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Is This the Future of Military Small Arms?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by gafkiwi View Post
    I had an armorer mate who training with H&K in the mid to late 2000's. During some shop talk the H&K Guys said they kind of went down a rabbit hole with the G-11 and caseless ammo. They sunk a lot of time, effort and money into caseless ammo and producing a weapon to fire it (and making it work) and away from producing the next practical step in military small arms development. They realised they had produced something that worked but was impractical and cost prohibitive as a service rifle and ammunition nature. They also later found others (in isolation) had already done very similar things with caseless munitions already and produced the same findings.
    The US have seen this and in their own testing decided caseless is a dead end and gone with Case telescoped munition instead. The US projects are primarily based around reducing ammo weight and not specifically going to a new round type or capability as of yet. This is why they are currently using 5.56 and 7.62 CT munition types at the moment as they can be later adapted to other calibers i.e. 6.5/6.8 because the case external dimensions won't need to change just the barrel etc. They have functional rifles and machine guns but yet to develop them to a point they offer an advantage over conventional weapons and are functional soldier proof weapons that don't require a team of techs to keep them running.
    I can't see the likes of Tracking point type systems becoming standard small arms sights. Any military that could afford to out fit guys with this type of kit would also be looking at Laser warning/bluffing and or optical countering capabilities that would mitigate it in the first place.

    Cost Inhibitive can mean a range of things, from simply 'this is not at all worth it' to 'our budgets are simply never given much compared to say big ticket Items like F-35 etc'.... Certainly in the German context though in a post Cold War reunified Germany there was no need for it, no budget for it and an abundant pool of small arms..... Likewise we have seen similar talk of caliber changes failing and falling through procurement gaps due to well - limited return... Indeed as we see with the G36 Thread it seems that a good part of the reason for the new pending German Rifle is both
    A) Political
    B) That as I suggested originally, the average German soldier is expected to make up in his own personal firepower for the lack of support and heavier firepower that might doctrinally or otherwise be prefered (HMGs/MG3, Armored Vehicle Support), which leaves any weapon system exposed to critique....


    You do however (and I guess the friend of yours) raise an interesting question about practicality.... I am curious How does one transfer ammunition in a caseless Rifle? Say I have 2 Magazines for the G11, one has 20 Rounds another has 5..... Rather than 5 shots of glory and a reload, how easily can I place them in the same magazine to prevent an awkward reload?

    The rest of your post makes absolute sense, again though we will likely see this sort of kit first of all with those whom can procure it independently to trial it and decide if they like it, eg: Special Forces.... Whether or not that can translate into something the rest of a Military can benefit from during a period of expanding Project Costs and limited Budgets is another question....

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    • #32
      The "Prohibitive" costs issues were found across the board. It was very expensive to develop in the first place so it would take large orders to recoup those costs (a similar issue that the Thales EF88/F90 is having now). The ammunition was complicated and expensive to produce and still wasn't fully refined for military issue at the end of the project. The lifetime or service life costs were projected to be high as well due to the level of skill and maintenance coming from the complexity of the system. On top of this would have been the associated costs with bleeding out the conventional service rifles. All these built up to a "The squeeze wasn't worth the juice" situation. Germany also probably didn't want to bare the risk/costs being the first military to drop conventional service rifles.

      As you mentioned the reunification would have been the last couple nails in the coffin for the G11.

      From what I know the rounds are loaded the same way as per normal small arms munitions. So just a tac top up or mag change as per the norm. If you look up some videos of the G11 you will also see how impractical the 45-50rd mags were for carriage by soldiers given soldiers carry anywhere from 120 to 300 rds in mags a guideline. They would need a "Quiver" type sling

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      • #33
        Originally posted by gafkiwi View Post
        The "Prohibitive" costs issues were found across the board. It was very expensive to develop in the first place so it would take large orders to recoup those costs (a similar issue that the Thales EF88/F90 is having now). The ammunition was complicated and expensive to produce and still wasn't fully refined for military issue at the end of the project. The lifetime or service life costs were projected to be high as well due to the level of skill and maintenance coming from the complexity of the system. On top of this would have been the associated costs with bleeding out the conventional service rifles. All these built up to a "The squeeze wasn't worth the juice" situation. Germany also probably didn't want to bare the risk/costs being the first military to drop conventional service rifles.

        As you mentioned the reunification would have been the last couple nails in the coffin for the G11.

        From what I know the rounds are loaded the same way as per normal small arms munitions. So just a tac top up or mag change as per the norm. If you look up some videos of the G11 you will also see how impractical the 45-50rd mags were for carriage by soldiers given soldiers carry anywhere from 120 to 300 rds in mags a guideline. They would need a "Quiver" type sling
        Thanks for the elaborative response, was the ammunition 'complicated and expensive' to produce due to any particular inherent reasons or simply as a new and still teething process?

        Yes the magazines look very impractical to carry.... I wonder how they would have gotten around this eventually, smaller magazines with the unfortunate effect of more reloading?

        I imagine another potentially unhelpful aspect might be that the G11 introduces a new calibre of Arms that is not otherwise used in NATO or Germany as a whole, compared with say the G3 using 7,62 NATO being in common with MG3, M14s, FN-FAL etc... Either you get a weapon system with its own unique logistical requirements, or you then have to sink yet more money into costs developing a family of arms around that calibre.. Compared to the G36 which used a tried, tested and already well fielded calibre I guess it all just continues to add up

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        • #34
          My understanding was that there was to be a SAW/LMG version of the G11 to go with it to simplify logistics.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post
            My understanding was that there was to be a SAW/LMG version of the G11 to go with it to simplify logistics.
            That was probably the intent, as was initially was the same for the G36 family of rifles. Problem is the "One stop shop" often ends up meaning having one weapon that can do a few jobs to and average standard or 2 that can key roles well.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by DasVivo View Post
              I imagine another potentially unhelpful aspect might be that the G11 introduces a new calibre of Arms that is not otherwise used in NATO or Germany as a whole, compared with say the G3 using 7,62 NATO being in common with MG3, M14s, FN-FAL etc... Either you get a weapon system with its own unique logistical requirements, or you then have to sink yet more money into costs developing a family of arms around that calibre.. Compared to the G36 which used a tried, tested and already well fielded calibre I guess it all just continues to add up
              I guess that would have been one of the key major issues for Germany. If they were to adopt the G11 they would be the first and would hope the US and others follow if not they would be stuck with an expensive non NATO standard weapon/ammo only they would use. Even if there was "Agreements" in place it doesn't mean nations would follow through, just look at small arms development post WW2.

              Any major western military small arms development is going to come out of the US or (though very unlikely) a European coalition who can get US buy in.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by TheKiwi View Post
                My understanding was that there was to be a SAW/LMG version of the G11 to go with it to simplify logistics.
                Apparently there was a carbine variant built and tested (G11K2) and an LMG drawn up (G11 LMG, or LMG11). Once they got settled on the 4.73×33 a pistol/PDW (G11 NBW) was designed around the shorter 4.73×25.

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                • #38
                  How moisture safe were the propellant charges?

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