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Posted: 9/18/2009 5:21:13 PM EST
Corps to reveal SAW replacement in October

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer

Posted : Friday Sep 18, 2009 14:31:36 EDT
The Marine Corps plans to announce next month a heavily anticipated plan for the infantry automatic rifle, which is expected to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in Marine fire teams.

“We’re close to having a decision,” said Maj. John Smith, the weapon’s project officer at Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Va. “I’m on schedule to have a decision on the program to move forward. Maybe within three weeks or so, there will be a lot more information.”

Testing is complete, Smith told Marine Corps Times on Wednesday, and plans are underway to make sure logistics, training and maintenance of the weapon are handled.

Late last year, the Corps chose three companies — Colt Defense, FN Herstal and Heckler & Koch — to compete for the IAR contract, saying the new weapon would allow Marines to maneuver under fire more quickly and improve accuracy.

But the plan has incited some debate. Critics don’t like the idea of giving up the SAW, which can carry a 200-round drum and unleash a massive volume of fire, in favor of the IAR, which is drastically lighter but uses 30-round magazines. The IAR finalists weigh between 8 and 11 pounds empty, whereas the SAW weighs about 16 pounds empty — 22 when loaded.

Smith acknowledged that Commandant Gen. James Conway has questioned how the IAR will fit into fire teams but said that concern was “answered in short order.” He declined to elaborate. SysCom anticipates the project staying on schedule, with initial fielding next year. Maj. David Nevers, a spokesman for Conway, said the commandant was unavailable for comment.

In April and May, the Corps held reliability testing for the IAR at Marine Corps Base Quantico, using two weapons from Colt and one each from FN Herstal and Heckler & Koch, Smith said. Over three weeks, 20,000 rounds were fired from three makes of each weapon. The Corps also held limited user evaluations for about three weeks in April in Hawthorne, Nev., with Marines from Camp Pendleton, Calif. assessing each of the finalists.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:22:08 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:24:13 PM EST
how would replacing a belt-fed, with a mag fed, be any better?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:25:15 PM EST
I will be surprised if the FN and/or HK entries are selected.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:26:25 PM EST
Will the Marines be investing in drum mags like the Beta Mag? They are trading a belt fed weapon for a heavy barreled M16? Why not just buy some piston uppers for the M16 lowers they already had and keep the 249 just in case?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:27:03 PM EST
Originally Posted By djsmiles:
how would replacing a belt-fed, with a mag fed, be any better?
what ive heard is it wont replace but supplement them in urban combat.

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:28:18 PM EST
I'm thinking it will be the SCAR or one of the Colts
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:29:18 PM EST


Seriously? Give up a SAW for one of those weapons? That's not efficient, especially if you're throwing massive lead down range. Let's see... 200rnds vs. 30rnds to keep their heads down.

The basic infantryman can use those last three in the pic. The SAW gunner... well... needs something equivalent. Those replacement examples are not the equivalent of the SAW.




Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:29:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By 87GN:
I will be surprised if the FN and/or HK entries are selected.


I agree. I have a gut feeling that they will choose the Colt simply due to the familarity that the rifle brings.

We'll see.

Max

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:29:31 PM EST
If they are going to pick something like that then why not just drop the saw and buy a full auto capable version of the m16a4?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:31:48 PM EST
Originally Posted By ChinoUSMC:


Seriously? Give up a SAW for one of those weapons? That's not efficient, especially if you're throwing massive lead down range. Let's see... 200rnds vs. 30rnds to keep their heads down.

The basic infantryman can use those last three in the pic. The SAW gunner... well... needs something equivalent. Those replacement examples are not the equivalent of the SAW.






It wont be a complete replacement just used in place of the saw in urban environments.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:31:51 PM EST
They need to bring back the M60!
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:32:03 PM EST
How in the fuck do you replace it with a closed bolt gun?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:32:16 PM EST
They nixed the LRWC version?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:32:28 PM EST
All those proposed weapons are just accessoried up M16's. Other than heavier weight to lug around, I don't see a whole lot of advantage.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:33:46 PM EST
So I take it POF and LWRC didn't make the cut....

And, why does the SAW need replacing? I see the article says "fireteams"..will be one at the platoon or company levels?



Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:36:12 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:38:56 PM EST


Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:39:39 PM EST
Can someone explain to someone that has never BTDT why the SAW needs replacing ?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:39:58 PM EST

Sweet Jesus, this won't end well for the troops.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:40:12 PM EST
Originally Posted By Armin_Tanzarian:
They need to bring back the M60!


I hated carrying that damned thing on road marches, but I loved the gun. I am not familliar with the M249, but my experience with the 60 tips my opinion in that direction. I would rather be supported with the 60 than any other man portable gun.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:41:32 PM EST
As someone who chose to carry the M249 overseas all I can say is wtf USMC. Are they saying you guys aren't strong enough to utilize a 22 lb weapon? Maybe you guys need to bulk up.

Seriously though, the M249 equipped with the shorter barrel is not unwieldy for any man who has any business in combat. I don't get wtf they're trying to accomplish other than wasting valuable money.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:41:36 PM EST
Originally Posted By ChinoUSMC:


Seriously? Give up a SAW for one of those weapons? That's not efficient, especially if you're throwing massive lead down range. Let's see... 200rnds vs. 30rnds to keep their heads down.

The basic infantryman can use those last three in the pic. The SAW gunner... well... needs something equivalent. Those replacement examples are not the equivalent of the SAW.






+1
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:42:52 PM EST


so what's exactly wrong with the SAW?

not reliable?

and what about making a new, lighter, better belt fed?


Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:43:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 5:44:54 PM EST by Shootist_Jeff]
Originally Posted By weptek911:
Can someone explain to someone that has never BTDT why the SAW needs replacing ?


The only thing I can think of is women or weak males not being able to handle it. It's a superb weapon and my favorite small arm in the US Armed Forces inventory. As long as you keep it lubricated and reasonably maintained, it's reliable and quite accurate for an MG. It's far more reliable than the M2 and I don't hear anyone trying to replace that outdated dinosaur.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:44:55 PM EST
I was under the impression that the Colts fired from a closed bolt ONLY on semi auto and the first round of full auto.

The advantages are things like: interchangeability of mags within a squad, making it harder to identify the heavy gunner on the squad. maneuverability in urban environments, etc.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:46:37 PM EST
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:46:37 PM EST
Originally Posted By GumbyTM:
I was under the impression that the Colts fired from a closed bolt ONLY on semi auto and the first round of full auto.

The advantages are things like: interchangeability of mags within a squad, making it harder to identify the heavy gunner on the squad. maneuverability in urban environments, etc.


This
The weapon is not replacing the saw this is supposed to be for use in urban combat.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:46:45 PM EST
I don't know about the USMC, but I know our troops aren't particularly well trained in the cleaning the C9 (our version of the Minimi). Most don't know how to use the scraper tool (if their units even have them), and very few know how to take apart the feed pawls, which is IMO necessary for proper cleaning.

My C9 never failed me once in A-stan, because I always kept my feed mechanism spotless, and only lubed it with graphite based lock de-icer.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:47:42 PM EST
If anything they should have gone with Shrike it can take mags & belts and is ultra lightweight and parts interchange...






Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:47:55 PM EST
Wow the IAR is a stupid idea, course I'm just a civvie, if a couple of Marines (in field not behind a desk) have good reason I will listen.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:47:56 PM EST
this would be a horrible decision, to replace the saw, with a bulked up 30rd rifle, now if it were to use in urban combat, then yes it makes more sense, but maybe with Beta Mags only. Lighter weight with less rounds doesn't make a viable replacement, its the ability to puts rounds down range while everyone else is changing mags, is the reason for a SAW. As a veteran who carried a SAW in Iraq, I can understand the SAW not being good for patrolling in cities, because i went on patrols, and it was bulky and oversized for the environment, but as soon as the patrol strolled out to the country side, it made it much more viable
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:48:23 PM EST
Originally Posted By weptek911:
Can someone explain to someone that has never BTDT why the SAW needs replacing ?


Someone of high rank could be a shareholder in a company that needs a new DOD contract?

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:49:33 PM EST
I've "heard" the SAW is a POS out in the field but everyone loves the M240...
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:50:11 PM EST
Originally Posted By realwar:
If anything they should have gone with Shrike it can take mags & belts and is ultra lightweight and parts interchange...



<a href="http://img132.imageshack.us/i/shrike556cqblmg.jpg/" target="_blank">http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/1205/shrike556cqblmg.jpg</a>




Could Ares produce them fast enough?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:50:16 PM EST
Dumb.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:50:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By Riply21:
Originally Posted By GumbyTM:
I was under the impression that the Colts fired from a closed bolt ONLY on semi auto and the first round of full auto.

The advantages are things like: interchangeability of mags within a squad, making it harder to identify the heavy gunner on the squad. maneuverability in urban environments, etc.


This
The weapon is not replacing the saw this is supposed to be for use in urban combat.

Then it's taking the SAW gunner out and replacing them with more riflemen. If the mission is called for more riflemen, then add them and take out the SAW gunners... but from the way I understand it, they want to replace the weapon of the SAW gunner with basic rifles??? That's not the mission of the SAW gunner... and that's how shit gets fucked up when people start changing things around.


Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:51:53 PM EST
IIRC the reason for switching away from the SAW in urban environments was to go to something with a closed bolt. Their were too many reports of the weapon failing to feed on the first round as the Marines were clearing houses. My understanding is that weapon is meant as an augment and not a full replacement.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:52:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Chris_C:
So I take it POF and LWRC didn't make the cut....

And, why does the SAW need replacing? I see the article says "fireteams"..will be one at the platoon or company levels?



My understanding is that in a tight urban setting, for foot troops, a belt fed gun makes the gunner a higher priority target. A rifle designed for FA work that doesn't stand out, gives the gunner a better chance in an ambush. Plus ammo compatibility with the rest of the patrol.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:53:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By GumbyTM:
I was under the impression that the Colts fired from a closed bolt ONLY on semi auto and the first round of full auto.

The advantages are things like: interchangeability of mags within a squad, making it harder to identify the heavy gunner on the squad. maneuverability in urban environments, etc.


How does the IAR make anyone a "heavy gunner"?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:53:32 PM EST
Supposedly the individual uints will get to pick the weapon system BEST SUITED to them. Or so it says in the Marine Corps magizine.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:54:59 PM EST
Originally Posted By Silesius:
Originally Posted By GumbyTM:
I was under the impression that the Colts fired from a closed bolt ONLY on semi auto and the first round of full auto.

The advantages are things like: interchangeability of mags within a squad, making it harder to identify the heavy gunner on the squad. maneuverability in urban environments, etc.


How does the IAR make anyone a "heavy gunner"?


He is talking about how it is easy to pick out the saw gunner. with this weapon he will be able to blend in with the others making him less of a target.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:55:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By realwar:
If anything they should have gone with Shrike it can take mags & belts and is ultra lightweight and parts interchange...



<a href="http://img132.imageshack.us/i/shrike556cqblmg.jpg/" target="_blank">http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/1205/shrike556cqblmg.jpg</a>




now that is what should be in the running

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:55:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 5:56:39 PM EST by Papi4baby]
Originally Posted By glazer1972:
If they are going to pick something like that then why not just drop the saw and buy a full auto capable version of the m16a4?


AKA M16A3


How the hell, is a 30 round weapon, take over the duty of a 100 round or 200 round weapon????? Wow, just wow.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:57:22 PM EST
What about Ultimax?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:58:32 PM EST
looks like colt is up to no good again.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:58:53 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 6:02:23 PM EST by Dave_A]

Originally Posted By djsmiles:
how would replacing a belt-fed, with a mag fed, be any better?

It 'fits' Marine Corps institutional (rifle-centric) culture to give their 'all rifleman' service rifles instead of LMGs...

The arguments 'for' the IAR all boil down to 'We are deploying a LMG like a rifle, and wondering why that does not work so well'...

The actual weight difference between the 249 and M16A4 (since the Marines also 'snubbed' the M4) is not that significant, when UNLOADED...

The big difference in combat loadout weight comes from all the AMMO that a SAW gunner ends up carrying...

800rds+ of linked 5.56, vs 270rds+ for a rifle load... Gee, I wonder what weighs so much?

The ARMY got it right, by simply sticking a collapsible stock and short barrel on the 249, to make it 'Urban Friendly'....
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 5:58:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 6:03:32 PM EST by Flogger23m]
I think the idea is stupid.

The M249 para is a much better idea:




Smaller and a little lighter.




I know it is not completely replacing the SAW (or is it?), but I'd still rather have two SAWs than one of those other modified assault rifles. They bring up the point they want the IAR to shoot in single accurate shots, with the occasional burst. But the M16A4/M4 can already do that fine.



And I am sure the Colt will win.

Probably the HK next, since that is the closest to the M16/M4. But it could be the SCAR... since that is what the Army SF units seem to be going with.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:00:48 PM EST
Ummm.... How is belt fed bad?
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:01:30 PM EST
Better question is how did the automatic rifleman end up with a light machine gun in the first place?

I can see (and have been in) scenarios where a proper IAR would be better suited for the operation than the SAW. I can also see the opposite and would suggest they use the weapons as complements instead of straight substitutes, which is what the plan is.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:02:51 PM EST
Go with the Chauchat again?

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