The Belgians Came Close to Producing a Gigantic Heavy Machine Gun

WIB history March 15, 2017 0

BRG-15. Source The BRG-15 would have been more powerful than the iconic M2 by MATTHEW MOSS In the early 1980s, Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale...
BRG-15. Source

The BRG-15 would have been more powerful than the iconic M2

by MATTHEW MOSS

In the early 1980s, Belgian firm Fabrique Nationale launched development of a new heavy machine gun with armor-piercing capability, to replace the legendary Browning M2.

The goal — to outshoot the 1950s-vintage Soviet KPV heavy machine gun.

FN announced the BRG-15 project in October 1983. Early on, FN wanted the BRG-15 to fire a 20-millimeter Hispano cartridge but the company eventually necked down to a more realistic 15-millimeter round. But the 15-millimeter cartridge tended to wear out the BRG-15’s barrel, so FN settled on a 15.5-by-115-millimeter cartridge with a plastic driving band, which engaged the barrel’s rifling.

The BRG-15’s ammo dwarfed that of the M2. Source

The 132-pound BRG-15 was gas-operated and featured a double feed. The gunner switched feeds by way of a selector. The new gun fired at a maximum rate of approximately 600 rounds per minute and ejected spent cases below the weapon. It boasted a quick-change barrel.

The 15.50-millimeter armor-piercing ammunition had a muzzle velocity of 1055 meters per second and an effective range of 2000 meters. At 1,000 meters, the BRG-15's A.P. projectile reportedly could penetrate the armor of any Soviet armored personnel carrier.

FN designed a tripod for the BRG-15, making it theoretically possible for gunners to directly support infantry. But it was more likely the huge gun would have wound up being mounted on vehicles, where the gunners could best take advantage of its dual feed.

FN abandoned the BRG-15 in the early 1990s in favor of funding what seemed like a much more practical weapon for the post-Soviet era — the P90 Personal Defense Weapon.

Originally published at Historical Firearms.