Weapons & Equipment

British Army Weapons and Equipment

The basic infantry weapons of the British Army are the SA80 assault rifle family, with several variants such as the L86A2, the Light Support Weapon (LSW) and the short stock variant, issued to tank crews. No sidearm is issued to infantry soldiers. However, some officers and snipers are issued with a sidearm, generally the Browning L9A1 or the Sig Sauer P226 or the Colt 1911, though a search is currently underway to find a replacement. Support fire is provided by the FN Minimi light machine gun and the L7 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG); indirect fire by 51 and 81 mm mortars, as well as the UGL, mounted under the barrel of the SA80 rifle. Sniper rifles used include the L96A1 7.62 mm, the L115A1 and the AW50F, all produced by Accuracy International. Some units use the L82A1 .50 calibre Barrett sniper rifle. More recently the L128A1 (Benelli M4) ‘combat shotgun’ has been adopted, and is intended for close quarters combat in Afghanistan.

The British Army’s Armoured vehicles include Supacat “Jackal” MWMIK and the Iveco “Panther” CLV. The Challenger 2 is its main battle tank. The Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the primary armoured personnel carrier, although many variants of the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (tracked) are used, as well as the Saxon APC and FV430 series now being re-engined and uparmoured and returned to front line service as Bulldog. The British Army commonly uses the Land Rover Wolf and Land Rover Defender.

The Army uses three main artillery systems; the MLRS, AS90 and L118. The MLRS (Multi Launch Rocket System) was first used operationally in Operation Granby and has a range of 70 km. The AS-90 is a 155 mm self-propelled gun. The L118 Light Gun is a 105 mm towed gun used primarily in support of 16 Air Assault Brigade, 19 Light Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade (Royal Marines).

The Rapier FSC Missile System is the Army’s primary battlefield air defence system, widely deployed since the Falklands War; and the Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) is a surface-to-air weapon, launched either by a single soldier or from a vehicle-mounted launcher. The Starstreak fills a similar role to the American FIM-92 Stinger

The Army Air Corps (AAC) provide direct aviation support for the Army, although the RAF also assist in this role. The primary attack helicopter is the Westland WAH-64 Apache; a license-built, modified version of the AH-64 Apache that will replace the Westland Lynx AH7 in the anti-tank role. The Westland Lynx performs several roles including tactical transport, armed escort, reconnaissance and evacuation. It was also used in the anti-armour role; it could carry eight TOW anti-tank missiles. The TOW missile system for the Lynx was withdrawn from service by the MOD in December 2005.

The Bell 212 is used as a specialist utility and transport helicopter, with a crew of two and a transport capacity of twelve troops.

The Westland Gazelle helicopter is a light helicopter, primarily used for battlefield reconnaissance and control of artillery and aircraft.

The Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin is used for Special Operations Aviation, along with the Gazelle.

The Britten-Norman Islander is a light aircraft used for airborne reconnaissance and command.

Firearms L85A2 5.56 mm IW L119A1 5.56 mm SFW L1A1 12.7 mm Browning HMG L86A2 5.56 mm LSW L110A1 5.56 mm LMG L9A1 Browning L129A1 7.62 mm Sharpshooter L7A2 7.62 mm GPMG L96A1 7.62 mm L115A1 8.6 mm LRR Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) FV4043 Challenger 2 MBT Warrior IFV FV102 Striker FV103 Spartan FV107 Scimitar FV105 Sultan FV4333 Stormer FV432 “Bulldog” APC Light Combat Vehicles Supacat “Jackal” MWMIK Iveco “Panther” CLV Land Rover “Wolf” WMIK Yamaha “Grizzly” Quad Bike Harley Davidson MT350E Motorcycle Artillery and Air Defence Systems AS-90 155 mm SPG Javelin ATGM MLRS L118 Light Gun Rapier FSC Missile System Starstreak HVM   Cobra Artillery Location Radar Aircraft Apache AH.Mk.1 Gazelle AH.Mk.1 (being phased out) Lynx AH.Mk.7 & AH.Mk.9 Bell 212 Britten-Norman Islander Eurocopter AS 365N Dauphin Logistics and Patrol Vehicles DROPS Land Rover (TUL/TUM) Ridgeback MPV (Cougar H) Mastiff PPV (Cougar EH) MAN AG SX/HX series truck Supacat ATMP Information & Communication system, inc. UAVs MSTAR Bowman (Tri-service) Skynet 5 (Tri-service) MQ-9 Reaper (RAF) Watchkeeper WK450 Desert Hawk Landing Assault Craft RCL Logistics Landing Craft “Rigid Raider” Assault Boat


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