WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is developing a prototype assault rifle to replace outdated M16 rifles and its variants such as the M4.
The current generation of NATO rifles fire 5.56 mm rounds or 7.62 mm rounds. These measurements describe the bullet’s diameter.
The U.S. Army is testing several intermediate caliber bullets that fall between these two rounds, Army Times reported. It is also testing cased telescoped ammo, which could be made of a plastic polymer material, according to Army veterans’ website Task and Purpose.
Critics of the M4 rifle say the 5.56 mm rounds it fires are less lethal at the longer distances required for modern warfare. Critics also cite improvements in enemy body armor, enemy use of bigger rounds and jamming problems with the M16 and M4 as reasons the Army needs to upgrade its rifles.
The new prototype rifle is expected to be ready by 2020.
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