I was pleased to read that the the Department of Defense is continuing to invest R&D funds into the development of the light-weight LSAT Machine Gun program. Textron Systems will continue to refine the 5.56mm LSAT Light Machine Gun and its Cased Telescoped ammunition and Caseless ammunition.
The full press release ….
HUNT VALLEY, Md. — AUGUST 6, 2013 — AAI’s Lightweight Small Arms Technologies (LSAT) team, part of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today it has been awarded a $2.05 million contract through the Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium to further innovate both its caseless and cased-telescoped lightweight ammunition and weapon technologies.
This ordnance technology initiative includes three major thrusts. It continues to refine the LSAT 5.56mm Cased Telescoped ammunition and Light Machine Gun in support of an Army live fire experiment; advances development, testing and characterization of prototype 5.56mm Caseless ammunition; and extends Cased-Telescoped ammunition technologies to a 7.62mm cartridge.
The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research, in Arlington, Va., and the Joint Service Small Arms Program Office (JSSAP), located at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey are jointly participating in this initiative.
The updated LSAT 5.56mm system will be assessed during the Army’s Dismounted Non-Networked Experiment (DNNE), taking place this month at the Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Ga. The caseless ammunition effort will focus on improving propellant and ignition formulations in a 5.56mm configuration. The 7.62mm cased-telescoped cartridge will incorporate mature lightweight ammunition technologies successfully demonstrated in the 5.56mm LSAT cartridge.
Contract work will be conducted over a one-year period by the AAI-led team, which also consists of Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Veritay Technology and St. Marks Powder, a General Dynamics company.
“We’re pleased to be continuing our developmental work on lightweight ammunition and weapon technologies,” said AAI Program Manager Paul Shipley. “The LSAT program team has made significant advances, and this is the next step toward delivering a scalable, affordable family of lightweight weapons and ammunition.”
The LSAT team previously developed and demonstrated a prototype weapon and ammunition that provides up to a 50 percent reduction (20 lbs.) in weight compared to the current M249 machine gun and M855 brass cased ammunition carried by infantrymen. Its Cased Telescoped Light Machine Gun (LMG) prototype has been demonstrated at Technology Readiness Level 7. The weapon design maintains the lethality and reliability of the existing weapon while offering improved ergonomics. A compact LSAT LMG variant, developed for close quarters applications and tested in 2012 by the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, features a quick-change 12-inch barrel and a folding buttstock.