M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle
Defense.gov News Photo 120322-M-PH863-005 - U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Leobardo Nunez provides security during a census patrol through a village near Khan Neshin Afghanistan on March 22.jpg
US Marine M27 automatic rifleman fitted with a Harris bipod and a 4x ACOG sight in Afghanistan, 2012.
Type
Place of origin Germany
Service history
In service2011–present
Used byUnited States Marine Corps
Production history
DesignerHeckler & Koch
Designed2008
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch
Produced2010-present
Number built4,500 planned
Specifications
Weight7.9 lb (3.6 kg) empty
Length36.9 to 33 in (940 to 840 mm) w/ adjustable stock
Barrel length16.5 in (420 mm)
Width3.1 in (79 mm)
Height9.4 in (240 mm)

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO
ActionGas-operated short-stroke piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire560 to 640 rpm
Feed system20-round, 30-round STANAG magazine, 100-round Beta C-Mag or 150-round Armatac CL-MAG
Sightsflip-up rear rotary diopter sight and front post, Picatinny rail
 
Jump to: navigation, search
M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle
Defense.gov News Photo 120322-M-PH863-005 - U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Leobardo Nunez provides security during a census patrol through a village near Khan Neshin Afghanistan on March 22.jpg
US Marine M27 automatic rifleman fitted with a Harris bipod and a 4x ACOG sight in Afghanistan, 2012.
Type
Place of origin Germany
Service history
In service2011–present
Used byUnited States Marine Corps
Production history
DesignerHeckler & Koch
Designed2008
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch
Produced2010-present
Number built4,500 planned
Specifications
Weight7.9 lb (3.6 kg) empty
Length36.9 to 33 in (940 to 840 mm) w/ adjustable stock
Barrel length16.5 in (420 mm)
Width3.1 in (79 mm)
Height9.4 in (240 mm)

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO
ActionGas-operated short-stroke piston, rotating bolt
Rate of fire560 to 640 rpm
Feed system20-round, 30-round STANAG magazine, 100-round Beta C-Mag or 150-round Armatac CL-MAG
Sightsflip-up rear rotary diopter sight and front post, Picatinny rail

The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) is the name given to a lightweight, magazine-fed 5.56mm weapon sought by the United States Marine Corps, which is intended to enhance the automatic rifleman's maneuverability and displacement speed. The Marine Corps is planning to purchase 4,476 IARs to replace 2,000 M249 light machine guns currently employed by automatic riflemen within Infantry and Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions. Approximately 8,000–10,000 M249s will remain in service at the company level to be used at the discretion of company commanders. The United States Army does not plan to purchase the IAR.[1][2][3]

Contents

History

M27 displayed at the NDIA Joint Armaments Conference in May 2010.

The Infantry Automatic Rifle program began in 2005, when the Marine Corps sought information from manufacturers.[4] In 2006, contracts were issued for sample weapons to Fabrique Nationale d'Herstal (providing an IAR variant of the FN SCAR), Heckler & Koch (with a variant of the HK416), and Colt Defense, which provided two competing designs. Companies that attempted to compete but were not accepted as finalists for testing include Land Warfare Resources Corporation, which competed with the M6A4 IAR,[5][6] Patriot Ordnance Factory[2], and General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products with the CIS Ultimax 100 MK5 (marketed as the GDATP IAR).[7] In December 2009, the Heckler & Koch model beat out the other three finalists, and has entered the final five months of testing.[8][9] It was designated as the M27 in the summer of 2010,[10] coincidentally sharing a designation with the M27 link it would not use, but instead it was named after 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, who were testing with automatic rifles since before September 11, 2001.[citation needed]

While Marine Corps Systems Command is optimistic about operational testing, former Commandant of the Marine Corps General James T. Conway remains skeptical that the reduced firepower at the fireteam-level is a viable option.[11] Though he has authorized funding to test 450 of the weapons, the program will have to get his approval before full production can be funded.[10] After the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity supervised a round of testing at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, Fort McCoy, and Camp Shelby (for dust, cold-weather, and hot-weather conditions, respectively), limited fielding began for 458 IARs to four infantry battalions (one per each Marine Expeditionary Force and one reserve) and one light armored reconnaissance battalion; all are slated to deploy to Afghanistan in 2011.[12][13]

In May 2011, General James Amos of the Marine Corps approved the termination of a Limited User Evaluation (LUE), and the replacement of the M249 LMG by the M27. Fielding of the approximately 4,500 M27 units is expected to complete in Summer 2013, for a cost of $13 million. M27 gunners will be equipped with around 22 of the 30-round magazines already in use with the M16 and M4 Carbine. Twenty-two magazines will approximate the prescribed individual combat load of a M249 SAW gunner, and although the M27 gunner is not expected to carry all 22 magazines, they are provided to the units so that a determination can be made at the unit level on what the individual combat load should look like. It will undoubtedly vary by unit, based on the evaluations conducted by the four infantry battalion and one light armored reconnaissance battalion that were issued quantities of the M27 for the LUE. Though program officials are aware that switching from the belt-fed M249 will result in a loss of suppressive fire capabilities, Charles Clark III, of the Marine Corps' Combat Development and Integration office cites the substantially increased accuracy of the M27 as a significant factor in replacing the M249.[14]

The notion that the M27 represents a reduction in suppressive fire has spawned considerable debate among proponents of the M249 SAW within the infantry, and those who advocate that a lighter, more maneuverable, and accurate weapon is sufficient to support offensive operations at the squad level. It is debatable, in fact, that program officials actually concede a loss of suppressive fire capabilities, as the only statements of concern over this concept were made by General Conway.

Beyond the increased accuracy another proposed benefit of the M27 over the M249 are that it is in many respects a modified M4 rifle as used by the rest of the squad. This makes it far more suitable for operating indoors and in other cramped situations where its reduced size and weight make it faster and easier to handle. Although not ideal for close quarters fighting, it is far better in this function than the M249.

Design

The M27 is based on the Heckler & Koch HK416, which in turn derives from the M4 carbine and Heckler & Koch G36.[15] It features a gas-operated short-stroke piston action (instead of the traditional direct impingement) with a rotating bolt. It is modified with a heavier barrel and includes a bayonet lug. The free-floating barrel is surrounded by MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails for use with accessories and optics. It draws ammunition from any standard STANAG magazine.

See also

References

  1. ^ Lamothe, Dan (February 4, 2009). "Marines to test, evaluate 4 auto-rifle models". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2009/02/marine_newsaw_020109w/. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Cox, Matthew (September 15, 2008). "So long, SAW?". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/09/marine_iar_091308/. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Corps to Replace SAW With Automatic Rifle". Military.com. 2011. http://www.military.com/news/article/corps-to-replace-saw-with-automatic-rifle.html. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "10--Non-developmental, 5.56mm, Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)". FedBizOpp. July 14, 2005. https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=a8698386e4300ceee7bc1067a71dab5c&tab=core&_cview=0. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "M6A4". LWRC. 2009. http://www.lwrci.com/p-130-m6a4.aspx. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Richard Machowicz (15 November, 2007). "Opening Round". Future Weapons. season 3. Discovery Channel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YzGzeLh3mc. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Crane, David (October 21, 2008). "GDATP IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle)/Ultimax 100 MK5 LMG/SAW (Photos!)". Defense Review. http://www.defensereview.com/gdatp-iar-infantry-automatic-rifleultimax-100-mk5-lmgsaw-photos/. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Lamothe, Dan (December 4, 2009). "H&K is frontrunner in IAR competition". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2009/12/marine_IAR_update_120309w/. Retrieved 16 December 2009. 
  9. ^ Lamothe, Dan (December 3, 2009). "Corps chooses H&K to make SAW replacement". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2009/12/marine_IAR_120209w/. Retrieved 20 August 2009. 
  10. ^ a b Lamothe, Dan (July 2, 2010). "Conway eyes additional testing for auto-rifle". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/07/marine_IAR_070110w/. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  11. ^ Lamothe, Dan (April 19, 2010). "Corps may field infantry auto-rifle this fall". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/04/marine_iar_041910w/. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Lamothe, Dan (August 9, 2010). "SAW replacement set for real world testing". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/08/marine_iar_080810w/. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  13. ^ "Infantry Automatic Rifle: Update on a Marine Corps Priority Weapon System". MCOTEA Journal. United States Marine Corps. August 2009. p. 9. http://search.dma.mil/search?proxyreload=1&numgm=5&filter=0&q=%22infantry+automatic+rifle%22&site=USMC_all&proxyreload=1&numgm=5&proxyreload=1&numgm=5&output=xml_no_dtd&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&client=USMC_frontend&proxystylesheet=USMC_frontend&numgm=5&proxyreload=1&sort=date%3AD%3AR%3Ad1&entqr=0&ud=1&ip=96.17.171.29&access=p&start=10. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  14. ^ "Corps to Replace SAW With Automatic Rifle". Military.com. 2011. http://www.military.com/news/article/corps-to-replace-saw-with-automatic-rifle.html. Retrieved 16 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Crane, David (December 4, 2009). "U.S. Marine Corps Selects Heckler & Koch Infantry Automatic Rifle (HK IAR) Candidate as Replacement for FN M249 SAW/LMG". defensereview.com. http://www.defensereview.com/us-marine-corps-selects-hk-iar-infantry-automatic-rifle-as-replacement-for-fn-m249-sawlmg. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 

External links