L98A1 Cadet GP Rifle


L98A1 Cadet GP Rifle

Infobox Weapon
name= L98A1 Cadet GP
caption= The L98A1 Cadet General Purpose rifle with SUSAT sight fitted
origin= United Kingdom
type=Cadet training rifle
is_ranged=yes
is_bladed=
is_explosive=
is_artillery=
is_vehicle=
service= 1980s–present
used_by=UK Cadets (ATC ACF CCF SCC)
wars= None
designer=
design_date=
manufacturer=
production_date=1985–1994
number=
variants= L98A1
weight=
length= 785 mm
part_length= 495 mm
crew=
cartridge= 5.56 x 45 mm NATO
caliber=5.56 mm
action= Straight Pull bolt action
rate=
velocity= 900 m/s
range= 300 m (individual) 600 m (section)
max_range= 800 m
feed= 30-round STANAG magazines
sights= Iron Sights

The L98A1 Cadet GP Rifle (GP - General Purpose) is the standard rifle for British Army, Air and Sea cadet shooting. This weapon was introduced alongside the SA80 series from 1989 onwards for cadet use, as at the time cadets were not permitted to fire semi- or fully-automatic weapons.

Breakdown

The GP rifle strips for cleaning almost identically to the L85A1 but without the gas parts. It consists of: barrel and receiver, trigger mechanism housing (TMH), cocking handle and extension rod, bolt carrier assembly, and the recoil rod assembly, all of which can be removed and reassembled without tools. The sights and hand guard can also be detached with the aid of the combination tool.

Working parts

The GP is a manually-operated, straight-pull rifle and cannot fire semi- or fully-automatically. The SA80 IW and LSW are cocked via a cocking handle attached directly to the bolt carrier. The GP rifle, however, has a cocking handle extension piece, and is cocked with the right hand as opposed to reaching across and cocking with the left.

Training

Before using the weapon with either blank or ball ammunition, cadets receive training in the safe use of the weapon. These are assessed through weapon handling tests (WHTs) carried out as part of regular training, and at the discretion of the range staff as necessary. Drills that are taught include:

* Normal Safety Precautions (NSP)
* Stripping and reassembling the weapon
* Loading the weapon
* Make ready
* Make Safe (consists of an unload followed by the application of a fresh magazine [Pam 5 states "On the command “Make Safe”, unload as taught, then put on a full magazine."] )
* Immediate Action (IA) Drill
* Stoppage Drills
* Unload

Sights



right|thumb|A Cadet affiliated to the Royal Signals fires the L98A1 Cadet GP RifleThe L98 is fitted with adjustable iron sights. It consists of a rear battle and leaf sight and a front blade sight. The front sight is mounted on a protrusion extending from the hand guard. The front sight assembly is clamped to the top of this and carries the front sight blade with protective fins either side.The foresight facilitates adjustment of elevation in increments of 2 minutes of angle. The rear sight is fitted to the rear of the carrying handle also adjustable in 2 minute increments .

The rear sight has an emergency battle sight, zeroed to 300 m, which flips over to reveal an adjustable leaf sight. By turning a range dial, ranges from 100 to 500 metres are available.

If available, the SUSAT can be fitted to the GP though larger units such as the CWS night sight and the original SAWES laser training projector would foul the GP's larger cocking handle, whilst this does not prohibit their use on the weapon, it prohibits cocking the weapon, with them attached.

Problems

The L98 has a number of design features that cause problems when used by cadets, as well as problems inherent to the SA80 series.

Commonly, failing to pull the cocking handle fully to the rear results in a failed ejection of the previous round leading to a stoppage. Dirt and grit can foul the slide making the action harder to cycle further compounding this problem. Rain can also cause similar problems, as the rail along which the cocking handle slides is completely exposed to the elements, often causing the oil to wash off.

The pin securing the cocking handle to its connecting rod is also notoriously weak, often breaking during vigorous and prolonged use.

The removal of the flash suppressor on the L98 also prevents the fitting of the blank firing attachment for the L85A1 series or the use of the safe blank firing attachment (SBFA) for the A2 series. This increases the safety distance when firing from 1m to 50m and increases the opportunity for injury. The cadet GP is soon to be exchanged for a modified L85A2, this will be the same however it will have the benifit of "repetition" which means the rifle will not have to be cocked after every round. However it will still have an incorporated iron sight instead of a SUSATFact|date=October 2008.

Modifications

Conversion kits exist which enable it to fire .22 rimfire cartridges instead of the standard 5.56 mm NATO cartridge. This allows the weapon to be fired live on .22 ranges when full size military ranges are not available. The kit consists of a modified bolt carrier assembly, modified working parts (springs etc), a special magazine that is the same size and shape as the standard 5.56 mm magazine, and a special adapter, shaped like a 5.56 mm cartridge, which is fitted into the L98A1's breech and itself contains a smaller breech into which the modified bolt inserts the .22 cartridge. The modified magazine locks into the magazine housing exactly as a normal one would, the normal extended cocking handle is connected to the modified bolt carrier, and the method of operation is exactly the same as when using 5.56 mm ammunition. The conversion is not permanent and the kit can be fitted or removed from the weapon in as little time as it takes to normally strip and reassemble it.

Replacement

The L98A1 is set to be replaced by the a version of the L85A2, being designated L98A2. The contracts were signed in May 2008Fact|date=August 2008. With the rifles being said to be issued between March 2009, and June 2010. As the Cadets will be receiving the A2, they will be able to participate in more active activities with the use of a BFA "(Blank Firing Attachment)", thus enabling fieldcraft based activites such as FIBUA to be conducted.Fact|date=July 2008

ee also

* Sea Cadet Corps (United Kingdom)
* Air Training Corps
* Combined Cadet Force
* Army Cadet Force
* SA80
* British Military Rifles

References

External links

* [http://www.aircadets.org/ Air Training Corps]
* [http://www.sea-cadets.org/ Sea and Marine Cadets]
* [http://www.armycadets.com Army Cadet Force]


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