Weapons and Kit

Equipment Changes Aim To Make Infantry Soldiers More Mobile

Infantry soldiers are set to be more mobile than ever before, with new weapons and armour designed to be more efficient.

At the Infantry Trials and Development Unit at Warminster, the British Army have been showcasing some of the changes made to existing equipment.

The Ministry of Defence is keen to anticipate future kit demands based on likely future operations, with the Wiltshire-based facility key to that strategy. 

The new aim is to make equipment lighter and more adaptable in order to free up soldiers - allowing them to be more mobile and more efficient. 

The SA80 A3 is one of the upgrades made,
The SA80 A3 is one of the upgrades made.

One of the biggest changes is the removal of the Light Machine Gun from an infantry soldier's arsenal. 

"The Light Machine Gun was procured for a very specific environment," explained Lieutenant Colonel Nick Serle, Commanding Officer at the Infantry Trials and Development Unit.

"We've found that in the environment we're now facing ourselves, or using it in, that the range it reaches out to - 250-300 metres accurately - is just not far enough.

"And we can achieve the same terminal effect on the enemy using our rifles.

"Using one or two rounds rather than bursts of three or four or five rounds is more efficient and it reduces the weight and the burden on the soldier.

"We're constantly trying to shave just grams off the weapon systems, off the kit we carry.

"There's one way of doing it, which is to carry one battery for perhaps all the kit that is on your body, or on your weapon, or on your helmet, so we're looking in those areas."

Inside Virtus is building on Osprey body armour used in Afghanistan.
'Inside Virtus' is building on Osprey body armour used in Afghanistan.

'Inside Virtus' is a new type of body armour, which builds on the positive parts of Osprey body armour used in Afghanistan. 

The new armour is a modular system - meaning adaptations can be added/removed depending on the situation. 

Designs are focusing on interoperability. 

Dismounted Situational Awareness is still being developed and aims to give soldiers an interactive map of their and others' locations, as well as being used for communication and more. 

Data capability on the battlefield is something the British Army has been focusing on in procurement.  

The SA80 A2 has been upgraded to the new A3 variant which brings improved accuracy.

The team at the facility stress people matter most and that it is about striking the right balance between equipment and soldier.