The Race Is on to Replace the Army’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon


The Race Is on to Replace the Army’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon
This video shows you that The Race Is on to Replace the Army’s M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

The U.S. Army is determined to modernize its small arms arsenal, and the journey starts with the squad automatic weapon.

The Army is seeking to replace its current M249 Squad Automatic Weapon with a new design incorporating new technologies. The end result will yield a weapon that will shoot farther, more accurately, and weigh less than ever before. The new technology will then spread to other platforms, including Army carbines and other service weapons.

Since World War II, the U.S. Army’s infantry squads have typically included a large caliber automatic rifle or light machine gun for high volume supporting fire. The M1919 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) equipped squads during World War II and the Korean War, and the M60 General Purpose Machine Gun fulfilled a similar role during the Cold War and Vietnam. In the late 1980s, the M60 was replaced by the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

Based on the FN Minimi light machine gun, the M249 fires 5.56-millimeter ammunition from box magazine and belts. The M249 is not a particularly well regarded weapon; in a 2006 report by the CNA Corporation the M249 scored worst of all shoulder-fired U.S. Army small arms. Among the complaints of soldiers issued the weapon were complaints it was large, heavy and unreliable.

Now, the U.S. Army is looking for a new weapon to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. According to the Army, the new weapon, tentatively named the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle (NGSAR), “will combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality. The weapon will be lightweight and fire lightweight ammunition, improving Soldier mobility, survivability, and firing accuracy. Soldiers will employ the NGSAR against close and extended range targets in all terrains and conditions.”

In June 2018 the Army awarded contracts to six gunmakers to produce a prototype for the NGSAR. Each weapon is to weigh no more than twelve pounds and be no more than thirty-five inches long. The service wants a weapon that can shoot a 3.5 inch diameter grouping using semi-automatic fire at one hundred yards, and a seven-inch grouping at one hundred yards. The NGSAR should have eighty percent less muzzle flash than a M249 and an noise level of 140 decibels or less.

One important feature of the new automatic rifle: the ammunition must weigh 20 percent less than an equal amount of conventional brass cased ammunition. This reflects the Army’s interest in new cased telescoped ammunition, a new technology that uses polymer shell casings instead of brass to create lighter ammunition.

For nearly two hundred years, all pistol and rifle ammunition has essentially used the same technology: a bullet and gunpowder seated in a brass shell casing. The technique is simple, cheap and reliable, which is precisely why it has lasted so long. The downside: while an individual cartridge is relatively light, the weight of brass adds up.

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