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Tampa, Florida, USA – May 17, 2018: Arnold Defense, the St Louis based international manufacturer and supplier of 2.75-inch rocket launchers, is showing a concept named the “FLETCHER” 2.75-inch/70mm Weapon System at SOFIC, at the Tampa Convention Center, Florida, from May 21-24, 2018. The FLETCHER system can be mounted on land-based military vehicles as well as base defense platforms. The FLETCHER Laser Guided Rocket Launcher System can be seen at SOFIC on the BAE Systems booth SD33, where it is displayed on a Polaris DAGOR® ultra-light tactical vehicle for the very first time.

The FLETCHER concept is supported by a team of global defense industry companies collaborating under Arnold’s leadership to combine their complimentary expertise. Working together, the team is able to provide a full-system approach to FLETCHER ranging from design, validation, testing, manufacture and full system integration in a variety of ground-to-ground engagement scenarios.

FLETCHER is a unique design that allows for ease of operation, maintenance and sustainment in support of combat operations. FLETCHER employs an existing suite of guidance modules, rockets and warheads which are already used in well-known programs and are readily available to global forces. Working in-concert with world-class designation equipment, FLETCHER is a fully integrated weapon system that can engage targets at ranges up to 5 kilometers giving land forces capability that previously required the deployment of air assets.

Jim Hager, President and CEO of Arnold Defense said “Since launching FLETCHER in London, UK, last September, we have been showing it all around the world where it is garnering significant interest, especially from special operations military units. Our rocket launchers are already well-established on airborne platforms internationally. Transitioning onto the land (on both vehicular and dismounted roles) and also into marine environments, with FLETCHER, is a natural progression for us and will provide these forces with a completely new capability.”

“Engineering our own brass achieves a few goals,” said James Christiansen, Gunwerks COO. “First, it will improve quality and consistency. We have always sought out the best components available for our loaded ammunition. With this move, we can more tightly control tolerances and quality to produce the best brass and ammunition available.”

“This will also reduce component cost on brass, which will allow us to pass savings on to our customers, in the form of component brass for reloaders and loaded ammunition for our customers and precision shooters,” Christiansen continued. “It’s a win-win for all of us.”

Designed as the perfect brass for precision shooters, this cartridge brass features extreme consistency lot to lot and extremely tight tolerances. Optimized case walls and primer pockets afford high brass life for maximum number of reloads possible and uniform flash holes provide consistent ignition and low extreme spreads.

“Consistency is key,” said Mike Davidson, Director of Manufacturing Operations at Gunwerks. “Precision shooters and reloaders need components that eliminate or minimize variables in the equation. This new brass will produce the most consistent ammo available either in our Gunwerks loaded ammo or in your own hand loads. We don’t cut corners, so you know if we’re loading it in our own ammo, it’s good stuff.”

Last week’s NDIA Armaments Forum ended with a briefing by Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane, of what is this year’s most applicable topic, for both the US military as well as manufacturers of commercial AR variants. Last year Crane unveiled their findings regarding KeyMod vs M-Lok. This year it’s the performance of a mid-gas system on an M4 carbine.

NSWC-Crane, or Crane as it is commonly known, is located in rural Indiana. In addition to providing a wide range of acquisition services for the US Navy, they are also responsible for the test, evaluation, procurement and life-cycle management of SOF weapons. It’s in this role that they evaluated the mid-length gas system for United States Army Special Operations Command M4A1 carbines.

This decrease in distance from the bolt face to the gas port resulted in an increased port pressure in the M4 carbine when compared to M16 rifle. The port pressure of the M4 at 7.8” from the bolt face is 17,000 psi, while port pressure at 13” from bolt face of the M16 is 10,000 psi.

Interestingly, USSOCOM tests accuracy differently than most others. They fire 10 rounds suppressed and another 10 rounds unsuppressed. They measure the extremes of the spread of impacts, rather than their closest points. Then, they do it again two more times and average the results to determine accuracy.

For carbine-length weapons, 5 out of 65 malfunctions occurred during high temperature testing. For mid-length weapons, 1 out of 30 malfunctions occurred during high temperature testing. For high temperature testing, carbine-length weapons had 576.0 mean rounds between failures (MRBF) compared to 836.1 MRBF for ambient temperature testing and mid-length weapons had 2800 MRBF compared to 1993.8 MRBF for ambient temperature testing.

For carbine-length weapons, 27 out of 65 malfunctions occurred during low temperature testing. For mid-length weapons, 16 out of 30 malfunctions occurred during low temperature testing. For low temperature testing, carbine-length weapons had 333.3 mean rounds between failures (MRBF) compared to 836.1 MRBF for ambient temperature testing and mid-length weapons had 562.5 MRBF compared to 1993.8 MRBF for ambient temperature testing. Approximately half of the total malfunctions recorded for both carbine-length and mid-length weapons occurred during low temperature testing, so the relative rate of malfunctions between carbine-length and mid-length remained similar to that of ambient temperature testing.

This information is particularly important for the US Air Force’s Improved Modular Rifle – Blue program which templates off of upper receiver group improvements adopted by USASOC ( Brownells is offering a similar package for reference). While USASOC will upgrade up to 15,000 carbines, the AF wants to modify around 50,000 guns. That could be enough to force a major Technical Data Package update applicable to all services and creation of a GOTS upgrade for all M4s, regardless of service.