LSAT light machine gun

LSAT light machine gun

Infobox Weapon|

caption=LSAT LMG Serial No. 1
origin=flagcountry|United States
type=Light machine gun
designer=AAI Corporation
design_date=2003 onwards [] ]
unit_cost=≤US$3600 [] ]
production_date=Earliest: 2010
variants=Polymer-cased ammunition firing variant
Caseless ammunition firing variant
weight=9.8 lb (4.45 kg) empty (polymer-cased variant)
9.9 lb (4.5 kg) empty (caseless variant)
length=36.1" (917 mm) (stock retracted)
part_length=16.5" (418 mm)
cartridge=LSAT polymer-cased ammunition
LSAT caseless ammunition
caliber=5.56 mm (At present)
action=Gas-piston; push-through feed-and-ejection; open, swinging chamber
rate=≈650 rounds/min
velocity=920 meters/sec
range=≈1000 m
feed=100 (polymer-cased) or 150 (caseless) round soft pounches of full-loop-polymer linked, disintegrating belts
sights=optical, involving advanced tracking and acquisition [] ]
The LSAT light machine gun, of the LSAT (Lightweight Small Arms Technologies) program, is a developmental light machine gun. The program was initiated in 2004, when the Joint Service Small Arms Program (JSSAP) challenged the American defence industry to develop lighter small arms and ammunition [] ] . The LMG provides a major reduction in weight over legacy weapons, as well as improvements in other areas, such as controllability and reliability. As of 2008, it has two configurations, one that fires polymer-cased ammunition, and one that fires caseless ammunition. After further research and development into both technologies and the platforms that fire them, one of the two variants shall be chosen for production.

Design History

Development began with the two types of weight-reducing ammunition, and a light machine gun to serve as a testbed and technology demonstrator. Use of an LMG for this purpose is notable, considering its greater technical complexity than infantry rifles. The use of advanced computer simulations to accelerate development may have mitigated this, and the less significant LMG platform succeeds at being less conspicuous to unwanted media attention. For development, the use of extensive computer simulation and modelling reduces both time and expenditure for prototyping and testing. The program also uses a 'spiral development' approach, whereby the weapon and ammunition is rolled out in stages or 'spirals', each stage producing a new version that is an improvement on those from previous spirals. A competition down-selected the design concepts of various companies to leave an AAI Corporation-led team of companies as the developers of the weapon system. The cohesive team of companies is combined with government support to ensure success. The parallel development of the two ammunition types meant that, if the caseless ammunition effort succeeded, much of the development work gained with the composite cased weapon could be applied to it, and, if it failed, the composite-cased version was likely to succeed on its own.

Design Details

The LMGs built made a 44% and 43% reduction of weight (for the cased telescoped and the caseless weapons, respectively). Secondary goals have also been met: the LMG has the potential to improve battlefield effectiveness (due to its simpler and more consistent weapon action, its light weight and low recoil, and its stiffer barrel); its use of recoil compensation (with a long-stroke gas-system, for example) has produced positive feedback regarding controllability; the simpler mechanism of the LMG is both more reliable and easier to maintain; a rounds counter has been integrated to improve maintainability, and the weapon is capable of accepting other electronic devices; improved materials used in the chamber and barrel have reduced heat load on the weapon; and the weapon cost is equivalent to the existing M249.

The LMG design is a traditionally (non-bullpup) laid-out machine-gun. It has many of the capabilities of other light machine guns, such as a quick-change barrel, a vented fore-grip, belt-fed ammunition, an ammunition pouch, and a roughly 600 rpm rate of fire. New features include the unique weight, a rounds counter, and a highly stiff and heat resistant barrel achieved with fluting and special materials [ [] ] [ [ Lightweight High Performance Gun Barrels] ] . Possibly the most radical part is its firing action: the weapon uses a swinging chamber. The chamber swings around a longitudinal pivot; it swings from horizontally parallel with the pivot (the firing position), to vertically parallel (the feed position), and back again. A long-stroke gas-piston is used to operate this action. A round is fed into the chamber at the feed position using a rammer, and the new round also serves to push a spent or dud round out of the far end of the chamber. Such rounds are pushed forward, parallel to the barrel, and they slide into a separate mechanism that ejects them out of one side of the gun. The advantages of this whole action include its simplicity, its isolation of the chamber from barrel heat, and its positive control of round movement from extraction to ejection. In the caseless firing version of the weapon, another mechanism is introduced to seal the chamber during firing (which is why the caseless weapon is roughly 1% heavier).

Weapon Future

The designers project further improvements. These include improved projectile technologies, such as greener bullets and a more lethal calibre, as well as the integration of electronics, such as rounds counters, and lasers for sighting, target acquisition, and steering.

See also

* Lightweight Small Arms Technologies
* MR-C
* Heckler & Koch G11

External links

* [ 2008 LSAT presentation]
* [ NRAmerican LSAT article]
* []

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