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Equipment

Small arms and support weapons

Small arms and support weapons

Whether they arrive by armoured vehicle or boat, British soldiers are trained to operate anywhere in the world and are supported by an armoury of powerful and versatile weaponry, from grenades to heavy machine guns - tools for the soldier's task of taking and holding ground.

SA80 individual weapon

Overview

SA80 is the designation for a revolutionary family of assault weapons. On its introduction, it proved so accurate that the Army marksmanship tests had to be redesigned.

SA80 A2 comprises the Individual Weapon (IW) and the Light Support Weapon (LSW).

These are the British Army's standard combat weapons. Made by Heckler and Koch, they fire NATO standard 5.56 x 45mm ammunition. 

Both weapons have been modified in light of operational experience. A major mid-life update in 2002 resulted in the SA80A2 series - the most reliable weapons of their type in the world. This reliability is combined with accuracy, versatility and ergonomic design. It is considered a first-class weapon system and world leader in small arms.

Dimensions

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Calibre

5.56mm

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Length

785mm

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Barrel length

518mm

Specifications

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Weight

4.98 kg (with loaded magazine and optical sight)

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Muzzle velocity

940 m/s

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Manufacturer

Heckler & Koch

Additional Specifications

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Feed

30-round magazine

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Effective range

400m

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Cyclic rate of fire

610-775 rpm

Underslung Grenade Launcher

The SA80 Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) system consists of a Heckler & Koch AG-36 40mm grenade launcher and EO Tech holographic sight wedded to an ISTEC range drum. The UGL allows fire teams to deliver effective fragmenting munitions out to 350 metres. Advantages of the system are low recoil, ease of use, reduced ammunition weight and ability to have a chambered grenade at the ready whilst continuing to fire the SA80.

UGL Specifications

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Weight

1.12 kg

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Muzzle velocity

76 m/s

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Cyclic rate of fire

5 - 7 rpm

Ammunition types

The system is currently fielded with Practice and High Explosive ammunition natures. There are six UGLs per platoon resulting in greatly increased flexibility and weight of fire.

Longer term enhancements to the system may eventually include a fire control system, extended range ammunition and buckshot rounds for close-quarter battle.

Glock 17

Overview

The Glock 17 Gen 4 pistol is much lighter than its predecessor, Browning pistol, and more accurate. It also has an increased magazine capacity of 17 x 9mm rounds, compared to 13 rounds for the Browning.

 

L115A3 Long range 'sniper' rifle

Overview

British snipers fulfil a vital and enduring role on the battlefield, in terms of intelligence-gathering, target identification and eliminating high-value targets.

The L115A3 rifle, part of the Sniper System Improvement Programme (SSIP), is a large-calibre weapon which provides state-of-the-art telescopic day and night, all-weather sights, increasing a sniper's effective range considerably.

The first batch of SSIPs were deployed to Afghanistan in May 2008.

Designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600 metres and harassing fire out to 1,100 metres, Accuracy International's L96 sniper rifle has also been upgraded with a new x3-x12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.

Manufactured by Accuracy International, the L115A3 long range rifle fires an 8.59mm bullet which is heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96 and less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.

Other elements of the Sniper System Improvement Programme include night sights, spotting scopes, laser range finders and tripods.

Specifications

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Calibre

8.59mm

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Weight

6.8 kg

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Length

1300mm

Additional Specifications

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Muzzle velocity

936 m/s

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Feed

5-round box

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Effective range

1100+ m

Snipers pre-selection training

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Princess Of Wales’s Royal Regiment have recently completed a preparatory training package on Sennelager training area ahead of a Sniper Operators Course.

L129A1 sharpshooter rifle

Overview

The sharpshooter rifle has improved the long-range firepower available on the front line. The rifle fires a 7.62mm round and has enhanced accuracy of engagement during longer-range firefights. This weapon is used by some of the best shots in the infantry.

More than 400 semi-automatic sharpshooter rifles were purchased for British troops as a £1.5m Urgent Operational Requirement.

The sharpshooter complements the already potent range of weapons used by our forces.

Specifications

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Calibre

7.62mm

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Weight

4.5 kg

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Feed

20 rounds detachable box magazine

81mm mortar

Overview

The L16A2 81mm mortar is a Battlegroup level indirect fire weapon which is capable of providing accurate high explosive, smoke and illuminating rounds out to a maximum range of 5650m.

The mortar platoon, in mechanised and armoured infantry battalions, are mounted in and fire from armoured personnel carriers, increasing mobility and enabling rapid disengagement and movement to new fire positions.

Specifications

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Calibre

81mm

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Weight

35.3 kg

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Barrel length

1280mm

Additional Specifications

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Muzzle velocity

225 m/s

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Feed

4.2 kg HE L3682

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Maximum range

5650m

Combat shotgun

Overview

The Combat Shotgun is a semi-automatic, tubular magazine-fed weapon cambered for the 12 gauge cartridge.

The operating system is the ARGO (Auto-Regulating Gas Operated) Twin (two gas pistons) System with a rotating bolt head and dual locking lugs. It is fitted with an EOT tech sight for use day or night and a fixed iron sight. It has a telescopic buttstock. It can be fired from the conventional fire positions, except the squatting position.

Size and Weight

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Length

1010mm (extended buttstock) / 886mm (closed buttstock)

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Weight

3.8 kg

Specifications

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Range

Solid shot: 130m / buckshot: 40m

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Magazine

7 cartridge

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Calibre

12 gauge (18.4mm)

General purpose machine gun

Overview

The L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) is a 7.62 x 51mm belt-fed general purpose machine gun which can be used as a light weapon and in a sustained fire (SF) role.

In the SF role, mounted on a tripod and fitted with the C2 optical sight, it is fired by a two-man team who are grouped in a specialist Machine Gun Platoon to provide battalion-level fire support. In SF mode, the GPMG, with a two-man crew, lays down 750 rounds-per-minute at ranges up to 1800 metres.

The GPMG can be carried by foot soldiers and employed as a light machine gun (LMG), although it has largely been replaced by the lighter 5.56 x 45mm Minimi in this role, in most regiments. A fold-out bipod is used to support the GPMG in the LMG role.

Versions of the GPMG are mounted on most Army vehicles and some helicopters.

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Weight

13.85 kg (gun plus 50-round belt)

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Length

1230mm (light role)

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Barrel length

629mm

Specifications

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Calibre

7.62mm

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Muzzle velocity

838m/s

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Feed

100-round disintegrating link belt

Additional Specifications

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Effective range

800m light role, 1800m SF role

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Cyclic rate of fire

750 rounds per minute

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Manufacturer

Manroy Engineering (UK)

GPMG Footage

Members of 6 Rifles demonstrate the L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG). An essential addition to any infantry battalion.

In service since the 1960s the GPMG is frequently utilised in the Support Fire role, mounted on a tripod. It is also mounted on most Army vehicles and some helicopters.

Grenade machine gun

Overview

The Heckler & Koch 40mm Grenade Machine Gun (GMG) provides unrivalled infantry suppression combining the best characteristics of the heavy machine guns or light mortars usually employed in this role.

Conventional rifle ammunition provides no fragmentation effect and is largely not effective enough against advancing armoured infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks. On the other hand, mortars have the disadvantage of a relatively low rate of fire.

The GMG combines the advantages of both of these two types of weapons delivering high flexibility and firepower combined with the fragmentation effect of mortar ammunition.

The GMG is usually mounted on WMIK (weapons mount installation kit) Land Rovers but can also be used from ground-based tripods.

Weight and Size

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Weight

28.8 kg

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Length

1090mm

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Barrel length

415 mm

Specifications

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Calibre

540 x 53mm cartridge

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Muzzle velocity

241 m/s

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Feed

32 round disintegrated belt

Additional Specifications

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Effective range

1500 mm

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Manufacturer

Heckler & Koch

Heavy machine gun

Overview

The powerful L1A1 12.7mm (.50) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) is an updated version of the Browning M2 Fifty-cal - recognised as one of the finest heavy machine guns ever developed.

The HMG provides integral close-range support from a ground-mount tripod or fitted to a Land Rover using the Weapon Mount Installation Kit (WMIK) and a variety of sighting systems. The performance of the HMG has recently been enhanced with a new 'soft mount', to limit recoil and improve accuracy, and a quick-change barrel.

The HMG provides the commander with added capability at greater ranges (1500-2000m) when support from armoured vehicles is not available.

Weight and Size

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Weight

38.15 kg

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Length

1656mm

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Barrel length

629mm

Specifications

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Calibre

12.7mm

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Muzzle velocity

915 m/s

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Feed

50-round disintegrated belt

Additional Specifications

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Effective range

2000m

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Cyclic rate of fire

485 - 635 rounds per minute

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Manufacturer

Manroy Engineering (UK)

Light machine gun

Overview

Developed from the Minimi Light Machine Gun following experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, the LMG is a belt-fed suppression weapon. It provides the section commander with the capability to impose sustained suppressive fire on to an objective out to 300m and increases the overall firepower available to the section commander.

The LMG complements the Light Support Weapon and enhances the effectiveness of all section weapons across the spectrum of infantry operations.

Weight and size

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Weight

7.1 kg (8.5 kg with 100 rounds)

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Length

914mm

Specifications

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Calibre

5.56mm

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Feed

100-round disintegrating belt

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Effective range

800m

Additional Specifications

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Cyclic rate of fire

700 to 1000 rounds per minute

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Muzzle velocity

875 m/s

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Manufacturer

FN Herstal

Light support weapon

Overview

SA80 A2 light support weapon (LSW) has a heavier and longer barrel than the SA80 individual weapon allowing greater muzzle velocity and accuracy.

When fired from the integrated bipod and using the standard SUSAT sight, the LSW is accurate and consistent. It can fire 610 to 775 rounds per minute out to a range of 1000metres.

Weight and Size

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Weight

6.58 kg

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Length

900mm

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Barrel length

646mm

Specifications

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Calibre

5.56mm

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Muzzle velocity

970 m/s

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Feed

30-round magazine

Additional Specifications

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Effective range

800m

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Cyclic rate of fire

610 to 775 rounds per minute

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Manufacturer

Heckler & Koch

Guided weapons

Overview

Guided weapons features: the Javelin anti-tank weapon, which is primarily designed to destroy tanks and light-armoured vehicles, and the Next-generation light anti-tank weapon (NLAW) a short-range, easy to use missile that strikes tanks from above.

Javelin anti-tank weapon

Javelin, the medium range anti-tank guided weapon replacement for Milan, is an enhanced version of the American weapon proven on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by US forces.

Although designed primarily to destroy tanks and light armoured vehicles, Javelin will also provide a potent, all-weather, day or night capability against fixed defences, such as bunkers and buildings.

The integrated sight allows the operator to acquire the target, lock-on, fire and 'forget'. This means that as soon as the missile is launched, the firer can acquire another target or move position. Javelin has a maximum range of 2500m, and overfly and direct attack modes of operation.

Javelin is a crew-served weapon operated by a firer and a controller/observer. The controller/observer commands the weapon and assists with loading, identifying targets and battlefield damage assessment.

Javelin Specifications

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Weight

24.3 kg

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Length

1.39m

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Velocity

150 m/s

Additional Specifications

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Maximum range

2500m

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Manufacturer

Javelin Joint Venture

Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon

The Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) is the first, non-expert, short-range, anti-tank missile that rapidly knocks out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above.

NLAW utilises predicted line of sight guidance and has overfly top and direct attack modes, and it is easy to use, making it a valuable tank destroyer for light forces that operate dismounted in all environments, including built up areas.

It also has night vision capability and is designed for all climate conditions and environments.

NLAW Specifications

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Maximum range

600m

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Weight

12.5 kg

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Length

1016mm

additional Specifications

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Sighting system

Optical sight 2.5x magnification

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Shelf life

20 years

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Manufacturer

Saab Dynamics

NLAW Footage

2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment fire the Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW), the all-weather tank-busting missile.

Designed to be fired by non-experts, it complements the heavier Javelin missile carried by specialist anti-tank platoons, and is a significant addition to the infantry's firepower against tanks, armoured vehicles and bunkers.