In September Israeli small arms manufacturer IWI announced something different, a new rifle that looks like the AR-15/M-16 but included many of the features IWI has built into its many Tavor assault rifle designs. The new rifle is called ARAD and is basically Tavor without the compact bullpup (magazine behind the trigger) layout. Many troops prefer the conventional (magazine in front of the trigger) layout and ARAD deals with that.
ARAD is another attempt to improve the reliability of the elderly but very popular AR-15 design. ARAD is also similar to the more recent German HK416. Just like in the HK rifle, ARAD uses the short-stroke piston system to automatically extract the cartridge after the bullet has been fired, and load the next round. This is preferred to the M16 gas-tube (direct impingement) system, which results in carbon being blown back into the chamber. That leads to carbon build-up, which results in jams (rounds getting stuck in the chamber, and the weapon unable to fire.). The short-stroke system also does not expose parts of the rifle to extremely hot gases, which wears out components more quickly. As a result, rifles using the short-stroke system, rather than the gas-tube, are more reliable, easier to maintain and last longer. In theory, the original M16 gas-tube system was somewhat more accurate but the army used the wrong propellant initially and cut costs by not using corrosion-resistant metal components. As a result, the M16 required much more frequent cleaning to remain reliable. Even with all these problems addressed, recent tests between the M16/M4 and HK416 showed the HK416 had 75 percent fewer jams. This makes a big difference in combat, especially in dirty or in harsh environmental conditions. It is for this reason that the HK416 type design is preferred by infantry and Special Operations troops worldwide.
The ARAD will be offered in 5.56x45mm or .300 AAC Blackout but its main feature (nonexistent in the German competitor) is a tool-less quick-change barrel system. The end-user will be able to choose from hammer-forged, chrome-lined, free-floated barrels lengths of 292mm (11.5 inch) and 368mm (14.5 inch) with a 1:7 twist rate and soon will be offered with barrel lengths of 419mm (16.5 inch) and 508mm (20 inch).
The Blackout round is an option in many M16 type assault rifles where you can easily change the barrel and receiver to use another type round. The Blackout is the same size as the 5.56mm round but uses a 7.62mm bullet. Sort of like the AK-47 but more accurate and using the same magazines as 5.56mm rounds. Special Operations troops prefer this option for some situations.
The ARAD has ambidextrous controls and a two-position gas regulator with settings for regular and suppressor use. All the metal parts of the weapon are corrosion resistant. A two-step enhanced trigger provides both comfort and shooting accuracy.
The ARAD is also a lightweight design that weighs just 2.85 kg (6.28 pounds) with an adjustable telescopic buttstock. The rifle will be offered with either a Picatinny or MLOK forend and has a monolithic upper with a full length 12 o’clock Picatinny rail. The stock iron sights can be folded and the ARAD is compatible with any NATOMIL STD 5.56 steel, aluminum or polymer magazines.
The ARAD carbine will be available to the general public by the end of 2019 but the main market is military and police. --- Przemyslaw Juraszek