It has been announced following a review by Capability Ground Manoeuvre team at Army Headquarters that three platoon weapon systems are to be scrapped.
This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Ieuan Joy, a recent graduate of Aberystwyth in international politics and military history.
The weapon systems to be scrapped are the 60mm mortar, the L110A3 LMG and the LSW. Speaking to the British Army’s magazine Soldier Major Mark Whitehouse states “this is not a financially driven cull but a review of our capability to ensure we have a battle winning set of optimised set of systems in users hands”.
The LSW is being replaced by the Sharpshooter, the sharpshooter proven effective in combat and in testing can engage targets at precision out to ranges of at least 600 metres. With the LMG Major Anthistle commented that the reason for it’s cull is that when compared to the SA-80 “it is far heavier but less lethal and effective”. Weight was again another factor in the decision to get rid of the 60 mm mortar and that it relatively inaccurate.
While it has not been confirmed what will replace the 60mm mortar it is understood by Nicholas Drummond a Defence Industry consultant that a number of options are being evaluated to supplement platoon level firepower including the SAAB Carl Gustav 84mm anti-tank weapon and a multi shot medium velocity 40mm GL. So far nothing is being reported on if anything will replace the LMG in the light machine gun role at section level leaving the potential for the GPMG to return back to that role.
So far the only confirmed weapon systems at platoon level will be the SA-80 A3 and the Sharpshooter with the 60 mm mortar replacement still being decided. The only thing that is certain is that the way infantry platoons use firepower is once again about to radically change as commanders debate the delicate tactical balance between firepower and manoeuvrability.