimental advanced rifle sight that helps every soldier be a marksman by enhancing the ability to hit targets at ranges from 3 to 2,000 feet. Lockheed Martin won a $3.9 million contract last week for the Dynamic Image Gunsight Optic (DInGO) program to develop an optical scope attachment for standard combat rifles like the M16 and M4 with field-of-view and angular magnification that can be automatically reconfigured and optimized based on the range to target.
Awarding the DInGO contract is the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in San Diego, on behalf of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Lockheed Martin optical systems integrators are being asked to produce a prototype rifle sight with rapid, seamless, automated, or hands-free actuation to enable soldiers to keep both hands on their weapons as they use the rifle sight. The scope must allow for a wide field of view for close quarters battle, as well as sufficient magnification and resolution to hit moving targets farther than a quarter mile away. Lockheed Martin designers will compensate for bullet drop and moderate winds to enhance marksman accuracy at long ranges. The optical resolution of the DInGO prototype will be sufficient to enable the user to recognize targets at ranges as far away as 1,000 feet between dawn and dusk. The DInGO rifle sights will operate for as long as eight hours continuous operation - or seven-day limited operation - with two AA batteries. Ultimately, SPAWAR is asking Lockheed Martin to develop a rifle sight that costs less than $600 in quantities of 50,000. (Military & Aerospace Electronics, 05/09)
They seem to correlate 400m with long range, which it isn't. If they can pull this off, keep the unit small and lightweight, like under 16oz., and integrate all those capabilities, they still will need a soldier who can hold the weapon steady enough to make the hits, and an 8hr battery life won't cut the mustard, I can assure.
There are a lot of tall orders in that stack, even with a 400m capable system. The price is almost laughable, even with the volume ordering. That's the price of an Eotech or Aimpoint, and this unit will have integrated LRF, BDC, Wind Compensation, variable magnification, and some type of limited visibility capability in hours of dawn/dusk? Can't wait to see it...
Prediction (and I honestly hope I'm wrong): The taxpayers are in for another fleecing on this one, while Lockheed Martin will profit from millions in R&D. Look for them to say that significant obstacles in integrating the technology have been encountered, if the weight and cost objectives continue to be non-negotiable, and they need more money if the program is to continue. The next beg will be for 3-10x the initial R&D budget. This all might be good for the actual ground taken towards such a sight, but I am doubtful at best that the will pull it off.
Last edited by LRRPF52; 02-07-2012 at 04:06 AM. Reason: 40m corrected to 400m, typo
I have a LockMart presentation on the DInGO. It mentions an effective range of 1500-2000m. It doesn't say anything about crosswind correction.