The Army is altering the identify of its new rifle after by chance taking a reputation from an unrelated present weapon, the service introduced Wednesday.
The service’s upcoming M5 from Sig Sauer will now be referred to as the M7 after it was found Colt Industries additionally makes a weapon referred to as the M5. The sunshine machine gun set to interchange the M249 Squad Automated Weapon, or SAW, the M250, is not going to change.
“The Army initially selected the designation XM5 because the identify of the brand new rifle in March,” a service spokesperson mentioned in a press release. “Since then, the service discovered that the M5 identify is utilized by Colt Industries for one in every of its 5.56mm carbines.”
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The brand new weapons have an X designation to point they haven’t but been fielded.
The weapons’ capabilities, together with how far they will precisely interact targets, are unclear because the Army remains to be testing them.
However it’ll be roughly a decade earlier than most formations see the M7 or M250. The service plans to situation solely a small batch of roughly 40 weapons this 12 months, with extra anticipated to trickle out because the Army builds new ammunition factories to accommodate the brand new sort of bullets required for these firearms. Manufacturing on the brand new ammo is not anticipated to kick off in any important means till a minimum of 2026.
The brand new weapons use 6.8mm rounds because the Army regarded for heftier ammo than the present 5.56mm used within the M4 and SAW to raised defeat physique armor, protecting gear that adversaries are anticipated to have in future conflicts and kit that’s already turning into extra commonplace for terror teams. The 6.8mm was seen as a compromise between the sunshine ammo at the moment used and the 7.62mm ammo used within the M240B machine gun that may be very heavy for the standard rifleman.
Army planners are already bracing for that heavier load from the brand new ammo and anticipate troopers to hold much less within the subsequent struggle. The M7 weighs 9.84 kilos, a lot heavier than the 6.34-pound M4. Troopers can even use 20-round magazines, a 10-round lower from the magazines the Army has been utilizing for many years. An ordinary fight load for the brand new rifle is predicted to be 140 rounds, a pointy drop from the 210-round loadout for the M4.
Troopers carrying the brand new mild machine gun may have a break, with the M250 weighing 14.5 kilos, in comparison with the 19.2-pound SAW. However troops are anticipated to hold solely 400 rounds of the heavier ammo, a steep lower from the usual 600-round load for SAW gunners.
The brand new weapons are a part of the Army’s bigger long-term plan to modernize its pressure by 2030, with service leaders aiming to replace its formations so that they are able to struggle a traditional army, a change from the final twenty years of fight as a part of the International Conflict on Terror period. A few of these efforts additionally embrace investments into new autos, robotics, long-range missiles and upgraded air protection programs.
“A lot of the doctrine we use and the weapon programs are late ’70s, early ’80s, that we have incrementally improved,” Gen. James McConville, the Army’s prime officer mentioned at an Affiliation of the U.S. Army occasion Wednesday. “We’re looking popping out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we should be prepared for large-scale fight operations.”
— Steve Beynon may be reached at Steve.Beynon@army.com. Comply with him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.
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