http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/poli...ear-old-riflesNew Zealand troops could be in line to have their 25-year-old Steyr rifles replaced.
Three years after the old rifles were found wanting in Afghan battlefield conditions, the Ministry of Defence is asking manufacturers for information on possible replacement weapons.
"[The rifles] have been assessed as near the end of their economic life and the capability no longer fully meets the operational needs," the ministry documents say.
The ministry said it was looking to advise the Government on options and costs. If approved, the new weapons could be bought between 2014 and 2018.
The army, navy and air force now have 13,000 Steyr rifles. They have been standard issue for soldiers on all major deployments in the past 25 years - including to Bosnia, East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The limitations of the Steyrs were highlighted in a report into the death of Lieutenant Timothy O'Donnell in Afghanistan three years ago.
The ministry said operations in Afghanistan "have identified a need to be able to conduct precision engagements at ranges greater than can be achieved with the current in-service weapon".
It said the Steyrs were "not powerful enough to identify accurately adversaries and ineffective at ranges greater than 200m".
The ministry said a key requirement was that the new weapon, fitted with suitable sights, could be used to detect, identify and shoot adversaries at close quarters and at distances of up to 500m in daylight.
It also must be capable of operations for prolonged periods in alpine and marine conditions and readily usable by personnel wearing a wide range of equipment, including body armour, Arctic gloves and respirators.
The Defence Force intends staying with the 5.56mm Nato standard cartridge used by the Steyr.
Manufacturers are being asked to indicate the cost of supplying 2000 rifles and whether there would be a discount if more than 2000 were ordered.
The Australian military is also looking to buy new assault rifles and has commissioned Thales Australia to develop modern variants of the Steyr.
So they want to be able to effectively engage the enemy at distances up to 500m but want to keep the 5.56 NATO?
I thought they were evaluating the FN SCAR Mk.17, also they did make the switch from a 5.56mm Minimi to the 7.62mm Minimi TR recently.
NZ tends to follow Aus. If the Aussies go with the Thales F-90 there's a high chance the Kiwis will.
But it's a moot point. It would be stupid if the ANZAC has two different type of service rifles. So we'll get what the Aussies are getting.
Does the NZ have more or less similar doctrine or role as the Australia?
Making the rifle more modular is certainly a benefit (Though with the 203 attached, it certainly looks clumsy). Maybe they should look at a different bullet design in 5.56 to achieve better terminal performance? The US Mk. 262mod1, M855A1 EPR and Mk. 318 SOST both passed JAG approval under the Hague convention standards, and both rounds are showing promise in both terminal effectiveness and the ability to successfully engage targets at range. For example, the Mk. 262 out of an 18" barrel SPR is claimed to have made successful hits and kills out to 800M. Methinks a lot of the "5.56 isn't enough" stuff has to do with the poor terminal performance of the M855/62grn "green tip" with regards to its inability to punch through many barriers and fragment under most circumstances.
7.62 certainly has a role to fill (effectiveness beyond 500M), but it's probably a role best filled by DMRs and medium machine guns in an infantry squad, as opposed to everybody going back to battle rifles.
NZDF tendered for an IW upgrade. Thales was the only respondent. Their tender was so large as to make it pointless given the remaining service life of the IW, upgraded or not.
The NZDF trains it's soldiers to engage targets out to 500m with the x1.5 IW as a standard. It's quite easy to hit targets out to 60mm with the same. I've trained many soldiers to do so. It's even easier with the ACOG equipped SP model. Terminal ballistics are another matter.
The days of blindly following Aus are at an end from a procurement perspective.
The ISWRUP program is more dynamic than that.
Yes, that has been noted.