'Ironman' A Game-Changer On The Battlefield
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May 2, 2012: An article on the Space War website describes an innovative backpack ammunition feed invented by Iowa National Guardsmen stationed in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Vincent Winkowski came up with the idea, inspired by a weapon brandished by Jesse Ventura in the movie "Predator". His unit was having difficulites with the Mk 48 7.62 mm machine guns they were issued, because the ammo sacks it came with were big and bulky and their unit too small to have a designated ammo bearer. Winkowski adapted an existing backpack frame designed for carrying equipment and welded a couple cans of ammo to it, modifiying it so that the belts of ammo would feed directly from the backpack to the machine gun.

The initial prototype worked well in battle, and the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, a branch of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, were interested in Winkowski's invention. They further refined the design to make it more modular in construction and easier to assemble and to use.

The High-Capacity Ammunition Carriage System, dubbed "Ironman", holds 500 rounds of ammunition and weighs 43 lbs., well within the maximum capacity of the frame. By reducing the frequency of reloads, the system makes small units more effective in battle.


Game and Story Use

  • Piece of gear which can be adapted for a modern or near-future combat campaign.
  • Bit of a disappointment … the name makes it sound like it should be power armour - but to be fair, this will be a very useful accessory when power armour comes along. Especially if - as in the movie - you actually want to mount a minigun on it1.
  • A great example of gadgeteering in real life - and, as in the games, the gadget has side effects: the increased volume of fire means that you have to take a lot more care to avoid melting the barrel.
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