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Issue 1/2001  30.01.2001:

The Weapon of Future Which is Necessary Today

Text: Pavel Makarov, firearms and ammunition designer,

From the very beginning of development of human race the man always applied the weapon for protection, attack, obtaining of food. About his evolution, history of development, parameters, combat qualities we can familiarize in whole mass of the appropriate literature, and also visually by a review of museum exhibits and collections.

There are every possible configurations and sizes of weapon, but practically in the course of the history of weapon it has not changed its applicability: to strike reliably a potential enemy and to withdraw him from action, that is to make disabled. The changes in the doctrine of application of the weapon followed parallel in a proportion with a level of progress in that or other region of globe, and, means, that all discoveries, inventions and new technologies in this or that branch the man tried to apply to the newly created weapon. As an example for this can be technologies: metal casting, heat treatment, creation of alloys etc. Certainly, not all samples of the weapon got admission.

On many reasons, which are known for a wide circle of the experts, the most part of them were rejected as unsuitable for performance of tactical and strategic tasks taking into account the factors: time, place, target. Basing on above mentioned, we come to a conclusion, that the level of development of industrial technologies promotes changes in construction of firearms, though it by the basic principle of action remains practically constant, that is throwing of a body (bullets, shells etc.) to cause damages or total destruction of the target. But the basic concept of design of fire-arms remained the same since its creation: cylindrical guide, in which with the force of the gunpowder gases energy (products of a gunpowder mix combustion) a shell to be thrown in the given direction.

Actually there is a high level of progress in designing of new samples of small arms, including minimization, electrification and computerization, but let's think, whether it is stagnation, and the mankind simply again and again "invents a bicycle"? We are at the beginning of the 21st century, and the following questions arise: What kind should and can the service weapon of new age be?

These two questions are very actual for today for the experts of very different branches, whose creative activity directly or indirectly is connected to creation or designing of the small arms weapon. I apologize to the analysts, and experts - development engineers in the field of the small arms weapon creation, but nobody can concrete answer a question, what kind should be armament of an infantryman of the 21st century. In this case I ask development engineers and users not to confuse word collocations, "what kind it can be" and "how do you imagine it". We should state that an individual, multi-purpose, universal for all cases of military actions hand firearm does not exist and yet can not exist by the following raw of reasons:

1. An infantryman shouldn't be overloaded, he should be mobile and capable to execute a combat mission. Any additional cargo holds him down and proportionally reduces efficiency of combat unit and figuratively speaking makes a target of him.

2. The strategy and tactics of possible future wars, taking into account a modern level of scientific and technical progress, speaks about an obligatory ability of combat unit to withstand both ground light armored-, and low-altitude airborne targets of conventional enemy, that is an individual weapon should have some parameters of the weapon of support (minor-caliber of artillery, grenade launcher, general-purpose machine gun).

3. I should be arms of precision (principle "shot - forget"), but it does not mean, that every infantryman should be the sniper, - the weapon itself should have the technical ability to defeat the potential enemy protected by means of individual protection, with one squeezing the trigger, snap impromtu shooting because the battle collision can be very short.

All above mentioned calls an imagination about any inconceivable hybrid, which practically simply cannot be designed with the requirements of technical parameters. But nobody says that it is possible now, and as a source of energy should be only gunpowder. The main subject is that we stand on a threshold, when the small-arms-weapon will function on other physical principles and phenomena. It will give an opportunity to embody in its design all those combat possibilities, about which we have just spoken.

But let's come back to earth and think about real present possibilities in designing of the modern small-arms-weapon, as according to the forecast of the analysts, gunpowder as the basic element in the small-arms-weapon will be used in nearest fifty years. If to take for the basic concept an aspiration to transform every infantryman into an independent combat unit and at the same time to make a division as uniform combat body, the most suitable scheme of configuration of the new weapon can be a union of the small-caliber submachine gun and an automatic grenade launcher. An idea itself of a combination of two barrels in one weapon is not new, but it allows to ensure a possibility to defeat effectively the open pin-point targets, deflated targets, group targets.

I want to present in the given material my concept of a small-arms system of new generation, on which I'm now systematically working. To somebody's mind it differs a little from similar systems, but it is not true. The differences are rather essential. The system itself being designed represents the twin mount of two calibers with a vertical arrangement of barrels, with a common loading, twin (synchronized) trigger mechanism and united magazine. The top barrel is a small caliber bullet one, for use of an intermediate high-speed cartridge with a size averaging between a pistol cartridge and a submachine gun cartridge. The lower barrel is intended for delivery of an automatic fire with grenades of caliber 20mm.

On the basis of the analysis of last military conflicts I consider, that the infantryman weapon will be applied on difficult country, in woods, populated points mainly in close-range combat at distances up to 300-400M. The enemies can object and to dispute such distances, but let's really consider a subject and put ourselves the following question. Is there a possibility in conditions of modern battle to take an aimed shot with high factor of defeat 0,9 at a distance of 400 meters and more? Even in the process of practice shooting in a shooting gallery the probability of guaranteed hitting in the target at a stipulated distance is very low, and previous tactics of firing at random became already obsolete and does not meet the requirements of conducting modern combat.

Somebody can oppose a counterargument that a bullet intermediate cartridge can not effective defeat the enemy wearing an armored garment. Yes, I agree with this, but then let's remember, which requirements on efficiency are made to the service small arm weapon. There's the only task: to put out of action! I emphasize: not to kill, but to make so that the potential enemy could not show any resistance, that is he would be incapable and neutralized both in direct, and in a figurative meaning.

And now I'd like to tell about the second, grenade launching barrel, which being used in a synchronous mode (fixed bullet three cartridge burst + one shot of the grenade launcher) not only will supplement the damage of the target, but also with high factor of a defeat will fix guaranteed success. Such tactics of delivery of fire makes the whole system multifunctional. Moreover, at detection and defeat of the target the doubts in ability of the soldier correctly to choose "barrel" according to character of the target are swept aside and can not cause hitch, this, in fact, explains the determination of the efficiency of the weapon.

To understand the sense of above mentioned I think it's just a moment to return to a problem of ammunition used in the given project. In the system being designed for comfort in bearing, loading and feeding of an ammunition to the line of fire one common magazine with capacity of 30 cartridges + 10 grenade-launching rounds (20 cartridges + 7 grenade-launching rounds) is provided. Proceeding from that the dimensions and weight of the whole system together with magazine should be in strict limits: the length with folded stock to be 450-500 mm, weight with the filled magazine — 3,5 - 4 kg, the demands made of an ammunition are rather unusual.

So, for example, no one of the serial manufactured cartridges in different countries, meets laid down conditions. But there are samples, which after making of changes and finishing can be used in the given system. I want also to illuminate somewhat non-traditional approach and requirements to the grenade-launching rounds. Their difference from nowadays existing ones consist in the following: The safety releasing should occur by the shot at a distance of 15-20 meters from a barrel, the shell itself except an outer case and detonator consists of especially high-strength explosive which on an equivalent 20-30 times exceeding the strength of trinitrotoluene. The defeat of the potential enemy should occur at the expense of a shock wave, splinters formed by this from splitting of environmental subjects, and also sound wave. It is theoretically proved, that the sound wave in a range of noise level of 200-220dB can cause dangerous traumas and even death.

For aiming, guiding, vision devices and another ones there is stipulated to arrange the fasteners from above along a system, from below and from the left side. But, on my opinion I consider that it is impossible to abuse with different computer devices, because such an "universality" is a dangerous trap for the developing engineers, manufacturers and users. The overlapping of various properties in one sample will result in deterioration of each property separately, and also increase of weight and cost, and to achieve serious results it is possible only by the compromises. Not the secret, that creation of the weapon for a long time has ceased to be business of the separate developing engineers and requires a participation with support of various firms, companies, corporations and establishments.

In summary I want to tell, that I am ready to consider and answer all remarks, offers and critical responses, which can arise by readers, but as especially valuable I always consider the characteristics given by the users, having applied the described system in real combat conditions. I wish to hope, that the given sample will have life.

Pavel Makarov
Levanevskogo Street, 11
53200 Nikopol Dnepropetrovsk Region

Related links: Assault Rifle Cartridge M/2030 .   Firearms designer Pavel Makarov's home page.

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