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ATK to Make Special Rounds for Special Forces

The bullet being fired from a gun has dominated the battlefield since before the Civil War. The basic concept remains the same but there have been significant upgrades to accuracy, rate of fire and damage for the infantry small arm. Even though general weapons technology has remained the same since the end of World War II with the introduction of the modern assault rifle with its high rate of fire and smaller caliber then the standard single shot infantry rifle that does not mean there cannot continue to be incremental improvements to such technology.

Recently the U.S. Army went forward with its “green” bullet. This is a round that contains no lead and has less of an environmental footprint then older ammunition. It also offers performance improvements over the traditional rifle bullet used by the Americans and many of their allies.

Now the Navy has contracted with Alliant Techsystems (ATK), the company that manufactures much of the U.S. military ammunition and pyrotechnics, to produce a new bullet for Special Operations and Forces. The almost $50 million contract will see the manufacture of both 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds for use in the Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle System (SCAR).

Reportedly the new bullet will have better accuracy, penetration and generate less of a muzzle flash. The last ten years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen the need for some changes to U.S. weapons due to the threat and conditions which have included close combat as well as high altitudes requiring different weapons, tactics and procedures. The benefits of less flash especially when fighting at night is obvious. If you are engaging dug in enemies or those in houses more penetration will also be a help.

The whole development of the SCAR made by FNUSA was to meet a requirement by the Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) due to their belief they needed something better then the standard M4 and M16 assault rifles used by the U.S. military. The SCAR is customizable in length and other attachments and comes in multiple barrel sizes.

If the fighting continues in Afghanistan and other parts of the world further improvements such as this ammo will continue until there occurs a whole paradigm shift in small arms to perhaps energy based weapons although that is not expected anytime soon.

Photo from The U.S. Army’s flickr photostream.

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UAVs ordered by Special Operations

The US Special Operations Command awarded a contract to buy small UAVs. See an article here. AeroVironment will provide their small Puma AE to the command. This illustrates that the USSOCOM is a separate entity within the DoD and can do its own acquisition. In the past they would have to rely on the main services to procure their equipment, but they now have their own development and procurement funds. The most recent key split between USSOCOM and the Army was the decision to go with a different rifle then the M4/M16. The Special Ops guys bout HK’s SCAR. For more on that see this.

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Ceradyne Inc awarded ID/IQ contract for ballistic plates by US SOC

January 3, 2008 by · Comment
Filed under: Ceradyne, Contract Awards, production program, US SOC 

The United States Special Operations Command (US SOC) awarded a $4.98 M contract to Ceradyne Inc for ballistic plates to fit into the Body Armor Load Carriage System. If all of the contract is executed it could be worth up to $406 M. See Defenselink.mil here. For more on Ceradyne see this.

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