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.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Harry B
Harry B
5 months ago

This will essentially mean an additional order of L119,doesnt make sense to order any other AR variant.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry B

It would make sense to order the MARS-L, the New Zealand 5.56 version of the L129 from LMT that is is UK service in 7.62.

Harry B
Harry B
5 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

But why? the AR10 and AR15 are two entirely different firearm types. So the MARS-L would have practically zero parts compatibility to the Sharpshooters. Where as by going with the C8 the new rifles could utilize the already extensive stores and spares of the L119 which is the AR15 variant used by practically every other British unit that utilizes an AR15 platform.

Johan
Johan
5 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Only Issue is LMT NOT INVITED

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Johan

The UK companies the ones with Ltd in their titles are all Section 5 Weapon dealers. Law Enforcement International Ltd was the official importers of L129A1 from LMT

Mike
Mike
5 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Law Enforcement International Ltd listed above is LMT’s UK distributor. LEI submitted LMT’s 308MWS for the L129A1 sharpshooter rifle contract.

The likes of Heckler Koch and SIG Sauer aren’t listed either, but there are UK/International sales offices for those companies in the list.

Bell
Bell
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

NSAF H&K UK 416 A5
Beechwood SIG MCX

Joe16
Joe16
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike

I’m glad I read this before posting, I was ignorantly about to note my surprise that HK (416) wasn’t being considered! Not saying we should go for it, but we would be remiss not to look at it.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago

Hate to toot my American horn….but this is very easy, give the guys at USSOCOM a call and get the latest and greatest from them.

Harry B
Harry B
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

What makes you think theirs is the best?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry B

Thing is, at least they have the enablers we lack which would make the S Ops Bde more than just a fig leaf, which it currently is.

But hey! The “brigade” keeps 4 battalions in existence along with its sister, 11 SFAB. 8 in rotal.

Have one brigade maybe, but not both.

A new rifle? Lovely.

But still window dressing.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago

You certainly aren’t wrong. Especially with the removal of the c130. However, the mod do have a few things that aren’t on the books.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

They do?? Such as? What have you heard?

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago

Well the Bushmaster isn’t officially on the books but is known to be used.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

That could apply to various SF kit, known of but not avowed. But yes, true, there is the Bushmaster.

I was thinking of juicer stuff like aircraft, ships, and helis. Hips, for example, is one tumour.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago

Well I have certainly heard of hips being used, but the SF, and coalition forces in general, make large use of contracted aircraft. So theres always a white hip or black unmarked gulfstream available when needed.

Steve
Steve
5 months ago

It’s early days. Unlikely I admit, but it’s possible that as the new units form, the enablers will be acquired.

What are your thoughts on what is missing?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

It depends on whether S Ops Bde actually enters combat as FCF could do, or is just a fancy modern day BATT designed to save cap badges, with no intent to actually fight but to train. Looking at FCF 3 Cdo Bde as an example, it has a useful formation in 30 Cdo, which has the Bde Life Support, AD, SIGINT, Comms, EW, and Bde Patrol all present. You’d imagine such a formation for S Ops Bde too if it is in groups in combat operations like the marines LRG’s Strike Companies. Logistics – FCF 3 Cdo bde has the… Read more »

Steve
Steve
5 months ago

My assumption is these units will be designed to fight on the light side, as they aren’t going to be big enough to fight anything of scale. As such I would guess enablers would be mainly helicopters and mortars. Key gap to me is numbers, they just won’t be big enough to do anything beyond PR work (be seen to be doing something without actually doing anyone in a conflict). Artillery etc would have to come from the wider army. I would assume they will rely heavily on helicopters, so the army wildcats need to be uparmed to ease the… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The enablers unfortunately will be allocated from other none attached arms, and will be blistered on for then task in hand, taking them way from other taskings. There aren’t enough CS and CSS in the Army at the moment for the BCT formations as it is, without dragging them away to suddenly operate as “Ranger enabler. The whole concept is a spin to keep the same number of Battalions in the ORBAT but have 8 with 250 PIDS. Cheers mate.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

No, there aren’t.

But there might be if they cut 5 or 6 of those battalions to form CS/CSS.

But the Cap Badge Mafia would have a fit!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

How interesting.

I replied with an outline of ideas and its been removed.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry B

Scale of production helps keep costs down.

The odds are that whatever they end up buying will look very similar to a Mk18. I could be wrong…just a gut feeling though.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Would be quite awkward since no American gun manufacturing was invited to bid.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

USSOCOM’s AR15 isn’t really the latest and greatest, It’s an M4A1 with a heavy barrel. And with modern barrel making that’s much more of a preference than a necessity.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

Not true, Mk18 mod2s are definitely not the same as an M4A1. 11.5in barrel, geissle rails and triggers, and yes a heavy barrel.

So besides the entire rail set-up, barrel length, and trigger…. Yes it’s the same as an M4…

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

An elite Israeli unit, gave up their better Tavors for inferior M4s. The reason, was all the extra bits designed to be attached to the M4 .

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

The entire Israeli Army is dumping the Tavor in favor of the M4. They’re only keeping the Tavo Micro, all other Tavors are being sent down to the Israeli Reserves.

So why would the Israelis dump a better rifle….

https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/09/05/parting-shots-after-only-a-decade-idf-retires-tavor-rifle/

Graham
Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Tom , our own SF guys will know what the best rifles on the market are. Still got to do the procurement competitive process though.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham

I agree, I’d wager that they agree with me too.

Mickey
Mickey
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

I will toot the Canadian horn and go for Colt Canada. LOL

peter Wait
peter Wait
5 months ago

I think the FN SCAR looks a good weapon ! Supply chain would be easy with M4 and reduce costs!

Callum
Callum
5 months ago
Reply to  peter Wait

The SCAR won’t be entered into this competition. The tender is specifically for an Armalite platform, meaning we’re only looking at what are essentially custom M4s

DB-71
DB-71
5 months ago
Reply to  peter Wait

The NRCH version (Mk2) would be nice, thats if theyre considering non AR platforms as seems to be suggested on a few sites with the HK433 and BREN 2, but my money is on the CC C8 as in current L119A2 set up, could be the start of phasing out the SA80 by the back door for infantry altogether

Last edited 5 months ago by DB-71
andy
andy
5 months ago

I would just go and get what sas sbs use and be done with it, because if its good enough for them well what more can be said….

P Fennell
P Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  andy

Agree totally. Supply chain in place too as long as ammo is compatible.

David Barry
David Barry
5 months ago
Reply to  P Fennell

Q. Why go with 5.56 when NATO is moving back to a larger calibre?

peter Wait
peter Wait
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

6.2 mm or 6.8 mm likely upgrade for extended range!

David Barry
David Barry
5 months ago
Reply to  peter Wait

I thought the idea was just stopping power.

One bullet, one opfor stopped.

Mike M
Mike M
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

7.62 was good enough for me, though I would have liked a different SMG. Didn’t rate the sterling at all

peter Wait
peter Wait
5 months ago
Reply to  Mike M

Seems 6.8 mm has a flatter trajectory so is more accurate and slightly lighter.

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

If I had to pick a 5.56 replacement round now, I would probably go for the 6.5×38.7 developed by Zastava of Serbia. This is the 6.5 Grendel modified to work reliably in big army, mass produced assault rifles & LMG.

Joe16
Joe16
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

I’ll take a stab: a) It won’t be replaced for quite some time, without the massive logistics chain of 5.56 NATO, we would be selecting an expensive round that may not be easily available in the far-flung corners of the world that the SOB will operate in, and will complicate supply. b) Both selection of the AR platform and round means there will likely be familiarity and commonality with the partner soldiers the SOB will work with. c) The AR platform is conducive to relatively cheap and easy conversion to a larger calibre (within reason), sometimes just a barrel change… Read more »

Grizzler
Grizzler
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

A: You’ve answered your own question there – wim British dontcha know 🙂

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  andy

That would (probably) means Colt Canada gets the nod. Which makes sense they make a fine rifle used by Canada and the SAS and SBS. Colt Canada is a division of Colt in the US and the C8s have been around long enough that they are compatible with the latest optics/lasers. Its interesting that the rest of the Army is still using the SA80, I know it’s much improved over the original version, but everyone is dumping their bullpups for the same reason we in the US never picked one to begin with… heavy, poor ergonomics, and not similar to… Read more »

Jimmy
Jimmy
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

C8 also in use by other specialist units in British forces as well as SAS and SBS. Has been standard in close protection roles for over 10 years. Nice light carbine with more rails than Clapham junction.

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Agree, if I had to guess Colt Canada gets the nod. C8s are fine rifles and have been in service for a long time. Not sure it makes sense to maintain two different rifles for the same role on SOF…. Now when will you guys dump the SA80s??

Tom
Tom
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom

I of course mean the L85A3s.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
5 months ago

Why is this necessary? Why is a SOB necessary? Other than being a publicity stunt, to maybe attract and improve Army recruitment, I am completely baffled. We have special ops support units, with the Para’s backing up the SAS, and the Royal Marines supporting the SBS. British ground forces will not be used in anger again, unless the Isle of Wight is invaded. The Russians are going to invade the Ukraine soon. The British Government, and NATO have already told the Ukraine that NO ground forces will be sent to their aid. Probably goes for the Airforce and Navy too.… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

The Rangers will allow us to deploy specialist troops in large numbers then previously, in a freshhold low than open conflict. Syria and Iraq are primarily examples of when such a force might be necessary. Also just because, we aren’t willing to deploy troops to Ukraine, a none NATO country, doesn’t mean we wont deploy them elsewhere.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

We have well trained Infantry already. A new SOB seems rather insulting to those lads.

Again, we will NOT be deploying Infantry in any size anywhere. We do not have the numbers any more. Special operations are small and stealthy. The whole idea of a SOB Brigade is a gimmick, nothing more.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Pretty much spot on! We have more than enough light Infantry Battalions (mainly because they are cheap to have) but that’s not to say they sent good at soldiering. The whole Ranger concept is flawed as it’s just a way of not reducing the number of Infantry Battalions, therefore keeping the amount but with less than 50% of the manpower. It’s all spin, smoke and mirrors and so called “specialist formations” without the real hard work and effort at being special!

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Sent should read aren’t oops!

David Barry
David Barry
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Oh God, please forgive me, I did my best to jail every [email protected] one of them including their senior God, the c#nt, but, I have to agree with a PARA!

Please, please, forgive me!

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

I forgive, and love you!

Duncan Horne
Duncan Horne
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

It’s just another way to get rid of the para’s as they have tried to do for years, and the ranger bn’s are just a copy of the scout’s even the badge. Having served in both.

Vulcan Victor
Vulcan Victor
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Totally agree with Airborne’s comment, its PR Spin to hide a defence cut. This is the only thing MoD can think up when faced with so many problems with resourcing. Yet defence contractors have dividends to report to their investors ? Thats why this government is spending on equipment and cutting people, personnel need pay, pensions and retention bonuses…..that does NOT put money into share holders pockets☹️ This government’s policy of ‘A few need to make a profit in business ‘ , instead of not investing in the future armed forces personnel experience, knowledge, technical skills and capability delivery .… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Vulcan Victor
Graham
Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Spot on Airborne. Crazy that it is now ‘Special’ to have an understrength unit. I am sure there is a role for quality British infantry to assist and mentor foreign troops but is there the workload for 4 battalions, and why do they need something other than an A3 rifle?

russell s thomas
russell s thomas
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

Rangers is just a name change of existing units. We already have 5th airborne brigade etc . Ghurkas , paras , marines, , guards, light infantry etc . I think this is mainly a publicity exercise . The other problem with this ranger unit is it maybe a talent drain away from other units.
Who’s to see that in few years time paras will be disbanded and called rangers ? .
We have at least 7 battalions of highly trained volunteer looking for action troops already

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

I am a supporter of the Rangers concept, we should understand that they will not be deployed as formed units like commandos, 16X, SFSG or SF. They will be deployed as small self-supporting advisory teams. An analogy is the Jedburgh teams deployed by SOE and OSS in advance of D-Day to support the French resistance to cause chaos. Ukraine is a case in point – while we may not politcally be able to deploy formed units to aid them, we could certainly deploy Rangers to help mentor their combat units. In 1963 the US had aroud 350 advisers in South… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by James Fennell
Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

James the concept isn’t to deploy them as self supporting advisory teams, we have the “assistance Battalions” (or whatever they are called) to do that. These Rangers are supposed to operate in actions “other than war”, with NO integrated CS and no CSS! The concept is all about not wanting to reduce the numbers of Infantry Battalions, as it would look bad and get the cap badge mafia up I’m arms, but make 8 of them with 250 pax or less and come up with a bit of spin with this “new” formation! Cheers.

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I don’t believe that is the case. We have SFABs but they are for non-combat mentoring. Rangers are for mentoring and accompanying in high threat situations (like the Kurds, or with Somali National Army, or Ukraine). Wallace said in his recent statement in parliament that they will need to be self-supporting and there is work ongoing as to how they do that. Don’t take my word for it though, read here https://www.forces.net/news/new-army-ranger-regiment-what-we-know-so-far

Last edited 5 months ago by James Fennell
Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Sorry James, while it may sound like a decent concept (it is) it will not be funded correctly, there will be no affiliated full time CS and CSS, and therefore they will not have the ability to do much more than turn up and train people (like the Assistance Battalions)! Any attached arms will be dragged away from other tasks, in order to “Rob Peter to pay Paul”. I have nil, zero, none, no faith in anything Wallace or his ilk say. Its all spin, smoke and mirrors and a cheap way of saying “we are there, at the sharp… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

They are based on the US SOCCOM (Green Berets) ORBAT – which is 4 Bns and 1 Support Coy for each Brigade.comment image

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Where’s the integrated CS? CSS? None mate! If ever utilised they will need to beg, borrow and steel these enablers from other formations. It doesn’t matter what it’s based on, it’s not, and will not be fully supported and capable of independent operations. Try to see through the spin! It’s a way of maintaining the same number of Bns in the ORBAT but with 40% of the manpower. Same as the SFAB thought process. We have enough Light role Bns, with no real role, who could do this. However we need to remove 5-6 Battalions from the ORBAT and use… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Can the speak Swahili or Ukrainain – have them got engineers an signallers embedded in their platoons?

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Can they light role Toms speak Swahili or Ukrainian – have them got engineers and signallers embedded in their platoons?

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Can the light role Toms speak Swahili or Ukrainian – have them got engineers,logisiticans and signallers embedded in their sections, are they trained to operate independently in small teams? They are to help our partners fight better – not to go boldly alone into the wild.

Last edited 5 months ago by James Fennell
Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Are you having trouble James with your PC? The Light role Bns we already have can operate “in operations other than war” and they don’t need a pretend “selection process” to do it. They will have attached RE, RLC, Sigs, RA etc as per any normal operation, threat and task dependent. But, the Rangers will have to have the same, dragged up from other “Brigades”, who will have none of the “specialised” training these so called Rangers will have, that they will need to be fully integrated on operations. I’m not sure if you fully understand the actual essential requirement… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yes Wifi gone to pot… I defer to your knowledge of course! I was a matelot, but also a civvie adviser to TF Helmand and a joint MOD/FCO adviser building the Africa Standby Force and a VP of ArmorGroup, civvie adviser in Libya etc. so know a bit about COIN / CT.

Last edited 5 months ago by James Fennell
Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Mate I think we will have to beg to differ on this one, but from experience, we are all aware that plans never survive contact with the bean counters, and to be effective the Ranger concept will need a full set of similar trained enablers. And the sad thing is we don’t have enough enablers for the BCTs we are planning to have. Ah ArmourGroup, not the naughty ArmourGroup we all knew about in Kabul and Irag….lol? Owned by G4? Spent many a decent contract as part of a PSD in the sand pit myself. However I should now be… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Irag…bugger….Its like Iraq but different lol

James Fennell
James Fennell
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yeah that ArmorGroup – It was DSL when I joined in 1997, but I ran Central Africa and then the mine clearance side globally.. I rejoined (well FCO) in 2004, so missed AG in Iraq, although of course they were in Kabul when I was there. It was bought by G4S after my time – now G4S International I believe. Cheers too Airborne – am also mostly chairborne these days – doing tech stuff.

Last edited 5 months ago by James Fennell
Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

We could shoot the shit all evening I reckon James. Lets hope for the best in regard to the Ranger concept!!! Great to chat, and stay comfy in that chair…reckon we have earned it lol!!!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  James Fennell

Hi James. I too would support the concept – if they enabled it properly!
And actually use it!

The line between S Ops Bde advising and 11 SFAB advising seems awfully thin. Have one but why both.

I also wonder, if the teams are as small as you suggest, why are 4 battalions needed! Even at 250 men. That is a lot of teams.

Just keep 1 600 man battalion for the role and cut the rest and use the headcount elsewhere, either keeping other battalions up to strength or better still using them to create more enablers!

Graham
Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Tom, the Isle of Wight is not going to be invaded anytime soon, we are both agreed on that. You seem to think the new Rangers are asking for a new rifle to enable them to conduct Home Defence? That is not their role, it is to work in concert with foreign friendly forces. Why do you say we won’t be using British ground forces in anger again? Has world peace broken out and permanently? For my 34 years in the army, there was only 1 year in which there was no operational fatalities. Things are quieter since the end… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham

We do NOT have the numbers, to fight in Afghanistan again, let alone Iraq or Kuwait.

As said and acknowledged by others, the Paras support the SAS, the Royal Marines support the SBS.

‘Ranger’s will NOT be working in concert with foreign friendly forces in small numbers. We already have the SAS and the SBS doing that.

‘A new weapon for home defence’ … you said that not me!

New weapons for an army that only has 19,400 Infantry, a lot of them not foot soldiers? Why??

World peace???? Don’t be sarcy!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

Hi Tom, I very much enjoy your contribution. The Governmment spin is that we really will have an army of 103,000 when you include the Reserve Army – we both know that this does not mean 103,000 bods who are deployable. We deployed up to 11,000 on Op HERRICK (Afghan) but that included RAF and some RN in singleton posts – the army or RM contribution was a Brigade group, and relatively few were TA/Reserve Army. I think it would be a stretch to repeat at that level, unless you really cut into the Reserve Army. You are right that… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry
5 months ago

I love the comment “4 Bn strong”… where I remember the Royal Irish and KORBR were at strength in the 80s/90’s, a figure of 600+ to be precise per each of their respective Bns.

No idea on QLR or KINGS which were amalgamated into the present day Dukes, (KORBR).

Who writes this sophistry?

Dougie
Dougie
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

1QLR had a strength of 650

Jack
Jack
5 months ago

“and a detachable signature reduction system……” Is that code for “silencer” ?

Joe
Joe
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

One would have to guess at yes. Though likely to take the form of a combined muzzle-break also. Similar in designs to the NGSW prototypes The US are looking at.

Joe16
Joe16
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

I think they like to use the term ‘suppressor’ these days- to try and avoid the Hollywood-fuelled notion of assault rifles making zero sound, despite firing supersonic ammunition. The USMC trialled a whole unit putting suppressors on everything including the SAWs and found them huge improvements in being able to fight: they were more easily able to communicate, they had better situational awareness, and it was harder for the enemy to see where they were positioned when firing- especially at night. I think the primary problem with them is that they have a lower lifespan than the gun barrel when… Read more »

Jack
Jack
5 months ago

LMT not invited ?

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Jack

The UK companies the ones with Ltd in their titles are all Section 5 Weapon dealers. Law Enforcement International Ltd were the official importers of L129A1 from LMT

James H
James H
5 months ago

I have no knowledge like some on here so why is the SA80 not good enough for the Rangers but good enough for the regular troops, why not equip everyone with the same especially as the army is getting smaller?

A&Daccountant
A&Daccountant
5 months ago
Reply to  James H

Limited knowledge here also but having briefly used the SA80 and a few other weapon types the SA80 is not really a shooters weapon. It is meant to be mass produced, thrown around, dumped in sand, dropped in rivers etc. The build quality of the ones i’ve handled is also surprisingly dodgy. Compared to a high spec AR the difference is night and day. They are lighter, more ergonomic, target acquisition is quicker, optics are better, smaller profile the list goes on. Ultimately I would guess it comes down to cost. Most people in the army never pull the trigger… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  A&Daccountant

From 2006-2011 most people in the Army was pulling the trigger quite often, hence why SF recruitment dropped through the floor. And these “Rangers” won’t be SF, so all this requirement for a new weapon is all spin and window dressing! The SA80 in its current form is good enough for this new concept of not wanting to reduce Inf Bn numbers, and spinning the numbers! Cheers.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
5 months ago
Reply to  James H

The SA80 is a excellent rifle for regular service. Its reliable, accurate at long ranges and has a long service life. However, it is also heavy, cumbersome and aren’t really adaptable.These issues aren’t really significant for regular infantry compared to SF since they tend to carry less, get transported more, tend to fight in open areas and dont need to be so flexible. Where as SF need all of the above. Indeed one of the major reasons 43 went to the C8 was not only because, it could be fired from the left shoulder but also because, it could fire… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
5 months ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

A couple of points, having handled the current A3 rebuild L85, it’s a serviceable rifle…. It has the same issues regarding “dogs dinner ergonomics” , but that’s a matter of training and muscle memory, to overcome. In many ways, it’s the car that Homer Simpson designed! But the A3 rebuild adds a picitinny rail to a new body, a keymod forend (giving modern adaptability) and barrel and bolt group replacement, as needed. The only original part, refurbished and kept is the TMH. That said, it seems obvious to me that a slow rolling replacement programme is effectively underway and Colt… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Said so much better than I could on this bloody I phone, and spot on John!

John Clark
John Clark
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Cheers Airborne 👍

A British tom
A British tom
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

A couple of us were Bitc#ing about the SA80 on tour back in the day, one of the fella’s said at the time and looking back on it I agree with him now, That the SA80 was designed for the range not really for combat, Think about all the big positive movements you have to do to show clear and what not.

John Clark
John Clark
5 months ago
Reply to  A British tom

That’s the main problem, it’s ergonomics are terrible, but as said, training and muscle memory negates the issue.

I expect all the infantry elements will have L119A2’s by 2025, with the L85A3 equipping everyone else until 2030 or so.

DB-71
DB-71
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

agreed 👍

andy
andy
5 months ago
Reply to  A British tom

I lost count how many times my SA80 dropped to bits during my use of the damn thing, granted it was the mk1, and my CSM said they were designed because the next war would be for fighting in built up area’s as they were not as big and heavy as the SLR not sure about that concept, also I cannot speak about what these newer versions are like, as I left before those upgrades were done. but what it cost to put them right, I think we would have been better off with a complete replacement. but the MOD… Read more »

BB85
BB85
5 months ago
Reply to  James H

It would have been cheaper to order brand new rifles from the US rather than upgrade the rails like they did on the last SA80 upgrade. Optics cost the US government more than the base M4’s.
The reason SA80 wasn’t ditched was to reduce the retraining requirements from a completely different manual of arms.
The main drawback of the SA80 is not it’s reliability or accuracy, it is a lot heavier than an M4 and it sucks at CQB. It requires all kinds of strange contortions to shoot around right hand corners.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

“Operate in high threat environment below the threshold of war”…..with absolutely no, none, nil integrated OS, CS or CSS! The whole concept is an effort to justify NOT removing any under strength Infantry Battalions from the ORBAT, to keep the cap badge Mafia content! With the other 250 strength Battalions which are now being used as the “assistance Bns” or some other chuff, we now have nearly a third of the Infantry in under strength none peer capable groupings! We need to reduce the Infantry in order to back fill the Battalions which are allocated to the BCTs and use… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

BOOOOOM! As Airborne himself is keen on saying.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

Double boom mate 😂👍!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

😜

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

This is just speculation but could the direction the Army is going be more like less peer or near peer, but instead something more akin to the stuff they were doing in the 60’s and what the French are doing and have been for decades now, so small unit actions, assisting allied nations in COIN/training and such, etc etc? At least that’s kinda what it reads like with the infantry.
Is it me or are we copying the French a lot?

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

Hi Ryan, I like the French, decent lads up for a fight and can recognise the enemy we all have! Copying the French to me would be no issues, but no matter what chuff is said by head sheds and the MOD, we still need to be able to go toe to toe with a peer adversary and that means well equipped and capable organisations able to slug it out and take losses…..sad to say at this time we are not that organisation! Cheers mate.

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

You say “we still need to be able to go toe to toe with a peer adversary and that means well equipped and capable organisations able to slug it out and take losses” but is there genuinely any European military, at least in the West, that are capable of doing such and sustaining losses to men and equipment? And these days, who classify as peers? Most nations either are “beneath” us in terms of equipment and quality or have more stuff than we could shake multiple sticks at. Or are allies but I don’t see us going to war with… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Ryan Brewis

And keep that interest up mate as the more people observe and take note the more it becomes visible what a dire state we are in. Yes we have some great kit, superb people and excellent plans and CONOPs, but a Ranger Battalion, lets say a full one deployed (250 people) with no affiliated CS and CSS, means its set up to fail. Yes we can utilise Allies etc for enablers, but if we are gobbing off that these are “Rangers” with a form of tough selection (yaaaawn) why just add none specific trained enablers form Allies or even UK… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago

We are now at the stage our Infantry Battalions are now FFBNW soldiers!

David Barry
David Barry
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I’m almost prepared to be rogered by a sky god!

RMP standards are slipping but follow the truth people.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

You know damn well the RMP have never had standards David!!!!! 😘👍 And make sure you are wearing clean pants….

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I feel your anger.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

👍. Not so much anger but continued disappointment!

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Oh I think cold fury is justified. 👍

Last edited 5 months ago by David Steeper
Nicholas
Nicholas
5 months ago

Interesting to decide to stick with 5.56. From what I remember trials with 7.62 didn’t make as big a difference as expected. Being able to carry more rounds, interopability and so on must be a big factor. Easier to use and less wearing on the individual especially when firing large volumes ‘down range’.

AV
AV
5 months ago

Can understand the need, just not the calibre!?

John
John
5 months ago
Reply to  AV

What’s to be confused about? It’s what the entire military currently uses. It makes little sense for special operations to use something different. Logistics and supply would be a nightmare if they went “rogue”

AV
AV
5 months ago
Reply to  John

Very outdated thinking John, most SF are now using larger man-stopper rounds….in fact a lot of militaries in general are moving this way.

Jacko
Jacko
5 months ago

I can see that these ‘battalions’ are going to cause a lot o
f resentment within the infantry. As has been said all our light battalions could do the job that these ‘elite’ troops are slated to do.

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Spot on.

Gary
Gary
5 months ago

For one I think its cheaper than the SA80 A3. The A1/A2 have been used hard with the war on terror. But the army doesn’t want the great expense of changing its manual of arms. As you know no new SA80’s have been built for quite some time. It’s very sad to see the demise of Enfield and domestically produced manufacturing. Accuracy International is an example of the quality we can produce though. The SA80 is still good enough, upgrades have addressed the reliability issues. Its quite accurate, some prefer it over an AR. It’s just very heavy still and… Read more »

John
John
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary

I thought the 6.8 interest went beyond just SOCOM?

Gary
Gary
5 months ago
Reply to  John

Hi John,  Sorry, I agree interest is surely there. It’s just the scope initially is limited I believe:- “120,000 total rifles and machine guns, according to budget documents. That would mean 40,000 in the initial batch at an estimated cost of $36 million.” I think improvements to body armour and stand off range were the prime motives. Though they maintain higher muzzle velocity even in shorter barrels.   The US has recently standardised on a new sniper rifle which can switch calibre, but includes the lethal .338 Norma Magnum (Barrett MRAD). M110 from 7.62 to 6.5 creedmoor. The new Sig MG… Read more »

steve1664
steve1664
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary

Some prefer SA80 over AR, interesting. Any idea why? Genuine question because for the life of me I can’t see why that would be.

Gary
Gary
5 months ago
Reply to  steve1664

Chatting to a bootneck armourer, some of the guys shot the SA80 A2 platform better on the range, perhaps due to the longer barrel or the majority having been their primary for so long. The A3 will improve upon the A2 with a ‘freer’ floating barrel now.    I’m right eye dominant and right-handed, so never hand to contend with what left handers go through. Brits don’t tend to own personal firearms so don’t have any prior habits to contend with. But hands down the AR platform feels lighter and the ergonomics are just intuitive. Hands find hands, mag changes… Read more »

John
John
5 months ago

I’m shocked that Heckler & Koch wasn’t invited to at least participate.

Tony
Tony
5 months ago
Reply to  John

One of the distribution companies listed will supply HK products. Probably HK433, HK416A5.
With the amount of countries procuring 416 platforms including the USMC it has to be a serious contender.

Bell
Bell
5 months ago
Reply to  John

They have, NSAF is H&k UK, 416A5

DB-71
DB-71
5 months ago
Reply to  John

It is via NSAF Ltd 👍, the logical choice is the CC L119A2

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 months ago

Bring back the 1871 Martini Henry.( with smokeless cartridge off course).

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

800 metres was an expected hit! Found one in 2001, now on the wall of the mess!

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Bloody hell!. Imagine being being hit by that -ouch!

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

At that range it’s trajectory would be like a mortar bomb.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Those were the days of marksmanship skills and less “suppressive” fire lol…

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Cheers Airborne. Not to labour the point, a but a line company delivering volley fire would be a terrifying prospect . If on the receiving end, I’d certainly lament having not paid more attention to leopard crawling in my infantry basic training.

I was arguably the worst infantry man in the 1982 intake. Fortunately , I transferred to the Air Force where I belonged!.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Its not a prospect I would like to be fair. But marksmanship was the back bone of training. Today, while warfare always changes, the actual hitting the bad guy with your rounds, while a good result, isn’t necessarily the aim, its about putting down enough suppressive fire to give the local commander a chance to formulate a plan! Keep the bad guys head down, lock him into position and do something! Until we got into Afghan, most guys used to rip it out of the Yanks for the amount of rounds they would use on a target, in their various… Read more »

Klonkie
Klonkie
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Thx AB- always insightful. Merry xmas to you and family.

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Cheers K, Merry Xmas to you and the family, stay safe and keep chatting!

Dave M
Dave M
5 months ago

The whole Ranger concept is ridiculous. We have a 3 battalion (plus one reserve) Parachute Regiment that is more than capable of being expanded. We also have the Royal Marines.

Establishing a new unit smacks of too many senior officers with not enough work to do.

Why they need a special rifle that is different from the rest of the regular army is again just senior officers playing with their new toys.

Farouk
Farouk
5 months ago

Don’t want to sound as a G shite, but I posted the above around 4 months ago
https://www.israeldefense.co.il/en/node/51203

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Never are you G shite, always on the ball and humorous with it 👍!

KevinAshcroft
KevinAshcroft
5 months ago

Bring back the S L R,

peter Wait
peter Wait
5 months ago
Reply to  KevinAshcroft

The modern version, FN SCAR heavy is better if you like the manstopper round lol!

Jay
Jay
5 months ago

Perfect opportunity to use 6.5mm

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay

Look up the 6.5×38.7 developed by Zastava/Prvi Partizan of Serbia. The 6.5 Grendel slightly modified to work better in big army mass produced assault rifles/LMG.

Grendelier
Grendelier
5 months ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Seeing that 6.5 Grendel is literally 6.5 × 38.7 mm, it’s doubtful whether Serbia really modified the 6.5 Grendel, or whether they simply renamed it as 6.5 x 38.7 mm. If they did modify it, my guess is that the differences are as subtle as the difference between .223 Remington and 5.56 mm NATO or the difference between .308 Winchester and 7.62 x 51 NATO, so a gun that fires one may be able to fire the other. Having just purchased a 6.5 Grendel barrel, I hope it’s not made obsolete by Serbia having modified the chamber significantly enough to… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago

I feel there’s a lot of anger about the ‘Ranger’ concept but I don’t feel your seeing the Army’s side. Warrior, Ajax almost all the Afghan UOR vehicles they spent billions on. Does anyone remember the 1,000 plus 60mm Mortars they had to phase out almost before they entered service because they couldn’t hit a donkeys arse with a banjo ? 70.000 plus Regs and 30.000 Res and they can’t field an actual Brigade. So they’re doing what they’re good at creating berths for themselves. Far more Colonels and Majors than Battalions and Companies to employ them ? Reduce the… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I liked the 60mm, nice bit of kit, could be fired pretty much direct from the quad if you had the balls (left or right leg) but otherwise a rather vague area weapon lol👍!

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yeah but I don’t believe in holding back. lol.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago

I am surprised that the first thing the Special Ops Brigade (SOB?) needs is a new rifle. Are they OK for vehicles, comms, heavy weapons etc etc.

David Steeper
David Steeper
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s the Army so probably not ! 😄

C.t
C.t
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agreed, A3 platform made by H&K is a good enough platform but is expensive compared to other manufacturers.
I think they need new comms as the bowman system could be better

Graham
Graham
5 months ago
Reply to  C.t

But the A3s are already bought and paid for.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

What vehicles, comms, heavy weapons?!

So far one Signals Squadron has been allocated to support them, while doing its other jobs and its parent regiment supposedly supporting another part of the army – so no doubt reducing their support at the same time.

Some patrols have been allocated to it from the HAC.

No other enablers evident yet – dedicated helicopters, UAV, EW, and CSS units.

I have read the Polaris MRZRD4 might end up with the brigade and I think Switchblade is a given.

Ando
Ando
2 days ago

USASOC units don’t have organic enablers either. The model for a Ranger battalion is a US Army SF battalion. They have the exact same number of PIDs. USASOC units draw enablers from the wider force, and the Rangers will be no different. A 12-man ODA is expected to be self-sufficient excluding basic life support that is largely delivered by air. This is the exact same concept. Not hard to buy scoff from locals, maintain your own equipment and keep your head down during low-vis operations. Folks have been doing it for centuries…

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

FN has just launched the Evolys ultralight machineguns in 5.56 & 7.62. the 5.56 version weighs 12 pounds, while the 7.62 weighs 13.6 pounds. By comparison the M249 Saw weighs 17 pounds.

Ray
Ray
5 months ago

A new rifle adds very little to the modern battle space.

steve1664
steve1664
5 months ago

Why stick with an obsolete round? there are so many other rounds out there between 6mm and 7mm that massively out perform 5.56 and 7.62 in terms or accuracy, range, stopping power, ballistic coefficient etc. Sod it, why not go back to the .303 as it doesn’t look like we’re moving with the times here I’m afraid.

Paul Chandler
Paul Chandler
5 months ago

Just buy something proven off the shelf. Stop this procurement nonsense, it’s a national embarrassment and allways a Quango somewhere. Taliban did well for twenty years with silver AKs and iron sights.

Rob
Rob
5 months ago

2 things.

  1. If they need a new rifle then they are saying that the SA80 is and has been a failure. I don’t go along with that. The A1 was apiece of manure but the A2 and then A3 much better.
  2. The US are moving to the 6.8mm cartridge as it is more deadly and yet still light. Surely any new assault rifle for the UK needs to be 6.8mm?
AV
AV
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Spot on.

John Hartley
John Hartley
5 months ago

The US 6.8mm rifle/machine gun development continues. Granted that is more long range than a CQB rifle, but the UK should not spend lots of money on 5.56mm when it may be on the way out.
If we must buy a small number of 5.56mm AR15 clone rifles, please let them be reliable piston, rather than less reliable direct gas.

John A
John A
5 months ago

Adding my tuppence.equip all infantry with the diemaco.and give the SA80 A2/A3/carbines to the supporting arms.

James Bussey
James Bussey
5 months ago

The Brits have never liked the L85 series rifles mainly ‘coz the bull-pup configuration looks weird and ugly (even the name for that type of rifle design is strange). It’s also associated with crap wars in which the good guys lost, like eye-rack and that other place Kipling and many other (forgotten but with first hand experience) authors warned us about. The legendary SLR had the Falklands in ’82 and the first half of NI as its battlegrounds, not to mention Malaya, Borneo, South Arabia etc, from the days when we knew how to win wars…apart from the horrible Aden… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by James Bussey
Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  James Bussey

But of a disjointed post but I do agree about the SLR, however your comment about the the Brits not liking bullpups and because that are associated with list wars? Very weird comment. As for losing wars, the politicians lose the wars, tactically we beat them every time, strategically and politically we lost due to various Governments losing sight of the aim, changing goalposts and not going full throttle to win. Cheers.

Steve
Steve
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Not sure you can really say we won Iraq/afgan, my view we lost badly. Yes policitcal will wasn’t there and ‘win’ wasn’t really defined, but the issue is the military have a bad habit of saying we can do that, without flagging issues and that results in failure as happened. Until the military learns to stand up for itself and openly critise the government, if they dont provide the forces / gear they need, the miltiary only has itself to blame for losses. The cuts after cuts after cuts have been allowed to happen because of the failure to speak… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve I didn’t say we won in either theatres, I said we beat them tactically every time, but that doesn’t mean we won the “war”! Cheers.

Steve
Steve
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Fair point

I don’t however agree we beat them tactically. They beat us on pretty much on every front. Yes from a pure miltiary engagement perspective, we beat them (not sure we could not have with far superior weapons and training), but it was a insurgency war where the tactics are as much about heart and minds as about shooting.

It was unwinnable but that doesn’t mean tactical mistakes weren’t made.

James Bussey
James Bussey
5 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I have always associated wars with the small arms used by the fighting men: In Britain’s case, the Martini-Henry and the 1879 Zulu War, Lee-Metford and the Boer War, Lee-Enfield rifles with WWI & II. The British Forces won all of them, after suffering some bad defeats in them all. A soldier is first and foremost an agent of his government’s defence and foreign policies, so the rifle and bayonet he carries are used to implement those policies, either by using them or the threat of using them against his enemies. Therefore the rifle and fitness and marksmanship training are… Read more »

Mark Gurney-Berrett
Mark Gurney-Berrett
5 months ago

This is UK MOD procurement don’t forget. Which means the wrong specification has to be issued, obviously ignoring all input from actual end users. Then, once multiple companies have wasted their own money submitting prototypes, change the specification to sort of take some user issues into account, but not all. Then wonder why only 2 or 3 companies still bother to submit a revised offer. Then ignore the best option and buy the cheapest one from whatever company is willing to build it in some deprived area of the UK. I may have worked in one or two similar projects… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago

Mark, you are very cynical, but I can understand that. There is much to be cynical about. I have worked with MoD Requirements Managers (usually experienced SO2s who invariably had done the tech part of the staff course (Div 1 or Div 2) – and have never met such an officer who wrote the wrong requirement (which translates rapidly to a Specification). However the Requirements and Spec do often change during the lengthy gestation of a Project (can be 10 years). Ajax spec was redone by MoD DE&S in 2016. It is rare for multiple companies to design and build… Read more »

MyCatMakesABetterDefenceMP
MyCatMakesABetterDefenceMP
5 months ago

This seems…a complete waste of money. Forgive me if I’m wrong but I always thought the Paras and Marine fulfilled this role.

And knowing what MOD procurement is like they will be burning suit cases of the stuff.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 months ago

Paras and Marines are early-intervention forces, usually to ‘kick the door in’ as a vanguard force. Warlike operations have usually already been initiated by the opposition.

Army Special Operations Brigade will operate in complex, high threat environments below the threshold of war alongside specialised Partner Forces (host nation army). Key component is the Ranger regiment which: deploys to deter adversaries and contribute to collective deterrence by training, advising and if necessary accompanying partners in support of national interests.

Vulcan Victor
Vulcan Victor
5 months ago

Great to hear this news. Special tool for a special job. But disappointed the field has not been opened to different calibres, why is it limited to 5.56 nato? Also, the word armalite is included in the statement , seems like a very narrow constrained set of requirements has already bern set in stone. There are many rifle options that are already in production around the world we should test and consider first? What are the facts on the best rifle? We need to do comparison analysis of all the options first not just chose a few “favourites ” ,… Read more »

Max david
Max david
5 months ago

Hk416 L5 Approved by French, SEAL team 6, Norway..

Last edited 5 months ago by Max david
Liam
Liam
4 months ago

Weren’t FCF getting a new weapon at some point? Or did that fall by the way side when they realised that forming new capabilities goes beyond ‘speshul’ aesthetics?

Denis Morgan
Denis Morgan
3 months ago

Why not create a bullpup Besal with a Hill automatic horizontal mag Pistol with a 90 degree revolving loading system, similar to the FN P90.