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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 6/16/2001 1:07:15 PM EDT
Hi, I am doing a paper on the future of small arms for my applied physics class and wanted your opinions/help on a few things. My basic point is that there won't be any revolutionary advances made using the conventional brass/bullet combo. The last 100 years have produced the weapons aproaching the limits of the conventional weapons layout. I think the failure of the ACR, and the OCIW drive that point home. I hypothis that with the advent of superstrong composites that the chambers of weapons could be made asymponicly stronger to use much more powerful propelants than guncotton/powder. What I dont know is if the kick from such a weapon would be bearable. I also find it likley that when the military finaly gets around to replacing the M-16/5.56mm family that the replacement will most likely be a caseless bullpup. Also I think that energy storage/capictors will become sufficently advanced soon enoght to allow rail guns to gradualy replace combustion guns. Electomagnetic guns are the only weapons I see that would be feasable in the near-term. ( I have some friends that work at Lawrance Livermore, and some from what I hear the technology is getting really close to frutation *althoght I would be willing to bet that the first genoration would be so bulky that they would be limited to sniper/anti-sniper use. Another intresting technology I've heard of is a contrail plasma gun, it use a laser to cause an ionization trail in the atmosphere wich is used as a sort of pseudo rail for a pellet of lithium hydride that is vaporised by the a fallow up pulse by the laser. What do you think abou the replacment for combustion guns? To you think that either rail guns of some sort of DEW will ever become feasible? Your opinions and comments are apreciated. [rail] --->If we do not change where we are headed, than we will likley end up where we are going
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 2:00:32 PM EDT
DEW weapons are slready in the test stages, and will be too heavy for use as IW due to the energy requirements. Combustion weapons are near the end of their development, thechnology has existed for decades allowing the production of caseless ammo, and nothing has come of it. Why? Two reasons, one practical, one social. 1. Individual weapons must be soldier proof. This leson was driven home in VietNam by the premature employment of the M16. Hi tech weapons need highly trained, intelligent soldiers to operate them, and much revenue is generated by sales to Third World militaries. The first necessity of an IW is simplicity, followed by ease of operation, and ease of maintainence. Make it hard to strip and clean, and it will not get stripped and cleaned. Make it hard to shoot well, and it will be shot poorly. The next generation of IW has not met these requirements. @. Military officers are the most conservative class of people on the planet, and will not look favorably on rapid changes. The story of the M1 - which was chambered for .30/06 only beacuse of the large stocks of ammo on hand, left over from WW1. is a classsic example. Although the development of metallic cartridge, combustion weapons is basically finalized, they will still be standard issue for most of the world's soldiers for at least another 30 years.
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 2:17:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 2:27:30 PM EDT
Don't rule out big technological advances just yet. The projectiles can be made denser for extended range, the guns can be made more compact and lighter with current technology, and hit probability can be markedly increased. My bets for the big changes are on advanced sighting techologies - thermal, uwb/radar, automated instant ranging / trajectory compensation / auto sight adjustment for most variables affecting bullet impact, electronic zoom, target lock, fire-until-target-hit-properly bursts, color single eye screens to allow selectable non-visual/gunsight display by night/day - thus reducing soldier load and allowing accurate fire without exposing the user - integrated GPS/ranging/comms to designate, store and communicate targets and iff info to um alternate service delivery channels, and so on. And an underslung 40mm with time delays fuzes tied into the above setup. Optional battlefield network to indicate nearby threats/opportunities. This might add a bit extra to the price of a rifle... Add into the mix special em weapons to disable the above...
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 2:54:55 PM EDT
I remember hearing something in "Guns & weapons of Law Enforcement" about the micro AR-15/M-16 rifles. There was mention of "full bore diameter" projectiles that were supposed to offer alot less resistance and friction in the barrel and allow the propellent to push the projectile at a much higher velocity. You are right about advanced powders, which may allow an improvement in ballistics of pistols as well as rifles, without increased chamber pressure (9mm @1600+fps?) I would also explore a little into nanotechnology. You may see this apllied into several areas of military arms, like sighting systems, fused munitions, etc. Another thing WAY down the road is the use of combat exoskeletons. I don't mean to go sci-fi on you, but think about a soldier that can carry a GE minigun with a massive amount of ammo, and be impervious to 7.62 and 5.56 fire. Also, modular hardpoints that would carry rockets, etc. This may be beyong the scope of your paper, strattling the fence between smallarms and vehicles, but it may just be the future of the battlefield. You may also want to check out chemical lasers, too, as these would be easier to miniturize, but have limited payload (better chance than supercapacitors, at this point, but who knows what the government has in the labs) [;)] BTW, there was a railgun test of a 90KW tank mounted rail gun some two or three years ago. Can't remember much more of the specifics, though. Hope this helps, Urban
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 7:21:43 PM EDT
Thanx for the comments, Actualy I think that Exo's might come about sooner than you think. The general concenus appears to be that land weapons systems (larger than small arms and beyond the scope of my paper) are at some what of an impass mainly because of the senality of the main battle tank, and I know that DARPA is pouring tons of money into exo's. I remembering rading about the pit man program of the early 90's that showed alot of promise. Odly enoght today I was going throght my library of TLC tapes and dusted off a copy of some show on the future of the military and there was a segement on smart bullets. I'm going to do some research into that. I also had this idea. The main amount of power used in a rail gun is to accelorate from stand still. What if you had a hybrid gun that used caseless fleclet's to fire down a rail gun barrel that accelorates(sp?) it to hypervelocites. Such a weapon would save alot in power, thus reduce weight and prolong battery life. I'm working on a design that I'll post later wich uses the above mentioned hybryd/chemical operating system and sort of looks like a G-11 cut into length wise and a calico style helical drum in place of where the clip would be normaly..... [rail]
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 7:24:00 PM EDT
Thanx for the comments, Actualy I think that Exo's might come about sooner than you think. The general concenus appears to be that land weapons systems (larger than small arms and beyond the scope of my paper) are at some what of an impass mainly because of the senality of the main battle tank, and I know that DARPA is pouring tons of money into exo's. I remembering rading about the pit man program of the early 90's that showed alot of promise. Odly enoght today I was going throght my library of TLC tapes and dusted off a copy of some show on the future of the military and there was a segement on smart bullets. I'm going to do some research into that. I also had this idea. The main amount of power used in a rail gun is to accelorate from stand still. What if you had a hybrid gun that used caseless fleclet's to fire down a rail gun barrel that accelorates(sp?) it to hypervelocites. Such a weapon would save alot in power, thus reduce weight and prolong battery life. I'm working on a design that I'll post later wich uses the above mentioned hybryd/chemical operating system and sort of looks like a G-11 cut into length wise and a calico style helical drum in place of where the clip would be normaly..... [rail]
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 8:09:41 PM EDT
I agree that advances in sighting are more likely than radical changes in projectile technologies. the technology actually used will also rely on the tactics in use. Rifles and small arms are optimized for the 0-300 m range. Tactically the requirements are for a fairly high number of shots available--the military needs suppressing fire so the other people can maneuver. This argues against a primary solution with a small number of big, accurate projectiles, like the 20mm OICW. (It might still be useful in combination with conventional rifles, though.) An advanced sighting system could improve or maintain accuracy and volume at short range, while increasing hit probability at long range. The G-36 looks nice, with iron sights, a dot sight, and a low magnification telescopic sight. Fancy-smancy computerized sights like what movie directors pretend exist in every action flick would be the next step--maybe an integrated laser rangefinder with automatic lead compensation, since shooting at moving targets is one of the hardest tasks. At very long ranges area weapons come into their own. That's one sitation in which the 20mm grenade in the OICW looks interesting--you're not trying to hit an exact spot with a kinetic round, so you can get close with an exploding round. This helps to compensate for the error inherent in the time it takes for the round to travel to the target. Caseless ammo is a possibility, but there are some problems with energy transfer--hot brass casings are doing a useful task in getting heat out of the weapon. weapon caliber or energy might need to go up in the next 20 years as body armor improves. rail guns and other energy intensive weapons would probably first be deployed on vehicles, probably as a replacement for the 25mm gun class. A power source could be carried with the vehicle.
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 8:35:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 9:50:54 PM EDT
Hey again, I like this thread, so I got some more stuff for you. How about a self-contained hydrogen-oxygen combination reation within the round itself? This is not a new idea, as "mini rocket" guns have existed for some time. This would allow the gun to effectively be "caseless", as the case would be the projectile. It would also allieveate the heat disappation problems with other caseless designs. The problem is that the backblast of the round my cause injury to the shooter, so an effective, high-power, low duration reaction would need to take place so that the reaction would almost finish when the projectile exits the barrel. Another interesting point is that this round may be able to be silenced more effectively than other conventional rounds ( don't know for sure, haven't tried it myself[:)] Also, as for railguns, I have done a fair amount of research in this area and you may find that a coil or pulsed-coil weapon will be much more efficient due to the greater length of the coil. This coil gun is similar to an automobile solenoid in construction and principle. The bad thing about ALL types of EMD's (Electro-magnetic Mass Drivers) is that barrel/rail/coil duribility is limited due to the need for the special electrical properties of the rails themselves. If you use copper, the rails will wear. There has been use of carbon-containing projectiles to minimize this, but at the velocities needed for an EMD to justify its required weight, the "rails" won't last more than a few shots. If you reduce the velocity, then you effectively have an inefficient weapon. Still, I think a gas laser holds promise as a large support weapon. The problem is finding a suitable reaction (I think the military used Iodine gas with another component in a large airplane-borne anti-missile laser in the 70's). Another problem is heat, but this is inherent to rail guns as well.
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 10:03:21 PM EDT
Hey A. S., You may want to look into sonic-based weapons, too. These can cause major damage, even against hard targets like tanks, bunkers, etc. when the operator finds a target's resonance. It is also demoralizing for troops and will hamper their ability to communicate. Of course, current systems are very large and unwieldly. The nickname for these weapons is "Jericho Horn" (for the biblical reference) However, I don't see why a "horn" the size of a leaf blower, with a backpack control system/ fuel unit, couldn't be created. The current Jericho Horns that I have knowledge of use gasoline to create a sound impulse, but more effective fuels may be substituted. The real pain in the ass about these weapons is trying to find the resonance frequency against a moving target. However, with the advances in combat computers and targeting over the last ten+ years, I would assume that one could put something together with current technology. You may also want to look into the use of low and high frequency weapons against human beings...you may be afraid of what you find Hope this helps, Urban
Link Posted: 6/16/2001 10:21:23 PM EDT
The real hold-up for any sort of electromagnetic weapon small enough to mount on a tank, much less be carried by an individual infantryman, is the development of energy storage technology. The most likely way to get around this is if they can come up with high-energy superconductors. That could happen tomorrow or in 500 years...it all depends. Barring that development, I don't expect small arms to get much more sophisticated than caseless ammo/electric ignition for the forseeable future.
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