Weights Savings Contribute to Operational Flexibility
NAMMO has developed a polymer-cased .50 BMG round, with polymer replacing approximately two-thirds of the case, only the brass head remaining in that material. The two parts are mechanically connected and the round – which is already 27% lighter overall – comes with a polymer link that saves a further 7% by comparison with a more traditional metal strap link.
The weight saving imparted by the round – which is fully compliant with MIL-DTL-10190F – is particularly noticeable when deployed from a light helicopter such as the AH-6 Little Bird or H145M LUH SOF. The weight savings translate to greater fuel carriage and therefore a greater operational radius, while other advantages lie in constant internal volume and higher accuracy.
Since the new material also absorbs and transfers less heat from external sources – such as sunlight – or internal – when firing – barrel temperature is significantly reduced, thus reducing wear. This also means that 5% less powder is needed for the same velocity. Otherwise, the conventional projectiles continue to be used, which are available in different versions (ball, tracer, API, API-T, multi-purpose or reduced range).
The launch customer is the US Marine Corps (USMC), which is currently using the new cartridge in the final stages of tactical testing.
André Forkert reporting from Paris for MON