For the first time in 6 decades, the US Army officially equips the infantry with two new-generation rifles. On Tuesday, the U.S. Army officially selected a new rifle and infantry rifle for frontline troops.
After 27 months of evaluating new gun models, the US Army on Thursday officially announced the selection of two rifles of German weapons manufacturer Sig Sauer for the frontline force.
The XM5 rifle will replace the M4 and M4A1 Carbine as the army’s close-quarters weapon, and the XM 250 machine gun will replace the M249 light machine gun. Both weapons will be equipped with the M157 Next-Generation Squad Weapon-Fire Control (NGSW-FC), an optic designed to allow troops to observe and hit targets from greater distances.
Speaking at a press conference at the Pentagon, General Larry Burris, commander of the US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, said: “This is the first time in 65 years that the military has equipped such a weapon system”.
Both of Sig Sauer’s two new gun models use 6.8x51mm ammunition which is different from the 5.56x45mm NATO standard ammunition being used for the M4 rifle. Switching to 6.8mm ammunition will help achieve a longer range and greater firepower than 5.56mm ammunition.
General Bill Boruff, Executive Director of Joint Arms and Ammunition Programs said: “The new weapon system, with its larger operating pressure and size, allows for a significant increase in ammunition efficiency. Those enhancements will help troops take down targets with greater firepower and eliminate wide-ranging threats.”
Both the XM5 and XM 250 are based on Sig’s popular MCX rifle – a variant of the AR-15/M16 short-stroke gas piston system used by the US military. These weapons carry the designation “X” because they are technically being tested and have not been fire-tested on the battlefield.
he XM5 is a gas-operated, magazine-fed, assault rifle and has a 33cm barrel, about 4cm shorter than the M4, with an overall length of 86cm. Both the XM5 and XM250 will be integrated with the XM157 fire control optical system – helping to increase accuracy for close-in combat.
The XM157 features a number of advanced technologies, including a variable-magnification scope, laser rangefinder, ballistic unit, barometric sensor, and compass.
Two types of rifles that are commonly used in the US military today are the M4A1 and M249. The M4A1 Carbine is a shortened and improved version of the M16 assault rifle. The problem is that this rifle still uses 5.56 mm caliber bullets, which are not strong enough to penetrate bulletproof armor despite being upgraded in terms of armor penetration.
The M249 light machine gun first entered service in the mid-1980s as a weapon to increase infantry firepower. The M249 has a higher rate of fire than the M4A1. However, this rifle suffered from reliability issues and also used the same 5.56 ammunition as the M4A1.
The XM250 is a miniature version of the MG-338 machine gun developed by Sig Sauer. The company says the XM250 “doubles the effective range and is 40% lighter than the M249, with reduced recoil while increasing accuracy”. This rifle is also equipped with a silencer.
The XM5 and XM250 represent the biggest shift in US military small arms over the past six decades. Replacing 5.56 mm ammunition with 6.8 mm ammunition could inspire many US allies to do the same.
The most important improvement, however, is not the ammunition, but the new XM157 fire control optics – which can automatically judge the distance needed to strike the target, helping the gunner to hit the target. at longer distances.
The purchase and sale contract that the US military signed with Sig Sauer was carried out for 10 years, with a total value of 20.4 million USD. According to the plan, the delivery of the first XM5 and XM250 to the US Army will be carried out in the second quarter of the fiscal year 2023. Testing of the new weapon will begin in early 2014. The contract also includes supply, accessories, spare parts, and “contractor support”.
General Burris said that two new types of rifles will be delivered to the close-in combat force, while units outside this force will continue to be equipped with M4, M249, and M240B rifles.
The Army plans to buy up to 250,000 XM5 and XM250 weapons, and once the weapons are in service, it will drop the X-prefix, renaming them the M5 and M250. The U.S. Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard totals 1,091,000 personnel, so not everyone is going to get one of the “next-generation” rifles. Combat service support troops, like truck drivers, medical personnel, and others will stick with the M4A1 carbine. The U.S. Marines will also buy a small number of the new weapons, according to the Army Times.