• Please take a moment and update your account profile. If you have an updated account profile with basic information on why you are on Air Warriors it will help other people respond to your posts. How do you update your profile you ask?

    Go here:

    Edit Account Details and Profile

NEWS USAF Fighter And Bomber Crews Get Modified M4 Rifles That Fit Under Ejection Seats

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
Contributor
I may have missed it in the last 8 pages, but helo crews across all branches have been flying with some flavor of M4, M14, MP5, MP7, shotguns, etc, for years and it's been considered an essential part of their E&E kit. Not for sure why it'd be a bad/crazy idea to figure out a way to get the same firepower for the fixed wing guys.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
I may have missed it in the last 8 pages, but helo crews across all branches have been flying with some flavor of M4, M14, MP5, MP7, shotguns, etc, for years and it's been considered an essential part of their E&E kit. Not for sure why it'd be a bad/crazy idea to figure out a way to get the same firepower for the fixed wing guys.
My take is that it is situational dependent. Most (not all) helo guys work near ground-pounders or with other rotary wing assets in support. Having a rifle to work you way toward a nearby LZ or infantry unit is a great idea. On the other hand, pilots downed miles from the nearest allied ground unit are, I imagine, an entirely different thing. A rifle can make a person feel quite powerful, but 120 rounds does not a firefight make - especially if your CSAR asset is more than a few minutes away. Evasion is, in my humble opinion, a far better option.
 

sickboy

Active Member
pilot
I may have missed it in the last 8 pages, but helo crews across all branches have been flying with some flavor of M4, M14, MP5, MP7, shotguns, etc, for years and it's been considered an essential part of their E&E kit. Not for sure why it'd be a bad/crazy idea to figure out a way to get the same firepower for the fixed wing guys.

There's an egress kit for the M240 if I'm not mistaken.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
Contributor
My take is that it is situational dependent. Most (not all) helo guys work near ground-pounders or with other rotary wing assets in support. Having a rifle to work you way toward a nearby LZ or infantry unit is a great idea. On the other hand, pilots downed miles from the nearest allied ground unit are, I imagine, an entirely different thing. A rifle can make a person feel quite powerful, but 120 rounds does not a firefight make - especially if your CSAR asset is more than a few minutes away. Evasion is, in my humble opinion, a far better option.
In most conflicts these days, the jets are in relatively close proximity to ground troops as well so the same could apply. If it were a DAS situation, then I'd agree evasion is probably better. I still think it wise to give the pilot the option to have the M4 if he wants it.
 

insanebikerboy

Internet killed the television star
pilot
Contributor
There's an egress kit for the M240 if I'm not mistaken.
You're correct but it would take a lot to convince me to evade with the M240. That thing is heavy and the ammo makes it even heavier. The only reason I would use the egress kit on the 240 is if I needed to set a perimeter around my helo.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Off. Former Recruiter.
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
My take is that it is situational dependent. Most (not all) helo guys work near ground-pounders or with other rotary wing assets in support. Having a rifle to work you way toward a nearby LZ or infantry unit is a great idea. On the other hand, pilots downed miles from the nearest allied ground unit are, I imagine, an entirely different thing. A rifle can make a person feel quite powerful, but 120 rounds does not a firefight make - especially if your CSAR asset is more than a few minutes away. Evasion is, in my humble opinion, a far better option.
So you are saying, evasion is not compatible with personal weapons? I don't think anyone in this debate is arguing that a downed aviator go on the offensive Rambo style. I see the personal weapon for a defensive position where capture is likely a death warrant and every effort would be made to avoid capture, or a weapon, a more capable weapon in this debate, would aide in evasion if the situation demanded it. I was never taught that evasion must be stealthy. Stealth is the preferable tactic, but the goal of evasion is to evade capture until rescued or united with friendlies, by any means. Stands to reason, if I had more options I could deal with more scenarios.
 

wink

VS NFO. Blue and Gold Off. Former Recruiter.
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
A very speculative point not based on reality, really thin ice for this argument sicne we could come up with countless scenarios of what may or may not have happened. I'm trying to focus on what actually has happened.



It wasn't a study but an interesting note made by the authors of the book, to find details on the RA-5C crewman's adventure is actually pretty hard and the second account I've only seen in that book and even in there it is only an anecdote with no details or name fo the aircrew.

'Everyone' didn't expect they would be taken alive in Vietnam, there were several well-known instances where contact was established with downed aircrew then shortly thereafter lost due to locals or enemy troops killing them after being discovered. That is actually a source of controversy for several aircrew who were originally assumed to be captured based on the contact established after being shot down but later declared KIA. There were several similar instances in WWII and Korea as well, especially when locals were the first to encounter downed aircrew.



His was an escape, a completely different scenario than the one we are talking about, unless you can somehow smuggle that M4 into a prison camp.



Yes, training.
The difference in Robert's training and a typical aviator is that he killed a lot more of the enemy, and lasted longer than a typical aviator would. How does that change anything? He wasn't going to be captured and used as a propaganda tool and then publicly beheaded. I think that is a motivation we can all share.

PO Neil Roberts probably went out of that -47 with 300 plus rifle rounds. On an average mission in Afghanistan or Iraq I would carry 270 rounds on my body and stash hundreds more in the truck. The 120 rounds offered in the USAF kit isn't a lot of ammunition in a fire fight, even for a very good shooter.
Again, how does the amount of ammo he had figure into my point? I understand he also used an enemy weapon that a typical aviator would not have known how to use. So what. The point is to use what you have to the best of your ability. Robert's training gave him the ability to resist more violently. But the motivation for his resistance in that situation should be no different than it is for anyone. They don't need to teach that at Coronado. If Robert's had just 120 rounds and a M4 you think he should have surrendered? I am pretty damned sure he would have used all 120 rounds and gone down fighting, because his motivation would not have changed, kill the enemy, avoid capture, torture and gruesome public execution. Again, why should any aviator have a different motivation?
 

wlawr005

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
Roberts was infiltrating into a combat zone with a combat team and a full combat load. The team crash landed less than a kilometer away and there was no other option. This was 2002, there were no CSAR teams or QRFs available. This was COMBAT, not SURVIVAL...I think that's being lost in the white noise here.

People like to talk hard shit in the ready room about saving that last bullet for themselves, but it's pretty obvious that your best chance of SURVIVAL is to SURVIVE first. Plenty of people have survived captivity among terrorist organizations...they're not just going to burn you at the stake on Al Jazeera at the first available opportunity, although they might eventually.

In any case, there are several hundred other survival items that would be beneficial. Boots made for terrain, not flight decks. Digital compasses with embedded GPS. A better survival radio. Gear and helmets that weren't designed in the 70's. A more robust first aid kit. I could keep going.

But at least they got an M4 now, gives them a couple of options I guess. Just not as many options as that money could've funded...which guess is standard in today's military.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
But at least they got an M4 now, gives them a couple of options I guess. Just not as many options as that money could've funded...which guess is standard in today's military.
Don’t mean to be flippant, but I find it somewhat humorous listening to a sailor complaining about the effectiveness of combat boots... or other protective gear for that matter. Fly around for a couple hours with SAPIs and let me know how that feels. I also have a weird feeling there might be an effect on your ejection seats due to weight increases. The amount of failing to eject or improper feeds I’ve had with an M9 alone warrants it being replaced. Funny you mention gear designed in the 70s...because that’s when the M9 was designed. This is in line with the services looking to shed itselves from the M9 design. Might want to ditch that 70s era flight suit too actually. The two piece is way better for concealment. Helmet covers are also a pretty easy stitch job.

The fact that people are complaining about this blows my mind.
 

wlawr005

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
I don't know what SAPI is and we carry M11.

And I agree, we could do very well for ourselves by reevaluating our kit.
 
Last edited:

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
Don’t mean to be flippant, but I find it somewhat humorous listening to a sailor complaining about the effectiveness of combat boots... or other protective gear for that matter. Fly around for a couple hours with SAPIs and let me know how that feels. I also have a weird feeling there might be an effect on your ejection seats due to weight increases. The amount of failing to eject or improper feeds I’ve had with an M9 alone warrants it being replaced. Funny you mention gear designed in the 70s...because that’s when the M9 was designed. This is in line with the services looking to shed itselves from the M9 design. Might want to ditch that 70s era flight suit too actually. The two piece is way better for concealment. Helmet covers are also a pretty easy stitch job.

The fact that people are complaining about this blows my mind.
Let’s not pretend helmet covers are for anything besides looking cool. Evading on land, I’d ditch the helmet just as soon as I detached from the parachute. It doesn’t actually protect after the ejection and PLF, and I’d like to be able to hear.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
Let’s not pretend helmet covers are for anything besides looking cool. Evading on land, I’d ditch the helmet just as soon as I detached from the parachute. It doesn’t actually protect after the ejection and PLF, and I’d like to be able to hear.
Yeah actually flying low level... those two giant golfballs make great targets and make flying on goggles in a tandem cockpit fucking annoying. So there’s a good reason why ours are covered. I can see the futile ness for a Harrier guy until your under canopy. I’d probably ditch it after egress too, but your hearing must be some sorts of fucked up if you can’t hear through your HGU. Those things don’t stop noise for shit.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
Yeah actually flying low level... those two giant golfballs make great targets and make flying on goggles in a tandem cockpit fucking annoying. So there’s a good reason why ours are covered. I can see the futile ness for a Harrier guy until your under canopy. I’d probably ditch it after egress too, but your hearing must be some sorts of fucked up if you can’t hear through your HGU. Those things don’t stop noise for shit.
Didn’t think about helos a low level. I had the hush kit plus custom molded CEP’s. Actually very quiet because it’s ear piercingly loud in a harrier.
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
I don't know what SAPI is and we carry M11.

And I agree, we could do very well for ourselves by reevaluating our kit.
Small Arms Protective Insert. Boron carbide ceramic plates for body armor. Current issue version is rated to stop armor-piercing .30-06. Wore them briefly in Narmy training at Fort Jackson; they’re annoyingly thick, but I guess it beats the alternative.

And two piece flight suits are great . . . if you’re a helo person wearing body armor. They’d be a pain in the ass under a torso harness, and having a jet guy wear ESAPI is the definition of pointless.
 

RobLyman

- hawk Pilot
pilot
None
Don’t mean to be flippant, but I find it somewhat humorous listening to a sailor complaining about the effectiveness of combat boots... or other protective gear for that matter. Fly around for a couple hours with SAPIs and let me know how that feels. I also have a weird feeling there might be an effect on your ejection seats due to weight increases. The amount of failing to eject or improper feeds I’ve had with an M9 alone warrants it being replaced. Funny you mention gear designed in the 70s...because that’s when the M9 was designed. This is in line with the services looking to shed itselves from the M9 design. Might want to ditch that 70s era flight suit too actually. The two piece is way better for concealment. Helmet covers are also a pretty easy stitch job.

The fact that people are complaining about this blows my mind.
I thought the M9 was designed to jam. I can't think of a single time I went to the range to qualify and NOT had my weapon malfunction at least once. Once out of every 30 to 40 rounds is not good.

SAPI..argh!!! I flew in the Navy in Somalia and wore a .45 in my vest. That was it. In the Army I ran to the aircraft for a medevac call in Iraq with SAPI front and back plates in my Air Warrior vest (yes that's what its called) , my survival vest with the requisite 4 and 9 full magazines as well as survival gear, helmet, M9, M4 and kneeboard with the nine line info. The best were the 2:00 am calls where you get to wake up from a dead sleep, throw all of that on, run to the aircraft and goggle up as you start the aircraft. Its hard to believe I can still do that and be airborne in under 10 minutes at my age.

The Army (and I'm sure Marine) mindset is quite different than the Navy and probably Air Force. At least as a helo crew, you might be expected to do a little more than just evade. Our downed aircraft training includes clearing the aircraft and setting up defensive positions before the evasion begins.
 
Top