Army demonstrates new LSAT lightweight machine gun

Lightweight Small Arms Technology over at SoldierGeek:

The LSAT program has been run out of the Armaments Reserach, Development, and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal for several years. It’s original goal was to produce a lightweight machine gun aimed at the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon role, by redesigning both weapon and ammunition from the ground up. The program was later restructured to look at lightweight small arms technology applications in multiple roles, to include carbines, using the lightweight LMG as the technology demonstrator.

Go check it out. SoldierGeek was involved in some early work on the project and has some good personal thoughts. And if you don’t have him bookmarked or in your RSS feed, fix that problem right now.

Here’s an overview of the LSAT:

Lightweight Small Arms Technology (LSAT)

Lightweight Small Arms Technology (LSAT)


  1. so a thermo plastic bullet case that gets consumed when it fires.

    Does it produce some sort of acid that might rot the barrel?

    Or left overs that effect accuracy?

    1. I’d also be concerned about inhaling vaporized plastic; this is usually a very bad thing. Also would the casings warp or melt in high temp climates such as Iraq?

  2. The casing for the 120mm tank gun uses a plastic body, with a brass stub for its base. The melting/vapourising of the case lowers the heat transmitted to the chamber walls.


    1. I’d imagine the tech can be transfered to different calibers. 5.56 is the NATO standard, so it’s the obvious place to start. The effectiveness of 5.56 is a whole different can of worms and surely not the concern of this program.

  3. Previous attempts at using caseless ammunition had issues with heat build up. Now if this newer round removes some heat with the vaporization of the casing material I would ask how it stacks up against traditional cased ammunition. It does no good to save weight going into a fire fight when you overheat your weapon in half the time.

  4. “special rotating chamber design”? Is the same chamber that was used on Colt revolvers? It seems to me this design has some serious flows, unless they have found something to fix these drawbacks. Are they trying again to use some “revolutionary” designs (as it was the direct impingement design) that will afterward shows it flaws? Obviously, after some years of using it extensively, after hundred of casualties, etc.

    It remind me a joke: In the era of space conquest, the Americans found out that out there, in the space, they need a special ballpoint to write in the absence of gravity. They spent four year and 3.5 billions for the reasearch, tests, calibration, and they eventually came out with a pen that was able to write upside down, under the water, in the vacuum, in the absence of gravity, and so on… The Russians came out with another solution, that costed them abot 0.45$. They delivered a pencil.


      Also, NASA’s ‘space pen’ was a private project:


  5. This looks nice on the surface but in the end its going to be a couple of billion in development money down the tubes. The Pentagon needs to buy decent current bulpup rifle, and lmg and stop the scifi dreaming.
    If the United States isn’t careful we will end up with a couple of dozen fantastic planes, and a similar amount of ships instead of the right numbers. 1500 multiple fighters. 10 heavy carriers, and 20 light, carriers, and 75 destroyers and 200 frigate.

  6. I don’t understand why they have to try all the new ideas at once.

    Why not retrofit each new concept separately to an existing weapon and try it out, determine which ones work and which don’t, before trying to build all the ideas into one uber-weapon?

    Surely that would be easier and cheaper…

  7. They’re STILL pushing Caseless Ammo?

    It seems that no one recalls all the M551 Sheridan and M60A2 “Starship” tanks that blew-up when their ammo got a little too hot — or, for that matter, the military experience with Unitary Cartridge ammunition in field conditions BEFORE the brass casing was invented.

    Without metal casings to insulate those rounds, that 100-round box is a “Cookoff Claymore” waiting to happen, just inches from your face.

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