7.62x51mm Vs. 5.56x45mm

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TITLE: 7.62 mm Versus 5.56 mm - Does NATO Really Need Two Standard Rifle Calibers CSC 1986 SUBJECT AREA General 7.62 mm Versus 5.56 mm - Does NATO Really Need Two Standard Rifle Calibers? I. Purpose: To reestablish the 7.62mm NATO cartridge as the optimum rifle caliber ammunition for the U. S. and NATO. II. Problem: NATO recently adopted the 5.56mm as its second standard rifle caliber cartridge. As a result, the existing NATO standard, the 7.62mm, has been relegated to a secondary supporting r
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  7.62 mm Versus 5.56 mm - Does NATOReally Need Two Standard Rifle CalibersCSC 1986SUBJECT AREA GeneralTITLE: 7.62 mm Versus 5.56 mm - Does NATO Really Need TwoStandard Rifle Calibers? I. Purpose: To reestablish the 7.62mm NATO cartridge asthe optimum rifle caliber ammunition for the U. S. and NATO.II. Problem: NATO recently adopted the 5.56mm as itssecond standard rifle caliber cartridge. As a result, theexisting NATO standard, the 7.62mm, has been relegated to asecondary supporting role within NATO's armed forces.Although the selection of the 5.56mm was based on extensivetesting, research, and documented battle performance, thisintermediate power round is not the optimum ammunition andcaliber for U. S. and NATO forces in the contemplatedbattlefields of the future.III. Discussion: Proponents of the intermediate power5.56mm have continuously compared their smaller cartridgeto the large full power 7.62mm. The results of thesecomparisons purportedly show the superiority of the smallerammunition in the areas of penetration, lethality, weaponportability, and fire power. Careful examination of thesetests and the touted advantages of the 5.56mm, however,shows that the 7.62mm is still potentially superior to thesmaller round. For example, in the NATO tests, researchershave compared a modern, semi-armor piercing round ofammunition (5.56mm) against a standard ball cartridge(7.62mm) that has not been improved since its adoption in1953. An improved 7.62mm NATO, using the same technology asthe 5.56mm, would definitely out-perform the smallercartridge. With respect to portability, second generation7.62mm rifles are smaller, more compact, and verycomparable to certain 5.56mm weapons. Concerning firepower, any full automatic fire with light assault rifles,even with the low-recoil 5.56mm, is not effective and onlyresults in a waste of ammunition. In addition, newtechnological developments in body armor may soon defeatthe penetration capability of the small 5.56mm. Newdevelopments in optical sighting equipment will soonincrease battlefield engagement ranges and thereby exceedthe long range accuracy capability of the smaller 5.56mm.The large case and projectile of the 7.62mm, however, aremore than sufficient to accept significant improvements inpenetration, lethality, and long range performance. This  will allow the 7.62mm to remain effective on futurebattlefields.IV. Conclusion: The 5.56mm will, at best, only be aninterim NATO standard. Due to its small size, furtherimprovements of the 5.56mm will be insufficient to keep upwith the changing requirements of future battlefields.Overall, the older 7.62mm NATO is a better standardcartridge since it has the capacity and the flexibility tobe significantly improved and thereby remain effective.V. Recommendations: The 7.62mm NATO cartridge should bedeveloped with current technology to improve itspenetration, lethality, and overall-performance. Modernweapons systems should be further developed to utilize the7.62mm. No, NATO does not need two standard rifle calibers.  Major Vern T. Miyagi Conference Group 6RESEARCH PAPER Title7.62mm Versus 5.56mm - Does NATO Really Need Two Standard RifleCalibers? Thesis StatementAlthough the selection of the 5.56 x 45mm cartridge wasbased on extensive testing, research, and documented battleperformance, this intermediate power round is not theoptimum ammunition and caliber for U. S. and NATO forces inthe contemplated battlefields of the future.I. Significance of the ControversyA. Thesis statementB. Method of analysisII. Evolution of the Intermediate Power Cartridge ConceptA. GermanyB. Soviet UnionC. United StatesIII. Development of the Two Standard NATO CartridgesA. 7.62 x 51mm NATOB. 5.56 x 45mm NATOC. NATO trialsD. Concepts of employment - NATOIV. Comparison of the 7.62mm With the 5.56mmA. Physical characteristics and ballisticsB. PenetrationC. Portability and weightD. FirepowerV. AnalysisA. Problems with the NATO comparisons and tests  B. Factors not considered in the NATO testsC. Effects of technological advances in opticalsights and body armor on the initial intermediate powerconceptsD. Potential for improvement and development -5.56mm v. 7.62mmE. Lethality of improved round is reducedF. Potential ineffectiveness on NATO scenariobattlefields 7.62 mm Versus 5.56 mm - Does NATO Really NeedTwo Standard Rifle Calibers?On 28 October 1980, after more than four years ofextensive testing at the German Infantry School atHammelburg, Federal Republic of Germany, the NATO SmallArms Test Control Commission (NSMATCC) approved thestandardization of a second rifle caliber cartridge. Thecartridge selected was the intermediate power 5.56 x 45mm(.223 Caliber) and the improved Belgian version, the SS109,was selected as the basis for standardization.1 As aresult, NATO now has two standard rifle caliber cartridges,the full power 7.62 x 51mm NATO (.308 Caliber), in servicesince 1953, and the new intermediate power 5.56 x 45mm NATOadopted in 1980. Although the selection of the 5.56 x 45mmcartridge was based on extensive testing, research, anddocumented battle performance, this intermediate powerround is not the optimum ammunition and caliber for U. S.and NATO forces in the contemplated battlefields of thefuture. Let's examine the concept of intermediate powerrifle ammunition, the evolution of the two standardNATO rifle cartridges, their advantages and disadvantages,and discuss why the older, full power 7.62 x 51mm NATOcartridge can better satisfy the present and futuretactical needs of the individual NATO rifleman.The concept of intermediate power rifle cartridgesbegan in Germany prior to World War II. The standardGerman rifle cartridge used since 1888 was the full power7.92 x 57mm which propelled a 198 grain bullet at a muzzlevelocity of 2,550 feet per second (fps) or 773 meters persecond (mps). Comprehensive studies of the actualdistances over which rifle fire was employed and of themarksmanship capabilities of the average Germaninfantryman, especially during the heat of battle,convinced German researchers that a smaller, substantiallyless-powerful, and lighter cartridge would be more thanadequate. In addition, the adoption of smallerintermediate power cartridges would allow the developmentof shorter and lighter rifles, the ability to carry more  rounds of ammunition, and the enhancement of accuracy dueto lighter recoil. German research for a new intermediateround commenced in 1934, and in 1938 a new intermediatecartridge was adopted and designated the 7.9 mm InfanterieKurz Patrone (7.9 mm Kurz) . This cartridge propelled asmall 125 grain bullet at a relatively moderate muzzlevelocity of 2,100 fps (636 mps), Paralleling the evolutionof the 7.9 mm Kurz was the development of a new, compact,select-fire rifle chambered for the new ammunition. In1940, two designs were accepted for field testing and wereextensively used on the Russian front. The final version Sturmgewehr or assault rifle, the MP43, was adopted in1943 and significant numbers were produced prior to the endof the war. This weapon utilized a thirty round magazineand could provide both semiautomatic and full automaticfire. Although the MP43, with a fully loaded thirty roundmagazine, was more than three pounds heavier than thestandard bolt-action Kar 98k rifle, the new weapon'sperformance in the field was excellent due to the terrificfirepower now available to the German infantryman.2The effectiveness of the new rifle and ammunition didnot go unnoticed by Soviet forces, especially since theywere the first recipients of its firepower. Capturedrifles and ammunition were carefully studied, and in 1943an intermediate power cartridge designed by Sovietengineers, N. M. Elizarov and B. V. Semin, was adopted bythe Soviet Union. This cartridge was designated the7.62 x 39mm Model 1943 and consisted of a 125 grain bulletwith a muzzle velocity of 2,200 fps (667 mps). Due towartime materiel and production shortages, the first weapondesigned to use this new ammunition, the SKS Carbine, wasnot adopted until 1946. One year later, the famous AK-47,designed by M. Kalashnikov, was formally adopted by theSoviet armed forces.3 In 1974, a product improved versionof the same basic design, the AKS74 rifle, was adopted bythe Soviet army. The AKS74 is chambered for a new 5.45x 39mm (.221 Caliber) cartridge, very similar to our own5.56 x 45mm NATO. The Soviets also adopted, at the sametime, a new 5.45mm squad automatic weapon, called RPK74.4These recent changes in Soviet small arms development arevery important because they closely parallel the small armsconcepts of the U. S. and NATO.Like the Germans and Soviets, the U. S. alsoexperimented with intermediate power cartridges duringWorld War II. Designed as a replacement for the pistol andsubmachine gun during World War II, the U. S. .30 CaliberM1 and M2 carbines fires lighter and smaller .30 caliber
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