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The Crossroads of Special Operations

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Shooting farther with more punch: The Army finally found an M4 and SAW replacement | Army Times

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The Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon will give troops an M4-like 6.8mm rifle that packs a punch. 

The Next Generation Squad Weapon program provides a much more devastating 6.8 mm round to U.S. forces. The majority of prospective global opponents employ 7, 62 mm guns ranging between 1,000 and 1,500 meters. The XM5 is two pounds heavier than the M4 when unloaded. However, the XM250 is four pounds lighter than the M249 SAW, and an unidentified Army unit has slated to acquire it by 2023. NGSW, or Next Generation Squad Weapons, might cost up to $4.7 billion over the next decade. 

Due to production work, yearly budgets, and the execution of training and fielding plans, the Army’s 120,000 close combat units will not get the weapon for many years or more than a decade. The Marine Corps is following the Army’s program but has not yet determined whether or not to deploy the weapon system or ammunition. Due to the combined precision and efficiency of the weapon, ammo, and optic, fewer rounds should be required to hit and incapacitate a target. XM5 shooters will sacrifice 70 rounds and carry an additional 5 pounds of weapon, optic, and ammunition compared to M4 shooters. The XM250 is a lighter weapon, but the ammunition is heavier, and the new optic adds 2.6 pounds to the overall system weight. 

The Army has picked Sig Sauer to manufacture the rifle and automatic rifle for its Next Generation Squad Weapon. The weapon’s 10-year contract allots 120,000 rifles or automatic rifles to the Army but can produce an additional 130,000 for the Marines, SOCOM, and international partner sales. Multiple projects have attempted to replace the M16 and its subsequent carbine derivative, the M4. According to an Army spokesperson, the Marine Corps’ M27 IARs will reach the end of their service life in 2031. For the time being, Sig Sauer will operate a 6.8 mm manufacturing line at its New Hampshire factory. 

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri, will add an ammunition-only line and facility. The plant has not scheduled to operate at total capacity until at least the fiscal year 2025. The Army has a functional replacement for the M4 and SAW designed to meet its stated requirements for close combat. However, alterations will be made to maximize the round, weapon, and optic combination in the following months and years. The first dozen or so rifles and automatic rifles have slated to come off the Sig Sauer assembly line shortly. 

Source: https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2022/05/10/shooting-farther-with-more-punch-the-army-finally-found-an-m4-and-saw-replacement/

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