PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. Aca,!" The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center's Armament University has added a new foreign weapons course to its schedule.

The Small Arms Design and Maintenance - Foreign Weapons Series, familiarizes weapons designers and engineers with the technology that our warfighters are currently facing in theater.

The class is intended to teach ARDEC engineers about the design and function of the foreign weapons that our warfighters currently face in theater, explained Matt Stracco, Armament University education and training technician.

"It's not enough to have a working knowledge of the weapons platforms that our warfighters are using in combat. Our weapons designers and engineers need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the weapons systems our warfighters currently face on the field of battle," Stracco said.

This course focuses on common foreign weapons such as the AK series, RPK, PKM, RPG, RPD and SVD Dragunov series.

During the course, participants become familiar with the disassembly, reassembly, maintenance, trouble shooting and function of several essential non-standard weapons platforms. Throughout the course participants also become familiar with the operation and production of each of the weapon systems, Stracco explained.

Engineers also learn about the historical evolution of the weapons; field maintenance procedures; function and troubleshooting; and how to disable a weapons system for fast abandon.

"It provides more technical background on the systems used by foreign militaries. We're learning their development procedures and how some of their ideas could be incorporated in our ideas," explained Neil Lee, who attended a recent Small Arms Design and Maintenance - Foreign Weapons course. Lee is a senior project engineer who works with medium and small caliber weapons systems.

The course is about learning "how to make things simpler - easier to assemble, easier to maintain," Lee said.

"Anybody that's going to be expected to work on a weapons systems, I think classes of this nature would be beneficial to them. Even if it's not something specifically that they will work on, at least they would be familiar with how to take a gun apart, how to put it back together, how parts interact together, what makes them function, why they function, what would fail, what has the highest probability of failure and why, and how to make it better," Lee said.