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Machine guns

IMI Negev

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idf soldier with IMI Negev machine gun - IMI Negev

The Israel Defence Force adopted a heavy-barreled version of their standard Galil rifle as their squad automatic weapon and used it for several years, but in the late 1980s decided that a more purpose-built light machine gun would be preferable. One drawback of the heavy Galil was its fixed barrel, which made overheating, particularly in the Middle Eastern climate, an ever-present problem.

The Negev is a conventional enough weapon, using gas to drive a bolt carrier which contains a cam-operated rotating bolt. The bolt locks into a barrel extension, to which a quick-change barrel is attached by interrupted lugs. Thus, as soon as the barrel begins to overheat it can be rapidly changed for a fresh one, and the hot barrel allowed to cool. It also fires from an open bolt; the bolt is kept back by the trigger mechanism when the trigger is released so that air can flow  through the barrel and into the interior of the receiver and thus assist in cooling between bursts of fire.

The feed system can deal with belts, Galil rifle magazines, M16 rifle magazines by means of a simple adapter, and even some form of drum feed. No adjustments have to be made when changing from one system to another, and there are safeguards to ensure that in the heat of battle, nobody tries to load from two sorts of feed at once.

The gas regulator has three positions; in normal conditions position one gives a rate of fire of 650-800 rounds per minute; position two gives a rate of 800-950 rounds per minute, or, in dusty or dirty conditions, can be used to give more power to overcome fouling. The third position shuts off the gas to the gas system in order to permit grenades to be launched from the muzzle.

The Negev can be used as a light machine gun or it can be fitted with a shorter (330 mm) barrel to act as an assault machine gun or rifle. The gun can be easily and quickly stripped into six sub-assemblies, including the bipod. All parts, including the quick-change barrels, are fully interchangeable, and the receiver is prepared for sight mounts to accept any kind of optical or electro-optical sight.

Technical specifications of Negev Light machine gun

Manufacturer: Ta’as Israel Industries, Ramat Hasharon, Israel
Type: Gas-operated, selective fire
Caliber: 5.56 mm
Barrel: 18.1 in (460 mm)
Weight: 15.9 lbs (7.2 kg) empty
Magazine capacity: 30-round magazine or belt
Cyclic rate of fire: 650-950 rounds per minute

 

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Assault Rifles / Carbines

Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

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Exercito Portugues substitui a espingarda automatica G3

On the 20th February 2019, FN Herstal was awarded a major contract for thousands of assault rifles,  by NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the Portuguese Army.  The contract is for the 5.56x45mm  caliber FN SCAR L assault rifles. Included in this contrat, FN will also supply other guns, namely the FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 light and medium machine guns respectively, and the designated Marksman Rifle SCAR-H in 7,62x51mm.

C57I5366 4 640x427 - Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

The NSPA, is the main logistics and procurement agency of NATO and is able to handle and support procurement for member nations. NSPA described the contract as a ‘major milestone’ for the agency. The contract was signed by FN’s sales director and NSPA General Manager.

NSPA made a short statement:

“NSPA awarded today a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR® assault rifles and FN MINIMI® machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army’s.

The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR® assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI® 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories.

The Portuguese Army’s standard issue service rifle is currently a Portuguese license produced variant of the Heckler & Koch G3, while the MG3 and HK21 are used in the General Purpose and Light Machine Gun purpose. The exact size of this new contract and its worth have not yet been announced, but In 2017, when the program was released, the acquisition called for 11 000 assault rifles in 5.56x45mm. The value of this weapons package procurement would be €42.8 million ($50.3 million).

This is a major acquisition for the Portuguese Army as the old G3 Battle Rifles are outdated, even in its class, and are obvious not adequate for the assault role. This purchase does not only manage to replace the G3 Battle rifle with one of the best current assault rifles, if not the best, but it will allow that the Portuguese Army to change the fire dynamics of it´s small units, increasing firepower and combat capabilities and being able to have more Hit probability on the enemy.

C57I5761 3 640x461 - Portuguese Army new Assault Rifle: SCAR-L in 5,56x45mm

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Machine guns

FN Minimi

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FN Minimi light machine gun dubbed as the best machine gun in the world

The Minimi light machine gun was developed by the famous Belgian company FN Herstal, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Mass production began in 1982 in Belgium, and at about the same time it has been adopted by the US Armed forces as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

Since its introduction, Minimi has seen widespread service, and numerous variations have been developed. First, the Para(Paratroop) version came out, with a shorter barrel and tubular telescoped butt.This gun traded off some of the range and firepower for compactness and maneuverability. Quite recently, an SPW version was developed, which featured a Para-type buttstock, a barrel of intermediate length (between standard and Para models), and a Picatinny-type rail mount, which allows a wide variety of sights and scopes to be mounted.

fn minimi mk3 - FN Minimi

To save weight, the magazine feed option of the standard and para models has been discarded. This version, in a slightly modified form, was adopted by the US Special Forces Command (US SOCOM) as the Mk.46 model 0 light machine gun. The FN Minimi has an excellent reputation for reliability and firepower, and the latest reports on failures ofM249 SAW weapons in Iraq are attributed to the age of the weapons used – most of the current issue M249 in US Army are more than 10 years old and quite worn out. The FN Minimi / M249 SAW is an air cooled, gas operated, belt fed, automatic weapon.

The Minimi is operated using conventional gas action with the gas piston located below the barrel, and the barrel is locked using the traditional rotary bolt. The barrel is quick-detachable and has a carrying handle attached to it, to help for quick replacement procedure. The M249 has an alternative feed system, which allows using disintegrating metallic belts as a primary feed option, or M16-type box magazines as a backup feed option. The belt is feed using the top feed unit, the magazines are inserted through the magazine port, located on the left side of the receiver and angled down.

The Flip-up dust cover closes the magazine port when it is not in use, serving also as a belt guide.When the magazine is in place, this cover raises up and closes the beltway to avoid dual feeds and jams. Since the belt feed uses additional power to pull the belt through the gun, the rate of fire with the belt is somewhat slower (~ 750 rpm)than the rate of fire with magazine feed (~ 1000 rpm). The latest SPW and Mk.46mod.0 versions of the Minimi have no magazine feed module as a weight-saving measure. The belts are fed from special 200 rounds plastic boxes that can be clipped beneath the receiver.

All Minimi versions fire from open bolt to ensure optimal barrel cooling between bursts. The folding bipod is mounted under the gas chamber, and the gun has provisions for tripod or vehicle mountings. The open sights are standard, with the availability of wide variety of optical and night sights for SPW and Mk.46 versions with Picatinny rails.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS OF FN MINIMI

Standard model Para model Mk.46 mod.0 / SPW model
Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO
Weight 7.1 kg 7.1 kg 5.75 kg
Length 1040 mm 914 / 776 mm 908 / 762 mm
Barrel length 465 mm 349 mm 406 mm
Feeding belt or magazines belt only
Rate of fire, cyclic 750 – 1000 rounds per minute 750 – 1000 rounds per minute 750 rounds per minute
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