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The Enfield 5.56mm General Purpose (GP) Cadet Rifles - L98A1 & L98A2

and the Drill Purpose L103A1/2


SA80 Trainers, and the L41A1 .22RF Heckler & Koch conversion kit for the L85A1 (SA80)

L41A1 CONVERSION KIT..-.........L103A1 DP RIFLE..-.........L85A1 SKELETON RIFLE..-....

.....SA80 .22LR RIFLE..-......................................SA80 SMART SYSTEM..-...............................SAWES TRAINING SYSTEM


The images here shown are by courtesy of the Trustees of the Enfield (M.O.D.) Pattern Room Collection -
- late of the R.S.A.F. ( Royal Small Arms Factory),
Nottingham, and now gifted to the Royal Armouries Museum at Leeds.

The collection still continues as a working reference library for Small Arms of the World
and maintains its acquisitive remit to that end.
Other photography is by kind permission of the M.O.D. U.K. Defence Academy,
taken at their Small ArmsCollection at Shrivenham.
These images too are jointly copyrighted between the M.O.D. and www.rifleman.org.uk.

The L98A1 Rifle is a full-calibre (.223" or 5.56mm), non self-loading modified version of the "Individual Weapon" L85A1 - SA80 Service rifle for Cadet and training use. The action can only be cycled manually by use of the cocking lever. Each round is loaded from the magazine in this way and there is no option for either semi-automatic or fully-automatic selective fire as is available on the L85A1. Additionally, the rifle can itself be fitted with a .22RF (rim-fire) small-bore conversion unit to permit equivalent magazine-fed, but single action, use on indoor or small-bore ranges.

This training arm has been in regular use by the British Military since the late 1980s, although a replacement model commenced issue from 2009, (that is covered further down this page), the intention for which was to provide the cadet force with a semi-automatic version of the L98A1; this rifle still excluded any option for true selective, fully-automatic fire.

In the early 1980s, long before the first L98A1 was issued, or even the new L85A1 service rifle, the Royal Small Arms Factory was working on a design for a rifle to replace the Fabrique Nationale designed Self-Loading Rifle (FN-SLR), or L1A1.

Procurement rules meant that a number of different rifles had to be selected for trials, and the final decision on the new service rifle would be made only when those trials had been completed. Suitability for service depended on a plethora of both performance and cost aspects.

There were six rifles from different manufacturers chosen for trialling; these were prototype 5.56mm "Cadet" weapons from, respectively, the Birmingham Small Arms Company; Parker-Hale Ltd.; Heckler & Cock; Inter-arms; a Ruger Mini 14 rifle submitted via the UK agents, Holland & Holland; and finally the submission from the Royal Small Arms Factory.

Below, is a sibling of the cadet trials rifles, presently held in the Shrivenham Defence Acadamy Collection.


This rifle carries serial number "CW 003" on the upper part of the body's right-hand side,
and below that, on the lower body rail, above the magazine, is engraved
"RIFLE 5.56 MM EWS CADET CW003".
An identical rifle, serial number CW 004,
was used in the trials for the "Ease of Maintenance" assessment,
and serial number CW 002 was used for the "Maintenance Appraisal Report".
It will be noticed that the magazine-well fitment on this prototype training weapon
is a separate fabricated section welded to the rifle body.
This should be compared with the later Pattern rifle further down this page,
which is configured as the final issue rifles,
with an integral magazine-well rivetted into the body and protruding underneath,
into which the magazine is fitted.

 

Below, is a side elevation of the 'Pattern Room' rifle with the breech block in the forward (closed) position.

This example is the original Government Pattern arm. From 1998 all in-service rifles were retro-fitted with modified cocking handles.

Whilst, below, it is shown with the rocking cocking lever pulled back, ejection port open and the breech-block to the rear.

As standard issue, the Cadet GP ( General Purpose ) rifle is fitted with iron sights,

but it can also be fitted with the 4 power SUSAT optical sight (Sight Unit, Small Arms, Trilux)

more usually seen on the full service arm - the L85A1 - SA80, for which the L98A1 was the training version.

 

And below, the rifle's left-hand-side.

 

Next, the rifle's bolt can be seen in the bolt-way through the ejection port, with the spring-loaded port cover folded down.

The bolt's multiple front locating-lugs are clearly evident, along with the firing-pin aperture.

 

Here can be seen the entrance to the chamber, with the recesses for the bolt's locating lugs.

Being one of the prototype rifles originally passed to the Pattern Room, it carries the serial number for rifle number 4; i.e., "UE86-A000004".

A major factor in the eventual selection of the RSAF rifle, as the trials winner, was the point observed, in one of the maintenance reports,

that the BSA and Parker-Hale rifles would each require special training of unit armourers,

whereas the RSAF rifle was anyway to be well covered by the training

already necessarily associated with the introduction of the SA80 L85A1 as the new service rifle.

Indeed, many parts would be shared by both the service weapon and the cadet rifle,

making a significant saving in spares and maintenance requirements.

A photograph from the report illustrated the disassembled rifle.

 

We are able, by virtue of being granted access to the archives of the Royal Armouries, to show the

COPYRIGHTED "Ease of Maintenance Report " resulting from the 1985 trials of the final three proposals of the original six submitted rifles.

The remaining two rifles, other than the RSAF Enfield Cadet Rifle, were the BSA and Parker-Hale Prototype Cadet rifles.

The sizeable report is in the form of a flip-page PDF that may take a few moments to load.

 

Also manufactured was an equivalent version of the L86A1 LSW ( Light Support Weapon ). The standard LSW is fitted with a longer barrel and a bi-pod.

The non semi-automatic version was only sold on the commercial market and not adopted by the British Government for Service use.


 

Below, loosely describable as a training rifle, in parade ground terms at least, the DP (Drill Purpose) deactivated rifle,

the latter day equivalent to the L59A1 and A2 DP Rifles of the 1970s.

The official nomenclature for this rifle is the ' L103A1 ' there also being a later A2 model

 

These rifles have a solid barrel, and weld-sealed breech-block head,

with the firing-pin cut off.

 

 

Below, the rifle's left-hand-side.

 

Ironically, such DP rifles as illustrated above, and some skeletonised rifles as in the following section,

have usually been "deactivated" only to a militarily acceptable standard.

Some armourers' demonstration skeleton weapons have been specially manufactured as such,

and these may be acceptable as civilian specification deactivated items;

those converted from live weapons are unlikely to be so.

Any firearms of the latter type acquired by civilian collectors are required to be held

under their firearms certificates, and it is not possible for them to be freely held by the general public.

Public sale is only legal for deactivated arms that have been passed through the London or Birmingham proof houses,

and issued with a certificate that confirms their deactivation to meet the currently required specification.

Whilst skeletonised weapons have usually been so heavily cut away it is highly unlikely to prove possible to resurrect them,

this is not true of some drill purpose arms, which can sometimes be returned to a live condition

by the replacement of parts, and minor modifications acheivable by capable engineers having little compunction.

 

L103A1 rifles held in Cadet Unit stores that were not required to meet

the levels of security necessary to hold live firearms, have proved problematic.

One such store was broken into in May 2018, and several DP SA80 rifles stolen.

These were recovered by police, but the outcome has been the withdrawal from unsuitable storage of large numbers

of the total stock of approaching ten thousand of these arms either for storage in alternative secure facilities

or consideration of their specification, or perhaps both.

A comparatively accurately reported article on the subject appeared in the Daily Telegraph of 27th. March 2019.

The above facts relating to deactivated weaponry, and the 'news' that

military "so-called Drill Purpose rifles" do not meet civilian Home Office deactivation specifications is nothing new,

these have been common knowledge with the relevant Police and Home Office sections, the M.O.D., and civilian dealers for many years.


 

For the training of armourers, and for armourers and instructors to train recruits in the operation of the rifle, a skeletonised model was produced.

 

On the right-hand side of the magazine-well, in a 4cm long x 0.8 wide recessed flat, with rounded ends, the word "SKELETON" is engraved.

The pressed stiffening rails of both the upper and lower body sections

are each engraved with "5.56 MM SKELETONISED RIFLE".

So there is no mistaking this arm for an operating weapon, even ignoring the many red-painted cut-away apertures!

 

 

 

 

Below, an image of the SA80 skeletonised rifle with its associated equipment,

including the ammunition loading clip, the bayonet, a monopod, and both the steel and plastic magazine types.


 

In 2009, decommissioning commenced of the L98A1 rifles and, over quite a long period,

these were slowly replaced with the updated L98A2 model.

The new rifle varies little from the original, with the major difference being the upgrading of the action to semi-automatic, or self-loading.

Thus the firer no longer needs to cycle the cocking-handle for the next shot.

However, the selective, fully-automatic fire option of the L85A2 service rifle is not available, the relevant gas system and fully-auto selector lever not being fitted.

The L98A2 is still issued with only iron sights, and the tritium element in the fore-sight of the L85A2 is deleted.

The SuSat optical sight has not normally been issued for cadet training with either of the L98A1 and L98A2 rifles.

 


 

L41A1 (Heckler & Koch) .22RF conversion kit for the L85A1/2 (SA80) Individual Weapon

...


As of May 2021, it has been reported in Jane's Defence Review that Heckler & Koch are converting obsolete SA80 rifles into .22LR training rifles using the SA80 A1 receivers. The L41A1 adapter units are being withdrawn, along with the 5.56mm L98A1 rifles.

It is understood that the configuration of the newly converted .22 rimfire rifles will be more or less as the L85A2 service weapon, and that it will effectively operate with action components similar to those previously designed for the L41A1 adapter system.

The rifle will be self-loading, and utilise the same magazine as shown in the adapter unit details above.

The nomenclature for the new rifle has yet to be announced.

 

Further details can be obtained by subscribing to Jane's Defence Review

to which clicking the link above will take you.

 

Acknowledgement: photograph modified from Jane's Defence Review

In the public domain are the documents for the award of the contract

for the modification of SA80 Light Support Weapons.

This is shown as being over a period of three years, with deliveries between September 2020

and the same date in 2023, at a cost of £425,000.

The notice is in the form of a text-searchable flip-page document that may take a few moments to load.

Double tap or click for full page display.

 


The remaining training versions of the SA80 to be covered here are those used for practice on indoor electronic ranges,

and for outdoor live laser exercise.

The former is the Ferranti designed and supplied

"SMART TRAINING SYSTEM"

Here illustrated in a brochure.

A rifle used for this system is illustrated below, and was evidently used on 'Lane 5' of the range set-up.

Basically the rifle externally looks exactly like an L85A1 except that there is a laser pen bolted to the front of the gas block, which has a dummy plug.

There is also a large hole in the RHS handguard to allow an airline to be attached to power the pneumatic functioning. There are also slots on the body where the welds for the barrel extension have been milled away, and extra small screws have been added to secure the new internal parts.

The barrel is solid and connected to a gas cylinder assembly for the pneumatic functioning.


The safety catch and trigger operate, but the mechanism inside is quite different and has various electronic contacts, as does the change lever.

A normal magazine can be fitted but rounds cannot be fed or extracted as the pneumatic parts are in the way.

The 'bolt' and ejection cover operate, but the former is just a dummy that looks right on the outside only.

The labelling on the stock clearly gives the rifle type "SA80", what is presumably the Ferranti drawing number,

and the rifle's serial number, along with Ferranti's Stockport address in the Midlands.

A brief description of the system was afforded in the company's brochure.

The text of the brochure is copied here for clarity.

"Ferranti SMART Small Arms Trainer


The Ferranti SMART Small Arms Trainer has been described as the most advanced rifle trainer in the world and consists of up to 10 trainee positions each comprising a modified in-service rifle, a high-resolution monitor, ear defenders and a centralised instructor console. The instructor's station contains a data monitor, an exercise monitor, a keyboard, a microphone, a graphics generator and the system computer.
The weapons used with SMART are adapted service rifles fitted with a light pen, handling sensors and a recoil simulator (using compressed air). Trainees may fire from the prone. kneeling or standing.          The trainees' targetry is generated by
computer graphics and displayed on a high (es-ofuni:3n monitor approximately 700rnm from the muzzle of the rille The target types involved include point of aim. zeroing, static snap and moving. Firing exercises encompass holding, aiming and firing. point of airn, grouping, zeroing. gallery range, elec­tric target range. moving target range. close quarter combat range. application of fire, annual weapon test practice and competition shooting practice The point of aim target allows both the instructor and the student to track the latter's point of aim before. during and after firing and acts as an excellent diagnostic facility. All trainee actions and per­formances are monitored by the instructor from the central console from which he initiates and controls all range practices. The instructor has access to records of points of impact, mean point of impact, grouping circles, hit/miss analysis and scores for each trainee.

As each student engages a target thelight pen detects the point of aim, and the fall of shot is immediately displayed on the instructor's exercise monitor. This allows for detailed supervision of up to 10 trainees as each shot is fired. Recoil and weapon jump are simulated, and a realistic rifle report is reproduced through the ear defenders which also provide a one-way audio link between instructor and student. The system can also simulate wind effects and can allow for time of flight of a projectile. On completion of each practice the instructor can replay student performances and make group sizes and scores available to all trainees on their own monitors.
Other facilities within the system allow the instruc­tor to monitor safety and ammunition state of the rifle. the student's hold of the weapon, trigger operation and the wind speed and direction at any time. The instructor can also imitiate weapon stoppages and check that the correct immediate action drills are carried out. Weapon handling and safety drills can also be conducted. SMART allows for training at basic, intermediate and advanced levels, providing realistic training for both recruits and trained soldiers. The system is simple to operate and no previous computer experience is needed. SMART provides detailed analysis of trainee performance leading to effective fault diagnosis within a totally sage environment. SMART is designed for maximum participation which makes it efficient and cost effective at all training levels. SMART has been adapted to operate with British 7.62 mm L1A1 rifles and the SA 80 weapon system. American 5.56 mm M16-series rifles and the West German Heckler & Koch G3 rifle.
"

 

Below, the disassembled rifle components, excepting the composite stock parts.

The two hoses for the compressed air supply and the multi-pin plug connector for the display etc., have of course been disconnected.
The internals are totally different from those of the live weapon, the only common ones appearing to be the trigger, magazine catch, and safety catch. The barrel is solid and there are none of the original 'pressure bearing' parts. The top cover houses a new barrel extension without any locking recesses and the guide for the cam pin has been removed. All in all it is quite a complex system which would have been expensive to produce.

With thanks to N.T. for providing this SMART information.

 

For the alfresco training system, see: the SAWES LASER TRAINING SIGHT

 

Further detail will appear on this page in due course.

In the meantime, view the earlier equivalent L12A1 conversion kit for the FN SLR

See also the Pattern '14 No.3 Rifle, the SMLE No.1 Rifle and No.2 Rifle,

the No.4 Rifle and the FN-SLR Rifle and the EM2 Bulldog precursor to the current SA-80 Rifle,

and Service Rifle Target shooting at BISLEY CAMP RANGES Post WWII

Click here to access a Chronology of Enfield genre Training Rifles, Adapters & Cartridges

 


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