The M249 collapsible butt stock project was in response to a U.S. Army Sergeant's (stationed in Iraq) request to have a collapsible butt stock similar to what is used on the M4 assault rifle. Changing combat conditions and soldier comfort drove the need for this adjustable item. The available paratrooper collapsible stock exists, but without adjustability and features desired in the fixed stock. Using his ingenuity, this sergeant adapted an M4 collapsible butt stock to his M249 SAW. While functional, this adaptation lacked the stan-dard vertical shoulder and chin rest as well as the robustness needed in the field for this heavy weapon.
ARDEC at Picatinny Arsenal New Jersey and Savit teamed up to develop a new collapsible butt stock specifically designed for the M249. This new design would need to utilize the current hydraulic buffer as an interface which limited engineering options. Combining our skills and creativity, a superior design was documented and several early prototypes were produced using production tooling. By fate, two Special Forces sergeants arrived the day we performed several engineering tests on these early versions. We seized the opportunity to discuss this design with two Special Forces Sergeants and as a result, we were rewarded with positive feedback with a request to personally field test the unit. Their input resulted in changes to the telescoping locking lever which incorporated a "witches chin" hand rest. This feature is similar to the existing M249 fixed stock. The soldiers felt strongly that this new butt stock would be perfect for the troops and would have an immediate impact in the battle conditions they are currently faced with in Iraq. The M249 Collapsible butt stocks are to be field tested in Iraq by several special forces units with the purpose of assessing the design in realtime battle conditions.
The M240B machine gunners use a flexible pouch to carry their basic load of 7.62MM ammunition in combat. The pouches currently fielded with the Army employ a flexible cloth or plastic coated material that interface with the M240B machine gun through a one-piece steel collar. The one-piece collar does not allow access to the end of the ammo belt and thus additional ammo cannot be added during a fire fight.
Based on his personal experience, a U.S. Army Sergeant, deployed to Iraq, recommended that ARDEC develop a Combat Ammunition Pack (CAP) with a split collar design that would permit the assistant gunner or ammo bearers to add additional ammo during a fire fight. U.S. Army ARDEC and Savit Corporation teamed up to develop a design for a CAP that provides the attributes recommended by the sergeant. Combining their skills and creativity, the team developed a design concept and fabricated a number of prototypes for evaluation in the field by U.S. Army Infantry and Special Forces personnel. The army personnel were provided with prototypes capable of holding 50 and 100 rounds of 7.62MM ammunition. At the conclusion of the operational evaluations in a field environment, the military evaluations gave ARDEC a thumbs-up and recommended that the 50 round version be developed and produced.
Based on the soldiers’ recommendation, The ARDEC/Savit team developed the final design and prepared engineering/manufacturing drawings. The design incorporated a split steel collar with spring-loaded latches to allow for very quick opening and closing of the CAP. The pouch assembly was designed to be manufactured from universal (digitally printed) camouflaged textured nylon duck cloth. The pouch assembly was designed with snaps and hook and loop fasteners on one side. These fasteners serve to close the pouch assembly but allow quick access to the end of the ammo belt when needed. If a need arises to add ammunition while the CAP is attached to the M240 machine gun, the assistant gunner (AG) simply depresses the latches and opens the steel collar assembly. The AG then pulls on the free side of the collar, overcoming the restraint provided by the snaps and hook and loop fasteners and gains access to the end of the ammo belt. The CAP can be closed just as quickly by reversing the procedure.
Once again, the ARDEC/Savit team has responded to the voices of our soldiers deployed in forward positions. In response to those voices the team designed, produced and quickly deployed military hardware to the field, providing a significant operational advantage for our soldiers in combat.
The objective of this effort was to reduce the cost of the current stud driver assembly. In review of the assembly, the components consisted of a pro-actuated cartridge assembly which is housed within the handle assembly. Savit reviewed both items, and as a result, redesigned each component to achieve the goal of being cost effective in the production process.
For both subassemblies, substantial cost savings were achieved. As a system, the savings were approximately 60%. In addition to the cost savings, functional performance features were also improved. This effort involved a simplification in the design, which allowed us to eliminate unnecessary parts. We also used alternate materials, which allowed us to maintain the quality and durability while still reducing the cost.
Not only was Savit successful in maintaining cost efficiency on our "design to unit" goals, but we also improved the quality and performance of the product for the end user. Currently the Savit design is in a test program for final approval.