Out is the M4/M4A1 rifle to make way for a significantly more powerful firearm that will help keep the U.S. Army ahead of the militaries throughout the world including China.
That was the major news the Army announced last month when they entered into a 10-year contract to develop the next generation of weapons with the XM5 Rifle that replaces the M4 and the XM250 Automatic Rifle that replaces the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
The newer weapons contain cartridges that are much more accurate and able to take out threats that the M4 or the M249 was unable to handle.
“Both weapons provide significant capability improvements in accuracy, range and overall lethality,” the U.S. Army said in a statement. “They are lightweight, fire more lethal ammunition, mitigate recoil, provide improved barrel performance, and include integrated muzzle sound and flash reduction.”
The M4 Rifle and M249 used a 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. The XM5 and the XM250 will rely on 6.8x51mm cartridges.
Sig Sauer, the manufacturer of the new weapons explains why the 6.8x51mm cartridge is superior for both of these Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW).
“[It] uses a patented lightweight metallic case designed to handle pressures higher than conventional ammunition, resulting in dramatically increased velocity and on-target energy in lighter weapons,” the company said in a statement. “The U.S. Army’s procurement of the NGSW System marks the beginning of an era where combat weapons are coupled with a suppressor as standard issue equipment.”
U.S. Army Brigadier General Larry Q. Burris highlighted that this is the first time in 65 years the Army will field a new weapon system of this nature, a rifle and automatic rifle, a fire control system and a new caliber family of ammunition.
“This is revolutionary,” said General Burris.