Army to Take a look at Out its New Weapons in Excessive Environments

The Army will check its new rifle and light-weight machine gun in excessive environments this summer time — from cold and warm to mud and “salt fog,” in response to a Tuesday press launch. The announcement added that the brand new tools will proceed to trickle out to line models and is predicted to bear airborne testing someday subsequent yr.

The XM7 Rifle and XM250 Automated Rifle, designed by Sig Sauer, are set to interchange the M4A1 Carbine and M249 Squad Automated Weapon inside the subsequent decade. Sig was awarded the contract for the initiative, referred to as the Subsequent Technology Squad Weapons, or NGSW, program, in 2022.

The Army, Sig Sauer and troopers assigned to check the tools “feverishly” labored to get the brand new items fielded, in response to the discharge, concluding greater than 100 technical exams, 20,000 hours of operation, and 1.5 million rounds of recent 6.8mm ammo fired by way of the brand new weapons.

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Along with the intense atmosphere testing, the weapons’ means to deal with malfunctions and clean firing might be assessed in what the service is asking Manufacturing Qualification Testing, or PQT.

“The soldier contact level allowed this system and Sig Sauer the chance to solicit direct soldier suggestions on the techniques post-contract award and inform easy design modifications to enhance the weapons earlier than going into Manufacturing Qualification Take a look at and Operational Checks within the coming yr,” mentioned Capt. Tyler Morgan, assistant product supervisor for the Subsequent Technology Squad Weapons program.

Total, the weapons are reportedly fashionable with the particular operations neighborhood, although there are complaints in regards to the rifle’s weight. In comparison with its M4 predecessor, for instance, the XM7 is 2 kilos heavier — greater than three kilos if geared up with a suppressor.

The XM250, nevertheless, weighs almost 5 kilos lower than its M249 predecessor.

One former seventy fifth Ranger Regiment officer instructed that the XM250 “is a welcome substitute to the outdated and largely unreliable M249. It is lighter, extra correct, and makes use of a far superior spherical.”

However the weapons aren’t good, and the continued testing, particularly the intense environmental assessments that may happen between Might and July, will seemingly present the place these flaws might lie.

“The [XM7] is unbelievable by way of its options and capabilities, but it surely’s too heavy, and too giant proper now to be a typical infantry rifle,” mentioned the previous Ranger officer, who was granted anonymity out of concern that speaking to the media would possibly affect skilled prospects.

The fielding brings new ammo, as effectively. The lighter 5.56mm might be changed with a heavier 6.8mm spherical. The extra weight, although seemingly minimal, provides up for grunts carrying it and a heavier weapon over lengthy distances.

“The brand new spherical is wonderful performance-wise, however the common soldier cannot carry almost as many rounds in comparison with the 5.56. … I see it [as] extra of a chosen marksman rifle [rather] than a typical concern fight rifle,” the previous Ranger Regiment officer mentioned.

As soon as the PQT is full, the Army will conduct additional operational testing earlier than rolling the weapons out to line models throughout the service subsequent yr, in response to the press launch.

— Drew F. Lawrence will be reached at Observe him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

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