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Old October 17, 2006, 08:02 PM   #1
SpK
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G36 to replace M16?

I've heard on numerous occasions that the G36 is the future of assault rifles, but I've also heard people saying how it isn't any better than the M16. I was wondering, does anyone know how they match up?
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Old October 17, 2006, 08:03 PM   #2
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If anything would replace the M16 in the near future it would be the FN SCAR, which is already being adopted by SOCOM. I doubt the army is going to do any large scale replacements of the M16 soon though, especially seeing as how the XM8 went down.
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Old October 17, 2006, 09:03 PM   #3
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The G36, IMHO, is a nice gun. It is probably a teeny bit better than the M16 as issued by the U.S. armed forces. However, I don't think anybody thinks it is so much better that the Military should replace their existing weapons without the G36 being seriously revised to reflect American military idiosyncrasies. There was, at the beginning of the wars, a big clamor for a new weapon. The XM8, which is basically a restyled G36, was seriously considered as a replacement. A huge number of factors, political and practical, led the military to scrap the project. Frankly, the military seems to be doing that a lot lately. Recently, they looked into replacing the Beretta. They made a big stink, manufacturers started submitting weapons (HK45, SIG 220 Combat, etc) and then they changed their minds. The military doesn't know what they want.
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Old October 18, 2006, 12:33 AM   #4
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"...G36 to replace M16?..." Don't bet on it. Other than the Beretta pistol and the M249, the last non-U.S. designed firearm that was adopted for general issue was the Krag. And that was over 100 years ago. NIH is a very strong concept.
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Old October 18, 2006, 01:31 AM   #5
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The SCAR is apparently going to be fielded at some point.

I guess the OICW with the programmable-fuze 20mm cannon strapped on top of a 5.56 rifle is still being worked on. It has been in the works for 10 years at least... Maybe some day a ground-pounder will actually get the chance to haul it around.

But the G36? I have not heard anything about that.

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Old October 18, 2006, 05:51 AM   #6
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Actually the 1903 Springfield wasn't designed here. The US even paid royalties to Mauser for the right to manufacture it. Don't know how long the payments were made. There were changes made, of course, but it's a Mauser. We also used the Hotchkiss light machine gun but Hotchkiss was an American, I believe, but he had moved to France.

My son, by the way, is serving in the US Army as a tanker, presently in Northern Iraq. Their base is in Germany where there were German troops sharing their barracks, sort of. They actually had a range on-post and he had an opportunity to fire a G-36. His issue weapon is an M-4 and I don't recall him saying that he was especially impressed with the G-36. Interesting and different, perhaps, but not exactly decades ahead.

On the other hand, firearms design only rarely has a great leap forward, as happened when breechloader replaced muzzle loader, then repeater replaced single shot, then autoloader replaced manual operation. It usually doesn't sound like people around here think there was any advancement at all when the M16 was adopted.
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Old October 18, 2006, 08:24 AM   #7
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The G-36/XM8 had a strong argument in its favor when the OICW was still on the table, since HK designed the 5.56mm portion of the OICW and it is, essentially, a 10" barrel G-36 with no stock.

When OICW got pushed back to some unspecified point in the future because it could not make weight, any argument in favor of the G-36/XM8 got a bit less convincing. H&K tried hard to sell the idea, anyways, but the G-36 simply does not bring a whole lot to the table that the M16/M4 family does not already provide (as well as some really dumb ideas, like trying to push a fixed-barrel XM8 HBAR as a SAW replacement . . .). The pluses did not justify the minuses of scrapping perfectly good weapons and spending boatloads of money on new ones. And that's not even considering the other minuses of the proposed XM8 that the staff morons pushing the idea never looked at (why does it seem like people who haven't been to the field in twenty years are always so enamored of built in carrying handles on rifles? etc.).

Having had a chance to do some flat range work with a G-36, I'd say it's a good weapon, but I did not feel like it did anything that my issue M4A1 won't do. I did not care for the fixed length of pull stock or the silly carrying handle/optics set up, but otherwise thought it was pretty reasonable. Never got my hands on an XM8 back when it was a contender, so don't know how it stacked up.
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Old October 18, 2006, 08:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
The SCAR is apparently going to be fielded at some point.
The current schedule, according to Army Times, is low-rate-of-production starting in FY07 for fielding to selected units for troop trials, and then ramping up to full production for a 20,000 rifle or so buy for SOCOM as we go into FY08, unless field/combat testing turns up any bugs or issues that delay fielding.
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Old October 18, 2006, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
On the other hand, firearms design only rarely has a great leap forward, as happened when breechloader replaced muzzle loader, then repeater replaced single shot, then autoloader replaced manual operation. It usually doesn't sound like people around here think there was any advancement at all when the M16 was adopted.
Good point. Similarly, with all of the other technologic improvements and the growing concept of an less-manned military, who knows what we will have in 100 years. Perhaps the next major ground combat weapon won't be a rifle at all. Afterall, at one time a bunch of guys probably sat around talking about which type of bows and arrows the King would issue during the next war.
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Old October 18, 2006, 06:45 PM   #10
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I thought the SCAR was in service by SF I thought I heard somewhere? Talk was that the Marines were going to go to it as well.
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Old October 18, 2006, 07:17 PM   #11
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The 36 won't be the next rifle because in its XM8 format, it wasn't found to offer enough improvement over the 16 (or any improvement once the sales gimmicks were taken into account).

As for the SCAR, I heard someone describe it as an excellent proof that the FN design team has no shooters on it.
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Old October 18, 2006, 09:44 PM   #12
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Not going to happen.

I think the G36 is going to be the #1 NATO 5.56 but it's not going to replace the M16.
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Old October 18, 2006, 09:48 PM   #13
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The OICW got put on hold because of weight?

Gee, we have an opportunity to increase the firepower available to an infantryman by 1000% but it's a little heavier than a M16 so screw it...

That logic is mystifying to me. Our guys liked the BAR despite its weight because it did the same thing the OICW does: increase firepower.
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Old October 18, 2006, 10:33 PM   #14
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well, if I recall the threads here from a couple years back.. weight and the occasional annoying tendency to detonate the air-burst shell right as it left the muzzle.

Regardless,the thing was a boondoggle from start to finish.

As a stand-alone unit, the 20mm thing looked like it might have had some promise. Trying to make it hump a stockless G36 was just silly... the result looked like it had designed by kids with more time in Counterstrike than behind a real rifle. The XM8 that followed in turn looked like little more than a thinly veiled "save our jobs" campaign to salvage something useful from the program.

Personally, I'd say the results of the XM-29/XM-8 program and the SCAR trials epitomize the difference between gov't and private industry approaches to a problem.


Anyhow.. to the G36.. agreed I don't see us switching over. Not because of the "Not Invented Here" -- just no appreciable benefit for the cost.
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Old October 18, 2006, 11:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
The OICW got put on hold because of weight?

Gee, we have an opportunity to increase the firepower available to an infantryman by 1000% but it's a little heavier than a M16 so screw it...
It was more than a little weight.

Some quotes from answers.com (not always correct but most of the time close)

"The final prototypes of the XM29 weighed in at about five and a half kilograms when empty, and nearly seven when loaded. Soldiers also complained of the sheer bulk of the weapon system."

Thats 12lbs unloaded and 15lbs loaded. Thats a tad heavy in my mind.

Also LOOK AT THE SIZE, how are you going to haul THAT around. And forget about using it in a Humvee.

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Old October 19, 2006, 08:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
The OICW got put on hold because of weight?

Gee, we have an opportunity to increase the firepower available to an infantryman by 1000% but it's a little heavier than a M16 so screw it...

That logic is mystifying to me. Our guys liked the BAR despite its weight because it did the same thing the OICW does: increase firepower.
Well, it was, like Csspecs said, a pretty good bit over the specified weight for the weapon itself. Plus, I'm not sure what the basic load of 20mm grenade was planned to be, but it was not going to be all that light to begin with . . . and then they decided it needed to be 25mm to get better blast and frag at the sharp end. The official explanations have not (so far as I know) cited ergonomic issues like length of pull, but I'd suspect they enter into the equation somewhere as well. (Another issue may simply have been that OICW is not really the right weapon for the war we're presently fighting now in Iraq.)

I suspect that if they were willing to drop the engagement range for the grenade launcher down from 1000 meters to, say, 600 meters, we'd already have the thing in the field. By 2010 I think we'll see that loaf-of-bread sized optical sight much more reasonably sized, but I don't see the weapon itself getting smaller/lighter while tied to the 1000 meter 25mm greande launcher round.
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Old October 19, 2006, 09:43 AM   #17
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Didn't it also have durability problems?
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Old October 19, 2006, 09:48 AM   #18
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looks like it has bad balance..big block of plastic & metal...nobody is going to cite the classic lines of that battle weapon 30 years from now... PUKE!
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Old October 19, 2006, 10:15 AM   #19
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This looks like a good example that illustrates my theory that we are not so much dependent on technology sometimes but rather we are burdened by it. That question and other issues aside, it looks like the chief fault is combining two weapon systems into a single "platform." (Don't like that word platform).
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Old October 19, 2006, 02:14 PM   #20
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I suspect in this particular case we're burdened by a crop of army staff officers who thought Aliens was the coolest thing going when they were in their early 20s or teen years. There's a pretty strong family resemblance between James Cameron's M41A pulse rifle and the OICW . . .
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Old October 19, 2006, 08:27 PM   #21
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And an equally silly group of officers who think that whatever we currently have must be the best because that is what they know.
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