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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A while ago, G3 kurz started a thread on Future Individual Weapon(s) circa 2020-2025. I decided that since we discussed individual weapons on this board, what do HKpro members think will be developments in crew served weapons? What would incrementally superior crew served weapons in the next decade or so look like? What developments would increase the effectiveness of crew served weapons? Please keep the discussion civil.

One trend I see is that there are various manufacturers producing advanced sights for automatic grenade launchers. For example, STK (Singapore), Vingmate and Rheinmetall are producing fire control systems for the HK GMG and some of the FCS in conjunction with smart ammo give the HK GMG airburst capabilities. Also, there seems to be a trend towards lighter machine guns in all calibers. For example, USSOCOM uses the Mk46, which is a lighter version of the M249, there are various 7.62mm NATO LMGs like the Negev NG7, Mk48, HK121, M240L, the HK titanium M240 for the British (forgot the name, was it HK211?) and XM806. The Russians also seem to have an interest in lighter machine guns and have made the PKP Pecheneg and Kord. Recently, General Dynamics have made a .338 Norma medium machine gun that has similarities to the XM806. Is there more emphasis on dismounted operations in asymmetric warfare and is that one reasons towards lighter crew served weapons? I heard that during the Soviet Afghan conflict, crew served weapon operators accompanied Soviet squads when they dismounted but due to the weight of crew served weapons, the Soviet soldiers were not mobile enough to pursue insurgents.

Also, since HK produced the MG4 as part of the IdZ program, does anyone think HK will produce more crew served weapons in the future? What does HK have to contribute to modern crew served weapons?
 

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imo the M240G is the ultimate development of the crew served 30-cal belt fed MG. of course, i haven't had a chance to shoot an HK21 :wink:

i think that as long as we (US, NATO, etc.) are fighting desert wars, the trend will be toward larger caliber Machine Guns (HK21, M240G), not smaller caliber Machine Guns (HK23 and M249).

i understand the need for the M27 (?) (IAR) for urban warfare but i wonder if it is a move in the right direction for the next SAW. will it have enough firepower for when it is needed?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
imo the M240G is the ultimate development of the crew served 30-cal belt fed MG. of course, i haven't had a chance to shoot an HK21 :wink:

i think that as long as we (US, NATO, etc.) are fighting desert wars, the trend will be toward larger caliber Machine Guns (HK21, M240G), not smaller caliber Machine Guns (HK23 and M249).

i understand the need for the M27 (?) (IAR) for urban warfare but i wonder if it is a move in the right direction for the next SAW. will it have enough firepower for when it is needed?
Sorry I meant HK121 http://www.hkpro.com/forum/hk-nfa-talk/128379-new-hk121-7-62x51-machine-gun.html, not HK21.

From what G3 kurz has said before the IAR could maintain a rate of fire equal to or higher than the SAW due to mag changes vs belt changes when shooting on the move, etc.

My understanding was that the M27 IAR was better suited to replacing the SAW in the automatic rifle role rather than the light machine gun role. I'm not sure whether the USMC are only replacing the SAW in the AR role.
 

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imo the M240G is the ultimate development of the crew served 30-cal belt fed MG. of course, i haven't had a chance to shoot an HK21 :wink:
Probably because you haven't had a chance to torture a Browning 1919A4. Sure they're heavier than the 240, but for good reason. Durability. There is no way in hell that the 240 will be able to keep up with an A4. Even the vaunted Kent Lamont and his ex, Kathy who were famous for trying to melt down a pair of Mag-58s (virtually the same as a 240) and weren't able to run continuously without failures to feed, and minor parts breakages. They are nice guns and if possible, I WILL get one, however... Doug (who has the sole remaining transferable Mag-58/M240 sideplates) has already informed me that I can't treat it like I do my Browning. Oefinger said I WILL break parts by running my usual 8 to 12 250 round belts of 308 back to back as fast as we can load a new belt in. Told me flat out that his $87K gun won't perform as good as my $1700 A4... and replacement parts are spendy.

I kinda like watching not only the entire barrel turn cherry red, but the booster and almost half the barrel shroud as well. I can tell you when I get the gun that hot, all I have to do is crank one round in the chamber and just wait a second or two, and the gun will start running all by itself... but it still runs. Do that to a 240 and you'll be picking pieces up off the ground... like Kent Lamont.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Also, another interesting development was Cris Murray's MG02 universal machine gun. Mr. Murray's MG02 is basically a MG42 chambered for 7x46mm and uses RPD links (which are cheap and readily available and there is no need to design a new link). Weight is around 8kg empty. The purpose was to replace both the SAW and the M240 with one gun and one type of ammo.

In the 1980s (maybe it was the 70s can't remember for sure), the Soviets had developed a PKM chambered for the rimless 6x49mm cartridge, which was similar to the US 6mm SAW cartridge. However, I think the Soviets cancelled the project.

Also, the Chicom have issued a 5.8x42mm GPMG called the QJY88 or Type 88. IIRC, 5.8mm has poorer BC than the 6mm SAW. Not sure why they would issue something whose capabilities are similar to the M249 as a GPMG.
 

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Probably because you haven't had a chance to torture a Browning 1919A4. Sure they're heavier than the 240, but for good reason. Durability. There is no way in hell that the 240 will be able to keep up with an A4. Even the vaunted Kent Lamont and his ex, Kathy who were famous for trying to melt down a pair of Mag-58s (virtually the same as a 240) and weren't able to run continuously without failures to feed, and minor parts breakages. They are nice guns and if possible, I WILL get one, however... Doug (who has the sole remaining transferable Mag-58/M240 sideplates) has already informed me that I can't treat it like I do my Browning. Oefinger said I WILL break parts by running my usual 8 to 12 250 round belts of 308 back to back as fast as we can load a new belt in. Told me flat out that his $87K gun won't perform as good as my $1700 A4... and replacement parts are spendy.

I kinda like watching not only the entire barrel turn cherry red, but the booster and almost half the barrel shroud as well. I can tell you when I get the gun that hot, all I have to do is crank one round in the chamber and just wait a second or two, and the gun will start running all by itself... but it still runs. Do that to a 240 and you'll be picking pieces up off the ground... like Kent Lamont.
the only 1919 i ever had the opportunity to shoot was from a fixed tripod, so it was pretty tame. also, it was timed to shoot too slow, imo.

so i can't comment on the 1919 but i did spend a good amount of time with its brother, M2. the M2's shot way too slow, imo. i don't know how Hummer gunners manage to engage human-size targets with the rate of fire the M2 produces. the M240's rate of fire is like a zipper. shooting from a moving vehicle (in my case, we shot from gunboats going 25-40 knots) the M240 was a lot easier to walk in rounds to the target. by the time you walked in rounds with a M2, you were past the target.

we did have to practice more controlled burst discipline with the M240. for talking guns we were taught "butter butter jam". we were also taught "die m-fer, die m-fer, die m-fer, die" for longer 240 bursts. i think this was for walking fire but i can't remember for certain.

i do remember running 240 barrels so hot that you could see the rounds going down the barrel. the only thing worse than running a 240 barrel that hot was dunking it in salt water to cool it off. so i won't argue the barrel longevity point with you!

i honestly don't remember ever having a 240 go down (except for warped barrels), or a M2 go down (except for improper head space and timing). the M249's and MK19's were an entirely different story. the M249's needed a constant CLP bath and our MK19's could never get off more than one round without needing complete disassembly. on one occasion we made junior Marines link together M240 belts while trying to keep up with rate of fire.

if you ever need me to show you how to ruin or 240 barrel, break a transom on a Boston Whaler, or screw up a boat with Hamilton Jet drives, just give me a call. all three in the same trip will cost you extra, though.:41:
 

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There is a strong trend towards lighter CSW's in more efective (lighter, longer range) calibers. The US Army XM806 light weight .50 BMG caliber, the Lockheed Martine LWMMG in .338 Norma, the M240L with the Ti receiver, some of the work in Russia, China and Singapore on lightening 35mm and 40mm AGL's. Lots of development in lightweight cases still ongoing with some promising results in .50 BMG and smaller calibers. FCS's are also advancing to give greater first round/burst pH 24 hours a day. There are also many efforts ongoing to improve the performnace of grenade warheads as well as effective and cost effective airbursting ordnance.

The likely future CSW will be light enough to man pack with 1 or 2 gunners, allow for the use of longer range and/or more effective lightweight ammunition, have a novel recoil reduction mechanism to allow it to be safety and comfortably fired and incorporate miniature 24/7 FCS's and lightweight mounts.

It will be a M240-weight gun with the long range capabilities of a MK19 or M2HB.

HK currently has more different models of CSW's then they have ever had before. The MG4 variants in 5.56mm and GMG in 40x53mm. In 7.62x51mm the GPMG (HK211) and Ti receiver GPMG and the new HK121 - big brother to the MG4. Their work on 25mm air-bursting ammo with the XM25 could find a home in a CSW and their interest in medium caliber rifles could spawn a medium caliber CSW downstream.

G3Kurz
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for the detailed post G3 kurz!

Is AGS-30 the lightweight grenade launcher that you were talking about when you said Russia is lightening their AGLs? How did the Russians make the AGS-30 so lightweight? Is the receiver or tripod made out of aluminum or titanium?

Also, I found some specs for the Chicom QLZ04 on the internet: http://worldwide-defence.blogspot.com/2011/11/qlz04-35mm-automatic-grenade-launcher.html. Not sure if the specs are correct.

Also, what medium caliber rifles was HK interested in? Are they interested in .50BMG or 20mm? I remember that a couple of years ago, USSOCOM was interested in a 20mm Anti-materiel rifle: www.dtic.mil/ndia/2009infantrysmallarms/thursdaysessionxi8503.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #9
On HK USA's website it was stated that the HK GMG is available at a unit cost below the purchase cost of competing systems. Does anyone know what the unit cost of the HK GMG is when it's produced in volume? How does that unit cost compared to the Mk19? How is the service life of the HK GMG?
 

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On HK USA's website it was stated that the HK GMG is available at a unit cost below the purchase cost of competing systems. Does anyone know what the unit cost of the HK GMG is when it's produced in volume? How does that unit cost compared to the Mk19? How is the service life of the HK GMG?
In the early 2000's a GMG sold for less than a MK19 (under $24K) but the GMG price has since climbed. Not certain where it is today.

There is NO comparison between the GMG and MK19 in any regard other than the round they fire. They are in two totally different classes. It is an embarrasment to the tax payer and war fighters that we in the US continue to buy 1000s more MK19's without first considering other more modern and capable (and safer) AGL's like the proven GMG.

Side by side on the range in experience and novice hands the GMG kicks its ass soundly every time. Lots of units who can dumped the MK19 years ago and now field GMG's.

G3Kurz
 

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Discussion Starter #11
In the early 2000's a GMG sold for less than a MK19 (under $24K) but the GMG price has since climbed. Not certain where it is today.

There is NO comparison between the GMG and MK19 in any regard other than the round they fire. They are in two totally different classes. It is an embarrasment to the tax payer and war fighters that we in the US continue to buy 1000s more MK19's without first considering other more modern and capable (and safer) AGL's like the proven GMG.

Side by side on the range in experience and novice hands the GMG kicks its ass soundly every time. Lots of units who can dumped the MK19 years ago and now field GMG's.

G3Kurz
Thanks for the reply G3 Kurz. Since there are lots of efforts to lighten the M240 and I heard that the M240's bolt is similar to the StG44, has there been any attempts to construct the M240 with a sheet steel receiver and the machined long barrel trunnion like the StG44? Would the M240 be just as reliable if it was made that way? How would that affect durability?

My understanding is that the late WW2 German and Russian weapons and the M240 are based on different ideas/requirements. The former was built to be cheap, save critical resources and be disposable while the M240 is optimized for reliability and has a very, very long service life (100K I think).
 

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I have something to address with the original post:

The trend towards lighter and handier machine guns is nothing new. The development of the Mk46, Mk48, or PKP are fairly minor in the history of machine guns. Ever since WWI, everyone has tried to develop machine guns with as much firepower and reliability as before but lighter. A much more definitive generational shift in machine guns was the switch from water-cooled to air cooled between WWI and WWII. For the US, this meant going from the 1917 to the 1919, culminating in the 1919A6 which was fitted with a buttstock. Then we moved to the M60 which was even lighter and handier, but suffered reliability problems......so we went heavier to remedy that with the M240.

Efforts to make the M240 lighter are not new, either. When the M240 was first adopted by the US, the USMC chose to adopt the M240G which was a couple pounds lighter than the 240B. The USMC ended up going with the 240B in the end.

In my opinion, recent developments have absolutely no bearing on the most well-executed LMG ever. In the 1960's you had Stoner develop his own proprietary system which was used with great success by both the US Navy SEAL's as well as a Marine rifle batallion which field tested them in Vietnam. Redesigned it twice, known as the Stoner 86 and Stoner 96. Today, the Stoner 96 is marketed by KAC as the KAC LMG, and is a much simplified, less maintenance-intensive version of the original Stoner 63. It weighs about the same as an Ultimax 100 but is belt fed......truly an awesome LMG, and it was fully developed/realized a decade before the MK46 with roots to the 1960's.

I don't think it's fair to say that the late WW2 German and Russian weapons were built to be cheap, save critical resources and be disposable and not optimized for reliability. First off, cheap and quick manufacturing is always a design goal, including today. Second, one of the reasons the MG42 was designed is because the MG34 was too sensitive to foreign debris. The MG42 is a very reliable weapon with a very long service life. If it wasn't, and the design didn't fulfill the roles of a GPMG or MMG quite well, then the MG3 would not have been in service from then until now. The MG3 has several advantages over the M240, even.

So, to summarize:
1) Newer is not always better.
2) The "trend" towards lighter, more capable MG's is nothing new, and the current advances in service pale in comparison to the greatest leaps that were made before many of us were born.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I have something to address with the original post:


I don't think it's fair to say that the late WW2 German and Russian weapons were built to be cheap, save critical resources and be disposable and not optimized for reliability. First off, cheap and quick manufacturing is always a design goal, including today. Second, one of the reasons the MG42 was designed is because the MG34 was too sensitive to foreign debris. The MG42 is a very reliable weapon with a very long service life. If it wasn't, and the design didn't fulfill the roles of a GPMG or MMG quite well, then the MG3 would not have been in service from then until now. The MG3 has several advantages over the M240, even.

So, to summarize:
1) Newer is not always better.
2) The "trend" towards lighter, more capable MG's is nothing new, and the current advances in service pale in comparison to the greatest leaps that were made before many of us were born.
I'm not saying that late WW2 German and Russian weapons are not reliable just that they were also built to be cheap as well and that the M240 does have a very long service life. Just saying that different weapons are built for different requirements. From what Cris Murray has told me the advantage of the MG42 was that it could withstand high cyclic rates that tilting bolts (m240) or rotating bolts (PKM) could not withstand. Mr. Murray said rotating bolts like the PKM cannot withstand the rotational torque for a long period of time and have a shorter service life. The advantage is that they could be made from relatively cheap metal stampings and are easier to produce than machining. While poor reliability and complexity was one of the reasons the MG34 was replaced, cost was also a reason. As you can see by late WW2 German designs, all of them were designed to be made from relatively cheap and available sheet steel stampings and use minimal forgings. Roller delayed blowback was also invented to produce cheaper rifles at the time although they were not cheap anymore when Gene Stoner invented the rotating bolt AR-15 and Mikhail Miller (not Kalashnikov) perfected the sheet steel stamping technique for the AKM.
 

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I'm not saying that late WW2 German and Russian weapons are not reliable just that they were also built to be cheap as well and that the M240 does have a very long service life. The advantage of the MG42 was that it could withstand high cyclic rates that tilting bolts (m240) or rotating bolts (PKM) could not withstand. Rotating bolts like the PKM cannot withstand the rotational torque for a long period of time and have a shorter service life but the advantage is that they could be made from cheap metal stampings. While poor reliability and complexity was one of the reasons the MG34 was replaced, cost was also a reason. As you can see by late WW2 German designs, all of them were designed to be made from relatively cheap and available sheet steel stampings and us minimal forgings. Roller delayed blowback was also invented to produce cheaper rifles at the time although they were not cheap anymore when Gene Stoner invented the rotating bolt and Mikhail Miller perfected the stamping technique of the AKM.
\

Right, but the same thing applies to the M240. It was built to be cheap/simple to manufacture, just like the MG42 was built to be cheap/simple to manufacture. You're attributing traits to one gun in order to serve your idea that they were built for different purposes, when the trait should be attributed to both.

Also, roller delayed blowback was chosen by the Germans in WWII because it was infinitely more reliable than the gas-operated contenders.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
\

Right, but the same thing applies to the M240. It was built to be cheap/simple to manufacture, just like the MG42 was built to be cheap/simple to manufacture. You're attributing traits to one gun in order to serve your idea that they were built for different purposes, when the trait should be attributed to both.

Also, roller delayed blowback was chosen by the Germans in WWII because it was infinitely more reliable than the gas-operated contenders.
You are correct and the M240 is cost effective as well. But generally the price of the PKM and MG42 are lower than that of the M240. IIRC, the gov't price for the M240 was $12-14K or a bit lower. What I'm saying is that all guns are built to be cost effective to manufacture but the Russians seem to prioritize stamping, being disposable and even lower costs at the expensive of service life while the Belgians prioritized service life and reliability but still wanted a simple to manufacture and cost effective gun.

Roller delayed blowback was also chosen so it could be decentralized in production and use relatively inexpensive sheet steel and be assembled by less skilled workers.
 

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M995,

I'm not going to get into straw-man arguments. My post was addressing the misrepresentation of history. Trends towards lighter MG's is nothing new. The fact that the Mk46 and Mk48 were developed is pretty insignificant in the development of lighter MG's, they're nothing special, and objectively better platforms had already existed prior to their development.

Roller delayed blowback was also chosen so it could be decentralized in production and use relatively inexpensive sheet steel and be assembled by less skilled workers.
Yeah, that was a fringe benefit, and "also" was not the notion you originally purported. I think the fact that the roller delayed weapons actually worked and weren't returned in large numbers as being unusable was a much bigger reason that they were chosen over the gas operated designs. Again, misrepresentation of history and only attributing select traits to support your ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
M995,

I'm not going to get into straw-man arguments. My post was addressing the misrepresentation of history. Trends towards lighter MG's is nothing new. The fact that the Mk46 and Mk48 were developed is pretty insignificant in the development of lighter MG's, they're nothing special, and objectively better platforms had already existed prior to their development.



Yeah, that was a fringe benefit, and "also" was not the notion you originally purported. I think the fact that the roller delayed weapons actually worked and weren't returned in large numbers as being unusable was a much bigger reason that they were chosen over the gas operated designs. Again, misrepresentation of history and only attributing select traits to support your ideas.
I'm not going to get into an argument with you and I did not mean to misinterpret history.

Most of the books at RMC's library said Roller delayed blowback was due to cost and there are academic articles in my university library that say cost and ease of production is why the Russians switched from the AK47 to AKM. Also, for the cost of Russian and late WW2 German weapons, I think it would be best if you contact Mr. Murray directly.
 

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That's what most of the books at RMC's library say about Roller delayed blowback and there are articles in my university library that say cost is why the Russians switched from the AK47 to AKM. Also, for the cost of Russian and late WW2 German weapons, I think it would be best if you contact Mr. Murray directly.
Dude, you really need to stop throwing out red herrings.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Yeah, that was a fringe benefit, and "also" was not the notion you originally purported. I think the fact that the roller delayed weapons actually worked and weren't returned in large numbers as being unusable was a much bigger reason that they were chosen over the gas operated designs. Again, misrepresentation of history and only attributing select traits to support your ideas.
TGS,

My following post is not to start an argument with you and thanks for presenting more historical info. How was my second post on roller delayed blowback different than my original notion? For my 1st post I said roller delayed blowback (ie like the StG45(M) were cheaper than the STG44) and my 2nd post said Roller delayed blowback guns could be made from relatively cheap steel stampings rather than steel billets or forgings. My understanding was that the long trunnion on the StG44 was not stamped and was a relatively expensive part for wartime Nazi Germany to make.
Can you show me some evidence that roller delayed blowback is more reliable? I'm not trying to prove you wrong and just want to know your sources and learn more. In this post, G3 kurz states most of the reasons that roller delayed blowback was perfected: http://www.hkpro.com/forum/hk-long-gun-talk/131085-why-not-further-develop-g3-91-platform.html
 

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M995,

You keep intertwining irrelevant issues into your argument (I'm using the word argument in it's actual form, not it's negative connotation). For instance.....the AK-47 evolving into the AKM. Had nothing to do with anything I was addressing, nor did I ever say stamping wasn't cheaper. All that looks like is throwing out red-herrings in order to create a strawman. You said the roller-delayed blowbacks were chosen because they were stamped and thus cheaper and easier to manufacture.......which is a half truth. Then, you go ahead and add and "also" comment after I contradicted you so that your argument sounded more coherent and truthful. You've dragged this so far off from the 1st post I made in this thread by bringing up irrelevant information......at least, information that you haven't made any relevant connection with to my 1st post. I have no idea who this Mr. Murray guy you're talking about is, or why it's relevant to what I wrote. That's awesome that you have books at your university talking to the simplicity of sheet stamping manufacturing...I never contended that sheet-stamping manufacturing wasn't cheap or easy. I also don't know what it has to do with my 1st post in describing a brief overview of MG development and how trying to go lighter is nothing new.

So, I'm not going to dissect everything to show you why it didn't make sense. I think you should re-read my 1st post, and address what I was actually addressing.

As for German development of roller-locked weapons, a quick search about German weapons development during WWII will give you a good idea on where I'm coming from. I'm not going to get into it with you because it's so far off-topic from my 1st post....ie, a straw-man. I mean, just look at this, how did you get to talking about the trunnion of a Stg44 from my comment? Seriously? It has nothing to do with what I'm writing.

So here it goes again:

I have something to address with the original post:

The trend towards lighter and handier machine guns is nothing new. The development of the Mk46, Mk48, or PKP are fairly minor in the history of machine guns. Ever since WWI, everyone has tried to develop machine guns with as much firepower and reliability as before but lighter. A much more definitive generational shift in machine guns was the switch from water-cooled to air cooled between WWI and WWII. For the US, this meant going from the 1917 to the 1919, culminating in the 1919A6 which was fitted with a buttstock. Then we moved to the M60 which was even lighter and handier, but suffered reliability problems......so we went heavier to remedy that with the M240.

Efforts to make the M240 lighter are not new, either. When the M240 was first adopted by the US, the USMC chose to adopt the M240G which was a couple pounds lighter than the 240B. The USMC ended up going with the 240B in the end.

In my opinion, recent developments have absolutely no bearing on the most well-executed LMG ever. In the 1960's you had Stoner develop his own proprietary system which was used with great success by both the US Navy SEAL's as well as a Marine rifle batallion which field tested them in Vietnam. Redesigned it twice, known as the Stoner 86 and Stoner 96. Today, the Stoner 96 is marketed by KAC as the KAC LMG, and is a much simplified, less maintenance-intensive version of the original Stoner 63. It weighs about the same as an Ultimax 100 but is belt fed......truly an awesome LMG, and it was fully developed/realized a decade before the MK46 with roots to the 1960's.

I don't think it's fair to say that the late WW2 German and Russian weapons were built to be cheap, save critical resources and be disposable and not optimized for reliability. First off, cheap and quick manufacturing is always a design goal, including today. Second, one of the reasons the MG42 was designed is because the MG34 was too sensitive to foreign debris. The MG42 is a very reliable weapon with a very long service life. If it wasn't, and the design didn't fulfill the roles of a GPMG or MMG quite well, then the MG3 would not have been in service from then until now. The MG3 has several advantages over the M240, even.

So, to summarize:
1) Newer is not always better.
2) The "trend" towards lighter, more capable MG's is nothing new, and the current advances in service pale in comparison to the greatest leaps that were made before many of us were born.
 
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