Friday, December 10, 2010

New Sniper Rifle for Troops in Afghanistan

The XM2010 Enhance Sniper Rifle will soon find its way into the hands of Army and Marine Corps snipers in Afghanistan. This is reportedly in response to recent data that shows the enemy are engaging the troops more frequently and from greater ranges than in the past.

A better rifle is a good thing, but it continues to annoy me that weapons and equipment seem to take an unacceptably long time to reach our troops. This latest example is defensive procurement as though the expansive, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan only recently revealed itself as a sniper's paradise. Why be on the defensive and wait and react to what the enemy is doing?

The troops should have long ago been given the weapons, training and initiative to go out and relentlessly hunt the enemy. In effect they have to beat the enemy at their own game because patrols that often serve as juicy targets for IEDs are not going to win the war.

(I have to point out that President Obama has made it pretty clear he is not really interested in winning, but only in turning the fight over to the Afghans.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Are Small Ticket Items Too Expensive?

Not too long ago I wrote about the disappointment of the new XM25 grenade launcher.  The tragedy is two fold: one, the weapon was to be a replacement for the M16/M4 and two, it was to fire standard rifle ammunition as well as the programmable explosive rounds. While the weapon is undoubtably an advance, it is more of a baby step than a leap forward as it will not replace any rifles and there will probably only be about four issued to each platoon.

High costs were cited as part of the reason the rifle/grenade launcher design was dropped and why the launcher is to be issued in small numbers. This is disturbing as there is money for billion dollar F-22s and submarines. Just a couple of days ago a new multi-million dollar littoral combat ship was commissioned. All of these big ticket items are great additions to our military, but then certainly money can be found for an all new weapon for every infantryman.