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Abbreviations


 

British Army - The Infantry - 5.56mm Individual Weapon (SA 80) - SA 80A2 - a5a15 - Armed Forces

THE INFANTRY

5.56MM INDIVIDUAL WEAPON (IW) (SA 80 & SA 80A2)

5.56mm Individual Weapon SA80

Designed to fire the standard NATO 5.56mm x 45mm round the SA 80 is fitted with a x4 telescopic (SUSAT) sight as standard.

The total buy for SA 80 was for 332,092 weapons.

Issues of the weapon are believed to have been made as follows:



Royal Navy

7,864

Royal Marines

8,350

Royal Air Force

42,221

MoD Police

1,878

Army

271,779


At 1991/92 prices the total cost of the SA80 contract was in the order of 384.16 million. By late 1994 some 10,000 SA 80 Night Sights and 3rd Generation Image Intensifier Tubes for use with SA80 had been delivered.

The SA 80 had a mixed press and following some severe criticism of the weapons mechanical reliability the improved SA 80A2 was introduced into service during late 2001.

SA 80A2

Some thirteen changes have been made to the weapon's breech block, gas regulation, firing-pin, cartridge extractor, recoil springs, cylinder and gas plug, hammer, magazine and barrel. Since modification the weapon has been extensively trialled.

In the mean time, before failure (MTBF) figures from the firing trials for stoppages, following rounds fired are as follow:

SA 80A2

LSW

UK (temperate)

31,500

16,000

Brunei (hot/wet)

31,500

9,600

Kuwait (hot/dry)

7,875

8,728

Alaska (cold/dry)

31,500

43,200

The first SA 80A2 entered operational service during early 2002 and these weapons were in service across the army by late 2004. The cost of the programme was 92 million and some 200,000 weapons were modified by the time the programme ended in May 2006.

The SA80 A2 can be fitted with the Heckler and Koch 40 mm Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) which is generally issued on the scale of two per infantry section (or one per four man fire team). This allows an infantry section to lay down HE fragmentation munitions up 350 m in front of their position. With six UGL available to an infantry platoon there is a major enhancement to their operational effectiveness.

5.56MM INDIVIDUAL WEAPON (SA 80) & SA 80A2 Specifications

Effective Range

400m

Muzzle Velocity

940m/s

Rate of Fire

from 610-775rpm

Weight

4.98kg (with 30 round magazine)

Length Overall

785mm

Barrel Length

518mm

Trigger Pull

3.12 - 4.5kg