Lightweight equipment

Much has been written about the infantryman's burden and the resulting tactical restrictions (and health problems) - including here.

I did a self-experiment over the last year or so: I attempted to compile - using open source intelligence only - a list of equipment that could fit budgets of most European states, serve the purpose (admittedly in the framework of my opinion of what needs be done) and is vastly more lightweight than the stuff in actual use.

The list of items both on my list and selected by the Bundeswehr didn't grow long:
  • LOWA mountain boots (not lightweight, but I didn't find as fantastic ones at lighter weight)
  • Panzerfaust 3-IT round (not lightweight at all, but its weight is excused by necessity)
  • Esbit solid fuel
  • flare gun (astonishingly I didn't find an as capable, yet more lightweight one than the old P2A1)
  • ID "dog tags" (you better not make them of anything other than a thin sheet of stainless steel, for aluminium alloys may melt and punching titanium alloy sheets might be more troublesome for marginal weight savings)
  • NYXUS Bird forward observer multi sensor
  • 5.56x45 mm calibre (with old-style not very heavy ball bullet)
  • ball pen (no kidding - it's more important than much else)
The list of problems is about as long; I didn't find really suitable items in the categories
  • short flak vest (with little overlap to some kind of frag belt)
  • multitool (with the right combination of tools - most multitools seem to be made for electricians)
  • backpack
  • "kleine Kampftasche" (large pouch attached on the belt in the rear) and pouches in general
  • cold weather gloves (I found a pair that is fine, but not rugged - on the other hand, I consider gloves as consumables anyway and there's not much weight-savings potential)
  • infantry hand/rifle grenade (I couldn't find an appropriate successor to the by now primitive Polyvalent MDF)
  • minimalistic NBC mask (not a full one, but one carried during a conflict when NBC attacks are possible, but most unlikely. It's meant to be fine for an hour and fold better and weigh less than a full one. Replacement by full NBC mask once NBC attacks become likely or confirmed.)*
The bags weren't found because I cannot tell if all items would fit in. No suitable flak vest was found because the fashion moved away from flak vests and I didn't find any vest that was short enough to complement a wide ballistic-rated carrier belt. The grenade and mask things weren't found because such concepts are simply not accepted widely.

I was also astonished that I couldn't find better night vision monoculars than the already quite aged PVS-14. It seems that development did hit a ceiling in this area and turned towards more performance** instead of towards lighter weight and less power consumption. Much of the PVS-14's weight and size seems to stem from the ruggedisation rather than from the night vision functionality anyway.

I noticed that in order to get lightweight equipment you seem to need to
  • not seek maximum performance (especially weapon range and protection, this also helps regarding costs)
  • use mostly less than 10 years old equipment (munition types are the oldest items on my list)
  • avoid wintertime

Wintertime is troublesome because of extra weight for extra insulation by clothes/sleeping bag/insulation mat. It may also disqualify fuel cells as main relief from battery weights (they don't work at less than -20°C), deep snow makes snowshoes and/or ski equipment necessary for much dismounted movement. Overall, essential individual winter equipment may easily weigh 5 kg more before adding a proper tent.
Summertime may also be somewhat more troublesome than spring or autumn because of how much more water you may need to carry.
_ _ _ _ _

Here are some of the lightweight items I settled on for the list

Rafael Spike SR - a standalone ATGM munition that needs no separate launcher, not even a bipod. Easy use. Weighs less than some unguided much shorter ranged munitions. It can be trusted against AFVs other than modern MBTs (especially in their frontal 60°).
under 10 kg

M4 Carl Gustaf - the 4th iteration finally is lightweight. The weight of rounds is light compared to bazooka-style weapons of comparable warhead weight and lesser range. The fire control accessory should be the Aimpoint FCS 12, the de facto successor to Simrad's IS 2000 sight. This sight weighs half as much as one round, so it's a great investment if you miss less often with it.
about 6.7 kg + FCS about 1.6  kg

Ultimax 100 Mk 8 (light) machinegun with its proprietary 100 rds drum and quick change barrel - a LMG doesn't get lighter, and the drum is fine if only every squad gets a tool to assist with reloading the drums. The proprietary drum weighs about 720 gram; three drums for 300 rds weigh 2,160 grams while ten 30 rds magazines for 300 rds would weigh minimum 3,500 grams. (The company's own marketing brochure is about older, less improved versions.)
4.9 kg without optical and night sights or a spare barrel + its pouch

ArmorSource LJD Aire (regular cut) - a helmet with NIJ level IIIA protection rating and full coverage at record light weight. It grows about twice as heavy with night vision adapter and night vision monoculars, of course.
850 grams without external accessories

Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm Large sleeping pad (can be reduced to little over one litre size)
570 grams

Mountain Hardware Hyperlamina Flame sleeping bag - synthetic filling that doesn't lose much effectiveness when damp, not suitable for deep frost without extra layers of insulation (straw, additional textile covers, tent).
1,110 grams

Esbit ultralight folding titanium stove The normal solid fuel folding stove weighs almost 100 grams. Individual solid fuel tablets weigh 4 grams. 
11 grams. This weight was no typo.

Esbit 750 ml Ultralight Titanium Cooking Pot The FireLite SUL-1100 is bigger and weighs 20 g less, but this one appears to be more practical and fits to the stove for certain.
106 grams

Esbit ultra lightweight titanium cutlery set 
42 grams

Sawyer MINI water filter - filters almost 100% of bacteria/protozoa issues out and is suitable for filtering water for storage in containers. This should reduce the need for water resupply or boiling of poorly filtered water.
57 grams

Surefire G2X-D Pro flashlight - lower output power setting for map reading, low power consumption due to LED technology. Military flashlights should NOT be attached to weapons.
125 grams with batteries

Getac V110 ruggedized notebook
1,980 grams

Nikon COOLPIX AW120 ruggedized digital camera with integral GPS and digital magnetic compass (for documentation purposes, not reconnaissance. It is discontinued already; the AW130 is the current successor model. Downside; temperature range ends at -10°C.)
213 grams

Steiner Safari UltraSharp 10x26 binoculars (small, affordable and lightweight, but better than many old military binoculars. I mean this to be issued to every army NCO and officer, and to be handed over to soldiers on security duty. Needs laser filter in front of objective lens for military use. Downside; temperature range ends at -20°C.)
297 grams without laser filter

Zeiss Victory 10x45 T* RF (high quality binoculars with laser rangefinder. For infantry platoon leaders. Needs laser filter in front of objective lens for military use.)
995 grams with battery, but without laser filter

NYXUS Bird MR with tripod (forward observer sensor; thermal camera, laser rangefinder, digital magnetic compass & military GPS in one. One per infantry platoon or scout squad).
1,600 grams with battery

Redfield Rampage 20–60x60mm Spotting Scope with tripod (non-angular design, relatively cheap and lightweight. Needs laser filter in front of objective lens for military use. There are better ones, but the quality difference is less relevant than how widely such spotter scopes are used at all. Every infantry platoon should have one.)
1,055 grams without tripod or laser filter

Compare this with what your country uses instead. The items listed here will almost always be substantially more lightweight, often times at superior performance compared to the legacy equipment.

So it IS possible to reduce the soldier's load by much if you don't use old equipment and muster the self-discipline needed to be satisfied with 80-90% performance.

It was confirmed in this research that technological advances often were exploited for increased performance instead of first and foremost for decreased weight. It's no wonder that after hundreds of years of technical progress we still burden the infantry to the limit. Agility, speed and endurance are biological, not technical - and not considered as output (performance) of equipment worn. Those items which were developed for minimum weight were not used widely.

I think it's similar with motor vehicles; you COULD standardise and achieve great ranges (500 km off-road) if you really wanted to, but different trade-offs are preferred.


*: The ER 2000 comes close, but is still much too bulky. I think of a transparent plastic film hood with filter and a snorkel-like mouthpiece which includes the exit valve. A separate nose clip and the use of external dust goggles to prevent fogging of the hood in the field of view complete it. The dust goggles solution may not work with some flat face shapes (common among East Asians) because the plastic film would there be pressed on the eye. The filter size would be minimalistic for at most 1 hour duration at little physical effort (120 kg man + equipment, walking with occasional 50 m jogs).
**: Wide field of view installations, thermal vision, combined nightsight/thermal vision, night colour vision.


  1. I highly advice you to drop the inflatable sleeping pad, simply because it is inflatable. Yes, you do save some volume and weight, but that means nothing when it is punctured, which causes it to be useless. I have some experience regarding winter survival, and I learned the hard way how easily those are destroyed (lost two). Compared to a simple foam one. So just go with a lightweight foam, with one side colored green. It can simply be cut out for ease of production, and almost can't be destroyed.

    1. Fair point on the sleeping bag, we also had folding foam panels in the Bundeswehr. They were no good, though.
      On the other hand it's possible to have spares in vehicles and you can create a sleeping pad out of straw. The tiny package size also means that fragmentation is somewhat unlikely to pierce the collapsed pad and a few punctures can still be repaired with a repair kit.
      Last but not least, even though everyone would carry one if he's got his backpack, not everyone would need one at the same time. So there's some surplus that compensates for some attrition.

    2. Weird, when I was sleeping with my squad under probably the worst tent setup you have ever seen, with the temperature being -12 and a snowstorm was raging outside, I slept comfortably in just my underwear in my sleeping bag.

      I am not concerned about the sleeping pad being pierced by shrapnel, but rather by pretty much anything you put it on. Branches, rocks and in general sharp objects.

      Yes in theory the inflatable sleeping pad is much better, but in practice it has it's drawbacks. You trade superior volume, and insulation for price, durability and flexibility.

      To produce these foam sleeping pads you only need a machine to roll some foam flat, spray paint it and then cut it into rectangular pieces. While the inflatable sleeping pad takes a much more advanced production method.

      The foam sleeping pad can also be used as flooring on a tent. This is common practice for us, as we lay them with a slight overlap to create a "floor" in the tent, with only the "garbage area" and the "cold hole" left uncovered. It can also be used as a ceiling on a bivouac, or to help camouflage a position. Very helpful as walls too.

      But it terms of weight, yes you are right, and nothing beats it.

    3. With my little bit of experience I would also emphasize useful soft factors that foam comes with:
      - is deployed faster in more places (naps, overwatch, sitting on the roll)
      - can be layered or fixed together better
      - should work fine as quick IR concealment
      - is more quiet

  2. I investigated the same topic since some years. In my opinion, you can achieve great weigh savings with the boots, the backpack, the sleeping bag/sleeping equipment and the armour/protection equipment. If you spare much weight their, you can spend it to weapons / firepower.

    Moreover it is not only a question how much a item weights, but where you carry it. The same weight has a very different strain for the body if you distribute it differently. For example: 1 kg on the feet has a very similar strain for the whole body like 5 kg in a good backpack on the back and so on.

    And you do not need every item listed here for every soldier. For example: a Trangia Cooking Set weighs more than your esbit solution, but is much better (especially in worse conditions) and you can carry one for 4 soldiers and then the weight per soldier is lower. Moreover this cooking device could be easily improved to become even more lighter.


    Or for example: instead of a water filter for 60 grams (which can and will mechanically fail) you could use Micropur Forte and desinfect 10 000 Liters of Water with only 100 grams of it.

    Or for example: you do not need a 10x in a binocular. Moreover, this makes the binocular to heavy, to unwieldy and restrics it in other ways. A 8x is superior, and lighter.

    But away from the details: if you spare much weight with your backpack, your boots, use no sleeping bag at all, and share other equipment (stove, tarp etc) with your comrades, amazing weight savings can be achieved. And skills spare weight. The better your "outdoor" skills, the more you can spare in equipment.

    So i think you are not radical enough in this context, still to committed to the traditional approach (Lowa Mountain Boots et al)

    PS: The Ulitmax 100 Mk8 has no quick change barrel and you cannot use the drums with it. The weapon must be modified to use them. Moreover the Ultimax drums are a pain in the ass - very difficult to load and the fail to often. And 4,5 kg are not leightweight too. Moreover more weight is a plus for a machine gun (physics) because the weapon can absorb more recoil and more heat if it is heavier. Otherwise the Ares Shrike would have replaced every other machine gun with only 3,4 kg, drums, mags and belt feed.

    A quick change barrel also costs precision which is perfectly fine for a machine gun, bot not for a rifle.

    PPS: perhaps you should take a closer look on the Steyr STM556, Quick Change Barrel, and lighter.

    1. Chemical water disinfection causes diarrhea with many people because it kills the gut flora too.

      I expected critique about the Ultimax. 4.5 kg IS lightweight, it competes with MG4 and Minimi in that role, not with the American IAR nonsense. I explicitly wrote about spare barrel and drum because they belong to it, and making the gun suitable for both requires no development effort because it's about reverting changes made. The drum is highly reliable, and I addressed the loading issue by mentioning the drum loading tool and its dissemination. The Ares Shrike is way too high unless it loses the magazine option, its rate of fire is too high and its burst dispersion is much greater.

      I preferred the fully ambidextrous and lightweight ARX-160 as rifle.

      8x22 saves a mere 14 grams over 10x28. I prefer the 10x binocular.

      Finally about those boots: You gotta have worn them to understand; they feel like custom-made. I didn't mean them as all-year boots anyway. Summer boots can be much more lightweight.

    2. The Ultimax should have no issues with recoil, James Sullivan designed it around the constant recoil concept. In fact, during American military trials it was highly praised for that reason. However, there might be some concerns with its reliability (kind of similar to the brilliant Stoner 63 in that regard).

      I personally think there is nothing wrong with the IAR concept. At least I consider it better than using a machine gun in a way that completely negates all its pluses and leaves mostly the negatives. AFAIK, Americans don't use quick change barrels on their SAWs and they are used essentially as just another (rather heavy) rifle with slightly better rapid fire capability (which is actually on par with the IAR). Why even bother with it then? Leave the gunning to proper machine gun teams with proper equipment and doctrine.

      If you truly wanted to save weight on guns, then start losing the cumbersome stuff on them. Is it necessary to have a forward grip on all the time? A mounted torch? A laser designator/illuminator (especially when red-dot sights should work just as well with night optics)? Is it even all that necessary to have a quad-rail? Maybe simple slotted (like m-lok) polymer handguard would work just as well? People often don't realize that the original AR-15/M16 models are still some of the lightest guns around.

      I'm also not sure whether having all those utensils is necessary. What about the rather common FRH? It should work just fine in most climates, with the added bonus of reduced heat signature. In really cold climates it makes more sense to just heat water/snow because the food would need to be freeze-dried anyway. And those titanium cutlary items could easily be replaced by a simple plastic spoon or maybe even the multitool. My grandfather used to have a neat hunters knife, which included a fork, a can opener and other various tools.

      I'm also not convinced you would actually need a rugedized laptop. That laptop will spend most of its time in places like these:




      Or maybe at worst here:

      None of this really requires anything beyond a slightly higher quality business laptop. A regular Thinkpad T460 would probably be cheaper, weigh less, have a better screen and better battery life. Even the US army uses fairly regular Dell laptops for most of its management related tasks. Logistics and bluforce tracking would be relevant up from the company level. Anything below that should be handled with radios, regular GPS/compass and maps. If you really wanted to go fancy, you could employ this:


      Or maybe at most this:


      Regular infantry doesn't really need anything beyond that. So there is really no point in complicating their lives with useless stuff.

    3. Remember I preach that infantry should break contact 2-3 minutes after being discovered. This means very short, intense firefights. Ultimax fits this much better than IAR, which really is a mere assault rifle with a bipod.

      The laptop from the list is actually COTS, and wouldn't belong to an infantry platoon but to support small units and Bn HQs.

    4. Oh, I don't doubt your concept and how the Ultimax fits into it, just stating that the IAR came about because of the ineffective way the US military keeps using the SAW. I'd actually argue that the way the IAR is employed is much more similar to a DMR than an LMG. The reasons for such a direction are probably deeply ingrained in the way the US military thinks about rifles. They have always had a bias towards marksmanship and accuracy, whereas the Russians tend to favor volume of fire. So, instead of changing the doctrine to fit the tool, they changed the tool to fit the doctrine.

      The laptop might be COTS, but it is needlessly expensive. The Getac V110 is around $3000, the Thinkpad T460 can start at $700 (and even that is quite expensive). I don't see any practical reason why buying the more expensive option would be justified, especially when the service life of a laptop is fairly limited.

    5. The Americans like accuracy on shooting ranges, but are known for volume of small arms fire in combat. I've heard American infantrymen praise their fire discipline and marksmanship only seconds apart from claiming that 300 rds is the minimum combat load for a rifleman.

    6. @SO:

      I used Micropur Forte for several years and never heared about diarrhea as a problem, because it uses chlorine and silver for desinfection and the chlorine becomes hydrated after some time and therefore did not kill the guts flora.

      The STM556 weights abolut 3,5 kg, which is 1 kg lighter, and has a quick change barrel. The lightweight Ultimax Version Mk8 you recommended has no quick change barrel.

      Instead of drums (which are not reliable with the Ultimax as you claim, i know this weapon personally) i would recommend Casket Magazines. Drums make the gun more heavy and unwieldy than a casket Mag, but the Casket also offers a higher Mag Capacity.

      For your doctrine of short intense fire fights, you do not necessary need a spare barrel. But as mentioned: the Mk 8 has no quick change barrel and so it fails in this aspect according to your doctrine. For the STM556 you could use a Spare Barrel (if you want).

      PS: i own lowa mountain boots since 1997, and walked hundreds of miles in them in extreme terrain and even in hot/humid climate.

      Netherless i would prefer Inov-8 Roclite 286 as a soldier in a war scenario.

      PS: i think that you can spare an immense part of equipment if you have the right / better skills. The more bushcraft / outdoor skills a soldier have, the lighter (and fewer parts) the equipment can become. So one should not only look at the equipment for it alone, but in a holistic approach on the soldier and its skills and what equipment he realy needs and what is unnecessary because of is skills.

    7. The Zeiss Victory 10x45 T* RF weight is 995 gram.

      There are several models in 8x45 / 8x42 etc which have around 600 gram, so they are around 400 grams lighter, and not 14 grams.

      The main advantage of 8x is, that you have a wider field of view and there is fewer wobble.

  3. If you plan very short engagement times, would it be realistic to distribute smoke grenades with a long delay before the actual engagement?
    Once the time is up you get a smoke screen without having to disrupt your actions. And you can use more grenades if you like. You could coordinate IR obscuring smoke (or stun grenades) more precisely.

    With regard to the water filter vs tablets - I like to have both. The micropur needs some time, and the filter isn't great for large quantities. Also some water qualities are more likely to clog the filter up.

    I wonder why no one seems to use a walking stick in the military. I found it to be extremely useful for all kinds of things beyond walking, very often as a monopod for a scope. If they are made in a way that you can combine them and stick a camera on one end I think they could even more useful. Perhaps one could also have a grenade lobber attachment.

    1. I served in the german mountain infantry (Gebirgsjäger) and we used walking sticks which are very useful in difficult terrain, especilly if you have to wear a heavy backpack / heavy equipment. The fatigue is largely reduced through them. There are also ultralight-weight walkins sticks which weigh only around 400 grams. We use such sticks also as stakes for tarps / tarptents - dual use so you need no poles for the improvised tent.

  4. No, not walking sticks. Umbrellas are for winners.

  5. Summary of the comments:

    I did easily find plenty usable equipment that's more lightweight than most equivalent items in military use, but even mroe weight could be saved.

    Besides; I insist on the sleeping pad. A thin folding foam pad that doubles as a removable back cushioning for the backpack (akin to what the Bw did use in the 90's) would make sense, though.

    1. Sleeping pads must not cover the hole Body lenght, only the Torso. You can ly your legs simply on the backpack to Isolate them from the ground. Sometimes i even sleep only on my backpack in a half sitting Position.

      Here an example of an sleeping pad with only 75 grams and 1,50 m length. You can fold it and use only 75 cm with your upper Body (legs on back pack) if the ground is very cold because it is thin.


      Here an example of an sleeping pad with 146 grams with 2 m length and 1 cm thick. You can fold it and double to 2 cm if ground is cold) very robust and reliable:


      And here an very warm and luxury 4 cm thick sleeping pad with 175 grams which is very warm and usable in winter:


      But you can also use no sleeping pad at all, using Vegetation and foilage, garbage, old newspapers in bin liner, straw, spruce branches and so on as Isolation to the ground.

      Super simple summary:

      Going light is not so much about Equipment, but skills.

    2. https://www.youtube.com/embed/MfEXL80slvU

      Insulating mat on his backside. Fantastically useful thing in combat outputs.
      For these rugs easily determined people from the "former USSR" among ISIS.

    3. The Bundeswehr has had such folding insulation mats for ages. Their insulation and cushioning utility is negligible for sleeping on cold ground, though.
      Padding left and right of the backbone is much more convincing as backpack padding than this, so while super versatile this kind of mat is not really good. Meanwhile, the thick rolled insulation mats used by backpackers are much too bulky in my opinion.

  6. I noticed that in order to get lightweight equipment you seem to need to

    1) not seek maximum performance (especially weapon range and protection, this also helps regarding costs)

    2) use mostly less than 10 years old equipment (munition types are the oldest items on my list)

    3) avoid wintertime

    I would add:

    4) accept a higher replacement rate for some equipment*


    *Foam pads are a case in point. Use degrades perfromance. It's just stupid not to swap them out fairly often for personal infantry use. Perhaps a fixed maximum period has to be instituted to enforce replacements.

    Old ones can be used in a variety of ways where weight isn't much of an issue.

    Batteries are perhaps an even better example, the military often lags considerably behind robust civilian tech.

  7. Food have forgotten.
    Russian variant: artofwar.ru/z/zagorcew_a_w/text_0740.shtml
    The author is a well-known person in spetsnaz. Three years ago, was a colonel.

  8. -- I insist on the sleeping pad. A thin folding foam pad that doubles as a removable back cushioning for the backpack (akin to what the Bw did use in the 90's) would make sense, though. --

    That's the support system for my rucksack (a Cold Cold World Ozone). It's comforting to know I have a bivy pad should I get stuck outside for the night, but I would definitely want to supplement the insulation value with some evergreen boughs.

    -- Finally about those [LOWA mountain] boots: You gotta have worn them to understand; they feel like custom-made. --

    I wear a pair of the Mega Camps for my backcountry survey work. They do feel divine! The few seams don't withstand much water before leaking, though, and the modest rand has delaminated here and there since I purchased them in March. I tried seam sealer on both but to no avail. Good boots to be sure, but if I didn't have the opportunity to dry them out overnight if need be then those things might pose a problem.

  9. There is still a lot to add but just a couple of unlinked thoughts..


    i) Insoles can help to fit the boots and reduces fatigue and stress.

    ii) Cold weather insoles can increase warmth. Felt with alu is a good choice for a fairl roomey shoe.

    iii) Ultra-Light gaitors are a great additon to keep the dirt out. Trail runners now use integrated ones.


    Perhaps inspired by the type of high-mountain boots which help to drastically reduces frost damage of the feet.


    iv) Light overboots/gaitors are also easy to keep in your vehicles and shine in deep wet snow. I also use them for glaciers with crampons after I modified some Vaude bike gaitors.


    Especially the insoles offer high performance for the price and weight. Still for specific environments the infantry has to be issued specific footwear like rubber boots.


    1. It's fairly easy to find really warm yet not terribly heavy boots that wouldn't look bad even in Russian wintertime.


      I don't see us having the mental orientation towards East European winters that would be necessary to prepare for less than -30°, from clothes and boots to diesel engine cold start kits.

      Riga (a coastal city) is freezing 1/3 of the year
      but even there it's somewhat difficult to justify attention to -30°C conditions.

      A conflict at such temperatures would seem like a black swan event to most people, though to me such somewhat rare weather looks like an ideal condition for an aggression.

    2. Modern equipment and tech in general has certainly greatly expanded the realm of possibilities in areas like climbing. There is no financial or technical reason why NATO infantry forces shouldn't have proper material for operations in severe winter. Still this isn't clearly the case. Winter training is of course yet another matter.

      Long light overboots keep the moisture and dirt and should be quite valuable in muddy spring and autumn. They can be easily cleaned. In theory° hay could be woven into a discarded, cut netting and placed around the boot. The net could get tied around the stirrup and the overboot gets then put on. As stated before such improvisations shouldn't really arise in our day and age.


      °Has been done for millenia in practice from Neotlithic/Copper-age Oetzi to German and Soviet forces in WWII

    3. Fully motorised forces may easily advance 30 km in an hour during wintertime, thus it is imperative to be able to break camp quickly in addition to having a 360° 24/7 security effort; I think ten minutes from alarm to completed orderly evacuation of bivouac is a necessary drill for all units in an army corps or division.
      I don't think that the engines of our diesel engines would technically be able to meet that requirement if they cooled out at -30°C weather.
      That, frankly, is more troublesome than boots, for we would no doubt in worst case simply use well-insulated civilian boots. See the baffin link above; many boot types are rated for weather worse than -40°C.

  10. The need to break (and establish) camp quickly is one of the reasons proper equipment is needed - and proper training with it. Even simple things like vapor barrier liners for your feet have to be experienced over days to believe in them. This in turn means caring for you feet in different ways and more thin inner socks.

    But yes, diesel engines not starting in -30°C would be a bigger problem, forcing one to keep the engines running.


  11. "M4 Carl Gustaf - the 4th iteration finally is lightweight. The weight of rounds is light compared to bazooka-style weapons of comparable warhead weight and lesser range. The fire control accessory should be the Aimpoint FCS 12, the de facto successor to Simrad's IS 2000 sight. This sight weighs half as much as one round, so it's a great investment if you miss less often with it.

    about 6.7 kg + FCS about 1.6 kg"

    What about "light" ammunition, let's say 1.5 kg for it? This would be roughly half of the standard HE. Less payload then a 60mm mortar round but more then a 66mm rocket. Of course the sensible lower limit might be higher due to the specifics. Still it is far more then the next lower usual HE round of the infantry,a 40mm LV grenade can contain.

    There are two ends from which to approach such a light round:

    i) Keep the velocity and ballistics similar to the standard rounds. This is of course more important for moving and more distant targets.

    ii) Use a slightly heavier warhead then in the first case with even less propellant. This will drop considerably more and will be limited to shorter ranges and static targets. The reduced backblast would help.

    I tend towards i) but it would be interesting to see experiments of ii).

    Of course such light ammunition would only supplement the standard weight ones. The big advantage would the be the use of an already carried and known weapon system, mostly with a sophisticated sight able to store various ballistics.

    Another not mutually exclusive solution is of course to use the disposable light launchers like the LAW. This enables another soldier to use it independently.


    P.S: The HEAT 655 CS seems to be at least partly 'confined spaces' due to reduced amount of propellant. The video shows quite clearly that a large part of the cartridge containst the rocket assembly.

    Non-CS ones seem to use extra long rounds.


  12. Any updates on this topic? Sorry for the necropost, but there's an interesting thread going on at the moment on the future of the dismounted infantry squad at autogun's forums:

    I suppose the outstanding question is, should the infantryman of tomorrow pack and march light and rely on supporting arms like artillery and air? It's not like they aren't already doing so in places like Afghanistan since they are too overburdened to assault the enemy.

    Should there be consideration towards urban warfare or should armies seek only to bypass and besiege cities by cutting off infrastructure like water and electricity and starving the defenders?

    Or should armies meet the enemy toe to toe, street by street, house by house - and what should they carry to that fight?

    Developments in small arms have changed the calculus of what might be considered to be optimal. For example, Knights Armament now has a lightweight machine gun of 4kg for 5.56mm and 6kg for 7.62mm

    Should hybrid hand/rifle grenades displace the 40mm UBGL entirely? If so, is an upgrade to the infantryman's rifle to mitigate recoil necessary, like the Hungarians did with the AMP-69 with a buffered stock?

    I agree with your choice for MANPAT with the SPIKE-SR. It seems to be the smartest implementation for an infantry-borne ATGM yet, since it eliminates the parasitic weight of external sights and thermals.

    Finally, what are your thoughts on armour versus camouflage, or combining the two? Rifle plates have come down significantly in price and weight. Modern level 3 armour is now almost half the density:

    Contrasted against this is the emergence in the civilian hunting field of 3d camouflage smocks and ponchos that should make it significantly harder for an opponent to find a soldier. After all it is better not to be seen instead of taking a hit and surviving it.

    Another common thread of criticism against infantry overburdening seems to be the increasing need for electric power. From sights to thermals to NVGs to electronic hearing protection. Apparently Marines on 72 hour operations found themselves carrying upwards of 50kg of batteries across a squad. How is it that modern military radios and other paraphernalia need such high mass? Are they still using NiCd cells?

    Where do you see changes in electric power delivery to troops? Or should procurement emphasise unpowered systems as much as possible, like avoiding reflex sights, reserving thermal imagers to platoon leaders and above, eliminating electronic hearing protection and so on?

    1. A blog post "Ultralightweight infantry - a theoretical experiment" is scheduled for 28 May.

      Also http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2018/04/ultralight-portable-equipment.html

    2. Their discussion is terribly focused on firepower. One should think of shootouts between roughly fairly matched infantry forces, but of infantry squads as weak, slow and very vulnerable, but also very stealthy and hopefully radio-connected on a combined arms battlefield dominated by boredom, fear of indirect fires and rarely by mechanised action.

    3. I suppose radio or any kind of emissions really, might be counter-productive to the stealthy light infantry ideal. The problem is also that there are very few alternatives, unless one is willing to carry a few kilograms worth of repeaters for a laser network.

      One of the more fascinating posts on the thread was that perhaps one needs to re-think the concept of "light" infantry entirely and either go for motorisation or - and I think you suggested this - to use them more like guerillas and reconnaissance troops

      In such a concept, do you believe that body armour should be duly discarded in lieu of flak jackets and camouflage smocks? Ideally guerillas engage only from ambush and usually with previously emplaced explosives, and strike only at the rear elements, right? While leaving armour engagements and fights against other infantry to the radioman and the artillery corps. Essentially meaning that light infantry would be overtaking the roles of special forces.

      The trouble with such slow infantry is that for any degree of autonomy, backbreaking weights of batteries, food and water might have to be carried, or in a defensive war, knowledge of pre-prepared supply caches distributed and kept safe from the enemy. Basically batteries for radios and optics become the rate limiting step. The 50kg of batteries figure I think came from a Marine anecdote about gearing up for a 96 hour operation. So a question arises - should infantry even bother to gear up for such long autonomy durations?

      Do you know of any prospects for the diffusion of battery improvements into the armed forces? The Li-Ion 18650s of today hold almost twice the charge as the ones of 15 years ago when the Japanese first experimented with it.

      Or perhaps it is a data processing problem. I hear that a lot of the power efficiency gains in radio technology in the military was instead used up in beefing up frequency hopping and encryption features. So a lighter radio was now still heavier due to drawing more heavily on batteries.

      The other side is of course mechanisation of some sort. Do you think that bicycle infantry or even motorcycle infantry should make a comeback? The modern battlefield punishes immobility with devastating effect. So perhaps instead of "light" overburdened line infantry the approach and marching order loads are disposed of onto a bicycle. It would certainly allow deeper operations and help reduce the metabolic load so as to mitigate against the need for carrying more food and water.

      The concept of breaking contact within 2-4 minutes certainly sounds good but I suppose the problem becomes whether or not an opponent pursues. If light infantry engages, say, an element of the enemy with any degree of motorisation, they have no place to run unless artillery can cover their retreat. But artillery might not always be on station, and even 155mm howitzers take several minutes to deliver the first shells. In operations in the enemy's depth, enemy artillery is closer than friendly artillery and will have a shorter time of arrival and greater accuracy.

      So if this is the case, perhaps such light infantry should not even be loaded for bear at all. No machine guns, just rifles and a pack full of AT mines, C4 and batteries. Perhaps some smoke grenades. The NCOs carry optics and thermals, and the radioman becomes the base of fire. Operations would focus on sabotaging infrastructure, laying mines on vehicle routes, finding and destroying ammo dumps and other fixed targets, while avoiding actions like ambushes altogether.

    4. The intra-squad radios were probably the greatest infantry techa dvance in the past 20 years, and they are down to about 300 grams without battery.
      Their power output is low, and though backpack format ESM devices exist (see Chemring RESOLVE), they are nowhere near commonplace.

    5. Extraordinary battery loads come in part from Americans using Javelin launch units as observation devices because of their large thermal sensor. Radios, sights and low light night vision have modest battery requirements at normal temperatures.

      "The concept of breaking contact within 2-4 minutes certainly sounds good but I suppose the problem becomes whether or not an opponent pursues."

      See the new May 28 post. It's a non-issue tactically. To pursue one disengaging fireteam or squad would lead through the field of fire of another one.