KUALA LUMPUR: As the army contemplates the fact that it has to continue using the Steyrs for the foreseeable future as the economic crisis had dashed its plans to purchase more M4s, South Korea is set to produce its Airfield Rifle. I know it looked clumsy but its certainly make a good impression.
We had the chance to develop our own small arms industry but these dreams were dashed by greedy minds and hopeless meandering. And now the army and the armed forces stand on the brink with no solution in sight. Sigh. Lets hope our friends stay friendly….
The K11 “multiple purpose” rifle developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development (ADD) will be produced by S&T Dawoo and deployed in the field late this year, it said in a news release.
The plan was approved by DAPA’s supreme decision-making body presided over by Defense Minister Lee Sang-hee, it said.
“South Korea has become the first nation in the world to operate a battle rifle using precision-guided high-explosive airbursting projectiles,” said the release. “The K11 is expected to be a key defense export item, as well as help boost the South Korean military’s operational capability to an extent.”
The K11, modeling the U.S. XM29 Objective Individual Combat Weapon, whose development was canceled in 2004, consists of a semi-automatic 20mm smart grenade launcher, an underslung assault carbine firing a standard 5.56mm NATO round, and a top-mounted computer-assisted sighting system with integrated laser rangefinder, and thermal infrared night vision capabilities, according to ADD officials.
Under a self-detonation system, the 20mm round from the rifle can trace its target and explode three to four meters above it, and it is also capable of penetrating walls of buildings, they said.
The weapon has an effective range of 460 to 500 meters. The per-unit price is about 16 million won ($11,800).
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Do you know whether the AUGs are “supportable” in terms of spare parts? (Since SME and Steyr are not in good terms, I guess)
Marhalim: I do not know what is happening presently but several years ago I was told by ex-SME that the army was already canibalising parts from the original batch of AUGs purchased in the late 80s to maintain its current inventory. Apparently the Austrian-made AUGs were not happy when fitted with the Malaysian parts and the same goes for the Malaysian-made AUG, they are not too reliable when fitted with Austrian made parts. The ex-employee said this was because due to different qualities in materials for fabrication. Since I have only experienced Malaysian-made AUGs – which were proned to jamming in in-experienced hands – I have not been able to make a real comparative testing…..
The Army canceled the support contract for the AUGs with SMEO after the meltdown of SMM Sdn. Bhd. This left them in a bind since they could no longer buy parts from SMEO nor could they make use of any of the final tranche rifles sitting in warehouses. They have been operating solely on residual parts and cannibalization for almost 5 years now.
In the mean time, the AUG line has been dismantled and largely discarded in Batu Arang. Even the GFM hammer forge, the ‘jewel in the crown’ is in pieces in an open lot. Even if they wanted to restart production, there is almost no way to do so without a massive reinvestment.
This will never happen under NADI as the management is only interested in get rich quick ideas. That was the idea behind the M4s of course, to hit up the tax payer for another big chunk of money for yet another rifle line, a la AUG which was very profitable since the taxpayer paid for everything and then a nifty profit margin. All in the name of national self-sufficiency in strategic capabilities.
Sekarang ada major problem with the M4 plan because the government is so strapped for cash. There is no way that MINDEF can afford to pay for the kind of major investment in an all new line so the M4 project is gantung with only 11,000 rifles delivered. Yes, only 11K and not 14K as announced. Worse, they are lacking everything, rails, lights, lasers and most importantly optics so that units transitioning to the weapons are having to relearn the use of irons and generally shooting rather poorly as a result. Compounded by a shortage of G10 in the system, they are having to shoot M193 which isn’t so happy with 1 in 7 barrels sometimes.
Basically now the Army has 3 service rifles, M16A1, AUGA1 and M4A1 and no depth of support for any of them. There is no third line support available so when they lose bolts etc…the guns deadline.
Everything the Army is facing is self-inflected because they could not decouple from the vested interests of NADI. They were given the custodianship of SMEO and the rifle plant by the government and pissed the latter away, leaving the Army to pick up the mess and then did it again.
Marhalim: The funny thing about the whole mess is that the army top brass, present and former, are on the board of directors of SMEO as does the other services. I remember when I was introduced to one of these directors, he seemed to know me by reputation and gave me a glare, he did not say, just a glare. Since he did not say anything, I guess he did not have anything bad to say to me. However, the big boss did gave me a hose down in an earlier encounter and threatened to sue (this was about Airod) though he never did….
MR T, Whoa! You really are well informed about the AUG saga or shall I say fiasco…
A number of questions, does Steyr still produce the AUG for export? I read that Ecuador has bought the AUG A3. Also, are the sights on the army Steyrs the same as those fitted on Australian, Kiwi guns?
Marhalim: The Aussies are using ACOGs and Horus Vision tactical scopes
Thanks! Whats an “M10” that Meester T refers to btw?
Sorry I mean “G10”.
G10 is the factory designation for SS109 clone made in Batu Arang.
during DSA 2006, I spoke to the now where has it gone to Vita Berapi boss himself. He mentioned that his company had the capability to make M4 rifles at cheapo price if given the opportunity to do so by the gomen. Other than that, VB also had it’s own design of assault rifle, sub-machinegun, sniper rifle to name a few…. but why the gomen just ignore this local capability and let it disapear in time?
Marhalim: Yes he also said the same thing to me, but since we are not China, we cannot simply copy things even if we had the capability (unless its an emergency). Moreover shortly after that DSA, SME Ordnance obtained the rights for the local manufacture of M4 so whatever aspirations VB had its wasnt good enough especially when the former are basically being managed by current and former armed officers generals….
The VB products were not locally design but those hawked by designers and companies from former Soviet clients (I cannot recall which one its either Ukraine or Belarus), it wasnt a capability just a promise of capability, Since that DSA, VB has gone quite, I am not too sure what is the status of the company..
VB was a farce. They had wooden models of the most ridiculous designs imaginable.