After many years of using the "trusty" SA80 (including two variations that the government has spent £395million upgrading), is it time to move on to something bigger and better?
Please provide your sources for alarming malfunctions and non-reliabilityIn my opinion, yes. It is becoming alarming, the amount of malfunctions and non-reliability issues that soldiers are seeing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
First models of the SA80 were unreliable in desert envrionments for a reason - they were not designed for that region of the world. They were designed for Western Europe and the Russia hordes on the other side of the West/East German border.
There are two reasons 5.56 works the way it does. Armys do not want to 'put them down and keep them down', and soldiers have to carry ammunitionAnother reason to upgrade-calibre. The 5.56 NATO isn't putting people down. It's OK in CQB where the shots are close up and regardless of calibre, the guy is going to go down. However, when it gets to 100, or 200meters, it becomes an issue. Soldiers are having to double tap-one to put them down and one to make them stay down (and if they're all messed up on drugs-probably a couple more).
A modern army wants to injure more casualties then kill.
It a conventional environment it puts a strain on resources in the battlefield directly with the buddies of the injured party, and indirectly with medevac etc. On a longer term it puts into place political and social pressures when a countries young people return home with injuries.
In a non conventional environment injured people can be captured and identified, especially in 'police actions'.
The British Army have brought in the L129A1, which is 7.62 calibreI think we should move to a gun like the HK 416 or 417. Or perhaps the FN SCAR-H or Magpul ACR (Before you say its the same calibre-no it's not there's a 6.8mm version).
Look through that page and you will find the variety of weapons in use, which also includes alleged use of the HK417 by UKSF.
The official lists are:
If you want a proper rifle then....