Tactical Weapons visited the 2008 AUSA (Association of the United States Army) Annual Meeting and Exposition that took place October 6-8, 2008 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Our eyes were wide open trying to track down the latest and greatest developments in weapons and related gear for today’s military and law enforcement professionals. Here are some of the true standouts!
Beretta TRG-42 Sniper
Beretta’s new TRG-42 Sniper in .338 Lapua turned plenty of heads at this year’s show. The U.S. Army and Marines are considering a .338-caliber sniper rifle, which has prompted a lot of companies to build a platform to win such a contract. This is Beretta’s entry and it looks hot (and heavy). Really, it isn’t much heavier than most of the .338s currently available. This rifle enters the competition against the likes of Barrett’s new M98B and Armalite’s AR30. The TRG-42 features an integrated extended rail system and an adjustable folding stock system which collapses to a length shorter than any of its competitors for transportation and storage. The muzzle brake is unique and looks like it’d be effective at lessening recoil. The action is based on Beretta’s long-proven TRG-42 long action bolt system. For more information visit www.berettausa.com
Trijicon ACOG 6X48
This is yet another take on the new Trijicon ACOG 6×48 mm with a drop reticle designed for the .308 WIN/7.62×51 mm NATO round. This is appropriately mounted on an M240 at AUSA which makes sense because this machine gun can be very accurate, but there hasn’t been an optic yet that could stand up to the brutal forces encountered during automatic fire. FN already thought about the accuracy potential of the M240, which is why they put a rail on the feed tray of this machine gun. There is another rail on top of the ACOG that can be used for lights or lasers. The light gathering ability of the fiber optic used in this sight is amazing and the field of view is incredible. Although it is perfect for a machine gun platform like the FN M240, it could also be used with other .308-caliber rifles like the AR-10. For more information visit www.trijicon.com
25mm Bushmaster Chaingun
This is a new shorter version of the famous Bushmaster chain gun making it useful for smaller vehicles like the HMMWV and the upcoming JLTV. It’s called the Lightweight 25mm Bushmaster Chain Gun and keeps the dual feed system of its big brother. It fires the same 25mm ammunition including the new airburst munitions. It can be fired at sustained rates without stoppage due to the externally electric chain-driven design. The weapon can be manned or remotely operated, adding to the protection of the gunner. Specifications: Caliber: 25 mm x 59 mm; Weight (receiver): 34 pounds; Weight (barrel): 18 pounds; Rate of Fire: 250 rounds per minute. For more information visit www.atk.com.
Textron M1117 Armorer Vehicle
This vehicle—called the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle —is a new entry of armor from Textron Systems. It’s a rugged, highly mobile, 4×4 wheeled armored vehicle currently under full production for the U.S. Army’s military police. It is also part of UN peacekeeping missions, particularly in the Balkans. There are many other versions available including a personnel carrier, a recon platform, mortar carrier, ambulance, countermine, and RSTA (Reconnaissance Surveillance & Target Acquisition). Because the armor is designed to be bolted on, additional protection can be added depending on the level of ballistic protection required. The weapon station at the top of the vehicle can be equipped with either a 40mm or a .50-caliber weapon system. Specs: Weight (GVW): 29,560 pounds; Length: 237 inches; Width: 101 inches; Height: 102 inches; Ground Clearance: 18 inches; Top Speed: 65+ mph; Range: 440 miles; Fording: 60 inches; Engine: 260 horsepower Cummins; Transmission: Allison, 6 speed; Axles: Rockwell, independent. For more information visit www.textronsystems.com.
Millenworks Light Utility Vehicle
A green prototype of this vehicle was seen a year ago at Modern Day Marine show. Since then, this vehicle has been backed and supported in design by Textron System, Boeing, SAIC, Carlson Technology, and Ford. The sample on display at this year’s AUSA show featured a desert color, center-drive operation for the driver, modular protection, a silent drive/watch option for minimum battlefield signature and nimble performance.The parts are commercial to keep ownership costs to a minimum. This vehicle maintains an active stabilizing suspension for control and to minimize crew fatigue. The doors take from the old “suicide doors” meaning the front door is hinged at the front and the rear door is hinged at the rear. Although this design was stopped by automakers in the 1960s, it is back to serve as protective cover for personnel getting in and out of the vehicle. The vehicles’ hybrid electric powertrain is definitely getting the attention of procurement officers. For more information visit www.millenworks.com.
FN had its new FNP-45 pistol on display at this year’s AUSA show. The FNP-45 sports an extended barrel that will accept a thread-on suppressor, tall sights that will allow their use while the suppressor is attached, a Picatinny rail, combat hammer and an integral red dot from Doctor Optic cut into the slide. The new FNP-45 is a single action and double action with an overtravel stop on the bottom of the trigger. The manual safety should be a natural for M1911 shooters. The backstrap is interchangeable for each user’s unique grip and a bumper on the magazine ensures that empties dropped to the ground won’t hurt the function of the magazine. Chambered in .45 ACP, many of the .45 fans will embrace this pistol and in the dark earth color, many military minds will take a second glance. For more information visit www.fnhusa.com.
Hardigg’s Mobile Army
Hardigg has a great answer for armories set up in the field. When you are deployed as an armorer, the shipping (embarkation) process makes shipping your unit’s weapons overseas difficult and when you do finally reach your destination, the facilities are often lacking, sometimes having to make due with shipping containers to work out of instead of the secure indoor facility back in the United States. Hardigg’s new Mobile Armory provides secure storage out in the field and an easy solution to embarkation of weapons. The cases meet the embarking requirements so no boxes have to be constructed out of wood and when they arrive, they can be opened up and serve as weapon storage racks. For more information visit www.hardigg.com
Colt Infantry Automatic Rifle
Colt had a great showing at AUSA this year. Of special note, Colt has incorporated its own gas piston AR design. It’s unique in that the piston system is very close to the receiver rather than the front sight assembly to prevent malfunctions and strengthen the piston rod itself. The new line is called Advanced Carbines. Shown is Colt’s new IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle) model. The upper receiver and hand guard are one piece of aluminum, which adds strength and removes a source of inconsistency. Notice the GripPod vertical foregrip that releases a mechanical bipod. The Colt IAR also features the Magpul PMAG. This model has a little window that reveals if the magazine is near max capacity or closer to empty. A VLTOR clubfoot stock brings up the rear. For more information visit www.colt.com.
The International MaxxPro, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle incorporates the latest design in armoring technology. With its V-shaped hull design, the MaxxPro is built to withstand ballistic arms fire; mine blasts; IEDs; nuclear, biological and chemical environments, that threatens the safety of its crew. Armoring flexibility allows upgrades to achieve the correct level of protection based on mission requirements. International’s proven severe service platform puts quality, durability and reliability where you need it most—on the battlefield. Several size variants are offered with armoring flexibility to achieve the correct level of protection based on mission requirements. For more information visit www.navistardefense.com.
In a nutshell, the Quantum3D ExpeditionDI is a “Man-Wearable Mission Simulation Platform.” This new system kept a good crowd at Quantum’s booth for demonstrations. This program simulates dismounted infantry training where an entire squad can be immersed in the same mission such as raiding a compound or executing a cordon and search. It utilizes a wearable binocular OLED display with audio communications that fit with a helmet. Wireless weapon options include an M4A2, M16/M203 and an M249 SAW. The system has multiple motion trackers that translate the soldier’s movement into the mission for complete squad interaction. It is PC compatible with enhanced real-time graphics. A body posture tracker attached to the leg detects if the soldier goes into a standing, crouching or prone position. The system is held to each individual soldier by way of a LBV (load bearing vest) that comes in five sizes and is designed to support the system’s heaviest components. For more information visit www.quantum3D.com.
Elcan SpecterDR .50-Cal Optic
Elcan is pushing the front line of optical and digital technologies to lead the future of advanced sighting systems. By merging experience, innovation and customer focus the company is developing innovative new riflescopes and sighting devices that provide optimum capabilities/weight performance matched to the mission needs. Case in point, .50-caliber shooters now have an optic built just for their needs. Elcan’s new SpecterDR, colored in dark earth and very rugged, features a bullet drop reticle designed specifically for .50-caliber loads. It also has ‘back-up’ fixed iron sights on the top of the unit. The SpecterDR gets secured by an ARMS throw-lever quick-release mount. For more information and specifics on the optic visit www.elcan.com.
SAAB Warrior Uniform
Snipers have a new friend with SAAB. They have developed a high-tech personal camouflage being used on uniforms. The Warrior Uniform has been developed to offer the future infantry soldier a Signature Managed uniform that allows him to perform in stealth operations. The uniform offers the soldier cover from various reconnaissance systems currently available. All products are fully customized and available in any color pattern. SAAB camouflage uniforms feature their Signature Management. The Warrior Uniform has multispectral characteristics (VIS, NIR, TIR). VIS/NIR characteristics blend with those of the surrounding background environment. The system changes ultraviolet, visible, near infrared, thermal infrared, and radar signatures that are used to normally detect personnel and equipment. For more information visit www.saabgroup.com.
B.E. Meyers Glare GBD3C
Here’s a truly unique product from B.E. Meyers that packs a serious one-two punch. Most lasers are considered “target designators.” Flashlights can be “target illuminators.” This laser device is both. It has a strobe feature as well. The laser carries ambient light that highlights the space around the laser. The Meyers’ literature says it is the most intense laser that is built into a durable package that can legally be mounted on a rifle. The “GLARE” also provides long-range warning to people encroaching checkpoints. The GBD3C can effectively hail and warn as far away as 4,000 meters. Like the original GLARE, the GBD3C produces an overtly bright green diffused laser spot to impair the visual ability of the suspect. As with all B.E. Meyers lasers, the GBD3C is fully shock ruggedized for small arms and crew-served weapon systems. For more information visit www.bemeyers.com.