Reply to "The Air Force is arming pilots..."

In the opinion of Big Blue?  No.   They wanted the ability to use the 5.56 for a number of reasons.  They wanted the aircrew to have the ability to maintain an adequate "stand-off" distance (500m) from any aggressors, while keeping the 5.56 and 9mm round to maintain compatibility with friendly forces.  I think they created some failure points with the breakdown style, and collapsible pistol grip, but having fired the weapons, it is a decent step forward.  I have no doubt that this platform will continue to evolve over the next 5-10 years, and as newer technology is introduced, more options will be available.  

Creating a requirement for a "new" weapons system creates a whole other host of issues.  Procurement, ammunition allocations, training plans, etc., and all that comes AFTER they send ALL their CATM Instructors to courses to be able to maintain, service, and train shooters on this new platform.   

I will say this is a HUGE step up from what they had originally "created" for the pilots.  At the time, they simply took the GAU-5 and had the barrels chopped off IMMEDIATELY forward of the gas block.  No threading, no crowning, no muzzle devices.  It was insane to shoot, and while the pilots showed excitement at the prospect of a new system, they simply didn't understand how stupid this really was in execution.  And so the requirement was born for a purpose-built system.  

 

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