The British Army is looking for an ‘Alternative Individual Weapon’ for the Army Special Operations Brigade.

According to the British Army website, the Army Special Operations Brigade’s role is to operate in complex, high threat environments below the threshold of war alongside specialised Partner Forces to deliver operational insights and effects. The Army Special Operations Brigade can be authorised to operate at higher risk beyond the remit of conventional forces.

The British Army’s new Ranger Regiment – What will they be used for?

Four Ranger Battalions and the Joint Counter Terrorist Training and Advisory Team will provide the foundation for the Army Special Operations Brigade.

Bidders have now been asked to “tender for the Procurement and Support of an Armalite Rifle (AR) platform Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) System for the Army Special Operations Brigade”.

According to the recently published contract tender notice, they’re looking for a “Rifle System comprising of a Rifle and a detachable Signature Reduction System and An Optic
System that complements the Rifle and is ballistically matched to the stated ammunition nature and supplied barrel length.”

More specifically a “5.56mm Armalite Rifle (AR Platform) optimised for use with L15A2, a 62gr 5.56×45 NATO ball round, equivalent to SS109”.

Including:

  • A Safe Blank Firing System (SBFS) for use with
    the platform delivered at SOR Item 7
  • An Optic System that complements the Rifle and
    is ballistically matched to the stated ammunition
    nature and supplied barrel length.
  • An Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Optic System that
    complements the Rifle and is ballistically matched
    to the stated ammunition nature and supplied
    barrel length.

The firms invited to tender for this are:

  • Beechwood Equipment
  • Caracal International LLC
  • Colt Canada Corporation
  • FNH UK
  • GMK Limited
  • Hammer Pair Performance Limited
  • Ian Edgar (Liverpool) Ltd
  • Law Enforcement International Ltd
  • Level Peaks Associates Ltd
  • NDH Defence Industries
  • NSAF Ltd
  • Precision technic Defence Ltd
  • Raytheon ELCAN
  • Riflecraft Limited
  • Steyr Arms GmbH
  • Viking Arms Ltd

The new rifle will be issued to the new four battalion-strong Special Operations Brigade.

The anticipated date for the contract award decision is March 2022 with the delivery of the trial systems by the end of August 2022.

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Ian
Ian
18 days ago

Isn’t this story slightly dated? I’m sure I read something similar a week or two ago. Or perhaps has it been updated?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
18 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Yes, we have chewed over the S Ops Bde / Rangers already in earlier articles.
This is an update regards the rifle.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
18 days ago

Morning all, from the traitor working for Moscow. 👺 “deliver operational insights and effects” I assume that means engage and kill/supress the enemy with kinetic effect?? “The Army Special Operations Brigade can be authorised to operate at higher risk beyond the remit of conventional forces.” What does that even mean?? Can’t any Infantry battalion with 600 men and some firepower behind it? How will the Ranger Regiment not suddenly be “conventional forces” ? An enhanced entrance regime won’t justify that. Shouldn’t it be the case that “operating at higher risk beyond the remit of conventional forces ” should entail some… Read more »

Posse Comitatus
Posse Comitatus
18 days ago

It was a late night, but I first read it as some of the Rangers were looking for rifles that had been mislaid…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
18 days ago

😃 Yes, get the RMP out to help look!

David Barry
David Barry
18 days ago

I’ve left!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
18 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

LOL.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
18 days ago

May the good Lord preserve us, if the politicians get us involved in a shooting war with either the Chinese or the Russians or both. The Army is now so insignificantly small that we should best train it to just prevent an invasion of the homeland. 125 Challenger III tanks should just about be abe to do that. Or how to march properly in step through city centres. Or delivering vaccines and organising the logistics around hospital PPE. Enough is enough. The Army is smaller now than it has been for 200 years. In a dangerous world, something needs to… Read more »

John Pickford
John Pickford
18 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I significantly small, with lots of medals and many marches thro’ town centres to collect them. Sad.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

So in your wisdom, what would you do about it? And how would you pay for it?

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
17 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

You won’t like my reply I think the MoD should be disbanded and our military should ONLY source off-the-shelf kit from the open market. And where a case can be made and we absolutely have to develop capability ourselves, at all costs senior military officers nearing retirement should be kept off the committees. And gravy-train ex-officers working in the military-industrial complex. I think you will find that the tens of £billions saved would pay for another 25,000 infantry, two more Astute, another carrier and 150 Tranche 4 F35B’s etc etc. And an interim AShM for our frigates and destroyers and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I agree with quite a bit of that. But it will never happen. The MIC Military Industrial Complex would be hit, they are the gravy train, jobs for the boys and all that. But they are also at the heart of Britain’s defence industry, and that means jobs and profits and politics and lobbying by MPs to keep “their” defence jobs. I disagree with disbanding the MoD. It has many vast roles way beyond procurement that underpin our entire defence capability. I many areas. So the military remains too small, as having the capabilities we have costs. And it is… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

And how do we recruit all this extra manning?. That is the toughest task of all. And if the MOD isn’t running the Armed Force’s, who is? Buying off the shelf has it’s advantages. The Apache purchase is a good example. But do we want to keep a British sovereign industrial capability and retain thousands of skilled workers? and continue to be able to build nuclear submarines and Typhoons for example. I think we do. And while delays and overspends are frustrating, blaming civil servants who work just as hard to support our Force’s isn’t the answer. In all liklihood,… Read more »

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
16 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I wouldn’t disagree with any of that. Its not the industrial firms or the folk that work for the MoD that are at fault. Its the way the Authority manages projects – and itself. They have a decades long history of poor cost control with cost overuns accepted as the norm. Their project management problem has seen billions spent on projects that have been cancelled, or are years late. There are successes like the carriers to balance this but inevitably when the beancounters add it all up cuts in capability are made to pay for it. Many projects naturaly take… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
16 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Can’t argue against accountability. But i do think think we are turning a corner. The business model used for T31 being a good example. It’s just 20 years late in getting to that way of thinking. I don’t think it’s a good comparison between us and the IDF. They need national service to hit manning requirements, and they are a largey static force with very different requirements, they also lack capabilites that we possess, and our global footprint and taskings. It’s always an assumption that everyone one else does it better than us. But most nations are as bad and… Read more »

Louis J Brodigan
Louis J Brodigan
16 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Imo cost overruns are crippling and if we want to invest in in-house military we need our own version of DARPA. If we are going to put our soldiers in high risk kinetic operations they should have whatever arms and kit that they themselves want most. With regard to the size of the army, I think it’s pitiful, if not negligent especially as foreign unfriendlies are ramping up military investment year on year. God forbid we get in a shooting war because as things stand I think we will struggle mightily just to hold our ground. Scarily, this means the… Read more »

SD67
SD67
15 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

The IDF are also ruthlessly pragmatic with supporting functions, some of their trucks were ancient, logistics handled by 19 year old female conscripts paid 700 shekel a month (that’s 200 quid folks).
They’ve been pretty ingenious at recycling old kit as well – old centurion hills turned into APCs etc

KPB
KPB
16 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Whilst I agree with a lot of your thinking, any money saved would be pumped into other public services and not the military.

Bluemoonday
Bluemoonday
16 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

May I ask, in what scenario, would the UK be faced with an invasion?

Santiago Romero
Santiago Romero
16 days ago
Reply to  Bluemoonday

Celts. From the north

Bluemoonday
Bluemoonday
9 days ago

Lol that’s easy. Build a wall

Santiago Romero
Santiago Romero
8 days ago
Reply to  Bluemoonday

The Wall. Excellent idea. Using Pink Floyd to fight the Celts

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
15 days ago
Reply to  Bluemoonday

During March 2020 during the chaos of the first wave of the virus, the Russian Navy sent a full-blown amphibious group through the Channel from the N Sea. This consisted of several frigates, two amphibious ships, an oiler and the obligatory tug. The MoD huffed and puffed and eventually sent a Type 23 out to “keep an eye on them”. claiming the Russians were on a routine training mission, having been detached from the Northern Fleet due to ice. Apparently all quite unremarkable, were it not for the fact that 15 years ago, due manning problems and ships needing re-fit/maintenance… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
18 days ago

‘How will the Rangers suddenly not be conventional forces?’
Good question. If you are an African government at risk from Islamic extremist forces might they be considered as the UK’s professional, legitimate and scalable alternative to Russia’s Wagner ‘offering’?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
18 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I know what you’re saying. But If the British Army has such a reputation for the quality of its soldiering, professionalism, and training, which I believe it does indeed have, you’d think any African government would be happy with an infantry company from any line infantry battalion. They are still conventional forces regardless of individual weapon. So what makes them able to “operate at higher risk beyond the remit of conventional forces” ? More enablers? Nope. They don’t exist, at least in any dedicated capacity. And what does that statement say for our regular infantry? Are they suddenly unable? Of… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
18 days ago

I think the only way to make sense of these changes is to view them in political context. What you call ‘spin’ a salesman would call ‘branding’. I think that what is going on is a marketing exercise; the army is having to sell itself not only to its existing soldiers and to new recruits; it also has to sell its ‘services’ to foreign countries in competition with domestic interests, Chinese troops, Russian mercenaries…..While we might look at a Ranger deployment as protecting UK interests, if you are president say of Kenya, Ghana or Nigeria (where we have colonial baggage)… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Paul.P
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

That is a way of looking at it I suppose! They’ll have branding themselves next….Rangers, sponsored by…

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
17 days ago

… Queens Park surely.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Yes, good one!

Paul.P
Paul.P
17 days ago

😂 Right! New selection process, new cap badge, new rifle, new lightweight all terrain vehicle.….this is about creating something new and desirable. Recruits will want to be one, African soldiers will want to be able to say I was trained by ..and I served with ….the Rangers.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The Ranger concept is a good one (except the silly 250 man battalion idea)… It’s going to take a while to stand it up properly, as unsuitable personnel will be swapped out with replacements and they get into the swing of things. I would expect a few folks from the SF and Intelligence community will be on secondment to get the training underway. Moving forward, new recruits with the right Ranger stuff (language and people skills and the ability to operate in small teams) will be channeled into the units. I would say by 2025 they should be fully up… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
17 days ago

It’s eight battalions now? This deal keeps getting worse all the time! Seriously, it looks like the leadership don’t have a clue what the army is meant to be for or do. On one hand we have the aspirations of a “heavy warfighting division” (quotation marks inserted for obvious reasons) along with the deep reconnaissance strike battle brigade combat team force and the other has us going on a limited war/COIN/training and assisting allied nations tilt. We either bulk up for an all out smashy fight or we accept a limited war stance and angle towards coalition or Falklands round… Read more »

Terry
Terry
17 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

We don’t have enough armour for a “Warfighting Division”

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Hi Ryan. To clarify. 4 battalions in the S Ops Bde ( Rangers ) and 4 battalions in 11 SFAB. So 8 undersized cap badges saved. One of the brigades is a BATT type. The other is also a BATT type but apparently can fight in more hostile environments, will have the rifle, is “Special” and will be better soldiers – as they say “can fight in hostile environments below the threshold!” That is my issue. I though all our infantry were well trained for that role. As Airborne says on here, they will end up doing exactly the same… Read more »

Steve
Steve
16 days ago

But they do not even go through any rigorous selection procedure….they are not even commando trained ffs they are just made up of “hat” regiments in the main .

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
15 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Yep. So far. I’m sceptical, as I outlined.

Airborne
Airborne
16 days ago

And yet again mate we think alike but you put it so much better! Cheers.

Tommo
Tommo
18 days ago

This was posted last week and they still haven’t found it yet keep looking

Mark
Mark
18 days ago

Look to the future the M41A Pulse Rifle is a must 😉

Sean
Sean
18 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Only if it’s manufacturer, Weyland-Yutani, can be persuaded to open a factory here 😏

Mark
Mark
18 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Heard they were recruiting a load of apprentice’s this week to start manufacturing them..

Tommo
Tommo
18 days ago
Reply to  Mark

BAE was in the news in our area Southern looking for over 1000 Apprentice’s too take up positions in 2022 Sean

Tommo
Tommo
18 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Get Ripley, she’ll test it on Bishop

The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
The Artist Formerly Known As Los Pollos Chicken
18 days ago

Aye the phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range is still just out o reach ……..maybe one day

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
18 days ago

Neatly sums up the entire Army procurement ‘rationale’.

Martin
Martin
18 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

But how much did they squander on that armoured vehicle that caused injury to soldiers for 4 or more years and still the army top brass spewed money at it. Costing hundreds of millions. Yet none held to account. A soldier loses a little bit of kit or army clothing they are charged and usually fined double what the item cost. That same principle should be applied to army brass who squander money like that.

Mac
Mac
18 days ago

I would have thought another batch of Colt C8’s would be the obvious choice, those that use them, seem to have a very high regard for them.

John Clark
John Clark
18 days ago
Reply to  Mac

Well yes, the C8 is the obvious choice, in Carbine and rifle form.

It’s an excellent rifle and already in service with SF’s as their default ‘go to’ AR and re-equipping the Royal Marines as their standard rifle too.

Pacman27
Pacman27
18 days ago

How about giving each of the ranger units one of the NGSW rifle and scope set ups and let them test it, better yet if the US know which has won the competition and we get these units to introduce them into the army.

generally this seems to be a waste of money, swapping one 5.56 for another when money is tight, but for we can get some longer term value out of it that would at least provide some value to the wider military.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
18 days ago

I never understood why the Army moved to a peashooter 5.56 round anyway. We won two world wars with the 175 grain .303. The Gloucesters in Korea used the Lee Enfield .303 and the Bren

We still have thousands of Bren’s (last used in anger in the Falkands) at Donnington and millions of .303 rounds. Which career MoD civil serpent is pushing this?

Trampus
Trampus
18 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Rimmed case not ideal for automatic/semi auto guns .308/7.62mm is better and similar ballistics to .303 probably a tad more powerful?I wouldn’t quite call the 5.56/.223 a pea shooter pretty potent for it’s size.I always remember years ago firing a .357 magnum revolver at some steel plate and it just dented it but a .222 rifle, from which the .223 was developed,went straight through.

Tommo
Tommo
18 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

7.62mm down too 5.56mm that what we thought one suggestion was you could carry more ammunition As the SA80 could fire in an auto mode, But the one we believed with a pinch of salt was 7.62 if you got hit by that Torso hit game over 5.56 if you got hit by that your mire likely too survive and it would supposedly take 2 people too evacuate you so that would take 3 people out of contact good luck with that theory Can’t see the Chinese or Russians stopping too pick up their wounded David

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Spot on Tommo. Add recent improvements and availability of ballistic protection and body armour…and a double tap from a 5.56 simply isn’t going to cut down a fanatical terrorist with a suicide vest. Put that same nut job in a car/van/truck who’s ramming into pedestrians and you’ve no chance. The logic with 5.56 was reasonably sound at the time as anyone who’s had to tab with a few hundred rounds of 7.62 will testify…however most of the adversaries that are likely to be encountered (certainly by s/f or Ranger battalions) in the future arent going to be the kind of… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Thanks AV did trials in 88 with what was supposed too be the most fantastic infantry weapon that the Britsh forces had ever had ,oh Fxxking really mags from the states kept falling out no artic trigger guard only good thing was a bayonet +scabard wire cutter God knows how many were purchased and issued before the MOD listened too the complaints from the boys about how Sxxt they were such a waste A traffic wardern has more stopping power than the SA80mk1

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Yes, expensive procurement of what turned out to be a decent bayonet & frog at least.

Tommo
Tommo
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Yeah ,neat bit of reverse engineering from the Bog standard won’t let you down in any climate beit Artic, tropical ,Desert, jJunglr GAK47 o and the first batches of the sa80 mk1 were for right ha ders only where as the L1A1 SLR could e operated by Left ha ded or right handed you didn’t get a spent cartridge burning your cheek unluckily Leftie

Tommo
Tommo
17 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

AK 47 not GAK47 bloody predictive TXT AV

Red Hanrahan
Red Hanrahan
18 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

The Americans are doing some interesting experimentation with their new 6.8mm rounds. More punch than the 5.56, but 30% less weight and recoil than the 7.62 and better flight characteristics out to 800 meters than both. Whether the competition will go anywhere or peter out in favour of a slightly updated AR remains to be seen.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
17 days ago
Reply to  Red Hanrahan

There is little question that the US Army will select a new assault rifle and new SAW in FY 2022 and will commit to the new weapons and the 6.8 mm rounds it uses with production to start in 2022. The US Army has already started construction at its Lake City, Missouri ammunition plant to produce the new 6.8mm rounds.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Red Hanrahan

Yes spot on. An AR in 6.8mm is the way to go, best of both worlds. A proper man-stopper round yet light enough for large carries, both essential for a Ranger or SF unit.

Bell
Bell
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

UKSF already have a larger caliber rifle to choose from over the C8, L143A1/2 low signature assault weapon, Sig MCX in various barrel lengths in either 7.62 x 39 or 7.62 x 35.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Bell

Yes aware, but too big a round. Are you suggesting moving back to 7.62?..

Bell
Bell
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

No just saying, they do have the option of a lightweight man stopper if required, currently US SF are using 7.62 x 35 or in US terminology .300″ Blackout. I cannot see the UK going to another caliber for many years, even the US going to it,s 6.8mm is only for a limited purchase of about 100,000 or so,so the majority of the US forces will still be using 5.56mm for the foreseeable future. With the projected OSD of the L85 now at 2030, it was 2024, we will have to see what NATO decides the way forward for s… Read more »

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Bell

Yes understand, cheers
I just can’t see the next US/Nato round being 5.56.
Totally agree it’s going to take a while and dont think any nation is in any hurry on this.
In regards to the original article I cant see the point in procuring another 5.56 rifle in these numbers, theres no major benefit.

Bell
Bell
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

If and when NATO decides on a new caliber the next question for the MOD is do we equip the teeth arms only or the whole force, as you will agree a large proportion of the military are not going to fire their weapons in anger.looking at the various manufacturers websites selling 6.5 / 6.8 rifles they are about 3 or 4 times the cost of an M4 not including optics.
What are your views?

AV
AV
16 days ago
Reply to  Bell

I’m not the biggest fan of mixing calibres with service rifles due to complications with logistics etc during extended combat etc. My view is simply that with 5.56 unsuitable in my book for the Rangers brief and with a likely calibre increase across the Nato standard coming at some point it would make sense to combine the two issues and call a decision. At the end of the day the Rangers numbers aren’t going to be significant so even if they ended up with a slightly non standard round in 15 years time with the AR spec chosen a re-barrel… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
18 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

L4 Brens all long gone David along with anything .303 related.

The only examples you will find today are within official collections.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Generally yes, but I think you’ll find theres way more .303 hidden away than youd think 😉

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

“We still have thousands of Bren’s at Donnington”

Really? Any SLR’s knocking about too? I wasn’t aware Donnington stores ammunition or weaponry.

Bell
Bell
17 days ago

Donnington stores all the mod weapons not issued to units.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  Bell

Cheers. Thought the DFC and the other buildings was like Bicester. Soft stores, kit, supplies, and so on, wasn’t aware of the weaponry.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago

SLR’s and Brens all long gone Daniele…..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes, I assumed so. What do I know?! Maybe there really is a “Strategic Reserve” in store. ( But not necessarily of Steam Engines ! )

Last edited 17 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
Bell
Bell
17 days ago

As it happens semi deactivated SLR,s are issued during SF selection for the hills week as a dead weight to lug around.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  Bell

Yes, I’d noted that actually. Welcome to the forum Bell.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
17 days ago

Donnington has hundreds of thousands of brand new, unused Lee Enfield 303’s still wrapped in greaseproof paper in WD -> boxes of 5. These were made at ROF Fazakerley, Liverpool late 40’s early 50’s after the war. They have millions of .303 ammo in mags of 30 for Brens and in waxed boxes for the rifle in the bunkers. Some of this ammo was made in India, which was still using both the Bren and making the Lee Enfield under licence in 2005. During the Russian invasion of Afghanistan we provided 100,000 brand new, greasproof paper wrapped Fazakerley built Lee… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Nope, all long gone, I’m not going into what is or isn’t stored, but suffice it to say, Enfield’s long gone..

Re the No4’s in Afghanistan..

With the exception of a small number, the vast majority of No4’s encountered in Afghanistan were Long Branch manufacturerd, there’s a good for that.

Canadian war reserve, purchased by a proxy company and turned up in the hands of grateful Afghan Enfield collectors in the 1980’s…

Stephen East
Stephen East
11 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

All the No4s and the .303 ammunition are long gone. Most of the L1A1s are also long gone.

Rob
Rob
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

David the 303 was withdrawn from front line service in 1959. I may well have been amongst the last to fire a 303 Bren in the mid 90’s as a cadet instructor. By then all the 303 rounds were Indian made. Loved the Bren, such a solid firing platform and so reliable – heavy SOB though if you are carrying it and the number 2 with the barrels and a metal box of magazines needed a medal…

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
17 days ago
Reply to  Rob

My father used the Bren in Burma, like everyone who used it he loved it. The Bren was extremely accurate when used with the bipod and fired in short bursts of 5-7 rounds.

Terry
Terry
17 days ago
Reply to  Rob

I had a 7.62 barreled BREN in 1975 in N Ireland. What a weapon, like a 30 round mag full auto in a 4 inch spread.

Rob
Rob
14 days ago
Reply to  Terry

Yes the L4. Great LMG as long as someone else was carrying all the magazines!

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
17 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Surprising considering the reasons have been in the public sphere for decades. Firstly the .303 round is over powered for the needs of infantry, we don’t need a rifle round capable of travelling 2500yrds/2300mtrs. Up to 300yrds/300meters 5.56 is perfectly lethal only now starting to struggle now peer and near peer rivals are starting to field decent ballistic plate. If we want to reach out further then a DMR in 7.62×51 is the order of the day. The other reason is quite simply weight! Try lugging around 100rds of .303 then switch to 100rds of 5.56 and you will see… Read more »

Stephen East
Stephen East
11 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

The Bren guns were destroyed at Arborfield in the late 1990s by plasma cutter, I was a witness to it (same as L96’s). The .303 ammunition was sold off to a large dealer in the USA at the same time. The ammunition was offered to the NRA but the deal was they bought all or none at all. The NRA could not afford to purchase the ammunition. Same happened in 2002 when the NRA was offered all the stored N04 rifles. Buy all or none. Again NRA could not afford to purchase the qty and many were in dubious condition.

John Pickford
John Pickford
18 days ago

As a 30 year vet in Inf and 22SAS, I am dismayed at the army’s ‘thing’ about ‘Special forces. I started in the 2nd Green Jackets ( The Kings Royal Rifle Corps ) the original ‘Special Force. You know camo, rifles skirmishing etc. And continued into the Royal Green Jackets. After 15 years I passed selection and joined 22 SAS.
KNEW RIFLE ? What for ?

John Clark
John Clark
18 days ago
Reply to  John Pickford

The answer is two part John…

The L85A2 is well worn now, the A3 rebuild is is a relatively slow affair and they clearly don’t intend to rebuild the whole inventory.

The C8 is already ‘effectively’ a supplementary service rifle, with thousands in the inventory.

I dare say it will progressively re-equip the Army, infantry first, then everyone else eventually.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hope not.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Any particular reason why not AV?

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Evening John, negative purely based on calibre.
5.56 not likely to cut it going forward.(if indeed now, see my above posts). Rifle wise can’t argue, as good as it gets…but wrong calibre.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Anything north of 6mm, 6.5 to 6.8 is I believe the sweet spot.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Understood, the good thing about the C8 (and most AR’s to be fair), is that it could be converted to a new intermediate caliber if needed.

The receiver, bolt group and TMH can all be reused, new barrel and magazine platform and away you go…

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes agree C7 and C8 likewise.
If the MOD have their heads screwed on and are viewing this as an intermediary replacement (with possible later calibre change) until the new NATO standard is established this would make total sense.
For me moving to C8 at 5.56 is more reliability based.
If however they’re discounting a calibre increase can you imagine the uproar when the new British army service rifle needs new barrels and mags etc..

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Hi AV, you would hope they have taken that into account mate …. That said, it is the MOD we are taking about, they will probably just ‘gift them’ and start from scratch!!

If it wasn’t for the fact they need a reproof ( by UK law) a caliber swap (new barrel, mag platform and possibly extractor) could be done by a base workshop well inside an hour, AR’s are so simple to set up and head space.

An AR spanner, set of punches, head space guages, a gun vise and a workbench…..

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Yes agree, maybe they’ve hopefully taken all the above into account and with a NATO calibre swap unlikely soon this is the common sense option…heres hoping 👍

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

Plus the very reason they’re going down the AR route.?..(Future and calibre swap proofing)

Steve
Steve
17 days ago
Reply to  AV

With all nations defense budgets extremely stretched / tight, I suspect any NATO agreement on another round is going to take years.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I’m in total agreement Steve, just hoping that’s the logic behind both the calibre and rifle procurement choices.

James Fennell
James Fennell
18 days ago

The Rangers need to do the job of Lawrence of Arabia not Bruce Lee. Less throwing stars and more local nouse and ability to operate below the threshold of all out war in highly hostile environments in which the deployment of conventional light infantry battalions would be politically difficult (e.g. Ukraine) and also very difficult to sustain for long enough to support local forces effectively – and they need to do this unsupported in small advisory teams like Wagner or US Green Berets. They also need to provide a lot more than light infantry skills – they need the full… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by James Fennell
Steve
Steve
18 days ago

I don’t really get this decision, the SA80 in its current form is meant to be a very decent rifle. You would think the money would be better spent on some force multipliers, to make the relatively small numbers count.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve

👍

Steven Alfred Rake
Steven Alfred Rake
18 days ago

I would have thought that there is already enough tools in the toolbox without wasting what little money is left in the pot on a new weapon system with all that entails in extra training individual testing ect.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
18 days ago

This army rangers business sounds like branding…I do wonder whether they will an effective fighting force or more like our police service…One does wonder whether the armed forces will be called the Armed Service at some point….

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
18 days ago

A spud gun, or a Nerf gun … oh hold on a minute … a cap gun.

nicholas penney
nicholas penney
18 days ago

Maybe they should think back to where they were when they last had it.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
18 days ago

I thought the Yanks we’re thinking about changing over to a 6.8 mm ammo. Would it not be best to hold fire on this purchase and see where that goes.

Because if the Yanks go and adopt 6.8mm wouldn’t it follow that Nato would likely follow them ?????

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
18 days ago

Odd that H&K isn’t on the list. France has just replaced the FMAS with the H&K HK416F, which is a highly regarded weapon. The German replacement for the Heckler & Koch G36 was won by Caracal (on cost) but they allegedly infringed on patents owned by H&K, so H&K might eventually win out. Seems like Colt Canada stands a good chance (isn’t that what the Royal Marines opted for?). I’d go for the H&K HK416F. The H&K HK416F can fire safely after being fully submerged in water. A direct gas blowback weapon like some of the other M16 types is… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
17 days ago

H&K are not on the list becuase they specify an Armalite AR derivative.H&K don’t make those. I suspect they want commonality with US Special Ops teams – likely they will go for Colt as RM and SFSG/SF all use it.

Last edited 17 days ago by James Fennell
TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
17 days ago
Reply to  James Fennell

It sounds like they want the Colt M4 then. And a Canadian rifle will be a lot more politically acceptable than a German one! The H & K HK416 is an AR16, but with the improved reliability of the gas operating system taken from the AR18. The US Marines are ditching their M4s for the HK416.

John Hartley
John Hartley
17 days ago

If we must buy a 5.56 AR type rifle, then I agree it should be reliable gas piston rather direct gas which fouls all too soon.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
16 days ago

The Marines are already eyeing the Army’s new 6.8mm rifle and publicly talking of ditching the HK416 for whatever rifle the Army selects. My bet is that Congress forces them to adopt the new Army rifle and new cartridge.

Bell
Bell
17 days ago

They are on the list of tenders, NSAF is HK UK, 416A5, which is an AR lower receiver, but uses a gas piston as opposed to the C8 direct impingement.

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
17 days ago
Reply to  Bell

Thank you. Missed that.

David Steeper
David Steeper
18 days ago

Question. What are the biggest problems facing the Army today. Obsolete MBT’s. Obsolete IFV’s. Obsolete Recon. Obsolete Artillery. What are the Army focused on. Cutting and rebranding some Inf battalions and replacing the perfectly good SA80 with a new shiny toy.

Pacman27
Pacman27
17 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Says it all really….

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
17 days ago

Sounds like something we might be interested in?

The Army’s SAW and M4 replacement is headed to troops by 2022

“Ultimately, the weapon will be fielded to all close combat forces, including special operations forces, infantry, combat engineers and scouts.

The fire control is expected to field six months ahead of the weapon, Potts said. That will allow the NGSW producer to better integrate the optic with the weapon.”

https://www.defensenews.com/news/your-army/2020/10/14/the-armys-saw-and-m4-replacement-is-headed-to-troops-by-2022/

Daniel John Powell
Daniel John Powell
17 days ago

I’m wonder why we stuck 5.56mm when next generation war would use bullet likely to be 6.5/6.8mm which combined of hit power and long range yet not much recoil as learn lesson as Afghan war. Ak47 often advantage superior range over 5.56mm. Bullpup barrel often better range compared to conventional rifle, yet not good enough. Which we should look at this. Or we bring back .280? When a update immediately round replacement 5.56mm as I am aware US special force and us military push to start look at this, therefore 6.5/6.8mm for assault rifle and .338 for machine gun and… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Daniel John Powell
David S
David S
17 days ago

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-marines-given-jihadi-stopper-7542147 Obviously written by a bus driver! Made me laugh anyway!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  David S

“from the 43 Commando battalion”

They could have gone all out clueless and called it the 43rd for even better effect.

4-3 you muppets.

David Barry
David Barry
17 days ago

Actually, watched a programme on the Falklands and a Royal Rupert spoke of Forty XX not 4-2… Not sure they know themselves.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

That is correct as I understood it. 40 Differs. “Forty Commando for 40. 42 and 45 are Four two 4-2 and Four Five.

43, I assumed was 4-3 like the 42 and 45. Any RM here?

As for that link, I have never heard of them as battalions.

klonkie
klonkie
17 days ago

I note with much disappointment that my idea of reintroducing the1871 Matrini Henri has fallen on barren soil. Happy new year all!

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

I’d second that 👍

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Mores the pity Klonkie, one of the great simple pleasures of life is sending 577-455 down range … A proper calibre…

klonkie
klonkie
17 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Too true John!

Tommo
Tommo
17 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

At least with the MH no chance that the mag would fall out it didn’t have one AOne Shot One Kill , weapon Brilliant weapon if you’ve got Michael Caine on your side Belated Happy New year Klonkie

Klonkie
Klonkie
15 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Happy new year Tommo!. Good old Rorke’s drift – the zulu hordes coming over the hill. Didn’t quite pan out well at Isandwana a few hour earler though. No bad reflection on the rifle , it seems the firing lines were to few and badly over extended.

Tommo
Tommo
15 days ago
Reply to  Klonkie

And too you another year flown by Klonkie, I was just thinking thank the Lord Michael Caine wasn’t using 5.56mm munitions at the Drift hee hee

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
17 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Happy New Year Klonkie!

klonkie
klonkie
14 days ago

And a Happy New Year to you too Daniele!
Hope 2022 turns out well for you.

Rob
Rob
17 days ago

‘British Army Rangers looking for a new rifle.’

Why? What is wrong with the SA80 L85A3? And if something is wrong with that then they should be replacing it for the the entire army and not just the Rangers. Sounds to me like a bit of ’empire building’ to me.

And (yes another sentence beginning with and) then we should be looking at a 6.80 calibre to be inline with what the US are moving to & not an Armalite 5.56.

John Clark
John Clark
17 days ago
Reply to  Rob

As mentioned Rob, the A3 is more of a life extension exercise, HK are producing new ‘A3’ bodies for all the A2 parts to go into…

There seems little thought for producing new bodies in large numbers and as I understand it, they are procuring them a few thousand at a time.

The L85 is running out of life basically and Colt Canada ( if I was a betting man) will probably provide the replacement in an AR platform with a new calibre eventually.

AV
AV
17 days ago
Reply to  Rob

👍

David Steeper
David Steeper
17 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Seconded.👍

Tommo
Tommo
17 days ago
Reply to  Rob

When we were first issued with the SA80 the mags were curtesy of the M16 bloody kept falling out at the slightest knock Rob

Ron
Ron
16 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

Yeep, for me the SA80 was well caused me all forms of problems. It was for me bad enough with the SMG. First I’m left handed, loved my SLR, double flip sight and scope, and some bolt action stuff. Then came the SA80 could not use it, mag in my thinking did not fit or feed correctly, could not use instinct to fire the damed thing. As for taking a right handed shot around a building you needed to stand out to far. Oh how I wanted my SLR back. in fact as a left handed person the SLR was… Read more »

Tommo
Tommo
16 days ago
Reply to  Ron

Thanks Ron for your post Yes the SA80 great idea bullpup same length barrel for an AR but the mk1 .Model makers Airfix make stronger plastic shame the designers didn’t think about testing them out in all climates and terrain prior tòo issue we might be slightly clumsy but doesn’t mean that the equipment shouldn’t have been Clumsily made

STEVEN LAURIE SMITH
STEVEN LAURIE SMITH
17 days ago

SLR have reworked the rifle and updated it.
The British army loved that weapon.

Ron
Ron
17 days ago

For some reason I like the FN-SCAR for this task, able to be in 5.56 x 45mm or 7.62 x 39mm versions, there is also a solution for the 6.8 x 43mm round. The 6.8mm version is also capable of chambering the Kalashnikov 7.63mm round, useful on the battlefield if you pick up enemy ammo. With short, medium and long barrels, an underslung granade launcher, or any mount that is MIL-STD-1913 compliant, a top rail for optics, a suppressor and adjustable stock this seems like a good all round weapon. It seems from my understanding that 90% of the parts… Read more »

Paul H
Paul H
17 days ago

‘Regular’ infantry battalions are already very well trained and capable of doing most tasks of this new ranger concept, issue them with a better rifle instead of the rubbish SA80 we’ve had to put up with for the past 30 years.
This is just the headsheds puffing their chests out because the army’s numbers have been seriously depleted by savage defence cuts.

Airborne
Airborne
16 days ago

Here we go again, bloody Ranger chuff! Most of you know my view on this. Concept, good, execution, shit show! The whole thing is a rushed flawed idea to enable no Battalions to be lost, yet still keep 8 Battalions at around 250 men (4 being SFAB). The Rangers will do exactly the same job as the SFAB, as without a full set of CS and CSS, who are formally linked, and aware and trained in the Ranger concept, and who are robbed for short term deployments from parent unit, the Rangers can do pretty much nothing either just below… Read more »

Ron
Ron
16 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airborne, hope you had a good New Year. Anyhows I agree in many ways, we had when I was in the Army the LI a good all round infantry unit that could be used in the light advanced skirmishing role, small unit recon etc. Now I no longer understand the diffrence in Light Infantry, Heavy Infantry, Mech Infantry or Armoured Infantry. I don’t even know if there is a diffrence. The way I see the Rangers is a unit with the combined skills of Gurkhas and Commandos possibly with some Para chucked in. Able to operate in the jungle,… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
15 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Happy new year Airborne!

Gary
Gary
16 days ago

30 & 40 Cdo 2-9, 4-2, 4-3, 4-5 & 4-7 Cdo HK416 is very accurate but has a slightly more violent recoil impulse due to the piston. I think BPT & Pathfinder originally used the C7, with better iron sights and a cold forged barrel compared to the M16A2. UKSF had gone to Colt originally but MOD won’t do business with any company that has been in bankruptcy. Diemaco (Now owned by Colt Canada) were more R&D focused, so produced the perfect rifle. They extended the length; chrome plated & cold hammer forged the barrel for accuracy out to 600… Read more »

KPB
KPB
16 days ago

Whilst I think the benefits over L85A3 will be marginal at best, if the MOD thinks there’s an operational reason to procure a couple of thousand AR-based rifles, then so be it. Ultimately, there is an equivalent unit operating already (Future Commando Force) with a similar remit to push the boundaries of doctrine and equipment, and there can be no doubt that their in-field use and endorsement of the AR-platform will have played a big part in this decision. Whilst two wrongs don’t make a right, it’s also a drop in the ocean compared to the money wasted elsewhere by… Read more »