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DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 30 | APR 2017
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USMC trialling suppressors across entire units
The US Marine Corps (USMC) will trial suppressors on all
weapons across entire battalions.
The proof-of-concept trials by units of the 2nd Marine
Division will inform decisions about the impact reduced
noise from gunfire has on sub-unit communications and
command and control. The testing will run throughout
2017 and include units training and exercising with the
All weapons will be suppressed, including individual
weapons such as the M4 and M16A4 5.56mm assault
rifles, sniper rifles, automatic rifles, machine guns such as
the 5.56mm M249 Minimi and 7.62mm M240 and even the
M2QCB 12.7mm heavy machine gun.
Previously the exclusive domain of snipers and special
operations soldiers, suppressors are, in fact, in widespread
service in the Russian Army and China’s People’s Liberation
It is expected the trials will demonstrate that suppressors
provide improved shooter situational awareness, accuracy
and communications between Marines and their immediate
tactical commanders. Their use will also sharply reduce the
potential for hearing damage.
The 2nd Marine Division is working with the Marine Corps
Warfighting Lab to collect and analyse the trials data.
– Mario Attopardi
LEFT AND BELOW:
Marines from Bravo
Company, 1st Battalion,
2nd Marine Regiment use
suppressed weapons while
attacks on Range 400
at Twenty-nine Palms,
California in late October
2016. Images: USMC
JLTV to test fire 30mm RWS
US Navy develops lighter transparent armour
Oshkosh has displayed a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV)
fitted with a new 30mm remote weapon system (RWS) from
On show at the AUSA exhibition between 13-15 March
in Huntsville, Alabama, the vehicle had the new LW 30
RWS installed on a reinforced bracket mounted centrally
and forward on the roof. According to Oshkosh, installing
the RWS has not compromised the vehicle’s mobility,
performance or protection.
The LW 30 is a derivative of Kongsberg’s M153 Common
Remotely Operated Weapon Station in widespread US Army
service that is specifically designed to accommodate the
Orbital ATK M230LF 30mm externally-powered chain gun/
Adding a weapon system such as LW 30 onto JLTV
provides a step change in lethality over legacy RWS
armaments and the ability to engage a wider variety of light
and semi-hardened targets at ranges which overmatch
12.7mm and 14.5mm heavy machine guns (HMG). The
30 x 113mm round fired by the M230LF gun will penetrate
armour and other hardened structures which are immune to
HMG fire and produce a larger lethal fragmentation radius.
The all-round increase in lethality enables the so-equipped
JLTV to undertake a greater number of tactical missions on
the battlefield, significantly expanding its utility outside of the
The US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a
transparent thermoplastic elastomer armour that is lighter and
more easily repaired in the field.
The advance is expected to yield lighter bullet-proof glass
products as found in protected vehicles, mobile and fixed
shielding and glass covering critical areas on warships. This
is achieved while maintaining the required ballistic properties.
Thermoplastic elastomers are soft, rubbery polymers
converted by physical means, rather than a chemical process,
to a solid. This results in the solidification being reversible and
enables damaged armour surfaces to be repaired ‘on-the-fly’
in the field.
“Up to now, NRL scientists have tested the use of polymeric
materials as a coating to achieve improved impact resistance
of hard substrates. Applying polyurea and polyisobutylene
layers enhance the ballistic performance of armour and
helmets, and achieve greater ballistic effectiveness and
mitigation of blast waves.
“By using a variation of employing thermoplastic
elastomers, NRL scientists are able to recreate superior
ballistic properties of polyurea and polyisobutylene coatings,
with the added benefit of the material being transparent,
lighter than conventional bullet-resistant glass, and
repairable,” according to the NRL.
Due to the dissipative properties of the elastomer, damage
An Electro Optical Systems R400S Mk 2 30mm RWS,
which has likewise adopted the M230LF weapon, has also
been fitted to a JLTV. Both RWS are expected to undertake
static and on-the-move live firings to determine which is most
suitable as a weapon system upgrade for JLTV.
– Staff Reporters
RIGHT: A JLTV fitted with the new LW 30 RWS from Kongsberg.
from a projectile strike is limited to the impact locus, with
a consequently minimal effect on visibility, which in turn
provides multi-hit capability.
The NRL has now secured a patent for its breakthrough
– Staff Reporters
ABOVE: The patented polymer armour developed by the NRL
consists of alternating layers of elastomeric polymer and a
harder material substrate. Very small crystalline domains, which
also provide rigidity, give the polymer its transparency.
Image: US Navy
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