Night Fighting Weapon System (NFWS)
The picture attached is a ".5'56mm Night Fighting Weapon System". Made by AFPGA (Armed Forces of Philippines - Governmental Arsenals) in the Republic of Philippines, the weapon was developed in late 2004. ------------- Col. Jonathan C. Martir PN(M)(GSC), N-6, began development of a dedicated night fighting weapon system using the 5.56mm M16A1 service rifle as a platform. PN research and development on the NFWS resulted in a system which integrated an in-house produced sound and flash suppressor, and integrated night vision weapon sights on an M16A1 upper receiver barrel assembly. The system is most significant in developing an in-house dedicated night fighting system for the PN/PMC, and thus introduced the only such capability in the AFP. Although the system is described in further detail in a separate study, its basic features are described as follows: Upper Receiver: The NFWS upper receiver consists of an M16 A1 flat top upper receiver, which was developed into a fully integrated sound and flash suppressed upper receiver assembly that can be mounted or removed from a DMR lower receiver assembly in the same manner as the standard M16A1 service rifle. The NFWS upper assembly has an overall length of 31 ½ inches and is slightly heavier than a DMR or M16A1 service rifle upper assembly, principally due to the weight of the Night Vision Sight and the heavier barrel and integral suppressor. Mounting System: The NVS is mounted on a MILSPEC Picatinny rail base which is installed on the upper receiver. The NVS with its integral scope base mounts directly on the Picatinny railing and provides a secure, comfortable shooting position. Barrel: The NFWS utilizes a 16-inch chrome moly MILSPEC 5:56 X 45mm barrel with a 1:9 inch rifling twist to enable it to stabilize standard issue M193 55 grain ball to 62 grain SS109 and 69 grain Match ammunition. The barrel is individually re-crowned and re-chambered to ensure reliability and accuracy. The barrel makes use of porting, or cross drilling, with holes drilled along its entire length, which is covered by the integral suppressor. The barrel is cross-drilled for gas bleed off as part of the suppressor/silencer design. A metal housing which incorporates a series of slots to facilitate barrel cooling replaces the issued synthetic handguards. Integral Suppressor: The sound suppressor is an integral, all-metal unit that houses the entire barrel, gas port, and gas tube mechanism all the way up to the receiver. Proprietary designed expansion chamber(s) and baffles capture and dissipate or reduce sound generated from gases produced when the weapon is fired. Made from stainless steel for strength and durability, the baffles take into consideration the tropical and humid operating environment. Night Vision sights :The NFWS is a dedicated night fighting system, and uses one of two (2) night vision sights: the Litton Model M845 MkII Night Vision Sight or the Night Optics D-740/760 Advanced Night Vision Weapon Sight, as described below. The Night Optics D-740/760 Advanced Night Vision Weapon Sight: Made by Night Optics USA, Inc., the D-740/760 Advanced Night Vision Weapon Sight uses a waterproof, light weight (1.1kg), impact resistant, nitrogen purged housing to enable long-range observation under low light conditions. It is equipped with an illuminated red on green Mil-Dot reticle on high-grade multi coated 4 X power (on the D-740 model) and 6 X power optics (on the D-760 model) for a high resolution field of view. It features ¼ Minute of Angle (MOA) elevation and windage adjustments with a detection and recognition range of 300m and 225m, respectively. The D-740/760 series is powered by two (2) AA batteries for approximately 60 hours. It makes use of a low profile heavy duty Weaver mounting system which enables it to be used on individual and crew served weapons. The Litton Model M845 MkII Night Vision Sight: Made by Litton Electron Devices of Arizona, USA, the M845 MkII Night Vision Sight (“NVS”) is a lightweight (1.3 kg), fixed focus self-contained passive electro-optical night vision weapons sight, which is effective at short and intermediate ranges. It has a 75mm objective lens which has a permanent focal setting at “infinity” for a wide field of view to facilitate rapid target acquisition. The adjustable reticle on high-grade multi coated 1.55 X power optics provides for a high resolution field of view. Once the target is acquired, the adjustable reticle provides the shooter with a color contrasting aiming point of reference. Ammunition: The barrel and its 1:9 rate of twist enables the NFWS to stabilize 55grain M193 to the 62 grain M855/SS109 and 68 gr Hornady Match subsonic ammunition. As described earlier, the integral suppressor enables the NFWS to use standard supersonic ammunition, or subsonic ammunition, which is loaded by the Marine Scout Sniper School. Overall Conclusion: The Marine Scout Sniper Program as a Force Multiplier. To date, the experience of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Program has been instructive in demonstrating effective and cost efficient weapons systems that complement and expand the Navy and Marine Corps small arms capabilities. It provides additional flexibility for Special Operations Teams by allowing additional mission capabilities currently not available with the service rifle through the MSSR, the DMR, and more recently, the NFWS. These are consistent with and strengthen the concept of the Battalion Landing Team (Special Operations Capable) or BLT (SOC) of the Philippine Marine Corps. The current capability thus consists of the means to identify and engage targets with a primary (up to 700m) system through the 5.56mm DMR, an intermediate (up to 1,000m) system with the 7.62mm MSSR, and a long-range (up to 1,500m and beyond) with the 12.7mm anti-material /personnel Barrett M95. It is worth noting that a similar structure also exists within the Israel Defense Forces (“IDF”), which has been combating terrorists and insurgents since its inception. The IDF employs its 5.56mm Designated Marksman Rifle using a stock M-16A2 platform, which is not as extensively developed in comparison to the PMC 5.56mm MSSR/DMR. Similar in concept is the 5.56mm Squad Advanced Marksman Rifle (“SAMR”) of the USMC, which is undergoing testing in Afghanistan and Iraq. The development of the 5.56mm MSSR/DMR, the use of suppressors and NVS for the NFWS demonstrates initiatives to optimize existing weapons platforms within resource constraints. The complete set with carrying case excluding the M16 A1 upper receiver assembly, both of which are in inventory, the 5.56mm MSSR/DMR and the NFWS without optics cost PhP 120,000.00 and PhP 40,000.00 or US$715.00, respectively. Both are cost effective initiatives which represent force multiplier that greatly contribute to the overall capabilities of the Philippine Navy and its dedicated special operations units. Similar imported systems would cost significantly more. Local production and maintenance of the 5.56mm MSSR/DMR and the NFWS ensure a sustainable self-reliance capability. Equally important to the success of the entire program is an awareness of the same program and its capabilities among middle and senior level officers and decision makers. Such awareness leads to the appropriate and effective employment of scout snipers to attain their objectives. This may be facilitated by the continued operation of the Marine Scout Sniper School, which to date, remains the sole institution in the Armed Forces of the Philippines that conducts sniper training and research and development for new systems and components. The continuing efforts and experience to date in countering asymmetric threats such as terrorism and insurgency in the Philippine archipelago therefore call for continued consideration and awareness of the relevance of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Program and its experience in training and equipping Scout Snipers, and innovating and optimizing existing weapons capabilities within prevailing resource constraints to deny the enemy its advantages and decisively defeat them. The most recent example is the use of the NFWS by Marine Scout Snipers with FRBN on (month/date), which resulted in the killing of seven (7) MBG terrorists and the recovery of seven (7) M16 service rifles and M203 grenade launchers, all done at 0430H in Jolo. ----------- NOW, I don't know what the Filipinos think, but in my humble opinion the gun is WAY too long to be a "modern counter-insurgency weapon", that being a function that requires short barrel and maneuverability in confined spaces (we all are by now dramatically aware that most of the counter-terror combats are highly lethal Close Quarters Battle situation). Though I cannot argue about the quiet of the gun. Probably firing the NCWS you won't hear nothing else than the "Click" of the firing pin striking the bullet in the chamber... well, not a GREAT result, since Heckler&Koch's MP5-SD does it since at least 25 years in a very shorter package, while those Filipino SODs have built an integrally-suppressed barrel that's more than 1 Meter long. The gun itself in its entireness is even LONGER than the standard M16-A1 rifle it's based upon! And, even, the M16-A1! The Filipinos still use A1s which have up to 30 years of service. I think that their "Small Arms Modernization Programs" are NOT purported to "enhance fighting capabilities foreseeing a harder engagement in the fight against global terror", but to prevent the age from making their entire arsenals fall apart. You know, they've even re-issued WW2-era M3-A1 "Grease Guns" to their Marine Scouts, calling them the "M3-SpecOps", with a clumsy integral sound suppressor and a piss poor rail attachment over the gun for a modern NVD (Night Vision Device). Well, it's known that their main supplier of small arms parts from the US is DPMS, so we cannot expect MUCH more about them. The good thing in Filipino guns industry is that they make cheap civvie guns of an acceptable quality (nothing that matches the quality-price level of the Chinese production, however).
Photos and information from: Pierangelo Tendas