M2 “Ma Duce” gets overhaul

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According to press releases, the U.S. Army has awarded General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products a  $35 million order  to manufacture M2A1 quick change barrel (“QCB”) conversion kits.  According to the news release,  “the QCB conversion kits feature several direct-replacement parts to modify existing M2 heavy barrel (M2HB) machine guns to the M2A1 configuration.  Deliveries are scheduled to begin in January 2011 and will continue through December 2012. “

“‘With the QCB conversion kits, the U.S. warfighter can change the machine gun barrel in a few seconds.  The M2A1 features fixed headspace and timing, which eliminates the need to manually calibrate the weapon after each barrel change and reduces exposure time to enemy fire,'” said Mike O’Brien, vice president and general manager of gun systems for General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products.”

Since its introduction in 1921 –  Yep, 1921! –  the M2 Heavy Duty Machine Gun has been one of the most reliable weapons for US ground troops.   Earlier, Senior Editor, Roger Charles  had reported that the DoDIG had found serious deficiencies in the procurement of spare parts for the M2 in Afghanistan.  While hopeful that the logistical nightmare that plagued troops on the ground has now been remedied, we trust that the M2A1 will prove to be more effective than its predecessor.  Nevertheless, our troops deserve reliable weapons and an effective supply chain that guarantees them that the “right” parts will arrive at the “right” time.