Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I know quite a few people who will be quite interested to see how this U.S. project turns out:

As Soldiers training for combat look to lighten their load, they can look forward to the Lightweight .50-Caliber Machine Gun.

The LW50, an addition to the Army's arsenal of machine guns at one-half the weight of the M2 .50-Caliber Machine Gun and with 60 percent less recoil, does not require the setting of headspace and timing. The LW50 provides Soldiers with the punch of a .50-caliber machine gun in the footprint of a 7.62mm weapon system, allowing them to bring .50 caliber lethality to the fight in situations where using a light to medium machine gun is the only available option.

It will weigh less than 65lbs, including tripod and traversing and elevation mechanism, which makes it more portable than a normal .50 cal. And because it's designed to absorb recoil a lot better than most heavy machine guns, it's more accurate. It's also a lot easier to maintain than a standard .50-calibre, with 131 parts, compared with 244 for the M2. And they've already test mounted it on a Stryker.

It will be interesting to see if the Americans really can replace a lot of 7.62mm weapons with this new lightweight .50. I expect the Canadian army will be watching closely.

Go to Castle Argghhh! for more detail, and for a nice picture of a LW50 set up on a range.

Update: The Armorer gets questions answered about the weapon, right from the horse's mouth: a Major from the office responsible for the LW50's development.


Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

It'll take a helluva good 50 cal to replace the venerable, much esteemed Ma Deuce! Many machine guns have come and gone in Western Armies' inventories since WW2 but the Ma Deuce has been around so long because it's done such a damn fine job better than any other heavy mg for so long.

That being said, Soldiers are a very practical-minded bunch and if somebody can invent the proverbial better widget, they'll go for it. Half the weight, many less moving parts and a lot less recoil are a good start to a "better widget".

Now they need to verify at reliability at least equal to the Ma Deuce under extreme arduous field conditions: Iraqi deserts, Afghan mountains in winter, etc.

3:14 p.m., October 07, 2008  

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