Monday, February 8, 2016

Yeah, well, we'll see if they're able to meet their promises. There's very little that the military procurement system CAN'T screw up. "Soldier-Driven Bullet Innovation, Lighter and More Punch."

the engineers and innovators of Orbital Army Technologies as LCAAP have heard and responded to the requests of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and other combat zones. A new case for ammunition is in the early stages of development at Lake City. Rather than brass cased ammunition, cartridges will have new lightweight polymer casing. The switch from brass to polymer will reduce the weight of ammunition by approximately 20-30% but still have the desired effect on the enemy. However, the switch also comes with a number of complications that need solved before it is implemented. One of these complications is the use of polymer cased 7.62mm belts for the M240B machine gun. The current M13 links grip the polymer casing so tightly that the links shear polymer off the case. The amount of force required to de-link a round from a link, the stripping force, is set at 8.5-18 pounds. This standard is an Army regulation for ammunition used in training and operations. The current M13 link with the polymer cased ammunition has a stripping force in excess of 20 pounds. This causes problems when firing the weapon system because the round does not eject from the links. However, PCP Ammunitions out of Florida have developed a modified link that meets the standards of the Army. The modified links brings the average stripping force down to approximately 9 pounds, which is on the lower end of the spectrum. Although there have been several innovations regarding lightweight polymer cased ammunition, they are not scheduled to be mass produced until 2022.


Anonymous said...

This "plastic case" bullshit comes around the fumble factory like the swine flu. About every ten years, like clockwork, since it first reared its ugly head in the 50's. The Geenuss's over at R&D can't make it work. BUT: that never killed a research project before. Why should it now, after only fifty seven years of public funding. After all its not like its their money or anything.---Ray

Otto Didact said...

Not "caseless" ammo but plastic cases.

HMMM. Wonder how likely the plastic (sorry "polymer") cases are gonna be to partially melt and adhere to a hot chamber. In the middle of a firefight - no biggie. But what about the next round AFTER a firefight? You know, the round (automatically) chambered when the "all-clear" is given? Seems to me that all that plastic, sitting there in a hot (but cooling) chamber) might tend to adhere to the chamber wall in spots. Then when the weapon is next fired the projectile launches but the ejector pin merely snaps of a chunk of material and the trooper winds up with an FTF at potentially the worst possible time. Even if the case doesn't adhere, I'd be surprised if polymer residue didn't build up after several rounds.

One thing FOR SURE. Ain't gonna be doing any reloading of THAT spent "brass". But look at this way. Now the feds won't have to detail some poor slob to mess-up spent brass so reloaders can't use it.

What do you folks think? Could such a scenario as I outlined above (plastic adheres to hot but cooling chamber resulting in a FTF that would be an all mighty bitch to clear) happen?

Don't get me wrong, Dutchman. I'm totally in favor of reducing the loads the grunts have to hump into combat. I just don't want to do it by introducing any "innovation" that makes our guys more likely to run afoul of Patton's maxim. Additionally, I don't know (but Mike's son would along with - doubtless - many of the regulars here) what percentage of a grunt's total loadout is ammo. If the polymer casings reduce ammo weight by 20% but ammo only accounts for 40% of total loadout then the expected weight reduction would only be 8%.

Anonymous said...

How about reloading??

Fidel said...

Also a ploy to reduce ammo in civilian hands - there will be less reloadable brass, and since the new ammo won't go through SAAMI cert there are those who will say don't use it.

Anonymous said...

OH NO! Let's have everyone panic and start a stampede on hoarding 5.56 brass!

Uncle Elmo said...

I agree with first post Ray, who says 'follow the money'. And I'd add that the 'Geenuss's over at R&D' can't make a living following the age old axiom 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'.

BTW, did you hear that DOD has sent out a directive- first priority: Climate Change.

Anonymous said...

@Otto Didact

Well, there are in general two kinds of plastics: thermo-plastics, and thermoset-plastics.

Thermo-plastics can be remelted and remolded an arbitrary number of times. In practice, the material degrades with each heating and accumualates contaminents, but big injection molding shops regrind the sprus and mix the regrind in with virgin resin all day long.

Thermoset-plastics are one shot chemistries. Heat them once and the composition changes, and you can not remelt/reshoot. I suspect a cartridge case would be a thermoset plastic, not a reground milk jug. Also, I suspect a cartrige case would include something similar to glass fiber filler, which is often done to strengthen injection molded componenents. Glass-filled nylon, for instance, is as strong as aluminum. The fiberglass causes molds to wear quite a bit more rapidly, though.

So, I'm not an expert, but I've played around with injection molding a little. I suspect you could find a resin that would work and not foul the chamber. Probably would not be cheap or easy, but it could well be significantly lighter than brass. Also probably not reloadable.

Miles said...

Otto Didact :
The M240 machinegun being discussed for this ammo fires from an open bolt, stripping the round through the link and into the chamber just before firing, so there's no problem with a chambered case sitting there for a long time and possibly melting and getting stuck that way. Several other ways for a case to get stuck in a chamber though (don't ask me how I know!).

As others commented, this plastic case ammo concept surfaces every so often when ever a different company thinks they've solved all the problems.

Anonymous said...

200 rounds through a 240 makes the entire gun so hot you will instantly burn your any flesh..

Polymer wont last at all without gumming it up. Its true that the gun fires from an open bolt until you get it so hot the polymer ammo melts as it enters the chamber. I have personally seen the gun barrels get WHITE hot, beyond glowing red hot. this is something that will get our own people killed very quickly. Its more stupidity from the Gee Whiz committee think.

4GW warfare is all about controlling the battlefield and shaping that battlespace to their advantage. that means that the DoD's upcoming COMmunication EXercise is all about using thier own dominated and encrypted communications through satellite and radio systems to exploit the battlefield against the enemies regular communications by denying the enemy access to their normal communications ( cell internet civilian satellite tv and internet )methods making them have to operate out in the clear where they can be surveilled eavesdropped and exploited, targeted and disrupted or destroyed. additionally it allows them to control ALL OF the narrative BY CONTROLLING ALL INFORMATION FLOW TO THE PUBLIC THROUGH THE SAME CHANNELS from government sources to also help shape the battlefield to their advantage and public opinions. One should not need too much imagination to understand the power that law enforcement will have using military communications systems in their synchronization and coordinated efforts to crush dissidents, also a violation of Posse Comitatus. They are not training to use this against other nations but here on home soil in the United States.

4GW warfare wont work against a population that hates its occupiers. But it WILL work against a population that is reticent to go to war with its own countrymen who are reluctant to shoot back at its own mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers who have gone full traitor against them, and TPTB in Washington DC know this. they also know that it's the only reason why the violent revolution hasn't happened yet. Thats why Washington DC is employing mercenaries from Blackwater/Xe/Greystone within its agencies as its own civilian army, as they have no loyalty at all accept to money. 75 percent of the BLM Thugs at the Bundy ranch we mercs and not actual BLM employees.

...Jade Helm is ALSO back part two and meaner than ever, and NOT in "Exercise" form. Folks should have listened to me a long time ago...What we reap when we stay blind by choice.

Anonymous said...

I suspect our ancestors once grumbled about people wasting their time and other people's money on exotic impractical never gonna work breechloaders.

Aluminum is lighter than brass too. I occasionally see some CCI aluminum cases on the floor at the local range. Hasn't exactly taken the world by storm.

You can bet the ranch that sometime, somewhere, somebody's going to get it figured out. Whether or not they'll be able to sell any of them or make any profit will be another story.

Anonymous said...

As a former grunt and machinegunner, I humped my loads all over mountains, deserts and swamps without bitching about it being too heavy. Most of the time, I did not know what an Assistant Gunner and ammo bearer was, either.

Soldiers bitch. That's what they do. But they get the job done, even while bitching about it.

They were trying plastic cases in '80s, when I was in Germany, and it was a failing proposition then, too.

Sean said...

If they concentrate on a gun that will fire and check fire OPEN BOLT, they will solve the problem. Then we will be left with a problem as to how to obtain enough brass, or go to the new technology. Be ready for the changes, and make them yourselves. Remember all them guys getting holed by charging into machine gun fire, WWI? First battle of the Somme, most of the 50,000 FIRST DAY casualties were from MGS. If you don't pay attention to, and adjust to how the game is being played, you wind up like the Panthers, day before yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Biggest hurdle to date on plastic ammo has been case neck tension.
I know, talked with Spectrum engineers years ago while testing at Y.P.G.