AA-52 machine gun

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AA-52
Mitrailleuse-IMG 1728.jpg
AA-52 mounted on a Leclerc main battle tank
Type General-purpose machine gun
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1952–present
Used by See Users
Wars Algerian war[1]
Chadian Civil War[2]
Shaba II[3]
Lebanese Civil War
Gulf War
Bosnian War
War in Afghanistan
Ivorian Civil Wars
2011 Libyan uprising[4]
Syrian Civil War
Operation Serval
Production history
Designed 1952
Manufacturer Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS)
Variants NF-1
M.A.C. 58
Specifications
Weight 9.970 kg
Length 1080 mm
Barrel length 600 mm

Cartridge 7.5×54mm French
7.62×51mm NATO
Calibre 7.5 mm
7.62 mm
Action Lever-delayed blowback
Rate of fire 900 round/min
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s
Effective firing range 600 metres
Maximum firing range 3,200 metres
Feed system Belt
Sights Iron
Removable APX (SOM) telescopic sights
IR scope

The AA-52 (full designation in French: Arme Automatique Transformable Modèle 1952, "Transformable automatic weapon model 1952"), also known as "La Nana", is one of the first French-produced guns of the post–World War II era. It was manufactured by the French government-owned Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS) company. The AA-52 is still used today as a vehicle-mounted weapon due to large quantities in service, but has been replaced in the helicopter role by the Belgian FN MAG, starting with the EC 725 Caracal of the special operations units and the Air Force search and rescue teams. The AA-52 had been largely phased out for infantry use in favour of the lighter FN Minimi but remains in use.

History

The AA-52 general-purpose machine gun was conceived and developed following the French military's experiences in the First Indochina War during the early 1950s. At that time, the French army was equipped with an assortment of weapons from British and American sources, as well as some German weapons from the Second World War.

Effective supply of ammunition and replacement parts was an almost insoluble task and the army decided to adopt a standard machine gun. The result was the AA-52, conceived for ease of production. The construction is of simple welded stamped sheet steel.

The AA-52 was partially withdrawn from the service of the French army in 2008. It was replaced in the 2010s by 10,881 FN MAG general-purpose machine guns.[5][6]

Design

The AA-52 is a peculiar weapon among modern machine guns because it uses lever-delayed blowback operation, also seen in the FAMAS rifle, manufactured at the same factory. When firing, the pressure pushing the case head rearward initiates an impulse on a cam that sends the bolt carrier rearward. After a certain distance, a link (in this case the firing pin) pulls the bolt head, hence extracting the spent case. Since there is no primary extraction, the chamber is fluted to allow powder gases to flow back, unsticking the case from the wall chamber as with Heckler & Koch–type roller-delayed blowback weapons.

The AA-52 can be used as a light machine gun with a bipod or as a heavy machine gun with a tripod. When used with a tripod for continuous fire, the gun is fitted with a heavier barrel. In the light machine gun configuration, the AA-52 is a relatively light weapon to carry. The AA-52 can be fired from the shoulder but this is slightly awkward because of the position of the handle, however the bipod can be used as a handguard when not in use. The barrel is changed by pressing a latch and rotating it a quarter of a turn. The APX(SOM) telescopic sight used on the MAS-49 and the FR-F1 sniper rifle can be mounted on the AA-52 as well as an infrared night sight.

Variants

NF-1

The AA-52 originally used the standard 7.5×54mm French cartridge. The general adoption of the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge reduced the opportunity for export sales, and the gun was adapted for this standard NATO calibre.

MAC-58

The MAC-58 was a version of the AA-52 chambered in .50 BMG. A few prototypes were tested and one retained for preserial production, but it never reached production due to the large quantity of US M2 Browning machine guns already in service with the French armed forces.

Users

References

  1. ^ Huon, Jean (March 1992). "L'armement français en A.F.N." Gazette des Armes (in French). No. 220. pp. 12–16.
  2. ^ Windrow, Martin (26 Sep 1985). French Foreign Legion Paratroops. Elite 6. Osprey Publishing. p. 56. ISBN 9780850456295.
  3. ^ Sicard, Jacques (November 1982). "Les armes de Kolwezi". La Gazette des armes (in French). No. 111. pp. 25–30.
  4. ^ "Image: 3650079973.jpg, (450 × 688 px)". theatrum-belli.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2015-09-03. [better source needed]
  5. ^ L'armée française fait ses emplettes en Belgique 18 January 2011 (French)
  6. ^ "FN Herstal wins French Competition for 7.62 Machine Guns". Fnherstal.com. Retrieved 2011-06-24.
  7. ^ Husson, Jean-Pierre (2000). Encyclopédie des forces spéciales du monde. Tome 1, De A à L (d'Afghanistan à Luxembourg). Histoire et Collections. ISBN 9782908182910.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2012-08-24.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Jones, Richard D.; Ness, Leland S., eds. (January 27, 2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010 (35th ed.). Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  10. ^ Gain, Nathan (28 January 2016). "French gift to Cameroon". forcesoperations.com.
  11. ^ Martin, Karl (2002). Irish Army Vehicles, transport and armour since 1922. Karl Martin. ISBN 0-9543413-0-9.
  12. ^ de Tessières, Savannah (April 2012). Enquête nationale sur les armes légères et de petit calibre en Côte d'Ivoire: les défis du contrôle des armes et de la lutte contre la violence armée avant la crise post-électorale (PDF) (Report). Special Report No. 14 (in French). UNDP, Commission Nationale de Lutte contre la Prolifération et la Circulation Illicite des Armes Légères et de Petit Calibre and Small Arms Survey. p. 74.
  13. ^ "Ventes d'armes : la France fait profil bas en Libye et veut diversifier ses clients". Le Monde (in French). 26 October 2011.

External links

  • AAT Mod.52 / Mod. F1 at Modern Firearms
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