Saturday, June 10, 2006

The 5.56mm

The Army has apparently completed a study into the ineffectiveness of the 5.56mm cartridge, following complaints from troops that enemy fighters had been shot more than once and kept coming. The Army's response is that troops need more training in shooting the enemy more times to "have a better chance of dropping people right away".

I guess when the Air Force finds pilots complaining that their fighters or bombers aren't up to scratch they'll be told to fire more missiles to make up for it?

Given the US military's technological might and it's utter technological dominance over the battlefield, it's criminal that the men right on the front line, toe to toe with the enemy, are being put in danger fielding a weapon system some four decades old- if the round is not up to scratch and there are better alternatives available (and there are) I can see no reason why they are having to "make do" with a round that is clearly not up to the job. Are any other part of the military machine, apart from the infantryman, being asked to do their job with less than optimum equipement?

Of course one of the advatages of the M16 weapon family is that it is highly flexible. With a few simple changes, the base weapon can be adapted to fire a variety of ammunition from pistol calibre up to big bore rounds more at home hunting in Africa than on the battlefield. If a more powerful round is needed by troops the current weapon system could be adapted very easily to fire it- with no further weapon training needed by troops; making it ideal for an army at war. If there was ever a more easily surmountable problem to upgrading a weapon I can't recall it.

That it hasn't yet been done is shocking. Seems to me that people need to stop complaining about body armour, and start clamouring for a more effective cartridge so that the American soldier is better able to kill the enemy without getting himself killed first. Soemhow I can't see liberals making a fuss about this.

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