SA 80 Equipped To Fight 1592
When current events announced that the MoD was considering extending the service of the SA80 there was a flurry of news. The announcement came with a handful of images which reportedly showed prototypes of the A3 model. The MoD released these images as part of DVD2016 coverage. It was specifically focused on the Virtus contract for soldier equipment.
What this bustle of news seems to have missed is that the MoD is letting a contract of 2.7 million pounds go to Heckler and Koch GMBH & Co for work on the SA80A2. Part of the UK Ministry of Defence, the Dismounted Close Combat Programme team planned on placing a contract for the Equipped to Fight Improvement, or EFI, program for the purpose of modifying five thousand SA80 weapons with Heckler & Koch GMBH & Co. The work was slated to be finished in March 2017. The contract had an estimated value of 2,700,000 GBP. It requires the supplier to modify the already existing SA80 A2 weapon by fitting it with a combination of modified and new components.
Particular tolerances of materials are needed, along with precise dimensions and surface finishes on these components so it allows for interoperability with the system that already exists. This is particularly true when managing the variable interface that is created by different rates of wear of the components already existing and that are recycled as part of the program.
There are some very high risks that are involved in imaging the variable tolerances and processes of manufacturing when combing in existing and new weapon components. A replacement for the probably unfairly much maligned SA80 is generally the topic of a lot of debate. However, with France only recently choosing the HK416 to replace the FAMAS, it doesn’t look like the SA80 will be going very far in the near future.