Show Report: Shrivenham 2018


Close Combat Symposium

The Close Combat Symposium (CCS) was held at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom over July 9–11, 2018; historically, it has its origins in the Small Arms & Cannon Symposium held for many years at the same venue.

The three-day symposia opened for on-site registration at 0900 hours on the first day, followed by a full day of presentations. On the second day delegates were able to attend a manufacturers’ outdoor range day, where the opportunity to fire a number of different small arms types and view associated supporting equipment was provided. The final day’s presentations, again at the Defence Academy location, concluded in late afternoon.

The program’s format, which has a “themed” first and third day, traditionally consists of short presentations on various aspects of mounted and dismounted close combat together with coverage of infantry weapons and ammunition. The format allows maximum coverage of a diverse subject matter area to cater to the varied interests of those attending. Over the three days, the program offered 19 presentations, and the wide-ranging spectrum of the presentations, which included Panel Discussions after each segment, covered the following areas:

Making a connection at the Glenair Ltd booth.

Army HQ Day: The UK MoD Perspective

Session 1

  • The Future Requirement
  • Keynote: On the Horns of a Dilemma (2025 vs. 2035) (Army HQ/DI Land)
  • DI Land Update (Army HQ/DI Land)
  • The Future Target Set (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL))
  • The Evidence So Far: AWE Findings, Lessons from Urban Dawn and Agile Warrior (Infantry Trials & Development Unit (ITDU))
  • Models for Development & Design—Soldier Lethality (ITDU)
  • Future Individual Lethality System (Systems Engineering & Assessments Ltd (SEA Ltd))

Session 2

  • The Defence-Industry Acquisition Relationship
  • A Sense of the Acquisition Space (Army HQ/Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S))
  • The Defence Prosperity Strategic Program (Army HQ)
  • Industry Perspective—Forum contributions from:
    – The Prime
    – General Dynamics
    – MBDA
    – Ultra Electronics
  • The SME—Delivering Better Outcomes (UK Defence Solutions Centre)
  • Four Questions to Inform the 2025 vs. 2035 Debate—Audience Discussion
GMK Tactical Products booth in the exhibitor display area.

Range Day

The Range Day was again held at the Cranfield Ordnance Test & Evaluation Centre (COTEC), West Lavington on the northwestern edge of the UK MoD, Salisbury Plain artillery and field-firing range. The range day this year, which provided delegates with the opportunity to view and fire selected infantry small arms, also included a demonstration arranged at very short notice of the SMASH Fire-Control System (FCS). The SMASH, which proved to be a centerpiece of the day, was developed by the Israeli company Smart Shooter Ltd at the request of the Israeli Defense Forces to provide a small, compact FCS suitable for mounting on a carbine- or rifle-size weapon for the direct engagement of targets out beyond100m in a three-dimensional space, being intended for engagement of moving targets with an >80% hit probability at ground level or of aerial targets such as mini-drones. A manufacturer demonstrator began by putting the SMASH FCS through its paces on a moving target consisting of a helium-filled balloon of around 40x60cm attached to the rear end of a model radio-controlled pick-up truck. Results were impressive; hits on the target—which was moving over undulating grass ridges at 60-80m—were usually achieved in one or two shots. Delegates were then offered the chance to demonstrate their shooting skills using the SMASH; again, a “strike” generally being achieved within two to three shots. The final demonstration was against a small (wing-span circa 30cm), radio-controlled drone flying around 80+m from the firing position. Examination of the recovered drone showed at least four solid strikes had been achieved.

After a BBQ lunch, demonstrations of equipment and opportunities to “live-fire” weapons were provided by:

  • Beechwood Equipment Ltd
  • FNH UK (formerly Manroy)
  • GMK Tactical Products
  • Instro
  • KME
  • Level Peaks Associates Ltd
  • Qioptiq
  • Viking Arms Ltd (Defence)
  • UAS and Counter UAS demonstration (SMASH): Metis Aerospace/Cubic LVC

The Range Day was followed that evening by the now traditional Formal Dinner held at the Swindon Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway. Delegates were able to view historic steam locomotives and original railway transportation, such as an original 1 ton horse-drawn wagon pulled by a large shire horse—the impressively large wagon and horse appearing to have only a rudimentary braking facility by today’s standards! Pre-dinner drinks provided the opportunity for informal networking; the dinner itself being held within the precincts of the museum with musical entertainment being provided by a local brass ensemble.

Range Day—Firing point.

Small Arms & Cannon: Industry & Academia

Session 3

  • Addressing the Problem
  • Modern Trends, Threats & Developments in Global Ordnance (Editor-in-Chief—Small Arms Defence Journal (SADJ))
  • Sound Moderators & Small Arms: Issues in the Process of Specifications (Phillip H. Dater, MD)
  • National Armed Policing and the Military Support Requirement (UK Police—National Armed Policing Group)
  • Retro-Reflection in the Battlefield: Vulnerabilities, Threats and Countermeasures (Sensors Group, Cranfield University)
  • Maritime Close Combat (UK—Royal Navy)
  • Russian Approaches to Technology Development (Captain W. Shepherd (Ret’d)—USN)
  • Moral Decision Making in Close Combat (University of Liverpool)
  • Tactical Psychology and Infantry Manoeuvre (Wapentakes)
  • The Cognitive Burden in Close Combat (University of Liverpool)