Manufacturers represented by UMO deliver high quality equipment operated by armed forces and uniformed services all around the world. During the presentation the most powerful weaponry always creates the greatest interest. Here one cannot really compete with Gatling-system multi-barrel machine guns. Modernized and digitized variant of the 7.62 mm M134 Minigun offered by Profense was premiered in Poland, during the event. The manufacturer claims that it is the most modern variant of the Minigun currently available on the market. The weapon, due to its high rate of fire, is broadly utilized onboard helicopters, fast attack boats or vehicles and it comes in a number of different variants.
Profense’s M134P Minigun has been refined on the basis of operational experiences – it is available as a weapon that is factory-new or as a mod-kit, with a price of around 50% of that applicable to a brand new weapon. Digital control system and thermal protection layer on the barrels are the most prominent features of this design. Thanks to the special design, the protective cover forces the air to move around and helps cooling down the weapon. As the feed system has also been enhanced, diminishing the risk of malfunction or jamming, the gun has become more reliable and accurate.
The operator using the Profense’s Minigun has a digital control panel at his disposal, allowing him to change the rate of fire between 1,500 and 3000 rounds per minute. This is very important as consumption of ammunition is very high when maximum rate of fire setting is used. This option allows the user to use less rounds when trying to hit the target in the initial phase of engagement. The operator can change the rate of fire using using just his finger.
The digital control panel also features embedded power-supply indicator and ammunition counter. The simple display constantly provides the user with the data on the remaining rounds – this feature is quite important as, in case of the maximum rate of fire, 50 rounds are fired every second. Thanks to the display the operator can control the quantity of ammunition left, without losing eye contact with the target. The gun was fitted with the Aimpoint MPS sight during the demonstration, designed for being used with medium and heavy support weapons.
Machine Guns from Ohio
Offer of the US-based Ohio Ordnance Works company was also presented in Zielonka, mainly including machine guns. These include modernized and refreshed “American classics”, such as two variants of the well-known .50-cal., the Browning M2 machine gun. It is a popular weapon that is used quite commonly, mainly on vehicles and aircraft. M2 QCB is the first variant showcased, featuring a lighter, quick-change barrel. This version offers rate of fire of 550-600 rounds per minute and has a quick-change barrel that does not require any special tools to be replaced. It is commonly utilized as a support weapon or as armament for the vehicles.
M2 in this variant came with a sight, or a ballistic computer to be exact - system. It fuses a collimator sight, rangefinder and a ballistic computer designed to be fitted on heavy weapons, be it a .50-cal. machine gun, 40 mm automatic grenade launchers or even Carl Gustaf anti-tank systems. After the relevant data for the given projectile and weapon is recorded within the system (several settings can be created), the system then measures the distance and takes the weather conditions into account as well.
Inputting the aiming point adjustments in an ongoing manner, in real time, enhances precision decisively, especially when engaging moving or distant targets. Aimpoint FCS greatly increases the probability of hitting the target with the first shot. Considering the pricetags associated with some systems and the projectiles (Carl Gustaf for instance), the sight can drastically reduce the cost of operation. There is also an option of integrating the sight with a dedicated thermal imaging system by Theon Sensors.
Aimpoint CompM5, meanwhile, was fitted onto the second version of the M2HB machine gun manufactured by OOW. It is a weapon that has heightened rate of fire - it shoots 850-875 rounds per minute. It has also been fitted with a heavier, air-cooled barrel. This variant has been designed, primarily, with helicopter applications in mind, as here the rate of fire is much more important and it also remains impossible to change the barrel easily.
12.7 mm guns were being presented with special purpose rounds delivered by CBC (Companhia Brasileira de Cartuchos). These included .50 Limited Range ammunition making it possible to train the soldiers at shooting ranges destined for 7.62 mm weaponry. These rounds can also limit the risk of collateral damage in urban combat. .50 Limited Range bullet has been carved and its effective range is limited to around 800 meters, without any diminishing of the stopping power. Standard .50 caliber rounds have twice as long effective range while the bullet can travel the distance of up to 5 kilometers. With the Limited Range rounds the equivalent performance figure does not exceed 3.5 kilometers.
Ohio Ordnance Works also showcased two classic machine guns operated by the US forces, among other users. These are the 7.62 mm M240 general purpose machine gun that replaced the legendary M60 and 5.56 mm M249 that is the American variant of the FN Minimi. In both cases we are dealing with proven designs, modified on the basis of 20 decades of experience, still being robust and reliable. Both guns in question were showcased with Aimpoint CompM5 sights.
Milkor – Father of the Multiple Grenade Launchers
Grenade launchers manufactured by the Milkor company from South Africa are another interesting offering. Milkor revolutionized the market - it was the first company to have its Milkor MGL 40 mm grenade launcher introduced in the inventory of the US Special Operations Forces. It is known under the designation M32 and the weapon is manufactured in many countries, on the basis of the very same design. Milkor is continuously developing its original solution.
Milkor SuperSix is the name assigned to the 6th generation of this system that is lighter, offers better accuracy and is capable of shooting 6 rounds in less than 5 seconds. SuperSix has been fitted with Picatinny rails that can accommodate optics such as the Aimpoint sight used. The weapon can fire a rich inventory of low- and medium-pressure rounds. Alongside the MGL system, Milkor is also offering a conventional UBGL underslung grenade launcher and a number of autonomous single shot grenade launchers within calibre range between 37 and 40 mm.