Army responds to Reaper criticism

In response to a veritable firestorm of criticism on an Australian Army Facebook post (below) regarding a trial of The Reaper load carriage system, an Army spokesman told CONTACT….

“Reducing the weight carried by dismounted close combatants, or better sharing their load, is a continuous modernisation challenge for the Australian Army – or any Army for that matter.

“The challenge can be summarised as equipping the Army’s dismounted close combatant so that they can outperform potential adversaries, without overburdening them.

“The Reaper was presented at Army Innovation Day 2015 as a tool to improve the load sharing/weight burden imposed by heavier small-arms weapon systems on dismounted close combatants.”

CAPTION MAIN PHOTO: Corporal Paul Hayes, 6RAR, trials the new Reaper weapon carriage system at Majura training area. Photo by Sergeant Janine Fabre.

A select group of Australian soldiers were trained as trainers on the new Reaper weapon carriage system at Majura training area near Canberra on 5 May, before dispersing to their home units across the country to demo the system in a range of units and environments.

The mere announcement of this trial attracted a storm of social-media criticism and negative feedback.

CONTACT’s own post copped a decent amount of traffic – but the Australian Army’s Facebook page had a veritable viral post on its hands, clocking up more than 600,000 video views and almost 1700 comments – mostly negative – and some downright feral.

The Army spokesman went on to say Reaper also offered dismounted close combatants a more stable firing platform when employing heavier small-arms weapon systems.

“A more stable firing position enables greater accuracy and lethality.

“Following Innovation Day 2015, the Australian Army decided to trial The Reaper load-sharing system.

“This trial will assess the potential of The Reaper for employment by dismounted close combatants undertaking a variety of mission profiles.

“These mission profiles will include: simulated dismounted close combat in urban terrain and jungle; live fire activities; and dismounted and mounted tactical actions involving a variety of vehicles and rotary wing platforms.”

The Army spokesman said the broad focus areas for the current trial include:

  1. Evaluating the utility, functionality, safety and future development opportunities for The Reaper in enhancing close-combatant lethality and mobility.
  1. Identifying how the Reaper can be integrated with other dismounted close-combatant equipment, selected vehicles and rotary wing platforms.

“The Reaper potentially offers an innovative, ‘out of the box’ option to improve the load sharing/weight burden imposed by heavier small-arms weapon systems on  dismounted close combatants.

“Reducing weight burden and increasing endurance is both an enduring objective and challenge for all armies.”

The Advanced Accuracy Solutions Reaper weapon support system allows soldiers to carry and more-effectively direct fire using medium-to-heavy machine guns while on patrol.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

15 thoughts on “Army responds to Reaper criticism

  • 03/06/2016 at 7:13 pm
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    I think a folding monopod with an adjustable telescopic top section for individuals height about 1.5 metres high and a cup to hold the weapon either the MG or rifle would be far more practical. It could be made from aluminium covered in a wet suit type material to stop it banging. I have been using a monopod for goat shooting for a couple of years and I find it excellent for long shots where you can’t lie down. Bagzar Stiles 2 tours of Vietnam with 3 SAS Sqn and served in the Rhodesian SAS between 1973 to 75.

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  • 30/05/2016 at 7:41 pm
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    Without being a skeptic as to the usefulness, user input (all of which I have none) or merits of this system, I see this as another way to identify key targets within a section not unlike a radio antenna.
    How does this work when you are on your guts where you should be?

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  • 30/05/2016 at 8:54 am
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    Looks like a fine piece of kit for killing aliens in space where you don’t have to do fire & movement and don’t have to worry about taking cover!!!!!!!!!!

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  • 30/05/2016 at 1:24 am
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    You must be joking, having to wear a helmet to support the weapon. In the jungle it would be a menace, get you and your mates killed as it would get caight on every think.
    In the bush you don’t need a heavy weapon in close contact, may work in open country.
    Vietnam vet

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  • 26/05/2016 at 8:36 pm
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    Go to the gym and work out like we had to do, lazy

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  • 25/05/2016 at 9:23 pm
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    Four words to prove Reaper is useless; TAKE COVER, FIRE and MOVEMENT.

    Using a demo video of an “Army dismounted close combatant” static at the range makes this equipment even more laughable.

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  • 25/05/2016 at 8:20 pm
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    The comment in this last article that gets me is “Heavier Small Arms Systems”. Ian comments that we are taking heavier wpn systems into the field now and I see it the same way. Isn’t the F89 lighter? What’s so different now with carrying the MAG 58 that wasn’t in the ’80’s? Soldier loads as an entireity are getting heavier, despite all the weight reduction activities. When development makes the load lighter, someone adds another load item because, now there’s room to take the extra weight. Like carrying the Reaper, as well as your already overweight load! If you want to reduce fatigue with existing section weapons, don’t add more weight of a device to take the weight elswhere, reduce the weapon weight, or as in the case of the F89, balance the weapon so the off-hand is not supporting such a front-heavy wpn. How about go backwards to the new, lighter verions of the M60, engineered with new tech and materials, or the US’s titanium M240? I’m afraid that the reaper will be more suited to the future of heavily armoured soldiers in exoskeleton suits, fighting standing. Not the fluid, skilled manouvering of competent soldiers. And to the whinging? The system isn’t interested in soldiers opinions unless they agree, despite the evidence. That many comments can’ all be wrong.

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  • 25/05/2016 at 7:13 pm
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    This is a sad joke. Niche areas for use and a total waste of time and money. WOFTAM. Money could be better spent on footwear systems and being flexible with boot choices for all soldiers. So many times I see “Penny wise, pound foolish” 😞😠

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  • 25/05/2016 at 12:29 pm
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    i am a little confused on what weapons this system is designed to support. The last paragraph in the article about the Reaper states,” more effectively direct fire using medium to heavy machine guns whilst on patrol”. Does that mean they will be able to employ 50cal? As for where this system can be employed I think you are drawing a long bow if you think it will not have severe difficulties in close country. I have extensive experience with weapon systems (trailing, operating and employing) and operating in close country and I can tell you now you are wasting your time however, I hope you prove me and thousands of other skeptics wrong. If this system does what you say and can be used in most environs then it will be a great asset to the combat soldier. As they say ,”the proof will be in the pudding”.

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  • 25/05/2016 at 9:54 am
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    Acceptance of new tech has always been a problem for inventors. I think many people sub-consciously don’t like change or different things just because they’re not used to it. This is particularly the case in the military which is steeped in tradition and when we’ve been drilled to follow the same thing.
    Arguably the same thing happened with the telephone and aeroplanes when they first appeared!
    It takes leaders with great vision to look past petty criticism and decide if something is worth pursuing or not I think.

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  • 25/05/2016 at 8:01 am
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    Lol. It begs the question why so many veterans, former and current soldiers ( anonymously of course) are against this system. The reason you are seeing the abuse online, is because when it gets to the battalion, blokes won’t be allowed to criticise it. If some bigwig decides the guys will have to use it, then they will be stuck with it. How many generations of terra boots were there? They wondered why guys bought their own boots out of their own pocket and rather than dwell on the reason, they banned any boot but the terra for a long time. I remember being told to shut our gobs about gear complaints when RSM-A came to visit the Bn. It took a digger saying “Nice vest you got there sir” to Peter Cosgrove to get vests for 3RAR guys in 99′ The net is great for giving guys a platform to speak, when they can’t do it in the workplace, so don’t be surprised if the boys don’t like something it now gets a mention.

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    • 25/05/2016 at 8:43 am
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      Can’t argue with you on that point, Stitch – very fair point.

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      • 25/05/2016 at 11:48 am
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        Also the veterans are the ones with the practical experience in the field that can recognise when something just won’t work.
        Have you ever tried doing fire and movement in the Jungle? Or simply walking through it. Well I have as have most of those who are canning this and everything and I mean everything gets caught up. a digger wearing that thing would only be able to travel along tracks, (even then constantly ducking so that overhanging foliage doesn’t hook him up) which by the way the Australian infantry does not do because tracks are kill zones. I saw a guy dive to the ground in a contact and he didn’t hit the ground as he was caught up by vines (death sentence in combat).

        Reply

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