...with this longer-range, stand-off rifle to use if they’re ever shot down

https://www.airforcetimes.com/...Early%20Bird%20Brief

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The Air Force isn’t necessarily known for its small arms programs, but aircrews are about to get a longer range stand-off rifle to use if they are ever shot down behind enemy lines.

The weapon is officially named the GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon. It’s a variant of the M4 carbine with a modified quick-release barrel designed by Cry Havoc, according to Maj. Docleia Gibson, an Air Combat Command spokeswoman.

“The [GAU-5A] and four full magazines, 30 rounds [each], must all fit in the ejection seat survival kit,” Gibson said in an emailed statement. “This has driven the dimension of 16 x 14 x 3.5 inches.”

That design gives pilots 120 rounds — about two magazines shy of a full load-out on a ground troop’s personal kit — during an evasion scenario.

Using a mid-length gas system on an M4A1 carbine extends the life of the weapon system and increases the weapon’s performance over a carbine-length gas system, a study found.

The unique barrel design can reportedly be assembled and fired in 60 seconds with no tools, “even in low light,” according to Cry Havoc’s website.

The assembly does not require a user to line up any tiny, hard-to-find gas access holes with a gas tube on the rifle, nor does it require a twist of the system. The rifle simply has a pair of quick releases where the barrel meets the main assembly.

Like the M4 carbine it is based off, the GAU-5A is a semi-automatic carbine capable of a three-round burst. It uses a standard 5.56mm round with an effective range beyond 200 meters.

“The [GAU-5A] is designed for all combat-coded ejection aircraft,” Gibson said.

That means it will be included in the survival kits of A-10, B-1, B-2, B-52, F-15C, F-15E, F-16 and F-22 aircraft.

The GAU-5A is being built and converted by the U.S. Air Force Gunsmith Shop at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. In total, 2,137 weapons are expected to be fielded, Gibson said.

The weapon is being produced at a rate of 100 per week, but some weapons are already in use, stowed away on-board aircraft.

Prior to the introduction of this weapon system, pilots who found themselves in a downed-aircraft scenario were forced to rely on their personal sidearm for self defense.

Earlier this year, a Russian pilot’s Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft was shot down over Idlib province in northwestern Syria. The pilot survived ejection, but died in an ensuing ground fight with Syrian rebels.

Such an event is rare given the lack of air-to-ground weapons used by insurgent forces in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, but it does highlight the dangers these conflicts still pose to aircraft providing close-air support, particularly strafing runs, for friendly forces.

That danger was evidenced by a recent Distinguished Flying Cross citation for an A-10 pilot who dodged “accurate surface-to-air fire” while providing close air support for U.S. troops fighting in Syria in January.

As the U.S. military prepares for an era of great power competition with more powerful state-level air forces, like those of Russia and China outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, the threat to aircrews may be returning to the spotlight.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

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This is super interesting to me, because I have a specific application.  Our cycle unit LT came to me and asked me about 10.5" rifles, which would be carried in the saddle bag.  My first inclination was against a 10.5" and stick with an 11."  The size of the saddle bag will only allow for a 10.5" gun.  I thought of a law folder, but he's going with a Blac Rac and the gun couldn't fit into the rack folded.  I was just going to do the 10.5" guns, but doing it right is going to be expensive.  If this Cry Havoc thing is all it's cracked up to be, I can just install it on a standard 16" and side step all the NFA and 10.5" bbl issues.

With an optic I know it won't matter, but would there be any issues with the BUIS maintaining zero? I'm watching the install video now, and getting as much info as I can.

Has anyone actually used this?  This is my first time hearing about such a thing.

Asr34 posted:

This is super interesting to me, because I have a specific application.  Our cycle unit LT came to me and asked me about 10.5" rifles, which would be carried in the saddle bag.  My first inclination was against a 10.5" and stick with an 11."  The size of the saddle bag will only allow for a 10.5" gun.  I thought of a law folder, but he's going with a Blac Rac and the gun couldn't fit into the rack folded.  I was just going to do the 10.5" guns, but doing it right is going to be expensive.  If this Cry Havoc thing is all it's cracked up to be, I can just install it on a standard 16" and side step all the NFA and 10.5" bbl issues.

With an optic I know it won't matter, but would there be any issues with the BUIS maintaining zero? I'm watching the install video now, and getting as much info as I can.

Has anyone actually used this?  This is my first time hearing about such a thing.

The manufacturer is claiming:

"The QRB is able to retain POA/POI as the barrel still "head-spaces" off the stock positions (our tests have shown accuracy retained to less than 1 MOA of original rifle setup!)."

http://www.cryhavoctac.com/qrb-kit.html

Or, you could go all JTF2 on them, and stick the optics on the 12 o'clock rail of the handguard.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

Aren't all "M4" carbines for the USAF GAU-5/As? Is there really no more specific designation? 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I think this is a great idea. 

As a flyer, the very LAST thing I want in an E&E scenario is to get into a gunfight... but if it's necessary, I want more than a pistol. 

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The Drive has a longer article, mostly ranting about other options etc as we would. But, a few nice photos to set context, and a video of (I think) the base takedown gun before the USAF specific bits.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-wa...under-ejection-seats

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Maybe I'm missing something, but how is this an advantage over an M4 or MK18 with the upper/lower separated, that's already in the system and proven?  Does it save that much space over a standard carbine?

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shoobe01 posted:

Aren't all "M4" carbines for the USAF GAU-5/As? Is there really no more specific designation? 

No. The old GAUs were CAR15s of various models. The M4 was adopted as the M4, just like they didn't adopt the M16 as a GAU. Being an aircrew specific weapon is prob why they went old school on the name.

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Joined: 6/14/03 1:02 PM

What is the bbl length on this? I'm confused about the mud-length gas system on what appears to be an already-short barrel. 

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Joined: 12-2005          Location: Central OK

theyre not working with much space, Ive got a couple photos of the original models that were made up, personally i would have gone with a pdw type stock and one of the short Troy AK style grips.

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sak45acp posted:

Maybe I'm missing something, but how is this an advantage over an M4 or MK18 with the upper/lower separated, that's already in the system and proven?  Does it save that much space over a standard carbine?

I agree. Take the upper off the lower, seal each half up in a vacuum pouch like an MRE. RRS, Rilfe Ready to Shoot.

Garg 'nuair dhùisgear

No kidding, why get fancier with a design than it needs to be? Two takedown pins and you're in business with a separated upper/lower. 

Never understood that with the "quick change caliber" designs either. Ehhhh the AR can already be changed in caliber pretty dang quickly. 

Are we really still using that "M4 Style" for back of a better term buttstock too? Has anyone tested durability of those against anything Magpul, BCM, B5 Systems, whatever? 

 

 

 

 

Joined:      14 January 2010                Location:  MAINE

The gun has to fit in a 16"x14"x3.5" space.

The Cry Havok device allows them to do that with a decent barrrel length and four 30 round magazines in a carbine configuration that will be familiar to most users, and in a common caliber.

The Law Tactical folder and/or just popping the pins on a upper/lower will not work with the same barrel length and still fit in the space required.

I don't see a problem with this, if it has been thoroughly tested, and I assume it has been.

I think it is a good example of thinking outside the box to fit inside the box.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

I can understand not wanting to have to mate an upper and lower in the dark, in the mud, while likely injured (it seems aircrew often are), when one can expect enemy closing on one's location soon after landing. 

However, I would think one would want a quick detach suppressor in this circumstance to help disguise one's location, even at the cost of one of the magazines.

On the photo I posted you can see a wire connecting the takedown pins. The idea is to have it in the seat pan in two pieces, if you have to deploy it, yank the wire to pull the pins, slap the receivers together and pop the pins back in.  Im pretty sure the adopted rifle in the OP will be stored the same way, it doesnt look nearly short enough to fit in one piece.

"A pirate is not the sort of a man who generally cares to pay his bills...and after a time the work of endeavoring to collect debts from pirates was given up."

          -Frank R. Stockton

Gunner posted:

...  Im pretty sure the adopted rifle in the OP will be stored the same way, it doesnt look nearly short enough to fit in one piece.

It will be in pieces, but pieces more easily aligned. I was aware of this from a different article which shows the stored configuration close to the end (detached barrel and folded grip):

http://soldiersystems.net/2018...e-small-arms-update/

That's indeed a useful photo, though apparently they sent the whole thing back to 1972 and took a Polaroid of it: 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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In service as of the other day at least: 

https://www.thedrive.com/the-w...-their-survival-kits

Looks like the exact config as in the OP. Takedown, funny folding pistol grip, iron sights only. Converting in house from extant GAU-5s, interestingly. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

The ASDW (Aircrew Self Defense Weapon) is being fielded as of now, as the training for aircrew/pilots/etc. has been developed, tested, and implemented.  My training section has been conducting Aircrew Shoot-Move-Communicate for about the last two years in preparation for the fielding of this weapons system.  There is a lot that has gone into the development of this program, and while I don't necessarily see the "need" for this weapons system, I am all for giving these guys the training and tools they need to increase their standoff and survivability given a worst case scenario. 

The reason for the strange design of the weapon is that it had to be created to fit in the existing space in a fighter jets ejection seat and field kit.  This necessitated the break down style of weapon, and the folding pistol grip.  The aircrew that has received the training has enjoyed it, and takes the ground combat aspect very seriously, but we let them know from the very beginning that , when possible,their priority should be to escape and evade rather than engage and defend.  

The SMC training we conduct is as realistic as we can make it while meeting Big AF's concept of training, and while there are some areas that need to be improved, it is decent in execution.  We cover escape and evasions drills (including getting our K9 teams involved), live fire weapons qualification, dry runs, blank fire to perform skills with feedback and malfunctions, and ultimately end with FoF with simmunitions.  It's never a bad thing being able to shoot some footie pajama wearers in the face with UTM rounds.  

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LOCATION: El Paso

I am glad the aircrew are taking the training seriously. 

I spent the second half of my military career as a CATM instructor in a Security Police Unit in the Air National Guard. (CATM stands for "Combat Arms Training and Maintenance") 

About 1999 or so I had to conduct familiarization training on the M9 pistol for a bunch of pilots from the Fighter Wing. There were a few of them that were actually paying attention, and the other three quarters were the most ill mannered, arrogant, irritating group of students I've ever had in (now) almost 37 years of instructing . . . what a bunch of clowns.

 I thought about making an issue of it and filing a complaint with the Wing Commander. I like battles like that. They can provide great humor. But I did not because I knew I was going to retire in April of 2000 and I reluctantly concluded that it wasn't a battle worth fighting. 

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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.  

 

LOCATION: El Paso

BJW182005,

Great to hear that real training is being done to maximize pilot's effectiveness, as well. I understand them sticking with an M4 variant shooting 5.56 for logistical reasons. Do you know why a suppressor wasn't included? I would think it would be important help mask one's location. Was the desire for 500m range deemed more important than might be achievable with the shorter barrel that including a suppressor might require? It looks like a 12.5 inch barrel currently--is that right? What do you think about that trade off?

davidwords posted:

BJW182005,

Great to hear that real training is being done to maximize pilot's effectiveness, as well. I understand them sticking with an M4 variant shooting 5.56 for logistical reasons. Do you know why a suppressor wasn't included? I would think it would be important help mask one's location. Was the desire for 500m range deemed more important than might be achievable with the shorter barrel that including a suppressor might require? It looks like a 12.5 inch barrel currently--is that right? What do you think about that trade off?

Suppressors are a luxury item they just dont really require.  An aircrew's primary concern in this type of situation should be E&E, not enemy engagement.  In the event they are compromised to the point that rounds are being exchanged, a suppressor will do nothing to help them.  It also is just not something they were able to fit into the kit as they are working with the limited space available in the ejection seat kit.  They did throw around the idea of an 8" 300 blackout with a suppressor, but again, the logistical issue of different ammunition coupled with the reduced ballistics just doesnt doesnt make sense, especially when their primary role is not kinetic engagement.  

LOCATION: El Paso

bjw182005 posted:

 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. 

 

BJW182005 ,

Can you elaborate on the potential failure points?  What could/should be done differently to make it better?  This thread has caught my interest because this seems to be a really good way of carrying a 5.56mm carbine with a 16" barrel in a small, inconspicuous day pack.  Separating the upper and lower receivers on a normal carbine leaves you with a pretty long upper unless you go with a 10.5" or 11.5" barrel.  Sure, you could find a bigger day pack but that kind of defeats the purpose of blending into an urban environment. 

I assume the USAF is using a standard M-4 barrel?  Is that correct?  What kind of railed hand guard is the Air Force using?

(EDIT:  I spoke to a nice gentleman at the company named Mike.  He tells me the USAF purchased BCM 12.5" barrels for their builds.  The rail is from Midwest Industries, a G3 10.5" M-Lok.  He cautioned me that the tube diameter on rails cannot exceed 2" or else the locking latches won't close properly.  The QRB system itself adds another 1.4" of overall length to the hand guard.  They've sold 3000 units to the USAF so far and about 1000 to civilians.)

The new BRN-180S shorty upper with a 10.5" barrel can be installed on an AR lower with a side folding non-NFA SIG MCX pistol brace.  It also makes for a pretty convenient package.  Take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKqnjXZDrrQ        

Overall length of the BRN-180s in the video link  is 21" with the stock folded according to Paul Levy himself.  

The longest length of the USAF rifle taken apart is probably around 15" and that would be for the upper and lower receiver with the stock collapsed.  The detached barrel assembly is a 12.5" BCM barrel with an A2  muzzle device so add another 1.2" or so.  

That is why the takedown rifle fits in the pilot's ejection seat bag that is only 16" long.)  

 

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