Here we go again! Uncorking the “SA-80 is useless” genie from the bottle. Haven’t we had this debate every 2-3 years since the 1980s?
(Oh, and nice job by BFBS using a photo Rock Ape instead of a Royal Marine!)
Is SA80 rifle right for Royal Marines?
An alternative to the SA80 assault rifle may be favoured by some Royal Marines according to Defence IQ ahead of this year’s Annual Infantry Weapons Conference in London.
It claims some commandos operating on the frontline in Afghanistan find the weapon lacking in what specialised forces require when engaging at close quarters, despite being improved greatly since its first introduction to British Armed Forces.
Defence IQ says ‘insiders’ “have quietly criticised the rifle’s 5.56mm calibre ammunition as being too small to effectively defeat a target with a single round and occasionally find themselves vulnerable to a counter attack from wounded insurgents.”
In addition, it says, the rifle “rattles”, causing a problem for covert operations, requires duct tape to prevent it from clogging with dust, and lacks the manoeuvrability of other modern assault rifles such as the Diemaco C8.
Instead it claims ‘a source’ has said today’s Commandos “would much rather have a 7.62 mm rifle familiar to Special Forces. Problematically, the 7.62 sharpshooters that can switch to a short-barrel mode are currently available only to one or two troops per section but are themselves underperforming due to an inadequate magazine.
“The weight versus the rounds isn’t really an issue. A twenty round magazine weighs exactly the same as a thirty round magazine for the SA80, so that’s a trade-off they’re willing to make. Twenty rounds in that sharpshooter is not enough, especially at close-quarters. That’s a massive limitation of that weapon system,” said the source.
Defence IQ is hosting Infantry Weapons 2013 at the Copthorne Tara Hotel in London from September 24th to 26th. It will be assessing how these issues affect global forces with input from industry specialists and senior military weapons system representatives, including those from the UK, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Norway, France, and Poland.
Superb painting of a true legend.
If you have an hour to watch ‘The Sea King – Britain’s Flying Past’ then you should do so.
King of the Junglies immortalised on canvas
Sea King ZA 298, or King of the Junglies as it is colloquially known is no stranger to the world of media.
It was the central focus of a BBC documentary, The Sea King – Britain’s Flying Past presented by the renowned television correspondent Jon Sergeant.
This particular aircraft, which is still fling today, has seen service in all of the major conflicts since the Falkland’s war and has been hit by enemy fire on a number of occasions.
The most recent was in Afghanistan where it was hit and badly damaged by an RPG round fired by the Taliban.
On completion of the presentation to 845 Squadron’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Punch, Tony explained:
“I approached 845 Squadron some time back to see if they would be happy for me to produce a painting of this iconic aircraft.
“It was a tremendous honour and privilege to be told they would be delighted for me to do so.
“The work took over 3 months to create and was an incredible challenge, especially as it was my first painting of a Junglie Sea King.
“The response to the finished product has been fantastic and at times overwhelming.”
Lt Cdr Punch added:
“In many ways ZA298 epitomises the Junglie Ethos.
“She has travelled the world, been to the frontline of most conflict regions over the past 30 years and, when at home, continued to work tirelessly for training and exercises, all this with a smile on her face. There is good reason she has become known as the King of the Junglies.
“Tony is clearly an extremely talented individual doing excellent work for many service charities. We are pleased that he has captured ZA298 in such impressive fashion. I, and 845 Naval Air Squadron, thank him for his excellent gift.
“The Squadron will be using it as a feature in our future charity auction and expect it to bring in a very good price for a good cause.”
Unlike many artists, Tony has considerable first hand experience of painting military aircraft as he had served with the Army Air Corps working on Scout, Gazelle and Lynx helicopters although he has painted a variety of aircraft from Concorde to the Vulcan bomber.
This painting along with 10 limited edition prints signed by Junglie Aviators will soon be displayed within the Squadron before being sold at auction to support a number of Service charities.
Training begins on new pistols at Raleigh
The new pistol replaced the Browning as the pistol of choice in all three Services earlier this year.
During the first Glock course held at HMS Raleigh, a group of 17 sailors were taught how to safely fire and maintain the pistol over three days. The course culminated in a formal assessment to ensure that each sailor could use the weapon competently and accurately.
Royal Marine Colour Sergeant (CSgt) Kevin McBain, one of the instructors, said:
“The Glock 17 is a more modern combat weapon. It’s lighter than its predecessor and has a higher magazine capacity.
“It’s a very nice pistol and a very comfortable weapon to fire. The hand grip is good and there’s not too much recoil.
“With the students a lot of emphasis is placed on coaching and pistol marksmanship, so that they can gain confidence in their own abilities and produce the goods when required.”
While the Royal Marines typically use the pistol in close-quarters fighting, Royal Navy aircrew, divers and sailors involved in boarding operations carry the pistol.
All Royal Marines and Royal Navy personnel deployed to Afghanistan are pistol-qualified.
PO Alex Tilbury, who is currently serving onboard HMS Westminster, said:
“The course has been really good. It’s the first time I’ve fired a 9m pistol. The Glock seems to be relatively easy to use. The instructors were good too and helped us with every aspect of the course.”
The Glock 17 Gen 4 – to give the new pistol its full title- is part a wide range of weaponry available to front line troops. Pistols are vital in a close combat situation. CSgt McBain said:
“The pistol is a short-barrelled weapon, so it’s a complementary sidearm to the primary weapon system, which could possibly be the rifle. There is still a need for a very good Service pistol and that’s where the Glocks come in.
“The Browning has served us well throughout the years. It was first brought into service in 1967, but it’s now proving difficult to maintain so it’s time for a replacement.
“The Glock came out trumps on the trial, so that’s the pistol the Armed Forces have adopted. ”
The Glock carries 17 bullets compared with its predecessor’s 13.
It is the first new pistol to be introduced into the military for more than 40 years and has being supplied under a £9m deal with Viking Arms in Harrogate In total 25,000 Glock 17s have been ordered and troops deployed to Afghanistan were among the first to use the new weapon.
The contract with Viking also includes more than 25,000 holsters.
The Military Training Unit at HMS Raleigh provides cutting edge weapons training for Naval Service personnel at all levels, ensuring that they are fully prepared to protect themselves or their units on operations at sea and ashore.
The unit is currently training over 1,000 people a year to deploy in support of land operations, principally in Afghanistan. The MTU has the most up to date facilities available to the Royal Navy, including computer simulators, outside ranges and multimedia classroom.
Following Lima Company, 42 Commando during its tour of Afghanistan. There are 6 45-minute episodes. About an hour-and-a-half in your wife will ask you why you’re still glued to your computer screen, but you’ll keep watching anyway. This is cracking television.
Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan: Episode 1 – Deadly Underfoot
Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan: Episode 2 – Venus Fly Trap
Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan: Episode 3 – Dogs of War
Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan: Episode 4 – Kill or Capture
Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan: Episode 5 – Brothers in Arms
Royal Marines: Mission Afghanistan: Episode 6 – The Final Reckoning