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Against a background of program uncertainty driven by the pending 2015 Presidential defense budget request, the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Institute of Land Warfare Winter Symposium and Exposition held between February 19 through 21 drew nearly 170 exhibits and speakers/panels to its new venue in Huntsville, Alabama.

While some large U.S. Army programs—like the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program now completing its Technology Development (TD) phase—may well be terminated in the President’s imminent 2015 defense budget request, several smaller programs hold promise of enhancing warfighter capabilities in the near term.

Continue Reading: AUSA Winter Expo 2014 | Guns, Mounts, Helmets, MREs, UAVs | Galleries

CWA M3D Machine Gun

One example is the M3D lightweight .50-caliber machine gun (also known as the Dragon M50) from Central Wisconsin Armory (CWA). According to CWA owner and M3D inventor Leroy E. Haywood, the new gun system is based on the original Browning design but incorporates a range of improvements, including a 14-pound weight reduction, a 1-foot reduction in length, and a rate of fire of 950 rounds per minute—almost twice that of the current .50-caliber M2. Other design enhancements include an improved barrel liner and an integral flash suppressor that eliminates “blooming” in night-vision goggles.

M3D development work began in 2006 with initial availability in 2008. The gun is currently deployed with “one Middle Eastern country” and one unspecified U.S. Army Special Forces Group.

“Now that the U.S. military sees the benefits of ‘shorter, lighter, faster,’ they really like it,” Haywood said. “So we are going to be doing some serious demonstrations for the U.S. military over the next few months. And hopefully growth will continue with our allies in implementing the platform as well.”

In addition to its single-mount configuration, Haywood identified a side-by-side twin-mount configuration, dubbed the “Maximus,” that allows for two guns to be operated independently of each other, manually, with no booster motor requirement or electronic solenoid.

“So it’s an all-manual configuration that has more firepower than our electrically driven GAU-19 .50-caliber Gatling gun,” Haywood said. “It has the capability of 1,900 rounds per minute with both guns running simultaneously. Or, by using each gun independently, it doubles the duty cycle of the weapon station because the guns get hot half as fast.” The Maximus configuration is not fielded at the present time, but Haywood expressed hope that some initial applications could materialize “in the next few months.” For more information, visit dragonm50.com or call 715-454-6395.

  • M3 Based Design
  • Minimal logistics // uses more than 85% NSN components
  • High Rate of Fire
  • 1,100 rounds per minute (1025 +- 75 rounds per minute)
  • Light Weight/// M3D 74.5 lbs
  • Linear Bushing System
  • Precision axial barrel control allows increased accuracy and reliability due to receiver and internal components operating under less stress
  • Simplified Maintenance
  • Barrel assembly can be removed through front or rear of receiver
  • Mechanical or Electronic Fire Control
  • Can use either spade grip back plate, or solenoid fire control
  • Improved Flash Suppressor
  • Completely eliminates visible flash
  • Thicker tangs to improve durability
  • Fluted Barrel
  • Larger surface area for better barrel cooling
  • Improved rigidity over light weight aircraft barrel
  • Feeds from either side
  • Standard feed chute and cartridge stop configurations for LH or RH feed

Continue Reading: AUSA Winter Expo 2014 | Guns, Mounts, Helmets, MREs, UAVs | Galleries

AUSA Winter Expo | H&H MK93 With WAB
AUSA Winter Expo | H&H MK93 With WAB

H&H MK93 With WAB

Along with the Maximus CWA twin-mount design option, the M3D is being presented in a mount partnership between CWA and H&H Tool Shop LLC. The two companies shared a booth at the AUSA gathering, where the M3D was exhibited in the H&H MK93 with the Weapon Accessories Bracket (WAB).

“The MK93 has been around since World War II, so that’s a pretty standard mount,” explained Mark Hagedorn, president of H&H. “But putting the WAB onto it gives them an enhanced ability for things like urban combat, where they can employ a mounted searchlight to look into buildings. Or they can attach different night-vision devices as well. The WAB allows you to attach lights, night-vision devices and lasers, giving you a variety of different types of options.” For more information, visit hhtoolshop.com or call 615-206-8954.

  • Shock absorbers that greatly reduce the recoil force of the .50 cal machine gun
  • Interchangeable pintles
  • The mount accepts 100 round or 200 round ammo can holder and ammo
  • On the mount MK19 40mm ammo can holder that will accept either the 32 or 48 round ammo cans
  • Stow pin and travel lock for securing mount when necessary
  • The US Army, US Marine Corps and NATO Countries use this equipment

 

HEaDS-UP Helmets

U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC), now headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, at Redstone Arsenal, placed its own AUSA exhibit spotlight on a range of products, from integrated headgear to small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to new MRE (meal, ready to eat) menu items.

Next-generation helmet designs will likely be based on lessons from the Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection (HEaDS-UP) program conducted by the Natick Soldier Systems Center. Looking at integrated headgear system concepts and design options to provide tailored protection, functionalities and capabilities for a variety of missions, the HEaDS-UP Army Technology Objective program developed two different headgear concepts that helped provide the foundation for the current Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) Soldier Protective System (SPS), a two-year program under the Program Executive Office-Soldier designed to refine the U.S. Army’s next-generation helmet system.

Continue Reading: AUSA Winter Expo 2014 | Guns, Mounts, Helmets, MREs, UAVs | Galleries

Pizza MREs

Given that armies have always “traveled on their stomachs,” AMC engineers also highlighted continuing efforts to further enhance warfighter acceptance of the ubiquitous MRE. One developmental item that drew considerable interest was the new Shelf-Stable Pizza (SSP), which would retain its characteristics in a storage pouch for three years at 80 degrees. Depending on the results of upcoming evaluations and food technology refinements, warfighters could be enjoying their SSP in 2016 or 2017. For more information, visit army.mil/AMC.
 

Raven UAS

Small UAS highlighted at the AUSA Winter expo included the ongoing retrofit of the hand-launched RQ-11B “Raven” UAS with a new gimbaled camera payload, a design that makes it easier to maintain eyes on target in a tactical setting.

  • Mission Descriptions – Remote Reconnaissance and Surveillance, Target Acquisiton, Force Protection and Convoy Security, Battle Damage Assessment, for Light Infantry, Dismounted Warfighter and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT)
  • Features – Simple Operation, Lightweight, Small Size, Hand- Launched, Autonomous Navigation, Autoland, Interoperable System Interface
  • Payloads – Dual Forward and Side-Look EO Camera Nose, Electronic Pan-tilt-zoom with Stabilization, Forward and Side-Look IR Camera Nose (6.5 oz payloads)
  • GCS – Lightweight, Modual Components, Waterproof Softcase, Many Advanced Features Without Laptop, Optional FalconView Moving Map and Mission Planning Laptop Interface, Digital Video Recorder and Frame Capture
  • Endurance – 60–90 minutes (Rechargeable Battery), 80–110 Minutes (Single Use Battery)
  • Speed – 32-81 km/h, 17-44 knots
  • Operating Altitude (Typ.) – 100-500 ft (30-152 m) AGL, 14,000 ft MSL max launch altitude
  • Wing Span – 4.5 ft (1.4 m)
  • Length – 3.0 ft (0.9 m)
  • Weight – 4.2 lbs (1.9 kg)
  • Launch Method – Hand-launched
  • Recovery Method – Deep-stall landing
  • Range – 10 km
  • 

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