The China Lake was an American prototype pump-action repeating grenade launcher designed by Alfred F. Kermode in 1967 and produced in extremely limited numbers since 1968. Designed for US Navy SEALs, the China Lake was an effort to produce a quick-firing repeating grenade launcher.
The China Lake was designed in response to the United States Navy SEALs wanting more firepower for their grenade launchers, for their M79 and XM148 launchers could only hold one shot while the experimental T148 grenade launcher, while it did provide additional firepower, proved to be unreliable. In response to this, the China Lake branch of the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) took to designing a new launcher for this purpose.
Taking inspiration from various sporting shotguns, NAWS designer Alfred Kermode came up with a new prototype based on these shotguns; a toolroom prototype was quickly built and tested, with the weapon considered acceptable and a small batch produced shortly after. While quite large, the China Lake was well-received by those who had the opportunity to use the unique weapon system. Some 50 receivers are known to have been produced.
As the weapon was never officially adopted as it was designed on an ad hoc basis, the weapon has no official designation; instead, the name of the weapon was created by the SEALs referencing the manufacturer of the launcher, the China Lake facility of NAWS. Purportedly, three launchers remain with the United States Navy, with the rest demilitarized. Airtronic USA was also interested in manufacturing a highly-modernized version of the China Lake with Picatinny rails and an M4 carbine-style telescoping buttstock; the weapon was produced in very small quantities for supposed testing with the U.S. Marines but legal issues effectively ended development.
The China Lake launcher is a pump-action grenade launcher which acts very similarly to that of a shotgun. Grenades are loaded through the bottom of the launcher, with the weapon chambered with every pump of the slide.
The weapon also features folding leaf sights, with markings in increments from 75–400 metres (82–437 yards) in increments of 25 metres (27 yards).
The weapon uses 40×46mm grenades.
- The China Lake is often confused with the prototype EX-41 grenade launcher; this was a similar, but separate system developed some two decades later.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=2449
- ↑ https://patents.google.com/patent/US3435549A/en
- ↑ Dockery, Kevin, Weapons of the Navy SEALs, 2004
- ↑ http://www.defensereview.com/airtonic-usa-china-lake-pump-action-40mm-grenade-launcher-system-for-special-operations/
- ↑ http://www.defensereview.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/Airtronic_China_Lake_40mm_Pump_Action_Grenade_Launcher_Spec_Sheet.pdf