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The C7 Assault Rifle, M16, & AR15 family (C7A1, C7A2, C7 replacment, and C7 vs M16)

It seems the more high tech we go, We loose our ability to fight in a EMP enviroment. Today those pulses can come from just about anything and anyone.  Some times a simple Riflemen, or a diesel cloud belching engine or a radial engine is what is needed to fight a war.
The requirements of a Soldier is to have reliable gear, that works well under all conditions and allows a broad range of operation by an even broader range of operator imput.
The gear must be light weight, accurate and easy to maintain and easy to produce. Specialty equipment that cannot be maintained at the Section level is a disaster in making.
MilEME09 said:
I think the idea is to do as much possible with technology to aid the shooter to put more rounds accurately down range as possible, then again better way to do that IMO would be researching better ways to control recoil, better barrel harmonics, maybe a floating sight that doesn't move when the rifle is fired from the target location.

Take that same money wasted on engineering accuracy into a c7/8 and spend it on ammo to increase the shooters ability, there will be drastically better results than replacing already very capable barrels and optics. Our ammunition is only so capable, there is no sense trying to improve barrel harmonics when it's a gas gun shooting bulk mil ammo.
Didn't Canada have a similar set of events circa 1912 to 1914 with the Ross rifle. A superb, high tech (for the day) weapon best at competitions in clean conditions, but hell in the trenches. My reading indicates most were tossed/traded and the riflemen of the day picked up reliable Enfields. Think, for a moment, would the infantryman in AStan or any other footmobile operational area prefer a rugged, light, easily maintained and adequately ammunitioned weapon ( think Kalishnakov) vice a system designed somewhere in an office to fit budgetary constraints.

As fpr EMP destroying/disrupting all tech gear, you're left with a system that cannot fill its mandate. Hmmmmmm!

At the risk of starting another war- what about the 5.56 round? Is it not too light to be effective beyond about 100 or so meters? Maybe a 7.62? or 300 Lapua? I think this last might belong in another strand so Mods , if so could you please move it?
EMP is pretty indiscriminate, people attempting to employ that to neutralize enemy equipment risk zapping their own stuff as well. Narrow, focused beams of EMP might eliminate the one issue, but then you risk missing your target and having a fully functional (insert item here) coming after you.

I do agree that we are seeing more and more effort being put into getting incremental improvements from an old platform. Realistically, there are few tricks left to radically improve the performance of hand held infantry weapons. The most feasible seem to be computerized sighting equipment like TrackingPoint, programable explosive rounds like the XM-25 or making ammunition lighter such as the caseless or telescoped rounds pioneered in the HK G-11 or the LSAT program. More exotic solution like Metalstorm or ceramic materials to replace metallic ones might make weapons lighter and easier to maintain, but do't add a lot to the ability of the soldier to actually strike the target.

I can only imagine the heartaches and issues trying to develop and standardize a new rifle calibre round and get all the NATO allies to adopt it. (7mm might make a good compromise, being powerful enough to deliver a killing blow beyond 300m, but still light enough to allow use in a light or medium machine-gun or automatic rifle. Developing the round will be dead easy compared to the politicking to get it adopted, however).
New and improved service rifles/carbines with added tech are not mutually exclusive to marksmanship training/increased ammo allotment. I am all for the development/evolving the M16FOW, even though I find the marksmanship training for the forces at large absolutely abysmal. If we didn't try and innovate we would still be in red jackets with muzzle loaded rifles...

I've talked to CC guys about the SWORD system and I can only hope I see it in action before I retire.
If you were going to issue a new round in another calibre to replace 5.56 and 7.62, I would start with the LMG's first, then rifles for units going overseas and slowly replace the others and using Russian preservation methods on the older rifles for your war stock. Note of caution major calibre changes always seem to be happening as a war breaks out.
The issue with the replacement calibers that they've developed recently (6.5 Grendel, 6.8 SPC, .300 Blk) are that they are compromise cartridge designs.

They are a compromise because while they are better in terms of terminal ballistic performance than the 5.56mm NATO rounds, (SS-109/C-77/M-855) they are limited by the fact that they are still designed to fit within the same magazine well as the 5.56mm NATO round. 

Swapping an upper, bolt, and modifying the magazine a bit while keeping the whole lower receiver means that you're not technically replacing the weapon, you're still using an M-16 FOW platform, and just adding other caliber accessories to it. 

Benefits include maintaining the supply chain, the training programs, etc.

Also includes not having to sell the project as a small arms replacement project and get approval.  You're just adding a caliber accessory kit to the platform that you already have in service.

If there is to be a new round, then it should not be limited by the design constraint of the dimensions of a rifle's magazine well.

Strangely, some of the rounds that seem to be providing the best split between terminal ballistics, trajectory, and recoil control are REMARKABLY SIMILAR to the .280 EM2 rounds that the UK developed in the 50's.  (And then had to ditch to adopt the T65 cartridge that became the 7.62 NATO standard.)

So, if you're changing rounds, and changing platforms, you have to consider the ultimate amount of time/trouble/re-training that will follow. 

I like the idea of Case Telescoped ammo, the benefits seem to be there, but the overall cost of switching to it, vs the amount of capability increase that it gives is probably not worth it, unless there was some sort of generational increase in capability, which I don't see.

Would it make sense to start with the MG's first?  I think so.  How about a look at the CT ammo LMG vs the C-9?  Here's what one source has to say about some of it:

In September 2011, 19 soldiers participated in a two-week assessment of the LSAT light machine gun at Fort Benning, Georgia to demonstrate its capabilities against the M249 SAW. In one test the soldiers, half armed with SAWs and half with LSATs, marched six miles in full combat gear then fired at targets to measure stress and muscle fatigue. Another test had the soldiers sprint 200 yards wearing body armor and a basic load of ammunition, then rapidly engage close-range targets. A third week involved soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment performing a squad maneuver live-fire exercise in an urban setting. Feedback from participants favored the LSAT for its lighter weight and decreased recoil. Soldiers remarked the LSAT had better accuracy than the M249. The semi-automatic option made it more viable for room clearing. One Ranger even said the LSAT performed better than the Mk 46 machine gun used by special operations forces.[10] 15 out of 19 soldiers that participated in the assessment said they would prefer using the LSAT in combat rather than the SAW. The LSAT LMG is 41 percent lighter than the 21.5 lb (9.8 kg) SAW and its ammunition volume is 12 percent less, enabling all the soldiers that maneuvered the woodland obstacle course to complete it faster when carrying it. Participants also took less time to zero their machine guns when using the LSAT; one soldier failed repeatedly to accurately zero the SAW but successfully zeroed the LSAT on the first try. The LMG users completed the course, on average, one minute and 11 seconds faster than SAW users due to increased mobility given by its shorter length, adjustable stock, and lighter ammo. When firing, gunners felt virtually no recoil from the LSAT LMG.[11] The eight prototype weapons fired a combined 25,000 rounds, moving its cased telescoped ammunition to technology readiness level 7.

Saving that much weight on the LMG would be a very good idea, in my opinion.

Introducing the CT'd ammo for the LMG's would also be a good spot to start.  The LMG is already a separate training stream from the rifle, so it would probably be 'easier' to swap it out in the system for training purposes.  To the bad, you'd lose the commonality between the C-9 and C-7 for ammo, but the LSAT would be lighter enabling more ammo to be carried...not sure where the break-even point is on that trade-off.