Symposia at Shrivenham - 26th Small Arms and Cannon Symposium, 2012
By Richard Jones

This event is held annually in the last full working week of August at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. It is the focal point for European infantry weapons and small arms developments and compliments the National Defence Industrial Association (NDIA) Joint Armaments conference also held annually in May in the United States.

The Shrivenham Symposium provides a personal atmosphere, giving a vital opportunity to “network” and the 26th annual Small Arms and Cannon Symposium held in August of 2012 was well attended. This year, reflecting attendees’ requests, the symposium was changed from a three day event (Tuesday lunch – Thursday lunch) framework to two full days and the Symposium was therefore held over the 21-22 August 2012.

The programme format consisting of short presentations on various subjects is now well established. The programme over the two days offered eighteen presentations and the varied subject matter of the presentations covered the following subjects:

Day One
  1. Army 2010 – What will it mean for the infantry – A British perspective. (UK MOD)
  2. Dismounted Close Combat (DCC) Vision – How will the British Infantry be Equipped, Train and Fight in 2025? (UK MOD)
  3. Developing the Architecture for the Soldier of Tomorrow. (Systems Engineering & Assessment, Ltd.)
  4. The Role of Small Arms in the Future Lethality Chain. (Systems Engineering & Assessment, Ltd.)
  5. The Impact of Barrel Length on 5.56mm Weapon Performance. (System Design Evaluation, Ltd.)
  6. Small Arms Research Ergonomics Trials. (Cranfield University)
  7. Desirability and Plausibility of a Targeting Support System for the DCC Soldier. (Roke Manor Research, Ltd.)
  8. Caseless Ammunition Small Arms: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (Independent U.S. Small Arms Consultant)
  9. Next Generation of Small Arms: Some Issues and Prospects. (IHS Jane’s)

Day Two
  1. Dismounted STA Technology to Enhance Small Arms Effectiveness. (Qioptiq, Ltd.)
  2. Update on the Norwegian Small Arms Programme. (Norwegian Defence Logistics Organization)
  3. The German G28 Programme. (Heckler & Koch, Germany)
  4. Evolution of Green Small Arms Ammunition. (Nammo Vanäsverken AB, Sweden)
  5. Canadian Future Small Arms. (National Defence Headquarters, Canada)
  6. Bullet Lethality – Assessment and Understanding. (QinetiQ)
  7. Intermediate Calibre Study – Focusing on External Ballistics. (National Defence Headquarters, Canada)
  8. 40mm Medium Velocity and Weapons – an Update. (Rheinmetall Combat Systems, Germany)
  9. State of the Art Counter Defilade Ammunition for Improved Effectiveness. (Rheinmetall Combat Systems, Germany)

Subject matter of the presentations reflected an increasing pragmatic approach to what is achievable in the immediate future; absent were the presentations on Future Soldier, Land Warrior and the like, which had featured heavily in the past. Recent combat operations have fine-tuned the needs of the warfighter in terms of the infantry weapons mix required, which has seen the return of the larger rifle calibre 7.62 x 51mm weapons in general and the ‘Sharpshooter’ or ‘Designated Marksman’ rifle in particular; the former received no comment other than confirmation and the latter was covered in the G28 Programme reflecting manufacturers responses to changing military requirements.

Additional activities provided as part of the Symposia programme, include visits to the on-site DA-CMT Small Arms Facility, which is a teaching and reference collection of infantry weapons. The staff of this facility also provides a live-firing demonstration of selected weapons and accessories to which delegates are invited. The Symposia itself is held in the Defence Capability Centre (DCC – not to be confused with DCC – Dismounted Close Combat) that houses the Defence Academy collection of artillery, armoured vehicles and ammunition. Tours of the various collections can be arranged on request.

A long-established feature of the Shrivenham Small Arms and Cannon symposia has been the formal evening dinner. The venue again this year, after a very successful event last year, was the ‘Steam’ Railway Museum of the Great Western Railway in nearby Swindon town. The museum is situated in the renovated premises of the former Swindon Railway Works and guests were seated among the major and minor historic artifacts of the museum for an excellent four-course dinner, with pre-dinner drinks (with a chance to wander around the museum) and wine in abundance. A good time again, as the British would say, was had by all!

Adjacent to the lecture theatre is the related Exhibition display area. This year among others, the following manufactures and distributers were on hand to show and demonstrate their product lines:-

Beechwood is a major UK company specializing in specialist products for the law enforcement and military markets. They are the UK agent for SIG Sauer products and a range of optical and night-vision products.
Beechwood Equipment, Ltd.
PO Box 412
Esher, Surrey KT10 8B
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1372 468 555
Fax: +44 (0) 1372 471 262
E-mail: sales@beechwoodequipment.com
Homepage: www.beechwoodequipment.com

Cranfield University are the resident academic facility at the Defence Academy – College of Management & Technology and offer unique education, training and research opportunities, as well as providing a range of symposia including the Small Arms and Cannon event.
Cranfield University
Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
Shrivenham, Wiltshire SN6 8LA
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1793 785 810 (Courses)
E-mail: betsy@symposiaatshrivenham.com (Symposia)

Located north of London ISTEC Services has been supplying the UK MOD with specialist weapon mounts of its own design for over two decades. ISTEC also offers Platform Integration and sighting systems in its services and products line-up.
ISTEC Services, Ltd.
The Spinney
Hoddesdon Road, Stanstead Abbotts
Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 8EJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1920 871 734
Fax: +44 (0) 1920 871 357
E-mail: info@istec.co.uk
Homepage: www.istecservices.com

This company specializes in watertight, crushproof cases for weapon storage and transit amongst other similar products. Weapon containers are STANAG/DEFSTAN certified and provide with NATO stock codes.
Peli Products (UK), Ltd.
Brookfield Industrial Estate, Peakdale Road,
Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 6LQ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1457 869 999
Fax: +44 (0) 1457 869 966
Homepage: www.peliproducts.co.uk

This company is the manufacturers of specialist ammunition for both military and law-enforcement applications.
Primetake, Ltd.
Reepham Road, Fiskerton
Lincoln LN3 4EZ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1522 752 323
Fax: +44 (0) 1522 752 484
E-mail: sales@primetake.com
Homepage: www.primetake.co.uk

Qioptiq is the largest UK manufacturer of night vision, image-intensified and surveillance optics. The company manufactures the proven Kite image-intensifiers and Vipir uncooled thermal weapon sights with the Maxikite-2 and S Vipir-2S+ being the latest models in the series. The company continues to market its very successful Dragon-C (compact), Dragon SR (short-range), Dragon-LR (long-range) and Dragon-S (sniper) multi-purpose thermal weapons sights.
Glascoed Road, St Asaph
Denbighshire LL17 0LL
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1745 588 000
Fax: +44 (0) 1745 584 258
E-mail: sales@uk.qioptiq.com
Homepage: www.qioptiq.co.uk

SDE, Ltd. provide a range of support activities in the military sphere, including safety & environmental support, design modeling & simulation, trials management and defence services, which include such as technical authoring and third party assessments.
System Design Evaluation (SDE), Ltd.
6 Oak Park
Hunsdon Ware, Hertfordshire SG12 8QP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1279 842 203
Fax: +44 (0) 1279 843 372
E-mail: Enquiries@SDE-UK.com
Homepage: www.SDE-UK.com

Viking Arms, Ltd. is a UK based company offering a full range of defence equipment and accessories. Services provided include, armourer and product training, design liaison R&D and bespoke equipment. They also provide a full supporting service to the UK law-enforcement community.
Viking Arms, Ltd.
Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 4BW
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1423 780 810
Fax: +44 (0) 1423 781 500
E-mail: andy@vikingarms.com
Homepage: www.vikingarms.com

We would like to encourage the small arms community to lend their support to the 27th Small Arms & Cannon Symposium to be held over the 21-22 August 2013.


The Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK. This is to the west of London off the M4 motorway and easily accessible from the main London airports. The nearest large town to Shrivenham for reference purposes is Swindon.

Mrs. Lynn Anderson, Symposia Organizer, Symposia at Shrivenham, Cranfield University, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Shrivenham, Wiltshire SN6 8LA
Tel: +44 1793 785 648
Fax: +44 1793 785 325
E-mail: Lynn@symposiaatshrivenham.com
Homepage: www.symposiaatshrivenham.com

27th Small Arms & Cannon Symposium - 20-21 August 2013, Shrivenham, UK.

This symposium is a special show with numerous papers being presented, and a smaller trade show that is comfortable for attendees to mix with the venders.

Business Informal meaning jacket and tie, or Business Casual depending on your desire to present your company. Military are in duty attire. For the formal Regimental Dinner, base line for men is dark suit with tie, ladies comfortable evening wear (no jeans or tee-shirts in either case!. Mrs. Lynn Anderson and staff are on hand to help with your concerns on this.

Local hotels are listed with the Symposia information package. Most vendors choose hotels in Swindon or out on the M4 Motorway area. There is UK military billeting for those who are eligible.

220v 50 cycle, British 3-prong plugs.

The Swindon/Shrivenham areas are largely rural with the historic city of Oxford located to the north. The only warnings would be in certain parts of London or other major cities. The conference is in a rural area that is very safe.

At the conference, attendees are regularly offered tea and coffee breaks, as well as sandwiches and hors d'oeuvres at lunch. All very good.

The British are generally very polite and the formal Regimental Dinner is not to be missed by any who wish to experience a ceremony that is rarely seen by outsiders. There are protocols to be studied before attending, from how to 'Pass the Port' to what to wear, on to dinner conversation. A good guide to behaviour in these types of situation is online at http://regimentalrogue.com/srsub/mess_dinners.htm.

The 1850's era Guideline for a Regimental Dinner, encourages 'Abstainers' to toast the Monarch with water in their Port Glass. At times you will see the following after someone's name; OBE or MBE meaning "Officer of the Order of the British Empire" and "Member of the Order of the British Empire respectively. These are prestigious honorifics in British society, showing appreciation for service to the British Empire. These are not "Knighthoods" which would have other indicators.

10% is generally fine in restaurants, less to a taxi. Taxis are either meter fare or 'pre-booked' at an agreed price.

Rental cars will have UK style right-hand steering, and driving is on the left side of the road. Unless you know how to drive with a left-hand shift, order an automatic. We advise finding the first parking lot in sight after getting your rental car and learning the reverse geometry if you are a Euro or U.S. driver. Road roundabouts are common and do not pose a problem, always give way to the right, unless the road markings advise otherwise. Trains are reliable, however, ticket purchases made on the day of travel can be extortionately expensive; pre-booking is strongly advised. A good guide for the latter is at www.nationalrail.co.uk. Bus travel is both simple and inexpensive. If driving, the show is near to Heathrow airport, travel due west on the M4 Motorway to the Swindon exit and look for local directions to Shrivenham. For rail travel from Heathrow or Gatwick airports take a direct train service to Swindon.

The Defence Academy Small Arms teaching collection may be visited by qualified visitors. Inquire with the promoters. In London: the Imperial War Museum (partially closed until 2014) and the National Army Museum in Chelsea are worth a visit. The Fort Nelson Artillery museum is in Portsmouth to the south of Swindon and the Royal Armouries are located in the north of England at Leeds; the latter houses the former Pattern Room collection of small arms and light infantry weapons.

Shrivenham is located within reasonable driving distances of the university town of Oxford, the Neolithic monument at Stonehenge and Shakespeare's home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. Try the following websites if planning a pre or post Symposia cultural visit: www.visitbritain.com or www.visitlondon.com

This article first appeared in SmallArmsReview.com on August 9, 2013


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