Symposia at Shrivenham: the 25th Small Arms & Cannon Symposium

Noted Ammunition Specialist and author Anthony Williams testing the FN Herstal manufactured F2000 bullpup rifle in 5.56x45mm. Tony is an Editor for Janes as well as a long-time contributor to SADJ (Photo by Dan Shea).

As has been commented on before in this journal, there are two conferences that should be on the list of anybody in the small arms and ammunition community to attend.  While the bigger NDIA Small Arms Symposium held in the United States in May of each year is the larger, the Shrivenham Small Arms Symposium held at the Defence Academy in England is the focal point for European developments.

The smaller size of the Shrivenham Symposium gives it a more personal atmosphere though both Symposia provide a vital opportunity to ‘network’ and the 25th annual Small Arms and Cannon Symposium held in August of 2011 was well attended.  The programme consisting of short presentations on various subjects is now well established.  The symposium is spread over three days with the introductory welcoming presentation this year by Brigadier Mark Lacey, Head of Technology Division at the Defence Academy.  Commencing after lunch on day one, the following full day also includes practical range demonstrations and the opportunity for attendees to fire selected weapons on the local test-range facility.  Day three closes at lunch time.  Why days spread over three?  Experience and customer comments have shown that the current format allows, particularly European attendees, the opportunity to arrive on day one and depart after lunch on day three, reducing the need for extended overnight stays.  Shrivenham being conveniently situated within the catchment area of the three major London airports is ideally situated.

Located north of London, ISTEC Services has been supplying the UK MOD with specialist weapon mounts of its own design for over two decades. ISTEC also offers Platform Integration and sighting systems in its services and products line-up. www.istecservices.com

There were in all twenty-one presentations in the busy programme and the varied subject matter of the presentations covered the following subjects:

  • Global Overview of Small Arms Development – Richard D Jones, Editor Jane’s Infantry Weapons yearbook
  • UK Lethality Programme Update – Colonel Peter Warden, UK MOD
  • The Future Dismounted Close Combat Research Programme – Colin Rainment, SEA, Ltd.
  • Improving Explosive Effects at a Dismounted Level – Gregg Bazley, SDE, Ltd.
  • Reducing the Burden on the Dismounted Soldier – Jeremy Smith, Cranfield Defence & Security
  • XM25 and P30 Colour Marker – Markus Staiger & Hans-Jurgen Kron, H&K GmbH
  • What can a Social Scientist Teach the Small Arms Community about Weapon Design? – Dr Matthew Ford, University of Hull
  • Developments in Small Arms Ammunition – Tony Williams, Independent Consultant
  • No Place to Hide – Weapon Sight Technology to Enhance Small Arms Effectiveness – Steve Rickard, Qioptiq Ltd
  • 40mm Ammunition and Weapons from Rheinmetall Germany – Franz von Stauffenberg, Rheinmetall Weapon Munition, Germany
  • Rapid Acquisition of Crew Served Weapons Accessories – Jason Davis, NSWC Crane
  • Barrel Hygiene and Long Range Accuracy – Andrew Evans-Hendrick, Riflecraft, Ltd.
  • Long Range Ammunition Precision for Shooters – Janne Boström, Nammo Lapua OY
  • DISD Introduction – Jörg Wenderoth, Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics GmbH
  • Can your Femur Fracture even if a Bullet Doesn’t Hit the Bone?  –  Dr Debra Carr, Cranfield Defence & Security
  • Tungsten Carbide Material Research and the Development of Armour-Piercing Small Arms Ammunition – Thomas Mauritzson, Nammo Vanäsverken AB and Manfred Wolf, Kennametal Shared Services GmbH
  • FN FCU Fire Control Unit for 40mm Low Velocity Grenades – Michaël Barone, FH Herstal
  • State of the Art and Future in Thermal Imaging for the Dismounted Soldier – Andreas Peterhanwahr, AIM Infrarot-Module GmbH
  • The Canadian Vision of Future Small Arms – Major Bruce Gilchrist, National Defence Headquarters, Canada
  • The Development of Task Specific Ammunition for Special Forces – Stephen Higgs and Allen Clarke, Primetake, Ltd.
  • The Utilisation of Forensic Ballistics in the Battlespace – Andre Horne and Jack Tiernan, LGC Forensics

Accuracy International 7.62mm AX308 sniper rifle fitted with suppressor. www.accuracyinternational.com

New subject matter presented this year was the LGC Forensics “The Utilisation of Forensic Ballistics in the Battlespace” presentation, which covered forensic support in military operations in providing internationally acceptable court reports linking suspects to weapons and improvised explosive devices (IED’s), through the intelligence gathering activities of a forensic science provider.  Otherwise the main thrust of the presentations was the continuing development of sighting equipment to provide the war-fighter with an enhanced 24 hour capability across the range of equipment issued to today’s infantryman and the development of specialist small arms ammunition to further increase the effectiveness of small arms at greater ranges, particularly for the sniper.

A long-established feature of the Shrivenham Small Arms and Cannon symposia is the formal dinner held on the evening of the second day.  Long held in the adjacent Kitchener Military Officers Mess, times have moved on and the venue this year was the Steam Railway Museum of the Great Western Railway in nearby Swindon town.  The museum is situated in the renovated premises of the former Swindon Railway Works and guests were seated among the major and minor historic artifacts of the museum for an excellent four-course dinner, with pre-dinner drinks (with a chance to wander around the museum) and wine in abundance.  A good time as the British would say was had by all.

Small Arms Defense Journal would like to encourage the small arms community to lend their support to the XXVIth Small Arms & Cannon Symposium to be held in the last full week of August 2012.

Qioptiq is the largest UK manufacturer of night vision, image-intensified and surveillance optics. www.qioptiq.co.uk