Aussie soldiers using faulty weapons

#1
COME BACK TONY ALL IS FORGIVEN


Australian soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are using faulty weapons and ammunition with up to 70,000 of the standard issue Steyr rifles having flaws causing stoppages.

A Seven News investigation can also reveal long-range patrol vehicles could not fit heavy weaponry because of wrong specifications and snipers are forced to use a cleaning agent that hurts accuracy on rifles because of orders from headquarters.

There has also been a widespread recall of the 9mm pistols used by Special Forces, and faulty ammunition and weapons have rotted from storage in extreme heat according to Defence Department documents obtained using Freedom of Information laws.
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The documents reveal widespread problems, for at least a year, with the soldier's standard issue 5.56mm Steyr rifle, also used by the navy and airforce as well as the New Zealand Defence Force, with flawed springs leaving the weapon unable to be loaded.

The revelations are a challenge to Prime Minister John Howard who personally promised less than two years ago that Australian troops would have the best possible equipment.

Launching the Defence White Paper in December 2005, Mr Howard said: "Our commitment, my commitment is that we will spend the additional resources that are necessary to give the ADF the resources it needs for the tasks it has, remembering at all times that our prime responsibility in a personal sense is to give our men and women the best possible chance if they are involved in combat.

"It is just not acceptable for a country as wealthy as Australia to send men and women into the field without them having the best possible equipment and we certainly intend to ensure that happens,'' he said at the time.

However, Australians soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have faced "constant problems" with the documents revealing the Austrian-designed Steyr including "locking...jamming...misfiring" because of "faulty springs".

The Army's chief weapons expert in Baghdad has warned the problem is so grave that "persistent weapons failures on operations quickly diminishes confidence in the weapon systems".

A Defence Materiel Organisation source yesterday confirmed there had been a "large number of complaints" about the springs in the Steyr both domestically and overseas.

"There are too many defect reports to ignore and field trials are now underway to try to fix the problem," he said.

The FOI documents also show that pistols issued to the SAS in Iraq and Afghanistan were so unreliable the commanders have recommended: "All weapon use be suspended."

The documents also show snipers are being forced to damage weapon accuracy because of the cleaning agent. When cleaned with the issued Breakfree Bore Cleaner, the powerful .50 cal sniper rifle is found to have residue in the barrel affecting the "accuracy of any sniper weapons system".

Soldiers have found another cleaner, Hoppers Powder Solvent No 9, that cleans without damage but it cannot be used after the Joint Task Force Head Quarters said it was not an "authorised cleaning agent".

"The problem still exists in this organisation that the weapons are not being cleaned to the required standard," the Defence documents state.

"It is common within sniper cells throughout the Army to use this product."

The documents also show problems with broken heavy machine guns being delivered to the front line, along with faulty and dud ammunition.

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd yesterday called for an immediate inquiry into the weapons problems revealed by the ADF documents.

"The Prime Minister should order an immediate audit of the adequacy and effectiveness of all weaponry currently being used by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," the ALP leader said.

Opposition Defence spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said even with a $17 billion surplus, the Howard Government had failed soldiers on the frontline.

"This government can't even find the money to put proper quality control in place to ensure that our troops on the frontline have reliable weapons," he said.

Yesterday the Defence Minister Brendan Nelson was unavailable for comment however the Army Chief General Peter Leahy said the documents showed the Army's reporting system for problems was working well.

However, he said if systemic problems with the Steyr were revealed, the ADF would undertake an audit.
 
#3
Yesterday the Defence Minister Brendan Nelson was unavailable for comment however the Army Chief General Peter Leahy said the documents showed the Army's reporting system for problems was working well.
Lol...that say's it all, they get the reports according to the brass, but the politicians don't act on em...well said General... :thumright:
 
#5
Thanks for that Nutty, I guess it shows it is not just our government that can do a rubbish job of defense procurement. In comparison to the Steyr to the best of my knowledge the the SA80 A2 is well received by those using it in sand pits around the globe. I am sure BAE systems would love to flog them a load.
 
#6
phil1972 said:
Thanks for that Nutty, I guess it shows it is not just our government that can do a rubbish job of defense procurement. In comparison to the Steyr to the best of my knowledge the the SA80 A2 is well received by those using it in sand pits around the globe. I am sure BAE systems would love to flog them a load.
As I understand it the SA80 had lots of majpr problems with jamming and not liking snow and dust etc. Mabe a Royal can tell us more when ik was first issued.

Loads of articles on Google here is one I just got at random I have not fully read it

SA80

Nutty
 
#8
Nutty said:
phil1972 said:
Thanks for that Nutty, I guess it shows it is not just our government that can do a rubbish job of defense procurement. In comparison to the Steyr to the best of my knowledge the the SA80 A2 is well received by those using it in sand pits around the globe. I am sure BAE systems would love to flog them a load.
As I understand it the SA80 had lots of majpr problems with jamming and not liking snow and dust etc. Mabe a Royal can tell us more when ik was first issued.

Loads of articles on Google here is one I just got at random I have not fully read it

SA80

The A1 had all the faults you mentioned, the A2 however is a different story all together.

Nutty
 
#9
Nutty, I do believe that some SA80s went South in '82. They were definitely not up to the job. Rumour had it that, when those with the SA80 came into contact with Argies with 7.62 SLRs, they swopped weapons!!

Semper Strenuissima
 
#10
no issues with the A2 apart from the slightly heavier than other-weapons' weight and the fact you have to shoot right handed (I'm kack-handed, but what the hell. Not a great issue)! I am a crap shot (trust me!) but can still hit a target at 400 m effectively with the SA80 A2, and no issues with stoppages I know of particularly, unless the magazine isn't properly loaded, and those clear pretty fast.

And for the record I'm not talking out of my arse but am taking one to Ganners with me next month (going with Royal), so speaking from personal comfort! A Very Good Bit of Kit.
 
#11
Issue the diggers with these :biggrin:


Or if possible, The CETME Mod L/LC's if spain has mothballed them. They are basically cheaper manufactured HK's. Maybe an 'Aussiefied' version of the FAMAS or the SA80.

If the upgraded SA80 is a good weapon, they should be manufactured again under H&K since thier weapons are badass. I heard the civvie version of the T2 MK5 assault rifle was more reliable than the proposed military version, plus it was a 100% Aussie design.

I wouldnt be suprised if thier weapons are fecked up, the F88 AuSteyr mechanisim is made from fecking PLASTIC.
 
#12
Quote from ABR 1920 -Small Arms training For The RAN, re the F88 AUSTEYR Rifle.

'Dry, sandy or dusty conditions - keep the weapon dry except for light oil on the carrier guide rods, bolt assembly and gas piston. Excess oil will attract dust. Where posible, empty magazines and shake out excess dust and grit, take care when cleaning lens of optic sight.'

I don't know if this is just sensationalist reporting or if there is a systemic problem with this weapon. I have never used it in excessively sandy or dusty conditions, but in my relatively short acquaintance with it I never had any problems, nor had I heard of any from its use in the Navy. The Pongos may have their own issues re. weapons and ammuniton stores and resupply generally though.
 
#13
Backpacker1uk said:
Australian soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan ... with up to 70,000 of the standard issue Steyr rifles...
So each Australian serviceman in Afghanistan is carrying 233 Steyr AUGs each? No wonder they're such big lads.
 
#14
Jack77 said:
Quote from ABR 1920 -Small Arms training For The RAN, re the F88 AUSTEYR Rifle.

'Dry, sandy or dusty conditions - keep the weapon dry except for light oil on the carrier guide rods, bolt assembly and gas piston. Excess oil will attract dust. Where posible, empty magazines and shake out excess dust and grit, take care when cleaning lens of optic sight.'

I don't know if this is just sensationalist reporting or if there is a systemic problem with this weapon. I have never used it in excessively sandy or dusty conditions, but in my relatively short acquaintance with it I never had any problems, nor had I heard of any from its use in the Navy. The Pongos may have their own issues re. weapons and ammuniton stores and resupply generally though.
Now when I was a lad this was always the norm. Has it changed???
 
#16
Nutty said:
phil1972 said:
Thanks for that Nutty, I guess it shows it is not just our government that can do a rubbish job of defense procurement. In comparison to the Steyr to the best of my knowledge the the SA80 A2 is well received by those using it in sand pits around the globe. I am sure BAE systems would love to flog them a load.
As I understand it the SA80 had lots of majpr problems with jamming and not liking snow and dust etc. Mabe a Royal can tell us more when ik was first issued.

Loads of articles on Google here is one I just got at random I have not fully read it

SA80

Nutty
Nutty, if you read the bottom of the article you posted you'll see they report that the A2 is now a reliable weapon (it's downsides now being slightly heavier and not ambidextrous). I've had many reports from Royal that's the A2 is a great weapon, and if you don't believe that just have a read of the many threads on ARRSE where current users have consistently reported the A2 as being the dogs dangly bits. Those that used the A1 (and that was a crappy weapon in the early '90s when I used it) keeping on tripping out the same comments, ignoring the mountain of evidence to the contrary. I got my hands on an A2 the other week and I was very impressed.
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
If the SA80 (L85) is so reliable why is still standard drill to slam forward the bolt to ensure it is locked home in the breech ('forward assist')? This requirement is not necessary with any other assault rifle in the world, and measurably slows down reloading in combat - particularly as the SA80 is clumsily designed, so that the user has to reach over the weapon to get to the cocking handle. So a classic MOD solution: rather than admit to a problem and fix it, simply force troops to make do.

When the MOD did eventually admit that there were 'problems' with the weapon the modification programme got under way at a total cost of £92 million to sort out the 200,000 rifles and LSWs (L86) in stock at the time; that is £460 per weapon. The MOD asserted that this was cost-effecive, as purchasing new ones would cost, apparently £500 million, a staggering £2,500 per weapon. This is totally untrue; the American M16 (the weapon of choice for many SF and RM troops) can be bought retail for well under £400. This whopper was necessary, as replacing defective gun with new ones would have been to admit that they were defective.

In 2001, when the controversy over the SA80 A2 modification programme was at its almost-unnoticed height, the MOD issued a press-briefing Q&A sheet regarding the matter of whether UKSF troops used the modified weapon. Here is a direct quote:

Q: Do the UK's special forces use the SA80 weapon system?
A: I am sure you will understand that the MOD cannot divulge details of the weapons used by the SF as this would assist adversaries in countering and neutalising UKSF capabilties.
Oh really? A more forthright version, in a dream MOD briefing, might have gone like this:

Q: Do the UK's special forces use the SA80 weapon system?
A: No, of course they don't! They're the premier experts on small arms in the world, for goodness' sake, and they have their choice of equipment! The only people anywhere who carry the SA80 are those who don't have any alternative - regular British troops. Oh, and the Mozambique army use it, apparently, but they didn't have a choice either. They got the SA80 as part of a British 'aid package'.
Q: What do the special forces use, then?
A: When they want a 5.56mm rifle they normaly use the American M16; when they want a 5.56mm light machine gun they use the Belgian-designed Minimi, again like the Americans. All the Americans, that is, not just the special ops people. Both of these guns were available very cheaply when we bought the SA80. Proven designs. We could have thrown the unions a bone by making them under licence here.
Q: Well, why didn't you?
A: God knows. No, seriously, the fact is we were in the process of privatising Royal Ordnance just then - that is, selling off the government rifle plant, anong other things. They were the ones who came up with the SA80. The Royal Small Arms Factory wouldn't have been worth tuppence if it hadn't had the order for the new rifle, would it? And a foreign make under licence wouldn't have been any good; there were all those design bods to think of. Why would the private sector buy a design bureau that couldn't sell its designs? Lots of chaps would have had to be let go if we hadn't gone with the SA80: and then somebody might have asked why we'd had them on the government payroll all those years, given that they didn't design the previous rifle either. Come to think of it, tht plant hadn't actually brought out a new rifle of its own since the Lee-Enfield, and that was in the 1890s. No wonder the SA80 turned out to be a mess. The buyers actually shut the Enfield plant down straight away and shifted production, elsewhere.
Q: Who bought Royal Ordnance, then?
A: British Aerospace. We had to guarentee them the second tranche of SA80 production, naturally. Even then they only gave us £190 million for the whole shooting match, the rifle plant and a lot of other things besides, and they stiffed us on the pension fund to boot. You'll be hearing their name again.
Q: When?
A: Well, later on when we had a whole bunch of duff SA80s, some made by us and some by BAe, we decided to get the guns fixed once and for all. We paid £92 million for that, to Heckler and Koch, who are a good, reputable form and seem to have done a decent job.
Q: Phew. At least we had the sense to go to someone else, eh?
A: Well, not really. Can you guess who owned Heckler and Koch?
Q: Not British Areospace?
A: Now you're geting the idea! We order dud guns from ourselves, in order to sell our gun factories to BAe for a knock-down price. But the guns are no good, so year later we have to give BAe a lot of the money back to finally fix the bloody things once and for all. They sold H&K not long after they got the A2 upgrade contract, you know. I wonder how much that made for them?...
Sadly Ministry of Defence briefings aren't like that. If they were then people might see what goes on behind the curtain.... 8O :roll:
 

sgtpepperband

War Hero
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#19
Scribes, as I have said in a previous post, I have recently read his book, and make no secret that I have used it as a reference on this thread. But that should not make the information any less relevant, should it?

Whatever his agenda, I think LP's book should be read by anyone serving, or has an interest, in Britain's Armed Forces.
 
#20
sgtpepperband said:
Scribes, as I have said in a previous post, I have recently read his book, and make o secret that I have used it as a reference on this thread. But that should not make the information any less relevant, should it?

Whatever his agenda, I think LP's book should be read by anyone serving, or has an interest, in Britain's Armed Forces.
I agree. I don't agree with everything he says (but I do agree with a lot) but he really makes you think.
 
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