Infantry: November 19, 1999


Israeli Military Industries has unveiled its new 5.56mm bullpup assault rifle series known as Tavor. The basic TAR-21 (Tavor Assault Rifle) weighs 3.6kg (7.9 pounds, with a loaded 30-round magazine) and has a 460mm (18.1 inch) barrel. The STAR-21 (Sharpshooting Tavor Assault Rifle) is designed as a squad support weapon with optical sights and a longer heavier barrel. The CTAR (Commando Tavor Assault Rifle) uses a shorter 380mm (15 inch) barrel and is designed for tank crews and special forces; it weighs 3.5kg (7.7 pounds) . The MTAR (Micro Tavor Assault Rifle) uses a very short 250mm (10 inch) barrel and is designed for police and undercover use; it weighs only 3.2kg (7 pounds) . Tavor is gas operated and uses a rotating bolt. It can sustain a rate of fire of 750-900 rounds per minute.--Stephen V Cole

November 19; Heckler & Koch have revealed their long-awaited new Personal Defense Weapon. NATO armies have decided that pistols are all but useless as self defense weapons on the modern battlefield and are seeking what amount to micro-machine pistols able to provide suppressive fire at longer ranges while still being small enough not to burden rear-area personnel who have vital work to do and cannot be bothered carrying a rifle. The surprising thing is the ammunition, which is a new 4.6x30mm round firing a 1.7g solid steel bullet sheathed in copper. This bullet can penetrate 20 layers of Kevlar plus a 1.6mm titanium plate at 50 meters. The PDW is only 340mm (13.38 inches) long, allowing it to be fired with one hand like an oversized pistol. For sustained operations, a forward grip can be folded down and the telescopic butt stock extended. The weapon weighs only 1.6 kg (3.5 pounds) with an empty 20-round magazine; a larger 40-round magazine is available. H&K says that the weapon can provide accurate suppressive fire to 200 meters. The cyclic rate of fire is 950 rounds per minute.--Stephen V Cole

November 19; Singapore has launched its new SAR-21 assault rifle on the export market. The 5.56mm bullpup rifle is intended to replace the M16A1, SAR80, and SR88A in the Singapore Army. The rifle is 805mm (32 inches) long, and weighs 3.82kg (8.4 pounds) empty. It is gas operated with a cyclical rate of 450-650 rounds per minute. The standard weapon has a 1.5-power optical sight, although a 3-power sight is available. A built-in laser sight can be turned on and off by a switch on the foregrip. The barrel can be rifled for M193 or SS109 (NATO standard) ammunition. --Stephen V Cole


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