Industry News: V9N4

ATK Awarded MK44 Bushmaster Chain Guns to Lithuanian Infantry Fighting Vehicles

Orbital ATK announced that the company’s MK44 Bushmaster Chain Gun was selected by the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence to arm the Lithuanian Army’s new Vilkas 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles. The gun system will support air bursting ammunition that can defeat enemies hiding in protected positions.

Orbital ATK will deliver the first MK44 chain guns beginning in mid-2017. Upon contract completion, the company will have supported the integration of 90 cannons with Rafael’s Samson MKII Remote Weapons Station. The cannon’s increased firepower, coupled with the weapon station’s low-silhouette and ability to reload under armor inside the hull, provide greater crew survivability and effectiveness as compared to Lithuania’s current infantry fighting vehicle fleet.

“With an installed base approaching 2,000 cannons worldwide, our MK44 is sought after for its proven reliability and effectiveness by our allies fielding new systems or needing to upgrade existing platforms to meet growing threats,” said Dan Olson, Vice President and General Manager for the Armament Systems Division of Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group. “Our guns represent a commitment to working together with our nation and our allies to create and deliver superior armaments and services for those who defend their nation’s security.”

The guns come prepared to use Orbital ATK’s 30mm MK310 Programmable Air Bursting Munitions (PABM) for precise, point-in-space burst to defeat enemy targets in defilade positions. The cartridge offers air-burst, point-detonate and point-detonate with delay fuze settings. The PABM cartridge can provide lethal suppressive fire through its air-burst function or penetrate light-armor vehicles or reinforced concrete walls. The MK310’s delay function allows the round to penetrate a wall or fortified structure and burst on the other side, reducing collateral damage while increasing effectiveness.

USSOCOM Adopts Magpul M-Lok System

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) conducted testing for the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) to evaluate modular rail systems and provide a recommendation based on the performance characteristics of each system. Modular rail systems were evaluated for repeatability, endurance, rough handling, drop testing and static failure load. Where possible, handguards manufactured in different modular rail systems, but otherwise identical, were used as a basis for a comparative analysis.

All tested modular rail systems showed to be adequate for securing accessories during cyclic loading through endurance and rough handling testing. However, distinct performance differences were observed from repeatability, drop test and failure load analysis. Overall, test and evaluation demonstrated that the M-LOK modular rail system surpassed the performance results achieved by other modular rail systems.

In repeatability testing, M-LOK allowed for the repeated installation of the same accessory rail in the same location on a handguard with an average point of aim (POA) shift of 1.3 MOA, as low as one quarter the average POA shift observed by other modular rail systems. Drop test results demonstrated that M-LOK systems maintain securement of accessories to the handguard and sustain less damage from impact forces than some other modular rail systems. Failure load testing demonstrated that M-LOK systems support the highest load of all modular rail systems tested. In fact, the test equipment used to interface with 1913 accessory rails secured with the respective modular rail system across testing repeatedly failed prior to failure of the M-LOK attachment system. Even so, testing of the M-LOK systems failed at loads as high as over three times the maximum failure load of some other modular rail systems.

NSWC Crane recommended to USSOCOM that the M-LOK modular rail system be utilized over the alternative systems tested. USSOCOM has chosen to incorporate the M-LOK modular rail system in acquisition efforts.

In Memoriam

Brad Meyers, Founder of BE Meyers

Brad Meyers, the founder of B.E. Meyers & Co., passed away on March 21, 2017. Brad graduated from high school in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 1959, afterwards attending a semester of college before leaving to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and make his own way. Brad held a variety of jobs over the years, such as selling orange juice and encyclopedias door-to-door in the 1960’s, truck driver, grave digger, medical and scientific equipment salesman at Roemer-Karr, explosives technician at EXCOA, commercial diver at his company Controlled Dynamics, astronomer, night vision equipment manufacturer, and lastly as the individual that set B.E. Meyers & Co. Inc. on our current path of systems integration and advanced photonics. He was the consummate entrepreneur, and was unwavering in his positive outlook in life, passion for new ideas, and persistent pursuit of his goals.

Brad is mourned by his wife of 44 years, Nancy; sons: Clint and Matthew; daughter, Rebecca; grandchildren: Jack and Alena; son-in-law, John; and daughter-in-law, Nicolle. Brad was preceded in death by his father, Alfred Arthur Meyers and his mother, Mabel Heidtman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Jim Schatz

Jim Schatz, long-time industry icon passed on March 16, 2017. Jim’s career in the industry spanned four decades, and he served as a paratrooper (11B) with the 82nd Airborne, a shooter and instructor with the Army Marksmanship Unit, and most famously, as an senior level executive with Heckler & Koch. Through his time at H&K, he became known as the guru of all things HK. While at HK, Jim was a government sales representative, a training instructor, oversaw and managed the caseless technology projects that culminated in the G11 caseless ammunition rifle, development of the HK416 rifle, the XM8 rifle, the XM320 grenade launcher and the Mk23 Mod 1 pistol. In addition, Jim worked in the development of the USP pistol, MP5/10 and MP5/40 on behalf of an FBI requirement, the MP5-PDW, and the HK417 rifle. Simply, Jim was involved in nearly every major project that came out of Heckler and Koch from 1990 through the 2000s.

In his later life, Jim carried the standard for a new armament program for the modern US Army soldier and fought fiercely to get the best equipment in the hands of the infantry. In recognition of his substantial contributions to advancing the state of the art of the small arms industry, Jim was recognized in 2015 by the National Defense Industry Association with the Col. George M. Chinn Award, one of the small arms/weapons community’s highest honors. Jim was also a pioneer on exploring treatment for metals poisoning, and worked hard to raise awareness of that danger for shooters.